Wednesday, April 16, 2014

**Spotlight Tour Review ~ Against All Odds ~ Angie McKeon**

I'm thrilled to be a part of the Spotlight Review Tour for Angie McKeon's Against All Odds. My stop includes all the important details about the book, my review, and a giveaway.

This tour is presented by Truly Schmexy Promotions.


***

Against All Odds by Angie McKeon
Against #1 
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4 Bookworms

Synopsis
Our lives shattered... Our hearts broken... Our souls torn to pieces...

He was my world, my whole life. My reason for breathing. I had a perfect marriage, a baby on the way, and I felt fulfilled—almost invincible. 

Until the day life hit, leaving me broken, vulnerable, and alone.

She was my life. My ray of hope on the cloudiest day. With her, I thought I had the ultimate safety. A love that would never hurt or betray me. I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul. 

Until she broke me, destroying every dream and illusion I had about life, love, and marriage.

In our grief, we made a mistake. A mistake I'm not sure we can come back from.





It's going to take awhile for me to fully process this book. It was an emotional roller coaster, for sure. And a great debut.

I can't fathom the toll on a marriage that the loss of a child would incur. I can't imagine how this couple ended up where they are when we meet them. But it was heartening to see them find their way back.

I'm not gonna lie - I had a hard time connecting with Kylie. Not because of what she'd been through with the loss of her baby, but the choices she made afterwards. I know she had her reasons and the she and Cooper had an agreement but I still couldn't get on board with what she was doing. I did eventually warm to her though because I could see that she really loved Cooper. She was remorseful for the decisions she'd made that had hurt him. The hurtful things she did were her way of crying out to Cooper, and trying to put the pieces of herself and them back together. 

Cooper was equally as difficult to connect with until the story switched to his POV. I loved getting his side of the story because we all know that perception doesn't always equate to reality. I did want to smack him for only realizing what he wanted, and what it was worth to him, when it looked as though he might lose it. But I got to see how he truly felt about Kylie, his reasoning behind his emotional withdrawal...this man loved his wife. It just took him some time to figure out how to get back to the place he wanted to be with her.

The character I loved was Grayson Walsh. He is the epitome of a loyal friend. And he's been friends with Cooper forever. But he's also been a good friend to Kylie. He's been her rock since things went so horribly wrong with Cooper. He stood by them both for as long as he could stand it. But in the course of being there for Kylie, the dynamics change between the three of them. Grayson got caught in the crossfire.

I was thrilled to see Kylie and Cooper work their way back to one another. I wish we'd been privy to a bit more of that work though - especially after having been witness to all the hurt they'd inflicted on one another. But Ms. McKeon wove in the element of fate - things happening for a reason - and y'all know I love that. I appreciated that Kylie and Cooper get a second chance at love and a chance at redemption.

Ms. McKeon's debut novel shows a lot of promise. She's written an engaging story. Although I initially had trouble connecting with the characters, they were able to evoke emotions and I came to love them. I didn't realize this was going to be series but I was excited to see that Grayson's story is up next. I will certainly be reading that. :)

 




a Rafflecopter giveaway






A multi-tasker from birth—and now proudly able to add 'writer' to my resume—I'm a mother, wife and blogger. I love to read, write and drink copious amounts of iced coffee.
All three aforementioned addictions are detrimental to my sanity. I have a voracious appetite for dark, painful and twisted reads. I'm enamored with the concept of love and heart break. I believe life is a journey, a tale in its own for each of us. The road to happiness is sometimes paved with stones from hell, or glitters of satisfaction graced from the heavens above.
In my upcoming debut novel, 'Against All Odds,' I strive to make you feel. I believe any emotion—whether painful or happy—is good. To me, the key to living is to go through life feeling it’s ups and downs. Love is dark and it can be painful but, at the end of the day, it can save the most lost of souls and the most broken of hearts.

Find Angie here:

**Cover Reveal ~ The Devil's Contract ~ Claire Contreras**


I'm very excited to share the cover of The Devil's Contract by Claire Contreras! 

The Devil's Contract by Claire Contreras
Age group: Adult
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Najla Qamber


Synopsis:
He gave them a choice.

She took it.

He made her promise two years.

She should have known there was a catch.





As Amara stepped out of the car, a shiver ran through her. She felt eyes on her, and looked around quickly as she held on to Colin’s hand a little harder. 

“You okay?” he asked, looking down. He placed one hand on the small of her back as he held her other one. 

“Yeah...” she said slowly, still scanning the street. 

The neighborhood his apartment building was in was definitely safe, but in that moment she felt anything but. 

“You’re overworking yourself. I don’t understand why you won’t let me—”

Colin went on about that, as he usually did, but Amara was too distracted to argue with him. Her eyes wandered to the building beside them, where she saw a group of people in dress clothes getting into a limousine, and that’s when she saw him. Philip. Amara’s heart lurched to her throat so quickly, she thought she was
going to faint. She saw him around all the time, and he was always watching, always waiting. Amara always wondered when the day would come, but Philip never gave anything away. He just watched. 

Philip was dressed in a tuxedo, standing beside a woman in a red dress. They were looking at Amara, scrutinizing her as they exchanged words. Philip had a glass cup in his hand, which he raised as if to salute her. 

Amara felt her knees giving out beneath her. 

“Sweetheart, you’re scaring me,” Colin said. He stopped walking and faced her, holding both of her arms. Amara was still looking in Philip’s direction, and Colin’s eyes followed. He gave Philip a small wave, he’d met him a couple of times in parties and saw him around the neighborhood often.

“Is everything all right?” Colin asked, his voice full of concern.

Amara nodded, looking into Philip’s icy blue eyes. “Yeah, everything’s fine,” she whispered. “Just fine.”


Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Fl, where she currently resides with her husband, two boys, and two American Bulldogs. 

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

**Review ~ I Found You ~ Jane Lark**

I Found You
I Found You by Jane Lark
Starting Out #1
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ecopy through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5 Bookworms

Synopsis
Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together.

On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason's lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She's running from life, he's running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her.

His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There's his fiancee back home in Oregon and a family who just don't trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks.



But when the connection between them is so electric, so right...everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there's nothing but the possibility of what could be -- of this, right here, right now. Them.



I Found You was a compelling read about two people seemingly fated to be together. I enjoyed the element of fate as I'm a firm believer in things happening as they're meant to. The story also touched on a topic not often discussed - mental illness.

Rachel Shears has lived a hard life. Having left home at a young age, she's done what she had to in order to survive. She's done a lot she's not proud of. She can't seem to help herself and as she can't understand herself, she doesn't expect anyone else to. When things in her life erupt, she finds herself on Manhattan Bridge. It's there she finds Jason Macinlay.

Jason is a small-town boy who's come to New York to prove something - to himself and to his family and friends. When he finds Rachel on that bridge, his life takes on a new course. One he must decide whether he has to strength to endure. Because life with Rachel is anything but steady.

Jason shows maturity and strength of character as his relationship with Rachel evolves. He's chivalrous and a calm presence in Rachel's life. He makes Rachel want a good life. Rachel changes so much over the course of the story. It was nice to see - especially once her secret is revealed.

When Jason and Rachel visit his hometown, I was appalled at the welcome they received. I had to grit my teeth over the small-town prejudices and the repercussions they had on Rachel. 

Mental illness is not something spoken of often. It's not something many understand and so we ignore it. I applaud Ms. Lark taking a mental illness and using it as a focal element in this story. 

There were a few things about I Found You that bothered me. The main one being Ms. Lark's using the U.S. as her setting and then using British dialect. I literally heard these characters, who were supposed to be from New York and Oregon, speak with British accents. I don't take issue with that - I love British accents. However, I don't understand her use of the U.S. as a setting when the story could have easily been set in Britain. I also found some of the dialog a bit repetitive and it slowed the pace for me. And I questioned the necessity of the physical violence perpetrated by Jason's ex-girlfriend. However, as this is the first book in a series, this may be expanded upon in the future.

Overall, I Found You was a good read. I liked the story. I liked the element of fate and the mental illness angle. And I'm eager to know where Rachel and Jason go from this point forward.

**Release Day Blitz & Giveaway ~ Out of the Shallows ~ Samantha Young**


Happy Release Day, Samantha Young!!
Out of the Shallows is **NOW LIVE**

To celebrate the release, Into the Deep is **ONLY 99 CENTS**



BUY LINKS
AmazonB&N Kobo iTunes Smashwords  
Google Play Overdrive Scribd

Synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of Into the Deep

LIVE YOUNG. LIVE HARD. LOVE DEEP.

Charley and Jake’s story concludes in Out of the Shallows

Somehow, after everything they’ve been through, Jake Caplin and Charley Redford made their way back to one another. But finding each other and staying together are two completely different things.

When Charley’s world is flipped upside down, she begins to question the choices and decisions she’s made since her arrival in Edinburgh, and in an effort to grip onto what she holds most dear she believes she must sacrifice her love for Jake.

Returning to the States for her senior year, Charley struggles to find peace and happiness. While everyone else seems to be finding themselves in college, Charley is terrified that, along with almost
everything else that’s important to her, she’s lost herself.

While friends and family deal with their own tumultuous lives, there is one person resolved to uncover the reason behind Charley’s sudden defection and unhappiness. Refusing to give up without a fight, Jake believes he is the only one who can truly understand what Charley is going through, and this time he’s determined to prove he’s there for her no matter what obstacles are thrown in their way.

However, as Charley strives to make it through the biggest personal journey of her life thus far, there is no guarantee that the woman she is becoming will still need Jake as much as the girl she once was did...



I couldn’t actually dispute any of that, which made me even more pissed, hurt, defensive, scared and … confused.

I started to shiver. “I … I can’t do this.” I turned away.

I hadn’t taken two steps when I felt his hand wrap around my wrist. Jake tugged me, forcefully, pulling me around so I stumbled into his chest. His lips crashed down on mine, his kiss hungry, desperate, angry…

For a moment I forgot everything else but the hard pressure of his mouth on mine, the smell of his
cologne, the feel of his body. I was surrounded.

Drowning.

And I let it happen.

His lips moved from my mouth to my chin, along my jaw, as his hand slid up my waist, his thumb just grazing my breast. I sighed, my body arching into his. I was hot. Hot and wanting. Nothing else mattered but the way I felt when he touched me.

His voice was ragged in my ear. “I’ve missed you so much. I love you so fucking much.” He squeezed my waist and pulled me closer, his mouth reaching for mine again but those three little words had broken through the spell of lust created by Jake’s proximity and the four beers I’d had.

“Stop,” I whispered, pushing gently on his chest.



Book 1 in the Series - Into the Deep


BUY LINKS
AmazonB&N Kobo iTunes Smashwords  
Google Play Overdrive Scribd

Synopsis
Live young. Live hard. Love deep.

Charley Redford was just an ordinary girl until Jake Caplin moved to her small town in Indiana and convinced her she was extraordinary. Almost from day one Jake pulled Charley into the deep and promised he was right there with her. But when a tragic incident darkened Jake’s life he waded out into the shallows and left Charley behind.

Almost four years later Charley thinks she’s moved on. That is until she takes a study year abroad in Edinburgh and bumps into none other than Jake Caplin at a party with his new girlfriend. The bad-boy-turned-good attempts to convince Charley to forgive him, and as her best friend starts spending time with Jake’s, Charley calls a truce, only to find herself tumbling back into a friendship with him.

As they grow closer, the spark between them flares and begins playing havoc with their lives and relationships. When jealousy and longing rear their destructive heads, Charley and Jake struggle to come to grips with what they mean to one another.

And even if they work it out, there is no guarantee Charley will ever trust Jake to lead her back into the deep…




Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance and has been sold in twenty six countries.

**Teaser Tuesday ~ # 14**

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!




***

I Found You
I Found You by Jane Lark
Starting Out #1
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Synopsis
Tomorrow is for regrets. Tonight is for being together.

On a cold winter night, Rachel and Jason's lives collide on Manhattan Bridge. She's running from life, he's running toward it. But compassion urges him to help her.

His offer of a place to stay leads to friendship and trouble. There's his fiancee back home in Oregon and a family who just don't trust this girl from the wrong side of the tracks.

But when the connection between them is so electric, so right...everyone else must be wrong. And as the snow begins to settle on the Hudson, there's nothing but the possibility of what could be -- of this, right here, right now. Them.

**Teaser**
It just happened. It seemed the right thing. Tomorrow was for regrets. Tonight was for being together.

Like his hands on me, his lips were gentle, nut urgent and demanding, like every other guy I'd been with. Something twisted in my stomach, something warm and beautiful. It felt so good to kiss him at last.

**Cover Reveal ~ Return to Newport ~ A.L. Parks**


I'm thrilled to share the cover of A.L. Parks' Return to Newport! This is the second book in the Return to Me Series. The cover is simple, but I like it.

***
Return to Newport by A.L. Parks
Return to Me Series #2
Release Date:
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis
Eve is ready for a clean slate. She nearly lost the love of her life in The Return. Now Eve must confront the people refusing to let her go quietly into her happily ever after with Jake. Returning to Newport to tie up loose ends may be the biggest mistake of her life.

Jake wants one thing – and one thing only – Eve. He is ready to build a life with her, and spend the rest of his days loving only her. But his surprise visit to Newport makes him question everything he thought he knew about her, including her love.

At the center of the turmoil is Eve’s ex-husband. Intrigued by the changes he sees in her, Brad is determined to sabotage Jake and Eve’s relationship – and take Eve back.

Jake and Eve must face their demons, and battle the outside forces that seek to destroy their future. Can their love survive the Return to Newport?


Jake. It nagged at her that she had still not had a word from him. She walked into the kitchen to find some crackers to calm her now upset stomach. What the hell was going on? She heard the kitchen door open, but had already pressed the button for Jake’s phone, and she didn’t turn around. Clarissa’s voice filled the air around her.

“Hey, Mom, I have a surprise for you,” her voice sang.

“Hold on Clarissa, I’m on the phone. I haven’t heard from Jake all day,” she muttered more to herself than for Clarissa’s benefit. Jake’s voicemail picked up, and Eve shifted her weight as she heard the beep. “Jake, where the hell are you?”

“I’m right here, beautiful,” came the deep voice behind her.

Eve turned around, and her eyes met the most beautiful blue eyes that she had ever seen - the ones that held the deepest love - all for her.

“Jake,” she exhaled, and came towards him. Her arms went around his neck, and she launched herself at him. He wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her tightly against his body. She pressed her lips against his, tilting her head to the side, and slipping her tongue into his mouth. She was desperate for him, needed to feel him, make sure he was truly there.

“Geez, you two, get a room,” Clarissa’s voice giggled behind them. Eve placed her forehead against Jake’s, eyes closed, and breathed him in. All the worry, the fears - the demons - all of them melted away with the stroke of his hands across her back.

He exhaled, and pulled Eve tighter against his body, whispering in her ear, “Now everything feels right again.”



Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, A.L. Parks has spent the last 25 years moving all over the United States. Married to the Navy - well a man in the Navy - Parks has lived in various places throughout the United States. Now she resides in the Washington D.C area, and loves every minute. She has four children, and one spoiled German Shepard. 

2013 marked her debut in publishing. Her first novel, Strangers, released on her 45th birthday. She was amazed at how many people fell in love with a story about two people dealing with grief, and finding love again. Abby and Bryce were the perfect couple to introduce Parks as an up-and-coming author.

Her second novel, The Return, released in December 2013. A wonderful Christmas romance, it is the first book in the Return To Me series. Book two, Return To Newport, is set to release on April 29, 2014.



Monday, April 14, 2014

**Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ Bird After Bird ~ Leslea Tash**


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Leslea Tash's Bird After Bird. My stop includes all the pertinent details for the book, my review, and a giveaway.

***

Bird After Bird
Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash
Release Date: April 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an ecopy in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms


Synopsis
Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Love of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat--and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes,  however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can't name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state's perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of--until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send--then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again--something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.






Bird After Bird is beautifully written. It is a tender and sweet tale about two bird lovers finding themselves and each other.

"You know all those birding trips we took, where we got out of town and bumped up our life list? You remember those times when we ended up lost, took a wrong turn, and still ended up where we were meant to be? Kid, that's where you are, I think. I think you're trying, but..."

Wren Riley spent one incredible summer with her dad, searching for birds and making new memories following the death of her mom. She then spent ten years doing all she could to make her dad proud - at least on paper. Following another devastating loss, she's back home to deal with some things and one of those 'things' is the journal she and her dad made that one summer. Wren then embarks on a soul-searching journey as she tries to follow her dad's advice and find the real Wren. And along the way, she finds Laurie Byrd.

Laurence 'Laurie' Byrd has more than a few demons. Having been raised by a mother who was never happy with who he was, he has a few issues. He's also an Army vet who saw and lost things in war on both sides - the home front and the battlefield. Laurie has been ghosting through life since his return. When he meets Wren, he feels something - like being alive again. So he sets out on a journey of his own.

Wren is a heroine I could identify with in that she worked very hard but wasn't following her passion. She was trying so hard to be enough but she wasn't happy doing it. Laurie's character resonated with me because of his feelings of not measuring up. It was such a joy to see these two help one another realize that neither one of them should be wasting time chasing paper birds. That's a lesson that resonated with me as well.

I adore this story. It's told in dual POV and having a front row seat to both Wren's and Laurie's journeys was fascinating. Ms. Tash clearly loves these characters and shares their story with such emotion and tenderness, it made me love them all the more. The fact that Wren and Laurie both have 'bird' names that correlate to the title was clever. There are many references to this throughout the story and Ms. Tash tied it all together with the birds brilliantly.





a Rafflecopter giveaway



Leslea Tash
Leslea Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, an avid bird nerd and the happily married mom of four. She has been a professional writer for many years. This is her first romance novel.