Friday, August 31, 2018

Trailer Blast: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes & Giveaway




 Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.


EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE - EXCERPT

December 11

There has always been this gap between the person I am and the person people think I am. It’s not that I’m fake—I don’t mislead people and I don’t lie (too often). But I keep a lot of secrets. I hold back parts of me so you can see the outline of the puzzle and make a guess about the picture, but that’s all it is—a guess. My inner pieces? I don’t show those to hardly anyone.

One of those pieces is Holden Hassler. Holden is why I’m out in the frigid air right now, trudging up the winding road that leads to the top of Puffin Hill, icy gravel slick beneath the soles of my hiking boots. No one knows I’m meeting Holden tonight. No one knows I’ve been meeting him for months. Well, except for Betsy. She’s the eight-year-old golden retriever by my side. I’ve had her since she was a puppy. Right now she’s tugging at her leash with at least half of her considerable strength. I give her some slack, and she trots over to the nearest mailbox and sniffs around the base of it.

“Smell someone you know, girl?” I bend down to run my fingers through Betsy’s soft fur.

Movement on my left startles me. A door opens across the street and a woman exits onto the porch, a broom in her hand. Mrs. Roche. Her husband is a plastic surgeon in Tillamook, the nearest town big enough to have specialized medical services. Mrs. Roche sweeps bits of dead leaves and debris out into her yard. Our eyes meet for a moment. I force a half smile that is not returned. As she disappears back into her house, I wonder if she wants to sweep me away too. I’m one of the few poor kids lucky enough to live in this town.

My mom and I live in Three Rocks, a small town along the Oregon Coast. There are only about three hundred residents who live here year-round. The rest of the people own fancy beach bungalows they use as summer homes or rent out to tourists. Many of the houses on this street sit empty right now, because almost no one wants to hang out at the beach in December. It doesn’t snow much in Three Rocks, but the damp air cuts you to the bone, and the wind sometimes blows strong enough to uproot bushes and shatter windows.

“Come on, Bets.” I tug the dog away from the mailbox and she trots up the hill at a steady pace, passing by the next few houses with no interest in stopping. This block appears to be deserted. It’s a little like being the only person on a movie set after all the crew has gone home. There are signs of life—frosted-over flower gardens, walls of trimmed ivy, wind chimes clanking out an angry music—but no people.

The steady crunch of gravel under my boots is punctuated by the occasional whistling cry of a seagull. A gust of wind rustles through the trees, chilling my face. Pulling my scarf up to cover my nose and mouth, I pause in a clearing to look out toward the Pacific Ocean. It’s too dark to see anything except a wide swath of black, a yawning nothingness on the horizon. But I know what’s out there—I can practically feel the relentless push and pull of the waves.

My phone buzzes in my purse. It’s probably Holden wondering where I am. Right now he’s waiting for me in the lobby of the Sea Cliff Inn, a quaint, three-story hotel located at the top of Puffin Hill. The Sea Cliff is one of the town’s most famous historic buildings, and up until the end of summer it was the place to stay for visitors to Three Rocks. But then Mr. Murray, the elderly man who owned it, passed away, and his adult children who live in different states haven’t decided whether they want to sell the property or run the hotel themselves. Which means that right now it’s a really nice place that’s for all purposes abandoned. Holden and I meet there on nights when he doesn’t have to work at the gas station.

My phone buzzes again and I realize it’s a call, not a text. Definitely not Holden—he’s a texting kind of guy. When I pull my phone out of my purse, I’m surprised to see Luke’s number on the display. Luke and I broke up—well, we agreed to “take a break”—when his army unit got deployed to Afghanistan a few months ago. We email a lot, though, and I know he’s hoping we’ll get back together someday.

Winding Betsy’s leash around my palm a couple of times, I veer to the side of the road so I can take the call without having to worry about dodging any cars. “Stay,” I tell her, my voice muffled by my scarf.

She cocks her head to the side and then smiles at me as if to acknowledge the absurdity of the request. Betsy is great at “fetch” and “roll over,” but she responds to “stay” much like a two-year-old responds to “no.”

I tug the scarf back down under my chin. “I mean it.”

Slowing in front of a bright turquoise bungalow with windows that have been boarded over to protect the glass, I swipe at the screen of my phone. “Luke,” I say, trying my hardest to sound excited. “This is a surprise.”

“Hey, Embry.” Luke sounds happy. He always sounds happy. Well, unless one of his sports teams loses. “I’m glad I caught you. Can you talk for a few minutes?”

“Sure. I’m just out walking the dog. Hang on a second.” Glancing around, I find a place to sit at the bottom of a wooden staircase that leads up to a house on stilts. Betsy angles her head again, surprised by my deviation from our normal routine, but eventually she lies down on her belly next to my feet.

“What’s up? How are you?” I ask.

“I’m good,” Luke says. “Great, even.”

“Are you still in Kandahar?”

“Yeah. I tried to get leave for Christmas, but we’ve got more senior guys who requested it, so I won’t be home again until after the first.”

“That sucks. I mean, I’m sure your family is really going to miss you.” I lift my free hand to my face and blow on it. The tips of my fingers are freezing. I arrange my wispy blond hair over my ears, which also feel like ice. I should have dressed warmer for this walk, but I hate the way hats and gloves feel, all tight and constricting.

“Yeah, I already talked to them and they’re bummed, but they know how it is.” Luke pauses for a moment, then blurts out, “Hey, so I had a crazy idea and I wanted to run it by you.”

“Okay.” I tighten my coat around my body, blow on my fingers again. “Shoot.”

“Assuming I can get leave in January . . . what do you think about the two of us getting married?”

I snort. “Funny.”

Betsy looks up at me, curious at the noise I made. I reach down and pat her on the head.

“No, I’m serious,” Luke says. “I was thinking—”

“Luke, come on. We agreed to take a break while you’re overseas.”

The break was my idea, and at the time I really thought I was doing it for Luke’s benefit. He had no idea how long he might end up in Afghanistan. His commander or whoever said they were scheduled for six months, but that their tour could be extended if needed. I don’t know much about war, but I know a lot of soldiers come home with PTSD, with traumatic memories that I’ll never be able to relate to. We’d already been apart for several months while Luke did his basic training and specialized medic school. The last thing I wanted to do was heap additional stress on him by forcing him to remain faithful to a long-distance relationship if it turned out he needed comfort from someone there with him, someone who could understand everything he was going through. What happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan—that was pretty much what I told him.

But given how things have turned out, now I wonder if maybe my benevolent gesture wasn’t so benevolent, if I was trying to free myself from the stress of a long-distance relationship but just spin it to make it seem that it was for Luke’s benefit.

It’s possible I’m not a very good person.

“I know what we decided, Embry. But just hear me out.”

“Okay.” I lean forward and rest my elbows on my knees. Strands of hair blow in front of my eyes. The night seems alien and strange through the hazy blond filter. Dead leaves whisper to each other as they tumble across the gravel road. Naked tree branches tap at the windows of the bungalow across the street.

Luke is saying something about how we could have a small wedding with just our friends and family. Betsy fidgets, and I wonder if her paws are freezing on the cold ground. I jiggle her leash as I rise to my feet again. She lifts herself up and stretches her furry legs. The two of us turn back to the road as Luke continues talking.

“I know you and your mom are struggling financially, and if you were my wife you’d qualify for housing assistance plus a monthly stipend. It would help you guys a lot,” he continues.

My wife. The idea of being someone’s wife feels completely detached from reality, like becoming an astronaut or winning a million dollars on a game show. I glance up at the top of the hill, at the Sea Cliff Inn where Holden waits. If Luke only knew.

I blink hard. In a lot of ways, I wish he did know. Then he’d leave me. Then I wouldn’t have to figure out how to permanently break up with a guy who’s everything a girl could ever want. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration—in addition to the aforementioned obsession with watching sports, he’s also a proud hunter with a rifle collection and prone to occasional road rage, two things that have always bothered me a little.

But other than that, he’s basically perfect—smart, respectful, selfless, brave. I used to joke that he’d turn out to be a serial killer because no one could be so wholly decent and good. I’ve known him since we were kids because our families run Fintastic and the Oregon Coast Café, two of the four restaurants in town. We started dating when I was in tenth grade and he was a senior. He had to ask me out three times before I finally said yes, because I thought he was way out of my league.

My phone buzzes with a text alert. That’s probably Holden, wondering where I am. I clear my throat. “Luke. The fact that you would offer something so huge just to help out Mom and me is . . . surreal. I don’t even know what to say.”

“Say yes.”

I sigh. “I can’t.”

“Why not?” Luke’s voice rises in pitch. Disappointment. Pain. Two feelings I am extremely familiar with.

“I—I don’t know. I don’t want to marry you for money from the government. It feels . . . gross.” It feels like prostitution, but I know he means well, so I’m not going to tell him that.

Betsy continues to pull me up the hill. My fingers have gone from cold to numb. I tuck the hand holding her leash into my pocket and make an attempt to hold my cell phone with my neck so I can warm my other hand as well.

“I know, but it’s free money. Like a thousand dollars a month. And we can get married again for real someday after I’m out and you’ve graduated. Bigger ceremony. We can invite the whole town. Honeymoon anywhere you want.”

A thousand dollars a month would cut down on our struggling . . . a lot. Mom tells me that we’re doing fine, but we were barely scraping by before she was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. Now she’s recovered from the chemo and surgery, but even with insurance I know she’s got thousands in medical bills to deal with. I’m pretty sure her definition of “fine” is dire financial straits for most people.

Struggling financially is just as exhausting as struggling emotionally, something else my mom is no stranger to. She was nineteen when she found out she was pregnant with me. My father was—is—married to another woman. He’s some sort of tech investor who met my mom at our family coffee shop where she was a cook and barista. They struck up a friendship of sorts and one thing led to another. And then that thing led to me, and a giant scandal. He and his family moved two and a half hours away to Yachats, an even fancier coastal town, before I was born. But small towns never forget, you know? Gram said for almost two years afterward, the business at the coffee shop dwindled down to nothing. Once my mom started showing, Gram wouldn’t even let her pick up shifts anymore. Even today there are people in town who give my mom dirty looks when they pass her on the street, as if she were solely to blame for what happened, even though my father was thirty-one at the time.

“Why are you even bringing this up right now?” I ask. “I mean, where is this coming from?”

“I don’t know. I miss you. I miss home.” Luke’s voice gets soft. “I guess Thanksgiving got me thinking about the things I’m grateful for. Plus, one of the guys on my team just married a platonic friend of his so the two of them can split the money. They have no plans to stay together and they’re going to get a divorce or an annulment or whatever after he gets out.”

I gnaw on my lower lip. “That sounds like fraud.”

“Maybe,” he says. “But it doesn’t apply to us, because we love each other.”

Yeah. If only love were enough.

I look up the hill again, to the hotel where Holden is waiting.

“I’ve always dreamed of marrying you someday, Embry,” Luke continues. “So why not do it now if it means that I can help out both you and your mom?”

I don’t know how to respond to this. The first few months Luke and I were together, I had this same fantasy. Somehow the intoxicating rush of physical affection was enough to bridge that gap—the one between the person I am and the person people think I am. I knew Luke assumed the two of us wanted the same things, and I didn’t care that he was wrong. Kids, family, future, whatever. We’d figure it out later. Just shut up and kiss me already.

Intimacy is like a drug. It messes with the chemicals in your brain or something. That explains why I was all-in on Luke until he moved away and I didn’t have the constant physical highs to keep me distracted from reality.

The reality is, Luke’s world is completely different from mine. He has a sister, Frannie, who is a year younger than me, and three older brothers in their twenties and thirties, two of whom work as bartenders at Fintastic here in town and one who is trying to open a second restaurant up north in Astoria. They are focused, they are driven, and they are an extremely tight clan. Anytime one of them has a problem, the whole family usually ends up pitching in. So many different people relying on so many other different people. I’ve never been part of a group like that. Since Gram died, it’s been just my mom and me. We trade off taking care of each other, depending on who’s struggling more. Just this small agreement is sometimes more than I can handle.

I know Luke wants to be part of the family business someday, and I know he wants lots of kids—he’s never made a secret of this. But I don’t know how I feel about either of those things. And I’m not sure if I want to get married ever, let alone right now. It all feels like so much pressure. After Luke left town, his emails went from “I miss you” to “Here’s where I think we should live after you graduate” in the span of a couple months. While he was talking about us moving in together, all I could think about was the inevitable day I would fail to live up to his expectations. He would discover that gap between who I am and who I pretend to be, and then he would leave me—not for three months or six months for a deployment, but for good.

“Embry? Are you still there?” he asks.

I’ve been walking this whole time, and Betsy and I are almost to the Sea Cliff. “Mom and I will survive,” I say stiffly.

“I know. I didn’t mean to imply you guys needed help. Just that you deserve more than you’re getting. Why not let the government hook you up?”

It’s tempting, but if I get married someday, I want it to be for love, not for housing assistance or monthly stipends or whatever else Luke is talking about. So as much as Mom and I could use the money, I know what my answer is going to be.

But it’s not an answer that I want to give him over the phone, especially while he’s living in a combat zone.

“We’re still good, right?” he asks. “You haven’t . . . changed your mind about us?”

I wince. “We’re good,” I say, unable to lie about the second part of his question but also unwilling to tell him the truth.

“So then just think about it,” Luke says. “Until I see you again.”

“Okay. I’ll think about it.” I would prefer not to think about it, but chances are I’m not going to be able to forget it now.

“Awesome. If you don’t hear from me again before Christmas, don’t worry. We’re supposed to be heading out on a mission soon, and I won’t have web access until we get back. But I’ll email you when I can, okay?”

“Mission where?”

“I’m not even sure yet,” Luke says. “But if I was, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”

“Right,” I say. “The whole classified info thing.” My phone buzzes again.

“Exactly,” Luke says. There’s an awkward pause, and then he adds, “Well, have a good night. Love you.”

“You too.” Shaking my head, I switch over to my messages and find two texts from Holden:

Holden: You coming?

Holden: Everything ok?

Just seeing Holden’s words sends a rush of relief coursing through me. With Holden there are no expectations, no lies, no pressure to be someone I’m not. I feel safe with him in a way I never have with any other guy. It’s probably horrible that I can hang up the phone with Luke and be comforted by thoughts of Holden five seconds later, but it is what it is. Sometimes horrible things are true.

I slide my phone back into my purse without answering the texts. The Sea Cliff Inn stands in front of me. It’s a Victorian-style three-story building with a lobby, dining area, kitchen, and eight rooms for rent. I know this because Holden used to do landscaping for the place before Mr. Murray died. No one knows that Holden made himself a copy of the key before turning everything over to the Murray family’s lawyer. Holden’s mom is a cop with the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Department, so he’s always on the lookout for places he can go to escape her watchful eye.

I let Betsy tug me through the frozen grass and around to the back of the hotel. There’s a small clearing with a gardening shed off to the side. Beyond it there’s a sheer drop-off of about five hundred feet. I look out at the dark ocean for a few seconds, resisting its siren call.

I’ve thought about jumping from this cliff once or twice. The idea of the ocean swallowing me up is strangely comforting. Maybe a little too comforting.

I turn to the back door, which I know will be unlocked the way it always is when Holden is waiting for me. I pause for a second, my hand on the tarnished door handle. I think about Luke calling me his wife. Maybe I shouldn’t be here. Maybe I shouldn’t do this. I could turn back the way I came, go home and do my homework. I could try to be a better person.

But the pull of what I want is too strong. Not just comfort. Freedom. The chance to let someone see me. For some reason, I don’t hide those inner pieces from Holden. And that is its own kind of intoxicating.

Besides, what good is being a better person if you still lose? If you look back throughout history, when has the better person ever been rewarded? Better people are exiled. Better people are executed. Better people throw themselves into the ocean because they’ve spent their whole lives denying who they are and what they really want.

For better or worse, this is who I am, and what I really want is Holden.

Copyright © 2018 by Paula Stokes


Praise for HIDDEN PIECES

“Stokes makes the landscape an integral part of the story. Characters, even minor ones, are well developed, as are the subplots. With overtones of Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973), this has the OMG quality that makes you afraid to wonder what will happen next.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“A character-driven mystery perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.” ―School Library Journal


*EXCLUSIVE PRE-ORDER INCENTIVE* 

Paula is running a pre-order incentive for HIDDEN PIECES from now until 11:59PM (PST) on August 28th. Paula will also honor any orders through the Nerd Blast until August 31st. 

BOOK TRAILER 




GIVEAWAY

--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 - 1 Winner will receive a $25 gift card to Amazon, B&N, Etsy, or Society6.
- 1 Winner will receive a Choice of any Paula Stokes YA Novel.
- 3 Winners will receive a Hidden Pieces Swag Pack.
ENDS: SEPTEMBER 17, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

WEBSITE
TWITTER: @pstokesbooks
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4530313.Fiona_Paul
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/fionapaulbooks
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/pstokesbooks/


Blog Tour Book Review: Memento Mori by Lexi Blake



Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: August 28th 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Six men with no memories of the past
One leader with no hope for the future

A man without a past

Jax woke up in a lab, his memories erased, and his mind reprogrammed to serve a mad woman’s will. After being liberated from his prison, he pledged himself to the only thing he truly knows—his team. Six men who lost everything they were. They must make certain no one else gets their hands on the drugs that stole their lives, all while hiding from every intelligence organization on the planet. The trail has led him to an unforgiving mountainside and a beautiful wilderness expert who may be his only hope of finding the truth.

A woman with a bright future

River Lee knows her way around the Colorado wilderness. She’s finally found a home in a place called Bliss after years lost in darkness. The nature guide prefers to show her clients the beauty found in the land, but she also knows the secrets the mountains hold. When she meets Jax, something about the troubled man calls to her. She agrees to lead him to the site of an abandoned government facility hidden deep in the forest. She never dreamed she was stepping into the middle of a battlefield.

A love that could heal a broken soul

Spending time with River, Jax discovers a peace he’s never known. Their passion unlocks a side of himself he didn’t even know he was missing. When an old enemy makes his first move, Jax and River find themselves fighting for their lives. But when his past is revealed, will River be caught in the crosshairs of a global conspiracy?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.   

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: Forbidden Claim by R.L. Kenderson

R.L. Kenderson is here today to share her blog tour for FORBIDDEN CLAIM! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

Author: R.L. Kenderson
Series: Forbidden #5
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: August 17th 2018
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: InkSlinger Pr
Blurb (from Goodreads):
She’s running for her life. He's never gotten over her. Will she let him claim her to save her?

Wolf-shifter Isabelle Rand is escaping a relationship she never intended to stay in. Fleeing her abusive boyfriend who hates to lose anything, she seeks sanctuary with the only people who can help her.

It has been two years since cat-shifter Zane Talon saw Isabelle, and he’s been aching for her since the day she vanished from his life.

Now, to save Isabelle from a dangerous and ruthless shifter who will never stop pursuing her, Zane will take her as his mate.

While Isabelle agrees to the plan, she’ll only give the cat-shifter her body.

But Zane will do everything in his power to claim her heart as well.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Book Review: Master No by Lexi Blake

 Master No by Lexi Blake
Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #9
Audience: +18
Genre: Erotic Romance, BDSM, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment LLC
Release Date: August 4th 2015
My Rating: 5 cups
Source: Author
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Disavowed by those he swore to protect…

Tennessee Smith is a wanted man. Betrayed by his government and hunted by his former employer, he’s been stripped of everything he holds dear. If the CIA finds him, they’re sure to take his life as well. His only shot at getting it all back is taking down the man who burned him. He knows just how to get to Senator Hank McDonald and that’s through his daughter, Faith. In order to seduce her, he must become something he never thought he’d be—a Dom.

Overcome by isolation and duty…

All her life, Dr. Faith “Mac” McDonald has felt alone, even among her family. Dedicating herself to helping others and making a difference in the world has brought her some peace, but a year spent fighting the Ebola virus in West Africa has taken a toll. She’s come home for two months of relaxation before she goes back into the field. After holding so many lives in her hands, nothing restores her like the act of submission. Returning to her favorite club, Mac is drawn to the mysterious new Dom all the subs are talking about, Master No. In the safety of his arms, she finds herself falling head over heels in love.

Forced to choose between love and revenge…

On an exclusive Caribbean island, Ten and Mac explore their mutual attraction, but her father’s plots run deeper than Ten could possibly have imagined. With McKay-Taggart by his side, Ten searches for a way to stop the senator, even as his feelings for Mac become too strong to deny. In the end, he must choose between love and revenge—a choice that will change his life forever.

A Masters and Mercenaries Novel by Lexi Blake
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

ARC August Update: Week 3

Hello there, bookish friends! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Review: Cherished by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #7.5
Audience: +18
Genre: Erotic Romance, BDSM, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: October 28th 2014
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: Author
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A doctor living a double life

By day, Dr. Will Daley is one of Dallas’s most eligible bachelors, but every night he dons his leathers as one of Sanctum’s most desired Doms. He’s sworn off looking for a long-term relationship but is captivated by the club’s newest member, Bridget Slaten, even though they couldn’t be more different. She comes from a world of privilege and he was raised in poverty. When he discovers she needs a date to her sister’s wedding, he makes certain he’s literally the only man for the job.

A woman no longer willing to live in the shadows

For most of her life, Bridget hid herself behind her laptop. She can write romantic, sensuous lives for her characters but not herself. Having Master Will as her date to the wedding is a thrilling prospect but he has a special request. He wants her to accept two weeks of his services as a Dom, a lover, and expert in BDSM, and that is an offer she can’t refuse. Their sexual chemistry is undeniable, but it’s in the tender moments that Bridget realizes she’s falling for a man who might never trust her with his heart.

A love strong enough to cherish

Together in paradise for a week, Will realizes he can’t imagine his life without Bridget. As the wedding approaches, ghosts from their past come back to haunt them and threaten to ruin the peace they’ve found. With everything exposed, they will have to risk it all to claim the love that can set them both free.

A Masters and Mercenaries Novella by Lexi Blake
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way. 

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Cover Reveal: Jagged Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

  Carrie Ann Ryan's Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs series continues with JAGGED INK, coming February 19, 2019! See the gorgeous cover below and preorder your copy today!

About JAGGED INK

Available February 19th, 2019
The Montgomery Ink: Colorado Springs series continues with a couple fighting to keep what they thought they had and gain what they didn’t know they needed.
Roxie Montgomery met her soul mate when she least expected it. When he asked her to marry her, she thought her happily ever after was only just beginning. Then, she found that walking into the sunset was much harder than her favorite books made it out to be. After a crushing loss, she feels as though she doesn’t know her husband anymore, or rather…she doesn’t know herself.
Carter Marshall has loved Roxie since the first time he saw her. But as the days pass between them, so does the distance. He doesn’t know how to show her that he’s all in, and honestly doesn’t know if she’s in at all. When an accident changes everything, they’ll have to decide if what they have can be salvaged, or if starting over is the answer. Or even possible.
Without fighting, without a true new beginning, sometimes, the remnants of what was lost can leave anyone jagged, shells of what they were before. It will take more than the idea of forever for Roxie and Carter to find themselves again, but as the Montgomerys know, nothing worth fighting for is easy.

JAGGED INK releases February 19th, 2019 - preorder your copy now!

✦Amazon http://amzn.to/2CzXbNq ✦iBooks https://apple.co/2BGLEz1 ✦Kobo http://bit.ly/2oeaw96 ✦B&N http://bit.ly/2qPQ6oa ✦Google Play http://bit.ly/2ujueDo ✦Amazon Paperback https://amzn.to/2IARozd Add it to your Goodreads Shelves --> http://bit.ly/2EQadLQ
 

About Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Ways to Get Out of a Reading Slump

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about the books that help pulling you out of a slump. But I don't really have a recipe for this, because it usually depends on what put me in that slump to begin with. I don't know what the onset of a reading slump is like for other readers, but for me it can be any number of things, from stuff from my personal life, to my most recent read that gave me a massive book hangover, to a DNF I didn't anticipate that makes me want to give up reading for a while. So I'm going to change up the theme a little bit and I'm going to talk about some of the things I do in order to get me out of a reading slump. Let's start!

Ten Ways To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

Blog Tour Excerpt: The Prince by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

From #1 New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, comes THE PRINCE, a new novella in her Wicked Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure to grab your copy today!

 

From #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a new story in her Wicked series…

She’s everything he wants….

Cold. Heartless. Deadly. Whispers of his name alone bring fear to fae and mortals alike. The Prince. There is nothing in the mortal world more dangerous than him. Haunted by a past he couldn’t control, all Caden desires is revenge against those who’d wronged him, trapping him in never-ending nightmare. And there is one person he knows can help him.

She’s everything he can’t have…

Raised within the Order, Brighton Jussier knows just how dangerous the Prince is, reformed or not. She’d seen firsthand what atrocities he could be capable of. The last thing she wants to do is help him, but he leaves her little choice. Forced to work alongside him, she begins to see the man under the bitter ice. Yearning for him feels like the definition of insanity, but there’s no denying the heat in his touch and the wicked promise is his stare.

She’s everything he’ll take….

But there’s someone out there who wants to return the Prince to his former self. A walking, breathing nightmare that is hell bent on destroying the world and everyone close to him. The last thing either of them needs is a distraction, but with the attraction growing between them each now, the one thing he wants more than anything may be the one thing that will be his undoing.

She’s everything he’d die for….

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon Canada

Download the Free Kindle App

     


EXCERPT

I opened my eyes, but I didn’t see the sun. I saw a form… a shape of a man. The features blurred, but I knew the man. It was him.
The Prince….
But that also didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. Confusion crept into the fuzz crowding my thoughts. Something was off. I tried to lift my hand, but my arm felt like it was weighted down. Something was wrong, very badly wrong, and I needed to remember—
Sleep.
The desire to slip away hit me hard and fast, obliterating the confusion and consciousness, and I slept. I slept for what felt like years and then I heard a steady beeping. It intruded on wherever I was, becoming so loud, so obnoxious to me, that I had to pay attention to it. A part of my consciousness zeroed in on the sound, clung to it, and I followed it back, tethering myself to the rhythm. With each passing second, my surroundings became clearer. Footsteps. I heard footsteps. Whispers. There was the sound of hushed voices. I dragged in a deep breath, and a shock hit my system. The breath hurt. Like my chest and ribs were too tight and a simple deep breath was too much to take—
Mom.
I saw her in my mind, as clear as day.
I saw her lying on her back in the darkness, her eyes wide and fixed on mine. There was nothing behind those eyes. No life. Nothing.
The beeping sound sped up.
The horrifying image of my mom faded like smoke, replaced by luminous skin and bloody smiles and taunts and…
Pools of blood. Actual pools of it. The ruby-red liquid spilled across stone, forming rivulets that ran between the spacing in the pavers. Why had there been so much blood? A vague feeling of wet warmth bubbling up my throat and choking me swept through me.
“Bri? Are you awake? Brighton?”


 
 
Jennifer L. Armentrout’s THE PRINCE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
August 15th
Besties, Books & Sunshine – Review & Excerpt
TheReadingRealtor – Review & Excerpt
Crazy Love 4 Books – Review & Excerpt
Garden of REden – Review
JordansBookReviews – Excerpt
Literaria – Review
Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt
Stuck In Books – Review & Excerpt
What's Your Story Reviews – Review & Excerpt
The Cover Contessa – Excerpt
August 16th
ClaryNathanWill – Review & Excerpt
East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt
I Smell Sheep – Excerpt
Krystal Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
Perpetual Fangirl – Review & Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Zili In The Sky – Review
August 17th
Ali’s Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Books are My Life – Review & Excerpt
K-Books – Review
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Then There Were Books – Excerpt
Words are Life – Excerpt
Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt
August 18th
a GREAT read – Review & Excerpt
Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt
Greyland Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Lisa Loves Literature – Review & Excerpt
Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt
Simply Crystal – Excerpt
The Fancy Nerds – Review & Excerpt
August 19th
Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Declarations of a Fangirl – Review & Excerpt
Kiss and Tell Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Literary Misfit – Excerpt
Reese's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Saga Lux Spain – Review & Excerpt
Vera is Reading – Excerpt
August 20th
A Chick, Her A Dog and A Blog – Review & Excerpt
Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt
FOUR CHICKS FLIPPING PAGES – Review & Excerpt
Ginreads – Review
Incidental Inspiration – Review & Excerpt
JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt
The Blonde Book Lover – Review & Excerpt
Wicked Reads – Review & Excerpt
YA FANTASY WORLDS – Review & Excerpt
August 21st
A Fortress of Books – Review & Excerpt
Book Bite Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Kalli's Book Nook – Review & Excerpt
Milky Way of Books – Excerpt
Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt
Onceupon_a_bookdream – Review & Excerpt
Ruby's Books – Excerpt
August 22nd
3 degrees of fiction – Excerpt
All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
The Bo0ki3 – Excerpt
The Heathers' Blog – Review & Excerpt
Travels N Reads – Excerpt
What's Beyond Forks? – Review & Excerpt
August 23rd
Book Crook Reviews – Excerpt
Book Enticer – Review & Excerpt
Dark Faerie Tales – Review & Excerpt
KsiążkowaPasja – Review
Literary Dust – Review & Excerpt
Mama Reads Blog – Review & Excerpt
Pages to Explore – Excerpt
The Book Dutchesses – Review & Excerpt
August 24th
Book Mania – Review & Excerpt
Buttercup’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Cupcakesandbookshelves – Review & Excerpt
Fictionally Sam – Review & Excerpt
Never Sleep Book Blog – Excerpt
Romance Schmomance – Review & Excerpt
SA Clayton – Excerpt
The Lux Fangirl – Review & Excerpt


About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.  

Website | Facebook | Twitter

   

Monday, August 20, 2018

Down The TBR Hole #6


Hello dear book lovers and welcome to another post in the Down The TBR Hole feature hosted by the awesome Lia.

You already know the drill, let's get started!


Book Review: You Only Love Twice by Lexi Blake

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #8
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, BDSM
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: February 17th 2015
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source:
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A woman on a mission

Phoebe Graham is a specialist in deep cover espionage, infiltrating the enemy, observing their practices, and when necessary eliminating the threat. Her latest assignment is McKay-Taggart Security Services, staffed with former military and intelligence operatives. They routinely perform clandestine operations all over the world but it isn’t until Jesse Murdoch joins the team that her radar starts spinning. Unfortunately so does her head. He’s gorgeous and sweet and her instincts tell her to trust him but she’s been burned before, so he’ll stay where he belongs—squarely in her sights.

A man on the run

Since the moment his Army unit was captured by jihadists, Jesse’s life has been a nightmare. Forced to watch as those monsters tortured and killed his friends and the woman he loved, something inside him snapped. When he’s finally rescued, everyone has the same question—why did he alone survive? Clouded in accusations and haunted by the faces of those he failed, Jesse struggles in civilian life until McKay-Taggart takes him in. Spending time with Phoebe, the shy and beautiful accountant, makes him feel human for the first time in forever. If someone so innocent and sweet could accept him, maybe he could truly be redeemed.

A love they never expected

When Phoebe receives the order to eliminate Jesse, she must choose between the job she’s dedicated her life to and the man who’s stolen her heart. Choosing Jesse would mean abandoning everything she believes in, and it might mean sharing his fate because a shadowy killer is dedicated to finishing the job started in Iraq.

A Masters and Mercenaries Novel by Lexi Blake
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

ARC August Update: Week 2

Hello there, bookish friends! 

I can't believe another week has gone by and we're halfway through August! I don't know where time went!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Book Review: Wolf Hollow by Nikki Jefford

Author: Nikki Jefford
Series: Wolf Hollow Shifters #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Dystopia
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 23rd 2017
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A REBELLIOUS OUTCAST

Cocky. Coy. Wolf shifter. Tabor is the hollow's only half-breed, scorned and forbidden to use his powers. Constantly overlooked despite his strengths, Tabor believes Sasha is as shortsighted as the rest of the pack until she proves there's more to her than a blindly obedient lapdog to the council.

A DUTIFUL PUREBLOOD

Spirited, stubborn, and deeply loyal, Sasha feels the pressure from her pack to claim another pureblood, yet no one is brazen enough to defy the elders and toy with her . . . no one besides a sexy, hotheaded half-breed.

AN ATTRACTION THAT THREATENS THE FUTURE OF THE PACK

Bewildered by the deceptively proud and surprisingly sensual Sasha, Tabor would risk everything to claim her. Despite her vanishing bloodline, Sasha can't resist the charismatic half-breed even as predators threaten their pack and the elders pressure her to breed with a pureblood.

In a fantastical post-apocalyptic world, where only the strongest survive, sometimes trusting the heart is the bravest act of all.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Nikki Jefford in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Release Day Blitz: Forbidden Claim by R.L. Kenderson


R.L. Kenderson is here today to share her new release, FORBIDDEN CLAIM! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!

 


Title: FORBIDDEN CLAIM

Author: R.L. Kenderson

Genre: Paranormal Romance

About Forbidden Claim:  

She’s running for her life. He's never gotten over her. Will she let him claim her to save her?

Wolf-shifter Isabelle Rand is escaping a relationship she never intended to stay in. Fleeing her abusive boyfriend who hates to lose anything, she seeks sanctuary with the only people who can help her.

It has been two years since cat-shifter Zane Talon saw Isabelle, and he’s been aching for her since the day she vanished from his life.

Now, to save Isabelle from a dangerous and ruthless shifter who will never stop pursuing her, Zane will take her as his mate.

While Isabelle agrees to the plan, she’ll only give the cat-shifter her body.

But Zane will do everything in his power to claim her heart as well.  

Get Your Copy Today!

 

Catch up on the Forbidden Series

Forbidden Blood (Book #1)

Forbidden Heat (Book #2)

Forbidden Temptation (Book #3)

Forbidden Addiction (Book #4)

Forbidden Claim (Book #5)

 

Exclusive Excerpt:



ISABELLE RAND KISSED her boyfriend, Bram, on the cheek and exited his vehicle. As she walked to the front of the school, she took a deep breath. When she reached the doors, she turned around and waved at Bram, knowing he wouldn’t leave until he saw her walk into the building.
She made no move to look and see if he drove away as she walked down the hall to her classroom. But, instead of going to the end of the corridor, she took a right into the school’s office.
“He’s gone,” her coworker, Jessica, said.
Isabelle breathed a sigh of relief, but it didn’t last long. She was only a fourth of the way through her plan.
Two more teachers, Danni and Alice, with their arms full, came from the back office area along with their principal, Noah.
Danni and Alice dropped the huge, mismatched luggage at Isabelle’s feet.
“Here are most of your clothes,” Danni told her.
“And here are the rest of your clothes and toiletries,” Alice said.
Jessica came over from where she’d been watching the window and took Isabelle’s hand, placing a set of car keys in it. “Here’s your new car. It’s nothing great, but it’s bought and paid for.”
“Give me the keys,” Noah said. “I’ll pull the car around.”
Isabelle handed them over.
Noah looked at Jessica.
“It’s a black Kia,” she told him.
Isabelle swallowed hard as she tried not to cry. “I don’t know what I’d do without you guys.”
Jessica hugged Isabelle first. “This is what friends do for each other.”
“Help them go on the run like a criminal in the night?” Isabelle joked as the first tear fell.
Alice embraced Isabelle next. When she pulled away, she squeezed Isabelle’s arms. “No, we’re helping you escape an abusive boyfriend who doesn’t deserve to call you his.”
Isabelle smiled as best she could.
Danni enveloped Isabelle last.
“I’m scared,” Isabelle said in her friend’s ear.
Danni drew away and looked into Isabelle’s eyes. “I know. I would be scared, too. But we’ve been planning this for a month. Minneapolis is less than two hours away. You will make it before he even knows you’re gone.”
“Honey, are you sure you don’t want to go to a shelter? Are you sure your friends in Minneapolis can keep you safe?” Alice, twenty years Isabelle’s senior, asked.
There was no way Isabelle could tell these wonderful humans that she was going to the safest place in the world for her. Not only was Damien her friend, but he was also the alpha of the Minnesota Wolf Pack. And her other friends whom she was seeking solace from were the wolf-shifter sentinels. Once she told Damien about Bram, he would do everything to help her. And Bram wouldn’t dare take on the alpha of their pack. Not if he wanted to live to tell about it.
“I’m absolutely sure. I just need to get there.”
“Okay, honey. We trust your decision.”
“We’d better go. I’m sure Noah has pulled the car to the side door by now.”
Isabelle took one of the handles to wheel the bag outside, and Danni took the other.
Once they walked outside, Noah popped open the trunk and then got out of Isabelle’s new car. The bags were loaded into the trunk, and then Noah hugged Isabelle.
When he stepped away, he held out his hand. “Phone.”
“What?”
With his other hand, he reached into his back pocket. “Your phone.”
“Oh. Yeah. I almost forgot.”
The four of them had discussed the unlikelihood of Bram tracking her phone since he wasn’t on her plan, but they didn’t think it was a risk she should take. Plus, she didn’t want to deal with the numerous phone calls he was bound to make once he realized she was gone.
She opened her purse and took out her phone. With a silent good-bye, she handed it over, and Noah gave her a new prepaid phone.
“I programmed all our numbers into it, just in case you need anything. And please let us know when you make it there safely.”
“I will.” She looked around at her friends. “I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
“I do,” Alice said. “You can repay us by getting yourself to safety and staying there.”
Isabelle smiled. “I will. I promise.”
“You’d better.”
Isabelle walked around to the driver’s side of her new car but stopped before getting in. She’d almost forgotten. “Please be careful. Bram is not a good guy, and he’s not what he seems. He’s very strong and very dangerous.”
She wished she could come out and warn them that Bram was a wolf-shifter, stronger than all of them combined, and capable of turning into a wild animal that could rip them to shreds. But she couldn’t. They were her friends, but she couldn’t give away her species.
“Honey, please don’t concern yourself with us. It’s a teacher in-service today, so no students to worry about, and we’ll just tell everyone else you called in sick. We know nothing.”
Noah waved the phone. “As soon as you leave, I’m going to call my office with your phone. It’ll show up on your statement that you called in. Like Alice said, don’t worry about us.”
Isabelle closed her eyes. “You know that’s never going to happen. But I will try to worry less. As long as you promise to be careful.”
“We promise,” Alice said for all of them.
And, with one last good-bye, Isabelle took off for Minneapolis…and for freedom.
 

About R.L. Kenderson:

R.L. Kenderson is two best friends writing under one name. Renae has always loved reading, and in third grade, she wrote her first poem where she learned she might have a knack for this writing thing. Lara remembers sneaking her grandmother’s Harlequin novels when she was probably too young to be reading them, and since then, she knew she wanted to write her own.

When they met in college, they bonded over their love of reading and the TV show Charmed. What really spiced up their friendship was when Lara introduced Renae to romance novels. When they discovered their first vampire romance, they knew there would always be a special place in their hearts for paranormal romance. After being unable to find certain storylines and characteristics they wanted to read about in the hundreds of books they consumed, they decided to write their own.

One lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and the other in the Kansas City area where they’re a sonographer/stay-at-home mom/wife and pharmacist/mother by day, and together they’re a sexy author by night. They communicate through phone, email, and whole lot of messaging.

You can find them at http://www.rlkenderson.com, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Goodreads. Join their Facebook Reader Group. Or you can email them at rlkenderson@rlkenderson.com, or sign up for their newsletter here. They always love hearing from their readers.

 

Connect with R.L. Kenderson:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Amazon | Goodreads | BookBub | Books+Main

 

Enter R.L.’s Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Bayou Born by Hailey Edwards

Author: Hailey Edwards
Series: Foundling #1
Audience: +18
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Piatkus
Release Date: October 17th 2017
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Her beginning may be our end...

Deep in the humid swamps of the Mississippi bayou, a mysterious, half-wild child is dragged just in time from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in strange markings, the meaning of which no one is able to decipher. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudrou follows him into the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.

However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny...

Brand new urban fantasy series by Hailey Edwards, bestselling author of the Gemini and Black Dog series. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Estep, Darynda Jones and Ilona Andrews.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Piatkus in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

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