Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review for A Year in the Life by Cat Grant


Courtland fans, get ready – the next generation’s here!
A campus flu outbreak, complicated by a freak October blizzard, brings Cornell seniors Seth Thompson and Bilal al-Mansoori together. Three days spent waiting out the storm at Seth’s snowbound apartment leads to an unexpected mutual attraction—and a hot night under the covers, which quickly deepens into a true emotional bond…
Plus, a world of problems for Bilal, an Iranian Muslim. Despite his homeland’s harsh laws and even harsher punishment for homosexuality, Bilal can no longer deny who he really is: A gay man falling in love for the first time.
Seth’s gentle manner and passionate lovemaking bring Bilal more joy than he ever thought possible. Yet, despite the lovers’ growing happiness, Bilal’s haunted by guilt and shame left over from his strict upbringing, and the sad realization that he’ll never see his family in Iran again.
Speaking of families, it’s time for Bilal to meet Seth’s…
Eric, Nick and Ally. Ten years later, this committed triad is still as deeply in love as ever, but even commitment comes with challenges…
Is there room in this non-traditional family for Bilal? His future with Seth may depend on it.

********************

As a fan of the Courtland Chronicles since the very beginning, it's been a bumpy ride to get where we are today.  Where we are today is a focus on the next generation of Nick's son Seth and his grown-up relationship with Bilal who's sexuality has him conflicted.  Though the majority of the drama pertains to their bumpy romance it's still not a HEA for the senior Courtlands as a life-altering event befalls Ally which will require the unconditional love and support of her men, Nick and Seth, and their triad bond which is just as strong as ever.  Throw in the energetic and wise beyond her years Lizzie and it all adds up to an emotional read that puts readers through the wringer.

After their unexpected connection during a snowstorm that readers witnessed in In From the Cold (and which is included here), the burgeoning relationship of Seth and Bilal is progressing nicely with just a few issues along the way.  Those issues being Bilal's struggle to come out which is made even more difficult as in his culture being gay means death.  This weighs on him heavily and has him treating Seth like a dirty little secret early on.  Bilal's fears are palpable and bordered on paranoid as he often felt they were being stared at in public which had me sympathetic towards him but wanting to shake him too.  Seth's understanding through it all but wants more from him and with gentle prodding Bilal starts taking baby steps forward in accepting himself.  I applauded him as he finally started experiencing life, realizing there's more to living than endlessly studying and being alone.  It was like seeing a butterfly emerge from a cocoon.  Bilal was overly serious when we first saw him but now the smiles are more frequent with bits of humor emerging.  By accepting himself he's become a more fully fleshed-out person and I look forward to seeing where life takes him next as the fear of discovery hasn't gone away completely.  

Throughout it all Seth has been his guide.  He's been infinitely patient and supportive, never pressuring Bilal beyond what he could handle.  Though Seth's previous relationships have been based on superficiality his connection to Bilal feels more mature and the seriousness of Bilal's circumstances make it more intense.  Seth is a fun-loving guy, charming to all but not afraid to flex some muscle to keep Bilal safe when a former friend makes threats.  It shows a caring side of Seth and proves he's not all about fun when seriousness is needed.  His sexual interludes with Bilal continue to show his caring side and ranged from sweet to sensual, never getting too erotic this early on in their relationship.

Even as Bilal and Seth are heading towards a HFN ending, the same can't be said for the elder Courtlands as Ally experiences a life-altering event that was obvious to me from the very first hint.  It's a dramatic change to their triad but I have no doubt that it will bring them even closer together and I'll have plenty of tissues nearby as this storyline plays out in what I hope will be a realistic way...and with Ms. Grant at the helm I'm sure it will.  Their triad might not be displaying the erotic intensity it once had but it's now a relationship based on comfort and unconditional support to make for a heartwarming change of pace from their early years.

All in all this was an enjoyable read.  It was both sweetly charming as the people involved have become like family and emotionally intense as it dealt with serious issues.  Though the ending wrapped up many issues it left plenty threads dangling to leave us wanting more and I'm counting down the days until we're invited back into this unconventional family's life.

My rating for this is an A-

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Tour for Dreams of a Wild Heart by Danube Adele (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Fans of the paranormal will be drawn to this third installment in the Dreamwalkers series, a steamy and creative story of moving on from adversity.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of Dreams of a Wild Heart by Danube Adele, along with my impressions of it, and then fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 5-$10 Amazon GCs too!

Dr. Cecilia—Ceci—Bradford at your service.
I dance, rock climb, and have mastered Mixed Martial Arts, because just being a twenty-six-year-old doctor isn't enough. It doesn't keep me from remembering the terrifying night my life changed, the night my true love died. I was nearly seventeen.
Life goes on, but the secret I keep is that I still talk to him in my dreams. That was getting me by until Tabron showed up—or, more specifically, until the six-foot-two brute of a Viking whisked me off to another planet because his leader is dying. And the joy didn't end there. I'm being forced to choose a mate. The Brausa are facing extinction.
Tabron has no need for a mate, himself, and he's told me as much. Multiple times. What he does have are hands and wicked lips that stir feelings I thought lost forever. Choosing him (just to play along until I can find a way home) seems to irk him and I find this surprisingly fun. But surviving a hidden conspiracy and the dangers of this alien place might be more difficult than I could ever imagine…

EXCERPT:

There were vicious elbows being thrown, shoulder slams when the ref wasn’t looking and very questionable slide tackles that took out several players. Clearly, the other coach had taught his team to play dirty, but even so, no one could touch number twelve.
The tough-ass, hardcore soccer player wowing the crowd with trick moves and fierce determination was this cute little ten-year-old girl wearing a pink hair ribbon and sparkly pink cleats.
My heart ached a little as I watched her run. This was the kind of kid we would have had, Carlos and me. She was kicking butt and making no apologies, taking the hits, hitching the ball up at just the right moments, jumping over outstretched feet, fighting past the obstacles and punching through the attacks. This kid had guts and a will of steel. I would’ve loved to have a little girl just like her.
It was clear that the coach on the other team was about to have a coronary, his face tomato-red, his body heaving in start and stop sprints up and down the field while screaming at his team to Cover her! Cover her! She’s just a little girl! What’s your problem? You gonna let a girl beat you? He’d obviously expected his mostly boy team, with the few girls on the team being sat on the bench, to have a shutout. Wasn’t happening. The game was tied.
My grin was mocking. Served him right. Schadenfreude to the max.
My pink-cleated girl flashed by in a sudden breakaway move that had everyone jumping up from their chairs.
Her long legs tore down the field. She dribbled the ball left, then right, juked one player, then another. She broke through the group of defenders, to the gasping dismay of parents on the other side of the field, and raced full speed for the goal. No one could stop her. The group of ten-year-olds desperately chased her down the field amid the excited shouts of nerve-racked parents.
Oh my God! How did she do that? My own shout mixed in with everyone else’s as I clapped and hooted.
Go, Jolene! Go! Go! Go! her coach shouted. Don’t hesitate! Take it all the way! Go, go, go! He bounded after her along the sideline.
Damn it! Get ready, Colby! She’s coming! Stay on your toes! the opposing coach shouted.
Take the shot! Take the shot, Jolene! You’ve got this!
The goalie waited. He was a young, shaggy-haired blond boy with knees bent, legs quivering as he balanced on the balls of his feet to see which way the wind was going to blow. Sweating under the hot noon sun in the middle of a November heat wave, he could only watch as she drew back and blasted the ball. It flew low to the far corner. He dove for it. His gloved hands reached out to block.
Missed it by a mile. The net stopped the ball.
Hands cupped to my mouth, I shouted, Great job, number twelve! Way to get the job done!
Piercing whistles, excited shouts, and clapping came from my side of the field while teammates high-fived the girl. Pink-cheeked and glowing with pride, a satisfied grin split her cheeks. She accepted back slaps and trotted back to join the lineup in the middle of the field for the next kick-off. It wasn’t to come. The ref blew the whistle signaling the end of the game, and the little girl’s team cheered, excited to have won.
I’d want my little girl to be just like that. Just like that. The unbidden thought whispered wistfully across my mind once again, but I shook it away before it could cause any major damage. I wasn’t going to have kids, so it was pointless to ponder it. With a flush of self-consciousness, I glanced around, but no one was paying me any attention. I had to remind myself they couldn’t actually see me.
Hey there, Tiger.
Ahh. This was why I was here.
I smiled at my hated childhood nickname and responded as I was expected to. I spun around, gave him a good shove. Jerk. Don’t call me that.
Carlos laughed, not the least bit rocked by my actions, probably because I hadn’t actually been trying to hurt him. He was my forever best friend, confidante, first and only boyfriend, best...everything, and had been since day one. He pulled me in for a quick squeeze, where I burrowed my face into my favorite spot on his chest, before he leaned back to look down at me, dark eyes twinkling with mischief. His black hair had a stubborn lock that liked to droop over his forehead. I brushed it back for him. He definitely had a Benjamin Bratt thing going on.
He winked at me. The little girl reminds me of you.
Me? I studied the little girl, who was grouping up with her teammates to do a 2-4-6-8 chant in appreciation of the other team.
Carlos smiled. You were just like her at that age. Don’t you remember? Absolutely fearless.
Fearless? I scoffed, but he wasn’t kidding.
Seriously. Nothing kept you from trying whatever the hell you wanted to. Always confident, like you knew things were just supposed to work out for you. He paused. They usually did. You were a force to be reckoned with.
You make me sound like a superhero.
I’d meant it as a joke, but he furrowed his dark brows. You kind of were. You acted like nothing could stop you. It was always balls to the wall with you. I wanted to be like that. When we were growing up, you would piss me off and make me proud at the same time with the way you took risks. But of course, it always worked out and usually in a big way.
I gave him my smirky eyeroll. I think you’re exaggerating.
I don’t think I am. He shook his head for emphasis. You were always ready to not just win, but kick ass if anything got in your way.
Where was he going with this? He was being so uncharacteristically insistent. I gave him a covert, assessing look, like I would a patient who seemed...off. He looked the same as usual—handsome, friendly, gentle—but still, his attitude took the edge off the warm memories we were sharing, and I felt my grin sliding as he continued.
Don’t you remember? No one could keep up with you. You’d just get this look on your face, set your chin in a particular direction and anyone who got in your way would be toast. He pressed in a little, and I almost stepped back.
But this was Carlos. My Carlos. I shook the strange feeling off and chuckled at his description of me, trying to just enjoy the feeling of contentedness, warmth and love that I always felt when he came to my dreams. I cocked my head coquettishly and smiled. You managed to keep up with me.
By the skin of my teeth, and not even half the time. My ego suffered.
But you handled it.
He took a moment, studying my face. At the point when it started feeling weird again, his intense expression relaxed into a smile. The best I could. He tweaked a lock of my long, black hair. Calling you names and pulling your pigtails.
We were on track again. You’re going way back in time.
For some reason, I catch myself remembering lately. Times when we did our homework together. Times when we went riding our bikes around the neighborhood, scavenging whatever you were certain we needed for your next project or adventure. I remember calling you bruja.
My look was pointed. What about froggie and...something else. Tom, short for tomboy. I didn’t appreciate that, as I recall. I nudged his arm.
His laughter was immediate, filling the cold, sad places inside me with remembered warmth. I didn’t even mind when he shook his finger at me and announced, You deserved to be called froggie. I got in trouble because of you over that little episode. You told everyone it was my idea. My mom wouldn’t let me go out for a week after that stunt, and it was summer. Do you remember how much that sucked? You still owe me for that.
I tried to look outraged, but couldn’t keep from giggling. But itwas your idea to make a lily pad garden in the backyard with that blue, plastic kiddy pool.
Yeah, but my idea was to use make-believe frogs and grass and leaves from the yard. You were the one who insisted we walk over to Bailey Canyon and find actual lily pads and frogs.
I was doing my part to make it authentic.
He raised his eyebrows. Yeah, well, as I recall, the look on your mother’s face was one of authentic horror when the bucket tipped over on her beautiful hardwood floors and frogs were jumping everywhere.
I snickered. Everyone was suddenly jumping after the frogs. My mom, your mom, my dad, me, you, the dogs...it was mad, chaos. Frogs everywhere. Even a few days later, we found frogs behind the furniture. Unfortunately, they were dead and resisted my valiant efforts to revive them, though I did, very appropriately, try CPR. I’d forgotten about that.
See? Like I’d proven his point. All of us moving to the beat of your drum. You were hardcore, this little girl with a larger-than-life point of view. Keeping up with you was a full-time job. You’re the only girl I ever let give me a black eye.
I shot him a snarky look. You didn’t “let” me do anything. I was tougher than you.
That new, thoughtful expression, the one I was starting to dislike, reemerged. Was it something I’d said? He searched my face for a quiet moment, then nodded, like he’d suddenly realized something.You’ve always been tough. You never needed...anyone. Not even me. You were sure of yourself. You helped me find that for myself. I want you to know I appreciate that.
I didn’t need him? Where was this coming from? It almost sounded like a goodbye. Silly. Where would he go? I brushed a prickle of fear away and managed a smirk. Good.
No really. I mean it.
The kids lined up on the field so they could shake hands with the opposing team.
He held out his hand. Walk with me?
Always. I clasped his hand and made the promise with a warm smile. It’s been too long. I’ve missed you so much. There was no one in my life who could take his place. Certainly not any of the guys I’d tried dating. Being on my own, having my medical career and these visits from Carlos, this was the best I could expect now. You used to come more often, and we could spend time together. Now you only come every other month or so, if that, and our time seems so much more limited. You barely give me the news that someone needs help, and then you’re gone. Why not more often?
He frowned for a moment, then squeezed my fingers gently. How are things?
I let it go. It wasn’t the time to push this. I never knew when he was going to get pulled away from me. So much has happened between the times when we meet that I can’t remember where I left off last time. My family is good. Your family is good.
How are the wicked seven?
I laughed at his description of my cousins. We’d all grown up together, more like siblings. We were all black-haired with the same shade of green eyes, inherited from our mothers and grandmother. This was where bruja had come from. Witch. When we were kids, Carlos had insisted that anyone with black hair and green eyes was a wicked witch, and he’d teased me with that unmercifully for years.
Everyone seems happy and satisfied within their own predictably dysfunctional world. Stephanie is close to being married, Cassie is likely on her way to her deathbed—according to her own self-diagnosis using WebsmartMD—and Amanda’s finished her credentialing to teach. She’s looking for a job now. Oh! Your brother went off to complete a sabbatical in some distant corner of the world where he could study the customs of some obscure native tribes. Not sure of the details. Your mom told me the last time I saw her, which was last week, I think, when we ran into each other at the grocery store.
His smile changed, sort of went heart deep and introspective. He looked down at the ground as though seeing the image within the square pattern blocks of cement. I’ve seen my brother. He’s happy. He’s going to be okay.
Leaving the park, we walked companionably through a suburban neighborhood, the kind you’d find at the beginning of a Steven Spielberg movie, like E.T. or Poltergeist or something like that. Kids were out playing in the street, adults gardened in fashionably strange, floppy-looking hats, and there was a sense of safety and peacefulness. Of course, if this were a Spielberg movie, in the next scene, the shit would hit the fan.
This was the nature of our relationship now. I never knew where we would end up when we dreamed together.
Carlos leaned into me affectionately with a light shoulder-to-shoulder bump. How’s the doctoring?
I love it. The energy of the trauma ward is like nothing else. It’s always go, go, go. Stay on your toes. Be alert. Take charge. Every day is something new. Someone comes in ready to die, and I can fix them, send them back to their loved ones. Every day, I can see the difference I make in the world. The feeling is amazing. Cars drove by, taking carloads of kids from the soccer field. A few days ago, I actually got to do a heart massage, which is unheard of in the ER
You had to pump a guy’s heart?His squinty-eyed wince said it all. There was a reason not everyone became a trauma surgeon. Carlos had never liked the sight of blood.
Yes. It was an amazing moment, having someone’s heart in my hand and pumping it to keep them alive.The remembered excitement of that day had my blood surging with renewed adrenaline, and the story tumbled out. This guy was brought in, barely breathing, and he goes into arrest on my table. So I’m going through the checklist wondering what the hell is wrong with him, right? He looks young and healthy. There was no other sign of major trauma, abdomen was soft, so I could tell he wasn’t bleeding internally, and because he was turning blue, it had to be something with respiration.
Remembering gave me that wired feeling again. Problem-solving at that level of intensity was the best kind of drug. I figured it must be some kind of pulmonary embolus, some kind of blockage between heart and lungs, which was the only thing making sense. We hit a point where even with heart compressions, we weren’t getting a pulse. By then, I’d called a cardiologist, and it was do-or-die. We decided we had to crack his chest and pump his heart manually, which got a pulse going long enough to get him to the OR, where he had an eight-hour surgery to remove some nasty blockage by his heart.
When I finished, Carlos had a funny smile on his face.
What? I asked. Did I lose you in there?
No, I managed to follow.
Why the smile?
You’re living your dreams. I’m proud of you. You kick ass, Ceci. You always have. You’re going to be okay.
Okay? I guess I was, but it seemed weird for him to say it, again like it was some kind of final proclamation. I could agree for the most part, that I was okay, living out some amazing career dreams. The silence stretched while I studied the handsome face I’d memorized long ago. It was a reminder some things were never going to happen. Not all of my dreams will be lived.
He shook his head before I could even finish my sentence. I wasn’t a dream. I get that now. We were just kids, Ceci. You have to know that.
What was this about? We had plans, Carlos, remember?
He shook his head impatiently. We made childish plans. What were you, sixteen? Seventeen?
They weren’t childish to me! I was counting on them. I worked my ass off to finish school early so we could go to college together. Remember? Get our degrees, get married... We’d talked about places we were going to visit together, things we wanted to do in life. Take time to travel, maybe go to Costa Rica.
His look turned stubborn. If you want to go to Costa Rica, you should go.
That was our plan! My irritation was turning to fear. We were going to be all bohemian, remember? You and me. Together. Why in the hell would I want to do that now?
He took a deep breath, but his eyes never left mine. You were counting on life happening. So was I. We don’t always get what we want.
I know it. Every day of my life I know it. I live it! My voice was rising, but I couldn’t help it. The horror of that day came back—the screams, the terror, the sobbing, the sound of the ambulance, the helplessness I swore I would never feel again, the blood so thick and warm, tacky, coating my hands, soaking into my jeans in that deep, deep red arterial color, the color of a deep bleed. There was nothing I could do, and all because of a stupid argument... My eyes burned with shame, but I fought back the moisture. Too hard to think about it.That was the worst day of my life. I’ll never forget.
You aren’t the only one that lost on that day. A surge of anger flared in his dark brown eyes. It faded quickly, but this time I knew I’d seen it.
What? What was that for?
What? He looked off toward the mountains with a neutral expression, not making eye contact.
The look on your face.
What look?
Cut it out. You know what I’m talking about. Stop playing dumb.For the first time ever, I felt a crack in the connection I shared with him. There was distance between us, like he was closed off to me. Like he was pulling away.
He tried giving me a quick smile, but it wasn’t a real one. I knew what his real smiles looked like, each kind he gave. This one didn’t touch his eyes at all. He gave my hand another quick squeeze and let out a sigh. I’m fine. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Yeah, you do. I couldn’t help the sullen tone of my voice. That was a blow-off response if I’d ever heard one.
I’m here for a reason, remember? I don’t get much time to do what I need to do. I’ve got something to show you.
I know, I know. It’s always all business now.
Something was very wrong. There had never been a time when he hadn’t shared what was on his mind. It got my back up and the stubborn child inside of me decided to pout. If he didn’t want to tell me, then I didn’t want to know. He could sit and stew with it. Jerk. Except who knew when I’d see him again?
Yeah, fine. Show me. We’d turned a corner and hit a more rundown neighborhood. The houses had bars on the windows, grass grew in the cracked sidewalks, and fewer kids were out. A feeling of oppression seemed to cast a dark shadow over this neighborhood. It was enough to make me want to back the hell out and find that nice Spielberg neighborhood again.
Look. He gestured to the house in front of us. Somehow, it was even worse than the rest on the block. It was a puke green with falling-down shutters on the front window, a broken screen door that yawned crookedly, and grass so overgrown someone could hide a body in it. It was on a corner, slightly separated from the other homes.
Carlos turned his soulful eyes on me, and I knew it was going to be bad.
Tell me. I braced myself.
She lives here. Our little soccer player.
Irritation with Carlos forgotten, I looked back at the house. No way was that little girl on her way to pizza.
A woman’s scream split the air. A crash. A man’s voice yelling. Another crash. The sounds of violence erupted so suddenly my heart jump-started. A child’s cry bled through the walls punctuated with, No, no! Leave her alone! Don’t touch my mommy! No!
This was a nightmare. I looked to Carlos. What the hell?
There’s nothing you can do. They can’t see us.
The hell there isn’t. I sensed the girl’s desperation and felt a rush of panic. I tried to push through the gate, but I couldn’t grasp it. I had no substance. A frustrated growl came from my throat. I couldn’t even kick that damn fence.
Soon. He caught my arm and held my gaze.
Sudden intuition made me pause. She’ll be coming in?
Yes.
That can only be bad. There was another sound of crashing, and then quiet weeping punctuated by low moans. To stand there and hear the ugliness was painful.
It’ll be bad, but you’ll take good care of her. The intensity was back on his face. And one day, she’s going to want to be a doctor just like you.
I accepted that responsibility with joy in my heart. Part of the girls-kick-ass club. Good.
What was she going to look like when she came in?
The worry fled as soon as it arrived. Carlos was fading on me, about to become one with the ether. He pulled me in for one more tight hug, and the pain of separation hit me as it always did when the blackness smothered us and pulled us apart.
Traveling back through the layers of consciousness, I wondered when I would be able to dream him again. The feel of him faded until I was alone, waking up with the early morning gray and a sense of loss that was always a part of me.

BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  BN  |  Kobo  |  ebooks.com  |  Fantastic Fiction  |  Amazon UK

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

Not having read the previous books in this series I was worried I'd be missing out on something, but this was a strongly crafted read that can definitely stand on its own.  The characters are engaging, the storyline compelling even if it's a bit predictable, and the sensuality is off the charts HOT.  I became easily immersed in this story and look forward to more political intrigue and life or death decisions in future installments.

Ceci is still dealing with the loss of her one true love in a way that brings a tear to your eye.  She speaks of what might have been and even visits her lost love in dreams.  Her family loves her and in their sweetly overbearing way try to push her into moving on which happens one night when she's kidnapped and taken to another planet.  She's soon saved by a warrior with Viking looks who's been a part of her life for the last few weeks.  She's drawn to this larger than life man against her will and the promise of sensuality he exudes.  Ceci's a strong-willed woman and will need every bit of backbone and physicality to cope in a world teeming with social inequality, starvation, and a sense of unrest.  It calls to the doctor in her and has her quickly drawn into the drama of this world.  Her sexual battle of wills with Tabron is entertaining to see as is the realistic progression of their relationship.  With so much drama their romance is very welcome as is the unexpected happiness it brings both of them.

Tabron is a warrior through and through, loyal to a king who doesn't deserve it.  He doesn't feel the need to get a mate but when it's forced upon him he deals with it as best he can.  Tabron isn't a warm and fuzzy guy but he doesn't abide subterfuge.  He deals with his feelings and actions head-on and as he realized how important Ceci was becoming to him their relationship became hotter.  I enjoyed this hardened warrior and felt for him as he slowly came to realize that his loyalty to his king was misplaced.  It will be interesting to see his role evolve in this changing geopolitical war.

This was an exciting sci-fi romp with surprising emotional depth.  Ceci's loss was palpable as was her family's desperation to see her move on from tragedy.  Ceci's a strong female easy to relate to and who never backed down from a fight.  Tabron is her equal in so many ways and their pairing was sublimely sensual.  The mix of romance and action was nicely balanced along with vividly detailed and emotionally engaging world-building featuring a society on the verge of imploding.  The political intrigue promises lots of suspense to come and with such a strong supporting cast I look forward to the next installment.

My rating for this is an A.

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

Danube Adele wrote her first romance at the age of seven when she penned the story of her dogs falling in love and having puppies. She’s been dreaming up romantic tales ever since. A lifetime resident of southern California, she spends time playing at the beach, camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and hiking Mammoth Mountain.
Always a lover of adventure, she and her husband took their sons on a cross country road trip to Florida and back in an old VW Westfalia, that had no A/C, in the month of July, and still, it continues to be the best trip they ever took.
Extensive travel and trying new things has kept the creative spark alive. Danube lives in Claremont with her biggest fans, her loving husband, amazing and wonderful identical twin sons, and a teddy bear of a Rottweiler.
Her debut novel, Quicksilver Dreams, Book 1 of the Dreamwalker series, was released January 6, 2014, and Dreams of a Dark Summer, Book 2 of the Dreamwalker series, is set for release June 9, 2014. The next book in the Dreamwalker series is set to come out in December, 2014.

**********GIVEAWAY**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight for Beneath This Mask by Meghan March (GIVEAWAY)


I love stories that put you through the emotional wringer and today's book definitely does that!  Keep reading to get a glimpse of Beneath This Mask by Meghan March and then fill out the form below for the chance to win a $20 GC!

***For the FIRST TIME EVER Beneath this Mask is on sale for $1.99 from November 18th – 21st***


He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name.
The limelight that follows him could expose everything I’m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.
I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.
Will we lose it all when I reveal what’s beneath this mask?

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  BN  |  KOBO  |  iTUNES


AUTHOR INFO:

Meghan March is a Michigan native who has spent a good portion of her life buried in a book. Case in point: she read the entire romance section of her small town public library by age fourteen. Even after growing up (sort of) and getting a law degree, she never lost her passion for a great story, twisty plot, epic romance, and amazing characters. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, target shooting, drooling over fast cars, or playing with her crazy mutt.

AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/Meghan-March/e/B00LBN0UNW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/MeghanMarchAuthor?ref=bookmarks
WEBSITE:  http://www.meghanmarch.com/

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/meghan_march
GOODREADS:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8184875.Meghan_March

**********GIVEAWAY**********

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Cover Reveal for Asa by Jay Crownover

I fell in love with the Marked Men series the moment I laid eyes on the cover for Rule's story.  Since then it's been one drool-worthy cover after another!  Today you're getting a glimpse of the sixth and final installment in the series.....sniff, sniff.  I know, I know....it will be hard saying goodbye to these sexy men but we'll always have these covers to drool over!  So without any further ado, say howdy to Asa by Jay Crownover.......

 

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Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best. Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak. A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.



FIND AT GOODREADS here.


AMAZON (US) ** iBOOKS ** BN ** KOBO

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!

RULE

JET

ROME

NASH

ROWDY


Jay Crownover
AUTHOR INFO:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Jay Crownover Goodreads


****And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her!
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Book Spotlight for Exposed Ecstasy by Houston Havens (Review)

As a fan of the previous books in this series and their intricate world-building I was greatly anticipating the next installment.  The wait is now over though and today I bring you the newly-released Exposed Ecstasy by Houston Havens, the third installment in her Psychic Ménage series.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this book along with my impressions of it......

Daughter of the Dirt Dweller’s ruler; Tessla Reto attempts to escape the Underworld after the mysterious disappearance of her best friend. She knows her untimely death is also near if her father, Landen Reto discovers her part in forming the rebels to fight against him. The two men sent to help her get away are killed and she’s rescued by a handsome stranger…or is she?
Faerydae returns to Earth in search of an inner peace his soul can’t find after the death of his friend Chandra Lamar. Instead, he finds himself in an unplanned rescue of a woman that stirs everything he’s fought a lifetime to deny. Can Faerydae stay focused on his goal to expose his past and true Fae bloodline, or will destiny play her hand? 
Shomar’s uncomplicated world is tossed asunder when his best friend, Faerydae, shows up with a stray puppy and a woman who steals the heart of his soul the moment he looks at her. Only to discover Faerydae and the woman claim they can’t stand each other, yet his intuition tells him otherwise. Will Shomar be able to win the woman of his dreams or will Faerydae always have her heart?
Will Tessla find her freedom? Will Faerydae keep his, or will Shomar succeed in his plan to expose them to their hidden ecstasy?

EXCERPT:

“Well, I’m glad ya did. She’s a beautiful, kind, and intriguing woman.”
He gave an indifferent shrug hoping to appear just the opposite of what he felt inside. He was more than attracted to her. He was infatuated. He’d never been this smitten over a woman before. Oh, he had a few moments in his life when he saw a beautiful woman who kept his attention for a short time. One had even managed to hold him for a whole week, but this lady,Tessla Reto, she had a grip on both his hearts. That’s why red flags were waving at him from every direction, warning him to walk away and forget her.
Shomar’s smile now seemed plastered to his face. “She’s a very sweet woman.”
“If ya be saying so.”
“She is.”
“Alright then! She’s sweet!” Damn, why can’t Shomar just let this go? “Ya don’t have to be beating it into me. She’s nice. I got it.”
When Shomar’s brow rose as if amused by his irritation he really felt like smacking him, but instead dropped his gaze, not wanting his jealousy over the amount of time Shomar spent in the bathing room with her, exposed. She had to have disrobed in front of him. The thought needled at him. Did they have sex? The idea fired his irritation causing him to squirm where he sat.
“This might seem like a stupid question Faerydae, but—”
“Then don’t be asking it.” He pushed his back further into the sofa and crossed his arms over his chest.
Shomar’s already wide grin cracked further across his face making Faerydae’s spine tighten with suspicion as Shomar studied his expression. His smile suddenly disappeared then returned as if coming to some kind of foregone conclusion. His friend’s eyes twinkled with what Faerydae could only interrupt as astonishment. Shomar’s words were a near whisper, “Don’t tell me—why, Faerydae—ya’er interested in her.” At his refusal to answer, Shomar goaded, “Ya are!”

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  |  ARe  |  KOBO

AUTHOR INFO:

Houston Havens retired from a successful modeling career and an adventurous jet-set lifestyle to set the world on fire with her erotic romance books. A tenacious Irish lass, she strives to entertain with seductive stories created from her decadent imagination and traces of a provocative lifestyle she may or may not admit to.
Her interest in the paranormal, fascination with quantum science, passion with myths, and the lure of her mysterious Celtic Irish-Druid bloodlines are combined with generally unknown truths, strange facts, and questionable fiction. Her novels reflect a mix of the past, present, and future, with sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, western romance, and always love everlasting. An author of six romances, a seven book erotic romance series and numerous articles in literary magazines.

WEBSITE:  http://houstonhavensauthor.wix.com/houstonhavens

BLOG:  http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com
TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/HoustonHavens
FACEBOOK:  www.facebook.com/HoustonHavens
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YOUTUBE:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuOpU6OsngnhTac_JvTLItQ

********************

After the emotional conclusion of the previous installment of this series, Fae Star Rider Faerydae's still reeling from what he saw happen to his friend Chandra.  It's left a hole in his heart and confirmed his belief in remaining alone as he doesn't want those he cares about to be used against him.  He's not as hardhearted as he tries to look though.  He's a reluctant hero, saving stray puppies and the endangered daughter of a tyrant.  From the moment he meets Tessla it's a sensual battle to keep their distance from each other.  But the heart wants what the heart wants and before long they're caught up in a war that puts their burgeoning and conflicted relationship in jeopardy.  The addition of Faerydae's close friend Shomar further enhances, but complicates, their polyamorous commitment as they all race to an action-packed conclusion that puts whole races in jeopardy as well as their future happiness in a dangerous plot to overthrow a tyrant.

Faerydae is a sexy and honorable man who cherishes women and would do anything to protect them.  Seeing his adoptive mother killed in front of him by his adoptive father has left him emotionally scarred and reluctant to fall in love but he's drawn to Tessla.  His Fae blood calls to her and though he's still learning about his heritage he can't argue about what it's telling him.  Though he doesn't always express himself well his actions show his commitment to Tessla as well as her happiness.  He's rough around the edges but immensely charming and drool-worthy.  Shomar is much more comfortable expressing his emotions.  He came from a loving family so he often shows Tessla how much he cares in truly sweet and romantic interludes.  Cultures now rely on polyamorous relationships to keep their races from dying out so it's easy for Faerydae and Shomar to form their triad which is super steamy and had me jealous of Tessla.  Both of these men cater to her every desire and their drool-inducing accents added even more dreamy qualities to them.

Tessla though left me conflicted as she's incredibly naive.  She too was portrayed as having her compassion tortured out of her by her father but I didn't see that.  She was skittish at first but quickly warmed up to these two.  Her society was less advanced than that which she's entered and it left her lost and confused.  Sex too left her confused which added problems to their relationship early on.  Numerous interactions of hers and acts by her further showed her naïveté and left me exasperated by the end.  With two such commanding men I'd wanted a stronger heroine.

This installment seemed more focused on the relationship than war.  The political intrigue was touched on and addressed in the latter half of the story but wasn't in the forefront.  This story was more about self-discovery as Faerydae learned more about his Fae blood and used his learned talents to stay alive.  Tessla too learned how to love and the true worth of being a woman.  This story started off slow but quickly picked up steam in a race to another satisfying conclusion to a continually well-crafted series.  Those looking for an exciting and steamy dystopian series will definitely want to pick this up!  Though it can be read on its own you won't want to miss a moment of this steamy and compelling series!

My rating for this is a B.

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Tour for Two Alone in Dublin by Lucy Carey (Review & GIVEAWAY)


Readers who enjoy sensual storytelling will find themselves drawn to Two Alone in Dublin by Lucy Carey, a f/f-themed love story.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more about it by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Ms. Carey also gives her thoughts on why the f/f genre hasn't gained the same kind of popularity as m/m books have.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC too!

To preface this blog post, I must say: This is a question I’ve thought a lot about so I have a massive amount of opinions and feelings on the topic. Sorry in advance!
I still don’t understand why f/f-themed books don’t sell as much or as often as m/m-themed stories, especially given that women are the vast, vast majority of the purchases of both kinds of stories.
So what’s up with that? I suspect the answer is one of three things.
First, the idea of two men together is very appealing. Just as a lot of men love the idea of lesbians (or lipstick ones anyway), women find the thought of two men doing naughty things to each other too much to resist. Double the pleasure, double the fun and all that!
Secondly, the idea of being privy to two men building an attraction to each other and possibly having sex is a taboo for women; it’s something they’re not privy to in their day-to-day lives and nothing that would typically be talked about with their women friends. That kind of makes gay romance and sex a bit exciting—an unknown and tantalising prospect. You get to live out the ultimate fantasy by putting yourself into mind and body of somebody you could never actually hope to me in real life. That’s exciting and the ultimate act of escapism.
The third reason is one I hope I’m wrong about but that I think might play a definite part: Women aren’t used to stories that are solely about women’s wants, needs, and sexual desires, so reading those stories is alien to them. They’re used to seeing on TV and in porn and in novels and famous fiction all of the things that appeal to a male viewer or reader. They’re primed to seek out what men desire—even when it excludes what women might desire.
That last theory is one I’m uncomfortable with and, as I said, it’s one I hope I’m mistaken about.  But if it is possibly the case, I hope some female readers who wouldn’t ordinarily read f/f might take a chance and try it out. At worst, they’ll discover it’s not for them and go back to reading what they enjoy. At best though, they’ll discover a whole new source of excitement and titillation and some new stories to get excited about. That sounds like a good thing to me.
What do you think? Would you ever buy a f/f romance, erotica, or any other lesbian fiction?

Surrounded by one million people in Dublin city, two women feel very alone. One a university student from a small town in the Irish countryside, the other an adventurous spirit from a city in Brazil, they've both been searching for the other among the irritations and noise of everyday life...

EXCERPT:

Mariana hadn’t worn this shade of lipstick in an age. She painted the brash, bright-red gloss around her full lips, rubbed her lips together and pouted. This was her going-out colour, a colour guaranteed to make her feel sexy and confident and womanly.
Had it really been so long since she had been on a date? she wondered. Despite this being her go-to colour for dates, it had been buried in the bottom of her makeup bag.
She checked her teeth for lipstick and, finding none, stepped back to look at her full reflection in the mirror.
She had chosen a form-fitting dress in a colour to match the shade of her lipstick and she adjusted the cups of her bra, to push her cleavage higher in its V-neck.
This, she thought to herself, must be what Susie had described as “putting your best foot forward.”

FIND AT AMAZON here.

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

Those looking for a read both atmospheric and emotional will get just that in this tale of a lonely and lost girl looking for the girl of her dreams.  What follows is a story of misunderstandings as both ladies struggle to find happiness amidst their mutual unrelenting loneliness.

This was a sweet story with sensuality just hinted at throughout most of the story.  The relationship between the exotic Mariana and studious Susie progresses at a believable pace with plenty of bumps and bruises along the way as assumptions keep them apart for a time.  Their mutual loneliness is conveyed in a heartbreaking way too that had me sympathetic towards both of them and left me rooting for them to get together.  Both have moved to Ireland from far away and have had to struggle to make ends meet with only one person they can count on.  Though they might seem different they're a perfect match, both longing to explore new things.  Life is chaotic, especially for Susie, but when they're together there's a sense of peacefulness and acceptance surrounding them.  That's why I wish more time had been spent on them as a couple together.  I would've liked to see them interact with one another when in close quarters and as they didn't get their HFN until the end I felt frustrated.

The author vividly detailed the country with all it's colorful vernacular and historic sites.  I found myself quickly immersed in this endearing and homey land.  Mariana and Susie were cute together, once they finally reached that point, and I found them easy to relate to.  When together there was a simmer of sexual tension which manifested in a sensual encounter at the end that was richly rewarding.  Along with this likable main couple was a large cast of secondary characters that almost too much time was spent on.  Considering this story's short word count I felt as if I knew more about Susie's friend Paul than her because a lot of time was spent on his love life.  Even her roommates were given more page time than I wanted to see.  Ultimately though this was a good story and with the promise seen her I expect greatness from this author in a genre that deserves to flourish.

My rating for this is a C+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

AUTHOR INFO:

Lucy Carey, Lesbian and Bisexual Romance and Erotic-Fiction Writer.
I am a 30-year-old bisexual author who writes the kind of fiction I think other LGBTQ women want to read.
As someone born and raised in Ireland, let me assure you: our country is beautiful…and so are its women.
I aim to introduce you to the best of both—the stunning scenery of the Emerald Isle and its funny, complex, gorgeous, lesbian and bisexual women. I hope you enjoy it.


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