Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Tour for Underneath It All by Kate Canterbary (Review)

I love couples who make their journey to HEA an entertaining thrill ride and in Underneath It All by Kate Canterbary readers are definitely in for some hot fun!  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this story, learn a little about the author, and get my impressions of this book.  Once you've discovered how delectable this tale is you'll want to add it to your bookshelf too......


-Where did the idea for the series originally come from?
The Walsh Series originated from a project I was consulting on last year. An educational organization was attempting to get the legislature to revise regulatory guidance around repurposing Industrial Revolution-era mills and factories for schools, and I met an incredible team of architects in the process. They were some of the most brilliant, complex individuals I'd ever encountered, and they were ridiculously adorable, too.
At the time, I was also running into brick walls with my work-in-progress. I took a vacation from that manuscript and started imagining a family of brilliant, adorable architects, and within a few days, Patrick, Matthew, Shannon, Riley, Sam, and Erin were born.
Family businesses are incredibly complex, especially those that come with decades of tangled drama and loss. I wanted to craft a series that didn't simply describe the paths these six people took to find love. I also wanted to spotlight their individual places in the business and family, and how those places shaped them.
Thinking specifically about THE SPACE BETWEEN, I wanted to focus on Patrick as he assumed full responsibility for the family firm, and I wanted to find someone who was his equal in every way possible. It was also important that other characters continue developing, and the reader gets to see that through Patrick and Andy's interactions with the rest of the Walshes.
-What can we expect from your book that's so different from other authors out there?
Architects are a rare breed, and the Walshes take it one step further by dedicating themselves the worlds of sustainability and historic preservation. They're creative and instinctual, and know something about expertly tailored suits and husky growls, and the genre hasn't introduced us to many of their kind.
Beyond the focus on architecture is my desire to write people that we think we know, but we have no idea. Andy and Lauren are great examples of characters we think we know – their types – but when we peel it all back, we realize we didn't know them as well as we thought.
-If you could sit down face to face with any of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Lauren. She gets it, maybe all of it, but doesn't get herself. I'd love to pick her brain on the topic of Matt, his siblings, and the newcomers who join the Walsh clan.
-Will there be more books with side characters to make a series?
Yes! I'm currently planning for six Walsh stories.
The Walsh Series originated from a project I was consulting on last year. An educational organization was attempting to get the legislature to revise regulatory guidance around repurposing Industrial Revolution-era mills and factories for schools, and I met an incredible team of architects in the process. They were some of the most brilliant, complex individuals I'd ever encountered, and they were ridiculously adorable, too.
At the time, I was also running into brick walls with my work-in-progress. I took a vacation from that manuscript and started imagining a family of brilliant, adorable architects, and within a few days, Patrick, Matthew, Shannon, Riley, Sam, and Erin were born.
Family businesses are incredibly complex, especially those that come with decades of tangled drama and loss. I wanted to craft a series that didn't simply describe the paths these six people took to find love. I also wanted to spotlight their individual places in the business and family, and how those places shaped them.
-Describe your ideal hero.
I embrace a wide range of heroes, but above all else, I believe the hero must deeply, thoroughly recognize that his partner is his equal. Women kick a lot of ass these days, and I want a hero who gets that, and doesn't minimize it in any way.
-What is one surprising fact about you, that not too many people know?
I can run a regression analysis by hand – a skill I picked up along with my MBA.

If I had known I'd have a hot architect balls deep inside of me before the end of the weekend, I'd have made time for a pedicure.
It's all the little things—the action plans, the long-kept promises—that started falling apart when my life slipped into controlled chaos.
After I met Matthew Walsh.
I couldn't decide whether I wanted to run screaming or rip his pants off, and most days I wanted a little of both. If I was being honest with myself, it was rip his pants off, ride him like a workhorse, and then run screaming.
A rebellious streak ran through Lauren Halsted. It was fierce and unrelentingly beautiful, and woven through too many good girl layers to count, and she wasn't letting anyone tell her what to do.
Unless, of course, she was naked.
She wasn't looking for me and I sure as shit wasn't looking for her, but we found each other anyway and now we were locked in a battle of wills, waiting for the other to blink.
Sometimes the universe conspires to bring people together. Other times, it throws people down a flight of stairs and leaves them in a bruised and bloodied heap.


"You left a few things behind, Miss Halsted."
Matthew leaned against the doorframe, and hanging from his fingers were my panties.My very expensive, very pretty panties. They glared back at me, all judgey and sanctimonious. It was my karmic punishment for sneaking out, for leaving a perfectly scrumptious naked man, and I could hear those panties condemning me.
"Unless, of course, you wanted me to keep them," he said, a playful edge creeping into his voice. "I'll take good care of them."
"I don't even want to know what that means!" I said, snatching the skivvies from him and tossing them into my apartment. I couldn't burst into those flames quickly enough, and that was before I determined what he'd do with my undies. "What are you doing here, Matthew? How do you even know where I live?"
Straightening, the mischievous glimmer in his eyes vanished. "I wanted to make sure you made it home, Lauren, and your address is on your business card."
"Fine, so that proves you didn't inject me with a tracking device. Magnificent." I shook my head and pointed to my door. "I'm home."
He glanced inside my apartment, and nodded in that direction. "Can we talk, or…something? We were going to hang out today."
Why couldn't he let me crawl under a rug and die, like I wanted? Why did he need to show up holding my panties and looking adorable? This had to violate numerous one-night stand rules.
"Before you say no," he said, holding up a hand. "Just say yes instead."
Part of me wanted to close the door on him, close the book on this whole encounter, but another part of me wanted to kick it wide open, and I knew we'd be naked within five minutes if that happened.




At this time of year with all of the stress of the holidays I'm drawn to stories that provide fun and carefree moments.  It also doesn't hurt when there's lots of steam!  Those looking for a spirited read with immensely likable characters will want to grab this one up right away.  It's full of charm and emotional challenges that we've all experienced and adds in the warmth and unconditional support (as well as the nosiness) of family.

Lauren is a woman who wants it all and thus far has been business.  When it comes to love though, all she has is one-night stands.  As she's devoted to her career these interludes have always been enough.  When she meets Matthew though, her world is turned upside down.  As drawn to him as she is she fights the possibility of something long-term even more which makes for an entertaining battle of the sexes.  She doesn't want love to get in the way of her career and it will take a dramatic event before she'll ever trust in the power of love, but by then it might be too late.  Lauren's easy to like as she struggles with many of the same issues as women today....the reality of trying to have it all.  She wasn't as effusive in her emotions as Matthew though which made her appear a bit standoffish early on.  She's feisty and strong-willed but as the story progresses becomes a more selfless person.

Matthew is the true star of this story as he too is devoted to work.  He's also devoted to his family, who he's in business with, which is a very sexy trait.  Meeting Lauren completely catches him off guard as she's not his usual type, but she quickly becomes his obsession.  He's utterly drawn to her and though he's satisfied with their one-night stands at first he soon wants more.  She fights him every step of the way as he unleashes a sexy battle of wills.  He puts his heart on the line for her repeatedly, trying to convince her of the importance of having love in your life.  After all, all work and no play doesn't make for a HEA.  He's utterly charming, not afraid to show his emotions, and isn't afraid to be the first one to use the L-word.  He's every girl's dream boyfriend and I'm still dreaming of him!

Though this story started off a bit slow it quickly consumed me.  From the unrelenting sexual tension between Matthew and Lauren to their witty sexual banter I found their journey to HEA delightful.  Their scenes together, both in and out of the bedroom, crackled with electricity and teemed with sensuality.  Matthew's family played an integral part in the story as they helped him try to win Lauren over.  They were entertaining and their interactions with him were realistic and humorous and I hope they'll have their stories told next.  Readers wanting a drool-worthy hero will find Matthew a great choice as we watch him win over the girl of his dreams in an entertaining story that shows what's really important in life.

My rating for this is a B+

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


Kate doesn't have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean--Pacific or Atlantic--is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in Rhode Island with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn't writing sexy architects, she's scheduling her days around the region's best food trucks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Tour for Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Fans of the NA genre will want to add Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola to their reading list as the characters are memorable and the path to HEA emotionally intense.  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.  You'll also learn about what makes a (good) bad boy courtesy of Ms. Pizzitola.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 bookstore GC and a mug and tote too!

Falling for a (good) Bad Boy.....
There’s just something so incredibly sexy about a good bad boy. You know the type. He can’t begenuinely a bad person, but, instead, he straddles the line of good and bad. Maybe he’s misunderstood, or harboring some regret, maybe even a little anger, something that serves up a bit of angst, but under that facade he’s just a good guy waiting for the right girl to come along and accept him…imperfections and all.
And what’s even better? That bad boy finding love with a good girl. Of course, she doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect, prim and proper good girl, just someone who isn’t his typical type. Maybe she’s studious, or a little naive, or even too focused on life to have time for any detours, but inside she’s also the kind of person looking for someone to help her step out of her comfort zone and add a little temptation to life.
In JUST A LITTLE CRUSH, Brinley and Ryder are just that—a bad boy with a good heart, and a good girl who can see past flaws. And though they are total opposites, they are drawn together only to discover they might be exactly what the other one needs. So in honor of their opposites attract love story, I thought I’d share my top five bad boy/good girl movie romances!
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love—Ryan Gosling…enough said.
4. The Notebook—So this one is a book, of course, but I’m going with the movie version here because I think it really played up the young love side of the romance more. And really, can we say passion with a side of angst!?! Of course, Noah is more of a kid from the wrong side of the tracks than true bad boy, but it’s still one of my favorite opposite attracts movie. And again…Gosling.
3. 10 Things I Hate About You—Patrick sings to her in a stadium full of people, c’mon, how bad can he really be??
2. The Breakfast Club—Nothing like a good 80’s movie romance! John Bender and Claire. A criminal and a princess… Wait, why were we rooting for them again?
1. Dirty Dancing—Okay guys, this was my very first bad boy crush. I was just a kid (probably way too young to even be watching this) when I fell head over heels for Johnny. (Seriously, I’d carry a watermelon to a party any day if it meant I’d get to meet this guy.) I think every girl secretly wanted to be Baby, sitting in that corner, just waiting for Johnny to rescue her…. Just me?
So there you have it, a few of my favorites. Of course, this list could go on, considering how many times this theme has made an appearance in popular movies, TV series and books, but I, for one, don’t think I’ll ever tire of a good bad boy.

Good girls stay away from Ryder Briggs . . . or, at least, they try to. In Renita Pizzitola’s emotional novel of heartache and seduction, one college freshman just can’t get enough.
Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?
Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.
Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?



In the crowded field of NA books it's hard to set yourself apart from the pack.  While some of this story feels familiar there's still enough fresh and unexpected feelings to make this a memorable read.  As a fan of misunderstood bad boys I found myself completely enthralled by Ryder the moment he came on the scene.  Pairing him up with the inexperienced but strong-willed Briney made for a romance that was both sweet and full of sexual tension and following their path to HEA kept me rooting for them with a smile on my face.

Ryder first met Briney at a party when they were paired off during spin-the-bottle.  That one moment where he let her tell the others a tale instead of doing the deed showed Ryder's true colors of being a good guy hiding behind the facade of a bad boy.  Since then Ryder's always thought of her as the one who got away and when he sees her again he subtly enacts a plan to finally claim her by first being her protector and then becoming something more.  Ryder doesn't deny his past transgressions but he's become tired of them and wants to become the kind of guy Briney deserves.  Though he stumbled slightly from time to time I still adored him and enjoyed their emotional tug of war and their playful and sensual interactions.  For me he became my new book boyfriend and I'm still dreaming of his hidden gentlemanly nature.

Briney is a delightful heroine who tells it like she sees it, sometimes almost painfully so.  There's no rose-colored glasses on this girl!  She's not considered popular and she might not believe in love but she can't help being drawn to Ryder even though she doubts his changing ways.  She's always seen him as a player and because of that doesn't see them as ever getting together.  It's a twisty emotional journey that leads them to each other and through it all Briney remained true to herself.

Along with these strong lead characters are a vast array of secondary ones who add color and emotional depth to the story.  Most notable is Briney's friend Mason who became her protector and support system after the bottle incident.  He's one of the cool kids but doesn't care what people think of him as he's his own man as well as a bit playful in his dealings with Briney.  There's a sibling vibe between them which sometimes gets muddied, but through it all their bond is unbreakable and I hope to see his story told soon.  This story was full of witty banter, characters who said and did believable things, and a drool-worthy hero.  Some of the story was a bit predictable and the ending was a bit rushed with a lack of steam throughout, but I still found this a strong story more than able to stand on its own.  This was a great start to the Crush series and I look forward to more emotional drama from Ms. Pizzitola.

My rating for this is a B+

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


Renita Pizzitola is the author of New Adult contemporary romance and Young Adult fantasy. When not writing, she can be found feeding her caramel macchiato addiction and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two children.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Blast for The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak (GIVEAWAY)

Those looking to get in the holiday spirit will be drawn to the book I'm introducing you to today.  Keep reading to get a delightfully heartwarming and sensual glimpse of The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak and learn even more about this holiday read by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $100 Amazon GC too!

Just call her Christmas Eve…
Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn’t have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that’s what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B-and-B she manages and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining.
As Eve turns thirty-five, she’s worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. She’s dated all the eligible men in the area. There’s no one she could even imagine as a husband—until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve’s definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve’s happily ever after—just when it finally seems within reach. Just when she’s counting on the best Christmas of her life!


Moving slowly to compensate for her hangover, she managed to prop herself against the headboard and, once there, frowned at her bedmate.
Who the heck was he?
She had no idea, but she was relieved to see that he was no bum off the street. He wasn’t even one of those “he looked a lot more attractive last night” kind of pickups everyone joked about. This guy was so far above average that she began to wonder why he wasn’t already taken. Heaven forbid that was the case! She didn’t see a ring on his left hand, which rested on the pillow above his head. But he had to have some story. If he looked this good sleep-tousled, she could only imagine what he’d be like once he had a chance to clean up.
It was his bone structure, she decided. Those pronounced cheekbones. The narrow bridge across his nicely shaped nose. The distinct ridge of his upper eye sockets. He also had a strong chin and a manly jaw, which certainly didn’t detract.
So maybe she couldn’t point to just one or two features. With his long, sandy-colored hair spread across his pillow, he resembled a fallen angel—and his body further enhanced that image. Although bedding covered his lower half—thank goodness—she could see his torso. He was built like a greyhound or panther, lean and sinewy and ideally proportioned with very little body hair. What body hair he did have was golden and downy, as appealing as his tanned skin.
He’d make a nice subject for a painter, she mused, someone looking for refined masculine beauty—a man who could even be called elegant.
But not everything about him was elegant. When she looked closer, she could see that he had some very unusual scars….
What types of injuries could’ve caused those? she wondered. It seemed to her that he’d been shot, and more than once. Several round, bullet-size marks dotted his chest. Then there was a long, jagged scar on his side that must’ve come from something else….
Out of nowhere—he didn’t open his eyes first, so she had no warning—he grabbed her wrists in a crushing grip and slammed her onto her back.
Eve gasped as she stared up at him. Gone was the image of an angel, fallen or otherwise. Shocked at being so easily and unexpectedly overpowered, she couldn’t even scream. His fierce expression, as if he was intent on causing her bodily harm, made it worse.
Had she brought home a homicidal maniac? Was he about to kill her?
The terror that surged up must’ve shown on her face because he suddenly came to his senses. He gave his head a shake. His expression cleared and, letting go, he eased off her and slid back onto his side of the bed.
“Sorry about that. I thought…” His words trailed off, and he covered his eyes with one arm as if he needed a moment to pull himself together.
Her heart was now pounding in unison with her head. But once she could speak somewhat normally, she prompted him to finish his sentence. “Thought what?”
His lips turned down. “Never mind. I was dreaming.”
She pressed a hand to her chest as though she could slow her galloping pulse. “It couldn’t have been a pleasant dream.”
“They never are,” he muttered.




New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised over $2 million.



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Howls N' Bites Book Blitz (GIVEAWAY)

Fans of the paranormal will find themselves basking in the plethora of books offered in two box sets recently released and on sale for a price that gives you great bang for your buck!  Keep reading to get a taste of the Ever After Series by A.C. James and the Cry Wolf Series by Sarah Makela and then add them to your bookshelf.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $50 GC, ebooks, and audiobooks too!

Fall into the Ever After Series, a paranormal romance box set, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A.C. James. It’s only available for 99 cents during preorders—Get your copy before the price goes up to $4.99!
Eternal Ever After – Book 1:
His past holds a secret that becomes her nightmare.
Arie Cush has a secret that he thought he'd left behind. When his past follows him to Chicago he must protect someone that reminds him of all the painful memories he's tried so hard to forget. But when every touch from her sets his heart and body on fire--he finds it hard to maintain his aloof façade.
Holly Ellis has secrets of her own. An encounter with the handsome stranger who frequents her coffee shop reveals a vampire with baggage. Even though it might be more than she bargained for, she can't resist the one person who understands her. But her life is in danger and a supernatural threat could reveal the underground world of vampires to humankind in this Gothic Cinderella re-telling.
Fallen Ever After – Book 2:
He can’t lose her when danger strikes again.
Arie Cush wanted Holly from the very first moment he met her. A night at the Hellfire Club (HFC) is filled with old friends and new danger. The long-standing feud between the faeries that run the Chicago Crew and a lethal toxin puts Holly and other fledgling vampires in danger. Can they stop a vampire-fae war that’s been brewing for nearly a century?
Beyond Ever After – Book 3:
The half-demon unleashed a force that can tear them apart.
On the night, Daeveena, a half-fey, half-demon walked out of the Hellfire Club, she left a tide of destruction, but everyone figured that was the end of it. No one imagined that she would steal something so valuable. Can Arie discover who is harboring her before he loses everything?
***As a special BONUS readers get Winter Promises: An Ever After Christmas Story that takes place between book one and book two!

Amazon ~ BN ~ GooglePlay ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ ARe

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author A.C. James writes paranormal romance and erotica, including Eternal Ever After which was featured in the bestselling Spice Box anthology.  She pounds out sexy scenes at her keyboard where romance is laced with horror in hot stories of vampires and bad boy werewolves. Her stories feature strong heroines and alpha heroes, with plenty of action, twists, and turns that will keep you turning pages.
A.C. resides in northeast Pennsylvania where she entertains her husband with her imaginative yarns and quirky sense of humor. She spends her time drinking large vats of coffee while taming two toddlers by day and writing by night. Recovering video game beta tester and tech geek who grew-up going to cons and watching SmackDown. There’s probably some cosplay pictures around somewhere of her dressed up as Bloodberry from Saber Marionette J. Just don’t tell anyone.

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Cry Wolf Series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Sarah Mäkelä, will make you howl for more. Get four incredible books for 99 cents. It won’t stay that way for long. So preorder your copy today!
The Witch Who Cried Wolf – Book 1
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Be careful what you wish for…
A potion gone wrong: Mia Brooks is a reluctant witch, with powers that she tries to hold in check. But when her magic gets mixed up, supernatural forces are unleashed and suddenly she’s being pursued by werewolves—that she didn’t even realize existed…
Hidden emotions: Ethan Parker, Mia’s brother’s best friend, is home from deployment for the holidays. Mia’s not only hiding from werewolves, she’s trying to keep her feelings for Ethan secret; it would be a disaster if he knew she’s been nursing a long-time crush…
The power of love: things take a terrifying turn when Mia and Ethan are attacked by a werewolf. Ethan is amazed when Mia reveals her paranormal prowess as she tries to shield them from danger. But can she really protect them from the darkness that lurks? And how can he tell her that, for ages, he’s been denying what he really wants? Mia...

Cold Moon Rising – Book 2
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Passions flare when the cold moon rises…
Kelly: a normal college girl, who knows what she wants—to survive her final exams, and find someone to share her life with. Studying with Jacob is becoming too hot to handle; she’s falling for him, but he’s going too fast…
Jacob: a not-so-typical frat guy, who hides a secret—he’s a werewolf. Whenever the moon is high, he’s driven to shed his human form and satisfy his powerful desires. He craves Kelly, but she’s pushing him away…
Fallout: Jacob can smell Kelly’s arousal, but she insists she doesn’t want sex. A wolf can only take so much before his natural instincts win out. When the tension between them explodes, Jacob has no choice but to walk…
Kidnapped! Kelly is abducted by evil scientists who’ve mistaken her for a female werecat and, despite their differences, Jacob has to try and find her. But it’s a race against time and the lunar tides. The scientists have taken Kelly to their lab and turned her into a shapeshifter for real. The full moon is rising, and soon neither Kelly nor Jacob will be able to control their inner beasts. Who knows what the consequences will be when they are consumed by unquenchable animal lust…

The Wolf Who Played With Fire – Book 3
Some magic can’t be unspun…
Meddling in magic…
If Mia Brooks could turn back time, it would be to when she used her fledgling magic to craft a potion for an injured werewolf. It nearly killed the Pack Alpha, and now the lives of her witch mentor, Jessa, and her soldier boyfriend, Ethan Parker, have been changed forever. Jessa is in hospital after a vicious werewolf attack. And, Ethan, having being bitten, is becoming a werewolf himself.
A wolf at the door…
Mia can’t turn back time, but she can try to make things right with the two people she cares about most. She’s keeping Jessa’s shop, Eternally Magick, open, and she’s there for Ethan as his inner wolf grows. But, by the next full moon, his transformation will be complete. Can she really be the mate of a half-man-half-wolf, living within the law of the Pack?
Under his spell…
Struggling to contain his new lupine senses, Ethan goes missing on active duty. When Mia realizes her werewolf lover has been abducted, she knows must harness every magic power she possesses to get him safely back…

Amazon ~ BN ~ GooglePlay ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ ARe

Sarah Mäkelä loves her fiction dark, magical, and passionate. She is a paranormal romance author, but she's written all over the romance spectrum with cyberpunk, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy...even a sweet contemporary romance!
A life-long paranormal fan, she still sleeps with a night light. In her spare time, she reads sexy books, watches scary movies (and Ghost Adventures), and plays computer games with her husband. When she gets the chance, she loves traveling the world too.



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Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review of By Winter's Light by Stephanie Laurens

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love.

It’s December 1837, and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home. Led by Sebastian, Marquess of Earith, and by Lucilla, future Lady of the Vale, and her twin brother, Marcus, the upcoming generation has their own plans for the holiday season.
Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.
Meanwhile, out riding on Christmas Eve, the young adults of the Cynster clan respond to a plea for help. Summoned to a humble dwelling in ruggedly forested mountains, Lucilla is called on to help with the difficult birth of a child, while the others rise to the challenge of helping her. With a violent storm closing in and severely limited options, the next generation of Cynsters face their first collective test—can they save this mother and child? And themselves, too?
Back at the manor, Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, against the backdrop of the ongoing festivities their relationship deepens. Yet she remains torn—until catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price. A tale brimming with all the magical delights of a Scottish festive season.


As the twenty-first book in the Cynster series Ms. Laurens has by now created a group of characters that have become like family to readers.  In this heartwarming, mysterious, and sweet holiday romance the Cynster clan has gathered to celebrate Christmas and do a bit of matchmaking along the way.  In her usual style, Ms. Laurens nicely balances believable and endearing familial interactions with a burgeoning romance between people struggling to reach their HEA.  

Though there are some issues with the story, when it comes to expressing the love and support each of the Cynsters have for each other it shines.  They're a family who believes in the power of love and want everyone to find their HEA.  To acheive that, each generation unites to bring Claire and Daniel together through well-intentioned machinations.  Claire and Daniel are an entertaining couple who've met before and it's apparent that they're still drawn to each other.  Claire's been through a lot in the past though and has been left bruised because of it.  Daniel wants a HEA, the kind he sees from the other Cynsters, and with their help he charms his way past Claire's fears in a heartwarming journey to HEA perfect for the holiday.  Seeing the Cynster family interact brought a smile to my face as their banter is witty and playful.  Each generation interacts with the other with the elders being just as funny and wild as the younger ones.  The warmth and joy of the holidays shines through and gives readers a warm and fuzzy feeling that makes this a delightful holiday read.

This isn't a perfect read though, nor is it a favorite in the series.  There's a large cast of characters that makes you feel overwhelmed and drags out the story longer than necessary.  Those who haven't read much of the series may feel frustrated and a bit lost too.  The mystery feels a bit out of place and a distraction though it's always nice seeing the family work together to solve a problem.  The romance itself leans more to the sweet side than the steam I count on from Ms. Laurens, but as this is a holiday read I can understand why their interludes were toned down.  All in all this was a good addition to the series that gets you excited for the next generation.  It brings you all the joy and happiness of the holiday to get you in the mood in an entertaining and heartwarming way.  Fans of the Cynster series will find this the perfect holiday gift and here's to many more Cynster books in the future!

My rating for this is a B.

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

Book Tour for A Beautiful Purpose by Alicia Rae (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Those who enjoy intensely emotional books with a drool-worthy hero will be drawn to A Beautiful Purpose by Alicia Rae, the sixth book in Ms. Rae's The Beautiful Series.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this sweet and sexy read, along with learning what books inspired Ms. Rae.  You'll also get my impressions of this book and can learn even more about it by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win signed book set of the Beautiful Series and a $25 Victoria Secret GC too!

Top Ten Favorite Books That Inspired Me.......
-Fifty Shades of Gray – E.L. James
-Crossfire Series – Sylvia Day
-Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
-The Blackstone Affair – Raine Miller
-The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
-With Me In Seattle – Kristen Proby
-The Sullivan Series – Bella Andre
-Delirium Trilogy – Lauren Oliver
-Divergent Series – Veronica Roth
-This Man Confessed – Jodi Ellen Malpus

All Blake Johnson knows is the life of a Marine. After serving his country for eight years, he returns to his family for some rest and rehabilitation. Fighting an internal war, he battles sleepless nights as images of his former military days haunt him.
From the moment Audrey Hampton walks into his life, he is drawn to her. Her beauty leaves him breathless and weak in the knees. She kindles a spark of hope deep within his soul, igniting a part of himself he feared was missing. Her never-ending compassion for others opens his heart in a way he never dreamed.
But Audrey is hiding wounds of her own. Returning to Lake Tahoe to care for her ill mother triggers painful childhood memories of her parents’ loveless marriage, reminding her there is no such thing as true love.
Will Blake’s resolve be powerful enough to open Audrey’s sealed heart? Or will Audrey fear the past and risk losing the man who could give her life anew found purpose?
Can two wounded souls become one?


I turned on my hip, snuck my arm under her waist, and pulled her under me while rising above her at the same time.
Her curvy full lips parted, and she gasped, breathing heavily. I bent down to cradle her face with my forearm, so I could brush her hair back with my free hand. “Spend the day with me, Audrey.”
“I can’t.” A crease formed in the center of her brows. “You know that, Blake.”
“Why?” I questioned, not pausing a beat. “Because you have things to do?” I shrugged. “Let’s do them.” I leaned in and brushed my lips against her lower one. “Because you need to take care of your mom?” I tenderly tugged on the supple skin. “Then, let’s go together.”
“Why are you doing this?” Her eyes glistened with moisture,looking as if she was going to cry. “You’re making it so much harder than it has to be.”
My lungs constricted at the sight of her despair, but I had to push, or she was never going to break those steel walls she guarded herself with.
“Because I love you, Audrey,” I said, meaning every word. “And a Marine never gives up.” I skimmed my lips against hers one more time before kissing her lightly, just enough to make her want more. Then, I drew back. “What do you say, Audrey?”

BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  BN  |  iTunes


From start to finish Ms. Rae's Beautiful series has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for a small group of people who have found a sense of family amongst themselves.  Each of the previous couples has struggled to find their HEA and subtly push their last single friends together in this story of forgiveness and not letting the past define you.

Audrey grew up in a house full of hate, indifference, and feelings of unworthiness.  From a verbally demanding father to a mother who was emotionally and verbally abusive, Audrey no longer believes in love or HEA.  She's been told since the day of her birth that she ruined their lives which made me ache for her.  She's a loner who can only count on herself and her small group of friends.  When her mother becomes terminally ill she returns home out of guilt, not love, and the hope that her mother will one day admit her love.  Being around her mother is emotionally draining and depressing though so her introduction to Blake is a welcome respite from the misery that is her mother.  Audrey is a truly good and strong-willed person who's been understandably hurt by her past.  She tries to be a good daughter but still stands on her own two feet and made a life for herself.  She needs and deserves the compassion Blake offers her but it will take a lot of effort and understanding on his part to get her to believe in that which she's never had.......unconditional love.

Blake is the quintessential hero who's returned home after serving in the military for eight years.  He's at a crossroads and unsure of exactly where his life should go.  Seeing Audrey and recognizing her pain brings out his protective instincts and gives him something else to focus on.  He's suffering from what he's seen in war and is trying to put that behind him as he decides what he wants out of life.  There were times Blake was almost too good to be true in his heartfelt words and deeds but you can't help but fall for him.  He was unquestionable in his support of Audrey and gave her all the love and support that had been missing from her life.  He fixed all her woes which gave her hope in him and his promises but still made for a rocky road to HEA as her mother's poison was pervasive.  Blake knows what he wants and doesn't run from a fight.  Once he knows what he wants out of life he'll do whatever it takes to get it....and in this case it's Audrey.

This was a powerful story about the effects of abuse on a person's psyche.  Audrey is a strong woman but even she was left scarred.  Blake's seen his share of emotional wounds and becomes the perfect confidant for Audrey in her healing.  Theirs is a sweet yet super sexy journey to acceptance and forgiveness.  Only through the power of love can they both move on together.  This story is full of twists and turns, some believable with a few over-the-top, but it's always engaging.  This story can be read on its own but with each book in the series so well-written you won't want to miss out on a single romantic moment.  Ms. Rae has written an intensely emotional story that has readers believing in fairytales and Prince Charming and I highly recommend it to those looking for a story that pulls you along every step of the way.

My rating for this is a B+

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


Alicia Rae is a Contemporary Romance Author who lives in Dekalb, Illinois, with her husband and three beautiful boys. Alicia has a passion for reading all types of romance, writing to bring a story to life, and photography.
Thank you to my dear sister, Kels, who showed me a few years ago how much I truly missed reading. And to my loving husband, for not throwing away my Nook, and planting the seed of writing into my mind. I am forever grateful.
Readers, words cannot thank you enough for supporting me along this incredible journey. I hope you enjoy my novels as much as I do writing them. I thank each and every one of you.
Believe in yourself and follow your dreams…

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Tour for Highland Moon Rising by Sarah Makela (GIVEAWAY)

Fans of shifter romances will be drawn to this atmospheric and sensual read.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of Highland Moon Rising by Sarah Makela, the fourth book in the Cry Wolf Series.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $10 Amazon GC and 2 e-book copies of the Cry Wolf Series box set too!

A kitten in a werewolves’ lair…
A Highland reunion...
After months of trying to rescue her werewolf half-brother Colin who was abducted by evil research scientists, wereleopard Caitlyn has come home to Scotland to console her sibling. Buther problems are far from over...
Red in tooth and claw...
Still heady and wanton from the power of last night’s full moon, Caitlyn is in mortal danger. Werewolves have little respect for other shifters, and she’s trapped and caged at the Scottish Pack's HQ and at the mercy of Alistair—the vicious wolf who fathered Colin and abused her mother, and who’s capable of murder…
The sweet smell of arousal...
Her scent can save her, or kill her. Dougal, the Pack’s new Alpha, hungers to strip her naked and satiate his fiery lunar lust. But he also senses this beautiful feline with clover-green eyes that shine through the bars of her prison with burning desire is nearing the end of her strength. Will he deny his dominance, and the moon’s lingering power, to be the protector she needs?


Hinges squeaked on a door that hadn’t seen use in several months. Months I’d spent struggling to rescue my younger brother. My attempts had been in vain. Not only had the scientists who’d captured him discovered my existence and fervently chased me, but no matter what I’d tried, their research facility had been nearly impenetrable for a lone wereleopard. Thetall fences and heavy-duty searchlights would have been challenge enough, but the plentiful armed guards that crisscrossed the compound had made it impossible to proceed.
Fortunately, the werewolf Pack he’d transferred to had broken him—and the other shifters—free with their numbers and brute strength. However, I could only wonder how Colin had fared after all he’d been through. From the brief phone call we’d shared yesterday, I barely recognized him. He didn’t sound at all like the easygoing guy I’d known. He was weary and solemn.
But that was understandable. Whatever had been done had changed him and his beast.
With each minute, hour, day, I neared the brink of complete exhaustion. Sooner than later, I needed to rest up. The scientists had stayed so close on my tail for so long that I remained vigilant at all times. It was so hard to let my guard down.
While I was in Scotland to support Colin, I craved the comfort of home and the ability to run in my feline form without having to keep constant watch over my shoulder. Och, to feel the lush grass and dried leaves beneath my padded feet and to smell the forest air mixing and lingering with the soft undertones of early morning rain. My beast stretched lazily inside my chest, eager to unsheathe her claws and return to nature. But there was no luxury for that yet.
Colin would be arriving back any day now, and I wanted to clean the place up before his return. His absence had made the house a dusty mess. However, this provided me with a temporary place to stay, since I’d given up my flat and the majority of my belongings shortly after he’d gone missing.
Now that he was safe, I looked forward to rebuilding my life and getting back into a comfortable routine.
Tossing my duffel bag on the floor, I took a deep breath, trying to push aside the stress weighing on me. My brother’s scent still lingered in the air after all this time. However, I wasn’t alone. Another musky smell—of a wild beast—urged me deeper into the apartment, calling to me from just out of reach.
As far as I knew, Colin wasn’t expecting company.
A loose floorboard groaned behind me. I spun around, slinging my fist at the intruder as instinct took over. But the hulking man looming over me easily dodged my punch and landed a hard kick to my outer thigh. I stumbled into the living room’s leather armchair but jerked back tomy feet, quickly regaining my balance. My cat-like reflexes suffered from being so bone-weary, but I needed to persevere.
Sucking in a deep breath, I scented my attacker’s lupine odor and my blood chilled. Shite.
Werewolves weren’t exactly fans of other shifters, especially felines. The dog and cat politics between us were as hairy as our domestic counterparts’ at times.
“What are you doing here, kitty?” The man snarled the words, sounding every bit the hungry wolf. Dark brown hair swept across his forehead, and he brushed it back with the swipe of his meaty hand. He stalked closer, invading my personal space. I didn’t dare to move away and show weakness.
Questions raced through my head. Who was he? Should I answer him? Something about him seemed familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Keep the secret safe.
He slid his blue-eyed gaze down my body, pointedly lingering on my curves. His momentary distraction was exactly what I needed to attack.
I leapt into the air, slamming both feet against his chest to knock him down in a fierce hit. My plan nearly succeeded—even if his massive chest was as solid as a brick wall—but he grabbed my ankle at the last minute, dragging me down with him. I twisted, struggling to land on my feet. Unlike my feline counterpart, I wasn’t that agile. Not with a werewolf holding onto me.
Air burst from my lungs as I smacked the floor with bone-rattling force. I gasped, struggling for each breath after the hard blow. A gentle gust of wind made the open front door creak a little. My gaze rose to the lush green outdoors. If I could just make it there, then I could outrun this wolf. Leopards were quicker, so I’d be safe from him.
Shame forced its way inside my chest. My life had become one giant race. Constantly running from one problem to another. That wasn’t me. The fact this wolf had even managed to gain an advantage over me showed just how desperately I needed to rest. If I were at the top of my game, he would be running from me.




NYT and USA Today bestselling author Sarah Mäkelä loves her fiction dark, magical, and passionate. She is a paranormal romance author, but she’s written all over the romance spectrum with cyberpunk, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy...even a sweet contemporary romance!
A life-long paranormal fan, she still sleeps with a night-light. In her spare time, she reads sexy books, watches scary movies (and Ghost Adventures), and plays computer games with her husband. When she gets the chance, she loves traveling the world too.