Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Tour for Her Perfect Game by Shannyn Schroeder (Review & GIVEAWAY)

The world of geeks and gaming has never looked so sexy as in Her Perfect Game by Shannyn Schroeder.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this book as well as the author's take on sexism in gaming.  You'll also get my impressions of this read and 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 1 of 5 iBook copies of this book too!

I am not a gamer, so the title of this post might seem odd. I grew up in an era where video games were played at the arcade for a quarter a pop. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Asteroids were staples of my childhood (but Centipede will always be my favorite). I didn’t spend lots of time at the arcade, but I can’t remember ever being told that I couldn’t play a game or that I couldn’t be good at it because I was girl. I don’t know when that changed, but it definitely has. Maybe the sexism was always there, but I was lucky enough to not witness it.
In doing my research for Her Perfect Game, one thing that popped up constantly was sexism in gaming. As a parent, I was aware of some of it— things like women being used in games only as sexual objects or props. Even the women who are true characters are there to be rescued by the men. They can’t take care of themselves. It’s also painfully obvious that women are supposed to be there for the visual pleasure of men based on the fact that even lead female characters are dressed like hookers instead of having a badass outfit like the guys wear.
But it wasn’t until I started reading more about how girl gamers are treated that it hit home for me. The incredible stories about the nastiness that goes on in games when females are successful are ridiculous. There’s an overwhelming prevalence of “you’re a girl, so you can’t be good” or worse if you are good, it’s “you’re a fat, ugly bitch.” The personal slams seem to be a constant part of that world.
When it’s brought to light, too often the subject is swept aside.It’s said that women are too sensitive and can’t handle some trash talking. Some men didn’t realize how bad it is for women until they logged on as a female character. When other playersstarted to attack them simply based on gender, it was a wake up call.
I don’t know when or how gaming became a boys-only club, but it’s sad. It’s sad that so many men are afraid to compete with women. It’s sad that women have to disguise who they are in order to do what they enjoy.
Her Perfect Game is a novella, which means it’s short, but I still felt the need to explore at least part of this. Charlie is a gamer and a hacker, and she’s good. But this kind of sexism is stuff that she encounters on a regular basis, both in game and in person.
I have two daughters, neither of whom has expressed any interest in gaming (at least so far) and there’s a huge part of me that is grateful for that because the world is ugly enough without having to protect yourself when you’re doing something you love. I wish I had some answers as to how to fix this, but I don’t. I think the more people talk, the more it will be recognized as a problem, and then maybe we can generate some solutions.

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…
Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn’t quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she’s entering a “hackfest” over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who’s been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can’t fight the desire that comes rushing back.
Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they’re face to face again, he doesn’t know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he’s offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?


The elevator dinged on the fourth floor, and Jonah ushered her out and down the hall. Their steps shushed against the carpet, and Charlie wanted to talk, say something, but she didn’t know what.  At her room, she slid the key card in, and as she pushed the door open, she tugged Jonah inside.
“What are you doing, Charlie?”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and breathed in his scent. “I don’t want to be alone.”
Charlie held her breath, waiting for him to push her away, but he didn’t. His arms came around her and stroked her back. Memories flooded her brain. Jonah holding her, touching her, kissing her senseless. She’d give almost anything to have that again, even if it was only for a night. To feel grounded again.
She turned her head slightly and brushed her lips against his warm neck, and his hands paused on her back. She pressed on, though, kissing his jaw and loving the rough feel of the stubble.
“Just kiss me, Jonah.”
She didn’t look into his eyes, afraid to know what she’d find, but she knew he wanted to kiss her. If for no other reason, out of sheer curiosity. She kept her eyes closed as she tilted her head.
His lips met hers with tenderness at first. Then they became more insistent, and she softened against him, inviting his tongue into her mouth. His hand reached up and cradled the back of her head, and she wanted more. This heady feeling wouldn’t last the night, but Jonah could give her more.
She tugged at his T-shirt, searching for his warm skin. When her fingers met his flesh, he jerked back. “Charlie.”
But she didn’t stop.
He grabbed her hands. “Charlie.” Then he waited for her to meet his eyes. “We’re not doing this.”
She swallowed hard. His steel gray eyes sparked with lust. She didn’t misread the signs. He wanted her. “Why not? Got a girlfriend?”
“No girlfriend. You’re well passed halfway to drunk. I don’t want you to do something you’re going to regret in the morning.” He grabbed her shoulders and turned her toward the bed. “Get some sleep and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“What if I don’t want to talk tomorrow?”
He sighed. “Then I guess we won’t.”
She crawled on top of the covers. “Will you stay and talk for a while if I promise not to molest you?”
He glanced to the other side of the room. “Sure.” He scooted the armchair a little closer to the bed.
“There’s room here.” She patted the bed beside her.
He simply shook his head.
“Who is it that you don’t trust—me or you? I already gave my word.”
He laughed and stretched his legs out in front of him. The light from the hall cast him in shadows. Between his dark hair and black T-shirt and jeans, he blended into the dark.
She tucked her hands under her head as she lay on her side to watch him talk. “Tell me about the people you work with.”
Jonah accommodated her again and spoke in quiet tones until she became sleepy and struggled to keep her eyes open. He stood, leaned over, and kissed her head.
“Hey, Best?”
“I’d never regret you.”
Another heavy sigh came from him, but she didn’t know how to interpret it. Then she heard the door close with a quiet thunk.


BUY LINKS:  Amazon  |  BN  |  iTunes


The world of gaming and Cons has never been so vividly portrayed as it is in this second installment in the Hot & Nerdy series!  From the unique participants to the excitement around every corner it's a compelling backdrop to the burgeoning relationship between Charlie and Jonah that first surfaced three years ago but ended abruptly.  Where Jonah looks to have this be their first step to forever, Charlie sees it as what happens at the Con stays at the Con as she worries he'll be disappointed if he discovers the truth about her.

Charlie was a woman on edge when she and Jonah first met, reeling from her roommate's suicide and looking for revenge against the man who caused the tragedy.  Jonah grounded her for awhile but it was clear she was on a path to destruction which he couldn't stand by and witness.  In the intervening years Charlie has remained unique in how she approaches life but it's also made her touchy when it comes to how she thinks others see her.  In the gaming world she's strong-willed and studious, but in real life she's overly emotional and lacks confidence which was a bit disappointing.  It's clear she's letting her past rule her future by keeping her life at a standstill.  She's quick to judge and her low self-esteem has her running away from what she really wants but is afraid to admit.

Jonah is a strong and sturdy man who's always supported Charlie but knew when he had to walk away to protect his own heart.  He's back with a vengeance though and hopes to claim her once and for all if he can just admit his own secrets before it's too late.  Jonah wears his heart on his sleeve unafraid to admit what he feels for her.  He wants nothing more than to do right by her and in subtle and blatant ways sets out to give her what she's always wanted.....a job catered to her maverick skills and unconditional love.  Jonah's every girl's hero as he's sexy, a good listener, and watches over her from afar and I thoroughly fell for him!

This was a quick read that dealt with some heavy issues in a casual way.  The atmosphere was vividly depicted and made for an exciting and memorable backdrop that I'd love to see again as it's the nerd's version of Las Vegas.  The focus of this story was on Jonah and Charlie but there were brief glimpses of her supportive friends to give a hint of what the rest of this series will offer which has me intrigued.  Overall this was a fun and flirty story with steamy interludes and a main couple whose connection crackles with sensuality.

My rating for this is a B

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


Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered arounda large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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Book Spotlight for Prisoner by Skye Warren and Annika Martin

Readers who like their stories dark will find themselves drawn to Prisoner by Skye Warren and Annika Martin.  Keep reading to get a compelling glimpse of this gritty read and it's tale of two lost souls, as well as getting to know the authors, and then add it to your bookshelf.......

-How did you come up with the idea for this story?
In a lot of ways, this tale began with these two characters super-vivid that Skye and I created: this hot, dangerous felon with a dark past and this buttoned-up college girl who teaches a class at the prison.
In a lot of ways, this story felt like it wrote itself from those characters as we breathlessly batted it back and forth, imagining this prison break and the way they’d get entangled.
-Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are themes that writers return to over and over. One of my themes I return to, even when I’m not trying, is two super messed-up people finding love with each other, and being messed up together, and loving each other for their flaws (and not getting rid of them, because to me, flaws are what make people who they are!) So I guess my message is, even if you feel like you’re really screwed up, being really and truly yourself is beautiful and you deserve love.
-Will you write more about these characters?
Definitely. Grayson and Abby will likely have cameos in future books, but Stone, Nate and the rest of the guys all have their own stories – it’s just hard to know which guy to start with.
-What is for you the perfect book hero?
I love a hero with a lot to overcome. Especially a lot of darkness. It’s so rewarding, as a reader, to see a hero go through a lot to get to a place where he is right with the heroine. I think my favorite and perfect kind of hero most of all is the hopeless and dark hero. Or the hopeless, dark and tortured hero. Yeah!!
-How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Prisoner was my first collaboration with author Annika Martin. She and I first met because I’d read her books (love them!) and she read mine. We were both in a boxed set together, MAKE ME. We were chatting over email and came up with the idea to write a book together. We knew it would be edgy, and dark, and also fun! And so, Prisoner was born.
-Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Message is too strong a word, but there are certain recurring themes in my books. Redemption is a big one, trying to atone for your past failings, believing you had overcome only to be sucked back into it, fighting to better this time, stronger this time. The other recurring theme in my books is that everyone deserves to find love. That means some very dark characters walk the pages of my books.
-Will you write more about these characters?
I hope so! Annika Martin and I conceptualized this as a series that we’re calling Criminals & Captives. It focuses on a group of men who share a dark past and work together on their criminal enterprises. There’s kind of a ‘lost boys’ feel to it. And each one will take his own captive.
-What is for you the perfect book hero?
I like them intimidating. Competent. Vaguely sinister and smug. Possessive. Harsh. Cold. Hot. I like them everything that is mean and cruel, even with the heroine. And then… when he stops, when sex and intimacy and love force him to stop, the clouds part. The sun rises on grass still sticky with dew. It paints the world in orange light and long shadows, hinting at what is to come. And that’s the end of the book. Not a wedding. Not a happily ever after. The ending is hope.

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.
But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.
And you might crave him more than your next breath.


He forces me into the stream. Freezing-cold water swirls around my ankles and fills the insides of my boots, numbing my feet clear to the bone. I try to pull away, but he holds my wrist tight. I’m shivering. I can’t believe he’s not cold without a shirt on. Not that I should feel sorry for him considering he used his shirt to gag and blindfold a cop.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asks
“The other side.”
He shakes his head. “We’re walking the stream.”
“I can’t,” I say.
He pulls me closer; he still seems obsessed with the gash on my face, which maybe should be a good sign. I force my focus onto the trees in the distance, anything but the rise and fall of his hard, scarred, mud-streaked chest. It’s around dinnertime; I can tell by the slant of the sun. Up close he smells like sweat. Not pine, not cologne, not musk, just man sweat.
“Bend over.”
“What?” I try to yank my wrist from his hand, but he fists my hair and pushes my face nearly into the water. He splashes water onto my cheek. I close my eyes against the cold spray of it, spitting it out of my nose and mouth, trying to twist from his grip.
“God!” I say as he lets me up. I sniff and wipe my eyes.
He inspects my cut and grunts his approval, as if infection is this huge threat right now. He pulls my hand. “Come on.”
“I can’t even feel my feet."
He frowns, furrowing his dark brows. “Fine.” He bends over and loops my arm around his neck and just hoists me up.
I pull my arm back and struggle against his hold. “Put me down!”
“You want to walk? Or I still have that .357. I could put a few holes in you, and you could float. Is that what you want?”
I loop my arm around his neck, feeling weird, like I’m participating in my own captivity. But it seems better than the alternatives. Don’t struggle. Wait for your chance.

Annika Martin
I'm a pet wrangler, bookworm, mediocre tennis player and hairstyle failure. And yes, an author, but I promise not to spam you if you friend me!
I live just a stone's throw from the Mississippi with my husband and two beloved cats in a home full of plants, sunshine, books and cookie crumbs. By day, I'm a freelancer in the business world. In addition to being smutty Annika, I write urban fantasy under the pen name Carolyn Crane.

Skye Warren
Skye Warren writes unapologetic erotica, including power play or erotic pain and sometimes dubious consent. There's struggle in the sex. There's pain in the relationships. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.

Happy Halloween!!


Be careful of those ghosts and ghouls!

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!

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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…

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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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