Friday, July 31, 2015

Spotlight - The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak - Except, Message from the Author, & Giveaway!


The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak
Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult


Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver – dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band – when her sister could be dying of cancer?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes



Excerpt

Do you ever miss it?I asked, trying to distract myself again. My breathing hitched, and I hoped he hadn’t noticed.

Miss what?

I don’t know, like, before everything?

You mean my anonymity? Sure.Something in Olivers voice sounded off, and I craned my neck to look up at him. He was staring past me, deep in thought, and then a scowl crossed his face. But I would never go back. Ever, he added fiercely.

The skin covering his knuckles turned white as he tightened his fist, and I bit my lip, not sure what to say. I didn’t think he was mad at me, but something had upset him.

“Sorry,” I told him. I didn’t mean to pry.

No worries, he said, sounding much softer than before.

But Oliver seemed to be done talking, because he turned his attention back to the movie, and without our conversation, my nerves crept back up. I realized I was holding my breath when he started moving his thumb in small circles on my arm. For some reason I found the sensation calming, and bit by bit, my breathing returned to normal and I nestled down into his side. Just as I finally relaxed and turned my attention to the movie, Oliver chuckled and I felt him shake beneath me. Tilting my head back a few inches, I looked up at him through my lashes. There was a dusting of pink on his cheeks, and his eyes shinned as he laughed.

He must have felt my gaze, because his eyes snapped down and found mine. His lips slowly parted as he stared down at me, and my whole body flooded with warmth. Someone was shouting something crazy onscreen, but I was too preoccupied with Oliver to turn toward the TV. The way he was looking at me made me want to press my body further up against him, and the thought made me blush. Embarrassed by my own thoughts, I suddenly had the need to look away, to focus on anything but him, but as I turned, Oliver gently grabbed my chin. He held my head in place until I made eye contact, and then, once he knew I was watching, he dipped his head and brushed his lips against mine.

About the Author

Ali Novak writes contemporary young adult romance and is a recent graduate of the University of Madison Wisconsin's creative writing program. She wrote her first full length novel, My Life with the Walter Boys, at the age of fifteen. Since posting the story online, it has received more than 33 million reads and is now published by Sourcebooks Fire.
Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | WattPad | Tumblr
Message From the Author

Hello all you lovely readers!

First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking an interest in my latest YA novel The Heartbreakers. For those of you who don’t know, this story was originally posted on the online reading and writing platform Wattpad, and to date, the rough draft manuscript has been read more than 40 million times. I began working on this project in February of 2012, back when One Direction was starting to gain popularity in the United States. Fan fiction stories about 1D began popping up all over the website, so I decided to go against the grain and write a book about a fictional band instead of the real one, and that’s how the Heartbreakers were born!

The first band member I created was Oliver Perry, the lead singer. Like most successful, good-looking teen heartthrobs, he can be a bit cocky, but underneath all that confidence, he’s a HUGE softie. Next is JJ Morris, the band’s drummer. I enjoy writing goofball characters, and JJ fits that description to a T—he’s always cracking (oftentimes perverted) jokes. To balance out JJ’s outgoing personality, there’s Alec Williams. He’s the mysterious, reserved bass player for the group, and although he doesn’t talk much, he’s incredibly loyal. And last but not least, we have Xander Jones, who is lead guitarist for the Heartbreakers and everyone’s best friend. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy my boys’ story!

xoxo,
Ali
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Audiobook Review - Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Narrated by Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Penguin Group - Ace / Tantor Audio
Publication Date:  April 1, 2008 (book) / January 29, 2009 (audio)
Date Read: June 29, 2015 (2nd read)

Down in Atlanta, tempers—and temperatures—are about to flare...

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate is going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17792919-magic-bites

 Audible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM!



This is a really hard review to write.  I have been putting off writing this review for a month now...like that is going to help me in any way.  I absolutely LOVE this series and everything that the writing team of Ilona Andrews writes.   I had some problems with the narration of this audiobook even though I have enjoyed this narrator on other works.  I am rating this book based on the story and not the narration.  

This is one of those series that gets better with each book.  This is a great book filled with some of the best characters in any story and set in an original and exciting world.  The book has a lot of action which keeps things very exciting.  Every single scene that involves His Furriness, Curran, makes me want to swoon and I seriously have no idea how Kate can keep it together.  I would have loved to see more of Kate and Curran together but I think that every interaction between the pair is memorable because they are so perfectly timed.

The writing is flawless.  I love the humor that finds its way into the story and the fact that these characters are such good people.  They pride themselves on protecting others and will sacrifice as need to achieve that goal.  This book introduces more or the pack politics including the inner workings of the bouda clan.  Since I had read the book a couple of years ago before listening to this audiobook, I found it really interesting to go back and see these characters in this book from early in the series.  It is amazing how the groundwork for later events were laid so early.

I did have trouble with the narration in some areas.  I like the narrator just fine for a large part of the book but some of her voices were just wrong in my opinion.  Julie is a 13 year old girl but in this audiobook she sounds like she might be all of 4 years old.  The voice is not even close to representing a girl of 13.  Raphael sounded like he was deranged or something instead of the suave bouda male that I know him to be.  I thought that Curran sounded too growly (I know that is not a word but I am saying it anyway).  I can deal with Curran's voice but the other two made me cringe every time I heard them and Julie's voice was in the book a lot.  I do think that this narrator does a good job with Kate and most of the narration but the parts that were bad were really bad for me.

I would recommend this book to everyone.  I would also recommend that all readers start with the first book in the series, Magic Bites.  This series really needs to be read in order.  I will continue to read everything written by Ilona Andrews that I can get my hands on.  I will probably continue with my re-read of this series on audio simply because I have already paid for the whole series but I would recommend to others to stick to the actual book.

 
About the Author

Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

They have co-authored two NYT and USAT bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and working on the next volumes for both.


Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cover Reveal - The Aftermath by R.J. Prescott


The Aftermath by R.J. Prescott
Grand Central Publishing - Forever
Publication Date: December 15, 2015

The second book in a New Adult fiction series from USA Today bestselling author R.J. Prescott.

Cormac "The Hurricane" O'Connell's star is on the rise. Billed as the most promising young boxer of his generation, his new career is taking him to places he never dreamed. But O'Connell only needs one thing in life: his wife. In her final year of college, Em cannot follow him around the world but together they make it work. Just when everything they ever wanted is on the horizon, the past resurfaces to haunt them, and O'Connell realizes that justice might not be a part of his happy ever after. He couldn't protect Em once before, but in the aftermath of the hurricane, he will make sure that never happens again.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25101535-the-aftermath


New to the series? Start from the beginning and get swept away by THE HURRICANE, now just $0.99!

 
Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.  Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met. 

Cormac "the Hurricane" O'Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the misfire. He's never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he's ever met, she doesn't want anything from him. Just being around her makes him want to be a better person.  They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23354073-the-hurricane?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM! | GooglePlay | iBooks



About the Author


R.J. Prescott was born in Cardiff, South Wales and studied law at the University of Bristol, England. Four weeks before graduation she fell in love, and stayed. Ten years later she convinced her crazy, wonderful fire fighter husband to move back to Cardiff where they now live with their two equally crazy sons. Juggling work, writing and family doesn't leave a lot of time, but curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate for family movie night is definitely the best part of R.J. Prescott's week. "The Hurricane" is her debut New Adult Novel.



Social Media Links: Website  | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Release Blast - Lucky's Choice by Jamie Begley - Giveaway!


Enter to Win A
Custom LAST RIDERS T-Shirt & Mug, 
$25.00 Amazon eGift Card and Signed Copy of SHADE'S FALL


LUCKY'S CHOICE
The Last Riders #7
Jamie Begley
Releasing July 29th, 2015
Young Ink Press


Life dealt him a dead man’s hand.

Lucky had always led a life of service, always putting his life on the line for someone else, managing to survive by pure luck and skill. After bringing an end to a multi-state drug ring, he was finally able to live the life he had wanted as a Last Rider.

A good man would walk away and not touch the curvy woman who had been tugging on his heartstrings. Lucky wasn’t a good man. Therefore, the bad-ass biker in him had a choice: once again become the man he had pretended to be and stake his claim or take the devil’s highway.

Some girls had all the luck.

Willa wasn’t one of them. All she wanted to do was give a home to the children she had made orphans. Instead, she found herself needing help from the man who had left the pulpit behind to embrace a life of sin.

Painfully shy and withdrawn, she wanted a quiet life, a simple man, and well-behaved children. The last thing she had ever expected was for Lucky to want her size twenty body and show her a passion that would lead her straight to hell. 



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"I was born in a small town in Kentucky. My family began poor, but worked their way to owning a restaurant. My mother was one of the best cooks I have ever known, and she instilled in all her children the value of hard work, and education.
Taking after my mother, I've always love to cook, and became pretty good if I do say so myself. I love to experiment and my unfortunate family has suffered through many. They now have learned to steer clear of those dishes. I absolutely love the holidays and my family puts up with my zany decorations.
For now, my days are spent writing, writing, and writing. I have two children who both graduated this year from college. My daughter does my book covers, and my son just tries not to blush when someone asks him about my books.
Currently I am writing five series of books- The Last Riders, The VIP Room, Predators MC, Biker Bitches, and The Dark Souls.
All my books are written for one purpose- the enjoyment others find in them, and the expectations of my fans that inspire me to give it my best.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Releases - July 28

July 28, 2015  

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

 Silent Creed by Alex Kava

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398836-silent-creed



Hot on the heels of Breaking Creed comes the next action-packed series featuring Ryder Creed, ex-marine turned K9 rescue dog trainer from New York Times– and internationally bestselling author Alex Kava.

Most of them were asleep in their beds when the ground gave way. . . .

When Ryder Creed responds to a devastating mudslide in North Carolina, he knows the difference between finding survivors and the dead—is time. Heedless of the dangers, Creed and his best search-and-rescue dog Bolo frantically wade through the chaos of twisted tree limbs, crumbled cement, and unrecognizable debris, when a second slide catches up with Ryder. And he is buried alive.

Bolo makes it out, though, and leads the heroic rescue of his master. What they get when they pull Ryder out from the mud is much more than they bargained for. The secrets in the mud around Creed run deep, pointing to a possible serial killer and unexpectedly dredging up painful, hushed-up pieces of Creed’s own past.

The mysteries unearthed will bring Ryder Creed face-to-face with his past loyalties, deeply embedded survivor’s guilt, and a powerful figure from his past. He’ll have to rely on his dogs if he wants to make it through alive. 



Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23398840-broken-promise



From the New York Times bestselling author of No Safe House comes an explosive novel about the disturbing secrets of a quiet small town.… 

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own—a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch.

When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened—even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past…in blood.


Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23507713-frisk-me


Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they're determined to make him into NYC's newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD's finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he's more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn't in love with Officer Moretti. That's why she's going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava's determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there's something about a man in uniform . . . and she can't wait to get him out of his.


Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23278586-half-a-war

Words are weapons

Princess Skara has seen all she loved made blood and ashes. She is left with only words. But the right words can be as deadly as any blade. She must conquer her fears and sharpen her wits to a lethal edge if she is to reclaim her birthright.

Only half a war is fought with swords

The deep-cunning Father Yarvi has walked a long road from crippled slave to king’s minister. He has made allies of old foes and stitched together an uneasy peace. But now the ruthless Grandmother Wexen has raised the greatest army since the elves made war on God, and put Bright Yilling at its head – a man who worships no god but Death.

Sometimes one must fight evil with evil

Some – like Thorn Bathu and the sword-bearer Raith – are born to fight, perhaps to die. Others – like Brand the smith and Koll the wood-carver – would rather stand in the light. But when Mother War spreads her iron wings, she may cast the whole Shattered Sea into darkness.


 No Place to Hide by Susan Lewis

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25279223-no-place-to-hide



Susan Lewis, the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, delivers her first novel set in the United States! Perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Lewis is a master at evoking the emotional intensity of complex domestic dramas.

Fleeing England from a broken marriage, Justine returns to her grandmother’s hometown on picturesque Lake Maxinkuckee, Indiana. There she hopes for a fresh start, and a chance to heal her broken heart in the pristine lakeside surroundings. But an ocean may not be enough to protect Justine from the devastating secrets that drove her away, and the memories that continue to haunt her new life...


Release Blast - Frisk Me by Lauren Layne - Giveaway!


Enter to Win a 
$50.00 Amazon eGift Card


FRISK ME
New York's Finest #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing July 28th,2015
Forever Romance


After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York's most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the "American Hero," Luc's boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn't mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who's been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC's lead anchor-but to get there, she'll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava's doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York's finest ...



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Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.
Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.




Monday, July 27, 2015

Review - Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
Series: Promise Falls #1
Penguin Group NAL
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Date Read:  July 26, 2015

From the New York Times bestselling author of No Safe House comes an explosive novel about the disturbing secrets of a quiet small town.…

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own—a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch.

When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened—even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past…in blood.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23014597-what-doesn-t-kill-her

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | BAM! 



I liked this book.  I have to admit that I was able to guess a few of the big twists but I found enough surprises along the way to keep my interest.  This book is the first in a new series set in the small town of Promise Falls.  I had no idea that this book was part of a series and had assumed it was a stand alone novel.  I was kind of surprised to find that this story left a few loose ends that I am sure will be picked up in future installments.

This book is told from multiple point of view.  David's point of view is the primary source of narration which accounts for about half of the story.  The rest of the story is told from a variety of characters including Detective Duckworth, Agnes, David's father, and a man who has just lost his wife to name a few.  I think that each character was very well done with a distinct voice and each point of view added to the overall story.  It really took all of these characters to see what was truly happening.

The pacing of the story was fantastic and there were not any dull moments.  There is quite a bit going on this novel.  The main mystery deals with the murder of the mother of an infant son but there is more going on in this little town including incidents at the local amusement park, the local college, and even a case involving squirrels.  Is everything connected and if so how?

I did guess some of the major twists which was a bit of a disappointment because I really like to be surprised.  There were enough twists that I didn't predict to keep the story interesting for me.  I do wish that all of my questions had been answered.  As it stands, I feel like I only received answers to some of my questions.  I wouldn't say that the ending was cliffhanger because the main focus of the story was resolved even though a lot of questions do remain.

I would recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers.  This is a fast paced novel with a lot of action and twists and turns to keep things interesting.  I have read quite a few novels by Linwood Barclay and I think that this book lives up to what I have come to expect from this author.  I can't wait to see what happens next in Promise Falls.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group NAL via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.


About the Author
Photo credit: Bill Taylor

Linwood Barclay is a New York Times and #1 international bestselling author whose critically acclaimed novels have been optioned for film and TV.


Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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