Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sleep Sister by Laura Elliot

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Sleep SisterSleep Sister by Laura Elliot
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF @ 41%

Unfortunately Sleep Sister just wasn’t for me. The story starts off with Beth as a child with a horrific thing happening to her but quickly jumps ahead a few years to her father leaving then again when she’s old enough to leave home. After four more years Beth returns and finds she shares her secret with her younger sister that she had left behind. But instead of the story sticking there for any length it jumps yet again another twenty six years I believe it was. So in the matter of the first third of the book we had jumped a good forty or more years. With so many characters and situations thrown in my head was spinning and I almost felt I needed to start taking notes.

Now, not only had the story jumped so far so quickly without spending much time on any details or character building but once we got so far ahead it starts to add in flashbacks along with what is happening in the current. With the dark subject matter at hand with this book I really wanted to care about these characters but I just didn’t with so much jumping around. There were a lot of secondary characters I really didn’t know at all but the main characters really didn’t stand out much better while trying to keep up with where, when and with who everything was taking place.

Overall, just not one that I enjoyed, after several days of putting it to the side I decided not to finish, I’m sure others will enjoy it but was just not a fan of the execution of the story.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal: Sun and Moon by Desiree Williams with giveaway

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Sun and Moon
Desiree Williams
Publication date: April 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

There is nothing in life that eighteen year old Zara craves more than her freedom. Stolen from her home in Cadrebia at the age of eight, Zara has spent more years than she cared to admit as a slave to the Tankadesh courts. Her days are filled with protecting the princess, while she spends nights entertaining the king and his officials with her mastery of weapons. Any spare moment in between, she plots escape.

Yet her hopes for freedom come to a crashing halt when a stranger arrives bearing the mark of her assigned lifemate, and he threatens war if she isn’t turned over into his care. But a lifemate is not part of the plan. Her dreams, of choosing her own path and being the master of her own will, weaken as her Moon seeks to claim his Sun.

Is it possible that this stranger, with gentle blue eyes and a ready smile, didn’t come to be her new master? That there could be more to his tale?

Zara soon finds that neither her captivity nor her parents’ deaths were mere random attacks. And by returning to Cadrebia, she may have put the future of the royal line—and her Moon—in jeopardy. While Zara breathes in her first taste of freedom, her enemies move in, seeking to rob Cadrebia of its blessed prophecy.

To keep what she holds dear, Zara must rise above the pain and uncertainty to claim the lifemate assigned to her, or more than her freedom will be stolen this time.

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EXCERPT:

“What’s going on here?” Dareh dismounted from his horse and with long purposeful strides worked his way toward them. His green eyes blazed. His jaw was set. Zara would hear about this later, but for now she would welcome his rescue.

The captain of the guard surveyed the scene. He closed his eyes briefly—probably praying for patience not to strangle her—and clamped a hand on her shoulder.

“I swear, Zara,” Dareh whispered low into her ear. “You attract trouble like a siren.”

She opened her mouth with a rebuttal, but Dareh narrowed his eyes, silencing her on the spot.

“Get to the palace before you’re recognized by my men. If Melchior learns you’ve been outside the palace walls you’ll spend the night in the flogging yard. Go. Take Essie with you. I’ll sort things out here.”

Zara opened her mouth once more, but a prickling over her palm stopped the words from flowing. Heat traced the lines of her mark. Goosebumps dotted her flesh. She shivered despite the heat from the desert sun. Oh, no. Please, no.

“May I be of some assistance?”

She jerked at the rich baritone that came from behind her. The world fell away in that moment. The merchants cursing over their loss were gone. Dareh’s men waving or shouting at the crowd gathered around them—gone. Even poor Essie, standing with her jaw dangling like a loon, faded.

Zara’s senses zoned in on the man behind her. She curled her fingers to close over the crescent shaped mark that had begun to throb. Her mind screamed for her to run. Her heart was all but having a seizure. But her feet somehow managed to turn her stunned body.

Pale blue eyes were the first thing she noticed. They reminded her of the moon with a ring of dark night around them. Sun-kissed skin followed with a splash of scruff along a strong jaw. Deep brown locks fell over his forehead and touched the tips of his ears.

“Hello, my Sun.” Full lips curved into a smile, revealing perfect teeth. And just like that, all their hopeful plans for escape blew away like grains of sand on the desert floor.

Her heart crumpled.

Would she ever be free?

 

Author Bio:

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at http://www.desireewilliamsbooks.blogspot.com

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Cover Reveal: Polaris by Beth Bowland with Giveaway

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Welcome to the cover reveal for

Polaris by Beth Bowland

presented by Tantrum Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

Be on the look out for this fun upcoming MG title from Tantrum Books!

 

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Bixie, Montana is in the middle of nowhere, not connected to any place, and not needed to get to any destination. But one snowy evening, a lone visitor walking down an old country road changes thirteen-year-old Aaron Martin’s life forever. Aaron thinks he’s being a Good Samaritan by inviting the nearly-frozen visitor into his home, but he’s unwittingly initiated “The Game.”

A group of Elders, known as the Council of the Legend, come together from time to time to enjoy a rousing event they playfully call “The Game.” Now, Aaron’s town is the playing board and he and his fellow townspeople are the players.

The rules are simple. Win. Because if Aaron loses, he won’t just lose his family. He’ll lose his very identity.

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Polaris by Beth Bowland

Publication Date: August 16, 2016

Publisher: Tantrum Books

Available for Pre-Order:

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Beth Bowland

Beth Bowland, a native Ohioan, has always enjoyed reading and creating stories of her own. As a child she devoured every book she could get her hands on and spent numerous hours at the library each week. She loves writing stories for tweens and young teens and her characters are often described as quirky and fun, but always relatable. When she’s not writing, she loves watching HGTV. She has one daughter and resides in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Phillip.

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The Demonists: A Demonist Novel by Thomas E. Sniegoski

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The Demonists: A Demonist NovelThe Demonists: A Demonist Novel by Thomas E. Sniegoski
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

John Fogg is the host of a reality show where he and his team, along with his wife Theodora, investigate haunted places and search for any paranormal activity. When entering the latest building while airing live, Theo who is a medium, was not getting any readings until entering the basement where one of the crew moved an object, the result is devastating and their actions unleash an evil upon the world.

The Demonists got off to a great start where I had high hopes for this novel but unfortunately it started downhill after a great beginning. A part of that was due to the early editing that might be fixed by the time the final copy is for sale. The story would be focusing on certain characters/settings and then without warning flip to something else mid-chapter without any warning or breaks between. If it’s simply given better formatting it would help eliminate a bit of reading whiplash going between events and a better flow to the story.

Also, for me by the middle of the book the story had really lost a bit of the freshness to it as it began to drag and felt a bit like I’ve been here before. I’ve read and watched a lot of horror over the years so while I thought this story was OK I also had a feeling of deja vu after a while. I think focusing on Theo and her situation in the middle just felt too slow for me to keep my interest at it’s peak, if there’d been more on what was going on with the Teacher on how and why those events were happening perhaps I would have felt a bit differently.

By the end of the book I was also hoping for a really good wrap up to the entire story but was left feeling a bit blah when it was over. There are still some issues and situations that I felt never got answered or touched upon to my satisfaction so when done I decided to give this one 2.5 stars. I think some will probably love it, especially if there is better editing to the finished book as opposed to the ARC copy but for me I was left wanting more.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Deviations by Anma Natsu Book Blitz with giveaway

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Deviations
Anma Natsu
Publication date: February 14th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

“We’re just deviants, that’s all. You, me, Taka. We’re deliciously, wonderfully deviant.”

Scarred

Seventeen-year-old Miho has spent years struggling to deal with the aftermath of a tragic accident. Between the nightmares, PTSD, depression, and her parents’ abandonment, the burden of being the sole survivor has her near her breaking point. The darkness whispers to her, promises of release from the pain, from being a burden, if she is willing to give up.

Battered

While the girls love classmate Shinji’s blond hair and blue eyes, to his father it’s all the proof he needs that his wife was unfaithful. Unwanted and unloved, Shinji is used to his mother’s hatred, his brother’s indifference, and his father’s violence. Male or female, he doesn’t care; his regular string of sexual partners helps him temporarily forget that he will soon have to leave the only person he loves, if he can survive that long.

Controlled

As the first-born son, Shinji’s best friend Taka has known from birth that his future was not his own. He’ll go to the right schools, get the right grades, take over the family business, and produce a perfect heir with a perfect wife, just as his father dictates. Taka’s wants and desires are irrelevant; he can’t change his fate nor escape it, any more than he can protect the only person who keeps him sane.

Attracted

Drawn to one another like moths to a flame, the three find themselves torn between what society deems acceptable and a happiness they never dreamed existed.

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You can request a review copy of Deviations here!

EXCERPT:

It’s funny how I never noticed till now. Miho, I mean. I’d talked to her a few times in the library, though only to exchange the usual greetings and perform book transactions. But we hadn’t really talked, not until Taka approached her. Then watching her, I realized she was like me. Her eyes had that same deadness to them. Did her preference for long clothes make it easier to cover bruises, like I had to? Was she always alone because it was easier—easier to hide the shame and the pain if you had no one around?

Now that I’d acknowledged it, I was hyperaware of it, looking for more clues. When she checked me out at the library, I thought I spotted a white scar on her wrist. I wanted to ask her, ask her about all of it, but that would have been crass. You never talk about that sort of thing in public, and not with strangers. We were still strangers, after all, even if we had the darkness in common.

After leaving the library, I’d taken the books to our hideout before heading back into town. I never took the books I got home out of fear something might happen to them. It was one thing when they were my own books, but letting my dad destroy other people’s property, much less community property, would be pretty crappy. So I kept them safe where only Taka and I could find them.

I was heading home when I spotted her walking across the river from me. I don’t think she saw me before that pack of girls surrounded her. It was clear they’d been lying in wait. I leaned on the rail and watched them with an odd sense of pride in Miho for not crying. She was used to it, like I was. People like us, we learn how to endure. Crying, appearing weak, it only gets them going worse, feeding on whatever it is inside them that makes them have to hurt others.

Miho only broke when they stole the scarf we’d picked out for her. That bothered me a little. Though I knew it was better not to interfere, I moved towards the bridge to cross to the other side.

I was halfway across when the scarf hit the river and Miho was left there to watch it float away. Only she didn’t. She dived into the water without hesitation. I ran, scared she would drown. All those heavy clothes could easily pull her under, but when I reached the bank I realized she was swimming. Her arms breached the water at her side before slicing back into the water above her head like a professional. The only difference was her legs stuck straight out behind her instead of kicking. Smart girl.

Then she was back at the bank and lying on top of me, both of us panting even though she’d done all the work. Her body was thin, but soft and warm. Her chest was small, a B cup at best, but more likely an A. Still, they felt nice. She felt nice.


Author Bio:

Anma Natsu is a Texas-based writer of stories that explore love in its various forms, including how it can be both good and bad parts of our lives, sometimes at the same time. Her not quite conventional stories span a range of genres but rarely follow the standard fare.

When she isn’t writing, writing, voraciously reading manga and light novels, playing too many video games, and hosting her own podcast, Anma works as a web developer and steals all the free time she can to snuggle with her sweetie and her pets.

You can find her online at AnmaNatsu.com. She’s also active on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads.

Find out about Anma’s upcoming works and get exclusive content by signing up for her mailing list at http://anmanatsu.com/subscribe

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Love Me Never by Sara Wolf Excerpt Tour with giveaway

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Don’t miss today’s Excerpt Tour for Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1) by Sara Wolf, which releases on Tuesday, April 5, 2016!

“That’s n-not what I meant—” Kayla starts.

“And you seem exactly like the type of girl to stay with friends she hates. They probably hate you, too. It must be easy, hiding it behind all that booze and all those name brands.”

Kayla’s tears overflow onto her cheeks. Jack sighs.

“You’re so spineless you collapse into tears the second anyone says the truth?”

My heart’s thumping in my chest. My fists squeeze so tight I can’t feel my fingers. His cruelty leaves a bitter taste in my mouth—it’s a lot like someone I used to know.

Someone who ruined my life forever.

I shove aside the red-faced boy who tries to hit on me again and launch myself through the crowd. Kayla isn’t my friend. No one here is. But she’s been four seconds of nice to me—true nice, not Avery’s sugary poison of inviting-me-to-this-weird-test-party nice. And four seconds is more than I ever thought I’d get. It’s the most I’ve had in a long time. Jack’s lip quirks up in a sneer. Say it. Say one more thing, pretty boy. I dare you to.

“You’re pathetic,” he says.

That’s the first time I punch Jack Hunter’s face.

And as my knuckles connect with his stupid high cheekbones and he staggers back with a furious blizzard brewing in his icy eyes, I somehow get the feeling it won’t be the last.

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About Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1):

Previously published as Lovely Vicious, this fully revised and updated edition is full of romance, intrigue, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.

The game board: East Summit High.

The reward: Something neither of them expected.

Want to read more? Pre-order Love Me Never (Lovely Vicious, #1) now:

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Other Books in the Lovely Vicious Series:

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Previously published as Savage Delight, this fully revised and updated edition is full of hilarity, drama, and heartbreak.

Forget Me Always coming November 1, 2016, but stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!

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Forget Me Always (Lovely Vicious, #2)

Available for Pre-order:

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Previously published as Brutal Previous, this fully revised and updated edition is full of emotion, healing, and love.

Remember Me Forever coming May 2, 2017, but stay tuned for reveals of the synopsis and exclusive excerpts!

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Remember Me Forever (Lovely Vicious, #3)

About the Author:

Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.

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Sinners in the Dark by Inger Iversen book blitz with giveaway

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Sinners in the Dark
Inger Iversen
(Running in the Dark #2)
Publication date: March 25th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

War is coming between vampires and humans, and the Vampire Nation will stop at nothing to eliminate their enemies. Former assassin, Echo sees the Nation for what it is – a corrupt organization with its sights set on destroying the Sect, a group formed to eradicate all things vampire. Now Echo is a Ghost, a traitor of the Vampire Nation, determined to build a new life with the Sect. But choices he’s made in the past might cost him the one person who could truly redeem his soul.

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Sequel to:

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EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

Present Day

Give as Good as You Get

Via crept slowly along the back wall of the seedy motel, keeping her body out of the light. Quietly, she tucked her lucky silver cross in her shirt and reached to her side to pull her queb, a weapon made from wood, from her belt. With her other hand, she palmed her gun and released it from her side. She studied the two hoodlums with intense disdain as they eyed the mom and pop diner. Via knew the

owners, and ate there often back when she was a dollar away from being homeless.

Gang vampires were a tricky bunch. They often traveled in groups, and more times than not, had two or more lookouts. Via glanced around the back alley in search of anything amiss, but was greeted with nothing. Turning back to the group assembling before her, she noted their clothing; the red and gold shirts of the vamp-bangers told Via two things. First, they were not generals in the gang, but mere henchmen. And second, they were stupid as fuck, as this was their rival’s territory. She’d had many encounters with both gangs, on account of them liking to kidnap and rape women; enjoying their screams as she gutted them like a fish with her queb.

The sound of glass shattering pulled her out of her thoughts. Now would be the time Via should pull her cell from her pocket and dial up her dhampir partner, Echo. Her stomach roiled at the thought, and though Austin believed it a good idea to partner a human with a trusted dhampir, Via wasn’t feeling the love. Using the excuse of having her hands full, she didn’t make the call and inched closer to the opening leading out to the main street. She darted across the street and damn near ninja dove into the window. Once she cleared the glass and debris, she smoothly rolled under the nearest table for cover.

Via was no fool, with vamps’ excellent hearing and sniffers, they’d easily discover her in the café, but she was banking on one thing to help her out. She took a quick peek at the bottom of her queb for reassurance. The stake-like rod was thick as a baton, the tip sharp as a razor’s edge, and it gave a faint glow from the rune placed on it by an enchantress. This particular rune obliterated Via’s human scent. A handy tool when hiding from vamps.

Like with any mission, sanctioned or unsanctioned, Via had a plan: attack, kill, and repeat, until all vamps were dead. Ordinarily, Echo had point and took out the lookouts. His superior vision and hearing had often given him and Via an advantage, but since he wasn’t with her, it’d be like old times.

Vamp number one, who she’d decided to call Lefty, since he was missing his right eye, slid to a halt in front of the broken window. Ambient light from the streetlights filtered into the small café, creating shadows across Lefty’s perplexed face. Via inched her gun up—loaded with silver nitrate bullets—and readied her queb just as the pale faced vamp turned. The first shot rang out like an explosion in the night. Seared flesh, blood, and pieces of Lefty’s remaining eye showered around Via.

Standing to take care of the second vamp sliding around the corner, she lost her balance in the blood and fell to the floor. In a second, she made the choice to drop the queb, and aim the weapon. To her surprise, instead of one vampire, there were now three. These were more than some run-of-the-mill gangbangers, breaking and entering. The one she’d aptly named Blue, for his intense electric blue eyes, held a few boxes in his hand, and not one of them had made their way to the cash register, or the wall safe.

Blue’s eyes widened at the sight of her. “Hey, baby.” His voice held a sickening slimy quality. He handed the boxes to Tyson, who she’d named Mike Tyson since they both had those stupid matching face tattoos. “Did you come to play?” Licking his lips, his eyes did a perusal of her body, taking time to linger on her breasts.

Slowly, Via stood and placed her empty hand on her hip while keeping her gun aimed. “Stop, in the name of the law.” None of the vamps spoke. The silence filled the room and Via tensed. Okay, so these guys didn’t like her joke.

The three vamps, Blue, Tyson and Shit Eater—no explanation for nickname needed—stared at her longer, before there was a blur of movement, and one of the three stooges knocked the gun from her hands. Next came a gut-crushing blow to her stomach. Bile rose in her throat as she hit the ground.

If Via lived to tell this story, she would say that in seconds she was up again ready and raring to take on the vamps—which would be a lie. Those who had called her hardheaded would be happy to know that too was a lie because as her skull hit the floor with a deafening crack. Via’s body refused to listen to her command to get the fuck up. Even with skill such as Via’s, taking on three vamps in the middle of the night, with no damned back up, was something akin to suicide.

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Author Bio:

Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.

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Release Day Celebration: The Undertakers 5: End of the World by Ty Drago with Giveaway

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Happy Release Day to

The Undertakers 5: End of the World

by Ty Drago!!

Join us in celebrating this release from Month9Books!

Enter the giveaway found at the end of the post.

Happy Book Birthday, Ty!

 

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The Corpse War is over. Or at least Will Ritter thought the war was over. But Will quickly changes his mind when he is led through a doorway in time and finds himself in a future where the Earth has been all but destroyed. The Corpses, alien invaders who wear the dead like suits of clothing, have returned in horrific numbers. In the wake of their destructive onslaught, a rag-tag group of survivors with some of Will’s now grownup friends among them is all that’s left of mankind. Will must take part in a desperate, last ditch effort to rewrite history, prevent the Second Corpse War from ever happening, and defeat this evil that has consumed mankind once and for all. But victory, if such a thing is even possible, carries a heavy cost.

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The Undertakers 5: End of the Word by Ty Drago

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

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About-the-Author2

Ty Drago

Ty Drago does his writing just across the river from Philadelphia, where the Undertakers novels take place. In addition to The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses, The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead, and The Undertakers: Secret of the Corpse Eater, he is the author of The Franklin Affair and Phobos, as well as short stories and articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including Writer’s Digest. He currently lives in southern New Jersey with his wife and best friend, the real Helene Drago née Boettcher.

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Dodging Trains by Sunniva Dee book blitz with giveaway

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Dodging Trains
Sunniva Dee
Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

I was twelve when a stranger at a train station taught me the meaning of ugly. He forced himself on me and threatened to kill my family if I told.

I stayed silent and the ugliness grew.

Now, that word rolls in film clips through my mind. All I’ve done since my best friend, Keyon Arias, left town is cement how ugly I am. Ugly on the inside—deep down to my core. On the outside… I am a Vixen. I flash men a smile and make them moan out pleasure I control.

Not them. Never them.

After five years of being away, my beautiful boy has come back to town for his father’s masquerade ball. He’s different. Hard muscle supersedes the skin and bone of his once boyish frame. One thing hasn’t changed though: the murderous look in his eyes when he slaughters his opponents. In the ring, I see the bullied boy, all grown up, dominating in ways he couldn’t in high school.

He’s the mayor’s son. The rising MMA fighter. The beautiful one.

I’m not the Paislee Cain of before, not the sweet girl he once knew, the one who chased away his bullies. I’m the town slut. The dirty girl whose shame will never fade no matter how many men I use. He’d disown what I’ve become.

Because beautiful can never love ugly.

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EXCERPT:

I’ve been on a one-track rail to landing Paislee in my bed since she got off the plane. Not that it’s been planned, but I convinced her that Pizza

Pazza in Tampa is better than Mamma Lucia’s in Calceth. I told her about Simon during dinner, one thing led to another, and here I am unlocking the door to my duplex and letting her enter first.

She hasn’t commented on how we took my car from her hotel, how she’s basically dependent on me and my whims. But hey, I’m fucked too; it wasn’t my choice to have someone fill my head, and I didn’t ask that person to come to Florida.

We haven’t talked about tomorrow’s schedule, but I’m going to the rich dude’s house with her. He could be a total freak for all I know, so she’s not facing him alone.

“Oooh,” she whispers through a reverent puff of air like she’s never seen a cat before. Simon’s playing it up too, slinking around the corner with all the grace in the universe, stroking the doorjamb with a hip before he meanders over to us. “He’s soooo beautiful.”

“He’s just a regular old black street cat,” I say, but by the wink she shoots me, she doesn’t buy it. She read me back when too. “’Kay, fine: Simon’s awesome. Straight up the best pelt ever.”

“Pelt? You ass,” she giggles as she pets him from the top of his head and down the length of his body to his tail. Simon lifts it, happy. Any minute now, he’ll crank the volume on his purr-machine.

“Wow, he purrs loud.”

And there. For a cat, he’s being unexpectedly predictable.

“He loves the ladies,” I say, which makes her giggle more. I love to make her giggle. When she stands up again, I pull her in with one arm, fingers splayed across her spine. Firm breasts press against me, and I groan a little.

She puffs another laugh, all Simon’s fault. He’s gotten to the part of the agenda where he’s going to cramp my style. His purrs reach us from the floor, and he’s scissoring in and out between both of our legs.

“Never mind him. Look at me,” I whisper. Let my thumb and forefinger slide over her chin. The amusement recedes from her eyes when she sees that I mean business. I’m hardening. She yelps. Then she laughs out loud.

“Simon, quit it!” I say, exasperated, and bend to unhook his claws from the fabric over her knees. “I’m sorry. You see how it is now, right?

Simon’s the ass in this house. I should sell him to the highest bidder. Fifty cents flat will do. Come to think of it—I’ve got fifty cents in my pocket,” I say, kissing her down the corridor. “I could pay someone to take him. ‘Perfectly good cat with a year’s worth of free cat food.’”

Obviously, I’m digging my own grave here. There’s no hot lovemaking when your girl’s laughing so hard she’s about to pee herself.

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Author Bio:

Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.

Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece–Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.

Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it’s contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon’s Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).

This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

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Arena by Holly Jennings

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ArenaArena by Holly Jennings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twenty year old Kali Ling has finally achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a professional gamer in the Virtual Gaming League’s RAGE tournaments. The league has the best players in the world competing weekly in virtual reality tournaments, the weapons are digital but the pain is real for the players. They eat, sleep and breathe their training and workouts but after hours they are expected to go out and make the club scene to smile for the sponsors and cameras but the drugs are easy to come by in this party life.

When Kali’s teammate overdoses the league covers it up and immediately replaces him. Kali struggles with dealing with Nathan’s death and then the added pressure of being made the first female captain in competitive gaming. Turning to drinking and drugs herself Kali battles her own demons. Will she be able to pull herself out of the dark side of gaming and lead her team or will she become yet another victim of the lifestyle?

Arena is one of those books that got off to a bit of a shaky start for me and I was wondering if I would like it at all. By the end though I really did enjoy the overall book and the positive message that is mixed into the story. Set in an athletic world where pressures from owners, sponsors and fans have the players turning to drugs to cope with the pressure is something that is a very real and touching subject.

Kali was a very likable character that had many different demons to battle and a lot to live up to. Watching her grow and struggle was certainly intriguing and you can’t help but to root for her to find her way and develop an inner strength. Drugs are a problem in all kinds of situations and here not only Kali but the whole team loses their friend to drugs and the story focuses on dealing with the loss and respecting their fallen teammate too.

What I didn’t quite love about this book was the gaming aspect or at least how it was explained. Taking place in the future players are no longer couch potatoes but athletes and beautiful. I found it a bit hard to grasp that players can be stabbed and beheaded or killed in any number of ways in a game and somehow feel the pain but no physical carry over to the real world but one of the players jumped in a game and further injured their ankle. Perhaps anyone who is a gamer would grasp the whole concept better but since the gaming is only the setting around the story it only brought my rating down a slight bit.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.