Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Secret City (The Alchemist Chronicles teen series Book 2) by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld

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The Secret City (The Alchemist Chronicles teen series Book 2)The Secret City by C.J. Daugherty
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Secret City is the second book of the Alchemist Chronicles written by authors C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld. The series is a young adult fantasy series based around alchemy and curses. In the first book we met Taylor Montclair and Sacha Winters who lived in different countries but had met online when their teachers set them up for tutoring sessions. Taylor was an overachiever student who took the assignment for the extra credit and Sacha was slacking off in school but it’s found that is because he had found out he was cursed and set to die on his eighteenth birthday.

Taylor had vowed to help Sacha break his curse before his upcoming birthday when they found out that it was Taylor’s ancestor that had placed the curse and both of them were the thirteenth child in their respective bloodlines and that the curse should end this generation after Sacha’s death. Taylor also finds that she herself is an alchemist and now with this story picking up right where the first book left off Taylor is beginning to study her abilities at Oxford’s St Wilfred’s College where the two had fled.

The Secret City was actually a great continuation of a story that I found quite interesting. The story grew quite nicely in this second edition adding in other characters into the mix to help Taylor and Sacha and keeping up quite a bit of action all throughout. There was a budding romance between the main characters but thankfully it was just left to grow over the course of the books and not the usual insta-love found in this genre.

The one thing I did find with this second installment was that having been over a year since reading the first book I felt it lacked reminding the reader what had progressed in the first book. I could remember liking the story and characters but the way it jumped right in I ended up going back and giving the first book a quick reread. But that’s really a small complaint leaving me rating this book at 4.5 stars and looking forward to reading if the story continues.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

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Spotlight: Chance at Redemption by Samatha Harris with Giveaway

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Here’s a series that should be on your radar!

Chance at Redemption (Madison Square #3)

by Samatha Harris is available now!

Read an excerpt below and be sure to enter the

giveaway found at the end of the post.

 

 

Gwen Stevens had a privileged life until her father spoke three little words that turned her world upside down. “You’re cut off.”

Broke and desperate, Gwen is forced to accept a waitressing job, but this glimmer of hope has a price. As if being a cocktail waitress isn’t bad enough, she has to do it in a dive bar called The Den, and her bad luck doesn’t stop there. She also needs to deal with the new owner, a blue-eyed, self-righteous ass determined to make her life miserable.

Liam Sinclair walked away from the entitlement and obligation his family planned for him, vowing to make his own way in the world…

Adjusting to life as a new business owner, Liam has experienced more than his fair share of setbacks. When his only waitress breaks her leg, his sister takes it upon herself to hire a replacement—a spoiled, self-indulgent hothead with too much makeup and more than enough attitude. Gwen represents the world he’s trying to escape, a world of excess and greed that he was never cut out for.

Appearances can be deceiving, and first impressions aren’t always right…

Despite their apparent differences, the tension between them turns to a fiery passion that neither of them can resist. Together they find balance and learn to appreciate the simpler things in life. But Gwen soon discovers that old habits die hard, and one mistake is all it takes to ruin everything.

Forgiveness must be earned, but even a villain deserves a chance at redemption…

Chance at Redemption (Madison Square #3)

by Samatha Harris

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

BAM | Indies | Amazon | B&N | TBD

 

WHAT READER’S ARE SAYING:

 

” fun opposites attract/ boss & employee romance”Cyndi, Once Upon a Page

 

 

“… story of forgiveness, second chances and starting over”Tanya, Girl Plus Books

 

“Anything you want to tell me, little brother?” she asked as she folded her arms across her chest and watched me closely to gauge my reaction.

I frowned. “Um, No.”

“Really? Nothing new at all in your life?” She was baiting me into something I was sure was not going to be good.

“I bought a new toaster the other day.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“You should see it, it’s pretty sweet. Its toasts Darth Vader’s face into the bread.”

Madison growled in frustration and tossed a breadstick at me.

“Whoa chill cougar,” I laughed.

“Don’t start that.” She pointed her finger at me. “I get enough of that crap from Margot.”

“Okay,” I said as my laughter died down.

“So you really have nothing to share?”

“Like what?”

“Like what’s going on with you and Gwen.” She smiled, her eyebrows disappeared beneath her bangs.

“Oh that.” I ducked my head to hide my smile.

“Yes that.”

“Who told you?”

“Sean.”

“What? Who told him?”

“I don’t know, someone at the bar I guess,” she said with a dismissive wave.

“The bar?” Madison shrugged. Then it hit me. “Sam,” I sighed. “Great now everybody knows.”

“Were you hiding it?”

“No. Not really. We just didn’t want things to be weird at work.”

“Well, here’s a tip, if you don’t want the people you work with to know. Don’t have sex in your office.”

I cringed. Hearing my older sister discuss my sex life was disturbing on a lot of levels.

“So?” she asked.

“So what?”

Madison let out a frustrated groan and rolled her eyes. “So what’s going on between you and Gwen?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer her. Hell I wasn’t even one hundred percent sure I even knew how. I sat back in my chair and played with the edge of my napkin. I was stalling and the look on my sister’s face said she knew it too.

“I’m not exactly sure,” I said.

She raised an eyebrow and tilted her head. “Aren’t you living together?” she asked.

“Kind of,” I said.

“Kind of?” she scoffed. “Her clothes are there, she sleeps in your bed, eats your food, uses your shower.” I nodded and she sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest. “Sounds like living together to me.”

“It’s not like we’d been dating for a while and I asked her to move in. She needed a place to crash. Everything else came later.”

“Everything else?”

I shrugged. “You know what I mean we were spending a lot of time together and it just happened.”

“What happened?”

“Sex Madison. We had sex.” I leaned back in my seat and relived some of our more creative positions in my head as a grin crept across my face. “Lots and lots of sex.”

 

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards.

She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.

Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Google + | Goodreads

 

 

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Damned Either Way by Erin Hayes blitz with giveaway

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Damned Either Way
Erin Hayes
(The Harker Trilogy, #3)
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

The thrilling conclusion to The Harker Trilogy

I’m finally free of my family’s curse.

Except now, the world is ending. FML.

Anthony, the vampire that killed my sister and my brother-in-law, has won. I’ve lost everything. I no longer have my powers. I have no idea where Amelia is. And the vampire I love has surrendered to the hunger that is throwing the world into chaos.

The worst part? I can’t do anything about it, because I’m no longer the Harker. Sure, I’m not dying anymore, but I’m barely living at this point.

But there may be one last chance to save us all. If only I can find it in me to make one final sacrifice.

Goodreads / Amazon

The complete trilogy is on sale for only $0.99 until June 5th!

Previous books in the series:

EXCERPT:

The Twinkie is mushed and some of the cream is coming out, but as I pull it out of the wrapper, I can’t help but be gentle.

I found the single-serve pastry in a hollowed-out convenience store in downtown Birmingham a few days back. It’s the only thing resembling a cake that we’ve found on

our way to Austin. In the aftermath of the apocalypse, all the grocery stores are empty as everyone panicked and stole every little thing they could get their hands on. Many of them are now hiding out in their houses during the night.

Those that are alive anyways.

I could make a cake myself, but we are never in one place long enough for me to find an oven and make one. With one arm, it’s a little…hard.

Besides, this is just a small ritual that I want to do myself. I don’t need to decorate it. I just need to…pay tribute. With the only kind of food that would survive the apocalypse.

I light the candle that I stuck in it, its soft glow flickering in the dying light. I give a small smile, feeling my heart break.

“Happy birthday, Amelia.”


Author Bio:

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.

She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she’s an award-winning New York Times Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Street Team / Newsletter


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The Royal Treatment by M.J. Summers blitz with giveaway

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The Royal Treatment
M.J. Summers
(Crown Jewels Romance #1)
Publication date: May 23rd 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Enough laughs to satisfy fans of Bridget Jones. Enough sparkly shoes and breathtaking ball gowns for fans of Cinderella…

Twenty-eight-year-old Tessa Sharpe, a.k.a. The Royal Watchdog, hates everything about Prince Arthur. As far as she’s concerned, he’s an arrogant, lazy leech on the kingdom of Avonia. When he shocks the nation by giving her the keys to the castle in an attempt to boost his family’s dismal public approval ratings, Tessa has no choice but to accept and move in for two months. It’s lust at first sight, but there’s no way she can give in to her feelings—not if she wants to have a career or a shred of pride left when her time at the palace ends.

Ultra-private, ultra-hot Crown Prince Arthur has always gotten by on his charm. But that won’t be enough now that the Royal Family is about to be ousted from power once and for all. When Prince Arthur has to rely on the one woman in the kingdom who hates him most, he must learn that earning the love of a nation means first risking his heart…

Can two natural enemies find their forever in each other’s arms, or will they ruin each other to save themselves?

[PLEASE NOTE: The Crown Jewels Series is not a typical MJ Summers book. It’s a light romantic comedy, very heavy on the laughs with a low steam level (but lots of delicious sexual tension and some swearing).]

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Are you a book reviewer?

Request a review copy of The Royal Treatment here!

EXCERPT:

Prince Arthur:

When we reach the vault room, there are two guards standing at the door. Normally there is just one, sitting on the inside; but for nights like tonight, there are a total of six. I nod, and one of them opens the door.

“Good evening, fellows,” I say.

“Good evening, Your Highness.”

Once inside the room, we go through the same routine with the other four men. I go to the keypad and press the code, then hold my face in front of the camera for a retina scan. When I look down at Tessa, she actually looks impressed.

“A little Bond-esque, no?” I ask.

“Very.”

“Come on, Moneypenny, let’s get you something for that beautiful neck of yours.” I tug her hand and pull her in with me before she can say no.

She’s already shaking her head, but I hold up one finger. “I can see those Sharpe family brains of yours going to work on ten different reasons why you won’t borrow a necklace, but I have already prepared counterarguments, and since we are now twelve minutes behind schedule, please allow me. One, they’re already paid for, some of them hundreds of years ago, so it’s not coming out of anyone’s taxes. Two, like the books in the library, they’re going to waste in here. Three, for the first time in my life, I want to share something with someone else—someone who deserves to feel like a queen, even if she’ll only allow herself that for one measly little evening. Four, I have this fantasy of seeing you in only the jewels. Maybe the heels could stay.”

Tessa laughs and her cheeks go pink. “All right. One necklace, but make it a cheap one.”

I raise one eyebrow. “Define cheap.”

“Less than a kitchen stool.”

“How about less than a car?”

“Sofa.”

“I said ‘queen.’ Would a queen really wear a sofa around her neck?” I reach up and run my fingertips along the base of her neck.

“Would she wear a car?”

“Good point.” I lean down and kiss the crook of her neck. “How about this? You choose whichever one you like the best, and I won’t tell you how much it’s worth.”

I continue to brush my lips along her skin, then move up to her earlobe. The other night, I discovered a little spot at the base of her ear that turns her to putty. After a

moment of some careful work, I get what I want. A breathy, little ‘okay’ escapes her lips.


Author Bio:

MJ Summers made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in the UK, as well as Canada (and the top 50 Paid in the USA). Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first two books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia, with more translations underway.

MJ Summers currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, with her husband, three young children, and their goofy dog. When she’s not writing romance novels, she loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. MJ also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something. More like just staying until they turn the lights off…

MJ is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the International Women’s Writing Guild.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Guilty by Laura Elliot

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GuiltyGuilty by Laura Elliot
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After a disagreement with her parents thirteen year old Constance Lawson decides to sneak out of her house to perform a dare given to her from a secret club she’s joined. After completing the dare however something happens to Constance keeping her from returning home so the next morning her parents are frantic and begin the search for their daughter.

Karl Lawson is Constance’s uncle and had been close with his niece so when the search begins he shares that he knew of her being in the secret club but had thought he’d gotten her to give it up. As the days go by with no trace of the missing girl the media runs wild with the story and when her body is found suddenly Karl finds himself the main suspect in the crime.

Guilty by Laura Elliot is going to be one of those psychological thrillers that plenty of people fall in love with but unfortunately I wasn’t one of those people leading to my low rating with this one. For myself I found this one a bit on the slow side and hard to connect with while reading. The focus on the media or more specifically the journalist Amanda Bowe left a lot of the book being news articles which to me throws off my pace with connecting with the characters and feeling it becomes more of reading the evening news.

This book is told in four parts and to be honest if the entire story was only the first part dealing with the missing Constance I might have scored this one a bit higher also. Searching for a missing child and wanting to know just what had happened is rather intense and engaging so that part of the book had my attention. After moving on though is when it started to drag for me and I really start to question what is going on and the characters interactions. I can see why others would love it I suppose but just in my own opinion it wasn’t anywhere near as engaging a story after a certain point and this one turned out to just not be for me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Lightstruck by Liz Crowe Release Blast with giveaway

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Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.


LIGHTSTRUCK

The Brewing Passion Series #2

Liz Crowe

Releasing May 30, 2017

Totally Bound

Brewer Ross has given up on love…until he meets a woman who turns his life—and brewery—upside down.

Ross Hoffman held the potential for a perfect life in his hands—a life with Evelyn, the only woman he’d ever allowed himself to love, their baby and…her husband, Austin Fitzgerald, who also happened to be his best friend. But the challenge of trying to make a threesome into something acceptable—let alone the thought of actually sharing Evelyn with anyone—forces him to bolt. Determined to put all thoughts of their relationship behind him, Ross jumps headfirst into a new brewery job in Colorado, and back into the sort of sexual decadence that he hopes will distract him from his misery.

When he agrees to assist Austin through a spate of brewery mishaps, he lays eyes on his true fate—in the form of the petite, mysterious and exotic Elisa Nagel. Hired as assistant brewer, Elisa is absolutely everything he believes he doesn’t want in a woman. But he’s drawn to her in ways he can’t explain, and he can’t help but fall hard, fast and deep, which places him square in the middle of her horrific, until now secret backstory.

Ross is determined that his love will conquer and overcome the horrors of Elisa’s past, allowing her to trust him with the only thing he desires—her heart.

Reader Advisory: This book contains a scene with attempted rape and violence, as well as a brief scene alluding to person being drugged and raped.


Now Available for Pre-Order

CONDITIONED

Brewing Passions Book Three

Amazon

best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing

expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the

University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of

experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a

three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.


Her early

forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre,

“Romance: Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers

interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).


With

stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in

successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul,

Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe

backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and

complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the

imagination long after the book is finished.

Don’t ever

ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.


Release Day Celebration: About Last Summer by Patricia B. Tighe

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Day Celebration for

About Last Summer by Patricia B. Tighe

presented by Swoon Romance!

Check out the excerpt below, and find your next read!

 

 

Happy Book Birthday, Patricia!

 

 

 

 

Pretend to be from Spain? Act like she can barely speak English? Sure, why not? It wouldn’t be the first time Gabby Vega had agreed to a challenge from her best friend, Kenzie. Besides, it’s only for a week of vacation with Kenzie’s cousins. Gabby will prove to Kenzie she can keep up the fake identity for the whole trip—that she’s not a quitter.

There’s just one major surprise. Noah Jernigan is also staying with Kenzie’s cousins. Noah, the boy she fell in love with at drama camp last summer and the boy she had to dump when it was over. The boy who knows who she really is.

Noah can’t believe it when Gabby appears at the Bryson’s vacation home in the New Mexico mountains. He hasn’t seen her in a year. It practically took that long just to get over her. And now she’s Gabriela from Spain? All he wants is to get as far away as he can. Or maybe the exact opposite. Stick as close to her as possible and find out what the heck happened last summer. And definitely get some payback.

Now Gabby has to keep Noah at arm’s length as she pretends to be Gabriela. She doesn’t want to answer his questions or rehash last summer. Because one thing is clear—the more time she spends with Noah, the more she’s in danger of falling for him all over again.

About Last Summer by Patricia B. Tighe

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Available for Purchase:

Amazon

 

 

Gabby

We entered a bright corner room with windows on two sides and twin beds. It was pretty, but I couldn’t really take it all in.

“Sit down,” Kenzie said, taking the backpack from my shoulder. “What’s the matter? You look like you’ve lost your best friend, and I’m still right here, so talk.”

I sat on one of the beds and slid my hands under my thighs. “Remember last fall when I was getting over the guy from drama camp?”

“Yeah?”

“That’s him. Noah Jernigan.”

Kenzie’s mouth fell open. “No way.”

I nodded.

“But, how could—? I mean, I thought he lived far away from Austin, like San Diego or something.”

“No, San Antonio.”

Kenzie was shaking her head. “And he goes to Geoff’s school. What are the odds?”

“I don’t know. But I can’t stay here. This is a nightmare.”

“No, you have to stay. That would be quitting. You wanted a challenge, didn’t you?”

“This is more than a challenge. I have no idea what he’s going to do. He knows me, Kenz. He can tell everyone who I am.”

She plopped onto the opposite bed. “But you don’t know that for sure. I mean, he went along with it outside, didn’t he?”

“Yeah, but it was so sudden. After he thinks about it, he’ll probably want to stand on the table and announce it to everybody.”

Kenzie laughed. “Still. He didn’t give you away, and he could’ve.” She got up and walked to the window. After staring out for a second, she turned back. “I say wait it out. See what he’s going to do. He might be really cool about it.”

I rubbed my forehead. “Would you? If someone dumped you and a year later you saw them pretending to be somebody else … would you be nice about it?”

 

 

The mother of two grown sons, Patricia B. Tighe lives in West Texas with her husband and dog. She eats way too much pizza, drinks way too much coffee, and watches way too much NFL football. On the bright side, she also reads and writes teen fiction. She promises to include as much romance, angst, and adventure as possible in her books.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads

 

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Cover Reveal: Junk by Komal Kant

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Junk
Komal Kant
Publication date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

At twenty-five, I met both my mortal enemy and my one true love.

The problem? They ended up being the same person.

My first encounter with Wade Welsecky and his swoon-inducing, chiseled torso was a disaster of epic proportions. After giving him an accidental strip show in a coffee shop and him stealing my Gucci blouse, I became determined to run that cocky jerk over.

That was the thing about Wade—even though he pushed all my buttons, I so badly wanted him to undo them too.

Our second encounter was even worse. This time, I really did try to run him over…

…but ended up running right into a tree.

Now I’m stuck in Middle-of-Nowhere, Wisconsin with only one person in town who can help with my car troubles. That’s right. My mortal enemy, Wade Welsecky.

But with Wade as swelteringly hot as the Midwest summer, getting tangled in his sheets is quickly becoming a temptation too hard to resist. And I have a feeling I’m about to uncover a side of him that is so much more than just the sexy junk yard owner—a side the rest of the world seemingly already knows.

If I don’t run him over first…

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Komal Kant is the international bestselling author of BENEATH HIM. She writes books about falling in love, books that make you laugh in awkward locales, and that one book where you bawled so hard that you loved and hated her equally.

Her days are filled with imaginary characters who speak to her in hushed tones before stealing her lunch money, a husband who accepts all her weird writer quirks, and a criminal mastermind Shih Tzu and lapdog American Bully—he’s the muscle.

Find her latest release THE JERK NEXT DOOR on Amazon. It’s a book about an irritating, Aussie neighbor, and features a cast of characters that are cracked.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

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No Turning BackNo Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anna Graves is a new mother who has just returned to her job as a radio personality and has a hard time not worrying about her child safety especially while returning to work. Unfortunately for Anna the unthinkable does happen to her when out on a walk with her baby, approached by some young teen boys Anna fears for their safety and pulls out a weapon to have things escalate into the unthinkable, a young boy’s death at Anna’s hands.

The police believe Anna’s story of self defense and let her go but her troubles have just begun when it comes to public opinion. Being responsible for the death of a young boy haunts Anna at every turn with the media not letting the story go. Then Anna receives a chilling message from someone calling themselves the Ophelia Killer, a serial killer that had tormented the town twenty years before.

No Turning back by Tracy Buchanan was a thriller read that for me had it’s ups and downs while reading. Starting off the author gave the impression early that Anna was an overprotective worrier when it came to her child so I was expecting the attack to happen but had to read through it twice trying to figure out what set Anna to be so defensive. I guess I just didn’t see it as completely realistic to make the jump to what had happened while reading through that scene.

As the story goes on I found once you get into the serial killer portion it became a little different than the beginning had been. I wasn’t quite sure how it would all tie together though so I was still a little hesitant on whether I’d end up liking the book at all but the book did pick up for me in the latter stages. I did appreciate the ending being different than other ends of thrillers in I’d never would have thought of putting it all together so it ended up being an OK read for me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher.

Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley blitz with giveaway

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Dear Banjo
Sasha Wasley
Published by: Penguin Random House
Publication date: May 29th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.

Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she’s even spoken to Tom.

When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?

Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.

Dear Banjo is a wildly romantic and utterly captivating story about first love and second chances from an exciting new Australian author.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / GooglePlay

EXCERPT:

Somehow she managed to pack up the entire apartment overnight. On the way to the airport the next morning, Willow got the taxi driver to drop in at Tanya’s place. Her

friend was still in her pyjamas when Willow gave her the keys to her apartment and a couple of hundred dollars. Tanya tried to refuse the money but Willow pushed it into her hand.

‘No, Tan, I’ve booked professional cleaners and I need you to pay them for me. Keep whatever’s left over as a thanks. And could you possibly go in and get rid of the boxes I’ve left behind? You can have anything from them or just donate it all to charity. And then if you could just drop the keys off to the real estate agent, I’ll be grateful forever.’

Tanya nodded and her eyes went a little glassy. ‘You’re really going, aren’t you? For good, I mean.’

‘Yeah. Going home at last. I can’t believe I stayed in the city this long.’

Tears spilled down Tanya’s cheeks. ‘I’m going to miss you.’

‘Oh, Tan. You should come visit.’ Willow hugged her. ‘I’ll stay in touch.’

‘It’s not the same,’ Tanya sobbed.

‘I’ll call you in a couple of days, okay?’

Tanya nodded and gave her another tearful hug before letting Willow leave.

Jeez, Willow thought as she ran back to the taxi. Shows of emotion had never been her thing. Okay, she was moving a couple of thousand kilometres away, and she’d miss seeing Tanya at work, but surely it wasn’t worth crying over.

A memory of her sessions with a psychologist surfaced. Willow, you tend to hold people at arm’s length. Why don’t you try letting people in a little more? Willow snapped her attention back to the present, logging into the power company’s website on her phone to cancel her account.

She checked in for her flight and paid an exorbitant amount for her excess baggage before watching it glide away on the conveyer belt – the sum total of her adult life in two large suitcases. No, she remembered. 3700 square kilometres, 6500 head of cattle, a groundbreaking, humane, organic beef operation. That would be the sum total of her adult life.

She settled into her seat and thanked the heavens she’d been placed next to a young fly-in-fly-out type, probably contracted to the Herne River catchment project. He was already plugged into his tablet and watching a show involving zombies, so she wouldn’t have to talk to anyone during the flight. She wanted to write a to-do list. As soon as they were in the air she reached into her bag for a notepad and her hand met something unfamiliar. Not her notepad.

Tom’s letters.

Willow considered them, her heart rate bumping up all over again. Wouldn’t it almost be an invasion of Tom’s privacy to read them now, so long after he’d intended her to? Maybe those sleeping dogs should just be left to lie?

Yes, she would bin them all – drop them into the roving rubbish bag the next time the steward came around.

But she would be living next door to the Forrests again once she got home. By now, Tom would soon be taking over Quintilla, just as she was about to do with Paterson Downs. Their families were as close as ever. She’d need to resume some kind of relationship with Tom Forrest, no matter how difficult the initial patching up phase would be.

Maybe she could use this three-hour flight from Perth to Mount Clair to read all of Tom’s letters at last. She hadn’t even given the poor guy a chance after looking at the first couple. She’d been so absorbed in her own pain; grappling with the panic she felt every time she thought about what he’d done. Perhaps there had been an apology in one of those letters – an apology she should have acknowledged by now. A retraction of that awful moment when he’d said those words . . .

Tom’s handwriting was scrawled across the front of the topmost envelope – always familiar, no matter how long it had been. Willow took a shaky breath. Seven-thirty in the morning was a little early for a stiff drink, so she requested a coffee and pulled out the first two letters; the ones she’d opened and read ten years earlier.

Dear Banjo,

Happy New Year. I guess you’re settled in at the student hall by now. You sure went early. The other kids who got in aren’t leaving until February. I don’t know where you’re staying so I asked Beth to send this on to you. You might have heard I’m probably not going to take up my offer of a place at uni. I’m thinking I’ll defer my course – for now, anyway. Dad’s not fazed. He won’t have to hire extra help this way, not to mention the savings on the tuition fees. Mum’s not overly happy but I keep telling her it’s only for the year. She asks a lot of questions. Not really sure what else to say to you, Banjo. It’s weird without you. Whenever I’m on the quad I turn towards Patersons before I remember you’re not there any more. I keep thinking I’ll see you at the eastern gate, sitting on Rusty, ready for a fenceline race. You knew I’d always beat you but you’d have a go anyway. So, yep. Really weird. You’ve always just been there. I guess it doesn’t quite compute yet. Take care of yourself in the big city, okay?

Tom

P.S. We should probably try to sort this mess out.


Author Bio:

Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.

She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.

Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.

Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.

Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.

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