Friday, April 18, 2014

SUNNY: COVER REVEAL "Hard to Hold On To" by Laura Kaye



HardToHoldOnTo hires

 Hard to Hold On To
by Laura Kaye
Release Date:  August 19, 2014
Series:  Hard Ink #2.5


BLURB:
Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves--which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago. Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude. As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

Pre-Order at Amazon | Amazon.ca | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

A Note from Laura:

Hey guys! I am so excited about Easy’s book that I can hardly wait for August to get here! Easy’s character was a total surprise to me. When I initially plotted out the series, there were four surviving members of the Army Special Forces team and therefore I planned for and sold four book in the series. But then, when I sat down to write Hard As It Gets, all of a sudden the story demanded there were actually five guys, and Edward “Easy” Cantrell was born. And I’m so glad! Because Easy’s character is a totally tortured hero, which I adore writing! So I’m super happy that we added his story and this novella into the series, and I can’t wait for you to learn about Easy in Hard to Hold On To! Is it August yet??? xo, Laura 

Praise for the Hard Ink Series: 

For Hard As You Can: "TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!" ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine 

"Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!" ~San Francisco Book Review 

For Hard As It Gets: "Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!" ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward 

"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna." ~Publishers Weekly Review 

"Kaye's depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks' KGI and Julia Ann Walker's Black Knight's series." ~Booklist 



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.   

     

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SUNNY: ARC REVIEW "Flames of Love" by Melissa Foster




BLURB:
As one of New York’s Finest, firefighter Cash Ryder is always prepared. When a woman’s car skids off the side of a mountain during a snowstorm, he’s there to rescue her. Cash is totally focused on the woman’s well-being, but within minutes of getting her to safety, he realizes that he’s nowhere near prepared for the heat that rolls off of sensual, smart-mouthed, and stubborn Siena Remington.

As a model, Siena Remington has dated some of the wealthiest, most handsome men in the industry, and she’s made peace with the idea that most men are just looking for eye candy and they wouldn’t know how to romance a woman to save their lives. When she’s rescued by a tall, handsome stranger, she thinks that maybe, just maybe, she’s found her own real-life romantic fairy tale—until he opens his mouth and everything that comes out is gruff, ornery, and aggravatingly sexy.

Thrown together during an annual firehouse calendar photo shoot, the passion between Cash and Siena sizzles, and neither one knows how to control the flames. After an evening of verbal sparring followed by a sinfully sensual night, their darkest secrets are revealed—and so is Cash’s warm, romantic heart. But Siena’s secret might be too much for big, strong, always-prepared Cash to handle—and Siena is forced to choose between a man who’s everything she’s ever dreamed of and an opportunity of a lifetime.

REVIEW:
Flames of Love is book 3 in the Love In Bloom: The Remingtons series.

Melissa Foster is one of the first people I started following on Twitter.  I'm ashamed to say that despite all this time, I never read any of her books.  So when this opportunity came up, I jumped at it.  I recognize this is the third book in the Remingtons series and it is a part of the larger Love in Bloom series that focuses on different families. However, this book can be read as a stand alone.

This is a hidden gem.  I would put Melissa Foster's story up there with any of the top contemporary romance writers.  The story is coherent. The characters are likeable and strong. I love the idea of a strong-willed woman who just wants to be wooed and not objectified. But what really gets me is Melissa Fosters humor and a shared disdain for scrunchies:  "'Do you have one of those things girls keep on their wrists?' [referring to scrunchies] She laughed. 'No, it's not the eighties.'"

Cash is a marvel. I love his honesty and forthrightness. He knows his own mind. The dialogue between the two characters is refreshingly mature.  I reveled in it.  The interactions between our two main characters is so tension-filled that bedroom scenes are jaw-clenching intense.

My biggest criticism is the ending.  The whole episode is crazy and Siena acts in an irresponsible manner.  Her behavior puts other people at risk.  Furthermore, for Cash to joke about it, "That's my girl.  Unprepared and willing to risk the life of others", is a little off-putting. 

IN A NUTSHELL:
I think this story is best summed up by the quote: "They make you crazy; then they make you love them. Then they make you crazy again, but by then you're in too deep to do anything but love them more."  I'm now going back to read the previous books in the series.   Can't wait!


Don't forget to continue on the tour.  Click here to join us at additional blog stops.

Can't get enough of Melissa Foster's books or just want to start one?  Here's your chance to get two of them for FREE. 

As part of the blog tours, Melissa Foster is giving away two of her books.  This is a limited time offer available during the tour.  So, come on! Get your copy!



Available for FREE:

Sisters in Love:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble

Lovers at Heart :   AmazonBarnes and Noble 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SUNNY: COVER REVEAL - "Never Doubt Me" by S.R. Grey




Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2)

By S.R. Grey 
New Adult Contemporary Romance
(recommended for readers 17+ due to mature content)
Releasing May 2014

Can a tattooed, former bad boy leave his past behind? Can he find lasting happiness with the love of his life?

Gorgeous and sexy Chase Gartner hopes to do just that with Kay Stanton. But when Chase’s troubled teen brother, Will, stays on in Harmony Creek, Ohio—-after an unexpected arrival-—Chase and Kay’s bonds of love and commitment are soon tested.

Chase finds himself caught up in secrets—-and revisiting a past he thought he’d left behind—-when Will makes a number of irresponsible decisions. Despite Chase’s attempts to keep his brother out of trouble, Will’s reckless behavior continues, affecting not only Chase and Kay, but other residents in town...one disastrously so.

But it’s the final, potentially deadly decision Will makes when his girlfriend runs into trouble back in Las Vegas that leads Chase to make a fateful decision of his own. A choice that threatens his relationship with Kay.

Never Doubt Me is a touching, poignant story of love, redemption, and coming to grips with the fact that escaping the past is never easy.

New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres. 2nd novel in the Judge Me Not series.

***warning: contains explicit sexual situations, drug use, some violence, and profanity***

 Find it on:  Goodreads

About the Author

S.R. Grey is the bestselling author of Harbour Falls, Willow Point, and Wickingham Way, all novels in A Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy/series. She is also the author of the New Adult novels I Stand Before You, the first book in the Judge Me Not series, and Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2). Never Doubt Me release date is scheduled for May 2014.
 
Other novels slated for 2014 are Just Let Me Love You (Judge Me Not #3) and another New Adult novel, Inevitable Detour.

When not writing, Ms. Grey can be found reading, traveling, running, or cheering for her hometown sports teams.






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Thursday, April 10, 2014

SUNNY: ARC REVIEW "Far Gone" by Laura Griffin


BLURB:
To save her only brother, Andrea Finch must face down a criminal mastermind, the FBI, and her own demons in this thrilling novel from the author of the bestselling Tracers series.

Police detective Andrea Finch is a rising star in her department until a split-second decision derails her career. Disgraced and disillusioned, she's on leave from her job when she gets an urgent call from her younger brother. She'd prefer to ignore his latest plea for cash, but this time instinct tells her something is very wrong. Andrea's search for answers takes her to a dusty Texas border town where danger lurks in plain sight and nothing is quite what it seems.

FBI agent Jon North is working undercover in west Texas investigating an unsolved murder that may be linked to a broader plot. But when the evidence points to Andrea&amp's brother, Jon finds that persuading the stubborn cop to help will be harder than cracking his toughest case.

Andrea must find a way to do what's right while protecting her only sibling. As the clock ticks down on a deadly plot, Andrea and Jon race to confront a heartless killer who will stop at nothing to deliver a final, terrifying message.


REVIEW:
Laura Griffin is one of my go-to authors when I want a good romantic suspense story.  I've enjoyed her Tracer's series, and I'm especially fond of this one. I would imagine that it is somewhat challenging to write a long running series.  This particular book felt fresh to me.  Giving only a nominal nod to the past characters, we start with two cops - one local, one federal - with they eyes on the same bad guy but for wholly different reasons. 

This book is satisfying. It hits all the right notes.  Having worked for an organization that tracks and studies extremist groups, the author got the details right. The story is balanced with the right amount of tension, complexity, and romance. The storyline is suspenseful and thrilling. My one small criticism is that although I enjoyed the characters, I wish they were a little more memorable. Looking back at the book, I could tell you about the conspiracy and terrorist threat but can barely remember the names of the characters. 

IN A NUTSHELL:
Even with the small criticism, this is a fantastic read and one I'm certain readers will enjoy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SUNNY: SNEAK PEEK "Make It A Double" by Sawyer Bennett


MAKE IT A DOUBLE
by  Sawyer Bennett
Last Call, #2
Adult Contemporary Romance
Releasing April 21, 2014

Here's a sneak peek into Sawyer Bennett's latest.  You are not going to want to miss this story featuring Brody Markham. 

BLURB:
Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.

Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.

Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.

While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.

*MAKE IT A DOUBLE can be read as a stand-alone*



SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT

I put the last of my groceries away, fold up the brown paper bags, and tuck them in the space between my refrigerator and the kitchen wall. Turning around, I observe my little studio apartment. I see it all in just a quick glance, because it’s about the size of a postage stamp.

While I just helped Gabby move into Hunter’s house, I certainly didn’t need to ask them to reciprocate the favor. The only things I own are my clothes, and those were gifts to me from my mom. She had taken me out shopping the day after I got home from prison, outfitting me with an entirely new wardrobe. I mean… new as opposed to wearing prison garb for five years. I felt ashamed that my mom had to buy her twenty-eight-year-old son clothes because he didn’t have a dime to his name.

Past my clothes and some basic toiletries, I have no other possessions. The car I’m driving is courtesy of my parents… on loan, of course. It’s an old Chevy Malibu that had been sitting under a tarp, which Dad used to drive. They don’t use it, but it runs fine. Mom and Dad tried to give it to me, but I wouldn’t accept it. Instead, I capitulated only by agreeing that I was borrowing it until I could save up enough money to buy it from them.

Luckily, this studio apartment came completely furnished, and the kitchen was stocked with dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. I had all the basics that I needed to survive, because let’s face it… it wasn’t too fucking hard to boil some Ramen noodles for dinner, and that was a huge step up from the prison food I’d been eating.

So with my duffel bag filled with clothes purchased by my mom, I drove my old Chevy borrowed from my parents to the grocery store and stocked up on some basic provisions. Then it took me all of five minutes to move into my new home.

A knock on my door has me glancing down at my watch.

Right on time.

In three regular strides, I’m from one side of the apartment to the other and opening the door. There stands my parole officer, Jimbo Peaks. He is six-foot-six of solid muscle, his neck as thick as a tree truck, and his biceps the size of smoked hams. With skin darker than midnight, his light hazel eyes are spooky as shit when he looks directly at you, in that contemplative sort of way I’ve come to know over the last two months since I’ve been home.

“What’s up, Brody?” he says with a huge grin on his face, sticking his hand out for me to shake.

I take his hand, and it freaks me out how mine is dwarfed by his. I mean… I’m not a small man myself, almost as tall as Jimbo, in fact. But when comparing my muscle mass to his, I feel downright puny and I kept myself in pretty decent shape while in prison. Other than reading, working out was about the only thing that was a resourceful use of my time.

“Come on in,” I tell him as I step back so he can enter.

Jimbo walks into my humble abode and turns around once. Yup… he’s seen everything. A small kitchen on one side that merges right into my living room that abuts one wall. A double bed takes up the other wall, and the bathroom takes up another. It’s four hundred and fifty feet of cozy living, situated right above Mabel Fisher’s three-car garage.

Miss Mabel is older than Methuselah but has been a friend of our family’s since I was a baby. She’s eccentric, rich as hell, and loves to thumb her nose at polite society.
And by polite society, I mean those people here on the islands that look at me in disdain because I killed someone.

Not Mabel though. She was at my parents’ house within forty-eight hours of my return home, giving me a hug and a papery kiss, then making me sit down while she drank tea and filled me in on all the Outer Banks’ gossip for the past five years. She’s a trip… a breath of fresh air, and one of the few around here willing to give me a chance. When she offered to rent this apartment to me for a ridiculously small amount, I couldn’t say no.

“Nice digs man,” Jimbo’s deep voice rumbles. “All moved in?”

“Yup. Bag of clothes and some groceries. I’m settled.”

Jimbo chuckles and moves to my small kitchen table that seats only two people. Sitting down, he motions to the other chair so I do the same. “How does it feel to be out of your parents’ house?”

I crack a small smile and tap my fingers on the kitchen table. “It’s good. I mean… I love my parents, but it was time for me to get my own place.”

“Heard that,” Jimbo agrees, and then transitions into his next question. “How’s work going?”

“Going great,” I tell him, because it is. I enjoy working at Last Call, and I’m thankful as fuck I have a job. Most parolees struggle to find work, or get shit jobs that scrape the bottom of the barrel. When they can’t find work because no one will take a chance on them, they go back to a life of crime. If I had a nickel for every repeat offender I met in prison, who was there just because they couldn’t make an honest living, well… I’d be buying Mabel’s house from her rather than renting this apartment.

Jimbo doesn’t seem satisfied with my short answer, so he delves a bit more. It’s his job to make sure I can acclimate to life on the outside, so I’m not bothered when he asks, “Any problem being around the alcohol?”

“Nah,” I tell him genuinely. “No desire to drink at all.”

“That’s good,” he says with a smile. “Seeing as how that’s a condition of your parole.”

“Look, man… doesn’t matter if it’s a condition or not, there is nothing on this earth that could get me to drink a drop of alcohol.”

“And why is that?” he asks, but he knows the answer.

I tell him anyway.

“Because it shattered my life. Because it killed a man. It left a mother without a husband and a little boy without a father. Need any other reason?”

“No,” Jimbo says quietly, staring at me with those light eyes. “That’s a good enough reason.”

I hold his gaze, waiting for the next question. We’ve had this same meeting on five other occasions since I came home, but today it’s being done at my new home so he can check it out. As a parole officer, his role is part jail keeper, part counselor. It’s his responsibility to keep me on the straight and narrow, but to also do what he can to make sure my head is clear when I’m making my choices. So that involves talking… a lot. Just to make sure that the emotional and psychological toll of reentering the real world doesn’t cast me in a downward spiral.

Yeah, I talk a lot to Jimbo. He knows more of my internal struggles dealing with life on the outside than my family does. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to open up to him—somewhat—in a way that I just haven’t with my family. I suppose that boils down to the simple fact that Jimbo asks me questions… asks me how I’m feeling and how I’m coping. My parents, my identical twin Hunter, my baby sister, Casey… while they love me more than the air they breathe, well… they’re just not sure what is open to talk about and what may be taboo. So they walk on eggshells.

“Tell me some of the problems you’ve had adjusting?” Jimbo leads in.

Heard this question before too, and my answer the last time was, Not anything to tell.
I start to tell him the same thing, but the look on his face stops me. It says, And don’t hand me any bullshit, either.

I suppose I can skirt the real issues only so long before Jimbo is apt to put me in a headlock and beat the information out of me. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I decide to go ahead and lay it out. “I wake up at five AM every day, no matter what time I get to sleep the night before. It’s because I’ve been getting up at the same time every morning for the last five years… because I had no choice but to get up every morning at five AM. I don’t even know how to have a leisurely morning where I sleep in. When I go to sleep at night, I can hear metal cots squeaking and my cell mate rubbing one off while he tries to stifle his groans into the two-inch piece of flimsy foam that’s called a pillow. I hear the newbies crying, and I hear the lifers telling them to shut the fuck up. When I’m awake… out in the real world, I can’t walk around a blind corner without my palms sweating, because I’m expecting someone will be there waiting to jump me. I was always on alert… I’m still always on alert. The air smells too fresh, the food tastes too good, people talk too loud, and I’m having a hard time letting people touch me. It’s overwhelming and that’s just for starters, Jimbo. So yeah,” I say with some sarcasm as my eyes drop to the table. “I’m having a bit of an adjustment problem.”

“How does all of that make you feel?”

My eyes slowly rise to meet his. “I’m pissed off. All the time. I’m withdrawn, moody, and restless. I have all this wide-open space available to me, yet I’m having a hard time straying too far from the things that are safe to me. So I go to work, and I go home. 
That’s it.”

Jimbo gives me that contemplative look, and I can see the wheels turning inside his head. I’m prepared for him to launch into a pep talk, about how I have a chance to make something with my life… to atone for my mistakes and put the past behind me. Instead, he says, “You know… there’s something odd about you.”

My eyebrows shoot up and, for a moment, I consider being affronted by that statement, but then I just mentally shrug my shoulders. Odd is one of many things that I am.

“How’s that?” I ask.

“I’ve been doing this work close to twelve years now… and I can count on one hand the amount of parolees I’ve had that don’t try to convince me that they didn’t do it… or they were framed… or hell, even if they did do it, they blame a corrupt system for sending them away.” He pauses, his green-gold eyes flickering back and forth between mine. “But not you. You accepted responsibility and never once tried to blame someone or something else for your lot in life. It just makes you… odd.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I lean back in my chair. “No one to blame but myself.”

“That’s right,” Jimbo says with a nod. “No one to blame but yourself, and you’ve done a remarkable job accepting responsibility. In fact, you’ve done such a good job at it… some might say that it would help you have a clear conscience.”

“What’s your point?” I ask, genuinely curious as to where he’s going with this.

“My point is that if you truly took responsibility and had a clear conscience, then you should have some measure of peace.”

I scratch my chin absently, pondering his words. I did the time. I took my lumps and accepted my punishment. Should that give me peace?

Jimbo’s probably right. In those circumstances, maybe my soul should feel a little lighter… more free. If I truly was remorseful for what happened, and I truly had done my penance, I shouldn’t be struggling the way I am.

Except… my circumstances aren’t exactly the way Jimbo describes it. He sees my sorrow and guilt, but he doesn’t see past that. Because there’s a whole lot more that makes up Brody Markham’s fucked-up world than just the after effects of a few years in prison. My issues started before I even got sent away.

About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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