Monday, September 1, 2014

SUNNY - BLOG TOUR, GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: "Five Weeks" by Dannika Dark


Five Weeks
(Seven Series, Bk #3)
By Dannika Dark 
Thanks for joining us on the Blog Tour for Five Weeks.  We have something special for you today.  Dannika has written a Guest Post sharing with us the Playlist for Five Weeks. We also have an excerpt and a grand Giveaway. 

Blurb:
Izzy has always loved the freedom and adventure of life on the road, but she’s recently decided to settle down—as much as a rogue wolf can. When her boyfriend gets her a job working at a hot Shifter bar, she runs into the last person on earth she expected to see again.

Jericho isn't the famous rock star he once was, though he still plays in a local band and loves to party. Beautiful women come and go, but music is his only passion—until a sassy redhead named Isabelle Monroe shows up unexpectedly.

Fate reunites two former friends living with one foot in the present and the other in the past. But will they have a future when one of them is forced to choose between life and death? Old habits die hard, and sometimes the toughest addictions to shake are the ones that control our hearts.




Available for purchase at 


      



Five Weeks Playlist by Dannika Dark

I don’t listen to music while writing, but I love hearing an amazing song that fits a scene perfectly. Over the years I’ve been adding music to “book” playlists for fun, but it’s also a great way for a reader to slip into a scene from the author’s perspective. This one ended up growing a little longer than my others, but music is at the heart of the story.

Five Weeks centers around a rock star named Jericho— a man who once had a taste of success. Unfortunately, that fame came at a price and almost cost him his life. Now his gigs are local, but his life still revolves around music.

This story is about a couple torn apart by misunderstandings and time. They weren’t in the right place in their lives to be together, so a lot of songs reflect that, like “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” and “With or Without You.” The tune “Yesterday” encapsulates their relationship best and sets up a scene in the book. I can’t listen to that song without thinking of Jericho and Izzy.

In the end, “Love Will Find a Way.”

PLAYLIST

“Night of the Hunter” by Thirty Seconds to Mars
“Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye
“Yesterday” by the Beatles
“Your Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues
“Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin
“Clementine” by Sarah Jaffe
“With or Without You” by U2
“If You See Her, Say Hello” by Bob Dylan
“Far Behind” by Candlebox
“Let her Go” by Passenger
“How Can I tell You (That I love you) by Liz Durrett
“She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)” by David Guetta
“I just Want to Make Love to You” by Foghat
“This Love” by Maroon 5
“Love Will Find a Way” by Tesla
“You were Always on my Mind” by Willie Nelson
“Closer” by Nine Inch Nails
“Love Me Again” by John Newman
“Isabelle” by Michael Kaeshammer
“Thinking out loud” by Ed Sheeran




As the men dispersed, a warm feeling slid over my body when I looked up at Jericho. His eyes were hooded and low, but when he melted me with a possessive gaze, my feet cemented to the floor.

He moved toward me with the grace of a panther—slow and predatory. The external noise from the bar faded away, and all I heard were his silken words as he caressed the ends of my hair, looking at it between his fingers.

“You haven’t changed,” he said in quiet words.

“What do you mean by that?”

Jericho bent down and his mouth brushed against my ear. “Still sexy as sin and making me protect you.”

Goose bumps erupted over my arms. “No one said you had to protect me. I’m not the shy girl you once knew.” My heart raced. The inflection in my tone wasn't as harsh as I’d planned it to be, my words breathy and unsure.

His warm body pressed against mine and when I stepped back, I bumped into a wooden post that pinned me to him. Tingles raced through my body uncontrollably, and I lost the ability to think rationally when I smelled his cologne. Men never had this kind of effect on me. His power slid down my body like hands against my naked flesh.

Jericho had a smile that aroused, and combined with his voice, it became an aphrodisiac.

Or maybe it was the way his callused fingers lightly stroked the back of my neck, as if I were an instrument. As he played me, memories flooded my mind, and I shoved him away, panting and trembling.

Jericho worked his jaw in a frustrated manner, his brows slanting down with a look of disbelief. He shook his head and then backed up.

A brunette appeared out of nowhere in a revealing top that displayed her breasts like cookies in a bakery: warm, tempting, and something you’d regret later.

“How’s my sexy man?” she asked, tucking her fingers possessively in his jeans and nipping on his arm. “You want to go have some fun?”

His eyes stayed locked on mine as he circled his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. She moaned playfully as he squeezed her hip, testing if I had my temper under control.

So I played his game.

“Can I get you a drink, honey?” I asked her. “Maybe some milk in a dish?”

Sometimes I could spot the cats. It was all in the purr and the way they slinked their bodies.

“No, thanks,” she replied. “I have something else in mind I want to put in my mouth.”

When she stroked his crotch, I blinked in surprise. Not just because she had the audacity to do that in front of me, but the fact that Jericho tilted his head and gave me a “so what?” look.

So what?

Maybe he was right. All that connected us were five amazing years, and that was a lifetime ago. Seeing him made me raw again. Those feelings caught up with me like a shadow that had never let go. Part of me wanted to squeeze him tight and tell him how much I’d missed him—because I had. Jericho had shown me the private side of himself he never gave to others, and I’d done the same for him. Another part of me wanted to hate him for the anguish he’d put me through. And yet, I couldn't help but feel elated knowing that despite his insolence, Jericho wasn't lying in a grave as I’d imagined. He’d somehow assembled his life into something meaningful and gotten a grip on his demons.

Meanwhile, my demons were currently on the rampage and waving pitchforks.

So I said cutting words that hurt because I meant them, and yet I didn't.

“I wish I’d never met you.”







This is the segment where you learn a little more about who I am, so here's what I can tell you:  I drink copious amounts of vitamin water placed precariously close to my laptop while writing. These are two healthy habits I have no intention of breaking. I'm a transplant living in the south, but I was born in the 70's to a military dad who moved us around the world.

When I'm not writing (which is all the time), I'm hunting down Indie music, watching movies, reading, eating Tex-Mex, discovering new ways to humiliate myself bowling, and burning up my laptop battery on the Internet. I have a relaxed, easy-going personality and don't like drama. I live with a cat who thinks she is a dog, or a goat (she eats plastic, so I'm not sure which).

Throughout my life, I've had insomnia. Counting sheep never worked and eventually I would imagine those sheep were the sole source of food after an apocalyptic battle where only thousands survived. I made up stories in a futile attempt to bore myself to sleep. The problem was, I got so wrapped up in my "head stories" that I would continue them through the following nights, changing it up each time to make it more exciting. Eventually, I started writing my ideas down - creating short stories, and then I discovered my love for poetry.

It's almost embarrassing how many spiral notebooks and stacks of paper I have of poetry and lyrics.

Another passion: digital art. I design all my book covers, marketing, and series art. I'm a very visual person and pursued photography as an avid hobby for many years.

I am not a YA author (I feel like I have to state this only because I've had a few people ask), but I think it's wonderful there are so many books available to teens in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.

I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do: giving my characters a pulse through writing full time. I focus on adult urban fantasy romance, but I don't like labels and I enjoy blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability.

But it's what I love to do.

Danni

You can find Dannika here: 

            


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Saturday, August 30, 2014

SUNNY - ARC BOOK REVIEW: "Evernight" by Kristen Callihan




Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.

Evernight is book 5 in the Darkest London series.

I started reading this series after the 2014 RT Convention.  I attended a session where Kristen Callihan was on the panel and I won a copy Shadowdance. Having never read any of the books, I decided to start from book 1. I quickly became immerse in the world of shifters, elementals, demons and other immortals.  But more than anything, I became enamored with the stories. Kristen Callihan has a way of writing deeply emotional stories with suspenseful plots.  Getting so involved in their humanness, I don’t think of the characters as paranormals. Evernight is no different.

I would rank this story only second to Shadowdance (which I would nominate as one of the top three books I’ve read this year). I’m not sure I will ever recover from the despair I felt over Jack’s story.  This story also starts with a hero who experiences an excruciating past. Will is desperate to get revenge against the person he thinks is responsible for his current condition.  For me, although Will is a strong character, it is Holly that is unforgettable. She is human with an elemental gift over metal.  She is an inventor, an engineer, a mechanic succeeding in 19th Century, male dominated world. She is a member of the SOS (The Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals). As Q is to James Bond, Holly Evernight is to the SOS. What makes Holly’s character unforgettable is that she is the stoic one in the relationship. Will is the passionate one. As a sanguis demon, “bonds were emotional ties that wrapped about a sanguis’s soul quickly and dug in deep.” Holly grew up in a household in which she was loved, but didn’t necessarily feel a lot of affection.  She holds people and relationships at arms length.  She can legitimately sequester herself in her lab and others would not necessarily know she is hiding. She is not mercurial, but rather slow and steady, methodical and process driven.  It is Will who brings her to life, shows her joy, helps her live. Ah, so satisfying.

One thing that strikes me about this book is how superbly the author builds suspense. There are multiple story lines developing and, unlike some other stories I’ve read recently, one thread does not take away from the other.  The narrative is delicately balanced.

This also has one of my favorite endings in any book.  First, I love the look-across-the-room instant. It is heartbreaking.  Secondly, there is a classic meet-at-the-train-station-moment that made my knees buckle and brought tears to my eyes. It is an intensely emotional moment written so well you can see them running across the platform and hear the music in the background.  Another ah, so satisfying moment.


When you buy this book, be ready to be thrilled. You may want to start on a weekend because you will not want to put it down.


Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SUNNY - BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY: "I Want It That Way" by Ann Aguirre

Are you a fan of Ann Aguirre?  So are we.  From Sci Fi to YA, we love her work.  So, join us for this highly anticipated book in the New Adult genre.  We have an review, giveaway, and links to the first chapters of all three books in the series!  Enjoy!

Summary:
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned."
—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You


I WANT IT THAT WAY on Goodreads


My review begins with a question from the Epilogue: “…would you have been as interested…,if you’d known?”  Yes! Yes! Yes!  For me, this book begins once Nadia makes this choice.  Up until then, the story seemed rushed.  Certainly, there is a certain amount of insta-love present in most romance novels, but I did not understand the mutual attraction between Nadia and Tyler.  There isn’t much to substantiate the attraction. The relationship begins when they start a conversation on their respective balconies and then BAM! Love blooms when Nadia confesses that Tyler is hot.

One of the things I like most about Nadia is that she is refreshingly upfront and honest.  She doesn’t hem and haw, doesn’t play games, and wears her heart on her sleeve. With that level of honesty, the story clips along. Couple that with Tyler’s stoicism, and you have a fast moving relationship, maybe just a little too fast. When Tyler says, "You make me...better. Calmer," I want to believe him, but I want to know why beyond just her voice.

However, once we hit a certain point in the story where Nadia makes a critical choice, this book becomes a powerhouse.  I loved her courage, strength and spirit.  I found the idea of breaking through expectations and convention empowering and uplifting.  I cried for the first time in a long time and cheered out loud. The last third of the story made the entire book for me.

We are also introduced to Nadia’s merry band of roommates.  They play an essential role in the story and I am attached to them. Being more than roommates, I relish the family they create for one another. It's clear that their is an interesting road ahead for them and I can’t wait to see where Ann Aguirre takes their stories.

In a Nutshell:
Even with the quick and early development of the relationship, I still recommend that you pick up this book for its satisfying ending and strong secondary characters. 

Other Books in the 2B Trilogy:





Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads | Newsletter SignUp




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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SUNNY - Dare Series Spotlight, Review of Dare to Love, and Giveaway by Carly Phillips




RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 8

Decklan Dare knows about the unexpected loss of loved ones and for this reason, he values control in all areas of his life. Amanda Collins enjoys the freedom she finds in casual encounters without the emotional connection a relationship brings. They meet and their physical attraction is mutual but both experience feelings that could run deeper – if they drop their guard and let each other in. Decklan is first to trust, but when he discovers the secret Amanda’s been hiding, will he forgive? Or will he rebuild every wall before she has a chance to explain?



THESE GREAT TITLES ARE ALREADY RELEASED BUT HAVE AMAZING NEW COVERS
Dare to Love

When it comes to family, Ian Dare gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. Until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him dealing his half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget. 



Riley Taylor believes herself immune to domineering men – until charismatic Ian Dare turns a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and she discovers she likes his brand of control in the bedroom. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything. (love story, contemporary romance, alpha heroes, beach reads, sports heroes, bad boys, billionaire)

Buy Links: AMAZON | B & N | iTunes


Dare to Love is an over-the-top, erotic, romance story.  It starts with an attraction between Ian and Riley that is so intense that it is almost an interstellar black hole, "...the minute he caught sight of her alone at the bar, he'd gone after her, compelled by a force beyond his understanding."  Admittedly, I was a smidge annoyed at the blatant insta-love but when I decided to read this book as pure escapist fare, I could suspend my cynicism and enjoy the story. 

There are pockets of goodness in this narrative including the relationship between Ian and his estranged father. His father and mother married out of obligation.  Consequently, his father has a long-running affair with his true love that results in a second family.  Ultimately, Ian's father leaves his mother which results in Ian's major trust issues. Currently, Ian despises his father for leaving and giving more to his second family, but the author leaves room for the possibility of a relationship and that is appealing. 

Riley comes from an abusive household where her father consistently and cruelly dominated her mother.  From that she has an aversion to controlling men which then extends to a desire to avoid most relationships. 

Their relationship is very monochromatic - black or white.  They are all-in or all-out.  Lines get drawn and, at first, there is no give. "...You either trust me or you don't. You either instinctively come to me first or there is no us.  On that, I can't compromise."  It is difficult to sustain such a high standard and, as you can imagine, there is bound to be conflict. Which is what makes the forgiveness and reconciliation all the more sweet. 

IN A NUTSHELL:
Highly entertaining, if a little implausible, this book is a nice way to lose yourself for a few hours.  Consider it a good summer read by the pool or for a rainy day.  


Dare to Desire

Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all -- an all-star football career and his choice of willing women -- until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows what it means to have-not. She isn't impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. 

This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily. But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. Can he convince Madison to take a risk and dare to love? 

 Buy Links: Amazon |  B&N  | iTunes 


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today's readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.



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