Friday, June 23, 2017

REVIEW: Oversight by Santino Hassell

OVERSIGHT by Santino Hassell
Series: The Community, Book #2
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date (Print & Ebook): June 26th, 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): 242 pages
Subgenre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal
Links: (Amazon, B&N, etc are available on release day)

Shel: Is all PNR like this because if it is then why the hell haven't I been reading more of it more often? I'm such a newb when it comes to PNR but if it's anything like the world Santino Hassell has created with this series than I'm one part pissed at myself for not getting into this scene earlier (with the exception of Anne Rice and her Nola Vampires) and one part excited about a whole new world of books that is opening to me. I love how this series blends the world I know into one I don't inhabit (to my knowledge) and makes me seriously question whether psychics exist. Seriously. Mr. Hassell is so convincing in his characterization and world building that it doesn't seem out of the norm that pys on every part of the spectrum could be walking around me right now *shrugs* either I'm that gullible or Hassell is that good (I'm going with the later, for obvious reasons). Court: Shel! Yes! LOL! This is what I've been saying! Now...there is so much to love about this world and it is a world that sucks you in immediately and it multifaceted in a complex way but still tugs at your heart in all of the right moments. The writing is so good, and the characters are complex (I said that I know, but you have no idea how important this is) and the plot is complex and the setting feels like another character. I felt so many emotions in this and any given page might change how those emotions were processed. But at this point, all I can say is wow! Gimme more! 

Shel: In addition to creating a convincing PNR world, Hassell also convinced me to actually like Holden--somehow turning him from a somewhat douchey charm-meister into a man who I ended up feeling a lot of empathy for. And I think that Six was an important part of this change. Actually, there were a few people who may have nudged him along, but Six was the one that had the most significant impact. His lack of tolerance for Holden's bullshit, his unwavering honesty, and his calm and steady influence all helped spur Holden into action. I enjoyed how Hassell created them for each other and how they were equally responsible for helping break down or through barriers that they each used as protective mechanisms. I also liked the dichotomy I imagined between the two- a hardness and a softness, gruffness and charm, experienced and inexperienced--it really worked for me. Court: It did. I also think there are a lot of observations spurned by Six that Holden experienced in how he used his gift to manipulate people. I think that really affected him in a profound way...if we could know what people are feeling at any given moment...and were able to say and do things based on that...just wow. He pondered if any of his interpersonal relationships were ever real, and definitely knew that most of his sexual ones weren' really made him grow as a character and I really enjoyed all of the character development intermixed in with all of the action and suspense. 

Shel: Additionally, I enjoyed the way the suspense built and the tension amped up as the novel raced toward the end. I'm just as anxious as ever to see how things will end up for all of these characters. The ending of Oversight has me hungry for answers about so many things and eager to see which of those things Hassell focuses on in the last book. He's done a really great job of handling PNR and romance and suspense and really keeping the threads of all of those things going in a way that is interesting and satisfying while keeping me on edge as I wait for more. Court: Urban fantasy somewhat fits this too...that we're in a realistic setting really makes it all the more believable for us. I fell in love with some characters that we didn't even get to meet and now all that much, and hated others. I really went through the ringer with my emotions, and I have to say...I cannot wait for the next book! You should read this right away because it is amazing. 

Book Blurb:

Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.

Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

Six was sitting behind the desk, once again clad in a skintight polo buttoned up all the way but this time paired with cargo pants. As he sat on the edge of the chair with his thighs spread, Holden was waiting for all those muscles to burst the seams.

"Why do you dress like an extra from Jersey Shore?"

"I'd have to pop my collar for that." He only paused in his typing when a surprised laugh fell from Holden’s mouth. Raising an eyebrow at me, Six said, "Was I not supposed to get the reference?"

"Well, you're a cyborg so I didn't think you would."

Six turned in the chair so he was facing Holden. He had on his default neutral face, but a slight twitch of his brow and lip betrayed possible amusement at the comment. Was there some getting through to him after all, or were they destined to stare at each other in mutual blankness to see who could emote the least for the next… however long he'd be here as Holden's handler?

"Not having an empathy chip doesn't make me a cyborg. There are plenty of ways to figure someone out without feeling any of their vibes."

Holden crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall next to the desk. "As someone who was born with an empathy chip with elephantiasis, color me skeptical."

Six mirrored his post, crossing his arms and leaning back in the chair with his thighs spread. The view of thick thighs and a good sized bulge were a temptation Holden didn't try to resist. He glanced down twice before managing to hold Six's steady gaze.

Author Bio:

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

Thursday, June 22, 2017

REVIEW: Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov


Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is available now !


Shel: For readers of Melanie Harlow's romcoms this novel will have a different feel; it does have small bits of humor sprinkled in but a more serious tone was what struck me from the start, and stayed with me throughout. It was with a head tilting interest that I flipped from page to page because I'm not sure I've read a character quite like Derek. He's evidently a son of very conservative parents and those values he grew up with definitely formed his views of himself and what he should want for his personal life. While he had seemingly no problem with how others lived their lives, he felt that he only had one choice, a "traditional" one, and it was really hard to read him struggle with trying to make himself okay with the only choice he had. This struggle became especially more challenging when Maxim entered his life and that's when I struggled with how I felt about him. A large part of me was very frustrated with his struggle because of the way he framed his choices as either a sinful/bad/depraved one or the moral/right/responsible one. I had to come to terms with the idea that there are probably many people out there who think like that. I also felt for how Derek struggled and felt so isolated and sad and yet I also wanted to shake some sense into him and show him how life could be with Maxim. Speaking of Maxim, he was so wonderful. His kindness and willingness to work hard and take risks for his dreams were inspiring. I also loved how he was understanding of Derek's conundrum and yet he didn't diminish himself or push aside what he wanted in order for Derek to continue living in denial; instead, Maxim did the hard thing and stood up for what he thought was the right thing for him.

Court: Right? He ended up being behind Maxim and his sister in the favorite characters department because he was so wishy washy in his choices. While I knew that his journey to self acceptance was probably going to be a big part of this story, sometimes I felt so bad for Maxim that I jut wanted to smack Derek! I suppose the old adage that if people communicated like they should we wouldn't have real life problems...and wouldn't have conflict in our books...I suppose we'd have very short books! So! I suppose that means for sure that things wouldn't be easy. At all. But...I really enjoyed the story and how they came to know each other and the premise was really good. The writing was really good. Derek is a challenging character to like, but I think we both got there with him in the end. He's complex...and can I say thank goodness for dual POV!

Shel: As I stated earlier, this novel definitely had a more solemn tone than some of Melanie Harlow's other works but it's still very much a novel in her style: it was easy to read, very steamy, with great secondary characters and an ending that made me smile. And even though I had a hard time with Derek's struggle (and I honestly think that's what Harlow wanted us to have), it was a struggle that made me pause and think and I love it when that happens. Add to all of this the very fresh take of matching an American and a fresh off the plane Russian trying to find his place in a new country, and I found Strong Enough to be a novel that I know I'll be thinking about for quite a while. Court: It is exactly what she wanted us to have, darn it all, lol. There is definitely an abundance of character growth and development here, and the plot grew even stronger as we went so that was incredibly delightful. We just didn't like Maxim being a not-so-dirty-little-secret, and we wanted him to come to terms with that asap! I enjoyed this one and stayed up way later than I should have to finish it!!! Moral of the review: read this book! 


Strong Enough

by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

Publication Date: June 19, 2017

I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.
I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.
He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.
But he does.
He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.
He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.
I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.


Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.” “Okay.” I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?” “Sounds good.” We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him. For there is no man who does not sin. My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild. What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you? “Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried. What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit! But I wasn’t. “Yeah.” He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.” And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it. “She’s not my girlfriend.” “Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.” “She wants to be my girlfriend.” Silence. Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it. “The problem is me.” He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.” He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other. For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression. I had to have him. SBPR-MHDR-SE-AvailableNow

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About Melanie:

Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters. Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

Connect with Melanie:

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2
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About David:

For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.

Connect with David:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

COVER REVEAL: The Time In Between by Kristen Ashley


From New York Times Bestselling author Kristen Ashley, comes the third and final book in her The Magdalene series—THE TIME IN BETWEEN—releasing August 29, 2017! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below, and pre-order your copy today!


About THE TIME IN BETWEEN (The Magdalene Series #3):

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?


Preorder your copy of THE TIME IN BETWEEN today!


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And don’t miss the first titles in the The Magdalene Series!



    About Kristen Ashley: Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. Nothing's changed. Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY + EXCERPT: The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young


From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Order your copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US today!


Shel: I had many thoughts as I read The Impossible Vastness of Us but the one that kept floating to the surface was how much I know many of my students would love this novel. Even though the high school experience in this novel feels more dramatized than what I see on my campus, there were a lot of feelings and situations that I really think many of my students would relate to. I couldn't help but feel so much for India and how hard her move across the country was; I know I've definitely had students who must have felt very similarly to how she felt on their first days of school at a new place. I think many of my students would also appreciate how India worked through the challenges, how she made friends, how strong she was, and how much she'd sacrifice to protect and support the people she cared about, namely Elle and Finn. 

Court: Oh, Shel, I thought that too! I loved this book and how it really captures a pretty clear picture of what it is like to be a teenager and really how they have some insane things happen to them and have to deal with emotions, and bullies, and abuse and gosh...just everything and it really shapes who they are. It is set along the lines of a Gossip Girl style upbringing so most people don't get thrown into that, but it really gave some escape from some of the heavy things that were happening. The writing of this book is flawless and really kept me hooked right from the very first page.

Shel: Another thing I kept thinking about was the character of India. India was an admirable character, but she was a flawed one as well; I think that's what I liked about her. I liked that she had all of these emotions and they were messy and raw and not linear. She owned how messed up she felt about things and owned that she didn't always want to fix them--those are hard things to admit to and I liked that about her. I also liked how when she was ready to confront things, even though she wanted to probably hide, she didn't. She took a deep breath and faced them--some grown ups can't even do that so I liked that Samantha Young gave her the strength to do what she had to do. Young also created a cast of secondary characters who were interesting and added conflict and conundrums. The secondary characters and their conflicts may be where some readers rave and some rant. Without going into it, I'll just say that without a doubt the secondary characters gave me things to ponder. 

Court: Did they ever! India is complex, for sure, but I loved how genuine it felt. She could be any of our friends, or daughters and I really liked that she wasn't perfect too. It wasn't all shiny rainbows all the time but she was positive, and nor was it all dreary either...there are some fun times, and sweet times and all the feels of life wrapped up in a beautiful book. I am in awe of everything...and every struggle. Shel is right though...we don't want to give anything away, but there was really so much plot in this book it was like my southern sausage gravy it was so thick. There is a lot to be discovered by taking a chance on this book! 

Shel: As the novel ended and loose ends were being wrapped up, I remember thinking two conflicting things: I hope we get a second book and this book doesn't need a follow up. Weird right? Let me explain. I think part of me was so interested in what would happen with Indie and Elle and Finn that my innate response to the ending was to hope for a follow up book a few years from now. Another part of me liked how 'real' the ending felt--not everything is settled with a pretty little bow on it and I really liked that. I know some won't but I liked that there wasn't a cliched ending and that there's room for the reader to decide on how some things will go for these characters (unless, of course, a follow up novel is written).

Court: I really had one of those...please don't be 100% kindle...moments, because I was ready for hundreds more pages! I really enjoyed this world, and really felt like some things were wrapped up, like Shel said...but maybe some things weren't...there is a little room for an "and then..." moment, and I really am curious to see is Samantha takes this anywhere else. Oh, the possibilities!

Shel: Great YA read that I hope to have on my school bookshelf when school starts in August; pick it up if you have a chance. Court: Agreed. This book would not let me put it down at all! And in true Samantha Young fashion she yanked HARD on my heart strings, and maybe I shed a tear or two...not atypical for me, but really this book has a lot of heart. 



“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancĂ© and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…


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“You’re a great photographer, Finn.”
He leaned against the counter by the sink, seeming surprised by the compliment. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
Silence stretched as we could do nothing but stare at each other, and my skin started to feel tight and hot, as if I was seconds from bursting out of it.
“Uh.” I stepped back, suddenly needing more space between us. “So we should probably arrange a time to meet up for the presentation. That’s if you’re not planning to stand me up.”
He frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“You said to meet you after school today even though you work at the Chronicle.”
“I don’t always come to the meetings. I only decided to come work here because you said we couldn’t meet,” he explained, and if I wasn’t mistaken he sounded a little annoyed.
“Oh.” I refused to feel guilty for thinking badly of him. Refused. “Okay. Well, we need to meet up some time soon.”
“Yeah.” He agreed, looking at his feet now.
“I’d suggest Theo’s but it might be distracting for you with Eloise there.”
Finn looked up at me. “Theo’s?”
Confused by the question I raised an eyebrow.
“You said ‘Theo’s.’ You didn’t say ‘my place.’”
“Because it isn’t.” It was my turn to cross my arms over my chest.
Sensing I wasn’t going to elaborate on my feelings about the house I was living in and the people I was living with, Finn eventually nodded. “Okay. My place, then. Tomorrow.”
Glad we’d finally organized a time but not so glad it meant spending more alone time with Finn, I just nodded and stepped back toward the door. “Okay. I’ll meet you out front after school.”
“Do you need a ride home tonight?”
I looked back at him, surprised by the offer, but not surprised to find him staring at his feet rather than at me. “Eloise’s director has upped her rehearsals so she’s still here, too. Gil’s picking us both up in an hour.” I would’ve thought he’d be fully aware of Eloise’s schedule.
“Right.” He straightened and turned his back on me.
There was something about it that was vulnerable. Something about him that was vulnerable. I was probably insane to even think that about him—this beautiful, rich boy—but he was getting to me.
Nobody got to me.
“But thanks,” I found myself saying quietly.
He glanced over his shoulder. “You’re welcome,” he replied just as quietly.
Crap, crap.
My fingers slipped around the door handle as I tried to get out of there at superspeed.

Samantha Young’s THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US – Review & Excerpt Tour
June 19th
BookWorm221 – Review & Excerpt
Clare's Mad About Books – Review & Excerpt
Joyful Shimmy – Review & Excerpt
Little Red's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Naturally Nerdy Books – Review & Excerpt
June 20th
Beware Of The Reader – Review & Excerpt
Kindle and Me – Review & Excerpt
To Be Reviewed Books – Review & Excerpt
June 21st
A Fortress of Books – Excerpt
Becky on Books – Excerpt
Mustreadbooksordie – Review & Excerpt
SJ's Book Blog – Excerpt
June 22nd
Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt
Fiction Fare – Review & Excerpt
Take Me Away To A Great Read – Review & Excerpt
June 23rd
A Literary Perusal – Review & Excerpt
BJ's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Ficwishes – Review
Kimberly's Hot Reads – Review & Excerpt
Read, Write, Design – Review & Excerpt
June 24th
Ali's Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Lacey's Love Of Literature – Review & Excerpt
Nose Stuck in a Book – Review & Excerpt
Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review & Excerpt
June 25th
All Romance Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
PBC – Excerpt
TSK TSK What to Read – Review & Excerpt
June 26th
Angie and Jessica's Dreamy Reads – Review & Excerpt
Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt
Calling All Bookaholics – Review & Excerpt
Liezel – Review & Excerpt
Reads & Reviews – Review
The Readdicts – Review & Excerpt
June 27th
4 the Love of Reading – Review & Excerpt
ADDICTED TO BOOKS – Review & Excerpt
Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt
Peace Love Books – Review
The Inked In Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
June 28th
Bookalicious Babes Blog – Review & Excerpt
Greyland Reviews – Excerpt
Literary lust – Review
My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt
Read Love Blog – Review & Excerpt
The Life of a BooknerdAddict – Review & Excerpt
June 29th
Author Groupies – Review
Blushing babes are up all – Review & Excerpt
Book Enticer – Review & Excerpt
The Book Avenue – Review & Excerpt
The Review Loft – Review & Excerpt
Three chicks and their books – Review & Excerpt
June 30th
I Read Indie – Excerpt
Shh Moms Reading – Review & Excerpt
Total Book Geek – Review & Excerpt
Vi3tbabe – Review & Excerpt
July 1st
Book Babes Unite – Review & Excerpt
Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt
The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
About Samantha Young: Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017 Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015. Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.  

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NEW + GIVEAWAY + EXCERPT: Salvaged by Jay Crownover


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover continues her delightfully sexy Saints of Denver series with the next thrilling standalone, SALVAGED! Don’t miss this amazing new novel and grab your copy today!


Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancĂ©e who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.


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        EXCERPT: I didn’t want her to be scared of anything ever again. Things at home had been rocky, rougher than class-five rapids in winter, but I was paddling for my life and prepared to ride it out. I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t let go. I saw Poppy the day she walked through my shop and I started to feel how sore my hands and my heart were from holding on. Her head was down, focused on the tips of her shoes. Her shoulders were hunched over and her long hair hid her face. She was skinny, so skinny, nothing but skin and bones. She was nothing that I should have noticed, not because she was clearly doing everything in her power to be invisible, but because I was supposed to have my eyes locked on my future and doing whatever I could do to salvage it. But I did notice her and I couldn’t look away once I did. She was obviously terrified, clearly out of her element and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t her unease that called to me…it was her loneliness. I could feel it filling up the space that separated us. Stretching, growing, expanding until it was all I was breathing in and exhaling back out. It was bitter on my tongue and heavy across my skin because I knew the feeling well. I lived with it pressing me down and pushing me forward every minute of every day. The reason I was so set on the way things had to be, the reason I was singlemindedly set on settling down and building a life with the girl that was slipping through my fingers was because I never again wanted to be as alone as this girl was. I didn’t want to be left and forgotten. I’d barely survived it the first time. I did my best to sell her a car that was as beautiful as she was…a classic with clean lines and a flawless finish. She picked something practical and boring but that was ultimately safe and reliable. I understood her choice but it grated and annoyed me long after she left the shop. When she wasn’t standing in front of me, she should have been easy to forget; after all, everything in front of me, everything I had been working for and toward, was falling down in front of my eyes. My world was collapsing in on itself and everything I thought I was so goddamn sure about turned out to be nothing more than lies and illusions. In the middle of all of it, I couldn’t forget her sad eyes and shivering, shaking form. Her loneliness clung to me, unshakable and unforgettable. I didn’t think I would see her again and against my better judgment I often found myself wondering how she was doing and if she had gotten a handle on all the things that seemed to be crushing her under their inescapable weight. I was wrong about seeing her again, just like I was wrong about thinking that doing everything in my life differently from how my mother had lived hers would ensure my happiness and a future built on an unshakeable foundation. I was wrong about hard work and sacrifice being enough. I was wrong about holding on when what I was holding on to desperately wanted me to let go. All I was left with was bleeding palms, rope burns around my heart and scars on my soul. The next time I saw Poppy Cruz it was my loneliness that was filling up the space, suffocating me, choking me, making me forget to handle her with care. I was nothing more than a vast, open wound. One that was raw, aching, throbbing, and leaking my heart and shattered emotions out everywhere. I felt like I’d lost everything, like my entire life had been nothing but a waste of time, nothing more than building blocks knocked over with the swipe of a careless hand. The girl I loved didn’t love me back, my future was ultimately nothing more than a fuzzy, fractured blur. I couldn’t see anything clearly other than waste and ruin. But I saw her. And I saw that I scared her. It was the last thing I wanted to do but my loneliness was just as big and just as consuming as hers was. It spread out, hungry and angry, looking to consume anyone that might try and challenge its reign. I tried to pull myself together, apologized because I knew our paths would cross again now that she lived next door to my best friend. I didn’t want to be another man that she was terrified of. I locked the loneliness down, wrestled it into submission, and tried to quiet down the wild inside of me that was howling, screaming at the loss of its mate. I wanted to be nothing more than gnashing teeth and tearing claws but I swallowed those instincts and allowed myself to be like a kicked puppy that just wanted to whimper and cry. Poppy had been through more than I could imagine. She was the one I couldn’t look away from, but even then, she managed to slip past me and disappear. She looked like honey but she moved like a ghost. I memorized everything about her even though she hardly let me see her face. I wasn’t supposed to be looking at anything other than how to salvage the mess my life was in, but she was all I could see.      

About Jay Crownover: Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.        

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

NEW + GIVEAWAY: All I Am: Drew's Story by Jodi Ellen Malpas

ALL I AM: DREW’S STORY (A THIS MAN NOVELLA) by Jodi Ellen Malpas (June 18, 2017; Forever Yours ebook; $2.99)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Ellen Malpas comes a new novella in the This Man series. You don't need to read the series to enjoy this story, but if you're already a Jesse Ward fan, just wait till you see the advice he gives Drew about falling in love.

I thought I had control.  I was so, so wrong...

I don't need a relationship.  I have Hux, a decadent club where I quench whatever raw desire I choose.  I take pleasure and I give it - no strings attached.  So when Raya Rivers comes in asking for someone cold, emotionless, and filthy... well, no man ever takes his wicked pleasure quite the way I do.
  Only Raya is different. Vulnerable. And carrying some deep sorrow that gets past all my carefully constructed walls and inexplicably makes me care.  Now craving controls me.  Ice has given way to red-hot need.
  But Raya has no idea about my other life - my real life.  That I'm daddy to an adorable little girl.  My two worlds are about to collide with the force of a supernova.  Once Raya knows the truth, will she be able to accept all I am?

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About the Author
Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

REVIEWS: Dating-ish and Beard Science by Penny Reid

We're super new to all things Penny Reid. SUPER NEW. Which is dumb, really, because we should've been on the Penny Reid bandwagon of awesome from the get go. WHY WEREN'T WE? Because we're idiots? Probably. But guess what, we're here now and we're never leaving. WOOHOO! 

Where to begin? I guess from the beginning. Several writer and blogger friends have been singing the praises of Penny Reid for a while and so when they'd mention a book, I'd buy it and look longingly at it sitting on my Kindle as I passed it by for a book we were reviewing. This kept happening and her books kept piling up and then getting further down the Kindle display and I'd forget and then remember that I wanted to try one of her books and then life would happen. Sigh. I have to shake my head at my own damn self for this oversight. Anyway, recently, I was gifted Beard Science and even though it was book 3 in a series and that made me nervous, I was told that I could jump right in and read it without feeling like I was lost. So I did; I jumped in and read Beard Science and I really really enjoyed it, so much so that I found all of my other Penny Reid purchases and bumped them up on my Kindle so that I could start reading the ones that I hadn't read yet. But then, siiiiigh, then grading papers, senior exams, graduation...teaching life and blogging life steamrolled me and all my plans for reading more of her books. Now summer is here and my hope is that I can once again begin reading the backlist of Penny Reid. I've actually started...with Dating-ish which I know may be weird since it's her latest release but I heard so many people raving about it (and by heard, I mean read all over social media) that I couldn't control the impulse to start there. 

The problem with starting with the newest book is that I've semi-spoiled myself on certain aspects of the series. The other problem is that I know I'm not getting the full impact of jokes and characterizations of characters and perspectives because I'm starting where I am, but you know what? I will own that problem; it's my own fault. And, to be honest, while I know I missed some things it absolutely did not interfere with my enjoyment of Marie and Matt's story in
Dating-ish. Watching their romance unfold on the page gave me all sorts of feelings: I laughed, cringed, gasped, shook my head, felt disbelief, wanted to shake both of them at different times, and swooned. I particularly loved their conversations about Matt's project and Marie's inability to see what I think all of us could (that he was crushing on her so hard)--the questions and tensions that these two things created had me thinking a lot about AI (and what I'd also learned from one of my seniors' projects this year) and turning pages, quickly, to see what would happen next and how things would be resolved. I liked all the science-y conversations and the AI snippets at the beginning of the chapters as well as Marie's devotion to immersing herself into what she was researching. I also liked how confident she was in what she wanted and even though I hated her constant struggle to find her footing with Matt, I loved how honest she was about all of her conflicting emotions and how self aware she was. And finally, ending with Matt and his point of view was a great way to end, in my opinion. There's a lot to love about this book and I know I'm glossing over it but TWO REVIEWS in one post is a lot for people to skim through (because let's face it, that's what they'll do if they even read it at all). In summary, I can't wait to read the first books in this series and I am really looking forward to knowing all of these characters better. 

As with Dating-ish, I also started the Winston Brothers series with the latest book, Beard Science, and had similar longings of wishing I'd started from the beginning but was also able to enjoy
the book without feeling lost or that I was missing any vital information. This book was the book that originally hooked me on Penny Reid and with characters like Jennifer and Cletus, how could anyone not be hooked? Both characters surprised me. Cletus just flat out made me laugh, constantly. He was wily and clever and adorably grumpy. Jennifer was so quiet and strong and the way she flourished throughout the novel was so rewarding. I was rooting for her success from page one and I loved how self aware she was--that she used all of her quiet observations and what people thought they knew about her and put those things to work to be freed from her lunatic family was gratifying. This introduction into the world of Penny Reid was perfect--it gave me a taste of her smart and funny dialogue, her quirky characters, balanced with sweet and steamy romance, and it deepened my curiosity about what I was missing out on with all of her other books.

Want to know more about these books? Try these links: 

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REVIEW: Bad Penny by Staci Hart


"Witty, sexy as all hell, and addictive like no other, Staci Hart BRINGS IT with Bad Penny."

-T.M. Frazier, USA Today Bestselling Author

Bad Penny, an all-new romantic comedy standalone from Staci Hart is now LIVE!


Shel: Man oh man do we need more characters like Penny in our lives; she is delightfully irreverent and full of sass and hilarious and there was so much to appreciate about her. Penny does what she wants and loves what she does--whether that is her job or her men--and what's not to love about that, right? She respects herself and she respects those around her and she's always upfront about her expectations and those are all things that I can get behind. What I hated for Penny was why some of who she is was because of what someone did to her.  Let me explain. I love characters like Penny--she's a woman who makes her own way, eschews societal expectations when they don't fit her narrative and makes her own narrative--and I can't wait for more and more characters to be created like her; characters who are strong and free and do what they do not because they're making a statement or rebelling but it's because it's just who they are. I feel like many of Penny's characteristics are just that--they are her because that's who she is. I think, too, that part of who she is in her romantic life is because of one douchebag in her past and that's what I hate for her and for anyone who has been hurt by someone--that those hurts form these corrective, protective shields that are needed but can also blind us to people and situations that can help us grow or can be good for us. Which is where I see Bodie fitting in--someone who can help show Penny that there can be people out there for us who won't stifle us or manipulate us, but are actually good for us.

Court: She is one of the stronger characters we've read in a while for sure. And I love that also. What I wasn't really remembering/expecting was how many of our characters that we've met before that would make appearances in this book! That had me settling in, reminiscing and excited for what was to come. Penny also has the best girlfriends in the world in Ramona and Veronica, and thank goodness she has someone that she trusts fully to talk her off the ledge. She was somewhat frustrating in her attitude sometimes, because it was her way or the highway and Bodie just has to agree to that and doesn't get a say. I liked him so much, and obviously her rules were there for a reason because not everyone out there is like all! So....all of these things make up for quite the main characters for us to psychoanalyze.

Shel: As much as I want more Pennys in my fictional world, I also want more Bodies. This dude, y'all. This duuuude. This dude was so wonderfully kind and patient and understanding and insightful and funny. He also wasn't perfect, thankfully. He withheld and wasn't always honest with where he stood and that's no way for a relationship to work and I hated that he felt like he needed to do that--but I totally felt for him and why he suppressed certain feelings. I think many of us understand that delicate balance of doing what's needed to help foster a relationship along and trying to be who we are too--and as anyone knows who has actually attempted that balance, it's not easy and usually there's a tipping point where things have to change in order for the relationship to go forward or they just won't work.

Court: Bodie! He is absolutely awesome. I really liked his character and how he literally didn't want to change one thing about Penny. He liked her because of who she was, not who he wanted her to be...and that is just an absolutely awe-inspiring notion, right? Who'd have thought that? LOL! Anyways, he's smart, and funny...and sexy. He's a great character and I was just rooting for him the entire time. And then boom...things get crazy!

Shel: Is this a review of Bad Penny or all of my failures at life? I don't know. I think that's the beauty of Staci Hart's novels--they're so easy to relate to that before I know it I'm psychoanalyzing them (and me) instead of focusing on more bookish qualities. Sorry? Ahem. Anyway. Bad Penny has all sort of things to ponder if you choose (see above) or it can also be a perfectly wonderful light romantic comedy that you can escape into for a few hours; you can really read it either way and completely enjoy the funny banter, the steamy bedroom scenes, and the hearts of Penny and Bodie.

Court: It is a great way to spend the day, reading this book, y'all and I don't think you'll be disappointed. I do think you'll be curious about other characters and I cannot wait to see what is to come from Staci Hart...because she nailed it, as always! 

cover-wrap-penny copy 4.57.20 PM


Nothing good comes after the third date.
See, date three is the crucial point when things get real, which is exactly why I bounce out the door, twiddling my fingers at whatever poor boy I’ve left behind. Because if I stick around, one of three things will happen: he’ll profess his undying love, he gets weird and stalky, or I’ll go crazy. Like, Sid and Nancy crazy. Like, chase-him-through-the-streets-begging-him-to-love-me crazy.
Seriously, it’s better for everyone this way.
So when I meet Bodie, I figure it’ll be the same as it ever was. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t put a single string on me. Doesn’t matter that he’s funny and smart and jacked and can play my body like a grand piano. Because even though I’m built for love, love has only carved me up like a Christmas ham.
Resistance is something I can only hang on to for so long, and he has persistence in spades. But my heart isn’t as safe as I want to believe, and neither is his. And the second I ignore my cardinal rule is the second I stand to lose him forever.

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About the Author

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

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