4 August 2015

Release Blitz & Review - Home


Home - Songbird #4
by Melissa Pearl





Synopsis:

Rachel Myers never meant to stay in Payton. Her eyes were set on bigger things than waitressing at Clark’s Bar. She wants to perform on a stage of her own with bright lights, fame, and fortune. But something got in the way—Joshua Clark. He’s a good man who loves her, a solid rock she can depend on. She wants that to be enough, but it hasn’t quelled her yearning for the big city.


Josh knows Rachel wants more out of life and might leave one day. Yet so far, she hasn’t gone anywhere. Deep down, he believes his love is enough to keep her…or at least he hopes so. Until one night, a city boy from Hollywood promises Rachel a record deal and destroys everything.


Jumping at a chance she never thought she’d have, Rachel leaves Payton. And Josh. But the sparkle of Los Angeles is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Rachel quickly figures out that some sacrifices are not worth the risk. Is she too late? Will Josh forgive her, or has her desire for fame ruined the best thing she’s ever had?


Sometimes you have to say goodbye before you can say forever.


Buy links:

Smashwords * Amazon


Home Review (previously posted on 31st July here)


I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!


What I say: **Home is a part of Melissa Pearl's Songbird series but it works well as a standalone.**

Rachel is a fighter. She's survived some traumatic events and a sad past. She's managed to build a comfortable and happy life for herself with a wonderful guy. It seems that only her own insecurities, an unfulfilled dream and a promise, stand the way of realising what truly makes her happy and where she belongs.

I liked Rachel. She's passionate, demanding and kinda quirky. I appreciated her 'country girl' charm and although I completely understand her need to chase her musical dreams, I really wanted her to realise she needs Josh. 

I loved Josh - He's an interesting mixture of strong alpha and white knight. I don't think Rachel would have gotten to this point without his friendship, love and support. I did appreciate that she needs to be able to see the world and make decisions herself. As much as I like Josh, it became clear that he cannot do everything for Rachel, because she needs to realise how amazing he is for herself.

The story is poignant heartwarming. There were times when I honestly couldn't believe what Rachel was doing and I wanted to shout at her. On other occasions I wanted to give her (and tbh both of them) a big old hug. 

I liked the secondary characters and it was nice to catchup with a few old friends. I also loved the musical tie-in throughout the book - I love books with playlists!

3.5 - 4 Stars in my Sky!


Author Spotlight:


Melissa Pearl was born in
Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in
countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan... not to mention a nine
month road trip around North America with her husband. "Best. Year.
Ever!!" She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a
trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a
full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and
her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has
continued to produce a steady stream of books. Recently she signed with
Evatopia Press and her first Evatopia book is coming out in February
2014 - True Colors, The Masks Series #1. She is very excited to be
trying out new things this year while continuing to publish under her
own name as well. She has six books planned for 2014 and is excited
about writing each and every one of them.





New Release - Every Other Saturday


Every Other Saturday RDL Ban

It’s release day for MJ Pullen’s Every Other Saturday! I am so excited about this fun romance. Be sure to check out the new release and enter MJ’s giveaway!



Every Other Saturday Cover

About Every Other Saturday:

From romantic comedy author M.J. Pullen comes a unique story about finding help when you need it most, and love where you expect it least.

Even though their daughters have been in the same Jewish preschool class for three years, struggling store owner Julia Mendel and sports blogger Dave “from the Man Cave” Bernstein have never gotten along. She sees him as a definitely arrogant, possibly misogynist symbol of everything that’s wrong with the men in her life. He sees her as the odd, short-tempered PTA president, out to make his life more difficult at every opportunity.

As part of his job, Dave accepts an on-air challenge: go out with a different woman from a Jewish dating site every Saturday for the next four months, and blog the results. He quickly secures his daughter’s favorite preschool teacher (and super-nanny) Ms. Elizabeth to make the experiment possible. Little does he know Julia is in desperate need of the same sitter for the same schedule, so that she can take a part-time job while pacifying her son, who has severe OCD.

A confrontation in the carpool lane leads to an uneasy compromise: they will pool their resources to share Ms. Elizabeth’s services every-other Saturday night. After a while, Dave finds himself sharing his dating stories with non-Jewish Julia across her kitchen table; while she reluctantly turns to him for the masculine perspective – especially for her son – she’s been missing since her divorce. As the Saturdays wear on, however, they may discover they have more in common than car seats and custody schedules.



Buy Link:

Amazon

More info and future availability



Exclusive Excerpt:


Dave walked through the barn doors, following the sound of heavy metal music. He saw movement and gave his eyes a minute to adjust to the dark. Julia was facing away, sanding something on the work table in front of her. She had changed into a black tank top and frayed olive cargo shorts, cut off above mid-thigh to reveal the surprisingly athletic curves of her ivory legs. He could see more of the rose tattoo—a dark crimson bud in partial bloom, with a thorny vine that disappeared beneath the tank top. Dave let out a slow breath and forced himself to look around at the barn instead of gazing at the back of Julia’s neck.
There had once been horse stalls along both sides: a few of the large square posts at their corners remained. On these were tacked everything from power tools on orange utility hooks to an old straw hat and a bunch of dried flowers. There was an old school wagon-wheel chandelier in the middle of the long room, but most of the light came from a few open windows on either side. Someone had added a rough interior wall at the far end of the building, converting a couple of the stalls and maybe an old corn crib into a small apartment with a loft. Through the big open windows, he caught a glimpse of a kitchen on the ground floor and a double-bed with a faded plaid bedspread upstairs.
“And I thought I had an awesome Man Cave,” he said.
Julia jumped, startled, and dropped her sanding pad. “Jesus. Dave,” she breathed, chest heaving. “You scared the shit out of me.”
“Sorry. The lady inside said I would find you out here.” He gestured at the open barn door. “I couldn’t figure out how to knock.”
“Myra.” Julia put a gloved hand on her hip. There was definitely something about a woman in short-shorts and work gloves. “Can I help you with something? I don’t want to be rude but…”
The reason for his visit snapped back to him, along with a touch of the anger he had felt earlier. “Yeah. Listen.” He had an absurd impulse to call her “Mia Mendel’s Mom.” He swallowed. “Julia. I was thinking about our situation with the babysitter. I’m wondering if we can work something out.”


Author Spotlight:

swing

MANDA (M.J.) PULLEN, former therapist and marketer, is the author of complex, funny contemporary romances. She was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta by a physicist and a flower child, who taught her that life is tragic and funny, and real love is anything but simple. She studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia, and Professional Counseling at Georgia State University.

Manda has a weakness for sappy movies, juicy gossip, craft beer and boys who talk baseball. After traveling around Europe and living in cities like Austin and Portland, she returned to Atlanta where she lives with her family.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Instagram * Newsletter

 

Enter MJ’s Giveaway!

 



3 August 2015

Sale and Cover Re-Reveal - The Journey Home by Kelly Elliott


The Journey Home
by Kelly Elliott





Fate has a way of stepping in and righting itself when we least expect it.


Maddison Powers has been regretting the biggest mistake of her life when she walked away from the only man who has ever sparked something deep inside her. After comparing every guy she dates to Cale Blackwood, she finally gives up all hope of ever finding him.

One dare by Maddison throws Cale back into her life...and into the arms of her best friend.

Cale Blackwood thought he had found the woman of his dreams, until she walked away from him one night and didn't look back. Attempting to find love again, Cale finds himself in a relationship built on one lie after another. Forced to take on the biggest challenge of his life, Cale must seek help from the woman who walked away from him and broke his heart.

Sometimes it takes more than one journey in life to truly be home.






Excerpt:


Maddie's POV


“Cale, you need to go


home.”


He closed his eyes and


shook his head. “You’re doing it again. You’re pushing me away. I’m tired of
it, Maddie. I’m so tired of it.”


I swallowed hard and


turned to find my phone. I needed Jack to come pick up Cale.


I was about to dial my


phone when Cale grabbed me. He turned me around and backed me up until I hit
the living room wall.


His eyes were filled


with lust. That look had my panties soaked in seconds.


He lifted up my dress


and, in one quick movement, he ripped my panties from my body. I wanted to cry
out yes. I wanted to let him take me, but I couldn’t.


“Cale,” I said. “Don’t


do this.”


He kissed my neck and


I started to give in. When his hand touched my inner thigh, I startled. His
lips moved to mine and I moaned, desperately, into his mouth as he lifted my
leg.


“Oh God,” I whispered.


I tried to come to my senses. “Cale, please don’t do this. We can’t do this.”


He moved his lips to


my jaw line as he kissed around to my ear. “Are you turned on by me? Or by
him?”


The moment he asked, I


felt like a whore. I dropped my leg and pushed him back.


I wiped the tears from


my eyes.


“Jesus. I didn’t mean


that Maddie. I just—”


“Get out,” I said. “Get out of my house and


don’t you dare set foot near me again. I hate you, Cale.”




Copyright 2014 The Journey Home Kelly Elliott









Author Spotlight:




Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has
a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and
dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly
asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone
sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner
overlooking the Texas hill country and write.


One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her
property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose,
her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush,
move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find
her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.





 Brought To You by:






2 August 2015

The Memory Hit - Review

The Memory Hit
by Carla Spradbery





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What they say: On New Year's Eve, Jess's life is unrecognizable: her best friend is in the hospital, her boyfriend is a cheater. A drug-dealing cheater it would seem, after finding a stash of Nostalgex in his bag.


Nostalgex: a drug that stimulates memory. In small doses, a person can remember the order of a deck of cards, or an entire revision guide read the day before an exam. In larger doses it allows the user detailed access to their past, almost like watching a DVD with the ability to pause a moment in time, to focus on previously unnoticed details and to see everything they've ever experienced with fresh eyes. As Leon, the local dealer, says 'it's like life, only better.' What he fails to mention is that most memories are clouded by emotions. Even the most vivid memories can look very different when visited.

Across town Sam Cooper is in trouble. Again. This time, gagged and bound in the boot of a car. Getting on the wrong side of a drug dealer is never a good idea, but if he doesn't make enough money to feed and clothe his sister, who will?

On New Year's Day, Jess and Cooper's worlds collide. They must put behind their differences and work together to look into their pasts to uncover a series of events that will lead them to know what really happened on that fateful New Year's Eve. But what they find is that everything they had once believed to be true, turns out to be a lie ...


Published by Hodder / Hachette Children's.


Buy links:
Amazon * Amazon UK


I received a copy from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!


What I say: In The Memory Hit we see the dark side of being a teenager in England. Typical teenage issues are mixed in with more sinister topics, including murder and drug abuse. I did really like the mystery element and how Carla Spradbery kept us guessing as to who was orchestrating events. 

The concept was good and fairly simple. Nostalgex is a popular drug which allows you to relive your memories, good or bad, in their full technicolored glory. Imagine the potential for good and bad with this! It's a memory so you cannot change events, but it does have the bonus of being able to provide answers to certain questions, or to help you remember loved ones.

I did find the pacing a little slow and a lot of the book was taken up with Jess worrying about her clearly abusive and undeserving ex-boyfriend Luke. With friends like Luke and Scarlet who needs enemies? Sam/Cooper was my favourite character and I kept trying to work out why Jess would ever have prefered Luke. A lot of the plot deals with back story , with the characters thinking about past events (hence the Nostalgex). Whilst I'm all for learning more about characters I did find it a little distracting having the other POVs apart from Jess and Sam.

In terms of genre, The Memory Hit is a YA mystery/suspense story. It is probably worth noting that it's quite dark and the characters are faced with traumatic events. If you're a fan of lighthearted and sweet HEAs this probably isn't the story for you. I actually liked the grit and depth. I don't mind darker issues in YA books, if they serve a point. I wanted to love this book and from the blurb I really thought I would. Don't get me wrong I didn't dislike the book, but I just didn't love it.

3 Stars in my Sky!





1 August 2015

Happy Release & Review - The Heartbreakers

The Heartbreakers #1
by Ali Novak





Add to Goodreads

What they say: "When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."


Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver – dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band – when her sister could be dying of cancer? 

Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.


Coming 4th Aug by Sourcebooks Fire.

Pre-order:
Amazon * Amazon UK


Author Spotlight:

Ali Novak is a twenty-three-year-old Wisconsin native and recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s creative writing program. She started writing her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was only fifteen, and since then, her work has received more than 100 million hits online. When she isn’t writing, Ali enjoys Netflix marathons and traveling with her husband Jared.

Wattpad * Facebook * Twitter * Website * Instagram


I received a copy from Sourcebooks (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review!


What I say: I'm going to start out by saying that I haven't read any of Ali Novak's work as Fallzswimmer on Wattpad. This gave me the chance to approach her writing and The Heartbreakers as a complete newbie to her style and read the story as it is now.

I'm feeling slightly conflicted about The Heartbreakers because on the one hand it's a cute and charming contemporary YA romance, but on the other hand I've read several similar stories recently and I wasn't 100% convinced by the insta-love element. 

On a road trip with her brother, Drew, Stella meets young rockstar (to be honest he was more of a popstar) Oliver Perry. She doesn't recognise him as the lead singer for The Heartbreakers aka her sister Cara's favourite band. Cue her horror when she realises the hot guy she had a chance encounter with, was the singer from a cheesy band she hates. I did really laugh at Oliver's reaction to her dismissal.

The Heartbreakers is a coming of age story. It's about tackling difficult problems and overcoming your own insecurities. The book focuses on Stella and her trip with the band, but also on her relationships with Drew and Cara. I really liked Alec, Xander and JJ (the other guys in the band), and would happily read more about them. I did keep expecting Cara to end up with one of them. 

The story is sweet but it's also really sad in places (have a few tissues at the ready). The relationship between Stella, Cara and Drew was really sweet and I liked how the other two challenged Stella to branch out. 

Oliver and Stella were extremely sweet together and as much as I don't like insta-love relationships I don't mind it so much in YA stories. Their relationship reminded me of the kid's movie Starstruck (yes I have seen it). I did have a few issues with their age because they seemed to alter between behaving like much younger and more immature teens, to having adult problems. As much as I enjoyed the sweet relationship between Stella and Oliver I wasn't entirely convinced by the reality of their romance, but this didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story. My teenage self would have loved the idea of ending up with my favourite singer - there's no chance I'm telling you who that was.

3.5 Stars in my Sky!



31 July 2015

Review - A Radical Arrangement


A Radical Arrangement
by Jane Ashford







Pubdate: August 4th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492602293

A classic Regency romance from beloved author Jane Ashford!

Brash and Handsome
Sir Justin Keighley is all wrong for a proper young lady like Margaret Mayfield. Everyone knows he is shocking in his opinions, arrogant in his manner, and completely without respect for the common decencies of civilized society. Margaret absolutely will not marry him—no matter what her parents say.

Beautiful and Shy
Margaret was everything Sir Justin detested in a woman—timid, sheltered, and obedient to a fault. It’s not until she runs away from him that he finds he must give chase. Margaret is discovering she can be bold and rebellious—intrepid enough to do what she must, and more exciting than Justin ever imagined possible. She’s the last woman he would have expected to lead them both into uncharted territory…

Jane Ashford, a retired teacher and editor, is now a beloved author of historical and contemporary romances. She has been published in various parts of the world, including Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Spain, and of course the U.S. Jane is also a two-time RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award nominee. Born in Ohio, Jane now divides her time between Boston and Los Angeles.


Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca - ISBN: 9781402276965

Buy Links:


I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!



What I say: In A Radical Arrangement we see Sir Justin Keighley trying to escape a forced marriage to Margaret Mayfield following a misunderstood scandal. 

I have to admit it did take me a while to get into the book because I felt the pacing was a little slow at the beginning and I didn't particularly like either of the main characters - BUT they did slowly win me over and I softened towards them. My initial delay in liking them was because Margaret is initially very repressed and put upon by her controlling parents, so she's rather withdrawn and quite. I also found Justin rather rude and obnoxious. Once the story started to develop we got to see another side of Margaret and I liked her much more. It did take me longer to warm to Justin but I appreciated how he encouraged Margaret to escape from her parents control and to form her own opinions.

The writing is good and I really enjoyed the descriptions and detail that Ashford goes into about the coastal village and general life at the time for the every day workers. The secondary characters helped to lighten the story and to give the plot greater depth. The Appleby's in particular made me smile. 


I kept hoping that they would finally realise how much better they would be together - I did get a little frustrated at both Margaret and Justin at certain points throughout the story (which is often the case with historical fiction) but I was still hopeful for a HEA.


3.5 Stars in my Sky!


Excerpt:

Sir Justin Keighley stood in the doorway, looking them over with a slight, satirical curve of his lips. He wore, like the other gentlemen, conventional evening dress, but this superficial similarity was their only common ground. Ralph Mayfìeld, Philip Manningham, the squire, and John Twitchel were none of them unattractive men or negligible personalities. Each, in his own sphere, had a certain dignity and authority, and all had the confidence that respect engendered. Yet somehow, the moment he entered the room and before he spoke a word, Justin Keighley eclipsed them. It was not charm. Indeed, the newcomer did not look at all pleasant or ingratiating. And it was not mere social position. Keighley held an ancient baronetcy and a substantial fortune, but any of twenty men his hosts were accustomed to meeting ranked above him. Ralph Mayfield could not have said why he felt subdued as he came forward to greet his final guest.
The squire’s wife might have enlightened him. As she had told a friend at a Bath assembly two years ago, “Justin Keighley is a vastly attractive man, my dear. And not just to women. All the young men ape him, my son among them. I don’t know just how it is, but he has a great influence without appearing to seek it in the least. Indeed, sometimes I think he dislikes the idea. But it goes on. It’s something in his manner. No doubt you’ve noticed it yourself. He makes you look at him.” Mrs. Camden had been embarrassed by this speech, but it was quite true. And Keighley’s attraction was the more mysterious because he was not conventionally handsome. Though tall and well made, with broad shoulders and a good leg, his features were rough—a jutting nose and heavy black brows that nearly obscured expressive hazel eyes. And he took no care with his dress, a rarity in an elegant age. His coats were made so that he could shrug himself into them without help; his collars did not even approach his jaw; and he had once been observed in White’s with a distinct thumb mark on his Hessian boots, giving one of the dandy set what he described as “a shuddering palpitation.”
But these sartorial eccentricities were outweighed by Sir Justin’s political influence and sagacity. He was an intimate of the Prince Regent and Lord Holland, and important in the Whig Party. These facts did not explain his fascination for a great number of people, chiefly women, who hadn’t the slightest interest in politics, but they amply justified the Mayfìelds’ attention and suppressed antipathy.
“Good evening,” Keighley said to Mr. Mayfield in a deep, resonant voice. “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”
“Not at all, not at all. Come in. You know everyone, I think.”
Sir Justin bowed his head with a sardonic smile. He always met precisely the same people at his yearly dinner with the Mayfields, presumably those they were certain he could not “corrupt” with his aberrant opinions, and he always felt the same infuriated boredom. For the fiftieth time he wondered why he came. There was no hope of amusement or chance of advantage here. The Mayfields and their friends were just the sort of smug, resolutely conventional people he despised. They held to the views their fathers had bequeathed them and attacked all others. If one tried to make them change even a fraction, they shook their heads and muttered of treason.
He looked around the room. The only addition this year was the Mayfìelds’ daughter. He had forgotten her name, but he remembered that she had come out last season. She looked as one would have expected: a pallid, simpering creature. Keighley shrugged. Politics forced him to endure fools occasionally. The Prince would want to know the climate of opinion here in Devon. He supposed he could get through this evening as he had previous ones, through a combination of stoicism and bitter inner laughter.
Margaret watched him with awed apprehension as he settled beside Mrs. Camden and began to chat with her about London. She had never actually spoken to Sir Justin; her mother had seen to that. But she had heard him talked of so many times that she felt she knew what he would say in response to a wide variety of remarks. It would always be shocking. She gazed at him in an effort to understand how any man could be so utterly depraved in thought and action, almost expecting his rugged face to contort in a grimace of malevolence and his chiseled lips to emit some horrifying revelation.
Suddenly Sir Justin looked up and met her eyes from across the room. He seemed at first startled to find her staring, then his mocking smile appeared again, and he raised one black brow, holding her gaze. Embarrassed, Margaret tried to look away, but something in his hazel eyes prevented it. A spark glinted there, and she felt a kind of tremor along her nerves. It was utterly unfamiliar and unsettling, like a violent thrill of feeling. How could a stranger affect her so? This must be fear, she thought; I am afraid of him. She began to tremble, but still she could not turn her head away. He seemed to understand her reaction and, amused, to prolong the contact on purpose.
Finally Keighley laughed and bent to answer some question of Mrs. Camden’s. Margaret jerked back in her chair and clasped her shaking hands so tightly that the knuckles whitened. He was a dreadful man. She would not speak to him, and if she ever saw him again, she would run away.


Giveaway:
Set of Jane Ashford books (US/CAN entries only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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