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Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: Friend (with Benefits) Zone

Friend (With Benefits) Zone
by Laura Brown
on Tour June 26 – July 13, 2017

 

Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown

Book Details

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Published by: Avon Impulse

Publication Date: June 27th 2017

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN-13: 9780062495594 (ASIN: B01EFM8NC0)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis:

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend.

Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great.

When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night.

I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny.

I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Read an excerpt:

I was still staring at my notebook when a light flashed by my tiny window. Outside someone stood with a flashlight, shining it into my apartment. I didn’t need to adjust to the light to know who that someone was with the one, two, three blinking pattern.

It took five steps to stomp over to the door. Dev came in once I wedged it open. He pushed the door closed.

“You can’t have your clothes back,” I signed, even as I was grateful to see him. When Dev was around, even this place sorta felt like a home.

“I don’t want my clothes back. Not now, at least. I wanted to make sure you were OK.”

I held out my hands, showing that I was fine. Even if I did scan my coffee table and breathe in relief that the eviction letter was face down in a crumpled mess.

He studied me, searching for all my little tics that spelled I was in trouble, tics only he knew. I blanked my face; otherwise he would latch onto there being a problem. A big one. Dev shoved a hand through his hair, those wavy locks rioting into one massive sexy-as-hell bedhead. I missed the days when he was a spindly little thing, before he grew into this hunk I could never unfriendzone. He meant too much to rock the boat, and I didn’t dare risk losing him. He scratched at a day’s worth of scruff, the black stubble contrasting with his pale skin. Then he kicked off his shoes, tossed his coat on the back of a chair, and plopped down on my bed in a way that had to have a spring or two digging into his back.

He didn’t budge.

I wanted to laugh. Forget me time—neither one of us had given the other the right to be alone since we first met. Still, I couldn’t let go of our usual bickering match. “Go home.”

He folded his hands behind his head, not moving. I crossed my arms. A few seconds later he sat up, grabbed my laptop off the floor, and flipped it open. “We’ll watch a movie.”

“My laptop can’t handle Netflix. You know that.”

He closed the laptop. “Right. Forgot.” He unlocked his phone and placed it on the bed.

“Tiny viewing tonight?”

“You refused to come to my place.” Underlining meaning: we could have watched on a large flat-screen TV.

Since there was no budging him now that he had settled in, I climbed onto the bed with him. He picked up the phone so we could watch, and I settled my head on his chest.

I didn’t pay much attention to the action flick he put on. Most days I loved the intensity of those movies. Tonight, those explosions felt too close for comfort. Instead I made a mental list of my options. Had to before Dev found out. He’d want me to stay with him. And being cuddled up with him, I had to admit, had potential. More so when I placed my hand on his firm stomach and took in a deep breath of the ocean scent of his soap. Problem was, I needed to be on my own two feet. The last person to take care of me—my mother—had failed. I couldn’t trust anyone else.

Not even Dev.

***

Excerpt from Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Brown. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Laura BrownLaura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates.

Visit Laura on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads pages!

 

Visit these Tour Hosts for More on Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Laura Brown and Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through July 14 2017.

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bookreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: believable, realistic, awesome characters; SO STEAMY I CAN’T EVEN!; mature subjects handled with sensitivity and poise; I am much more open-eyed on hearing impairments/deaf culture after this read; just enough drama and angst to keep my penguin heart cold

Huge thanks to Laura Brown, Avon Impulse, Partners in Crime Book Tours, and Edelweiss for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

So once again, I find myself on the other side of a book I never even took the time to read a blurb for–and feeling SO very glad that I went into this read blind. I was honestly surprised with what I discovered between these covers–and what a steamy, sexy cover it is. I mean, just LOOK at him, with his brooding face and black leather jacket and… GAAAAAH. Someone, quick, find me my partner in crime and bestest panda buddy Annelise–those abs are just BEGGING her to lick them!

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This romance was steamy and heart-wrenching in turn. I have always been a fan of “friends” to “lovers,” and this story BEAUTIFULLY encapsulates that journey in a dramatic, angsty, fear-for-the-outcome way that kept me enthralled and entertained. The love between Jas and Dev was believable and endearing, and I loved learning about them from not only THEIR POV…but from the other’s as well. The fact that these characters are also diverse and well-rounded only made me fall even more in love with them. Honestly, I’m going to be picking up more of Laura Brown in the very near future–I had such a great time rooting for (and shouting at) this couple. Their dynamics and antics are just… AGGGGGGH, I just want to hug them both!

 

This was a super fun, light-hearted (though still painful at times!), and diverse read–and I adored every minute of it! The characters are well-rounded, the romance is believable, and the angst only helped to cement me more fully into their journey. I definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary romance, complex growth stories, and the flight from “friends” to “lovers.” Sparks are flying, Penguins; take a seat and watch the show!

 

 

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: Freak

Freak banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Freak by Erin Lee. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 27 June till 3 July. See the tour schedule here.

FreakFreak
by Erin Lee
Genre: LBGT/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 29 June, 2017

Blurb:
Regret Comes in Every Color of the Rainbow

Based on Erin Lee’s novella, Her Name Was Sam, Freak is the story of Kelly and Morgan, the mother and sister of Sam Harris, in the aftermath of her suicide. Bullied for being brave enough to show her true colors to the world, Sam has been gone exactly one year and Kelly and Morgan are left to tackle the grief that comes with regret in her absence.

But Sam’s story is far from over…

Through the love of Willow, a teenager intent on standing up for her “Freak” best friend at all costs, Ryan is able to finally come out to family and friends. His transformation from ashamed to proud with Willow’s help gives new meaning to Sam’s story and how things could have been.

Because love comes in all shades too.

Freak graphic

You can find Freak on Goodreads

You can buy Freak here on Amazon

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Erin LeeAbout the Author:
Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.

Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .

You can find and contact Erin Lee here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Freak. One winner will win a signed paperback of Freak by Erin Lee. US only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: loveloveLOVE the juxtaposition of colors; really, this whole novel is a juxtaposition; the experimentation with the paranormal/death was heart-breaking and well-done; complex, well-written characters; love to love the love; this read was not what I was expecting going in

Huge thanks to Erin Lee and Lola’s Blog Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

Slight trigger warning for sensitive readers: the first half of this book is, at times, a bit difficult to read. Mature subjects such as suicide, grief, and bullying are woven into this story, so please keep this in mind if you’re bothered by or uncomfortable with reading such things. While the subjects are handled with sensitivity and tact, these characters do struggle with and are surrounded by them daily–so please, keep yourselves safe while reading! That being said, these characters are gorgeously written. I really loved how Erin Lee juxtaposed this entire novel–in the first part, looking at a family dealing with grief after the suicide of a loved one. In the second, a family banding together to try and heal a dear friend. This method of compare and contrast was gorgeously handled–and so thought-provoking to read!

Freak Quote1

The use of colors throughout was also beautifully done, though I feel it might have been even more intriguing if the colors that head each chapter were the ONLY colors mentioned in that passage. Of course, this is mostly wishful thinking–I know how difficult it is, as a writer, to try and limit oneself like that, and can’t imagine trying to pull it off. Still, I found it interesting that, in the first section of this read (for Sam) the colors are described normally–the names are common, like orange, red, yellow. In the second section (for Willow) the colors have vibrant, alternative names–things like citrus and plum. Each section, however, shares two very distinct colors–black and white. This is sort of a yin-yang way to wrap each section up–and tie the two halves of the novel together.

 

This novel was a gorgeous, though challenging, read–and I thoroughly enjoyed the way Erin Lee wove this story together. While it tugged at heartstrings and, at times, hurt to read… I came out of this with a different viewpoint. The juxtaposition was a really effective, beautiful way to pair and piece these characters together. I definitely recommend to lovers of beautifully complex personalities, the realities of emotional turmoil, and reads that pack a moral punch. Take a paintbrush to the world, Penguins; this rainbow’s bound to stick with you.


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6

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Violet Grenade

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Violet GrenadeViolet Grenade
by Victoria Scott
366 Pages
YA / Contemporary
Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

BLURB:

Domino: A runaway with blood on her hands.


Cain: A silent boy about to explode.

Madam Karina: A woman who demands obedience.

Wilson: The one who will destroy them all.

Her name is Domino Ray.

But the voice inside her head has a different name.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.

But the madam has horrible secrets. So do the girls in the house. So does Cain.

Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

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VictoriaScott_Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight novels for young adults including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, and VIOLET GRENADE. She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from at home, and across the world.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

* Signed paperback of The Collector, a signed paperback of Titans, and a signed galley of Hear the Wolves.*

CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway!


bookreview

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: darkly atmospheric; life-ruiner; heavy handed, mature topics; this read was a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode; intricate, complex characters; Domino and Cain are SO adorable, I can’t even; the snark is on point

HUGE thanks to Victoria Scott, Entangled Teen, Chapter by Chapter Book Tours, and Netgalley for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

VG Quote1

Okay, penguins. I have FULLY INTENDED to pick up a Victoria Scott book for, like…several years now. There are several I’ve had my eye on. I have one on my kindle just waiting for me to look its way. So WHY, OH WHY, did it take me so long?! I just… I honestly don’t have an answer. But I’ll start with this: I am so, so glad that I decided to start with THIS book. Because this book?! is a gem, and I’m not sure Victoria Scott’s other books would have touched me quite so deeply as this one. I will warn you, though: there are some very heavy, mature subjects broached in this read. This is a very darkly atmospheric, bone-chilling read, so if you’re all about the butterflies and unicorns and rainbows…this book might not be the best fit for you.

That being said, this penguin? absolutely ADORED the journey. It’s been a while since I last picked up a book that promised darkness and angst and hushed secrets in forbidden rooms…and that’s exactly what I found waiting here. Victoria Scott twisted and tore every page with emotion, and I am so blown away with how much her words wrung me out and left me bleeding. There is a loud, vibrant talent seeping through every sentence: the power to ensnare and enthrall readers. The ability to mute the real world and push the imagination to the forefront. Victoria Scott took me on a roller coaster, whirlwind journey…and I fell in love from page one.

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These characters are complex and intricate. The balance of snark with sensitively handled, heavily mature subject matter was beautiful and well-done. While there are a few characters that fall to the very bottom of the “redeemable” pile in my mind, I feel as if Victoria Scott did a gorgeous job in rounding each personality fully and showing them in several altering lights–to allow readers a more completed picture of them, as individuals and as a whole. And penguins, did they leap to life for me; not only was I ensnared by the gorgeous writing, the dark atmosphere, the fast-paced and thought-provoking plot… I was also swept up by the characters. And not just one or two of them– ALL of them.

I am just so, SO happy the first Victoria Scott novel I picked up was THIS one. Victoria Scott wrote a darkly mysterious, intriguingly painful read–and she wove the heavy subject matter so beautifully and sensitively into the journey. I definitely recommend to lovers of shady characters, questionable motivations, and atmospheric reads. I officially cannot WAIT to pick up my next Victoria Scott novel; if the writing is as gorgeous as in this book, I’m in for a real treat. This read’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode; why don’t you open the cover and start the countdown, penguins? You know you want to.

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2

Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: Groupie

 

Groupie
(Rock-Hard Beautiful, #1)

by C.M. Stunich
Publication date: March 21st 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

“Can one of these five rockstars fill the hole in my heart? Or will I stay broken forever?”

Young, dumb, and broke.

That’s what started everything. With five dollars in her pocket, and everything she owns stuffed in the back of her car, Lilith Goode’s life is over. Done. Destroyed.

Ten words. One text. That’s what it took to change the whole world.

A crumpled concert ticket. A chance encounter. That’s what it takes to start all over again.

Five rockstars. One girl. Six dark hearts, six withered souls.

But can one broken person really put another back together again?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

C.M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands

(among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them everyday, C.M. has decided to have herself committed.

She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.

Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: this made my penguin heart go all aflutter; I love how unique and vibrantly written each character is; you can see their personalities through their reactions/interactions; the drama is hugely satisfying and entertaining; STEAMY, STEAMY, STEAMY!

Huge thanks to C.M. Stunich, Sarian Royal, and Xpresso Book Toursfor sending me a free digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

G Quote1

I can hear all you penguins roaring in outrage right about now. “BETH!” you all scream loudly, “what is UP with your taste in books lately?! It’s all love and music and diverse relationships! Why!?!?!” …Okay, okay, so maybe that’s not your actual reaction. Honestly, I’m sure most of you don’t even care what I read, within reason–so long as I don’t force YOU to read it if you don’t want to. But, see, someone recently DID ask me something close to this question, and I wanted to take a moment to address it. I, your Princess Penguin royal extraordinaire, am all about the butterflies! I know, I know…penguins and butterflies?! Not something you hear about often–I mean, penguins chase butterflies to EAT THEM, right?! But seriously, this book? These characters? Huge case of satisfying, delicious butterflies–with a heavy dose of grief and pain on the side. That’s right, penguins; I have found a new reading niche I adore and enjoy, and I’m not giving it up anytime soon…so expect to see many more such books on this blog.

That being said, let’s move on. There’s this sense of… “wrong” that Lilith, throughout, feels about what’s happening between her and the guys. I want to address this first and foremost, because while she does in the end come to terms with feeling “judged” by others… I don’t understand why the judging was happening to begin with. Sure, this relationship? is not one we see in today’s world often. But I think this is more due to the way we, as humans, so often leap to “judgement” than to “acceptance.” So let me just say this: this book? Is probably not for a lot of readers. But you should at least try to keep yourself from judging something you don’t understand, because how else are we ever going to learn about others’ otherwise?

G Quote2.jpg

I went into this book expecting something not quite as steamy as what I actually found. Honestly, going into this book, I was NOT expecting what I got–though what I got was wonderful and exciting and pure literary gold, in my opinion. This is what happens when your Princess conveniently always forgets to read the blurb for books before picking them up–because who needs to know what’s going to happen!?! GO IN BLIND for the win! And this was a win, penguins–the characters are so vibrantly written, they painted themselves on the backs of my eyelids. The darkness in each of them only helped to mold and shape them even further in my mind’s eye; I could practically SMELL each of their shampoos, they felt so real to me. And the love! The love was glorious and delicious and butterfly-inducing. Each personality brings something unique and different to the forefront, and I adored learning about these characters and watching their journey play out.

I cannot WAIT to lay hands on the second book in this series! C.M. Stunich brought these characters, and their love, to life for me within these pages, and I will definitely be picking up more of her novels in the future. This love is endearing, STEAMY, and beautiful; the characters are vibrant, loud, and clashing in exactly the right ways. I recommend this to lovers of “different” relationships; contemporary romances; and soulful rock bands. Open your heart and let an attachment form, penguins; the guitar riff is to swoon for with this one!

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2

Release Day Blitz and Giveaway: The Wanderer

Book Cover
THE WANDERER
Dahlia Donovan
Series: The Sin Bin, Book 1
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Publication Date: April 8, 2017
Can love be found off the beaten track?
Graham Hodson lives for adventure. His entire life has revolved around his obsessive wanderlust. His inner fear of staying in one place or being with one person for too long has kept him on the go. The last thing he expects is a sudden diagnosis to ground his travel permanently.
Boyce BC Brooks has screwed up his lifelong dream of being the captain of the English national rugby team. He’s lost everything. When his uncle leaves him an inn and a dog in Cornwall, he has little choice but to try his hand at innkeeper.
Can two jokesters kicked around by life and their own decisions find stability when their world shakes beneath their feet?
This book will have you laughing so hard at the easy banter between these two then clutching your chest as the emotions threaten to boil over.
– ~lil maso~, Goodreads Reviewer
Teaser

Giveaway

WIN
Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$10 Amazon Gift Card + 1 eBook of the Wanderer
(One Winner)

Additional Giveaway

Be sure to also join the giveaway organized by Hot Tree Publishing.
Get a chance to win The Wanderer in paperback

About Dahlia Donovan

Author Pic

Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’ be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
Official website: http://dahliadonovan.com/
Social media links: Facebook | Twitter
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Definitions of Indefinable Things: Realistically Written, Surprisingly Entertaining

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Definitions of Indefinable Things

This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.

 

4.25Penguins

Quick Reasons: life changer; this tackles some important, heavy subjects…and does so with sensitivity and tact; don’t expect a miracle cure, penguins; this paints mental health in a realistic, complex, true-to-life way; these characters are just…GAH

Huge thanks to Whitney Taylor, HMH Books for Young Readers, and Netgalley for providing me with early access to a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

DI Quote1

I’m going to be honest, penguins. This book is messy. The characters are struggling with some very heavy burdens…and Whitney Taylor doesn’t once mince her words, or sugar-coat the emotions. From page one, you will be taken on a whirlwind ride of snark, angst, and depression. There is no miracle cure waiting at the end–even at the end, these characters are hurting, and they know it. They acknowledge their invisible struggles in every word, in every action, in every single moment–and you’ll be forced to step outside yourself and live their pain with every flip of the page. This book does not offer an easy solution, a cure, or an answer–because honestly, in reality, there isn’t always one.

 

This is, instead, a small glimpse into the ways depression wreaks havoc on an individual–and their loved ones. Whitney Taylor took a very heavy subject and approached it with sensitivity and tact. The characters are realistic and beautiful and flawed and struggling–and I so, so appreciated that in this read. While this was a difficult journey for me, as it forced me to step outside myself and back into a darker state of mind… I also appreciated the way Whitney Taylor approached this journey. I also ADORED how much snark and angst followed these characters throughout the read–their interactions with and reactions to each other/the world were undeniably some of my favorite moments.

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While there is a bit of a love triangle and there are some pretty lofty mistakes made…this book is unarguably REAL. The morals imparted? The messages explored and spelled out? Only helped to cement this in my mind as one of the best, most emotionally-challenging reads of the year so far. This is the sort of book that makes readers think, and leaves them changed–I know, for sure, that it’s changed me.

 

I just… this book is important, penguins. Whitney Taylor handled this journey with tact and sensitivity. The characters are snarky, adorable…and battling some dark demons. There is no miracle cure waiting at the end–and I adored that about this, because it’s so realistic and true-to-life. I’d recommend this to lovers of contemporaries with heavy subjects, honest implications, and journeys bound to change you. If you had to define indefinable things, what would be on YOUR list?

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Hard to Get: This Steamy Read Wreaked Havoc on my Heart!

bookreview

 

Hard to Get

A standalone romance with a happily ever after! Includes a 10,000 word excerpt of ON THE ROCKS by Hildred & Cynthia

What do you do when the hottest and richest woman in town asks you out?

Run, apparently.

NADIA

No one has seen more billionaire-matchmaking carnage than Nadia Gaines, receptionist to the most expensive office around. If it’s not some old (and married) guy trying to impress her with diamonds and trips to paradise, then it’s…

Well, it’s Eva Warren, an old-money heiress whose tabloid exploits are as sordid as they are really, really gay.

Nadia is no stranger to lesbian lust. But no matter how much she wants to give in to Eva’s seduction, one mantra lurks in the back of her mind: Never date a billionaire!

Until the one night she does give in, anyway. Then everything goes to hell.

EVA

Life as a billionaire heiress isn’t all sunshine and kitty whiskers, especially if that heiress is Eva Warren. She’s managed to shake off tabloid gossip that’s ruined more than one woman’s life, but she’ll never be able to shake the two things she wants most: to work for her family’s business, and to date every beautiful woman she meets.

Curvy Nadia isn’t like the others, however. Even though the mutual attraction exists, for some reason she keeps shooting down Eva’s advances. Until Eva finally gets Nadia right where she wants her…

So begins one of the hottest games of hard to get to ever befall womankind. High society might not survive it.

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Erotica / Romance / LGBTQIA+
468 Pages
Barachou Press
Publication Date:  September 29th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: diverse romance for the win!; realistic, engaging, and steamy; complex, well-rounded, awesome characters; delicious drama, serious snark; true-to-life, heavy-handed themes; entertaining and thought-provoking read

In my (undeniably never-ending) search for the next great romance, I stumbled across THIS gem–and immediately knew I needed it in my life. I mean, for one–that cover? drool-worthy. Not because it’s the prettiest cover ever, but because hooooooly penguins, it’s hot.

 

And this book? DEFINITE HEAT LEVEL, penguins. Seriously, if I were to gauge the temperature found between these sheets ahem, pages, I’d give it a 15 on a 1-10 scale. Seriously, the heat is scorching, and I was taken on a journey of delicious drama, serious snark, and steamy scenes. I mean, don’t get me wrong–this book, along with one specific character, definitely played hard to get. But the anticipation? The build-up? The formation and then breaking of the tightrope that Cynthia Dane and Hildred Billings lead their readers across? There’s something super satisfying in it all that kept me glued to the pages even when I knew I should be focusing on other things.

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The characters are realistic and well-written. I found myself rooting for them even before I was sure THEY were a thing–and not just because the chemistry was undeniable. Their personalities surged from every page to embrace me, to push me away, to make me thing and reconsider. The more heavy-handed, important morals were handled with sensitivity and respect, and interlaced into a story that, in the end, has a much wider scope than the bedroom scenes. There are so many things readers can take away from this novel, I won’t try to list them all here–just know that there are some super important, poignant messages shared.

 

In the end, I had a ton of fun reading this title! The steam level was through the roof, the characters were adorable, and the bigger arcing messages were important and wide-reaching. I really enjoyed getting to know Nadia and Eva, and watching their relationship wilt and blossom with the drama. I’d recommend this to lovers of romance, butterfly-inducing moments, and realistic relationships. This book may play hard to get, penguins, but trust me–it’s so worth it!

2

Piper Perish: Poisonous Family Dynamics, Open-Ended Ending

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Piper Perish

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It’s been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she’s missing any one of these things?

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Contemporary / YA / LGBTQIA+
Chronicle Books
Publication Date:  March 7th, 2017
Get a copy here!

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Quick Reasons: realistic and true-to-life; I LOVE how open-ended the ending is; an interesting glimpse into family dynamics and sibling rivalries; a focus on opportunity, self-preservation, and personal sacrifice; Piper has an entertaining, strong voice, but she comes off a bit unreliable at times

Huge thanks to Kayla Cagan, Chronicle Books Publishing, and Netgalley for granting me free early access to an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

The first thing you need to know about this book: it’s written in diary form. Therefore, the only perspective we get is Piper’s–and while I adored how strong and unique her voice is throughout this novel, I also struggled a bit with seeing the world through her eyes. Don’t get me wrong–single perspective reads are not in any way a bad thing! However, Piper’s perspective is (as to be expected, with diary entries) very biased. A couple of times, I found myself wondering if she was more unreliable than honest. You know that saying, “there’s three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.” ? I felt it applied to a lot of this book, when perhaps it shouldn’t have.

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I really enjoyed the different themes that Kayla Cagan explored, though! One of the biggest focuses, sibling rivalry, was a new one for me to encounter in YA, and it was beautifully done. Growing up with a TON of half-siblings and one younger brother, I know just how volatile and dramatic such relationships can be. They are, at times, downright caustic. When you add in pregnancy and the additional hormones that come with it, it’s pretty easy to believe in Marli’s terrifying unpredictability.

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In fact, the entire family dynamic was never once sugar-coated or glossed over. Kayla Cagan did an awesome job of asking the right questions, and then employing the answers in ways that shifted the plot and changed my perspective as a reader. Both parents are fully present and realistically flawed, acting and reacting in predictable AND surprising ways. After all, who hasn’t done or said something out of character when stressed? Unlike a lot of YA reads with missing or “side-note” parents, I felt as if I got to know Piper’s mom and dad as fully as I did Piper and Marli. I felt as if all these characters came to life for me, honestly–and that’s a hard thing to do in writing, to make each character feel individualized and equally vibrant.

 

In the end, this was an entertaining and thought-provoking read. There are tons of moments filled with teen angst, family drama, and abstract philosophies or ideas. It is, at times, difficult to put yourself in Piper’s shoes and understand where she’s coming from. Marli is, throughout, downright terrifying–and, at times, emotionally abusive. Still, each character feels fleshed out and unique, and the ending is open-ended enough to let readers continue the story on their own, if they want. I recommend this to lovers of contemporary fiction, “differing” family dynamics, and the exploration of abstract ideas/human nature. This was an interesting read; I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the next project Kayla Cagan tackles.

0

Book Blitz, Excerpt, Teasers, and Giveaways: #FinishLine

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finishline-ebooksm#FinishLine (GearShark #5)
by Cambria Hebert
Publication date: February 27th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Every race has a finish line.

Where you go after you cross it is what matters most.

And sometimes, that’s the most intriguing.

Here at GearShark, we’ve featured lots of drivers.

All of them are well acquainted with the finish line.

And as race fans, we’re well acquainted with cheering as they cross it.

What we aren’t privy to is riding shotgun, seeing where they drive once the race is
over.

Our interviews barely scratch the surface, offering just a glimpse of the men and women behind the wheel.  The discovery of vanished Motocross sensation Jayson Hamilton, who has been right under our noses for years, proves secrets abound.

It’s time to dig deep. Look beyond the racetrack at the drivers who continue to pique our interest. In addition to scoring an exclusive, all-access interview with the elusive Jayson Hamilton (his first and only since the death of his fellow racer and partner Matt Lewis), we’ve caught up with some of our most popular featured men and women in the racing world.

Where are they now?

Who are they now?

What do these hot commodities do when they escape the spotlight?

Rumors of weddings, babies, and new tattoos swirl through the media on a weekly
basis.

And though we’re headlining the hashtag #Finishline, we’re far from finished.

In fact, we’re just getting started.

This newest issue of GearShark is jam packed with everything you’ve been dying to know… and it just might be our biggest page-turner yet.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

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Excerpt from #FINISHLINE

GearShark #5

Copyright by Cambria Hebert; do not copy or distribute

Hopper

“What’s wrong?” he demanded the second I opened the door.

“Nothing,” I said and motioned for him to come in.

He pulled off his Oakleys and slid one earpiece beneath the neck of his dark-blue T-shirt so they were out of his hands and stepped into the apartment.

His eyes searched out his brother, wanting to be sure all was well.

“He isn’t here,” I said and shut the door.

Lorhaven turned. “Where is he?”

“Meeting,” I replied.

“Why aren’t you there?” He scrutinized.

“Because I didn’t need to be.” I cleared my throat. “And, I, ah, wanted to talk to you. Alone.”

His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Why?”

Arrow’s big brother was an asshole. It wasn’t anything new to me, and his constant suspicious demeanor didn’t offend me like it used to. I understood his extreme overprotective nature when it came to Arrow (and Joey). I even respected it.

There was a time when I doubted we would ever get along. Hell, sometimes I still doubted it. But ever since the day I raced across the track to pull Arrow out of a multicar pile-up, things were different between me and Lorhaven.

Friendlier.

He welcomed me to the family that day, and since then, he’d backed up his handshake
with actions. Arrow and I hung out with him and Joey regularly, something I knew meant a lot to A. To me, too.

Joey was my first and only real friend since Matt died. The months we’d spent not really speaking had hurt. To have her friendship back along with a new one in Lorhaven gave me the sense of family I’d deprived myself of for so long.

“There’s something I want to ask you,” I said.

He made a sound, sort of an agreement, and shrugged out of the jacket to fling it over
the back of the couch. “You called me down here because you want to ask me a
question?”

“It’s not something I could do over the phone.”

He folded his arms over his chest and regarded me in a way that would probably make a lesser man piss his pants. Lorhaven didn’t intimidate me. He never did, and he never would.

But, uh, yeah… I was anxious right now. “I know how close you are to A.” I began. “He told me you’re more like a dad to him than The Fucker ever was.”

Lorhaven’s arms dropped to his sides. “He told you that?”

I nodded. “Yeah. And honestly, I’m fucking grateful to you for that.”

Shock widened his very dark eyes. I committed the look to memory as I smothered a smile. I’d likely not see that look on his face ever again.

My voice dropped. “I think you were the one thing that stood between Arrow and total shutdown a few years ago.”

“Until you came along,” he replied, gruff.

“Thank you for everything you did for him, for everything you do. I know you already know how much he appreciates you, but now you know I do, too.”

“He’s my family,” he said, like it was all he needed to say.

I half smiled.

“As touching as this is…” Lorhaven studied me. “Why do I get the feeling you want something?”

“Because I do.” I took a deep breath. “I want Arrow.”

He made a sound. “Pretty sure you already got that.”

I shook my head once. “I want to marry him.”

Lorhaven jolted like someone tossed a bucket of ice water over his head. “You wanna
what?”

“I’m gonna ask Arrow to marry me, but before I do, I’d like your permission.”

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for-bioAuthor Bio:

Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking
her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many
paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic
suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch,
and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook /
Twitter / Pinterest

 

GIVEAWAYS!

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10

Four Real: This Book BURNS with Hot and Steamy

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Four Real

Her love was greedy. Their love was infinite.

Lead singer of the start-up band Four Real, Tricia Donahue left her hometown with one question. How can you love three men at once? She’s convinced herself that it can’t be done—not without living up to her family’s infamous reputation. Now, years later, lead guitarist Michael Hill is touring with world famous TRE, far removed from the small town band he once called his family. Home will never be the same until he makes things right. Keyboarder, Pete Morello and drummer, Marty Pierce were always close, but when the one girl they ever loved disappeared from their life, their casual threesomes and life’s hard knocks revealed the feelings they share for each other. Reunion time for four best friends with unfinished business means they will finally face the music. Fantasy…meet reality.

Erotica/Romance
158 Pages
Publication Date:  December 5th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: this book is FULL of the hot and steamy; mature audience recommended; there are some heavy subjects broached; complex, well-rounded, entertaining characters; I loved the focus on relationships within these pages; super fun, quick read

Huge thanks to Alyssa Turner and Xpresso Book Tours for granting me early access to a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Let me get this out of the way before anything else: this book is NOT for readers uncomfortable with polyamorous relationships. This is not a “one guy, one girl” kind of book, so if you’re expecting or wanting to find that…you should probably put this one down and step away. Find something else to read. Also, there are some mature themes and subjects broached throughout–please keep this in mind! This book is definitely not going to be for “everyone,” so if it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay!

That being said. I. LOVED. this book! I actually just went and bumped my penguin rating up a tiny bit because it was, having thought about it, a smidge too low for how I feel about this book. The characters are complex, well-rounded, and super entertaining. I’m not going to lie: I’ve always been a sucker for “love between band mates” books…and this book met that criteria beautifully. On top of that, the characters are realistic and diverse, while not being too cliche or “in your face” about their differences. They are human, and real, and I loved each of them equally. It doesn’t hurt that they practically leaped off the page at me. I was, at times, a bit frustrated by Tricia; she came off very flighty and cowardly at times, and that didn’t mesh at all with the vibe I expected her to put off going into this read. Once I wrapped my head around her and her character quirks, though, I enjoyed her much more. Of course, each of the boys in this are immediately bae–I just couldn’t choose between them if I tried! #multiplebookboyfriends #forthewin #Imnotashamed

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Alyssa Turner knows how to weave a relationship and make it realistic, and the relationships built upon and explored throughout these pages are one of my favorite elements. The friendship–gone so long with so many things unsaid and so many subjects unbroached–felt cohesive and natural even after so much time had passed in the characters’ lives. Reading this, I felt an outsider looking-in on a group of friends I could only HOPE to someday be as close to. The fact that a deeper, stronger relationship is woven into and throughout that friendship only helped to make these friends/lovers FEEL like the real deal to me. There are so many different types of love divulged and explored throughout this read, and each of them is just as natural and just as true-to-life.

I had a TON of fun reading this, and cannot WAIT to dive into more of Alyssa Turner’s novels! This book helped to give me a glimpse into a different type of love and intimacy, and I enjoyed every moment of it immensely. The relationships felt cohesive and realistic, the characters are well-rounded and entertaining, and there are several moments hot and steamy enough to leave even the most seasoned romance reader blushing. I recommend to readers who appreciate friendship-turned-love plots, deliciously sexy romps, and journeys of self-discovery. Alyssa Turner caught me in her snares with this one; maybe you should dance the dance, too!