February 28, 2014

Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick (Guest Post + Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop for Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick. This is an Adult Contemporary  for ages 18+. The tour runs Feb. 24th - March 5th. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 435

After eight years in prison, twenty-four year old Jordan Kane is the man everyone loves to hate.

Forced to return to his hometown while on parole, Jordan soon learns that this small town hasn’t changed since he was sent away. He is the local pariah, shunned by everyone, including his own parents. But their hatred of him doesn’t even come close to the loathing he feels every time he looks in the mirror.

Working odd jobs for the preacher lady, Jordan bides his time before he can leave this backwards town. But can time or distance erase the pain of living?

Torrey Delaney is new in town, and certainly doesn’t behave in a way the locals believe a preacher’s daughter should. Her reputation for casual hook-ups and meaningless sex quickly spreads. And that’s on top of her budding friendship with the hardened ex-con handyman—the good Reverend is less than thrilled with her estranged daughter’s path.

As friendship forms, can two damaged people who are afraid to love take their relationship to the next level? Can Torrey live with Jordan’s demons, and can Jordan break through Torrey’s walls? With the disapproval of a small town weighing heavily on them, they struggle to find their place in the world. Can they battle the odds, or will their world be viciously shattered?

Is love a life sentence?

Question for the author:

If you were able to time travel to any place and any time, when and where would you travel, and why?


Stonehenge, late Stone Age, and ask WHY?

I’d ask Napoleon what scared him so badly when he spent a night in the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

I’d tell the people who lived in Pompeii to get the hell out of Dodge.

I’d draw a map of El Dorado and put x marks the spot.

I’d ask Jane Austen to tell me the plot of ‘Sanditon’, her unfinished novel. Or better still, dictate it to me.

I’d tell Shakespeare that the romances and tragedies would be better for his career, and that with the exception of Henry V and Richard III, not to write all those boring history plays because they’d be used to torture school kids for centuries after.

I’d go back to my first year in college and tell myself not to date David Dickhead and explain that just because a guy is pre-med, it doesn’t mean he knows jack shit about anatomy.

And I’d back up the hour’s work I did on ‘Lifers’ when I was writing the first draft … before my computer crashed.

About the author:
I started writing contemporary romance two years ago. Before that, I didn’t think I could write a sex scene.

Turns out I can!

My lucky number is 13 because I was born on the 13th and live near a haunted castle by the ocean. My number one past-time is watching hot surfers get changed into (and out of) their wetsuits.

My husband doesn’t read my books. My mother does.

Writing is my love, my hobby, my total addiction. All my characters are important to me and whisper their stories, even when I’ve finished writing their books. That’s why you’ll often find bonus chapters/out-takes from various books, because those voices just won’t be quiet.

Readers can find bonus chapters for several of my books on my website www.janeharveyberrick.com

Open internationally. See rafflecopter for details.

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February 20, 2014

Before You Break by Christina Lee (Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway)

Before You Break by Christina Lee
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin)
Pages: 226
Series: Between Breaths
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control...

A college baseball star isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there's something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them--something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can't ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn's physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him--or to stop herself from falling too far...
My Thoughts:
Before You Break is a very emotional story that centres around the romance between Ella and Quinn. Both characters are dealing with traumatic events in their pasts. Ella is a bit more removed from the situation, still feeling sadness and moments of guilt over her brother’s suicide, but she’s a little more past it, using her experiences to help other people. Quinn, on the other hand, is a bit removed from his own life. He’s walking on a path that was never supposed to be his in the first place. He’s dealing (or not dealing, really) with massive guilt, feeling like what happened to his friend is his fault.

All these emotions in the story could be overwhelming, but instead Christina Lee fashioned some very well rounded characters. They felt real and the situations they were going through felt real as well. The side characters in this story were also great. I liked checking in with Avery and Bennett from the first book, but I especially enjoyed Ella’s family.

Before You Break is a great book of romance, friendship, and family. It contains a real journey of discovering self worth, focused on the male main character for a change. I also enjoyed how Ella’s indirect influence led to Quinn’s changes, but that he really made those choices for himself. It was about positivity and choosing the right path with the support of loved ones, but making those choices for yourself. Overall, a beautiful story that I recommend.

The Cover:
Generally like.


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble

Check out the author:
Twitter | Facebook | Website | Goodreads


At the theater, we bought popcorn, Milk Duds, and large sodas. After we settled in our seats in the crowded room, I opened the box of chocolate caramel confections and dumped them in the large tub.

“Um,” Quinn said, scratching his chin.

“Sweet and salty—it’s a must-have for movie watching.”


“Yes, seriously.” I picked up a Milk Dud, flanked it with two pieces of popcorn, and then brought it to his lips. “Here. I guarantee you’ll fall in love. You’ll never watch a movie without them again.”

“If you say so. . . .” He dragged the sweet and salty mixture into his mouth but kept my fingers enclosed between his lips. I held in a gasp while he ran his tongue over my thumb and then sucked on my forefinger before releasing my hand and chewing what remained.

“Agree,” he said around a mouthful of popcorn. “Wouldn’t want to be without them ever again.”

Quinn’s gaze latched on to mine. It felt like a bundle of feathers had been let loose in my stomach. “Guess you’ll have to come to every movie from now on. So I don’t forget.”

Speechless wasn’t even the word for what I felt in that moment. Dumbfounded might have been more like it, or maybe just struck stupid, because I couldn’t even move my lips to form any coherent words.

When the movie previews began, he turned toward the screen and reached for my fingers, interlacing our hands. Then he leaned close to my ear and said, “I expect you to feed me just like that the entire movie.”


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February 18, 2014

Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase (Review & Giveaway)

Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 201
Series: Seaswept
Review Source: eARC for review from tour coordinator

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Seven days aboard a luxury cruise. The perfect getaway from it all.
At least, that’s what Georgia Cantwell was hoping for.

Georgia wishes she could run away from the nightmare that has consumed her life, but she can’t. With her inbox filling with menacing emails, all she can do is try to get through her sorority’s winter break cruise without anyone realizing how wrecked she is. So she really doesn’t need Jace McLaren seeing through her tacked-on smile when no one else seems to notice.
Growing up with a father in jail, Jace knows from experience that if you’re going through hell, there’s no way out but through. He has always steered away from girls like Georgia with her ice-queen attitude, but she’s in real trouble, and despite himself he pushes past her walls.

As much as Georgia tries to ignore it, Jace won’t let her pretend with him. But she can’t risk telling him the truth. Her past would ruin his trust, her family, her future—everything.
But out on the open ocean, there’s nowhere to hide. And when Georgia’s secrets come tumbling out, it might take more than Jace to save her.
My Thoughts:
Full Steam Ahead is one of the first books I’ve read in a long time that takes place on a cruise ship. That unique concept alone puts the book ahead of the pack, but thankfully the writing and the characters also make this a great book. I love how the author brought in the trope of characters with a troubled past in a unique way. There were secrets and blackmail, but the way it was presented was quite original.

As I said, the characters are another great aspect of this book. I really liked both the heroine and hero straightaway. They weren’t at all what they seemed from the outset, but it was done in a way that made total sense. There was a real dichotomy between the way they presented themselves and the way others saw them versus who they really were.

I loved the banter between Georgia and Jace. The way they were with one another was very sweet. Because the book takes place over a very short period of time, the relationship could seem a bit insta-lovey, but I wasn’t turned off by this at all. You could really see the deep connection between them, and the fact that they were sharing secret things about themselves made the connection even deeper. Overall, this was a sweet and fun story. I loved the characters and I loved the setting. I definitely recommend Full Steam Ahead to New Adult fans.

The Cover:


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble

About Valerie:
Valerie Chase is a author of New Adult Romance. She currently lives in the Washington, DC area. Full Steam Ahead is her debut novel.

As for her writing style, Valerie loves sexy banter and guys whose hearts are in the right place, even if their heads sometimes aren't. She loves discovering strong, awesome characters, putting them in entertaining situations, and watching them argue their way to love.

Where to find Valerie:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook


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You can follow along with the tour HERE.

February 14, 2014

Be With Me by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

Be With Me by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 387
Series: Wait For You
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B – college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not…
My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this story, quite a bit more than the first book, actually. Teresa was such a relatable main character, someone you can really empathize with. I found myself cheering for her as she tried to go after her old dream while simultaneously beginning a new reality. Teresa desperately wants to dance, but she's committed to college and making a new future, in case dance doesn’t work out for her.

The romance in Be with Me is definitely a great one. Jase is her big brother's friend, the guy she's been crushing on for years. The affection isn’t one sided, but Jase is a guarded character, hesitant to open up and care for someone.

If you’re a fan of the New Adult category, this is a great book to pick up. It’s a story about Teresa finding strength and taking control of her life. It’s also about both Teresa and Jase working things out from their pasts and finding a future together.

The Cover:
Not bad.


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

February 13, 2014

Cover Reveal: After the Storm by Marie Landry

Have you seen the cover for Marie Landry's After the Storm? If not, you're in luck, because I'm one of several blogs hosting a cover reveal this week.

I'm not terrible cruel, so I won't make you wait for it. Here it is!

So lovely!! I adore all the colours in the umbrella, and it's so cool how it fits with the cover of the first book, while thematically being lighter and happier.

It's not all about the pretty, though. Here's a little bit about the book:

After the Storm by Marie Landry
Coming April 2014
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.

When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.

Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…
If you aren't already terribly excited for this book, here's a little something else:

First Kiss excerpt:

River moves closer and wraps his arms around me. It’s exactly what I need, and I melt against him, putting my arms around him and holding on tight. His warm skin, soft shirt, and now-familiar scent combine to make me feel safe and…what? Happy? After what I went through with Sadie tonight, it feels selfish to be happy, but Mrs. Maracle’s words pop into my head. I deserve to be happy. My mom would want me to be happy, and she’d be glad that a boy like River could help me get there.

“Thank you,” I mumble against his neck.

“What for?” One hand moves is slow circles over my back before winding in my hair.

“For being here. I was going to apologize for making you come all this way when I can’t really hang out, but now I’m glad you’re here. I needed this.”

He eases away so he can look into my eyes, but his arms remain around me. He opens his mouth to say something but then closes it and shakes his head. His face is close to mine, and all I can think about is kissing him. I lick my lips involuntarily and his gaze moves to my mouth, lingering there. Blood rushes to my head, making me dizzy, and I rock forward on the step, gripping his arms tighter.

His eyes darken, and I know this is it. It feels like I’ve been waiting a lifetime for River to kiss me, even though it’s only been a few weeks. When his lips meet mine, I let out a soft moan that would normally embarrass me but I can’t bring myself to care. All I can think about is his lips on mine, his hands in my hair, the taste of his cinnamon gum on his tongue when it touches mine.

After the Storm is a companion book to Waiting for the Storm, which I absolutely adored. Until tomorrow you have a chance to grab the first book for just 99 cents!

Buy Waiting for the Storm:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

About Marie:
Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood she's had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. She's a hopeless romantic, an unapologetic eavesdropper (occupational hazard), an equally unapologetic squeeing fangirl, and a lover of swoonworthy book and TV characters. For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie any time!

Where to find Marie:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons (Review, Excerpt & Giveaway!)

The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
Release Date: February 13, 2014
Publisher: Cerulean Books
Pages: 288
Series: n/a
Review Source: eARC for review through InkSlinger PR

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.
My Thoughts:
It's actually difficult to describe how much I love this book, because I was enthralled from the very beginning, and that wonder lasted throughout the whole book. Heather Lyons’ books have always had an addictive quality to them, but she improves as a writer with every single one. This story, Medusa’s narrative, was intriguing, sad, and yet, at times, hilarious. I love when books make me feel things from all over the emotional spectrum and this one definitely did. The Deep End of the Sea features an epic, epic best friends romance. The relationship is just so lovely and pure: two individuals who are clearly meant to be.

Heather’s characterizations of the gods were fabulous. She stuck to some of the typical stories and traits, but she also made the characters completely her own. Hades, Persephone, and Aphrodite are three gods who stood out to me in the story: they were so much fun to read about. I’d also be remiss not to mention Hermes, because he definitely shines in this book. Medusa is not someone I ever expected to see as a main character of a novel, but Heather has taken Ovid’s version of the myth and twisted it to perfection. Medusa is one of the most lovely, honest characters I've read about in a long while. She is so pure and kind, despite what she's had to endure, and even though she doesn't realize it, she's very strong.

The Deep End of the Sea features lush and vivid storytelling. It’s suspenseful at times, and it features a gorgeous, swoonworthy romance where the characters have to fight to be together. The romance is not an easy journey, but it was so sweet, and one of the most romantic stories I’ve read in a long, long while. This book features all of that, plus a surprise reveal that I didn’t see coming at all. Add in some major feminist props for a great dialogue about not blaming the victim and giving power back to women, and you have a completely epic book. I stayed up late to finish this book, and when I woke up the book was still on my mind. I was so satisfied where the book ended up, and yet I was sad that there wasn’t more to read. Basically, I can’t recommend this book highly enough -- it’s a must read!

The Cover:


Purchase Links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Barnes & Noble


“Where are Hades and Persephone?” I ask, glancing around the empty living room. They are nowhere to be seen tonight; neither are any of the Automatons.

The corner of Hermes’ mouth quirks. “Out. Possibly in the Underworld. One never knows with those two.”

Relief unfurls in the muscles in my shoulders. Still, I can’t help but ask, “Without saying goodbye?”

He’s definitely amused. “Shall I fetch them for you?”

“No!” My answer is too quick, which I fear broadcasts just how ecstatic I am at the thought of being along with Hermes right now. And that realization causes me to blush for the millionth time around him in the last month, so I clarify, “Of course not. I was just curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know.” To my delight, his hand finds mine and our fingers intertwine. It is a delicious sensation: his hand, warm and worn in mine in just such a way that feels like it’s an extension of my body.

It must be criminal to adore touching someone so much.

“Did it, though?” I ask, and he laughs a burst of exasperated air.

“Possibly, but then again, who am I to judge, when I am often struck by curiosity that I cannot help but sate?” He gives me that dazzling grin of his and pulls me through the house. “Case in point: you.”

“Me?” I squeak unattractively. There are lights ahead through the French doors leading to the patio, and I am curious myself enough to wonder what they are, but not nearly as much as I am for what he might mean.

“Yes, you.” He glances back at me. “I’ve never told you that I was overcome with curiosity when I heard Athena cursed some girl from one of her temples. It wasn’t like it was the first time she’d gone vindictively bonkers, but she was really put out over you. I mean . . . one of her followers? Even that was low for her.” His fingers squeeze mine gently and we stop about twenty feet from the doors. “When I first showed up on your island . . .”

I am helpless at looking anywhere but in his eyes. Tonight, they’re green. Vivid, beautiful, clear green. “Yes?”

“I’d been warned that you were a monster and that I best keep my distance. That you would slay me at the slightest provocation, and naturally, I believed it, as I could not blame anyone’s hatred toward my family after what my sister and uncle had done to you. But once Death handed me that first soul and departed, I heard you crying. My curiosity inflamed tenfold. What kind of so-called monster weeps like her heart had shattered and never would form whole again?”

Like clockwork, my cheeks burn. His fingers brush my reddened skin ever so gently before I turn my face to rest in his hand. The butterflies in my chest swarm frantically. “My sister misjudged you. I knew that the very second I heard your anguish. I’m afraid I was lost to you from that moment on. I had to discover all that made you you, even if I would suffer the same fate as the proverbial cat. And I never cared about the risks, as long as my curiosity about you was sated first.”

“Truly?” The word barely escapes my lips.

His eyes are so intense. “Truly.”

About Heather:
Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Where to find Heather:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest


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You can also follow along with the blog tour, running February 12 - 25.

February 12, 2014

In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

In Bloom by Katie Delahanty
Release Date: February 10, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Pages: 280
Series: The Brightside
Review Source: eARC from publisher

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. 

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…
My Thoughts:
In Bloom is a really sweet book, one that was a lot less shallow than I (shamefully) expected it to be. I always enjoy a book featuring a famous actor or rock star, so I liked the rock star connection here, and all the aspects of the story that came with that (fans, paparazzi, publicists, etc).

The meet cute for Liv and Berkeley was really enjoyable, and I loved all their meetings afterward as their relationship slowly progressed. I liked seeing Olivia work towards her dream of being in fashion, and the new things she was learning at work. I actually would have liked more of the book to be spent at her job, since once drama with Berkeley happened, Liv’s work kind of fell to a second priority. In terms of secondary characters, Parker and Blair weren't very three dimensional, but I still enjoyed their fairy godmother role in Olivia's life, and how they supported her through everything.

Overall? A very cute read, one that’s easy to pick up if you’re looking for something light and fun.

The Cover:

[Strong 3/5]

Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble


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