Friday, July 31, 2015

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery (4 stars)

About Thrill Me

Series: Fool’s Gold Mass Market 
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 28, 2015)

Meet the Mitchell brothers of Fool’s Gold, California—five gorgeous men who’ve left a trail of broken hearts in their wake… 

Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool’s Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports.

Now ten years later, Maya’s been hired to promote her hometown’s new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward!


Although Del’s not the type to hold a grudge, he’s determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He’s a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya’s kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all…

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Review

Maya didn't have the best role model for love, so when she fell in love very young, she ran out of fear. Her love interest, Del, left not too long after--stunned and confused.

Finally back in town, Maya gets to do the job she loves in a town full of memories. But she soon finds out she'll be interacting a lot with Del. Are they fated to be together, or was her decision to leave her true destiny?

What makes a book memorable to me are great characters. A great storyline, interesting plot twists, a beautiful cover, and excellent editing will elevate great characters to a truly amazing read. But if the characters are lacking, none of those can make up for it.

It's important for me to understand what motivates characters, and it's one of the reasons I really liked Maya. She grew up with a mom who ruined the idea of love, and although Maya didn't let it break her, she did allow it to taint her view of love and commitment... at least initially. And in the meantime, she worked hard and followed other passions. She didn't sit around and mope and feel sorry for herself. 

And who doesn't love romance? This book has fun romance with a side of real emotion. Sign me up. My only disappointment--if you could call it that--was a bit of predictability. But it's an excellent summer beach read. You'll be engaged and enjoy it, but I wouldn't say it's a story that'll stay with you for very long. 

But, then again, who cares. Sometimes you just need a light, fun read with good characters and some romance. And if that's what you're looking for, then Thrill Me fits the bill. For fans of the Fool's Gold series, you won't want to miss out!

Rating: 4 stars

NOTE: Before the review tour, there was an excerpt tour. So, if you'd like to check that out, please visit here for information on the various stops.

About Susan Mallery

097-croppedNew York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” 

While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again. Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame. 

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter
Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 

Please visit other stops on the Thrill Me blog tour page.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thrill me by Susan Mallery Excerpt Tour

Follow along the excerpt tour beginning in July, with long excerpts in consecutive order at each tour stop! 
A review tour will take place in August!


Series: Fool’s Gold Mass Market 
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 28, 2015)

Meet the Mitchell brothers of Fool’s Gold, California—five gorgeous men who’ve left a trail of broken hearts in their wake… 

Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool’s Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports.

Now ten years later, Maya’s been hired to promote her hometown’s new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward!


Although Del’s not the type to hold a grudge, he’s determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He’s a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya’s kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all…


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Purchase Links 

Excerpt

While the Mitchells couldn’t claim to be one of the founding families of Fool’s Gold, they’d only missed that distinction by a single generation. They’d been around longer than most and had the interesting family history to prove it.

Maya had first met Elaine Mitchell over ten years before when she’d applied for a part-time job with Mitchell Fool’s Gold Tours. The friendly, outgoing woman had promised fair pay and flexible shifts. As Maya had been saving every penny for college, she’d been thrilled with the offer. There wasn’t going to be any help from her family, so it was up to her to get scholarships, grants and loans, then supplement the rest with whatever she could save.

Two unexpected things had happened that fateful summer. Maya had met and fallen in love with Del—Elaine’s oldest son. But she’d also made a friend in the Mitchell matriarch. Elaine was married to famous glass artist Ceallach Mitchell and was the mother of five boys. She’d been born and raised in Fool’s Gold. Her life was the best kind of chaos—one defined by a growing, happy family.

Maya had been the only child of an exotic dancer who had married for money and suffered the consequences. While Maya had felt badly for her mother, she had loved moving to Fool’s Gold and being a relatively normal teen for the first time ever.

On the surface the two women had little in common, Maya thought as she hurried out of City Hall and headed for her car. They were worlds and lifetimes apart. Yet they’d always seemed to have something to talk about and, despite how Maya’s relationship with Del had ended, she and Elaine had stayed in touch.

Now she got in her car and drove the six miles out of town toward the Mitchell family house. It stood on acres of land, separate from the town. Ceallach needed quiet for his creativity and space for his huge glass installations.

So the family lived outside of town and the five brothers had grown up on the side of a mountain, running through the rugged terrain, doing whatever it was young boys did when outdoors and unsupervised.

Maya thought back to all the stories Del had told her, when they’d been together. And what Elaine shared in their frequent emails. She knew her friend missed having all five of her sons at home. Del and the twins had moved away and while Nick and Aidan were still in town, neither lived at the family house anymore.

Maya turned left and headed up the long driveway. When she finally reached the house, she was relieved to see Elaine’s SUV parked in front.

She’d barely made it up the front porch stairs when the door opened and Elaine smiled at her.

“You’re an unexpected surprise. What’s up?”

Del had his mother’s eyes. The rest of him—his size, his build—came from his father, but those brown eyes were pure Elaine.

“You didn’t know?” Maya asked, climbing the porch stairs. “Del’s back.”

Elaine’s openmouthed surprise confirmed what Maya had expected. Her friend hadn’t known. Which was so like a guy. Why tell your mom you were coming home?

“Since when?” Elaine asked, hugging her, then motioning her inside. “He could have called. I swear, he’s the worst of them.” Her mouth twisted as she led the way to the kitchen, her athletic shoes making no sound on the hardwood floors. “And the twins. I should disown all three of them.”

“Or post their embarrassing baby pictures on the internet,” Maya offered, stepping into the huge kitchen.

“That would be a better solution,” Elaine said as she crossed to the refrigerator and pulled out a pitcher of iced tea. “Then I’d hear from them for sure. So what happened? Where did you see him? What did he say?”

“Not much. I was too surprised to ask many questions.”

Maya took her usual seat at the big kitchen table. The overhead light fixture was made up of five pendant lights—each a rainbow of colors that swirled and seemed to move, even as they were perfectly still. She’d earned decent money as a senior producer back in Los Angeles, but there was no way she would have been able to afford those pendant lights. Or the stunning piece in the corner of the family room. Ceallach’s work was scattered throughout the house. One of the advantages of being married to a famous artist, she thought, accepting the glass of tea Elaine passed her.

Her friend already knew about Maya’s new job as the Fool’s Gold communications director. Now Maya told her about the meeting with Mayor Marsha and the plans for the various videos.

“We agreed there should be a host,” Maya continued. “Someone good on-screen.”

“I know where this is going.” Elaine gave her a sympathetic glance. “What about you?”

“You’re sweet to pretend I had a chance, but being in front of the camera…” Maya wrinkled her nose. “Anyway, I thought about some of the athletes who live in town. I mean why not? Or maybe Jonny Blaze.”

“Too young for me, but still sexy.”

Maya grinned. “I agree on the latter, if not the former.”

Elaine laughed. “And that’s why we’re friends. So not Mr. Blaze?”

“No. As if he’d been listening in the other room, in walked Del. I couldn’t believe it.”

Elaine pulled her cell phone from her jeans pocket and glanced at the screen. “Me, either. I wonder how long he’ll be in town. He’s not texting me about staying here at the house, which means he’s bunking somewhere else.” Her mouth twisted. “Apparently I did a bad job with my boys.”

“Don’t say that. You were a great mom.”

Maya would know. Her own mother had been on the dark side of awful, so she had a frame of reference. While her mother had been busy making sure Maya understood that she was the reason for her every disappointment, Elaine had been raising happy, loved children.

“Besides, isn’t the point of raising children to get them to where they’re contributing members of society?” Maya asked gently. “You did that times five.”

Before her friend could answer, the doggie door moved a little. Maya caught sight of a brown nose, followed by a happy blur of colors as Sophie, Elaine’s beagle, raced into the kitchen.

About Susan Mallery
 
097-croppedNew York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has won the hearts of millions of readers around the world with books described as “immensely entertaining, intensely emotional” (RT Book Reviews), “hilarious” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and “heartwarming” (Publishers Weekly). One major retailer recently described her as “the queen of romantic fiction.” 

While she deeply appreciates the accolades of critics and booksellers, Mallery is even more honored by the enthusiasm of her readers and the word-of-mouth that catapults her toward the top of the bestsellers lists time and again. Mallery lives in not-so-sunny Seattle with her husband and a toy poodle who makes her laugh every day and who’s not even a little bit impressed by her growing fame. 

Connect with Susan
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thrill Me EXCERPT TOUR:

Monday, July 6th: Why Girls Are Weird
Tuesday, July 7th: Book Mama Blog
Wednesday, July 8th: The Sassy Bookster
Thursday, July 9th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Monday, July 13th: girlichef
Tuesday, July 14th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, July 15th: Raven Haired Girl
Friday, July 17th: Always With a Book
Monday, July 20th: Mignon Mykel {Reviews}
Tuesday, July 21st: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, July 22nd: Urban Girl Reader
Thursday, July 23rd: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, July 24th: Books & Spoons
Monday, July 27th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bright Side by Kim Holden (4.5 stars)

About Bright Side

Secrets. 
Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you ... 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 


More information on Goodreads

Buy it on Amazon

Review

For a young woman, Kate has faced more than her fair share of heartache. But through it all, she's had her best friend, Gus, by her side. He calls her Bright Side, because she doesn't just believe in happiness; she lives there. When Kate heads to college, she and Gus talk almost every day. He's on tour and she's pursing her goals.

But she has a secret. 

She meets Keller, who has his own secret, and they fight a mutual attraction until they no longer can. Love is the last thing either of them expected.

I'm not sure where to begin. Should I tell you that by the end I was reading a few lines and looking away to breathe, to calm the flowing tears, so I could read the next few lines and repeat the process? Would that deter you from an incredible story? I hope not. Because there's a bigger theme that rises from the ashes of the extreme sadness at the end.

Kate is a beacon of hope to anyone who knows her. She's not perfect; everyone has their moments. But, she's determined to enjoy the life she's been given. She loves two men, but in very different ways. They both need her and love her.

No spoilers here. I wouldn't ruin the experience of this book for anyone. I don't like books that play with your emotions. This didn't feel that way. It left me feeling empowered... brave (and that word will mean so much more after you read the book). More than that, I was inspired by one of Kate's much-repeated mantras... Do Epic!

You can't have happiness without sadness. In this story, you get plenty of both. After the last page, you'll wipe away your tears and vow to live your life to its fullest. To enjoy every single second. I know I did.

One more note: it did take me a few chapters to get into the story. Don't give up. Once you get to know Kate, you'll be the better for it.

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the Author

Some of my favorite things:

Reading (YA or New Adult), writing (especially on a productive day), the two coolest guys on the planet (my husband and son), my bicycle (hand built by my husband), Facebook (it’s an addiction at this point), iced coffee (hazelnut from McDonalds), and music (LOVE Sunset Sons, the 1975, Dredg, the xx, Balance and Composure, Teenage Bottlerocket, Manchester Orchestra, and 30 Seconds to Mars).

I also love dreaming. Big. Writing a few years ago was an elusive dream until I grabbed a hold of it with both hands and refused to let go. Keep chasing YOUR dreams.

Want more? Find me on Facebook or Goodreads.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bound by Cathy Jackson Pre-Order Event

An exciting new pre-order is available today.

About Bound: A Broken Novella 
(Bloom Book 4)

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life that I wish I could take back. There’s been so much pain and hurt, all of which I have caused. I can only pray that God helps me to be a better man. A long time ago I knew who He was, but things happened and I walked away from Him. Now I am coming home, and I am not going to do it alone. I love Evelyn Miller, a woman of God who follows His ways. My prayer is that she would be mine, but first I have to be the man she deserves. I will go back to church, get a job, and procure a home to put down roots. My brothers will see the change in me, and I will earn their trust once again. I will be the man of God again. There will be a homecoming. If it is God’s Will, Evelyn will be mine.

To find out more:

Join the Facebook Release Event for Bound

$2.99 Pre Order Links



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ruthless by John Rector (4 stars)

About Ruthless

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2015)
Paperback: 280 pages

Nick White is the only person who can save Abigail Pierce. After uncovering a plot to have her killed, he attempts to warn her but instead puts himself squarely in the crosshairs. They know who he is, they know where he lives, they know how to get at his family.

Drawn into the conspiracy surrounding Abigail, Nick soon discovers the danger is bigger than he ever believed. Now he must uncover the truth to save her and himself. 

Gripping and intense, this novel is a twisted thrill ride from bestselling author John Rector. 
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Review 

Sitting in a bar one night, Nick White's life forever changes when a woman gives him an envelope. Inside is a lot of money and a mark. The problem: it wasn't meant for Nick. He knows he should just walk away, but he can't seem to. Nothing will ever be the same.

Starting this book is like getting on a roller coaster. Tension builds right away and there are several twists and turns and intense drops. Often, there's barely enough time to catch your breath before the next plot twist. Nick is a great character, and I believed he wanted to help this stranger. Something compelled him to get involved. Even with very little back story, I bought into his compulsion to figure out the mystery behind this targeted woman. That being said, I kept wishing I did know more about Nick so I could better understand his motivation. 

Then, with about one-third of the book left, things began to falter a bit. Although the twists were still intriguing, they were getting a bit strange. By the end, I was left scratching my head. Not only was it abrupt, it came out of left field. The last thirty pages kept this from being a 5-star read, in my humble opinion.

Still, if you love a compelling story that keeps you guessing right until the very end, pick up a copy of Ruthless. It's a quick and fascinating read.

Rating: 4 stars

51NMRGFRgOL._UX250_About John Rector 

JOHN RECTOR is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of THE GROVE, THE COLD KISS, ALREADY GONE and OUT OF THE BLACK. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and won several awards including the International Thriller Award for his novella LOST THINGS, many of his other stories can be found in his collection THE WALLS AROUND US. 

He lives in Omaha, Nebraska.
Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 

Please visit other stops on the Ruthless blog tour page.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Catalyst by Casey L Bond is Live!


Catalyst
Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: June 18th, 2015

The city of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is its leadership?

When a young man on a suicide mission meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any plans they could make together or separately.  

Revolution begins with a spark.


Snag your copy now for just 99 Cents!! For a limited only!
(June 21st price raises to $2.99)

   

Thursday, June 18, 2015

M by Jo Michaels (5 stars)

About M

In 2026, it finally arrives, the drug promising to make life easier for the masses. One dose of M and anyone can gain an ability. There are no promises made as to what the power could manifest as, but people are crawling over one another to take a chance.

There's a problem: One pill costs a million dollars. Only those with extraordinary wealth are afforded the luxury of cleaning house with a click of their diamond-adorned fingers or solving a puzzle by talking to it.

A knockoff begins circulating in 2038 that does the same thing as M. Hundreds of thousands of people have mutated for a mere one hundred dollars.

Enter the year 2042.

Seventeen-year-old Griffin is a normal kid, who has a regular job, and dreams of going to college someday. When his girlfriend of three years succumbs to peer pressure, they break up. He believes the body is a temple not to be messed with outside of nature, and she wants to fit in. Once he meets the supplier, things take a turn for the worse.

He's left with nothing but pain in his heart and the desire to make them suffer when his plans for payback blow up in his face.

Thirst for revenge consumes him, and he finds himself locked in a battle he never anticipated with a merciless kingpin as they struggle to gain the advantage.

How far is too far?


Buy it on Amazon
Author's Note:

***This book is a standalone novel, suitable for those over the age of thirteen. There is some violence that may not be appropriate for younger children.*** 

Review

Griffin knows who he wants to be... the new, and now inexpensive, drug M is not part of his plans. Many disagree and are excited to embrace an altered life, including Griffin's girlfriend. For him, it's a deal breaker. But it's more than that. He plans to rebel against the makers and make a statement.

Unfortunately, that statement leads to heartache, setting him on the path to revenge. A path that rarely goes well. 

Griffin is headstrong, a character trait that leads him into some hairy situations but also gets him out of them. As he plots his revenge, he runs into more people affected by M. These characters have their own pain to deal with. As they dig deeper, they realize the full impact of this knock-off drug. One character, a mother, left me in tears with her loss.

There's so much great story here, and I don't want to spoil anything. Just trust me... once you read the first page, you'll be hooked. It's a crazy ride, full of action and emotion. And it leaves you wondering how far you would go to right a wrong.

Oh, and if you love a villain who's bad to the bone, this story's for you. Although we get some insight into what made him evil, there's no question of how far he's willing to go. There's some harrowing scenes. 

Finally, for fans who love at least a little romance, you won't be disappointed either. Just saying.

A must-read!

Rating: 5 stars

About the Author

(from Jo's Amazon Author Page)

Jo Michaels is a writer who's really had a taste of life. She's lived in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia; but visited states from coast to coast. Michaels, a high-school dropout, put herself through college while her husband was deployed to Iraq and still managed to come out on the other side with all five of her children still breathing. On top of that wondrous feat, she managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude. After her fourteen year marriage ended cataclysmically, she took to the keys to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Using the degree she obtained in school, Jo set out with tools in her belt not many writers possess: a strong design eye, the skills necessary to format her books, and the ability to use her artistic talents to create stunning covers.

Now, Michaels writes full-time in her garage while imbibing copious amounts of coffee to keep her motor running from son up to son down (and daughter, too). Her inspiration for her books comes from relationships, life, friends, passion, and her own incredible imagination. A fight for achieving her dream (along with her super duper boyfriend) is what drags her out of bed every morning to do what she does best: spin tales laced with high-octane emotion for readers worldwide.

You can find out more about Jo on Twitterher websiteher blog, andFacebook. Also, find out more about her indie author services at Indie Books Gone Wild.


Note: I was privileged to edit this book. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.