Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cover Reveal! Every Time I Think of You by Tracey Garvis-Graves

 We are so excited to share the cover for the upcoming Every Time I Think of You, by New York Times bestselling author Tracey Garvis-Graves. We also have the first chapter available for you to read!






Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: 9/16/14

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Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.


Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.


Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.


And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.


Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.




Pre-Order Every Time I Think of You at Amazon

Chapter One

  Three-year-old Elliott DiStefano hid underneath his mother’s bed when the shouting started. He didn’t understand what the raised voices coming from the living room meant, but instinct told him to hide.
  No one ever yelled in his house. Sometimes they used a different tone with him, firmer. “Stop climbing everything, you little monkey,” his mama would say or, “It’s time to pick up your toys and get ready for bed,” Nana would announce. Most of the time he would do what they said, although sometimes they had to ask him twice, especially if what he’d rather do was play a little longer. But they never spoke to him in such a harsh way, and they never told him to shut up like the man in the living room just did to Nana.
  Elliott clutched his favorite green army man tightly in his hand. His nana had given him a bath after their early dinner at five, and asked if he was ready to put on his pajamas. “I can do it myself,” he’d told her, and she’d smiled and walked out of the bedroom he shared with Mama, closing the door behind her. She’d promised they could watch a movie and that Elliott could have one of the cookies they’d baked earlier that day for his bedtime snack. But then someone knocked on the door and now there was yelling and no movie and no cookie.
  The man’s voice was scary and mean. Nana sounded like she was crying and as Elliott’s fear grew he began to tremble. The yelling got a little louder, followed by a crash and a thud. Then nothing. Was the bad man still there? What if he’d left but planned to come back? Elliott could no longer hear Nana’s voice and he wondered where she went. Did she leave? Did she go with the man? He curled himself into a tight ball and began to cry silent tears.
  He had no way of knowing how much time had passed. It was dark under the bed and the crying had tired him out, so he rubbed his stinging eyes and took a little nap. When he woke up he desperately needed to go to the bathroom. His mama and Nana had been so proud of him when he stopped wearing diapers, and he hardly ever had accidents, but he couldn’t risk leaving the safety he’d found under the bed. The minutes ticked by and though he tried his best to hold it, he peed in his pajamas, soaking himself from the waist down. He started to shiver.
  It was quiet for a long time and then someone banged on the door and shouted something, but Elliott didn’t know if that was bad or good. He heard voices in the living room, not yelling, just talking, but he remained hidden. Mama would be home soon and she’d know what to do. Elliott decided to wait for her under the bed.
  More voices, drawing closer. The door to the bedroom opened. Elliott froze, wondering if it was the bad man coming to get him. He didn’t make a sound as a pair of legs wearing dark blue pants, with a stripe down the side, came into view. If he didn’t say a word or make any noise, maybe the person would leave.
  No one would have known he was there if he hadn’t coughed at that very moment. It was a bit dusty underneath the bed, and Elliott already felt a little wheezy, like he might need another dose of his medicine.  The legs bent as someone crouched down to look under the bed and Elliott squeezed his eyes shut, terrified of what he might see.
  “It’s okay.” The man said, speaking softly. “I’m a policeman. I’m here to help. Can you come out from under there?” Heart pounding, Elliott didn’t answer. He couldn’t.
  More footsteps. More dark blue legs. Elliott stayed put. No one was yelling, but Elliott’s heart was still beating fast, and his body felt like Jell-O. A lady wearing a dark blue uniform lay down on the floor next to the bed. “What’s your name?” she asked. She sounded a little like his mama. Her smile was nice like Mama’s, too. He didn’t think a bad person would smile at him, so he answered her. “Ewiott,” he whispered.
  “My name is Officer Ochoa but you can call me Regina, okay?” He nodded. “How old are you, Elliott?” she asked. Using the hand not clutching the army man he held up three fingers.
  “Three, huh? That’s a good age. I want you to know that you’re safe and no one will hurt you. Can you come out from under there? Here, take my hand.” She stretched out her hand to him and he hesitated but finally touched her palm with his fingers. She urged him gently toward her. Once he was close enough she reached in and grabbed him by his pajama top, pulling him the rest of the way out.
  Elliott blinked and let his eyes adjust to the light. One of the officers noticed his wet pajamas, and his shivering, and they wrapped his Thomas the Tank Engine comforter around him, speaking in low, soothing tones.
  “I want Nana and Mama,” he said. They could barely hear him.
“What is your mama’s name?” they asked.
  “Daisy,” he said. He knew this was true because it was the name other people called her when they said hello. And it was easy to remember because it was the name of a flower, and he liked flowers.
  “Do you know your last name?”
  He nodded. He and Mama had practiced saying it. “DiStefano,” Elliott said. Maybe it didn’t come out as clearly as it sounded to him because they repeated it back like a question and he nodded.
  The officers exchanged a glance and one of them said, “Got it.” The officer who spoke scribbled something on a pad of paper and left the room.
  “We’re going to take you to the police station and we’ll call your mom so she can come get you,” Officer Ochoa said. “Okay?”
  He wanted his mama more than anything, so he said okay, and when she bent down and scooped him up, comforter and all, he put his arms around her neck. She hurried down the hallway and just before they got to the door, when he would have tried to look for Nana to make sure she was coming too, Officer Ochoa pulled Elliott’s head down to her chest and all he could see was the dark blue of her uniform.  

Trailer

 


About Tracey Garvis-Graves
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cover Reveal! All Broke Down by Cora Carmack

We are so excited to get to share the cover for Cora Carmack's ALL BROKE DOWN today! 

A New Adult Contemporary Romance, and published by William Morrow-an imprint of HarperCollins, this is the second book in her Rusk University Series, and it is set to be released on October 28, 2014! But you can pre-order it NOW!

Check out what it's about and then fall in love with this gorgeous cover!

ABOUT ALL BROKE DOWN: In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack’s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can’t only fight for what you believe in . . . sometimes you have to fight for what you love Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one. Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians—you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause. Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before—fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about, his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help. Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.
  Image Map

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iTunes

cora-carmacks-all-lined-up

And don’t forget to grab your copy of ALL LINED UP Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes


Headshot



About Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.







Website ** Twitter ** Facebook

Author Goodreads ** ALL BROKE DOWN Goodreads

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Between The Lines (BTL #1) by Tammara Webber

From Amazon.com

Reid Alexander is used to getting what he wants - and what he wants next is his newest costar, Emma Pierce. The universe is lining up nicely to grant his wish, until he's confronted with two unexpected obstacles on location: a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for Emma's affections.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after years of filming commercials and made-for-TV movies. Winning the lead role in a wide-release film - opposite the very hot Reid Alexander - should be a dream come true. But Emma's heart is hiding a secret fantasy: she wants to be a normal girl.









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Between the Lines is the book that I thank for introducing me to the world of independent authors.  Shortly after I bought my kindle, I stumbled across it on a blog I was following. Having my own background in theatre/film, the setting sounded interesting & I was looking for something new to read so I decided to give it a chance.  I was immediately drawn into the fun, crazy, behind-the-scenes world of a teen drama in the making.

Recently, I have been listening to the audio version of some of my favorite books as a chance to revisit "old friends" and actually write reviews for them.  This series is one that I think I could re-read on a regular basis & love it just as much each time.  The summary above barely scratches the surface of what kind of story to expect from Between The Lines. Set in Austin, TX during the filming of School Pride, a teen drama retelling of Pride & Prejudice, we get to spend time with the majority of the cast as they get to know each other on & off the set.  We mainly follow the four major characters, Emma, Reid, Brooke & Graham, and see the story through Emma & Reid's eyes.

Emma is a sweet, naive girl who has no idea what she is getting herself into when she accepts the role of Lizbeth Bennet.  She has been acting in small roles since she was a kid, but has never been in anything as big as School Pride and has never worked with someone as famous as Reid Alexander.  Pushed by the encouragement of her best friend Emily (who adores Reid), Emma accepts the role even though part of her hates the idea of what this film will do to her favorite novel.  Overwhelmed by the idea of sudden fame along with the attention of two very different boys, she can't help but question whether the path she has chosen is really what she wants.

Reid is Hollywood's it-boy.  As charming as he is handsome, he has had everything handed to him for as long as he can remember & he likes it that way. Used to girls throwing themselves at his feet to be used & discarded as he pleases, he doesn't quite know how to handle his growing feelings for Emma or the competition he feels for her attention as she gets closer to Graham.  Add in Brooke, the only other girl he has ever truly had feelings for & his life is about to get complicated in ways he has never known.

I don't know how to adequately describe how much I love this series.  I love & hate all four of the main characters in various ways. They all have room to grow & learn from their mistakes, none more than Reid Alexander.  He's such an arrogant ass!  But even though he is all kinds of wrong for Emma, there is something about him that makes me root for him.  I'm never really one to fall for the "bad boy" and this one certainly doesn't have a heart of gold...but we see glimpses of something better that give us hope.

I love the way that Tammara Webber brings her stories to life. Her characters are real.  Her best ones have flaws & her worst ones still have redeeming value. Maybe it is because I have read the entire series & know where everyone ends up, but I can't help being pulled back in by these books & enjoying the ride time & again...even when I want to shake everyone in them & tell them to open their eyes to the mistakes they keep repeating.

I wholeheartedly recommend giving this book a chance if you enjoy teen dramas. It's a fast read that actually managed to surprise me a couple of times, and it's a fun - and from my experience fairly accurate - look at the world of film.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

From Amazon

Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. Love them.

Four years ago, Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. They’re struggling to make ends meet at first, but Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes and deep dimples, and perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable, and Trent is desperate to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart—even if it means revealing an explosive secret that could shatter both their worlds.


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When Ten Tiny Breaths was first published, my facebook feed was flooded with praise for the book & the author.  Curious, I picked it up.  I remember reading it then, but for some reason, it didn't really stick with me at the time.  I enjoyed it, and immediately put the sequel on my watch list to read, but by the time One Tiny Lie came out, I had moved on.  Now, in anticipation of actually meeting K.A. Tucker at Book Bash in a couple of weeks, I decided to re-read Ten Tiny Breaths & finally read One Tiny Lie, and I am glad I did!

Kacey Cleary is a mess.  Her life was destroyed four years earlier when the car she was riding in was hit by a drunk driver.  Both of her parents along with her best friend & boyfriend were killed that day.  Haunted by the feeling of her boyfriend's life slipping out of his body while she held his hand along with listening to her mother's final breaths, Kacey is left emotionally scarred and physically unable to touch anyone.  She has tried every coping method she can imagine & most often leaned on actions meant to make her forget.  The one thing that has kept her from completely giving up is her sister Livie.  When Kacey catches their uncle/guardian trying to sneak into Livie's room one night, she knows that things have to change.

Leaving everything behind, Kacey & Livie board a bus to Miami to start a new life.  Where this is essentially Kacey's story, the whole cast of characters we meet are fun & compelling.  At moments, I struggled with connecting with Kacey, but then again, so did everyone else that met her.  When we meet Trent, it is obvious why she is drawn to him...what is less obvious is why she trusts him. I often struggle with the idea of "insta-love" and where this isn't exactly that, it is close enough for me to question.  If it had been solely a love story between Kacey & Trent, I probably would have set it aside & forgotten it again.  However, the side relationships between Kacey & Livie as well as the friendship that developed between them & their neighbor Storm really pulled me in.  The message of finding hope & forgiveness after tragedy is heartwarming & a good reminder that we don't have to do everything alone.

Where I wasn't completely drawn in by this book & there were several things that bothered me with the story, it is a good start to a series & there are some great supporting characters that I look forward to getting to know better.  Having waited as long as I did to pick this series back up, there are now three more books to read! Now, I'll be heading off to college with Livie!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out #2) by Jessica Park

From Amazon

Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love



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***ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is a follow-up story to Flat-Out Love it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first book. If you haven't yet read Flat-Out Love, then you might not want to read further.

In Flat-Out Love, we met Celeste Watkins as a delightfully clever young girl. It was obvious from the start that something was not quite "normal" about her.  She was awkward in her dress & the way she talked, and most of all, she carried around a life-sized cardboard boy with her everywhere she went. Throughout the story, we got to watch her grow & even though she was a supporting character, I found myself wanting more of her every time she left the page.  I found her awkwardness & formal speech patterns to be charming & my heart broke for her as she struggled to fit in & even more when it became apparent why Flatt Finn became part of her life.  As some of those scenes were expanded on in Flat-Out Matt, she dug her way even deeper into my heart.  

With Flat-Out Celeste, we get to see her as a young woman facing the challenges and joys of high school & first love.  It didn't take any time at all to be drawn back into this world.  Everything that I love about FOL is back.  Matt & Celeste together are fantastic.  And Justin. . .nobody creates sweet boys like Jessica Park. Forget the Alpha Male craze, this is my kind of book boyfriend!  I could gush, use the word love about 14 more times, or even go so far as to use the bad cliche of saying that I Flat-Out Loved this story, but when I closed the book, the only word that came to mind was. . .perfect.  Just perfect.

I haven't laughed so hard while reading a book in a long time, and it has been even longer since a book came this close to making me cry.  I kept finding myself putting my kindle down & walking away from it.  Not because I wanted to stop reading, but because I didn't want it to end.  I wanted to stall the moment when I would have to say goodbye to these characters. I wish someone could have given this story to me when I was an awkward 18 year old girl struggling to find myself in a world where I just didn't seem to fit.  As it is, I am glad I had the chance to experience it now, as an often awkward 34 year old woman who still struggles more than I like to admit.

Thank you Jessica!  Even though you could have stopped with Flat-Out Love & we would have loved you. You knew we wanted Flat-Out Matt and needed Flat-Out Celeste. I look forward to meeting whoever you create next!

Aspen by Rebekah Crane

From GoodReads

One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember the devastating car accident that killed Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player. But forgetting is hard-- because Katelyn may have died -- but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's gorgeous former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, college, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to rein in her giant mass of blonde curls, keep her stoner mother Ninny away from Toaster, her mom's awful bongo drumming boyfriend, and prevent her best friends Kim and Cass from killing - or kissing - one another. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics looking all too gorgeous, Katelyn's spirit dogging her steps, and her obsessive snow-globe collecting therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control … and doesn't want to.

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, ASPEN is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next.

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***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

As someone who always has a book with me no matter where I go, I am forever on the lookout for new authors to add to my "To Read" list.  Whenever one of my favorite authors highly recommends another author, they often get to move to the top of the list.  So, when Jessica Park started talking about Rebekah Crane & provided a NetGalley link for Aspen, I didn't hesitate in requesting & downloading it.  Without knowing anything about the book, I started reading & found a surprisingly humorous story of a girl dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event.

Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor was born under an Aspen tree to a teenage mother who thought she was suffering from a bad case of gas.  She has spent most of her life hiding in the background, capturing the world on paper with her charcoal pencil.  Her day to day life is filled with her mom Ninny & her friends Kim & Cass. Other than that, she is happy being relatively invisible to her other classmates.  All of that changes when she wakes up one day in the hospital broken & bruised, but alive.  Katelyn Ryan was not so lucky.

Katelyn was the complete opposite of Aspen.  She was beautiful, popular and, if everyone in school is to be believed, perfect.  Aspen didn't know Katelyn in life, but in death, she can't seem to shake her. Not only is Aspen being haunted by Katelyn, but suddenly, she is no longer invisible & everyone in school seems to want to get to know her. . .most surprisingly Ben Tyler, Katelyn's boyfriend.

Ninny isn't like any mother I have ever met or read before.  As a girl, she was a free-loving, pot smoking, wild child who can only guess at the father of her daughter.  As a woman, she's. . .not much different! Though, through all of her faults, there is no question about how much she loves her daughter.  Her interactions with Aspen (and especially Ben!) are hilarious.  She is honest & open to a fault with little to no filter even when her intentions are good.  She reminded me a bit of an extreme version of Lorelai Gilmore. Where I wouldn't want her as my own mother, I loved every minute of reading her story.

I think Rebekah Crane did a fantastic job in creating a compelling, humorous story out of a difficult situation. The complete cast of characters were well drawn & interesting.  I did wish that we had gotten a better idea of who Katelyn was, but as her death occurs prior to the story beginning, it is understandable that the only picture we get of her is through the eyes of those who knew her, loved her & would never betray her by telling her secrets.  The pacing of the story is perfect.  I never felt like I was being rushed through the story, but was also drawn in completely enough that I only put it down once in order to get a few hours of sleep.

I hadn't heard of Rebekah Crane prior to Jessica Park's recommendation, but I was thrilled to find out that she had already released another book, Playing Nice, which is currently only $0.99 on Kindle.  I purchased it right away & can't wait to see if it is as enjoyable of a read as Aspen is.

Aspen will be available for purchase & download on June 5th

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cover Reveal! Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

We were introduced to Celeste in Flat-Out Love and readers wanted more! Well, more they shall have! Look at this amazing cover and take a peek inside FLAT-OUT CELESTE!
COMING SOON!


BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.. 

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation. 

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.
Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him. 

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.


Excerpt
There was a knock at the door and Matt leaned in, swinging a brown paper bag in her direction. “I heard Mom made stuffed peppers tonight. Last time she made those, I nearly died from flatulence. I assume she stuffed them with her usual repulsive ground chicken, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seed mix?”

Just the sound of Matt’s voice made Celeste relax. She smiled at him. “Based on the smell, I believe you’re right.”

“So you didn’t eat then? I was right!” Matt flopped onto her bed and lay down, his long body scrunching up the neat white comforter that she spent ten minutes arranging before she’d gone to school this morning. “I thought I’d take a break from studying and bring you something edible.”

“It smells like a burger from Mr. Bartley’s,” she said as she got up and took a seat next to Matt. “Hand it over, thoughtful brother.”

He tightened a hand around the top of the bag. “You have to guess which kind I brought you first.”

“How am I supposed to know?”

“Close your eyes.”

She did as instructed and felt him move the bag under her nose. Sweet, spicy... a bit garlicky. “Aha! Boursin cheese and bacon! The Mark Zuckerberg burger!”

“And sweet potato fries and a bottle of iced tea, but you win. A burger named after ‘the richest geek in America,’ as the restaurant calls him.”

“You will be the richest geek in America after you finish your Ph.D. Program,” Celeste said through a mouthful of fries.

“If M.I.T. doesn’t land me in a psych unit first.”

“You only have this year left to endure. And you will hardly find yourself in need of psychiatric care, Matthew. You are doing stupendously.”

“I’m scraping by.” Matt reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of fries and opened her iced tea.

“You are not ‘scraping by.’ You are assistant teaching classes, excelling in your own, and in all ways performing to standards that exceed even the high ones our mother set for you.” She frowned as he chewed on the fries. “Did you not eat?”

“I did. A Big Papi burger and a Fiscal Cliff. But you can never have enough sweet potato fries.”

“I have a finite amount of my own from which you are stealing. But I shall not complain because this was very kind of you.”

Matt chewed and studied her. “Are you okay?”

“Why do you ask?”

“No contractions. When you’re stressed out, they disappear.”

“I know. But most days I do not care to use them. If it is an effort, then I do not push.”

“Okay. I get it.” He chewed for a minute. “I heard your presentation went well. Did your friends like it?”

“It went marvelously. My friend Dallas took me aside to share quite the flow of compliments.”

“That’s great, Celeste.” He was downing half her iced tea.

“And then I bitch slapped her.”

Matt choked on the drink and desperately tried to clear his airway. “I’m sorry. You did what?”

She cocked her head. “I bitch slapped her.”

“That... that can’t be right,” he sputtered. “I mean, I hope it’s not.”

“I slapped my hand against her hand. Up in the air.” She looked at Matt blankly. “Is that not the right term?”

“Thank God, no, it’s not. I think you mean a high-five.”

“If you say so. Well, either way, it happened. You know I have trouble with colloquialisms, so I resent your shocked reaction.”

“I do know that about you, and I apologize.”

“Since we are on the subject, there is something else I would like for you to clarify.”

“Shoot.”

“What is meant by ‘nut bag’? Is that a testicular reference or merely the identification of a satchel of cashews or pecans?”

Matt groaned. “This conversation has gotten really weird. Could we just talk about— Wait a minute. Why are you asking me this? Did someone say that to you?” He looked angry.

Celeste picked at her fry. “No. Certainly not. I heard the term and had a natural curiosity.”

“Okay then...” Her brother crumpled up the paper bag and then smoothed it out in his hands. Then crumpled it again. “It’s the same as ‘nuts.’ You know, crazy.”

“Thank you for the definition.” She took the last bite of her burger and wiped her hands on one of the paper napkins. It shouldn’t matter what her classmates thought of her. Celeste would just be strong about this. She would move on.

PURCHASE--> FLAT-OUT LOVE and FLAT-OUT MATT on Amazon. FLAT-OUT LOVE at B&N.

About the Author:

Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.

Please visit her at jessicapark.me and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark and Twitter @JessicaPark24



Monday, May 12, 2014

Special Announcement! Every Time I Think Of You by Tracey Garvis-Graves


We are thrilled to announce that best selling author Tracey Garvis-Graves will be releasing an Adult Romantic Suspense novel this year! Please be sure to watch the gorgeous trailer for EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU, read the excerpt, and don't forget to add it to your reading list!

Title: Every Time I Think of You
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Release date: TBA 2014

Book Description:
Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.


TRAILER


EXCERPT

My watch said 11:00 p.m. Way too late to show up unannounced, but I knocked on Daisy’s door anyway, picturing her tip-toeing quietly to look through the peephole. It took a full minute because I’d undoubtedly roused her from a sound sleep. But then she opened the door far enough for me to cross the threshold and locked it again behind me.

The apartment was dark, save for a small beam of light that spilled into the hallway from her bedroom. As my eyes adjusted I noticed her hair. I’d never seen it down before. It fell way past her shoulders and was slightly messy, like she’d been tossing and turning in her sleep before I arrived. She wore a pair of pajama pants and a tank top with narrow straps, one of which had fallen off her shoulder.

“What is it?” she asked. “Are you okay?”

“My mom died,” I said. It felt strange to say the words out loud. My voice sounded flat, unemotional.

“I’m so sorry, Brooks,” she said, but she didn’t say anything else.

I wanted something that would take away the empty, restless feeling inside of me. Something solid and real. She was standing close enough that one step was all I needed to close the gap between us. She must have taken a shower right before she went to bed because when I plunged my hands into all that hair, grabbing fistfuls and pulling her up against me, I felt the dampness and smelled the faint traces of her shampoo.

I moved my hands to the sides of her face and cupped it. She didn’t miss a beat when I pressed my lips to hers. She was probably wondering how I could possibly kiss her at a time like this, but it didn’t stop her from putting her arms around me and kissing me back like it was exactly what she needed, too.

Like the steady turn of a release valve, everything that had been bottled up inside of me escaped slowly through that kiss. I hadn’t realized how rigidly I’d been holding my body until it slackened against hers. How tightly I’d been clenching my jaw until I relaxed it to kiss her. All the tension I’d been feeling disappeared when she opened her mouth and let me in.

It was a long slow kiss, the kind that wasn’t meant to lead to anything else and was all the more powerful because of it. When I’d finally had enough I said, “I don’t know why I came. It’s late. I woke you up.”

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I don’t mind.”

“Go back to bed,” I whispered.

She nodded and I opened the door. “Lock this behind me,” I said, and I waited in the hallway until I heard the tumble of the lock clicking into place.


About the Author:


Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber

From Amazon.com

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise -- until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy...

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.




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**ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is the a follow-up book to Easy & it would be hard to discuss this book without referencing events from the first book.  Where this is technically a prequel/companion story & could be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend that you read Easy first to get the full experience of both stories. 

Typically, I’m not a fan of books that are a retelling of a previous book through the male point of view. It often feels to me as if the author was somewhat coerced into writing a story their heart wasn’t completely in because they felt that their fan-base demanded it. So, when I first heard of Breakable, I wasn’t sure what to think or expect. I am such a fan of Tammara’s previous work that not reading it wasn’t an option.  However, I’ll admit, when I first received my ARC, I was giddy…but also a little nervous. I quickly realized that wasn’t necessary. Tammara once again wrote a book that completely engaged me, captured my heart, broke it & mended it again.

In Easy, we met Jacqueline as her world was shattered, and we met the two boys that made her believe that she could possibly trust & love again. First, there was the mysterious Lucas, the guy that always seemed to be there when she least expected. Edgy & brooding on the surface, he was different than any guy she had been attracted to before, but she couldn’t deny how drawn she was to him. Then, there was her sweet, smart tutor Landon, whom she had never met face to face, yet seeing his name in her inbox became a highlight of her day. Trust was then questioned as the two became one…Landon Lucas Maxfield.

Breakable begins as 13 year old Landon Maxfield experiences an unspeakable tragedy. In his mind, he had a life that was pretty perfect. That is all taken away in one night that leaves him scarred both inside & out. What unfolds is a heartbreaking story of a boy trying to find his way & a life affirming story of a man accepting that there is hope in opening up to those who love him.

For anyone who fears that this is just a simple retelling of Easy…don’t. Where there are parts of the story that are familiar, they are told in a way that makes them feel new & fresh. Even better, the majority of it is completely new. Told in alternating points of view between Landon & Lucas, we get a more complete picture of who this complicated & mysterious guy really is…and I couldn’t help falling in love with both the boy & the man.

Tammara Webber has been one of my favorite authors for a while now, but this book affirmed for me that I should not doubt her. I will trust that if she has a story to tell, it is one that needs to be read.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

From Amazon.com

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Juliet comes a mesmerizing novel about a young scholar who risks her reputation—and her life—on a thrilling journey to prove that the legendary warrior women known as the Amazons actually existed.

Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse.

Traveling to North Africa, Diana teams up with Nick Barran, an enigmatic Middle Eastern guide, and begins deciphering an unusual inscription on the wall of a recently unearthed temple. There she discovers the name of the first Amazon queen, Myrina, who crossed the Mediterranean in a heroic attempt to liberate her kidnapped sisters from Greek pirates, only to become embroiled in the most famous conflict of the ancient world—the Trojan War. Taking their cue from the inscription, Diana and Nick set out to find the fabled treasure that Myrina and her Amazon sisters salvaged from the embattled city of Troy so long ago. Diana doesn’t know the nature of the treasure, but she does know that someone is shadowing her, and that Nick has a sinister agenda of his own. With danger lurking at every turn, and unsure of whom to trust, Diana finds herself on a daring and dangerous quest for truth that will forever change her world.

Sweeping from England to North Africa to Greece and the ruins of ancient Troy, and navigating between present and past, The Lost Sisterhood is a breathtaking, passionate adventure of two women on parallel journeys, separated by time, who must fight to keep the lives and legacy of the Amazons from being lost forever.

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***ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***

I haven't read Anne Fortier's previous work Juliet, but a friend of mine said that it was one of her all time favorite books. I requested a copy of The Lost Sisterhood based on that recommendation of the author.  I didn't read the description or anything else about it before I started reading.  So, I had no idea what to expect & it kept me guessing all the way to the end.  

The Lost Sisterhood is quite a bit different than the books that I usually read.  It is essentially two parallel stories.  In the frame story, we meet Diana Morgan, a philologist who is guest lecturing at Oxford University. Her focus is on the legend of the Amazon women.  Even though she has been mocked throughout her career for believing that there is truth to the legend, she can't fight the feeling she has had since childhood that there is more to the story than anyone knows.  When approached by a mysterious man who offers her a large sum of money in exchange for boarding a plane no questions asked & accompanying him to see "proof" that the Amazon Women existed, she throws caution and all warnings to the side & goes on what could be a journey of a lifetime, or could be the most dangerous, reckless decision she has ever made.

In the companion story, we go back in time to a small village in Northern Africa & meet Myrina as she returns to home from a hunt to find her mother dying. When the villagers accuse her mother of witchcraft, Myrina & her little sister Lilli are forced to escape into the jungle to protect themselves. We follow their journey as Myrina goes from being a lost orphan to a high priestess not only charged with keeping Lilli alive, but also protecting the sisterhood that has taken her in.  

The stories are woven to create a beautiful picture of the past & present coming together.  The mysteries unfold like artifacts an archaeological dig.  As parts are revealed, their meaning isn't always clear until all of the pieces came together in the end.  At over 600 pages, this isn't a quick read, but as the story builds, it is complex & intriguing enough that I didn't want to put it down.  I don't know much about the legend of the Amazons or the other historical moments referenced in the book.  So, I'm not sure how much is truly historical or how much is the author's fantasy, but I liked how the two come together.  

The Lost Sisterhood wasn't the best book I have read this year, but I definitely enjoyed it.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the books I am typically drawn to.  Now, based on my friend's recommendation, as well as my enjoyment of this book, I'll definitely need to check out Juliet!