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Blog Blast, Review & Giveaway: Naturally Yours by Adele Downs

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BOOK INFORMATION

Title – Naturally Yours
Author – Adele Downs
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Publication Date – October 7th, 2014
Length (Pages/# Words) – 26,000 Words
Publisher – Boroughs Publishing Group

Naturally Yours

BOOK BLURB

Who will save the man that saves the world?

Paramedic Mickey Kendall hasn’t slept a full night since his return from Iraq. He rescues victims by day and protects the innocent after dark. Mickey doesn’t do it for glory; he wants absolution, not admiration. He lives by the rule: No personal contact after a rescue. That code meets the ultimate test when Mickey saves a child’s life on a roadside and declines the parents’ invitation to dinner at their upscale restaurant.

Master chef Amanda Greer lives by the principle that delicious food and good company build bridges. When she learns Mickey has refused her partners’ hospitality, she persuades him to change his mind. On the night the handsome paramedic visits her restaurant, Amanda joins him at his table, and their unexpected chemistry leads to a passionate kiss.

In Amanda’s arms, Mickey finds relief from the stressors that haunt him, but resists falling in love. When Amanda challenges him to confront his demons and accept the love she offers, Mickey arrives at a crossroad. The war-weary paramedic must face a different kind of battle to claim the woman who reignites his passion for living and revives his wounded heart.

BUY & TBR LINKS

Amazon Kindle LinkGoodreads Link

EXCERPT

(Book is rated PG-13. Sensual, but not explicit.)
“They called you a hero in the press.” Her dark lashes lowered and lifted and she smiled at him with admiration shining in her eyes. “They were right, of course. What you did for Jack can never be repaid.”

Mickey winced at the hero reference. “I hate to disappoint you, but I only did what I’m trained to do.”

Amanda made sounds of disagreement low in her throat. “Elena told me at least a hundred and fifty cars passed her on the highway. Every one of them ignored her cries for help. Of all those people, don’t you think one might have been medically trained? Or at least cared enough to respond? No. You stopped. Only you.”

Oh. He hadn’t thought of that.

She pointed a finger at his chest. “There’s a difference between you and other people. There’s no other way to explain what happened on that roadway. Elena is convinced you’re special, and I never doubt her perceptions. That’s another reason why I wanted to meet you.”

Mickey stared into Amanda’s eyes and her pupils dilated. Her lips parted, ever so slightly, as if to welcome a kiss. Her tongue touched the inside of her bottom lip and disappeared. Mickey knew then, she felt it too. Synergy. Chemistry. An attraction so powerful it turned kinetic on contact.
Some called it love at first sight.

Amanda. Even her name was beautiful.

She took a sip of her drink and he watched her mouth and throat work the liquid. When she set down the tumbler, she wiped a droplet from the corner of her mouth with a trimmed, unpolished fingertip. Mickey wished he could have swiped the bead away with his tongue.

Amanda leaned closer and pressed a hand to his wrist. “Trained or not, you were the only stranger on that highway who had a heart.”

Mickey laid his hand over hers and she let him keep it there. Until now, he wasn’t sure he still had a heart. His had been chipped away, piece by piece, like a block of ice since the war. He’d considered it long gone, with his soul. In mere minutes, what was left had thawed in the center, leaving him raw and exposed.

Amanda continued to speak; clearly unaware she’d stripped away another layer. “I love Jack like he’s my own son. He’s a terrific kid. I’ve helped take care of him since the day the Martins and I started this restaurant. When you saved him, you saved us all.” Amanda leaned in and pressed a quick, sweet kiss against Mickey’s jaw.

Their gazes locked when she sat back in her chair. The gravity of her words and her straightforward kiss humbled him into speechlessness. He’d been thanked many times before, but this woman had gotten to him like no one else. He squeezed her hand and then downed the rest of his drink. Amanda took another sip of hers and set the glass on the table before retreating into silence. She turned the tumbler slowly in her hands.

Mickey looked back at her and tapped two fingers against the menu’s leather cover. “Nothing here is what I expected.”

Amanda returned a quiet smile, either assuming he meant food choices, or pretending he had. She tucked her arms beneath her breasts and leaned forward against the edge of the table, lifting perfect white swells above the neckline of her red blouse. “Organic means untouched by artificiality. Grown and consumed in its natural state. We eat only healthy foods unspoiled by chemicals, preservatives, hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and genetically modified seeds or cells. Pure.”

Pure. Mickey gazed at the stunning woman by his side and sensed that was true for her, too. The texture of her skin looked smooth as cream and welcoming to the touch. He longed to run his hands along her thighs, imagining sleek roads leading to heaven at their apex. “I like the sound of that.” The way she looked back at him while he studied her face made him wonder if she’d read his mind.

The one that had gone dirty.

Review

The cover and blurb are both amazing and suck you into wanting to read one of the best contemporary romances I have read in months.  Maybe up in the list of my top 20 romances this year so far.  Seriously, seriously good.  So let the beautiful cover and awesome blurb work on you to snatch up a copy.  No way will you regret it.

There isn’t much to say about Mickey and Amanda except wow.  The roller-coaster ride of emotions you go through with this amazing couple was brilliantly done and served to make the reader feel and empathize with the characters in a way few writers can accomplish.  In fact, the only thing I can say negatively about any of the characters is I am not a fan of the name Mickey.  Yeah, it’s a petty small issue, but seriously.  My nephew loved Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the past 2 years and every time I watched him (which was every weekend), I got to watch over 8 hours of that show.  Over, and over, and over again.  So yeah, Mickey makes me cringe now.  Ahem, but the story was so good, by the end I wasn’t exactly cringing anymore!  I was at least used to it.

It’s a beautiful love that sprung up between Amanda and Mickey.  Not just filled with heat, but filled with emotion and depth.  It was honestly one of the more beautiful loves I’ve read in a long time.  Adele Downs is a master at evoking emotions from her characters.

The story was nicely done as well, although honestly, I was so absorbed in the book, I didn’t make as many notes for the review as normal.  So maybe that’s a sign.  It enveloped me and didn’t let go until the story was over.  I loved it!

5 stars!

Author’s This or That

Coffee or Tea?
Coffeeeeeeee!

Scarier: Spiders or Snakes?
Snakes (Can’t stomp those.)

Heroes or Lost? (TV Shows)
Lost

Damon or Stefan? (Vampire Diaries – TV or books)
Neither, sorry.

TV or Books?
Books

Home or Out on the Town?
Homebody

Sleep or No Time for Sleep?
Sleep

Chocolate or Carrot Sticks?
Chocolate, of course!

Paranormal or Mundane?
Mundane with a touch of magic.

Dresses or Jeans?
Jeans

Top 10 Authors

Lisa Unger
Lisa Gardner
Stephen King
Arthur Golden
Susan Wiggs
Diana Gabaldon
Laurell K. Hamilton
J.K. Rowling
Gillian Flynn
Tami Hoag

AUTHOR BIO

Adele Downs writes contemporary romance inside the office of her rural Pennsylvania home. She is a former journalist, published in newspapers and magazines inside the USA, UK, and Caribbean.

Adele is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter where she serves as a past-president. She has written several articles for RWR magazine (Romance Writers Report), the trade journal of Romance Writers of America, and has presented workshops for writers.

When Adele isn’t working on her current project, she can be found riding in her convertible or reading a book on the nearest beach.

FOLLOW LINKS

Amazon Author Page – Website/Blog – Facebook
Twitter – Pinterest

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GIVEAWAY PRIZES

USA Residents Only Please

Firefighters Kick Ash! — Hanging ornament and Swag (1)
Fire & Rescue Refrigerator Magnet and Swag (1)
Amazon Kindle Gift Copy of NATURALLY YOURS (1)

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Blast Hosted & Organized By:
1-MINIBUTTON

Spotlight & Review: Peyton 313 by Donna McDonald

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Amazon Purchase Link

BLURB

Worst epic fail of her scientific career? Falling for a cyborg she helped create.

Kyra Winters never meant fcyborgcoveror her cyber science discoveries to be used for evil, but that’s exactly what happened. Now returning Peyton 313’s humanity is the last chance she’ll ever have to atone. She can’t get back the lost decade, but she can change the present by restoring the cyborg who was once Marine Captain Peyton Elliot.

Certainly her grand plan for rectifying her mistakes didn’t include madly kissing the confused, passionate Marine when he begged her to. The same scientific mind that constructed the cyborg creator code now warned her not to let Peyton’s tempting offers of heaven cloud her rational decision making. Yet it’s difficult to  resist the cyborg she’s restoring when he’s also the most intriguing man she’s ever known.

EXCERPT

Satisfied by his fierce complaining, Kyra walked back to the chair and knelt at his feet again. She had thumb-printed the chair restraint locks so a light swipe across the sensor instantly opened them. After the ankle ones were removed, she removed the one across his chest. Lastly, she moved to his wrists, pausing as she met his questioning gaze. She had to tell him what she was feeling. The urge was too compelling and his gaze was too full of hope. “Today you are more yourself than you’ve been in a long time, Captain Elliot. Since this may be the only nice conversation you and I are ever going to have, I want to thank you for your military service and all the amazing things you’ve done. I’ll even admit that you’re far more charming than your record indicated. In another time and another place, I might have been willing to play all kinds of flirty games with you. But this is definitely not that time or place. We are suspended between heaven and hell right now, and neither of us is an angel.”

“Sleep in the cage with me tonight and I’ll show you heaven, Doc. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a woman as much as I want you right now. Sorry if the speed of my interest offends your sensibilities. I’m listening to a little voice that keeps yelling inside me. It’s saying this may be my one and only chance to get you to see I’m more than just some super soldier machine in need of fixing.”

Kyra felt her lip tremble and bit it hard to make it stop before she answered. “I already know that about you. That’s why I’m doing this. Now don’t make me like you any more than I already do.”

“See? I knew you liked me,” Peyton bragged, wishing she’d come a lot closer. She smelled amazing.

Kyra wondered if Peyton’s desire for her was a lingering after-effect of all those years of Cyber Husband programming? He would have studied her file extensively because Norton would have made him do so. He would have learned all he could about her likes and dislikes. That’s how the program worked. She purposely hadn’t removed that chip because she needed him to like her at least a little for just a while longer.

Peyton stared at the woman’s disappointed face. She looked ready to cry and he couldn’t stand seeing her that way. “How about a kiss to test your theories about us, Doc? Just one. I need it and I think you need it too. You already admitted you weren’t married. Look—my wrists are still chained to the chair. What could one kiss hurt? Come on—what do you say?”

Kyra sighed. She was as exasperated with him as she was charmed by his pleading. Tomorrow Peyton Elliott was going to hate her. She was one hundred percent sure of it because it had been proven true twice already before him.

Tomorrow when Peyton Elliott knew the truth, he would hate his life and those who had consigned him to his living hell. Tomorrow the machine would be partially back and Peyton would not be this light-hearted, mostly human version of himself. He would be a new kind of redefined cyborg. While no one knew what that was going to be like—not even her—she would bet her retirement Peyton was still going to hate her after he integrated the present with his past.

“Please—one kiss, Doc. That’s all I’m asking,” Peyton whispered.

Kyra sighed loudly. “You’re a hard man to say no to and today I’m a sentimental fool. Close your eyes, Captain. I haven’t kissed a man in a long time. I can’t look at you or I’ll lose my nerve.”

When Peyton sighed dramatically in return and leaned his head back, Kyra climbed on the electrical shield at the bottom of the operating chair until she was standing between his legs. Heat emanated from every inch of the man and he still smelled a little like burnt circuitry. Yet underneath that stark reality, Peyton also smelled masculine and very alluring.

Kyra sighed again. “I wish I could send you out the door to live whatever kind of life you want just as you are right now. That’s what you deserve, Captain Elliott. I want that badly for you, but I can’t make it happen. Your cybernetic enhancements require you to retain knowledge of how they work. Too much is at stake and the outcome of your healing affects more than just the two of us. But thank you for giving me a glimpse of why putting you through this hell is so important. This moment—it’s very humanizing for both of us—to want to be kissed and then be kissed. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.”

“Man, you sure talk a lot. Still waiting for that kiss, Doc,” Peyton said. He was keeping his eyes tight and his mind off how sexy she sounded when she got all philosophical.

Kyra snorted at his chastising. She touched her lips to Peyton’s and instantly found her bottom one nipped aggressively between two rows of even teeth. Moaning at the delicate trap he’d set for her, her body tipped forward against his and she had to catch herself on his wide shoulders. Her hands slipped over them and down his chest without her mind questioning the action.

When she moaned against his mouth, Peyton ordered himself to turn loose. After he did, he stared hard at the lip he’d bitten. The woman wanted him. He could taste it, smell it, and damn it he wanted her too. It was exhilarating to feel such pure desire flowing so freely through his cells.

A demand to sate that intense longing came from some desperate part of him that was both familiar and strange at the same time. What the hell was happening to him mind? It was both relieving and like finally waking up after being asleep for too long.

“Climb up here and give me a real kiss, Doc. And don’t be so damn stingy with sharing your tongue. I intend to use it to imagine what else I’m going to do when you cut me loose from this freaking chair.”

Groaning at how aroused he’d just made her with his sexy declaration, Kyra climbed into Peyton’s large lap to straddle him. It gave her better access to his mouth and the chance to indulge just a little more as she eased her hips down on him. She sighed at her nearly out-of-control feelings and touched her forehead to his.

“The only reason I’m doing this is because I know you’re going to take great pleasure in ridding yourself of this memory tomorrow. I won’t blame you for that action, Peyton. I think it’s the smartest thing you could do.”

“Stop whining about what hasn’t happened yet, Doc. It’s damn cruel to suggest this instant attraction between us is nothing. Now kiss me like you want to—and damn it I know you want to. I am a cyborg, you know.”

He ordered his processor to store the image of her face just as she caved into his demand and dipped her mouth to his. Her lips were lush and hot and wet, and her kiss was the most deliriously wonderful experience he could recall happening in ages. He watched her eyes close in pleasure as he strained towards her, but froze in the chair when he saw two tears run down her face. A second later, tears were flowing off her chin in two tiny, steady streams.

“What? What is it, Doc? What’s wrong with this? The attraction is mutual, isn’t it? We’re alone in here just the two of us. I’m wearing too many damn restraints to do much harm to you. Hell, keep the chair restraints in place woman—just be with me before I die from wanting you.”

“I can’t. I can’t take advantage of you, no matter what I’m feeling,” Kyra said, lifting her arm to swipe at her eyes. “Thank you for the sexy kiss, Captain. It’s been a very, very long time since I felt anything remotely close that level of desire for a man. Even if you wipe this away, I’ll never forget it—or you.”

Kyra slid reluctantly off his lap and straightened her clothing. “I’m going to release the last of the chair restraints now. Please keep your distance so I don’t have to use the controller. I’ve hurt you enough in the last couple of days.”

PURCHASE LINKS:

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Review

To be honest, despite the awesome cover and blurb, I was a little leery of this story.  I love my sci-fi romance when I read it, but I’m not usually one for cyborg romance.  However, I WAS curious about how this was to unfold, so I volunteered to review it and here we are!

Firstly, I loved the world Donna McDonald created.  It was a realistic and well-visioned 22nd century.  Honestly, because this was a romance first and foremost, the world was excellently done.  If this were a sci-fi first, though, it would be a tad lacking.  However, since I don’t usually read straight science fiction, it had just the perfect amount of detail into the world our story takes place in and I honestly wouldn’t change it.  Yes, she could have expanded on it more, but it didn’t need to.  It was enough to give us answers and setting without distracting us from the actual story.  This is the story between the cyborg Peyton and Kyra and emotions, and about everything in between.

Okay, Peyton was hot.  Even me – the non-cyborg fan – thought he was hot.  I’d take him.  He could be my fiction book boyfriend #4 of this week!  I loved how he was from start to finish, his emotions, needs, the chemistry with Kyra, everything was very well done.  Now the hard part.  I didn’t like Kyra for the first third of the novel.  I seriously thought she was too big of a crier.  I mean, I can read just about any type of heroine, and especially love timid, weak ones finding their power.  However, I really dislike whiners and criers.  So, I was rather upset with our main heroine for quite a while into the book.  BUT once you get to understand her and her past better, you find you can tolerate the first part of the story better.  Still didn’t LIKE it, but I understood it.  Plus she turned into such an strong woman later on.

Storyline was excellently surrounding the two main characters, which in a romance, is par for the course.  The writing was a tad awkward with dialog sometimes when a character does or says something I personally didn’t think fit well, or sounding too weird or cheesy.  But these times weren’t that often and easily overlooked.  As long as it doesn’t jar me from enjoying the story, it’s not too bad of a negative.

Overall, this story is definitely worth the read.  Anyone on the fence curious enough about a cyborg romance or just brave enough when their first thought is someone boinking a terminator without the human skin?  Yeah, that WAS my first thought.  I know, I know, that’s more of an android, all machine.  Cyborg DOES have human parts.  But yeah, still thought terminator boinking a human.  Very weird for me.  Ahem, in any case, you all NEED to get this book.  It’s a great read!

4 stars!

Donna McDonald

donnamcdonaldwww.donnamcdonaldauthor.com

Donna McDonald is an active dreamer and finds writing to be the best way to use her creativity.

Needing to satisfy both sides of her brain, she is a cross-genre author of contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal romances. Her books appear on bestseller lists for humor, romantic comedy, space opera, and more.

She craves laughter from her readers and focuses her attention on making that happen as often as possible. She loves to hear from anyone who has read her books.

Donna McDonald considers herself blessed to be a best-selling author in Contemporary Romance, Humor, and Paranormal Romance. Paranormal reviewers are calling McDonald “a literary alchemist effortlessly blending science fiction and romance”. Contemporary and humor reviewers often write to tell her that the books keep them up laughing all night. She likes both compliments and hopes they stay true forever.

Her idea of success is to be sitting next to someone on a plane and find out they are laughing at something in one of her books. She hopes that will be you.

Release Day Blitz & Review: High Strung by T. Gephart

 

BOOKHigh Strung 

SERIES: Book One of Power Station Series.

RELEASE DATE: October 10, 2014

HOSTED BY: Book Empire Promotions

Add to Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Ashlyn Murphy was not living the dream. Twenty-seven years old, college educated, up to her eyeballs in debt and yet she’d been relegated to pouring beers at a local bar. She desperately needed an out and was willing to do anything to get back into the corporate world. Well, almost anything. Dan Evans, Rock Star was NOT one of those things. In fact she despised him. Apparently he didn’t get the memo.
Dan Evans, bass player of international rock band Power Station had it all. He was rich, travelled the world, played to millions of adoring fans and had no shortage of beautiful women willing to share his bed. He didn’t need a moody redheaded knockout with a superiority complex complicating his life. Or did he?
When two people who couldn’t be more opposite cross paths, it’s bound to be explosive; sometimes all you can do is sit back and enjoy the show.

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PURCHASE LINKS
 
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Review

OMG!!  I really don’t need a review other than that, do I?  I mean… an ass-kicking rock star romance that is hilarious?  What more needs said?  Oh, you probably already saw the nifty cover and read the niftier blurb.  But let me tell you neither did this novel justice.

The two main characters, Ash and Dan, are so completely opposite and yet so incredible suited to each other, it is absolute fireworks, earthquakes, supernova explosions when they come together.  I can’t rave enough about them.  It might be that I absolutely adore the rock star type of man with tattoos and attitude, or it might be that I like independent women in my novels.  Whatever it is that T. Gephart figured out to write such ass-kicking chemistry, she needs to bottle it and sell it.  It’s so rare to see a romance that has such perfect chemistry.  I have to admit to being in love with Dan though.  I’d steal him.  Yummy.

As for the actual plot – although, who needs plot after the simple words ‘ass-kicking rock star romance’?  Seriously, do any of you care after I just drooled over the main man?  Who IS the one that is a rock star?  Oh, okay, there probably IS one person who cares.   Honestly, I do too.  Even if the rest of my review were politely worded negatives, the amazing characterization and chemistry between the couples would give this book a solid 3 stars.

However!!  This author can write!  This is my first novel from this author and I’m going to get the rest of her books put on my TBR list and try to get to it ASAP.  Admittedly, I can’t actually FINISH my TBR list in this lifetime it is sooooo big.  But I did snatch up Lexi – the first prequel novel of her Lexi series.  It IS free right now.  Link is somewhere in this post!

Okay, I kind of got the topic, didn’t I?  Ahem.  Storyline.  Check.  I mean, this is a rock star romance, so yeah, admittedly some plot points WERE a tad predictible.  It didn’t bother me, but it might bother someone.  Being as when I read MC romances, or sports romances, or rock star romances, there will always be that predictable element as that is why we read those books.  BUT the rest of the story had me laughing out loud and seriously made those around me think I was nuts.  I was also pleasantly surprised in places, and even had a sniffle or two for other spots in the novel.  The writing was good enough to evoke emotional responses in me, and THAT is something.  I’m pretty stoic, so seriously?  This woman can freaking write!

So to summarize, if you don’t read this book, I think you should have your rock star romance card revoked.

4.5 stars!  EXCELLENT!

OTHER BOOKS BY T.GEPHART
 
Book #0.5: Lexi (FREE) AMAZON  I ITUNES
Book #1: A Twist of Fate: AMAZON  I ITUNES
Book 1.5: Twisted Views:  AMAZON  I ITUNES
Book #2: A Leap of Faith: AMAZON  I ITUNES
Book #3: A Time for Hope: AMAZON  I ITUNES
 
ABOUT T.GEPHART

T Gephart is an indie author from Melbourne, Australia.

T’s approach to life has been somewhat unconventional. Rather than going to University, she jumped on a plane to Los Angeles, USA in search of adventure. While this first trip left her somewhat underwhelmed and largely depleted of funds it fueled her appetite for travel and life experience.

With a rather eclectic resume, which reads more like the fiction she writes than an actual employment history, T struggled to find her niche in the world.

While on a subsequent trip the United States in 1999, T met and married her husband. Their whirlwind courtship and interesting impromptu convenience store wedding set the tone for their life together, which is anything but ordinary. They have lived in Louisiana, Guam and Australia and have travelled extensively throughout the US. T has two beautiful young children and one four legged child, Woodley the wonder dog.

An avid reader, T became increasingly frustrated by the lack of strong female characters in the books she was reading. She wanted to read about a woman she could identify with, someone strong, independent and confident who didn’t lack femininity. Out of this need, she decided to pen her first book, A Twist of Fate. She enjoyed the process so much that when it was over she couldn’t let it go. T loves to travel, laugh and surround herself with colourful characters. This inevitably spills into her writing and makes for an interesting journey – she is well and truly enjoying the ride!

Based on her life experiences, T has plenty of material for her books and has a wealth of ideas to keep you all enthralled.

CONNECT WITH T. GEPHART
WEBSITE:  www.tgephart.com
(SJ’s Comment:  For the record, sometimes with formatting you can NOT get a line to obey.  So I’m so sorry about the format up there.  I could not get that line to go back to where it is supposed to be.  *sigh*)

Review & Giveaway: Secondhand Heart by Kristen Strassel

Title: Secondhand Heart

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 10/7/14

Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.

Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar. When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.

Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?

Review

Before I get into the actual review, I’d like to say, the model and actual cover of this book is amazing!  The female model is so beautiful and she fits just perfectly for this book.  Heck, the title is perfectly suited as well!  So bravo whoever designed the art and such to grab our attention.  it definitely worked!  The cover was the entire reason I joined the review tour of this book!

As for the characters, I want to first lay claim to Cam.  Seriously.  He’s mine.  No one else get him.  He’s my current book boyfriend.  I don’t even LIKE country music, but even I have to admit some male country artists are seriously hot.  Ahem, I’m a little off topic here.  It’s not just that he’s a country artist.  It’s the way he was written in Secondhand Heart.  I absolutely fell in love with him in this novel and I nearly cried when it was over because that meant, no more Cam!  OMG!

As for Daisy, I did like her but I wasn’t as emotional invested in her as I was in Cam.  However, the fact she meshed so well with Cam and the chemistry between them that you could actually feel made up for that, I think.  The romance and heat between the main characters was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their growing relationship.

The overall story was also nicely done.  It kept me entertained and hooked as any good story does.  There were a few parts that were a tad awkward, but overall, also nicely done.  NA isn’t my normal genre (and if I do read it, it’s usually paranormal romance based) but I do enjoy it and I can happily say this novel is worth the read.  Seriously.  (Yes, seriously is my word today).  Pick it up, NA readers!  You won’t regret it.

4 stars!

Purchase Links

SHH Teaser 1

Giveaway

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About Kristen Strassel
 

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Blog Tour & Review: Live for Today by Sandra Steiner

“Lily looked over her shoulder and, seeing no one, began to relax. It was just her imagination. It had to be, didn’t it? She could not remember a time when she did not feel as though someone was watching her.”


Live for Today

Spring Island Trilogy #2

Sandra Steiner

Lily looked over her shoulder and, seeing no one, began to relax. It was just her imagination. It had to be, didn’t it? She could not remember a time when she did not feel as though someone was watching her.

Sitting on the beach watching the calm water always seemed to help to ease the panic. The waves were gently lapping against the driftwood on the beach. The sound of the seagulls was soothing. The smell of the salty ocean air was comforting. So why couldn’t she just relax? Today, it did not seem to be working.

Last night the dreams had kept her awake through most of the night. If only she knew what they meant. She was so tired of them. They had plagued her for her entire life, as long as she could remember anyhow. Today was a day filled with questions, and she just wanted answers. All her life she had worked at blocking memories.

Maybe it was time for her to lay her past to rest. The idea of it terrified her, and she really wasn’t sure why. She wanted to move forward in her life; it was time.

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N

Excerpt 

Lily made the drive out to the ferry’s loading area. There were ferries that went every couple of hours or so. As she waited in line for the ferry to take her to the mainland, her mind drifted to her dreams. She pulled out her dream journal and began to make notes about what she knew about her past. It was difficult at first to think about it. But it was necessary. She knew that now. She had been keeping the journal for a while now; the counsellor had suggested that it might highlight some of the recurring events and make things easier to figure out.

Her mother’s name: Andrea Gail Hayes Her father’s name: Tyson John Hayes The town she was born in: Rollingway Birthday: 28 August 1980

Birth name: Corina Lily Hayes; now uses Lily Gordon (adoptive family name)

Vague memories of: Forest?
 Roses
.  Hiding in dark cupboard

She couldn’t remember much more, not yet at least.

Listen to Sandra’s Radio Interview

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TEN FUN FACTS

1.      Sandra went to the bar for the first time (legally) at the grand old age of 41.

2.      Sandra has two beautiful grandchildren.

3.      Sandra loves quotes!

4.      Sandra believes that by encouraging others to do their best, everyone succeeds.

5.      Sandra has three more novels in progress!

6.      Sandra loves to read all genres from erotica to young adult!

7.      Sandra believes in angels.

8.      Sandra loves connecting with readers, bloggers, and other authors.  Communication is very important to her.

9.      Sandra and her husband love long walks, and enjoy going to the movies!

10.  Sandra loves the beach and the ocean.

Meet the Cast

Live For Today Review

First off, I just wanted to congratulate whoever came up with and designed the cover, however many people that might be.  It’s a beautiful piece of art and so lovely to look at, yet it does a great job of intriguing us readers into looking at the blurb!

Second, holy freaking wow!!  Storyline wise, this was such a plot-twisting masterpiece!  I mean seriously.  The little hints kept you guessing throughout the entire book and the outcomes were a complete surprise to me.  I am truly in awe over the ability to do that.  Even some of the big-named authors have a hard time surprising me and Sandra Steiner did a masterful job of it!  I’m pleasantly shocked!  See, book lovers, this is why reading indies is such a passion of mine.

Character wise, I liked Lily.  I really felt connected to her throughout the story and that was very well done.  The less important characters were very well thought out and portrayed, although I’m not sure I felt anything so deep as I did for Lily.  It could have been a tad better in engaging my emotions for or against them.  However, other than that, the character development was spot on.

Overall, the entire story kept me entertained and wanting to find out what happens next.  It was a ‘just one more chapter’ type of book.  Kept me up way too late the other night, even.  So nice job.  4 stars!

Cherish the Past (Spring Trilogy Book #1)

Excerpt

Angie sighed. A small smile began to form as she recalled the moments that led up to this incredible feeling. Life was good-no, life was amazing. It hadn’t always been, but today at forty-six, it sure was. She had reached a good space in her life. She was content, in love, at peace with her past, and excited about her future. Tomorrow she was marrying her soul mate. She had nearly given up hoping she would find him.

He had actually prayed that she would find him before his birthday. Or so he said, and she had no reason not to believe him. As she sat on the beach watching the waves roll in, the memories of a lifetime came crashing in, reminding her to cherish the past . . .

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

 Cherish the Past Review

I just wanted to say, I’m not much of an inspirational novel reader, but this first book in the series was amazing.  I wasn’t sure what I expected, but the range of the dark, powerful emotions of Angie’s past was not it.  That poor woman.  I felt for her for the entire novel and I’m extremely happy at how it ended.  It was a near-perfect ending.  Truly a good novel that will make you feel for the main character in ways a good novel should.  I was nicely surprised at how this all worked out.

As far as character development goes, the story did a nice job at almost every aspect of Angie’s past.  I felt a little more could have been expressed during certain deep moments I won’t name for fear of spoilers, but other than that, it was nicely done.  You truly felt anger and even hatred for Alex; you truly felt sympathy and pain for Angie, and you were truly happy she found love.

The entire story kept me up later than I wanted, and it definitely kept me engaged.  As any good novel should.  It’s shocking that an inspirational kept me engaged so well.  At least to me.  So I’m so thrilled to give this installment a solid 4 stars.

About the Author

Sandra Steiner relocated to Vancouver Island in 2010 to pursue a dream of living near the ocean.  She met her soul mate Cory in the spring of 2013 and a short six months later they were married. They combined lives, homes, children, and fur babies to create a life they both love.  They are both creative individuals and as Sandra writes, Cory composes music for an upcoming CD.

There are parallels in Sandra’s writing and real life, that’s true. However, the motive for writing her novels is to inspire her readers to be strong, independent women. Sandra believes if you believe in yourself, anything is possible. The novels are suitable for teen through adult readers. Both of Sandra’s novels have been well received, and Cherish the Past has recently been awarded the gold seal of literary excellence!

Contact Sandra

Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook Page

Marked (A Breaking the Darkness Novella),Taken (Breaking the Darkness Book 1), & Betrayed (Breaking the Darkness Book 2) By Felicia Starr

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Marked (A Breaking the Darkness Novella) By Felicia Starr

Kasha is a young college student just graduating. She will be heading back to live with her grandmother Mage whom has some secrets. Secrets having to do with their family and the Supernatural beings nobody knows about. She has never told Kasha about any of these secrets, hoping she wont ever have the need to.

Things and circumstances start piling up, Mage doesnt think she can keep it from Kasha any longer. And with the arrival of a few new unknown and shady characters in Santa Fe she is worried. About her grand daughter and what her future holds. And how to protect her from a darkness she can sense is coming.

I relate very well to the characters especially to her grandmother an how she wants to protect Kasha from anything bad happening to her. And how her grandmother is herbalistic and enjoys communing or trying to commune with nature. Such a lovely character. So far my favorite.

The plot is very believable as it takes place in the present. The supernatural side to this story easily fits in with normal people vs the supernatural beings and how they would hide themselves.

Writing and dialog was beautiful. Very smoothly written. Was easy to read and very understandable what was going on. I definitely am recommending this to readers of this genre. Paranormal/ Supernatural/ Teen/ Romance genres.

I give it 4 stars

You can purchase this book at:
http://www.amazon.com/Marked-Breaking-Darkness-Novella-Felicia-ebook/dp/B00KJ7QIJ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412560309&sr=8-1&keywords=marked+by+felicia+starr

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Taken (Breaking the Darkness Book 1) By Felicia Starr

Opening her eyes to an imposing prison of complete darkness, Kasha is accused of possessing powers and abilities she had no previous knowledge of until the moment she comes face to face with herself while meditating. Haunted by memories strung together by lies and deceit, she soon discovers that maybe her beloved grandmother kept a few secrets she hadn’t been aware of. Secrets that could be her salvation… or her undoing.Tortured by the loss of her grandmother and struggling with what she is learning about herself.

As she struggles to control her new found powers, only time will tell if they will be enough to help her decipher who has imprisoned her or what they want from her. She must search for the answers and the freedom she so desperately desires.

Could a handsome guy who vows to help her get away prove to be the man of her dreams… or perhaps her worst nightmare? Not knowing who to trust, she must find a way to escape before she pays the ultimate price and finds herself taken by the darkness.

I relate to Kasha very well struggling to find out whom she truly is and whom this mysterious guy wanting to help her may want from her. What his ulterior motives are, I completely identify with Kasha.

The plot is very believable as it takes place in the present. The supernatural side to this story easily fits in with normal people vs the supernatural beings and how they would hide themselves.

Writing and dialog was beautiful. Very smoothly written. Was easy to read and very understandable what was going on. I definitely am recommending this to readers of this genre. Paranormal/ Supernatural/ Teen/ Romance genres.

I give it 4 stars

You can purchase this book at:
http://www.amazon.com/Taken-Breaking-Darkness-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00IX31CVW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412831790&sr=8-1&keywords=felicia+starr+taken

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Betrayed (Breaking the Darkness book 2) By Felicia Starr

Kasha Alexander has been through a great deal since the death of her Gram, kidnapped, and abused, she has fought her way out of captivity with the help of the one man who just might be her saving grace, Graven. Graven has been searching for Kasha for a millennia and now that he’s found her, he’s not about to let her go. He will protect her in any form, no matter what the cost… Little does he know how high that cost will be….

The conclusion to this book series is amazing. I absolutely love Kasha and her story. What she goes through and how she deals with everything. Graven is one of the better written male characters in this series. If he was real i would completely crush on him.

The plot is very believable as it takes place in the present. The supernatural side to this story easily fits in with normal people vs the supernatural beings and how they would hide themselves.

Writing and dialog was beautiful. Very smoothly written. Was easy to read and very understandable what was going on. I definitely am recommending this to readers of this genre. Paranormal/ Supernatural/ Teen/ Romance genres.

I give it 4 stars

felicia starr

Felicia Starr- Author Bio

Author Felicia Starr lives five miles from her favorite Jersey Shore destination with her amazingly supportive family. She loves to spend time creating special memories with her husband and two young boys
Everyone expected her first publication to be a cookbook, but her love for writing has surpassed her love for cooking.

Felicia graduated magna cum laude from Kean University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a post baccalaureate in elementary education. She is a licensed real estate sales person, a certified yoga instructor, and most importantly, a stay-at-home mom.

She writes Paranormal, Romance and suspense novels.

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/808755.Felicia_Starr

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Blog Tour & Review: For Everly by Raine Thomas

Synopsis:

**This is a New Adult novel recommended for ages 16+.

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life, not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Buy Links:

Amazon * Amazon UK * B&N * iBooks * Kobo 

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Excerpt:

“I know you’re not seeking any romantic connections right now, Everly,” Wyatt interrupted, giving Cole a quelling look. “We’re here in a strictly professional capacity.”

Now she looked more at ease. “I see. Are you seeking a consultation over Cole’s rotator cuff injury?”

Cole stiffened. He glared at Wyatt.

“I haven’t told her a thing,” Wyatt said with raised palms.

“You didn’t have to say anything,” she said with a shrug, leaning back against Rowan’s desk. Her keen gaze met Cole’s. “I noticed that you favored your left hand throughout your meal, using it to drink, eat, and bring your napkin to your mouth, but you’re a right-handed pitcher. And just now, when you moved to clear space on the couch, you stopped breathing and swallowed hard when you moved your right arm, telling me you’re hiding pain and have a reduced range of motion.”

His mouth opened over her observations. He looked again at Wyatt. His brother gave him a look that said, See?

“But how do you know it’s a rotator cuff injury?” Cole asked. Could other people see what she did? If so, he was so screwed.

“That, I’ll admit, was an educated guess based on your age and profession,” she answered. “I’ve only observed your symptoms and haven’t done any scans or tests to confirm. You’ll want to rule out bursitis, tendonitis, adhesive capsulitis, and other possible causes of your shoulder pain, of course.”

Despite what he’d seen this evening and his brother’s assurances, Cole was surprised by Everly’s quick assessment. She looked like she should be out club-hopping, not spouting medical jargon with such an intent expression on her face.

He also realized, since she knew his profession, that she had known who he was the moment she saw him. So why hadn’t she mentioned that before now? Maybe she wasn’t a fan.

“We’ve had scans done,” Wyatt said. “X-rays, an MRI, the whole load.”

He moved over to the desk. Everly stepped to the side as Wyatt reached over to retrieve the large manila envelope resting there. She hit Cole’s leg and nearly toppled onto his lap. Out of instinct, he reached out to help her maintain her balance. His hands ended up on her nicely shaped rear end.

She sprang away like a gazelle fleeing a lion. When she turned to look at him, he realized her cheeks were nearly as red as her hair. Her reaction went a long way toward putting him back on an even keel.

“I don’t bite,” he said with a grin. “Come and have a seat.”

He patted the cushion beside him. She looked at it warily, then moved her gaze to him. He patted the cushion again. Her lips moved on a whispered comment of some kind as she stepped around his legs and sat down. It was a small victory, but he felt better.

When he turned to look at her, he caught her scent, a unique fragrance that reminded him of whipped vanilla cream and frosted wildberries. She met his gaze. The combination of her nearness, her scent, and the cautious look in her lovely eyes had his whole body reacting.

Oh, this was such a bad idea.

ForEverlyIG3Review

If you’re looking for a sweet New Adult Contemporary romance, this is definitely the novel for you!  I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  It was effortlessly entertaining, and even with the darker aspects, you still felt the overall sweetness of the story.  That is both a pro and a con, however.  Sometimes one needs those deeper aspects to fully connect with the main characters of a story and I felt that was the case here.

Cole, despite his drunken beginning, was a nice guy.  He was the perfectly nice baseball player with looks, attitude, and awesome athleticism.  Everly was smart, sweet, and almost perfectly naive.  She was definitely good at what she did, and you can’t help but like her, but I think I might have connected with her a tad more if she had had some sort of flaw there.  Outside of grief in her past, she’s practically perfect.  Cole was also almost too nice to be real.  You like him, but like with Everly, I’m not sure there is a real deep connection.

However, the story keeps you guessing, and entertained, as the small bits of information that gets doled out was done expertly and with just the right amount of mystery that you can’t help but love this story.  The overall plot and setting of the story was very well done.  The author obviously knew her baseball!  (At least it seemed like it to me, and I don’t know squat about baseball!)  So awesome storytelling.

The overall romance was heated but unfortunately not as heated as I felt it was hinted at.  I don’t mean it should have been full out erotica, but it seemed like it should have been steamier.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it being more ‘clean’ than I expected, exactly.  It just seemed to fit a more YA title than NA.  But there was definitely some great sparks between Cole and Everly.

Overall, I have the characters, whom I liked very much; the story which was very, very well-done, the chemistry between the characters, and the connection with the reader, which was also good.  However, I felt it could have been a tad bit better in connecting with us readers, or making us feel everything the characters did.  This story was a very sweet romance and well worth snatching up and reading, especially if you want a sweet romance with a very HEA to read.  I mean there IS a reason I keep using sweet in this review!

4 stars!

 
Author Bio:
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
 
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