Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Character Interview: Hunter from Unafraid

Dropping in today is the sexy and rather sweet Hunter from Melody Grace's Unafraid, to celebrate this book's release! And let me say, nothing melts me more than a guy determined to win a girl from the past back. Heck. Yeah. So! Hunter!


You learned from your grandfather how to train horses. What's the best part about this for you, and what was the hardest thing to learn?

I've always loved horses, there's something so great and straightforward about them. No games, no bullshit--that moment when you can just connect and build trust is amazing. The hardest thing is patience, figuring out how to earn that trust, and break down their resistance. And I took a couple of hard falls as a kid, that wasn't much fun!

If you didn't have your grandfather's influence, where do you think you'd be now, instead of settling back near town?

My parents had my life planned out from the start: Ivy League, law school, sitting on the board of my father's company. I hope I would have had the courage to resist them regardless, but seeing the life my grandpa made for himself definitely strengthened my resolve.

So. Brit. What's your favorite thing about her?

Man, where do i start? There's nobody like Brit, she's fiercely independent. She's lived life on her own terms for a long time, it's what I admire most about her--but it also makes it hard to get close to her too.

What was it that captured your attention so much that she still meant something several years later?

Her eyes, her body, her smile… All that, plus the fact she left me hanging. No girl ever did that to me before--or has done since!

What's it like to kiss Brit?


Boxers or briefs?


What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Walk away from everything I've known to strike out on my own-- and go back to Beachwood for Brit, even though I have no idea if she's even thought of me since our night together.

What kind of sea creature would you describe yourself as?

Lol, weird question! I don't know, maybe a marlin, something fast and independent.

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About the Book: The first time I saw her, I knew this girl was wilder than any stallion I’d ever trained. She was headstrong, wounded, passionate and free. And I had to have her…”

Brittany Ray doesn’t care about her bad reputation. Growing up in a sleepy beach town with a junkie mom and a runaway dad, Brit’s learned the hard way that the people you love will only let you down. It’s no use hoping for love or happiness. Some dreams aren’t meant for girls like her.

Hunter Covington is one of those dreams.

Gorgeous, charming Hunter is damn near perfect—and it’s killing him. Son of Charleston royalty, he’s been trapped in a gilded cage since the day he was born. Now he’s breaking free. He’s quit law school to restore his grandpa’s old horse ranch, trying to soothe the demons in his soul. But Beachwood Bay is full of old ghosts, like the mysterious girl who spent an unforgettable night with him—and then slipped away before dawn. Brit.

Everything about her screams danger, but Hunter doesn’t care: he’s never felt a connection so deep. And try as she may, Brit can’t resist the desire consuming her —or the safety she finds in Hunter’s arms.

A reckless passion. An undeniable bond. Scarred by their pasts, Brit and Hunter fight to heal old wounds. But will dark secrets tear apart their new beginning? And when love is the biggest risk of all, can they find the courage to face the future unafraid?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Playing With Her Heart by Lauren Blakely

SUMMARY: When you’re acting the role of a lifetime, how can you know if love is real—or all just a part of the show?

Twenty-three year old rising theatre star Jill McCormick has built a life out of pretending. Pretending she’s happy, pretending her long-distance crushes add up to something real, pretending she’s not haunted by the dark secret that shattered her world six years ago. Cast in her first Broadway show, she desperately needs to keep her façade intact, but that’s before she comes face to face with her devastating new boss…

Hot-shot director Davis Milo knows the first rule of directing: never fall for your leading lady. Captivated by Jill’s raw talent, he fights his feelings, but watching Jill on-stage with another man is more than his jealous streak can take. Keeping things professional isn’t an option. He wants all of her.

Soon the ingénue and her director are staying late in the empty theatre, their private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. Caught up between fiction and reality, Jill struggles to find the truth in all their staged kisses. But how can she be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play? And when two people spend their lives pretending, what happens after the final curtain falls?

OPINION: This is a cute, hot, and fun read that romances lovers will definitely go for. I love the set up of this one so much... actress trying to get her first Broadway break, and the show director who gives it to her. There is plenty that can go wrong, but considering the undeniable chemistry these two have, there's also so much that can (and does) go right.

I love seeing a guy fall hard and fast for a girl, but also try so hard to resist her. And Davis definitely fits that bill. Closed off from actresses due to an ex who used him for her own career, it isn't just that Jill is in his show that has him trying to keep his hands off. No, he's sworn off actresses, until this girl makes him want to break all his rules. I loved seeing his internal battles there, knowing it's so obviously hopeless. Not to mention, he's quite the dirty talker, with a rough streak to him that is a total turn on yet a softness that even his desires can't fully override.

Jill is a great character, too, though I have to admit, the dark secret from her past hit my peeve button just a little too hard. It's mentioned, multiple times, alluded to regularly, and basically dangled in the reader's face that something bad happened. And honestly, I personally just don't like the blatant secret keeping from the reader. Considering it's still a huge deal for Jill, it's the reason she keeps herself closed off and has a skewed view of love... to not find out what really happened for most of the book bugged me. It didn't at all have the same impact it could've for me. And in that, I didn't connect as much to Jill as I otherwise would've, because the sympathy didn't work the same for me when as a reader, I'm being pointedly teased and led. But that aside, I this she's an interesting character, and I do understand the effects of her past, and I loved seeing Davis work through it with her and for her.

My only other problem with this one was in the pacing towards the end, with the HEA happening with a good chunk of story left to go. That final stuff left me, honestly, not as interested, and felt more like extra sexy times for the sake of it just to be there, rather than because it drives the story. So I admit to not being as captivated by the last chunk, but still, this is the kind of story that pulls you in from the start and leaves you with a big grin on your face.

Source: ARC received from InkSlinger PR as part of the blog tour, in exchange for honest review
Print Length: 292 pages
Age Range: New Adult
Publication Date: August 17, 2013

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Brazen Romance Reviews: Two Wrongs, One Right and No Romance Required

Two Wrongs, One Right by Katee Robert

I've loved the first two books in this series, and this one absolutely did not disappoint! Nathan's been hiding a pretty big secret, which comes out in the first chapter, and it's one you probably won't guess... which makes it that much better. And cracks me up to look back at Elle, and know why she never really stood a chance with this guy. Still, the chemistry between Chelsea and Nathan is everything I expect from Katee, off the charts and then some, with the right mix of softness and dominance. Even better about this one, is just how much the two previous couples flit in and out, giving readers who love them more, yet never taking the focus from Chelsea and Nathan working towards their ending. It's definitely not an easy road for these two, and there's plenty of things to tug at the heartstrings. Still, I love this installment, and cannot wait for more from one of my favorite romance authors.

No Romance Required by Cari Quinn

I. Love. This. Book. So much. I loved this the first two in this set, but this one is just. Wow. I'm going to just admit it. Cory's brand of dominance absolutely works for me. There is something so intense about it, but not just that he refuses to relinquish control, but that he wants that super deep level of connection and trust with someone. I don't always go for the kink, but with him, well, uh, yes. I absolutely adored these two, from their little battles to their sweet moments to their scorching ones. Cory is so carefully controlled, so reserved and a workaholic, that seeing him slowly ease out of that, soften for Vicky yet still retain so much about himself... whew. Quinn completely nailed everything about this book for me, and it's one I will definitely be reading again. And again. (And again). Vicky is the right kind of feisty and confident, but also a bit unsure of things especially when it comes to Cory. If you love romance, you must read this book, and I cannot wait for more from this fabulous, talented author.

Cover Reveal: As Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Today I've got the *hot* cover for Laura Kaye's second Hard Ink book, As Hard As It Gets!

So first....

Ahem. Yeah. Love. And how awesome does this sound?

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can-and never let go.

Not to mention, it's Laura Kaye, one of my favorite romance authors!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Character Interview + Giveaway: Jordan from Letters to Nowhere

Today I've got Jordan, the sweet and rather melty guy from Julie Cross's new release Letters to Nowhere!

Though this is a book I beta read, I love it. So much. It's that right mix of emotional and light, sweet and serious, and just has to many awesome elements to it. Add in the elite gymnast focus, and of course the romance, and this is one every contemporary lover needs to be sure and snatch up!

And if that hasn't convinced you, here's Jordan, who is most definitely in my Boy Closet.

When you first found out Karen was coming to live with you, what did you think?

I thought it sounded like a pain in the ass. Especially knowing I'd have to share my bathroom. My bathroom is like my own mini man-cave so sharing that space isn't something I take lightly...and with a girl...yeah, not fun. But Karen is actually very low maintenance when it comes to bathroom time and she's very considerate of others using her shared space.

What's your best childhood memory?

When I was really little, maybe 7 or 8, my family took a trip to Scotland and stayed in a castle that looked just like Hogwarts. It was awesome.

You help Karen tackle some pretty hefty things. What was hardest for you?

Seeing someone with a wound that fresh and knowing how long it takes to get to the place I'm at now, which makes the pain somewhat tolerable. Knowing she has years of struggle ahead of her is the hardest part.

Boxers or briefs?

Boxers, cause I need my breakfast before I can do anything else. Like put more clothes on.

What's it like to kiss Karen?

Important. Yeah it's all those other things you get from kissing a pretty girl--romantic, a turn-on, fun, daring, etc..but important is a word I wouldn't be able to use with anyone else.

Would you rather swim with sharks or wrestle alligators?

I'll take my chances with the sharks. I'm friendly enough, maybe they won't eat me.

What kind of sea creature would you describe yourself as?

Dolphin. I'm can get along with most people and I like to do tricks. And I'm not opposed to having my back petted every once in a while.

I love this boy, especially when you read excerpts like this about him:

A little while later, after providing Jordan with a new toothbrush and a clean t-shirt, Stevie tossed a couple sleeping bags onto the floor and shook her head at me and Jordan. “Just don’t get anybody pregnant,” she warned.

Jordan snorted back a laugh. “I’ll try not to get myself pregnant, Stevie. Thanks for the lecture.”

Stevie pointed a stern finger at him. “Don’t piss me off, pretty boy. Karen has enough on the line to not have to worry about shit like that. I know what goes through your head. I’m not an idiot.”

I buried my face in the pillow on the floor. “Please be done talking.”

Stevie finally went into her bedroom and Jordan stretched out on the sleeping bag beside me. “It’s not really weird, is it?” he asked. “I’ve seen your pajamas and your wet hair and even your retainer—”

I popped upright again. “Shit! Thanks for reminding me.”

Jordan grinned at me and pressed my shoulders back down again. “Just a minute . . .”

I froze and held my breath as he leaned over me and kissed me. One hand cradled the back of my head and his lips parted again, breathing his minty toothpaste breath into my mouth. It seemed cleaner now than earlier and really, I just didn’t care. I barely felt his tongue inside my mouth because my heart was sprinting so fast. I couldn’t get him close enough. Much too soon, he pulled away and kissed my forehead. “Not so bad, right?”

“Nope,not bad at all,” I said honestly. “What if we just stop after tonight? Or don’t do any of this stuff except in very safe situations so your dad never finds out?”

“It’s a good plan, in theory.” Jordan leaned on one elbow. “But it’s like you said, don’t kiss me seems to have that effect on us.”

“What made you change your mind about breaking our friend code or whatever?”

He picked up a strand of my hair and twirled it around his finger. “I saw you with Tony and I realized that you could be with someone else. You’re not just going to sit around and wait for me to figure my shit out. And honestly, I already figured everything out, it just scared me to admit it.”

I turned over on my stomach, my face toward him, and closed my eyes. “I would have waited for you. You’re good for me. Sometimes I’m just so crazy and insane with emotions and I can’t make any sense of them and it’s dangerous, but with you . . . it’s a good thing. I know it’s a good thing.”

Yeah. This book is awesome. And in case you're new to the world of Julie Cross, she's also the author of Tempest and Vortex, out now! But you're in luck, since Julie is giving away not only an e-copy of Letters to Nowhere, but signed copies of the other two as well! Just enter below and cross your fingers! (And add this to Goodreads!)

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Author Interview: R. L. Griffin

Dropping in today is R.L. Griffin, author of Tension (which has a cover I freaking love!), for an interview and to help celebrate the book's release!

Tension goes to some pretty dark places.What was the most interesting, and the hardest, part about this for you? 

Well, I really thought writing this book that Stella would be able to go through the plans she had and this would be the conclusion of Stella's story. When I was writing it, she just couldn't do what I wanted her to do. It was hard because I wanted one thing, but the character was telling me something else. I know that sounds insane.

Let's talk about your cover, which I love. It's creepy in the best way. What led to that particular design and concept?

Well if you read By A Thread you know why Stella got the tattoo. She was mourning and wanted to get something to symbolize the mourning, but also give everyone a clear "stay away from me" feel. I think it accomplished both. When I asked Georgina to make an attempt at this cover, I really didn't think she would be able to do it, but she knocked my socks off. I love it.

Which character surprised you the most while you were writing Tension?

Stella. Again, I thought I knew where I was going with her character and she didn't agree with my plans. Jesse was also very interesting, because I think when you see he's back in the picture you worry about his motives.

What are some of your favorite authors?

Tara Sivec, Tarryn Fisher, John Green, Colleen Hoover and Gillian Flynn.

What's the hardest part about continuing a character's story across more than one book? 

You have to remember all the intricacies in every book. I'm writing Book 3 now and I have to leave blanks because there are some specifics I've forgotten already. My memory is horrid.

What kind of cookie would you describe yourself as?

A Samoa. Its a cookie with coconut and chocolate. Its not a great looking cookie and its very unexpected how good it is. Also, I've eaten so many of them I feel like maybe I've turned into one.

 This one is out now, so be sure to pick it up!

About the book: The Stella who emerges from the rubble of the bombing in Montana is a woman full of conflict. She knows she should be grateful that she lived when others didn't, but after waking in the hospital as a celebrity, complete with a new moniker, she's bitter and distrustful, questioning everything in her life. She's unsure of her friends, her new boyfriend, and her job. In addition, a face from the past reappears and threatens to take the one good thing in her life.

Stella attempts to deal with the new scrutiny of her life with her usual sense of humor, but she's filled with a new emotion that she tries desperately to hide: HATE. Her recovery is hastened by her determination to find the man who turned her into a walking scar. She's going to kill him; she needs to kill him.

Stella isn't alone. She has her close friends and her dog, Cooper. Will their support be enough to help Stella accomplish her plan, or will this endeavor be her undoing?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review: Canary by Rachele Alpine

SUMMARY: Staying quiet will destroy her, but speaking up will destroy everyone.

Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

Canary is told in a mix of prose and verse.


I’m going to confess here, and say this is a book where I think the jacket flap hurt me as a reader. I expected the assault to be the inciting event for the book. Rather, it happens almost at the end, which, really, changes the entire purpose and perception of the book. I felt myself being a bit bored at times, waiting for that event to happen, waiting, in my head, for the story to really start.

Here’s the thing, it’s not a book about an assault. Yes, that happens, and yes, it has an impact and a purpose, but it’s not the bigger thing. And unfortunately, I think it’s a bit damaging to be aware this is where things are headed from the start.

Stepping back from that, though, and coming away from reading this one to realize it’s a book about a girl torn between herself and those around her, her family and what she needs, and even just trying to really figure out who she is… it’s a great book. It’s poignant, and it’s impacting, and in a lot of ways, it’s the heart of what YA is to me. No, things aren’t easy for Kate, no she’s not totally happy with the good things she’s got, and yes, she does some things that are frustrating as a reader. But she’s just a girl trying to work through it all, and I think in that sense, Alpine wrote a stunning story.

My issues with this one are really with my expectations because of the flap. Would I have been any less likely to pick it up if it was portrayed as a book about a girl at odds with her dad and those around her? No. That is something I would read, and what I loved the most about this book. Even as an adult, there is so much to relate to and connect to in this story. And what I loved the most, was how even when we see Kate doing things that maybe I didn’t agree with or, knowing the assault was headed her way, wanted to scream at her to not do… It just made it that much clearer to me that she’s just trying to find her way. And she doesn’t have all the experiences I do, or even the foresight I do as a reader.

Add in the strong voice of this one, and the blog posts mixed in throughout, and there is something very engaging right away about this one. The school it’s set at takes on a life of it’s own, and I think Alpine has captured the entitlement that can sometimes come in set ups like this, and the repercussions of it on everyone else, in a really great way.

What also stands out, here, is Kate’s family. Her brother, who is so angry, and seeming to be growing more distant all the time, yet who still is comfortable with himself, even in this new school that doesn’t like him, and who is there for her when she needs it. Then there’s her father, who is seeming to put himself and his job above his daughter… even after an assault. That is something that is so, so hard to swallow and yet, I think Alpine has woven it together in a way that even if I didn’t like it, I still sort of saw his side. Kind of. And the ways his actions effect and drive Kate gave this book an even stronger element that I totally loved.

So while this is one I needed to sit back and mull over, and deconstruct my expectations post read, it’s one I would absolutely read again, especially with this new take on it. For all you contemporary lovers, definitely add this to your list, and keep an eye on this stunning debut writer.

Source: ARC received from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Age Range: 12 and up
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Medallion Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2013

Tour Info

Book Birthday Contest: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Hitting shelves today is the final installment in one of my favorite series: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire (Hourglass #3). Though we got Emerson's perspective in book 1, and Kaleb (sexy, sexy Kaleb) in book 2, now we get a new perspective... actually, two. And trust me when I say you want to know both of these characters.

To celebrate this release, I've got an Hourglass prize pack of awesome up for grabs for one lucky winner! Included is all three books in the series, plus an awesome melting clock to hang on your shelf!

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About Infinityglass:

The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?