Wednesday, October 7, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

Release date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Hyperion
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name. 

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

Elle CosimanoAbout the Author
Elle Cosimano grew up in a suburb outside of Washington, DC with two very normal parents and an occasionally adorable little brother who ate her pet caterpillars and pillaged her Barbie Dream House. He got the super-high metabolism, great cheek-bones and long lashes. So unfair. Elle got the gift of vivid imagination. The ability to see something so clearly in her mind that it tends to become a reality. Some people call it goal-orientation, but she prefers to think of it as highly productive day-dreaming.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Wrong Number, Right Guy by Elle Casey

Series: Bourbon Street Boys #1
Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
When a mysterious text message summons May Wexler to a biker bar in downtown New Orleans, she knows something is very wrong. Her sister has sent out an SOS, but when May gets there, she’s nowhere to be found and May is the one in trouble—she’s wearing pink espadrilles, she’s got a Chihuahua in her purse, and she’s in the middle of a shootout.

After tall, muscular Ozzie comes to her rescue, May has no choice but to follow him to safety. At the headquarters of his private security firm, the Bourbon Street Boys, she finds a refuge for the night—and the offer of a job. But it’s not long before a gun-toting stalker isn’t the only complication in May’s life: the more time she spends with Ozzie, the less she can deny that they’ve got some serious chemistry. A wrong number got her into this mess…Will it also get her the right guy?

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've been meaning to check out Elle Casey's books for some time now, and after finding Wrong Number Right Guy on netgalley, I just had to give it a go based on that reason, and I liked the title. I didn't read the blurb; I went into the story blind but hoping to be entertained. And I got that from the start. 

The main characters' first encounter was just hilarious if not super weird. Receiving text messages accidentally happens to most of us, but not once have I ever gotten up and gone to a place because of those texts though. No matter who I believed they were from. In May's case, she was utterly convinced that the texts were from her older sister in need of her support. No matter how obviously intense the spot was, and the fact that May knows her sister would never go to such a place, much less bring her kids there, she still continued to browse around the bar looking for them. This chick stood out like a sore thumb in this tough bar, and that's when all hell broke loose for her and Ozzie had to save her from getting killed. Not once, but a few more times after that because May was somewhat oblivious to the situation even after Ozzie explained it to her. That's one of the things that frustrated me about May, and I didn't really connect with her, but like I said, the story was entertaining and I liked her thoughts about Ozzie and how hard it was for her to control her attraction. 

The whole security team thing was an interesting part of the story. I liked what Ozzie and his friends did and I would love to learn more about each character, in particular Toni, as well as dive deeper in regards to them carrying out missions and getting in more suspenseful situations. Aside from that, I felt like the story was more about May tapping into her inner strength, finding something she could be passionate about, feeling like she was part of a good team, as well as learning to trust a guy for once. The angst between May and Ozzie was certainly enjoyable, and I liked how throughout there were humorous moments to help keep things interesting and not too dry.
Overall, it was a good read. I wouldn't say I was completely in love with the story or characters, but I was entertained for the most part. If you're looking for a quick and light read with some intense scenes here and there, give this one a read.

Elle CaseyAbout the Author
Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Spotlight & Excerpt: Masquerade (Andalucian Nights #2) by Hannah Fielding

Release date: August 6th 2015
Publisher: London Wall Publishing
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
A young writer becomes entangled in an illicit gypsy love affair, pulling her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire. 

Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover. 

Luz must decide what she truly desires as glistening Cádiz, with its enigmatic moon and whispering turquoise shores, seeps back into her blood. Why is she so drawn to the wild and magical sea gypsies? What is behind the old fortune-teller’s sinister warnings about ‘Gemini’? Through this maze of secrets and lies, will Luz finally find her happiness… or her ruin? 

Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust. Are appearances always deceptive? 


Luz set eyes on him for the first time from her seat on Zeyna’s back as the fine white Arab mare stepped down the narrow path from the cliff that led to the beach. He was sitting on the edge of the track, leaning nonchalantly against a wild carob tree,watching her while chewing on a sprig of heather. As she drew nearer, she met his steady gaze, spirited and wild. At that moment she had no idea this man would have the power to change her world and create such havoc in her heart, that she would emerge from the experience a different person. Fate had not yet lit up the winding pathway of her life nor the echoes of history along it, but now, in front of this stranger, a disturbing awareness leapt into flame deep inside her and began to flicker intensely. Without thinking, she tugged on Zeyna’s reins to slow the mare down. 

For a moment they stared at each other. He was clearly a gitano, one of those people that Luz’s family had always warned her to steer clear of. The frayed, cut-down denims sat low on his hips, revealing deeply tanned, muscular long legs, and his feet were bare as though he had just walked straight from the beach. Unruly chestnut hair, bleached golden in parts by the sun, tumbled to his shoulders; his smooth copper skin glowed more than that of any gypsy she had ever seen. As she allowed her gaze to flick back to his face, Luz caught the flash of amused, provocative arrogance in those bright, burning eyes, mixed with something deeper that she didn’t understand. She swallowed. The overwhelming masculinity of the gitano unsettled her. Luz lifted her chin resolutely, but felt the pull of his magnetism reaching out and gripping her, beguiling and dangerous, so that instinctively she nudged her mount and they broke into a smooth canter. The thumping of her heart sounded loud in her ears. She could sense his eyes on her, as a palpable touch, even as she rode away, trembling, and the feeling remained with her until she knew she was out of sight. 

Had Zeyna picked up her mistress’s inner turmoil? Luz was pulling on her bridle as the mare tossed her head this way and that, snorting. Surprised by the horse’s unusual behaviour, Luz looked down at her hands and realized that she was clutching the reins much too tightly. She relaxed her hold. ‘I’m sorry, old girl. My fault,’ she whispered, leaning forward to pat the mare’s neck. Feeling free, the handsome creature surged forth without hesitation. The wind blew warm and salty; it touched Luz’s long black hair like a caress, threatening and tantalizing, wrapping a few silky wisps around her face. An unusual heat coursed through her, even though she was dressed only in a T-shirt, jeans tucked into riding boots. She raised her head against the breeze, letting the briny air course over her body, willing it to drive away this unfamiliar disquiet from her mind. 

Gradually her sense of foreboding subsided and the awesome setting regained its hold. She felt an exhilaration and breadth of freedom in the vast solitude of the deserted beach and the wide horizons of the sea. The intense blue of the bay lay before her in the late afternoon sun. The lines of the land were so recognizable to her: no trees, no shrubs, no delicate tinting nor soft beauty, but a pure, distinct outline of form, almost terrifying in its austerity. Then, from time to time, there were the shadows of great clouds moving overhead, staining this infinite expanse of dunes that stretched before her like a vast tapestry, in shades of cream, greys and silver. Galloping in the wind on the back of her beautiful white mare, Luz felt in harmony with the Andalucían landscape and with herself. She had left her flat in Chelsea, finished her job in Scotland, and now she was back in Spain, a newly born post-Franco Spain, ruled by an energetic young king, and teetering on the edge of new possibilities. She was back at last in her beloved country, this time to stay. 

Luz María Cervantes de Rueda was the only child to Count Salvador Cervantes de Rueda and his beautiful half-English, half-Spanish wife, Alexandra. At the time, their love story had made newspaper headlines and had been a favoured subject for wagging tongues in the drawing rooms of Spanish society. There had been a scandal involving Count Salvador, a young gypsy girl and her ne’er-do-well brothers. To add to the gossip, Alexandra de Falla was not from a pure Spanish background. Her foreign ways had caused suspicion and disapproval among the cloistered circles, their traditions still so deeply rooted in 1950s Andalucía. The fact that she was a romantic novelist, too, had caused many raised eyebrows. Some predicted doom when the couple’s fairy-tale marriage was announced, but as in all fairy tales, the pair had surprised everyone and were still living happily ever after. 

For the first eleven years of her life Luz had lived in Spain, spending July and August in Kent with her Great-Aunt Geraldine. Later, when she was sent to boarding school in Gloucestershire, she would return three times a year to El Pavón, the ancestral home of her father outside the city of Jerez: at Christmas, Easter and for part of the summer holidays. 

Luz had just arrived in Cádiz that morning, straight from England. She intended to spend at least a week at L’Estrella, the family’s summer house, before going on to see her parents at El Pavón. She was excited, pulsing with life, feeling as though she was on the verge of embarking on a great adventure. 

It had been a long haul that had started with Cheltenham Ladies’ College when she was eleven, through a master’s degree in history and modern languages at Cambridge, and finally two years spent in the Highlands of Scotland penning the biography of an ancestor for one of the great families of Britain. Now that book was delivered, she could feel that Spain was where she was meant to be, where she was always meant to be. Here, she could breathe, feel her body come alive under the Spanish sun, and let all the pent-up, reckless instincts she had tried so hard to tame all through boarding school in England run wild and free. Luz had never thought that those compulsive feelings she had were the secret machinations of ‘destiny’; there was a sceptical, no-nonsense side to her inherited from her mother, along with a talent for writing, but she knew that the fiery Spanish nature that was her father’s – and always got the better of her – had finally pulled her back to Andalucía. 

Only that morning, when Luz had arrived at L’Estrella laden with suitcases, Carmela handed her a letter that had come the day before. Ever since she had replied to an advertisement in the local paper for a biographer, she’d been praying for an interview. And here it was: a letter inviting her for a first meeting that week. Luz had barely been able to contain her relief and joy as she pulled the housekeeper into a delighted hug. She had really set her heart on this job, not only because she would be writing about Count Eduardo Raphael Ruiz de Salazar, one of the great painters of modern Spain, but also because the artist was from this part of the world and a large portion of the research would be done locally in Cádiz and its neighbouring towns. It seemed that now Luz had been given her reason to stay. 

She brought Zeyna to a halt at the edge of the shore. The wild salty air seemed to be sweeping up from the beach as it brushed her cheek. She closed her eyes to savour its breath, delicious odours laden with iodine and fruits of the deep. The sun was setting in the late afternoon and the sky, gloriously mottled with apricot-pink and lilac, was broken here and there by shafts of light reflecting on the surface of the water, turning the calm ocean into a spectrum of peacock colours. 

Now she could make out the fishing boats in the distance returning after a day’s work: black toy insects, the antennae of their masts bristling against the flamingo-tinted sky. Gulls and terns mingled overhead, screeching, impatient for the laden fleet’s arrival. Luz did not care much for birds. She found them – even the beautiful ones – eerie and menacing. It was time to be starting back. 

The Andalucían Nights series: Love, mystery and desire under the scorching Spanish sun.

(click image for more)

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean. 
To date, Hannah has published four novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; and Indiscretion and Masquerade (from the Andalusian Nights Trilogy), her fieriest novels yet. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, Legacy, the final title in the trilogy, which is due to be published in spring 2016. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: My Secret to Tell by Natalie D. Richards

Release date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

There was blood on his hands. Where was the guilt in his eyes?

Emmie has had a crush on her best friend's brother forever. Deacon is the town bad boy who's always in trouble, but she sees his soft side when he volunteers with her at the local animal shelter. She doesn't think he's dangerous…until he shows up in her bedroom with blood on his hands.

Deacon's father has been violently assaulted and Deacon is suspect number one. Emmie's smart enough to know how this looks, but she also knows Deacon's biggest secret—he's paralyzed by the sight of blood. She's sure he didn't do this. Or did he? Because even Deacon's own sister thinks he's guilty.

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I skimmed through the blurb for My Secret to Tell and went into the story with an open mind. I knew it had some mystery about it surrounding the family that Emmie was close friends with, but I didn't know what secrets they were hiding so my interest was totally piqued. 

From the opening chapter, I got pulled into an intense moment where Emmie's best friend tells her that her father has been terribly assaulted. I instantly became curious and I wanted to know why Deacon was at Emmie's house looking guilty. At first I thought "well, it must be him". But then I quickly retracted because it would be too easy to simply assumed he did it. And as the story progressed, I figured out the deal with one person in particular because of how overly nice he was, along with his behavior towards Deacon. But I didn't understand why he'd do that to the family he claimed to care about and who else was working with him. It was clear to me that it wasn't a one man operation. 

I found myself relating to Emmie's character in regards to how she's always trying to help others; wanting to find solutions and make everyone happy. Like her, I have a tendency to hold back my feelings and not stir the pot, so to speak. In Emmie's case, she was trying hard to live up to her mother's expectations and make her proud in the way that her brother had failed. So in spite of the situation, being caught up with Deacon and going against her parents when they told her to stay away from him helped her toughen up more, I think. And I was happy when she stood up to her mom about what she wanted.

I wouldn't call this a romantic suspense because even though Emmie had a crush on Deacon and he felt the same way, the situation was just too intense and their main focus was on clearing his name and figuring out who had attacked his father and why. That's understandable because I feel if the romance aspect was acted on too much then that would have taken away from the suspenseful elements of the story, and I liked that each page had me curious and wanting to know what the hell was going on and what sort of secrets were being kept. But I can't dismiss that it was sweet when they finally shared an intimate moment. No matter how short.

All in all, I liked that Richards had me guessing about various characters' involvement and whether or not this person could be trusted. I also liked how quick of a read it was; the writing style was fluid, and details were well-balanced. My Secret to Tell is a good story with chilling moments, especially that ending. The author had me at the edge of my seat. Loved how everything worked out for the characters, and I feel everyone got what they deserved.

Natalie D. RichardsAbout the Author
Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) Now she writes about awesome girls, broody boys, and all things dark and creepy. When she's not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her techno-wiz husband, three amazing kids, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he's the family dog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Release date: March 15th 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Five gifted teenagers are selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace was sealed after the aristocrats fled there. No one has set foot in it for over two centuries.

Now, in the present day, the teenagers enter with cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art security, scientists and chaperones. And then a brutal accident occurs. No way out. Caught in the dark.

They will have to fight to survive. But are they really alone in the depths?

Stefan BachmannAbout the Author
Stefan Bachmann was born in Colorado and now lives in Switzerland, where he studies modern music at the Zürich University of Arts. He is the author of several books, including The Peculiar, his debut, which was published to international acclaim when he was nineteen years old. It was a New York Times Editor's Choice and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2012, and was translated into eight languages.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Release date: April 29th 2014
Publisher: Point
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. 
But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

*Publisher approved request via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Catch a Falling Star had an interesting premise. I liked the concept of Hollywood going to an unpopular location to film, and the idea of a famous guy falling for a regular girl. It's a cute story with some sweet moments, along with some scenes that made me cringe. 

Carter was a likable character. She was a young girl coming into her own, but with the troubles of her brother and not believing in herself enough, she made the decision to remain in her small town instead of going after her dreams. And I like that her parents finally had that talk with her and made her open her eyes. 

As for Adam Jakes, he was swoon-worthy. A misunderstood guy. We all know that tabloids fabricate stories so I was a little surprised that Carter, along with her friends, bought so much into his supposedly "bad-boy issues." 

Speaking of friends, I honestly thought Alien Drake (I did not like that nickname) was jealous of Adam and Carter. He just seemed kind of off, then again any boyfriend would be upset with the way his girlfriend, Carter's other best friend, would go all fangirl over Adam. Chloe was a lot. I wanted to smack her at times and tell her to chill because of the way she was around Adam. No wonder he was a tad put off when she brought out the magazine with him and Carter on the cover. Like relax girl.

Anyway, in spite of those few things, it was a good read with fluid writing. Loved the summer setting and the way things worked out for the characters in the end. Cute story.

G Aronow Photography
About the Author
Kim Culbertson is the author of the teen novels THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW (Scholastic 2016), CATCH A FALLING STAR (Scholastic 2014), INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART (Sourcebooks 2011), and SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD (Sourcebooks 2010).

When she’s not writing for teens, she’s teaching them. She’s a college advisor and teaches creative writing at Forest Charter School. Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students who, over the years, have taught her much more than she has taught them. Kim lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter. |

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pre-Order Blitz~Loving Bad by Regan Ure

Publication Date: October 10, 2015
Pre-order: Amazon
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The good girl falls for the bad boy. But what if there is more to Sin Carter than a bad attitude, tattoos and piercings? And what if there is more to Taylor Price than the fact she has always followed the rules and done what she was told? Their pasts haunt them. 

Sin is trying to break free from his dark past while Taylor lives each day trying to forget about the horrors that marred her childhood. When they meet, their physical attraction is undeniable. One night is not enough for either of them.

Meet Regan
Regan discovered the joy of writing at the tender age of twelve. Her first two novels were teen fiction romance. She then got sidetracked into the world of computer programming and travelled extensively visiting twenty-seven countries. A few years ago after her son’s birth she stayed home and took another trip into the world of writing. After writing nine stories on Wattpad, winning an award and becoming a featured writer the next step was to publish her stories. She lives in South Africa with her two children and husband, who is currently doing his masters. If she isn’t writing her next novel you will find her reading soppy romance novels, shopping like an adrenaline junkie or watching too much television. 

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