Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: Wicked Innocence by Missy Johnson

Cover Reveal

Wicked Innocence
by Missy Johnson
Publication Date: June 27, 2014 


Synopsis: Don’t let my petite and innocent appearance fool you, because I’m one person you don’t want to cross. I’m Micah, the youngest member of Resurrection…If only they knew how young. My fake ID says I’m twenty-one.
And I will be…in four years.

What can I say? I blossomed early. Home sucked, so I left, determined to do something with my life.

Landing the gig as lead vocalist in the band was a dream come true. I’ve worked hard to make something of myself and nothing is going to ruin that for me.

Then He showed up.

He’s hot as hell and so into me. But he’s also twenty-five.

I don’t want to lie to him, but if the truth comes out I’ll lose everything, including him.

About the Author: Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture).
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

Special Weekend Sale!

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Out of Reach $0.99 Sale

Synopsis: My best friend was dying and I was in love with his girl. 

Andy and I had been best friends since we were eight-years old. Watching him slowly fade away, ever closer to his final breath, made me so incredibly angry. I knew there was nothing I could do to change it--I had given in to despair, but Andy had not. He had one last hand to play.

He wasn't going to simply sit back and wait for Death to claim him--not Andy. He was going to live life until he couldn't hold his eyes open any longer.

Andy didn't want to die in some sterile hospital and asked me to take him and Emily to the beach. It would be our last road trip together.

Emily. Emily was a problem for me.

I harbored a secret that would have torn our friendship apart. I was in love with Andy's girl, and had been since she'd walked into our sixth grade class, so many years ago.

So what kind of person am I? My best friend is dying, and it's awful--but my heart still aches for his girl. I hate myself for thinking beyond Andy's death and whether there could ever be a future for Emily and I, but I can't help it.

I'm in love with her.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Don't Turn Back (Coming Home) by Amy Stephens

Don't Turn BackDon't Turn Back by Amy Stephens

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a hard time getting into this book. The writing did not flow very well, making it difficult to concentrate on the story. There seemed to be a lot of mundane information that didn't really contribute to the story.

I also wasn't very fond of the characters overall. While Jennifer seemed okay at first, it was like she was evolving backward to a less confident character from how she was when the book started. And Brian-I really couldn't stand him at the beginning, he comes across as self-centered and flip-flops between admitting his wrongs and blaming others for things that happen. As the story progresses, he seems to get a little better as his situation improves, but then when things go wrong he just slips back into his old ways, making his character even harder to like. The only character I liked was Todd; he's written as such a good guy it's hard not to like him.

I think the author has a good idea here, but the execution is a bit off. If I don't really care for the characters and the writing doesn't flow-leading to a rough read-it makes me less likely to continue reading. I had to push myself through this one. I may get the second book when it comes out just to see what happens to the characters, but if I don't wind up reading the next one, it won't really bother me. My overall star rating is closer to 2.5 stars, I rounded it to 3 for the idea behind the story and Todd's character.

Thank you to the author for the ARC and the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cover Reveal: Surrender by Jennifer Burrows

Here it is...the stunning cover for Surrender, the soon to be released romantic thriller by Jennifer Burrows!

Synopsis: Katherine Anderson was living a dream life. She came from an influential family, had a successful career as a food critic, and was about to marry the man of her dreams. Her life suddenly takes a change for the worse when she finds her fiancĂ© in the arms of another woman. Her dream wedding now cancelled, she tries to find herself in Italy, on a trip she was supposed to be taking as the just married Mrs. Michael Gibbons.

Massimo "Tony" Bertalucci has had his life destroyed by a cartel known to be trafficking black market olive oil out of Italy and around the world. While the cartel thought the entire Bertalucci family was dead and buried, Tony remains very much alive and determined to find a way to get his life back.

When Tony and Katherine’s worlds collide, she is Tony’s only hope of escaping Italy alive. What Katherine doesn’t realize is that this charming, unassuming Italian man is using her to save his own life. Will she be able to get back to the states safely, or will she be subjected to the same fate as Tony's family? Will Tony find a way to stop running? Or will he have to surrender his life to the cartel?

And here's a couple of teasers the author recently posted...hopefully this will tide you over until the release date is set (looks like early July) ;-)

Be sure to add it to your TBR list on Goodreads!  Are you excited for this new release?  I've already TBR'ed it :-)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review: Stinger by Mia Sheridan

StingerStinger by Mia Sheridan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stinger is the first book I’ve read by this author…and after reading it I’ve put every one of the books she’s written so far onto my TBR list. I’m always a sucker for the good girl meets bad boy story. But though Carson may seem like a bad boy due to his profession, he’s really a good guy at heart…and don’t be surprised if he steals yours.

The writing was fantastic-very smooth and made for an easy read. The interactions between Carson and Grace were funny, and I really liked seeing them go from the “no way in hell we’re getting together” to the “I don’t want to leave”, even if it happened quite quickly. The author keeps you hanging on to each word-be prepared for one of those all-night, keep reading until it’s finished marathons.

The transformation that Carson undergoes is amazing, and will make you love him even more. Grace’s character seems to stay mostly the same throughout the story, except where Carson is concerned. The secondary characters provide an excellent supporting cast, especially Carson’s military buddies-which it would be wonderful to have their stories written as well, I hope the author decides to write them.

Sometimes just letting go of your preconceived notions and taking a chance can ultimately be rewarding, the lesson Grace learns here-though it takes her a while to finally achieve that reward…keeping the reader on the edge until the end to see how it turns out.

A very solid 5 out of 5 stars…and for the 18+ crowd due to language and sexual content.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Race Report: 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge

Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge is still my favorite Disney race.  Not because it's a short race (5K "adventure" race), but because it is just so much fun.  You get to run through Animal Kingdom at night, have a few fun obstacles along the way, then get to solve clues thru the park to get to the finish line.  And the best part?  Getting to party in the park until the wee hours of the morning-which means you get to ride Expedition Everest at night!

This was my 4th year in a row participating in the Challenge.  Just like the last several races I've done up at Walt Disney World, I volunteered for a couple of shifts before the race-once at the expo on Friday (I worked at one of the gear bag pickup booths), and once at the Family Edition race Saturday morning.  I've mentioned before that I love volunteering at the runDisney events, and this one was no exception...great group of people to work with, and of course the athletes are fantastic!

On race day, since I was up pretty early for my 6:30am volunteer shift, afterward I just took it easy back at my hotel (I sprung for Coronado Springs this time around, just love that place!) relaxing and trying-but failing-to take an afternoon nap since the race wasn't until 10pm.  The weather wasn't really cooperating-in the morning we had rain and it was like that for most of the early evening as well.  I headed over to Animal Kingdom just before 8pm, but with the constant misting rain and cooler temperatures-okay, cooler for Florida, it was in the upper 60s-I wound up hanging out in the car until about 45 minutes before race time.  At that point the rain had kind of tapered off so I headed straight for the start corral.  I decided to wear a jacket as with the breeze, misty on and off rain and "cooler" temperature I was kind of chilly.

Once the race started, we headed around the outer portion of the parking lot toward our first obstacle-the hay bales to hurdle over.  This is my favorite obstacle, mostly because I can jump them pretty easily (although I usually look pretty silly when I do):
Too bad they didn't get an airborne shot
Right around the 1-mile point I had warmed up enough so tied my jacket around my waist for the remainder of the race.  The cool air felt wonderful at that point, and the rest of the race was quite comfortable.  The second obstacle were those big tires on the ground that you have to get through (you know, like you see football players doing at practice).  At least I didn't wind up doing a face plant like some other people did:
Yeah, running through these would have been disastrous with my clumsiness
On toward the end of the 5K course where the final obstacle was a belly crawl under netting...yeah, I skipped that one again this year, so no funny pics for that one.  So it was across the 5K finish and on to collect my map and first clue, then heading into the park.  Clue #1:
The answer was green-found by checking our bibs for the flag color on the right side of the bib.
Clue #2:
On the first clue card that this clue refers you back to, you'll find the words three and one hidden-add them up to get the answer=four
Clue #3:
I like word puzzle so I flew through this one-they told you how many of each of the letters listed you could use to finish the phrase above.
Clue #4:
This was simple-using the answer to #3, you punched out the items that would keep you warm
Clue #5:
You take Clue card #4 and place it over this to get your answer
Final solution:
Easy, right?
And so I crossed the finish line like this:
Here's the answer to cross the finish!
I swear I was smiling the whole time thru the finish chute so I could get a decent finish picture...and yet, I got this pic instead.  Ah well,  here's my own:
I finished the overall event in 1:31:54, a little under a minute faster than last year.  Still not as good as two years ago (1:14 and change), but still a good job considering I walked the whole thing this time.  And of course one of the best parts of this event?  Getting to party in Animal Kingdom after dark!  If you thought Expedition Everest was fun, you should try it after dark-it will become your favorite Disney "mountain" coaster!  And be sure to ask for the front row-you may have to wait just a few minutes longer to ride, but it will be worth it---trust me ;-)

Until next year, keep on running, walking and enjoying Disney my friends :-)

Book Review: Yours Truly, Taddy (The Undergrad Years #2) by Avery Aster

Yours Truly, Taddy (The Undergrad Years, #2)Yours Truly, Taddy by Avery Aster

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll start right off by saying that this second installment of The Undergrad Years series was much better than the first (Love, Lex)-my overall star rating for this one is a 3.5. The characters seemed much more mature and more in line with their ages this time around. Taddy’s character is a lot more grounded than Lex and Vive, mostly due to her family and financial situation in comparison to her friends.

The writing flowed better this time and the situations were much more believable. The encounter Taddy and Leon had in the water seemed a bit unlikely given their circumstances (*mild spoiler*-I mean seriously-who is really going to become intimate while on a rest break trying to swim several miles to find shore?), but other than that the rest of the story is good and keeps you interested. You also get to see some character growth with Taddy thanks to the events that occur.

One thing this volume of the series did was intrigue me even more for Blake’s story. He still seems to be the most interesting of the four friends and I’ll continue with this series if for no other reason than to hear his tale.

Still for the 18 and over crowd due to the adult scenes. If you liked the first book, then you’ll certainly like Yours Truly, Taddy.

If you'd like to see my review of the first book from this series-Love, Lex-you can check it out over on Goodreads.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: How to Date a Nerd (How-to #1) by Cassie Mae

How to Date a Nerd (How To, #1)How to Date a Nerd by Cassie Mae

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book I've read by Cassie Mae, and I have to say she really knows how to write the sweet YA romance. She captures the teen characters perfectly, writing them so every reader can relate to at least one of those characters based on their own past time in high school. The writing is smooth, flowing nicely throughout making this a very easy read.

Zoe's character can frustrate you a little with the way she keeps flip-flopping back and forth with her internal debate regarding Zak, but it is satisfying to see her realize the author's overall message in this story is-to not try to be someone you are not...always be yourself to be truly happy. Zoe really struggles with this all the way through the book, while Zak is comfortable enough with being himself. And honestly, if it were me-well I'd have chosen Zak from the very beginning as he is sweet and caring as well as a dedicated friend.

If you're looking for a sweet, fun, lighthearted read then this book will certainly fit the bill. I highly recommend this book and author...and don't be surprised to find that you too may be a closet nerd :-)

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Quick Book Review: Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd

Dark Wolf Rising (Bloodrunners, #4)Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't read werewolf stories too often, opting to usually go with vampires instead. Dark Wolf Rising though was a good diversion from my normal paranormal fare. There's some great backstory so even if you haven't read the other books in the Bloodrunners series (like me), you'll still be up to speed as you read through this book.

The characters were written quite well, though sometimes Chelsea-while a strong female lead-can be a bit too stubborn. Eric makes for great book boyfriend material with his protective nature and kind heart (while still being a badass). The sexual tension between the two of them keeps building and building...a definite 18+ mature readers only on this one.

I enjoyed the writing and everything flowed well, making this an easy read. I'll definitely be picking up the other books in this series.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle!

Brand new covers for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle!
~A paranormal romance series by Taylor Dean~
I love my OLD covers. (Pictured on the left.) I really do. They're different from the norm and that's why they captured my attention.
For Lancaster House, I liked the idea of a hand reaching out from the grave. It seemed appropriate to the story; Andre reaches out to Zoe from beyond the grave. It was Carrie-like and kind of creepy.

There's just one problem.
This is not a horror novel. Not at all. This is a paranormal romance. People who like horror are drawn to the cover and are sadly disappointed when they realize it's a romance.
People who love paranormal romance are turned off by the cover because it looks too creepy.
In other words, the cover just wasn't working.
I love The Middle Aisle cover because it matched Lancaster House so perfectly. And part of the story takes place in Monterey, California. Monterey is known for its Cypress trees. The tree on the cover of The Middle Aisle reminded me of a Cypress tree and seemed perfect.
But, if the right people aren't reading the first book, no one will ever read the second one no matter what the cover looks like!
Bam! Decision made!
It was time for new covers for Lancaster House and The Middle Aisle! I love the new covers because they speak so perfectly as to what's on the inside.
Without further ado, here they are, the new covers!
Lancaster House

Lancaster House

The Middle Aisle

The Middle Aisle


Author Taylor Dean
Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 6/8/14
Open Internationally
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Review: The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank

The Curse Keepers (Curse Keepers, #1)The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked the premise of this book. It was really cool how the author wound the story of the Lost Colony at Roanoke into the book, and that along with the edgy interaction between the two lead characters, Ellie and Collin, kept me glued to my iPad reading.

I like that Ellie is a strong female lead, though she can be stubborn to a fault. She and Collin have a ton of chemistry which makes for some great reading and steamy scenes. While Collin is definitely in the bad boy category, I still didn't like his decision to go see Marino. In fact, that whole portion of the story with Marino just didn't fit right to me, and is why I rated only 4 stars instead of 5. It just didn't seem to go with the rest of the story for me, so interrupted the flow of things for me.

There is plenty of action, which does build as the story goes on until the final scene where everything goes nuts. And leaves you there, hanging and scrambling for the next book...because you're definitely going to want to see where this one goes.

With those steamy scenes I referred to earlier, I would advise 18+ for the target audience...and if you're looking for a standalone story, this is not it. But--if you like paranormal romance with action and a bit of history woven in, be sure to pick this one won't be disappointed.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Review: Grace Notes by Marik Berghs-5 stars!

Grace NotesGrace Notes by Marik Berghs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now this is the perfect example of a wonderful, modern day YA fantasy book. I hadn’t read any books centered on the Fae before, but this book was an excellent introduction to the Fae world for me. The author paints a magnificent world for the reader, keeping you engaged throughout the story…and me up late at night trying to read just…a little…more. The characters are very well developed and likable, making this a very enjoyable read.

Lunabel’s character is a perfect example of a high school misfit. I found her “gifts” to be unique and intriguing, something I haven’t run across before in the paranormal genre.

The interaction between Lunabel and Jeremy is a bit awkward, but intentionally so given they are from so very different worlds. It makes those interactions interesting and sweet, especially the further into the story you get. I found myself hoping that Jeremy could get over the fact that Lunabel is a human since they seem so great together.

Jilly’s character is a welcome addition, she and Lunabel together really complement each other, making them a great team-not only for the conflict in the story with the Fae world, but also as friends. I did have a harder time picturing Jilly’s character in my head-not sure why-but I love how strong she is, not only for herself but also for Lunabel.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone 12 and up. It’s a fantastic story that anyone will enjoy, regardless of age. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series and I’m sure the entire saga will be one that I wind up re-reading multiple times—yes, I thought it was that good.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas

Picture Perfect (Picturing Perfect, #1)Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As someone who is a larger size, it was somewhat easy for me to identify with this book’s lead female character, Cat…though honestly the size she is really isn’t super huge. The story is, for the most part, pretty good and does keep you interested. Nate seems amazing from the start, until the big conflict with him occurs.

One of the issues I had with this story was the way that Cat kept getting down on herself and going on about her rolls and such. Hearing about it every so often during the story would have been fine, but I felt like it was way overdone which just made her sound like she was constantly being negative. The other issue I had was with the conflict that occurs with Nate. I found it to be a very odd situation, and it just seemed like an awkward issue to use as the “big conflict” of their relationship-like the author was trying to come up with a conflict and this was the best she could come up with.

The sex scenes also seemed to come up a lot-more than was really needed to tell the story. I’m all for having good steamy scenes in a romance, but there’s a point where it feels like those scenes were just being added for the sake of having more sex scenes, and not as a way to further the storyline.

There were some issues with grammar/basic editing, though they did not detract from the reading.

I wholeheartedly agree with the message the author is trying to get across regarding body image and learning to love your body, but feel that Cat’s character flaw of constantly harping on the way her body looks makes it hard to really love the overall book. I did give it a solid three stars as it is a good story, I just wish the author would have let up on Cat’s attitude a bit to make the read more enjoyable.

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Mother's Day 7" Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway!

Happy Mothers Day Kindle

I'm participating in a couple of giveaways right now, including this awesome Kindle Fire HDX giveaway that just started!  The Rafflecopter entries are quick and easy, and if you already "like" my Facebook page, that'll get you one entry into the giveaway :-)  Here's the info, and don't forget to please share this post using the buttons at the end:

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

Or $229 Gift Card (International)

Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

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 Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

Ends 6/1/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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