Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Promise Me This by Sarah Ashley Jones

Cover Design by Okay Creations.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Welcome to the South - where the tea is sweet and the accents are sweeter. This Southern way of life is all Charlie has ever known. It’s not until she loses the only person who pushed her to break free of the Southern Belle mold that she starts living the life she needs and not the life her parents forced on her.

Jhett has lived on the edge for as long as he could remember - constantly teetering back and forth between being a rock star and living a normal life. His rebellious and sometimes arrogant attitude is known to get him into trouble, especially with the girls who hang on his every move.

Charlie never thought that a trip to pack up her brother’s apartment would leave her feeling even more unsettled about the grainy details of her brother’s death. Her quest for information leads her straight to his old hangout and into arms of Jhett, who suspiciously knows more about her situation than he ever should.

Only a few questions remain - Can you trust someone based on their word alone? And if you make a promise, how far will you go to keep it?

My Take

This was a fantastic debut novel by Sarah Ashley Jones and I'm definitely looking forward to more of her work. When we first meet Charlie she's been sent to California to pack up her brother's belongings to bring back to Tennessee. Cameron wasn't only her brother, but her twin, so the pain of his death is nearly unbearable. Cameron was the independent twin. The twin that left their snooty small town and never looked back. He loved life and lived it to his fullest, regardless of what anyone else said. Charlie was the dutiful twin. She went to the college her parents wanted her to and chose the major that they wanted. She wasn't following her dreams, and Cameron constantly tried to get her to change her ways. To be true to herself, but she always resisted. 

One night when visiting a nightclub that Cameron used to frequent, she meets his best friend, Jhett. She's thrown off because her brother never mentioned him, but Jhett makes it clear that he knows all about her and proves that he really did know Jhett. It's uncanny the things that Jhett knows, so it's obvious that Cameron loved to talk about his sister. Jhett and Charlie begin to spend more time together and soon she's agreeing to throw up the middle finger to her parents & everyone in Tennessee and decides to stay in California for the summer. 

It's quickly obvious that Jhett and Charlie are burning for each other, and I loved their chemistry! They were so hot for each other and we didn't have to wait long for them to explode with lust. I was so glad that the author didn't keep take a long time having them dance around each other. Once they were not friends I loved watching their relationship grow. They were literally perfect for each other in every single way. And as a cherry on top, I loved that Charlie was able to be with someone who knew and loved Cameron as much as she did. There is very heartbreaking event that had me sobbing and clutching my Kindle to my chest, but in the end, I was left happy and satisfied.

Charlie was such a great female main character. I was afraid that she was going to be too timid with Jhett and what she wanted, but I couldn't have been more wrong. There must've been something in that California air, because when she wanted something, she went after it until she got it. She stood up for herself when necessary and told it like it is. And I loved every second of it. She's also a pretty damn funny drunk. I wouldn't mind splitting a twelve pack with her. 

I've never seen you more beautiful than you are right now. You can do all those things, Charlie. I believe in you. 

Sigh. Do you love Jhett already? I know I do!! He was awesome with Charlie, and just downright amazing in general. He pushed her to be herself, to let go of what everyone else wanted and go after what she wants. He's also an incredibly sexy, tatted up, former rocker who loves to cook. Ummm, does it get any better than that?! 

All in all, I love Promise Me This. I laughed, I cried, I swooned. I'm going to be Twitter stalking Sarah Ashley Jones until book 2 comes out. And no worries, there isn't really a cliff hanger. As the author says, it's a "hopeful-hanger" and she's not lying. 

“Oh my goodness, Jhett! What happened? Are you okay?” Her voice was ragged with worry as her hands inspected my knee; she tried her best to get a handle on the situation. The concern she showed for me started to border on panic, which almost made me feel bad about what I had done.

With one fast sweep of my arms I laid Charlie flat on her back again, this time right on the kitchen floor. Her moans of frustration only fueled my desire for her. “Hey, remember - I don’t get even, I get ahead,” I smirked as she crossed her arms in a last ditch attempt to try and get out of losing.

Her shoulders dropped in defeat. “Fiiiiine,” she sighed. I knew that I had her right where I wanted her. I sat back on my heels and waited for her to admit that I won.

Without warning, Charlie turned the tables and threw all her body weight against me as I tumbled backwards. It was her turn to straddle me; her bare legs falling on each side of my torso while her hands held my wrists against the cold floor, just as I did to her earlier. Her golden locks were a wavy mess; her braid never stood a chance. But there was a new fire burning behind her eyes that I never saw before. She enjoyed the sudden shift in dominance. In her eyes, she won our little game.

“Say it,” she demanded, only inches away from my face. “Say ‘Charlie’s the Queen’.” She was challenging me. I should have known to stop underestimating her. She never ceased to amaze me.

“You’re my Queen, Charlie,” I told her, my voice just above a whisper. It was worth it to give up;; it wasn’t often I got her riled up like this.

About The Author
Sarah Ashley Jones was raised in San Diego, California, but currently wrangles her husband and four dogs in Clarksville, Tennessee. When she's not writing she works in a pottery studio and comes home covered in paint on a daily basis. She has a slightly unhealthy obsession with cupcakes and chapstick. She is an eternal optimist and can often be found dancing and singing to music at any given time. It's rare to see her not smiling or laughing, but if you do, just bring her a cupcake and it will cheer her up.

Promise Me This is her first novel and is a story that weaseled its way into her heart and wouldn't leave her alone until she typed it up on the computer. She already is hard at work on ideas for her next book and hopes that the
characters never stop coming to her. Her huge imagination was always in overdrive as a child and now she is beyond excited to put it to good use as an adult. She plans to write as long as she has stories that need to be told.



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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

My Take
Fans of paranormal/fantasy type novels will highly enjoy this fresh portrayal of the supernatural world intermingling with average human beings. The paranormal elements are subtle throughout most of the story, but the reader can easily spot the hints along the way. 

Allison is a young adult who's spent her life taking care of her schizophrenic mother while living with her grandparents. After Allison was conceived on Ireland, her mother's left despondent over the loss of the father of her child. She slowly falls into what is identified as a mental illness, often falling into a catatonic state, and spending endless periods of time either crying or staring out the window in desperate need of Liam, Allison't presumed father. 

For a period of about six months, Allison's been dreaming of a man whose eyes distinctly match her own. Unexpectedly, Allison't doorbell rings and she goes to answer. As she opens the door, she instantly recognizes those eyes and the man from her dreams. Her father. Liam, seemingly unaware of the situation, vows to find a way to fix Allison's mother come Hell or high water. Can Allison trust this man, the one who left her mother to fall into such a state, enough to try and seek the help she desperately leaves?

Laura Howard did a fantastic job creating a fresh addition to the paranormal world. The story flows with such ease that I found myself lost in it. Allison is not your average college student. Instead of hanging out, partying, she goes to school, works, and spends her time caring for her mother. She even avoids dating, although there is one man, Ethan, who definitely holds her interest. Allison is also a strong female character who is determined to help her mother no matter what she may face. 

About the Author

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Choices by Sydney Lane

Fate brought her here, but will her choices destroy her dreams?

Quincy Priest made all the right choices in her small town, black-and-white life. But being perfect is tiring. So. Very. Tiring. 

Wanting desperately to step out of her sister's shadow, Quincy jumps at the opportunity to attend college with her best friend. The quiet bookworm with family secrets comes out of her shell. But when Quincy meets not one, but two perfect guys, she has to make a choice. In doing so, she might forfeit the relationship she secretly longed to find. 

Declan. Sweet, handsome, and perfect. He makes her feel cherished for the first time in her life. 

Brody. Sexy, hot, and irresistible. He could tear down her carefully built walls. 

Before she can become the woman she wants to be, Quincy will make mistakes. And suffer one unimaginable loss.

“I could stay here forever if you always looked at me just like that.” I don’t understand what he means, but I can’t take my eyes off him. “Everything.” His voice deepens while he looks into my eyes. “I like everything about you, Quince. I like the way those little wisps of hair frame your face. I love your eyes, so deep I get lost i...n them. Those lips I can’t resist. But I like you, Quince. The first time I saw you, I was drawn to you. I knew right then that you would turn my world upside down. It scared the hell out of me, but I knew I’d follow you anywhere.” He just made me feel beautiful, really beautiful, for the first time in my life.
There are no words for that. Instead, I wrap my arms around his neck and roughly kiss him. I twist my fingers in his hair and wonder why I haven’t done that before. Besides his eyes, his hair is the sexiest thing about him. But it’s what he hides on the inside that I so desperately want to see.

My Take
The first thing that I have to say is that I absolutely love the cover of this book. I normally try to resist the love triangles but something about this cover just drew me in. It's simple, yet beautiful.

I'm completely impressed with this debut novel by Sydney Lane. The prologue draws you in instantly. I was hooked from the very first page! She did an amazing job making me fall for two completely different guys. I totally understand Quincy's issues in trying to pick the best guy! I felt like my heart was in a ping-pong match. I love Declan. No, I love Brody. I was so conflicted!! Like I said before, I usually shy away from the love triangles because my poor little heart can't take it, but Ms. Lane wrote this in such a way that, while painful, I understood Quincy's emotions, hesitations, and I felt just as conflicted as she did. 

That being said, Quince did drive me nuts a little bit! Once she made her decision, she took her sweet ass time telling the other that he wasn't the one for her. While it bothered me, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of sympathy in the love triangle hating heart. I had to take a step back and place myself in her shoes. How do you hurt someone that you really care about, that you do love, but who you're just not in love with?  Once I stewed on that for a little bit, I gave Quincy a bit of a break, because, let's face it, it's always hard to let someone who means the world to you down gently. 

If there's a debut novel that I'm going to automatically recommend, it's Choices. The storytelling flows with ease and the characters grip your heart from page one. There's a perfect balance of angst and heartwarming romance, and I can't wait to read more from this author.

Author Bio
Sydney Lane lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and children. Growing up in Smalltown, USA, Sydney dreamed of being a writer. After spending an obscene amount of money to go to college, Sydney finally decided to follow her heart. With her babies in bed and husband neglected, she worked by the light of her laptop and wrote Choices. Sydney is very active in charity work for anti-bullying and depression awareness groups.

Author Contact Links

Buy Links

Hinder – Thing For You
Muse – Madness
Pink – Just Give Me a Reason
Maroon 5 – Daylight
The Veronicas – I Can’t Stay Away
Cassadee Pope – Over You
Lifehouse – Hanging By A Moment
Jason Aldean (ft. Kelly Clarkson) – Don’t You Wanna Stay
Lifehouse ft Natasha Bedingfield – Between the Raindrops
Rihanna ft Mikky Ekko – Stay

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Emerge by S.E. Hall

Title: Emerge (Evolve series #1)
Author: S.E. Hall
Genre: New Adult Romance
Goodreads link:

Book Trailer Link:

Laney Walker is a quick witted, athletic, southern tomboy who lets few get too close, using her sarcastic zingers to deflect. She also has no idea how others view her, Evan having protected and coveted her since they were children. But college puts a gap between Laney and Evan that neither of them were prepared for- old relationships are tested, new ones are formed and nothing will ever be the same.

Especially when in walks one Dane Kendrick, not at all the familiar, southern charmer of home, but an animal all his own.

More than, and not just, a love triangle; a story of growing up, friendship, loyalty, first love, primal love...and life.

Buy Emerge Here
Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Emerge will be available on Barnes and Noble on or around August 20th.

Meet The Guys

My Take

Warning: My review my be seen as slightly spoilery because there's not really any way saying how I feel without possibly giving something away. So DO NOT READ if that'll bother you. 

Laney and Evan have been friends for as long as they can remember, being as close as two people can be. So it's no surprise when during their senior year of high school they finally admit their feelings to each other. They spend their final summer together before they're headed off to separate colleges hours apart. Evan wants to stay together but Laney thinks its best to go their separate ways, unattached so that they won't hurt each other. Teenage girl logic at it's finest. Evan's resistant, but reluctantly agrees. 

When Laney gets to Southern where she's playing softball on a scholarship, she becomes quick friends with her roommate, Bennett. One night during a Hall Crawl, they meet roommates Tate and Sawyer, and Tate's brother Dane. Dane and Laney instantly hit it off and it's not long before Dane's pursuing more than a friendship. As they spend more time together, Dane makes it clear that he has feelings for her. Laney's confused by her own feelings and she's consumed with guilt because even though she feels something for Dane, she still loves Evan. Who and how will she choose? 
To be quite honest, Emerge is a hard book for me to review upon immediate finish. This is the third book in a row that's ended in a different way than I wanted, so I'm having a really hard time staying objective. I'm a selfish reader, but I guess we can't win them all, right? I suppose it's realistic to not always get what the heart wants. 

I fell totally, 100% head over heels for Evan in an instant. Everything about him screamed "ultimate book boyfriend" which made it that much harder for me to feel anything for Dane. 

Dane, while sweet and sexy, just didn't do it for me. And maybe that's Evan's fault. If Evan had never made an appearance, I probably would've felt a bit more for Dane, but I just couldn't feel it. It bothered me that Dane wasn't very open with Laney even though she'd practically bared her soul to him. I didn't ever feel that their attraction was more than physical, especially when Laney knew nothing about Dane for almost the whole book. That bothered me. By looking at other reviews, I know I'm in the minority. Again, I think that's because I fell so hard for Evan that there could be no other for me. I felt like Laney set herself & Evan up to fail from the very beginning, so maybe she didn't love him the way that he truly deserved. That's just me. 

All that being said, Emerge is a very well written book and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it. In fact, it's pretty amazing that I was so upset with the outcome, but I can still say that I liked the book. That definitely says something about the author's ability. S.E. Hall has a very easy, flowing writing style and I could hardly put the book down. I'll be waiting on pins and needles for book 2 to come out. I have a feeling that the second book will make me totally okay with how this one ended. Please Ms. Hall, unbreak my heart!

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: The Last Husband by J.S. Cooper

The Last Husband (Forever Love #2) by JS Cooper

Lucky wanted a guy to be her last boyfriend but she never counted on love not being enough. 
Lucky Morgan fantasized about the hot guy from her diner for months. And when he offered her a dream job, she jumped at the chance to get to know him better. 
Zane Beaumont was skeptical about love and guarded his heart. Even though he was falling for Lucky, he was still scared to fully let go. So he makes a decision that may ruin their once chance at happiness.
Both of their lives are turned upside down by some unexpected news and Lucky has to decide, once and for all, if Zane is the guy she wants to spend her forever with.

My Take
The Last Husband starts off after Zane's proposition of being Lucky's last boyfriend. He's still working through his issues as he strives to be the man that he knows Lucky deserves.

As they continue to work on the documentary, it becomes clear that Zane is still harboring secrets, and Lucky becomes increasingly frustrated that Zane refuses to let her all the way in. Zane loves Lucky, but there are things he has to hold back from her in order to complete his mission for revenge.

I really enjoyed the continuation of Zane's and Lucky's story. It was nice to see Zane man up and finally admit his feelings for her. At the same time, I felt Lucky's frustrations as Zane kept holding pieces of himself back.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet because I don't want to give anything away, but J.S. Cooper did an amazing job of weaving an unexpected mystery into this book that kept me on my toes as revelations were unveiled. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

I Don't Love You Much Do I?- Guy Clark and Emmy-Lou Harris
If I Knew- Bruno Mars
Cupid- Sam Cooke
Breakeven- The Script
Lucky- Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
A Moon Song- David Berkeley
Here Comes The Sun Again- M Ward
Strangers in the night- Frank Sinatra

“Can I tell you something, Zane?” She pulled away from me with a sheepish grin and I ran my fingers along her collarbone, tracing the delicate lines carefully.

“You want me to tie you up?” I grinned and tried not to picture her tied up in the bed, begging me to take her.

“No thanks, Robert Grey.” She laughed.

“If my name was Christian, you’d say yes.”

“I think you’re obsessed with that book.”

“I do own the Kama Sutra.” Our eyes locked together and I continued running my hands along the side of her body. “We could learn some new moves and make our own book.”

“Fifty Shades of Zane?”

“The wonderful and mysterious sex life of Lucky.”

“Tying up Beaumont.”

“Morgan’s sex tips for the inexperienced.”

“How to….” She laughed. “You got me, I can’t think of anything else.”

“We can start on any of the books as soon as you want.” I brought her towards me again so she could feel my hardness against her leg. “And,” I continued, “if you want, we can get some handcuffs so you can do kinky things to me.”

“You wish.” She laughed and rolled her eyes. “Actually, I wanted to tell you that I hate your duvet cover.”

About The Author
J. S. Cooper was born in London, England and moved to Florida her last year of high school. After completing law school at the University of Iowa (from the sunshine to cold) she moved to Los Angeles to work for a Literacy non profit as an Americorp Vista. She then moved to New York to study the History of Education at Columbia University and took a job at a workers rights non profit upon graduation.
She enjoys long walks on the beach (or short), hot musicians, dogs, reading (duh) and lots of drama filled TV Shows.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Ending a Broken Journey by Melissa L. Delgado

Title: Ending a Broken Journey
Author: Melissa L. Delgado
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date:   August 3, 2013

A childhood crush who moved away. An adult love that shattered her world. Twenty-seven year old Mackenzie Tillson hasn't been living for quite some time, rather, just existing. Life is passing her by and even with the love of her friends and family she can’t quite seem to snap out of the disconnected bubble she has created around her. Moving day by day as a shell of a person who once knew what it meant to live.

Until one day, the boy who first had her heart comes back. With a vengeance...Drew Dean has been apart from the girl he loved all of those years ago for far too long and now that fate has provided them with a second chance, he will make it clear to her that she is, and always has been the one for him. But what Drew discovers in the process, is Mackenzie may just end up being completely unreachable.

Is it possible to get through to someone who has no intentions of ever letting anyone in again? Can a person find their way through the darkness and emptiness they've created? For Mackenzie, trudging along in life alone is where she feels she deserves to be. But will she find it in her to fight and break the barrier of the internal distorted view she has of herself? Or will she let everyone and everything slip away?
As Mackenzie tries to piece together the remnants of her shattered existence, she inadvertently discovers life, love and loss are one in the same. A hopeful journey to be taken with an ending to fill the emptiness she's carried for too long.

About The Author
I love anything and everything pertaining to make up or beauty. I love to write and shop. I love going to the movies and spending time with my friends and family. I love to dance. I love to laugh and to make others laugh. I'm inspired by dance, music, poetry, and photography. I feel there is beauty in everything. I believe to get respect you have to give respect and to treat others how you want to be treated. I love everything and anything vintage. I love Jesus and believe in having faith in the unseen and unheard. I love to have fun and make new memories. But mostly, I love life. Enjoying the road I'm on, and making the most of it. 

 Author Links
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Promo Post: Trying To Get Over You by J.D. Rivera


Trying to Get Over You Front

 Choices in life are hard. College student Emily Reynolds has been in a three year relationship with Cooper Thomason but one awful night has left their relationship shaken. She soon finds out she is pregnant and Cooper can’t give up his partying ways. Emily leaves Cooper and tries to find a life without him. She finds out a life without Cooper is harder than she thinks. Will Emily be able to move on from Cooper and find a relationship with another man or run back to him?


Author Bio
JD Profile Picture
 J.D. Rivera lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two boys. Her life consists of school projects, homework, cartoon shows and little league sports. She loves Diet Mt. Dew, the OKC Thunder, costume jewelry, the beach, and of course reading.

  Author Links

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Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+

My Take
When we first meet Blythe McGuire, she's not living, she's barely existing at a small college in Wisconsin. Still grieving over the loss of her parents in a tragic fire four years ago, she shuts everyone out, spending her time going to class and drinking her nights away. She has an estranged relationship with her brother as she believes he blames her for the loss of their parents, so she is, on all accounts, alone. 

Enter the Shepherd family. Y'all, if there's ever a fictional family that I want to be a part of, it's the Shepherds. The first Shepherd Blythe meets is Sabin, the flamboyant theatre major who helps draw Blythe out of her shell. In the same day, she meets his sexy older brother, Chris, and they fall into an easy friendship that soon turns to more. 

Blythe and Chris are both jaded due to circumstances of their past. As Blythe begins to fall for Chris, it's evident that he feels the same, but it continuously resistant to pursue anything further than a friendship. He's so hot and cold that it's exhausting wondering which Chris is going to show up.  

Can Blythe and Chris get over their tragic pasts in order to have a beautiful future, or has too much damage been done for them to overcome it in the name of love?
This book deserves way more than five stars.
I finished Left Drowning three days ago and I am still literally at a loss as to what to say about this book. No words that I can type could ever give this book the justice that it deserves. This book resonated so deeply within my soul that I will never forget a single moment of it, and I don't want to. Jessica Park did an amazing job in bringing every emotion I could ever possibly feel to the surface. She took my heart, ripped it out of my chest, stomped on it, stabbed it, and tore it apart. When I didn't think it was possible, she repaired my heart in the most beautiful fashion and I finished this book with the cheesiest, largest grin that could ever grace my face, while crying tears of joy at the same time. Seriously. This. Book. Is. Incredible. 

Blythe and Chris have undeniable chemistry that sizzles through the pages. The way that they are immediately  drawn to each other is beautiful, as is the progression of their relationship. They truly are each other's saving graces. They're like puzzle pieces; they're meant solely for each other to create the perfect fit. I can't begin to form the words to express how much I love the relationship of Blythe and Chris. 

At one point Chris utterly and totally destroys me and I was left wondering... 

Blythe's strength as she continued to heal was extremely admirable. She's now at the top of my list of favorite female heroines. I felt everything she did. I felt her pain, her sorrow, and her angst. I also felt her falling in love, her pain healing, and the familial love she felt for Sabin, Estella, Eric, and James. She may have been a zombie for the past four years, but with a little bit of help, she rejoined the land of the living, and I loved going on this journey with her. 

I also need to give a special shout out to Sabin. He was probably the best secondary character that I've ever encountered in the literary world. He was just as important of a puzzle piece in putting Blythe back together again. He was the instigator, the push, the spark that she needed to begin living her life again. He was her person. And it was undeniably beautiful. 

I read Left Drowning on my birthday, and I'm pretty sure I freaked my husband out. If there's ever a book to make you ugly cry, this one is it! After crying on the couch for over an hour, I made my husband go to the store and buy me a bottle of wine because my heart seriously needed some liquid courage to continue this story. Jessica Park's writing style is so effortless, and she writes in such a way that the characters pop off of the page and instantly grasp onto your heart. I connected with this book in a way that I haven't experienced in a very long time. 

Don't let me scare you with my talks of all the crying and emotional wreck that I was while reading this book.  This payoff is more than worth it in the end. If you take only one recommendation from me for the rest of my blogging life, Left Drowning needs to be your choice. I'll even mail you a gift package of Kleenex tissues and chocolate to help you cope. I'd send wine, but I'm not really good at sharing that. I'll even send a few free hugs your way. You're going to need them. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway: Block 24 by Evan Tyler

A re-emergence of the past…

Natalie Clarke might be spiteful at best and vicious at worst, but was that reason enough for Phillip 
Gise to leave her lonely and diseased? Fortunately, she has a set of devious plans that just might keep her busy enough to forget her present situation.

Guy Lewis has played Best Friend Extraordinaire to Natalie since grade school, supporting her through all of her daily drama. This time around, Guy runs into his own troubles when his fierce, wealthy manager gives him the type of attention he never asked for…or expected.

Julia Clarke, Natalie’s younger sister, has arrived in Brooklyn to uncover their grandmother’s secret life in Block 24, the site of Auschwitz’s little-known brothel. What Julia discovers proves more relevant in the present age than ever before.

Both heady and sobering, Block 24 is a look at the ways evil from the past can so insidiously visit the present.

    Philip lay back on the bed, resettling the pillow behind his head and crossing his feet at the end of the bed.  Natalie stared at his toes.  “You know,” he said, “my mother went a little crazy when she found out I wasn't a virgin anymore. She sent me to a priest.” He chuckled. “I was nineteen.”

    Natalie gasped. “What, is she insane? Or just a slut-shamer?” 

    Philip climbed up to her end of the bed, lying on his side in front of her, his face a kiss away from hers. “Neither. She raised me with a lot of faith values. Church every Sunday. Sacraments. Catholic school. All of it.”  He looked at her carefully, sliding a stray eyelash from beneath her eye and staring at it on his index finger. “My dad and mom left their countries to practice their faith freely. It’s a big deal to them.”

    Natalie dropped her eyes. “What about their kids? They can’t expect you guys to be who they are. Or believe what they believe.”

    “They do. I'm still a Catholic, baby.” He laughed. “A pretty fucked up one, but still. And all three of my sisters are still virgins.”

    She looked back up. “How do you know that?”

    “Male intuition.”
    She shook her head.  “So, what about me? Could you tell I was a whore when you first met me?”

    Philip gave a short laugh, shaking his head, rolling his eyes, ultimately dismissing the question. “My mother and father were both virgins when they married. Kinda wild, when I think about it.”

    Natalie humphed  “Not wild. The exact opposite of wild, really. And while I’m sure that your parents' so-called purity really impresses you, I hate to break it to you—they're not virgins anymore.”

    “What gave that away?” He smiled.

    Natalie wanted with all her indignant heart to wilt that smile. “I’m sure they enjoy their sex life. Sure your dad gets some even more than you do. Sure your mom's a super freak.  It aint a crime, Philip.”

    “She’s married, Nat.” 

    “And you’re not,” she said, mocking his stillness with her syrupy, school-teacher voice.  “You’re not them. We're not your fucking parents.  We’ve got no reason to feel bad. You've got absolutely no reason to feel guilty.”  She went suddenly into crude mode, her voice gruff and loud.  “You’re Philip Fucking Gise.  The original PG.”

    He looked down, his eyelashes casting a shadow right below his eyes. “Well, we both could afford to be a little more G-rated, Nat.  Come on,  baby, let’s get up.”

    She reached for his wrist before he could slide off the bed. “If I'm such a whore, why are you with me? Why do you fuck with me? Better yet, why do you fuck me? There are enough girls like Julia in the world. You could go find one.” 

    He looked at her, solemn. “We're not gonna have this talk, Natalie.” He stood up. “It's getting late.”

My Take
I'm going to ahead and apologize for my review in advance. This sucker is going to be all over the place as I still have no idea how to wrap my head around this book and it's twisty turns. Block 24 is unlike most books that I like to read. Evan Tyler weaves an intricate tale set both in the present time and in 1940s Auschwitz. In the present we're treated to the self-destructive Natalie, her best friend Guy, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Philip. At the same time, Natalie's sister, Julia, is filming their Bubbe who is re-telling about her time spent at Auschwitz with her younger sister Avi, and a sympathetic handsome SS soldier, Hans. 

These two tales are very different, yet you can find parallel that are alarmingly similar. Hans's circumstances are what led him down the dark path to the SS, yet Natalie's choices are the cause of her downfall. Han was easy to love, even though he work with the SS. Natalie, on the other hand, because increasingly difficult to sympathize with. That being said, the twisted part of me kept rooting for her and Philip, even though it was clear that Philip deserved better. 

One thing that was interesting to me was Natalie's disease. It kept being brought up and I was so curious to find out what horrible thing Philip had done to her, because it seemed completely out of character for him. Philip's the good guy, so I almost didn't want to know the answers to my questions. I can honestly say that I was shocked when the revelation was made. The thought had never even crossed my mind, and it broke my heart into a million pieces. 

Block 24 is a heart-wrenching, emotional tale that shows us that even the lowest can seek redemption, but he has to want it. It also highlights the difference between circumstance and choice. Both can lead to very dark places, but only choice can truly seek redemption. 

As I said, this is not normally my type of book. I'd like to have seen more relationship development between Philip and Natalie. I don't truly believe that Natalie had done enough to earn her redemption, but perhaps I am too unforgiving. I'd also like to have seen more of a conclusion with Guy, as well with Julia. Even for Natalie and Philip. It all wrapped up a little too quickly for me, but it was still a gripping read. 

About Evan Tyler
Evan Tyler is an author by day, a lead guitarist by night. Her favourite authors are Toni Morrison and John Steinbeck. Her favourite guitarists are Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. She aspires to be like all of her favorites. Her debut novel,  A Happy Accident, was the merging of her musical and literary aspirations. Evan's second novel, Block 24, is a venture in a whole new direction.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Promo Blitz and Giveaway: Shooting Scars by Karina Halle

Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.

Told in dual POV from Camden and Ellie.

Author Bio
Karina is represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

**I love to read when I have a chance. I love making new friends, too. But PLEASE don't add me if you're an author just wanting me to read your book and promote yourself shamelessly. You should have more of a reason for friending me than THAT. Also, please don't recommend me books, I have enough on my TBR and not enough time to read. And I'm a super picky reader. Cheers!**

The daughter of a Norwegian Viking and a Finnish Moomin, Karina Halle grew up in Vancouver, Canada with trolls and eternal darkness on the brain. This soon turned into a love of all things that go bump in the night and a rather sadistic appreciation for freaking people out. Like many of the flawed characters she writes, Karina never knew where to find herself and has dabbled in acting, make-up artistry, film production, screenwriting, photography, travel writing and music journalism. She eventually found herself in the pages of the very novels she wrote (if only she had looked there to begin with).

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse. 

**disclaimer**When I'm not writing, I'm reading. And when I'm not reading I might be writing up a review. I'm wary of books with a lot of hype but unless something has bad reviews across the board, I'll probably still take a chance on it and give my honest opinion. Everyone is different and I won't pass up an adventure just because someone else didn't like it. And that's what I think when I look at my bookshelf...what adventure can I go on today?

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