I got a recommendation to read Rainbow Rowell‘s  Eleanor & Park months ago. Like, back in September. And I heeded this recommendation. But, I didn’t go buy it. Sorry. Buying a paper book is a little pricey for a gal who reads as much as I do. Also, TRUTH BE TOLD when I read a book I like, I buy copies as gifts for others I think will enjoy it. I’ve got too too many books, really. I gave away probably 250 books in my last move…so I went to my library. No copies. I went to my library’s digital download center. It was a month-long wait to get the book–and when it came it was an AUDIOBOOK. No dice, baby.

There is no time for me to sit and listen to a book, and, frankly, I can read it just as fast–likely faster–without a constant stream of noise disturbing my family in the middle of the night–when I often read.

I FINALLY got my hands on a copy after a second (long) library request wait, and I’m glad I did.

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park is one of those special books–the kind I love–because of the quiet love story and tender angst of two characters trying to figure out who they are in the world and in their own skin. I’m also enamored with stories told in first-person, and if I can get the POV of both love interests? OVER THE MOON.

The Story:

Sixteen y/o Eleanor is a mess. She’s only just returned to her family (a patchwork of mom/stepdad/siblings-full-and-step) after a year of being abandoned at her mother’s longtime friends for A YEAR. That’s right. Her lecherous, alcoholic, abusive stepdad kicked her out a year ago. She’s naturally scared of what that year meant. That she wasn’t worth getting, most likely. And her actual father isn’t much better. He’s called once. To ask her to babysit his girlfriend’s kid. Beyond this she’s tall, and awkward, and poor and red-headed. All things destined to attract the wrong kind of attention in her new school.

On her first school day, Eleanor can’t find a seat on the bus. Not that there aren’t seats; no one will share with her. An Asian boy, Park, takes a miserable slice of pity on her–practically yelling at her to sit down already…with him.

They sit side-by-side. Not touching. Enveloped in awkwardness. They share a couple of classes and Park can’t help noticing Eleanor. How tall she is. How fair her skin. How strange she dresses. How she doesn’t seem to care that the others mercilessly ridicule her. Yet, he can’t bring himself to speak to her. For…weeks. They continue to share a bus seat, but in complete silence, complete isolation. Until he notices she’s reading his comics over his shoulder. A tentative friendship develops over the WATCHMEN and X-MEN, and soon punk rock, when Park shares his music collection.

It is the barest of romances. Holding hands setting off internal fireworks. The long wait for the weekend to end so they will see each other on the bus. Looking away shyly, not coyly. There are no ploys, only core feelings. Love, sadness, anger, exhilaration.

Eleanor can’t have a boyfriend, but she can’t resist the temptation to spend more time with Park outside of school. Park isn’t sure he wants Eleanor as a girlfriend–at first. He mistakes her odd dress habits for style, when it’s simply covering the flaws in her worn-out clothes. He convinces her to say she’s spending time with a girlfriend so she can hang out at his house. Unfortunately, Park’s mother thinks she’s weird, and rude, when Eleanor is just plain overwhelmed by the kind and loving atmosphere of Park’s happy home.

Over the course of the year, Eleanor and Park develop a tender relationship–parental interference notwithstanding. Park’s mom helps make-over Eleanor, and the glam-look damages Park’s tenuous relationship with his father in the process. Eleanor’s siblings nearly (possibly) rat out her boyfriend-status causing the biggest rift Eleanor has had to experience. It is Park who gives his heart away first, in both the figurative and literal sense.

A bittersweet end is what I expected until the very last line…with which I am totally smitten.

I’ve seen the low side of poverty, and drug abusing parents, and 1986, so I bonded with both the setting and the characters. It’s a book adult readers will enjoy as much as YA readers–and it’s Fade-To-Black, innocent/realistic teen coupling, so no smexytimes to steam up the title pages. I’ve got FANGIRL all queued up on my iPad, so expect to hear about it soon…

Interested?  You can find ELEANOR & PARK at your local library, Goodreads, AMAZON and Barnes & Noble….anywhere probably.

Be sure to let me know what you thought of it in the comments, and, as always, keep reading my friends!

New Adult is UNWRAPPED!! Release and Giveaway…


UnwrappedcoverfinalNew Adult Multiple Genre Novella Collection

Stories by Laurelin Paige, Sierra Simone, Melanie Harlow, Tamara Mataya, Katherine McGee, Gennifer Albin

Available December 23, 2013

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Six romance authors present six very different novellas in this anthology of new stories: Ménage a tango lessons. A bride DYING to say, ‘I don’t.’ A horny college boy at a purity rally. Time-traveling graduate students meet Victorian playboys. A rugby player who’s as dirty off the field as on. And kissing under the mistletoe with a Scottish exchange student. Something for everyone, the NAturals present sweet, funny, and erotic tales of new adults meant to be Unwrapped all year long and not just at Christmas.

Then all he could do was kiss her, kiss her the way he should have kissed her the first time—slowly, sweetly. She responded perfectly, molding her mouth to his, sighing softly.

But right here, right now, in the flickering candlelight, she’d show him how she felt one last time. Mischa stood on her tiptoes to press her lips against the soft hollow at the base of Clifford’s throat, his heart beating against her kiss.

Secretly I’m a smut fiend, but only when it comes to books. Until last night, the only outwardly kinky thing about me was my hair on a rainy day. I’m a kindergarten teacher, for heaven’s sake. I wear fuzzy slippers and granny panties. Ballet flats and sweater sets. I didn’t even have sex until I was twenty-one, and then it was a lights-out, missionary-position, TV-blaring-to-cover-the-squeaky-dorm-room-bed kind of experience. (I still remember the rerun of How I Met Your Mother that was on, and let’s just say that Marshall’s description of the perfect burger was way more orgasmic than losing my virginity.)

Eventually I learned how to get myself off (in the total privacy of my shower, of course) and figured out what all the throbbing and moaning in my books was about, and I did manage to have two lovely little orgasms with Guy #2 last summer, but it took a lot of work. And time. So much time that I kept apologizing to the guy, and I couldn’t relax. I mean, he stuck with it and all, but compared to the fast-building, toe-curling, earth-shattering, mind-blowing romps on my Kindle, my sex life was totally vanilla.

And then I took a tango lesson.

WHOA!! Take out some insurance on your e-Readers if you pick THIS collection up!

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About the Authors
Laurelin Paige, Gennifer Albin, Melanie Harlow, Sierra Simone, Kayti McGee Downey, and Tamara Mataya are the six authors who blog for TheNaturalAuthors.blogspot.com. They each write romance and adore pushing the boundaries of the genre. Above all, they love reading smut, looking at pictures of hot men, and making up names for the band they’re always talking about forming.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win:
1- $50 USD Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble – International
or one of 5- eBooks of Unwrapped – International
Click HERE>>>a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck! And, as always, keep reading my friends!  photo AToMRTourslogo_zps3d9025b5.jpg

Cephalopod Coffeehouse–December 2013–Knight and Play–A Review

Hi there and welcome to my stop on the Armchair Squid‘s friendly collection of book reviews. What we do is simply pick our fave read of the month, and present it to the community at large. You’re invited to link up with us, if you like. Info is below.

I’ve read a lot of books this month, but I’ve held Kitty French’s KNIGHT & PLAY special because…reasons.

No, seriously, I’m an Anglophile. I love books about other cultures, and this erotic romance hit all the right notes for me.

Knight & Play (Knight, #1)Sophie Black is looking for more. More in life than her lecherous boss, and more in love than her (presumably) cheating–and definitely inattentive–husband. She takes a chance applying as the personal assistant to Lucien Knight, chairman of Knight Inc–a corporation that owns shops selling ‘marital aids’ and operates a number of sex clubs throughout Great Britain. In the interview Lucien is more than direct–how can a woman who can barely talk about sex hope to work in this environment? He’s harsh with her, and she demonstrates an inner strength he finds surprising–and he’s intrigued again by her defensiveness when it comes to her marriage.

See, Lucien has a bad history with marriage. His own idyllic life turned tragic when his mother eye-witnessed his father’s infidelity. Suspecting Sophie’s marriage is likewise bound, Lucien hires Sophie with the intent to prove to her how very sexy and worthwhile she is.

Okay–so, to begin–the sex is fantastically hot. Everything sexy-dirty you would blush-cringe over? Lucien makes it delicious. There’s no Dom/sub dynamic, just a hedonistic exploration of a woman long-neglected. It’s an awakening both emotionally and sexually for Sophie who learns shortly after succumbing to Lucien’s irresistible advances that her husband’s “business trip” is a sham, a lover’s getaway with his girlfriend.

We get a lot of Sophie’s angst over her own actions, without it feeling preachy–and a few slices of her husband’s remorse over the subterfuge he’s been running. But mostly, we get a realistic look at the heartbreak of a woman experiencing a crumbling marriage as she’s simultaneously swept away by a man who is by turns tender and demanding. Lucien doesn’t let Sophie wallow, and forces her to embrace the fact that she is appealing and exciting, even if her husband is a cheater. It’s a very refreshing take on the rebound romance–particularly as Sophie didn’t know she needed a “rebound” until she was in the midst of it. And Lucien isn’t terribly interested in keeping Sophie–he just wants her battle-ready, able to tell off her loser husband and walk away unscathed–or so he thinks…

It turns out that KNIGHT & PLAY is the first of a trilogy. It has an ending that is at once closure, and at the same time a cliffhanger. (Not the kind that makes one wish to hurl her iPad across the room, in my experience. Yet, I moved to purchase the second book toot-sweet!) It is rare that I enjoy the middle book of a trilogy most, but in this case, I do. That notwithstanding, I adored all three books and highly recommend it for readers of women’s fiction, contemporary romance, or erotica.

Interested in KNIGHT & PLAY? You can find it Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble

If you’ve read it, or pick it up, don’t forget to come back and let me know your thoughts!

I always exhort my followers: keep reading my friends!  But, in this case, I’ll ask you to keep clicking my friends!

Below are links to my fellow coffeehouser’s reviews. You never know what might strike your fancy. Last month I learned about Kevin Jakubowski’s 8-BIT CHRISTMAS which was a super fun read I reviewed earlier this week. So check out what they read and maybe you’ll find a gem for yourself!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. Scouring Monk
3. Huntress 4. mainewords
5. Wishbone Soup Cures Everything 6. What’s Up, MOCK?!
7. The Writing Sisterhood 8. A Creative Exercise
9. Katie O’Sullivan ~ Read, Write, Repeat 10. The Hobbit: A Review (Part 1)
11. Denise Covey 12. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
13. The Hobbit: A Review (Part 2) 14. Words Incorporated
15. V’s Reads


Surviving tragedy is often harder than being a victim of it.

Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)TEN TINY BREATHS, a New Adult romance by  K. A. Tucker is a solid tale of loss, redemption and forgiveness.

Kacey Cleary survived the car accident that claimed the lives of her parents, boyfriend and best friend. She overcame bone shattering injuries and fought through the crushing depression in order to be there for the sole remaining member of her immediate family–younger sister Livie. Kacey is plagued by nightmares of the crash–being trapped in the car holding hands with her dead boyfriend as the heat left his skin, hearing the gasping breaths of her mother fade into nothingness. It’s been four years since the drunk driver stole her family away, but she can’t escape the revulsion she feels when another hand touches hers.

Kacey and Livie are on the run from her aunt and uncle–mostly her lecherous uncle who has taken an unnatural interest in fifteen year-old Livie. Relocating to Miami, Livie’s outgoing spirit draws the friendship of Storm–a bartender/stripper, and mother of young Mia. Through Storm, Kacey takes up tending bar in the strip club, as is not-so-subtley stalked by their attractive neighbor, Trent.

Trent is rather relentless in his pursuit of Kacey–shattering her every boundary against intimacy. It seems that he’s going to get her to come to terms with her PTSD, but an abrupt separation nearly destroys their fledgling relationship. In the meantime, Kacey’s anger issues are getting harder to hide.

Just when a reconciliation seems about to happen, a new curve lands Kacey in the psych ward.  And Trent? He’s not who he seemed to be…at all. But, the betrayal of Trent is small potatoes in comparison of the plot arc. Through his deception, Kacey and Livie are able to claim their inheritance that they had thought was squandered by Creepy Uncle. And Kacey’s aversion to intimacy is overcome–in fact, Kacey finally receives the help she needs to get past her anger and begin living a life of hope.

In the end, Kacey learns to forgive the drunk driver who killed her family–and forgive herself for actually surviving. It’s a redemption for her, and others, that leads to a HEA we want and in the best way possible.

I really enjoyed it–and think readers of contemporary romance will find the story strong and uplifting.

Interested? You can pick up TEN TINY BREATHS through Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you’ve read this one, drop me a comment about what you thought about it.

And, as always, keep reading my friends!

Reminiscing with 8-Bit Christmas

This book is “A Christmas Story” for American boys raised in the 80’s.

8-Bit ChristmasKevin Jakubowski’s debut novel is a pseudo-memoir-style prose effort that made my cheeks hurt from smiling. I laughed in all the right places.

Disclaimer(s): I am not a boy–but I was raised in the 80’s in Chicago’s south suburbs, so I actually KNOW the setting–Batavia, IL. My Southside-raised parents spoke much like the MC’s parents. I survived my own personal “knock-off Cabbage Patch Christmas.”

Take a trip back in time, for a moment. Before ADHD diagnoses, and X-box, and Netflix. Before cell phones and two-income families, and cars with installed movie players.

***wavy scene cut to 80’s America, Midwest suburban sprawl***

Jake Doyle is nine. A rather annoying kid in his classes, Timmy Kleen–who’s wealthy and spoiled and poorly behaved–is the proud owner of the newest fad in video gaming:  the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Despite being an unpleasant cur, Kleen is catapulted into rockstar status by his schoolmates who mob Kleen’s front yard hours before 9am vying to be one of the lucky ten invited in to play–or watch Timmy play.

Tired of suffering Timmy’s whims–especially when Kleen decides the charge for entry–Jake’s mission becomes: obtain a Nintendo of his own. And his campaign is robust.

His parents aren’t keen on this Japanese technology. Reports of kids having seizures are problematic. What God-fearing mother would buy such a monstrosity? So Jake jumps into the Boy Scout wreath-selling competition to win the grand prize:  a Nintendo. He busts his hump–only to suffer an extreme setback.

He contacts Santa.

He contacts his rich uncle. His grandparents. Anyone and everyone. He even forms an unholy alliance with his younger sister promising to help her get a red-headed-freckled Cabbage Patch doll (named Dawn) in exchange for her help convincing the parents that Nintendo is the best of all possible gifts.

Nintendos sell out across the land.

And then real tragedy strikes.

One of Kleen’s more robust outbursts of erratic behavior results in the death of a jumbo TV and a four-legged member of the Kleen household. Outraged with the “violence of video games” Kleen’s parents secure a ban on Nintendo sales in Batavia and the nearby towns. Now teens from Geneva and Fox Lake are itching to rough up these rabble-rousing elementary school kids who shredded their Nintendo dreams.

Jake’s Nintendo mission isn’t dead, however. If he can only get to Chicago, he could BUY a Nintendo. And, it turns out, his class is heading to Chicago for a field trip to the Art Institute. Vowing to build an open-access playing zone, Jake convinces his buddies to sell their baseball cards to bankroll the purchase. His attempt is…well, how successful do you think it may be? He’s nine, on his own in Water Tower Place, and wearing his Batavia Football cap.

In the end, Batavia has many more Nintendos in operation on Christmas Day–but the lessons Jake learns are awesome. I had a tiny bit of trouble with a chapter that seemed out of the narrative sequence, and would have appreciated a clue that we were experiencing a flashback, but otherwise I wholeheartedly enjoyed the ride.

Why I loved this one:  My elementary school buddies were insane Nintendo addicts. Reading this brought me right back to my childhood, much like A Christmas Story does for my parents, and It’s A Wonderful Life does for my grandparents.

The black-market Cabbage Patch hunt. Oh! My own mother battled crowds to get those “special” toys when I was a kid–something I have done for my own kids. (Today, my black market buys arrive with Ebay labels. Shh!)

I had my own Timmy Kleen. Only her name was Carrie. She had an Atari and made my sister and I suffer untold hours of Ms. Pac-Man in order to play RiverRaid for the five minutes it took us to bite it in the game. We are still good friends.

The commercialization of Christmas is something I won’t belabor here, but Jakubowski’s handling of what was a growing trend in 80’s America is poignant.

Jake’s humor. He is a hysterical kid, with a quick wit and indomitable spirit. Narrator ‘voice-overs’ only reinforce the nostalgia.

The ending. It was excellent. And, no, I’m not giving it away. Just know that Jake is probably the happiest kid on his block when Christmas ends.

Final Disclaimer: I obtained a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.

Interested? You can find 8-bit Christmas at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you pick it up, come back and tell me what you thought about it.

And, as always, keep reading my friends!

NOCTURNES–Dark and Delicious–A Review

Most people would agree that alcoholism and prostitution aren’t sexy.
Yet somehow Kendall Grey turns these two vices into romance.
Nocturnes (Hard Rock Harlots, #3)

NOCTURNES is the third installment of her Hard Rock Harlots series. I adored both STRINGS and BEATS, and couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Rax–self proclaimed Guitar God and Dom Deluxe.

Back in BEATS Rax was captivated by a stripper, Lola, and in despair of losing her he drank so much he ended up with alcohol poisoning. Rax’s battle with the bottle has only increased since then. Especially now that his wingman/lover, Toombs, is exclusive with Jinx, the drummer of their band Killer Buzz Float.

As the band records what may be their breakthrough album, Rax pulls away from the happy couples–he’s sure he’ll never find a true love. Drunk and stumbling through the strip club Nocturnes, Rax spots his Lola–aka Eve Belikov.

Eve has danced since she was a child. Her parents, Russian immigrants, were killed by a drunk driver when she was twelve and left her floundering in the foster care system. As a stripper Eve is sexy and untouchable, but as an angel in Heaven, Nocturnes’ super exclusive BDSM sub-club, Eve gets touched any way her customers desire. In truth, as a reader I was appalled and disgusted–and had to remind myself that fiction is not even as strange as real-life. Somewhere in this world humans are degraded/exploited far worse than Eve was. Still, it was unsettling. And I think that’s the genius of Kendall Grey. She didn’t try to make it fun or sexy. She made it real. It was a risk. A big risk, and creatively I think it paid off–at least for me.

Eve isn’t interested in Rax. He’s a drunk mess, and she’s committed by contract to have no sexual contacts outside of Heaven. Still, in Rax she sees her own loneliness, and feels an emotional connection she has lacked since her parents died. Rax, he’ll take Lola/Eve in any capacity. Being near her stirs more than his libido–his music is richer and more soulful, kinda like the Night Music of a nocturne. His alcoholism troubles more than Eve; his bandmates stage an unsuccessful intervention.

Unable to keep seeing each other, Rax hopes for one last connection, and in the process saves Eve from a brutal attack. Rax blames himself, his drunkenness, for not preventing Eve’s disfigurement, and Eve sends him away in her shame, and also for her own peace of mind. Though, their reunion? EPIC seems too small a word.

Ms. Grey turns this Leaving Las Vegas-tale into an HEA. Much love, girl. It’s a miraculous feat.

By turns, NOCTURNES is nasty, dirty, gritty, infuriating, sad, soulful, redeeming and sexy. It takes the filthiest sow’s ear of a storyline and fashions a silk purse romance fit for FLOTUS. I highly recommend it, even if you have to read the Heaven scene with only one half-closed squinty eye, like me. NOCTURNES was nothing like I thought it would be, and everything it needed to be. Rax isn’t a sap. Eve’s hardened and jaded. The two of them have to rub all their rough edges against each other to smooth each other out. And peeling back those layers exposes the soft vulnerability that underlies a true love.

Interested? You can find NOCTURNES at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Make sure to come back and let me know if you liked NOCTURNES. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

The HOLDERS!!–Book Blitz and Giveaway

The Holders (Holders #1)
Release Date: 03/05/2013
Summary from Goodreads:
17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called ‘experts’ who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland’s perceived problem, Becca doesn’t buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland’s family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what’s best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family’s heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for. However, they are all–especially Becca–in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There’s an attraction between Becca and Alex that can’t be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he’s settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he’s done?

Available from:
Book 2:
(linked to Goodreads)

Praise for Series:
“The twisty plot and swoony romance of The Seers kept me turning the pages as I fell in love with Becca and Alex all over again.” Trisha Wolfe, author of Fireblood
“It had a gripping plot, plenty of exciting twists and turns and some pretty fantastic characters which all combined to keep me glued to the pages.”

A Dream of Books

“If this is any notion of what Julianna Scottcan do, I cannot wait to see what is next. The Holders was refreshing and just one heck of a good read.”The Book Cellar

“I am so thankful this is only the beginning of a series because I couldn’t imagine not being able to read a continuation of Becca’s story. The Holders is a novel too entertaining and emotionally charged to pass up!” Lovey Dovey Books

“There are a lot of other things to love about The Holders–a detailed history and Celtic element come to mind–-but it was really the characters that sold this novel for me.” More Than Just Magic

About the Author

Julianna was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spent the majority of her educational career convinced she would be a musician. However, after receiving her music degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, she realized that she’d been born in the wrong era for her dreams of singing jazz to adoring fans clad in zoot-suits and flapper dresses to come true, and began to wonder if her true calling might be elsewhere.
While Julianna had always excelled in writing throughout school, she’d never considered it a career possibility until about three years ago, when she’d gotten her first story idea and decided to go for it. She grabbed her laptop, started typing away, and has never looked back.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png

Pre-Order Gift:
 As a special gift to anyone who pre-orders The Seers, we are giving away a free e-book with several scenes from The Holders written from different character’s points of view! All you have to do to get yours is pre-order The Seers, then email your receipt or other proof of purchase to Julianna Scott at juliannascottbooks@hotmail.com, and she will send you the e-novella in the format of your choosing. That’s it! And if you have already pre-ordered The Seers, not to worry! Send your receipt along, and you’ll get your copy too!
1 – Necklace (as pictured) plus ebook copies of The Holders and The Seers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Captivated by ECHOES IN THE GLASS–Review and Giveaway!

Echoes-in-the-Glass-Tour-Banner copyHi there, and welcome to my stop on the ECHOES IN THE GLASS blog tour sponsored by AToMR Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s read is a YA paranormal romance from Cheri Lasota–and it kept me up most of one night!


Finnian bears the scar of an unspeakable crime. Tiria hides the pain of a terrible betrayal. When all their secrets are laid bare, will the truth rip them apart or forever silence the echoes of the past?
Nineteen-year-old Finnian Bell has been on the run for years, but he finally has a chance to rebuild his life while restoring an abandoned lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. Tiria Vaughn, the lightkeeper’s daughter, is still reeling from the pain of an event that has shattered her innocence. Fear and bitterness have turned her heart from Finnian, but he is determined not to let her go.
The lighthouse harbors dark secrets of its own… When Finnian and Tiria uncover the story of two teens hidden in the tower back in 1935, they discover a shocking connection that bridges time and death.
Crossing genres into worlds you’ve never seen… Echoes in the Glass is half-contemporary, half-historical with enough mystery, romance and lighthouse lore to ignite your imagination.

My Review:
I read most of this book in the middle of the night. Ghost stories do that to me. And this book is a two-ghost story, so I had a doubly hard time setting it down to sleep. I liked it a lot. Here’s why:

It’s a two-arc story. One contemporary, one historical. Both Romance. We get two couples, with two plights, in one book. Alternating chapters rock us between now and then, which is fun and keeps the story rolling.

First, the contemporary side:  Finnian Bell is a runaway. He fled after a brutal fight with his younger brother Joss–a fight he believes ended Joss’s life. After three years on the streets he’s decided it’s time to make amends to his parents–the only way he can. His dad runs a foundation devoted to restoring and preserving lighthouses in America, so Finnian signs on to help restore the post at Sorrow Island, the lighthouse his father most adores knowing he will be required to confront his dad at the lighting ceremony. Finnian prays this will pave the way to a reunion. Of course, he doesn’t expect to meet the lighthouse keeper’s estranged daughter, Tiria, on the island. And he really doesn’t plan to like her.

Tiria Vaugh is a broken girl. She’s survived a brutal experience that Finnian doesn’t know about but senses has changed her into the angry person she’s become. She knows he’s trying to befriend her, but pushes him away time and again. Plus, she’s mad at the world and her father, and Finnian is an easy target. Despite the tension, they develop an uneasy alliance. Divulging their deepest secrets to each other, Finnian learns that not only is his brother alive, he’s a dangerous person. A chance encounter sets the climax into motion–and pits brother against brother in a battle over Tiria. The ghosts appear from the moment Tiria and Finnian set foot on Sorrow Island–almost as a warning about how dangerous this place will end up being.

Tiria’s father isn’t happy about Finnian being around his girl. She needs time to heal–and warns Finnian to stay away from her. He does his best, but they become adventurers together in the lighthouse’s caverns. It’s a quiet teen romance–chaste and thoughtful–but the attraction simmers. I had a bit of trouble with language in the book–and I mean it simply as this:  Finnian doesn’t talk like a contemporary teen. I think the author tries to describe him as Irish, and some of his speech and thoughts have a British ring to them, but it didn’t jive with the “growing up on a commercial fishing boat/raised helping restore lighthouses” backstory that was offered. He’s no foul-mouthed hooligan. In fact, I think he’s more stiff than I can imagine a lad from Eire being–if he is one. Perhaps this is ironed in the finished version, but it struck a chord with me and I wonder if it will cause younger readers to stumble. I still loved Finnian, and I adored his story arc–for the most part. Coincidences aside, the end of his storyline seemed a little forced–but I get why the author wanted the parallel experience. I just had a had time believing Joss was so…obsessed? It seemed a bit cartoon-y, to me.

For the historical part: It’s Depression-era Oregon, and Carina Jane can see Sorrow Island’s light from her family ranch where she serves as a “workhorse.” Lack of funds and men on the ranch leave her as the main hand–under the abusive watch of her father. As bad luck would have it, he takes on a boarder to work as well–Morgan Graves, orphaned son of the lighthouse keeper. Morgan’s mother fell to her death a month prior and his father fled the murder charges. While Morgan works the ranch, he and Carina develop a deep friendship.

Seeing her abuse, Morgan stands up for Carina–only to lose his shelter. They flee together to the only home he’s ever known–his lighthouse. They camp there to regroup and Carina soon learns the rumors of a ghost aren’t rumors at all–and to join Morgan’s grandmother’s ghost a new one has arrived–his mother. New perils arrive as well:  the new lighthouse keeper. He’s a shifty sort, willing to allow them to stay–in exchange for their services. Of course, the service he’d like from Carina isn’t decent. And by then she’s head over heels for Morgan–and he, her.

Ready to flee again, the climax builds quickly leading to the rather dramatic scene I had expected, but found well-written and thoroughly engaging. So many delightful breadcrumbs had been sprinkled between the two storylines I felt the payoff was rewarding. Their romance is more passionate than Finnian and Tiria’s, though it still Fades To Black and gets my Safe For All YA Readers seal.

I did enjoy ECHOES IN THE GLASS as both a romance and a paranormal. We don’t get any supernatural powers or flash-dash, but the ghosts add some mystery and play pivotal roles in the action. Won’t give you the Heebie Jeebies, if that’s an issue for you.

Disclosure:  An ARC was provided to me to review for this tour, so if the final edition doesn’t match entirely–that’s not me being senile. I say this because some of the description of the book is different from what I read–not much, but I don’t want to be called out for it later.

Interested? You can find ECHOES IN THE GLASS at Goodreads and Amazon.

Cheri LasotaAbout this author:
Cheri Lasota has written poetry and fiction for sixteen years, edited fiction for nine years and recently jumped headlong into design work for enhanced e-books. She has a great love for all things techy, so she finds herself pushing the boundaries of e-book marketing and design at every turn. Her passion for fiction and helping other novelists achieve their goals is without limits.
Her bestselling debut novel, ARTEMIS RISING, is a 2013 Cygnus Awards First Place Winner and a 2012 finalist in the Next Generation Indie Books Awards. Cheri just released her how-to e-book DESIGN AND UPLOAD YOUR EPUB and has just finished up her second YA novel, ECHOES IN THE GLASS. You can find her on her website, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.


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CLAN is Phenomenal–Review and Giveaway

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Hi there and welcome to my stop on the CLAN blog tour sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. This dystopian YA novel by newcomer Realm Lovejoy blends sci-fi and adventure with a surprising hint of romance.

clan-1Summary from Goodreads:
Clans are Unity.
No variation. No deviation.
On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy. 

A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them on an unforgiving planet.
Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. 

But he did. Illegally. 

He is different from the other Clans.
A secret that could destroy him.

Kirkus Reviews:In this fast-paced novel, Lovejoy uses economical prose while developing the story’s characters and setting in detail. She also meets the challenge of creating memorable characters in a world of identical people…

My Review:

An entire civilization of human men cloned from one single being living on a distant planet? From the start I was hooked. These clones of Father Krume are designed to be identical. Same appearance, same ideas, identical desires. And, that’s just plain impossible folks. I don’t care if you were raised in a petri dish or a human uterus–every human WANTS. Something, anything…and that desire is what separates each of us–even if we happen to be an identical genetic match to another.

In CLAN, we get the viewpoint of three nearly eighteen year-old males. They have very different experiences, despite the call to Unity (conformity).

Clone 1672, also called Twain, tells most of the story. He was never meant to live. A genetic “experiment” by his sponsor Twigg–the second clone from Krume–Twain is raised in Twigg’s home completely separate from the other clan. Twain longs to join his brethren, but can’t. Because he’s different. More so than he even realizes from seeing his white eyes gaze back at him from the mirror. See all clan have brown eyes, and being differnt targets Twain for destruction.

Clone 1249, called Buster, is a rebel. In fact, 1249 isn’t even his real clone number. He’s on the outskirts of Clan society providing illegal comfort to other clan in order to have a private life raising a defective clan child he saved. He recognizes Twain’s plight and strives to teach Twain how to act within clan society–and how to escape it when the executioners come knocking.

Clone 1348, also called Chad, is sponsored by a second generation clone he despises. How can he not? Clan are about Unity, and perfection. And there is nothing perfect about witnessing your “father” commit an act of indecency. Chad will not ever succumb to the Narcissism lingering on the fringe of Clan society, yet his world is shifted by his interactions with Twain. If nothing else, being near this clan makes Chad realize there is more than Unity to respect.

When Father Krume dies and his successor is assassinated, the chaos of the Clan society forces these three unlikely compatriots into a journey none of them want to make–outside the safety of the city walls. There they develop the skill and knowledge to overcome their prejudices and their Frag enemies. Of course, alliances bring them home–but what awaits is a society in even more disarray.

And the secret reason the Clan clones was developed? It’s stone-cold.

I don’t care that they were ‘identical’ they were indomitable. The action is fast-paced and the characters leap off the page. Twain learning his genetic anomaly goes far beyond his different colored eyes? Wow. And Chad coming to terms with his fear of the unknown, fear of connection? I was so glad to see. it. But Buster goes the extra mile in every way. Just when you think he’s going to take the easy way out–he freaking saves the day. I highly recommend CLAN to all YA readers and anyone who likes dystopian fiction.

Interested? You can find CLAN at Goodreads and Amazon.

Right now the eBook is priced at $.99, but you can get it FREE!!! if you download it December 19-20!  Mark your calendars people!

Book Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-59si3YVQBw

realm lovejoyAbout the Author
Realm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.

Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art.
She is agented by Jessica Regel. You can find Realm hanging on her website, Goodreads, twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

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Happy Book Birthday to WRECKED by Priscilla West


Wrecked CoverA New Adult Romance Novel by USA Today Bestselling Author Priscilla West

Book Summary:
Two years ago, Lorrie’s mother was murdered. But that wasn’t the end of it. Reeling from the tragedy, Lorrie’s father spiraled into alcohol, depression, and finally suicide.
The two most important people in Lorrie’s life are both gone but she’s still alive.
Trying to recover from the tragedy, Lorrie returns to campus, ready to pick up the pieces of her life. All Lorrie wants is to get back to “normal.”
Then she meets Hunter. The man, the legend, “The Hammer.”
Hunter is a cage fighter who takes on every fight like he’s got nothing to lose. His life is a tangled mess of girls, booze, and fist fights. And while it may seem like he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat.
Lorrie knows that Hunter is exactly the type of guy she should stay away from, especially in her fragile state, but Hunter has other ideas.
As Hunter and Lorrie grow closer together, will they be able to overcome their pain and heal each other? Or will they both end up wrecked?

How about a little taste?
I sighed heavily then inhaled through my mouth. The crisp winter air entering my lungs felt refreshing. The thick puffer jacket I wore kept my chest warm, but the cold stone beneath me sucked the heat from my bottom through my jeans, leaving my ass slightly numb.

My ass matched my feelings. I was numb when I should’ve been excited. Wasn’t it supposed to feel good returning to college? To go to fun parties and meet hot guys? To be moving on with my life again? Wasn’t that what Mom and Dad would have wanted?

Reaching into the inner pocket of my jacket, I pulled out a folded piece of notebook paper. I unfolded it and stared at the black letters shakily written in cursive by Dad. My chest grew tight and my fingers trembled but there were no tears in my eyes as I read the letter again, for the thousandth time.

Dear Lorrie,

Whatever happens after this, I want you to know that I love you and that this had nothing to do with you. Even after the divorce, I still loved your mother. I guess you always knew that. I can only blame myself for what happened to her. Maybe if I hadn’t worked so much, had paid more attention to her, we would’ve never gotten divorced, and she would’ve never met that monster.

I’m so sorry Lorrie. I’m sorry to you, and I’m sorry to your mother. She was so beautiful. She was the best thing in my world, and even after the divorce, I was happy to just be a part of your lives.

I know that you need me now, more than ever, but I can’t. I just can’t Lorrie. I’m too weak. It hurts so much that she’s no longer here. You’re the strong one Lorrie, you’ve always been strong. Ever since you were born, you were always so strong. You have to keep going, don’t make the same mistakes I made.

I’m sorry Lorrie. Goodbye.


I should cry now, I thought. That’s what normal people did right? In the movies, whenever someone read their father’s suicide note they cried afterwards. I’d cried the first hundred times I read it but now I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t feel anything. Not even when I wanted to. It was like there was a switch in my brain that was connected but nothing was transmitting. No sadness, no pain, no joy. Just numbness. Was that what dad meant when he said I was strong? That I could numb away the pain and move on?

I dipped the toe of my boot into the water and nudged a thick ice piece floating by.

Dad took his own life a few months ago, after the trial was over. It was a hell of a thing to do to your loved ones. It was a hell of a thing to do to his sister, Caroline. And to me, after I spent most of my time living with him after the divorce. Didn’t he know how much we cared about him? Didn’t he know how broken we’d be when he committed suicide?

I folded up the note and put it back into my pocket. When I patted my jacket for my phone to check the time, I remembered I’d left it back in my room. I should probably head back.

A soft gurgling drew my attention to the water beneath the bridge and I looked down. I almost didn’t see it at first, but then I spotted it. There was a large goldfish making slow circles under the water.

“Hey fishy. What are you doing? Aren’t you freezing in there?”

The fish glugged a few bubbles to the surface and I took it as a yes. It was slow but looked alive in the bitter coldness of the water. I envied that feeling of being alive. My ass was numb and I was numb on the inside. I wanted to feel something. Anything. Just to know that I was still here.

I tucked my legs beneath me and leaned over the side of the bridge, dipping my fingers into the water. A frigid chill spiked up my arm invigorating me.

I could still feel something.

I leaned further over the side of the bridge so that I could reach deeper into the water. My wiggling fingers must’ve looked like dinner because the fish approached and started nibbling at me. The icy bite of the water made me alert and awake, clearing the numb fuzz that I thought had settled permanently on my mind. I pushed up the sleeve of my jacket with my other hand, before leaning further, to plunge my arm deeper. The edge of my sleeve was getting wet but I didn’t care. The cold had a cleansing quality, even as the tips of my fingers were starting to lose their feeling.

I thought about leaning further, but it was already the furthest I could go without losing my balance. If I fell in the freezing water, I might die—there was certainly no one around to help me. I might have been numb but I wasn’t stupid.

Something felt odd around my shoe. I twisted my head and saw a black, furry creature tearing viciously at my shoelaces. “Hey!” I yelled.

The cat screeched and jumped three feet in the air, scaring the shit out of me. I wanted to pull my hand out of the water, but it was too late. I flailed for a split second, trying to grab onto the stone I’d used earlier to save myself, but this time I missed. I tipped forward, losing all balance.

Then I was underwater.

WOW!! Lorrie sure has a messed up life. And then she meets Hunter…I’m planning to review this one next month and I Just. Can’t. Wait.

Interested in WRECKED? You can find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

About the Author
Priscilla West is the author of the popular Surrender series. Her next release titled: Wrecked will be available on December 16th. She likes to write stories with sassy heroines and strong but flawed heroes.

She enjoys: cuddles, men in suits, eskimo kisses, life-sized teddy bears, and eggs over medium.

You can find her at Facebook, too.

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