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!

Echoes_CVR_XSMLSynopsis:

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.

***GIVEAWAY***

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win:

an e-book  Artemis Rising,

or coffee cup and pen swag for Artemis

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Good luck!, And, always, keep reading my friends!

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CLAN is Phenomenal–Review and Giveaway

Clan-tour banner copy

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.

***GIVEAWAY***
Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win:
1 Signed Paperback + CLAN Button + Signed Illustration from Paperback (US only)
1 of 6 Paperbacks (US only) or
1 of 10 eBooks (international shipping)
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Good luck, and as always, keep reading my friends!

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Happy Book Birthday to WRECKED by Priscilla West

AVAILABLE TODAY!!

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.

Love,
Dad

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.

***GIVEAWAY***
Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win
a $50 Amazon Gift card (open internationally)
Good luck, and keep reading my friends!
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Book Blitz and Giveaway for the MIDNIGHT FIRE series

The Complete Midnight Fire Series (Midnight Fire)
Available NOW!
**Get the first two books FREE when you buy the entire series at once!**

From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis comes a paranormal romance perfect for fans of Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

“With one last look, one final search of the lines of his face for some sign, Kira turned and ran away from the sound of the man she loved laughing in the face of her death.”

When Kira Dawson moves to South Carolina, she meets Luke, a blond goofball who quickly becomes her best friend, and Tristan, a mysterious bad boy who sends shivers down her spine. Kira knows they’re keeping secrets, but when she discovers Tristan’s lust for blood and her own dormant mystical powers, Kira is forced to fight for her life and make the heartbreaking decision between the familiar comfort of friendship and the fiery passion of love.
Available from:
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RAVE REVIEWS for the Midnight Fire Series!
“The writing is effortlessly mind blowing. I could not put this entire series down. Once you’re hooked, you won’t either because it’ll eat you up not knowing what happened! And then you’ll pick a team like I did and you’ll fall in love with all the characters and you’ll want all the bad guys to die horribly! Just trust me when I say it really is your loss to miss out on this series! It’s a blaze of glory!” – Happy Tales and Tails Blog
“Kaitlyn Davis writes some of the best action scenes I have come across in a young adult book; they are fast paced and so well delivered making this more than just a silly romance.” – Reflections of a Bookworm
“The only downside to this series, is that it ended. But the ending was beautiful.” – My Seryniti
“Kira isn’t a human girl who is one dimensional and in love with a vampire. She’s a well-thought out character who comes to life from the pages and steals into your heart. Read the books. Do it.” – Urban Girl Reader
“I love and hate how fast of a read this was! I love it because I couldn’t get enough of it and hate it because once I finished I wanted more!” – I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read
“I really enjoyed Ms Davis’s writing, I was riveted throughout and was eager to see what would happen – there was drama, danger, action and romance that was wonderfully detailed and described.” – Obsession With Books
“You’ll make friends with Kira, choose sides with Tristan and Luke, and fall in love with the story at heart about a girl with so bright a future….even shades aren’t gonna cut it.” – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Want a taste of IGNITE?
The blast of cold breeze felt fantastic and Kira let Tristan lead her away from the school, past the football field to the big tree overhanging the school’s manmade lake. He sat down and leaned against the tree, motioning for her to sit with him, but Kira ignored it and started dancing to the quiet strains of music they could hear coming from the gym.
“Kira, sit down.” He sounded frustrated.
“No! I want to dance.” She started jumping up and down to the beat of the music and almost lost her balance, but Tristan stood up and caught her before she crashed. He slipped his jacket off and Kira pushed her arms through the oversized sleeves. Finally, she calmed down and swayed to the music with him.
Kira sighed, resigned to the fact that the moment felt completely right.
“What?” he asked.
“I’m supposed to be ignoring you, but it’s not working.”
He laughed quietly. “No, that doesn’t seem to be working for either of us.”
“Is that why you punched Carter?”
“I just couldn’t stand the way he was touching you.” Kira smiled to herself.
“Jelly belly,” she said, wishing she could get her mouth to stop word vomiting. She could feel his chin on the top of her head as he pulled her in closer.
“Maybe.” He said, but it sounded more like a begrudging yes.
Kira yawned.
“Time to sit down,” he told her while helping her down to the spot next to him on the ground and leaning her back against the tree. Kira watched the moon reflect off the water. She looked at the sky and saw it still swerving there, and finally had the realization Tristan must have had in the gym.
“I think my sodas were not just soda,” she concluded as the world continued to spin.
“I think you’re right.” He put his arm around her, letting her head fall to his shoulder. They sat silently in the moonlight, just enjoying one another’s company.
“Are you like one hundred years old?” Kira spat out the first question that came to her mind. She had never even thought of it before, too consumed by his eating habits instead.
Tristan shrugged. “A little older.”
Kira sat up, fascinated, and turned to look him in the eyes. “How old?” She asked, feeling like a little girl.
“About one-hundred and fifty, give or take a year.” Kira’s jaw dropped and her eyelids widened in complete shock.
“Gross!” She clamped her hands over her mouth before she could say anything else. He just laughed it off.
“I look pretty good for someone who’s more than a century old, right?” He grinned. She blushed, thinking of their kiss, and silently agreed.
“So, what do we do now? I’m seventeen and growing, you’re seventeen and stagnant.” Kira finally felt herself coming down from the alcohol Carter had slipped her. The lake still seemed to glow and the stars still danced in the sky, but she was regaining her mental control.
“I don’t know,” he whispered and reached for her hand. Kira intertwined her fingers with his, amazed at his cool touch against her boiling skin. Fire and ice, she thought. That really was what they were, complete opposites. Fire could melt ice and ice could douse a fire, but was there any way for the two to meet in the middle?

 

About the Author
I’ve always been a writer. I grew up duct taping my novels together, started writing complete manuscripts in high school and studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. Upon graduating, I decided it was finally time to actually give my dream career a chance. So, of course, I started writing a young adult paranormal romance series — and no, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve been a true paranormal supporter for my entire life! I blame my obsession almost completely on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all-time favorite television show. And, before you ask: Yes, I own every season… even the post WB ones! I especially challenge anyone to watch the first three seasons and not fall in love with Angel, securing a lifelong love of vampires! Other culprits
of my paranormal obsession are some of my favorite authors: JK Rowling, Raymond Feist, Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, Lynne Ewing and Tamora Pierce.

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
3 Digital sets of The Complete Midnight Fire Series. Each copy includes all FOUR books in the series – Ignite, Simmer, Blaze & Scorch (INT)
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Book Blitz hosted by:

Swooning for THIRD DAUGHTER!!–A Review and Giveaway

ThirdDaughterBlitzBanner copyIf you had to marry for love or marry for peace, what would you choose?

That’s the question facing Princess Aniri, Third Daughter to the Queen of Dharia.

TD-coverIt’s two weeks until Aniri turns eighteen and can choose to marry her beau–Devesh, a courtesan and emissary from Samir. Her two older sisters have already married men that complement their station, even when love is not present, and Aniri is determined to follow her heart, not her duty.

Especially when her duty involves marrying Prince Malik, heir to the throne of the barbarous northern Jungali provinces. No. No! NO!

Except, Aniri knows she can’t decline outright–and rumors of a Jungali airship weapon are serious indeed. If Aniri accepts the prince’s proposal she can get close enough to find out if the airship is real–and maybe she can help her homeland and her mother’s Queendom figure out how to avoid a war.

Prince Malik makes it easy on Aniri–he tells her their marriage would be one of business. That she could (discreetly) take a lover if she wished. Hmm… And her mother, the Queen, assures her that the choice is hers.

Aniri does what she must–becomes a spy. I loved her reactions to the “barbarians” she encounters on her journey north! Oh, how sweet to have her realize, “Hey, they’re pretty awesome in their own way!” Then Devesh shows up and tells her the airship is a ruse–a trick to get her to marry Malik. After which she will be killed and her beloved country Dharia overrun by Samir and Jungali. Aniri doesn’t know who to believe, and espionage is not her strong suit. The political intrigue is high and Aniri barely escapes an attempt on her life.

The tension is fierce throughout. Each new chapter brings Aniri closer to either love, or death. We get a fantastic steampunk world, with an East Indian flair, and a strong female main character who picks up the ball and runs her hardest. Even when she fumbles, Aniri is worthy of cheers because she learns from her mistakes and never quits.

What I hadn’t expected, and thoroughly adored, was Malik’s assistance. He realizes his only shot at peace is this marriage, and he’s willing to trust a confessed spy with the biggest military secret of his country. Aniri could never have learned what was necessary to save her people without Malik earning her forever trust. And Devesh? Well, perhaps an on-the-side lover isn’t the best place for him in the Jungali court. In the end, Aniri does choose her own husband. And she chooses very well indeed.

Three words to describe this Third Daughter? Indomitable. Passionate. Resourceful. She’s my kind of heroine.

And, can I say the cover is exquisite? The internal art (chapter headings and section breaks) is just as lovely, and speaks volumes about the care that went into making this book.

So, a bit of disclosure: I have known the delightful Susan Kaye Quinn for going on four years. We are longtime critique partners and I’ve read everything she’s published (except the INDIE GUIDE TO SELF PUBLISHING). THIRD DAUGHTER is, in fact, the first book I received from Sue as a freebie for the purpose of review. I absolutely LOVED it, and would recommend it to any YA reader. Its smidgeon of passion–some swoony kisses–won’t make you blush, but will get your heart beating.

Interested?  You can find THIRD DAUGHTER at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and kobo. It comes out today, so HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, THIRD DAUGHTER!
*tosses confetti* *releases balloons to the sky*

About the Fantastic Susan Kaye Quinn:

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times. Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way. She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle. You can find Sue actively engaged in writing and mentoring on her website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.
***GIVEAWAY***
Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win any of these cool prizes!
–20x “Third Daughter” mini M&M packs  (US only)
–A steampunk key necklace (INTL)
–“Third Daughter” East-Indian style bridal jewelry (INT)
Best of luck, and as always, keep reading my friends!

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They are HOLDING ON FOREVER–Review and Giveaway

Holding On ForeverHi there and welcome to my stop on the HOLDING ON FOREVER blog tour sponsored by YA Bound Book Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a New Adult romance by Cecilia Robert.

HoldingOnForever.v3 - Final (1)Book Summary:
Liese is finally moving on with Frey by her side. But sometimes letting go is the hardest part, and trusting is a risk one has to take. In between her practicum and spending time with Frey whenever he is town, she fights her insecurities, and wins. Then something happens and Frey’s priorities momentarily shift, making her second guess their relationship. Suddenly, going back to their former best friends status has never looked so appealing.

Frey’s life has never shined so bright now that Liese is his. But there is a part of him that is shrouded by memories he’d rather have them buried where no one can touch them.  Not even him. But even buried memories and people can’t stay hidden for forever. What Liese doesn’t know is that Frey isn’t about to let go so easily, and he will throw in everything he’s got to stop her from leaving him. He has waited an eternity for her. Giving her up is not an option.

My Review:

This short novel is the sequel to TRULY MADLY DEEPLY YOU, which I have not read. Still, it can be read alone. It picks up with Liese and Frey already in serious with each other. This may not sound odd, but Liese and Frey are childhood friends. They are young (about 24 each I’d say) yet have suffered deep personal losses. Liese had a miscarriage and lost her husband after a terrible car wreck two years prior. She has tremendous abandonment issues, as a result.

Frey’s parents died in a Christmas Day fire ten years ago and his only brother died in duty five years ago–so they’ve suffered. Unfortunately, I didn’t really sense this in the book.

Here’s Why:  At first I thought the pacing was off. That everything happened too slowly for me to really agonize about the characters, but as I read on I realized that the tension was the problem.

As soon as anything remotely dangerous or upsetting occurred, it got dealt with. When Frey went MIA for a few weeks Liese barely got anxious. She didn’t go alcoholic, or turn her house into a Monument of OCD behavior; she spent some nights at her parent’s house and talked to her therapist about her feelings. Then, when he called she tried to break up with him. The rapid transition was very superficial–it never gave me a chance to really get into Liese’s head and feel her pain, so I couldn’t connect with her abandonment, or her worry, or her…anything.

Likewise with Frey–he thinks his brother’s dead for FIVE YEARS. Then one night he gets a call from his brother’s cell number. First, I’m sure people update their cell phones more often than that. If he’d gotten a new phone, I’d imagine he’d have deleted his bro’s contact info…amiright? But, that aside, his brother shows up–alive–and after a brief confrontation they go to Frey’s house. End of chapter.

So, my biggest complaint of the story was a complete lack of emotional resonance. There was no pitch and roll, no “Will they, or Won’t they?” heartstring tug that made me stay up too, too late and show up to work the next day groggy with a book hangover.

My second biggest issue was with setting. I didn’t learn where this story happened until page 50. The book is clearly written by a “Queens English” speaker–meaning the grammar and diction is that of a subject of the Crown, not a gal from Queens, NY–and I’ve read an unGodly amount of British authors who apply their familiar speech and colloquialisms to characters in, say, Texas. Or, New York. Or, some other distinctive US locale wherein persons would never, for example, “have a row” or discuss how “smartly” a woman dresses. Those Brit-isms are rampant throughout the manuscript, so I kept waiting for the London references and crossing my fingers were weren’t going to take a ride up the Empire State Building. Turns out the setting was Vienna, Austria. I’d not known anything about Vienna–and have learned little more than areas within the city are called “Districts”. I’d have loved a bit more immersion into this destination.

Interested in HOLDING ON FOREVER? You can find it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

About the Author

Cecilia Robert  writes YA, NA and Adult. Her motto: Passion rules. She enjoys writing stories about people finding love in the most unexpected of places, and also about people finding their true purpose in life coupled with adventurous journeys, whether it’s urban, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary or paranormal romance. There’s always a happy ever after, no matter how long it takes for the characters to get there. When she’s not working in her full time job, she dons her supermom cape, or in most cases find herself trapped between the pages of a book in search for a hero who’ll make her swoon with just a look or a word. Her favourite form of therapy is knitting. Best. Therapy. Ever.

You can find Cecilia on her blog, Goodreads, twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

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Sneak Peek of HARD GLAMOUR by Maggie Marr

SNEAK PEEK:  HARD GLAMOUR

A new series by Maggie Marr

Hard Glamour Cover

New Adult Contemporary

Releasing January 14, 2014

Lane Channing doesn’t have much to leave behind in Kansas. She promised her dying mother she would follow her dreams no matter what. That’s why this summer Lane is taking ‘the big risk’ and leaving the Midwest for an internship in LA at CTA. She arrives for her internship in her old jeep with 20 bucks until her first paycheck — but she has a job! A dream job that will get her into the Industry…or she thought she did until she finds out that CTA gave her job away! Now she’s broke, unemployed and stuck in LA with no safety net.

Dillon MacAvoy has one goal–to become a star. His agent and publicist have been honing his bad-boy can’t-be-tamed forever-single image in preparation for the release of Dillon’s first film. An image that will sell tickets, solidify Dillon’s career. Besides, it’s an image that is very close to the truth. Nothing matters to Dillon but his career and his brother. He’s got offers for great roles stacking up but the studios are getting ready to pull the deals if he won’t give them answers. Problem? He keeps sleeping with his script readers and then tossing them aside. Then Dillon’s brother Choo finds the perfect reader for Dillon, a reader that is completely untouchable–Choo finds Lane Channing.

Lane is saved by the job opportunity to read for Dillon MacAvoy and if she can last the entire summer as his reader then she will have a job next spring when she graduates college. But she will have to ignore the heat that pulses through her whenever Dillon is in the room. Dillon can’t get distracted by Lane–she could ruin the brand that his agent and publicist have built a brand that includes Dillon as forever single bad boy–an image that as Dillon gets to know Lane Channing might not fit his identity anymore.
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Sneak Peek Excerpt
Dillon
I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to because I didn’t want to hurt Lane. I didn’t want to draw here into my insane world. I wanted her to read for me this summer and then go back to Kansas where she could meet someone good for her, someone that would take care of her, but when I looked in her eyes and saw that she understood. She got how hard it was to go into that room and pretend to be happy but how it was also an honor and of course I couldn’t cry in there. It was tragic and sad but it would be selfish to cry–that family was experiencing that pain.

It was my job, to do the very best I could to bring some light and joy into that room if only they got to have their son for 6 days or 6 months I was meant to lighten their load. I wasn’t the star of that show.

And Lane got it.

Her lips trembled and her voice shook and her eyes those damn turquoise eyes with specks of green were wet and wide and she was just so their and so alive and so beautiful what else—there was nothing else I could do. I wanted her. I’d wanted her from the moment I met her.

I needed to kiss her, it wasn’t a choice. I reached out and I grabbed her by both arms and pulled her to me. Her lips were soft and at first surprised but she yielded to me. I pressed her against the elevator wall. My mouth was so greedy for her.

Heat burst through my belly. I was hard and my cock throbbed. I hadn’t been this turned on — ever.

My hand skimmed over her bare thigh and along the edges of her shorts. Damn that amazing beautiful thigh. My hand pressed up over the top of her shirt, against her waist and to the edge of the roundness of her breast. A soft moan came from deep in her throat and I nearly exploded. She pressed her hips forward against mine. I touched the edge of her breast and another soft little moan escaped her throat. A moan that nearly undid me. I pressed harder against her.

Then the elevator dinged. I looked at her and the heat in my body stunned me. What was I thinking? We were in a fucking elevator in a hospital? I wasn’t … I couldn’t think, that was obvious–I couldn’t even think when Lane was around. I jerked away from Lane and burst off the elevator and toward the hospital doors. I needed air. This…I hadn’t meant to, didn’t — shouldn’t have. Fuck what had I done? I looked over my shoulder once before I slammed through the automatic doors, the look on Lane’s face–the look she was shocked and surprised and stunned. Her fingers lingered on her lips where seconds before my lips had been.

Maggie MarrAbout the Author
Maggie Marr grew up in the Midwest and made the move to Los Angeles to work in the movie business. She was a motion picture literary agent for ICM before becoming a full time writer. She’s written for film and TV and ghostwritten for celebrities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.
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