All She Wants is CAMP PAYBACK–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there and welcome to the Release Party for CAMP PAYBACK, the second Camp book by J.K. Rock. This contemporary YA romance series is just the thing to bring on the summer.
Camp Payback cover

About the book
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she’s headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn’t seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex’s trouble-magnet personality and Javier’s need to stay in the background don’t mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

My Review:

Alex Marcineau is a problem child–at least that’s what her parents’ blog Wholesome Home would have everyone believe. From her earliest steps, Alex has faced the scrutiny of not just her parents, but all adults, even teachers who hoped to gain some slight fame by reporting each and every misstep Alex made. Entire books have been written by her parents on how to cope with ‘difficult’ kids. So, yeah, she’s not really interested in maintaining a ‘wholesome’ image. Especially not when her parents are being considered for a TV show based on their blog. Just more of the same torture–on TV, for a change.

Alex is determined to cut loose at camp, but her ex-boyfriend Vijay is being an uber-jerk. He sends her lewd texts which incense her overprotective dad–bring on the private school plans! In an effort to start her camp off right–by antagonizing Vijay–Alex walks up to a new camper and lays a juicy kiss right on him. Only, Javier isn’t a camper. He’s staff, hired as kitchen help to avoid going to a group home for difficult foster kids. And, he’s now in trouble for having ‘relations’ with a camper.

Oy vay! Alex, you really know how to pick ’em!

Javier is furious that his big chance to work is nearly snatched away before he even started. He promises to avoid Alex and her drama, but her punishment is to help on kitchen duty, putting these misfits together three times a day for seven days. Though Javier ignores the rants of the tiny hellion, he doesn’t stop listening to her. And, he grudgingly accepts her apologies.

Add to this mix the larger scheme of kids away at camp and jealousies raging. Vijay ends up in trouble–of his own making, but it embroils Alex and Javier, too. Alex, for her part, wants to win Javier over. She’s totally smitten with Javier and wishes he wasn’t at such risk to leave camp–plus, she really wants to help him and his mom when she gets paroled at the end of the summer. She even speaks to her mom about it–as Mrs. Marcineau has a few charities she supports that aid single mothers, and find jobs for ex-cons.

In addition, Alex has been bitten by the acting bug and is an extra in a few scenes for a movie being filmed not far from camp. Her exuberance and performing ability are noticed by the assistant director who recommends a performing arts school–as opposed to the boarding school Alex’s parents have all picked out. While trying to figure out how to re-wire their futures, Alex and Javier can’t help falling a bit deeper for each other. What would be an ordinary teen moment gets captured on film and uploaded to the Wholesome Home blog, however, putting Javier’s time at camp in serious jeopardy.

This book is really a good, fun, innocent read. The pace is perfect, with alternating POV of Alex and Javier telling the story. Their brief romance is natural and energizing–they both know they should stay away, but the attraction is fierce. Not an insta-love connection, they learn about each other and really connect on a deeper level–both Alex and Javier have felt unworthy of love a long time, for different reasons. I really appreciated the way Alex’s mother was written–she’s a confident woman willing to own up to her parenting mistakes and make amends. It’s a good example for Alex, who has many amends of her own to attend. I loved the end. Really. It’s how I hoped it would all turn out and I was NOT disappointed in the least. I liked this one better than CAMP BOYFRIEND, mainly because the story was so centered and there were far less clique-politics, for reasons that were explained in the first book.

Interested? You can find CAMP PAYBACK on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can also check out my review of the first book in this series: Camp Boyfriend. It features some of the same characters, but is a whole separate story.

1a22f-jkrockauthorphotoAbout the Authors
J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law – Joanne & Karen Rock. Although they started out sharing an annual shopping trip, they ended up discussing their favorite films and books, joining the same book club and talking about writing… a lot. Their debut novel, Camp Boyfriend, is the first in a three-book series plotted during family pool parties.Their creative partnership is unique in that they enjoy passing a book back and forth, each adding a chapter and fine-tuning the chapter before. Years of friendship has yielded a shared voice and vision for their work that makes writing a pleasure. Learn more about Karen and Joanne at their website, Goodreads, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google +, You Tube
and Facebook

***GIVEAWAY***

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win

6 paperback contemporary romances!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and keep reading my friends. 🙂

 
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YA Drama Over A CAMP BOYFRIEND–A Review

Hi there! Today is the BOOK BIRTHDAY for CAMP PAYBACK, the second book by JK Rock, a sister-in-law writing team. Because Camp Payback references a lot from the first book, CAMP BOYFRIEND, I thought I’d share my impressions of the first book. Both books are solidly YA, and quality contemporary reads. Tomorrow I’ll review CAMP PAYBACK, but first:

Camp Boyfriend (Camp Boyfriend, #1)About the book:

The summer of Lauren’s dreams is about to get a reality check.

They said it couldn’t be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson transformed herself into a popular girl after moving to a new school halfway across the country. Amazing what losing her braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren’s nerves and she can’t wait to return to summer camp where she’s valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She misses her old friends and most of all, her long time camp-only boyfriend, Seth. This year she intends to upgrade their relationship to year-round status once she’s broken up with her new, jock boyfriend, Matt. He doesn’t even begin to know the real her, a girl fascinated by the night sky who dreams of discovering new planets and galaxies.

But Matt isn’t giving her up without a fight. As he makes his case to stay together, Lauren begins to realize his feelings run deeper than she ever would have guessed. What if the guy she thought she was meant to be with forever isn’t really The One? Returning to Camp Juniper Point was supposed to ground her uprooted life, but she’s more adrift than ever. Everything feels different and soon Lauren’s friends are turning on her and both guys question what she really wants. As summer tensions escalate, Lauren wonders if she’s changed more than she thought. Will her first big discovery be herself?

My review:

Lauren Carlson has had a tough year. Her family moved from New York to Texas, and suddenly all the expectations/patterns changed. Her dad’s too busy working to hang out, and her mom has instituted a plan to girl-ify this would-be astronomer. It works, but as her junior year draws to a close, Lauren isn’t sure she likes her role as a cheerleader with a football boyfriend. In fact, she can’t wait to dump Matt and return to Seth, the boy at camp she’s dated the past two summers.

Only, Matt has a big surprise. His parents are getting divorced and he needs some space. So, he’s going to the same camp as Lauren. Yay!

Lauren is crushed, but wants to be a good friend to Matt–who is clearly dealing with some bad stuff. So, she never bothers to break up with him. Or, tell him about her long-standing connection to Seth. Imagine both boys’ frustration: Seth’s been looking forward to reuniting for nine months and “his girl” shows up with a boyfriend, meanwhile all the campers know about Lauren and Seth–and aren’t shy about enlightening Matt.

Add to this angsty-issue the pressure Lauren gets from her cabinmates. These girls have spent summers together for years, but the NEW Lauren just blows away her more homely buddies. They are suspicious, and ticked off that she could hurt Seth. Any overture toward friendship with any of the high-gloss chic Diva campers lands Lauren in heat, as well.

This romp of a story comes with a heaping helping of “caught at the worst possible moment” coincidences. I think Lauren was the most timing-challenged would-be glam queen in all of summer camp. Any time she was in even the most innocent of compromising positions, she was witnessed–by friends, enemies, or one of her suitors.

Matt wants to really work on their relationship, and Lauren decides that’s for the best–in the process learning far more about the championship athlete in two weeks than she had in their nine months together. For his part, Matt is totally comfortable with the dressed-down version of his glamour girl, while Seth sometimes has trouble reconciling the chic Lauren with his memories.

There’s a lot of camp drama and shenanigans pitting Lauren between her girls and the Divas, and in the end there’s a rousing musical number, or two, that help to smooth over the heartaches of camp. At the end of the eight weeks, Lauren returns home for her sister’s wedding having given an invite to one of the two boys.

At the very last second we learn who captured Lauren’s heart. It’s a satisfying read. Lots of mean girl vibes overlap with Lauren’s (sometimes oblivious) efforts to bring both halves of her self into order.i really liked how Lauren decided to take a break from both boys just so she could figure out herself. I kinda felt like this got rushed at the end trying to skim 8 weeks into the book, which made the talent show escapade a little forced, but I loved how open Lauren was, and how she continued to build bridges, despite them all getting washed out.

Also, I really liked the candid conversations these teens had, regarding boys, relationships, and sexual activity. It felt very real. I admired Lauren’s moral compass–she was continually be faced with rivals, and while she seethed internally, she remained neutral allowing Matt and Seth to choose other girls if they so desired. Both boys were hot commodities, and had a flock of girls vying for interest, and yet they never flaunted this at Lauren which I also liked. With both boys being so up-standing and kind, it was clear Lauren would have a real catch no matter what her decision was regarding a boyfriend. The end was what I had expected, and it met my expectations, so I wasn’t disappointed. I think teens will like this book.

Interested? You can find CAMP BOYFRIEND on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

J.K. RockAbout these authors:

J. K. Rock is the pseudonym for YA writing partners – and sisters-in-law – Joanne & Karen Rock. After years of comparing notes on their favorites books and films, often dreaming up new endings to suit them, they decided to write their own stories. Their first Young Adult book, CAMP BOYFRIEND, is part of a three-book series. CAMP PAYBACK will be an April 2014 release, and CAMP FORGET-ME-NOT arrives in Fall 2014. Visit the Camp Boyfriend website at http://campboyfriend.net to learn more about the free novellas they are offering readers prior to each full length book. Individually, Joanne Rock is an award winning Harlequin author published in 26 countries and translated into 20 languages. Karen Rock writes critically acclaimed stories for Harlequin Heartwarming including her latest, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Cephalopod Coffeehouse April 2014–THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE…

0ed81-coffeehouseWelcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

It’s kinda funny how all the stories of my childhood are being re-packaged and sold to my children. Smurfs. Alvin and the Chipmunks. Transformers. There’s even a Thundercats movie coming out soon. Nostalgia marketing–that’s what I call it. I know it happened to my parents, as well. The New Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and The Flintstones movies spring to mind. So, anyway in the spirit of reclaiming my youth–which is of utmost importance now that I’m frighteningly close to 40–I re-read a classic from my childhood library: THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE by Beverly Cleary.

mmcoverIn fact, the copy I turned to was the dead-tree edition I had purchased at a book fair in 1981. The price: $1.75. My name is even written inside the cover so none of my sisters could claim the book for herself! As you can see, it’s a bit battered and the pages are yellowed. Yet, my 5 y/o still sat enraptured as we read a chapter each night before bed.

My review:

This children’s classic, published in 1965, introduces the world to Ralph, a young mouse whose family lives behind the knothole in Room 215 of a fleabag hotel in California. In true Kid-Lit fashion, Ralph’s father is dead–poisoned by an aspirin tablet–and Ralph’s mother is understandably a nervous sort.

The newest occupant of Room 215 is a young boy–maybe 12 or so. Keith is a boy’s boy: he collects cars, and saves his allowance, and likes to take hikes. The first day he he leaves his beautiful red motorcycle on the nightstand while he and his parents see the ‘sights’. It’s too much for Ralph to resist.

He climbs aboard and drives the motorcycle around and around the table top until the ringing phone startles him and he and the motorcycle topple off into the wastebasket. Good thing Keith finds him before the chambermaid does. The two strike up a friendship–as only two males who appreciate fine machines can–and it’s a heartwarming tale of compromise.

Keith provides Ralph’s family with ‘room service’ bringing scraps from his meals back to the knothole. Ralph rides the motorcycle to amuse Keith, and himself. Complications occur when Ralph loses the motorcycle in the laundry, but big-hearted Keith forgives him. Especially when Ralph risks his life to find an aspirin tablet late one night after Keith strikes up a fever. (The book was written before Reyes Syndrome had been discovered…)

What I most enjoy about sharing these older books with my kids is finding the life lessons so clearly outlined in language that we rarely use with children today. There is no ‘dumbing down’ when Ralph and Keith undertake some pretty deep conversations. And they provide good moral examples. Ralph makes mistakes, for which he is sorry. Keith has to decide to forgive his friend, even if he’s still upset over the loss of his toy. We had read the Trumpet of the Swan before this, which allowed us to talk about concepts like Freedom v. Safety and what it meant to overcome a perceived handicap. Pretty intense questions for young kids, but I was surprised at how he responded to these themes.

Anywho…thanks for popping in. Make sure to stop by the posts of my fellow Coffeehousers. You’ll likely find a great breadth of reading material to consider. And, as always, keep reading my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. My Creatively Random Life
3. Wishbone Soup Cures Everything 4. Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi
5. Huntress 6. Servitor Ludi
7. MOCK 8. StrangePegs — Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
9. Words Incorporated 10. Agatha Friggin’ Christie
11. Ed&Reub 12. The Writing Sisterhood
13. Read, Write, Repeat 14. V’s Reads

They are HOT AND BOTHERED–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m featuring a contemporary romance that combines romance, family, and cooking–all set in Chicago, my hometown. Kate Meader’s HOT AND BOTHERED, the third book in her Hot in the Kitchen series, is D-Lish.

Hot and Bothered (Hot in the Kitchen, #3)
About the book:

Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it’s her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who’s fueling her hormones with generous servings of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She’s vowed never to blur the lines again . . .

After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he’s had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can’t stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she signs up for an online dating site—and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad’s blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can’t stop himself from turning up the heat this time.

My Review:
Two years ago Juliet ‘Jules’ Kilroy left England bound for Chicago. She was young, upset, and pregnant. Her brother Jack, renown chef and restauranteur, took her in not only to his home but to his new extended family–his wife Lili hails from a close-knit Italian family. Among them, Tad DeLuca, Lili’s cousin and a single man with tragic secrets.

Being the odd people out, Jules and Tad strike up a friendship. He’s the rock she can lean on when Jack’s busy working. Tad even takes birthing classes with Jules and attends the delivery of little Evan. Jules knows Tad’s no good for her–he’s rarely with the same woman twice–but she’s been celibate since conception and lays a sloppy kiss on Tad one night, one he quickly rebuffs.

See, Tad knows he can’t lose his heart to Jules–he doesn’t have one to give. Not since his parents died in a car wreck ten years ago that was his fault. They remain friends, nonetheless. Fast-forward a year and Jules is helping out cooking at Tad’s new wine bar. She’s also ready to get “out there”. A dating Jules is one facet of her Tad has no will to witness, however. His attraction to her begins to get the better of him–he even offers his “services” when he learns she’s looking for a fling…

And, she turns him down. Their lives a so intertwined; his aunts babysit little Evan and his cousins are her closest gal pals–she doesn’t want to tip the boat.

Still, they manage to seal the deal, leaving only awkwardness and hunger in its prime form. Tad even disrupts some of Jules’ dates, that rascal.

In the end there’s a lot of break-up-to-make-up. Evan’s father learns of his existence and wants to meet his son–something Jules and Jack want to prevent. Yet, Tad’s the voice of reason, even if it clashes with Jules’ gut instinct. And, when the anniversary of Tad’s parents’ death rolls around, Jules is there to love him out of his drunken stupor.

I liked this one. A solid breeze-read. I generally like a little more conflict, the biggest obstacle to Jules and Tad getting together is their insecurity, but the friends-to-lovers trope was well-handled here. Jules is fun gal to get into. Tad is really a great guy–and head over heels for both Jules and Evan, but at times his “voice” rang more Brit than Chicago-Italian. (I’m probably most sensitive being that I am from Chicago, and of Italian descent.) I enjoyed how cooking was such a big part of the book–family meals are the lifeblood of Italians–and how it eventually brought Jules and Tad together.

Interested? You can find HOT AND BOTHERED at Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Kate MeaderAbout the Author:

Kate writes sexy contemporary romance that serves up to-die-for heroes and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about sexy men and the women who can match them quip for quip, she works in an academic library in Chicago.

You can find Kate at all these fancy locations…

EmailTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE–A Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today it’s my great pleasure to review a book for a good friend and fellow critique partner: Kym Brunner. I’ve known Kym for four years–so I had some sneak peeks into her debut novel, WANTED:  DEAD OR IN LOVE, as it was being conceived.

Wanted: Dead Or In LoveAbout the book:

Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father’s Roaring 20’s dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker’s spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head.

Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack’s body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they’ll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely.

My Review:
This contemporary YA romance is tension-packed. Monroe is a troubled high school senior. Her mother died just over a year ago and she’s having issues with impulsive behavior. She’s got two strikes–one for shoplifting and one for vandalism–any more run-in’s and she’ll break probation and go to jail. Oh, and she can kiss her scholarship to NYU Buh-Bye.

Though she knows better, Monroe can’t resist touching the newest piece of memorabilia her father has collected for his Gangster Gallery–spent slugs that were used to gun down notorious killers and lovers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Who could have guessed doing so would rouse these two spirits from the Great Beyond. Unable to return the slugs immediately, Monroe takes them along to a party intending to return them the next morning when her dad isn’t watching.

Meeting Jack Hale at the party sets the plot into motion. Monroe doesn’t feel a connection to the cute boy, but he’s so attentive she can’t help chat with him about the slugs. Touching them allows Clyde’s spirit access to Jack, while Bonnie’s spirit inhabits Monroe.

Neither Jack nor Monroe really understands what has happened, at first. Monroe starts hearing a voice in her head, and any time she touches the slugs or other personal effects of Bonnie Parker she goes into a trance–seeing Bonnie’s memories as if they were her own. Yeah, Monroe’s losing it.

‘Course Jack isn’t having a great time either–any time he gets scared Clyde’s dominant and charismatic personality erupts. And Clyde’s not a reformed man. He knows one surefire way to make some quick cash–and it involves the words: Smash and Grab. Pretty soon Jack’s wanted by the police…

Aided by the Half-Dead Society, Monroe and Jack learn that their only hope to ridding their bodies of Bonnie and Clyde’s spirits is to complete their final wish and lay them to rest–together this time–on the anniversary of their deaths.

Big problem? That anniversary is twenty hours away.

Bigger problem? Their eternal resting place is in Gibsland, Louisiana, and Monroe and Jack are in Chicago–a 16 hour drive.

Biggest problem? The cops are on their heels and they just impounded Jack’s car.

Monroe is all for rushing off on the trip south, but Jack’s sure Monroe’s plan is cracked. He wants to turn himself in–perhaps get off easy for it being “his” first offense. This is something neither Monroe nor Clyde will accept–Monroe can’t become a three-time offender and Clyde had, and will, kill to stay away from ‘the laws’.

The story unfolds in alternating point-of-view–with Monroe and Clyde telling their parts. Clyde’s a bit swept away by the feisty Monroe, and as they drive toward the deadline he attempts to determine which woman he’d want to spend his ‘new’ life with: Bonnie, or Monroe. Still, it’s only a hunch that the spirits can be laid to rest, and Clyde’s itching to take Jack’s body over–for good. Nonetheless, Monroe and Clyde can’t avoid chatting on the trip, and Monroe finally feels a connection to someone–shame it’s a long-dead killer.

Throughout the journey, Jack and Clyde alternate possession of Jack’s body–and Bonnie’s jealousy and hurt over Clyde’s infatuation with Monroe leads her to cause Monroe some grave discomfort.

I adored the realistic setting, even in the face of the potent magical elements. More than just laying Bonnie to rest, Monroe wants to stop running from all her troubles. She recognizes her troubles result from her own impulsive behavior and wants to do the right thing.  Part of that is rescuing Jack, even if it means sacrificing Clyde. Like any getaway road trip, there are almost more obstacles than they can overcome. The pace is fast and the stakes are high: only two spirits might remain past the deadline, and Clyde’s desperate to be one of them.

When the resolution comes the ending is satisfying, while leaving the door open for another tale.

Interested? The ebook for WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE goes on sale in late May, but the hardcover can be pre-ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the author:

Kym Brunner’s a lifelong Chicagoan. She teaches middle school reading and has been writing for more than ten years. She’s a member of SCBWI and a mentor to many writers in both in-person and online writer’s critique groups.

She’s addicted to reality TV, and reads books across all genres. You can find Kym on her blog, twitter and Facebook.

Wanted: Dead or in Love is her first novel, but she has a second (unrelated) book, ONE SMART COOKIE, coming out this July.

***GIVEAWAY***

Kym is giving away two paperback copies of WANTED:  DEAD OR IN LOVE via Goodreads.

Click here to enter.

Good luck and keep reading my friends! 🙂

The Darkness Series by K. F. Breene–Reviews and KINDLE Giveaway

Darkness-Series-Tour-BannerHi there! And welcome to my stop on the ON A RAZOR’S EDGE blog tour. For other stops on the tour click here. Author K.F. Breene is sharing an excerpt from the Darkness Novella Series, has a Kindle Fire HDX up for grabs, and wants to remind you that INTO THE DARKNESS (Book #1) is FREE!

Into the Darkness coverINTO THE DARKNESS (Darkness #1)
I’d always been different. I saw objects in the night where others saw emptiness. Large, human shaped shadows, fierce yet beautiful, melting into the darkness. I collected secrets like other women collected bells; afraid to fully trust lest my oddities be exposed.

Until I saw him. He’d been gliding down the street, unshakable confidence in every step. It wasn’t just that he was breathtakingly handsome with perfect features. Something about him drew me. Sucked my focus to him and then tugged at my body. As his eyes met mine, I was entrapped.

No one had noticed him. He’d been right there, just beyond the light, but only I had perceived.

I had to know if he was real. Or maybe I really was crazy. And even when my secret box was blasted wide open, dangers hurled at me like throwing knives, I couldn’t stop until I unraveled his true identity.

I just had to know.

New Adult (18 +) due to sexual content and not for the faint of heart.

You can get INTO THE DARKNESS free on Amazon or Barnes and Noble so go on and clickity-click. What are you waiting for?

Oh, you’d like a little taste?

He stepped closer, not hearing me, or not caring that I spoke. His eyes looked at me like I was a life-sized riddle. They delved, searching. He took another step, forcing me to retreat two steps to keep distance between our bodies. Another step back had my back to the wall.

A small smile curved his lips. “I exude pleasure, you run. I exude fear, you come calling. You want me, I can smell it. I can feel it, almost like a palpable thing. Give in to it. Yield to me.”

Oh God I wanted to. His body was mere inches from mine, his intense eyes looking down into my soul from a face out of a Renaissance painting. The power of him, the sheer strength, had strange, primal fantasies running amok through my head. My core tingled, my chest surged, and my nipples were so hard they could cut this stone wall.

Why had I come here, again?

Whoa! I can tell you the sexual tension is pretty high here. Click to catch my full review.

Braving the Elements coverBRAVING THE ELEMENTS (Darkness #2)
Sasha has always known she was different, but now she also knows that the shadow men she’s seen all her life, are real. With a life goal of fitting in, Sasha hopes her strange abilities will finally make true friendship a possibility. Unfortunately, her magic doesn’t function like everyone else’s. What she thought would make her belong, sets her apart now more than ever.

Stefan, all but promised to a different woman, has tried to keep his mind on his duties instead of the irresistible and free-spirited human. But when she is threatened, he can’t keep his distance anymore. He realizes he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe, and more importantly, make her his.

Just when one thing clicks into place, another spirals out of control. Stefan’s clan isn’t the only group that would benefit from an extremely rare type of magic. And their enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Braving the Elements is the second novella in K.F.Breene’s long awaited Darkness series. Sasha’s story is one of discovery, awareness, and understanding, and is jam packed with action, humor, sexual tension, and an overwhelming desire for final acceptance.

Let me tell you: the steam between Sasha and Stefan is hot. Even knowing his clan will not accept her, Stefan can’t help marking in the ancient–and nearly forgotten–custom. And, Charles is a bigger and more fun part of this segment. Check out my full review here.

You can find BRAVING THE ELEMENTS on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00011]ON A RAZOR’S EDGE (Darkness #3) Releasing April 22, 2014

Life for Sasha isn’t getting easier. She has survived run-in’s with monstrous Dulcha, lived through an abduction, and even made it passed Charles’ constant badgering for sex. But if she thought the hurdles of this new life would simmer down, she was dead wrong.

When the Regional comes to visit Stefan’s clan, the pressure increases. Sasha finds herself on a giant scale, assessed for her magic and held in the balance. If she doesn’t have the magic Stefan hopes, she could find herself on the street while still in grave danger. Even with a favorable outcome, however, her inability to use her magic presents a road block not easily crossed.

No, life is not getting easier.

Stefan feels the heat, too. He must finally declare a mate, and admitting to desiring a human is the worst form of taboo. He could jeopardize not only his place as leader, but his and Sasha’s life. His decision is like walking on a razor’s edge.

My Review:
This is my fave installment in the series. Sasha and Stefan are–without question–attached. Stefan has sent for a Council elder to verify Sasha’s superior magical rank, and to have a Mage come to train her. For some reason, Sasha’s magic doesn’t seem to work the way Stefan’s people are accustomed.

Every time she tries to cast a spell, it ends in a fiery disaster. Hopefully Toa, the White Mage, can help her sort out the trouble because Sasha is being sent as Stefan’s emissary to the nearby shifter population to help secure an alliance against their mortal enemy, Trek, and his minions.  If Sasha is successful she will elevated to the rank of full Mage and will be considered a worthy match for a clan leader–namely Stefan–so she is determined to work hard toward this goal.

Sasha is accompanied by her stalwart–and horny–protector Charles, and Jonas–a good friend of Stefan but someone who had sworn to get revenge against Sasha in the first book. Neither Sasha, nor Charles are certain where Jonas’ loyalty lies, however, and they both have serious reason to believe he will not protect Sashs should Trek turn up in the shifter camp.

And, of course, Sasha’s confidence is shattered when her rival for Stefan’s affection, Darla, arrives as “back up”. Sasha is sure this is a “No Confidence” vote on Stefan’s part and begins to doubt that she will complete her mission–to gain the shifter alliance–which will mean that she and Stefan cannot be linked.

As it happens, Trek hits the shifter camp hot and hard. A supposed protector is truly a traitor and Sasha must choose between leaving the shifter camp in full battle to protect herself, or turning back to help her new friends. As this is an adventure/erotic romance you can guess the choice she makes.

It’s a satisfying end, with an epic battle that proves Sasha’s true worth as both a human and a Mage. The resolution hints at further installments, but the series is fairly well-wrapped. Had a great time with Charles–Sasha always seems to get the better of him, Watch Captain or no. I think the best part of the book was the uncertainty surrounding Jonas and Darla. Both had good reason to want Sasha in harms way, but one did the right thing and proved his/herself the supreme protector.

It’s a fun spicy adventure, but there was far less spice and far more adventure which seemed to be the right mix for me this go-round. Again, not recommending this for young readers. Whole lotta lovin’ goin’ down…

Interested?  You can find ON A RAZOR’S EDGE on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the Author

A wine country native, she moved to San Francisco for college just shy of a decade ago to pursue a lifelong interest in film. As she settled into the vibrant city, it quickly became apparent that, while she thought making films was great fun, she lacked cinematic genius. For that reason, her career path quickly changed direction. Her next goal was a strange childhood interest, conjured at the dining room table while filling out a form. For some reason, her young self wanted to be an accountant. Thinking on it now, she wonders how she had any friends. Regardless, it was the direction she finally took.

While she could wrangle numbers with the best of ’em, and even though she wore the crown as the most outspoken, belligerent accountant in the world, her mind got as stuffy as her daily routine. It was here that she dusted off her creative hat and began writing. Now she makes movies in her head, and then writes them down. Way easier than dealing with actors–she should know, she’s been one!

You can find find Ms. Breene in the usual places: Website | Facebook | Twitter

***GIVEAWAY***
KF Breene is offering up a KINDLE FIRE HDX (US only) in her super raffle. Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
AToMRTours_mdm

KNOWING THE SCORE–A Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Can’t wait to share more rugby love from Kat Latham. I reviewed her book PLAYING IT CLOSE a few weeks back. What a hoot that was! Now I’ve turned back to read her first book in her London Legends series: KNOWING THE SCORE. That, right there, tells you I love an author’s work–I seek out other books from the same writer…

Knowing the Score (London Legends #1)About the book:

Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England’s World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he’s eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.

Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world’s worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.

Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.

My Review:

First things first, tell me you do not want to lick that cover. Okay, now tell me like you mean it. Mmm-Hmm. Thought so.

Spencer Bailey is as delicious a character as that cover portrays. For. Real.

Spencer never takes lovers when he’s in season–he got burned bad by a groupie-turned-complainant when he was 19, and he’s still a bit shell-shocked. A man doesn’t “get over” an accusation of statutory rape all that easily.

While on his season break, Spencer’s looking for a discreet partner–preferably a woman who doesn’t know him as an athlete. His plans get derailed when his grandfather, and only living relative, suffers a heart attack during a walk. Thankfully, a beautiful (single) woman–Caitlyn–happened by and began CPR. Caitlyn’s used to rescue work; she works for an international aide organization and makes a living teaching women how to build proper latrines in refugee camps.

Both Spencer and his grandfather are smitten with Caitlyn. And, Spencer loves that she’s neither local, nor a rugby fan. This American is a refreshing breath, except for her little quirks–like biting him the first time he kisses her. Oh, and head butting him the second.

It seems Caitlyn’s not such a suave would-be lover. She’s got her reasons; mainly an unpunched V-card. Usually I get frustrated when I read a story about a late-20’s gal with no sexual experience, but Caitlyn’s backstory is so good I actually cheer it on. Especially seeing how this changes Spencer–for the better. Who says a 30ish prime athlete can’t be celibate?

Uh, nobody V! This is a romance!

Fear not, friends. We got a scorcher of a romance, here. It simply takes a bit more time to fully develop. And, when it does the developments are extreme. In a very good, and very bad way. Caitlyn tries to protect her heart from the devastating Englishman, but becoming a part of his world means embracing a part of her history she’s tried hard to forget: violence.

See, Caitlyn wasn’t always a bystander to domestic abuse. And there’s a five fingered reason why Big ‘Ol Spencer gives her the shakes for the first part of the book. I absolutely adored Spencer’s compassion, and his restraint. Still, seeing the brutality of rugby sends Caitlyn to the loo–and it’s not the only major discovery she makes at the rugby stadium. There’s something so completely endearing in this fledgling relationship. Spencer’s ready to move this to a whole new level–and gets the perfect excuse to do so–only to have his own past blow up in his face.

Ugh. I just wanted to cry when they left the registrar’s office without that marriage license!

Good thing? Caitlyn comes to terms with the horror of her past, and it’s the breakthrough she needed. We get a super satisfying HEA…

I loved the Brit lingo. I loved the slowly developed romance. I cringed in agony with Spencer each time Caitlyn pulled back, or left. And, I cherished the stand-up guy he was throughout. In real life there’s a sex scandal a week with athletes; while most are well-deserved, it’s true that some are not. I enjoyed the perspective of a falsely-accused man dealing with the aftermath YEARS after his accuser recanted. Plus, the circumspect way Spencer lived his life following that incident really showed his determination to be a better man–definitely a trait to admire.

Caitlyn was a real treat for a late-20’s ingenue. A complete character with real issues, and she dealt with them heroically. Loved her.

Interested? You can find KNOWING THE SCORE at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble–and likely other places. It’s been out a year now…

Kat LathamAbout Kat Latham: 

Kat Latham writes sexy contemporary romance, including the London Legends rugby series.

She’s a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She spent several years teaching English in Prague followed by several more working for a humanitarian organization in London. She now lives with her British husband and baby girl in a small town in the rural Netherlands surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.

With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves reading and writing stories that reflect the depth, humor and emotion of real life. She’s been fortunate enough to win some contests, including the Golden Pen and Ignite the Flame, though her Mom is most proud of Kat winning the sex-scene contest, Between the Sheets.

Through her British husband (Dr Smarty Pants, PhD), Kat’s gained a keen appreciation for rugby, cricket, and the sound of a pucka English accent saying words ending in ‘-er’. He inspired her to write a series about hot rugby players with incredibly sexy voices. The first in the series, Knowing the Score, was published by Carina Press in summer 2013.

Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and Northern Ireland to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive poverty, inequality and hunger.

When she’s not traveling, reading or writing, Kat can be found sharing overly personal things on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

****GIVEAWAY***

You can click onto Kat Latham’s site for a chance to win

a $50 gift card to an eRetailer of your choice,

a handmade bracelet and

a London Legends messenger bag

Good Luck!

 

I’m always telling you to keep reading my friends–Well here’s your chance for TWO FREE contemporary erotic romance titles: Click on my review of Bianca Giovanni’s CAPTURED and comment to win the first two books in that series…

Now you can keep reading my friends!