Fancy Being an ACCIDENTAL SOCIALITE? Review and Giveaway

The Accidental Socialite-tour banner copyHi there and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE ACCIDENTAL SOCIALITE hosted by YA Bound Blog Tours. For other stops on the tour click here. This fun, New Adult romance by debut author Stephanie Wahlstrom will have you re-thinking all those tabloid headlines!

the accidental socialite coverSummary from Goodreads:

Quirky and clumsy twenty-two-year-old Paige Crawford arrives in London on a cold Saturday in January. Just when Paige starts to think that moving thousands of miles away from home with no real plan was a bad idea, Jason Frost appears. Confident and classy, Jason is the complete opposite of Paige and just what she needs in her life, or so she thinks.

But before their romance has time to blossom, Paige trips and falls into the arms of a mysterious man on a drunken night out. She’s snapped by paparazzi, and newspaper headlines the next day suggest that she’s having an affair with a married footballer.

Paige finds herself instantly elevated to tabloid celebrity status which isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly when trying to juggle her new job at Fashionista magazine, a catalog of dating disasters and a nagging doubt that she maybe she can’t conquer London after all.

When a trip back to Canada for Christmas reminds Paige why she left her old life behind, she returns to London with renewed vigor realizing that while jobs, flats and men may come and go, friends in London are forever.

My Review:

I’ve been reading a bit of Brit-Lit these days–and lurving it!–so this book caught me at a very good time. Paige is a total mess. She arrives in London with two suitcases and a rental room in a (practically) condemned building. Her four flatmates are all several degrees from normal and she knows NO ONE in town.

She meets her first Londoner–Jason–when her suitcases bursts on the sidewalk, unfortunately he’s from the US! But Jason is super hot, and invites her to an exclusive club the next night. She shows, bringing along Lucinda, the South African gal she met at breakfast. After too much free booze, she trips outside of the club, stumbling into a super-famous football (er, soccer to the USers) star whose marriage is purportedly on the rocks. The compromising photos make the front page of the tabloids, catapulting Paige into Z-list celebrity.

The book moves at a breakneck pace–not the least of which because Paige is forever getting drunk and falling down. And the dissolution of said-footballer’s marriage only increases Paige’s notoriety. She meets a fantastically cute doctor, Alex–after a pseudo-sex-injury debacle–who asks her out-only to ditch her when the paparazzi turn up.

Throughout, Paige’s luck seems to magnify–both good and bad. She gets a job writing ads for a fashion magazine and makes abso friends with Carlos and Lucinda, but her love life? Utter crap.

Guys are only into her for the minor celebrity she seems to cultivate. In fact, Jason–her somewhat steady guy–has a nasty habit of showing her off everywhere he takes her. Even to his PARENTS! Ugh. Enough of that D-bag, fo sho. Paige tries to meet different guys, branching out of her social scene and only comes up with duds and schmucks. Kinda sounds like regular hot girl problems.

Carlos and Luc take her on some continental excursions, so we get more than just the London social scene, but even the new locales don’t bring Paige good luck with the men.

It’s a cute book, lots of fun and vodka and champagne. Paige only has one drunken bender landing her in bed with Mr. Wrong (Jason the fame hound), but through it all she seems to come up smelling like, well…if a rose was watered with day-old beer and ran through the Tube at rush hour it might smell like Paige. It reminded me, a lot, of Bridget Jones–which is cool, as I liked that. Paige does end up on her own two Louboutin-clad feet in the end–with the men STILL clamoring for her. Surprisingly, the book is terrifyingly innocent. No smexytimes…but that’s cool.

Interested? You can find THE ACCIDENTAL SOCIALITE at Goodreads and Amazon.

stephanie wAbout the Author

Growing up in Edmonton, Canada, a significant amount of Stephanie’s time was spent making up and acting out stories. She was studying to be an actress when she realized there weren’t any parts for women being written. So, Stephanie wrote herself a short screenplay just to be in it, and quickly realized that writing was her true passion. She graduated from the University of Alberta with an English and Sociology degree and she also has a Bachelor of Motion Picture Arts from Red Deer College. After a fateful trip to Mexico in 2006, Stephanie decided to move to New York City to work in film development. A year later she went back home to write My Green House, a factual TV series. Stephanie moved to London in 2008 and aside from being obsessed with eggs benedict, fruit roll- ups and travelling, she also works in children’s television. The Accidental Socialite is her first novel.

You can find Stephanie on Goodreads, twitter, her blog, Facebook or riding in the Swoon Romance author stable….

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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Book Blitz and Giveaway! LOVE, LEX by @AveryAster

LoveLexBlitzBanner1-1 copyHi there and welcome to the BOOK BLITZ for LOVE, LEX sponsored by Xpresso Book Tours. This is a New Adult release from an up-and-coming author, Avery Aster, about a gal who’s ready to cast off the negativity of her over-privileged childhood.

LoveLexcoverLet Lex tell you ’bout the book:

This summer, I’d planned to celebrate my eighteenth birthday in Europe with my fellow Manhattanites—Taddy Brill, Blake Morgan, and Vive Farnworth—until I caught my boyfriend screwing my mother. According to the police report, this vomit-inducing incident happened around the same time I’d supposedly blown-up my mother’s penthouse. Like I’m walking around Soho with a stick of dynamite in my Louis Vuitton purse—not! Now, my besties and I are in jail.

Officer Ford Gotti, the Harley-wheelin’ biker cop who arrested us, keeps sticking his perfectly-sculpted nose into my case. His inked body is jacked like a superhero, and he says I can trust him. He wants me to fess up. I won’t. Not again. Why should I? My friends and I had a previous stint in juvie that nearly destroyed us. I gotta protect them and keep my mouth shut. Right? —Lex Easton, women’s studies major, motorcycle enthusiast, and virgin.

The Undergrad Years is a New Adult contemporary miniseries about first loves, independence, and everlasting friendships.

Reader warning: Contains mature content intended for readers 17 and up.

Think your childhood was rotten? Here’s a little taste of what Lex was dealing with….

Top Ten Fears & Worst Moments of My So-Called Life

by Lex Easton

  1. Puberty advice to pad my bra, or not wear one at all. I was nine then.
  2. A locked refrigerator. No parent should starve their child. Birdie had called it food monitoring.
  3. Paparazzi which has tormented and snapped photos of me (usually when I was at my worst) my entire life. Such as…when I’d eaten a chocolate and vanilla twist cone, dipped in a raspberry hard shell and dusted with rainbow sprinkles. Purchased from a Mister Softee truck, parked on Madison Avenue—while standing outside in one hundred degree weather with one hundred percent humidity, in a horizontal-striped-sheer-stretchy poly-blend sun dress—which had ridden itself almost entirely up my bum. How I knew it had ridden up my bum? See number 5.
  4. A Vicodin, given to me by Dad to stop my hysteria, instead of a band-aid or a hug, after I’d fallen and scratched my knee on Madison Avenue while running from the Paparazzi. I was like eleven.
  5. The photos of my backside, at the ice cream truck, appearing on the cover of The Manhattanite Times the very next day. The headline had read, “Alexandra the Great Swallows for Mr. Softee.”
  6. A mother who has and forever will have a hotter body, prettier face, and better hair than I do. Even when I’m seventy years old and she’s like dead.
  7. A father who was never around. Years have passed without him walking through our front door. I’m not sure he even knows Birdie sold the Central Park West mansion and moved to Soho last year. I should probably give him the new address.
  8. The fear I’ll never meet or exceed my parent’s financial or professional success, regardless of what industry I work in. According to the economics class Vive and I took our senior year, I have less than a five percent chance to make it as an adult without riding my folks’ coattails to maintain this lifestyle. Poor Vive, her family is the second richest in North America. She has less than half a percent.
  9. Infamy! I’ll forever be associated with the Easton’s.
  10. Birdie and her full-on, balls-to-the wall sex with my high school sweet-heart. I had loved Kelle Sterling Dolley. Or at least, I thought I had.

OMG. Soooo glad my parents were…normal. Don’t think Lex doesn’t get through ok…it’s a ROMANCE! She meets a D-Lish hunka man…Ford Gotti. Here’s what he has to say:


Interested? You can find LOVE, LEX  (currently &.99!) on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About Avery Aster:

New York Times, USA Today bestselling author Avery Aster pens The Manhattanites, a modern romance series of juicy melodramas multilayered on love, friendship, scandal, and drama to the hilt. As a resident of New York’s Upper East Side and a graduate from New York University, Avery gives readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades and tall tales of the über-rich and ultra-famous. “I write about what I see in my metropolis that never sleeps–beautiful people on the quest for a passionate thrill,” Avery says. By and large, Avery’s characters are ripped straight from the headlines, speak their minds and always get what they want.

Undressed #1 (Lex & Massimo) launched The Manhattanites series. Unscrupulous #2 (Taddy & Warner) is the prequel. Also, stay tuned for the sequel with Unsaid #3 (Blake & Miguel) coming summer 2014.

The Manhattanites is for fans who miss TV shows like Sex & The City or watch Girls (HBO), Revenge (ABC), and The Bold & the Beautiful (CBS) . Avery’s characters are over the top. They have cray-cray fun, speak their minds and always get what they want. Each novel may be read as a stand alone.

You can hook up with Avery via her blog, newsletter, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Click the Rafflecopter link for your chance to win
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ALSO!!! Avery Aster is giving ME one Paperback copy to share with a reader!

So hit this Rafflecopter for you chance to get LOVE, LEX in your hands

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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
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Hi there! I’m not shy about admitting my Olivia Cunning Fangirl status. I must have written 10 posts about her books this past year. If you like sexy romance, and sexy rock stars, and off-the-charts sexy-sex, well, you would have already read all Olivia’s Sinners books–or maybe even her Sole Regret books.

If not, today’s post might just turn you into a fan, like me.

For those who have followed the Sinners series, there have been 5 books, one for each member of the band. Each full-length novel explored the tumultuous process of these delicious rock stars finding–and wooing–the woman of his dreams. Sinners’ lead guitarist Brian “Master” Sinclair got the first (Backstage Pass), vocalist Sed Lionheart got the second (Rock Hard), masochistic bassist Jace Seymour found love in the third (Hot Ticket) deliciously pervy drummer Eric Sticks had the fourth (Wicked Beat) and bisexual rhythm guitarist Trey Mills found two lovers in the final novel (Double Time).

Sinners at the Altar (Sinners on Tour, #6)And now the Sinners are back!

Sinners at the Altar is exactly what it claims to be:  a encore of epilogues, four of them, that focus on the weddings of Brian, Sed, Eric and Jace. It’s a fun look into the couples–each receiving a short novella surrounding their nuptials.

First up? Mr. And Mrs. “Master” Sinclair. As we all remember, Brian and Myrna are absolutely insatiable. And Myrna has a bag of tricks (literally!) all ready to use on our sexy guitarist. Of course, just when things get REALLY hot…well, Trey is hospitalized. In this up-close look we get to feel all Brian’s love, and all Myrna’s angst. Getting remarried isn’t her desire. And she’s still scared that Brian will leave her…for Trey. It’s an interesting dance, trying to ask if your husband wants to have relations with his lifelong bestie–without ACTUALLY asking…

Next, we get Mr. And Mrs. Eric Sticks. OMG, I really thing Eric is my fave Sinner. He’s so delightfully awkward and shameless! He and Rebekah can’t even wait a day after her big doctor’s appointment to get hitched. NOPE! As soon as Reb gets her good news they head for the courthouse. With a few sexy sidetracks. Hey, it wouldn’t be Eric and Reb without costumes, right? And, Eric plans the most romantic, perfect, wedding day Rebekah could have wished, all on his own. God. I hope they fill that gorgeous house with 20 foster kids, they have that much love…. *swoon*

Third in line, but first in disaster we have Mr. And Mrs. Sedric Lionheart. Yep. With a bun in the Jessica, Sed is finally able to tie down his fiery lover. The big To-do is what neither of them wanted, and the beachfront fiasco is nothing but spectacular–even if Johnny Depp didn’t make it. In true Sed fashion there’s some outdoor sex to be had, and a delicious ending that showcases just how head-over-heels these two are for one another. Literally.

And bringing up the rear, is Mr. and Mrs. Jace Seymour. Oy vay! Didn’t expect a paranormal vibe to crash into my Sinners read, but hey, it was a fun departure! Aggie isn’t keen on being a wife. The Domme is just not feeling the whole submissive stereotype, thank you very much. At least until she learns exactly what Jace thinks of the term. If my heart didn’t already belong to Eric, I’d snap Jace up. Well, at least until my whip hand got tired. I dug the Halloween theme and the ghostly visitations. Glad Jace could lead those lost souls to peace, just as Aggie soothed his heartache.

So, what’s next? Well, there’s a hint about a Sinners honeymoon book. But we got some unfinished business with Trey and his lovers–Ethan and Reagan. Will there be some sort of commitment ceremony? And Dare Mills, Trey’s older bro and Reagan’s band mate seems to be a regular feature in this series–maybe he’ll get his own book down the road. So many possibilities! And I’m eagerly awaiting the FOUR Sole Regret novels Ms. Cunning promised….

Interested? You can find SINNERS AT THE ALTAR at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you decide to become a Cunning SuperFan, check out her blog (features Friday giveaways and Wednesday Hot Shots) or find her on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by and keep reading my friends!

It’s Here! NEARLY MENDED Release and Giveaway!

 Nearly Mended (Nearly #2)

By Devon Ashley

Nearly Mended (Nearly, #2)


New Adult Romantic Suspense / Dark Realistic Fiction

God help me…Zander isn’t the worst thing out there.

Megan Whitaker desperately wants to forget what the Malone brothers have done to her over the past two years – the haunting images and sensations still plaguing her thoughts and dreams – but she can’t. Charles may be dead, but Zander isn’t. I’ll find you and bring you back to me. She wants to believe she’s safe with Nick in their secluded new home, but it doesn’t keep her from looking over her shoulder, jumping over unexpected sounds, carrying a concealed weapon or even preparing for the worst.

Nick Ellis has seen a change in his long, lost love. Battered emotionally and physically, Megan spends her days at self-defense classes and researching things that’ll never allow her to let go of the past. And he feels guilty even asking her to, because he knows that heathen will return, it’s only a matter of time. And when he does, Nick will do anything to save her, even the unthinkable, risking everything he’s fought so hard to get back.

But there is no escaping the world of sex trafficking, nor the band of men who continually aid one another to keep it thriving. And as her nightmares begin to converge with reality, Megan realizes there are far worse people to fear than the one who haunts her dreams.

New Adult Romantic Suspense / Dark Realistic Fiction

Recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and sexual content.

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How’s about a little taste?
“Look, Megan, I can take a lot of things, but lying’s not one of them.”

“I’m not lying to you,” she burst, whipping around.

“Omission is lying.” Waving the empty No-Doz bottle in the air, I added, “Switching your meds out behind my back is lying.”

She crossed her arms, her eyes taking a nosedive.

“I mean, come on. Do you think I don’t know you’re afraid to sleep?” Her head still tipped downward, her brown orbs courageously looked up. “You’ve got the pantry stocked with energy drinks and we’ve had to buy coffee twice as often so I know you’re making another pot once I’m gone. You go to bed after me and get up before me. I. Know. Megan. So, please. Just come out and tell me what’s going on. I’m not going to be mad at you for it.”

It took her a minute, but finally she softly replied, “I don’t want to sleep anymore. Because I see him every time I close my eyes, alright? I can feel his breath on my skin and his damn fingers gripping my body, and it disgusts me. But most of all it terrifies me. Because for those few horrible minutes, my mind actually tricks me into believing that I never escaped. That I’m still stuck there, chained to the goddamn floor. So yes, I ditched the sleeping pills and switched to the No Doz. And now, when I actually do finally collapse, I’m so exhausted that I rarely dream. So I never have to go back to that damn nightmare.”

Damn that made me feel like shit, making her say that, the way the hurt filled her face as she did. I put the bottle back down softly, not giving a crap about it anymore. “God, Megan. Why didn’t you just tell me that? You don’t have to keep these things from me, you know?”

She shook her head, her eyes staring at the ground between us, slumping her shoulders as if she wished she could just melt right into the floor. “Seriously? And have you think I’m even more of a basket case than you realize? I’m not trying to lie to you. I just don’t want to burden you with every little thing that’s wrong with me.”

“Hey,” I said forcefully, eliminating the distance between us. I flattened my hands on each side of her face and brought my lips to hers. The kiss was way more aggressive than the soft, delicate ones she was used to getting, but for once I didn’t restrain myself. She was so shattered at times I just didn’t know what to do. So I kissed her, showing her with every caress of my mouth that she was loved, that I couldn’t live without her, no matter the fight she had going on inside her. It took my breath away, and she actually kissed me the same way back, her hands reaching up to cover mine. I slowly let them soften before pulling away, angling my head so our foreheads could rest against one another.

“There’s nothing wrong with you. And in case you need me to repeat it on a daily basis – I. Love. You.”

***This series is really dark–it involves human trafficking and sexual slavery. My review of NEARLY BROKEN (Nearly #1) can be found here. As brutal as this world is, Devon Ashley writes it with care and compassion. She makes the twisted minds and broken emotions make sense. It is a powerful story that kept me thinking long past the ending.

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

About the Author
Devon Ashley is a mom, a wife, a lover and a fighter, a coffee addict, a wicked knitster, a Microbiologist, a baker of fine yummy treats, and someone who will fight you to the death for that last Twinkie bag of M&Ms during the zombie-apocalypse. Seriously, her addiction is that important to her. Oh, and she says seriously way too much. Seriously…

You can find her on Facebook, GoodReads and her Blog.

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win

a $25 gift card to Amazon or Book Depository (Int’l)

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Good luck and keep reading my friends!

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Sneak Peek at CAPTURED!


Bianca Giovanni’s CAPTURED


Vice, Virtue, & Video (Book, #2)

New Adult Erotic Romance (very mature content for 17 +)

Releasing April 14, 2014

Published by Omnific Publishing

Lifelong best friends James Laird and Lola Caraway are reunited when Lola moves to LA after college. Lola is starting her new life, new job, and a new romance with a successful lawyer–a relationship which forces James to question the nature of his feelings for Lola.

Meanwhile James’ agent has him making BDSM films, though to him it’s all an act. Unfortunately, these films have brought him the attention of hardcore producer Eva Satana, who wants James to be a ruthless Dominant -for real- in her brutal and extreme scenes. James soon finds himself caught in a contract he cannot break and compelled by threats to the girl who’s stood by him through everything.

James can’t stand the thought of anyone else with his sweet, virginal best friend. But they are just friends…aren’t they? Can their friendship survive so much desire and deception?

Their decisions will decide who will be free and who will be CAPTURED.



“Promise me you won’t fuck him,” he boldly demands.

“James! Okay, first of all, you can’t just throw down rules like that. I’m a grown­ass woman, and you can’t dictate who I choose to get familiar with. Second, do you actually think I would fuck somebody after only one date?”

“No. You’re a good girl, Lola, and I know you wouldn’t do some shit like that, but I just worry. Eric’s so much older than you, and based on what you’ve told me about him, he seems like kind of a smooth talker. I don’t want him smooth talking you right out of your panties.”

“I want you to look at me when I do this because I’m doing it as hard as I can.” I point to my face before dramatically rolling my eyes.

“Fine, don’t listen to me,” he says, smirking. “Go out there and give it up to that Viking motherfucker ’cause he fed you some line of bullshit to get into your pants. Let’s see how you feel after that, huh? Let’s see what happens when you’re all bummed out about it and I have to build you back up again and show you that you’re worth a lot more than that.”

There’s an underlying tenderness to what he said that makes me smile.

“You are, you know?” His voice sounds softer, more sincere and even a bit shy. “You’re worth way more than a dude like him.”

“You don’t even know him,” I murmur in response.

“But I know you,” he says, looking right into my eyes. “I know what you deserve, how special you are. How beautiful.”

My throat moves as I swallow heavily. Pure, unadulterated honesty. Whenever he says things like this to me, he sounds so genuine and forthright that it catches me off guard. I’m used to Total Smart­ass James, but Heartfelt­and­Sincere James can stop me in my tracks.

“Give me your other foot,” he says, breaking the moment as he puts my left foot up on his knee. A big smile slowly spreads across my face as I watch him return to the task with such care. “Lola,” he says, grinning, “don’t tell anybody about this—that I’m sitting here painting your fuckin’ toenails like we’re at a slumber party or something.”

I laugh loudly and nod my head. “Afraid this would damage your rep?”

“Beyond belief!” he replies, giving my foot a squeeze. “I can’t be the dude who ties girls up and spanks them and the dude who sits around pampering you like you’re a fuckin’ princess. How the fuck could I maintain any level of coolness if people found out that I spent my whole night cooking dinner and painting your toenails for your date with some other guy?”

That makes me laugh harder, and he gives me that mischievous smile.

“Your secret’s safe with me, dude,” I reply, barely containing a snicker. “I won’t tell anybody how you’re my big sweetie pie.”

“Shut up,” he says, his face taking on the tiniest hint of embarrassment.

“Nobody will find out that you’re my big, honey bunny, teddy bear,” I tease in a baby voice. “Zip it!” he commands with a laugh.

“I’m not gonna tell everybody how you’re my cuddly, snuggly schmoopy.”

“I will put this bottle down, tear your clothes off and fuck you on the goddamn floor, and we’ll see who’s cuddly and snuggly!” he warns, trying to sound menacing.

“All talk.” I shake my head. “Bark and no bite.”

He takes a deep breath, puts the lid on the bottle, and gives me that predatory grin that says he’s primed to attack.

“You wouldn’t dare!” I giggle, tensing in anticipation.

With that, he lunges onto me and pins my arms above my head. He’s pushing down on me with his full body weight, and I have no chance of escaping his grasp. I feign a struggle, but I’m laughing too hard.

“You’re lucky that I am your schmoopy or I’d have to teach that smart mouth of yours a lesson,” he says in a slightly more seductive tone.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” I smirk as he lets my hands go. I reach around him and swat his butt, which makes him laugh. “Now finish my toenails, cupcake.”
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I have already read a review copy of CAPTURED, and I ADORED it! Sometimes I’m let down by a sequel–as if it’s simply the conduit to get to BOOK THREE…not this time. The story just ROCKS. I loved it. Can’t wait to share my review next week!

About the Author

Bianca Giovanni was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. She grew up with a single mother and Italian grandmother, who was an avid reader. She has had a love of writing since childhood, but self-published her first short stories in 2012. Bianca’s strong female characters and witty dialogue have struck a chord with readers and lead to her popularity on self-publishing platforms.

In 2013, Bianca signed with Omnific Publishing to bring the ‘Vice, Virtue & Video’ series to readers. The series contains First Dance (free introductory short story), Revealed (book #1), Letting Go (book #1.5), and four more novels to be released in 2014.

She currently resides in Denver, Colorado, where she can often be found jotting down story ideas in a notebook.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Revealed (Vice, Virtue, & Video, #1)Other titles in the Vice, Virtue, and Video series:

REVEALED (Book, #1) A seriously fun erotic friend-mance. How Lola helped James after his parents disowned him. And, how James helped Lola figure out how her body worked without going all the way.  You can check out my review here. Or, you can just buy the book… Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Hi there! I’m anxious to share a contemporary YA romance a la When Harry Met Sally. I was enraptured by the movie–the tiny vignettes from the couples, the excitement of changed feelings–and pangs of obliviousness. So, naturally, I jumped into this book: BETTER OFF FRIENDS, newly released by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Better off FriendsAbout the book:

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?

My Review:
Macallan Dietz and Levi Rodgers are best friends. It’s not strange that Macallan’s a girl–and Levi’s a boy–because boys and girls CAN be friends. Right?

OMG. From the start I was sucked into the “When Harry Met Sally” back-and-forth of the prose. Brief, reflective vignettes preface each chapter, with the witty banter of Levi and Macallan harkening back to times of their greatest comradarie, and conflict.

Told in alternating point-of-view, we meet long-haired surfer Levi as a new student in a small Milwaukee junior high. Macallan’s a pretty, but withdrawn, girl–still bottling the grief of her mother’s death–called to serve as Levi’s guide. He’s so forlorn, sitting alone at lunch, that the reserved Macallan invites him to join her and her friends. See, both of them are a bit adrift, and they recognize that kindred sense of ‘not-fitting’ in each other.

Of course, the source of their not fitting is different; Macallan self-isolates seeking to be free of the pitying stares, while Levi craves to find his way in to the larger society. Despite these differences, they become friends. Macallan really craves family as she has no siblings and her house is so silent without her mother. Her dad tries hard, but he works a lot and her uncle is a minimal support, by virtue of his developmental delay. Levi relies on Macallan as a friend throughout seventh grade, but in eighth grade we get our first divergence: Emily, Macallan’s childhood BFF begins to find Levi attractive. And thus, the wedge is driven.

Sure, Levi and Macallan are still friendly, but there’s no balm to soothe ‘Third Wheel Syndrome”. Nor, is there a guide that helps these young teens deal with manipulating friends and cheaters…

Throughout all this, Levi and Macallan weather the conflict. In fact, it seems clear that they are ‘an item’ though they never date. Not in eighth grade, nor freshman year, or sophomore year either. They just have one of those friendships that is so solid they have all the inside jokes. And, they can finish each other’s sentences. So it’s natural that, when yet another of Levi’s romantic entanglements implodes, Macallan is right there to pick up the pieces. Only, this time, there’s something physical between them. A spark that Levi won’t deny, but Macallan never acknowledges.

And this eats Levi alive. So much so that he needs space to mend his bruised ego, and heart.

Of course, by the time he gets around to telling Macallan the truth of his feelings, she’s moving on. To Ireland. (For the summer…) It’s a long eight weeks of soul-searching for Macallan and she’s almost ready to open her heart to Levi, only, well…he got himself another girl.

Yeah. (I was crushed too, Macallan baby!)

Ugh. I wanted to just toss my iPad. Really.

Thankfully the Arctic Monkeys were there…

After absorbing the sage words of these lovely musicians, was able to forgive Levi and Macallan’s skittishness. I trudged forth and stayed the course, trusting that my heart, er, I mean Macallan’s heart, would recover. And, it sorta did. Not without a whole lotta clueless meandering–and at times downright nastiness–on Levi’s part. Still, when the call came that Levi needed her, Macallan was right there–to let the call slip to voicemail.

What? You didn’t think she’d just pine away for a jerk-face forever, did you?

Oh. But, she WAS the friend he needed, right when he needed her. And the end, as they say, was HEA.

Just. Loved. Swooned. The angst was churning in my gut from the get-go. It took me a tiny minute to figure out the two voices–mainly on those vignettes–but the characters were so lush. So vibrant. Macallan’s grief killed me. Levi’s overwhelming desire to fit in–it took me right back to high school. Recommend to all lovers of YA. It’s wholly innocent, so okay for those youngsters reading up. Not sure they’ll catch onto the WHMS theme, but it think the story will still resonate.

I requested this book for review via NetGalley. But you can find it on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Elizabeth EulbergAbout the author:
Elizabeth Eulberg was born and raised in Wisconsin before heading off to college at Syracuse University and making a career in the New York City book biz. Now a full-time writer, she is the author of The Lonely Hearts Club, Prom & Prejudice, Take a Bow, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, and Better Off Friends. She lives outside of Manhattan with her three guitars, two keyboards, and one drumstick.

You can find her on her website, Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for stopping by and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Blimey, I Loved PLAYING IT CLOSE! A Review

I won an ARC of Kat Latham‘s second book in her London Legends contemporary romance series–and I’m so glad I did!

See, I adore romance, but I NEED variety. That’s why there’s no rhyme, nor reason to V’s Reads. One day it’s New Adult. The next, maybe YA paranormal romance. Then throw in a few M/M romances, and iPad melting erotic romances and you got a whole lotta flavor going on.

And, PLAYING IT CLOSE tickled my romance-fancy, and my variety-fancy. It’s all about the English, baby.

In fact, I nearly dropped over when I opened the book and found the handy-dandy Guide To Briti-cism’s. How else would I have learned that “pants” means underwear across the pond. Or, that a proper Brit might watch sport (plural) and hate maths (singular)? My inner Anglophile shouted BRILLIANT! and I dove into the heady domain that is rugby (union, not league you twit!).

Playing It Close (London Legends #2)About The Book:

Where do you go to escape everything when you’re one of the most famous rugby players in the world? For Liam Callaghan, that place is a remote lodge on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Perfect, except he doesn’t exactly want to be alone with his thoughts. Enter Tess Chambers, the ultimate distraction.

Still reeling from a professional disaster that’s made her all but unemployable, Tess understands the desire to move through life as somebody else. So when instantly recognizable Liam uses a fake name, she runs with it and creates a temporary new identity of her own.

Their time spent together in paradise is idyllic but brief—after one passionate night, Liam wakes up to find Tess gone. Returning to London, he’s shocked to learn she’s taken a job with his team’s new sponsor. As the Legends’ captain, he’ll have to not only figure out how to work with the one woman who ever left him wanting more, but also convince her that their feelings in the present mean more than any lies they’ve told in the past.

My Review:

Tess Chambers is professionally mortified. She has been unmasked as the whistle-blower on the sexist world of investment banking, and she’s on holiday to escape the headlines and inquiries. Which explains why she’s hiding in a resort in Venezuela–sporting pink hair–when she encounters Liam Callaghan (Stars and garters, that’s a sexy name!) He’s the big, buff captain of her abso-fave London Legends rugby team.

[Side note: Rugby is not my sport. I know virtually NOTHING about it. Yet, I fell right into this book. Yay!]

Liam is spending a week in seclusion ridding his mind and heart of the guilt he’s buried since his mother died, alone. She’d been his biggest supporter but neglected to tell him she was dying of cancer–probably because (like mothers are wont to do) she didn’t want him agonizing over her last days. Still, Liam’s re-evaluating his priorities, and he’s finding his Love-‘Em-And-Leave-‘Em lifestyle is missing a bit of…heart.

Tess and Liam spend two days and one night together. I’m not going to say it’s love at first sight–because it isn’t. They do find respite in each other, however, and that’s pretty valuable. Liam is finally starting to relax, even open up, when Tess disappears.

A few weeks later, Tess’s cousin recruits her to manage the financials and logistics of a new joint venture–Lead Sponsor of the London Legends. Oy vay! Imagine Liam’s surprise when he shows up to the business dinner, a Hollywood starlet on his elbow, to meet the lady he’d missed terribly when he woke in his empty bed.

Tess is, well, personally mortified to find the close quarters she’ll have to spend with Liam. Having had a huge scandal at her last employ, she isn’t willing to indulge herself–or Liam–though the attraction crackles betwixt them. Oh, and did I mention the calendar shoot? Those buff athletic men hanging out in the…buff? *V swoons* *Tess swoons too*

There’s plenty of misdirection and crossed wires to keep the plot hopping. Tess is a fun MC. She’s smart and sassy, and believably vulnerable, too. Liam’s a good guy at heart, one who wants a woman to love him, not his celebrity. He wants to be a hero for his good deeds in the real world, not on the rugby pitch. I had a fantastic time being a vicarious Londoner, and relished the chance to drop into both characters’ brains as the POV alternated. This is the second book in the series, but I could see where Book One and Book Three had come and will go, which was fun.

PLAYING IT CLOSE is a standalone with an HEA that satisfies. It comes out April 16th but you can pre-order it now at a discount on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Kat LathamAbout the Author

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.

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

Can They Survive CHALLENGING DESTINY? A Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! It’s my great pleasure to welcome the new release of a great writer, fellow critique partner and friend, Cherie Colyer! I’m so excited to share my review of CHALLENGING DESTINY, a YA paranormal romance. This Wild Rose Press release features angels, demons, humans and not one, but TWO love stories! Yay!

ChallengingDestiny_w8687_300About the book:
Logan Ragsdale and his younger sister, Ariana, have been marked, chosen to be unwilling participants in a war between angels and demons.

Logan can sense something’s not quite right. Like an unexpected chill on a summer’s day, he can feel the unseen closing in. He’s had these feelings before and, each time, someone close to him died. He’s afraid this time it might just be Ariana.

Logan’s fears are soon confirmed when he discovers their new friends aren’t human, but rather representatives from Heaven and Hell sent to Earth to ensure he and Ariana accept their roles in an ancient prophecy. Demons want Logan to open the gates of Hell. Ariana has the power to stop them, but if she chooses to side with Heaven to spare the lives of thousands of innocent people, she’ll damn her brother for eternity.

Together, they must derail the biblical event if they hope to save themselves and the future of mankind…but what price are they willing to pay to keep the other safe?

How’s About A Little Taste?
That night I awoke to a noise in our apartment. Soundlessly, I got out of bed, grabbed the metal baseball bat I kept near my door—a habit I’d picked up from my uncle—and went to look around. I pushed Ariana’s bedroom door open a crack. Her room was dark. It smelled like the autumn-spice candles she always burned. She was fast asleep, curled up on her side under her thick cream comforter. A search of the family room and kitchen turned up empty. Relieved, I decided that I had to have been dreaming or had heard one of our neighbors out in the hall. I stumbled back to my room, cursing under my breath when I jammed my little toe on the edge of the doorframe.

My head had barely hit the pillow when a raspy, male voice barked, “Trap!

My racing heart drowned out the rest of its words. I knew that voice, and there was never a person attached to it. My mind went numb with fear, and every muscle in my body tensed. I’d thought I was past hearing voices. I wanted to scream and would have, but I didn’t want to wake Ariana.

The disembodied voice spoke again in a hurried whisper: “Must protect.” There was a long pause. “Up to you.”

And then silence. Outside, a distant horn blared and cars swooshed past the apartment complex. I sat in the shadows created by the moonlight and listened.

It didn’t speak again.

What trap? Protect who? Why was it up to me? The words had been garbled so badly, I wasn’t even sure I’d heard them correctly. Hearing voices freaked me out—it always had. And now I had more questions that I didn’t know how to find the answers to.

A moment later, Ariana’s blood-curdling scream had me out of bed and sprinting to her room.

YIKES! that’s pretty intense. 

My Review:
In this contemporary YA paranormal romance Ariana and Logan Ragsdale are orphaned siblings who happen to have mind-control powers. Logan is 18 and Ariana is 16, both born on All Saints Day, two years apart. Their parents died in an house fire 8 years ago, and their aunt and uncle, who had been guardians, were killed in an auto wreck two years ago. After bouncing to a couple foster homes and finding those caregivers being strangely injured, Logan convinces the Illinois State Foster system to let them live alone…

When we begin the story, Logan and Ariana are staying under the radar of the authorities. Ariana has a BFF, Becca, but they mostly keep to themselves–out of fear that any people close to them are targets for the tragedy that seems to follow them.

Of course, they are teens, so it’s impossible not to notice the two new students in their small high school. Ben is in Ariana’s art class, and interested in dating her. Strangely, he is immune to Ariana’s mind-control. Likewise, Logan meets Kira in Foods class. The attraction simmers, and yes, she can resist Logan’s mind powers.

Starting fledgeling relationships is foreign, but exciting. Still, they are wary due to the lack of effect of their powers on their potential beaux. Especially so when Kira begins to reveal more of her history to Logan. She’s been 16–for a real long time…and most of that was spent in agony. Seducing Logan to her purpose will satisfy the requirements of her boss, but could mean the end of civilization.

Not as though these kids didn’t suspect foul play in the deaths of their caregivers, but who’s really ready to accept celestial explanations? Surely not Logan. He thinks Kira’s off her nut, and rightly so. A little physical demonstration promptly makes him a believer, however.

And Ben? He’s on the other side of this equation. He’s anxious to get Ariana to join his team, even if doing so condemns Logan to a fiery fate.

With new knowledge behind the sinister plot that isolated Ariana and Logan from anyone who could help them, they must choose who to trust. According to a prophesy, a war is coming between the Blessed and the Fallen, and the winner will be decided when Ariana, or Logan, chooses a side to assist.

In either case, accepting their destinies means they will lose each other. Or, not. See, Ariana and Logan are determined to beat the Blessed and Fallen at their own games–and set themselves free of this cataclysmic prophesy.

Not that they go about it right. Outsmarting beings that can read your mind is pretty tough, after all. Escape Plan A soon devolves into Survival Plan C.2 when one of their guides changes teams mid-game and the casualties are dear.

It’s a wild chase with pretty steady tension throughout as Ariana and Logan search for the answers that will divert their fate. The end is tied up, but leaves room for a sequel. It’s an innocent read and suitable for lovers of paranormal YA fiction.

Interested? You can find CHALLENGING DESTINY on Goodreads and Amazon for digital. Print copies will be available this summer!

9b8ae-cheriecolyerAbout the author:

Cherie Colyer is the author of YA paranormal thriller/romance, EMBRACE and HOLD TIGHT from Omnific Publishing. Her latest novel, CHALLENGING DESTINY is newly released from The Wild Rose Press, Black Rose Imprint. Check out her website and blog for news on her books and bonus material. Follow Cherie on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Goodreads to get the latest updates on her books.

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