Postcards From the Edge of Love–THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME–A Review

Hi there! Today’s book is a YA romance by Jennifer E Smith. I adored THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, so I couldn’t resist a second effort. THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is another quiet romance about two lonely kids who connect in a New York black out–and then spend very little time together.

So much for romance! you say? Don’t worry, HEA…

The Geography of You and MeAbout the book:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too

My review:
Okay, so, this review needs some theme music. And, as I’m a hip reviewer, I’m up on all the crazy beats these kids bang these days. (Tongue-in-cheek humor aside, I’m a fan of the Arctic Monkeys). The book, at it’s core, is about trepidation. Fear that the one person you *think* you might like won’t “Like Like” you back. It’s about: Do I Wanna Know?

(Well, to me, anyhow…)

Now, in light of that auditory experience, we can fully appreciate the kind of emotional tension that exists between Lucy–a rich gal with absent parents–and Owen–a poor boy who just lost his mother and home and has to support his grieving, broken dad.

Lucy has had the privilege of a good life, a private school education, and a bunch of nannies. She’s 16 and hardly been anywhere her jet set parents have visited. They’re in Paris when Manhattan goes dark and Lucy’s caught in an elevator with the new super’s teenaged son, Owen. Lucy is an optimistic introvert. She longs for life to begin, but isn’t sure how it should start. Not trapped in the dark with a boy, most likely….

Owen’s 17 and angry. His mother died just over a month ago in a car wreck. His father is a train wreck of grief and unemployment. They moved from a house in Small Town Pennsylvania to a basement apartment to take the building super job. In the posh building, Owen knows he’s second class, and he detests how the city sounds overwhelm and the lights consume the starlight. This is a serious problem for Owen–his passion is astronomy. When the power goes down Owen knows two things: he hates New York, and his dad is in big trouble. His ” field trip” to leave flowers at Coney Island to memorialize their anniversary, has left him miles away from a building in crisis. Still, Owen’s distracted from his grief and fear by the girl whose cheerful nature and love of her city is effusive.

After they are rescued from the elevator they have no one to report to, and no way of reporting–the whole eastern seaboard has no power–so they hang out together all night on the roof of the building. It’s a warm, clear night and the stars are brilliant. Chatting, they give away pieces of theirselves they have never given away before. It’s a little bit serendipity, little bit longing, and wholly innocent. Lucy reveals her deep desire to travel, and her inner hurt that her parents never include her. Is she so unimportant? Owen talks about his mother, and his desire to go to college, but his fear of leaving his dad completely alone in the world. Can he?

In the days that follow, Lucy’s flown to London to join her parents, who are heartsick that she was alone so long in such dire straights. Owen’s father loses his job, and their apartment, and he and Owen decide to go the vagabond route exploring America together.

Their paths separate, but they connect via postcards, and emails. For a bit. See, Lucy’s dad relocates them to Scotland where she’s suddenly more than the bookish lonely girl–she makes friends and snags a delectable beau, but somehow he doesn’t quite “get” her as Owen had. Owen, plagued with a dad who is rootless, settles infrequently and for little time. When they take up in Lake Tahoe he finds a job and meets a girl he likes, but the feelings are superficial and temporary. Meanwhile, he wonders about Lucy and her new life…

A christmastime reconnection with Owen and Lucy is a disaster, and the communication ceases.

For a bit…I’m not telling more, but this is a romance, and there is an HEA. So, there.

I really enjoyed the lyrical language of this book. The kids are human without being stereotypical. The parents are subject to whimsy, which I hadn’t expected, and yet the kids are relatively stable, learning that geography means very little when your heart gets involved. And that’s why Christmas was a bust. They had developed feelings in absencia using the other as a barometer for each new connection.

Their reticence to commit to those feelings, or even divulge them, (see: Do I wanna Know? Above) is classic teen behavior, even if it’s a distance of 7000 miles, instead of a cafeteria, that separates them. I truly enjoyed this introspective, teen read. Again, it’s innocent–the barest of kisses occur–and yet, it somehow felt very intimate. Both Lucy and Owen tell the story, and I thought both characters were well-described, likable and interesting. The build of anticipation is palpable even if the characters wander, muddle, and ponder a lot, so I didn’t trouble over the pace, which seemed almost ethereal.

Like contemporary YA romance? This book is for you.

Interested? You can find at Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Or, try your library. This is a shoe-in for the teen section. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

Jennifer E. SmithAbout the author:

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

You can find her on Goodreads and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Book Blitz and Giveaway! CHALLENGING DESTINY by Cherie Colyer

Challenging Destiny

Release Date: 03/27/14
Summary from Goodreads:
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?

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.

Available from:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo Books

About the Author

A little about myself: I write young adult and middle grade novels. I love finding new stories that keep me up late reading. While my favorite genre is fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive I’m all over it.
My debut novel EMBRACE is now available from Omnific Publishing.

Author Links:
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$20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card (INT)
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Book Blitz Organized by:

Mystery and Revelation–TRISTANT AND ELIJAH–A Review

Hi there! Today I want to share a book that I think could make a difference for gay youth. There is no doubt that LGBTQ persons have trouble sharing their “secret”, whether they struggle because they are afraid to lose their family, their friends, or their lives. There are many who believe sexuality is a lifestyle “choice” but I am not among them. I hope that continued gains will be made in both tolerance and legal status for these individuals–and this MY personal preference, mostly because I am a woman who craves equality for ALL, not some.

As a girl, I was empowered by reading Nancy Drew mystery stories because those books showed a girl with brains and mettle. One who did the right thing, even when it meant danger for herself and little-to-no reward, because it was the right thing to do. They provided the positive message I needed to bloom as a bookish young gal with an overdeveloped sense of fairness: That I was OKAY, and to Follow My Own Path–even when those around me thought a girl was meant to be married and pregnant instead of going to college and becoming a professional.

I like “Coming Out” stories for this same reason. They are so fraught with emotional twists. I wish to find those that have some heft to them and provide the same sense of “YOU ARE OKAY” comfort to share with kids that are in need.

TRISTANT AND ELIJAH, by Jennifer Lavoie, provides both a “mystery” and a “coming out” tale, so it thrilled me! It is my fave YA coming out tale of 2014, so far.

Tristant and ElijahAbout the book:
Tristant Whitfield has had a secret crush on straight Elijah Cambridge since the start of high school. He’s okay keeping his distance, but when Elijah starts visiting him at work and bringing his favorite coffee, Tristant begins to wonder if there’s something more there.

Then Elijah uncovers a scandalous old letter from Tristant’s great uncle tucked away in a book, and the two boys begin a journey through journals and letters to discover the real Uncle Glenn and the secrets he hid from his family. And Tristant realizes that Elijah has been hiding something as well.

A secret that just might change everything.

My Review:
Tristant and Elijah are two high school seniors in a small New England town. Tristant is out–has been since junior high, but has never had a boyfriend. He’s a self-described book-nerd with few close friends. Elijah is a good-looking popular boy who Tristant has fantasized about since freshman year when they were partners on a school project. They are acquaintances who strike up a stronger friendship over winter break.

One day while Tristant is working, Elijah pops into the antique shop–seemingly to chat. In fact, that’s all they do. Elijah brings him a coffee; it’s all very exciting to Tristant. This happens again the next day, only the two of them also pore over an old book that had belonged to Tristant’s great-great uncle Glenn. A scandalous letter from a Miss Rebecca falls out of the book–and Tristant is curious about the nature of his ancestor’s relationship with the woman.

Tristant digs deeper into GG-Uncle Glenn’s effects and finds a diary recounting Glenn’s time at college and his friendship, of sorts, with a man named Jesse. Tristant and Elijah read the diary to uncover the mystery of Miss Rebecca and instead learn that Glenn had a whole lot of secrets–secrets that Tristant and Elijah can understand and respect. Especially as Elijah shares the same secret.

I’m not going to say more–it’s easy to see where the book is going at this point–and I truly loved the supportive role that Tristant played for Elijah in his journey. Elijah’s anguish, and Tristant’s empathy and kindness are palpable. These two are really tender boys–and I’m glad that they found each other. The book is almost wholly innocent. There are a few kissing scenes that go no further.

Interested? You can find TRISTANT AND ELIJAH on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Jennifer LavoieAbout the Author:

Jennifer Lavoie lives in Connecticut in the same city she grew up in. While growing up, she always wanted to be a writer or a teacher and briefly debated a career in marine biology. The only problem with that was she’s deathly afraid of deep water. Starting during a holiday season as temporary help, she worked in a bookstore for six years and made it all the way up to assistant manager before she left to take a job teaching. Jennifer has her bachelor’s degree in secondary English education and found a job in her town teaching middle school students. Along with another teacher and a handful of students, Jennifer started the first Gay-Straight Alliance at the school. She is also active in other student clubs and enjoys pairing students with books that make them love to read.

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

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Launch Day Book Blitz and Kindle Giveaway: A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT

Beautiful Thought RDL


Book 4 in the Beautiful Series by Alicia Rae!

ABT Amazon GR SW

A Beautiful Thought Synopsis:

As a physical sports therapist, Gail Bennett is accustomed to working with gorgeous athletes every day, but after falling for a few of these attractive men, she has been left heartbroken one too many times. When Gail’s hours at work are unexpectedly cut, she must find a way to continue helping her parents pay for her sister’s education. Reluctantly following her best friend’s advice, Gail takes on a roommate—with the one man she has been avoiding since the first time she laid eyes on him.

Damon Johnson loves a challenge, and he is not the type of man to back down when he wants something. From the first moment he meets Gail for dinner, he feels an inexplicable pull between the two of them. In his determination to have her, he finds himself helping her in any way he can.

Can Damon break through all the barriers Gail has so carefully placed around her heart and prove that he’s different? Or will Gail’s reservations keep her from falling in love?

One thought could change everything….

Interested? You can get A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT on Goodreads and  Amazon.

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win

a KINDLE Paperwhite!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

AliciaRaeAbout the Author:

Alicia Rae is a Contemporary Romance Author who lives in Dekalb, Illinois, with her husband and three beautiful boys. Alicia has a passion for reading all types of romance, writing to bring a story to life, and photography.

“Thank you to my dear sister, Kels, who showed me a few years ago how much I truly missed reading. And to my loving husband, for not throwing away my Nook, and planting the seed of writing in my mind. I am forever grateful. Xo

Readers, words cannot thank you enough for supporting me along this incredible journey. I hope you enjoy my novels as much as I do writing them. I thank each and every one of you.

Believe in yourself and follow your dreams…”

You can find Alicia on her Blog Twitter   Facebook  and Goodreads.


Book Blitz! FIGHTING REDEMPTION by Kate McCarthy

Title: Fighting Redemption
 Author: Kate McCarthy
 Genre: Contemporary Romance
 Release Date: December 2, 2013

Reviews by Tammy & Kim voted Fighting Redemption
Give Me Books voted Fighting Redemption

Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews voted Fighting Redemption AND Give Me Strength in their


6 Stars! I just want to shout from the rooftops — READ THIS BOOK, EVERYONE!!!! Fighting Redemption was everything I could want in a story and more!! It’s an unforgettable story about a broken soldier’s undying love for a woman who’d always held his heart. I loved every word of this powerful, captivating and emotionally charged book. This is a must-read!! Truly breathtaking! Aestas Book Blog

5 ++++ Beautiful and Emotional Stars! This was a love story in every sense of the word. It was highly emotive, beautiful, moving, tragic, romantic, passionate, haunting and breathtaking which all makes up to this being one of our favourite reads of 2013.” Totally Booked

“Fighting Redemption is heartbreaking, gut punching, inspiring, and beautiful. This is an amazing, poignant journey that I will never
forget and goes beyond 5 stars for me and is one of the rare ones that I have to give 6 stars.
Reviews by Tammy & Kim

5 stars – 6 if I could! It’s nigh on impossible to put into words how much I loved this book and how much it touched me. Fighting Redemption is unforgettable, powerful, incredibly moving and it will live on my heart for months and years to come.”
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews


Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.






Later that morning after their workout and shower, Jake fell asleep on the couch. Feeling at a loss with nothing but time on his hands, Ryan wandered down the hall towards Fin’s room. She was sitting at a little study nook in the corner, laptop open with one foot resting on her chair. She was wearing a tank top and a little pair of shorts. Leaning up against the doorframe, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from those long, delectable legs.

As though sensing his presence, she turned in her chair. He forced his eyes upwards, catching a sexy flush fill her cheeks at his blatant perusal.

“Morning, Ryan.” She took off her black framed reading glasses and tossed them on the desk.

“Morning, Fin,” he replied.

Against his better judgement, Ryan pushed away from the door and walked farther into the room. Fin hadn’t changed at all and neither had his desire for her. His heart kicked over when she met his eyes. He knew everything he was feeling right now was written all over him, but he couldn’t seem to shut it off.

Her eyelids fluttered closed and she whispered, “Why now?”

Ryan took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he replied honestly.

He shouldn’t still be feeling this way after so many years. Why was he doing this to her, and to himself? It was better for everyone if he stayed away like he was supposed to.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come. I’ll go stay at the barracks.” He turned to leave.

“Ryan!” she called out. Scrambling out of the chair, she grabbed his arm as he was halfway out the door.

“Fin,” he warned, looking down at her hand pointedly.

She took a step closer and he breathed her in, her scent like jasmine on a hot summer’s day. He was surprised when he looked into her eyes and saw anger burning hotly in their depths.

“Six years, Ryan. Do you know how hurt I was, each day passing by and getting nothing—not even a note or an email? I didn’t just lose you. I lost my brother too. Both of you left me, and I was okay with that. I understood that this was what you needed to do, so I moved on. I built a life that doesn’t include you. That was what I had to do.” She paused and raised a shaky hand to cup his cheek. “I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.”

Ryan closed his eyes, agony for losing what was never his rose in his chest until he felt strangled by it. He placed his hand over hers, holding it there until she tugged it away.

“You’re right,” Fin told him. “You should stay on the barracks … but I don’t want you to. Damn you, Ryan,” she whispered fiercely. “I don’t want you to.”

Ryan used his bulk to crowd her against the wall until there was no room for her to move. Leaning one hand against the wall, he grabbed her hip with the other. Her breathing rose rapidly and he leaned in, ducking his head until their mouths hovered a mere breath apart.

“Why can’t I force myself to leave?” He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes. “I hurt too. For six years I fought every day not to think of you, and I lost, because every day you were all I could see. You were the best thing in my life—so sweet and innocent, and so goddamn tempting.” His hand strayed from her hip and slid down to grip her ass. He swallowed the groan. “I stayed away so you could move on.”

Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.

She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.

She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.

When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which
she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.


Songs of Summer Blog Hop

Hi there! Time for a little fun with the sun.

Like many, I’m an audiophile. When I’m in the car alone I tend to max the volume…so I joined the Songs of Summer bloghop, hosted by the Armchair Squid, Cygnus and Suze.

Ah, summer.

Sunny mornings full of possibility, lazy poolside afternoons and rockin’ nights lit by tiki torches. What songs bring back the sunscreen and beach-sand to you? What songs defined your one perfect summer, be it decades ago or recently? Feel free to comment below.

My ALL TIME FAVE summer song is an oldie–Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Can’t you just feel the long grass behind the stadium? The sweaty summer lovin’? I can…

Speaking of Summer Lovin’ I’m a goof for showtunes. My sons know this song, SUMMER NIGHTS from Grease by heart. (Future ladies of theirs will praise me…) No doubt I hauled my cookies to the beach for a boy back in the day.

I was born and raised in Chicago, and have a genetic weakness for the band, Chicago–with or without Pete Cetera–because my dad and I would sing these songs in the car together. The have been a longtime fave from way deep in my childhood. SATURDAY IN THE PARK is a tune of theirs that is perfect for summer.

This song burned up the charts the summer of my 8th grade graduation. I remember dancing to it at my party. KOKOMO by The Beach Boys.

More recently, my music tastes have ranged from rock to rap to country to alternative. I am limited to 5 songs on this post–which was SOOOO hard. My initial list–composed in 20 minutes–had 12 songs. I had to winnow–and I’m not good at winnowing!

After much deliberation, I picked The Zepher Song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to round out my list, because I love them, and because this one has such an ethereal quality to the melody. Tony Keidis is at his lyrical best in this one, and I always feel energized when I hear it.

So, if you read my blog regularly, or not, this eclectic mix of summery music might cement my status as Most Likely To Freak Out the Normals…

Please hop on over to my fellow bloggers. You may find songs that rock your summer.
Or, bring you to nirvana (the state not the band Or, perhaps both…).
Or, you could find an earworm. (I do apologize! I’m gonna be singing SUMMER NIGHTS all weekend, too!)

Thanks for popping in, and keep rocking my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. Subliminal Coffee
3. My Creatively Random Life 4. Alex J. Cavanaugh
5. L.G. Smith Bards and Prophets 6. I Think; Therefore, I Yam
7. Servitor Ludi 8. Stephanie Faris, Author
9. WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME 10. Cherdo on the Flipside
11. Nicki Elson’s Not-so-deep-thoughts 12. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
13. Hungry Enough To Eat Six 14. V’s Reads
15. Life Before the Hereafter 16. The ToiBox of Words
17. StratPlayer’s Creative Output 18. DiscConnected
19. Aristotle’s Mistake 20. Deniz Bevan at The Girdle of Melian
21. Words Incorporated 22. Madeline Jane

Four Men. Four Loves. Gold Medals. WATER MUSIC–A Review

Hi all! Today I’d like to share a contemporary M/M romance that is on the darker edge. WATER MUSIC, by Georgette Gouveia, just shook me up. It stirred me. It spilled me into an ice-filled glass and left me punch drunk.

Four points of view. Four young virile men. Four tragic stories of love and loss and abuse and hope.

imageAbout the book:
Rivals, friends, lovers

Daniel and Dylan are the top swimmers in the world; Alex and Alí, the top tennis players. They play for God, country, family, and the need to escape their troubled pasts. In their quest to be the best, they also harbor a secret: Each is in love with his rival.

The four hit it off at the Summer Olympics in New York and reconnect on an island vacation that gives new meaning to doubles, round-robin, and preliminary heats. By then, the shifting professional fortunes of each couple have begun to signal a change in their personal relationships as well, one that will lead to new alliances and betrayal and engulf them in tragedy.

Told from their alternating viewpoints, Water Music is about power, jealousy, dominance, and submission. It’s about how the past informs the present and the future and how the choices made by nations, our families, and ourselves color our lives. Ultimately, it’s the story of how we come to accept those choices and learn to live with loss through love.

My Review:
Dylan and Daniel are Olympic-caliber swimmers. They meet at training camp in their late teens and end up being roommates. Dylan has suffered great losses: his mother suffered early onset dementia, and his father became abusive in his frustration. Dylan took the brunt of the abuse before his mom committed suicide and Dylan and his younger brothers were cared for by their aunt. Dylan’s father is wealthy, but he won’t take any support, and uses his swimming endorsements to supplement his brothers’ care, and eventual college tuition. Daniel’s parents divorced years ago, splitting Daniel from his twin sister who was later killed in a horseback riding accident. Daniel feels like the less worthy child. When he and Dylan connect, they experience the first real affection they’ve had since childhood. Daniel insists to stay closeted, and compels Dylan to, as well. In their relationship, Daniel would be the Top, but he’s physically and emotionally abusive to Dylan–something that starts small and grows, particularly as Dylan become the better swimmer of the two.

Alex and Ali are professional tennis players. Alex is closeted, and Ali has had a horrific life which he keeps closeted. Ali learned tennis in Iraq under the American “occupation” when he is befriended by a soldier. For years he plays there, entertaining the troops, until his pal is killed and Ali is “adopted” by a pedophilic defense contractor. Through this man’s connections, Ali’s family is able to obtain asylum with relatives in France–meanwhile Ali suffers molestation for years in the US. He is despised by his molestor’s family, but can’t escape as he is constantly being promoted in the media as a tennis phenom and he fears loss of his visa. When Ali’s abuser dies suddenly, his widow kicks Ali out with a check of “hush money” and a promise to ruin his reputation if Ali ever tells his story. Ali invests his money in his training so that he can become a top pro.

In reaching his peak Ali encounters Alex, the Number One pro on the tennis tour. Alex is attracted to Ali, and they begin a relationship–in the closet. This benefits them both, but things sour as Ali continues to climb the ranks and soon bests Alex.

Daniel and Dylan meet Alex and Ali in the Olympics. They hit it off and become very friendly. (Expect ménage though it’s subtle) their joined experience marks an end–and a new beginning. Dylan sees that Daniel can’t be the man he needs. Ali and Dylan become closer, and potential exists between them, however both Ali and Dylan receive unwelcome health news that shatters one life and cripples the other.

Just when Daniel realizes that he can’t live without Dylan is exactly when he learns he’ll have to. And Alex, the ironic one, loses the biggest competition of his life–with his own ego.

So many lives intersect in this book. The secondary characters, even the “ghosts” of Dylan’s mother and Daniel’s sister, become necessary. The writing is fluid and beautiful. Each man is so well-characterized I could almost expect to see any of them lifting a gold medal to the sky. The triumphs and travails were so outrageously conceived: who could envision a war waif becoming the top pro in tennis? Who could envision a swimmer who fears the ocean? And yet all of these made perfect sense here. I was simply captivated.

Smexytimes were brief and understated, in keeping with the down-low types of relationships the men preferred. The internalization of abuse, by both Dylan and Ali, was heartbreaking. Too many times I just wanted to hug Dylan. I know I wept for him. For Ali, I was chilled.

Books like this remind me to wonder what happens behind the veil of sports and celebrity. Bravo! I obtained this book from NetGalley. This is my honest review.

Interested? You can find WATER MUSIC on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

imageAbout the author:
Georgette Gouveia was the senior cultural writer with Gannett Inc. and currently is editor of WAG magazine. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied with Grace Paley and earned a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts in critical writing. She is the author of “The Essential Mary Cassatt”.

“Water Music” is her first published novel.

When she’s not writing and editing, Georgette likes to sing coloratura arias, decorate her home, do yoga and lift weights, indulge her passion for beautiful things, including men, collect Hello Kitty, argue with her uncle about sports and revel in her spinsterhood.

You can find Georgette on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

How Do I Love Diana Gabaldon? Let me count the ways….

Hi there! Today’s book, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, or WimoHB as I will dub it throughout, by the classy professor-turned-mega-rockstar-author Diana Gabaldon, is THE BOMB! Please indulge my moment of gushing fangirlishness. Have you read Outlander, the first book in the series? I dare say I might could quote sections for you. I have purchased that book four times. For myself. And the copies keep straying away, all to the good. #Karma….

Anywho, WimoHB is not for the faint of heart. It is also not for the uninitiated. It’s book 8 in the series. You gotta read the other seven for this to make sense.

imageAbout the book:
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the eighth novel in the world-famous OUTLANDER series. In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian’s Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she’s facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother’s pragmatism.

The best of historical fiction with a Moebius twist, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD weaves the fibers of a family’s life through the tapestry of historical drama.

My Review:
Okay, so I will preface this review with a few TRUE FACTS:
TF#1–I have read all Outlander novels (excepting THE SCOTTISH PRISONER) multiple times.
TF#2–I have a child with the middle name James, in homage to Jamie Fraser.
TF#3–I’m 98% sure reading Gabaldon books increases fertility.
TF#4–I threw my copy of ECHO IN THE BONE across the room the first time I finished reading it.
TF#5–I totally forgave Diana for making me throw EitB BECAUSE Written in my own Heart’s Blood is SO FREAKING AWESOME THAT I MAY HAVE TO STALK Ms. Gabaldon in order to get pieces of the next book ASAP.

Here’s the thing: Outlander is an epic undertaking. It will break your heart. It will move you to love, to anguish, to violence. Or, maybe that’s just me… 😉

In this latest installment, Jamie and Claire are reunited–this after Claire had thought Jamie lost in a shipwreck. Oh, and after she had married Lord John Grey–a notable friend of Jamie and a gay man (though his sexual preference is not generally known). Jamie was enraged, understandably, and gravely wounded Lord John in fisticuffs. Reconciliations are reached, but tension remains.

Jamie’s bastard son William has discovered his tainted lineage. He’s wrung out with anger, and embarrassment. How can he accept his role as a British earl, if his true father was a Scottish outlaw? Throughout the book he has multiple encounters with both Lord John–his adoptive father–and Jamie. William learns he must accept himself, as himself, and this seems to happen. Hooray! I so want to love William–and I really really do.

Roger and Briana and Jem and Mandy all come to good ends–following some extremely harrowing times in 1980 and 1737. Just loved how that storyline got fixed up. And, I’m starting to warm up to William Bucchleigh these days.

Ian Murray and Rachel Hunter make the most fun odd couple. How does a Scots-Mohawk convince a Quaker virgin he’s The One? I guess with a very big stick… Rachel’s fervent logic and patience is the perfect foil for Ian’s impetuousness.

I was so glad to see the movement of the family through the colonies in the midst of war. The battles weren’t epic, but the emotions were tense throughout. I especially loved Jamie’s resignation to General Washington. Poignant, for sure.

The resolution is exactly what I’d HOPED for–and I’ll say that, yes, there is TOO much coincidence in this book, but I DO NOT CARE BECAUSE I WANT MY HAPPY ENDING DAMMIT!


I am energized and expectant for the next book–without any of the dread I’d felt over “MOBY” as Gabaldon called this work-in-progress. I’m big enough to admit that I can be wounded by my reading. I love some characters too much some times. (This is why I can’t read GOT–too many casualties!)

Interested? You can find WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD everywhere. Quite literally. It was the NY Times best seller in it’s first week. So, if Walmart and Target have sold out and you can’t wait six weeks to get it through your local library, you can search Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They’ll get it for you, toot-sweet.

imageAbout the author:
Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER (“historical fiction with a Moebius twist”), has continued through seven more New York Times-bestselling novels— DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, and WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, with more than twenty-six million copies in print worldwide.

You can find Diana on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

New Release! HUDSON by Laurelin Paige with Super Giveaway!!!

From Bestselling Author

Laurelin Paige

Book 4 in the FIXED series

Hudson (Fixed, #4)


“I can easily divide my life into two parts—before her and after.”

Hudson Pierce has led a life few others could even imagine. With money and power at his fingertips, he’s wanted for almost nothing. He’s never experienced love, however, and he’s seen few examples of it in his dysfunctional family. The ridiculous notion of romance has always intrigued him. He’s studied it, controlled it, manipulated it, and has yet to understand it.

Until he meets Alayna Withers.

Now, the games he’s played in his quest for comprehension can finally come to an end. Or are they just beginning?

Told from his point of view, Hudson fills the holes in his love story with Alayna Withers. His past and relationship with his long-time friend Celia is further revealed and light is shed on his actions during his courtship with Alayna.



Get yours today! Available on Goodreads and Amazon


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imageAbout Laurelin: Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine.
You can catch up with Laurelin on Facebook, Twitter, her website, you can sign up for newsletter or Pinterest.
Thanks for dropping in and keep reading my friends!


Happy Book Birthday to SECOND DAUGHTER–A Review

Hi all! Hope you had a great weekend! Mine included fantastic ribs, time with the kids, two busted computers, and few great reads. Today I want to share a YA steampunk/adventure/romance from Susan Kaye Quinn–my dear friend and writing buddy. I reviewed THIRD DAUGHTER a few months back, and I’m hooked on the series.

SECOND DAUGHTER is the second book in this series–it is advisable to read these books in order.

Second Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #2)About the book:

Assassins, skyships, and royal intrigue…

With plans for a second skyship exposed, Third Daughter Aniri fears her sister, Seledri, will be caught in a war between the three Queendoms. Seledri is the Second Daughter of Dharia, which means she had no choice in her arranged marriage to the First Son of Samir—a country with whom they may soon be at war. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she questions her own rushed betrothal to Prince Malik, the noble barbarian who controls the skyship—and whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.

My Review:
When last we saw Aniri, she was due to marry Ash, Prince of Jungali, in a week. Her mother and eldest sister have arrived in Bhatki, Jungali’s capital city, for the wedding and Aniri had iceberg feet. She’s barely 18, and unsure that she could make a good Queen–let alone a good wife. Plus, she fears that her affection for Ash was the product of their adventure together. She knows he’s a good man–Aniri feels a bit…unworthy.

Then, on the eve of their wedding, Aniri’s pregnant sister, Seledri survives an assassination attempt and Aniri takes Ash’s skyship to Samir (with Ash’s permission yet against his reservations) to “visit” Seledri; even Aniri’s maid Priya and her personal guard Janak know Aniri’s planning to remove Seledri. Why not? There are serious rumors that Samir is planning to invade Aniri’s homeland Dharia–which would put Seledri at greater risk.

Arriving in Samir, Aniri finds the situation more dire than she expected–her sister’s husband is in a battle for the throne with his younger brother and Seledri is a pawn in the struggle. Aniri gets unexpected help from her former “lover” Devesh and and a person she hasn’t seen in eight long years, both of whom have questionable loyalty.

Still, they are able to rescue Seledri–not without casualties–and the return to Jungali should be triumphant. It is not. Aniri made some key mistakes in the mission, and Ash is ready to send her back to Dharia unwed. Her intelligence gained–that Samir likely has an armada of skyships–hastens Ash’s defensive plans, and his efforts to get Aniri far from danger. And out of his country. Of course, Aniri’s fickle heart had finally decided that Ash was The One….had been ready to pledge herself wholeheartedly, until he didn’t want her.

But, the best things in life are worth fighting for, and Aniri’s a spirited girl. She makes amends the best she can, proclaiming Ash’s worth to his people and rousing the Jungalis for the looming battle. Will it be enough to win him back?

Maybe. I’ll tell you now, the book ends with a heavy cliffhanger, but not regarding Aniri and Ash–their feelings are made plain before the book ends. Unfortunately, their romance is still on hold as Bhakti faces the first wave of Samirian aggression and Aniri has an even bigger battle on her hands…

Oh! I just CANNOT wait for the conclusion of this series! The tension has been great. Aniri’s mix of undecidedness over marriage and resolution to save her loved ones is a great back-and-forth. She is young and headstrong and courageous and foolish. Her imperfections remind us of those parts we see in ourselves, undoubtedly. She has only known Ash two weeks–that’s kinda short for a commitment like marriage, and her natural reluctance is refreshing. She isn’t a gal prone to instalove, but wants a lasting connection to her partner. All respectable ideals.

And Ash is very compelling. Far more so than Devesh, though that guy has come out better in this tale than the first one. Either way, Aniri’s got a lot to do next book to reunite with her love, and save Dharia and Jungali from war.

Interested? You can find SECOND DAUGHTER at Goodreads, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, AllRomance.

2978c-susankayequinnwebAbout Susan Kaye Quinn:
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. She always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

She is also NOMINATED for the Illinois Librarian’s “Soon to be Famous Author Project” wherein librarians hope to discover local authors whose “work will jump off the page for readers.”

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

 Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!