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Posts Categorized: Excerpt

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Spotlight: Regret by Christina Lee

Posted by Irish in Excerpt, Spotlight0 Comments

Regret RDB Banner

REGRET

CHRISTINA LEE

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 06.26.17

Regret Cover

COVER DESIGN: KANAXA

BLURB

When Brian “Brin” Schubert’s condo floods, he takes his co-worker up on the offer to stay on his crappy futon for a while. The last thing he expects is for his friend’s roommate to be the one guy he despises the most. The same guy who stomped on his heart senior year of high school. And by the looks of the girl on his arm, the same man who’s still deep inside the closet.

Nicholas Dell never predicted that eleven years later, one of his greatest regrets would show up on his doorstep down on his luck. Nick has made some terrible mistakes—story of his life—and he’s been paying for them ever since. And if the guilt and shame aren’t enough, his first crush had to turn into one of the sexiest men he’s ever laid eyes on.

Nick and Brin have weeks to steer clear of each other. Weeks to avoid strangling each other. But when stubbornness leads to skyrocketing sexual tension, hate-sex doesn’t seem like such an awful way to work through their frustration. Except hate is a powerful emotion, especially when it’s turned inward. And in Nick’s case he’s been drowning in a sea of self-loathing for so long, he can’t see his way out.

As Brin reconnects with Nick, his perception of what really happened in their past begins to change. He’s finally ready to forgive him and take a second chance on the one guy who stirs him like no other. But Nick’s demons are complicated, heart-wrenching…demanding. So devastating, he might never allow himself true happiness—even with the one man who’s always owned his heart.

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2rjELhF

Regret Teaser 1 3 Regret Teaser

EXCERPT

Tally pawed at the pillow for a few seconds before finally sinking down, apparently resigned to her position. I straightened to back out of the room, only then allowing my gaze to slide over Brin’s sleeping form. My pulse spiked when I noticed his eyes on me.

“Not sure Tally will want to sleep without you,” he rasped out. The words were like a thunderbolt to my chest. As if he was referring to more than the dog finding her way to my bed.

“Not sure I’ll want to sleep without her,” I replied in a hoarse voice, attempting to get my emotions under control.

Without you. Because you’ve taken up residence inside my heart once again. But maybe you’ve always been there, winding inside my rib cage, coiling around my lungs. Making it impossible to breathe, to think, to stop wanting.

As I turned to leave, his warm fingers curled around my wrist, searing into my skin. My breath caught in my throat. It was the first time he made the first move and my heart bloomed into an impossibly large bouquet of hope and aching desire inside my chest.

Our gazes snagged and held as his other hand slowly reached for the edge of the blanket and pulled it aside.

CL Pic

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing.

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Excerpt: Riveted by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt1 Comment

RIVETED - header banner

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the next installment in the Saints of Denver series.

 

 

Riveted - cover

Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT 

I shifted my weight on my feet and bit back a sigh. I should have known she was going to be persistent, but I was done playing nice for her when it was clear her son was so beaten down that he was too scared to make a move or even speak for himself. She was a tyrant and I wasn’t going to subject myself to her vile company anymore. As soon as I slipped inside my apartment I was going to delete all the dating apps I had on my phone.

“I have a dog and she’s leery around strangers.” That was partly true. I did have a dog, a massive blue pit bull that I rescued from a shelter just days before she was supposed to be put down. Dolly looked like a brute, but she was a sweetheart and had never met a human she didn’t want tummy scratches and love from. We were kind of kindred spirits in that way. I mean I didn’t need my ears scratched or my belly rubbed, but I was afflicted with the same pressing need to be liked and accepted by pretty much everyone I came in contact with. It was ingrained in me to at least try to make everyone a friend, and if they didn’t reciprocate my kindness it only forced me to try harder. Sometimes I hated that about myself, and sometimes it was my favorite personality trait because the men and women in my life weren’t the easiest nuts to crack. They all loved me and let me in because I’d refused to let them shut me out.

Well, all except for one man.

I couldn’t hold back my flinch when he crossed my mind because he had warned me about online dating from the get-go, and I hated that he was right about it. I also hated that he was the reason I was desperate to find a man . . . a man who wasn’t him . . . in the first place.

Mommie Dearest shook her head and clicked her tongue at me. “Joseph is allergic to dogs. Your pet will have to go as things progress between the two of you.”

I felt my eyes pop wide and the forced smile I had plastered on my face for the entire evening finally slipped away. I already knew she had a few screws loose, but she was taking her crazy to another level if she thought she could tell me to get rid of my dog or what to do with anything in my life.

I straightened my shoulders and tilted my chin up. It was a look that worked on the drunks and unruly college kids that I hustled out of the bar where I worked every night.

“That’s not going to be a problem because things are not progressing beyond my front door. Thank you both for dinner, but if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go inside and cuddle my dog and erase every online dating app there is.”

The woman narrowed her eyes and stepped around her son. The young man made a noise low in his throat and his eyes widened. I thought he was scared of his mom, but the closer I looked at him the more obvious it became that he was scared for me as the woman advanced. He reached out a hand to grab his mother’s elbow, but it fell away before making contact like he knew the repercussions for intervening would be severe and drastic.

“Listen here, you little . . .” I lifted my hand before she could throw at me whatever insulting word she was going to label me with. I don’t think the woman was used to anyone standing their ground with her because she gasped and fell back a step.

“Stop. I thought I was talking to Joseph. I thought he was a nice guy, maybe a little sheltered and awkward . . . but a nice guy. Obviously it wasn’t him running his dating profile and there was some other agenda here from the start. I’m well past the age where I need a mother’s approval or permission to date her son, so I’m going to go into my apartment and end this date before either side gets nasty.” I looked at the shell-shocked young man hovering behind his mother and mouthed good luck before turning my back on both of them and inserting my key into the door. Dolly barked loud and deep from the other side, which was both comforting and reassuring.

I turned the knob on the door and pushed into the apartment without looking back. Once the door was shut and my dog was happily rubbing against my legs, I tossed my head back and let out a sigh that felt like it was tied to my soul. I was tired, so tired.

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

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ADD RIVETED TO YOUR GOODREADS

 

 

Want to read all of Chapter One from RIVETED? Follow along with the tour here!

February 6th

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we stole your book boyfriend

 

 

And read Chapter Two of RIVETED here!

 

 

RIVETED - Preorder graphic

Jay Crownover continues her Saints of Denver series with Riveted, available February 14th, 2017

Give yourself a Valentine’s Day gift in advance…Preorder and fill out the form here: https://a.pgtb.me/t0JkQX

Pre-order Riveted today and on February 14th, you’ll also receive a glossy Saints of Denver poster and an exclusive first-look at Chapters 1 and 2 of Avenged, her forthcoming Mackenzie Family novella.

Avenged combines the grit of Saints of Denver series with the all-out heat of The Point series with a mind-blowing, mystery, yet-to-be-revealed, couple combining both of these worlds. Be one of the first to find out who it is, pre-order Riveted today.

Posters will be mailed the week of February 14th and Avenged chapters will arrive via email.

 

 

Jay Crownover - headshotAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Excerpt: Danny, The Champion of the World by Ronald Dahl

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt0 Comments

Excerpt: Danny, The Champion of the World by Ronald Dahl

This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller.

I have been a fan of Roald Dahl since I was a little girl and read The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Matilda. These stories took me away from the everyday and transported me to a world’s that I longed to live in and am forever grateful to Mr. Dahl for all the wonderful memories he has given me.

As part of the celebration, Penguin Young Readers has released brand new covers of all of Roald Dahl’s works. I have the honor of celebrating the newest cover for The BFG and an excerpt! Pleasejoin me in the celebration of such a wonderful event.

 danny-champion-of-the-world

Title: Danny, The Champion of the World
Author: Roald Dahl
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1975

Can Danny and his father outsmart the villainous Mr. Hazell?

Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest master car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. But one night Danny discovers a shocking secret that his father has kept hidden for years. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world.

Excerpt

When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself. This is how I looked at the time.

                I had no brothers or sisters.

                So all through my boyhood, from the age of four months onward, there was just us two, my father and me.

                We lived in an old gypsy caravan behind a filling station. My father owned the filling station and the caravan and a small meadow behind, but that was about all he owned in the world. It was a very small filling station on a small country road surrounded by fields and woody hills.

                While I was still a baby, my father washed me and fed me and changed my diapers and did all the millions of other things a mother normally does for her child. That is not an easy task for a man, especially when he has to earn his living at the same time by repairing automobile engines and serving customers with gasoline.

                But my father didn’t seem to mind. I think that all the love he had felt for my mother when she was alive he now lavished upon me. During my early years, I never had a moment’s unhappiness or illness, and here I am on my fifth birthday.

                I was now a scruffy little boy as you can see, with grease and oil all over me, but that was because I spent all day in the workshop helping my father with the automobiles.

                The filling station itself had only two pumps. There was a wooden shed behind the pumps that served as an office There was nothing in the office except an old table and a cash register to put the money into. It was one of those where you pressed a button and a bell rang and the drawer shot out with a terrific bang. I used to love that.

                The square brick building to the right of the office was the workshop. My father built that himself with loving care, and it was the only really solid thing on the place. “We are engineers, you and I,” he used to say to me. “We earn our living by repairing engines and we can’t do good work in a rotten workshop.” It was a fine workshop, big enough to take one automobile comfortably and leave plenty of room around the sides for working. It had a telephone so that customers could ring up and arrange to bring their cars in for repair.

                The caravan was our house and our home. It was a real old gypsy wagon with big wheels and fine patterns painted all over it in yellow and red and blue. My father said it was at least one hundred and fifty years old. Many gypsy children, he said, had been born in it and had grown up within its wooden walls. With a horse to pull it, the old caravan must have wandered for thousands of miles along the roads and lanes of England. But now its wanderings were over, because the wooden spokes in the wheels were beginning to rot, my father had propped it up underneath with bricks.

                There was only one room in the caravan, and it wasn’t much bigger than a fair-sized modern bathroom. It was a narrow room, the shape of the caravan itself, and against the back wall were two bunk beds, one above the other. The top one was my father’s, the bottom one mine.

                Although we had electric lights in the workshop, we were not allowed to have them in the caravan. The electricity people said it was unsafe to put wires into something as old and rickety as that. So we got our heat and light in much the same way as the gypsies had done years ago. There was a wood-burning stove with a chimney that went up through the roof, and this kept us warm in winter. There was a kerosene burner on which to boil a kettle or cook a stew, and there was a kerosene lamp hanging from the ceiling.

                When I needed a bath, my father would heat a kettle of water and pour it into a basin. Then he would stop me naked and scrub me all over, standing up. This, I think, got me just as clean as if I were washed in a bathtub—probably cleaner because I didn’t finish up sitting in my own dirty water.

                For furniture, we had two chairs and a small table, and those, apart from a tiny chest of drawers, were all the home comforts we possessed. They were all we needed.

                The lavatory was a funny little wooden hut standing in the meadow way back of the caravan. It was fine in the summertime, but I can tell you that sitting out there on a snowy day in winter was like sitting in an icebox.

                Immediately behind the caravan was an old apple tree. It bore fine apples that ripened in the middle of September. You could go on picking them for the next four or five weeks. Some of the boughs of the tree hung right over the caravan and when the wind blow the apples down in the night, they often landed on our roof. I would hear them going thump…thump…thump….above my head as I lay in my bunk, but those noises never frightened me because I knew exactly what was making them.

                I really loved living in the gypsy caravan. I loved it especially in the evenings when I was tucked up in my bunk and my father was telling me stories. The kerosene lamp was turned low, and I could see lumps of wood glowing red-hot in the old stove, and wonderful it was to be lying there snug and warm in my bunk in that little room. Most wonderful of all was the feeling that when I went to sleep, my father would still be there, very close to me, sitting in his chair by the fire, or lying in the bunk above my own.

roald-photo-official-photo-jpeg

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach – when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published asCharlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.

For more information please visit www.roalddahl.com/usa

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Don’t forget to use the hashtag #roalddahl100
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Don’t forget to hashtag #roalddahl100

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight (1)

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Title: NEVERNIGHT

Author: Jay Kristoff

Pub. Date: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Pages: 448

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

Excerpt

She snapped to her feet, stiletto drawn, her shadow writhing across the tiles toward him. The Dweymeri boy had drawn his scimitar, two more throwing knives poised in his other hand. Dark saltlocks of matted hair swayed over his eyes. The tattoos on his face were the ugliest Mia had ever seen, looking like they’d been scrawled by a blind man in the midst of a seizure. Yet the face beneath . . .

The pair stood watching each other, still as statues, moments ticking by like hours as the gale howled about them.

“You have very good ears, sir,” she finally said.

“You have better feet, Pale Daughter. I heard nothing.”

“Then how?”

The boy offered a dimpled smile. “You stink of cigarillo smoke. Cloves, I think.”

“That’s impossible. I’m upwind from you.”

The boy glanced at the shadows moving like snakes around his feet.

“Seems to be raining impossible in these parts.”

She stared at him. Hard and sharp and lean and quick. A rapier in a world of broadswords. Mercurio was better at reading folk than any person she’d known, and he’d taught her to sum others up in a blinking. Whoever this boy was, whatever his reasons for seeking the Church, he was no psychopath. Not one who killed for killing’s sake.

Interesting.

“You seek the Red Church,” she said.

“The fat man wouldn’t take my tithe.”

“Nor mine. We’re being tested, I think.”

“I thought the same.”

“It’s possible they’re no longer here. I was heading into the wastes to look.”

“If it’s death you seek, there are easier ways to find it.” The boy gestured beyond Last Hope’s walls. “Where would you even start?”

“I was planning on following my nose,” Mia smiled. “But something tells me I’d do better following yours.”

The boy stared long and hard. Hazel eyes roaming her body, cool and narrowed. The blade in her hand. The shadows at his feet. The whispering wastes behind him.

“My name is Tric,” he said, sheathing the scimitar at his back.

“. . . Tric? Are you certain?”

“Certain about my own name? Aye, that I am.”

“I mean no disrespect, sir,” Mia said. “But if we’re to travel the Whisperwastes together, we should at least be honest enough to use our own names. And your name can’t be Tric.”

“. . . Do you call me liar, girl?”

“I called you nothing, sir. And I’ll thank you not to call me ‘girl’ again, as if the word were kin to something you found on the bottom of your boot.”

“You have a strange way of making friends, Pale Daughter.”

Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.

“I’ve read the Dweymeri cleave to ritualized naming rites. Your names follow a set pattern. Noun then verb. Dweymeri have names like ‘Spinesmasher.’ ‘Wolfeater.’ ‘Pigfiddler.’ ”

“. . . Pigfiddler?”

Mia blinked. “Pigfiddler was one of the most infamous Dweymeri pirates who ever lived. Surely you’ve heard of him?”

“I was never one for history. What was he infamous for?”

“Fiddling with pigs.1 He terrorized farmers from Stormwatch to Dawnspear for almost ten years. Had a three- hundred- iron bounty on him in the end. No hog was safe.”

“. . . What happened to him?”

“The Luminatii. Their swords did to his face what he did to the pigs.”

“Ah.”

“So. Your name cannot be Tric.”

The boy stared her up and down, expression clouded. But when he spoke, there was iron in his voice. Indignity. A well- nursed and lifelong anger.

“My name,” he said, “is Tric.”

The girl looked him over, dark eyes narrowed. A puzzle, this one. And sure and certain, our girl had ever the weakness for puzzles.

“Mia,” she finally said.

The boy walked slow and steady across the tiles, paying no attention to the black beneath him. Extending one hand. Calloused fingers, one silver ring—the long, serpentine forms of three seadrakes, intertwined—on his index finger.

Mia looked the boy over, the scars and ugly facial tattoos, olive skin, lean and broad shouldered. She licked her lips, tasted sweat.

The shadows rippled at her feet.

“A pleasure to meet you, Dona Mia,” he said.

“And you, Don Tric.”

And with a smile, she shook his hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1 O, stop giggling and grow up.

jay

About Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a New York Times and international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. He spent most of his formative years locked in his bedroom with piles of books, or gathered around dimly-lit tables rolling polyhedral dice. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

His LOTUS WAR trilogy was critically acclaimed in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards and won the 2014 Aurealis Award. Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller THE ILLUMINAE FILES, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, ILLUMINAE, became a New York Times and international bestseller, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award and an ABIA Book of the Year award. ILLUMINAE is currently slated to be published in twenty five countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment.

Jay’s new fantasy series, THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, commences with book 1, NEVERNIGHT, from St Martins Press/Thomas Dunne Books and Harper Voyager in 2016. A new YA series, LIFEL1K3 has also been acquired by Knopf/Random House Kids, and commences publication in 2018. Jay is as surprised about all this as you are. He is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13,030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

Website | Twitter | Facebook |Instagram | Goodreads

Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Tour Stops

Week One:

8/1/2016- Dark Faerie Tales Interview

8/2/2016- Once Upon a Twilight– Review

8/3/2016- Supernatural Snark– Interview

8/4/2016- Nerdophiles– Review

8/5/2016- The Book Cellar– Interview

 

Week Two:

8/8/2016- MEREADALOT– Review

8/9/2016- Ticket to Anywhere– Interview

8/10/2016- The Young Folks– Review

8/11/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

8/12/2016- Mundie Moms– Review

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post: The Virgin and the Viscount by Charis Michaels

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Guest Post, Spotlight0 Comments

Blog Tour Guest Post: The Virgin and the Viscount by Charis Michaels

VirginandtheViscountCOVER

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About THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT

In the next sparkling romance in debut author Charis Michael’s Bachelor Lords of London series, a proper viscount meets his match in a beguiling virgin who can’t help but break all the rules.

The Virgin
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At the innocent age of fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. After two days, a young lord discovers her and enacts a brave rescue to get her out. Now she’s a grown woman, working to save other girls from the horror she saw that night and never forgetting the young man who rescued her.

The Viscount
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh has overcome an abusive boyhood, neglectful parents, and a bankrupt title to be one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. He works tirelessly to be upright and forthright and proper to a fault. Now he requires only one thing: A proper, forthright, proper wife.

The Unraveling
When a charity event puts Lord Bryson and Lady Elisabeth face-to-face, Bryson has no memory of the wounded girl of long ago. All he can see is a perfect candidate to be his future wife. Elisabeth has never forgotten him, but she worries that the brave boy who saved her so long ago has become a rich man with an unfulfilled life.

As a whirlwind courtship reveals the truth, Bryson must accept that Elisabeth is actually a shadow from his dark past, while Elisabeth must show that love is the noblest virtue of all.

 

Guest Post

 

Crafting a Book Title with a Title:  How The Virgin and the Viscount Got Its Name

The Virgin and the Viscount was the very first romance manuscript I ever wrote, way back in 2004, twelve years before it would reach the hands of readers.

Back then, it had a working title of, A Proper Scandal.

Back then, it was not connected to another book like it is now.

Back then it was double the word count.

            After I finished the first draft, it languished with its old title and original length until I was able to revise it into my Bachelor Lords of London series.  To my delight, the revisions came easily, almost as if it belonged in the series from conception. Characters were combined.  Chapters were cut. My writing became more succinct.

What did not come as easily was giving the book a new title.

            When an author names a work of commercial fiction like romance, she has the challenge of making quite a lot of people happy.  Herself (obviously), her editor, the editors above her editor, the marketing and publicity teams, her readers, and simply the trending Zeitgeist.

But before I could please everyone, I had to think series, I had to think “Bachelor Lords,” I had to make this book fit with the book before it, The Earl Next Door.

Since Book I in the series contains the aristocratic title “Earl,” we felt second book should hit on the hero in general and mention his rank particular.

Ha! Easier said than done….Here, I share with you a very few of my many, many rejected false starts:

The Stone-Cold Viscount, The Viscount’s Vow, The Viscount’s Vice, The Viscount’s Only Vice, The Viscount Takes a Vice, Unraveling the Viscount or The Viscount Unraveled.

When these were all rejected and I was pulling my hair, I sent up:

Stand and Viscount-ed,  Down for the Viscount (personal favorite worst of the worst), Where the Viscount Ends, or Viscount on the Verge.

And finally (pathetically):  Don’t Viscount the Chickens Before They Hatch, which is what I felt I had done by writing this book into the series without deciding on a viable name at the onset.

Alas, we all know a title emerged and the book is called The Virgin and the Viscount.  To arrive at this, I finally caught on to what my publisher seemed to want, the perfect balance of little bit sexy + a little bit catchy.

I began to search words that began with “V” (for the catchy) that might also be provocative (for the sexy).  When I stumbled on “Virgin,” I thought, fingers crossed, I might I might have a winner—and I was right.  I got the thumbs-up from my publisher, my writing buddies, and I even felt like my characters would approve.

Now, ahem, if I can only convince my mother.

Excerpt

 

Prologue

 

On April 12, 1809, Franklin “Frankie” Courtland, 6th Viscount Rainsleigh, tripped on a root in the bottom of a riverbed and drowned.  He was drunk at the time, picnicking with friends on the banks of the River Wylye.  According an account later given to the magistrate, his lordship simply fell over, bumped into a fallen log, and sank.

It was there he remained—“enjoying the cool,” or so his friends believed—until he became too heavy, too slippery, and, alas, too dead to revive.  But they did dislodge him; and after that, they claimed he floated to the surface, bobbed several times, and then gently glided downstream.  He was later found just before sunset, face down and bloated (in life, as also in death), beached on a pebble shoal near Codford.

At the time the elder Courtland was sinking to the bottom of the river, his son and heir, Bryson was hunched over a desk in the offices of his fledgling shipping company, waiting for the very moment his father would die.  It had been an exceedingly long, progressively humiliating wait.  Years long—nay, decades.

Luckily for Bryson, for his ships and his future, he was capable of doing more things at once than wait, and while his father drank and debauched his way through all respectability and life, Bryson worked.

It was an unthinkable thing for a young heir and nobleman—to “work”—but Bryson was given little choice, considering the impoverished state of the Rainsleigh crest.  He was scarcely eleven years of age when he made first foray into labor, and not so many years after, into private enterprise.  His life in work had not ceased since.  On the rare occasion that he didn’t work, he studied.

With his meager earnings (he began by punting boats on the very river in which his father later drowned), he made meager investments.  These investments reaped small gains—first in shares in the punting station; later in property along the water; later still, in other industry up and down the river.

Bryon lived modestly, worked ceaselessly, and spared only enough to pay his way through Cambridge, bring up his brother, and see him educated him, as well.   Every guinea earned was reinvested.  He repeated the process again and again, a little less meagerly each time ‘round.

By the time the elder viscount’s self-destructive lifestyle wrought his river- and drink-soaked end, Bryson had managed to accrue a small fortune, launch a company that built and sailed ships, and construct an elaborate plan for what he would do when his father finally cocked up his toes and died.

When at last that day came, Bryson had but one complaint: it took fifty-two hours for the constable to find him.  He was a viscount for two days before anyone, including himself, even knew it.

But two days was a trifle compared to a lifetime of waiting.  And on the day he learned of his inheritance—nay, the very hour—he launched his long awaited plan.

By three o’clock on the fourth day, he’d razed the rotting, reeking east wing of the family estate in Wiltshire to the ground.

Within the week, he’d extracted his mother from the west wing and shipped her and a contingent of discreet caregivers to a villa in Spain.

Within the month, he’d sold every stick of furniture, every remaining fork and dish, every sweat-soaked toga and opium-tinged gown.  He burned the drapes, burned the rugs, burned the tapestries.  He delivered the half-starved horses and the fighting dogs to an agricultural college and pensioned off the remaining staff.

By the six-week mark, he’d unloaded the London townhome—sold at auction to the highest bidder—and with it, the broken-down carriage, his father’s dusty arsenal, what was left of the wine stores, and all the lurid art.

It was a whirlwind evacuation, a gutting, really, and no one among polite society had ever witnessed a son or heir take such absolute control and haul away so much family or property quite so fast.

But no one among polite society was acquainted with Bryson Anders Courtland, the new Viscount Rainsleigh.

And no one understood that it was not so much an ending as it was an entirely fresh start.  Once the tearing down ceased, the rebuilding could begin. New viscountsy, new money, new respect, new life.

It was an enterprise into which Bryson threw himself like no other. Unlike all others, however, he could only do so much, one man, alone. For this, he would require another.  A partner.   Someone with whom he could work together towards a common goal.  A collaborator who emulated his precise, immaculate manner. A matriarch, discreet and pure. A paragon of propriety.  A viscountess.  A proper, perfect wife.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About CHARIS MICHAELS

 Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

 

Where to buy THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT

Avon

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Excerpt + Contest: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in Contest, Excerpt, Spotlight1 Comment

Praise for Defending Taylor

 

“I can’t quite put my finger on what is so enthralling about Kenneally’s newest novel, but it totally sucked me in. I loved that Kenneally didn’t go with an easy, traditional happy-go-lucky ending. I also enjoyed the flawed nature of the characters, which made them feel more relatable. This is a great summer read and my favorite novel by Kenneally so far!” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 Defending Taylor

Summary:

 

There are no mistakes in love.

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

 

Goodreads // Amazon //  Apple // Barnes&Noble //  BooksAMillion // !ndigo // Indiebound

 

Excerpt 

Excerpt from Defending Taylor:

I now understand culture shock: it’s me experiencing Hundred Oaks High for the first time.

A lot of kids go here. Five hundred? A thousand? There are so many I can’t tell. At St. Andrew’s, there were only forty kids in my entire class. We lived on a calm, sprawling, green campus. Walking down the halls of Hundred Oaks feels like last-­minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall.

Two guys wearing football jerseys are throwing a ball back and forth. It whizzes by my ear. A suspender-­clad male teacher is hanging a poster for the science fair, while a couple is making out against the wall next to the fire alarm. If they move another inch, they’ll set off the sprinklers. At St. Andrew’s, kissing in the hall was an über no-­no. We snuck under the staircase or went out into the woods. Ben and I did that all the time.

Thinking of him makes me stop moving. I shut my eyes. Dating Ben was stupid. Going into the woods with him was stupid. Thinking about what happened makes me so mad, I want to rip that newly hung science fair poster off the wall and tear it apart.

A boy shoves past me, slamming my arm with his backpack. That’s what I get for loitering in the middle of the hallway with my eyes closed. He looks me up and down. “You coming to Rutledge Falls this afternoon?”

“What?”

“Paul Simmons challenged Nolan Chase to a fight. Rutledge Falls. Three o’clock. Don’t tell the cops.”

A fight? Where the hell am I? Westeros?

A girl bumps into my side. “Watch it!” Flashing me a dirty look, she disappears into a classroom with a group of friends, chattering away.

Seeing those girls together reminds me of my best friends, Steph and Madison. Right now, they’re probably gossiping before trig starts. I miss Steph’s cool British accent and Madison’s cheerful laugh.

I take a deep, rattled breath. And then another. I feel trapped, like the time I got locked in my grandpa’s garage and no one found me for an hour and I banged on the windows until my fists turned purple from bruises.

I can’t believe I had to leave my school. My home.

All because I made one stupid decision.

I check my schedule. My first class is calculus 1, the most advanced math course Hundred Oaks offers. Just a week ago, I was taking an advanced calculus quiz at the University of the South. St. Andrew’s is one of the best prep schools in the country, and they offer seniors the opportunity to take courses at the university, which is up the road. Even though I was still in high school, the professors treated me just like a college kid. I was only in the course for two weeks, but still. It was insanely difficult. The truth is, unlike everybody else in my family, I hate math. I have to work at it harder than anything else in my life.

But if I didn’t take college calc, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t get into an Ivy League school. I need to go to a top-tier school because that’s what people in my family do. My father attended Yale, and my sister Jenna is there now. According to Dad, my brother Oliver—­Jenna’s twin—­is a traitor for going to Princeton, but I think Dad respects him for having the balls to make his own decision.

Me?

When Dad called me into his home office last night, he barely looked at me as he pored over my new schedule. The silence was killing me.

“I don’t know how Yale will still consider me if I’m not taking all AP courses,” I said. “Hundred Oaks only offers AP chemistry.”

Dad sighed, took off his glasses, and set down my schedule. “I’m incredibly disappointed in you, Taylor.”

I looked him straight in the eyes. His quiet restraint worried me. I’d never seen him so upset.

But I was upset too. He rarely had time to call me when I was away at school, but he could spare a few minutes to comment on my one screwup? After how hard I’ve always worked?

Over the years, I’ve done hours of homework every night. I had a 4.2 GPA at St. Andrew’s. A 1520 SAT score. I was on track to be valedictorian. I was captain of the soccer team and on the debate team. I did everything I could to show Yale that I worked hard. That I am a unique individual. Because that’s what Yale wants.

But my one misstep has muddied my glowing record.

Dad ended our conversation with a death knell.

“Tee, I gave you all the tools you needed to succeed,” he said. “I’ve paid for your private school education since first grade, and you squandered it by getting kicked out.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, my face burning. “I’m going to keep working hard at Hundred Oaks though.”

“You’re damn right you will.”

My father had me so flustered, I wasn’t thinking straight when I said, “Maybe Yale will still take me because of who I am.”

“You mean because of who I am.” Dad rubbed his eyes. “I’ve always taught you kids the importance of integrity, and the minute you got into trouble, instead of owning it, you called me to bail you out. And now you’re doing it again. Using my name to try to get ahead.”

I hung my head. “I’m sorry, Dad.”

“I love you more than anything, but you have to take responsibility for what you did. You’ll have to figure college out on your own.”

“What does that mean?” I asked slowly.

“It means I’m not lifting a finger. I won’t be calling the alumni association or the school president to put in a good word for you.”

“But didn’t you do that for Jenna and Oliver?” I blurted.

He put his glasses back on. “You need to own up, Tee.”

So here I am, glancing around the unfamiliar halls of Hundred Oaks. The school is neat and orderly, but it doesn’t look completely clean, like no matter how hard you scrub, it still looks old. At least it’s not juvie.

I step into my math class, which is already filled with kids. I choose an empty seat at a wobbly wooden desk and stare out the window at the sunny, seventy-­degree September day. I bet at St. Andrew’s, my world politics teacher is telling my friends, “Gather your books. It’s a beautiful day out. Let’s have class in one of the gardens.”

I check out the problem set on the whiteboard. I could do this level of math years ago…

My former guidance counselor told me that colleges look for trends in our GPA and activities over four years of high school. So that means when colleges see my application, they will see:

      I’m taking easier classes;

      I’m no longer doing debate;

      I’ve lost my soccer captainship this year; and

      I was expelled.

I have never simply given up when calculus got a lot tougher or an opponent ran faster than me on the soccer field. So I refuse to believe my entire future is over because of one mistake.

I just need to figure out how to move forward.

Defending Taylor Quote

About the Author:

Growing up in Tennessee, MIRANDA KENNEALLY dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband. Visit mirandakenneally.com

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://mirandakenneally.com/

Twitter: @MirandaKennealy

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mirandakenneally/

Contest

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of Defending Taylor

 

Runs July 1-July 30 (US & Canada only)

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpt: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Excerpt0 Comments

 

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

.

THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU: A Novel

By Lily Anderson

St. Martin’s Griffin

On Sale: May 17, 2016

Hardcover: 9781250079091 / $18.99 USD

eBook: 9781466891722 / $9.99 USD

 

SUMMARY:

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on—and they might not pick the same side.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Ben West spent summer vacation growing a handlebar mustache.

Seriously.

Hovering over his upper lip—possibly glued there—was a bushy monstrosity that shouted, “Look out, senior class, I’m gonna tie some chicks to the train tracks and then go on safari with my good friend Teddy Roosevelt. Bully!”

       I blindly swatted at Harper with my comic book, trying to alert her to the fact that there was a mustachioed moron trying to blend in with the other people entering campus.

“I know I should have made flash cards for the poems that Cline assigned,” she said, elbowing me back hard, both acknowledging that she wasn’t blind and that she hated when I interrupted her monologues about the summer reading list. “But I found Mrs. Bergman’s sociolinguistics syllabus on the U of O website and I’m sure she’ll use the same one here.”

The mustache twitched an attempt at freedom, edging away from West’s ferrety nose as he tried to shove past a group of nervous looking freshmen. It might have been looking at me and Harper, but its owner was doing everything possible to ignore us, the planter box we were sitting on, and anything else that might have been east of the wrought iron gate.

“So,” Harper continued, louder than necessary considering we were sitting two inches apart. “I thought I’d get a head start. But now I’m afraid that we were supposed to memorize the poems for Cline. He never responded to my emails.”

Pushing my comic aside, I braced my hands against the brick ledge. The mustache was daring me to say something. Harper could hear it too, as evidenced by her staring up at the sun and muttering, “Or you could, you know, not do this.”

“Hey, West,” I called, ignoring the clucks of protest coming from my left. “I’m pretty sure your milk mustache curdled. Do you need a napkin?”

Ben West lurched to a stop, one foot inside of the gate. Even on the first day of school, he hadn’t managed to find a clean uniform. His polo was a series of baggy wrinkles, half tucked into a pair of dingy khakis. He turned his head. If the mustache had been able to give me the finger, it would have. Instead, it stared back at me with its curlicue fists raised on either side of West’s thin mouth.

“Hey, Harper,” he said. He cut his eyes at me and grumbled, “Trixie.”

I leaned back, offering the slowest of slow claps. “Great job, West. You have correctly named us. I, however, may need to change your mantle. Do you prefer Yosemite Sam or Doc Holliday? I definitely think it should be cowboy related.”

“Isn’t it cruel to make the freshmen walk past you?” he asked me, pushing the ratty brown hair out of his eyes. “Or is it some kind of ritual hazing?”

“Gotta scare them straight.” I gestured to my blonde associate. “Besides, I’ve got Harper to soften the blow. It’s like good cop, bad cop.”

“It is nothing like good cop, bad cop. We’re waiting for Meg,” Harper said, flushing under the smattering of freckles across her cheeks as she turned back to the parking lot, undoubtedly trying to escape to the special place in her head where pop quizzes—and student council vice presidents—lived. She removed her headband,  pushing it back in place until she once again looked like Sleeping Beauty in pink glasses and khakis. Whereas I continued to look like I’d slept on my ponytail.

Which I had because it is cruel to start school on a Wednesday.

“Is it heavy?” I asked Ben, waving at his mustache. “Like weight training for your face? Or are you just trying to compensate for your narrow shoulders?”

He gave a half-hearted leer at my polo. “I could ask the same thing of your bra.”

My arms flew automatically to cover my chest, but I seemed to be able to only conjure the consonants of the curses I wanted to hurl at him. In his usual show of bad form, West took this as some sort of victory.

“As you were,” he said, jumping back into the line of uniforms on their way to the main building. He passed too close to Kenneth Pollack, who shoved him hard into the main gate, growling, “Watch it, nerd.”

“School for geniuses, Kenneth,” Harper called. “We’re all nerds.”

Kenneth flipped her off absentmindedly as West brushed himself off and darted past Mike Shepherd into the main building.

“Brute,” Harper said under her breath.

I scuffed the planter box with the heels of my mandatory Mary Janes. “I’m off my game. My brain is still on summer vacation. I totally left myself open to that cheap trick.”

“I was referring to Kenneth, not Ben,” she frowned. “But, yes, you should have known better. Ben’s been using that bra line since fourth grade.”

As a rule, I refused to admit when Harper was right before eight in the morning. It would just lead to a full day of her gloating. I hopped off of the planter and scooped up my messenger bag, shoving my comic inside.

“Come on. I’m over waiting for Meg. She’s undoubtedly choosing hair care over punctuality. Again.”

Harper slid bonelessly to her feet, sighing with enough force to slump her shoulders as she followed me through the front gate and up the stairs. The sunlight refracted against her pale hair every time her neck swiveled to look behind us. Without my massive aviator sunglasses, I was sure I would have been blinded by the glare.

“What’s with you?” I asked, kicking a stray pebble out of the way.

“What? Nothing.” Her head snapped back to attention, knocking her glasses askew. She quickly straightened them with two trembling hands. “Nothing. I was just thinking that maybe senior year might be a good time for you to end your war with Ben. You’d have more time to study and read comics and…”

Unlike the tardy Meg, Harper was tall enough that I could look at her without craning my neck downward. It made it easier to level her with a droll stare. Sometimes, it’s better to save one’s wit and just let the stupidity of a thought do the talking.

She rolled her eyes and clucked again, breezing past me to open the door.

“Or not,” she said, swinging the door open and letting me slip past her. “Year ten of Watson v. West starts now. But if one of you brings up the day he pushed you off the monkey bars, I am taking custody of Meg and we are going to sit with the yearbook staff during lunch.”

“I accept those terms,” I grinned. “Now help me think of historical figures with mustaches. Hitler and Stalin are entirely too obvious. I need to brainstorm before we get homework.”

Lily Anderson_CREDIT Sarah Lambert

AUTHOR BIO:

Lily Anderson is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU is her debut novel.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Wesbite: http://mslilyanderson.com/about/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mslilyanderson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ms_lilyanderson

Tumblr: http://mslilyanderson.tumblr.com/

 

PUBLISHER LINKS:

Website: www.griffinteen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GriffinTeen?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GriffinTeen

Tumblr: http://griffinteen.tumblr.com/

 

PRAISE:

“There’s a lot to enjoy in debut novelist Anderson’s geek-positive update of Much Ado About Nothing, including intense comic book fandom, a cheating scandal, student council drama, themed dances, and two central characters engaged in an epic love-hate relationship. Readers familiar with the Shakespeare will enjoy Anderson’s riffs on the original’s plot points as Trixie and Ben get their nerdily-ever-after ending.” —Publishers Weekly

“This is the kind of book that would get lost with you in a comic book shop. It would stay up late with you for a midnight release movie. It would let you practice your moves in a fighting game, before things got started. Basically, this book is the geeky best friend you’ve always wanted. A hilarious, heartfelt book that treats pop culture and Shakespeare with the same reverence and adoration, The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You a perfect geeky read that I wish I’d had in high school. If you could rate books on a scale of comic book conditions, this book would be MINT.” —Eric Smith, blogger and author of The Geek’s Guide to Dating

“This was a super fun retelling of Much Ado! I absolutely loved the voice in this book and the banter was A+++++.”

Ashley Herring Blake, author of Suffer Love

“I raced through the arc of this fast paced, smart, funny high school mystery inspired by Much Ado About Nothing! Trixie Watson’s senior year at her high school for the gifted and talented goes wildly awry. First, her lifelong nemesis has a surprising change of heart about her and second, a cheating scandal involves one of her closest friends. Trixie’s evolving romance was pitch perfect and the mystery of the cheating kept me hooked until the last page. This is a sweet, intelligent and clever story. The dialogue is phenomenal! Highly, highly recommend!” —Karen Fortunati, author of The Weight of Zero

“I loved The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You. It’s not only fun and witty—it’s also generous and big-hearted. And as a bonus, it’s thoroughly appreciated of fandom culture AND has good parental relationships.” —Jennifer Mason-Black, author of Devil and the Bluebird

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay Crownover

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Charged by Jay CrownoverCharged by Jay Crownover
Series: Saints of Denver, Book 2
Also in this series: Leveled
Published by William Morrow on 24 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 361
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, Better When He's Bad, Rowdy, Asa, Leveled, Built

Place(s) Traveled To: Denver, Colorado

First Line(s): Don’t worry, Sprite, bad decisions always make for good stories…

CHARGED is the newest book in Jay Crownover’s Saints of Denver series and involves characters that we’ve met in this series and also in Crownover’s Marked Men books. Avett is the daughter of the man who used to own the Bar that Rome (my review) now owns and Quaid is the lawyer who helped Asa (my review) out when he got in too deep. CHARGED is the quintessential opposites attract story with the very uptight straight laced lawyer falling for the girl who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. They meet when Quaid is hired to help Avett when she’s arrested as a result of the events that happened in ASA. Avett is one of those characters that I’ve been interested in since she first walked across the page because she just seemed in desperate need of a HEA so I was excited to read her story. However, for me, she went from being an interesting character to one that annoyed me at every turn.

Like most broken characters, Avett has a tragic backstory but I don’t buy her actions that result from it. She claims that she’s trying to redeem herself for the mistakes of her past and yet she only continues on her path of self-destruction. If someone was truly on a path of redemption then wouldn’t they be trying to become better than they were and not continue to make poor choices? Although if she didn’t then she may not have encountered Quaid as they don’t come anywhere close to running in the same circles even though Quiad is friends with people who are part of her circle.  One thing I did like is the growth that both Quaid and Avett went through over the course of the novel as they each found a way to bring balance and stability into their lives.

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 2

CHARGED is more than just a boy meets girl love story and while I often love romances that have a little meat on their bones this one just seemed a little too over the top. I also wasn’t a fan of the random POV that happened at the 80% mark. There was absolutely no reason for it and it didn’t add anything to the story. All it did was set up a character for the next book to come, a character which was already introduced in the Marked Men series and so really didn’t need a POV chapter here. Especially since, to date, Crownover has stuck with POVs just from her hero and heroine. To me, this just distracted me and took me out of the story as it just didn’t fit.

Overall, CHARGED was just an ok read for me. It was a book that I wanted to love as I often love Crownover’s characters but Avett just annoyed me too much. CHARGED is a quick read and I know that it is going to appeal to many readers. I know I am picky and can be hard on books so what bothers me is sure to not be an issue for other readers. If you are a fan of Jay Crownover then pick up CHARGED you will probably like it.

irishdarkblue

From New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover comes CHARGED, the latest in her sexy The Saints of Denver Series, releasing May 24th! Known for her strong heroines and alpha males, you won’t know what hit you as you read Avett and Quaid’s story. Keep reading for more about the Leagle Eagle and Avett and order your copy today.

Excerpt

Avett

                I blew out a breath and felt that bottom I had careened onto reach up to embrace me even tighter. “It is what it is. I’ve let both my folks down a lot over the last few years but getting caught up with a guy that would rob the bar, a guy who could threaten my dad’s people.” I shook my head. “I deserve to rot.”

                I was being overly dramatic but that’s how I felt. I deserved to sit in jail and so much worse than that. Self-pity was good company down here at rock bottom and I wasn’t ready to let go of the warmth it provided just yet.

                He gave me a look I couldn’t read and headed for the door. “I’ll call your parents for you and see if we can have something in place before tomorrow. Working on your case will be a lot easier for both of us if you aren’t incarcerated. Remember, you need to listen to me, Ms. Walker. That’s the first rule in all of this.”

                Panic hit me like a truck. What if he called my dad and my dad told him he’d had enough of his problematic daughter and her endless nonsense? What if he couldn’t love me anymore? Jail I could survive; losing my father for good, well, it would be the end of me.

                Without thinking I jumped to my feet, which had the chains on both my hands and my legs rattling loudly, and two uniformed officers hurried into the room. I was about to make maybe the worst decision to date but I couldn’t stop the words from sliding off my tongue.

                “Don’t call my dad!” Recklessness, thy name was Avett Walker.

                The attorney turned around and looked at me like I had grown a second head. He didn’t say anything as the officers moved to either side of me and told me to calm down.

                “You can’t call my dad.” The words sounded as panicked and as desperate as I felt on the inside.

                His broad shoulders lifted and fell in a shrug like he really couldn’t give a shit that he was about to ruin my life…which was saying a hell of a lot considering where I was.

                “I have to.” He sounded bored and impatient with my outburst.

                I narrowed my eyes at him, and that vortex of awful, which I always seemed to be smack dab in the center of, started to spin faster and faster around me.

                “Then you’re fired.” I saw the cops exchange a look and my rushed words had the blond man turning fully back around to look at me. “I don’t want your help. I don’t want anything from you.”

                Finally, there was something other than indifference in his gaze. There was surprise, maybe a hint of admiration colliding with a huge splash of humor in the pale depths.

                “Sorry, Ms. Walker, but you didn’t hire me, so that means you don’t get to fire me.” That grin of his, which should be registered as a deadly weapon, flashed across his face again as he watched me, and then he was gone.

 

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About CHARGED:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes the second installment in the Saints of Denver series featuring a bad girl and a by the book attorney who could be her salvation…or her ruin.

Avett Walker and Quaid Jackson’s worlds have no reason to collide. Ever. Quaid is a high powered criminal attorney as slick as he is handsome. Avett is a pink-haired troublemaker with a bad attitude and a history of picking the wrong men.

When Avett lands in a sea of hot water because of one terrible mistake, the only person who can get her out of it is the insanely sexy lawyer. The last thing on earth she wants to do is rely on the no-nonsense attorney who thinks of her as nothing more than a nuisance. He literally has her fate in his hands. Yet there is something about him that makes her want to convince him to loosen his tie and have a little fun…with her.

Quaid never takes on clients like the impulsive young woman with a Technicolor dye job. She could stand to learn a hard lesson or two, but something about her guileless hazel eyes intrigues him. Still, he’s determined to keep their relationship strictly business. But doing so is becoming more impossible with each day he spends with her.

As they work side-by-side, they’ll have to figure out a way to get along and keep their hands off each other—because the chemistry between them is beyond charged.

 

CHARGED - Tour Teaser 1

 

 

And don’t miss the first titles in The Saints of Denver Series!

 

LEVELED - cover

LEVELED

 

Studio portrait of young bearded man --- Image by © pinkypills/Corbis

BUILT

 

 

Jay Crownover - author picAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men, The Point, and the Saints of Denverseries. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

CHARGED Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: Getting it Back by Elizabeth Harmon

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: Getting it Back by Elizabeth Harmon

GETTING IT BACK
Red Hot Russians #3
Elizabeth Harmon
Released April 4th, 2016
Carina Press
In this second-chance romance, a former top men’s figure skating champion is willing to risk everything for a comeback–except a new start with his long lost love.
An unexpected phone call from the man who broke her heart offers Amy Shepherd an opportunity to return to the work she loves, training elite figure skaters. Except it’s just one figure skater: Him. Can she finally forgive and forget?
Figure skater Mikhail “Misha” Zaikov once had it all: medals, money and the adoration of millions. But a devastating injury put an end to his career and his romance, leaving him with nothing but regret over what could have been. His last chance to re-join the world’s top skaters is now. And there’s only one person who can help him: Her.
On Russia’s unyielding ice, Misha must reclaim what he’s lost while facing off against a talented young rival and risking further injury. But Amy soon discovers Misha’s much bigger challenges lurk off the ice. And she’s determined to keep Misha whole and
healthy, even if doing so ends his shot at the gold.

Excerpt.

The next morning, Amy awoke first. Misha lay beside her in bed, still sleeping. He’d brought over clothes last night. His toothbrush was in the bathroom cabinet. This was just like back in Ohio, only better. Misha was no longer searching for direction. He knew what he wanted, and they were working together to help him achieve it. But she couldn’t deny that she was nervous about what would happen today, when he returned to training on the ice.

            She got out of bed, and changed into her running clothes, put coffee on, then returned to wake Misha. “Hey,” she sat on the edge of the bed and gently shook his shoulder. “Time for our run.”

            “Nyet,” he said in a sleepy voice, and reached for her.

            “You agreed to it last night. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to get your heart pumping and muscles working.”

            “Don’t need running to make my heart pump,” he pulled her down onto the bed, cupping her butt through her black running tights. “As for muscles…maybe we can stay in and work this big stiff one?”

            She laughed and squirmed away. “Nice try, but that muscle’s getting plenty of exercise. Rise and shine, big guy.”

            She threw back the blankets, leaving him no choice but to fumble around for his pants. She waited outside and he joined her a few minutes later. They took off at an easy pace, following the path behind the center’s main buildings, then out around the pond and back. Nothing too strenuous, just as she’d promised. Their lungs filled with clean fresh air, the morning mist was cool on their skin. They returned to the guesthouse and she bent over her knees, breathing out cold air. Misha did the same. He straightened easily. “How is your back,” she said.

            “Perfect. No pain at all.”

            “And the rest of you? Knees? Head?”

            “Knees are fine, and my head is in good place, too. Thanks to you, Amy the tiger.”

            She grinned, and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. “Ready to get back on the ice?”

            “Can’t wait,” he said decisively.

             “You’re going to be great.”

            He brushed a kiss across her lips. “For you, I will be.”


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Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different.
 
A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world.  Her debut novel, Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA Award Finalist.
 
An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.

 

 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt: Getting Wound Up by Jennifer Bernard and Erin Nicholas

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt0 Comments

Blog Tour Excerpt: Getting Wound Up by Jennifer Bernard and Erin Nicholas

Getting Wound UpGETTING WOUND UP
Sapphire Falls/Love Between the Bases Crossover Novel
Jennifer Bernard & Erin Nicholas
Releasing April 12th, 2016
(Previously Released in Three Parts)
EN Fiction, Inc.

Caitlyn Murray has never let on that she’s had fantasies about her brother’s friend Eli Anderson for years. She’d do anything for the sexy baseball player who walked away from stardom to stay in Sapphire Falls and take care of his family. But she and Eli are friends. Just friends.

So when her brother hatches a plan to get Eli to the pro baseball try-out for the Kilby Catfish and another chance at his dream, Caitlyn is all in. After all, what’s a little kidnapping among friends?

A spot on the pitcher’s mound for the Catfish isn’t the only tempting thing about the spontaneous road trip. Eli already knows that Caitlyn is as sweet as the candies she makes for the Sapphire Falls bakery, but alone with her overnight in the tiny motel room in Kansas, it’s impossible to resist the urge to take a little taste.

But when that taste leads to falling for the girl next door just as his front door is moving hundreds of miles away, can Eli really have it all? Or do they have too many strikes against them?

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Excerpt
 .

At a Kansas City hotel on the night before the Eli’s tryout.

In the bathroom, Caitlyn took an extra-long time to get control of her nerves. This was silly. She’d spent the night in the same house as Eli back when they were kids. This was no different. Still, she bundled herself up into a pair of pink cupcake-print flannel pajamas that would have been more suitable for January in Nebraska than Kansas in July.

Better safe than tempted.

When she came out of the bathroom, she saw that Eli had had the same thought. He lay on his back wearing sweatpants and a Sapphire Falls Softball League t-shirt, the covers half on, half off. His arm lay across his eyes, as if he was trying to block the light—or maybe the sight of her. “You can turn off the light whenever you’re ready,” he told her.

She crawled into her bed, pulled the covers all the way to her chin, and turned off the light on the nightstand. “Good night.”

“’Night,” he mumbled.

A hushed quiet fell over the darkened room. Too much quiet. The sound of Eli’s breathing made her too restless to sleep. She kept imagining his broad chest rising and falling, his long legs stretched all the way past the foot of the bed.

She tossed and turned, finally deciding it was simply too hot in the room for her favorite pajamas. Carefully, she reached under the covers and removed her pajama bottoms. She sighed, stretching out her legs and wiggling her toes. That was better.

She closed her eyes, then opened one when she heard rustling from Eli’s bed. Peering through the darkness, she saw a pale flash of fabric—he was dropping his t-shirt to the floor next to the bed.

He must have had the same idea. Now they were both half-dressed, and her heart was pounding in her throat. Did he know she’d also stripped down? Did he care? She waited, tense and quivering, for his next move.

He gave a soft snore.

God, she was stupid. Like he’d even notice if she stripped entirely naked and danced across the carpet.

Fine. She pulled off her pajama top. Underneath it, she wore a thin camisole—no wonder she was so hot. Why the heck had she overdressed to the point of suffocation? If Eli was going to be oblivious to her existence, she might as well be comfortable.

***

What the hell was Caitlyn doing? Trying to kill him? Was she now completely naked over there? He went hard as a rock at the thought. Damn. He wasn’t supposed to get a hard-on in the presence of his friend’s sister. But even her ridiculous fuzzy pink pj’s couldn’t hide those amazing curves, and he was only human. He shifted uncomfortably, the sweatpants rubbing against his cock. He usually slept naked, or at the most in his boxers. He felt suffocated by all that fabric.

This was never going to work. He listened to make sure Caitlyn was asleep, and when he didn’t hear any sound from her direction, he slid off his sweatpants and dropped them on top of his shirt. Ahhhh, that was better. Maybe now he had a chance of catching some zzzz’s before the main event tomorrow.

As long as he didn’t think too much about Caitlyn over there naked, her nightclothes in a little pile by her bed, just like his. It was kind of funny, if you thought about it.

Smiling, he drifted off.

 In the middle of the night, the urge to visit the bathroom dragged him from a deep sleep. Blinking in the darkness, he stumbled out of bed. Still mostly asleep, he made his way across the room toward the bathroom. He yawned hugely, reaching for the door …

Only to find his arms full of warm, naked flesh. Female flesh.

Arousal ripped through him, and he dragged the tempting armful closer against his chest. He buried his nose in soft hair, ran his hands down curves that cried out to be touched.

His cock rose again, twice as hard as before. The woman in his arms trembled, pressed her hips against him. Nipples perked through her thin top, scraping against his chest, and oh my God, she wore the tiniest scrap of nothing in the way of panties. He could rip those things off her with one flick of his thumb. He could pin her against the wall and pull those fine legs around his hips and drive his cock into her—

A soft inhale broke the fantasy.

Horror rushing through him, he dropped the woman back to the floor.

No, not “the woman.” Caitlyn. He’d nearly taken Caitlyn Murray up against a wall in a random hotel room in Kansas City. Even now, his erection was nestled against her, as if that part of his body refused to let her go.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, placing her firmly at arm’s length.

“It’s … it’s okay.” She sounded awfully breathless. “I should have turned the light on, but I didn’t want to wake you, and … it was my fault. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, but that’s no excuse for me mauling you in the middle of the night. I was half asleep and didn’t exactly … ah hell, that sounds even worse. I’m really sorry, Caitlyn. It won’t happen again. Do you trust me?”

She didn’t answer for a moment, and he wished to God he could see her face. Just how angry was she?

“Go to sleep, Eli.” It was hard to miss the irritation in her voice. Well, that answered that. She was plenty angry. When he got back to Sapphire Falls, Bryan and Ty would probably beat his ass. And he’d deserve it. Not even a full night had passed in Caitlyn’s company and he’d lost his mind.

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Jennifer Bernard is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.

Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they’re shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

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