Saturday, January 31, 2015

Still by Ann Mayburn- An Audiobook Review



Dr. Michelle Sapphire and Gunnery Sergeant Wyatt Callahan formed an unbreakable bond and an unacknowledged, forbidden attraction to each other while serving together in Afghanistan. Their lives are forever changed when a mortar attack grievously wounds Wyatt and Michelle brings him back from the brink of death. But when they both return to the civilian world, Michelle discovers that her rock-solid Marine is suffering from severe PTSD and may even be suicidal.

Wyatt Callahan fell hard for the aristocratic blonde doctor the moment he laid eyes on her. After reentering civilian life in his hometown near Austin, Texas, Wyatt is plagued by nightmares of the death and suffering he witnessed during the war. He’d love to reach out to Michelle, but — Michelle is a Dominatrix, and she has made it very clear to Wyatt she isn’t interested in a relationship with anyone who doesn’t accept her lifestyle. An Alpha male to the core, he can't imagine the appeal of being submissive. At the same time, the idea of serving Michelle, of being everything she wants and needs, rings true in his wounded soul.

Michelle has dark secrets of her own, and together with Wyatt she will have to battle her personal demons during their emotional journey of healing, redemption, and love.
 


My Review of the Audiobook

Still (Long Slow Tease, #1)Still by Ann Mayburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michelle Sapphire, and Wyatt Callahan formed a bond and established a high level of trust when both were deployed in Afghanistan. Michelle was a Lieutenant and doctor in the Navy, and Wyatt was a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marines. They were also very attracted to one another, but were unable to even consider having a relationship that was not completely professional. After they return to the civilian world, they reconnect, but both are struggling with some pretty serious issues. Wyatt is suffering from PTSD and is in bad shape after the suicide of his best friend. Michelle is still dealing with grief and guilt over the death of a former boyfriend. She is a Domme, and would love nothing more than to make an Alpha male like Wyatt her submissive. She believes that she can help him get his life back on track if he will submit to her for a month.

I was able to connect to both characters in this book pretty quickly, and was glad to realize how their level of desire for each other was comparable. The chemistry between them was very hot, and one of the things that made everything hotter was the slow steamy pace that they allowed themselves to connect physically. Michelle had her reasons for wanting to wait to fully give herself to Wyatt, and both were dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. In addition, Michelle knew who she was sexually and what she wanted. Wyatt wanted Michelle, but did not think he would be able to submit to her. Watching the two of them come together and stubble to give each other what they both needed was rewarding. I will gladly continue with this series and read more by this author in the future.

I thought the narration was good. Her voice was clear and made it easy to stay in the story. The voices she used for the different characters were easy to distinguish, and seemed to fit the characters well.


*A copy of this audiobook was provided in exchange for an honest review


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Playing house by Donna Brown- Release Day Blitz

Playing House release day

Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: Playing House 
Author: Donna Brown 
Genre: Contemporary Romance (novella) 
Release Date: January 31, 2015 
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Book Blurb

"Masters only did two seascapes before his hand was crushed."

David and Emma Thomas have reached the end of the road. Only one thing is preventing them from parting ways: a painting they bought on honeymoon. Priceless to both of them, the only solution seems to be to find the second of the elusive Masters' seascapes and each carry away a piece of the past.

Will an impromptu road trip set them free once and for all?


excerpt 

They had talked about David staying in the house - spare room, of course - until he could find something more permanent but in the end he couldn't bear it. The things you stopped noticing after fifteen years - sometimes, conversely, the very things that had helped you fall in love in the first place - were suddenly amplified. The way she always hummed when she made coffee in the morning, whatever her mood. The scent of her moisturiser. The way she chewed her pencil end, even though she admitted it was a habit that drove her crazy when others did it.

You don't know what you've got until it's gone…

Or almost gone. Being reminded every day of what he was about to lose would have been too much to bear. Not that he would call the current circumstances particularly bearable.

Instead, he had rented a small studio flat a ten minute walk away. He could easily have afforded something bigger and he certainly could have afforded something less sparsely furnished but he didn't want a new home right now. He just wanted somewhere to retreat and lick his wounds.

Privately he admitted to himself that the feeling of temporariness helped perpetuate the charade: perhaps it wasn't all quite over. He knew he was kidding himself. He was not the kind of man to give up without a fight and he believed he had fought hard for Emma. She just didn't want him any more.

As he reached the building and entered the lobby, he wondered if he should just let her go now. The painting? She could have it. Who needed a reminder of all the things they'd never have again? She had transformed his life over the last fifteen years. A canvas, however stunning, was a poor substitute.

In his 'kitchenette' - one counter, a sink and a toaster and kettle - he poured a glass of whisky, took a mouthful and then shook his head and emptied the rest of the glass down the sink. He was drinking too much. It wasn't habitual but it could easily become so. Whisky - even damn good whisky - was even less of a substitute for Emma than a Masters' seascape.

He would call her in the morning, he decided. She could have the painting. Forget the auction. Forget the road trip.

If you love someone set them free…


She wouldn't come back to him, he suddenly knew that. And perhaps it would indeed mean she never had been his, but oddly he was cheered by this thought. Nobody could own someone as free as Emma. She was born to soar. He had always believed they could soar together and the realisation that he had been wrong crushed his heart in a vice of pain. She had given him so much in the last fifteen years, made so many sacrifices. This would be his final opportunity to give Emma something she really wanted: her freedom. After everything he had put her through, it would be the very least he could offer.



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Meet the Author 

Donna is a longtime book lover and sometime book reviewer and has devoured books from an early age. She writes short (or long) stories as and when inspiration hits and is married to fantasy author David M. Brown (Fezariu's Epiphany, A World Apart). She was also co-contributor to David's book, Man vs Cat, a humorous look at life with six rambunctious rescue cats.

Donna has lived in many different areas of the UK over the last 30-something years but has remained in Yorkshire for the past decade. She ardently disputes the misnomer that 'It's grim up north'. You can find Donna on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, or visit her and her husband's shared blog: B-Lines and Felines.


Friday, January 30, 2015

A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade- Spotlight



A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade
One week in Paris. One chance with her childhood crush. And one lie that could ruin it all.

Before she was Dr. Celeste London, Astrophysicist, she was Mary Celeste Haverford: dork, loser, the geek formerly known as Hairy Mary. But she’d left all that behind—and left Ion Blackwell behind, nothing but an unrequited crush and the memory of a high school field trip, a night in Paris, and the words Celeste had never had the courage to say. She’d never expected to see him again…until a surprise encounter on a Parisian riverboat tour brings him back into her life, and gives her the opportunity to start over as someone new. Someone Ion doesn’t recognize, transformed from a social outcast into a polished, professional woman that Ion doesn’t realize is the girl he’s been longing for since childhood, the ideal he’s dreamed of his entire life.

Suddenly this vivacious (if charmingly awkward) “new” woman is teaching him that real love is better than any dream—but Celeste is hiding more than her identity. Hiding something that makes it hard to trust her increasingly erratic behavior, and her frequent secretive phone calls. When the truth comes out, the deception could shatter them both…unless they can give each other a second chance, and take a risk on love.

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Excerpt:

With a smile, Celeste leaned on the rail. She’d been a silly girl, heart on her sleeve, but she kind of missed that. Falling in love was never the same—never as light, as sweet, as guileless, the emotion not as raw or real when it became about work schedules and who paid for dinner and whether it was too soon to have sex. Mundane things took the romance out of it, when at sixteen it had been about wishing for that one perfect, breathless, magical kiss with that special someone who didn’t even know she was alive.
Now she just had a half-dozen ex-special someones who said she was an amazing friend, but a lousy girlfriend.
Her eyes stung. She should be standing here with…someone. People did that; they fell in love and took romantic trips to Paris, and cuddled on dreamy moonlit boat tours. But even then she’d have been worrying over her presentation for tomorrow, wondering if Ophelia gave their father his meds, pondering wind speed for Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in Jupiter’s Red Spot, picking out constellations…and never quite here with the imaginary boyfriend.
She really wasn’t cut out for relationships.
She lifted her gaze to the sky and picked out Venus. It hurt, when she smiled. “Guess I wasted a wish,” she whispered. “Do I get a do-over?”
The soft scuff of a sole against the deck warned when someone approached. She straightened, rubbed her eyes, and pulled her hoodie tighter around herself. Last thing she wanted was to ruin some happy couple’s romantic Parisian night when they stumbled on a single woman on the verge of a nostalgic crying jag. They’d probably think she was pulling a Rose, about to fling herself dramatically over the rail of the mini-Titanic.
The footsteps stopped at her side, barely a foot away. She caught a sense of height, masculine body heat, a quietly commanding presence. A low voice rolled over her, husky baritone like whiskey and silk.
Belle nuit, n’est-ce pas?” he asked, softly accented inflections agonizingly familiar. Celeste looked up, her heart tumbling to the very bottom of her chest and constricting painfully tight.
Fathomless blue eyes looked over the water, set in an elegantly sculpted face: ten years older, more weathered, tanned complexion darkened by the shadow of stubble—but so distinctive she’d know him anywhere. She clutched the railing with fingers almost numb to the cool metal, blood draining to leave them rubbery. She knew him. She knew him, but there was no way it could be him. It was impossible. It was incredible. It was absolutely unbelievable, and she had to be hallucinating.
It was Ion Blackwell.


Author bio
Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant, and his nights writing romance novels in between fending off Tybalt, his geriatric cat. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:

Twitter: @ColeMcCade
Facebook

Website & Blog
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You can also get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at:
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Q&A

Where to you get your inspiration from?
The everyday minutiae of life. It could be a random conversation or the way someone’s hair drifts across their jaw as they turn their head; a story flashing by on the news or tripping and hitting my shoulder on the doorframe (if I’m lucky enough to catch myself and not faceplant into the wall). It could be someone discussing something they didn’t like in one book, or something they loved in another. It could be a lighting effect in a film, or nature’s very real lighting effects in how lightning turns a city so many colors in the moment if flashes. Everything accumulates. Layers upon layers that seem like nothing until you pull back and see they’ve formed this bigger picture of an idea.

When writing a new book, what usually comes first- characters or story line?

They all kind of come together, because you can’t have one without the other. I can’t really have this free-floating character with nothing motivating him or her, no story; nor can I have a story without someone to populate it. The story is the character, and the character is the story.





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Loyalty and Lies by L.A. Cotton- Release Day Blitz

Loyalty and Lies Release Day


Release Day Blitz


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 Book Title: Loyalty and Lies (Chastity Falls #1) 
Author: LA Cotton 
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: January 2015 

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Book Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Savanah Parry just moved three thousand miles across state to escape. The memories…the whispers…the pain.

Chastity Falls Academy is supposed to be her fresh start; her salvation. And when Ana meets mysterious Jackson, she begins to think it is. She hasn’t smiled in almost sixteen months; not since the night her life changed forever, and despite her guilt…her loyalty, Ana can’t deny that Jackson is breathing life back into her. With Jackson by her side, Ana wants to believe she can heal and move on. But she isn’t the only one living a lie, and the small private Academy has secrets of its own. All is not what it seems, and Ana is about to find herself in a tangled web of lies; fighting for survival, again.

Loyalties will be tested, lies will be told. Welcome to Chastity Falls.


excerpt

Gardner's class was nothing compared to the torture of sitting so close to Jackson in Shakespeare. After his warning to stay away from him, I thought he might pick an alternative seat, but that didn't happen. Instead, he brushed straight passed me, dropped into his usual chair and acted as if nothing had happened. I had to fight back the urge to ask him why he had told me to stay away from me. I mean, it wasn't like we hung out. There had been coffee at the shifty sea front hut…once, and then the embarrassing sprained-ankle-in-the-storm incident.

“Today, class, I want us to look at the character Iago…” Professor Shacks’ voice echoed around the small room. “Iago is the voice whispering in Othello’s ear, playing to Othello’s own paranoia and insecurities around his relationship with Desdemona. Of course, Othello trusts Iago implicitly, why wouldn’t he trust his long serving friend and lieutenant? A fact that Iago uses to his own advantage…”

Jackson shuffled next to me, and then quickly dropped a white note onto my desk. What now? I sighed, feeling frustrated at his mixed signals.

How’s the ankle?

Okay thanks


I balled up the note and tossed it onto his desk, watching him through the corner of my eye. A slight smirk played on his lips, and it was obvious he was aware I was pissed at him. He started scribbling a reply, which landed in front of me seconds later.

I’ve heard coffee (or a banana shake) can work wonders for a sprained ankle… healing properties or something.

I scowled at his slightly scruffy handwriting wondering what game he was trying to play with me.

Thanks. I’ll make sure I have a banana shake before bed

Feeling pleased with myself, I held out the note for him and he plucked it out of my hand, silently laughing when his eyes scanned the words.

How about a shake before bed… with me?

My eyes blinked. And blinked again, feeling the heat of embarrassment wash over my face. Was he flirting with me? I felt thirteen all over again. Mikey Crand used to send me love notes in Biology and me and my friend Lacey would giggle over them. Feeling brave, I handed him my reply.

Are you inviting me for a shake? Or to bed?

Jackson’s eyes widened and he shuffled slightly in his seat. Take that mister confusing, I thought, pleased with myself.

Are you saying yes?

I inwardly groaned. Jackson: one, Ana: zero. I couldn’t keep this up without drifting into territory that terrified me. Jackson was the first guy—the only guy—that made me smile… made my stomach flutter… made me feel anything since Danny. It wasn’t the plan, not what I ran to CFA to find, but somehow I had found it. Found something—someone—that made me feel again. Was that enough to try and get to the bottom of whatever was going on with Jackson? Of why he had warned me to stay away?

To the shake… maybe

Meet me round back five minutes after class


I was heading for a one-way trip into purgatory, because as I discreetly watched Jackson out the corner of my eye I knew. Knew there would be no way I could walk away. Right or wrong, sensible or stupid, he had awoken a part of me that I thought I would never find again…and I couldn’t just give that up. Not for all the warnings in the world.

~

Ninety-minutes later, I was sitting in Black’s suffering some kind of post-Jackson whiplash.

“I’m surprised you asked me for coffee again.” I slurped up the thick banana shake.

Jackson watched me, his eyes were more the color of the bluey-green ocean today, than their usual shade. “Actually, I invited you for a shake.” He quipped back.

I tried broaching the subject during the ride to Black’s, but he just shrugged me off, talking about the weather. The freaking weather. I was done with his evasion techniques. “After you warned me to stay away from you the other night?”

He placed his mug back on its plate and sighed. I watched, captivated, as he ran his hand through his messy dark hair, the longer strands falling back into place, a five ‘o’clock shadow cloaking his jaw. “About that… I may have been a little hasty.”

“Hasty?”

“See the thing is…” His eyes held mine, smoldering at me, pleading with me. “I’m not sure I can stay away from you.”

My lips moved to say something but nothing came out. Jackson watched me intently and I gulped. It felt like he was willing me to agree, to accept that there was a reason we should stay away from each other, but to ignore it. And I got the feeling it was a no questions asked kind of arrangement.

“It’d be better for you… for us, if you stay away from me, Ana. But I don’t want you to. I’m too selfish to walk away.”

“But-”

Jackson cut me off. “No questions. That’s the deal. We spend time together, get to know each other, but you can’t ask any of the questions I know you have swimming round in that pretty little head of yours.”

“Okay, but-”

His hand found mine across the booth, and his fingers grazed my knuckles. “No questions. That’s just the way it has to be for now.”

I nodded. Unsure what I was agreeing to.

“You won’t regret it Ana Parry, I promise.”


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Meet the Author

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Author of NA Contemporary Romance, L. A. Cotton loves writing about those first looks, first kisses, and happily ever afters.

A wearer-of-many-hats, L.A juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with two part-time jobs and college. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find her immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

Loyalty and Lies, is book one in her NA college series: Chastity Falls.



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