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Monday, June 30, 2014

Release Day Blitz! A Review of Mosaic by Leigh T. Moore, Plus Teasers!

Mosaic (Dragonfly #4) by Leigh T. Moore
Genre: New Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Expected Publication Date: June 2014
Publisher: Self

The future never goes as planned.
People are never what they seem.
Time changes everything.
So you want to know what happened to Anna and Julian? Well, listen up, because I’ve got the whole scoop. I’m Jules, btw, and I am an artist, as you already know if you’ve read Watercolor. What you might not know is I inherited my mother’s cute little newsy nose, thank you very much.
It’s high school reunion time, and everyone’s coming back to Fairview—everyone who’s not already there, mind you. What went wrong, who’s fault it was, and why the heck nobody knew about me… it’s all coming out.
Long-distance relationships rarely last, and a lot of water has passed under that bridge. Big Secrets will be exposed, and in the end we’ll know if that old saying is true: Love is stronger than time.

Mosaic is the fourth and final book in the Dragonfly Series by Leigh T. Moore. Whew! What a ride this series has been! It turned into something I definitely never suspected when I first started reading Dragonfly last year. There is some major depth going on within the lives of the characters. There were few characters within this fourth book who I didn't get mad at. I mean, really mad at. Especially Anna. It was crazy how much I wanted to slap her around through the story. By now, she really should have known better. That's all I can say, as I don't want to give away any spoilers. The book starts off in present day, and we're given multiple point of views, but we're mostly seeing the college experience through Anna's journal. The author has a way of grabbing your emotions so much that you feel indebted to these characters. You want to see things through with them. All of them. The Dragonfly series is a tantalizing and dramatic adventure that spans through three generations of secrets, lies, love lost, and love found. I'm sad to see this series end, but I wouldn't want it to have ended any differently.

The ARC of Mosaic by Leigh T. Moore was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Check out my reviews of other books by this fantastic author!

Leigh Talbert Moore wrote her first graphic novel at the age of nine--about a lady scientist burned by acid. Sadly, the text of "Fury Woman" was lost, and Leigh's novelist aspirations went on hiatus.

Then, after a decade working in journalism, editing, marketing, and public relations, she began writing books again, and in 2009 completed Dragonfly. Today, Leigh is the author of several popular young adult and new adult novels, all with a strong romantic slant.

She lives with her husband and two young children in the middle of the country, where she conjures new worlds, characters, and situations while playing chauffeur, chaperone, group activity leader, and referee.

And she's still trying to remember the plot of Fury Woman..

To learn more about  Leigh Talbert Moore check out my interview with her. You can also visit her at her Blog, GoodreadsFacebook and Twitter.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review: Bitter Fruits by Sarah Daltry

Bitter Fruits (Eden's Fall #1) by Sarah Daltry 
Genre: New Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing

For fans of dark urban fantasy comes a novel that questions why forbidden fruit is always the most tempting…

A vampire-themed masquerade party isn't really her scene, but Nora is sick of frat parties and bars. When she meets Alec, the appeal suddenly becomes clear. It’s obvious that they've been struck by the same intense mutual attraction, but Alec keeps his distance. Intrigued despite herself, Nora pushes a little deeper — and discovers Alec’s unimaginable secret…

Nora is not afraid of following Alec into the darkness, but the choice is soon taken from her. Someone is hunting her — someone tied to the secret and desperate to see it play out. But when Nora finally meets her aggressor, she finds herself hopelessly drawn to him. She needs to make a choice between the two men, but can she save them both, knowing one is destined to die?

“This book is one of the best paranormals I've read, and I've read a lot. Five stars hands down! I am proud to pass it on to all of you. Buy this book, devour it and enjoy.”

Bitter Fruits is the first book in the Eden's Fall series by Sarah Daltry. This book has an interesting premise, but some of the actions of the main  character lost my interest. So, I'll hop to the issues I had with it first. I didn't like the romance. I have a clear favorite among the brothers, and I know, in any book, the main character doesn't always pick my favorite, but in this case she's sleeping with both of them. She's forming love relationships with both of them, and they both know it, and they're okay with it. What? This didn't match their previous behavior, and it just wasn't believable. It seemed like a whole lot of lust rather than love, and I didn't buy it at all. 

I think Lillith has been a little over done these days, but the myths surrounding her are pretty interesting. I didn't agree with the direction the story took some of the Lillith lore, but hey, it's fiction.

Again, I really liked the premise. It could be a heck of an interesting story. The author was brave with the romance in this story, so I give her major props for that. In this case, for me, those aspects of the romance kept me from enjoying it as much as I wanted to. With that being said there are a lot of reviewers out there that loved this story, so maybe you will too!

Bitter Fruits by Sarah Daltry was kindly provided to me by Bewitching Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

He sits in front of me and brings me to his chest. Our flesh is hot and sticky where it touches and I can’t stop the ache between my legs. His breathing is ragged and he tightens his grip on the back of my head as he tries to slow it. I am hurt or angry or frustrated, but I don’t know which. He runs his hands along my entire body and I push against him, needing him and not knowing how to accept his denial.

‘I want you, Nora. I have wanted you since I saw you. You are gorgeous. However, there are secrets that… Please understand, the steps that you want to take will reveal things. This cannot end well for either of us. I don’t want to make you suffer, but I am fated to suffer. Don’t make me bring you with me into the darkness. I can’t bear to lose you.’

I sense the pain that grips him. The darkness that he speaks of sounds frightening, but I don’t feel fear when I face him and meet his eyes. ‘I will follow you anywhere. Dark or light. Stop trying to make my choices for me.’

Our lips meet again, but it is with doubt. Neither of us knows what will happen if we are to move forward, but I want to have a chance to find out.
My body is still crying out for him but now my mind is calm. I want him, but I want him when he knows that I’m ready for whatever that means. His hands touch me and his caresses are soft. We both slow our breathing and I try to let my will match his. When he pulls away, he gathers the picnic and looks at me with longing and a hunger I do not recognize. It’s not sexual, but desperate. Almost as a dying man looks in the last moments of his life.
‘In three days,’ he says, ‘I will meet you again at the church where we first met. In the meantime, I want you to look something up — and if you do not appear at the church, I’ll know that what you found changed everything.’

‘Okay,’ I say warily. I’ll do anything he asks, but his fear scares me. What kind of secrets can he possibly hold? Little right now could stop me from going to him in three days.

‘Find the name Charles Samuels. He was an Oxford student in the 1960s. And then we shall see how much of the darkness you are willing to face.’

‘I’ll look him up, but Alec, I’m going to be at the church in three days,’ I say.

‘For your sake, Nora, I hope that you’re not.’

Sarah Daltry writes books in a variety of genres, including the NA contemporary series, Flowering, and YA gamer geek comedy, Backward Compatible.

To learn more about Sarah Daltry and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Review: Ayla by Kelly Anne Blount

Ayla (Necoh Saga #2) by Kelly Anne Blount
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy)
Date Published:  September 30, 2013
Publisher: Limitless Publishing

In the blink of an eye, Brooklyn is torn from Ryder's arms and thrown back into her own world...

Vowing to find a way back to Necoh, she goes to dangerous lengths and embarks on a deadly mission to find her love and help him destroy Grishma once and for all.

Lives will be lost, trust will be shattered, and secrets will be revealed...

Will Brooklyn find Ryder?

Will they finally put an end to Grishma's murderous reign?

Ayla is the second book in the Necoh Saga by Kelly Anne Blount. Almost from the beginning, this book went in a direction I wasn't expecting. That's a good thing. It kept things interesting. Ryder is sent on a quest to capture Grishma alive. He meets new friends along the way which were cute additions. Brooklyn and Ryder have still had very little time together. In fact, they spend less then five minutes of awake time together in this whole book. So, I still question how they can be so in love. They don't know each other. I was really hoping they'd get some quality time together. What's going on with Alexia? We know Alexia has a thing for Ryder, but is Ryder starting to get interested in her too? The action was pretty non-stop, making this a super fast read. We are left with a cliffhanger ending. There is so much left up in the air with this ending. There are no resolutions to anything yet, and there are so many directions the story line could go from here.

Ayla by Kelly Anne Blount was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.
Check out my review of Grishma, book one in the Necoh Saga!

Kelly Anne Blount was born in Madison, WI. After attending university, she moved to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands to teach elementary school. While living there, she met the love of her life and was married in a beautiful ceremony on the Caribbean Sea.

After returning stateside, Kelly started to pursue another passion, writing. Since writing her debut bestselling young adult fantasy novel, Grishma, she has written the sequel, Ayla, and is currently working on the third book in The Necoh Saga.

Kelly has also written the first book, Impassioned, in her upcoming contemporary romance, Hard Love Series.

When she isn’t writing or serving as an intensive intervention teacher working with children with special needs, Kelly can be found spending time with the love of her life, their furry rescues, and enjoying the beautiful sites of Asheville, North Carolina.

To learn more about Kelly Anne Blount and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tour! A Review of The Bride Wore Chocolate by Shirley Jump, Plus Author Interview

The Bride Wore Chocolate (Sweet and Savory #1) by Shirley Jump
Genre: Adult Fiction (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: September 1, 2004
Publisher: Zebra

Candace Woodrow knows it's a recipe for disaster. She has no business even looking at another man--no matter how sinfully sexy he is--much less waking up in Michael Vogler's bed three weeks before she marries Mr. Right. She's determined the wedding will go off without a hitch--as long as she can keep her meddling grandmother, her flighty mother, and her well-meaning friends from interfering with her plans--and pointing out her doubts every time she turns around. And it won't be easy--since Michael's just become Candace's biggest client, with an order for thousands of the Gift Baskets to Die For she creates with her friends. Worse, he wants to work closely with Candace...every step of the way. It's enough to drive a girl to intravenous chocolate consumption, 24/7. And the way Candace's heart flip-flops whenever Michael is around is an industrial-sized clue that keeping a tight rein on her future and her heart might not be such a good idea. But risking it all for a man she barely knows is even crazier, right?

The Bride Wore Chocolate is the first Sweet and Savory novel by Shirley Jump. This was such a cute story, I just couldn't put it down. Candace is so stubborn it's funny. Michael is pretty stubborn too. The guy doesn't give up. Together they are adorable. It was fun watching him attempt to pull her from her comfort zones. I think she inadvertently did some pulling of her own. It was cute. There was one thing that bothered me in this story, and I can't tell you what it is, because it is also a spoiler, but all in all this was a super entertaining and fun little love story. I definitely want to read more in this series. I loved the recipes that were included before each chapter. That was a very nice touch!

The Bride Wore Chocolate by Shirley Jump was kindly provided to me by Kismet Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing all my life, truly. I don’t have too many other life skills ;-) so I’m grateful that people pay me to do my job! When I was a young girl, I would read dozens of books and sometimes, I didn’t like how they ended so I’d write my own version of the endings. That led to writing fiction of my own, which eventually led to a career.

What inspired you to write The Bride Wore Chocolate?
I sat down one day to figure out what I wanted to write about and made a list of my three favorite things—family, love, and food. Sometimes food comes at the top of that list ;-) and it seemed a natural combination to put together some luscious food, a zany family and a sexy love story.

When you first started writing The Bride Wore Chocolate, did you plan for it to be a series?
I did plan a series. I knew I wanted to do something different, something that had food as a character, in a way, in the books. So I built in other characters and started creating their stories as I wrote The Bride Wore Chocolate. I had a lot of reader demand for Rebecca’s love story, which led me to write a prequel titled The Groom Wanted Seconds. 

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I think I’m a little of all my characters, honestly. I’m that cautious planner (like Candace in The Bride Wore Chocolate) but also the perpetual dieter Maria (Candace’s friend) who also loves a good bargain and a sexy pair of heels. That’s the best part about writing fiction—being able to showcase a little of all those crazy dimensions of me!

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
I’m terrified of heights. Like, super terrified. I had to drive over the Skyway Bridge in Tampa yesterday and am talking to myself in my head the entire time. I’m trying to conquer that fear by just doing it—meaning driving over those bridges or climbing obstacles, but I’m still pretty shaky with anything high up!

What book have you read too many times to count?
There are sooooo many wonderful books in the world that I rarely re-read a book I have enjoyed. When I was young, I reread Christy several times, but now that I’m older and my reading time is limited, I’m always trying to read more and more of the amazing fiction that’s out there!

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
The only way to learn how to write is to write. Actually finishing a book will teach you more about writing than anything else. You can go to workshops, you can read great fiction, but the best teacher of writing is sitting down and going from Once Upon a Time to The End.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Hmmm….good question! Maybe the character in the Shopaholic books because it’d be awesome to shop all the time, fall in love with a rich Mr. Right and live in New York City! ;-)

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating The Bride Wore Chocolate?
How tough it is to come up with that many recipes on one theme! I eat a lot of cookies, cake, chocolate, etc., during the year, but when I decided to put a recipe at the head of each chapter, I don’t think I thought through how many recipes I’d need. And how many calories I’d consume testing the recipes ;-) 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m a runner, so I love, love, love to run on new trails or along the water. I also love to read—just sit outside in the sun and read all day. And I love to eat! I’m a fan of anything made with sugar ;-) (which is why I need to run, LOL) so when I’m not writing, I’m running off the calories I consumed that day!

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I don’t use too many real life experiences in my books—more the “feeling” of real life experiences. I have quirky family members, grew up in a small town, and have been on some adventures, but tend to use my imagination to think of what fits my characters—who may be a part of me but aren’t really me, if that makes sense. My characters dictate what happens in a book, which means sometimes they’re going off on adventures I need to research!

Thank you again for having me! Those were fabulous questions! Readers, do any of you have any questions for me? Or any quick yummy recipes for deadline weeks?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners.

Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Sisters series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN and continuing with THE SWEETHEART RULES (out in April 2014).

To learn more about Shirley Jump and her books, visit her website and blog.You can also find her on Goodreadsand Twitter.

We have a fantastic giveaway accompanying this tour! Up for grabs:
1)   Two (2) Le Creuset Heart-Shaped Ramekins
2)   One (1) Le Creuset Square Covered Casserole
3) 100$ Amazon/iTunes/B&NGift Card (your choice)

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Starcrush by Justine Erler, Plus Author Interview

Starcrush by Justine Erler
Genre: Young Adult (Science Fiction Romance)
Date Published: December 19, 2013
Publisher: Trio Capital LLC

What if the best things in life were on the verge of ending? What if a single thought --
or a single kiss -- changed everything?  What if you realized that everything you knew --
everything you believed -- was suddenly wrong?

The emotionally-captivating debut novel of Justine Erler's Starcrush series introduces Genna Savoy,
a psychically-gifted high school senior who finds herself torn between rival aliens who look ...
spectacularly human.

In the first half of Starcrush, Genna meets Byron, deliciously aloof and rock-god cool.
The second half unleashes Elon, drop-dead gorgeous with a killer smile. Each represents
the opposite ends of extreme, scary-wonderful in their own way. In the aftermath
of these encounters, conflicted anti-heroine Genna Savoy struggles to accept her own feelings
as the reality of her perfect boyfriend ... slips away.

Starcrush is the first book in the Starcrush Series by Justine Erler. This was a wonderful book full of romance, humor, and drama. I have to say, I liked Nick quite a bit and felt pretty bad for him several times. Then we meet Byron, and while I wasn't completely sold on him as a love interest for Genna, I feel bad for him too. I feel like Genna didn't keep her word to him, but when you really look at it, they didn't really know each other that well either. So, I'm on the fence with him. When Elon entered the picture, I wasn't sure what to expect from him. I love his personality the best of  all the guys, but like Byron, he's clearly hiding something from Genna, so I had a hard time trusting him. I'm not sure which guy to root for. Byron? Elon? I'm not sure where Genna's heart really is. When she was with Byron, I thought she was all in. Then when she was with Elon, I thought she was all in with him too. After that ending, I'm leaning more towards Elon, but I still feel really bad about Byron. Ahhh! I guess we'll see. I'm sure there is a bigger picture that we'll find out in upcoming books too, like why are the aliens even on Earth to begin with? What's going on? I want to know more, and I can't wait to find out!

Starcrush by Justine Erler was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

I reached for the scarf and began to slide it off his neck. He let it happen without moving. I imagined what he must feel…the fabric brushing against his skin. His eyes never left me as the scarf came undone. Then with one hand, I caught it… and wound it around my own neck, tying it loosely into a double knot.

Inside my head, I heard him say his name: Byron.

The sound of his inner voice rolled like a wave.

He swept his eyes across my face as if he were trying to memorize the color of my eyes, the shape of my lips. I sensed vulnerability; a sadness about him that I couldn’t draw out. I hesitated for a moment, letting the impression wash over me until it was gone.

I’m Genna, I thought back with my best inner voice.

But your friends call you Gen or Gennie, he thought.

I nodded.

“Hi Gennie,” he said.

This time he spoke. A restrained smile fell across his lips. The gesture had a devastating effect, making him even more attractive than he already was…that didn’t seem possible.

1. I think almost every girl at one time had an idea of what a perfect boyfriend should look like and act like. Did your idea of a perfect boyfriend make its way into one of the characters?
Yes — absolutely! The book alternates between two extreme versions of the perfect boyfriend. In the first half of the book, Byron is described as rock-god cool with a moody-perfection that lends enough resistance to make him completely irresistible. 

In the second half of the book, Elon is bold and flirty ... and yet laid-back and sensual, as if the kiss is never far from his mind.

My personal idea of the perfect boyfriend is caught somewhere between the two main characters. Part of me wants the dark, romantic and slightly gothic version ... while another part wants the super-relaxed, openly seductive “unafraid to dive head-first into fun” version. Differences aside, my personal ideal is seen in both characters ... overwhelmingly handsome with stylish chin stubble and edgy, hip clothes.

2. So ... aliens. In the YA world of vampires, angels and werewolves, what made you want to write about aliens?
I refused to be bound by “the rules” that exist with the usual cast of characters: vampires, angels and werewolves. They’re incredibly fun and won’t disappear anytime soon, yet writing about “an unknown” gave me the flexibility and license to do almost anything. 

From the start, it was challenging to escape the expected biases against the alien subject. Typically, they’re associated with a super-horror extreme that can easily turn ridiculous if mishandled. The secret to making the idea work was to ground the story in a YA reality ... real characters and places with a dialogue-driven plot that’s plausible, and to some degree, based on science. That being said, I didn’t want to go “off world” in the book, or show any of the stereotypical sci-fi scenes. I wanted readers to recognize their own lives in the book.

It’s also important to remember that Starcrush is first and foremost a love story, so I intentionally played down the sci-fi elements and made it relatable to a young, hip audience — set at the amazingly awesome Jersey Shore.

3. What part (or parts) of the story was most fun to write?
Of course, the love scenes were incredibly fun to write. I prefer building sensual tension by pulling back at strategic moments, under the notion that anticipation is almost more intense than action. The book moments where the characters tease each other relentlessly were my favorite scenes to write. I also enjoy teasing the reader by being both subtle and direct at the same time ... so the shock value is there, but immediately tempered by something less than obvious.

4. How did you come up with your title?
I was looking for an astronomical term that was easily recognized. “Star” seemed like an obvious choice. Since the book is about crushing on ETs, I naturally merged the two ideas into “Starcrush.”

5. What advice would you want to give anyone who wants to be a writer?
Read good books and watch good movies. Then read every review you can get your hands on, so you can get outside of your own perspective and learn how others view things. Do this enough, and you’ll be able to anticipate scenes, identify both weak and strong points and apply an “exaggerated awareness” to your own work.
Justine Erler is a business consultant with a background in health care management. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband and daughter. Starcrush is her first novel of the series, combining Books I and II, and was written while in search of the perfect vampire-alternative novel.

To learn more about Justine Erler and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.