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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: Burning Down the House by Allie Gail

Burning Down the House by Allie Gail 
Genre: New Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: March 10, 2014
Publisher: Self

Rob Kensington is just your typical high school senior. Athletic, intelligent, handsome. Sees a therapist once a week. Because his parents just died in a house fire of questionable origin. And he doesn't seem to care.
Maybe he isn't so typical. 

Sara Marsh had no clue when she returned to live with her divorced father that the bedroom down the hall would be occupied by a stray with a major attitude problem. The last time she saw Rob, he was a brooding goth who could have passed as Marilyn Manson's love child. But at some point during her three years away, Creepy Kensington managed to evolve into a sizzling hot star running back with smoldering hazel eyes. 

The attraction is undeniable. The temptation is irresistible. And soon they're sharing more than just an address. But with another life lost in a deliberately set blaze, Sara's trust is faltering. Has she lost her heart to a serial arsonist? He's already shown her the allure of playing with fire. 

And someone's about to get burned. 

* This book contains strong language and sexual content and is intended for ages 17+ *

Burning Down the House is the first book I've read by Allie Gail, and let me tell you, I couldn't put this thing down. It was crazy addictive. Not just the romance, which sizzled, but there was a whole mysterious, suspenseful side to the story. There isn't a single character that I didn't mentally accuse. I can usually figure out who's to blame. I usually at least get it narrowed down to two. That wasn't the case with Burning Down the House. Everyone seemed guilty to me. Sara was the only innocent person to me, and that's only because she was telling the story. After reading the blurb, I thought there might be a little drama or suspense, but I had no idea I would get so completely absorbed into the story. The characters have a presence. For example, when Rob is being all smoldery (is that even a word?) with Sara, especially in the beginning... Good Lord, it's like you can feel him in the room. Whether he's good or bad, I'll never tell, but he had me flying through the pages all the same. My favorite parts of the story were the lunch table conversations. They were hilarious, and it brought me right back to high school & I loved it. I loved Burning Down the House. This is one you definitely need to check out.

Burning Down the House by Allie Gail  was kindly provided to me by Xpresso Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Allie fell in love with the written word from the moment she was issued her very first Sally, Dick and Jane book. Born and raised in Alabama, she now resides in the panhandle of Florida with her own blue-eyed Prince Charming and three obnoxious cats. When she's not working on her latest literary project, she can usually be found watching B-movie horror (the cheesier, the better), reading or playing online computer games while indulging her unhealthy Pepsi addiction.

To learn more about Allie Gail and her books, visit her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance/ Fractured Fairytale)
Date Published: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Amulet

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

Unhinged is the second book in the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard. Alyssa wants to forget Wonderland and everyone in it. Yeah, that's not going to happen. What does happen kept me reading every spare minute I had. Alyssa really comes into her own within this story. I loved watching her grow and strengthen as a character and a Netherling.

Jeb is an all around good guy. Sure he has his issues, but I think his heart is in the right place. He seemed a little more mature this time around. Even thought he can't remember Wonderland, he seems to have kept that maturity that he gained from the experience. Morpheus, however, has cemented himself as my favorite. I can't help it. His snarky attitude has me hooked. Every once in a while we get a wee little glimpse of his heart too, then he'll quickly cover it with sarcasm. He is always misbehaving, and I probably shouldn't like him as much as I do, but at the same time, how can I not like him? I think there is so much more to him than what we've seen so far. I think Alyssa and he would make a perfect match. Alyssa really can't go wrong though. Both guys are a catch!

How about that ending? There was nothing about that ending that I saw coming. There's no way I'll be able to wait until 2015 for Ensnared! I may even come Unhinged! *wink*

“Nothing about you or Wonderland makes sense. And the ‘one abiding truth’ is that life was so much easier when I’d forgotten your massive ego and that other world ever existed.”
A tremor shifts through his features, first fragile, then severe. His muscles twitch under his T-shirt, sending a tingling sensation through my knuckles. “You want me nonexistent?"

Before I can respond, he steps back and flips the hat from his head. Then he drags off his vest and his T-shirt, dropping them all on the floor at my feet. Once he’s peeled off his necklace and bracelets, he stands there facing me in only jeans and boots.

I watch him warily. “W-w-what are you doing?”

“I’m clearing the way for my massive ego.” 

Check out my review of Splintered!

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. Her pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

SPLINTERED & UNHINGED, books 1 & 2 of her urbanized /gothic Alice in Wonderland series, are now available from Amulet Books. Book 3, ENSNARED, launches 2015.

Author photo by

To learn more about A.G. Howard and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cover Reveal! Beneath the Scars by Melanie Moreland

Beneath the Scars by Melanie Moreland
Genre: Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: October 2014
Publisher: Self
Cover Reveal by: Promo Stars Services & MaE Book Tours

The sound of the ocean, the crash of the waves as they kick up against the sand and rocks—these are the only sounds Megan Greene wants to hear. She wants to leave the rest of the world behind, and find some peace.

The offer of a private house on the beach, set in a small town in Maine, is perfect. Time to think—to be by herself. It’s all she wants. It’s the escape she needs. 

Until she stumbles across the painting that seems to echo her own chaotic mindset. 

Until she meets the unfriendly artist behind the stormy painting and discovers his secrets.

All Zachary Adams wants is to be left alone. His canvases, and the unending scope of the ocean and sand, are his life. They direct him—fill his hours. Bring him focus.

Until she enters his life. 

She dredges up memories of the past—the haunting images he has hidden for years; the fears he has never shared.

A story he keeps buried below the surface. 

Can she make him see what he is missing? Can he trust her enough to believe?

Together they embark on a journey where their pasts collide and threaten to tear them apart.

Will their fragile bond hold or wash away with the ebbing tide?

Melanie Moreland lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her husband and fur children. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

Known as the quiet one with the big laugh, Melanie works for the sporting teams of a local university. Her (box) office job, while demanding, is rewarding as she cheers on her team to victory.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and somewhat challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties and socialize, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in writing a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her even more inspired tales, for all to enjoy.

To learn more about Melanie Moreland and her books, visit her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tour! A Review of The Husband Maker by Karey White

The Husband Maker (The Husband Maker #1) by Karey White
Genre: Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: June 16, 2014
Publisher: Orange Door Press

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next.

Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she’s not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle’s wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

The Husband Maker is book one in The Husband Maker series by Karey White. This was quite an entertaining little story. I think Charlotte is someone all of us girls can relate to in some form or fashion. She's just like the rest of us. She has her insecurities and imperfections, yet she tries to stay strong and confident. I'm not sold on Kyle. He's sweet, and nice, and they seem pretty perfect for each other, but I don't think the chemistry is strong enough. I really like Angus, but Charlotte doesn't seem remotely attracted to him in that way. Is he attracted to her? I thought so at times, but I'm not sure. I definitely want to read more in this series. I didn't know it was part one of a series until I reached the end. It left me hanging, and I really want to know what happens next.

The Husband Maker by Karey White was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Mrs. Shelton’s words bounced around in my head. They call her the husband maker.
“That’s quite a frown you’ve got going there.”
Angus dipped his head, forcing me to make eye contact with him.
“Don’t be sorry. Just talk to me.”
“Have you heard anyone call me the husband maker?”
Angus leaned back in the booth and shook his head. His dark, worried eyes watched me. “Who told you about that?”
“So you have?” When he didn’t immediately speak, I knew the answer. I sighed and leaned back against my seat as well.
There we sat, both of us slouching against our seats, looking at each other.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I whispered.
“Now why would I do that? Why would I purposely tell you something that would hurt your feelings?”
I should have appreciated his desire to spare me, but at the moment, I wasn’t sure what to think. “Wouldn’t a real friend be honest with me?”
“I was honest. If you’d ever asked me, I’d have told you. I wouldn’t have lied to you. But I don’t think a real friend would jump at the chance to share something hurtful. Wouldn’t a real friend be protective?”
I shrugged.
“Who told you?”
“No one.”
“Then how—?”
“I overheard Hannah Shelton’s mom in the restroom. She was telling some other woman that everyone calls me the husband maker.”
“Not everyone, Chuck.”
“You know what I mean. And why shouldn’t they? There I was at Harrison’s wedding. I guess I just made him a husband. I guess I made Skyler a husband. And CJ and Jerry and . . . I can keep going if you want me to.” I would have kept going to illustrate my point, but my voice was starting to quiver, and in a minute, I’d only have two options—cry or yell at Angus. As upset as I was that he’d never told me, I knew he didn’t deserve to be yelled at. He was here for therapy, after all.
His voice was full of concern, and he used my given name, so I knew he wasn’t kidding around.
“What?” My voice cracked.
He shook his head. “Don’t worry about what people say. You’ve had bad luck. That’s all. It isn’t your fault.”
The waitress brought out our food. “Can I get you anything else?”
“This is great, thanks.” Angus wasted no time piling food on his plate. “I hope you’re hungry,” he said after she left.
“I can’t believe we’re eating this much food at almost ten.”
“If the food doesn’t take your mind off all this junk, the heartburn will.”
I laughed.
Angus’s voice turned serious again. “If you wish I’d have told you, I’m sorry I didn’t.”
I nodded. I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer, but I had to ask. “Have you ever called me that?”
“Of course not.”

Check out my reviews of the other books in this trilogy!

Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

To learn more about Karey White and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

$25 Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 8/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet

Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga #1) by Aurora Whittet
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: November 1, 2013
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known. 
In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?

Bloodmark is the first book in the Bloodmark Saga by Aurora Whittet. This book was so good in so many ways. It brought out a new spin on Werewolves and Bloodsuckers. We get to see a lot of the pack dynamic among the wolves which was interesting to say the least. They have some old world views on things, and I have a feeling Ashling will try to change some of those things. The romance was very instantaneous, which normally I wouldn't like, and I'll admit it was a little awkward with the love talk so early, but I think it worked in this case. I'm not entirely sure that the bloodsuckers are actually vampires, as they don't hunt humans. We don't know too much about them (and we don't necessarily need to just yet), but I think we'll learn more as the series progresses.

The main characters and even some of the supporting characters have a lush & interesting history. You can tell there was a lot of thought and planning that went into the creation of this world and its characters. Bloodmark had a depth to it that I could almost feel come alive while I read. This book was packed with passion, suspense, danger, and a touch of humor. It was hard to put down! I don't even remember what I was expecting when I first started reading, but I got so much more!

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired child in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Today, she has completed the first of three novels in the Bloodmark Saga. She is a national award-winning graphic designer in her day job. Aurora lives with her husband and son in Minnesota.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit

Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit
 Young Adult (Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: February 1, 2014
Publisher: Spellbound Books

Can life really turn on a dime,
a missed bus—
or a stuck pastry shop door?

Chloe Dillard’s life has always been complicated. Her mother is a neurotic romance novelist and her boyfriend, Mathew, has been pressuring her to go “all the way”.

But after The Worst Night of Her Life, Chloe escapes on her Senior Class trip to the swoon-worthy city of Paris which takes her mind off her troubles—temporarily. On the final leg of her dream trip, Chloe squeezes in one final run for a last-minute box of decadent pastries. Add a stuck door, subtract a broken four-inch heel from her cute strappy sandals, and Chloe ends up one stuck girl on the bakery shop floor with a sprained ankle.

Rescued by the shop owner’s dreamy son with chocolate-syrup eyes, the beautiful city of Paris suddenly becomes Chloe’s personal secret adventure. And even though Jean-Paul, the oh-so-kind La Patisserie shop boy is the gentlemanly guy Chloe has always dreamed of, even he has a girlfriend.

The police are tracking her down as a run-away, Mom’s having a nervous breakdown over her daughter’s “disappearance”, and Chloe’s just trying to have a Happily-Ever-After even as her dreams with Matt are swirling down the drain.

Could being lost in the city of Paris be just what the doctor ordered? What’s a girl to do in the most romantic city in the world?

Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit was such a cute story. Who hasn't fantasized about meeting the man of their dreams on some far off romantic place like Paris? This was an easy book to lose yourself in. It was fun to run with Chloe and Jean-Paul through Paris. I felt like I was there with them at times. The author's writing carries you away with her characters. With all the talk of pastries, I was hungry a lot while I read, and there are no REAL pastry shops here. Not any good ones anyway.

I'm not sure why Chloe didn't kick Matt to the curb quicker. He should have been out the door long before the "The Worst Night of Her Life" happened. I love her strength though. She stuck to her guns and didn't let him push her into doing things she didn't want to do. Major props to Chloe.

Jean-Paul was cute, funny, and such the gentleman. He knew how to have fun and give Chloe the perfect Paris adventure.

There was such and innocence to this book, and I loved it. Sweet and clean romances like this are probably my favorite kinds of romances to read.

Paris Cravings by Kimberley Montpetit was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Dear Diary:

I have a confession to make: I’ve become a total idiot over French pastries.

They’re my new favorite food.

My new-found edible souvenir.

My new favorite sin.

Drizzled chocolate, sugar-dusted raspberries, flaky crusts with perfect crimped edges. I’ll have to run a marathon when I get back home to New York just to burn off my new five pounds. French beignets are the worst temptation. Those yeasty chocolate-filled pastries call to me the way Prada handbags call to my mother from Fifth Avenue.

Dunkin Donuts—so yesterday.

Climbing the Eiffel tower, running through miles of hallways at the Louvre Museum, gourmet lunches on the Seine River . . . yes, those are all must-sees . . . if you don’t mind vertigo-dizzying heights and enough paintings to saturate your brain for the rest of your life.

But once I discovered La Patisserie, the rest of Paris became a mere backdrop for my guilty pleasure. What’s a girl to do? 

Kimberley Montpetit once spent all her souvenir money at the La Patisserie shops when she was in Paris—on the arm of her adorable husband. The author grew up in San Francisco, another swoon-worthy city, loves all things Parisian and chocolate and lives in a small town along the Rio Grande with her family.

Kimberley has won many awards for her work, including the Southwest Book Award, the Whitney Award, the Arizona/New Mexico Book Award, is a Crystal Kite Finalist (SCBWI) and included in the Bank Street College Best Books of the Year.

She once stayed in a haunted castle tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland, sailed on the Seine in Paris, walked the beaches of Normandy, eaten in numerous French cafes, ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan, sunbathed on Waikiki, shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

She adores all baked goodies; brownies, ├ęclairs, donuts, tarts, and pie, and makes a lot of chocolate chip cookies while revising.

Kimberley is, of course, hard at work on her next novel(s).

To learn more about Kimberley Montpetit and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.