BLOG TOUR ~ EASY VIRTUE BY MIA ASHER

With champagne and caviar inundating my every sense, I slither through the light wooden floors of the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing in The Met. As I walk, I pretend to admire the expensive jewelry being showcased tonight by a famous designer whose name I can’t remember. A multicolored diamond butterfly sparkles to my left and a cobra made out of black stones glistens to my right. Rows upon rows of precious gems twinkle under the soft lights of the room, flooding the space between the walls with the glow of a thousand stars. Furtive glances. Secrets gossiped. Beauty criticized. Lofty music fills the atmosphere as the über rich mingle and pretend to like each other, yet you can almost taste their conceit and derision for one another in the air.
        This is Walker’s world, and I love it.
        Standing across the room, where the crowd is thinner and the music fainter, I spot Walker’s blond head in the corner of the room, talking to a group of his colleagues and their wives. He looks polished and worth every penny of his trust fund in his sleek black tuxedo, perfectly starched white shirt and black bowtie. His long golden hair parted to the side shines like the sun. He is truly flawless.
        I smile because it’s hard to picture that this is the same guy who likes to snort coke off my tits as he fucks me while hardcore porn plays in the background. He looks untouchable and so cool, but his searching eyes, scanning the crowd for me give him up. He’s wondering where I am. He did tell me not to go too far, after all. Soon after we arrived at the party, I gave him some space to talk to his friends and do his thing while I did mine. I hate clingy people, so I avoid being one.
        I grab a third flute of champagne from a passing waiter, and try to decide which of the different displays to check out first when my eyes land on a spectacular piece of jewelry. On a bed of black silk, similar to my hair color, lies an extravagant necklace made of diamonds and rubies—a small heaven within one’s reach as long as you can afford the price.
        I bridge the space between the glass protecting the necklace and me until it’s within my reach, fighting the urge to touch the cool surface. As if under a spell, I observe how the rows of diamonds embedded in platinum form leaves and thorns. At its center is a rose made out of red diamonds almost as big as my palm.
        I feel someone walk up and stand next to me, but I don’t give him or her a second thought as I continue to admire the way the light hits the gems, making them shine.
        “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
        His voice is smooth and commanding, dripping absolute power. I keep my eyes locked on the display. Call it sixth sense, but somehow I know that under no circumstance should I make eye contact with the stranger who speaks like the ruler of the world.
        “Yes,” I say simply.
        “I wonder how much it is?” the man asks.
        “I don’t think it matters … I highly doubt anyone can afford it.”
        He chuckles, and the sound is more delicious than his voice. Lusher. “Oh, but I can.”
        I smile at his self-assurance. I love cocky assholes. “I still doubt it.”
        “You shouldn’t. I only speak the truth,” he retorts coolly. His voice is nonchalant yet his words leave no room for disbelief—a demand and a statement all in one.
        Suddenly, the noises of the room become distant. People talking and laughing amongst friends and the orchestra playing all fade away until all I hear is him speaking.
        And at this moment, that is all that matters.
        “The truth is very subjective, sir.”
        “The truth may be subjective but money isn’t. Money can buy anything.”
        His answer is like an electroshock, jumpstarting my brain from a champagne-induced haze. My pulse begins to accelerate, excitement making it hard to take a deep breath. Don’t look at him … don’t.
        “Oh really,” I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm. He’s right, though.
        “Of course. I believe everything,” he pauses, “and everyone has a price.”
        Curiosity winning the battle against curiosity, I turn to face him, and what a fucking big mistake that is. When our eyes meet, I feel incapacitated of all sense and movement. The sight of him takes my breath away. This man gives the term “lust at first sight” a whole new meaning.
        In my short twenty-three years, I’ve been with extremely handsome men, perfect even, but to classify the man standing next to me in any kind of category would be a disservice to him, and not really fair to the others. Longish, light brown hair wildly framing his face, vacant eyes the color of dollar bills, a slightly crooked nose, and a mouth that begs to be buried deep within your thighs. His beauty is as harsh as it is stunningly perfect. Dressed in a simple black tuxedo and unbuttoned white shirt, the man exudes innate virility and grace, reminding me of a black panther stalking his prey. And just like a panther, it’s the pure raw and powerful energy emanating from within him that I find most attractive. Because just by standing next to him, I get the sense that his word is always the last spoken and his wishes the first ones to be fulfilled. He doesn’t ask, he demands. He doesn’t hope, he expects.
        He’s quiet for a moment; his uncanny eyes hold me captive as though they are baring my soul to him and I hate it. I tighten my hold on the crystal flute. I want to look away, but I can’t. The way he’s staring at me makes me want to squirm.
        “I wonder … do you have one?” he asks softly before turning to examine the piece of jewelry once more.
        “A what?” I ask, momentarily stunned.
        He smiles. “A price.”
        “For the right amount … I just might,” I say quietly, my heart beating so fast it feels as though it wants out of my chest. As soon as the words leave my mouth, there’s no shock coursing down my body, no rolling waves of shame pulling me down for having said that to a complete stranger—nothing.
        And why should there be? I am who I am.
        I’m staring at his profile, waiting for him to acknowledge my answer, when a breeze of cool air floats past us, making me shiver. About to chase the goose bumps on my arm with my hand, I watch as he slowly turns to look at me, catching me staring at him. Time stands still as I watch him raise his large tanned hand and touch my bare shoulder, his fingertips lightly grazing the temporary small bumps covering it. Then he smiles as if he knows that my skin is tingling from his scalding touch, and looks away.
        “I thought so.”
        We remain standing next to each other for another minute or so, the distance between us almost nonexistent. It would be so easy to reach out and hold his hand. The sound of an incoming call breaks the silence, bringing us back to reality.
        He takes his cell phone out of the inner pocket of his tuxedo jacket and ignores the call after noting the name of the caller. He lifts his gaze to meet my own.
“Sorry about that.”
        “It’s okay. I should go … I’m here with someone,” I reply, not really wanting to leave him just yet.
        “Yes, that’s probably a good idea.”
        I frown. He didn’t have to be quite so blunt. The stranger extends a hand toward me, holding something in his fingers.
        “Here … ”
        I open my hand as I feel the edges of what I assume is his business card poke the skin of my palm. “What’s this?” I ask stupidly.
        “My business card, of course.”
        “Obviously … but why?”
        He smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Let’s just say that I’m an interested buyer.”
        And then he’s gone.
        He turns and walks away from me, disappearing into a sea of colorful gowns and black suits. As the sounds of the party infiltrate my ears once more, I lower my gaze to stare at the simple cream-colored card in my hand. Its simplistic and elegant design draws attention to the name printed in bold black letters on the paper.
        Lawrence Rothschild.
        I smile and let my fingertips trail his name. It depends on what you’re willing to pay, Mr. Rothschild.

Continue reading BLOG TOUR ~ EASY VIRTUE BY MIA ASHER

RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ LIVVY BY LORI L. OTTO

In her first year of college at Yale, challenging courses and new friends provide a much-needed distraction for Livvy Holland. Beyond the tears–for the most part– she won’t allow the lingering anger she harbors toward her ex-boyfriend to consume her.
Even after taking steps to conceal her identity, Livvy is still very recognizable and popular among her new classmates. She takes advantage of her situation and accepts dates with multiple guys, trying to piece together an image of ‘her type of guy’ that differs from all the good qualities Jon Scott once possessed.
An unexpected letter arrives on Livvy’s 18th birthday, shifting her focus and forcing her to reevaluate all the relationships in her life. She now knows the identity of her biological father, and struggles to make sense of the news alone. Fortunately, she won’t have to.

Just as Livvy’s life begins to normalize, one of her professors provides her with the creative opportunity of a lifetime. Trusting in the bonds she’s made with everyone she loves, she believes she can have everything she wants and makes the decision that allows her to be true to herself.
She was chosen for a reason. Chosen to be a gifted artist that–with a few strokes of a paintbrush–could touch people emotionally; profoundly. Chosen by her parents so they had a place to share their boundless love and devotion. Chosen by her friend so he could return the encouragement, inspiration and affection she’d shown him for so many years.
Livvy Holland will never again take her position in life for granted. She wears the name with humility and respect. She is Choisie.

When I reach the lobby, it’s not Finn that’s waiting for me. “James,” I say, recognizing Granna’s husband. I
hadn’t seen him in months, and it wasn’t often that I spent any time with him socially. He traveled a lot, and wasn’t around very much. Granna’s independence helped make that marriage a success. I was starting to think that’s how Jon and I would have been, now that I’ve gotten some perspective.
“Are you here to see me?”
“I am,” he says kindly. “First of all, happy birthday.”
“Thanks. Um, did you want to come up?” It would be awkward to have him in the loft, but it was Donna’s
before she left it to me. Maybe he heard about the renovations.
“No, I just needed to bring you this.” He hands me an envelope. The stationery is soft, and feels more like
fabric than paper. I recognize Donna’s handwriting immediately. Olivia Sophia Holland. Personal and confidential.
“What’s this?”
“This was part of her will, Livvy. She asked that I hand-deliver it to you on your eighteenth birthday.” It still

surprises me how meticulously she had made her will, as if she knew she wouldn’t be around. My mother had reminded me that Granna had learned early on that life was brief, and could be over any day with no warning.
“Do you know what it is?”
“A card, I guess,” he says. “But she requested that you be alone when you read it.”
I look at him curiously. “That’s an odd request, isn’t it?”
“I thought the same thing. But I don’t question her.”
“Of course not,” I say with a wistful smile. “I still miss her every day.”
“I do, too. She loved you so much.”
“She loved you, too,” I tell him. He nods, looking sad. “Thank you for bringing this by. I can’t wait to read
it.”
“Have a good birthday, Livvy. It’s good to see you.” We hug one another before he turns to leave the building.
“That was a surprise,” Francisco says.
“Yeah. Hey, I was actually expecting someone else, so–”
“You don’t have to come down every time, you know? We have a master key that takes us to your floor. I can accompany someone up, if you’d like.”
“That would be great. Thank you. I guess I’ve got some reading to do.” I untuck the flap as I get back on the elevator. When it doesn’t respond to the press of the H button, I remember to insert my key. The note is handwritten, and dated a month before Granna died.
“My dearest Livvy,
“I’ve struggled with how to best deliver this news to you. I’d thought about telling you in person, but ultimately I decided this is a private matter that you and you alone should face.”
When she wrote this, she had no way of knowing she’d be gone a month later.
“I have not told your parents, and I don’t want to play a part in your decision unless you specifically ask me
to.” The elevator stops at my floor, and I almost forget to get out before the doors close to return the car to the lobby.
“When you asked me a few weeks ago if there was any way that Nate could be your father–”
Suddenly, I feel like my heart is going to throb right through my chest. What is this?
“…if there was any way that Nate could be your father, I told you no, that there was no possible way. You
accepted that answer, but I didn’t.”
The letter falls from my hands, sailing quietly onto the floor in the hallway separating my apartment from Matty’s. I stare at it, frozen, fearing news that I don’t want. I’d left this notion behind. Nate can’t be my father.
Quickly, I walk to Matty’s door and pound on it.
“Matty!” I yell, finding it difficult to produce words when my mouth is so dry. My uncle isn’t home. I knew he wasn’t anyway, but I’m not sure I can continue reading the note by myself, as she apparently requested. I move slowly toward the paper, picking it up tentatively and flipping it over so the words are hidden from me.
I could rip this up right now, and everything would be just how it was. Jack Holland is my father. He’s the only father I want. My knees weak, I fall into the decorative bench in between our apartments. I look at the envelope once more. Is this a joke, Granna?
A small ding demands my attention toward the elevator, but I can’t tear my eyes away from the letter to greet Finn. Personal and confidential. The doors open, and slow footsteps move toward me. Dress shoes. I know that walk. It’s not Finn.
“Olivia?” I close my eyes. Although the footsteps have stopped, I know that was Jon’s walk. That’s Jon’s
voice. That’s the name that only Jon calls me. I try to take a deep breath, but broken, shallow gasps are all that come. I turn my head and see him. “Are you okay?”
“No,” I answer quickly, standing up abruptly. We face one another and stare, as if we haven’t seen each other for years, instead of weeks. His hair’s longer. He’s more muscular. He’s wearing glasses. A small wooden box tied with a ribbon is tucked under his arm. “What are you doing here?”

RELEASE DAY REVIEW ~ NATURAL LOVE BY S. CELI

My whole life, I wanted one thing: to be the perfect son.
Growing up, I did everything my father required. Straight A’s in school. Perfect manners. I forced myself to live up to his standards–standards that pushed the Chadwick family name to the highest rungs of society.
Over the years, we climbed so high that my father hoped we’d never fall.
If only he’d been right. With each successful year, the Chadwick family skeletons grew bolder and darker. Every lie threatened to undo us.
The secret Avery Jackson and I shared was the worst one of all.
She was the one person I shouldn’t love–the one person I couldn’t love. But I did. I loved Avery Jackson. I wanted her, even though a romance with her threatened everything.
It all felt so natural.
And that was exactly the problem.

I know the rating doesn’t really show it, but I did enjoy this book up until the point I didn’t. The writing was solid and as a lover of taboo and forbidden romances, I was happy with a surprise reveal in the beginning that added yet another complex layer to the story. However, the excellent premise was overshadowed by some issues that gradually dominated the story and by the end of the book I was so disappointed when I read how everything was wrapped up. But taking the book as a whole, this was a decent read. Nothing that wowed me, but it did keep me flipping the pages.

Back home from 2 years in the Peace Corps, Spencer Chadwick is ready to take over his father’s multimillion-dollar business. Striving to always be the perfect son in front of his father and the rest of their social circle, Spencer is dedicated to showing everyone he’s changed from the reckless youngster a few years back. However, the only thing that has never changed is his love for Avery Jackson, the girl who grew up with him since they were kids and also the one girl he can never have.

Like I mentioned earlier, there is a taboo aspect but in an unconventional way. Spencer and Avery together technically doesn’t violate any rules or laws and there is absolutely zero cheating and no love triangle, but because of the stifling, perfectionist society they grew up in, a relationship between them is frowned upon and severe enough where it can mar their family names.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book. The story was intense and individually, I really felt for these characters and the unfairness the situation placed them in. And because they were trying so hard to suppress their feelings, the atmosphere was almost always heavy and laced with sexual tension. But as to be expected, they give in to their attraction and that’s when the secrets started to pile up, the drama surfaced, and I started to get annoyed.
As the story progressed, I noticed that the writing became more ‘telling’ than ‘showing.’ I’m told repeatedly that their relationship is forbidden, there are so many family secrets, etc…over and over again, even all the way to the 70% mark. I’m not a fan of stories that like to elongate and drag out plot devices to create conflict and in my opinion, I think that’s what the author did with the ‘secret’ that the hero and heroine were hiding. And then when it was actually revealed, I felt…underwhelmed. It’s bad of me to say, but because I’ve read SO many books with this kind of secret, it desensitizes me. While I felt sorry for the characters and wished it never happened, it wasn’t a compelling enough of a reason to drag it out through almost the entire story. Lastly, the final 20% of the story was just drama overload. The pace of the book totally changed and while the first portion moved steadily, the author cranked up the pace, stuffed, then wrapped up all the loose ends in this teensy last portion. It’s safe to say I wasn’t a fan of the rushed ending. I do think if the book were longer there would be more room for plot development.
Natural Love is a NA forbidden romance standalone unrelated to the author’s other books. I will not spoil what makes their relationship taboo, only because it’s revealed in the very beginning of the book so it’s not like it’s intentionally hidden from readers.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Journalist. Novelist. Broadcaster. Blogger.
An overactive imagination has always served Sara Celi well. Starting from age 10, with an epic tale about a soldier during the Civil War, Sara has made creating stories her life’s work. After graduating cum laude from Western Kentucky University in 2004 with a degree in Broadcast News and History, Sara Celi started her decade-long career in broadcast journalism at TV stations in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Ohio.
Her love of the written word came to fruition with the publishing of her first novel, The Undesirable, in 2013 and has since published The Palms and Prince Charming.
Born in New Orleans and having lived all over the United States, Sara Celi now calls the Greater Cincinnati area home. In her spare time, she likes to read, shop, travel, run, volunteer with the Junior League, serve on the board of Wesley Community Services, and work with Cooperative for Education, a non-profit providing educational opportunities for the children of Guatemala.
To keep up with Sara Celi and find out about her future works, subscribe to her mailing list, The Celi Circle. Subscribers can participate in exclusive giveaways and events. You can also follow Sara

BOOK REVIEW ~ ARCHER’S VOICE BY MIA SHERIDAN

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer’s Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

4 stars!!
I honestly wasn’t planning on reading this book just yet but my crazy fingers swiped on it, the book opened, hours flew by, and whaddya know? I’m through with the book. As for my rating, it took me some time to decide as I was spinning between the 3 and 5 star range. I mean, I liked the book. I loved it actually. But I didn’t LOVE it. The praise for this book is absolutely warranted though. The deep emotional pull and one of the very best literary heroes is probably enough to give this book 5 stars, but as much as I am a romantic at heart I have very cynical tastes and there were too many coincidences in the story along with a few particular scenes I wasn’t fond of and so that made me think 3 stars. But no matter what parts of the book I loved or disliked, at the heart of everything is this beautiful man Archer who I loved like crazy and I can’t bring myself to 3 star him…so 4 stars it is to account for both the parts I enjoyed and struggled with.
The heroine Bree Prescott has been through a traumatic ordeal and in an effort to escape those lingering memories, ditches her home and arrives at a small town in Maine hoping for some peace. Bree is a very likable heroine who is both lovely and kind, and for someone who is afflicted with terrors and understandable trust issues, she easily makes new friends, gets a new job, catches the eye of the town’s most eligible bachelor, and is the first to coax out the reclusive hero Archer Hale in just days. And while her goal in town is simply to try to live without fear and looking over her shoulder, she can’t help but feel a connection to Archer and a desire to want to know him more.
Archer Hale. Honestly one of the best heroes I’ve ever read, Archer has suffered through a childhood experience no kid should have to go through. He’s misunderstood by the townspeople as an eccentric loner because no one will take the chance to get to know the real him. No one but Bree.
I think it’s easy to mix up sympathy for love and while some of my love for this character does stem from sympathy, most is from an admiration of how much Archer suffered through, both physical and emotional agony, to get to where he is today, and his efforts in making his relationship with Bree work despite his social stigma.
As much as I loved everything about Archer, some things in this story bothered me, like Bree just happening to be the only one who could communicate with him with sign language. And the whole ‘one person politically and financially controls the town’ theme. Then there was a specific Travis/Archer scene that really pissed me off and then the ending scene, no matter how appropriate it might be, came off as cheesy and overly sweet as if all the loose ends had to be tied up in a nice, neat bow. And then when Bree’s past caught up with her, that secondary plotline felt underdeveloped and haphazardly thrown together. I get that this story’s main focus is the romance and that’s perfectly OK, but by doing so the author really does ignore the minor plotlines running parallel to the romance.
This is a book that has very strong and compelling main characters but because the book focus is solely on the romance, the actual storyline is inherently weak. Nevertheless, the writing is beautiful, evocative and triggers deep emotions and the hero was extraordinary, so I think this book is worth reading for those reasons alone.
Archer’s Voice is the 4th book in the Sign of Love series and a complete standalone. It is not related to any of the books in this series and is a story inspired by Sagittarius.

BOOK REVIEW ~ NOCTE BY COURTNEY COLE

My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half– my twin brother, my Finn– is crazy.

I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.

I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline.

Dare DuBray.

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me.

He has the power to destroy me.

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt.

Why? Because of a secret.
A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming.

You won’t either.

Buy NOCTE (Kindle)

4 stars!
When it comes to luring me to read a book, I really do have simple standards. A gorgeous cover will usually do the trick but in this case, Nocte not only has a eye-catching cover but an enticing blurb too good to resist and an author letter that gave me CHILLS so whaddya know? This is a book that no matter what I had to read the second it was available to buy. And now that I’ve finished I can say that the author definitely delivered on her promise in her letter. I was repeatedly warned about how surprising the big twist would be and how unconventional the ending was but nothing could really prepare me because when I got to those parts, I actually flinched at how chilling the words and the mood of the story was, and just like the characters, I, too, fell into despair over the big reveal and the fact that the ending answers one question but dangles an even bigger one in front.
This is the story of Calla Price, a girl who’s surrounded by death and morbidity. Her father is a mortician, her mother died in a horrifying car accident, and her twin brother is mentally crazy. The poor girl just can’t get a break! But despite all the ugly in her life, she remains positive and is confident that her twin bond with Finn will ultimately save him from his sick mental health. They always say that twins have an extra special connection and so for Calla, nothing and no one is more important to her than her brother and his well-being.
On a day just like any other, Calla drops off Finn at one of his therapy sessions and meets this guy Dare. Her connection with him isn’t so much as insta-love as it is soul recognition but there is just something about Dare that makes Calla hyperaware of him and him of her.
They bond over similar past ordeals and Calla finds that the more time she spends with Dare, the more she feels free from all of her worries. It’s clear, however, that Dare is hiding some pretty important things from her and she from him, so as much as they come to like and love each other, there is an unspoken agreement to avoid confrontation about their secrets. But the truth can’t be hidden forever and soon enough, both of their pasts – especially Calla’s – catches up with them and when it is revealed, it is absolutely shocking and devastating to both the main characters and everyone around them. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change Calla and Dare’s relationship a bit; if anything, their rocky relationship only motivates them more into making things work.
Up until the big twist, I was a little bored with the book in terms of not really knowing what direction the story was going in. It’s written in alternate Finn and Calla POVs, and many of the Calla scenes bored me with mundane descriptions of daily life activities. Finn’s POVs, however, really captivated me with his dark, edgy ferocity, and the author really captured his sick mental health and channeled it into his POV, projecting a very unstable individual who’s both fascinating and frightening. So when that big reveal came, I was shocked speechless. I finished the book in a daze and sat in my chair for half an hour staring at nothing and contemplating everything I read. Books like these where the enjoyment level is mainly contingent on one huge turning point in the book I’m always wary of reviewing because I may let the shock override my true feelings. I’ve let the shock wear off and I have to say that while the actual twist itself is original, imaginative, and unique in the context of this book, the fallout is huge and the wake left behind presented several plot holes that made me scratch my head. This is the main reason why I can’t give 5 stars because I am a very logical, factual reader and even if I get emotionally overwhelmed and let my feelings dictate my review, the facts also must align in order for me to give a high rating.
I think it’s no secret that the ending is a cliffhanger, and might I add it is one MASSIVE cliffy that has the power to cripple you, force you on your knees and beg the author to release the next book at once. However, I knew it was this kind of ending and still decided to read it because I was just SO curious about the book, you know? And so even though I wished the book didn’t end the way it did here, even though I admit it would’ve made me heart feel a lot better if I read this when at least book 2 released, I don’t regret reading this book one bit. In my opinion, the shock, agony, and pure torture of not having the next book available is worth experiencing.
Nocte is the first book in the Nocte trilogy and not a standalone. The story will continue on in book 2 Verum which will be released in February.

BOOK REVIEW ~ THE DUET BY R.S. GREY

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.
So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies… those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars’.
Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch — with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe Is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…
They’re expecting The Duet.

Though I don’t read many of them, sometimes it’s great to unwind with a lighthearted, humorous read and when I picked up The Duet it hit the nail on the head with light and funny. Though the premise isn’t anything I haven’t read before, the witty banter, nearly drama-free plot, the close camaraderie between the two Heart sisters and the two very charming main characters totally won me over and I had a blast reading this book.

Pop singer Brooklyn Heart is a hoot. She’s the quintessential popular girl with an occasional wild side, and is fiercely loyal to those she loves. In order to rack up an audience and even wider recognition, Brook’s label has her paired up with the hero Jason Monroe to perform a smashing duet on Grammy night. Problem is, she and Jason couldn’t be more different from each other and though she’s got the hots for him, her bubbly attitude and his ice-cold indifference clash again and again. Both resign to the idea they have to work with each other for one month to collaborate on their duet and for inspiration, they head out to Jason’s ranch out in Montana. It isn’t too long before their inspiration ideas come from sex and they agree to the rules: no relationships, no complications, just sex.

As to be predicted, feelings get in the way. He gets jealous. She feels jilted. A little drama scene in between. Usually I’ll start rolling my eyes but instead in here I just couldn’t stop laughing. The story is just simply too funny, and even when things got overly dramatic because of Brook’s exaggerated antics, the book remains lighthearted so it’s hard to take some things seriously and it all felt comical.
I think I enjoyed this one a lot more than I normally would because I was in the mood for this kind of read. Having read another book from this author I feel like her writing forte is to channel the wild, spontaneous side of love in the characters’ relationships, and it worked really well here. Mind you, I didn’t exactly go gaga over these characters but they’re extremely likable and despite their fame and popularity, the author portrayed them both as characters everyone can relate to in some way. I did feel like the love on Brook’s side leaned more towards obsession (because seriously, this girl was daydreaming about Jason way before she even met him and then after she did, it was bananas) and so in terms of their romantic connection, I thought it was weak, hence the 4 star rating. But everything else, from the laugh-out-loud hilarious writing to the awesome character dynamic to the killer ending is a thumbs up from me.
The Duet is a fun romantic comedy standalone and sets up the stage for another standalone companion that stars Brook’s younger sister Cammie.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

READING ABBREVIATIONS INDEX

Do you ever read a book and there’s an abbreviation like BBW tagged as the headline and you go ‘what does that stand for??’ It’s Big Beautiful Woman  by the way, but the point is, there are just so many abbreviations we throw around in the book world and it’s easy to forget what they stand for. So, I took the liberty of making a list of abbreviations I use and see around a lot. If I left one out, let me know and I’ll be sure to add to the list!

TBR = To Be Read (usually refers to our reading lists)

TBA = To Be Announced (occasionally used for book release dates/info)

TBD = To Be Determined (occasionally used for book release dates/info)

WTH = What the Heck/Hell (believe me I’ve seen this used in stories)

HEA = Happily Ever After (refers to the book ending)

HFN = Happy For Now (refers to the book ending)

ICYMI = In Case You Missed It (I use this one a lot)

POV = Point of View

DNF = Did Not Finish (DNF-ing a book)

ARC = Advanced Reader Copy (unpublished version of the book provided to the reviewer/blogger by the author or publisher)

IMO = In My Opinion

T = Taboo (occasionally books will be marked to warn readers of taboo content)

BOB = Battery Operated Boyfriend

BB = Book Boyfriend

NSFW = Not Safe For Work (those steamy reads hehehe)

M/M = male/male

M/F/M = menage with straight men (male/female/male)

M/M/F = menage with bi men (male/male/female)

BDSM = BD (bondage & discipline), SM (sadism & masochism)

D/s = Dom/sub

H/h = Hero/heroine

UST = Unresolved Sexual Tension

BBW = Big Beautiful Woman

LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

PNR = Paranormal Romance (I use this one a lot)

YA = Young Adult

NA = New Adult (I use this a lot too)

UF = Urban Fantasy

MC = Main Character OR Motorcycle Club (depending on the context of the user)

Hey guys! I am SO sorry for the multiple posts that went out earlier. That was entirely my mistake and meant to be drafts on my blog, not to be published yet. They’re gone from my blog since I deleted them but those who are subscribed with your email will get the posts that look like spam. Again, my deepest apologies for that!! My blog is almost done with the makeover (making a few more changes here) but the multiple unfinished posts were not meant to be sent out. Sorry guys!!

BOOK REVIEW ~ FIRST DEBT BY PEPPER WINTERS

“You say I’ll never own you. If I win—you willingly give me that right. You sign not only the debt agreement, but another—one that makes me your master until your last breath is taken. You do that, and I’ll give you this.”
Nila Weaver’s family is indebted. Stolen, taken, and bound not by monsters but by an agreement written over six hundred years ago, she has no way out.
She belongs to Jethro as much as she denies it.
Jethro Hawk’s patience is running out. His inheritance gift tests, challenges, and surprises him—and not in good ways. He hasn’t leashed her but he thinks he might’ve found a way to bind her forever.
Debts are mounting. Payment waiting.

I was one of the readers who finished book 1 feeling shocked and a little angry with the (anti) hero Jethro Hawk. Though I never doubted that the author could redeem him in our eyes, there was a lot of work needed to be done before I could even forgive him, let alone like him. With this second book, the author has answered old questions, presented new ones, but most importantly, given us a reason to warm up to Jethro and both sympathize and admire Nila for her resiliency. Whether or not you were a fan of the first book, I can guarantee that reading this book will present these characters in a different light…and just maybe see Jethro set on a road towards redemption.

The story begins right where the first ended: Nila is on the run and Jethro is on the hunt. They play a dangerous game of clashing wits, neither one giving an inch. Despite her time in captivity, Nila is fiercely stubborn and proud, and her resolve to get out of this hellhole never wavers while facing pain and degradation. Yes, she’s physically attracted to Jethro – and only him – but her desire for freedom is stronger and throughout the book, I really did see her struggle between revenge and freedom vs. her growing feelings for Jethro. On the other end, the author gives us an inside look into Jethro’s mindset and we’re lead to believe that he’s not so cold-hearted and cruel after all. Stuck in a crazy family that harbors a deep hatred of another household, Jethro is coerced into acting like the prodigal son and buries the real him deep inside. No one but Nila has the power to force him to see that who he is now isn’t who he really is and meant to be, but their thoughts can’t be voiced with the eyes of his family members carefully scrutinizing each and every one of their moves.
Except for in lust. Filthy, wicked, and sinful lust. Unlike book 1 where sex was mainly perceived to be more ritualistic than intimate, sex in here is the only place where these characters’ vulnerability can be seen. Where weakness and compromise is allowed. Both Nila and Jethro are equals in lust.
But that creates a big problem: just how do they deal with their feelings for each other when they’re both smacked with problems: Jethro and his family, Nila and her freedom? This is where I think the author’s brilliant writing comes in, evoking tormenting and agonizing feelings because of the dichotomy presented. I really felt for both of these characters – especially Jethro – and their terrible situation.
Old questions like the reason behind the debt inheritance, Kite’s identity, etc… will all be answered but at the same time these answers lead to even more mystery that had me questioning what I knew already. When you read this book, please keep in mind that this is a series that’s dark first, romance second. It’s because of how twisty and messed up this entire situation is that makes any possible romance THAT much more precious.
First Debt is the 2nd installment in the Indebted serial and not a standalone. You must read Debt Inheritance first. The author has prefaced in all of these books that cliffhangers are to be expected and while it’ll leave you desperate for the next one, it’ll also be a satisfying reading experience as each of these books has a full beginning, middle, and end.
Rating: 4.5 stars!!
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

BOOK BLITZ ~ BREAKING THE RULES BY KATIE MCGARRY

For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so… different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah’s more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he’d be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn… seriously epic.

EXCERPT
From Noah’s Point of View
“Me and you,” I whisper, hoping my words will sink into her subconscious, beyond where she overthinks. “It’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Echo’s hand glides over mine, and she links our fingers together. “You like disturbing my sleep, don’t you?”
I kiss her shoulder, permitting my lips to linger on her soft skin. Guess I did wake her. “Just keeping things straight between us.”
“In my sleep?” Damn, I love that groggy voice.
“You argue less that way.”
AUTHOR BIO KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.