Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Release Day Blitz!! "Hard As You Can" By: Laura Kaye

Hard As You Can
By: Laura Kaye

Today is RELEASE DAY!!!!!
HARD AS YOU CAN is your second book in the “Hard Ink” series (after USA Today bestseller, HARD AS IT GETS). What can readers look forward to?
Readers can look forward to tons of sexy alpha male goodness, awesome bromance between the Hard Ink men, more antics from the Hard Ink puppy, and another great love story between Shane and Crystal. But readers should also be ready for a book that is darker, more intense, and more emotional. This book pushed me to emotional places that were tough as a writer, and might be tough for readers, too. But I think that just makes the payoff at the end so much sweeter!
Describe Shane and Crystal. What are their best traits? What are their weaknesses?
Shane and Crystal are such an amazing couple to me. They’re each exactly what the other needs. Shane’s best traits are his protectiveness, his fundamental kindness, and his soul-deep loyalty (his southern accent and humor are also right up there!). His biggest weakness for sure is a tragedy from the past for which he blames himself—and it’s something that continues to motivate him in Hard As You Can. Crystal’s best traits are her courage, protectiveness, and selflessness—she’s willing to do anything to keep her younger sister safe. Her biggest weakness is also that selflessness, because the sacrifices she’s required to make are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
If you could describe your book in a 140 character tweet, what would it be?
When a woman in trouble assists an ex-soldier's covert mission to regain his team's stolen honor, he finds a new mission to save her, too
What are you most excited about with this second book release?
I’m really excited to take readers deeper into these awesome characters and into the mystery behind the Hard Ink team’s ambush and discharge!
What books are you reading right now?
I’m almost done with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (yes, I’m very late to the party but OMG JAMIE FRASER!!!). And I’ve recently devoured and loved Juliana Stone’s Offsides and Shelly Thacker’s time-travel historical romance, Forever His.
What can fans of your “Hard Ink” series look forward to next?
There will be two more Hard Ink books in 2014!
Hard to Hold on To – August 2014
Hard to Come By – November 2014
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.
Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he's shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister's sake, Crystal can't get too close. Until her job and Shane's mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He's exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can--and never let go.
Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
It’s release day! And I’m so excited to share Hard As You Can, the second book in the Hard Ink series, with all of you here today! Hard As You Can follows the surviving members of a disgraced Army Special Forces team as they fight to regain their stolen honor, and finds their investigation crossing paths with a waitress willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive and protect her younger sister. For Shane McCallan, saving Crystal Dean is a mission he refuses to turn down.
Today, I’ve got a super sexy scene to share with you, one that was a total surprise to me as I was writing it! I hope you enjoy this peek at the first time Shane and Crystal find themselves alone with each other:
“Do you like to dance, Crystal?” Shane asked in a low voice.

 “Uh, what? Why?”

 His smile was crooked, playful. “ ’Cause dancing’s something people do when they’re getting to know each other.”

 “Really?” Maybe where he was from. Then again, she worked in a strip club. Dancing was something people did to make money. So, okay, maybe her view of dancing was a bit jaded.
  “Absolutely. Ask anybody.” The song faded away, followed by the announcement of a Southern rock station’s call sign. A new song started, and Shane turned to her with a smile. “Dance with me.”

 Crystal peered up at him without the slightest idea how to respond. Because her body was saying hell, yes!, while her brain was screaming bad idea, really, really bad idea.

 He stepped closer, arms raised, expression full of all kinds of invitation.

 The next thing she knew, her right hand was in his and her left had slipped around his neck. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod, ran over and over in her mind. What am I doing? But then he tucked her hand against his chest and tugged her against him with the hand that settled at her lower back. And the closeness stole her breath.

 He moved them to the beat of the song, a slow, sexy, bluesy number she didn’t know but would never forget. Some songs carried memories like the images were imprinted upon the very lyrics themselves, and she had no doubt this would be one of them.

 All of a sudden, the air in the room felt ten degrees warmer. As they swayed to the beat, Shane’s body pressed against hers from thighs to chest. With every step and move and turn, Crystal’s breasts rubbed against the hard plane of his chest. Strong hands held and guided her body, making her want to feel them explore her everywhere. Arousal rose like a waking dragon inside her. Cautious. Curious. Dangerous.

 This was wrong and stupid on so many levels. But, scary as it was, it felt so freaking good that she couldn’t force herself to pull away. One song. It’s just a dance. Just a dance just a dance just a dance.
 And, holy crap, she wasn’t the only one aroused.

 Against her belly, Shane hardened.
Crystal sucked in a breath, and he pressed his lips close to her ear. “We’re just dancing here. That’s all. I promise,” he said. But the adrenaline was already in her blood, setting her to a trembling she couldn’t control. Part curious interest and part instinctive fear. “Sshh,” he almost cooed. “Just dancing.”

 The echo of her own thoughts from a moment before allowed her to draw a breath that almost calmed. They turned and swayed to the music, moving closer, pressing tighter, Shane’s lips so close to her face that she could feel his breath shudder across her cheekbone.

 He was a fire she had no business playing with. She knew that even as she leaned her face against his . . . and got exactly what she’d hoped for.

 He kissed her.
 Just a brush of his lips against her cheek, but a kiss all the same.
 And as much as it made her head spin, it was the little catch of breath in the back of his throat that sent a jolt of electricity down her spine to settle low in her belly. Light as a feather, he caressed her cheek, her temple, her ear with his lips. With him, always such gentleness, so different from almost every other sexual experience she’d ever had. It made her feel safe to allow this to continue.
 Between them, his erection was firm, long, totally unyielding.

 She shivered, caught between interest and fear, desire a river moving faster and faster inside her. The whole experience was a revelation—that her body had the capacity to respond this way, that a person existed who could pull these reactions from her.

 For a moment, she gave herself over to the dizzying sensations. In her mind’s eye, she saw them undressing, fumbling their way back the hall, falling naked and wanting on the bed. What would it be like, just once, to take something that she wanted without worrying about anyone else, without being afraid? Just one wild, secret night, all for her? What would Shane be like?
So that’s Shane and Crystal for you! Did you have a favorite line? Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - "Hard As You Can" By: Laura Kaye

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme where we let everyone know what books we are eagerly anticipating the release. 

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine

Hard As You Can
By: Laura Kaye

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can--and never let go.

Expected Release Date: February 25, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"Last Gift" By: Jessica Clare Review

Last Gift
By: Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

Last Gift by Jen Frederick and Jessica Clare, a holiday gift.
This is a holiday short featuring Nikolai and Daisy. It's about 7500 words of holiday goodness.

My Thoughts
    A short quick story featuring characters from Last Hit, the first book in the Hitman Series by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick. Nikolai and Daisy have officially moved in with one another and spending their first Christmas together. Nikolai had never celebrated the holiday and Daisy tries to find new ways to bring the holiday spirit to the former hitman. Sweet and short, a perfect accompany piece to anyone who read the first book in the series.

Book Details
Publisher: Self Published
# of Pages: 17
Date of Publication: December 26, 2013

Hitman Series
2. Last Breath (Publishes 2014)


Monday, February 17, 2014

"Last Hit" By: Jessica Clare Review

Last Hit
By: Jessica Clare & Jen Frederick

I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all bespoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.
I’ve been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Homeschooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best in people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man that has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk..and also, my life.
My Thoughts
   Daisy has just started to really live life as she moves to Minneapolis. As a young child, her mother was murdered and since that fateful day, her father has lived in fear. Isolated from the outside world, Daisy has had no friends and very little to do with the outside world. Wanting more from life, she escapes her walled off home and travels to Minneapolis.
Little does Daisy know, that within her new apartment, she is being observed secretly by Nikolai. A native born Russian and inducted into the mob at a very young age, Nikolai now works secretly as a hit man. Taking down the undesirables in society, he lives in the shadows. Finding Daisy as he searches for his latest target, he is astounded by her innocence and naivete. After their initial meeting, the two are thrown together in a whirlwind of lust, questions, and mistrust.
Having loved Jessica Clare's other works, I was thrilled to randomly find a new book by her that I had somehow missed. At times this book had me flipping the pages as fast as I could, and at others I wanted to tear my hair out it was so implausible. I wanted to like Daisy but I never could. She was portrayed to be so innocent and wary of the world, but suddenly jumps into bed with this guy she never knew.
Nikolai is another one that seems disjointed. First off, I didn't for a second believe he was this world reknown hitman at the tender age of only 24. I just didn't believe it. I also didn't really get the whole watching Daisy across the street and suddenly having this predatory urge. Where I come from, that's stalking my friend, and its generally frowned upon.
A promising premise but the characters fell flat for me. Even being prepared for a wild storyline, I never could get into it or believe it realistically. I'm open for sequels though, I still think its an interesting concept, just poorly executed in this instance.

Hitman Series
2. Last Breath (Publishes 2014)

Book Details
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
# of Pages: 270
ISBN: 978-0989247962
Date of Publication: November 30, 2013
Source: Personal Purchase


Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Sharp Objects" By: Gillian Flynn Review

Sharp Objects 
By: Gillian Flynn


WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heartWords are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
My Thoughts
      Camille has returned to her small Missouri town to cover the biggest story in Wind Gap’s history, the murder of a pre-teen girl and the disappearance of another. Returning to her town isn’t as easy as it seems, as everyone she encounters seems to have secrets. Even Camille herself wears her own painful history on her skin, scared of revealing even the smallest parts of herself to the outside world. Faced with her painful past, uncovering secrets in her own family, and finding the killer of these two young girls proves to be an almost insurmountable task.
      Wow. That’s what I have to say. Having finished the book just moments ago, I’m still a little lightheaded by just the amount of stuff going on in this book. My mind is mush.
     As with Gone Girl, I didn’t care for any of the characters but the story absolutely had to be read. Delightfully smart, no one is safe from the secrets in this small Missouri town. I thought I had the mystery figured out early but by the end, I knew I had nothing at all figured out. Everyone, from the scummy Kansas City homicide detective to Camille’s own mom are hiding something and the finale is shocking and heart breaking in its honesty. Absolutely gutwrenching in parts, Flynn proves she is a master of storytelling in Sharp Objects.

Book Details 
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books 
# of Pages: 272 
ISBN: 9780307341549 
Date of Publication: September 26, 2006 
Source: Library Checkout 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Under Locke" By: Mariana Zapata Review

Under Locke
By: Mariana Zapata

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widow, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly... even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other. But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop… she should have chosen the strip club.“Babe, I’ve handpicked everythin’ and everyone in here. I know what I want and I get what I want,” he breathed. “And I keep what’s mine.”

My Thoughts
     Iris Taylor has lived through some pretty traumatic experiences in her life. Surviving the death of her mother and grandmother, cancer, and her father abandoning her, hard knocks have prevailed. Trying to cling to what family she does have left, she leaves Florida and travels to Austin to live with her brother.
    Having very few skills, her brother hooks her up with a job at a local tattoo parlor owned by his fellow motorcycle enthusiast. Startled by how different Dex Locke (said owner of tattoo shop and wild motorcycle member) is from any person she’s ever been around, Iris doesn't know whether to be scared of him or attracted to him. Brash, aggressive, and loud, Dexter Locke is unlike anyone she’s ever met. In order for Iris to survive in her new world, she has to adjust and find a strength she never knew she had, while trusting a man she's just met.
     I love love love this book! Long (whew, it was long) but it had an excellent story, wonderful romance, and amazing characters. Iris has had a rough go of it, and I loved how strong she was. Independent as all get out, she was determined to make her own way. A strong inner strength shines throughout and when faced with the large and in charge Dex, she doesn't back down. Dexter is so used to just being obeyed and no one ever questioning him, that when Iris finally does...he just doesn't know what to do with her.
     I liked how the author used humor to engage the characters and the reader. I love a sexy romance as much as anyone else, but the extra scenes of them just hanging out and laughing were enjoyed. It made the book much longer but I think it added exponentially to the character development. The slow burn of the story paved the way for a sigh worthy ending I haven’t seen for quite some time. The only negative I can even dream of is there were a few typos that threw me off, but honestly they were minor that only were small inconveniences.
    Zapata did a fantastic job with her first motorcycle novel and I simply can’t wait to see what comes next. Well written, excellent romance, fully rounded characters and plenty of sexy created one of the stand out romances of the year. With plenty of secondary characters and Iris’ single brothers, I have no doubt there will be some pretty great sequels coming about soon.

Find more information about Mariana Zapata and Under Locke on Goodreads

Book Details
# of Pages: 915
Date of Publication: January 19, 2014
Source: Personal Purchase

2014 Erotic Romance Reading Challenge - Austin, Texas

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nina D'Angelo's Damaged Book Tour!!!

By: Nina D'Angelo
Publishes: February 28, 2014

Before Stephanie Carovella had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, she was damaged.
Stephanie Carovella has been running from her past all her life. The survivor of a brutal attack which left her best friend dead, she has carefully built a protective wall around herself, but she knows sooner or later her past is going to catch up with her.
It’s why she doesn’t want to fall in love. It’s why she doesn’t want to let anyone get too close. 
Dominic Delaney works hard and plays just as hard. He’s a love ‘em and leave ‘em guy who doesn’t believe in forever until Stephanie walks into Outlaws. She is wild, unpredictable and dangerous as hell, yet, he’s drawn to her.
He needs to know the secrets behind her eyes. He can’t walk away.
A sexy, tattooed womanizer, Dominic Delaney’s everything Stephanie wants to avoid. She knows she should stay the hell away from him, but he makes her want to stop running.
Sometimes, even the Damaged deserve to fall in love.

About the Author

Nina D’Angelo is the best-selling author of the Stephanie Carovella series. Her first novel, Nowhere to Run was released in February 2013 and reached #86 on the Amazon Top 100. Her second novel, Nowhere to Hide was released in August 2013.

They are both available in Paperback and ebook format.

Damaged is the prequel to the Stephanie Carovella series and the first in the Outlaws series. Nina has already started working on Deadly Secrets, the third in the Stephanie Carovella series and Shattered, the second in the Outlaws series. Both are slated for a 2014 release.



“For seven hours, we hung out at 25, drank coffee and just talked about anything and everything,” he admitted, standing up and stretching. “She’s gorgeous, Ty, inside and out. She’s wild, unpredictable and dangerous as hell. Not just for my sanity, but for my health. She’s the kind of girl you know you’ll want forever with, and forever will still not be long enough. But she’s not the type of girl to give forever to you willingly. I’m pretty sure you’d have to drag it out of her, kicking and screaming." 
Taking a deep breath, he shoved his hand into his gym shorts pockets. “I don’t know what to do about it. She has a boyfriend. Hell, I have Sandra. We’re friends.” He snorted at the last word. “If you discount the fact that the whole seven hours I was with her I imagined her under me.”
“So, you’re in lust. Work it out on Sandra,” Tyler suggested, watching Dominic walk to the boxing bag and stare hard at it. He flinched when Dominic suddenly swung hard at the bag, swearing fluently as he drove his fist into it.“That’s the problem, Ty. It’s not lust. I’m not denying I want to lose myself in her. God, I’d give anything to have her legs around my waist as she moaned my name. There’s no guy in his right mind that wouldn’t.
I sat and watched her for a month without approaching her. For an entire month, we silently flirted with each other without saying one damn word. It was like a game we played. But it’s her eyes that drew me to her. I could easily lose myself in them. Christ, Ty, they reveal such pain. Jesus, there’s so much agony there. I want to know why. I want to make her forget that pain. I want—” He broke off, frustration eating at him. “I want to know her.”
Author Interview
1. So first off, I'm a librarian. :) Do you have any good library stories?
No really good library stories but I used to love spending my free periods in high school curled up in a corner of the library reading. I love libraries. I find them comforting.

I was in New York in December, I ended up going to the New York State Library. For anyone who has never been and loves libraries and books, this place is a must. The stained glass in the building is breath-taking beautiful but so are the vintage books that are display.

2. What is your writing style like?
I think I’m stronger with dialogue than I am with description. I also prefer fast paced writing rather than slower writing styles. I think I mainly write about topics I am passionate about and I like my stories to stand out and be original. I want to write a novel that isn’t like any others and also want it to stand out.

I’m also a big believer in characters that are flawed. I don’t want to write about perfect characters. Yes, I will have characters that are beauty or handsome but they will also be deeply flawed. Take Stephanie Carovella for example. There is a high emphasis on how beautiful she is, but she’s so completely damaged and flawed. She’s got demons that nobody should ever have and she has walls around her but she is a real character. She is flawed but to me she is perfect because she’s not one dimensional. She’s as real as she can be.

3. Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books or genre?
I read widely so there isn’t one genre I love more than the other. I am a big fan of crime though and fell in love with James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell’s novels from the moment I read them. They have strong characters and brilliant and twisted plots. With James Patterson you get to see things through the eyes of the killer and that’s what I love. I also like with Patricia Cornwell that she writes from behind the scenes and takes you to another place where forensics are concerned.

I’m also a sucker for a good romance, especially with Alpha males and real characters.

Favorite books would be Stephen King’s The Stand, James Patterson’ Kiss the girls and I have to admit I love anything by Kristen Ashley but the Rock Chick series is my favorite. I’m pretty certain Lee Nightgale is my perfect dream man.

4. Honestly, I loved Damaged. Great story and fantastic characters. I'm excited for what's to come next, can you give us some hints??
Thank you!!! I’m always slightly stunned when people love my novels and I was very nervous about writing Damaged. It’s my first hand at romance and it actually came about from readers asking me to write the backstory of Stephanie Carovella and Dominic Delaney.

Next up, I am in the process of editing Nowhere to Run. There are a lot of errors in the first Stephanie Carovella novel, which is unacceptable for me so I am doing a complete clean up and bringing a proofer in to clean up what I’ve missed. I also need to clean up Nowhere to Hide, as I have changed a character’s name.

While I’m juggling this, I am also planning at least two more novels this year. The plan is to start writing Shattered, which is the second in the Outlaws series and will be centered around Jaxon and you will also meet a new character named Lexi.

I’m also planning to write the third in the Stephanie Carovella series called Deadly Secrets and if I can squeeze it in, I will start the first of the Callendor Studios series, which is tentatively called Lucky. So, as you can see I have a really busy year planned.

Shattered is another romance as is Lucky and Deadly Secrets is romantic suspense. I can’t wait to share them with everyone!!!

My Thoughts
      Gorgeously written, Damaged is so ravaged and raw I set it down several times. Not because it was bad, no, because I was so emotionally attached to both the characters and the story. I love a good character driven story and D'Angelo has given us a fantastic one. Stephanie and Dominic are so different yet have so many similarities, I loved seeing them fall in love. I don't want to give too much away, but if you love bad boys Dominic is for you. Shattered and put back together again, Damaged may have just damaged me!

Other stops on the Tour
February 8th- Kelly P’s Blog
February 9th- The Brunette Librarian
February 10th- Kia’s Corner
February 13th- Mythical Books
February 14th- Hardcover Therapy
February 15th- Big Girls Heart Books
February 17th- Kj Reads A Lot
February 19th- Books and Friendz
February 20th- Reviews by Tammy & Kim
February 21st- Big Girls Heart Books
February 22nd- Promiscuous Book Blog
February 23rd- Meleth Bookaddicted
February 27th-Bookworm Betties
February 28th- Prisoners of Print
March 2nd- The Avid Reader
March 5th- I Heart Books
March 7th- Triquetra Reviews
March 10th- Bookworm Betties