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Friday, August 18, 2017

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Mr. 60% by Clete Barrett Smith

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Mr. 60%
Author: Clete Barrett Smith
Age Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Matt Nolan is the high school drug dealer, deadbeat, and soon-to-be dropout according to everyone at his school. His vice principal is counting down the days until Mr. 60% (aka Matt) finally flunks out and is no longer his problem. What no one knows is the only reason Matt sells drugs is to take care of his uncle Jack, who is dying of cancer.

Meet Amanda. The overly cheerful social outcast whose optimism makes Matt want to hurl. Stuck as partners during an after-school club (mandatory for Matt), it’s only a matter of time until Amanda discovers Matt’s secret. But Amanda is used to dealing with heartbreak, and she’s determined to help Matt find a way to give life 100 percent.

Buy Links: Amazon
4.5 “Crying on the bus” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Crown Books for Young Readers!!!

Sometimes a story will just get under your skin and tug at your heart. Sometimes you won’t even see it coming. That’s what happened with Mr. 60%.

First, let me say I love this title. It’s unique, memorable and it has an important meaning to the story, which always makes me happy. A title that has a clear connection to the story is one of my favorite things ever!

When I started reading Mr. 60%, I was immediately hit by a sense of familiarity. I’ve recently finished another YA book that had a teen drug dealer and an overweight girl as the two main characters, Trust by Kylie Scott. Soon enough, though, I learned these two books were worlds apart. They were both great, but the tone and narrative were completely different.

While Trust is a clear romance-focused book, Mr. 60%’s message is more about dealing with loss, finding hope and surrounding yourself with good people. And, dude, this book is filled with genuinely good people as characters.

The school counselor, Mr. Marsh, for example, is a good, good man. I wish there were more people like him in the world. More people like him working at schools all over the world. The way he didn’t push, but was still there for Matt was brilliant. He’s a clear example of a person who isn’t willing to give up because he wants to make a difference, and he knows how to make a difference. People often get themselves lost in their need to help because they don’t know what to do, but I believe there are many folks out there that are level-headed like Mr. Marsh, and those are the people who should be around teenagers and helping them find their way. Mr. Marsh was a side character, but the amount of love and appreciation I have for him isn’t small at all.

I think I only loved him less than I did Amanda, because there’s no competing with that girl. Amanda will be a phenomenal nurse one day—and yes, I’m talking about her as if she was a real person. Deal with it. I absolutely loved how good and pure and genuine and pretty much perfect she was. She didn’t have anything to gain by helping. There were no promises. No guarantees. She simply did because she wanted to and because she saw someone in need of help. I loved how easy it was for her to fit into Matt and Jack’s life, as if she belonged. And she did. It was all so cohesive and easy and warm. THE FEELS!

Now to Matt and Uncle Jack. Man. The tears. The freaking tears. I have to say that one of my favorite things about this was how these two characters were flawed, but they still charmed me and made me feel so much for them. Uncle Jack wasn’t this perfect father figure, but he was still a father to Matt. A good father and a good uncle and a good man, even though it was implied he’d done some shady things in the past. Same for Matt. He was a freaking drug dealer, so he was far from a conventional good guy. He broke the law left and right, and I’m not even sure if it was all because of his uncle’s situation or if he would’ve gone down that path anyway. But Matt was a lost kid who’d gotten the short end of the stick when it came to life in general, and it seemed like Mr. 60% only needed a little bit of light (Amanda) and guidance (Mr. Marsh) to find a way out of that hole.

While Matt did questionable things, I still wanted to hug him. I wanted to be Amanda’s mom and hug him real tight because he gave me something I need when I read books. He gave me the kind of priceless dynamic I want to see in every story when it came to his relationship with his uncle. I want to see characters who care about each other even when they’re not throwing I love yous around. People who’ll care for each other and be there when needed. People who’ll sacrifice and hurt and make me cry. I’m not a crier, but this book reduced me to a crying mess. I should’ve known better to read the final chapters on the bus.

So while this was a quiet read with no romance (yeah, sorry, but Amanda and Matt are perfectly platonic—yeah, I said perfect, and I’m the biggest romance fan ever), it gave me more than I needed. More than I expected when I started reading. It gave me hope that somewhere out there “Amandas” and “Mr. Marshs” will find their “Matts” and help them out of the dark.
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cover Reveal - When We Touch by Tia Louise

Title: When We Touch
Author: Tia Louise
Publication Date: September 5th
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Shanoff Formats
Photographer: Sara Eirew
From international bestselling author Tia Louise comes a new STAND-ALONE second-chance romance

Ember Rose was saltwater and seduction.

My biggest temptation.

My biggest regret.

I thought she’d always be waiting for me.

I was wrong.

Now I’m back in Oceanside searching for peace, hoping to escape what my life has become.

She isn’t supposed to be here…

Dark hair blowing in the ocean breeze,

Luscious curves barely hidden by thin cotton.

I didn’t come back for her.

But when we touch, I know I’ll do whatever it takes to make her mine…


★ Pre-Order WHEN WE TOUCH at the special 99 CENT price NOW:
(price will increase to $3.99 on Weds., 9/6!)
Add to GoodReads:

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Tia Louise is the award-winning, international bestselling author of the ONE TO HOLD and DIRTY PLAYERS series and co-author of the #4 Amazon bestseller THE LAST GUY. From “Readers’ Choice” nominations, to USA Today “Happily Ever After” nods, to winning the 2015 “Favorite Erotica Author” and the 2014 “Lady Boner Award” (LOL!), nothing makes her happier than communicating with fans and weaving new tales into the Alexander-Knight world of stories. A former journalist, Louise lives in the center of the USA with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations...

Twitter: @AuthorTLouise
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Book Blitz with Giveaway - More Than a Risk by Kennedy L. Mitchell

Title: More Than a Risk
Author: Kennedy L. Mitchell 
Publication Date: August 17th, 2017 
Age Category/Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

Is a life worth living if you don’t risk it all for the one you love? Shot and left for dead, Dr. Kate Wheeler doesn’t know what to expect when she wakes in a hospital room, especially she sees him. It would take a lot to win her back after abandoning her when she needed him most, which he is prepared to do, but Kate has never been one to give in easily. A surprise visit from a friend pulls Kate into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a local business man, full of dark secrets. It’s up to Kate to bring this man down knowing her father, the Dallas DA, won’t prosecute without evidence; evidence she is willing to do anything to get. With the love of her life shadowing her every move, will Kate risk losing him to save the lives of others? When Kate’s charade takes a dangerous turn will Weston be enough to bring her back from the edge, or is it too late for it to matter? Hearts and lives are at risk and Kate and Weston’s fiery relationship returns in this second book of the More Than a Threat series.

Purchase: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Google Play | Kobo

Title: More Than a Threat
Author: Kennedy L. Mitchell 
Publication Date: March 10th, 2017 
Age Category/Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

In the face of danger, the thin line between love and hate is blurred and rules are broken. But are these two prepared to face the consequences? Dr. Kate Wheeler is an independent, feisty emergency medicine doctor with a perfect life, or at least that’s what everyone sees from the outside. Her world is turned upside down when she is forced to allow twenty-four-seven protection, disrupting her independent lifestyle leaving Kate to adjust, or not. She finds herself in uncharted territory as she balances a new love interest at work, never being alone and dodging multiple attempts on her life. If it weren’t for her two best friends by her side the stress would be too much, even for her to handle. Her newly assigned security detail, Casey Weston, is harsh, dismissive, and overbearing. His sexy, strong body and bad boy tattoos are just the exterior to this thoughtful man who has secrets of his own. As he works to keep Kate at arm’s length he finds himself equally frustrated and fascinated by this woman who pushes his boundaries. Weston’s rules are intense and focused solely on keeping her alive. But as time goes on will his better judgement falter? Tempers and emotions flare when these two headstrong individuals go head to head, both used to having their own way and unwilling…or too afraid…to give an inch. With Kate’s life in the crosshairs and Weston determined to protect her, will their future be happily ever after or torn apart by the same threat that brought them together?

Purchase: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Google Play | Kobo

I live in Dallas but I am not a Texan by birth, I am a transplant from Tennessee and married a true Texan so I had to stay. We live in a older home in Dallas proper with our son and goldendoodle (who is roughly the size of a pony). Writing isn’t my day job, however it is my joy and favorite hobby. I enjoy sending my friends new chapters nightly and hearing their reactions the next day. That is why I write, being published is just a bonus really. My real job is the same every day, but at night I get to be someone else and write about all these fun adventures and sexcapades:) When I’m writing you can find me on the couch, earbuds in and a full glass of wine beside me. Music inspires my stores, at the end of each book I list the playlist that helped me through writing the novel. When I am not working or writing, I am reading. I go through about 3 books a week and I am 100% sure that I’m that annoying person at book-club that gets on to people when they are not keeping up with the monthly readings or suggest the movie is as good as a book (Sometimes I wish I could vote those people out of book-club like they do on Survivor. “The tribe has spoken”). My favorite authors that inspire my writing are: Colleen Hoover, Sarah J. Maas, Sandra Brown, and Rainbow Rowell.

Book Blitz with Giveaway - Errant Spark (Elemental Trials #1) by Ronelle Antoinette

Title: Errant Spark
(Elemental Trials #1)
Author: Ronelle Antoinette
Genre: Fantasy Romance

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but In Egalion’s Imperial court, you can't tell one from the other...especially when they change at the flip of a coin. Behind the luxury and splendor lies a realm of treachery where cloak-and-dagger political maneuvering threatens to destroy the peace of two thousand years. 

Twenty-five-year-old Battlemage Jex Xander has a mouth that frequently gets him into trouble, while in contrast, Enari Namelum speaks not at all. When Jex becomes the target of a faceless curse-slinger, Enari, the girl he has protected since the day they met, must now protect him. A string of ritual human sacrifices coupled with Jex’s growing inability to keep his feelings (and hands) to himself only serve to complicate matters. Amidst the mounting chaos, passion and romance should be the last thing on their minds, but life and the Goddess seem to have other ideas.

In a world as enticing as it is perilous, love, danger, and magic will collide, leaving lives irrevocably changed. The events of a single summer stand to change the course of more than just the kingdom of Egalion and the ones dismissed as pawns may yet prove to b the most important players.

Errant Spark is the hush before the storm, the last deep breath before the plunge. The flint has been struck and it’s possible the whole world might go up in flames…because love in the Imperial court is as dangerous a thing as backroom politics and jealousy can be as much a driving force as silver and gold.

Fantasy? Action? Romance? Yes! This romantic fantasy novel by Ronelle Antoinette is a broad, epic, sweeping fantasy with more twists and turns and ups and downs than a wild roller-coaster! The first installment of the Elemental Trials series is one of those books that really is so much more than what the blurb can convey. Described as “surprisingly complex and visionary” by one reviewer, Errant Spark will leave you mesmerized from the first page to the last. 

Hailed by Amazing Stories Magazine’s Ricky L Brown as “a simple story about interesting characters with just enough romance and magic to make it work.” Errant Spark is as complex as George RR Martin, with a world that is well-suited for conniving and cavorting. Rest assured, there is plenty of sex and violence, but not as raw and stabby as the aforementioned works. It’s more like a big kid’s version of a fairy tale.

Recommended for:
Mature teens and up
Fans of epic fantasy and romance
Those looking for characters they want to eat…or take home and enjoy
Readers who can appreciate a gorgeous tapestry of magic, myth, and mayhem
Connoisseurs of fine love stories that compliment the plot and that ‘slow burn’
Lovers of surprises, twists-and-turns, and well-placed, necessary supernatural elements
Anyone looking for sex, magic, love, fantasy, and a story that will sweep you away
Those who don’t mind staying up all night so they can turn that final page

Update: As of 11/21/16, a series glossary has been included at the end of this novel (in ebook and print form only).

Ronelle Antoinette lives in western Colorado with her husband, two cats, and one dog-who-believes-he's-a-person. While she is a mother of none, she’s an auntie to what should qualify as a small army. She is an admitted caffeine addict, chocoholic, and hopeless romantic who has carried on a passionate affair with the genre of fantasy since she was old enough to read 'chapter books'. 

Ronelle dabbled in creative writing for many years before making it a career. (She even considered it as a major in college, though she ended up getting a Bachelor's degree in Counseling Psychology.) She published her first novel, Errant Spark, in July of 2016.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Release & Review - Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Release DateAugust 29th, 2017
Age Category/ Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen's personal assassins named for the rings she wears -- Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal -- their world changes. They know it's a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge.


Buy Links: Amazon

3 “Masks & Diversity” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire!

I had high hopes for this book, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

I know a lot of people are complaining about the fact that this was built on a common YA Fantasy premise (main character gets into some sort of tournament that requires them to kill other people/fight for their life), but that didn't bother me. I knew what I was getting myself into because the blurb is honest about this part, and I'm not one to complain about tropes. 

The problem with Mask of Shadows was how it didn't do much with that trope. There was an overall lack of something special or intriguing enough to make this stand out. Even if it relied in a common premise, it could've still given me incredible frienships, amazing chemistry, swoony romance, memorable characters, enganging action scenes or explosions. Everybody likes explosions, right?

But I couldn't find any of that.

Sure, there was a nice friendship between Sal and Maud, the girl appointed by the court to serve Sal while she was in the running to becoming (not America's Next Top Model) Opal, one of the Queen's personal assassins. But it was just that. Nice. It took Sal too long to see Maud as a friendly figure. Then once they did, it felt like the book was ending and there were tons of other things happening.

The chemistry/romance was also lacking. I was excited when Sal first met Elise while trying to rob her--who doesn't love that? But as they met again when Sal was already in the competition, I didn't feel the connection between them as much. They had some flirty and cute moments, but they never pulled me in completely.

As to memorable characters, that's where Mask of Shadows came closer to hooking me. I liked Sal. I'd initially forgotten all about Sal being gender fluid (I got the e-ARC a while ago and was waiting to read it closer to release date), and I ended up playing a game of is this narrator a girl or a boy for a few pages, which was fun. Then the explanation came and I was pleased to see how respectful it was. I won't pretend to know much about the subject, but I understood what it meant for Sal to be gender fluid and how that was part of their life, so I'm counting that as a win. I also liked how other characters, like Ruby, respected that and made sure to address Sal properly.

Speaking of Ruby, I have to say he was my favorite character. I don't know exactly what it was about him that intrigued me so much, but there was something special about that character.

There were no explosions (that I remember), but there were actions scenes and they were good enough. 

I found the writing to be a bit weird at times. Not bad at all, just different. But I could still find some lines that made me laugh a couple of times and one that gave me pause:

"Only difference between robbery and murder was what you stole."

I also have to give props to the author for the world she created. I liked the masks, shadows and nations, and I might be wrong here, but was there a Portuguese vibe to it? At least the names made me think of Portugal and even Brazil.

Overall, Masks of Shadow brought some interesting elements to a common YA Fantasy premise, but it didn't wow me.

*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

Cover Reveal - Legs (One Wild Wish #1) by Kelly Siskind

Title: Legs
(One Wild Wish #1)
Author: Kelly Siskind
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: September 27, 2017

Running into your one-night stand is a special kind of awkward. Competing against him in a wine tasting contest is delicious torment…

On Rachel’s twenty-seventh birthday, she wishes to finally find a rewarding job. What she doesn’t wish is to drink a boatload of wine, sleep with a tattooed bad boy, and drunk email her boss in one glorious, career-ending move. But the fiasco pushes her to pursue a career inspired by her late father’s love of wine: sommelier. 

Unfortunately, she’s competing against her infuriating one-night stand, a man as intoxicating as a Pinot Noir.

Two years ago, Jimmy was set to inherit his family winery. Then it got ripped from his grasp. To close that dark chapter of his life, he plans to win a local sommelier contest and use the press to expose his family’s tainted wines. 

Jimmy loves studying the streaks of alcohol that cling to a wineglass, known as the wine’s “legs,” but other shapely legs are stealing his focus. Tantalizing legs. Legs that had wrapped around his waist for one wild night. Jimmy, sadly, has a weakness for legs. 

He also hates to lose.

LEGS is a full-length, standalone Smart, Sexy Romantic Comedy with a swoony Happily Ever After. No cheating or cliff-hangers here! Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren, Avery Flynn, Alice Clayton, Emma Chase, and Lauren Blakely.


The last person I wanted to see walked into the restaurant, and I tensed. Her frantic gaze was forced to me, and the only three vacant seats. She searched the room in vain, the rounding of her spine a clue she wasn’t thrilled about her options. She looked out the way she came, squeezed her eyes, then squared her shoulders and marched toward me. Part of me—the lower half—wanted to pin her to the wall with my thighs while I hitched that proper little skirt higher. The other part hoped she’d wandered into the wrong place. Not because our night together had been bad, or the fact that she’d disappeared without a trace. No. The thing that had the tendons in my neck bunching was remembering how good it all was. Too good and too much fun, and I’d imagined rounds two and three and four ad nauseam. But rounds always ended in a knockout punch. This girl was nothing but trouble. She paused at the table, drew in a long breath, mumbled something as she exhaled, then glared at the seat beside me and the ones across. She chose beside, probably to face the room. The only reason we’d hooked up two weeks ago was because there were no names and no strings. She’d admitted how hard it would be for her to relax, how awkward she’d feel afterward. The relaxing part I took care of with one brush of my lips. The awkward was still alive and kicking. What went down between us couldn’t happen again. Distractions over the next two months weren’t an option, and repeat affairs led to feelings, and feelings led to promises, and promises were nothing but lies dressed up to seduce. Not an outcome I was keen to revisit. Still, I couldn’t ignore her anxiety, as long as she wasn’t here because of me. I leaned toward her. “You’re the last person I expected to see.” She squished her lithe body farther from mine. “Kind of coincidental, don’t you think? Did you follow me?” “I got here before you. If anyone is stalking, it’s you tailing me.” Indignation colored her cheeks. “I didn’t follow you. I saw a flyer and thought the contest looked interesting, but you obviously read it, too. If I’d known you’d be here”—aggravation laced her hushed tone—“I’d never have shown up.” Her harsh words had me fisting my hands, or maybe it was how tempting the line of her neck looked, that column of tanned skin shifting as she swallowed. But she was right: having a diversion wouldn’t help my plan. “Then we’re on the same page.” “Excuse me?” “Since we’re both here for the contest, we can pretend that night never happened.” Her face fell, but a beat later, she said, “Good,” nothing but ice in her voice. I followed with “Great.” She spat, “Fine.” So much for stamping out the awkward.

Kelly is the author of CHASING CRAZY, MY PERFECT MISTAKE, A FINE MESS, and HOOKED ON TROUBLE, the latter three being part of her Over the Top series. A small-town girl at heart, she moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.