New Release Spotlight Review: Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey (Line of Duty #5)

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Title: Staking His Claim
Genre: Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Pages: 176
Language: English
Format: Ebook

He wants her. All of her.

NYPD sniper Matt Donovan is in Hell. Instead of driving his best friend’s little sister home from college, he’s stuck with her roommate—a fresh-faced ray-of-sunshine with a body that makes grown men weep. There’s no way he’ll allow himself to taint the little vixen, no matter how hard she tries to tempt him, so he resigns himself to the longest—and hardest—drive of his life.

Matt’s obvious attraction suits grad student Lucy Mason just fine. She had no idea her brother’s best friend was so deliciously hot. Knowing he’d never have his wicked way with his buddy’s sister, she lies about her identity and seduces him. But Matt’s no fumbling college boy. His desires run deep—and dark—and he wants to teach Lucy what wicked really means.

Matt’s demanding appetites only make Lucy want more. But when her cover’s blown, he’s furious—even as his hunger for her becomes insatiable. Matt can’t trust anyone, least of all himself. And he knows all too well that darkness always destroys the light…


I’m not sure how it is that I haven’t read Tessa Bailey before–I’ve heard all kinds of raving about her on the ‘net, and I actually have three other books in the Line of Duty series. So, honestly, I have no excuse. After finishing this one (read in a single day–first day of February break, what a way to celebrate!) I am going to remedy my oversight right quick.

I’ve heard Tessa described as the “Queen of Dirty Talk”, and the reputation is definitely deserved! (If that kind of thing bothers you, read no further. But if you enjoy it, then Ms. Dare is absolutely the author for you.) Matt is one dirty-talkin’ hero. His performance, fortunately, backs him up in that department as well…the smexy scenes are smoking, and Lucy is one happy woman.

Except when she isn’t happy, because Matt has major issues. He’s been led to believe that his…well, tastes, are shocking and wrong (honestly, they’re not really all that bed in the post-Fifty-Shades world, but apparently Matt and his former fiance missed the memo), and that by giving in to them he’ll lose the love and respect of all good people, Lucy included. He persists in this belief a tad longer than he probably should, because hello, Lucy so isn’t objecting to his so-called “darkness”. Much of the relationship drama could have been cleared up earlier had a small discussion taken place. Matt isn’t a huge conversationalist in any aspect of his life, though (as one scene in particular drives home), so it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that it takes so long.

What did surprise me in this novel was the humor. I expected the steaminess, but I didn’t expect to laugh out loud quite as much as I did. For sheer amount of LOL moments, the flash mob scene in Union Square was definitely one of my favorites. Not to be missed!

Two words: water balloons. Awesome.

If you’ve read the rest of the series, at least three of the previous heroes show up here–Troy, Daniel, and Lucy’s brother Brent all play a part in the novel. If you’re a newbie, though, the story works just fine on its own. The only catch? Just that small taste will have you adding to your TBR pile.


But I digress.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable read. The half star deduction was for Matt’s dogged insistence on his being “bad” when he really wasn’t and a slightly over-dramatic climax. The super adorable epilogue nearly made me completely forget it, though–it’s fabulous. An excellent ending can cover a multitude of sins, and really, this one’s sins were barely even that.

Now, how soon can I get caught up on this series? Like Lucy, I love a good challenge–“especially when the competition is meaningless and there are no prizes for winning.” Although reading a good book is really its own reward, isn’t it?

Yep. That’s the story I’m going with.

Rating: A-/ 4 1/2 stars

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Staking His Claim




Tessa lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.


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New Release Spotlight and Giveaway: Not Another Soldier by Samantha Holt


Title: Not Another Solider 

Author: Samantha Holt 

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense 

Release Date: 17th January 2014


I’ve just buried my husband. I was going to divorce him and now he’s dead.

After five years as a military wife, Sienna is moving on. She’s keen to leave behind the misery of her marriage to Rob but for some reason the past won’t let her go. It doesn’t help that her closest friend, Nick, is also a soldier. Unfortunately Sienna is struggling to deny her attraction to the sexy marine, even knowing there can be no future in it. When the injured soldier admits he wants her just as badly, and has always wanted her, the fight to control her feelings becomes harder.

And now she’s learning things about her late husband that surprise even her. When the secrets of Rob’s life come to light, Sienna finds herself involved with some very nasty people and Nick is determined to protect her, no matter what.

As the danger grows to both her heart and her life, Sienna needs to decide if it was the army that was the problem or her late husband. Is Nick worth the heartache of being a military spouse again? And will he be able to protect her from the ring of drug dealers slowly closing in?





The little skip, skip of my heart is slightly sickening. How can I go from scared to… to so needy in less than ten seconds? The sight of Nick on my bed seems to short circuit my brain. I’m pretty sure I can feel explosions going on behind my eyes. Memories of being pressed against him, of him inside me, combust in my mind.

One arm comes around my waist and draws me close in understanding. I wish he couldn’t read me so well sometimes. The fear of earlier has been replaced with something much more urgent and frightening. His thumb rubs roughly across my cheek as he coaxes my face up and away from his chest. His eyes are sincere and guilt jabs me for even imagining he might hurt me. My chest tightens as his callused thumb continues to smooth across my face. I want it. I can’t help it. I need him to kiss me. My lips tingle in anticipation and I hold my breath.

I don’t know if it’s adrenaline that numbs my common sense when it comes to Nick or what, but the pain in my neck has all but gone. The hammering of my heart is replaced with a steady throb of desire. His gaze drops to my lips and I wait for him to close the distance between us but I suspect he’s waiting for my permission.

I tighten my grip on the back of his neck, almost fearful he might pull away, and I bring my lips to his. We hover there, exchange breaths and heat for a moment, and when we finally connect it’s slow and acute. I’m aware of every tiny touch of his lips on mine. Before I can deepen it, he pulls back and drops his hand to my wine-soaked top. His smile tilts.

“We need to get you out of that top.”




Borderland Legacy - Author Photo

 Samantha lives in a small village in England with her gorgeous twin girls and husband who is a trained bodyguard and ex-soldier (yes, seriously!) She traditionally writes historical romances involving chivalrous knights and hot highlanders, but occasionally dabbles in contemporary romance. When she reluctantly leaves her computer, she enjoys exploring old ruins and indulging in an early midlife crisis. Adrenaline-filled suggestions for the bucket list are always welcome!


Find Samantha on Facebook



1 Paperback copy of Not Another Soldier

3 x $2.99 ebook of readers choice

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New Release Blitz and Giveaways: Lost in Us by Layla Hagen (New Adult contemporary)



Lost in Us by Layla Hagen
Publication date: February 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Serena has learned to live with her past, locking her secrets and nightmares deep inside her. But when her boyfriend of six years abruptly leaves her, she’s catapulted back into pain, nursing a broken heart. When indulging in mountains of chocolate doesn’t work, Serena decides the best way to deal with her shattered heart is to indulge in something else. A rebound . . .

The night she swaps her usual Sprite for tequila, she meets James. The encounter is breathtaking.
And best not repeated.

James is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. A man who has amassed a fortune by taking risks. A man who has shunned commitment completely, and still does. He’s the exact opposite of Serena. But sometimes opposites attract. Sometimes they give in to burning passion. Sometimes opposites are perfect for each other.

James is everything her damaged soul could want. His kisses are intoxicating, his touch out of this world. He makes her forget. He grants her peace from her pain. But as they grow closer, Serena discovers she isn’t the only one with a past. James carries the scars of a past much darker than hers. One that has left him damaged, hurt, and wary of love. A past that gives him the power to shatter her.

Now James and Serena must find a way to mend one another. Or risk losing each other forever.

silver tequila served in a tall glass with a lime to the side

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author. I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough.

Author Links:


Author Layla Hagen is offering THREE readers of this blog free ecopies of Lost in Us! Enter here to win:

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Release Day Blitz and Facebook Party! True Colors by Melissa Pearl (The Mask #1)

I’m so excited! Today is the release day for True Colors by Melissa Pearl–in case you missed it, I interviewed her here. Help her celebrate today at the big Facebook party, and get your own copy of True Colors for just 99 cents for attending–AND the chance to win lots of other prizes too!

Invitation Masquarade Ball Final1


Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama…until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and her high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends now appears terrified, but masks her fear behind a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At PalisadesHigh School every face tells a story…


True Colors on Goodreads

True Colors - 3D-Book Promo

Purchase Links:




Cover with back blurb

Party Info:

The True Colors Masquerade Ball is happening on February 16th to celebrate the release of True Colors. All party-goers will be entitled to purchase a copy of True Colors for only 99c. There will also be competitions, giveaways and guest appearances from other authors who will be unveiling their own secrets. So come and join in the fun and help us welcome True Colors into the world with style.

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Author Spotlight with Giveaways: James Moser, author of Chasing Prophecy



Author Spotlight:  James Moser, on Chasing Prophecy

I have always wanted to build a story around someone or something like Boo Radley, my all-time favorite literary character.  I love how he dominates that book while remaining largely off-stage.   I looked around the Seattle area and the closest thing I could think of was our local legend of Bigfoot.   Once I had my own version of Nathan Arthur Radley in place, I started thinking a lot about monsters, especially monsters we make bigger in our imagination.  I also thought about Boo living in society without being a part of it, which made me think of different separatist groups turned into cults.   My young characters are based on bits and pieces of hundreds of former students.

The setting of Boulder Creek, Washington, like everything else in the book, is based on bits and pieces of lots of things.  There is no town called that.  Boulder Creek is where my wife and I hiked for our first date, in the foothills of the north Cascade Mountains.  The mountains in my book look like the ones around Darrington, in Snohomish County.  The main street is like Arlington (where I had my first teaching job).  The log bridge is something I remember from a family trip to Yellowstone National Park, 1,000 miles away.   People who have read Twilight will think Boulder Creek feels like Forks, which it does, because that’s what every small town in Washington feels like.  The Bethlehem compound is the Boy Scout camp I attended in northern Idaho, complete with the same wood carvings on the fireplace.

My mission in writing this is to entertain adults and inspire young adults.  Teenagers inspire the heck out of me, which is why I’ve been a high school teacher for so long.  I wanted characters who transform themselves to overcome obstacles, which is what I watch them do, every day!


Chasing Prophecy by James Moser
Publication date: January 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Thriller, Young Adult

Mo is a shy teen just trying to survive high school.  He has secretly fallen in love with a girl named Prophecy.  Some people call her family a harmless hippie community.   Others call them a cult.  Desperate to keep their land, Prophecy’s family turns to the drug trade and tricks Mo into smuggling.  Prophecy flees the compound. She agrees to testify but disappears. Mo is devastated. When he is called to trial, the Family threatens to reveal his own drug trafficking. Mo commits to speaking out, though doing so will destroy his future.  Prophecy returns to help Mo kill the monster that her family has become.


The author works with high school students because young adults inspire him. As such, he wanted to write about teenagers transforming themselves to overcome obstacles, which is what he watches them do every day. This book’s mission is to entertain adults while inspiring teens.  The result is “Chasing Prophecy,” a story about love, loss, redemption, and monsters.

Boo Radley is the author’s all-time favorite literary character, which is how the Seattle-area legend of Bigfoot entered “Chasing Prophecy”.

The author lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife and lively eight year old son. When he’s not reading and writing, or talking about reading and writing, he’s watching too much television and snacking on frozen treats from Trader Joe’s. Man, those things are good.

Author links:

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An Interview and Giveaway with Melissa Pearl, author of True Colors (The Masks #1)

Melissa Pearl - True Colors Blog Tour Banner2

Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Melissa!

What 5 things should readers know about you?

  1. I LOVE watching movies. I get so inspired and emotionally charged watching stories unfold on screen.
  2. Music revives my soul. I love to sing and when I’m not writing, I will often have music playing.
  3. I’m a little embarrassed about this one, but I sometimes act out my scenes during the writing process. I get so caught up in the scenes that I find myself saying the dialogue aloud, sometimes crying or shouting, depending on what my characters are doing. That’s why I always write in the privacy of my office. LOL 😀
  4. I did a two year writing course online and have spent hours reading books on writing well, story structure and character development. It’s the first time in my life I’ve absolutely loved studying.
  5. I have a very supportive, amazing family who have helped me pursue this dream of writing. I’m not sure I could have done this without their awesome cheerleading.


Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? What one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle?

My main character Caitlyn Davis is a very easy-going person who doesn’t like to ruffle any feathers. She’s kind of in the cool group by default as her best friend since Grade 1 made it in and dragged her along for the ride. She doesn’t mind it, but would probably be just as happy hanging out with other students at school. She just likes to cruise and keep everyone happy. As you can imagine, when she gets empowered with this new gift of sight it really throws her. She doesn’t want to be challenged or pushed out of her comfort zone, but it’s exactly what she needs to pull her out of a complacent life that will get her nowhere.

Caitlyn isn’t very materialistic so could probably survive quite happily on a desert island with just her next door neighbor, Eric…who she’s just a little bit in love with 🙂

Ah, young love. That’s all you need, then 😉


If your book were being cast as a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

I’ve actually just put up a board on Pinterest with who I think my characters look like, if you want to check it out:

To be honest, I don’t know who I’d cast as Caitlyn. Maybe, Olivia Thirlby. And for Eric, that’s crystal clear…Taylor Kitsch all the way 🙂

Pinterest–so addicting! I will head right over and check it out!


How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing seriously for about 12 years now. My friend told me I needed to stop just telling her about the stories in my head and actually write one down so she could read it. I thought, why not? I started and fell in love. I didn’t have time to properly pursue it until 6 years ago when I became a fulltime mother. During my son’s naptimes I got into it, studying the craft and writing furiously. After my second son was born nearly 4 years later, I finally decided to take the plunge and publish what I had been working on and I’m SO glad I did 🙂

Naptime! Used to be my favorite time of the day…though I wasn’t nearly as productive. I actually napped a lot too…


What do you like best about being a writer?

Getting caught up in a different world with these cool characters. I love walking the journey with them and feeling all the things they feel. My first full read through after I’ve finished my first draft is my favorite stage of a book’s journey. It’s so cool to see it all come together 🙂

Awesome 🙂


What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

Marketing!! It’s so hard to get your work out there and get people excited about it without being annoying and in their face. I NEVER want to be one of those authors that promotes my stuff to death and puts everybody off. I do love the connections I make with readers. That part is AWESOME, but trying to get people to buy your work can be really hard.

And time consuming, I imagine…


What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I have just finished the 1st draft of a two book series that will be coming out in April & May. I’ve had SO much fun working on these two stories and I really love the cast of characters. It’s a YA romantic suspense. I am also branching out this year and starting my first NA contemporary romance series – The Songbird Series. I wanted to start writing about older characters, but I’m going to make it clean enough so that mature YA readers will still be able to enjoy it. Fever – the 1st book – will be coming out in June. And then I also have the rest of the Masks Series coming out later in the year. Yay!

Sounds great! You’ve been busy!


What authors and/or books have inspired you?

I love Anna Cruise. She writes great stories that I get lost in. I find her work really inspiring, same with Simone Elkeles and Sarah Alderson. Three brilliant writers who I really enjoy reading. I have also been inspired by Chris Vogler and Robert McKee. Both these men have written two of the best books on writing I have ever read.

Love Simone Elkeles! I have her latest calling my name right now…


What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?

I am reading two books – How I sold 30000 ebooks by Martin Crosbie. It’s his publication journey as an indie author and I’m finding it really fascinating. It’s great to be reading text and thinking – oh cool. I do that already! I’ve also picked up a few really good pointers that I will be implementing in my next book.

The other book I’m reading is a light contemporary romance by A. O. Peart called Almost Matched. It’s pretty funny. I’m looking forward to seeing the romance bloom amidst the antics of this main character.

I’ve got Almost Matched on my TBR! Can’t wait to get to it myself 🙂


Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.

This is a scene from True Colors. Caitlyn has been empowered with the ability to see behind people’s masks and she’s reeling, unable to cope with the onslaught of truth she can suddenly see on people’s faces. She’s just found out that her boyfriend and best friend are not really as genuine as she used to think and she’s walking home feeling edgy and stressed…then she bumps into Eric, her secret crush and the guy who has never been over friendly to her.


“Hey Caitlyn.”

I jolted at the friendly greeting and couldn’t help looking up.

Eric? Why was he talking to me? I stared at his friendly smile and waited…waited for it to slide away and be replaced with something else…like anger or frustration. But nothing. His smile stayed in place only transitioning slightly to a look of genuine concern.

“Hey, are you okay?” He pushed his surfboard into the sand and held it to his side.

“No.” I have no idea what compelled me to be honest. I think it was utter confusion at the friendly expression on his face.

“What’s up?” He tipped his head, his expression and voice matching perfectly.

I squinted up at him, my sore eyes and head making me unaware of his luscious form. Maybe I was imagining Chase and Stella’s reactions to me. Maybe I was just projecting.

No, wait a sec. That doesn’t work. If today was normal then Eric Shore would not be looking at me as if he were interested in what I had to say.

“You’re not an asshole.” I shook my head, rubbing at my aching temples.

“Um…” He frowned, but not a mean one, more like a confused, comical one. “Okay, uh thank you? I think.” His brows dipped together and he grinned. “How am I supposed to respond to that?”

“You’re not.” I waved my hand, feeling out of it. “It’s just…why are you being nice to me?”

His hazel eyes softened. “Because I’ve never seen you look so pale. Plus I’m a nice guy.” He shrugged, putting on a nonchalant air, but I saw straight through it. Was he blushing?

“No, you’re not a nice guy.” What did I just say? Where was this honesty coming from? “You’re always ignoring me.”

He pursed his lips and looked out to the ocean, wrinkling his nose. “That’s only because you’re always with your friends…and your friends seem to make a past time of drooling over me. I’m not a huge fan of being mentally undressed every time I step out my front door.”

I loved his answer and if I hadn’t been feeling so sick I would have smiled and no doubt giggled like his little sister always does. Instead I went for sarcasm and rolled my eyes. “It must suck being so good looking.”

“Well, you should know.” He grinned.

I don’t know how I remained standing. Was he flirting with me right now? My eyes must have been totally bugging out, because he kind of snickered and looked to the ground, trying to hide the fact he’d just blown his cover, but I saw it. He thought I was cute.

Eric Shore thought I was cute!

“This day could not get any weirder,” I mumbled.

His steady gazed pierced me, his concern obvious. I didn’t think he’d be that interested in me explaining it all and to be honest, I didn’t even know if I could. I had no idea what was going on. I was freaked out, tired, aching and confused. I just wanted to crawl into bed and forget this day had even started.

I turned to leave, not even bothering with a goodbye, which was so unlike me. My parents were all about the manners.

“Hey, Caitlyn.” Eric’s soft voice was consistent with his tender touch on my arm. “Seriously, if you do ever need someone to talk to, I’m here, okay?”

I could barely comprehend what he was saying, so I just nodded like an idiot. His smile was sweet and true as he tucked his surfboard under his arm. With a short wave, he headed back towards the ocean. Normally I would have stayed and watched his divine body hit the water, and admire the way his arms moved as he paddled out past the break. But today was not a normal day, so instead, I crossed my arms and headed home.

Thanks so much, Melissa! Everyone, keep reading–there’s more! True Colors releases on 2/16 with a Facebook Party, and all attendees can pick up a copy for just 99 cents! Oh–and there’s a giveaway below too!

Author Bio:Mel 1 brushed small

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has continued to produce a steady stream of books. Recently she signed with Evatopia Press and her first Evatopia book is coming out in February 2014 – True Colors, The Masks Series #1. She is very excited to be trying out new things this year while continuing to publish under her own name as well. She has six books planned for 2014 and is excited about writing each and every one of them.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

Social Links:

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Other Titles by Melissa Pearl:

The Time Spirit Trilogy

Golden Blood – Black Blood – Pure Blood

The Betwixt Series

Betwixt – Before – Beyond

The Mica & Lexy Series

Forbidden Territory

Forbidden Waters (due for release: 2014)

The Masks Series

Book 2 (due for release: 2014)

Book 3 (due for release: 2014)

Book 4 (due for release: 2015)

I Know Lucy Series

I Know Lucy (due for release: 2014)

Set Me Free (due for release: 2014)

The Song Bird Series

Fever (due for release: June 2014)


Cover for Media Release


Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama…until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and her high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends now appears terrified, but masks her fear behind a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At PalisadesHigh School every face tells a story…


True Colors on Goodreads

Party Info:

The True Colors Masquerade Ball is happening on February 16th to celebrate the release of True Colors. All party-goers will be entitled to purchase a copy of True Colors for only 99c. There will also be competitions, giveaways and guest appearances from other authors who will be unveiling their own secrets. So come and join in the fun and help us welcome True Colors into the world with style.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Book Blitz: Clarity by Michelle Escamilla




After being emotionally scarred by her ex, Ava Martinez struggled to find a guy worth her time. She found happiness in her job, her boss was truly amazing, and being surrounded by friends that kept her smiling, but she knew that one thing was missing.

Brantley Fisher never considered himself a ladies man, but he didn’t have any problem melting the panties off of any willing woman he met. As he found himself climbing up the company ladder he made it well known, he was not the type of guy to settle down. That was until he noticed the petite brunette across the bar who would forever change his life.

Their passionate whirlwind romance brings them happiness they once worked so hard to avoid. However, their murky pasts will stop at nothing to keep them from finding love. In a moment of turmoil, they both find clarity. Will Ava and Brantley risk everything for true love?

Clarity QP


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New Release Review with Giveaways: Undying by Valerie Grosjean (Undying #1)



Undying by Valerie Grosjean
(Undying #1)
Publication date: September 29th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Zombies

This is a story of love . . . and zombies.

When eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian discovers his dormitory is crawling with the living dead, he knows he has a problem. But once he learns the whole country is overrun by the flesh-eating horde, he must race to protect what matters to him most.

Sixteen-year-old Iris, the girl he loves, is stranded eighty miles away, alone and completely unaware of the gruesome threat surrounding her.

Christian’s plan is to evade the zombies, drive the distance to rescue Iris, and get them both to his family farm—where there are guns, fuel, and everything else they’ll need to survive. His mission seems simple: Get the girl, get to the farm, and stay alive.

Things get complicated when Christian is forced to make an unthinkable choice between Iris and his family. Someone he loves must die, and he must decide.

Valerie Grosjean’s love for zombie movies shines through every page of this novel. Its hero, Christian, often reflects it:
A current of electricity ran down my spine. I could feel someone back there, undead, ready to spring when I approached.
In a horror movie, that was exactly what would happen. A zombie would emerge and attack just as I passed its hiding place, cued by a sudden, loud burst in the creepy background music. Depending on whether I was the hero or just an expendable extra, I would either make a narrow escape or be eaten in a gory, detailed close-up.
I could envision some less mechanically inclined mortal stopping at a gas station, just like she’d seen in the movies: She pulls in next to the pump. Stepping out of her car, she walks around to the tank and twists off the gas cap. The she removes the nozzle, sticks it in the tank, and raises the lever to start filling.
When nothing happens, she realizes it’s not going to work. The pump display is dead, but in desperation, she repeatedly pounds the unresponsive buttons on the lifeless unit and squeezes the handle on the gas nozzle again and again.
Finally, she’s surrounded by a ravenous hoard of zombies.
Shaking her fist in the air as a final gesture, she yells into the heavens, “…but it worked in the movies. Curse you, Hollywood!”
She continues to shake her fist until a zombie rips it off. Blood and screams fade to black.
I really hoped that wasn’t Iris right now.
Undying  is a fast-paced, adrenalin-infused read. Just like the apparent virus that has caused the epidemic, everything escalates quickly for Christian in the novel, and the reader is left hanging on for dear life as the story hurtles along.
I’m not a huge fan of zombie culture–I’ve only read or seen a small sample of what’s out there–but this story definitely kept my attention. It doesn’t have an HEA, but instead ends on an “okay for now” note. (Two more books are coming–Infecting and Relieving.) Romance is definitely a small side note here–Christian is understandably concerned with survival and getting to those he loves, both romantically and in a filial way.
He has varying degrees of success with those goals.
 Since we see everything from Christian’s POV and since it took him a while to figure things out with is almost no information coming in from the outside, we don’t really find out too much about the cause of the zombie infestation. We hear a little about its probable spread, and the rest we learn with Christian, through trial and error. It can be assumed that more will be revealed in later series installments.
In the meantime, don’t read this–especially the beginning scenes–in a time and place where staying quiet is a necessity. The opening half of the novel in particular caused many a noisy outburst on my part–shocked laughter, horrified squeals, and much yelling at poor Christian–that had my current companion (my mother’s cat–I was cat sitting at the time) worrying more than usual about my state of mind.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Oh, and you might want to consider sticking to bottled water. I’m just saying.
Rating: C+ and 3 1/2 (very entertaining) stars
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Valerie Grosjean is the author of the young adult novel UNDYING. She grew up on a Nebraska farm. After college, she married and moved to Northern California, where she lives with her husband and their two young children. Her obsession with zombie movies inspired UNDYING, her first novel and the beginning of the Undying series.
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New Release Review: Public Affairs by Cassandra Carr

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Nate O’Halloran is a PR superstar, an expert in crisis management for his image-conscious celebrity clients. When his college roommate, now a hospital director in Buffalo, calls to beg for his help– a cancer researcher on staff has disappeared with millions of dollars’ worth of government research funds– Nate agrees to help right away, though this situation is pretty small potatoes for him.

Val Chase, the hospital’s PR director, is none too thrilled when Nate shows up; does it mean her boss doesn’t trust her to handle this mess herself? Against her better judgment, Val decides she and Nate have to work together to save the hospital’s reputation, though the explosive attraction they feel is making any actual “work” difficult…


There’s something just so fun about reading a book set in your hometown, isn’t there? Though I would have liked this one even if it weren’t; it’s just a good read. But wondering–is that coffee shop that sells sandwiches Spot Coffee? Which steak house did they visit?–adds an extra layer of entertainment to the experience. The only disappointment was that Val didn’t watch any hockey games; then again, she was rather busy with the major work crisis and the whole falling in love bit…

Plus, the Sabres are having another seriously sucky season. Again. And since Nate lives in New York, he might <shudder> be a Rangers fan. Or the Islanders. And then I’d have to hold that against him. So it’s probably all for the best, then.

But I digress….

I really enjoyed reading Public Affairs. Watching Val and Nate try to salvage the reputation of the cancer research hospital where Val works as the head of PR after a major amount of their donated funds is stolen by one of the doctors had me on the edge of my seat. Knowing how much good such an institution can do (and yes, there is an a similar hospital in Buffalo, the Roswell Cancer Institute–Val’s CCC even borrows their tagline–“Cancer can’t win”) and how much it depends on various types of funding, I shared their frustrations as one supporter after another seemed to be lost. How could they possibly fix the situation?

On top of all of their work frustrations, the romance between Val and Nate was nicely developed and believable. The Nate of my head isn’t quite the one that shows up on the cover, but I honestly can’t blame Val for her workplace distractions no matter which version of Nate walks through her office door. Nate’s grand gesture at the end was nicely done, and the ending was satisfying.

Whether set in my hometown or not, I’ll definitely be reading books by Ms. Carr in the future.

Rating: B+/4 stars

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



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Author bio:

Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning romance writer. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out online. Cassandra’s books have won numerous “Best Book Of” awards and her novella Unexpected Top was nominated in the E-book Erotic Romance category of RT’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

She thinks the best part of being a writer is how she writes about love and sex while most others struggle with daily commutes, micro-managing bosses and cranky co-workers. Her inspiration comes from everywhere, but she’d particularly like to thank the Buffalo Sabres, the hockey team near and dear to her heart.

For more information about Cassandra, check out her website, “like” her Facebook fan page or follow her on Twitter.



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Blitz and Giveaway! Resurrection by Laury Falter (Apocalypse Chronicles #2)



Resurrection by Laury Falter
(Apocalypse Chronicles #2)
Publication date: January 18th 2014
Genres: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Zombies

The second and final installment in the two-book series, Apocalypse Chronicles…a dystopian romance about five high school seniors who set out to cure an apocalyptic world of a contagious infection.

Bestselling author Laury Falter finishes off this two-part series–a dystopian romance filled with an electrifying plot, a powerful romance, and unexpected twists.



He laughed to himself. “You’re always my strongest supporter, Kennedy, and therein lies the problem. That blind loyalty could get you…” He closed his eyes and seemed to swallow back the words, or one in particular. “Could get you killed.”

“What are you saying?”

“Kennedy,” he exhaled patiently but with a great deal of effort, “I’m not sure how much venom my body can take, what the effects of it have been on me, or even how it is merging with the antibodies. Every time I’m bitten I put you in danger, everyone who is near me is in danger.” He exhaled in frustration. “Why do you think I wait for sixty seconds after I’m bitten to come near you?”

That had never occurred to me, but he was right. I remembered seeing him move away from me after an attack; he’d gone so far as to put a muzzle to his head. I’d even caught him positioning himself within range of Doc, Mei, and Beverly.

“Wait…,” I mumbled, an understanding of something forming in the recesses of my mind. “Wait a second…”

Then it hit me. He had been training them to defend against the Infected’s strengths…the same traits that he possessed. He had trained them to detect weaknesses, the same weaknesses he possessed.

“Wait…” I said again, bile rising in my throat.

He had done this in front of me, with my help, and I hadn’t even realized what he had been doing.

“You…,” I whispered. Clearing my throat, I tried again. “You…”

He was watching me now, waiting for me to wedge free the statement that was so rigidly stuck in my throat. “I…?” he said coaxingly. “I what, Kennedy?”

What began the fire of infuriation in the pit of my belly was that he knew. He knew what he’d done and he knew I’d figure it out sooner or later. This was that moment.

The memories flooded back to me then. The shift in his positions around the group after he’d been bitten, the line of sight he’d  maintained with someone, anyone but me on our team to take him out if it was needed.

“You trained them to kill you,” I uttered.


Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.

Find out more news and information about Laury and her novels:

Laury is offering an ecopy of Resurrection (Apocalypse Chronicles #2) to one reader of this blog. Enter below to win!

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