Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: What's Left of Us by Amanda Maxlyn

Review Tour:  

What's Left of Us by Amanda Maxlyn



The heartwarming conclusion to What's Left of Me.
Love found me three years ago.
I’m cancer free, happily married to the love of my life, and working toward my dream career.
Our life is complete. Perfect, really.
Or is it?
I’ve always wanted a family of my own, but never dreamed I could have one. Now Parker’s ready to make my dream our reality.
But sometimes our dreams are haunted by our deepest fears. Fears of failure, having a child, and in our case … death. How do I help the person I love get over his fear when I’m still trying to overcome that same fear myself?
Together we must learn What’s Left of Us.



Review:  4.25 of 5 stars

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to receive this book on my kindle!  When I received the ARC, I was kind of bummed that I had other books that I had commitments to read prior to digging into this one.  If you have read What's Left of Me, you have already fallen in complete love with Aundrea and Parker.  If you haven't, you need to one click that baby today.  It was one of the most emotional, gut wrenching, amazing books of 2013!

What's Left of Us begins with a heck of a prologue and then goes back 3 months.  Dre is getting ready to graduate college, volunteering at the oncology department, is healthy and of course married to Parker.  I have always loved Dre's spirit and attitude.  She is still the same, fears and all.  Parker is of course wonderful.  He always knows exactly what to say and do to make Aundrea happy and ease her fears.  He likes to take chances but I suspected he also has some nagging fears-reference the epilogue of What's Left of Me!  When he suggests starting a family with Dre, you can imagine what is getting ready to happen in their lives. 

As I began What's Left of Us, I am not going to lie.  The beginning was not what I expected.  The prologue itself gave me a heart attack.  I was really intrigued that the author was not taking the story in the direction that I was expecting.  And then the bomb was dropped and it went the direction I originally thought it would go.  I honestly had a little trouble connecting back with Aundrea and Parker at the beginning of the book.  I think that for me,  I was so emotionally connected with them because of Dre's cancer battle that I didn't know how to connect with them during "normal" times.  I think that the emotions that the author brought out during the first book were so hard to match.  The struggles that they both experienced were horrible, and I felt everything that they both felt and sobbed like a baby!  

For me, I think the last 1/3 of the book was what made it.  We finally got to see the fears of Parker and Aundrea come to a head and they finally learned to deal with it and accept that we have one life to live.  We don't know when it will end for any of us and we should make the best of everyday.  I highly recommend this book and think you will thoroughly enjoy it.  I would love to see the author do a spin off so we could see Jean's fears.  It would be a super entertaining read.  Well done Ms. Maxlyn.  I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us.  PS-The title's meaning=mind blown!







I am the mother of two little boys, married to the love of my life, and living in one of the smallest towns in Minnesota. When I’m not chasing or cleaning up after my boys (yes, all three), I can be found writing or snuggled up with my kindle, a glass of wine, and spending time with my fictional friends and family.
I am first and foremost an avid reader! I love to read anything romance from paranormal, young/new adult, contemporary, and even yes, (wide eyes) erotic/BDSM.




Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Silent Night by Kristen Strassel




Title: Silent Night
Author: Kristen Strassel
Age: NA
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen
Scheduled to release: November 2014
Amazon

Synopsis
This Christmas isn’t about celebration for eighteen-year-old Kyndra, it’s about survival. Grieving the loss of her grandmother and struggling with the indifference of her family, Kyndra now splits her time between her dead-end mall job, her junkie ex-boyfriend’s bed, and the streets. Longing to be close to her grandmother one more time, she wanders into Christmas Eve mass and prays she’ll find the place she belongs. Home.

Aidan isn’t ready to let go of the past either, even though he’s had nearly three hundred years to do it. He chronicles the search for the reincarnation of his beloved wife as the vampire romance author Allison Duprois. Aidan knows the wife he mourns is out there, but fears writing their story is as close as he will get to her.

At Christmas Eve mass, he finally finds her. Alone, with no place to go.

Aidan brings Kyndra into his home, and gives her the safety, comfort and love she longs for. Though he gives her second chances she never thought she’d have, Kyndra still can’t get over Aidan’s mysterious past. Not to mention that he claims that he’s a vampire. Life alone on the streets is dangerous enough without handing her trust and love to the wrong person. Can Aidan break through the walls around Kyndra’s hardened heart to convince her that she belongs with him, forever?

*This is a companion novel to the Night Moves Series.



Review
3.75 out of 5 stars

When I first read the synopsis for this book and knowing how much I love paranormal romance I just had to take a chance on Silent Night.  I also think it's important to note this is my first Kristen Strassel book and therefore my first book of this series, so it absolutely can be read as a stand alone.  

It all begins with Kyndra a young girl who has suffered a great loss and who finds herself alone with literally no where to go on Christmas Eve at a church for midnight mass.  She meets a stranger, a man named Aiden who she is drawn to.  They connect, he offers he a roof over her head in exchange for nothing and thus begins their friendship.  It isn't long before these two find themselves heavily weaved into one another's lives, but when the truth comes out will Kyndra stay and believe or will she run scared for the hills?

While I was able to easily figure out where this story was going I have to say I still enjoyed the process of watching everything unfold.  Aiden is mysterious and for a while I was frustrated Kyndra wasn't able to see there was clearly something very different about him.  But then again I imagine she was wrapped up in finally enjoying herself, finally having a place that felt like home, finally going after what she always wanted.  It was all too good to be true, but Kyndra is so desperate to have stability in her life and a way to provide for herself she just sticks her head in the sand and keeps going.

While I liked Aiden's character I didn't really feel like I knew him at all.  The story is told from Kyndra's perspective and thus you never really know what's going on inside Aiden's head.  He just always appears and exactly the right moment and makes it all better.  I felt disconnected to him and thus to the two of them as a couple.  My most favorite part of the book was reading the pages from Aiden's latest novel, it was finally a way inside his deepest thoughts and they were so beautiful.  I think maybe I began wishing I could hear the story from his eyes. 

Just when I started getting into things the story ended and I was left wanting more!  I have no doubt fans of Kristen Strassel are going to love this book and if like me you aren't familiar with her work then this is the perfect opportunity to see if you like her style of writing, especially while you can get it for only pennies! 





About Author Kristen Strassel

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Special Announcment: Abbi Glines

Come join The Field Party!

Subscribe to The Field Party You Tube Channel for latest videos and teasers!


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVGIKODlRu74lCztT4uXslQ/feed

THE FIELD PARTY
by Abbi Glines
Coming Fall 2015

About the Author:

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of TWISTED PERFECTION, FALLEN TOO FAR, NEVER TOO FAR, JUST FOR NOW, WHILE IT LASTS, BECAUSE OF LOW, BREATHE, THE VINCENT BOYS, THE VINCENT BROTHERS, THE EXISTENCE TRILOGY.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: I Belong to You, by Lisa Renee Jones



I Belong to You  (Book 5) Inside Out

Synopsis
Master... 
Being that person, that man, is how I define myself, how I allow the
rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss
shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to
punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is
what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need...her.


Excerpt
“Mark.”
I squeeze my eyes shut as Crystal’s voice stirs an odd sensation in my chest that somehow eases the ache in my gut. Desire rockets through me, and I tell myself it’s about fucking and control. I need it, and she’s my safe zone outside of the club.
“Are you okay?” she asks when I do not speak.
When our gazes meet the jolt is as unwelcome as it is intense. She feels it, too. I see it in the slight widening of her eyes, the way she curls her fingers into her palms on the counter across from me.
“You were furious with me a few minutes ago,” I say. “Why are you standing here now?”
“I’m not one-dimensional. I can be furious and worried at the same time.”
Unable to squash my intrigue over the unknowns of her past, I agree. “No, you aren’t one-dimensional. Nor are you simply a rich girl who wants to prove something to daddy.”
“Thank you.” She crinkles her brow. “I think.”
We fall into silence, a hum of electricity charging between us. “I still go back to you saying ‘The End’ to me a few minutes ago. You meant it this time, too. That doesn’t translate to you standing here.”
“Neither does much of what you do, where I’m concerned.”
“You’re absolutely right. It doesn’t. What does, though, is sticking to ‘The End.’ What doesn’t is how badly I want to drag you into another room and fuck you right now.”
She shakes her head. “It’s not me you want. It’s someone who’ll sign a contract and be your outlet and bridge to control. You left that bedroom thinking about the impossibility of a reason for Rebecca’s death, beyond your self-blame and guilt. You need that bridge.”
There is banked pain lacing her words, and a hint of the earlier anger I’d seen in her eyes. I could make those things go away by telling her what she’s said isn’t true. I could tell her she’s gotten under my skin. But I don’t even know who the man beneath the surface is right now. I’ve destroyed two women. Crystal doesn’t deserve to be number three.
“Is everything okay?” my father asks from the doorway, repeating Crystal’s earlier words.
“Yes,” I say, my gaze lingering on Crystal before I push off the counter, hands going to my hips. “We’re ready to talk to Mom about what’s been going on.”
“We are?” Crystal asks, sounding surprised. “Tonight?”
“We can’t risk her finding out from somewhere else,” I explain.
“She’d feel betrayed,” my father adds.
Crystal gives a choppy nod. “Yes. I can see that. But I am not looking forward to telling her.”
“None of us are,” my father says. “Right now, though, she wants us all to eat together. And since it’s the best chance we have of getting some food down her, I say we wait until after we’ve finished. I don’t want to jeopardize her appetite.”
“I’m all for getting food down her,” I say. “She’s skin and bones.”
“I’ve been force-feeding her what she does eat,” Crystal adds. “The nurse suggested some high-calorie protein shakes. I tried that, but she hates them.”
My father starts to turn, then pauses. “By the way, Crystal, Larry Prescot called me just before you got here. You won him over. Thanks for calming him down before he got to Dana.”
“My pleasure.”
He disappears into the hallway and I grab Crystal’s arm. “How okay is Prescot?”
“Very.”
“How can you be sure?”
“I threw out my father’s name—something that I normally would never do.”
“But?”
“I was on the phone with my father when the receptionist buzzed to tell me that Prescot had arrived for our meeting. My father overheard and insisted that I drop his name. I reminded him that I’m adamant about succeeding on my own merits. But I’m also not one to foolishly ignore resources when backed into a corner, and I was. Prescot was being a total jerk. I knew we were about to lose the business.”
“So you broke your rule.”
“I did. And it was an amazing turnaround. Prescot suddenly remembered the many ways people have tried to paint him as a monster in the media, and became sympathetic rather than judgmental. I called my father afterward, and it turns out that Prescot enjoys the benefits of his secretary beyond her exceptional organizational skills, and his wife of twenty years doesn’t know.”
“But your father does.”
“Yes. And now, so do we.”
My lips curve. “Sounds like I owe you and your father a thank-you.”
“All you’d get in return from my father is a demand that I quit my job. He hates me working for anyone but him, especially now with all this bad press.”
“Is he afraid it will overflow to him?”
“No. He’s afraid I’ll get hurt.”
Me too, I think. Me too. “And what did you tell him?”
“I told him I’m his daughter, not his possession. He doesn’t own me any more than you do, and neither of you gets to claim responsibility for my happiness. That’s all mine.”
As she leaves the room, I stare after her in silent agreement. I’m not responsible for her happiness. But I’m not going to be responsible for her misery, either.



Review
4.5 out of 5 stars

While I have been a fan of this series since the first book I read (Rebecca's Lost Journal, yes I read out of order!) my feelings for Mark Compton have always been on the fence.  Having really only seen him through Rebecca's eyes or Chris and Sara's eyes or hearing small tidbits of his inner thoughts in his novella's I just wasn't sure if I could let myself like him.  He always seemed so distant, so cold, and when Crystal was first introduced I wasn't sure I wanted him to have feelings for her because I thought Rebecca deserved those feelings if he was going to give them to anyone.  After all I NEVER knew how Mark truly, genuinely felt about Rebecca.  But this full length novel about Mark completely blew me away.  I loved every second of this story and I feel like I finally know the real Mark.  I finally have my answers (he did love Rebecca! yay!), my doubts about him have all been put to rest and I can say without any reservations I am a big fan of him and an even bigger fan of him and Crystal as a couple.

I really feel like the theme of this book is transformation.  Rebecca's presence in Mark's life was the catalyst, her disappearance only further pushed him and Crystal's love and acceptance of him, ugly side and all, was just what he needed to once again find himself, to quit running from his inner demons and instead face them head on, reach out and grab life, to actually live instead of going through the motions, trying to control every minor detail.  Sometimes the best things happen when you give up control, and Mark's journey of transformation is the perfect example.

In my opinion another shining jewel of this book is Mark's relationship with his parents, especially his mother.  Those moments show his softer side, they are the moments I really began to see exactly why Crystal was falling in love with the Master.  You see, the Master is nothing more than a carefully constructed wall for Mark to hide behind and once Crystal begins tearing through the cracks Rebecca left behind there is absolutely no going back.  The reader knows this, Crystal knows this and once Mark realizes it, buckle up and hang on because the side of Mark you are about to see, the REAL Mark is going to blow you away!

I love Crystal, she doesn't let Mark control her.  She is strong, she knows when to push and when to "play" the game, she's compassionate.  She isn't a damsel in distress and I loved watching her deal with Mark while at the same time dealing with the fallout when she acknowledges how deep her feelings for Mark and for the Master truly run.  She pushes Mark to be the better man and the pages detailing their tug of war for the upper hand in the relationship are priceless.

Without a doubt I Belong to You is a fantastic, perfect addition to what I consider an extremely addictive series.  I cannot wait to see the characters come to life in the TV series!  Seriously, if you haven't already started the series what are you waiting for?  Buy them now while they are on sale (crazy low prices for the first two books!) and fall in love with this story, it's romance, its mystery, it's intrigue, it's so many things, and I'm betting they will become your next favorite guilty pleasure!



SERIES READING ORDER & SALE LINKS

If I Were You (bk 1) ONLY $1.99

Being Me (bk 2)

Revealing Us (bk 3)

His Secrets (bk 3.1)

Rebecca’s Lost Journals Box Set
(bk 3.2 & 3.3 and includes Master Undone)


My Hunger (bk 3.4)

No In Between (bk 4)

My Control (bk 4)

I Belong to You (bk 5)

All of Me (bk 6)
Pre-order 2/2



About Author Lisa Renee Jones
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.

Watch the video on casting for the INSIDE TV Show HERE

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at on her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.



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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Release Day Blast: I Belong To You, by Lisa Renee Jones

I Belong to You RDL


 Today we have the next book in Lisa Renee Jones INSIDE OUT series, I Belong To You. I am so excited to share it with you!! Be sure to read all the info about the book and enter Lisa's giveaway!



Synopsis
Master… Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.


1 (1)


About Author Lisa Renee Jones
 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today and USA Today lists. Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann. Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine. Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.


Young newly married couple posing

Release Day Blitz: Silent Night by Kristen Strassel




Title: Silent Night
Author: Kristen Strassel
Age: NA
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen
Synopsis
This Christmas isn’t about celebration for eighteen-year-old Kyndra, it’s about survival. Grieving the loss of her grandmother and struggling with the indifference of her family, Kyndra now splits her time between her dead-end mall job, her junkie ex-boyfriend’s bed, and the streets. Longing to be close to her grandmother one more time, she wanders into Christmas Eve mass and prays she’ll find the place she belongs. Home.

Aidan isn’t ready to let go of the past either, even though he’s had nearly three hundred years to do it. He chronicles the search for the reincarnation of his beloved wife as the vampire romance author Allison Duprois. Aidan knows the wife he mourns is out there, but fears writing their story is as close as he will get to her.

At Christmas Eve mass, he finally finds her. Alone, with no place to go.

Aidan brings Kyndra into his home, and gives her the safety, comfort and love she longs for. Though he gives her second chances she never thought she’d have, Kyndra still can’t get over Aidan’s mysterious past. Not to mention that he claims that he’s a vampire. Life alone on the streets is dangerous enough without handing her trust and love to the wrong person. Can Aidan break through the walls around Kyndra’s hardened heart to convince her that she belongs with him, forever?

*This is a companion novel to the Night Moves Series.



Excerpt
“I need to borrow your pajamas again.”

“Follow me.” Aidan waved his hand towards the hallway. I didn’t know if he heard me or not. I wouldn’t ask again. The shadows swallowed him before he clicked the light at the end of the hallway. “I hope it’s alright. I cleaned it up, and I’m limited on short notice. With my lifestyle, I can only go to all night stores.”

He led me into an oddly shaped room, with floor to ceiling dark wood bookshelves loaded with even more books. How could one person even hope to read so many books in one lifetime? In a nook, under more shelves, was a freshly made bed with a fluffy white spread and aqua throw pillows. A pair of pink and black pajamas were folded at the foot of the bed, on top of a silver throw.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. “Did you do this for me?”

Aidan’s smile was so wide it hardly fit on his face. “I did.”

I sunk down on the bed, head in my hands. “It’s too much.”

I felt his hands on my wrists, cool from just coming in from the car. Electricity flowed from his skin to mine, sending waves beneath the surface. Was this the first time he actually touched me? “I just want you to have a place you know you can come to. No questions asked.”

Hot tears slipped down my cheeks. Why was he doing this? Why did this man I’d met two days before today care about me more than my own mother? She didn’t even call me this week. I tried to bury that hurt deep, but it bounced out when I least expected it. Being with Aidan, the pain faded, and I couldn’t remember why I wanted to fight to get away from him anymore.

“I can’t pay for this,” I whispered, my voice still breaking.

“Let me do things for you.” He pressed his forehead against mine, not moving my hands away from my face. His skin felt so refreshing against my anxiety flushed skin.

Lowering my hands, I had to force myself to meet his eyes. “Thank you.”

“My home is your home. Really. I did food shopping, too.”

“So, when you found me tonight,” I worked up the nerve to ask, “was that an accident?”

“Nothing in this world is an accident, Kyndra.” He stopped at the door, then closed it quietly behind him, leaving me to stare at it after he left me alone in this haven created just for me.

I was afraid to touch anything. Aidan left me in a snow globe and I didn’t want to break the glass. I curled up in a ball, clutching one of the pillows at the head of the bed. My head pounded, but my body so desperately wanted to let go of all the tension that had built up since I gave the keys to Memere’s apartment back.

I wanted to stay. Here.

Sitting up, I ran my finger along the edge of the piping on the pajamas. They were classic button down pjs with pinstripes, but adorned with little black stars and star buttons. The flannel felt like a hug as I pulled them on. As soon as my brain wound down to the same level as my tired body, I would be ready to sleep forever.

A book would help me relax. Ignoring the e-reader in my bag, I went straight for the wall of books. I noticed some repeats from the living room, namely the Allison Duprois books. I pulled out the hardcover version of A Piece of My Heart.

I hadn’t read these books since junior high. Memere had been a little concerned they were too mature for me, but she didn’t want to discourage me from reading. I couldn’t remember the order the series went in, so I skimmed the opening pages for the information.

First Printing, 1990.
My eyes couldn’t leave those words. That was not only six years before I was born, but twenty four years ago.

Aidan didn’t look much more than thirty. Thirty-five at most. He would have barely been a teenager at most in 1990. Tearing my eyes away from the book, I looked at the closed door. My heart pounded so hard it threatened to jump out of the neckline of my new pajamas.

This didn’t add up.

Maybe he just looked really good for his age. It was possible, with plastic surgery and manscaping and gross things like that. But Aidan didn’t seem like someone who’d be vain enough to go through all of that. This was someone who hid behind a secret identity. So maybe he would be vain enough to alter his face. Maybe I was just wrong about how old he was, but that didn’t make me feel any better. If he was old enough to be my father, that was gross on a whole other level.

I couldn’t lie to myself, I was falling for this guy. Or who I thought this guy was.

Putting the book down, I went back to the book shelf, checking the original publishing dates for all of the Allison Duprois books. So many early nineties. An anthology had a publishing date of 1988. This wasn’t a mistake.

Whatever the answer was, Aidan had lied to me about something.






About Author Kristen Strassel

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: After the Rain, by Renee Carlino



Synopsis
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.



Review
4 out of 5 stars

Some people may argue that After the Rain is the love story of Avelino and Nate, two people whose lives have taken them down very unexpected paths and in the end find love.  But I would argue this is more a story about a broken, lost, young girl who is drowning in life, who needs help, love, direction and more importantly forgiveness from herself. Yes there is a love story, but for me what I walked away with was an example of the importance of finding balance in life, learning to fight for what you want and that there is more to life than just work!

Death, guilt, anger and depression are all strong emotions and have the power to cause a person to literally lose sight of themselves.  Avelino is beyond lost and Nate's unexpected arrival is somewhat a catalyst, a tiny step which stirs emotions, which pushes her towards a future.  But it's not an easy journey and it takes what seems like forever for Avelino to wake up and become her old self!  

I loved the concept of this story, I loved watching Nate finally open his eyes and realize there is more to life than work.  It truly was beautiful to see how his emotion and love for Avelino shape him into a more complete man.  Finding something to live for other than yourself was his lesson and once he learned, once he realized he was in love, I really fell for him as a character.

My favorite part of this book was the end.  It's when I first felt connected to the characters, I wish I could have had more time with Nate and Avelino finally on the same page at the same time!  Reading Nate's inner most thoughts, watching him grow, and the way in which Renee Carlino tells this part of the story was truly unforgettable.  My only complaint was not feeling emotionally connected to the characters.  I wish I could pinpoint why, but I'm just not sure.  If you're looking for a good read with a very sweet HEA then take a chance on After the Rain.

About Author Renee Carlino
RenĂ©e Carlino lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.  To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.com.

Release Day and Review: When Ash Falls by Rachel Van Dyken








#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Van Dyken returns to regency romance with the last and final installment in The London Fairy Tales series...A regency retelling of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves.

Ashton Wolfsbane, Earl of Gyles, has taken a vow of celibacy after blaming himself for his sister in laws death. After a failed suicide attempt, he's dedicated his life to bring justice to the weak making it his personal vendetta to be the death dealer to the wicked, also known as The Grimm Reaper. He denies himself lusts of the flesh and is known throughout London because of his ability to kill effortlessly and without emotion, that is until he meets Princess Sofia, a woman hell bent on making him forget all his reasons for denying himself the one thing he's always craved---love.

After rescuing the fair damsel, he thinks his job finished, that is until he discovers he's to be the Princess's escort throughout London until she's safely married. It wouldn't be such a hardship, except the Princess has made him an offer he can't refuse. Show her passion, real passion.


Four weeks of giving into the desire he's suppressed for so long--four weeks of bliss and then they'll go their separate ways. But things aren't always what they seem, and when rescuing a damsel, or making a deal with her, one must always be prepared for the consequences.


Seven Royal Guard, a Beast, a kingdom in chaos, and a girl as pure as the driven snow...Will they find their Happily Ever After?



ADD TO GOODREADS














PROLOGUE


Ash didn’t want to remember her this way. Her beautiful face, so often lit with a breathtaking smile, was now cold and dead.
The first time he’d seen her, he had thought she was an angel, and he’d said that very thing under his breath when she had made her debut that season…
“Beautiful,” he murmured as Lucy took a turn about the room, gaining introductions to all the available gentlemen who came her way. Taking an earth-shattering breath, the kind that every man took when he was about to approach a beautiful woman, he made his way over to her.
Music faded into the background with each step. All Ash was aware of was the clicking of his boot against the floor as he progressed toward the beauty. One dance… if only she would give him one dance, he would secure her hand forever. He knew it in his heart, in his soul. She was meant to be his.
Heart beating out of his chest, he could barely contain his excitement as she lifted her eyes and met his gaze. Blue eyes twinkled in his direction, and then she lifted her hand in a wave. A wave? Something was wrong. Ash paused and then glanced self-consciously over his shoulder. There was no one but him, and then he gazed back at her. She crooked her finger, beckoning him forward.
Completely under her spell, he couldn’t deny her any more than he could cease from taking his next breath. Finally, he stood before her, at least a foot taller than she.
“Where have you been, you rogue?” She swatted him on the arm and gave him a coy laugh. “I have been looking everywhere for you!”
“For me?” Ash questioned. “Are you certain we have met?”
“Must you always joke at such serious times?” The girl laughed again, and he was caught at the sight of her dimples as they danced along her cheeks. Carefree. She appeared so carefree, so perfect, un-weighted by the things of this world, by the responsibility and darkness, by disappointment. He tilted his head and then reached out to touch her — perhaps she truly was a dream. And then a voice broke out into the pounding in his ears.
“Ah, sweetheart, you’ve met my brother.” Hunter stepped beside the girl and wrapped his arm around her.
Ash stepped back, his heart sinking down to his feet. She hadn’t been looking for him at all, but his older brother, his twin, the duke. It was such a sad joke, a sad existence really. Would he ever be first in anything?
Months had progressed into a year as he’d watched his brother and Lucy fall into such a deep love all he had been able to do was be happy for them and try to spend as much time away as possible. After all, it was not done to want your brother’s wife, to want to care for her and protect her. It was fate’s final, cruel trick to allow Ash to feel something for another and then have that person ripped away by his brother. Though he loved his brother more than his own life, it seemed Ash was always left with nothing while his brother was given everything.
His name fit.
For he was the ash after the fire of Hunter burned out.
He was nothing but soot, darkness, and sand. One day, his ashes would trickle away into the wind, never to be remembered and never mourned, but forgotten.
“Ash! Do you hear me! I love you! I love you!” Hunter yelled at his brother as he shook his shoulders, and then his eyes widened with desperation as slapped him across the face.
Ash stared at the blood staining his hands. He tried to wipe it off. Tried but failed as it continued to drip down his wrists into his jacket. “I’m so sorry,” he kept repeating over and over again, but it did not matter.
The carriage had come too fast. Lucy had thought Ash was Hunter and had run to him right into the street.
The fault was his.
He knew it, Hunter knew it, and Lucy, beautiful Lucy, his brother’s innocent wife was dead, and it was all because he had lied about who he was, tried to be better than just the second son.
He backed away, slowly at first, and then he ran.
His feet ached, his stomach heaved, and finally he stopped in the middle of the street, hoping, praying that someone or something would hit him. Death, it seemed, was his only option; it was his wish, his choice. For how could he live with himself after what he had done?
Hunter had loved Lucy, but so had Ash. She was his everything, his only relative other than Hunter, and although he had wanted her for himself, he had pushed those emotions so far beneath the surface of his heart that he hadn’t understood how far the love had run until now, until it was too late.
On legs like lead, he walked until he reached the tombstone of his parents. Both taken from him too soon. What would they think of him now? He was the disappointment in the family, the second son by minutes. And now he was a murderer.
Disgusted with himself, he sat down on the cold grass, leaned his head against the stone, and cursed. His brother — his only living relative — and he had ruined his life and ruined his parents’ memory in the process. All he had ever wanted as a boy was to please his father, yet all he’d received was disapproval. One time — just one time — he wanted to make someone proud, make himself proud.
But it was impossible.
He looked down at bloodstained hands.
His future stared right back at him.
Flee! He needed to flee, to get away. No, not just get away. He needed to die. A life for a life. So he set about doing exactly that. It was not fair that he was able to live, to survive, when the one woman who had done nothing but brought happiness to everyone she’d met, lay dead in the street.
“Lucy,” he whispered as salty tears ran down his cheeks and across his lips. “I’m so sorry… but I will see you soon. I will see you soon.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pistol. With shaking hands he lifted it to his chin and pulled the trigger.


REVIEW:
I have always been a HUGE Rachel Van Dyken fan.  Every book I have ever read by her has made me laugh and/or cry.  They never cease to disappoint.  I will confess though, that I was a little worried that I would fall in love with the London Fairy Tales series because it is totally different than any of her other books that I have read.  These are historical, regency books.  I rarely read historical books because they tend to bore me and I was worried that these would be the same way.  However, on a whim, I bought the first three books in the series while they were on sale for $.99/each and then I recieved the ARC of When Ash Falls.

I started the first book in the series, Upon A Midnight Dream, a play on the Sleeping Beauty tale and was intrigued and fell in love.  Then I started Whispered Music, a twist on Beauty and the Beast and I was completely floored.  I loved every moment of this book!  As soon as it was over, I started The Wolf's Pursuit, because what fairy tale series is complete without Little Red Riding Hood.  The Wolf is so much fun!  Finally, I started When Ash Falls.  I wasn't sure if it would live up to my expectations because I was totally entranced by the other 3 books in the series and the author had written them a couple of years before.  I thought that maybe it would not flow as well.

Enter Ash and Sofia (Snow is her nickname), obviously the retelling of Snow White.  The prologue alone was enough to make me love Ash.  He is such a broken loveable character who steals your heart from page one.  Sofia is quite the opposite of a typical "Snow White" but I adore her spunk and charisma.  She and Ash are truly wonderful together.  They have chemistry from day one and I enjoyed every minute of their story.  I also love that this book is intertwined with the other characters from this series.  Don't get me started on the seven "dwarfs"!  It is hilarious and genius all wrapped up together!

I can honestly say, even if you hate historical romance, that you should give this series a chance.  I will never doubt Ms. Van Dyken again.  She always proves me wrong and never ceases to entertain and amaze me with her talent!



Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at
www.rachelvandykenauthor.com











      


 
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