Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: Untouchable Darkness, by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis
To love a Dark One is to invite death...

It is wrong to love her.
It is worse to want her.
It is sin to consume her.
I desire all three.

I've been given thirty days to prove my love to another immortal--as a human. Cursed to use nothing but the side of myself I've always despised to win her affection. I am Cassius, the King of the immortals, A Dark One.
And today I tasted fear for the first time.
How can I win her when my human emotions over take every ounce of logic I possess?
A darkness is brewing.
One I cannot stop as a human.
One that Stephanie, my loves visions, have shown, will be my end.
Thirty days ago I was King of the immortals.
Today I know fear.
Today I know how I will die.
By her hand.
The woman I love.
 


Review
4.5 out of 5 stars

I am finding this paranormal series from Rachel Van Dyken to be incredibly unique and interesting.  She always does such a wonderful job creating fascinating stories with equal amounts of romance, humor and intrigue.  What I particularly like about this series is that she’s managed to mix in a wide variety of paranormal...vampires, angels, warewolves, siren and even demons into one captivating plotline. 

Untouchable Darkness further explores when two Dark Ones, beings not permitted to mate, find love in one another.  It was interesting, it was romantic and at time suspenseful.  I especially enjoyed the chapters told from Cassius’ perspective.  His past, his birth, his deepest desires reveals a man deeply in love plagued with major responsibility often exhausted especially having to live it alone for so many years.  Seeing things through his eyes allows us to delve deeper into the relationships of this unconventional family, and what you find at the base is love. 

This installment spends a lot of time exploring the fine line between good and evil, the balance of light and darkness and when the underlying plot development is revealed I have to admit it definitely made me want to start book 3 ASAP.  Yes, this one ends on a happy for now moment, but I cannot wait to see what Rachel has in story for Alex and Mason not to mention the war on evil.  These paranormal escapes are quickly becoming a favorite addiction of mine. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Love and Decay: Revolution Episode 2 by Rachel Higginson

Today is the release day of Rachel Higginson's Love and Decay: Revolution, Episode 2. This is a serial novella, and completely standalone in the Love & Decay universe. I am so excited to share this with you!! Be sure to enter Rachel's giveaway as well and grab your copy today!

  L&D Revolution Ep2 RDL Banner

About Love and Decay: Revolution: Episode Two: Revolution Episode 2 It’s not easy being a badass Zombie killer. But somebody’s got to do it. Page Parker is unsatisfied with her post-apocalyptic life in the relative safety of the research station. She knows there’s something bigger out there for her. There’s something… more. When “more” just happens to show up on her doorstep one night, she finally has the opportunity to find the purpose she’s been looking for. And the revenge. But first she must convince her overprotective family that leaving their home and fighting an evil bigger than Zombies is the right thing to do. Except they don’t want to listen.   Until the fight follows them home. Until it destroys every semblance of peace and illusion of security they’ve worked so hard for. They’re not safe anymore. And until they kill Matthias Allen, Zombies are the least of their problems.   Love and Decay: Revolution is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with. Every episode is approximately 20,000 words long and released every two weeks. Look for Love and Decay: Revolution, Episode Three coming January 8th, 2016.   By now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble   Read Episode 1: Amazon | BN Revolution promo 3 (2)


Rachel Higginson 


rachel_profile_pic (1)Bio: Rachel Higginson is the author of The Five Stages of Falling in Love, Every Wrong Reason, The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series and much more! She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days writing stories and raising four amazing kids.   
  Links: Author Page | Instagram | Twitter | Website   
  Enter Rachel’s giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway    

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meet Author Kim Karr

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  Getting to know New York Times & USA today bestselling Author Kim Karr kim-karr
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Kim Karr is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Rochester, NY and now lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She's always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, she wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. She went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise her family. Kim currently works part-time with her husband and recently decided to embrace one of her biggest passions--writing. Kim wears a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of her family. However, she always finds time to read. One of her favorite family outings was taking her kids when they were little to the bookstore or the library. Today, Kim's oldest child is seventeen and no longer goes with her on these, now rare and infrequent, outings. She finds that she doesn't need to go on them anymore because she has the greatest device ever invented--a Kindle. Kim likes to believe in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. She loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.
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Connected Series Reading Order:

Connected, Torn, Dazed, Mended, Blurred & Frayed

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CONNECTED

Connected 

  What if a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ could happen twice? Suffering from a past full of tragedy, Dahlia London's soul has been left completely shattered. Happily ever after is a far cry from reality in her world. But, when she is reconnected with her past, the bonds that form are irrefutable. When River Wilde, lead singer of The Wilde Ones, comes back into Dahlia’s life, the intensity that fires their relationship combined with underlying feelings that have never died lead her to believe she has met her soulmate. Struggling with confusion as old connections fade and new ones begin, Dahlia's grief begins to lift—but guilt remains. River wants to be the one to mend all that is torn within her. But with a past that is never really gone, can their future survive?
 
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TORN

Torn

Rock star River Wilde brought Dahlia London back from the brink of hopelessness with his unwavering love and devotion. But their entangled history is about to test the strength of their relationship… Dahlia was certain she had found true love and met her 'Once in a Lifetime’ when she reconnected with River. But Dahlia’s world comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, and all of River’s carefully hidden secrets are exposed. River wants to show Dahlia that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass—it’s about dancing in the rain. But how many times can one broken heart be mended? Will River and Dahlia be able to stay together or will they be torn apart?
 
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DAZED

Dazed

A Connection Series Novella featuring Aerie Daniels and Jagger Kennedy (River Wilde's cousin) Jagger Kennedy never went looking for fame, he just fell into it. After scoring a major modeling contract, his clean-cut good looks and charm catapulted his career. But when his actress girlfriend breaks his heart, he moves to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He needs to make a change, and the last thing he’s looking for is love… Aerie Daniels is a woman in control … until she meets Jagger. Her surprising connection with him leaves her stunned, and it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt. But just when she lets her walls fall, she makes a startling discovery about him that breaks her fragile heart into a million pieces. To keep from losing the one woman he can’t bear to be without, Jagger is willing to give up anything—including his career. But even that might not be enough to regain Aerie’s shattered trust…
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MENDED

Mended

Music has the power to heal, but not all broken hearts can be mended. Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the band’s latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life. After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf. Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all. When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance to reclaim the powerful love they thought they had lost forever....
 
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BLURRED

BLURRED 

  A Connection Series Novella featuring Ben Covington The story before the love story…. When he lost the only woman he’d ever loved, it seemed there was nothing left to live for. Even as a boy, all Ben Covington ever wanted was to spend forever with Dahlia London, the beautiful girl next door...then one life-altering decision tore them apart and he was forced to leave her. Now, despite having returned to win her back, he’s still alone. She’s with someone else—someone she’s never going to leave. Resigned to a future without his former girlfriend, Ben numbs his broken heart in a haze of liquor and women. But then the only woman who ever even turned his head while he was with his girl reappears unexpectedly. And he’s never forgotten their one incredible night together. But will Ben’s destructive behavior destroy his future with her before it even begins?
 
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FRAYED

Frayed

The Connections series continues with this spin-off novel. He didn’t think, he didn’t question—he just acted. What she wanted, she took—without regard. It was only one night, but it changed everything. After losing his fiancĂ©e, Ben Covington is unsure he’ll ever love again. But when he sees Bell Wilde, he’s so deeply drawn to her, that he’s thrown for a loop. Maybe it’s purely sexual chemistry that’s igniting this spark between them...or maybe it’s his second chance at love. Bell has just gotten her life back on track and may not be up for the challenge of Ben Covington. But once they’re reunited, there’s no holding back—even if a secret from Bell’s past just might shatter them both.  
 
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The 27 Club

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You don’t know when… You don’t get to choose if… When it’s time to join…you’ll know. You might think you want to be a member—but trust me this is one club you don’t want to join. It’s not a place where people go to live out their deepest, darkest sexual desires—there are no handcuffs or blindfolds. The 27 Club only admits those who die young and tragically. My brother was recently bestowed membership and joined many of our ancestors before him. I know I’m next. This is my destiny, and I was ready to yield. But then I met Nate. He awakened a sensuality in me that had never been explored, never satisfied. I knew then I could no longer accept my destiny. Nate’s presence controls me. I’m overwhelmed by his touch, his words; my every thought is consumed by desire. I believe he was brought into my life for a reason. Nate doesn’t believe in destiny. But I do. And if there’s a way to cheat it—I must
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Toxic

Toxic 

Romantic Middle Age Lovers Fashion Shoot[/caption]   He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not... New York Times bestselling author Kim Karr turns up the heat in a smoking hot, emotionally compelling new novel that takes you into the world of Manhattan’s elite. In Toxic, Jeremy McQueen, a sexy, intense, sometimes brooding entrepreneur goes after what he wants—the woman he left behind years ago. Phoebe St. Claire, a put together, in control socialite-turned-CEO has been drifting through life searching for something she thought she'd never find again—the right man to share her future. Our passion was boundless. Our lust untamed. And our desire endless. He was the only man who ever made me feel alive. Then, I betrayed him. When he reappeared, I didn’t question it. Trust rarely survives the wrecking ball, so when he let me in back in—I didn’t hesitate. Maybe I should have. What began as a bid to save my family business, turned into a second chance at love. It felt so romantic. Working together, side by side, with the man I loved. My dream come true. Nothing is as good as it seems. We had our issues, but then again, every couple does. It wasn’t jealousy, or our too-hot sex life that I should have been worried about. It was his darkside. I never saw the end coming, until it slammed me in the face. The question is—did he? Was revenge his plan all along? **** Sometimes you have to wonder if your life is too good to be true. Is it real or just an illusion? Does the man lying beside you really love you like he says he does? If the answer is yes, you’re meant to live happily ever after. If the answer is no, you’re living my life, and nothing will ever be the same. What you do about it—that’s up to you. Me, I’m in too deep and there’s no getting out. I’ll take whatever I can get for as long as I can because I know when it’s over… I’ll never find another man like him. Ever!
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The Tainted Love Duet:

Blow & Crush

KU 1

Both FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Blow AMAZON

Blow Book #1 in the Tainted Love Duet 2 fatal sides. 1 epic love. 7 days to survive. They met in the face of danger. They weren’t looking for love. They both knew better. But they couldn’t stay away, and they fell hard. He is heart-stopping handsome, fearless—and haunted by deadly ties. She is breathtakingly beautiful, determined—and in harm’s way. They should have parted. They didn't. They never should have fucked. They did. And now time is running out. One hundred sixty eight hours. That’s all that remains. While Logan McPherson fights to save them, Elle Sterling is forced to make a choice that could change everything.
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CRUSH AMAZON

Crush #2 in the Tainted Love Duet The danger isn’t over. It’s only just begun. Circumstances brought them together and their undeniable connection won’t let them part. But when the past and the present collide, emotions run high—things are said, lines are crossed, and rules are broken. Both focused on crushing the enemy, the retribution is almost too much to bear. Still, there’s no undoing what has already been done, and every action has a consequence. He loves her and she loves him, but love isn’t a shield. Sometimes your only choice is the one you’d rather not make. Pushed to the limit, the tainted love of Logan and Elle is in jeopardy. With outside forces driving a wedge between them, they have to dig deep within their souls to release the ghosts of their pasts, and fight even harder for what neither knew they needed—each other. Can love really conquer all?
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Kim Karr IG
Authors In The City | AITC16 | Noon - 4:00 PM
When: March 12, 2016
Where: Kissimmee, FL
Event at Gaylord Palms Resort and Spa, 6000 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, Florida 34746
Hosted by: Stephanie’s Book Reports
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Tentative Schedule of events:
Book Signing: Noon - 4:00 PM
Dinner: 6 - 8
After Party: 8- 10 | The Great Gatsby themed after party. Attendees are encouraged to dress in theme clothing but not required.
Each ticket holder will be added to our Ticket Holder giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a signed paperback from each of our signing authors present the day of the event. Winner will be announced prior to #AITC16 in case winner is traveling and needs an extra suitcase or money for shipping books home.
5 Skip the Line winners will be picked from the ticket holders as well. These winners will be allowed in the signing room at 11:30 AM on the signing day.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson


Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady's prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn't just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she's capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there's more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there's more to life than death.

Review:  5 of 5 stars

Do you ever have a day that requires a good cry?  If so, pick up this book and you will ugly cry and get it out of your system.  I was tearing up and choking back tears from the prologue, but I could NOT put this book down.  I basically read it from cover to cover in one sitting.  And that is rare for me.  

The story begins with Liz Carlson losing the her husband, Grady, to cancer.  Add to the pain, the chaos of raising 4 children up alone and it is no wonder Liz was ready to pull her hair out.  She is angry, sad, bitter, devastated and more, all wrapped up in a package.  I can not imagine the grief, anguish and pain losing a spouse cause someone, however, Rachel Higginson seemed to capture all of the emotions seamlessly. 

The moment Ben Tyler is introduced in the story, I loved him.  Anyone that can bribe a child with Pop-Tarts to win a battle is special material.  I love that Ben never pushed Liz more than he thought she could handle, but he also didn't treat her like she was fragile.  He was the perfect balance for her and exactly what she needed, as well as the kids.  He was not jealous of Grady or made anyone feel like they could not love their Dad/Husband anymore.  He truly made the story epic.

The emotions that this book evoked from me were very intense.  I could clearly see how Liz was struggling with denial, guilt, anger and more.  And if I were in her situation, I think I would react exactly the same.  It was so refreshing to read about real life situations, with characters that could be real.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good Alpha billionaire along with everyone else, but sometimes you just need a good dose of reality.  It was profound to watch Liz grow and rise from the ashes of her past and circumstances she never asked for at all.  Hands down, The Five Stages of Falling in Love is one of the BEST books of 2015.  If you haven't read it, you are missing out on a heartbreakingly, beautiful story.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Review: Every Wrong Reason, by Rachel Higginson



Synopsis
First comes love.

Then comes marriage.

Then comes the… really nasty divorce.

Kate Carter thought she married her soul mate. She thought she had her happily ever after. But seven years into Kate’s marriage, she realizes that her husband Nick is not what she wanted. He’s selfish, he’s oblivious and he doesn’t love her anymore.

Maybe she doesn’t love him anymore either.

Divorce is the only option if either of them wants to find happiness.

Kate and Nick thought they knew what they wanted, but neither is prepared for the heartache that separating will bring them. The journey they embark on is not the freedom they wished for, but a painful look at the people they’ve become.

At the end of it, Kate has to decide if this is really the life she wants or if maybe there’s a way to salvage her broken heart.

Review
4.5 out of 5 stars

In Every Wrong Reason author Rachel Higginson explores after the HEA.  You know life after you’ve found your soul mate, after you’ve said “I do,” years after the honeymoon phase of your marriage has ended and you’ve progressed into the every day reality where life isn’t perfect, where your partner doesn’t always do what you think is right.  Real life isn’t easy and marriage is far from being a piece of cake.  It takes two people willing to fight for one another, choosing to be a part of a whole unit.  It’s choosing to fight when you feel like you have absolutely nothing left to fight for. And wow, Rachel Higginson knows how to perfectly capture the essence of “real” life.

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more genuine book based on two characters who seem as real as my husband and myself.  Every Wrong Reason doesn’t contain any unnecessary drama, I swear it could be based off of someone’s real life.  It’s a story full of angst, but not the kind you typically find in a romance novel.  This book is all about the good, bad and sometimes ugly sides of real love, and it’s brilliantly executed as well as written. 

Rachel Higginson starts each chapter with a reason why Kate is divorcing her husband, but as Kate explores the reason you begin to wonder if that isn’t in fact the absolute wrong reason to demand a divorce.  To be perfectly honest I found her character incredibly frustrating for most of the book.  As the reader, and not the character I could see more clearly that this was a woman who loved her husband, but she was proud, determined to stick to her decision and it clouded her perspective, blocked her from truly seeing what she wanted in her life.  In perhaps even seeing her own faults.  At the same time though Kate’s character is written so incredibly real that she could be me. 

I am telling you this book, this plot, it may seem simple but Rachel Higginson takes the simple to extraordinary.  I keep saying it’s real and I know many of us read to escape but sometimes we need a book like this to remind us that in marriage we are often better together!  While I feel as though I am struggling to communicate how wonderful I think this book is the answer is fairly simple….just buy it and read it for yourself, then you’ll truly understand my glowing recommendation!   




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review: The Queen B* and the Homecoming King, by Crista McHugh




Synopsis
The Queen B*, Alexis Wyndham, has only three rules when it comes to dating that star quarterback, Brett Pederson:
1. No obligations to spend every waking moment with each other.
2. No public displays of affection while at Eastline High.
3. And absolutely, under no circumstances, will she ever go to the Homecoming dance.
But as her life is completely upended time and time again, she begins to wonder if some rules are meant to be broken.


Excerpt
I'd never greeted a Monday morning with dozens of giddy butterflies in my stomach. Usually, I reserved my most dramatic sighs and biting comments for Mondays because—let's face it—they suck. But this Monday morning was different.
I, Alexis Wyndham, was officially Brett Pederson's girlfriend.
But I still wasn't ready to announce that to the world.
As we floated in a canoe among the water lilies in Lake Washington yesterday, I lay down a few ground rules to help me ease into this unprecedented (and unimaginable) situation. After all, it's not every day the Queen B* and the Quarterback become a couple. Dropping that bomb on our classmates could cause a rift in the space-time continuum.
Or at least cause my nemesis, Summer Hoyt, to have one very public and dramatic meltdown.
Rule number one: I refused to be one of those disgustingly cute couples that were joined at the hip between classes. We were dating, not merging our lives and identities into a single life-form. Brett had his group of friends and I had mine, and until recently, they never intertwined because I despised most of the in-crowd. If I hadn't gotten to know the real Brett during a class project, I would've continued to write him off as a dumb jock.
Lesson learned, but still…
Rule number two: no public displays of affection at school. Not that I had any problem with PDAs with Brett. I liked kissing him. But I also had been known to lose control when I was with him…and lose articles of clothing. And after having that awkward run-in with my mom and her boyfriend's PDA on our living room couch last week, I'd rather not make a spectacle of myself in front of everyone. It opened up the doors to ridicule.
Rule number three: I wouldn't go to Homecoming with Brett. I'd made it this far through high school without plunging into that cheesy sea of balloons and crepe paper while wearing a silly sequin-laden dress, and I wasn't going to cross that line during my senior year.

Review
4 out of 5 stars

I cannot help but love this YA series by Crista McHugh!  I would say part of the addiction is watching the characters grow and change as they deal with the ups and downs, ins and out of the high school social scene.  Every single time Alexis is forced to look beyond the stereotypes she herself has boxed her peers in I fall in love with her a little bit more.  Lexi keeps her guard up, she considers herself perhaps more evolved than her peers but eventually she realizes how wrong she is and every single time she grows up a little bit more.  

Brett in my opinion is the shining star of this series.  He's the jock/closet nerd and he definitely knows how to gently push Lexi beyond her comfort zone.  However, in this installment the golden boy finds himself in a bit of a pickle, as his life is turned upside down it's Alexis turn to do the pushing and encouraging.  

I adore this series and while this installment probably wasn't my favorite, I felt as though the story drug a little this time, I definitely recommend the overall series.  I do hope there are plans for a 4th book because I believe Lexi and Brett need a few more chapters to round out their story and ride off into the sunset of HEA.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Author Crista McHugh
Crista McHugh is an award-winning author of fantasy and romance who writes heroines who are smart, sexy and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends. She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (including the Greater Seattle Chapter and the Seattle Eastside Chapters), and Romance Divas. Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant. And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)