Friday, February 27, 2015

No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

No Parking at the End Times****

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.






Review:

Even as an adult it is sometimes hard to admit the failings of our parents.  And if it’s hard for an adult, imagine how difficult it is for a young teen that is 100% dependent on their parents and who should be able to trust that their parents will nurture and care for them.  This is the reason that Abigail is so bewildered with her situation.  Because after her parents have sold everything to help Brother John spread his message about the End of Times and then traveled cross country to witness said event (which, of course, never happened) Abigail can’t help but wonder if her parents have failed her and her twin brother, Aaron.  

As the reader, the obvious answer to Abigail’s question is a resounding YES.  Her parents have given away everything.  Betting on the fact that the end has come and there is no reason to worry about anything else.  Now, they are living in their van and depending on the generosity of churches and shelters to feed them until God has decided the end is here.  Their neglect is reflected in Aaron’s behavior – he’s disappearing from their van every night and they don’t ever notice he’s gone.   It’s also reflected in Abigail’s internal struggle. 

Slowly, Abigail realizes that they haven’t just lost the physical things.  She and Aaron have also lost their parents.  And if they no longer have their parents, what will she do in order to survive her current situation?  This is such an overwhelming circumstance for anyone to be in, let alone a 16-year-old.  And getting the help she needs isn’t easy when the two adults you should be able to trust the most are no longer emotionally available. 

I knew what this was about going in and I knew I was taking a chance.  For me, personally, anything related to religion and/or faith has the distinct possibility of making me twitchy as I flashback to my religious upbringing as a child/teen.   But this book was remarkably thought out.  What I appreciated most is Bliss’ depth of understanding.  His obvious empathy and ability to put himself in both Abigail and Aaron’s shoes.  This wasn’t a book that tried to either encourage or denounce faith/religion.  Instead, it is a book about parental failure and one girl's struggle to reconcile that failure with her desire to live and do what’s right.

No Parking at the End Times is a very thoughtful book and an excellent addition to the YA contemporary world.  It opens up a lot of questions for discussion and it is one that I will be adding to my bookshelf for not only myself but for my kids as well. 


Nat

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meet Me at the Beach by VK Sykes - Release Week Blitz - Excerpt and GIVEAWAY!






About MEET ME AT THE BEACH
When Lily Doyle spots her high school crush Aiden Flynn on the inbound ferry, she knows trouble is about to dock in Seashell Bay. And not just because he's more handsome than ever. If Aiden's in town, the rumors must be true about his family's plan to sell their coastal land to the highest bidder. But Lily will do whatever it takes to convince the hottest guy on the beach to protect their idyllic island home.

Gorgeous Lily Doyle was the only thing Aiden missed after he escaped from his hometown to play pro baseball. Now all Aiden wants is to wrap up the business deal and get back to his life, not relive a past that still haunts him. But as memories rush in about the night of passion he and Lily shared long ago, everything else washes right out to sea-everything except the desire that still burns between them.

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About VK Sykes
V. K. Sykes is a wife/husband writing team-Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes-who write romantic suspense and single title contemporary romance.  One of the great things they appreciate about being writers is that they can work anywhere so Vanessa and Randy split their time between Ontario, Canada, in the summer and Florida in the winter. Both locations have shores just as beautiful as the imaginary Seashell Bay.






Excerpt: 

“You know this isn’t your fault, Aiden. Don’t you? None of this is your fault.”

He gave an absent nod, almost as if he wasn’t really listening. “A big part of me just wants to sell my land and head back home. That way Bram will get the money he needs, and I’ll never have to lay eyes on the old man again.”

She tugged on his hand, exerting just enough pressure to let him know she wanted him to turn and face her. Some instinct whispered that he wasn’t yet ready to give up on Seashell Bay and that he needed her to help him work it through.

“But what about the other part of you?” she asked softly.

Though Aiden didn’t say anything, he did turn to look at her.

Lily rested her other hand on his chest, just for a moment, before dropping it to her side. “I hope you don’t go. I really, really hope you don’t.”

There, I’ve said it.

Aiden’s gaze roamed over her face. Even though it was so dark, her vision had adjusted, and she thought she saw yearning in his expression and a hunger that hadn’t diminished over the years.

Then he gently released her hand. “But you know I have to,” he said in a low voice.

That short, brutal exchange summed up everything. Impulsively, she’d taken the risk and put her feelings out there, but his answer hadn’t changed.

Clearly she was an idiot because instead of stepping away from him, instead of taking her cue from the gentle rejection, she moved closer and slipped her arms around his waist. It was the dumbest thing she could imagine doing, but she did it anyway.

Because it was Aiden, and it was a beautiful, summer night in Seashell Bay. It was their past and their present all coming together in a tangled web of starlight, pushing her to claim the moment they’d been too afraid to grasp that long-ago night.

“Stay for a little while anyway,” she whispered.

For several agonizing seconds, it seemed that fate held them in the balance. Then Aiden let out a huge breath and folded his arms around her, holding her tight. “For a while,” he murmured, brushing his lips across her temple. His masculine stubble softly chafed her skin, making her shiver.

Torn between heartache and relief, Lily turned her face up. Aiden captured her lips in a kiss that went from tentative and sweet to hot and passionate in the space of a few heartbeats, as she’d known it would. The feel of his mouth on hers, his tongue sliding inside to claim her with a fierce, almost desperate possession, transported her back to that night when they’d finally said yes to each other. It felt wild and new and yet so familiar in the best possible way. The years between them dropped away, almost as if he’d never left.

Just like riding a bike.


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That's What HE Said Thursday #18

Image courtesy of Kei at The Lovely Pages Review

That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies at Chapter Break, where we spotlight a quote from our book crush to the object of his desire. We like to pretend it's us.

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?

* * * * * * * * * *

This week Shel has chosen another sarcastic boy from Jennifer L. Armentrout's endless well of sarcastic boys. We can't get enough of them! 


Laughing softly, I pressed my forehead to hers.  

"Yeah, I can see that and while the idea of taking you now, against the wall, is enough to make me lose control, I want you to know that I'm serious.  You're not a hookup.  You're not a friend with benefits.  You're more than that to me." 

Her eyes drifted shut as her chest rose against mine.  

"Well, that was...really sort of perfect."

I'm really sort of perfect,"  I teased, untangling her legs and seting her on her feet.  "Everyone else knows that.  You're just a litle slow on the uptake.


~ Cam to Avery
Trust In Me (Wait For You #1.5)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn
   
      Trust in Me (Wait for You, #1.5)
    

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Soulbound Release Week Blitz



OH. MY!! Look at this irresistible cover! We're so pleased to be a part of the Release Week Blitz for Soulbound, book 6 in the phenomenal Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan. This series is a must-read for anyone who enjoys paranormal romances and adventure. You want rapid wit, sizzling chemistry and those "I need to fan myself" moments? Well then, here you go. And you're welcome! Much thanks to Forever Romance for the wickedly delightful excerpt.  And don't forget to enter the giveaway - you could be one of five lucky winners to win a set of the Darkest London books!  Go for it!




ABOUT SOULBOUND

Once two souls are joined . . . 

When Adam's soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone… Their hearts will beat together forever.


No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn't stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam's kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken…


EXCERPT

Eliza sat back on her heels, while Adam merely stared at her as though he had all the time in the world. “Fine,” she said. “Three weeks. I free you and you help me.” She gave him a warning look. “I’ll need your word that you will help me, that this” she waved her hand between them, “isn’t merely a way to trick me into freeing you.”
“This business was your idea, woman,” he said with affront.
“Nevertheless, I’ll need your word.”
The demon’s nostrils flared with a sharp exhalation. “My word then.” Eliza did not look away from him, and he glared back in obvious exasperation. “What now?”
“I’m merely considering if I ought to trust your word,” she said.
A low growl rumbled in his chest as he bared his teeth. “I keep my word, whether I want to or not. My word is my bond. Honor, Miss May. Unlike you, I have it.” 
“How dare you—” 
“How dare you?” He craned forward, the muscles along his shoulders bunching. “Not so long ago you broke your promise of fealty. To me!” 
“Oh, yes, how quick you are to remind me.” Eliza leaned close, grinding her teeth to keep in a shout. “You enjoy being quick, don’t you?” 
His thick, dark brows furrowed. “What in the bloody blazes are you talking about?” 
“You gave me all of ten seconds to make a choice.” Eliza’s fists ached from clenching them. “And what a choice. I was dead, my body sliced open, my blood on the ground. I would have done anything, anything,” she thumped her fist to her chest, “to get back my life.” 
“So that makes it better?” he snapped back in outrage. “Desperation gives you leave to go back on your word?” 
“No. That is not what I meant.” 
“Then you agree that you bloody well have no honor—” 
“You never explained what was involved. You never said I’d be chained to you, like some animal, for the rest of my days,” Eliza shouted. “I was told I would be a GIM. I was ready to serve you in that manner. You knew full well that’s what I believed. If anything, you swindled me!” 
All at once, he sagged, though he still eyed her with resentment and distaste. Well, she had a healthy helping of those feelings for him too. 
“Tick, tock, Eliza,” she mimicked. “You rushed me because you didn’t want me to think things over.” 
When he broke eye contact, his hard jaw twitched. 
“I’m correct, aren’t I?” Ire and a red rage surged up within her. “And you have the brass to sit on your high horse and talk of honor. Well let me tell you something, demon. There is little honor in forcing a person’s hand. Or using your power to coerce those weaker than you.”
A black scowl twisted the demon’s face as he glared at some distant point. “Fine. May I continue, or have you more complaints to heap upon my head?”
“Please do continue,” Eliza granted.
His golden gaze flicked back to her. “I want to kiss you.”
“No.” The word burst out of her with force. “Absolutely not.”
Unfazed, Adam shrugged. “Unless you have something to offer in exchange for your freedom, Mellan and Mab will, as you say, merely hunt us down, and you’ll be back to where you started.”
“Then I shall find out what he wants.” Eliza straightened her back. She could do that. She must. Like hell was she going to kiss this demon.
Adam simply gave her a slow, wicked half-smile. “Fortunately for you, lass, I already know what he wants. What they both want. More than controlling you. More than torturing me, even.”
“Then why in blazes haven’t you used it to secure your own freedom?” Eliza blurted out.
“I’m only alive because they cannot break me into revealing where this item might be.” The belligerence burning in his eyes was gone in a blink, replaced by a look of pure cunning. “However, I might be persuaded to help you use the knowledge. All I require is— ”
“Fine,” she snapped, irritation getting the best of her. “I’ll kiss you.”
Silence fell, and Adam stared at her with those eyes of his. Devil’s eyes. Eyes that made a woman forget herself. Heat rose up over her breasts and crawled along the back of her neck. Eliza grasped her skirts, her fingers twitching. She would kiss him. Kiss a man who had brought her nothing but irritation. Maybe she’d bite him to boot.
His chest, gleaming with sweat, rose and fell in a soft pattern. A bead of perspiration broke free from the top of his shoulder and ran down along the firm rise of his pectoral muscles, straight toward the dark nub of his nipple. All this time arguing with him, she’d forgotten his state of undress. Not so now. She’d have to press up against those hard muscles, touch his skin. Eliza wrenched her gaze back to his face, and his sinful lips curled in a knowing smile.
“You know,” he said casually, “I believe I shall pass for the moment. I’d rather it be when you aren’t wearing such a sour face. Kills a bloke’s ardor, you realize.”
Eliza blinked. And then his meaning hit her. “Why you…rutting…cheap, trickster…”
He laughed, a flash of even teeth. “Come now, Eliza, fret not.” He stopped then, that obnoxious smile growing and heating with promise. “I’ll take that kiss soon enough. ”
She rose to her feet in a rustle of skirts. “And I’ll be sure to bite that wicked tongue when you do!”
She marched out of the cell, slamming it behind her, as he began to laugh again. Bastard. She might just leave him here to rot after all. His laughing taunt echoed through the dark. “Now that I know tongues are involved, I’ll be sure to collect.”




ABOUT KRISTEN CALLIHAN

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewers' Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Book Reviews' Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.




CONNECT WITH KRISTEN

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GIVEAWAY


Waiting on Wednesday (141)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


Meeting the EnglishBy Kate Clanchy
Publication Date: March 3, 2015

 “Exceptional . . . Clanchy has a wincingly accurate eye for social comedy, a vivid descriptive sense, and profound understanding of her characters. This is a delectable read.” --Daily Mail (UK)

In response to an advertisement, Struan Robertson, orphan, genius, and just seventeen, leaves his dour native town in Scotland, and arrives at a creaky mansion in London in the freakishly hot summer of 1989. His job, he finds, is to care for playwright and one-time literary star Phillip Prys, dumbfounded and paralyzed by a massive stroke, because, though Phillip’s two teenage children, two wives, and a literary agent all rattle 'round his large house, they are each too busy with their peculiar obsessions to do it themselves. As the city bakes, Struan finds himself tangled in a midsummer's dream of mistaken identity, giddying property prices, wild swimming, and overwhelming passions. For everyone, it is to be a life-changing summer.

Kate Clanchy's Meeting the English is a bright book about dark subjects--a tale about kindness and its limits, told with love.  It is a coming of age story for anyone who has ever felt themselves to be an outsider; a love story for the awkward; and a comedy for anyone who has ever lived in a family. Written by an acclaimed writer of poetry, non-fiction, and short stories, this glorious debut novel is spiked with witty dialogue and jostling with gleeful, zesty characters.



The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone, #2)
By Lori  M. Lee
Publication Date: March 10, 2015

The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.

To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.

In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wild Reckless Teaser Tuesday

WILD RECKLESS TEASER TUESDAY!


We're counting down to the release of Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott. Today we have a special treat - a delightfully juicy teaser from the book to whet your appetite and get you excited! 

Ladies, get ready to fall for Owen Haper -- come March 17th, he's all ours!





Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world.

Instead, a nightmare took over.

It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall.

Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire.

Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless.

And those things…they were the scariest of all.



Buy Links

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Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of six young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling and You and Everything After.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com

When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

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Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

Waiting for the Flood* * * * *

People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to a build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn't need to try.


Review:

In all the years that Edwin has lived in his Oxford home, he has been lucky enough to avoid any of the flooding that is common in his neighborhood.  But his good fortune is about to end as he is helpless to stop the continuous rain.  Nothing to do but to check in and help his kind and feisty elderly neighbor, Mrs. Peaberry, and then go on with his day as usual.  Fortunately, workers have arrived to help the residents prepare for the imminent flooding. 

One of those workers is a civil engineer, Adam Dacre.  He’s super kind and friendly and loves chatting up the residents while helping them.  The chatting he does with Edwin is obviously more flirtatious than it is with anyone else.  Unfortunately, Edwin doesn’t quite recognize that flirtatiousness.  He does, however, recognize the kindness and is completely enamored with it all.  But Edwin has a lot of insecurities to overcome.  A breakup with his long-time partner, Marius, has left him feeling unwanted and emotionally adrift.   On top of that is the stutter he has had since he was a child.  Although, he has lived with it forever and knows himself well enough to adapt, it still makes him self-conscious. Fortunately, Adam is quietly persistent and Edwin is not completely shut off that he doesn’t realize he needs to finally let some things go in case there is a possibility of something greater between him and Adam.

I’ve made it no secret that romance novellas are hit or miss for me.  Often times I get frustrated because the character development is lacking which doesn’t allow me to identify with the hero or heroine (or both) enough to make their relationship believable.   There are, of course, exceptions to this and Waiting for the Flood is one of those.  Hall manages to flesh out a complicated character in a short amount of time while telling a very believable and inviting love story. 

One of the many, many things I love about reading is seeing how authors know their characters so well that it affects the actions that take place on the page.  In Alexis Hall’s Glitterland, the sex/love scenes are unabashed and sometimes even rude.  That’s because the main character, Ash, is more than a little shameless and more than a little bit of a prick.  But in Waiting for the Flood we have Edwin Tully who is kind, sensitive and self-conscious.  He would never let anyone else into the bedroom which means that the one love scene in this book is a beautiful and hypersensitive moment that quickly fades to black.  I refuse to confirm or deny the rumor that it left me sighing over the romance of it all…

I became a huge fan of Alexis Hall when I read Glitterland.  Hall manages to take beautiful lyrical prose and seamlessly insert it into everyday conversation.  It’s ridiculously beautiful AND believable and I wish everyone spoke and thought this way.  The only comparison I can give is if you have ever had the luxury of hearing David Levithan speak.  It’s both comforting and emotionally engaging.   

“But when he spoke, there was only warmth, deep as his eyes, and the velvet-rough edge of laughter.  The sort of laughter I like best, laughter that isn’t really at anyone.  Laughter that’s just there, for its own sake, like the touch of a friend or a lover.”


If you are looking for a short romance with a great main character and a healthy dose of British humor, I can’t recommend this one enough. 


Nat