Thursday, April 30, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #26

Image courtesy of Kei at The Lovely Pages Review

That's What HE Said is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful ladies at Chapter Break. It's a chance for us to spotlight and gush over a quote from our current book crush to the object of his desire. We like to pretend it's us ;)

What better way to celebrate our book boyfriends?


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Oh do we have something special for you!! We are huge, HUGE fans of Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan aka The Fug Girls. We love their site, www.gofugyourself.com which can always be relied upon for a good laugh. And we've loved their two previous books, Spoiled and Messy. Recently, Shel read their new adult novel, The Royal We. As we have come to expect from them, it was hysterical and tons of fun! 

So for That's What HE Said Thursday this week, we're not only sharing Shel's favourite quote from the book, we're also giving YOU the chance to win yourself a copy of the The Royal We. 5 copies are up for grabs people! (Quick shout out to Grand Central Publishing for generously providing the copies.) Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Read below, enter and help us spread the joy! Good luck!







"It doesn't matter.  It can't matter," he said "Because I am completely, utterly, irrevocably in love with you.  And if you feel the same, then please don't ever get over me and go back to normal."  
His left hand snaked around my waist.  
"Besides, Bex, you've never been normal."

~ Nick to Bex
The Royal We by
Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan


Nobody's Hero by J. Leigh Bailey

Nobody's Hero (Letting Go, #1)*** 1/2

Bradley Greene’s family all but discarded him when his brother caught him fooling around with another boy. Now Bradley has seventeen dollars and a gas card, and he’s sleeping in his car. He’s an emotional mess and if he doesn’t land a job soon, he’s up the proverbial creek.

Danny Ortega can take care of himself…most of the time. When what started as a date turns into sexual assault in a dark parking lot, he’s grateful for Brad’s help—and an instant admirer of Brad’s military school-honed muscles. He certainly doesn’t expect to see him again, and definitely not as the newest hire at Ortega Construction.

As Brad and Danny’s quiet attraction turns into more, things start to go sour before they’ve even started. Danny grows frustrated that Brad won’t open up emotionally. And Brad is terrified of being responsible for someone else’s feelings. When Brad’s family makes one last attempt to turn him into an “acceptable” son, all bets are off—he and Danny will need to decide if they’re in this together…or apart.



Review:

Bradley Greene has just landed in his new college town…3 months early.  Going back home for the summer between military school and his freshman year wasn’t an option for him.  Instead he is living in his truck and hoping the interview set by one of his previous teachers will end up in a job that will get him through the summer.  While spending his (hopefully) last evening in his truck at a truck stop, he witnesses the first moments of a sexual assault.  Brad is scared to intervene but he knows he can’t sit by and do nothing.  So he utilizes his military school training and steps in before anything can happen.  When he tries to go back to his truck, the guy he helped out, Danny, invites him into the truck stop diner for a coffee while he waits for a ride home.  Danny is super cute, super nice and openly gay.  Brad is in awe.  The idea that a young gay man can be so open and have family and friends that accept him is beyond his comprehension. He takes their coffee “date” as an opportunity to be who he is if only for a short time.  He doesn’t come out to Danny but he allows himself to have a carefree conversation with a man that he finds very attractive.  Something he’s never allowed himself before.

Danny Ortega is amused and thrilled to see Brad interviewing for a job at his father’s construction company.  He is even more thrilled that Brad is taking the apartment above his parent’s garage.  What he doesn’t find amusing is Brad’s refusal to even consider going on an actual date.   Fortunately, the more time Brad spends with Danny’s family the more comfortable he becomes with the idea of pursuing a relationship with Danny.  But Brad’s family and experiences have done a real number on him.  He might be willing to date Danny but he sure isn’t willing to let the world know about them.   Danny might be falling in love with Brad but he also knows that both he and Brad are worth more than that.


When Brad’s family try to force him to return home and leave behind the people that have quickly become his true family and support system, he has to decide if will continue running from his problems or if he will turn back around and face them head on while giving Danny and himself what they both want
I thought this is an absolutely lovely New Adult story.  As to be expected, Brad’s story and approach to life provides plenty of angst.  But that angst is tempered by the unconditional love and happiness provided by Danny and everyone in his family.  Watching Brad observe the Ortegas and slowly realize that not only should he be allowed to be himself but that he also has a whole new family welcoming him with open arms is heartwarming.   

I enjoyed this book greatly.  Not only is it a good NA story, it is (in my opinion) a fantastic introduction to m/m romance.  If you are looking for a slightly angsty but mostly sweet romance featuring a couple cute and sexy heroes you will enjoy this as well.


Nat

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cora Carmack Special Announcement!

HERE’S THE SCOOP!

Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

  ALL CLOSED OFF Coming 2016

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!


Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

 Hello beloved readers! 

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?" 

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again). 

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It's a wonderful experience, but in Stella's case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports. 

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said... Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, "Mine. This is my story." I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn't want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn't mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, "Someone needs to tell this story. And I'm strong enough to do it. Let me." And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I'd been adamant wasn't right for her. Because as it turns out... Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren't so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before. 

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It's about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It's about the way that kind of event can change everything-- how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It's about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you're still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light. 

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book… 

ALL CLOSED OFF: 

Stella Santos is fine. 

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same. 

But none of that matters because she’s just fine

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t. 

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again. 

Vulnerable. 

***** ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don't have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I'll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I'll be able to ensure that I'm able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won't be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you'll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links. 

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella's story. When it's finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do. 

All my best, Cora Carmack   

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)   
#WhenitHappened banner

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her. Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening. #WhenItHappened Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/4VRjWgZYSW

  Headshot

ABOUT Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.    

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook **Newsletter **Author Goodreads

  z-InkSlinger Blogger

LIFT - Authors Raising Autism Awareness

LIFT banner justified
The last week of LIFT is here! What an amazing ride the last month has been, raising awareness, acceptance and action on behalf of families living with Autism.
And if you missed the LIFT t-shirts, there’s still a chance! Reserve yours in our “round two” LIFT order today! Don’t be left out when we have LIFT selfie day!

LIFT tshirt
This week’s MegaGiveaway highlights and benefits Autism Speaks, the largest Autism organization in the world, fighting for research, legislation and services for ASD families.
And our LIFT "anchor" authors, bringing it home this last week with amazing prizes:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday (148)


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

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)By Sarah J. Maas 
Publication Date:  May 5, 2015

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!



Some Kind of NormalBy Juliana Stone
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

What is Normal?

For Trevor normal was fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves Trevor with no band, no teammates and no chance of graduating. It's kinda hard to ace your finals when you've been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutor—those beautiful blue eyes catching every last flaw.

For Everly normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor's daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowly tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.
 





The Summer After You and MeBy Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Match Made on Main Street by Olivia Miles - Release Week Blitz - Review and Giveaway







About A MATCH MADE ON MAIN STREET:

Anna Madison has faithfully avoided her old flame for six years, even though their Main Street restaurants are only a few blocks apart. The sting of his rejection was enough to make her swear off dating for good, but when her successful restaurant is damaged in a fire, she's left to the mercy of the one man she's spent years proving she doesn't need...and convincing herself she doesn't want. Mark Hastings can't say he's happy being alone, but at least his heart is safe. Burnt out from running the Briar Creek diner, he's ready for a change. He tells himself he's just being neighborly by letting Anna use his kitchen, but being by her side again stirs up temptations he might not be able to resist a second time around.  







About Olivia Miles:

Having grown up in New England, Olivia Miles attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups. When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.





Excerpt:

Mark leaned in, catching a whiff of her sweet scent as he did. He closed his eyes briefly, trying to capture the single sense. When he looked up, Anna was staring at him, her gaze hooded. He could lean in, just another inch, remember what it felt like to kiss her mouth, to feel her soft curves pressed against him.

He pulled himself back in the stool instead. He was here to find her friendship again. Nothing more. “The bookstore’s doing fine now; I see people in there all the time. It’s never looked so great.”

Anna sighed through a small smile. “It does, yes. But…that’s not what has me worried.  I took out a loan to match Grace’s investment. She’s covering rent and the bookstore renovation; I’m covering well…everything else. For now. It was all going to be fine. More than fine. And then--”

“The fire.”

She nodded. “The fire.”

“How bad is it?”

She met his stare. “Bad.”

He let out a low whistle. It was exactly the kind of situation that made Hastings to appealing. The place was paid up; they owned it outright. A new venture, of any kind, could never offer the same security. One day it could be booming, the next…

“Does Grace know?”

“No,” said quickly, “and I don’t intend to tell her.”

He leaned into his elbow. “So what’s your plan, then?”

She looked at him quizzically. “I intend to win this contest!”

He burst out laughing, hearing his own foolish desires in her preposterous statement. Until now, winning had been a vague notion, not something he was banking on, but hearing her say it aloud, a desire to not only compete but to win, made him suddenly believe it was possible. That anything was possible.

“I do intend to win!” Anna cried, but even she couldn’t stop from laughing. The sound rolled through the room and pulled at his heart, filling holes he didn’t even know were there.
He didn’t realize he’d stopped laughing until she did. The air went still, punctured only by the sound of his heart beating in his chest, and he knew he couldn’t hold back any longer. Without thinking, or daring to consider the consequences, he leaned into her and her eyes flashed with surprise, her lashes fluttering quickly as he slid off his stool and closed the distance between them.

A gasp of surprise escaped her throat as he brought his lips to hers and his hands came around her waist, pulling her close to his chest until he felt her body relax on each kiss. He sensed her hesitation, but he couldn’t pull back, not when her lips were on his, her sweet taste filling his senses. She parted her mouth, and he pulled her closer, feeling the soft swell of her breasts against his chest. His groin pooled with warmth as her thighs rubbed against his. He pressed his palms deeper into her back, and lower, resisting the urge to explore her hips, knowing if he did he wouldn’t be able to stop.  And he should stop--he should. But…he couldn’t.

He kissed her, as if for the first time, tasting the forbidden fruit, knowing it was wrong, wrong, wrong, even thought it felt so damn right. He tore his lips from hers, letting his mouth roam her neck, burying himself into her hair, that coconut-scented hair, and breathed into her ear, wondering if she would run, if she’d push him back, tell him to go.
He pulled back, watching the way her eyes searched his. He should say something, explain himself, but there was nothing to say.

Anna’s cheeks were dotted with pink as she picked up a knife and pulled the vegetables from the basket. His gaze lingered her on a few moments more, watching the way she expertly chopped and diced, the way they’d been instructed in school, fingers tucked.
“Anna.” His voice was low and husky.

He should tell her it was a mistake, that it couldn’t happen again. That he wanted to be friends, to make her understand once and for all that it was all they ever should have been. 
“We should get to work,” she said abruptly, and he hated the slight quiver in her voice. “We still have a lot do and we leave for Cedar Valley tomorrow afternoon.”

They’d be at the lodge for two nights; he’d have time to talk to her then. For now, she was right. It was time to get to work, put all personal matters aside, and focus on winning this contest. And getting what they wanted at long last. 










A Match Made on Main Street (Briar Creek #2) by Olivia Miles

*** ½

This kitchen isn’t big enough for both of them…

If there’s anything Anna Madison knows, it’s how to turn life’s lemons into a lemonade cocktail served in a vintage glass. So when her beloved Briar Creek café burns down, she sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But the only kitchen available to her is in the diner down the street—owned by her sinfully sexy ex.

If Anna thinks she can take over his greasy-spoon kitchen with her high-end cuisine, Mark Hastings is about to set her straight fast. Their breakup is his biggest regret—not that he’ll ever admit it to her. Nope, he’d rather show her exactly what she’s been missing. With desire set on a high simmer, their menu is about to get a whole lot spicier… 










Review:

If you had the opportunity to read Olivia Miles’ Christmas romance, Mistletoe on Main Street, you may have sensed more than a little bit of sexual tension between Anna Madison and Mark Hastings.  With all that steam rising off the pages, I couldn’t wait to read their story.

Anna and Mark have a history that they have carefully hidden from the rest of people in Briar Creek.  While they were both in culinary school, their longstanding friendship morphed into a summer romance that shook them both.  Anna was all in.  But Mark?  Not so much.  He knew that loving each other that much would only spell disaster for their personal and professional lives.  His father walking out on his family when Mark was a kid proves that he’s right.  So he ended their relationship in a cruel manner that would ensure Anna wouldn’t fight for them.

Fast forward six years.  Mark has taken over his mother’s diner and Anna is running a successful café with a second location attached to her sister’s bookshop.  I the years since their whirlwind romance, Mark and Anna have managed to avoid each other as much as possible without alerting the town about their previous relationship.

When Anna’s café is seriously damaged and temporarily closed due to a fire, she finds herself in a financial situation that could mean the loss of her sister’s bookshop.   A possible solution?  Winning the cash prize in a nearby culinary competition.  The catch?  She needs to enter with a partner.

Mark began running his mom’s diner right out culinary school.   His mother was going through chemo and he felt it was his responsibility to keep it running.  But everything has been going well for his mother and he thinks it might be time to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant.  And what better way to fund his dream than by winning a culinary contest.  Now he just needs to convince Anna Madison to forgive him long enough to become his partner so they can win a prize that they both desperately want and need.

Much like Grace in Mistletoe on Main Street, Anna is a strong independent heroine that is determined to be a success at everything she does.   I loved that, even though she was still hurt and still pining over Mark, she was not going to let those feelings get in the way of achieving the rest of her dreams.  Mark was an interesting hero.  Although he is struggling with a lot indecision in regards to his career and Anna, I never once wanted to tell him to man up. His struggles, while frustrating, were realistic and understandable.

My only complaint (and this definitely a personal preference than a critique) with this story was consistent reminders of Anna and Mark’s previous relationship.  Anna’s inner monologues, in particular, seemed to have a lot of repetition in regards to how badly Mark hurt her when they were in culinary school together.  The repetition does a great job of enhancing the angst in the story line.  There were just times when it didn’t work for me personally.  

Other than that, I enjoyed this story a lot.  I’m always a sucker for angst and I’m equally a sucker for a book that features chefs and/or food.  Although that does sometimes work against me.  There is one point in this story where Anna and Mark are FINALLY about to air their dirty laundry.  They are in Mark’s kitchen and the conversation is becoming emotionally intense.  But…I was distracted.  Because Mark was cooking delicious scallops and they were ruined by the time their conversation ended.  No!!!  Seriously.  I need help.  I also need a plate of deliciously broiled scallops. 

Needless to say, A Match Made on Main Street is an emotional and sweet foodie romance that will please lovers everywhere.

Nat

Monday, April 27, 2015

Since Drew by J. Nathan

* * * 1/2


All Andi Parker has ever wanted, all she’s ever dreamed of, is a spot on the Olympic track team. But when an accident leaves her hospitalized with serious injuries and shattered dreams, she’s not only uncertain what her future holds but also completely alone.
Drew Slater is a wanted man. Professional football teams want him for his arm. Women want him for his good looks and magnetic personality. But the well-crafted disguise he wears, the one that helps him score on and off the field, hides secrets. Conceals lies. Threatens the happiness of everyone around him.

One chance encounter brings Andi and Drew together, changing their worlds in ways they never thought possible. Unfortunately, what they thought they knew about themselves—and about each other—might just be the biggest lie of all.

I will admit without shame that it was this ridiculously fit guy on the cover that drew my attention to this book. Seriously, this guy is ripped! I didn’t even pretend to read the blurb on what this story was about!  I’m glad I didn’t though because it allowed me to just enjoy the story as it unfolded.

Since Drew is about one ambitious athlete who meets another disillusioned one because of an unfortunate accident. Andi, who has dreamed of being an Olympian all her life and has worked towards that goal with fervent determination, finds herself banged up in the hospital after being hit by car while on a run. Drew, a talented and hotly-pursued college football star whose next move could make or break his career, is also in the hospital but won’t disclose why he’s there.  They’re accidentally put in the same room together which is how these two very different individuals are thrown into each other’s orbit.

All Andi can think about is how soon she can return to running. Not even an injury as significant as hers can deter her from her plans. Drew’s presence and nonchalance around the hospital is a distraction from her boredom, their banter keeping her from going crazy. Drew confides his deepest thoughts to her about the pressures he’s under to make a decision about his football future. So much is riding on him going pro that he doesn’t think that choosing to do what he believes will make him happy is even an option.  It’s so different from Andi’s world where she’s in control of her own future.

There’s obviously a mutual attraction here and they enjoy baiting each other.  Sometimes I did wonder how it could be real because some of the conversations and actions bordered on unbelievable.  But that’s where J. Nathan cleverly turned things upside down steering the storyline in a new direction. When this happens, Andi has to work twice as hard at her connection with Drew. Even when a breakthrough comes, there’s still the danger of a bigger secret coming out, and when it does it could be worse than the accident that changed Andi’s life.

Andi and Drew go through some heavy stuff together. Andi has always known what she has wanted to do and has always had the backing of her family. Drew has never had that. Andi bolsters his confidence and gives him the stability he needs. In turn, Drew shows Andi that her life isn’t over just because she can’t compete for the Olympic team this time around.  It’s just wait and see as to whether they can survive through the changes in their lives and the secret that threatens them.

Since Drew has all the sizzle and funny get-to-know-you moments you’ll enjoy. It also has moments anyone can appreciate. Who hasn’t gone through setbacks, disappointments, indecision and uncertainty? Who hasn’t been afraid to voice the truth and go for what they really want?  Behind this gorgeous cover, is a story well worth getting into!


~ Bel

Check out an excerpt and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Since Drew. The giveaway is open internationally. Enter here! 

A Peek In The BiblioBin #146


Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.


For Review:


The Devil You Know by Trish Doller (Bloomsbury/NetGalley)

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (HarperTeen/Edelweiss)

Just Business (Takeover #2) by Anna Zabo (Intermix/NetGalley)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Since Drew by J. Nathan Book Blitz


We are so super excited to be part of the Since Drew Book Blitz. Seriously, look at this cover! How can one not want to join in? Anyway, we have some goodies for you to enjoy -- an excerpt, a teaser plus a giveaway (open internationally)! Thank you to J. Nathan and Xpresso Book Tours for organizing this book blitz. 

Now please, continue to ogle this cover; trust us, we understand and have at it!

~ Bel



All Andi Parker has ever wanted, all she’s ever dreamed of, is a spot on the Olympic track team. But when a near-fatal accident leaves her hospitalized with serious injuries and shattered dreams, she’s not only uncertain what her future holds but also completely alone.

Drew Slater is a wanted man. Professional football teams want him for his arm. Women want him for his good looks and magnetic personality. But the well-crafted disguise he wears, the one that helps him score on and off the field, hides secrets. Conceals lies. Threatens the happiness of everyone around him.

One chance encounter brings Andi and Drew together, changing their worlds in ways they never thought possible. Unfortunately, what they thought they knew about themselves—and each other—might just be the biggest lie of all.
  
Add to Goodreads 

PURCHASE:

Kobo     I     Apple     I     Amazon     



EXCERPT:

He approached the chair beside my bed and dropped down into it, keeping his eyes trained on mine.
“Hi?”
A devious smirk tipped his lips as he placed the bag on the floor and lowered my tray table in the space between us. He reached inside the crinkly bag, letting his hand linger. I’d give him props. He definitely knew how to pique my curiosity. His hand slid out grasping a shot glass. His eyes stayed on mine as he placed it on the empty tray table in front of him. Then he reached back in and pulled out a second glass.
“Thirsty?”
A slow sexy smile skated across his lips as he slid the glass across the table in front of me. But he wasn’t done. He reached back in the bag and pulled out a full bottle of vodka.
“Seriously?” I laughed.
He nodded. “You scared?”    
“Scared I’m gonna drink you under the table.”
He threw back his head and let loose a shoulder shaking laugh. So carefree. So comfortable. So unbelievably breathtaking.
But once it continued much longer than necessary, I crossed my arms over the UNC printed on my powder-blue T-shirt. “Are we playing a game or just trying to get sloppy drunk?”
His laughter subsided as he dug into his pocket and pulled out a quarter, holding it up so the fluorescent lights in my room reflected off it.
“So, we’re wagering?”
He nodded. “And with the pain meds getting the liquor to your head quicker, you being drunk off your ass is just an added bonus.”
I swallowed down. Hard.
“Now if I win…” He twisted his lips like he really needed to consider the stakes. “I get to give you a sponge bath.”
He said it so matter-of-factly, it threw me for a loop. Then again, it seemed like a win-win for me.
“If you win,” he continued. “You give me a sponge bath.”
“Who said I’d want to give you a sponge bath?” I totally did.
“Seriously? Have you seen me?”
I almost choked on the arrogance floating around the room. But in all honesty, I liked it. Too much. A guy who knew who he was and what he wanted turned me on. It’s what I was drawn to. What I normally sought out. I nodded toward the vodka. “Where’d you get it?”
“My buddy Avery smuggled it in.”
“All in an effort to get me drunk?”
His smile spread wide. “All in an effort to get you drunk and give you a sponge bath.”
“Ever think of just asking?”




 AUTHOR BIO:

I'm a total romance junkie! Add an alpha male who's unlikable in the beginning...even better. Happy endings are a must. Don’t leave me with an unexpected cliffhanger or someone dying in the end. I’ll be depressed for days. Love triangles and negative people are the bane of my existence. My family, friends, sangria, and watermelon margaritas are the light…

I love hearing from readers, so feel free to get in touch with me at:

Facebook     I     Website     I     Goodreads     I     Twitter




    

GIVEAWAY:


Thursday, April 23, 2015

That's What HE Said Thursday #25

Image courtesy of Kei at The Lovely Pages Review

That's What HE Said is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful ladies at Chapter Break. It's a chance for us to spotlight and gush over a quote from our current 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's quote is from Bethany Crandell's Summer On The Short Bus. This book was a genuine surprise that had me laughing at the many awkward moments in it because lord knows, I have plenty of my own. In this scene, Cricket and Quinn are walking back to camp after a quiet dinner. Quinn, who could be Zac Efron's twin has become the highlight of Cricket's day at the camp. If you'd like to read my review, you can click here. Anyway, this is a cute but awkward moment from the book.





My heart begins to race as he squeezes my hand before narrowing his gaze to my mouth. Cosmo would say we're moving too fast, but I don't give a crap about big sister advice. I allow my eyes to drift shut, prepping myself for what is bound to be the best first kiss ever, when he says, "You've got a little pizza sauce right here."

My eyes flutter open. "What?"

"Right here." He dabs at my cheek with the same hand I had been holding seconds before. "It was so good you were saving some for later?"

I feel my cheeks warm with embarrassment as I scrub at the leftover sauce. "Thanks, " I say with false amusement. "I guess I'm a bigger mess than I realized."

"Yea, maybe you are," he says, leaning close enough so I can see my reflection in his eyes. "But that's when life starts getting good, right? When it's messy."


~ Quinn to Cricket

Summer On The Short Bus by
Bethany Crandell

Waiting on Wednesday (147)


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

Rogue (Talon #2)By Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant. 

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George. 

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?






GalgorithmBy Aaron Karo
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

A romantic comedy about high school, heartbreak, and having all the answers.

What if the secrets of dating and love were revealed in one simple formula? That's the tantalizing proposition high school senior Shane Chambliss offers the hopeless and hapless guys who come to him for relationship advice.

After the girl of his dreams breaks his heart, Shane devises a mysterious formula called the Galgorithm and establishes himself as the resident dating guru at Kingsview High School. But his attempts to master the art of romance go outrageously awry.

As Shane tries to navigate the ensuing drama, he must follow his heart, abandon all the rules, and ignore his own advice in a quest for true love. What he discovers, no formula could ever predict...
 







The Heir (The Selection, #4)By Kiera Cass
Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought