Friday, July 21, 2017

Trust by Kylie Scott - Review and Excerpt Blitz

   


:: :: ABOUT TRUST :: ::


Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.


After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen year old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.


While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.


An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.


Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

 

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      TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.    

:: :: EXCERPT :: ::
“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”
I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”
“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”
“Bastard.”
“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.
“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”
“Not funny.”
I shrugged.
“You barely know the guy.”
“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”
“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.
“No we are not.” And I retreated.
“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.
Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”
“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”
“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”
He said nothing.
Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”
He slowly shook his head.
“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”
“This is crazy.”
“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”
He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”
“I’m just trying to be practical.”
“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”
“It does to me.”
Again, he said nothing.
In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.
“What?” I said, finally.
He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”
        


:: :: ABOUT KYLIE SCOTT :: :: 



Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/  

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:: :: BEL's REVIEW :: ::


* * * * *

Oh my gosh, this book! Kylie Scott's foray into the YA genre is so exciting and something I didn't know I wanted. I'm an ardent fan of hers and in Trust, she doesn't shy away from some serious themes, tackling them with her usual humour and straight-forwardness.



Edie's life abruptly changes one night when she's held hostage at a gas station. All the girl wanted was some junk food and now some crazy, drugged out psycho with a gun in his hand has her on the floor scared for her life. There are other hostages there, too and one of them apparently knows said druggie. He tries to keep him calm and reason with him. Caught up in the fright and confusion, she doesn't understand what's playing out in front of her until she finally snaps out of it to realize that this stranger is trying to save her. They eventually do get out of it though not unscathed. People died, she almost lost her life and suddenly things that mattered before, don't. This horrifying incident hit a reset button in Edie's mind. She no longer cares to quietly stand by while some bully wants to get at her for her weight or to even receive disparaging comments about her surviving her ordeal. She's speaking her mind now and if she has to, throw in a little muscle. Edie convinces her mother that a new start at a new school is better for her than remaining where she's at now.



Flying under the radar at her new school is impossible once the other students pick up on who she is. It's made even weirder when it turns out that her saviour from that night, John Cole who goes to that same school and who's usually on the fringes, will only talk to her. John has a reputation as a troubled kid and a dealer but after what he went through that night, he's made up his mind to get out of that game and focus on school. Edie is drawn to him because not only does she owe him his life, he's the only one who understands what she's feeling. Their unlikely pairing is a source of comfort for both of them but it's not without its difficulties. John doesn't want to taint her reputation just by association and Edie doesn't want to admit that she experiences anxiety attacks from that night.



I don't know what I was expecting from Scott but it wasn't this. She tapped into a young girl's insecurities about her weight and her standing in the school hierarchy without allowing her character to be completely self-loathing. She subtly explores Edie's anxiety and even though she has moments almost paralysing fear, she also gives Edie the guts to get out and live her life. Edie's reaction to her ordeal feels legitimate. She pushes boundaries - understandable since one, she's a teenager and two, she's a bit of a mess. John is surprisingly calming, earnest and gentle. Everyone else is so willing to write him off. Not Edie though which had me appreciating how Scott made him more than what everyone sees on the surface. Though I enjoyed the simmering attraction between them I was mesmerized by their friendship more than anything. It was exactly what both of them needed that they couldn't find anywhere else: to be seen past their appearances, to be heard beyond all the gossip.



Reading Trust is kind of like driving with your foot on the brake pedal: you want to get to your destination but you're having too much fun enjoying the view. If I could have found a way to prolong the experience I would have. When I did finish it, I had a ridiculous smile plastered to my face and a hell of a book hangover from all the feels to accompany it. I fell hard for this story, even harder for the characters. From the swoon-worthy cover to the sweet, intense private moments, there was nothing in it that I wanted to change. 



~ Bel


Friday, July 14, 2017

Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye #2) by Sarina Bowen

* * * *


A SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME CHANGES EVERYTHING...


When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it's Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of Goodbye Paradise will get to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.


Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review


Second-chance romances are always a cure for a glum mood which is why I was so happy to crack this one open. (Or is it swipe it open since it's an ebook?) 

Axel and Cax get a chance to become reacquainted again when Axel relocates to the same small town of Henning that Cax now lives in. Axel has moved here for a job though truth be told, also for Cax. When they were teenagers at a church camp they had acted upon their mutual crush. Sadly, they were caught and separated immediately with Axel not hearing from or seeing Cax ever again. He's never forgotten him so when he saw Cax on tv at the college basketball game, he felt that this was the sign he needed to accept the position at Barmuth University. Cax never thought he'd see his first and only love again but their reunion brings a mixed bag of emotions. He's thrilled to have him near but also fearful. Cax has kept his sexuality a secret from everyone and has never come out of the closet. He's never even said it aloud to himself. His strained relations with his father is what is holding him back for fear that his dad would make trouble for him where his family is concerned. As tempted as he is to act upon his feelings for Axel he has to weigh the consequences of doing so. 

I feel that this is another instance of Bowen schooling me, in this case reminding me that "coming out" is not an easy decision for many people. True, toxic people should be removed from our lives but there's a cost. The person stuck in the middle has to consider that cost against their own happiness which is exactly the position that Cax is in. Axel is at the other end of the spectrum. He has always been accepted by his mother, has experienced relationships and sex, and is now in his first professional job testing the waters to see if his sexuality will be an issue at work. It's interesting seeing the contrast in how these two men live their lives. But Axel is a stand-up guy who has waited this long to find Cax again so he won't easily give up on him. He is exceptionally tender and understanding of him even when things get shot to hell later.

Sarina Bowen knows how to draw you into the story at a deeper level. You may think you know what's going on but you don't. Each revelation adds another layer to making the characters whole. Axel and Cax have a lovely chemistry that makes the sexual tension even more pressing. Outside of that, there's a bond that even six years of being apart can't diminish. Hello Forever is about patience, encouragement and the steadfast belief that love wins in the end, especially when you find your way back to each other.

~ Bel


Thursday, July 13, 2017

By Her Touch (Blank Canvas #2) by Adriana Anders

* * * 




He Will Always Bear the Scars

Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of every brutal act he was forced to commit tattooed across his skin. He doesn't have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle--not now, maybe not ever. 


Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger's pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay's frightening exterior. But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, she finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence...that not even her touch may be able to heal.











Dear god, she did it again. Adriana Anders had me glued to each page of By Her Touch. It's hard not to hang on to each and every word as she taps into something so deep and draws out each character's deepest desires.

Dr. Georgette Hadley aka George whom we met in the the first book is a dermatologist who offers a unique and sought-after service: she removes tattoos. The clients who normally seek her out for this are people who require a great deal of discretion, for example Uma in book 1 who escaped an abusive relationship that had left scars all over her body. She was a saviour to Uma as someone who helped her physically remove the remnants of a terrifying past so she could start afresh. This is what brings Clay Navarro to town. He was an undercover agent in a biker gang and things went horribly wrong when someone sold him out blowing his cover. He was ambushed by the gang and was mercilessly tattooed on his face and hands. After a stint at the hospital to recover from his injuries and surgery, he heads to Blackwood to seek out George's services. He needs those tattoos removed in order not to look so intimidating when he is called to testify in a few months. The added advantage of not being stared at and feared by any onlooker would be nice, too. 

George and Clay are two loners living in their own heads. When Clay walks into her clinic demanding absolute secrecy, she agrees to do it off the books. She doesn't know his story but can tell he's been through hell and back. The gruesome evidence all over his body is evidence of that. Clay, who needs to keep his distance can't help but feel a strange pull towards her. They're two opposites clinging to their own pain and suffering.  As strong as Clay is physically, he's a shattered soul on the inside with all the pressure of the world weighing him down. He worries more and more about his past catching up to him as he and George get more intimate. And speaking of the past, it's hers that's holding George back. Clay being in her life makes her question who she is living for and why she has purposefully stalled herself.

I read Under Her Skin in one day and I pretty much did the same with By Her Touch. I find Anders' descriptive writing makes her characters so accessible that I can sense their personalities. Getting to know George was something I was looking forward to. In the brief glimpses I had of her in Uma's story, she seemed strong and confident. Here, she is a contrast of sorts, seeming shy and indecisive every time she's around Clay. She couldn't even complete her sentences which kind of made me crazy. I enjoyed that Clay let down his guard and allowed himself to show affection. There's no denying the sizzling attraction between them. There's a scene in her office when she's rubbing cream on his back in preparation for the tattoo removal procedure that taps into their longing and need for assurance. The simple act of George touching his skin sends sparks through them both. The sensation is more than she expected. It's an astonishingly intimate and powerful moment that even I could tell that feeling human contact like this for the first time in a long time was too much for Clay's poor, mixed up senses to handle. The guy almost short-circuited! This is Anders' gift: that this moment that's not even a sex scene is that hypnotic and compelling. It only makes me excited about what lies ahead!

I'm only two books in and I can say with certainty that Adriana Anders has become one of my favourites. She knows how to write damaged souls and breathe new life into them. You want heat, drama and intimately sexy moments?  Here's your book!

~ Bel



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mister Hockey (Hellions Angels #1) by Lia Riley

* * * 3/4



Her biggest fantasy is about to become a reality. . .

Jed West is Mr. Hockey. The captain of the NHL’s latest winning team, the Denver Hellions–and the hottest player on the ice—at least according to every magazine. .and Breezy Angel. Breezy has been drooling over Jed at games for years, and he plays a starring role in her most toe-curling fantasies. But dirty dreams don’t come true, right?

Then Jed saunters through the doors of her library, a last minute special guest for a summer reading event, and not only is he drop dead gorgeous up close, his personality is straight up swoon-worthy. He even comes to the rescue when she has an R-rated “Super Book Worm” costume malfunction. But when he mistakenly assumes she’s more into books than pucks, she’s too flustered to correct his mistake. And then comes a big kiss, followed by a teensy-tiny problem. Jed’s dating policy is simple: Never date a fan.

So what’s a fangirl going to have to do to convince her ultimate crush that he’s become less of a perfect fantasy, and more like the perfect man. . .for her?
 


Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Yowza!! Have the cover gods smiled upon Lia Riley! You're forgiven if you get lost in Mister Hockey's intense gaze and take a while to open the book. I stared and I may have sighed. Okay, I DID sigh. Can you blame a girl?

I've read so many sports romances lately, particularly hockey ones that I wondered what would be different about Mister Hockey. It seems that most of the male athletes tend to be categorized as egocentric, players, arrogant, while the women despite themselves fall helplessly for that. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy reading them all, especially how these athletes grow and become more evolved, but I take particular delight when I read about one that goes against the grain. Jed is that kind of athlete. I don't take him for a saint but he's a decent guy with strong principles and who's currently at a crossroads in his career. Jed's being interviewed for a podcast by an incredibly smart and assertive reporter when she out of the blue asks a huge favour of him. The reporter's sister who is a librarian needs someone from his Hellions organization to fill in as a guest reader at her library because their coach couldn't make it. No big deal, he can step in to save the day for a group of young kids. When he arrives he comes face-to-face with the most stunning woman he has ever seen - Breezy. He assumes that she's not a hockey fan hence, doesn't know who he is. Bonus points! If he peeked inside her office though he'd realize he's mistaken. Not only does she love the sport, she's his biggest fan with all the memorabilia to prove it. Breezy can't believe that she's standing in front of the man who has had a starring role in all her fantasies. So like most women when in this situation she's flustered. Worse yet, a horrifyingly embarrassing wardrobe malfunction has Jed covering for her - literally. Once again, we are all Breezy when she hastily leaves the library running to the sanctuary of her home. Bat wait! In her haste she's run off with his car keys which Jed shows up later to retrieve. One thing leads to another ... and with all the sexy vibes and googly eyes ... you can imagine what happens next.

It's an unusual set-up but it's entertaining. Jed and Breezy get on amazingly. The only thing that could ruin this is that they're both hiding secrets. Well actually, it's just Breezy who still hasn't come clean that she's his number one fangirl. While she's debating when to tell him the truth, Jed's facing his own dilemma regarding his health and next career move. What they do have in common, and what I sympathized with, is the entire sibling-comparison thing. Breezy gets on well with her sister but it's their mother who is constantly comparing the two sisters and pointing out Breezy's "lack of". She thinks she lacks ambition or wonders if Jed can really be attracted to Breezy when her sister is the more slender, conventional beauty. Breezy is a strong woman but it still hurts to hear a mother knock her body image. And Jed has always felt he's been in his brother's shadow and is still reconciling his success with his brother's reality. 

I thought Mister Hockey was a sweet whirlwind romance with both Jed and Breezy being a fun pair. I ate it up and finished it within a day. I know I'm repeating myself when I say how I honestly enjoyed that Jed was a more down-to-earth kind of guy than an Adonis-like pro with a wild past. Breezy, who's simply too adorable and open-hearted, is also rather silly at times which makes me want to be besties with her. Jed and Breezy together make me smile and I hope they do the same or you.

~ Bel

Friday, July 7, 2017

Trouble by Avery Flynn Blog Tour

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TROUBLE, an all-new sexy standalone from Avery Flynn is available NOW!


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Synopsis


A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new romance from USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn.
Brains and a badass attitude. That’s all troublemaker Leah Camacho took with her when she left Catfish Creek. She’d promised herself she’d never go back, but when the invite to her tenth high school reunion arrived along with the chance to show everyone who doubted her what a success she’s made of herself, she couldn’t resist. However, when she discovers a 15-carat, stolen diamond in her rental car’s glove box, there’s only one man she can turn to for help—the same sexy, stubborn domineering man who’d smashed her heart all those years ago.

Sheriff Drew Jackson knew a long time ago that Leah Camacho was nothing but trouble and has sworn to never get caught up in her again—no matter how damn sexy she is or how badly he’d failed to forget her. But, when the woman who test drove his heart right into a concrete wall rolls into Catfish Creek with some serious bad guys on her tail, it’s up to him to keep her safe—even if that means guarding her hot bod 24/7 without giving into temptation or losing his mind.


Excerpt


Spinning the wheel as he hit the brakes, he came to a stop behind the sports car at an angle that blocked it from reversing. Drew got out of his truck, keeping the open door between him and the other car and flicked open the leather strap on his hip holster that kept his sheriff's office-issued 9mm locked in place.
"Get out of the vehicle," he hollered.
The car's driver's side door opened wide. The first part of the driver to appear was one shapely leg wearing skin-tight denim punctuated with scuffed up black Doc Martens. Some sort of danger alarm sounded in Drew's head, but not the kind that warned of bullets or other bodily danger. A woman got out, facing away from him, her hands up and her dark hair a long silky curtain that led his attention straight down her back to the high curve of her ass poured into those jeans. Parts of him that had no place in police business sat up and noticed. Her ass was a testament to the reason why society required women to wear full dresses for so long—because men were weak, lust-addled idiots when it came to asses like the one that looked more than a little familiar to Drew. His gaze snapped back up as his internal alarm went from quiet buzz to all-out blare. He knew that ass, that hair, and those damn boots.
"Turn around," he ordered.
She did. Her lush mouth—one he knew far too well—was compressed into a tight line, her attention focused on something behind him. Leah Camacho was back and with her always came trouble—for him, for his sanity, and for the part of him that still thought of her at opportune moments in the shower.
"Drew," she said, making his name sound like a curse and a promise. "Get on the other side of the door."
Listening to Leah Camacho was the last thing he should be doing, but he did it anyway for reasons he didn't understand. Just as he rounded the door, an extended cab pickup truck turned the corner. The tires were big, the windows dark, and the speed was slow. As it puttered by, Drew looked it over and mentally confirmed it didn't belong to any of the usual suspects in Catfish Creek. Of course, the high school reunion was bringing in lots of folks who hadn't been here in a while. At the corner, the truck sped up, peeling away from the stop sign and taking a hard right back toward the highway.
"Who was that?" he asked, the smell of burnt rubber drifting back toward them.
"No fucking clue but they've been on my ass for the past hour," she said, reaching up and winding her long hair into a knot on the top of her head—the move emphasizing her amazing tits and making Drew's mouth go dry. "I didn't realize I'd be stopping on your turf."
He bet not. After what happened last time they were together, she'd made avoiding him into an art form. However, the fact that he was the law in town, however temporarily, meant avoiding her was an impossibility because wherever Leah Camacho went, trouble was sure to follow. He glanced down at exhibit A.
"What happened to your tire?" he asked.
"No clue," she said, her voice tight with a lie. "I must have run over something."
Drew squatted down and took a closer look at the tire. It didn't have a tear, it was just gone as if it had been a blow out. If Leah had run over something big enough to do that, she would have realized it.
"What in the hell is going on, Leah?"


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About the Author:


Avery Flynn is an award winning, USA Today bestselling romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. She was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

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