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The Gifts of Our Mothers Book Tour

The Gifts of Our Mothers
Hazel Black
(The Witches of Auburn, #1)
Publication date: October 2nd 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

In the dark woods I’m forbidden to go into, lying on top of the one person I swore I’d stay away from, and hiding from the men who chased him, I hold still as Ike Kennedy whispers in my ear, “Don’t leave me.”

The questions of why my mother packed up our lives and moved us to Auburn, New Jersey when she, herself, fled here twenty years ago, plague me every day. Her past and the people in this town loom over our family with a haunting understanding of the coven I was born into, but realize I know nothing about. The enemies I heard stories about as a child attack without warning or regard for human life, but I don’t know who they are.

I’m Ever Ayars. I can fly. I can disappear. I can move things with my mind, but my gifts are my only clarity. Lost within a new school, new friends, and a new life, there is only one thing I know for sure.

I’m not leaving Ike Kennedy.

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Author Bio:

Hazel Black graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks, her neighbors began to talk, and her mother told her to find a job.

She settled into corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Hazel quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It was during this time she became an avid observer of the characters she met and the heartaches they endured. Her years of study taught her that laughter, even the completely inappropriate kind, was the key to survival.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. As an avid swimmer, if Hazel is not with her family and friends, she’d rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she is, and always has been, a sucker for a love story…the more screwed up the better.

Hazel Black writes contemporary romance as Eliza Freed. To keep up with all new releases and giveaways, sign up for her newsletter here.

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Excerpt

The woman’s hands were knotty knuckles covered by freckled skin. She rubbed them together, suggesting they ached as much as they hurt to look at. She was the first person at the party—or whatever this was—that didn’t greet us warmly. Our mothers approached her with great reverence. When I heard my mother say, “Please,” I knew they needed her help for something, and I wasn’t going to miss a word of it.

I hunched over the side of my chair with my head hidden in my arms and focused on their voices.

“We’re desperate, and they’re strong,” Sloane said. The agony in her voice rattled me.

“Unbelievably strong,” Lovie chimed in, but the witch only shook her head.

“They can do it. We just don’t know how. We’ve tried ourselves a hundred times, but we can’t break it.”

“A witch’s spell is not meant to be broken,” she said definitively. A group of boulders lying next to each other immediately piled together without anyone touching them.

“Please . . .” Lovie’s voice was tragic, and I looked over my shoulder to make sure she wasn’t crying. Ruby and Maya were watching our mothers as well.

“Bring them here,” the old witch said.

Without direction, the three of us walked over to our mothers. They moved us in front of them to face the old woman’s inspection. She walked past each of us, leaning in as if suggesting the knowledge she sought was somewhere between our scent and our aura.

“Hold hands,” she said. We reached out and took each other’s hands standing in our line. “Exactly. They should be a circle. These girls have never known what it feels like to be whole.” There was an underlying disgust in her voice, and it was directed at our mothers. “All three are completely unaware of how deficient they are.” She glared at our mothers behind us, placing the unspoken blame on them. “You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s one thing to live a full life having been born without an arm, but why would you cut one off if you have two?”

A chill slipped across the back of my neck. I tightened my grip on Maya and Ruby’s hands and braced myself for her coming words.

“They’re missing their Earth witch. And somewhere out there is a witch that has no idea how powerful she is.” The old woman stepped away from us. “You can’t change the future by ignoring the past. Buried secrets will always rise again.”

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Ann Not Annie Book Tour

Ann, Not Annie
Sage Steadman
Publication date: September 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Ann, not Annie, is tired of her nominal existence and has vowed to turn things around by dating the hottest guy in school, Jacob Waters. Easier said than done since Jacob isn’t even aware she exists. The truth is, due to Ann’s lively temper she spends more time in detention with the rest of the school rejects than she does fantasizing about Jacob Waters wearing spandex.

Her best friend and devout alien believer, Lisa, doesn’t like the changes she’s seeing in her BFF. Neither does Danny Feller, a fellow detention inmate and resident lost boy who has started keeping an extra watchful and unwanted eye on Ann.

When a chance encounter in an empty hallway changes everything, Ann finds all her dreams coming true and she is well on her way to living the perfect life she’s always wanted. But appearances aren’t always what they seem and Ann is going to have to face not just cold hard facts, but also her past.

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Author Bio:

Sage Steadman was awarded a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. While pursuing her passion for writing, she worked as a licensed mental health therapist. She published her debut novel, “Snowflake Obsidian: Memoir of a Cutter,” in 2010 under her pen name, The Hippie, and since, re-released the second edition under her real name. The novel has been deemed an “idyllic” read, filled with love, humor, romance and heart. She is also the co-author of the gritty and inspiring historical fiction novel, “Upon Destiny’s Song,” alongside classical guitarist, Mike Ericksen, and has penned an article on teen cutting for Canadian Magazine, “Edmonton’s Child.” She has recently produced a stunning and thought-reflecting novella entitled, “The Waking Dream.” Sage is heralded as a talented writer who tackles her novels with a witty, raw and honest approach. She currently lives near Salt Lake City, Utah with family.

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Copy of Ann Not Annie provided through Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review.

 When I first started reading Ann Not Annie I thought it was going to be a basic story of a girl in high school who wanted to be popular, end of the story. What I read was so much better than that. This book had so much more emotion, heart, and sorrow than I originally thought it would and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Ann was so much than met the eyes or so much more than what the synopsis made her out to be. Yes, she was getting sent to detention a lot and there for labeled a trouble maker. Yes, she had some anger issues. Yes, she fantasizes about being with her dream crush and his clique of popular kids. But all of that was just to cover up how Ann truly felt about herself, her family, and the turn her life had taken. Deep down Ann is a really deep person who struggles with a lot on a daily basis and the things she had to go through truly made my heart break for her. How she manages to keep from breaking down every day was lost to me. Ann is really a strong character and this story shows how someone so strong and can only take so much.

One thing I wanted to point out is that the way this story is written is so different than anything I’ve ever read before. It’s told in the third person, but also through the eyes of a character. Though this character refuses to reveal them self until the end of the book. The twist of writing style was really fun and added another element to this already unique story.

To keep from giving too much away I just want to say that this book has so many layers that you will be on the edge of your seat trying to figure it all out. I’ll admit, there were a few parts that dragged for me, but that’s being really nitpicky as these parts were few and far between.  No matter what, this is definitely one you don’t want to pass on.

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The Longing and the Lack Book Tour

The Longing and the Lack
C.M. Spivey
(The Unliving #1)
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal

“Gothic curses, deadly love affairs, and vengeful ghosts combine to make this paranormal mystery a compelling page-turner.” — Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin

Lucinda Hightower is no stranger to death.

Since she was a child, Lucinda has been haunted by rabid dogs, suicidal crows, and the ghost of a woman in white. All are omens signaling someone’s imminent demise—except Lucinda’s friends and family are still breathing.

The omens follow her to Ireland and the quiet university in her father’s hometown, increasing in strength and frequency once she meets Damien Reed. A handsome third year student, Damien thrusts himself into Lucinda’s life almost immediately and caresses away the unsavory reputation that shadows him.

It’s not until the ghost sinks her nails into Damien that he reveals his secret: the death omens are for him.

They’re the manifestations of a curse that claims the life of the eldest Reed son every generation. Damien’s time is nearly up. If Lucinda is to save him, she must solve the mystery of her family curse, and lay a spirit’s rage to rest.

A dark romance for fans of Diane Setterfield and the TV show Supernatural, The Longing and the Lack is a Gothic story for the modern age.

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Author Bio:

C.M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN and the paranormal series, “The Unliving”. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the rules and ramifications of magic in his own works—and as a trans, panromantic asexual, he’s committed to queering his favorite genres. In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to his tireless quest to make America read more. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.

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Excerpt

Damien’s home turned out to be a quintessential country manor—three glorious stories of whitewashed brick crawling with trellised ivy and roses, roughly half an hour from the university. Teddy pulled up a long drive and into a circular lane directly in front of the house, stopped the car, and opened the door for Damien. Lucinda waited for her host to come around to her side; when her door opened, Damien smiled warmly down at her and offered her his hand.

“My great-granduncle had much of the facade redone in the Gothic style toward the end of his life,” Damien said, looking up at the turrets and buttresses. “The family were practically exiled until it was all finished. The place was uninhabitable.”

“I wonder what must have spurred such an endeavor,” Lucinda remarked.

Damien was silent for a moment. “His letters from that time hint at a passionate affair with an unnamed woman. He wrote that the house needed to be made worthy of her.”

A gargoyle perched over the manor’s double doors caught Lucinda’s eye. “Was he a widower?” she asked.

“Ah, no. He died quite young. My age, in fact.”

She tore her eyes away from the gargoyle and looked to Damien. He stared at her, his eyes shaded by the setting sun behind him, unreadable. She took a deep breath and did nothing but gaze back at him, unwilling to make a move until he showed some indication of whatever thoughts lurked behind his expression. Finally, he closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, they had a bright light within them.

“What a bore I am. I bring you here to sweep you off your feet, and instead, I end up spilling family tragedies,” he said quietly.

“With a house like this, how could your family not be tragic?” she replied.

The corner of his mouth twitched into the half-smile she was accustomed to seeing on him. “How indeed,” he said. “Come now, let me show you to your table.”

They linked arms once more and entered the house. It was quiet and dim, all dark stone and richly colored rugs. Damien led her up a grand staircase, and then through a large parlor with great glass windows. The creamy white furniture was cast in flaming hues of orange and red that faded to hazy gray-blue in the corners where the western light couldn’t reach.

“My mother’s preferred parlor. She loves the windows. The rest of the house frequently oppresses her; she says it’s too dark and claustrophobic for her tastes,” Damien said.

Lucinda laughed. “Well, I don’t mind dark spaces, but I must say that I agree with your mother. This room is glorious.”

“You’re not afraid of the dark, then.”

It was a harmless enough question, but it settled seriously on Lucinda’s shoulders and dampened her good mood ever so slightly. “The dark is nothing to be afraid of,” she replied.

Damien nodded. “I agree.”

He lifted his hand and gestured to the wall of windows. Upon closer inspection, Lucinda realized that one of them was actually a door onto a glass-enclosed balcony; she could see a table for two set in it. Light flared up as she watched; two women dressed in all black moved around the table, igniting the wicks of several dozen candles in tall candelabras.

She smiled, relieved to get to the dinner portion of the evening. She was powerfully curious about the rest of the house, but it seemed that every bit of information Damien provided about it led them down morose paths, and that was certainly not desirable—not nearly as desirable as the host himself, at any rate.

They entered the balcony. Damien pulled out her chair and tucked it under her as she lowered herself into it, then sat himself across from her. The table was covered in a cascading white tablecloth. Peaked black napkins sat over calligraphed menu cards, flanked on either side by an array of silverware. Lucinda smirked as she shook out the napkin and placed it in her lap.

“You don’t do things by half, do you, Mr. Reed?” she asked.

 

Damien shook out his own napkin. “I hope you’re not still concerned that this is all a manipulation.”

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Rewired Book Tour

ReWired
S.R. Johannes
Publication date: August 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

YA cyber thriller, ReWIRED, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.

It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.

With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWIRED delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWIRED is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

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Author Bio:

S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.

Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with hEnglish-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.

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ARC of Rewired provided through Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review.

Rewired was such a great read and completely unpredictable. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

So first of all the idea of a teenage hacker chick immediately got my attention! But Ada is so much more than that. Sure she has some serious skill when it comes to hacking and getting information, the definition of a nerdy badass but she hides behind all of that. Deep down she’s scared, and lonely. When I found out her best friend I really felt so bad for her. Then to discover that most of her friend’s suicide was a mystery, it was easy to understand how that could mess with someone’s head. Through it all though, Ada did not let her personal feelings and worries cripple her. She pushed through it, even with all the cards stacked against her. I admired her tenacity and her over all character. Ada Lovelace is definitely the kind of heroine I support.

The entire story as a whole was so twisted, not just in the dark-teens-dying sense but in the way that there were so many twists and turns to the investigation. I could never guess what was going to happen next, and that may not seem like a big thing to some, but having a story that is unpredictable should be #BookGoals! 

I loved the cast as well. Everyone has such different characters and they all were so wild. With out them, this book would have been seriously missing out. Some were colorful, some were dark, some made you just want to give them a big hug, but no matter what, each of them made a good suspect. That was the thing with this book, I started looking at everyone as a suspect in this mystery, but as stated before, I never saw the ending coming.

Credit must be given to the setting of this book as well. I felt like the Reboot facility was an entity of its own and really added a nice spooky element to the story. It reminded me so much of the Winchester Mansion which was a real bonus for me. I love spooky and haunted places, and though Reboot is not described as haunted, it was still super enjoyable.

If you are looking for a book that is one of a kind and will leave you guessing the entire time then you need to check out Rewired! It’ll make you laugh, make you gasp, and maybe even make you cry, but you will enjoy every minute of it, I promise!

 

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Counting Wolves Book Tour

Counting Wolves
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.

Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.

But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.

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Author Bio:

Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.

He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.

For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.

Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.

Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.

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ARC of Counting Wolves provided through Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review.

Counting Wolves was such an amazing surprise! When I first started reading this book I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I did not expect the awesomeness that unfolded page after page!

In the synopsis, it does not say why Milly is in the psych ward so unfortunately, I can’t dive into that part of her character. But let me just say that it’s really good. What I can say is that Milly is an awesome lead character. For someone with so many issues, she has a unique strength to her. Sure she feels as if her quirks are some what embarrassing but she also has an “I don’t care” attitude towards it, well sometimes. I loved her thought process and how she looked at the world around her. Even if her depiction of it wasn’t always accurate it was still awfully entertaining.

As for the other kids in the psych ward, well there really is something to be said about having an awesomely quirky cast of characters. They really helped to make this book something special, each and every one of them. With even one of them missing from this book, it would not be what it is.

Two of the things that made this book such a work of brilliance was the fairy tale references and the look into mental illness in teenagers.

The fairy tales are such a strong aspect of this book. If the fairy tales aren’t being out right mentioned then they are being squeezed in here and there. Heck, even a good portion of the characters were a subtle nod to different fairy tales. This book even included other less known tales which was really interesting. As a fan of those classics, it really made Counting Wolves extra fun to read.

The look into mental illness in teenagers was wonderful. In some cases, it felt like there wasn’t really an illness so much as a scared child trying to find a safe place. With those with an actual illness, it was interesting to get their point of view on something they considered normal while also getting the outsiders look from either Milly, other patients, or the hospital staff. Having so many different points of views on the subject raises a lot of questions as a reader.

How far gone was too far gone? Could the patient actually control it? How much was part of their illness and how much was over exaggerated? Should they learn to accept it or change it? With all these different questions I developed reading this book, I felt like I was getting answers in one way or another. Or at least I was getting Milly’s answers, which worked for me, at least in reference to the characters around her.

Honestly, I could go on and on about little bits and pieces of this book that caught my attention. Everything from what I’ve already mentioned, to the different family dynamics, to how health care actually takes care of those in need, to the humor that actually had me laughing out load. Counting Wolves has so many different layers and keeps the reader entertained all the way through. You would be CRAZY(hint, hint) not to read this one!

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The Sullivans Books 1-3 Book Tour

About the Set

Title: The Sullivans Boxed Set

Author: Bella Andre

Genre: Contemporary Romance

More than 6 million readers have already fallen in love with the Sullivans! Now get ready to meet your new favorite family in Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with the first three books in the #1 hit series.

“Not since Nora Roberts has anyone been able to write a big family romance series with every book as good as the last! Bella Andre never disappoints!” Revolving Bookcase Reviews

THE LOOK OF LOVE
Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is–until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love–and protect–her, but will she let him?

FROM THIS MOMENT ON
For thirty-six years, Marcus Sullivan has been the responsible older brother, stepping in to take care of his seven siblings after their father died when they were children. But when the perfectly ordered future he’s planned for himself turns out to be nothing but a lie, Marcus needs one reckless night to shake free from it all.

Nicola Harding is known throughout the world by only one name – Nico – for her catchy, sensual pop songs. Only, what no one knows about the twenty-five year old singer is that her sex-kitten image is totally false. After a terrible betrayal by a man who loved fame far more than he ever loved her, she vows not to let anyone else get close enough to find out who she really is…or hurt her again. Especially not the gorgeous stranger she meets at a nightclub, even though the hunger – and the sinful promises – in his dark eyes make her want to spill all her secrets.

CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE
Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can’t stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving – and losing – a man with a dangerous job again.

Excerpt:

FROM THIS MOMENT ON

 

For thirty-six years, Marcus Sullivan has been the responsible older brother, stepping in to take care of his seven siblings after their father died when they were children. But when the perfectly ordered future he’s planned for himself turns out to be nothing but a lie, Marcus needs one reckless night to shake free from it all.

 

Marcus Sullivan was known for his patience. After helping to raise his seven siblings, he’d learned to wait out tantrums, fistfights, even tears.

But tonight, he was all out of patience.

He’d come to the club tonight to find a woman, to proposition her, to claim her for one no-holds-barred night, but he’d been watching the dancers for long enough to know that he wasn’t going to take a single one of them to bed. None of the women who’d walked in through the thick red curtain in the past thirty minutes had been contenders, either.

Until, suddenly, the curtain parted…and she walked in.

Marcus felt like a fist had slammed straight into his gut.

The woman was young, mid-twenties probably, and so beautiful it almost hurt to look at her. Her black leather dress left nothing to his imagination, fitting her like a second skin with wide cut-outs that ran down the side of her insane curves.

She was the one.

As she stood in the doorway and slowly scanned the crowd, every eye in the room was on her. She was magnetic, had that special something that made it impossible to pull your eyes away from her.

And then her eyes met his, illuminated by a beam of light in the dark room, and although Marcus hadn’t drunk nearly enough at Chase’s engagement party to be unsteady on his feet, one look at those clear blue eyes had him fighting for balance.

What was wrong with him?

He needed to remember, at all times, what tonight was about. Pleasure. Not emotion. Not a relationship. It was okay for certain parts of his body below the waist to react like a match had been lit from nothing more than looking at the woman. Everything else was off-limits. He wasn’t looking for a woman to respect.

And he definitely wasn’t going to fall in love.

The dangerous curves began to shift beneath the thin layer of leather as she moved straight toward him, never once breaking stride, even in impossibly high heels. Marcus couldn’t miss the challenge in her gaze, a look that asked if he was man enough to handle her.

He’d always liked his women tall and slim, not barely coming up to his chest like this one. A voice in his head told him she was way too young for him, young enough that if this were any other night, he’d walk away from her now.

But he wasn’t planning on walking away from whatever this woman offered. Not until first light.

And definitely not until he’d had his fill of those curves.

 

FROM THIS MOMENT ON excerpt by Bella Andre © 2014

Enjoy the following excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE…

Chase almost missed the flickering light off on the right side of the two-lane country road. In the past thirty minutes, he hadn’t passed a single car, because on a night like this, most sane Californians—who didn’t know the first thing about driving safely in inclement weather—stayed home.

Knowing better than to slam on the brakes—he wouldn’t be able to help whomever was stranded on the side of the road if he ended up stuck in the muddy ditch right next to them—Chase slowed down enough to see that there was definitely a vehicle stuck in the ditch.

He turned his brights on to see better in the pouring rain and realized there was a person walking along the edge of the road about a hundred yards up ahead. Obviously hearing his car approach, she turned to face him and he could see her long wet hair whipping around her shoulders in his headlights.

Wondering why she wasn’t just sitting in her car, dry and warm, calling Triple A and waiting for them to come save her, he pulled over to the edge of his lane and got out to try and help her. She was shivering as she watched him approach.

“Are you hurt?”

She covered her cheek with one hand, but shook her head. “No.”

He had to move closer to hear her over the sound of the water hitting the pavement in what were rapidly becoming hailstones. Even though he’d turned his headlights off, as his eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, he was able to get a better look at her face.

Something inside of Chase’s chest clenched tight.

Despite the long, dark hair plastered to her head and chest, regardless of the fact that looking like a drowned rat wasn’t too far off the descriptive mark, her beauty stunned him.

In an instant, his photographer’s eye cataloged her features. Her mouth was a little too big, her eyes a little too wide-set on her face. She wasn’t even close to model thin, but given the way her T-shirt and jeans stuck to her skin, he could see that she wore her lush curves well. In the dark he couldn’t judge the exact color of her hair, but it looked like silk, perfectly smooth and straight where it lay over her breasts.

It wasn’t until Chase heard her say, “My car is definitely hurt, though,” that he realized he had completely lost the thread of what he’d come out here to do.

Knowing he’d been drinking her in like he was dying of thirst, he worked to recover his balance. He could already see he’d been right about her car. It didn’t take a mechanic like his brother, Zach, who owned an auto shop—more like forty, but Chase had stopped counting years ago—to see that her shitty hatchback was borderline totaled. Even if the front bumper wasn’t half smashed to pieces by the white farm fence she’d slid into, her bald tires weren’t going to get any traction on the mud. Not tonight, anyway.

If her car had been in a less precarious situation, he probably would have sent her to hang out  in her car while he took care of getting it unstuck. But one of her back tires was hanging precariously over the edge of the ditch.

He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Get in my car. We can wait there for a tow truck.” He was vaguely aware of his words coming out like an order, but the hail was starting to sting, damn it. Both of them needed to get out of the rain before they froze.

But the woman didn’t move. Instead, she gave him a look that said he was a complete and utter nut-job.

“I’m not getting into your car.”

Realizing just how frightening it must be for a lone woman to end up stuck and alone in the middle of a dark road, Chase took a step back from her. He had to speak loudly enough for her to hear him over the hail.

“I’m not going to attack you. I swear I won’t do anything to hurt you.”

She all but flinched at the word attack and Chase’s radar started buzzing. He’d never been a magnet for troubled women, wasn’t the kind of guy who thrived on fixing wounded birds. But living with two sisters for so many years meant he could always tell when something was up.

And something was definitely up with this woman, beyond the fact that her car was half-stuck in a muddy ditch.

Wanting to make her feel safe, he held his hands up. “I swear on my father’s grave, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay to get into my car.” When she didn’t immediately say no again, he pressed his advantage with, “I just want to help you.” And he did. More than it made sense to want to help a stranger. “Please,” he said. “Let me help you.”

She stared at him for a long moment, hail hammering between them, around them, onto them. Chase found himself holding his breath, waiting for her decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.

But, for some strange reason, it did.

 

…Excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE by Bella Andre © 2015

Author Bio

Bella Andre is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of “The Sullivans”, “The Maverick Billionaires”, “The Morrisons”, and the NYT bestselling “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” sweet romance series written as Lucy Kevin.

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Having sold more than 6 million books, Bella Andre’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists 32 times. She has been the #1 Ranked Author at Amazon (on a top 10 list that included Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, James Patterson and Steven King), and Publishers Weekly named Oak Press (the publishing company she created to publish her own books) the Fastest-Growing Independent Publisher in the US. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s “The Sullivans” series is being released in paperback in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post called her “One of the top writers in America” and she has been featured by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and TIME Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University, she has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in New York City.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

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Kissing Max Holden Book Tour

Kissing Max Holden
Katy Upperman
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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Author Bio:

Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.

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Received ARC of Kissing Max Holden from publishers for an honest review.

Kissing Max Holden was so much more than a teenage contemporary romance, and I loved it!

Jill is a really strong character but in a really quiet way. Her internal strength makes her very admirable. With everything going wrong around her she does an amazing job at holding it together and not letting other people see how much she’s suffering. Unfortunately, it’s also her down fall. She holds so much in that most of the time I wanted to scream “Speak your mind!” Either way, she was a great character to follow.

As for Max, he was a bit harder to figure out. He would say one thing but then do another. A lot of the time it felt like he didn’t even know what he wanted. He dealt with a lot of stress as well but unlike Jill, he didn’t hold it in. Instead, he acted out so it was great to get the contrast of how the two dealt with their stress in different ways. Max was a strong character though, even if his personality seemed to jump around all over the place.

The thing that I felt made this story so much more than a teenage romance was the family issues each of the characters dealt with at home. Max’s whole life is changed after his fathers stroke and Jill has a sibling on the way while her parents are constantly arguing. Both issues gave a whole other level of complexity to the story, especially Jill’s home life. I felt so bad for her, especially when the pieces started to come together.

But I won’t lie, the romance was amazing. Max and Jill’s chemistry was off the chart even with the issue of Max having a girlfriend. It brought up a lot of questions such as, how far is too far when someone is in a relationship? and if they are in a bad relationship is it still okay to cross that line? My personal opinion is cheating, is cheating, simple as that. But this book did shed some light on possible gray areas when it comes to the subject.

Like I said this book is truly one of a kind, and I would strongly recommend that anyone and everyone give it a read.

One last thing, I loved the bits and pieces that involved Jill baking. It helped make the story extra fun!