A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

BEARD IN MIND by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

THE HUNTING GROUNDS by Katee Robert

Hidden Sins series #2

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

Woodlands series #5

Cross My Heart by L.H. Cosway

Hearts series #5.75

MOONSHADOW by Thea Harrison

Moonshadow series #1

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Release Day Blitz with Giveaway: Whore by Willow Aster

Whore by Willow Aster is now LIVE!!!

PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF WHORE TODAY!




“I need a reason to exist.”
Beautiful, intelligent, independent, strong-willed, wealthy—Lilith Fontenot seems by all appearances, to have it all. But that’s not how the highest paid prostitute in New Orleans sees herself.
A stain on society. A scourge. A waste. Outsider. Prisoner…
Any idyllic dream of the normal life she may have once imagined, Lilith buried long ago. Her only plan now is survival.
But mob boss Nico Santelli and community center owner Soti Christos have not given up on Lilith. Each has his own very specific, very opposing, plans for her, and neither will rest until it becomes a reality.
WHORE is a singularly bracing take on an ancient tale of tireless love, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption.



I take a sudden deep breath and my breasts brush against his chest. The contact surprises us both. I do it again, intentionally this time, trying to gain control in the only way I know how. His neck flushes and he takes a step back. I enjoy the rush it gives me, knowing that I affect him too. “Hey, would you like to come around the corner with me to—” I swallow my surprise and shake my head, holding my hand up before he says anything else. “Please,” he says louder. “What’s your name?” “I am Sotirios … Soti.” “Soti, what makes you think you know anything about me?” He tries to make eye contact, but I focus on a spot just past his left ear. “I just want to help you…” His words trail off. The wind blows my hair forward, a sheet of black coming between us until I smooth the long strands down on either side. I gaze down the street and see a blurry little girl with black hair down to her waist in middle school, standing shy and hopeful in front of a group of girls. “We know what you are,” they said. They hurled spit and names on her and she stood there, taking it, until the teacher came and helped her. Help only got me so far. “You listen to me, okay?” I say so softly he leans in to hear me. “I was born for this.” When my eyes finally land on his again, I know his face will haunt me forever. He looks as bleak as I feel. I clear my throat. “Now, if you’ll excuse us.” With that, I loop my hand through the arm of my next income source, calculating how I can get the most money out of him for the least amount of time. It takes every ounce of willpower I own to not look Soti’s way one more time. Once we round the corner and I know he’s out of sight, all the adrenaline leaves my body, and I’m actually glad to have someone to hold onto. I avoid my reflection as we walk back to the house. I don’t want to know what the rest of the world sees when they look at me.










Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, Maybe Maby, Fade to Red, and the upcoming release, Whore. Willow loves nothing more than writing the day away—anywhere will do. Her husband and two children graciously put up with her endless daydreaming and make fun of her for reading while cooking.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: Nikan Rebuilt by Scarlett Cole



Title: Nikan Rebuilt
Series: Preload #3
Author: Scarlett Cole
Release date: January 2, 2018
Cliffhanger:No

Synopsis

Does the past ever really stay in the past?

Nikan can never be complete. He's got a rock group made up of the family he built for himself, more money than he knows what to do with, and a stream of groupies falling over themselves to date him. But none of them are her. The one regret that still plagues him, still taunts him with what he could have had.

Jenny is a survivor. Now running a group home after overcoming life in a cult lead by her manipulative father and watching her mother drink the poison he fed his followers, she fights to keep the light in the eyes of every boy who walks through her doors. Far from simple young love, Nik taught her to trust, showed her how good life could be. Before he formed the band. Before he became a famous rockstar. Before he destroyed it all.

A chance meeting after years of no contact shows the connection still blazes between them. But will they have their second chance at love? Or will the weight of their past crush their future together?


Pre-order
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2Dh3Tti
B&N: http://bit.ly/2oYL373

Review



Every part of her was mentally screaming
to not let Nik back into her life—
except one. Her heart remembered the reason why
he’d once been her world.


This book is essentially a second chance rockstar romance, but the heroine's background set it apart from many other similar stories in the subgenre. Her childhood years were spent in a cult founded by her psychotic father. A sick man who would ultimately go to prison for urging members to poison themselves-including her own mother. How do you come back from something like that? How do you go on to live a healthy and happy life after witnessing the toxic and damaging things that were a part of her every day life? Somehow she retained her spirit, her optimism, and her desire to help others. She had a warm and loving personality, despite seeing a very ugly side of the world and that's one of the things I liked most about her.

Jenny met Nik as a teen at his group home, and he became her saving grace, her first love, and eventually her ruin. Nik wasn't just the man she pinned her hopes and dreams on for her future. He and his bandmates were her only family. He was her everything, holding her fragile trust and and years worth of pain in his calloused hands. He was the one person she thought would never wound her, and in the end she realized he was the only one with the power to hurt her the most. He betrayed her when he was on the cusp of fame, causing her to disappear from his life for eight lonely years.

Time hadn't eased the regret for either of them. But unlike Jenny, who was forced to see his exploits on the cover of every gossip mag, he would give anything to have the chance to see her face again. To make amends and feel whole once more. Fame hasn't filled the emptiness that clawing at him. When he returns back to his hometown, he's at a crossroads in his life. As the oldest of the group, he's always been the self-sacrificing member. Doing whatever it took to keep his brothers happy and at peace. But at what cost? The realization that he's simply going through the motions for their benefit is a hard truth to swallow. He thought he'd be sorting through his thoughts back home, but every one of them scattered the moment he unexpectedly stood in front of Jenny. The girl he let slip through his fingers.

Jenny rebuilt her life from the ground up in their years apart. She's now a social worker, and trying to make a difference in young lives that mirrored her own at that age. She wants no part of Nik, and forgiveness isn't going to be an easy sell for him. I have to say, I respected her for that. A lot. She didn't set out to punish him, but she made him work for the privilege to be a part of her life again. She made him earn her trust and her heart, as he unequivocally needed to. Their reconnection was gradual, and an exploration of healing. It wasn't immediate, or based on lust.


“I’m building our house for us,
and I don’t even know if you’ll ever move in.
But like the house, we’ve had to strip back what we were to the bones of it,
and now we get to decide what we want to do with that foundation.”
Normally I would have shied away from reading this because of the reason for their separation. Scarlett Cole proved that there's always an exception to the rule with Nikan Rebuilt. She made me a believer in Nik and Jenny's relationship, and the possibility of a brighter, happier future. I think if I had read their break up (and his screw up) in the present tense rather than a recollection of it happening years before, it may have been a different story. Knowing that Nik was genuinely remorseful and humble in his bid to win her back was another big plus.

Overall, this was an excellent addition to the series, and my favorite of the two I've read so far. If you're a fan of rocker romances, or second chance stories with unique elements, this could be the book for you.

Lennon Reborn is the next installment in the Preload series, and will be released in May 2018.


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Monday, December 18, 2017

Top Favorite Books of 2017!

                                                                  

CHRISTIE'S
2017 TOP FAVORITE READS



Another year has come and (almost) passed and you know what that means! Time to reminisce on all of the amazing books I've read this year, and pick my ultimate must-reads for you all. In these books, there are pages upon pages of laughter, tears, heartache, and hope. Inspiration, empowerment, and entertainment. I hope you'll all give at least one of these a chance, even if it's stepping outside your reading comfort zone! This is often where I find the most pleasant surprises. And now, without further ado...

(in no particular order)

My 2017 Top Favorites!

ROAR by Cora Carmack

     

Series: Stormheart #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release date: June 13, 2017


Synopsis:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Purchase
 Amazon | B&N


Goodreads

Sometimes she was Aurora. Confident. Clever. Cultured. Sometimes she was Rora. Afraid. Alone. Ashamed. And more and more, she was Roar— bold, brash, and increasingly baffled by the situation in which she found herself. And sometimes she was none of them, lost and adrift somewhere in between, like the wildlands between Stormling cities.




MISTS OF THE SERENGETI
by Leylah Attar



Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary
Release date: January 31, 2017

Synopsis:

Once in Africa, I kissed a king...

"And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out, never to be found again."

When a bomb explodes in a mall in East Africa, its aftershocks send two strangers on a collision course that neither one sees coming.

Jack Warden, a divorced coffee farmer in Tanzania, loses his only daughter. An ocean away, in the English countryside, Rodel Emerson loses her only sibling.

Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.

But even if they beat the odds, another challenge looms at the end of the line. Can they survive yet another loss—this time of a love that's bound to slip through their fingers, like the mists that dissipate in the light of the sun?

"Sometimes you come across a rainbow story—one that spans your heart. You might not be able to grasp it or hold on to it, but you can never be sorry for the color and magic it brought."

A blend of romance and women’s fiction, Mists of The Serengeti is inspired by true events and contains emotional triggers, including the death of a child. Not recommended for sensitive readers. Standalone, contemporary fiction.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Goodreads

This is what it looks like when you wander somewhere between the sand and stardust, and meet a piece of yourself in someone else.




BEARD IN MIND by 
Penny Reid


Series: Winston Brothers #4
Genre: Contemporary
Release date: August 1, 2017


Synopsis:

All's fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean missing out on what matters most.

Purchase
Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Goodreads

Her fear wasn’t beautiful. But her strength, her resolve,
her brilliance and goodness were.
She wouldn’t be who she was now without her struggles.
Life had shaped her, her fear had formed her,
and I wouldn’t have her any differently.




THE INDIGO GIRL
by Natasha Boyd


Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: October 3, 2017


Synopsis:

An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it's the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it's impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return -- against the laws of the day -- she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza's letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, with romance, intrigue, forbidden friendships, and political and financial threats weaving together to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before their time: the story of the indigo girl.


Purchase
Amazon | B&N
Kobo | iBooks

I felt like I was holding on too tight to everything . My ambitions, my emotions … I feared they would soon slip through my fingers and unravel at lightning speed.





THE ALICE NETWORK
by Kate Quinn


Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: June 6, 2017


Synopsis:

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


There are two kinds of flowers
when it comes to women.
The kind that sit safe in a beautiful vase,
or the kind that survive in any conditions…even in evil.




THE MOON SHINES RED
by Pamela Sparkman


Series: Heart of Darkness #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 25, 2017


Synopsis:

The red glow of the moon washed over land and sea like a faded bloody stain. Everything was bathed in it, including him. A constant reminder of the curse that marked him before he was born. Every night he gazed at it like he was lured and haunted by it. It followed him, it beseeched him. It called out to him. Just once he wanted to see the moon glow as everyone else saw it. Bright and illuminating. But he knew that would never be possible.

The all too familiar feeling of despair suffocated him, like long gangly fingers squeezing his neck, cutting off his air. He fell to his knees and begged for the sky to fall on him. He had suffered long and tirelessly and he was desperate for it to end. And yet, he fought to breathe. He fought to stand back on his feet. Because fighting back was as instinctual to him as breathing. He had come too far to let his loneliness and despair get the best of him now. He was battle worn and weary, but he still had a reason to live.

Or so he hoped.

He stood back on his feet and he fought against the doom that hovered over him since the day he was born and he stared up into the darkened sky.

At the moon that shines red only for him.

He was cursed.
I should have stayed away from him. But I couldn't.
HE was my love...my life. And he just might kill me.
So I guess that means...he may also be my end.


Purchase

Goodreads


Even in the outdoors his presence dominated,
consumed, like a monolithic column rising above the ground.
His essence was as tangible as the man himself.
Even the air around him hummed in reverence.






CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber


Title: Caraval
Series: Caraval #1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: January 31, 2017

Synopsis:


Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


She imagined loving him
would feel like falling in love with darkness,
frightening and consuming
yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.




FURYBORN
by Claire Legrand

Series: The Empirium Trilogy #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy, YA
Release date: May 22, 2018

Synopsis:


The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other. 

Pre-Order
Amazon | B&N


Belief doesn't keep you alive.
But given time, it can win wars. 







SIX OF CROWS
&
CROOKED KINGDOM
by Leigh Bardugo


Series: Six of Crows Duet 
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release dates: September 29, 2015 
& September 27, 2016

Six of Crows Synopsis:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he'll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done - and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.



Crooked Kingdom Synopsis:

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


I would have come for you.
And if I couldn't walk, I'd crawl to you,
and no matter how broken we were,
we'd fight our way out together-knives drawn,
pistols blazing. Because that's what we do.
We never stop fighting.




THIS SAVAGE SONG 
&
OUR DARK DUET
by Victoria Schwab


Titles: Our Dark Duet and This Savage Song
Series: Monsters of Verity
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release dates: July 5, 2016 
& June 13, 2017

This Savage Song Synopsis:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


It was a cruel trick of the universe,
thought August,
that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.



Our Dark Duet Synopsis: 

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within? 

Purchase
Amazon | B&N


People were messy.
They were defined not only by what they'd done,
but by what they would have done,
under different circumstances,
molded as much by their regrets as their actions,
choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo.
Of course, there was no going back -
time only moved forward -
but people could change.
For worse. And for better.
It wasn't easy. The world was complicated.
Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.
So make it worth the pain.



Don't miss these other 2017 favorite lists from my friends around the blogosphere!! I'll be adding more as they're posted!

Vanilla & Spice Books 
Relentless Romance | Geri at DGR
Lana at DGR | Jen at DGR 
 Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews
Rachel Reads Ravenously
Reading Frenzy Book Blog
Totally Bex