Wednesday, December 30, 2015

REVIEW: This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Summary:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Title:  This is Where It Ends
Series:  N/A
Book #: N/A
Author:  Marieke Nijkamp
Approximate Book Length:  288 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

This book took me a little bit to get into. The time segments seem to be endless because you follow four different perspectives through each one. There's also four perspectives, but none of those characters is alone so you're also trying to keep track of the others that are in the story. Once the drama unfolds though, it's suddenly effortless to remember who's who, especially as we discover the relevance of the four people we follow which further invests you into their welfares.

I am not a big social media person, plus I was reading a review copy which sometimes has some formatting issues, so it took me a while before I understood the social media angle and its purpose (which is pretty much just added drama, but is probably spot on in authenticity). I will say that it's often difficult to tell who's talking because there aren't always names attached to the dialog, but that may just be my copy or an effect the author was going for ("in the heat of the moment" thing, I'm not sure).

Ultimately this book is full of emotional flashbacks that culminate in a grim picture and merciless action. The violence isn't excessively graphic - just enough to paint the scene with vivid imagery. You can't help but get caught up in the story with these characters and feel for them every step of the way.

Bottom Line:

This is Where It Ends is a hauntingly realistic tale of a school shooting. It is a powerful read, but I have to warn you, there is no happy ending...

Rating:



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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BLOG TOUR: The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert


Thanks to Barclay Publicity for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing a little about Katee Robert's The Marriage Contract today. Happy reading!

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Teague O’Malley hates pretty much everything associated with his family’s name. And when his father orders him to marry Callista Sheridan to create a “business” alliance, Teague’s ready to tell his dad exactly where he can stuff his millions. But then Teague actually meets his new fiancée, sees the bruises on her neck and the fight still left in her big blue eyes, and he decides he will do everything in his power to protect her.

Everyone knows the O’Malleys have a dangerous reputation. But Callie wasn’t aware of just what that meant until she saw Teague, the embodiment of lethal grace and coiled power. His slightest touch sizzles through her. The closer they get, though, the more trouble they’re in. Because Callie’s keeping a dark secret—and what Teague doesn’t know could get him killed.


Buy at Amazon


~EXCERPT~

“Any other untoward habits I should know about in my future wife?” Future wife. Fuck if he didn’t love the sound of that, especially when it meant that four short weeks from now, Callie would be his. It was a savage thought, but he couldn’t shake it. Or deny exactly how much he wanted it.

“I love old movies.” That brought his attention back around to her, a moth to her flame. She twisted a lock of her blond hair around her finger. “If it has Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, or Audrey Hepburn in it, then I own it and have watched it entirely too many times to admit in public.”

He could see that. There was something about Callie that brought to mind the glamour and grace of actresses from that time period. He took a drink of his whiskey, enjoying the ease of their conversation. It didn’t matter that he’d convinced her to come out tonight in order to stop a war he was beginning to get the feeling there was no way to stop. Hell, he liked her. “I’d like us to be clear on something.”

“Yes?”

“This”—he motioned between them—“is a date.”

She gave him a look like she wasn’t sure if he was joking or not. “Okay…”

“Which means that we’re going to eat, and after that, I’m going to walk you to your car.” He leaned forward, crowding her a little. “Then I’m going to kiss you.”

Her eyes went wide. “And if I don’t want you to?”

He didn’t so much as twitch, because she looked like she was torn between bolting and actually liking the idea. He wanted to point out that, reasons for initiating it aside, she’d sure as fuck enjoyed their kiss in the alley. Not to mention the fact that they were getting married in a month, but that wasn’t a threat he was willing to utter. Neither of them had chosen this pairing, no matter how well they seemed to get along right now, and he couldn’t go into this expecting a certain outcome. But he could hope—and he could stack the deck in his favor as much as possible. “Do you?”

“I…” Her mouth opened and then closed, as if reconsidering whatever her knee-jerk reaction had been. “Yes.”

His breath left him in a whoosh. He’d thought she was just as interested as he was, but there was always the risk of miscommunication. No longer. Now he knew exactly where Callie stood. She wanted him, whether she was comfortable with the feeling or not. He took her hand and lifted it to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back of her knuckles. “In that case, I hope you’re hungry, because here comes our food.”

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About the Author
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

NEW RELEASE: Dragon King by Marie Harte


HAPPY RELEASE DAY!


What good is being king if you can’t burn your own rules?

Ethereal Foes, Book 4

In the two years since Jentaron hatched, he’s grown into an adult blue dragon full of the knowledge of his royal predecessors. He’s a true king, even if the other denizens of the Ethereal, those demons, havoc, angels and the like, continue to test him.

But he’s got heavier worries. Namely, an unspeakable danger that threatens all life as the planet knows it. He can feel it, can sense that he’s got a bigger role to play than just pissing off the Ethereal.

With the blood elves and havoc making more trouble than usual, magic no longer flowing freely in the Abyss, and angels massacring everything demonic they can get their holy hands on, the Balance has reached a tipping point. Time to take charge before the rules change. What’s a dragon to do but create his own chaos? He’ll take a mate or two, instill fear where needed, and finally return dragonkind to the Ordinary—the human lands—where a dragon will decide the fate of the worlds.

Because he’s king, and he says so.

Warning: Contains a dragon king challenged by a devious demon and an alluring, not-so-human human. Expect carnal hunger only a king can satisfy, and heat only a dragon can generate.


Buy at Amazon


~EXCERPT~

Ella Nelson had thought about getting back at her ex-best friend for a solid month. Ever since she’d found out that the pretender had not only cheated her out of a promotion, but stolen out from under her the one man Ella found interesting, she’d been biding her time until the perfect opportunity arose.

Unfortunately, Ella didn’t do revenge. Or exciting. Or sex with a hot guy. She had a bad case of ADD with life. Everything bored her after a while. This was the longest she’d held a job in years, and already she found herself wanting to leave it all behind. Even a need for vengeance had become too dull to put any more than thought into.

I’m the queen of blah.

“Hey, Ella. You ready for that board meeting today?”

“Sure am.” Ella smiled through her teeth. “I’m sure your presentation will knock it out of the park.” Especially since I did all the work.

“We’ll kill ’em dead.”

“And it’ll be messy, I’m sure.” Their old joke felt so appropriate right now. Ella wanted her life to be messy, to mean something. She felt as if she floated past everything, not quite in touch with the world around her. She wasn’t someone others ever looked to for guidance, advice or a relationship. Not like her ex-friend.

Lauren wore a professional A-line skirt and low cut blouse. It said “I’m feminine and sexy, but I want to be taken seriously.” Ella hated her a little for that too, that the woman could wear anything and look like a million bucks. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Lauren ate what she wanted, regularly skipped gym workouts and had any man’s attention for the asking. Which made it questionable as to why she’d come on to Peter when she’d known good and well that Ella liked him.

Of course Peter had welcomed her attention. And sure, Ella had never out and out declared dibs, but she’d talked about him all the time. Lauren knew how she felt. Ella had just about worked up the nerve to ask Peter for a date when she’d heard the unmistakable sounds of Lauren banging his brains out while she stood outside the woman’s apartment, waiting for their weekly movie night.

Now it all seemed suspect, as if Lauren had set herself up to be caught in the act. A way of telling without telling. Sly, subtle and something Ella wished she could pull off. Pesky morals.

She finally understood why so many colleagues seemed to give Lauren the cold shoulder. Not because they were jealous, as Lauren had often complained, but because they’d been the victims of her narcissism. The woman stepped over everyone to get what she wanted. It had only taken Ella a year to learn the truth.

Backstabbing, two-timing, money-grubbing witch. A comforting rage settled deep in her bones like a warm glass of whiskey. Welcomed, smooth and familiar. Anger took her from the doldrums. Only fury made her feel alive—and that was the one thing she had to hold back, because too much anger inside her became a very bad thing.

“After you.” Ella followed Lauren into the conference room and moved to the back with the other peons not important enough to sit with corporate’s big boss, the man who’d come down from Green Bay to visit their satellite office in Plymouth Meeting.

Taking her place with the others, Ella readied her cell phone to record, because she’d said she would and hated to break a promise, and gave Lauren a thumbs up she didn’t mean.

The perky man-stealer smiled and chatted with the bosses. Then the presentation started. Lauren wowed everyone with the slides created courtesy of Ella’s unwavering diligence. She struck the right chords with a sense of humor, charm and obvious physical appeal.

The unfairness of it all built. All the hard work, the unpaid overtime, the hassling with phone calls and outdated computers and effort in hopes of getting that promotion. For what? So Lauren could flaunt her considerable assets and steal it all right out from under her?

The final portion of the meeting started, and something clicked into place inside Ella.

Uh-oh. Showtime.

Lauren flashed a toothy smile. “And now, a short video about what Care & Concern Medical Services can do for you.”

Their home health care for the elderly had garnered national attention. They’d even opened a few dozen more centers where those with special needs, as well as the elderly in need of daytime care, could be looked after. Those had been Ella’s brainchild. Ella’s hard work.

Ella should have seen this coming. She and Lauren had never had an issue, because they liked different things. Ella preferred to blend in to the woodwork and offer support. Lauren wanted to be the center of attention and rule the roost.

Ella closed her eyes, unable to stem the freaky headache that would open the door to that other sense she had. The one that spilled secrets most people wanted to hide. Like a diver plunging into the deep end, she stroked deep into the center of Lauren’s private thoughts, the ones Lauren kept hidden, even from herself.

Filled to the brim, Ella needed to direct those private images somewhere else. The idea of revenge became too tempting to ignore, and she shifted those images into the presentation. Though she’d never understood how she could do it, she’d always been able to transform a person’s secrets into a visible manifestation.



Normally uncomfortable with what felt like a curse, today she relished her gift. No longer bored, she felt alive. Angry. Steal my thunder, will you?

“Bravo so far. No wonder your office is in my top five, Brad,” Mr. Kellen directed to Ella’s supervisor, a man susceptible to big blue eyes and bouncy breasts.

“Thanks. But this is all Lauren’s work, isn’t—What is that?”

On the screen, a video of Lauren going down on Peter replaced two old men in wheelchairs. Peter played with her hair while he had her suck him down. Then he had her lick him in all manner of places before she begged him for an assf*** in that whiny, breathy tone that annoyed Ella to no end.

“Oh my God.” Lauren gasped. “That’s not me. It’s not!”

Two more men walked into the bedroom with Lauren and Peter and joined in the fun. The scene had never actually occurred, but deep down, Lauren had wondered what it might be like. Thus, another secret spilled to the big screen.

“Lauren!” Brad sounded shocked.

Ella’s head pounded, but she kept filming with her cell phone, wanting to immortalize the moment. Was it wrong to take comfort in Lauren’s misery?

Who the hell cared?

Mr. Kellen had yet to blink. No one at the table or in the back said anything, likely still in shock at the raw sex onscreen.

“It’s not true,” Lauren said through tears as she fiddled with the computer, trying desperately to shut it off and unplug it.

Not going to work, sweetie. Ella could sometimes affect electronics, and today her gift worked on overdrive, a result of too much stress. Her headache continued to grow, but pleasure over Lauren’s humiliation made the pain more than tolerable.

I should win an Oscar for this production.

The room remained silent, while onscreen moans and groans filled the air. Not one person even pretended to turn away, leave or try to help Lauren turn off the computer.The video scene shifted to Lauren lying in Peter’s arms, still naked, while she laughed about her colleagues at work. Then Peter suggested she don a strap-on and get ready to ride him once more.

Too bad that had also had been fantasy rather than reality.

Despite being attractive, Peter had never seemed too adventurous. Sweet, kind, sexy and hung, sure. Ella mourned the grand size of his cock. He would have been someone to stave the tediousness for a while. But she had a hard time handling nice. Even if he did have a nice package.

She coughed to muffle a snicker.



Now sobbing and at her wit’s end to turn off the video, Lauren scrambled to apologize. “I’m so embarrassed. None of this is real. It had to be Photoshopped or something. They must have edited me into this—this pornographic movie.” She hiccupped. “I’ve never seen any of those men before.”

Ella had to say something. “But, Lauren, isn’t Peter your boyfriend?”

Lauren’s cheeks blanched. “He, well, no. I mean, I know him. But not like that. Someone set me up. None of this is real!”

You got that right, witch.

“I don’t know what to say, Lauren.” Brad’s voice shook. In shock or arousal, Ella couldn’t tell. Her head was about to explode from exerting so much energy into the computer as well as keeping it on.

But she hadn’t had this much fun in ages.

Lauren looked around, as if searching for support, and found none. When her gaze met Ella’s, Ella feigned a sad face and shook her head in disappointment. She stepped aside when Lauren ran out of the room in tears.

The computer finally winked out. No one moved or said anything.

Then one of the women giggled. Others started whispering, then the noise grew deafening.

Ella caught a few loud thoughts. Ha. She’s finally getting hers after diming me out for being late.

Serves her right. My kid was sick a few days, and Miss High and Mighty pulls rank on me then blames me for her report errors. Please.

Take my promotion and this is what you get. Hell, even Ella would have been a better fit. Lord knows she and I both deserved it. Not Lauren Look-at-My-Tits Daley.

Oh man. If I’d known what a freak she is, I wouldn’t have waited so long to ask her out. Wonder if she’d lick my balls like that.

A few other mental rumbles piled on until Ella’s eyes teared up. Her head throbbed and she forced herself to shut down before she risked a bloody nose. But God, had that been worth it.

She followed the excited mob out of the conference room and went back to her cubicle. She didn’t get much work done, but she only had to fake it another hour before she escaped for the day.

About the Author
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte has over 100 books published with more constantly on the way.

She’s a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

BLOG TOUR: The V Girl by Mya Robarts


Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing my review of Mya Robarts's The V Girl today. Happy reading!

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Summary:

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.

Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s rape and kidnapping is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey, a foreign, broody man. Lila does not trust him because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. Aleksey offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.

All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.

Title:  The V Girl
Series:  N/A
Book #: N/A
Author:  Mya Robarts
Approximate Book Length:  373 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Explicit

Thoughts:

This book reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games, but it's much darker and has a BIG focus on sex. It's a dystopian world and there's a war going on. Soldiers are genetically modified and due to that are basically large humans with monstrous tendencies. They come through towns to "recruit". If you go voluntarily, ok. If they have to sort through your people aged 18-23, they pretty much rape the crap out of you right there in front of your family and townsfolk. Recruitment is literally another word for rape in this book and just about everything in this society revolves around sex due to it.

I never fully understood the societal focus on sex and why recruitment was the way it was other than painting a world full of excessive cruelty. I guess I just have issues with the world building. I mostly dug the characters though. I felt they were pretty strong and I understood why they were the way they were. Aleksey is probably my favorite character, with Azzy in second. It's because of the characters that this was a rather engrossing read despite the despair the book seems saturated with. It includes a lot of taboo topics such as rape, consensual non-consent, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and the stigma of being a virgin.

The romance part of the story was well handled. Very realistic under the circumstances and builds right from the start so that it falls somewhere in between instant and slow. There are some heartbreaking moments both in the romance and the story itself, but *mild spoiler alert* the story ends happily enough and leaves you with hope.

Bottom Line:

The V Girl is a somewhat dark and twisted story with an unlikely romance that stays with you long after you read the last page. Don't miss this one that tackles sexuality from a multitude of angles!

Rating:



Links:



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About the Author
Mya Robarts is a bookaholic who regrets nothing.

She spent years trying to become a contemporary dance choreographer. Eventually she realized that she enjoyed writing her stories rather than dancing to them.

Robarts is obsessed with books that present damaged characters, swoon-worthy guys, controversial topics and happy endings.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

REVIEW: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

Summary:

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better.

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.

Title:  The Waiting Sky
Series:  N/A
Book #: N/A
Author:  Lara Zielin
Approximate Book Length:  257 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  13+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

This is a story that hit close to home for me. The struggles Jane faces are so authentic it's utterly heartbreaking. The tornado chasing is fun and exciting, and a neat backdrop to the turmoil within Jane. I was so invested in her journey that I cried when she did as well as plenty of other times. I loved her friend Cat, her brother Ethan and the other TorBros, not to mention Max.

The story is beautifully written. I don't normally like flashbacks, but they fit into the flow of this book perfectly. Everything from setting and circumstance to the characters themselves is brought to vivid life seemingly effortlessly. I couldn't put this book down.

Bottom Line:

The Waiting Sky is a story of recovery and family with just a smidgeon of romance tossed in. Lara Zielin delivers a superb read!

Rating:



Links:



Monday, December 14, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Tackling the Tight End by Tara Lain


Tackling The Tight End
(Long Pass Chronicles Series, #3)
By Tara Lain

Blurb:
Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end, Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven really wants to work with gay kids, and while he loves his tribe and likes football, his visions for the future don’t mesh with theirs. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis's pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven, too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?




Release Date: 
January 15,  2016


You can pre-order your copy at


Also available for pre-order in paperback from Dreamspinner Press


Excerpt

Dennis’s heart kept pounding in his throat as he crawled out of Walt’s car in the parking lot of the burger place and watched Raven’s long legs emerge from the front seat onto the pavement beside him. Jesus, he was about to go eat with this guy who looked like a god. Man, that was some kind of new milestone. He leaned over and peered in the front seat. “Thanks for driving, Walt. And for including me. Good to meet you.”
“Yeah. Same here.” Walt gave a wave to Raven. “See you later, lover.” After Raven slammed the door, Walt drove off.
“He seems like a great guy.”
Raven nodded as he walked toward the door of the diner. “Yeah, he’s the best. Been my friend since we were kids.” All those strong planes in his face seemed to soften. “Sometimes I’m not sure how I’d get through a day without Walt.” He pulled his jacket tighter and seemed to shudder against the breeze. Weird that Dennis wanted to wrap his arms around Raven to keep him warm. Weirder since he probably couldn’t get his arms halfway around the guy’s chest.
“But Walt’s not your boyfriend?” He swallowed hard.”
Raven seemed to take a breath. “Uh, no. Just friends.”
“I heard he was your guy.”
He shrugged. “We exaggerate our friendship a little to keep our families from trying to hook us up. I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself.”
“Sure. No big.” Why did he want to laugh? Maybe just because Raven Nez trusted him with a secret.
They got inside and were given a booth in the back. Walking behind Raven, Dennis got to watch people stare. Women’s lips parted and stayed open like they couldn’t catch their breath. A few people nudged each other, probably recognizing him from TV or the newspapers. The height, the hair, the overall gorgeousness. Hell, who wouldn’t stare? They slid onto the bench seats opposite each other and ordered burgers with fries and Cokes.
Raven smiled. “I really enjoyed getting to see that film in a new light. You were right. I’d never noticed the complete lack of law in the film—except for the law of the crooks. But the nihilism thing. I don’t know. The film is so exuberant and full of fun. I don’t think it says that God or meaning is dead, you know?”
Dennis grinned. Wow, Raven got it. The waitress brought their food, and Dennis dug in. So great getting to eat something his mother hadn’t cooked, and with another person—kind of like a friend. Of course, Raven wouldn’t be anything like a friend if he knew who Dennis was and what he did. He fought a shudder.
Raven took a huge bite, chewed, then tried to talk around his swallow which was kind of cute. “Butch and Jules get away, don’t they? I mean, it seemed like they both found something.”
“Yeah, interesting observation. I mean, it’s like one found God.”
Raven nodded. “And the other found love.”
Together they said, “Same thing.” Raven laughed and spit some bread on the table. It was fun to see him a little less than cool.
Dennis wiped his mouth with his napkin. “You ever been in love?”
“Not yet.”
“Is, uh, falling in love with a guy the same as falling in love with a girl?” He snorted. “Sorry. Dumb question. You just said you’ve never been in love.”
“And I’ve never been with a girl.”
“No kidding? Not even in high school or anything?”
“No. I knew I was gay when I was little. My grandfather raised me to accept the idea that some people are two-spirited, so I was actually excited when I realized I was. I rushed to tell my folks.” He shook his head. “As you can imagine, they weren’t quite so thrilled.”
“That must have been tough.”
He shrugged, but he didn’t look casual. “My grandfather intervened and told them stories of the old ways.” He shoved a couple of fries in his mouth.
“So your grandfather brought your parents around?”
“Not really. They accept my being gay, but they don’t like it.”
“Hell. Accepting is huge compared to some people I know.” Dennis shuddered. “So Indians, I mean, Native Americans accepted, uh, homosexuality?”
“Some tribes. It’s not the Native way to deny something out of existence or make laws against stuff that happens in nature. In some communities the two-spirited were actually revered and considered closer to spirit. Of course, often they were more like what we might call transgender. Not just guys who love guys.”
“Hell, that seems a lot better than being told you’re bad by your church for something you can’t change.” Jesus, he should change the subject. This one made him want to cry.
Raven shoved back his empty plate and sipped his Coke. “Yeah. I volunteer at the Gay Youth Shelter and, man, between their parents throwing them out and their churches calling them perverts, a lot of those kids barely escape suicide.” He stared at the dark liquid in his glass. “Some of them don’t escape.”

“That’s crazy.” So crazy he totally got it.



The Long Pass Chronicles Series







About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!


You can find Tara at

               





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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

BLOG TOUR: When Our Worlds Collide by Aniesha Brahma

About the Book
Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life. 
Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up. 
She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines. 
He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’. 
They meet each other quite by chance. 
And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives: 
For Zayn, it’s a 'Partner-In-Crime'. 
For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her… 
When their worlds collide, 
It is not what either of them expected it to be. 
Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him. 
What happens when these two become friends? 
The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak? 
What happens when two completely different people collide? 
Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start? 
'When Our Worlds Collide' is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world. 
A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances, Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after! 


Book Links


My Review


Thoughts:

This book had its ups and downs for me. There were some things that were a bit melodramatic, while others hit home with crushing authenticity. There were a lot of unanswered questions, some seemingly pointless details, really short chapters, and glossed over events that I think should have been more detailed. I like the book’s message though, even if the delivery was a little shaky. It’s a romance, but it’s not. It’s more of a story of self-actualization. It’s about family, friendship, hard work. The focus isn’t on the happily ever after, but on the journey.

Bottom Line:

When Our Worlds Collide is a different kind of romance story with a very coming of age ending. Check it out!

Rating:





About the Author

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. The Secret Proposal was her debut novel, followed by The Guitar Girl. She was a contributing author with her story The Difference, in the anthology: Voices, Old & New. When Our Worlds Collide is her third work of fiction, and first novella.




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Giveaway

Prize 1: One really Lucky Indian Resident can win a Handmade Book Jacket made by Diptee Raut of DIP & DIY
  

As Diptee says, its ideal to ~ "Keep your books cozy and warm and away from prying eyes with this book cover. A classy way to carry your book to your favourite coffee shop/library/park for a quiet read."

Prize 2: One really Lucky Indian Resident can win a  Surprise gift from the Author 

Lets keep you guessing ;) Rest assured, it is going to be something pretty!


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Friday, December 4, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Soul Warrior by Falguni Kothari

★.•**•.★★.•**•.★ The Age of Kali Book Tour ★.•**•.★ ★.•**•.★

About the Book

Twisted myths. Discretion advised. 

Fight fate, or succumb to destiny?

In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past.

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child.






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My Review

Thoughts:
This was a fairly different read for me. Pathetically, I don't always do well when reading unfamiliar mythology, but this sounded like a very intriguing book, so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, I ended up shooting myself in the foot. While i found it neat to read of gods like they were people that actually existed and all, I don't know know this pantheon well and the author doesn't seem to have written in a way as to be friendly to people like me. I got lost and confused, frequently.

I also never got invested in the characters. I guess I kind of liked Karna, but wasn't a fan of Draupadi and they were the majority of the book's focus. The book kind of dragged on a bit and the ending felt anticlimactic in its short length given all the build up. Overall, it held a lot of potential, but fell flat for me.

Bottom Line:
Soul Warrior is a tale based on an Indian poem and has every epic element you could wish for. If you are familiar with epic Indian poems, check this one out!

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ZERO
DWANDA-YUDDHA: THE DUEL

The Himalayan Mountains.
Five thousand years ago.

Absolute darkness shrouded the Human Realm, and had for three days and three nights. Some believed the occurrence was prophetic, like the prolonged amavasya or new moon night that had heralded the Great Kuru War two thousand years ago. The war had given birth to the dark Age of Kali, the age of asura. In contrast, hope was ripe that this event would trigger the Age of Light. But the Bard wasn’t here to succumb to superstition. 
The first day without the sun’s light had spread confusion and chaos across the realm. The second day had brought desperation in the breasts of humans and fear in the belly of Celestials. The third day—today—was a feast for the asuras. Death lay everywhere. 
The human world burned without its sun. How soon before the Heavens went up in flames?
The Bard’s troubled eyes reread the last line. Then he deliberately scratched it off, lifting his long, pointed talon from the parchment made of dry palm leaf. With a sigh, he rested his aching hand on his trembling thigh. He would spare a moment to ease his body, and his mind from the strain of observation and due recordkeeping. If he didn’t, he’d forget his duty as Witness of the Cosmos, and begin to question fate. 
Despite the fire that crackled close to his right knee, and the feathered form of his upper body, he was cold. An icy wind had settled around the Pinnacle of Pinnacles, where he sat cross-legged on a seat made of rock and snow. He’d chosen this perch because it gave him an impartial view of the events happening in the world. He was the Bard, entrusted with keeping the Canons of the Age of Kali, just as the Soul Warrior was entrusted with keeping the Human Realm safe from asuras. Would they both fail in their duty today?
The Bard shook off the heavy despair the darkness had brought into the world. He mustn’t judge. He shouldn’t question. He would sharpen the talon on his forefinger, dip it into the vessel of ink kept warm by the fire, and write this tale. That was all he could do. Be the witness to history.
So he raised his feathered hand and began to write again while his eyes, sparked with power, knowledge and magic, saw clearly events unfolding from great distances. A thousand kilometers to his right, Indra, the God of War and Thunder, fought the Dragon. Indra did not fare well. But that didn’t concern the Bard as much as the clash between the Soul Warrior and the Stone Demon. Over and over, his eagle eyes were drawn to the duel taking place in the heart of the world, not only because it was a magnificent battle to behold, for it was, but because its outcome would decide mankind’s destiny.
The Soul Warrior was more than a great warrior. Karna was a great soul. Fair, honorable, brave and resilient, he was the perfect protector of the Human Realm. Of course, there were other reasons he’d been chosen to fill the office of Soul Warrior—there always were when Gods and demons were involved. But Karna’s existence was a testament to righteous action and if anyone could bring back the day, it would be him. 
But how did one vanquish stone, the Bard wondered?
Avarice and cruelty, two nefarious desires, had made Vrtra and Vala attack the Human Realm. Three days ago the Dragon had swallowed the Seven Rivers in the north, and the Stone Demon had imprisoned the Sun God, his daughter, and all the cattle of the region in his cave.
The Bard paused his writing as a thin vein of lightning winked across the skies, but without the accompanying roar. Indra’s strength waned. His thunderbolt hadn’t left Vrtra screaming in pain this time. The Bard spared a moment’s attention on the duel, just enough to note that the Maruts, the Celestial Storm-gods, waited in the clouds to rescue their god-king in case of a calamity. Indra would survive even in defeat. Of that, the Bard was sure.
But Karna had no one at his back. His might and god-powers had depleted without the sun’s healing warmth and light. His divine astras, weapons, had not slowed the Stone Demon down, at all. Only the conviction that he could not fail his godsire, his sister, and the innocents under his protection drove him now. His birth family had once abandoned him to his fate, but he would not abandon them to theirs—such was the greatness of Karna.
The Bard crossed out the last observation. No questions. No judgment. No praise, either. The canons would be free of all emotion. He wasn’t here to embellish history or glorify the history-makers, as some bards were wont to do. 
It wasn’t embellishment to write that the foothills of Cedi were drenched in the Soul Warrior’s blood. Or observe the gushing wounds on his body, despite his armor, that would make the hardiest of warriors bellow in agony, but not him. It wasn’t embellishment to write that the Heavens were empty for the Celestials had come to Earth to watch the battle, firelight cupped in their palms to light the warrior’s way. 
The Naga, the Serpent People, also looked on, hissing from the mouth of the portal that led to their underground realm beneath the hills. The Serpent King will not choose a side. Vrtra and Vala were half Naga, after all. All across the Human Realm, demons roamed free, taking advantage of the darkness and preying on human flesh and human souls. It was a terrible moment in history. The asuras had the upper hand in the eponymous age of Demon Kali.
Vala did not have arms and half a leg, but still he came at Karna. He had an ace up his sleeve. There were plenty of creatures about, an entire mountain close at hand. He began to chant the spell of soul transference. It was the darkest of all magic, the possession of another’s soul. Soon, he would be whole again and stronger than before.
Battered and bleeding, the Soul Warrior veered away from the Stone Demon. He leapt over boulders and charred vegetation. The onlookers called him a coward. Had he forfeit the duel? Has he forsaken mankind? 
Karna dove for Manav-astra, the spear of mankind, he’d thrown aside yesterday after his bow, Vijaya, had shattered under repeated use. In one smooth motion, he rolled, picked up the astra, coming up in the spear-thrower’s stretch. His tattered lower garment billowed about him as a gust of wind shot through the air. His muscled torso glistened with blood and sweat, tightened as he pulled the arm holding the spear back. 
He meant to throw Manav-astra at Vala. A futile attempt, to be sure? As long as Vala was made of stone, broken or not, his body was impregnable. Karna should have waited for Vala to transfer his soul to an onlooker. Then Karna should have vanquished the possessed creature. 
Taunting laughter reverberated through the foothills of Cedi. Vala had reached the same conclusion. The Celestials looked at each other in angry silence, unable to interfere. A dwanda-yuddha duel was fought between two opponents of equal size and strength alone. The humans hadn’t stopped screaming in three days, the din simply background noise now. 
The Bard scribbled the observations onto the parchment in no particular order. He wished he was a painter, for surely this was a picture worth a thousand words.
The demon hobbled toward the warrior, who stood still as stone with his arm drawn taught behind him. Then finally, with a roaring chant the Soul Warrior shifted his weight from his back leg to his front and let fly Manav-astra at the Stone Demon with all his remaining might. 
Karna didn’t wait to see the ramifications of his action. And there were plenty to come. He ran into the mountain cave to free Vala’s hostages. Within moments the rock face rent in half, and bright streams of light speared through the terrible darkness. A new day had dawned on the Human Realm after three days of perpetual night.
The sun’s power was too bright, too full of hope. Yet, the Bard looked on pensively, wondering if the Soul Warrior knew this wasn’t a victory. It was merely a reprieve.


About the Author

Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :

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One $10 Amazon gift card and 5 Sun Pendants. Open Internationally!


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