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Mar
23

Review + Blog Tour: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

Review + Blog Tour: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton From the author: Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to tell you about my New Adult novel, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is a sweet coming-of-age story about two high school seniors: Cody, who’s dirt poor and literally lives on the wrong side of the tracks, and Nate, the preppy new kid in town. It’s set in the fictional town of Warren, Wyoming, in the mid-1980s. It’s full of angst and 80s pop culture references, and I promise, it has a happy ending. 🙂 Trailer Trash Author: Marie Sexton Reviewer: B. Rating: A- B.’s Review: Set in the miserable wasteland that is Warren, Wyoming in 1986, Trailer Trash is the “coming-of-age”/ “coming out” story of two young men who somehow manage to find love despite the world around them trying its best to tear them apart. Aside from the inevitable death of the town itself, the entire narrative is filled with stark descriptions of joblessness and poverty, and the frustration and misplaced blame that comes from struggling against the immovable boundaries of the established financial and social order. All of which makes for compelling, but not frivolous, reading. Of the two main characters, Nate was definitely “easier” for me to read about. He’s naïve, affluent (by Warren standards, to be sure), resentful, and lonely. Far from being a bad person, though, he’s just hurt and a little shiny. It takes him a while to accept that “the rules” that applied in Austin, Texas, do not apply in his new home… and he gets just about everything wrong. Still, his desire to hang out with the self-described “pariah” of the school, rather than the popular kids he resembles in clothing labels only, made me like him very early in the story. Cody Lawrence, on the other hand, could never be accused of being shiny. Stripped of any dreams he may have had for himself early and often, he’s already been through too much, seen too much, at the age of seventeen. As the only acknowledged gay student in a small high school full of the most vicious kinds of cliques, he really can’t catch a break. This, combined with his situation at home, makes Cody a genuine outcast. Yet, he has a truly good heart, despite everything, and I adored him. One of the ways in which I think Trailer Trash excels is in the author’s ability to add vivid details to nearly everything. From the pervasive reek...
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Mar
21

Geeky Giving Spotlight: March Bundle

Geeky Giving Spotlight: March Bundle What is Geeky Giving? Each month Geeky Giving will produce a bundle of exclusive short stories and novellas. These science fiction and fantasy books by your favorite authors will only be available through Geeky Giving, and 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to Barrow Neurological Institute to research cures for Alzheimer’s, ALS, brain tumors, Parkinson’s Disease, and more. The second monthly bundle will be available starting March 21, 2016, and will be delivered as a thank you for making a donation of at least $5. Know you’re going to want all four bundles? A $25 donation to Barrow scores you every monthly bundle. At the end of this project, there are plans to create a complete anthology of all stories with a special capstone story not available anywhere else. Print and e-book copies will be available. Authors who are already contributing stories to this great cause include: A.C. Wise Amanda Bonilla Edward Ashton Heather Clithroe James Knapp Jeff Somers JY Yang Karina Cooper Mary Robinette Kowal Michael J. Martinez Robert Lowell Russell Shaun David Hutchinson Sierra Dean Each bundle will also feature original cover art created just for this project, including works from Jessica Robinson and Sal V. Cloak. In addition, you’ll have a chance to win amazing swag including: Phoenix Comicon full event passes, signed books from Kelley Armstrong, Michelle Belanger, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Diana Gabaldon, Kevin Hearne, Kameron Hurley, Helen Lowe, Chloe Neill, Delia Sherman, Chuck Wendig and so much more! Learn more about Geeky Giving at http://www.geekygiving.org Donate directly to the cause via https://www.supportbarrow.org/geekygiving Geeky Giving March 2016 Book Bundle Geeky Giving is proud to share it’s second monthly book bundle featuring original science fiction and fantasy works by bright stars within the genre fiction community. The Geeky Giving March volume features 160 pages of fighter pilots with symbiotic relationships with their jets, ghost on Mars, loved ones leveraging the power of scent, and hackers targeting biologic exoskeletons. The bundle will be available on March 21, 2016, and includes: “Mind Flight” by Michael J. Martinez “The Ghosts of Mars” by A.C. Wise “The Scents of Life” by Robert Lowell Russell “I Point at Things I Wish to Command: A Philip K. Marks Story” by Jeff Somers Would you love to read these stories? Securing your copy of the Geeky Giving March 2016 Bundle is easy. Make a donation to the Geeky Giving project (supporting Barrow Neurological Foundation, read more about why we help Barrow) of any amount over $5, and...
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Mar
18

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh Between Ghosts Author: Garrett Leigh Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Losing his older brother to a war he’s never agreed with would have been bad enough for Connor Regan to live with, but for that hurt remain adrift with no understanding to anchor it is worse. Going on assignment with a SAS team that’s seen the worst the war has to offer—and to one of the most dangerous regions there is—seems like his best chance for some answers. What he finds will change him forever, and lead him to the first man Connor isn’t sure he can survive without. Sergeant Nathan Thompson isn’t a man with a lot of time on his hands. With one mission beginning almost before the previous one has ended, he can’t seem to find the hours to sleep, much less babysit a civilian reporter who’s managed to be embedded with his team. But, the “hack” gets under his skin faster than Nat ever imagined he would, and keeping Connor safe quickly becomes far more than just an obligation. Ordinarily, the speed with which Connor and Nat become attached would have concerned me. But, Between Ghosts is set in the middle of a never-ending war, and that, justifiably, made a huge difference. That a physical connection could be a balm in the midst of so much destruction, and that the heart might just as quickly follow—especially when time inherently must be counted so differently—I could easily accept. Ms. Leigh depicts the temporary nature of living through war very convincingly, making the relationship that evolves between the two men something worth cherishing, rather than dismissing. I found both Connor and Nat easy to believe in. Neither was very predictable, and accepting that their different personalities might be complimentary wasn’t a problem. At first, there seems to be little more to Nat than the gruff Sergeant whose responsibilities weigh so heavily on him. However, this proves not to be the case. Connor, in contrast, has plenty going on from the start, including his own, personal undertaking, and watching that mission disintegrate as his understanding of the situation increased made me feel as badly for him as I did for the soldiers he accompanied. Connor and Nat aren’t the only characters that stood out in Between Ghosts. It didn’t seem as if there were any negligible characters to me, each being imbued with such individuality and heartfelt connection to one another that I held my...
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Mar
14

Excerpt + Giveaway: Carnal by Sasha White

Excerpt + Giveaway: Carnal by Sasha White Coming soon! CARNAL, the 4th story in the sexy Overwatch series from Sasha White. Following Primal (book 3), Carnal continues Adam and Oliva’s story. Today we have a sneak peek excerpt from Carnal. Excerpt: She watched Bruce and his sub, John, leave the bar and head over toward one of the play areas. The one with the spanking bench that looked sort of like a wooden sawhorse with nice cushy padding over it. As they walked, John’s steps slowed until he was lagging behind. Bruce turned, grabbed his sub by the arm and jerked him to his side. Olivia’s inner radar sprang to life and she leaned forward, watching the couple intently. When they got to the play area Bruce let John go and went to set his toy bag on the floor by the wall. He pulled out a pair of cuffs and turned to find John on the other side of the bench, watching him with a smirk. Bruce said something and John shook his head. A frown creased his rugged face, and Bruce was Bruiser again as he stalked toward his stubborn sub. Olivia glanced over to where Chris, one of the security guys stood with Eden, the club manager. Their relaxed stances as Bruiser wrestled with John, forcing him into position over the bench told Olivia that this was part of a planned scene. Heat started to unfurl low in Olivia’s belly and her pulse kicked up as she watched Bruiser wrestle John’s jeans off him before pushing him back down onto the bench. A crowd was forming around their play area, and someone shifted, blocking Olivia’s view. She slid off her seat and turned away only to run into the rock hard chest of the man who’d been standing behind her. She clapped a hand to her chest. “Adam! When did you get here? I mean, here, behind me, not here at the club, because, well, I know you’ve been here for a couple hours already.” Good Lord, what was wrong with her? She never rambled! Adam’s lips lifted in a small smile as his warm hands slid around her waist. “I’ve been standing there since just after Bruce pulled the cuffs out of his bag, you were just to entranced to notice.” “Oh.” She slid her hands up over his ribs to settle over his chest. She loved the feel of his heartbeat against the palm of her hand. “Well, I’ve noticed now, Sir.” “What’s turning...
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Mar
9

Review + Blog Tour: The Secret of Hunter’s Bog by Ally Blue

Review + Blog Tour: The Secret of Hunter’s Bog by Ally Blue The Secret of Hunter’s Bog Author: Ally Blue Hi y’all! I’m Ally Blue. Welcome to my blog tour for my newest book, The Secret of Hunter’s Bog. Thank you for stopping by. Be sure to comment on this post, or any of the posts on the tour, for a chance to win a full set of my Mojo Mysteries series—Demon Dog, A Ghost Most Elusive, and Myth Adventures—in the winner’s choice of electronic format. Read on and enjoy! B.’s Review: After a fire destroyed their first shop, Koichi McNab never thought he’d meet anyone special when he and his twin sister opened their new store in a strip mall. Thanks to the way his last relationship ended, he certainly never expected to find someone he could really fall for again. But when he discovers that the gorgeous owner of the “glamping” store next door has some secrets of his own, Koichi gets more involved than he ever intended, and realizes that he just might be able to take another chance at love after all. Raised in affluence, yet isolated and ignored by his family, all Will Hood thought he needed was his father’s approval. When the man he fell in love with vanished without a trace two years ago, Will decided that he’d be better off on his own. But, when an Instagram photo leads him on a chase to the town of Duchene, Alabama, Will finally begins to see that living in the past won’t heal old wounds, and that the love he’s always wanted is closer than he could have imagined. With a grand total of just over 200 pages, The Secret of Hunter’s Bog is a very busy story. The introduction of more than one mystery, unsolved crimes, an element of suspense, and a healthy dose of romantic entanglement insured that there was plenty going on to keep those pages turning. There were a few places that seemed necessarily abbreviated, and which could be expanded a little more should the opportunity arise, but I think the author did a lot with the space she had. Although I’ve never been able to fully enjoy the idea of “insta-love” in fiction, I can certainly appreciate a degree of “insta-lust,” and Will and Koichi have plenty of it. Both men are rendered fairly dumbfounded at first, and there are several bouts of stunted chitchat and impure internal monologues to go with it. A sweeter, more all-encompassing kind of attraction...
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Feb
22

Spotlight: Geeky Giving

Spotlight: Geeky Giving What is Geeky Giving? Each month Geeky Giving will produce a bundle of exclusive short stories and novellas. These science fiction and fantasy books by your favorite authors will only be available through Geeky Giving, and 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to Barrow Neurological Institute to research cures for Alzheimer’s, ALS, brain tumors, Parkinson’s Disease, and more. The first monthly bundle will be available starting Feb. 22, 2016, and will be delivered as a thank you for making a donation of at least $5. Know you’re going to want all four bundles? A $25 donation to Barrow scores you every monthly bundle. At the end of this project, there are plans to create a complete anthology of all stories with a special capstone story not available anywhere else. Print and e-book copies will be available. Authors who are already contributing stories to this great cause include: A.C. Wise Amanda Bonilla Edward Ashton Heather Clithroe James Knapp Jeff Somers JY Yang Karina Cooper Mary Robinette Kowal Michael J. Martinez Robert Lowell Russell Shaun David Hutchinson Sierra Dean Each bundle will also feature original cover art created just for this project, including works from Jessica Robinson and Sal V. Cloak. In addition, you’ll have a chance to win amazing swag including: Phoenix Comicon full event passes, signed books from Kelley Armstrong, Michelle Belanger, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Caine, Diana Gabaldon, Kevin Hearne, Kameron Hurley, Helen Lowe, Chloe Neill, Delia Sherman, Chuck Wendig and so much more! Learn more about Geeky Giving at http://www.geekygiving.org Donate directly to the cause via https://www.supportbarrow.org/geekygiving Geeky Giving February 2016 Book Bundle Geeky Giving is proud to share it’s first monthly book bundle featuring original science fiction and fantasy works by bright stars within the genre fiction community. In the February bundle you’ll find two novelettes and two short stories and a whole lot of awesome. From the consequences of targeting a virus carrier to ghostly connections to a fantasy quest to appease the moon to the possibility of going full Cylon and body hopping. The bundle will be available on Feb. 22, 2016, and includes: “Some Other Day” by Mary Robinette Kowal “The True Story of the Unsmiling Moon” by Karina Cooper writing as K.C. Alexander “Backup” by Edward Ashton “Ghosts of the Motor City” by Sierra Dean Would you love to read these stories? Securing your copy of the Geeky Giving February 2016 Bundle is easy. Make a donation to the Geeky Giving project...
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Feb
17

Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep

Review + Excerpt + Giveaway: Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep Bitter Bite Author: Jennifer Estep Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Note: this review contains spoilers from the end of the previous book, Spider’s Trap. Finding out that her foster brother, Finn’s mother is alive after believing she was dead his whole life, Gin debates on how to best share the news with Finn. However, mommy-dearest doesn’t stay away from Ashland for long, and soon Gin must figure out what Deirdre is up to before she destroys Finn in the process of her latest scheme. Yet, maybe for once, Gin’s suspicions aren’t well-founded, and Finn will finally have the mother he’s longed for his entire life. Nah… Gin’s always right, isn’t she? Bitter Bite is the fourteenth title in the always exciting Elemental Assassin series. The books blend action and adventure with smart plot development and amazing storytelling, to give readers a thrilling ride. I honestly love each book, and Bitter Bite is on par with its companion stories. However, reading it was so stressful: in my head, I knew everything *should* work out in the end, but while reading, I was worried what the cost would be to Gin – physically, mentally, emotionally.  Ms. Estep keeps her stories fresh and entertaining, even though each book tends to have a few repetitive qualities. What I love is that in Bitter Bite, Ms. Estep actually brings up Gin’s predictability in a clever, round about way. And I sincerely hope it gives Gin pause in the future as she contends with a new big bad, introduced at the end of the book. I will admit that about one-third of the way thought the book, I started having doubts as I witnessed Finn ignore Gin’s concerns over his mother suddenly appearing back in Ashland. I thought to myself, not again – we’ve been through this before, most recently with Owen. But once again, Ms. Estep takes something obvious and puts a unique spin on the story. I loved that she addresses my concerns via a wonderful scene involving Owen and Finn, and later in the story, when Finn and Gin have a heart-to-heart. Similarly, what could have been a repeat of a robbery scene from a previous book was taken to a whole new level in Bitter Bite. What I love most about this series, and what made Bitter Bite all the more (better), is watching Gin grow and mature over the course of fourteen titles. It’s amazing to...
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Feb
16

Review + Giveaway: How the Cookie Crumbles by Jaime Samms

Review + Giveaway: How the Cookie Crumbles by Jaime Samms How the Cookie Crumbles Author: Jaime Samms Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Having survived an adolescence filled with loss and uncertainty, Frederick Jackson thought he’d seen his share of heartache. But, being betrayed by the man he’d grown to care for—along with getting cheated out of a well-earned win on a popular cooking show—proved him wrong. Running away to build his dream in the small town of Bluewater Bay seemed like a great idea. At least, until his past not only catches up with him, but moves in across the street. Blaire Caruthers might have been raised by a domineering, unscrupulous father, but now all he wants to do is escape the man’s control and right the wrongs of the past. Of course, winning back the man he sold out for a flashy diversion and higher ratings is at the top of his list. But, no matter how deeply he regrets the harm he’s caused, Blaire learns that trust broken isn’t easily restored, and that some battles simply aren’t his to fight, much less win. Not surprisingly, I found Frederick to be the easier of the two main characters to like. He’s a survivor, and he inspires a fierce loyalty in those who know and love him. He’s also thoughtful, compassionate, shy, determined—nearly perfect as sympathetic characters go. Far from being predictable or two-dimensional, however, Frederick is also fighting a very personal demon of his own, the nature of which the author allows to build gradually, until I felt like I could truly appreciate the scope of what Frederick is constantly battling. Blaire, on the other hand, I absolutely loathed by the second chapter. His shared history with Frederick ensured my opinion of him as the “bad guy,” an impression that took quite some time to reverse. He has no excuses, but, to his credit, Blaire doesn’t really try to make any. He wants another chance, even though he knows he doesn’t deserve it. Still, if it’s possible to earn forgiveness, then he does about as well as anyone in his situation could. Though he makes mistakes, he comes through for Frederick when he needs him most, which went a long way towards winning me back over. In the end, I couldn’t help but wish that everything would work out for Blaire as much as Frederick. The Bluewater Bay series has provided some wonderfully memorable characters, and this addition is no exception. I’m always excited when...
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Jan
29

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter

Review + Giveaway: Blood in Her Veins by Faith Hunter Blood in Her Veins Author: Faith Hunter Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Although my initial experience with the Jane Yellowrock series was something of a challenge, it has since become one of my all-time favorites. As much as the series has grown, novel by novel, there has always been room for more: the personal history of the characters, the addition of a curtain call for some of the stories, contributions to other anthologies, and so on. With the publication of Blood in Her Veins, Ms. Hunter has been remarkably generous in her willingness to give her readers what they’ve asked for by gathering all of these glimpses into Jane’s world in one place. Having already seen some of these short stories, I was very excited to be able to read them all together. Each one serves a specific purpose, including giving fans of the series the opportunity to witness events from other characters’ perspectives, providing background information and clues to why they are the way they are, as well as offering insight into Jane’s own emotions and development, thereby making her even more intriguing. While plenty of Ms. Hunter’s characters take the stage in Blood in Her Veins, I was particularly fond of the scenes told from Bruiser’s point of view. As a long-term Bruiser supporter, I found these to be an especially nice treat. Not just another compilation, Blood in Her Veins showcases two new stories by Ms. Hunter, Cat Fight and Bound No More. In Cat Fight, Jane is once again obligated to visit Bayou Oiseau, Louisiana to broker another agreement between the local witches and vampires (since the first one apparently didn’t stick). I found nearly all of these characters to be highly entertaining, especially given their collective ability to shift between humorous and a little terrifying with whiplash-inducing rapidity. Throw in a disturbingly adept mud demon—thing—and this story was a lot of fun. In Bound No More, Jane’s beloved god-daughter, “Angie Baby,” proves that she’s much more powerful than anyone has ever suspected, and far too powerful for her own good. Although Jane & Co. have a monster to fight, I found the true horror to be Jane and Molly’s easily justifiable fear of the predatory groups would seek to use Angelina’s gifts for their own purposes. This story has quite a few sweet moments as well, however, and might be one of my favorites to date. Blood in Her Veins is...
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Jan
26

Review + Giveaway: Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake

Review + Giveaway: Extreme Honor by Piper J. Drake Extreme Honor Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Extreme Honor is the exciting debut novel in the True Heroes series.  I enjoyed the captivating story of David, Lyn, and Atlas. Suffice to say, I can’t wait for more in this gripping series that combines hot military men, their loyal canine companions, and the women they love. This novel sets up Hope’s Crossing Kennel, where David works with two other ex-military men.  They train dogs for anything from basic house pets to military working dogs and in between.  Atlas, a Belgian Malinois, has been returned to David to rehabilitate. Atlas, a military multipurpose dog, is mourning the loss of his handler, Calhoun, who happens to be a friend of David’s and who died overseas.  It seems he was killed in a friendly fire accident, but David doesn’t believe the story that is being told and knows that Atlas holds the key.  Figuring out the truth and avenging his friend is something David is determined to find out.  However, his life is complicated by Lyn, a contractor sent to assist with the rehabilitation of Atlas.  David instantly resents Lyn’s presence while Lyn is hell-bent on helping Atlas heal.  However, when Atlas shows the first sign of life by acknowledging Lyn’s presence, he has no choice but to let her help.  But by letting her help, it seems she is placed in the cross hairs of those that killed David’s friend, and she may be next. I really enjoyed the chemistry between David and Lyn.  Though their romance moved fast, I liked that they did have time to get to know each other.  David is very patient though determined.  Lyn has a good heart and tries to think things through.  Though she sometimes thinks herself in circles, I could completely relate to her inner monologue.  However, she does have a habit of being a bit spontaneous and headstrong.  Because we are given both David and Lyn’s point of view, it made their journey so much more compelling.  Both Lyn and David have their own issues that affect how they see each other, especially long term.  Therefore their HEA was even more meaningful as they came together. I especially liked that David’s demons were not overplayed but something that he had already dealt with. The overall plot of Calhoun’s death and the fate of Atlas was gripping.  The conspiracy was interesting and the twist at the end...
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