Sunday Updates (45)


Inspired by features from The Sunday Post from Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sunday Summary from Book Twirps.

I try to do this post once a month because I don't acquire a ton of new books. I like to acknowledge anyone I've received books from with a nice big Thank You. This list doesn't include all of the free ebooks I've been reading from Amazon.

I'm having a good time reading books right now. No slumps for me! How is your reading going? Leave me a comment and let me know!

eArcs Received For Review:

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Thanks to Disney-Hyperion

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Thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

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Thanks to HarperTeen

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Thanks to Simon Pulse

Borrowed from the Library:

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Purchased for Kindle:
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Won:

A Touch Of Scarlet by Eve Marie Mont
Thanks to Krista at Nawanda Files

ebook - You Make Me by Erin McCarthy
Thanks to Athena at Total Book Geek

ebook -Playing Doctor by Jan Meredith
Thanks to Anna at herding cats & burning soup
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Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Killer InstinctKiller Instinct by S.E. Green

Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Page Count: 272
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

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Killer Instinct was a dark and thrilling contemporary! It was a fast paced and easy to read YA mystery. While I don't think this debut novel was perfect, it was still very entertaining.

Lane, the protagonist, is so interesting, yet freakishly twisted and scary! I wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley! Her anti-social behavior, her emotionless demeanor, and her secret obsession with serial killers emphasizes just how different she really is. Lane must resist her own urges of becoming a serial killer when the real killer she is hunting begins showing an interest in her. She is quite capable of rational thought, and is almost methodical in the way she goes about things, which really helped her interpret clues about the killer. Lane also develops an alter-ego that sets out to exact revenge on anyone she believes has gotten away with a crime. Is it wrong that I sort of liked Lane forcing her brand of justice on the evil-doers?

The story often strayed from the main plot, which became a bit distracting. I thought the little side stories added so many characters that were irrelevant, yet everyone Lane comes into contact with automatically becomes a suspect. The ending was well done, and I definitely didn't figure out who the killer was before it was revealed, so it came as a surprise to me.

This is a YA book, but there was tons of gratuitous sex and violence, and many dark and disturbing scenes, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone too young.

Overall, this was a pretty good book, even though the storyline is quite unrealistic. I found it very entertaining and I definitely couldn't put it down, but I would have preferred if the story and characters had been more developed. There were enough twists and turns to keep things interesting from beginning to end. I feel some things that took place are unresolved, and I definitely have lots of unanswered questions, so I can totally see this becoming a series.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (132) Get Even (Don't Get Mad #1) by Gretchen McNeil

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Expected publication: September 16th 2014 by Balzer & Bray

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

So many books are compared to Pretty Little Liars, and I couldn't care less because I've never seen an episode. The Breakfast Club is awesome, but I can't get my kids to watch it. They don't want to watch an 'old' movie. They don't know what they're missing!!!! I just hope Get Even is an awesome beginning to this series.

What are you waiting on this week? Be sure to leave a link to your WoW post so it's easier for me to visit you. Yes, that means YOU!
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Review: The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

The Summer I Found YouThe Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Page Count: 240
Published by: Albert Whitman & Company
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

All they have in common is that they're less than perfect. And all they're looking for is the perfect distraction.

Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life. When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all?

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This was the first book I read that had this type of premise, so I was very intrigued and expecting an emotional story. I was really excited when I first started reading, but along the way this book fell short for me. And that was mainly due to the protagonist, Kate.

Kate was really off putting to me because she was so self-centered and immature. She was completely irresponsible and incapable of taking care of her diabetes. Her parents gave her multiple opportunities to back off and give her control of her own life, but she repeatedly failed at taking charge. She was more worried about what others would think if they saw or knew that she had diabetes, like it was something to be embarrassed about. When Kate sees how Aidan is treated due to his quite obvious missing arm, Kate decides she was right to hide what she believes is her own disability. They are in no way on the same level, so she caused a lot of unnecessary drama because she hid it. I seriously couldn't get behind her reasons for lying about it, and it made her look very petty.

Aidan/Aiden (?) was a wonderful character and the true bright spot in this book. I loved him so much, and my heart really went out to him and his situation. I could really sympathize with him because of his past and his ongoing daily struggles. He was a confused young man just trying to cope with his PTSD and starting a new life out of the service and without his arm. I wanted so badly for him to be able to move past this terrible time, learn how to adapt, and figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

The fact that Aidan was missing an arm did not bother Kate at all, but she was insensitive about it a few times and I wanted to smack her for being so callous. I liked that she was written as so open and accepting of Aidan, BUT, at the same time, I absolutely hated that she the thought her diabetes was more important or more difficult than Aidan losing an arm. That was SO not cool.

This story is told in dual POV, and I have to admit that I enjoyed Aidan's POV the best because he was more genuine. The romance was okay, but I didn't think Kate and Aidan were very well matched, and their relationship seemed forced. The ending came about quickly and was a bit of a mess. I really didn't get the kind of resolution that I was hoping for.

Overall, The Summer I Found You was a promising realistic contemporary that just didn't do it for me. It's sad that one character brought the whole book down for me, but I couldn't get past how terrible Kate truly was. I wish the focus of the book had been on just Aidan and his recovery because that would have been amazing and made more of an emotional impact on me.

My rating: 2.5 Stars
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Cover Reveal: Savaged by ​Nacole Stayton​


Title: Savaged
Author: Nacole Stayton
Publication Date: September 12, 2014
Cover Design: Sommer Stein
Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

Genre: Contemporary Romance 18+

Synopsis:

The twist of a knife shredded Niko Kincaid’s world all around him, leaving him with two choices—accept his fate and die, or fight to live.

He chose to fight, but the aftermath became a daily reminder, carved into his once flawless flesh.

Despite years of self-imposed solitude, Niko hungers for companionship and suffers from an aching loneliness that the darkness cannot satisfy. He temporarily soothes his pain with women, hired women, whose only purpose is to service him. Easy.

He didn’t expect a complication like Cambree Evans, but desperation corrupts even the most innocent.

When emotions blend with lust, will Cambree's softness and ability to look past Niko's flaws be the one thing that releases him from his own personal hell?

Will the monster in the dark prove that his savaged heart is worth saving?

Add to Goodreads





About The Author:

Nacole Stayton is the Amazon Bestselling author of The Upside of Letting Go, as well as other new adult and contemporary romance titles, including A Graceful Mess and In the Lyrics. She is twenty-something years young and currently resides in the Bluegrass State where she spends her days working at a local hospital in the billing department and nights writing vigorously on her current novel. She has a passion for helping others and wears her University of Kentucky gear proudly. While her husband loves all things outdoors, Nacole enjoys the finer things in life, like getting pedicures while reading on her Kindle. She is passionate about her faith, family, and The Vampire Diaries.


Connect with the Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Waiting On Wednesday (131) Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: September 9th 2014 by EgmontUSA

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father's home in 1820's Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father's assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they're letting on.

I was looking forward to reading this one, but I see it's getting some really low ratings on Goodreads..... Luckily for me, I don't read reviews of books I am going to review because I don't want to taint my own experience. I'll be sure to let you know if I enjoy it!

What are you waiting on this week?
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Release Day: Where There's Smoke by Elizabeth Lee @InkSlingerPR @elwrites

I am thrilled to celebrate the Release Day of Elizabeth Lee's Where There's Smoke!!! 
Where There's Smoke is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel that you don't want to miss!

Where There's Smoke Front Cover


Purchase Links:

About WHERE THERE’S SMOKE:

There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He'd let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He'd perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn't just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you.
Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She'd saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren't tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she's forced to see that things aren't always as they seem. The people who she'd left behind might not have been saved at all.

In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper's sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.

WTS RDL Banner

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE Excerpt:

I stretched my arm out and placed a hand on the cool concrete, the grit and dirt sticking to my palm. Such a contrast to the warmth I felt with Ryland firmly pressed up against me. The curves of my backside fit perfectly against his long, lean frame, our skin heating up the chill around us.

The fall weather had descended upon our small Midwestern town almost overnight. It seemed like only a week or two ago we had been wearing shorts and flip-flops. Now it was jeans and jackets. Well, actually, now it was nothing.

I felt my cheeks heat as I thought about what we had just done. I wasn't embarrassed. Far from it. In fact, I'd never felt more sure about anything in my entire life as I was about what had just happened with Ry.

“That was incredible,” he whispered against my neck as he traced lazy circles on my shoulder with his fingertips.

“Yeah,” I breathed, rolling onto my back to look up at him. The soft glow of an outdoor utility light crept through the open side of the airplane hangar, barely lighting up the space. “Never imagined our first time being on a blanket spread out on a cold, hard floor, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

“Me too. Let’s get on that then,” he said with a wicked grin before he pressed his lips to mine. Propping himself on one arm—his hand resting against the side of his head—he snaked his free hand under one of the flannel blankets he'd commandeered from an airplane parked beside us.

I liked this side of him. The side that wasn't perfect and calculated. The side that just did, said, and felt what he wanted. He was literally feeling his way up my body—his hands smooth and rough all at the same time—sending all of my teenage hormones spiraling out of control. We were living in the moment, which was exactly where I preferred to be.

“You know how much I love you, right?” His face became very serious, almost concerned. “I wanted tonight to be special. I thought we'd go back to my house after we looked at the planes. My parents are gone and...” He was back in his head, thinking about his meticulously thought-out evening. Doubting his ability to be perfect. He did this sometimes—overanalyzed things. “It didn't go exactly as I planned, but—”

“It was perfect,” I assured him. “Plans, schmans.” I pulled his face to mine, giggling, my lips barely grazing his. “And I love you, too.”

That was the thing about Ryland—I saw a side of him that no one else saw. I could probably say the same for him about me. Until him, I’d never felt like I was going to amount to much, but he believed in me, even when I didn't—which was most of the time. When I was with him, I didn't feel like I needed to do everything in my power to piss people off. He made me want to stay in this Godforsaken town with a family that ignored my existence. They ignored it until I did something wrong—which was about ninety percent of the time. Then my stepfather made sure to let me just how worthless I was.

“So do you feel like a rebel?” I asked. “This being your first breaking and entering and all.”

It had been his idea to sneak on to the airfield—something that was much more in my wheelhouse than his. I was the one who usually threw caution to the wind. He was the good boy. The straight-A student. The doting son.

“Oh yeah.” He laughed. “I'm a regular badass. Nothing like walking through an open gate to an abandoned shed.” He cast his arm out sarcastically in the vacant space above our heads. Nothing but sheet metal and wooden beams. A handful of airplanes were parked around us with a smattering of fuel cans, tools, and parachutes hanging from the walls. “I'm not sure we actually broke into anything. More like casually strolled in.”

We lived in a town where people left their front doors unlocked. The kind of town where everyone knew everyone and all of their business. Truitville. It was a place with a minimal crime rate. I think that night, that's what we’d both thought: What's the worst that could happen?

“So what's next then, Clyde? Wanna rob a bank?”



Author PhotoAbout Elizabeth Lee:

When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand. Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination! Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!

Links:


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Review: Finally, Forever (First Comes Love, #3) by Katie Kacvinsky

Finally, Forever (First Comes Love, #3)Finally, Forever (First Comes Love, #3) by Katie Kacvinsky

Publication Date: May 9, 2014
Page Count: 234
Source: Review copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review

New Adult Contemporary Romance
(I would recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations.)

Purchase Links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo

Synopsis from Goodreads:

College baseball player, Gray Thomas, had to go far out into left field to find a girl like Dylan, the ex-love-of-his-life. More than a year later, literally at a crossroads, they find each other together on a journey that is a pause between a painful past and an uncertain future. In this sexy and offbeat summer read, Gray and Dylan discover that a destination isn't always a place. More often, it's a person. Now it's time for them to finally decide, is this forever?

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This series will always be one of my favorites. First Comes Love filled me with so much happiness, and then left me heartbroken. Second Chance re-established my love for this couple, but left me a little sad at the ending. Finally, Forever re-ignited my desire to see this couple finally get their crap together and work it out. I love this couple so much, and I just want them to be together and be happy! Is that too much to ask?

Dylan and Gray thought their past was behind them, but life has a funny way of working itself out. Fate throws these 2 together on a road trip, and the proximity brings back all of the same feelings that they previously had. Over the course of this series, their on again, off again relationship had it's share of heartache. But now they are once again in the same place at the same time, and they can't help but feel like this could really be their chance to make it work. Their relationship is tested repeatedly, but they are so in love with each other that it's not hard to imagine them getting their HEA.

I wasn't too sure what to expect when I began reading, but I was certainly not disappointed. Dylan and Gray's journey was wonderful, and they grew so much through the series. When you are young, it's easy to lose sight of yourself and be consumed by your other half, but Dylan and Gray managed to stay true to themselves. I never knew exactly where their relationship was headed next. Just when I thought they had things figured out, Katie would throw another obstacle in their path.

Finally, Forever is told in dual POV in alternating chapters, which I loved because we get to experience Dylan and Gray's relationship through both of their eyes. The writing is wonderful, and I could actually feel the connection that time and distance could not erase. While there are a few bumps on the road to forever, there were plenty of happy times too. I do believe that timing is everything for this couple, and what happens now will be the deciding factor in their future.

I did a re-read of the first 2 books in this series immediately prior to reading Finally, Forever. I do feel that Gray and Dylan were slightly watered down versions of themselves, and they were missing a bit of the magic that I previously enjoyed. They both have such huge personalities, but they really didn't get the chance to shine this time around, so that aspect was a little disappointing to me. But that in no way dimmed my love for these characters. I also thought the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I guess I wanted a big romantic gesture or maybe a huge sacrifice on someone's part, but that's just me. Others may enjoy the ending and think it fitting.

Overall, I really enjoyed this final book of the series. I love this couple so much, and these books have become favorites of mine. I loved following this couple through their ups and downs, and even the awkward in between. Getting to experience them figuring things out once and for all makes me so happy, but sad at the same time because I don't want this series to end.

Finally, Forever is considered a stand alone, so you can read it by itself. But I highly recommend reading all 3 books in the series to get the whole experience of this couple.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Review: The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

The Treatment (The Program, #2)The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young

Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Page Count: 352
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end

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Oh my goodness, this book was SO good! I really loved it, and I'm so thrilled that this series wrapped up in 2 books. The Treatment had a fast paced story full of action and suspense and bad guys in white coats around every corner. I'm happy to say this book did not disappoint!

I recently read The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2) by Stacey Kade , and The Treatment had similar feel to it. The protagonists were on the run, danger abounds, new characters are introduced, and they were never really sure who they could trust.

The Treatment picks up where The Program ends. Sloane and James are on the run and trying to stay one step ahead of The Program. They know if they are caught and taken back to The Program they may not survive. They meet up with other rebels who are also on the run, but they aren't sure who they can completely trust. For the most part, I enjoyed the new characters and I thought they added a lot of interest and depth to the story. The plot was exciting and the story was go go go from beginning to end with so many twists and turns! I never knew what was going to happen next. It's really hard to talk about without giving too much of the story away.

James was just as swoony as ever. He definitely gets my attention no matter what he is doing. I loved his fighting side that came out while he was trying to protect Sloane and keep her safe. And he's not afraid to show his sensitive and caring side either, which makes him just about perfect. I like Sloane this time around because she's such a fighter and was so determined to survive. She tries so hard to be tough, but you can definitely see how vulnerable she is. No matter how much she loves James, Realm still tries to manipulate her feelings and cause doubt and confusion about her memories. This causes quite a bit of drama between the three of them.

I adored Sloane and James's relationship. There was an emphasis on how much the two of them love each other and would do absolutely anything for the other. They suffered so much emotional trauma, and even without all of their memories they were such a strong couple. I never doubted that they belonged together. They do have a few up and down moments and face more than a few challenges throughout the story, but they come out even stronger in the end.

Overall, this was an amazing end to this series. Suzanne Young certainly knows how to write an exciting and imaginative story with totally awesome characters. I was pretty satisfied with the way the story played out. The ending wrapped up almost a little too nicely. Most of my questions were answered, and we even get a glimpse of Sloane and James's lives 6 months later, and a true epilogue from a different character. The Treatment gave me all sorts of good feels, so I'm on a bit of emotion overload at this time. This is one series that I would definitely recommend reading.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Waiting On Wednesday (130) Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday is my absolute favorite day of the week because I get to share the books that I am super excited about and can't wait to read.

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40 pages, Expected publication: May 29th 2014 by Viking Children’s Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

I have to admit that I haven't read Just One Year YET. My wonderful husband bought a nice hardcover for me, but I couldn't bring myself to read it because I didn't want to be disappointed. BUT... I'm dying to read it, so this is my opportunity to read it AND immediately read the epilogue, e-novella, last chapter or whatever it is. Hopefully there is closure and I will be satisfied! I pre-ordered this, so bring it on.

Anyone else waiting on this?
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Release Day Launch - All Lined Up by Cora Carmack @CoraCarmack

ALU RDL Banner Final

Cora Carmack's highly anticipated ALL LINED UP is finally here!! ALL LINED UP is a New Adult contemporary romance novel being published by HarperCollins’ William Morrow Impulse imprint and is a part of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University Series!!

All Lined Up

Purchase Links:


Book Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Excerpt:

There’s only one thing in the world I despise more than football, and he’s making his way down the stairs toward me.

My eyes flit around me like I’m scanning a battlefield instead of a blowout:fraternity banners, litter of red Solo cups, and a freshman pledge dragging around a trash bag playing reluctant maid. Part of me wants to keep doing that, to pretend like I didn’t hear him.

But I can’t. If I ignore him, it will only prove to him that he still bothers me.

I face him as he steps off the last stair, crossing his arms over his broad chest and grinning at me. Levi. My ex.

He leans his hip against the banister of the grand staircase, and I spy not one but two girls sitting halfway up the stairs, obviously upset that they’ve lost his attention.

Behind me I hear someone shout, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” and I know the beer guns are back in play.

“Alcohol and bad decisions, Levi? Can’t say I’m surprised to find you smack-dab in the middle of that.”

He kicks off from the banister, swaggering a few steps closer. His dark hair and eyes are as striking as always. I’d fallen for him so hard my freshman year of high school: doodling our names together in my spiral, watching him play from the bleachers, wearing that monstrous mum he gave me for homecoming, beaming on his elbow at his junior prom.

The memory of all that just makes me nauseated now. But as Stella always says, hindsight is a pretentious, know-it-all bitch.

“You come here to make some bad decisions?” He moves closer, his voice pitching lower. Intimate. His gaze drifts down my body with an arrogant familiarity. “Because you know I can help you with that.”

Levi Abrams has been the cause of enough bad decisions for a lifetime.

Stella steps in, her voice colder than I’ve ever heard it. “I’m fairly certain she’d rather sandpaper her own skin off.”

I nod and plaster on the fakest smile in my arsenal. “And then take a bath in lemon juice.”

Levi smiles back, and I’m pretty sure the bastard is enjoying this.

He’s bigger than when I last saw him. Bulked up. I guess that’s the difference between high school and college ball. But it’s not just muscles… he reaches out a hand like he’s going to touch my hair, and as I jerk back, even his hands seem bigger than I remember. A man’s hands, rather than those of the boy I knew. Or maybe his head got so big that his inflated ego overflowed to other parts of his body. Also a possibility.

I knew Levi was here when I chose Rusk University—hard not to when he’s the starting quarterback—but I didn’t think I’d ever have to see him. Since Dad wouldn’t let me leave Texas, and only a handful of universities here actually have a true dance major, Rusk was the best option out of the schools to which I was allowed to apply.

Levi lets his hand fall away and turns to leave, but then stops to say over his shoulder, “You don’t have to pretend to hate me so much, you know. I’m here. You’re here. We could start fresh, D.”

Why does no one get that it’s impossible to have a fresh start when nothing has really changed? God, I knew that better than anybody because no matter how many new coaching jobs Dad took, every school ended up the same.

Levi is still a douche-bag who only cares about himself.

Dad still approaches parenting like I’m a member of his team.

And I… I’m still stuck. In my father’s shadow. In Texas. In this lame state school with a joke of a dance program.

And now I’m stuck at my first frat party with the ex who broke my heart.

Yay college.

HeadshotCora Carmack Bio:

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** Novel Goodreads


GIVEAWAY:

There is a rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 gift card to the book retailer of the winner’s choice! There will be 3 individual winners-US only.


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Cover Reveal - Summer Rain by Various Authors


Title

Summer Rain

Authors:

Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe, Cecilia Tan, Charlotte Stein, Mary Ann Rivers, Amy Jo Cousins, Audra North, Shari Slade, Alexandra Haughton

Genre: Genre romance anthology

Publication Date: June 9, 2014

Cover Design: Book Beautiful

Event Organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.


Synopsis
In this romance anthology, RITA-Award winning author Molly O’Keefe shows us the power of a city thunderstorm from the top of a skyscraper, while Amy Jo Cousins soaks us in a rain in Spain. New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s heroine is devastated by a winter storm, while a summer thunderstorm grants Alexandra Haughton’s hero and heroine a second chance at love. Rain sparks self-awareness in the robot in Charlotte Stein’s story and allows Mary Ann Rivers’s heroine to fall in love with her hero and her own art. Rain causes romance between the college students in Audra North’s and Shari Slade’s stories, while romance causes rain in Cecilia Tan’s myth-inspired tale of a sacrifice to a demi-god. Nine romance novelettes, edited by Sarah Frantz.

All proceeds from the volume will be donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.


In this romance anthology, RITA-Award winning authors come together to tell the tales of the power of love, second chances, and self-sacrifice. Weathering the storm and romance has beautifully come together in nine novelettes. Each story unique, told through the voices of many talented authors.

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Stock up for Summer Sale - 10 New Adult Titles are .99 cents each


Ten new adult/contemporary romance authors have gotten together to drop the price of one of their books to .99 cents for three days this weekend - May 9th, 10th, and 11th! They want to help you get load up your e-reader and get ready for an awesome summer of reading!


The Books:
#1: TORN by Eleanor Green

“Be care how you look at me sweetheart, you’re putting some wicked thoughts in my mind.”

When Katie Harrington becomes engaged to Branson Stone she believes her life is right on track for all her dreams to come true.

However, flashes of a life she never lived haunt her—leading her to discover a past that has been purposely erased from her memory in order to protect her from horrible truths.

The look on her fiancĂ©’s face as she retells everything she remembers will forever be etched in her mind. Instead of catching and comforting her, he lets her go.

Retreating to the family’s cottage on the Outer Banks for the summer, Katie’s heart begins to heal. She succumbs to the allure of a dangerously handsome local, Aidan Romero. But as soon as Katie begins to let go and move on with Aidan . . . Branson finds her.

Now Katie is torn between two lives—facing her painful past with Branson, or moving on with Aidan and keeping the secrets safely buried forever.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#2: COLLABORATION by Nevaeh Lee and Michelle Lynn

“Now that little Southern Belle I just met…well, that’s a totally different story. I could feel the innocence just pouring off that one, and damn if I didn’t want to be the man to make a woman out of her.”

This is not your typical rock star romance. For one, the “rock star” is a rapper. And not just any rapper. Trace is the hottest ticket in the music industry right now, regardless of which definition of ‘hot’ you choose.

Taryn Starr is not the girl-next-door who unknowingly meets a celebrity. Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” the reigning country music princess and world-renowned superstar knows exactly who Trace is…or does she?

Their worlds collide when the musicians whose paths were never destined to cross are forced by their joint record label to collaborate on a song. The sparks fly and ignite a fire that blazes hotter with every minute they spend together—for better or worse. One thing’s for certain, the two media magnets can’t deny their explosive chemistry, but will life in the spotlight ultimately bring Trace and Taryn together or force them apart?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#3: EVERSEA by Natasha Boyd

“It’s amazing,” he repeated, “that you seem to have no idea how fucking beautiful you are.”

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him by the tabloids, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#4: HE BELONGS WITH ME by Sarah Darlington

“I like you. I more than like you. As hard as I try, I can’t seem to stop and I sure as hell don’t want to try anymore.”

Two girls. One Leo.

Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather’s world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.

But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo… which girl will win his heart?

Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing’s for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#5: RUMOR HAS IT by Elisabeth Grace

“Rumor Has It is quite possibly one of the best New Adult debuts I’ve read–ever. I loved every hip-hop minute of it and can’t wait to read the rest of the series! I devoured it, from laugh out loud funny moments to hot Mason scenes, I was begging for more by the time I finished reading.”–Rachel Van Dyken, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

All publicity is good publicity, right? Unless you’re recent college grad Ellie Wagner and an embarrassing video of you and your boyfriend goes viral. Every man in your life abandons you, but who knew a one-minute clip of your latest doomed relationship would brand you a slut, prevent you from getting your perfect job, and force you to keep doing the one thing you swore you’d never do again…live with your mother.

But staying with mom and her latest boy-toy (is this husband number four or five?) until your life turns around might not be all bad. Especially when you fall – literally – at the feet of a sexy, green-eyed stranger who offers you freedom and a life of luxury on a gold-rimmed platter.

There’s only one little problem – the man of your dreams is none other than Mason Nash, the latest hip-hop star busting up the music charts. Fame and fortune are his calling cards and he’s vying to steal the show on a new reality TV series that will catapult him into mainstream stardom. Hello spotlight. 
The man behind the famous persona is perfect for Ellie in every way, but can she overcome the ugly pitfalls that come with Mason’s celebrity status? Or will she be forced to choose between the man she loves and the independent life she longs for?

After all, fame and fortune aren’t always what they seem and not all publicity is good publicity…

Amazon US I Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#6: AT ANY PRICE by Brenna Aubrey

“Everything was spinning around me and I-I was spinning too, delirious with want. Like a woman drowning in the middle of a stormy sea, in desperate need of a life raft. That sea was Adam Drake and he was pulling me adrift, stranding me in some strange and forgotten land.”



Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin
When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.

It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.

Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO
Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.

She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#7: BACK TO LIFE by Danielle Allen

“Before you, I just existed. I didn’t really live. I didn’t really feel. I was going through the motions. And then I met you…” I stroked his face and gazed up at him. “And you brought me back to life.”

Sahara Lee has spent the last ten years living with the guilt of a tragic accident and its aftermath. That night irrevocably changed the outgoing, fun-loving college freshman into an introverted, workaholic with no social life. Sahara isolates herself from everyone and everything that reminds her of home in an effort to forget what happened. Using art as a substitute for love, Sahara throws herself into music and art as a way to feel something other than the guilt that haunts her. She accepts her lonely existence as penance for the role she played in the accident. That is, until she meets Tyree Barker, the good looking entrepreneur with baggage of his own.

Blindsided by a legal loophole, Sahara is suddenly forced to confront the past she’s been running from. Juggling the guilty feelings of her past and the unexpected feelings of her present, Sahara’s future becomes complicated as she heads down a path of forgiveness, love, and heartbreak…and not in that particular order.

Back to Life reminds you that living and existing are two completely different ways to go through life. Grief will break you but guilt, guilt will destroy you. And once that happens, what can bring you back to life?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#8: THE HIDDEN by Kelley R. Martin

“She was like quick-sand–the more I struggled to get out, the more I sank. So I’d decided to give up and embrace the sink down.”

On her first day of college, Emily meets a walking, talking god. With a gorgeous face, killer blue eyes, and a body to die for, it’s easy to see why Thomas Paige is the envy of every guy at Potomac Ridge University and why every girl within a fifty mile radius wants to get a piece of him.

Sounds great, right? Well, it would be if Emily didn’t think he was such an ass.

Since she’s not interested in becoming another notch on his bedpost, she tells him to shove it, and convinces herself that her novel use of the word “no” is what’s got him hounding her all over campus. But there are two sides to every story, and Thomas is determined to make Emily hear his. Even if it does sound crazy and impossible.

Amazon US | Amazon UK



#9: DON’T LET GO by Michelle Lynn

“I won’t give up. If you’re not going to fight for this…I’ll do it for the both of us.”

Sadie Miller is attempting to change her ways and hide somewhere no one knows her former self. She only wants to finish her final year of college, obtain her degree, and get out from the hold of her affluent parents. Then she meets Brady Carsen, the lead singer of The Invisibles, a popular local band in the college town. She tries to stay away but quickly realizes that, although he might not be what she’s used to, he’s exactly what she needs and more importantly, everything she could possibly want.

Unfortunately, Sadie’s troubled past left her with insecurities that make her question Brady’s true intentions. And while Brady is convinced that Sadie is the one for him, he has his own secrets that he fears will be their undoing. If they want to be together, they will have to stand united and fight the outside influences that are threatening to tear them apart. Can they put their pasts behind them for good in order to secure their future?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble



#10: THE PERFECT EMOTION (Book 2 of the Perfect Series) by Melissa Rolka

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he whispers.

“I never asked you to,” I say with little conviction.


“And yet, here I am.” I slowly turn myself into him and bury my face in his chest. Even through his coat I can smell that familiar pine and masculine scent.

The story of Kate, Kyle and Reed continues in this second novel of The Perfect Series.

Kate (Katherine) Monroe is finally coming to heads with the decisions she’s made in the past to keep herself distracted at any cost. Learning to move on and forward with the conflicts in her life is harder than she expects though. With Kyle continuing to attempt reconciliation and Kate’s mom back at home, avoiding and running are no longer an option.

All along Kate’s mind and heart are consumed with Reed, but she fights to push her feelings and desires to the side. Despite the obvious pull and connection she has with Reed she finds it difficult to let him in… and trust in herself. However, Reed’s perseverance and patience never wavers and eventually he uses the one thing that had always brought them together… tennis.

As Reed and Kate begin to embark on a new relationship they face the past and the present head on. Along the way, new challenges and emotions arise testing the direction of their future together.

Can Kate forgive herself and trust Reed in order to latch onto the one emotion she needs most… love?

Amazon US | Amazon UK
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