Review: Capricious by Jade Eby

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Lacey Caldez is in a bind.

Her bills aren’t paid, her mother is broken, and they’re about to lose their house. Realizing she’s low on options, she buries her pride and approaches the last person she ever wanted to owe a favor to.

Robbie Reynolds is brutal, demanding, and one hell of a mobster. He’s also her ex. But despite his character flaws, he offers her a chance to avoid financial ruin—but can she stomach what he’s asking of her?

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

REVIEW: For starters, this story has a lot of pent up emotions and bad-ass characters. Lacey is struggling with money problems so she starts back up at the strip club for some fast and quick cash. She has a sensitive side but when the numbers don’t add up leaving her with a sense of dread, she knows what she has to do. She has to go back to being bad.

The beginning of this series caught me off guard. I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I did enjoy reading it none the less. My first assumption of Lacey was correct; she didn’t really want to be there but felt she had no other choice. The author really captivated my attention with this character’s personality. The flare that she possessed as well as the subdued rage and violence was unpredictable. This factor made the story irresistible; it was virtually impossible for me to put it down until I read its entirety. I recommend reading this short story if you like action on impact. The author’s writing style is almost flawless; however, it may not be for everyone. My personality happens to extend to being openly blunt about everything so I couldn’t put it down. Lacie is fearless and doesn’t take shit from anyone, which I happen to love in stories. I am not really into reading books with characters that victimize themselves. I give this one five stars because it was written well, straight-forward and extremely intoxicating. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Reading and writing have always been second nature for me. They are as integral to me as the air I breathe and the words I speak. I knew from a very young age that I would grow up to work with words in some capacity. I thought, perhaps I’ll be a librarian. No, a literary agent. How about a copywriter? But the entire time, my heart would whisper, “you’re going to be an author.” 

I spent most of my youth and my teenage years with a book in my hand and wrote “stories.” (I use the term loosely as I wrote many. And many were thrown in the trash). I then went to the University of Northern Iowa and when a professor realized I wasn’t getting the proper writing attention I needed, he suggested I attend the University of Iowa to study under their prestigious writing program. So I did. I graduated in 2011 with my B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing. I took a job as a Creative Writer at a top-notch higher education marketing firm in 2012 and left in the fall of 2014 to pursue writing full-time and helping authors chase their dreams.

My passion, dedication and perseverance have led me to where I’m at today. Happy, successful and living my dream every. single. day.

CONTACT JADE EBY: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: After the Pain by Gia Riley

ABOUT THE22708819 BOOK: Does everything really happen for a reason? Hallie Dawson is battling with a broken heart yet determined to give love a second chance. Once again, time isn’t in her favor. Her moments After the Pain are filled with promises of a better future and personal secrets. With mysterious notes continuously haunting her and a secret friendship with a fellow musician, Hallie is struggling to stay true to her heart. Tall, dark and handsome, Sean Thomas, is tired of being second best. This time, the good guy refuses to finish last. If he wants to get the girl, he’s going to have to confront the one person who broke his heart. His past is on a collision course with his future – will he be able to hang onto his connection with Hallie? After the Pain is a Contemporary Romance novel about restoring faith in the beauty of love. Can Sean put the pieces of Hallie’s heart back together? Will love conquer all, or will jealousy and secrets tear them apart?

BOOK LINKS: Goodreads

REVIEW: This story was very uplifting and had a completely different feel from the first book in the series. Hallie has been using music as therapy to get back to a normal life and keep Ryan as a forever happy memory. Sean is the man for her and she can’t stand the thought of losing him, so through her struggles and emotional baggage, she meets Colby who tempts her…he’s sexy, sly, partially arrogant, and loves music. When the story unfolds, leaving Hallie with more problems then she has answers, she must make some difficult choices and follow her heart.

Sean’s character was a little difficult to handle throughout the story. When I first started reading, I became frustrated with his presence because he seemed clingy. Halfway through the story, the author gave me the reprieve that I needed to put my faith back into his character…the back-story. I still love Alex and Tanner because they always bring the light into any situation including the drama between Sean and Hallie. By the end of the story though, I really wanted to read about the happy ending for Alex. Colby was the final character that really made my blood boil. I kept holding my breath through reading scenes with Colby until the very end because of his relentless pursuits. I highly recommend this story to club members. Since it is told from Hallie’s point of view, it targets a female audience more so then male…in my opinion. I really enjoyed the situations and dilemmas that the author allowed the characters to experience. It made the story feel real and their lives imperfect. We are all just people looking for the closest thing that we can call true happiness. “Along the way, we may fall but we don’t stay down unless we choose to.” This seems to be the perfect moral for the series. I give this five stars because it was well written and my emotions were completely engaged throughout the entire story.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author Gia Riley has been in love with writing romance since high school when she took her very first creative writing class. From the small but mighty state of Delaware, she’s a country girl at heart, traveling back to her roots in Pennsylvania as often as she can. While New Adult and Contemporary romance have been her passion, she’s dabbled with more erotic plot lines lately, enjoying discovering the sexier side of love with each story she pens. After all, she’s a lover of all things romance – a firm believer that everyone deserves their happily ever after no matter what it takes to get there.When she’s not writing, you can find her roaming the aisles of Kirkland’s, up to her elbows in Play-doh, or trying to hunt down spoilers for her favorite reality television show.

CONTACT GIA RILEY: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: The Nanny With the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone

23522042ABOUT THE BOOK: Single dad Max isn’t looking for love—he only needs someone to help take care of his two-year-old daughter, Chloe. Or so he thinks. After being kicked out of his parents’ house, he’s determined to make it on his own. But juggling a full-time job, an undergrad program, and childcare is pretty much impossible. When his best friend jokingly suggests he post an ad for a live-in nanny on Craigslist, he goes for it. After all, he has nothing to lose… right?

When artist Savannah quickly responds to his ad, Max is thrilled. Her resume is perfect and Chloe seems to like her, despite the slightly menacing tattoos decorating her arm. Savannah brings a light and warmth into his life that he never thought possible. Max hasn’t so much as dated since Chloe was born, but he’s willing to give it a shot with Savannah. There’s just one problem.

Everything is perfect just the way it is. Even his daughter is happy. If he messed up things up with Savannah, how could he ever forgive himself?

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

REVIEW: This story is about a young father who is kicked out of his parent’s house and forced to raise his daughter alone. Max and Chloe end up in a three bedroom apartment while he works at a music store and attends college. With no one to assist him with taking care of Chloe, his friend gives him the crazy idea to go online and post an ad for a live-in babysitter. This is how he meets the nanny with the skull tattoos; however, will she always be a nanny or something more? When I first started to read about Max, I really felt sympathy for him but everyone else saw his situation as a mistake. He was two years out of high school with an ex that didn’t want to know her daughter. He was still protected from all of the harsh reality of life, able to live with his daughter in his parent’s basement so he still had a lot of growing up to do. Once he gets kicked out, he wakes up and realizes that he has to make the ultimate decision to care for his daughter at all means necessary. It wasn’t easy, but that sympathy turned into courage. I wanted to read the whole story to find out if there was light at the end of the tunnel. Savannah’s character is wonderful. Her attitude towards life is carefree, but she doesn’t completely share her past with Max. What she does say makes him feel a sense of comfort knowing that life wasn’t easy for either of them but they found each other in some aspect or another. In my opinion, this story was beautiful and well written. I enjoyed reading it and would highly recommend this story to others. Looking at the title, I was interested in finding out what the book was about. I like how the author throws some morals into the story; for instance, you can’t always JUDGE a book by its cover and life is what YOU make it. I give this story four stars because the author really brought her characters to life in my mind and I really loved the read. However, at the end of the read, I still found myself extremely curious about Savannah’s tattoos and what they symbolized in her life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary New Adult romance and suspense, starring sassy belles who chose a different path in life. Her debut novel, Sade on the Wall (writing as Kaylene Campbell), was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books.

 When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging.

 Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

CONTACT ELIZABETH BARONE: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Between the Pain by Gia Riley

AB22023125OUT THE BOOK: Graduating from nursing school and finding herself thrown into the real world, twenty-two year old Hallie Dawson is determined to prove herself on the job. A chance encounter on the first day has charming Ryan Andrews showing up everywhere she goes. With only a string of random hook-ups and one failed relationship in her past, Hallie isn’t used to being pursued. For the first time, two men desire her. Will she choose the right one – or does fate hold all the cards? Between the Pain is a New Adult Romance novella about finding love – and being brave enough to follow your heart. Will Hallie end up in the arms of her true love or are the moments in between her pain forming the real story. Timing is everything. A fraction of a second, one altered course, one note — change her life forever.

BOOK LINKS: Goodreads

REVIEW: This story is about a woman named Hallie who meets Ryan through work in the Emergency Room. They fall in love with each other, but it is not meant to last. Hallie has to learn to cope with her emotions through tough and unimaginable breaks in her reality. Her best friend Alex helps Hallie through the pain so that she can continue to live a normal life even though her world has been torn and thrown upside down. She even allows herself the capability of loving again.

At first, this story started out a little predictable with girl meets boy in a normal setting and an instant attraction is present. What I didn’t plan on was the plot twist and man, was it a plot twist. This author had my emotions on edge for most of the read. I sympathized with the characters, felt pain and happiness, as well as the loss that the author wanted to convey to her readers. Alex’s character was my favorite. His character is strong and consistent; the author really defines his personality in such an inspiring way that it really drew me in. I also found that the author’s descriptiveness and intuitiveness, regarding Hallie’s feelings of Ryan after the loss, is highly noteworthy. This is so spot-on that I really found it difficult to hold back the tears because it was so well written and precise. After analyzing the author’s work, I feel that this would be best for a female audience. Since this story does start off with Hallie attempting to find true love and steadiness, she not only finds it and loses it, but she also starts again. I really appreciate the concepts portrayed in this story, because not everyone lives a peaceful life in a steady and consistent world. There are ups and downs, happiness and pain that must be taken into consideration. These rising issues reflect our strength, ability to carry on, and our openness toward trusting one another. I give this story five stars because it really resonated a heartfelt, true, raw and emotional depth that I feel the reader can’t help but fall into and walk the journey with Hallie until the end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author Gia Riley has been in love with writing romance since high school when she took her very first creative writing class. From the small but mighty state of Delaware, she’s a country girl at heart, traveling back to her roots in Pennsylvania as often as she can. While New Adult and Contemporary romance have been her passion, she’s dabbled with more erotic plotlines lately, enjoying discovering the sexier side of love with each story she pens. After all, she’s a lover of all things romance – a firm believer that everyone deserves their happily ever after no matter what it takes to get there. When she’s not writing, you can find her roaming the aisles of Kirkland’s, up to her elbows in Play-doh, or trying to hunt down spoilers for her favorite reality television show.

CONTACT GIA RILEY: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: All the Pretty Bones by Camela Thompson

23201655ABOUT THE BOOK: After ten years of living in the shadow of her stalker, a diagnosis of terminal cancer pushes Olivia Kardos to take matters into her own hands. Her final days will not be spent isolated from the world nor hiding like a hunted animal. It’s time for Mark Porter to die. Going against a trained killer alone would be foolish, but the handsome arms dealer who offers to help her has a dark secret of his own. Homicide Detective Sean Howard has tried to push his ex out of his mind, but his next case brings her crashing back into his life. A woman is found exsanguinated and brutally stabbed in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood and she could be Olivia’s doppelganger. As more women are murdered and the similarities grow, Sean can’t shake the feeling that Olivia is next. In a world where demons and vampires lurk just beneath the surface, what you don’t know can kill you.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo

REVIEW: This story is about a woman named Olivia. She is thirty-two years old and gravely ill; however, the most haunting part about her life is not the sickness. She has been stalked by one man named Mark for ten years now. Olivia knows that he won’t wait forever before attempting to make his claim on her body and her life. With only a few more months left to live, she wants to enjoy the time that she has left instead of the constant fear of looking over her shoulder. As the story digs deeper in her life and the history that surrounds her ailment, she meets new life-altering discoveries and finds the one that she never in her wildest dreams thought that she would want to spend the rest of her life with. I really enjoyed reading this story. The characters are wonderful! Each and every character, except for Sean, is one that I couldn’t find myself turning away from. I wanted to read more about them and couldn’t put this book down. The author makes it evident that she loves these characters by the way that she describes all of them. She puts careful thought into each one; however, my favorite is Mark. She provides the reader with just enough information so that it is known that he is not human. But, what he is comes out through multiple plot twists later within the story. I loved the suspense mixed with a tinge of romance; it was a very enticing and mind-gripping read. In my opinion, this story was spectacular! I would highly recommend this book to those who love the supernatural/paranormal element mixed with suspense. For those that do not really enjoy romance, there is not much, just enough for you to get the point of the relationship between two of the main characters. I rate this book with five stars because it was well written, compelling, and the detail was intense. I really enjoy reading a book that allows you to have a vivid imagination of what exactly is happening. This author does a fantastic job with that!

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Camela Thompson lives with her incredibly supportive husband and strange dog in Seattle, the city where cloud cover and shadows rule. How else is a girl supposed to keep her luminescent (perfectly pasty) complexion? The rain also provides the perfect scapegoat for hiding inside with a laptop, her dog, and a hot cup of tea. Excuses for reclusive behavior get considerably more creative during the summer (she may or may not have a mild sun allergy). Camela cohosts Shadows on the Sound, a podcast on iTunes about the myths and superstitions that withstand the test of time – which is really just an excuse to geek out on her favorite topics (vampires, ghosts, and zombies in pop culture).

CONTACT CAMELA THOMPSON: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Guarding Christmas by Jenny Schwartz

17230416ABOUT THE BOOK: Four years ago, Gray rejected Yvie’s love before she had a chance to offer it. He thought she was too young and he knew he was too reckless for the relationship to work. Now he’s back and he has a plan to woo and win his Christmas angel. But Yvie has plans of her own—and risking her heart again isn’t part of them.

A feel-good short story that captures the magic of the season. Happy holidays!

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads

REVIEW: This story was wonderful for a short story. Gray and Yvie are the main characters and their romance stems throughout the story from a past accord four years ago. Gray wasn’t able to give her a commitment because of his military life and Yvie wasn’t able to let it go. As they meet again, she is taken back by the fire that still burns between them. I really enjoyed reading this story. The author has a fluent writing style that is very descriptive and persuasive. I liked reading about how Gray was so decisive on what he wanted his future to look like so this held my captivation until the end. I really wanted to continue reading Gray and Yvie’s story, but the ending came all too soon. I know that I am a little late with it being past the season, but I do recommend it if you are looking for a nice short romance that sparks imagination and creativity. I give this story a four because while the story was beautiful and exciting, I felt like more could have been explained about their past relationship.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenny Schwartz is an Australian paranormal romance author with a degree in history and sociology and a HUGE dream to live by the sea. She’s working on making that dream come true.

With a writing record that includes steampunk, sweet romance, coastal romance, mysteries and science fiction, it’s obvious Jenny writes almost as widely as she reads – almost! Like all authors, she started as an avid reader. The one thing she insists on is a happy ending.

CONTACT JENNY SCHWARTZ: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Wings Over Poppies by J.A. Derouen

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Perfection. One word. Three syllables. Every reason why I’ll never have the one thing I truly want. I stand dutifully on the pedestal he’s built, waiting for the day he truly sees me.

Then one amazing night, he lets down his walls, only to leave me the next day.

Years have passed, and I’ve tried to move on with my life. But I still dream of him. I still miss him everyday. The memories haunt me. How can I look to the future when my past remains a mystery? The time has come to find the boy who stole my heart and ran away without a word.

But not everyone who is lost wants to be found.

My name is Alexandra Fontaine, and this is my story of unfinished love.

Wings Over Poppies is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

REVIEW: This is a wonderful love story about Alex and West. They originally meet each other during their teen years; however, both are looking for their future which doesn’t align with a long-term relationship. As they say their goodbyes, both of them can only hold onto the person that they used to be when they were together. Six years later, they are forced to either find their way back to each other or relinquish all hope. West struggles with PTSD from the war in Iraq and Alex struggles with the fact that she may never know if their love was true and salvageable. In my opinion, the greatest thing about this story is that the author brings the quote to life: time heals all wounds. I sympathized with Alex, understanding the strength that it takes to walk through life not knowing if someone will return or if they will be completely changed once they return. This story revels in all types of emotions which makes any story a good one. Since this is the second book by this author, the first is called Hope Over Fear, I do recommend that they are read in order if anyone is interested. This can be read as a stand-alone; however, these stories all revolve around friends and colleagues who are referenced periodically throughout the stories even though the main characters change. Wings Over Poppies really hit the spot for me because the plot is a very real and tangible tragedy that can happen to anyone who has to go off to war. Even though this story does have a happy ending, the author does allow the reader an understanding of the hard truths that soldiers face on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. I give this story five stars because the writer shows passion among her characters and conviction in her writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.A. Derouen resides in South Louisiana with her husband, son (aptly nicknamed “The Professor”), and her furry friend, Scout. She has earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing. When she’s not writing or inhaling romance novels by the stack, she works as a women’s health nurse. She’s been an avid reader and daydreamer since childhood, and she’s never stopped turning the page to get to the next happily ever after.

CONTACT J. A. DEROUEN: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton

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ABOUT THE BOOK:Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.

Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.

Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.

REVIEW: The story is such an adventure to begin with. Jack (Jacqueline), is on a search for her roots. She wants to know who she is and where she comes from. When her father kicks her out of the house to go sell their last remaining livestock to fuel his drunken desire, she only tries to oblige to his request. Since walking distance is so far away, she decides to sleep for a while with the cows tied up. Once she reopens her eyes, she discovers that her cows are gone, three seeds have been placed beside her, and her father would do anything to keep his selfish and greedy habits, including sell his daughter. And so, with nowhere to turn, she is left to leave home and wonder throughout the world looking for the place that she belongs or can call home. Along the way, she meets friends, family, and discovers the answers that she seeks with the magic of kindness. Little does she know that a little kindness could spread throughout entire kingdoms! What strikes me as noteworthy would have to be the main moral of the story which is kindness. This author is absolutely fantastic. She allows the reader to experience an entire world with characters that are bent on greed and selfish desires; however, she also sheds light on those that do still remain kind and open hearted. Jack, the main character, really inspired me to keep reading her story. She endured pain and abuse in the start; however, she was the one who made the choice to walk away and find a better place, to find peace. I enjoyed this tale and was all too excited to find out that the characters from “Shadows on Snow” continued to be mentioned throughout this story. I recommend this tale to all of my readers, the readers who enjoy reading fantasy. This is a flipped fairy tale which portrays the life of Jack…and maybe it mentions something about a beanstalk somewhere in there. It is truly a fantastic and invigorating read and I couldn’t pay enough compliments to the author other than sharing my review. I also really enjoyed the short tale after this one regarding Ro’s life leading up to the friendship that unfolds in this tale. Again, since these tales were so very persuasive and the moral of the story just absolutely brilliant and strong, I give her five stars for a successful because I couldn’t put it down!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. She is a three-time finalist for Parsec Awards for her podcast fiction work, and was the first place winner for Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Sandy competition in 2012. Her work spans science fiction, fantasy, New Adult Romance, Young Adult titles, Steampunk, Contemporary, and various other varieties of stories. She is greedy and likes all the genres! When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.
CONTACT STARLA HUCHTON: Facebook | Twitter | Website

 

Review: Loyalty and Lies by L.A. Cotton

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Eighteen-year-old Savanah Parry just moved three thousand miles across state to escape. The memories…the whispers…the pain.

Chastity Falls Academy is supposed to be her fresh start; her salvation. And when Ana meets mysterious Jackson, she begins to think it is. She hasn’t smiled in almost sixteen months; not since the night her life changed forever, and despite her guilt…her loyalty, Ana can’t deny that Jackson is breathing life back into her. With Jackson by her side, Ana wants to believe she can heal and move on. But she isn’t the only one living a lie, and the small private Academy has secrets of its own. All is not what it seems, and Ana is about to find herself in a tangled web of lies; fighting for survival, again.

Loyalties will be tested, lies will be told. Welcome to Chastity Falls.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

REVIEW: Loyalty and Lies is about a girl named Savannah (Ana). She has moved to Chastity Falls to escape the memories of her past. When she moves into her dorm, she becomes instant friends with her roommate and then quickly finds the other piece of her soul in Jackson. He has some secrets of his own which causes the relationship to become strained. Jackson is a Fallen which means that he is on the football team for Chastity Falls; however, his so-called family owns the entire town. Getting out of business to be with Savannah (Ana) may not be optional considering that the Donohue’s are willing to take down anyone who threatens their happy little town or turns their back on “family”. When I first started to read this story, I was a little surprised at how depressing Savannah’s character was. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into by reading this book but I soon realized that I couldn’t stop. Her life and her scars were so captivating by the simple fact that the author wanted you to feel sympathy for her character. She wanted the reader to understand that this character had ultimately lost everything and was trying to cling onto any sign of life that would take away the numbness that she felt. Jackson was the gentle, playful, and loving man that had made her feel whole again piece by piece. I recommend this to my female club members because it is told from Savannah’s point of view. The author writes an incredible story that left me wanting to read the second of the series. I will be thrilled to read more into the lives of Jackson and Savannah’s relationship even though my emotions were on high toward the end. I found that I sympathized with Jackson a little more than I did with Savannah because of character placement. I give this book a five star rating because I really enjoyed being swirled up into this new world that the author created for her readers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author of mature young adult and new adult novels, L A is happiest writing the kind of books she loves to read: addictive stories full of teenage angst, tension, twists and turns.

Home is a small town in the middle of England where she currently juggles being a full-time writer with being a mother/referee to two little people. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find L A immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

CONTACT L.A. COTTON: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram