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Review: Learning to Breathe by Marisa Oldham

Learning to Breathe by Marisa Oldham

Publication Date: May 31, 2016

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Like the ocean, life is a beautiful force. One that can tear you limb from limb or lavish you in perfect moments.

Michelle Hathaway has it all: a view of the Eiffel Tower from her loft in Paris, a successful career as a fashion photographer, ownership in an up-and-coming art gallery, and jet-setting days filled with excitement. But, even with all that luxury, her life feels aimless.

Over the years, Michelle drifted on the tide of a long distance, on-again off-again relationship with Micah Roberts, a hot bass player in a popular rock band. When he finally asks her to move to Los Angeles to be with him, she risks everything, taking the leap into a new life.

Drowning in the wake of her decisions, she struggles just to breathe as destiny threatens to take everything. As unexpected events devastate her, will Michelle surface from the depths of despair?

“I have never cried so much while reading a book. This story touched me in a very deep and emotional way.” – Jackie Fire and Ice Book Reviews

“5 stars, Marisa. If I could give more then I would in a heartbeat. Beautiful job. Absolutely amazing.” – Aubrie Brown ARC Reader

“I have never read a book, that felt it was as much mine as it was the authors. This book has pieces that will parallel your life, and probably affect you in a way no other book has…or ever will.” – Devine Warnes ARC Reader

***Recommended for ages 18+ due to sexual content.***

 

REVIEW:

Giving a dirty look and a huff, Michelle rolls onto her side and closes her eyes. Tears threaten to escape, but she won’t cry…not in front of him. She refuses to give him that kind of control over her, at least, not when he’s inches from her in their bed. Every part of her heart shatters from his words. It might have hurt less if he had just come out and said they were over. Frustration builds in her chest as a tear rolls down her cheek. As if he can see it, she wipes it away quickly. Long, deep breaths come from his side of the bed, and the sound shatters her. What’s happening to us? Is he right? Is that all we do…”fuck and fight?”

 

Love is one of the biggest hopes and fears in a woman’s life. Oldham’s story lays out a relationship that goes through a lot of hardships, some that a young couple should never have to experience so early. This story is tragic, yet heartfelt and hopeful. Oldham engages the reader by sharing the lives of these characters, captivating them with their emotions, thoughts, and even dreams for the future.

Michelle and Micah have been in a long distance relationship for what feels like forever. It is an on-again, off-again type situation, but Micah doesn’t seem to want the long-term commitment. When he does asks her to move in with him, she has a very hard decision to make. Does he really mean it this time? Will he get tired of her? She’ll lose everything that she’s ever worked for if she moves back to the United States and he figures out that this is really not what he wants? But, when she looks into his eyes, she sees the love and she feels that just maybe he is being truthful to himself and to her. He wants to try to make the relationship work and that should be good enough for her to risk everything. Love is worth taking risks, right? Only, when they are finally able to call Micah’s bachelor pad their home and everything seems to be growing stronger, a devastating diagnosis takes the relationship to an impossible level. An unbearable and unimaginable level that would take the breathe away from anyone, leaving a feeling lifelessness or complete numbness. Can they fight together through something that they have absolutely no control over?

The author does a superb job with character development and credibility. As this story unfolds, so many factors come to play into these character’s lives. It is not difficult to sympathize with Michelle and Micah in stories such as this because the story is so genuine. The events that take place can really happen to someone; these instances do happen and it tests faith, relationships, strength, and life itself. With such emotional conflict, taking the high road and doing some of the things that these characters do, all for love, is deeply heartfelt and riveting—Oldham has a compelling novel that will leave readers with hope and determination to read until the very end. If you are a reader of contemporary fiction, romance, and women’s fiction, you may want to pick this up—but, fair warning…this is another book that may not be easy to put down and definitely will be difficult to read due to emotional content.

A copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by the author, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a five-star rating for Learning to Breathe by Marisa Oldham.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marisa loves telling stories that “reach into your heart and rip it out.” Her main goal is to make her readers feel all the emotions that her characters go through. She’s an avid reader herself and some of her favorite books bring tears to her eyes when she talks about them. She wants to give her readers the same type of experience.

Marisa loves to connect with readers and has set up a group, Marisa’s Groupies, on Facebook where she interacts with members frequently.

Marisa is currently working on a story based on The Falling Series, Learning to Breathe and hopes to release it before the end of the year. She plans to release a BBW contemporary romance that will explore the self-esteem issues of the main female character with a romantic, witty, and heartwarming story. She’s also working on more stories for the Naughty & Nice series of erotica novellas that she co-writes with Emma Payne, Noah Wilde, and S.M. Rose.

As a self-proclaimed thriller lover, Marisa is very excited to be co-authoring a novel in this genre with suspense/thriller author Angie Martin.

Connect with Marisa here: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Website | Google+

 

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Book Tour: The Accidental Art Thief by Joan Schweighardt

The Accidental Art Thief
by Joan Scheighardt
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
 

For a quarter of a century forty-five-year-old Zinc has worked as a caretaker for a wealthy old man, living in a small casita on his ranch in New Mexico. She doesn’t make much money, but she has the old man, her dogs, and gorgeous views of the mountains. She is basically a very content recluse who doesn’t invest much time thinking about what she might do if her circumstances change. So when the old man dies suddenly, and his daughter all but throws her off the property, Zinc is forced to reinvent herself—and quickly. With a touch of magical realism and a collection of offbeat characters, The Accidental Art Thief explores the thin line between life and death and the universal forces that connect all things. 

“Zinc is an engaging, quirky, and utterly unique heroine, instantly likeable, with a hefty mixture of strong intelligence and overwhelming naivety…. While the novel is realistic, there is subtle magic woven in nearly every line, as coincidence and confusion come together into what might be termed the wisdom of time, spirit, and love.” ~ Magdelena Ball, CompulsiveReader.com, author of Sublime Planet, Black Cow, and other titles.

“Schweighardt populates her modern-day odyssey through the southwest with fascinating, quirky characters thrust into a complex (and hilarious) web of emotional turmoil, poignant misperceptions, and downright lies. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is thought provoking.” ~ Julie Mars, author of the memoir A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister, and the novels Rust, Anybody Any Minute, and The Secret Keepers.

“A sensitive, gripping, artfully rendered novel that kept me reading from the first page to the last.” ~ Faye Rapoport DesPres, author of the memoir-in-essays Message from a Blue Jay.

Book links here:

 

Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels, and more on the way. In addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and edits for individuals and corporations. 
 

 Connect with Joan here:

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
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Release Blitz: The Color of a Silver Lining by Julianne MacLean

RELEASING TODAY
From USA Today Bestselling Author
Julianne MacLean
Sometimes, moving on isn’t the right choice when miracles are leading you back to your past — toward something, or someone, who was your destiny all along.
The Color of a Silver Lining
THE COLOR OF A SILVER LINING
Julianne MacLean
Series: The Color of Heaven Series Book 13
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
It’s been five years since Emma Cochran endured the worst possible tragedy—the sudden, unexpected death of her four-year-old son. The emotional trauma tore her marriage apart, but now her divorce is final and she wants to begin again. She’s found happiness at last with her fiancé, Luke, who is eager to start a family with her.
On the other side of the country, single mother Bev Hutchinson watches helplessly as her five-year-old daughter Louise drowns in a high-profile boating accident. Miraculously, Louise is brought back to life and claims she went to heaven. The news causes a media frenzy surrounding the little girl, and Bev does everything she can to shield herself and her daughter from the relentless swarming of the press.
Lives collide when Emma becomes obsessed with the story of the child, thousands of miles away, who drowned and went to heaven. She wants to connect with the mother, but Emma’s fiancé is against the idea because he wants her to let go of her grief and move on.
The Color of a Silver Lining 3D
An amazing read. The story builds and builds and then suddenly there is a twist and a turn and it all comes together.
– Zena, Goodreads Reviewer
Every book in the Color of Heaven series opens my heart and mind to new possibilities in life. With each story I cry and feel alive. Color of a Silver Lining encourages you to see love here on earth and stretch your mind to believe in the connection of spirit. A truly beautifully written novel that inspires hope; even after tragedy.
– Karen Forrest, Goodreads Reviewer

Purchase Links

Available now. Grab your copy today.

An Excerpt from the Book

Take an inside look at The Color of a Silver Lining. Read an excerpt from the book.
Chapter 10
It had been two full days, and the reporters were still outside my house.
Louise and I took cover indoors. I’d planned to keep her home from school anyway for a full week after the accident, and I’d asked for sick days at the hospital. Thankfully we had a private fully-fenced backyard with tall trees, so we were able to go outside with Leo and get some fresh air in a safe place with no cameras pointed at us.
One good thing came from our self-imposed lockdown: We had plenty of time to get creative with crayons. Over the course of two days, Louise drew dozens of pictures of her visit to heaven, and I tacked each one to the wall outside her bedroom.
To a stranger, they might have looked like any other drawings by a five-year old because they were images of colorful rainbows and yellow suns, trees and tall buildings—just like what she’d described to me in the park. But to me, I saw something more.
Each time she finished a new picture, she handed the page to me and said, “This isn’t as good as the real thing. I don’t think I can draw it.”
“Would it help if you had something better than crayons?” I asked, encouraging her to continue. “What about paint?”
“That would be good.”
“Let’s go to the art store tomorrow,” I suggested.
In the meantime, she drew hearts everywhere to surround herself and her grandfather, who held her hand wherever they were—in the sky above the clouds or in an orchard with sunlight filtering through pink apple blossoms or rabbits in the tall grass. I could almost hear the sound of insects buzzing, grass swishing against my legs…
And she always drew a mustache on her grandfather.
By the end of the second day, the entire hallway was papered with Louise’s colorful crayon illustrations, but now she was painting with oils on canvas—using an easel I’d purchased at the art store.
I spent a lot of time in the hallway, studying her creations, which she produced at an alarming rate. She drew birds and trees and meadows with colorful wildflowers and sparkling drops of dew. Oceans with turquoise water, dolphins and seagulls. Mountains with white, snow-capped peaks. Sunsets with spectacular clouds and silver linings.
On the third day, when I woke at six am to the sound of rain pelting against my window, I donned my bathrobe, went to the living room and peered through the slats in the blinds. To my relief, the street in front of my house was deserted. The reporters and news vans had departed.
Knowing my sister was an early riser on school days, I called her. She told me to turn on the television because it appeared we were no longer the top news story on every station. We’d been bumped aside by an earthquake in California the night before. I wasn’t happy about the devastation, of course, but I was thankful to have our privacy back.

Giveaway

WIN $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD
The Color of a Silver Lining Giveaway Graphic
Contest runs from June 12 – 18, 2017.

About Julianne MacLean

Julianne MacLean

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author who has sold more than 1.3 million books in North America, and her novels have also been translated into many foreign languages. She has written twenty historical romance novels, including the bestselling Highlander Trilogy with St. Martin’s Press and her popular Pembroke Palace Series with Avon/Harper Collins. She also writes contemporary mainstream fiction, and her 2011 release The Color of Heaven was a USA Today bestseller. Please visit her website for more information. http://www.juliannemaclean.com.
To receive regular updates from the author, join Julianne MacLean’s newsletter.
Connect with Julianne MacLean on social media:
For more information, visit the The Color of a Silver Lining Book Page at Book Unleashed.

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Release Blitz: A Beautiful Glittering Lie by J.D.R. Hawkins

A Beautiful Glittering Lie

Release Date: May 15, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, War

What begins as an adventure turns out to be an invitation for death when Hiram Summers enlists with the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment in 1861. The realities of war strike hard and fast, leaving destruction and suffering in its wake.

One man’s sacrifice could impact everyone he knows.

About the book:

In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America chooses to fight for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. In north Alabama, the majority favors remaining in the Union, but when the state secedes, many come to her defense. Such is the case with Hiram Summers, a farmer and father of three. He decides to enlist, and his son, David, also desires to go, but is instead obligated to stay behind.

Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment. Although he doesn’t intentionally seek out adventure, he is quickly and inevitably thrust into combat. In the meantime, David searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Their escapade turns sour when they discover the true meaning of war, and after two years of service, Hiram sees enough tragedy to last a lifetime.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie addresses the naivety of a young country torn by irreparable conflict, a father who feels he must defend his home, and a young man who longs for adventure, regardless of the perilous cost.

Book links here:

Foundation Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes

—–

About the author:

J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her “Renegade Series” includes “A Beautiful Glittering Lie,” winner of the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the 2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion. The sequel, “A Beckoning Hellfire,” is also an award winner. Both books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Mississippi Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and a singer/songwriter. She recently completed a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as two more sequels for her “Renegade Series.”

Connect with J.D.R. here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon

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Book Tour: Bad Uncle by Gillian Felix

Bad Uncle by Gillian Felix

Family Portrait Book 5
Genre: New Adult Drama, Contemporary Fiction

Who needs enemies when you’ve got family.

The stars are aligned in Adriana’s favor, but secrets have a way of exposing themselves just when everything is perfect. As Adriana and Haze’s relationship heads south, Carys is ready to pounce. Will Adriana’s lies drive the man she loves into the arms of another?

Meanwhile Zax is finally with his dream girl, but why can’t he get his best friend’s girl out of his mind? When she turns to him for advice on how to be a better girlfriend, can he put his selfish desires aside, or will he follow his siblings and take what he wants despite the consequences?

When Kevin’s lifestyle puts innocent L’Wren in danger, his retaliation brings his ruthless uncle back to Los Angeles and into the lives of his family. In Bad Uncle you’ll get to know the man who has the power to change the legacy of the Banovic family forever.

For Readers 18+

Book links:

Goodreads | Amazon

—–

Haze sat in his car outside of the high school that Adriana attended. He was early and classes were still in session. It made sense to him why she didn’t want to tell her parents about them. He’d also sensed that she was hiding something, and now he knew. All those months she’d played him for a fool. She made him fall in love with her. What kind of sick game was she playing?

He went over their times together and wondered if she had been honest with him but he heard what he wanted. Was he so desperate that he imagined that she was older than she really was? The bell rang and the girls came out in their uniforms. He saw them scatter off in different directions; then he spotted Adriana. She was in uniform, her raven hair was in a single long braid down to her waist, and her blue eyes shone as she talked and laughed with one of the girls. Haze looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. She looked fifteen; why didn’t he see it before?

Her smile disappeared when she spotted his Toyota Rav4.

“Haze.” She looked in through the passenger window.

“Get in. Your dad sent me to pick you up,” Haze said icily without looking at her.

Adriana got in and sat quietly. She placed her books on her lap and buckled her seatbelt. Haze drove off without saying a word.

The tension in the air was so thick that Adriana felt that she couldn’t breathe.

“My love, I can explain,” Adriana said quietly.

“Don’t call me that.” Haze gritted his teeth. “Don’t EVER call me that!”

“I’m sorry, Haze.” Adriana felt her heart ripping out of her chest. She had never seen him so angry.

“You lied to me, Adriana! For months you fucked with my feelings for your own personal enjoyment.”

“I love you,” she cried.

“Shut up! You don’t know what love is! I fucking loved you, Adriana!” A tear rolled down his cheek. “I wanted a life with you! I wanted a future with you!” He slammed his fist on the steering wheel.

Adriana saw his knuckles turn white as he gripped the steering wheel.

“Did you laugh at me? Did you tell your little friends what you were doing to me? Did you tell them that I almost fucked you?”

“Don’t say it like that! You make it sound dirty!” Adriana wept openly.

“I’m a pervert or pedophile.” More tears rolled down Haze’s cheeks.

“I lied because I love you, and I was afraid that if you knew the truth, you’d leave me.”

“Yeah? Well, I guess you’re right about something.”

“Haze, please.”

“I don’t ever want to see you again, Adriana. When you get home, tell your parents I quit. Tell them why I quit; tell them YOU BROKE ME.” Haze pulled up to the curb in front of the gates of the manor.

“Haze, this can’t be over. Please, Haze, please try to understand,” Adriana pleaded. She tried to touch him, but he flinched.

“Get out.”

“I can’t, I don’t want this to be over. You have to believe that I love you. I love you more than anything.”

“GET OUT, Adriana!” he shouted.

“NO! I’m not leaving. I don’t care who knows.”

Haze got out of his car and started walking down the street. Adriana got out and ran after him.

“I love you, Haze, please!” she cried and Haze turned away.

She stepped in front of him and forced him to look at her. “I know you love me. I know what we have is real.”

“It was all a lie.”

She held on to him. “No, baby, it wasn’t. I promise I’ll be good. I’ll tell you everything. I’ll never keep anything from you. I promise.”

Haze pried her away from him. “I have to go.” He walked back to his car and Adriana watched him drive away. She sank to the sidewalk and sobbed.

—–

Originally from the island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Miss Felix moved to the United States in 1998. Since then she has been involved in the entertainment industry for over ten years. Her experience ranges from script supervisor to production manager on many independent features. She is trained in the Meisner and Stanislavski technique of acting, which she credits as an asset to her character development and writing.

Miss Felix is also an entrepreneur and advocate for children’s and women’s rights.

Connect with Gillian here:

Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 —–

Book Tour: 40 Something by Shannon Peel

40 Something
by Shannon Peel
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction

Five women navigate life while juggling careers, children, family, and the men in their lives.

 

Charlie is bored with the family tradition of Sunday Dinner so she brings a friend her family won’t approve of to spice things up a bit. Will this friend go too far and cause too much damage?

 

Rose only wants to do what is right and keep her family safe. How can she do that when the world is so dangerous and her teenagers so willful. Will helping a friend invite trouble into her perfect world?

 

Lindsay loves to have fun and enjoys the company of men. She is a modern playgirl who will stop at nothing to get a man’s attention. Will she find what she’s looking for or something unexpected?

 

Sophie wants to keep the peace and keep everyone happy, especially her ex-husband, so her children will live with her full time. Will she lose the children if she can’t afford to take care of them?

 

Justine wants to escape her perfect life, she just doesn’t realize it. Will she find the passion that is missing or will she continue to hide behind her computer screen?

My feet are soaking in a warm tub of water filled with skin softening additives, while my hands are getting the full treatment. My nails are a mess. I’ve needed a manicure for weeks. My hands are getting so old looking, they are covered in age spots. Disgusting. The skin is beginning to wrinkle and thin. I haven’t been giving them enough attention lately.

Before I leave, I’ll buy a good moisturizer for them. Something expensive.

My whole body has been breaking out in age spots. They look like dull brown freckles with dry skin building up on them constantly. There has to be some product that can get rid of these ugly brown splotches.

“What colour do you want?” The manicurist asks.

I look through the case of nail polish colours and choose a deep, dark, red colour. Sexy.

“This one.”

“You want shellac? It $20 more.”

“Why not.”

The news channel is on and I read the closed captioning while the girl works her magic. Always the same thing on the news, war, war, and war. War on drugs, gang wars, actual war. If it bleeds it leads they say and the world is bleeding big time.

I push a button and the chair starts rolling against my back, giving me a machine’s version of massage and it does feel good. Not as good as the real thing but it is putting pressure on those points that ache deep in the muscles. I’m just shutting my eyes when an image of a face comes on the screen that snaps them open again.

I know that guy.

I’ve dated that guy.

I’ve had sex with that guy.

In fact we had an affair for a year before he disappeared. One day he just stopped communicating with me, wouldn’t answer any of my calls, messages, or texts. I assumed his wife found out and he was doing some penance before crawling back to me for a good time. I guess not.

The headline says, Local Business Exec Arrested for Solicitation of a Minor.

I read the words moving across the screen trying to keep up.

Stanton Boremann has been charged with solicitation of a minor in court today. It is alleged that Mr. Boremann offered to pay a 15 year old $300 for sexual services during an online instant message communication.

An officer comes on the screen and is asked about the charges, her response is,

“The two met on an online dating site when the young girl messaged him to ask if he’d have sex with a younger woman. At first she claimed to be in her early twenties, but soon admitted that she was still in high school. The online conversation between the two continued for a couple of weeks before the young lady mentioned she needed money and Mr. Boemann made the offer of money for sex. His messages were quite detailed and he expressed certain sexual requests be performed in exchange for the money.”

The reporter comes on the screen.

“Mr. Boemann was not available for comment.”

The Anchor came back on the screen and a new story came onto the screen.

Stanton. A pedophile. I never would have suspected.

Sure he liked role-play. I’d dress up like the naughty schoolgirl and he pretended to be the principal. That was just fantasy role-play, lots of men like to pretend to be the teacher, the principal, the boss, the daddy, or whomever while the woman pretends to be younger. That doesn’t mean they want sex with a minor, it’s more about the power imbalance than the actual age. This doesn’t make any sense. He wouldn’t have sex with a minor and he definitely wouldn’t pay one. He doesn’t need to pay for sex.

What is this world coming to?

 

Shannon Peel grew up in Enderby, BC where her family’s root run deep. Growing up where television was either non existent or very limited she relied on books & imagination to escape into the world beyond.

She went to UBC to study and earn a general studies BA with a concentration in Political Science and Economics. Macro analysis of world events, social justice and human motivations became a passion of hers. This passion is a driving force in all her stories, which have political, economic, and social justice undercurrents.

After a career in the financial field she decided to stay home and raise her two children until school age. In 2007 she return to the workforce as a sales / marketing / advertising professional. She currently resides in BC’s Lower Mainland with her two teenage children.

Shannon Peel is a creative, intelligent professional with a 20 year proven track record in sales, marketing, customer relations, project management, presentations, and communication.

 

Learning To Breathe by Marisa Oldham

★✩★ Now Available ★✩★

123Blurb:

Like the ocean, life is a beautiful force. One that can tear you limb from limb or lavish you in perfect moments.

Michelle Hathaway has it all: a view of the Eiffel Tower from her loft in Paris, a successful career as a fashion photographer, ownership in an up-and-coming art gallery, and jet-setting days filled with excitement. But, even with all that luxury, her life feels aimless. Over the years, Michelle drifted on the tide of a long distance, on-again off-again relationship with Micah Roberts, a hot bass player in a popular rock band. When he finally asks her to move to Los Angeles to be with him, she risks everything, taking the leap into a new life. Drowning in the wake of her decisions, she struggles just to breathe as destiny threatens to take everything. As unexpected events devastate her, will Michelle surface from the depths of despair?

From Bestselling Author of The Falling Series, Marisa Oldham, comes an emotionally heart stopping novel about love, heartache, and learning to breathe when it feels as though the air is kicked from you.

Purchase Link: #OneClick for only .99 cents! Amazon

12 1234 12345★✩★ WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT LTB ★✩★

“I have never cried so much while reading a book. This story touched me in a very deep and emotional way.” – Jackie, Fire and Ice Book Reviews

“This is a must read book. The characters in Learning to Breathe are so real. You will feel like you are in the story. You will feel the connection with the characters. You will feel. The emotions. YOU WILL FEEL.” – Kelly M, ARC Reader

“I have never read a book that felt it was as much mine as it was the authors. This book has pieces that will parallel your life, and probably affect you in a way no other book has…or ever will.” – Devine Warnes, ARC Reader

Release Blitz + Review: Rebel Soul by J.C. Hannigan

~* Release Blitz *~

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TITLE: Rebel Soul

SERIES: Rebel Series Book 1

AUTHOR: J.C. Hannigan

RELEASE DATE: June 1st, 2016

PURCHASE LINK: http://amzn.to/1Ttl4Hk

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00023]

synopsis

Tessa Armstrong has one more summer at home before heading off to college with her best friend. She’s been counting down the months, waiting to be free of her overbearing brothers and overprotective father — not to mention getting out of the small, suffocating town she’s grown up in.

The one thing Tessa doesn’t count on is falling in love, least of all with Brock Miller. He’s the kind of boy her father has always warned her about. He’s older, mysterious, and a little dangerous. Brock has had a hard past, and the whole town not only knows it, but won’t let him forget.

Brock has come back to take care of his ailing mother and struggling younger siblings. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, especially with one of the town’s darlings, but sometimes, love comes fast and fierce.

Can Tessa and Brock find a way to each other despite their pasts and the obstacles their families present?

Rebel Soul teaser 2 Rebel Soul teaser 6Rebel Soul Teaser

exserpt

“I want you to be careful tonight, Tessa.” My dad’s tired blue eyes met mine, conveying his seriousness.

I narrowed my eyes, on edge. “Why? It’s just the rodeo, Dad. I’ve been going every year my whole life,” I pointed out, trying to keep the tone of rebellion from my voice. It was true; I had been going since before I could walk, and I even competed every year in show jumping. I was no stranger to the rodeo, or to the type of people it brought in. Still, I had a feeling my father’s warning had very little to do with the rodeo itself.

My dad and I used to be super close, back when I was a tomboy who liked dirt and sports. I was his constant shadow. But then I hit the tender age of sixteen and started developing breasts and curves and crushing on boys. It didn’t matter that I was practically an adult at eighteen years old; my dad still thought of me as his little girl that desperately needed protection from all of the boys. It used to enrage me, how my brothers could go out on dates and stay out late, but I couldn’t.

My older brother, Tommy, used to joke that it was because “Once your boobs grow in, your brain falls out.

The way my father treated my brothers versus the way he treated me was notable, and it was a source of constant conflict. My brothers weren’t girls, therefore they didn’t need to have the same rules in place. Benjamin, Gordon and Tommy could come and go as they pleased, as long as all their chores got done and they didn’t flunk out of school. I had a strict curfew, and if I didn’t obey, not only did I get seriously grounded, but all three of my brothers would show up wherever I was to “escort me home”. The only exception to this rule was if one of my older brothers tagged along, which meant I wasn’t allowed to drink or kiss any boys or have a life at all.

I knew my dad meant well. I knew he was just trying to protect me from the harshness of the world. I knew that Dad just wanted me to focus on school and get a top education. He expected the boys to work on the farm, but he wanted more for me. Or at least, that’s what Grandpa used to tell me. Dad wasn’t one to talk about his “feelings”. He was a stern man and he was just as stern with my brothers, only in a different way and for different reasons.

“I heard that Miller boy is back in town,” Dad said gravely, as if this should mean something to me. I arched a brow, waiting for him to explain himself. My father scratched at his thick, deep, copper coloured beard, looking extremely uncomfortable. “That boy, he’s trouble, Tessa.”

The Millers weren’t exactly one of the most respected families around here, and the rumor mill was always churning with gossip about them. It was town knowledge that Mr. Miller had been a drunk when he was alive, and had never been able to hold down a job for very long. Mrs. Miller used to work double shifts every day at the water treatment plant, and all three of their kids got in various levels of nuisance over the years. When he was in high school, Braden had gotten into a lot of trouble for fighting. He could be mean and was a total sexist pig, but Elle loved him, and I’d be lying if I said Braden hadn’t changed a little after he started dating her. He was a little softer now, but not by much. Braden had an older sister named Becky, and she had her fair share of troubles too. She was twenty-two years old and the single mother of a three-year-old boy.

Brock was twenty-four, and he’d been close friends with my older brother Gordon growing up. In fact, between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, Brock had spent a lot of time here at the farm – helping out and doing odd jobs for some extra cash. My dad hadn’t thought he was dangerous back then.

In all the years he’d been a staple in our household, I’d never spent any time alone with him or even spoke to him aside from the occasional “Can you pass a dinner roll?” Back then, I was painfully shy. I was also painfully aware of how good looking Brock was. It was impossible for anyone to not notice Brock Miller. Not even my ten-year-old self.

As young as I was, I was enamored by him; I was bewitched by his easy, dimpled smile and the unusual colour of his eyes. Those eyes were like steel and smoke. They were enticing, even from afar. He was the kind of guy that just looked dangerous and he had the reputation to prove it. When he was in high school, he went through girls faster than my horse went through shoes. He had a reckless spirit and he’d loved bull riding. I remember Gordon talking about how nuts he was to climb up on those beasts, but Gordon had also said he was talented. When Brock was seventeen, he’d joined the Ontario Rodeo Association to compete in fairs and rodeos all over Ontario. He had apparently done very well for himself prior to his stint in jail. Brock had won every competition he’d entered.

“Come on, Dad. Don’t tell me you’re buying into that old gossip mill.” I sighed, almost rolling my eyes. “You used to feed ‘that Miller boy’. He’s harmless.”

“Harmless people don’t go to jail, Tessa,” my father pointed out, his eyes serious. I winced, nodding once. My father had a point.

Brock had served time in jail a couple years back after he was charged with aggravated assault. The details on what happened were fuzzy. Despite how often the Millers were gossiped about, they were severely private and nobody actually knew the proper details of anything. Braden refused to talk about his family’s business. The town only knew what the newspaper article had stated.

I don’t remember much about the day that the newspapers broke the news of a local boy arrested for aggravated assault; I only remembered the look of disappointment on my father’s face. My father, for as serious and tough as he was, had a soft heart. He guessed that Brock didn’t have a good home life, so he tried his best to provide a more constructive outlet for him on our farm.

Frankly, I didn’t care. I had no intention of seeing Brock. I barely put up with having Braden around. While my heart had softened marginally towards the youngest Miller boy, I still didn’t particularly like him and I had absolutely zero desire to awaken that old, awkward crush I’d harbored on Brock when I was a gangly ten-year-old.

I sighed, glancing towards our white farmhouse longingly. I was desperate to wash the smell of cow off me, and eager to get to the rodeo and meet up with my friends.

“Dad…” I popped my lips out and huffed with aggravation. My father said that about almost each and every guy that lived within a one-hundred mile radius. Still, I knew he was probably right about that particular Miller boy.

I couldn’t understand why my father was freaking out about his reappearance or what I had to do with it. Even if he’d been friends with Gordon, Brock Miller had never spoken more than three words to me. I wasn’t likely to capture the attention of the notorious Miller boy.

I bit back a sigh and forced myself to relax a little. “I promise I’ll stay away from Brock.”

Dad nodded gruffly, satisfied with my answer. He waited until I’d climbed into the truck, and then slapped the back panel, almost as if he was urging a horse on. I laughed, rolling my eyes.

My dad was a strange man. He was about as country as they got. He raised cattle for a living, just like his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather dating all the way back a hundred years or so. We’d grown up knowing what hard work and dedication looks like, and we were put to work as soon as we were old enough to stand and take a few steps.

I loved my dad, even though we didn’t see eye to eye on anything lately. It had a lot to do with me being a girl, I think. I tried not to allow my gender to affect things, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stomp my feet around and throw fits at least once a month, ranting and raving about the toilet seat being left up or about how Gordon never remembered to take his boots off in the mud room and ended up tracking mud and manure from the fields throughout our entire kitchen.

It was always my job to clean it up. If I didn’t, it didn’t get done. My brothers and father didn’t exactly see messes the way normal people did, so it was up to me to make sure the house was in fine order. To say I resented that role would be an understatement, but like I said…if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done.

I didn’t have a mother. She died when I was two years old; killed by a drunk driver on her way home from a jumping event, leaving dad with three sons and me. Benjamin, Gordon, and Tommy were easy enough because they were boys. But me? I was a whole different kettle of fish, or I was when I hit puberty anyway. It was like my dad suddenly didn’t know what to do with me.

review

Frankly, I didn’t care. I had no intention of seeing Brock. I barely put up with having Braden around. While my heart had softened marginally towards the youngest Miller boy, I still didn’t particularly like him and I had absolutely zero desire to awaken that old, awkward crush I’d harbored on Brock when I was a gangly ten-year-old.

What is love? Is it that jittery feeling in your stomach that you get after you see that special someone? Is there actually love at first sight? Can it truly be so strong that it lasts a lifetime? Hannigan writes another wonderfully balanced novel filled with romance and the struggles in life that make them who they really are. In this first installment, the author does delve into the very topic of love and what it means for two individuals who defy the odds and take a chance on each other, even when everyone else around them has little faith in the outcome.

Tessa Armstrong has her life planned out. She only has the summer to relax and enjoy herself before she goes to college with her best friend, leaving the town that she grew up in behind. While she loves her family, her father is overprotective and her brothers are overbearing. As the story ramps up, there is just one thing that doesn’t fit into her plan…Brock Miller coming back into town. Brock comes with a challenging past, one that no one in the small town really understands. Everyone is very quick to judge this man as an outcast, which is fine by Brock because he likes to keep to himself. When he lays eyes on Tessa at outdoor party, he is drawn to her in ways that he can’t explain. What does fate have in store for this couple with Tessa leaving in a few months for college?

Hannigan has a well-written, romantic and creative work of fiction here. Rebel Soul is powerful, motivating and exciting. The writing does appear to be high quality than previous works of fiction—there aren’t as many grammatical and spelling errors. This installment is a faced-paced novel much like her other two series, which makes it very easy to read. If you are a reader of romance and women’s fiction within a series, you may enjoy reading this first installment.

A free copy was exchanged for an honest review of this fictional piece.

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about the author

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J.C. Hannigan lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, their two sons, and their dog. She writes contemporary new adult romance and suspense. Her novels focus on relationships, mental health, social issues, and other life challenges.

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Review: Lighter by Gia Riley

23491333ABOUT THE BOOK: What do you do when you can’t save the one you love?

Sophie can’t survive without control. Growing up with an alcoholic father, she craves the discipline of gymnastics. Feeling lost on a brand new college campus, she lets loose for the first time in her life. But with freedom comes consequences. Is one night everything she hopes? Or will she become her own worst nightmare?

Kipton’s one year away from graduation. He’s never thought beyond a one night stand until meeting his sister’s new roommate. Finally setting his sights on the girl he can’t resist, he’s more determined than ever when she won’t give in to his persuasions. He’s always gotten the girl, and he’s not about to give up without a fight.

Will Sophie be able to salvage her dreams and wage a war against her own vices? Can she finally let love in? Or will history repeat itself causing her to self-destruct?

Lighter isn’t your typical college romance. Darkness suffocates, dreams are dashed, and battles are lost. Love takes on a whole new meaning.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

REVIEW: This story is about a woman named Sophie who wants to leave the harshness of her life behind and begin with a fresh start. She decides to move away for college on a Gymnastics scholarship since the sport is what she feels is the only thing that saved her from her misery at home. She meets Cara, Kipton, and Drew when she arrives and they become friends quickly. With her being new to relationships, she is afraid to let herself continue letting them in, afraid of allowing her heart to trust these new friends of hers. She must make that choice one way or another as her past comes barreling back, threatening to take her to that dark and awful place where love was completely obsolete. Cara’s character was my favorite because, even though the story is not centered around her, she brings some fresh new perspective to Sophie’s life. While Cara is wild and open sometimes, coming from a wealthy southern family, they shares a lot of common interests that draws Sophie in. Drew is the resident adviser and Kipton is Cara’s brother. I really liked reading about both men because their mannerisms and gentleness are a little contradictory to some of the other men that both women run into on campus. Overall, I found that this story was very compelling and I enjoyed reading it. Some of the emotional struggles are a little difficult to read due to the content; however, back-stories are always a must in my opinion. It allows the reader to fully understand or comprehend what the author is trying to convey with the character’s lives. I recommend this novel, but feel that it targets women more than men since the read is emotional and deals with Sophie finding herself. I give this story five stars because it is well written, creative and I love stories that I can relate to.

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