24561614

 

synopsis

Laney Stewart has always had a thing for hot Navy Seals. With her brother bringing them home for every holiday how was she supposed to resist? Especially when he seems to want her despite her not being a size two, or even a size ten. With him living right next door, what’s a girl to do?

Craig Thomas didn’t expect to have sex with Little Laney. But when he moved in next door to Luke Stewart’s little sister, and she shows up at his apartment too drunk to find her own, what’s a man to do? How was he to resist a woman who sets him on fire and always has when she cries and tells him that nobody could ever want her.

 

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24561614-holding-her-tightly?ac=1

review

*Review copy received from the author for an honest review*

4 “She. Hated. Men!” stars!

I was sold the minute I saw hot Navy Seals in the synopsis 😉  But there is a lot more to this story than just the HOT HOT guys in it. And there are so MANY of them. My hope is they all get their own story :)

“He knew he couldn’t touch her, but desire was complicated and he couldn’t seem to shake it.”

Holding her Tightly is Craig and Laney’s story, though. And wow is it an interesting and complex one. They are neighbors, they work together, Craig’s best friend is her brother, and neither are willing to discuss their feelings!!  Oh, and did I mention this has been going on for like 12 years?!? I was starting to wonder if they were ever going to talk about it!!!  And the surprising thing was Laney frustrated me more than Craig. Usually I like to blame the males, but I couldn’t do that this time. Laney has some issues that make her hold back so much, but DAMN girl, Craig is HOT and sweet and wants you!! Open your eyes, woman!!! Yes, I was doing a lot of mental screaming at her. LOL

“He wanted to shake her only he was afraid if he touched her again he’d rip her clothes off and throw her to the bed to take her, repeatedly.”

And you know what?!? Laney is a great person and NOT a size 2!! Haha…who knew a person could be sexy and attract a sexy seal when she is a size 12. Sorry if that came across sarcastic, but it was supposed to be!! I do get tired of reading about all the perfect bodies in almost every story I read. Thank you, Marianne for writing a real woman into this story 😉

“You think that’s the type of woman I want in my bed, Laney? That? Have you ever seen a woman like her leaving my apartment?”

I feel like this is a great start to what can be a HOT, sexy and entertaining series. Holding her Tightly could easily be a one sitting read with how smooth it flows and how quickly you get sucked right in to Laney’s life. My one complaint, but not really a complaint, is that I think this story could have been even better in first person with both male and female point of views. You are given a lot of their thoughts but it all kind of flows together instead of separating out when we were getting their thoughts. I know that sounds confusing but I promise it makes sense in my head 😉 LOL!!

Happy Reading!!!

jenniferl-sig

 

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 Holding Her Tightly: Security Seals (Seals Security Book 1)

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Synopsis

Annabella Baker has always lived a normal life with a loving family. She had dreams of going to college and becoming a dancer. But the summer before her senior year, the life she knew is ripped away from her, and she’s left wondering if it ever really existed in the first place.

Six months later, Annabella is living an entirely different life. The loving family she had no longer exists, and the girl who dreamed of being a dancer can barely walk. She spends most of her time getting into trouble and living in denial over what happened. One night she takes things one step too far and is left dealing with the consequences.

Put under house arrest, Annabella can no longer run away from her problems. With the help of her cute, sweet neighbor, Luca Benton, she rediscovers the girl she used to be, and finally learns the truth about what really happened that horrible day that changed her life forever.

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review

* A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review *

~ 3.5 Grape Skittle Stars ~

What would you do if your life and everything you believed to be true changed in a blink of an eye??

Well that’s exactly what happened to Annabella Baker.  She not only found out a secret about her mom, but was also in a tragic car accident that claimed the life of her parents. Stuck in a downward spiral…Annabella makes some really bad choices over the course of several months.

The Illusion of Annabella is a story about loss, grief, anger, and learning to overcome all of those things.

I know when I pick up a Jessica Sorensen book that I am in for a heartfelt emotional YA book. Jessica is amazing at giving us tortured heroines in her stories, but she is also amazing at giving us FABULOUS Heroes to fall in love with. I thought this story was an accurate tale of what could happen to a seventeen year old girl who has just had her whole world turned upside down, but also how it effects the people around her as well. This book proves that when you make adult choices, there are adult consequences to go along with those choices. Also you need to think of the other people in your life before making those choices because it will essentially effect them as well.

I enjoyed this book but I will say it didn’t WOW me. I thought it was a little on the long side. There were things I thought could’ve been left out and still the story would’ve had the same impact on the reader. There was a scene that happened towards the end of the book that I wish would’ve happened earlier….it would’ve spiced up the book a little sooner. I also would’ve liked to see how Annabella’s life turned out after the end of the book. Maybe through an epilogue or by cutting out some of the middle and putting more chapters at the end after her revelation. But that’s just me…I’m sure many of you will love the book just as it is.

Annabella was truly a tortured soul. She carried the weight of her mom’s secret on her shoulders and didn’t know what to do with it. She also had to carry the weight of being the only survivor in the car accident. I don’t condone the decisions she made but I can’t say that I blame her. I’m not sure how a situation like this would effect me. I did roll my eyes a couple times regarding Annabella….I wanted to smack her upside the head a couple times too. She had this family who she could turn to and lean on, because they were going through the similar situation, yet she pushed them away and shut them out. I was glad that she met Luca (her cute next door neighbor). He was able to open her up and bring her back to life. But he did it in a way that she didn’t see what was happening until she had her revelation!! Luca….He was great. So patient and kind. He also had some serious family issues, but I think that helped him in understanding Annabella and helping her cope with things.

The Illusion of Annabella is a Stand-alone novel, but is the first book in the Honeyton Series. Each of the siblings in this book, will be getting their own story as well. This book truly does show you how secrets and lies can destroy a person and those around her. If you are a fan of Jessica’s then you don’t want to miss this book!!!!

 

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AboutTheAuthor

 

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Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Lauren Blakely’s 21 STOLEN KISSES!! 21 STOLEN KISSES by Lauren Blakely is a standalone New Adult Forbidden Romance from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author being published by Bloomsbury Spark! Lauren Blakely is well known for writing sexy, heartfelt and humorous contemporary romance as well as deeply emotional new adult stories. 21 STOLEN KISSES is a beautifully written forbidden romance that will have you holding your breath and turning the pages as fast as you can!

 

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ABOUT 21 STOLEN KISSES:

When I first met him I resisted.
Like any forbidden love, I told myself he was a crush, and it would pass.
That was a lie. It never faded.

And I never expected he would fall for me just as hard.

There were so many reasons that should have kept us apart, least of all, the decade that separated us.
Growing up in New York City, I learned early on that love is a double-edged sword.
Love broke up my parents, love took away my friends, and love — the big, intense, never-been-like-this-beforelove — landed me in therapy.
Now I’m heading to college, and it’s time to give love a clean slate again. But, can I really start over when he’s still in my life?
Because the one man I’ve always wanted, is also the only guy I absolutely can’t have…
And he wants me just as fiercely.

Can I settle for anything less than the love of my life?

 

 

21 STOLEN KISSES Excerpt :

He inhales sharply. The look in his eyes says we’re crossing into the danger zone again. It’s the only place I want to be with him. Because when we’re there, nothing between us feels dangerous. Everything feels right.
“I turn eighteen in a few more weeks,” I say, like my birthday is an open invitation for us to slam back into each other.
He nods. “I know.”
A breeze blow by and rustles his hair. A lock falls out of place. Instinct takes over. I raise my hand to reach for his hair.
But he’s faster. He grasps my wrist, and the second he does, the moment expands. It stretches and unfolds into the thing I will replay tonight and tomorrow and the next day. I stare at his hand clasped around my wrist, flashing back to all the times he held my hand, touched my wrist, and ran his fingers along my arm. I shiver as the memories collide, the past slamming into the present.
I look up from our hands to his eyes. Blazing, full of heat. Full of all that restraint from him that I know so well.

 

21 STOLEN KISSES Review :

* A review copy was provided by the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

~ 3.5 Stars ~

It saddens me to write this review because Lauren Blakely is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE authors, so I’m sad to say that 21 Stolen Kisses was not one of my favorites of hers.

I don’t really know what it was about this book, but it didn’t seem like a normal Lauren book. I loved the storyline of the book and I really did like the characters Kennedy and Noah, but I think what I had the hardest part getting through was the style of writing she chose for this story. I have to be honest, I spent most of the book confused or lost.

I don’t normally have a problem when an author chooses to write a story in both present and past timeframes. What confused me with this one though was the fact that there wasn’t a very good segue between time switches. What I mean is I could start a chapter and be in the present and then all of a sudden half way down the page we would be in a flashback from when Kennedy and Noah first met. Or one chapter would end (and it was in the present time) but then the next chapter starts in the past, with no connecting words to let the reader know we were being flashed back in time. I don’t know it’s hard to explain and maybe it was just me who felt lost.

With all that said, I am still glad that I read this book and I will continue to read anything Lauren writes. She has a wonderful ability of creating outstanding characters who feel real and relatable. You can’t help but fall for them and feel like you are a part of their lives.

This book is story about forbidden love between Kennedy and Noah. Kennedy is 17 and Noah is 25. Noah is an agent who works with Kennedy’s mom. Even with the age difference I felt their connection and love they felt for each other. I was happy that Lauren didn’t turn this relationship into a sexual one, not only because of the age difference but because their story didn’t need it. I loved that she created a friendship between Kennedy and Noah first. Their love grow over time and because both of them could just be themselves with each other. They had so much in common. Their story was truly an epic love story that had a lot of very sweet and tender moments. It also showed us that it is true….you can’t always help or choose who you fall in love with. I thought Lauren did a wonderful job with the age difference. I never felt uncomfortable or grossed out while reading the story. I truly believe that was because these characters were so well thought out and developed, that they just felt like they were meant for each other.

Lauren Blakely is a wonderful writer and is always able to give the reader a wonderful love story. She added some really great things to this story, that I just loved. I enjoyed reading about the 21 stolen kisses and all the descriptions of the “heart” pictures Kennedy loved to find. You’ll understand more once you read the book.

21 Stolen Kisses is a standalone new adult romance book about a forbidden love. This story is told in dual POV and ends with a happy ending. I will say that if you have trouble with a 25 year old man dating a 17 year old girl then this might not be the book for you. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the forbidden love story and is a fan of Lauren’s. I truly felt this was like no other book she has written and for that reason, I think you should give it a try. Just because it wasn’t my favorite doesn’t mean others won’t fall in love with story.

 

jenniferh-sig

 

 

 

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Author PhotoAbout Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and she has had seven books on the New York Times Bestseller list and eleven on the USA Today Bestseller list. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her bestselling series include Caught Up in Love, Seductive Nights, No Regrets and Fighting Fire. She recently released Forbidden Nights, a standalone novel in her New York Times Bestselling Seductive Nights series that became an instant New York Times Bestseller. This summer she’ll release Consumed by You, her next title in her NYT Bestselling Fighting Fire series about sexy firemen and the women they love, and Sweet Sinful Nights, the first book in her new series Sinful Nights. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, text BLAKELY + your email address to 678-249-3375 (please use the actual + sign).

 

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Rules of the game:

1) Never underestimate your opponent

2) Avoid personal fouls

3) Score early and often

4) Play or get played

 

Coach Marcus Leon has always played by the rules…until he meets Addaline Grace, the seventeen-year-old senior transfer on his Oak Crest High water polo team. Addie changes all the rules, mostly because she doesn’t play any games. But as off limits as she is, the more Marcus discovers about Addie, the more he finds himself…and the more he questions whether Addie might just be worth risking everything for.

For Addie, water polo is anger management. She’s driven and focused because it keeps her mind off other things…like the fact she destroyed her family. Her game plan is to keep her head down and graduate so she can leave her father and the crappy town he dragged her to in her wake. But when what starts as friendly completion with Marcus turns into more than a game, Addie has to decide if she’s willing to face down her demons…and possibly ruin the man she may or may not be falling in love with in the process.

What happens when the only thing you need is the one thing you can’t have?

 

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Chapter 1
Marcus

I stare Caiden Brenner down over my younger sister Blaire’s shoulder. The beating early September sun in the courtyard of Town Hall is roasting me alive in this monkey suit, but I hardly notice. I’m too busy trying to get into my soon-to-be brother-in-law’s head.

“I do,” Blaire answers when the Justice of the Peace asks if she takes Caiden to be her husband.

I’ve decided Caiden isn’t the devil incarnate—that would be my ex-best friend, Nate—but I’m still struggling with what Caiden did to my sister four years ago, when he was twenty-five and she was barely seventeen.

But Blaire is shining in a way I’ve never seen her shine, and it’s more than the way she looks today—totally gorgeous in her bright blue sundress and black Converse, her long black hair tucked up in a bun on top of her head. It’s that, each time her eyes connect with Caiden’s, I see the visible change in her. All her sharp edges dull and something peaceful softens her face. Not only does she love him, she trusts him. For Blaire, that’s huge.

So maybe I need to trust him too.

I glance at Mom and Dad, seated in the short row of chairs under the small gazebo next to Caiden’s mother. Blaire and Caiden insisted on immediate family only at their civil service. They’re having a barbeque later at Graffiti Park for a few close friends and extended family.

I turn back in time to hear Caiden echo Blaire’s “I do,” then Blaire spins and look expectantly at me.

“What?” I ask.

Her expression turns decidedly more exasperated. “Jesus, Marcus.”

My eyes widen when it hits me what she’s waiting for. I pat my pocket and feel the ring there. I fish it out and hesitate.

Blaire’s glare could melt steel as she holds out her hand for it.

I swallow the acid rising up my throat and slip it into her palm. She’s really going through with this. She’s marrying the man who went to prison for statutory rape.

I’ve been hard on him. I know that. But all Blaire and I have ever had is each other. She’s always had my back, but I let her get hurt twice on my watch—once by Caiden, and then by Nate. It’s just been in the last few months that she’s seemed to find herself again after everything that happened. As much as I wish it were me that brought her back, I know it was Caiden. I need to cut him some slack.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath as they exchanging rings, and when I open them, they’re kissing.

When he finally lets her go, Blaire turns to me. She gives me a wary once over. “Just so you know, you suck as bro of honor.”

I duck my head and rub the sweat off the back of my neck. “You should have picked Zoey.”

Her eyes narrow. “I picked you, Marcus. I wanted you.”

Fuck. I really need to get over myself.

Just as I’m thinking this, Caiden slips to Blaire’s side and holds out his hand to me.

“Thanks for your support, Marcus.”

I split a glance between Caiden’s hand and my sister. Her gaze is unwavering, as usual, but under her hard exterior, I see a deep vulnerability in her eyes.

The moment of truth. Either I accept my new brother-in-law into the family, or break my sister’s heart.

I squeeze Caiden’s hand. Hard. “Welcome to the family. Just know this: You mess with Blaire, I will kill you.”

My compromise.

Blaire gives me her signature smirk, then tugs her groom closer and kisses him. “He messes with me, I’ll kill him.”

Caiden’s face beams as he looks at her. “Of that, I have no doubt.”

“You two are on grill duty at the reception,” she says, poking me in the chest. “And I expect you both to come away un-charred.”

I shake my head. “Can’t make any promises, sis.”

“That was lovely, Blaire,” Mom says, joining our small circle.

I glance around and find Dad already at the door. Social situations are his nightmare. This should be enough to drive him over the edge. But to his credit, he seems sober.

There’s an awkward moment where Blaire and our mother negotiate their way around a brief hug, then Mom backs away. “You said Zoey’s getting everything ready at the park?”

Blaire nods and pulls her phone out of her bra, glancing at the screen. “She says they’re ready anytime we are.”

Mom looks warily toward where Dad is shifting on his feet. “I might need to drop your father off at the house on the way. He’s not feeling well.”

Of course not. He’s already had to say hello to Caiden and his family. The thought of having to interact with more people at the reception is probably making him physically ill.

There’s a glint of disappointment in Blaire’s eyes, but it passes quickly as she thinks about it and comes to the same conclusion I have. “We’ll see you over there,” she says grasping Caiden’s hand and starting toward the parking lot.

 

Despite the “no gifts” decree, a handful of people wait near a pile of wrapped presents on one of the picnic tables under the small shelter when we arrive at Graffiti Park. The shelter has silver and blue streamers twisted around the poles and looped from the eaves, and the five picnic tables underneath are covered in blue paper table clothes with silver balloons tied to the benches. In the center of the middle table is a cake shaped like a penis in between two boobs. Blaire’s best friend Zoey’s contribution, no doubt.

Blaire leaves Caiden and I in the dust, where we’re carrying the gas grill from the back of my pickup truck across the grass to the shelter, and makes a beeline for Zoey. Her face is something between a scowl and a grin as she surveys the cake. “You know I’ll never be able to show my future children pictures of my wedding reception now.”

“But you’ll never forget it,” Zoey answers with a self-satisfied grin, wrapping Blaire in a hug. “Love you, girl.”

Next to me, Caiden’s feet stall and I yank the grill out of his hands when I keep walking. When I look back at him, he’s giving Blaire a stunned stare. But then a grin slowly spreads across his face.

“I guess this works,” I say, straightening out the grill next to the edge of the shelter.

His eyes snap to me as if he’s just remembering I exist. “Oh…sorry.”

I tug off my jacket. “So you guys are doing the whole kid thing?” I ask, tucking my tie inside the royal blue shirt I bought to match my sister’s wedding dress in a show of solidarity.

He glances at Blaire again and bobs a nod. “It appears that way.”

I crouch down to screw the gas line into the grill. “You haven’t talked about it?”

He shrugs as he pulls open a box of frozen Costco burgers. “Not specifically.”

“Kids makes it permanent,” I say in warning.

“Our marriage vows made it permanent,” he counters with more than a little irritation in his tone.

A hand brushes over my back. “Hey, good lookin’.”

I turn at the Texas drawl and find my date, Deanna, standing there in a tiny green dress and killer heels. She’s pretty in the Barbie sense: blond and blue with a heart-shaped face, copper skin, and an amazing body—long and lean with curves in all the right places.

I use the word “date” loosely. She’s the woman who stole my job at Oak Crest High. I know she was teaching in Texas for four years before coming here—the reason the school board cited for hiring her over me. Experience. Which means she’s at least three, maybe four years older than me. But what started as mindless frenemy sex a few weeks back has turned into a regular thing. When she invited herself to my sister’s wedding, it seemed a little heartless to tell her no.

She wraps her arms around my neck and sort of hangs off me. “How was the ceremony?”

I glance at Caiden, where he’s firing up the grill. “It was good.”

Deanna smiles at Caiden and holds out her hand. “I’m sure it was ten yards of romantic. Congratulation.”

He shakes her outstretched hand. “Thank you.”

I watch her walk over to Blaire and introduce herself. Maybe that’s something I should have done, but I feel like this thing is already taking on a life of its own, and her getting all chummy with my sister makes me a little nervous. I busy myself getting everything ready then take up my position next to my new brother-in-law when he starts throwing burgers on the grill.

“Listen, Marcus,” he says, tearing open a package of hot dogs. “I get that I’ve never been your favorite person and I can respect your reasons for that, but I need you to understand that Blaire is my life. I’ve given up everything for her and I’d do it all again if it meant the same result.”

“You can prove it by not fucking this up,” I say with a wave of the barbeque tongs between where Blaire is hugging some Berkeley friends who have just arrived and him.

“I can’t predict the future better than anyone else,” he answers, his eyes raising from the grill to his new bride, “but I can swear to you I’m going to do everything in my power not to.”

We cook and, at Zoey’s direction, people start filing past for burgers and dogs. Once most everyone is served, Caiden grabs a burger off the grill for Blaire and brings it to her. They sit across the picnic table from each other, and even though they’re talking to other people, their eyes keep straying to each other’s.

Deanna and Zoey seem to hit it off and are deep in conversation about shoes when I slip away from the shelter. On autopilot, my legs start up the hill toward the playground where Blaire, Nate, and I used to spend all our time as kids.

As I walk, I loosen my tie and flick open the top button. Near the top of the hill is a bench nestled into the shade of some big oaks. Nate and I carved it up pretty good back in the day. Which makes me wonder about him.

We haven’t spoken since I decked him after he cheated on Blaire. It’s been four years. He came back to town to live with his parents after we graduated college, and since it’s a small place, I saw him here and there, but it’s been a while. With any luck, he’s moved on.

I start toward the bench, but then see it’s occupied. A woman is laying on her back, her knees bent and her head propped on a backpack with a book in her hand.

I shove my hands in my pockets and look farther up the hill, toward the playground. There are a few benches up there, but they’re occupied by parents supervising their kids on the massive wooden play structure. The only free bench is facing into the afternoon sun, about twenty feet across the open, grassy area from the one the woman is occupying. I head over to it and plunk down on the end. I glare through the blinding sun at the woman on my bench before leaning onto my elbows and resting my face in my hands.

If you’d asked me five years ago where I thought I’d be right now, it wouldn’t have been here, coaching girls water polo at my old high school and working at the local gym. This is so not where I saw my life going. After living large for four years of high school and four more at college, I guess I started to feel charmed. But there’s nothing charming about crashing on a friend’s couch for the last six months because it’s all I can afford. I’ve only been out of UCLA for a year and I feel like I’ve already hit a total dead end, but I’ve got no one but myself to blame for that.

As the sun dips behind the tops of the trees surrounding the bench across the way, I sit up straight and look at the woman who stole it. There’s a second I wonder if she’s homeless, because her wardrobe has a definite secondhand vibe—a faded army-green tank with pale pink stripes under a baggy red cardigan, tattered jeans which are probably too short because they’re rolled halfway up her shins, and plaid Vans with no socks.

She rolls her head my direction and catches me staring.

I divert my eyes, but then blow out a disgusted laugh. I never would have done that back in college. She’s hot. I can see that from here. A hot girl makes eye contact, I would have held her gaze. I would have sent the message loud and clear with my eyes that I was interested.

When I glance up, she’s gone back to her book. I shove up off the bench and cram my hands into my pockets as I amble slowly toward her.

She lowers her book and sits up when she sees me, combing a hand through her thick strawberry blond corkscrew curls, and it strikes me that she looks vaguely familiar. Her face is thin and, at the bottom of a smallish nose that curls up slightly at the end are a pair of full, pink lips that tend to curl down. There’s the faintest hint of freckles smattering her cheeks and nose, and it’s kind of a turn-on that she’s comfortable enough in her own skin not to hide them behind layers of makeup. But it’s her charcoal gray eyes that snag all my attention. They’re large and round, but not innocent.

“Nice day,” I say, looking toward the shelter down the hill, wracking my brain trying to place how I know this woman. Maybe from the gym?

She closes her book and nods.

“Mind if I…?” I gesture at the now vacant end of the bench.

She gives me another wary nod.

I lower myself onto the spot her feet just occupied, and now I’ve got nothing else to say. I should have stayed on my own fucking bench. I give her a second to bail me out, and when she doesn’t, I gesture to the book. “Good book?”

She lifts the book and shows me the cover. The Metamorphosis. “It’s okay.”

I pull it from her hand and read the description on the back cover. “Pretty dark.”

She almost shrugs, more with her face than her body. “I found a list of the twenty-five most controversial books of all time. Making my way through the ones that interest me.” In the corner of my eye, I see her wave her hand at the book I’m thumbing through. “That’s number ten.”

I look up at her. “What are numbers one through nine?”

“Lolita is number one. I’d already read that, though, as well as number two, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, number four, The Grapes of Wrath, and number nine, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

“So, what new books have you picked up because of the list?” I lift The Metamorphosis. “Other than this?”

She looks at the book in my hand rather than me as she ticks off on her fingers. “I skipped American Psycho, which is number three, but I’ve read the rest: And Tango Makes Three, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Tropic of Cancer, and The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie…which I have to say was pretty dry.”

“That’s a pretty impressive reading list.” I set the book down on the bench between us. “So, you’re not a Rushdie fan. What did you think of the others?”

“And Tango Makes Three was cute. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was depressing, and The Tropic of Cancer was…” She trails off and gives me that face shrug again. But this time she’s blushing through her freckles.

It’s been a while since I read it, but my recollection is it’s full of graphic sex. She’s embarrassed to talk to me about it, and for some reason that sends a rush through insides that settles in my groin. My gaze trials over the lines of her face, down her long neck, then trickles over her body. She’s on the tall side and athletic, with breasts that are a perfect handful, a flat stomach, and long, toned legs that I’d suddenly kill to have wrapped around my head.

“And what’s the verdict on this one?” I ask, handing back The Metamorphosis.

A shadow passes over her face as she looks at the cover. “It’s…thought provoking.”

“What thoughts is it provoking?” I ask, laying the innuendo on thick and hoping I’m not the only one feeling the attraction.

The thought passes through the back of my mind that hitting on another woman while my date is just down the hill is a pretty skanky thing to do, but there’s something compelling about this girl. The idea that I might never see her again tugs hard at my gut. I can’t let this chance to find out who she is slip by.

“Have you read it?” she asks.

I lean in and shake my head. “Should I?”

“It’s a little out there,” she says with an unsure squint.

“Why don’t you save me the trouble and give me the SparkNotes,” I say, looping my arm behind her and resting it on the back of the bench.

She gives me a curious look, and I feel her body tense under my arm.

I give her my best cocky smile and arch an eyebrow. I intentionally let my fingers brush her shoulder and am rewarded with a shudder. “Unless you’d prefer I leave?”

A sly smile curves her pink lips as she lowers her lashes, and the rush in my groin intensifies.

“The SparkNotes…” she says, picking up the book between us. I take the opportunity to slide closer. “This guy Gregor wakes up one day to find he’s a giant bug…which I get is a little weird, and there’s no explanation as to why, but the upshot is that everyone is pretty grossed out by him and all his family seems to care about is that he can’t do his job anymore, so he can’t contribute to the finances. He can only speak bug, so because they can’t understand him, they assume he can’t understand them when they say they wish he’d just go away. But he can’t leave because he has nowhere to go, and also because his father threw an apple at him and injured him pretty badly, so he hides in his room and eventually just dies.”

“Seriously?” When I take the book back and turn it over to read the jacket copy again, I notice it came from the county library.

“Seriously,” she answers, earnestly.

I lift my eyes to hers. “So a happy ending, then,” I say, my voice full of sarcasm.

“Yeah, right.” Her eyes lower to the book in my hand. “I don’t really understand why it’s the tenth most controversial book of all time, but it’s a pretty true testament to human nature. Gregor is messed up, so instead of trying to help him, people just wish he’d go away.”

There’s no mistaking the mix of disdain and sadness in her tone. I only realize how intently I’m staring at her when she turns her face away. Does she feel that people wish she’d go away? And, if so, who is making her feel that way and why? Is she “messed up?”

The overpowering need to know sweeps through me in a rush that forces a shuddering breath from my lungs.

“So, what’s next on the list?” I ask, handing the book back.

“Brave New World,” she answers, her eyes lifting to mine again.

I cuff a laugh. “That one I have read. Another uplifting story.”

“So I hear.” She glances down the hill in the direction I came from. “So, what’s going on down there, anyway? Someone’s birthday?”

My gaze follows hers. “My sister’s wedding reception.”

“In a public park?” she asks, her eyebrows raising in surprise.

I nod. “Graffiti Park is special. We spent a lot of time here as kids.”

“Graffiti Park? That’s really the name of this place?” she asks, looking around.

“I have no clue what the real name is. That’s just what we’ve always called it.” My thumb brushes over where Nate carved my name into the back of bench we’re sitting on at least ten years ago.

She squints toward the shelter below and shades her eyes from the last of the afternoon sun. “I don’t see a bride.”

I point to Blaire. “The one in the bright blue dress.”

“That sort of flies in the face of tradition, doesn’t it?” she asks, still watching.

“That’s my sister. She’s never cared much about social conventions. If you search YouTube for her valedictory graduation speech from Oak Crest High four years ago, you’ll see what I mean.”

Her eyes snap to mine, wide and curious, and her gaze knocks the wind out of me. “What did she say?”

“She basically told the whole world off. But that was because her now husband,” I say with a jut of my chin at the gathering below, “had just been arrested for statutory rape.”

Her eyes widen even more. “Oh my God!”

“She’s always insisted they were in love, and the age difference shouldn’t matter. It was her giant ‘fuck you’ to society.”

Her head cocks to the side as she watches the party below. “I like her already.” She turns back to me. “Won’t they miss you?”

I press myself against her shoulder. “I’m disturbing you?”

A sardonic smile ghosts over her features as she lifts the book. “I was in the middle of reading the thoughts of a dying giant bug-person and not thinking that was at all weird, so I’m obviously already very disturbed.”

I can’t stop staring, because she’s suddenly stunningly beautiful. Her eyes flash, looking momentarily more black then gray, and there’s a long, deep dimple in her right cheek, which is the only one I can see because of the angle of her head. I’m dying to know if there’s a matching one on the other side.

The smile fades under my scrutiny and when she drops her gaze to the book between us, a cascade of strawberry corkscrews hide her face. “Sorry. Stupid joke.”

“No!” Damn. A little too eager there, tiger. I work to lower my voice. “I mean, it wasn’t stupid. It was funny.”

I just forgot to laugh because your smile knocked me senseless for a sec.

She lifts a knee to her chest, hooking the heel of her sneaker on the edge of the bench. Her knee pokes through the long crosswise tear in her jeans. “It’s okay, my sense of humor’s pretty dry. Not too many people get me.”

“Your sense of humor is refreshing,” I say. “And as for people getting you, most people don’t pay enough attention to anyone but themselves to ‘get’ much of anything.”

“Marcus!”

I look down the hill at Deanna’s voice. She’s at the shelter waving her hands over her head to get my attention. There’s a sudden cramp in my stomach at the thought of her coming up here.

“Looks like you have to go.” I’d swear a catch a hint of disappointment in her tone.

“Looks like.” I stand and shove my hands into my pockets. “My name is Marcus, by the way.”

She smiles and something roguish flashes in her eyes. “I know.”

Fuck. I do know her. Everything felt so relaxed and comfortable between us. I hate that I might have just fucked that up. Before it gets totally awkward, I blurt, “I’d be up for maybe getting a burger at Sam Hill sometime, if you’re into that.”

She nods, but that wary glint is back in her eyes. “Yeah…sure.”

I fish my phone from my pocket. “Can I get your number?”

She reels it off and I type it in. “Girl who stole my bench,” is say with a cocky grin as I type it in to contacts. I turn my amusement on her. “Or is there something else I should call you?”

He gives me a questioning tip of her head. “Addie.”

I know that name. Someone I went to high school with, maybe? My brain chugs harder trying to put the pieces together as I type it in. “Got it,” I say, holding up my phone. “I’ll give you a call.”

She squints at me. “Okay.”

I start backing down the path. “Enjoy my bench,” I say with a wink.

She lifts the book in a wave. “See you Monday, Coach.”

Suddenly I see her face under a navy blue swim cap with the Oak Crest Cougar on the side. The jolt of electric panic almost knocks my legs out from under me and I stumble, just catching myself before I go down.

Because she’s on my fucking team.

I ran tryouts Wednesday and Thursday. Practices just started yesterday. I’m still trying to get the new girls’ names. She said Addie, but my roster says Addaline, I think. All I can remember for sure is she’s a senior transfer and mostly keeps to herself.

“Fuck me,” I mutter, then hear myself. I hold up a hand. “I mean…” I trail off in a cringe. “Sorry for the language.” Because I’m not supposed to swear in front of a fucking student.

But fuck. My mind reels, replaying everything I said and did and trying to figure out how to backpedal out of this. “So, we’ll talk about a…team dinner…for bonding and whatever…at practice on Monday.”

Just shoot me now.

She tips her head and bites her lips, fighting a smile. “Sounds good, Coach.”

After what feels like a small eternity, I shake myself loose from her gaze and start down the hill without saying anything else. I can only dig myself deeper at this point. But the whole way, all I can think about is that, as shitty as my life is at the moment, it might have just gotten shittier.

 

 Dirty

A poem by Blaire Leon

If sex is dirty, why would I do it with someone I love?

If sex is dirty, then didn’t we all come from the dirt?

What if I like the dirt?

What if I want to get dirty?

What if I want to roll in the mud until I’m so fucking filthy that I’ll never be clean again?

When twenty-five-year-old graduate assistant Caiden Brenner asked Blaire Leon how old she was, she said she was a senior. He chose to believe she meant in college. They connect over Lord Byron’s Don Juan and, as their conversations become increasingly thicker with sexual innuendo, Caiden finds himself obsessing over a totally off-limits undergrad who’s bold, beautiful, brilliant, and one of the most passionate poets he’s ever met.

But it turns out Blaire hasn’t been totally honest. She’s the seventeen-year-old valedictorian of her high school class, taking courses at Sierra State while awaiting her acceptance to Stanford.

Will Caiden get too deeply into Blaire to back away before he finds out the truth? Or will their connection be enough to seduce him into risking his entire future on Jail Bait?

 
 
 
About the Author:

Mia Storm is a hopeless romantic who is always searching for her happy ending. Sometimes she’s forced to make one up. When that happens, she’s thrilled to be able to share those stories with her readers. She lives in California and spends much of her time in the sun with a book in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other, or hiking the trails in Yosemite. Connect with her online at MiaStormAuthor.blogspot.com , on Twitter at @MiaStormAuthor, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiaStormAuthor

conviction release blitz

Liam and Natalie’s return in Conviction by Corinne Michaels!
Find out how their story continues….
NOW AVAILABLE

 

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synopsis

Book Two in the Consolation Duet

I fell in love with Liam only to be left shattered into a million pieces. Again. The idea of being without him cripples me but the reality is, he’s gone.

He doesn’t understand and I can’t make him.

If only he’d see the conviction behind my words—then he’d still be here.

 

excerpt

Time isn’t something I ever thought much about.
It ebbs and flows, but it never changes. I can’t make it stop—no matter how much I want to. There’s no way to rewind the clock or halt it. In this moment, all I want is to make the world stop and go back to when I was happy and ready to tackle the world. Just two short minutes ago, there was no worry about how my day would go. I was going away with the man I love, the one who healed me. But time isn’t my friend. It slaps me in the face and laughs as I stand here wondering how the hell any of this is happening. I don’t want to move forward, and I sure as hell don’t want to slow it down.

 

conviction 3

Consolation (Book One)

consolation

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synopsis

Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after.
He wasn’t even on my radar.
He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.

 

abouttheauthor

Corinne Michaels is an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.

Contact Corinne
Website: http://www.corinnemichaels.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CorinneMichaels
Instagram: http://instagram.com/authorcorinnemichaels
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCMichaels
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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/corinnemichaels/

 

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Title: Uncovered by Truth
Series: Lies and Truth Duet #2
Author: Rachael Duncan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 17, 2015
My life has been full of uncertainties. Little did I know the biggest one would come in the form of a green-eyed beauty. She came into my life and flipped everything on its end and now things are more messed up than ever before.
 
Being former Special Forces, I’m no stranger to fighting, but this is different. This is personal. The stakes feel much higher and the struggle to save her will be my most challenging mission yet.
 
But I have a secret. A secret that threatens to tear apart everything we’ve built. I just hope she can overlook them when all is revealed.
 
You know me as Alex Matthews.
 
My mistake was getting involved with her, knowing what was on the line.
 
Their mistake was taking me away from her.
“What is she doing?” I mumble, squinting my eyes as I bring my face closer to the screen. She’s sitting in the middle of the bed as she holds the item from the kitchen out with one hand, glass of water in the other. That’s when I figure out what it is. 
 
A bottle of pills.
 
Concern immediately prickles up my spine as she stares at the bottle for several minutes. “What are you doing, sweetheart?” I whisper. As if she heard me, she sets the glass down between her legs as she pops the top off the bottle. She dumps a handful of them into her palm and stares at them again. “No.” There’s no fucking way she’s about to give up like this. I won’t let her. She takes the dozen or so pills in her hand and tosses them back into her mouth.
Rachael Duncan is an Army wife to her amazing husband, Steven, and mother to their beautiful daughters, Natalie and Zoe. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and went off to graduate from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in political science. With initial plans to work in politics, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill for a House Representative. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom to her two kids and writes whenever she has some quiet time. She’s the author of Tackled by Love and Hidden in Lies.

 

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The Illusion of Annabella RDL

Happy Release Day to Jessica Sorensen and her new book THE ILLUSION OF ANNABELLA. The Illusion of Annabella is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance. Enjoy a sneak peek below and make sure to enter the giveaway!

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Synopsis

Annabella Baker has always lived a normal life with a loving family. She had dreams of going to college and becoming a dancer. But the summer before her senior year, the life she knew is ripped away from her, and she’s left wondering if it ever really existed in the first place.

Six months later, Annabella is living an entirely different life. The loving family she had no longer exists, and the girl who dreamed of being a dancer can barely walk. She spends most of her time getting into trouble and living in denial over what happened. One night she takes things one step too far and is left dealing with the consequences.

Put under house arrest, Annabella can no longer run away from her problems. With the help of her cute, sweet neighbor, Luca Benton, she rediscovers the girl she used to be, and finally learns the truth about what really happened that horrible day that changed her life forever.

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Excerpt

I swallow hard, pressing my hands to the garage as my legs turn into noodles. “It seems crazy, wanting to help someone when you don’t even know them . . . Your life would be easier if you didn’t.”

“My life’s never been easy, but do you know what’s really easy?” he asks, and I shake my head. With a hint of a smile on his face, he reaches out, and I think he’s going to grab me, but instead he taps the box of sparklers I’m holding. “Lighting sparklers.”

I frown warily at the box. “That’s actually harder than it seems.”

Suddenly the wind gusts dead leaves across grass, and the cloudy sky grumbles, warning us of an impending storm. Clasping the lighter in one hand, I open the box and wiggle two sparklers out.

Can I do this?

I give one to Luca then fumble to light the lighter.

Am I really going to do this?

Blame it on my nerves, but I can’t get the damn thing to work.

Maybe I shouldn’t do this?

 Finally, Luca pries my fingers off it, flicks the top, and creates a steady flame. He lights his first then sticks it out in front of him as silvery sparks shoot out like a magic wand.

“Put yours up to mine,” he instructs, stuffing the lighter into his back pocket.

With a deep breath, I kiss the tip of his sparkler with mine. Oh, my God, I’m really doing this. They hiss as the flames aglow.

I move the sparkler in a circle in front of me. “Wow.” I forgot how magical a simple firework could be, and for a moment, I see the world through my old eyes, lit up like fireflies that I swear I could catch if I just stuck out my hand.

For the next few minutes, Luca and I play around in the driveway, going through sparkler after sparkler, giggling like a couple of kids as we clumsily skip around. When it comes down to the last one, he lights it up and hands it to me.

As the sparkler reaches the halfway point, Luca moves up behind me and circles his arms around my waist, covering my hand with his so we’re both holding onto it. His breath tickles my ear as he laughs and traces letters in the air. My hand moves with his, but I can barely focus on what he’s writing. I’m too distracted by his chest pressed against my back, his warm fingers covering mine, how very alive I feel in that moment, and how terrified I am.

“Luca, I think . . .” I trail off as he stretches our arms out to the side and fixes his finger under my chin. Turning my head toward him, his eyes search mine, then slowly, he leans in.

AboutTheAuthor

 

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Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

ultraviolet

Happy Release Day to Jessica Sorensen and her new book ULTRAVIOLET. Ultraviolet is a novella series that is labeled as Young Adult Horror/supernatural/mystery/romance. Enjoy a sneak peek below and make sure to enter the giveaway!

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Synopsis

Hidden in the Red Hill Mountains is the quiet town of Hollows Grove.

In that town, there is a field where a secret is buried deep beneath the ground.

And in that field is where Mila was found abandoned with no memory of her past and haunted by visions of the future.

Nine years later, Mila’s life is almost as normal as any other eighteen-year-old. That is until she starts foreseeing the murder of Nyjah Bradley, a guy she’s never met before, but whose face is branded into her mind.

Constantly plagued by the vision, Mila decides to track Nyjah down and warn him of his impending death. But when the search leads her back to Hollows Grove, she learns there’s more to the sleepy town than meets the eye.

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Excerpt

Goosebumps dot my arms as I become highly aware that there’s not a single drop of noise within earshot. Not even our shoes hitting the dirt make a sound. I want to ask Novela if she notices it, but I don’t want to risk upsetting her more than she is. I try to keep it to myself but then I hear the soft pitter-patter of light footsteps rushing up behind us.

Do you hear us? Do you hear us?

Welcome back. Welcome back.

We’ve been waiting for you, Mila.

Our gazes lock and without looking back, Novela and I take off in a mad sprint down the road

“Oh my God, we’re going to die,” she pants as she struggles desperately to keep up with me.

“We’re not going to die.” I gasp for air as I push my legs harder than I ever have before.

I don’t know what’s behind us. If it’s following us. What it wants. But as we near the edge of town, I dare look back over my shoulder and instantly wish I wouldn’t have. Because standing in the darkness of the road, watching us from a distance, is a lofty figure.
AboutTheAuthor

 

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Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author from the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Jessica Sorensen ULTRAVIOLET Release Day Giveaway

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Katie McGarry’s NOWHERE BUT HERE! NOWHERE BUT HERE is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Katie McGarry’sThunder Road Series, published by Harlequin Teen. Grab your copy today!!

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About NOWHERE BUT HERE:

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible 

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

 

Hand rider on handlebars, close-up

 

NOWHERE BUT HERE Excerpt-

From Oz’s Point of View. Set up:  Emily has been separated from her parents and after a long night of worrying, her emotions and exhaustion catch up to her and it causes Oz to have his first fluttering of emotion for Emily.

WIND BLOWS IN FROM THE NORTH AND A FEW pieces of Emily’s dark hair sweep across her face. One min­ute Emily’s a bright flame, then a gust snuffs out her light. Her body sways like a top at the tail end of a spin and I lunge forward.
Emily’s knees give out and her eyes roll back into her head. I catch her inches before she crashes onto the porch. She’s light as I swing her into my arms and her head circles onto my shoulder, reminding me of one of those rag dolls Violet used to play with when we were kids.
“Emily!” Eli’s on top of me, attempting to yank her out of my arms. “Open your eyes.”
Her eyelids flutter, but remain closed as her hand limply clutches my shirt. Eli rams his arms underneath mine and he makes Emily a rope in a tug-of-war. I should let her go. I should want to let her go, but then Emily goes and screws it up for me. “Oz.”
It was a damn whisper, but I heard my name on her lips and so did Eli. His eyes flash to mine and Cyrus’s words repeat in my mind. That girl trusts you. And screw us both for that.
“She’s exhausted,” I say. “Hasn’t slept at all tonight.”
Eli’s expression hardens as he glares at me. I’ve seen Eli throw a coma-inducing punch for less defiance and I readjust the sleeping girl in my arms. A reminder if he decks me now, he’ll be putting his daughter at risk.
Temporarily surrendering, Eli cups Emily’s face in his hands and angles her toward him. “Emily, please open your eyes.”
She does. It’s barely a crack and they’re completely glazed.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” Eli affirms.
“I want my mom and dad,” she mumbles.
“You’ll see them tomorrow.” Eli pushes a strand of hair from her cheek. “You’re safe here. I promise.”
She rejects Eli by curling into me. Her head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck and I loathe the wave of protective­ness that rumbles through my body. Emily’s fingers tighten their grip near my shoulders and the impulse is to shield her from the guys gawking at this intimate scene. Yeah, this is club business, but Emily never asked for any of this.

 

 

NOWHERE BUT HERE Review

* A review copy was provided by the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

~ 5 Stars ~

This book was filled with Lies, Secrets, Betrayal and Hurt, but it was also filled with Laughter, Friendship, Love, Romance and even a little Steam.

I thought Katie McGarry did a fantastic job combining YA with the MC style story. I would even go out on the line and say this was more Mature YA, because there are some things that I think the younger reader shouldn’t read about. There is no sex in this book, but there are still some pretty steamy scenes 😉

I have loved Katie McGarry’s writing since I was introduced to her Pushing the Limits Series and this series is no different.  She is off to a great start with her new series.   I love that she creates characters that suck you into their lives and don’t let go.  She makes them feel real and relatable.  Most of the time while I read her books I have to remind myself that these characters are only 17 or 18 years old…most have them have lived a lifetime already.

Nowhere But Here is a longer and slower paced book but even with that being said nothing dragged.  I was never tempted to skim just to get to the end or the answers of the questions I had brewing.  She gave us a story that was captivating and intriguing all the way through.  She even threw in a twist and surprise towards the end that I didn’t see coming.  This book will definitely keep you guessing. My only wish for the book would’ve been to have an epilogue. I would’ve liked to seen Oz and Emily a few years down the road, but that didn’t take away from my full enjoyment of this book.

I loved Oz and Emily.  They were both wonderful characters.  Both very different from one another but also so much alike.  I liked watching them break down their walls and let each other in.  I felt the pace the author took their relationship was perfect.  I’ll be honest Oz was a bit of a jerk in the beginning, but that was only because he didn’t have the whole story.  He definitely melted my heart by the end and I loved watching him come into his own by the end of the book :) I also enjoyed watching Emily grow into a stronger more self confident person by the end. It was great seeing her overcome her fears throughout the story.

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of an MC story, but doesn’t mind that the characters are Young Adults and not older. We get all that an MC story has to offer but without all the vulgarity and grittiness of a more mature MC book. If you are a fan of Katie’s work you don’t want to miss this new series. Nowhere But Here is a MUST READ in my opinion !!!!!

 

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NOWHERE BUT HERE Trailer:

 

Katie McGarry Author PhotoAbout Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

 

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Title  :  Getting Played

Author  :  Mia Storm

Series  :  Jail Bait Series #2

Release Date  :   May 28th, 2015

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GettingPlayed Blue

Synopsis

Rules of the game:
1) Never underestimate your opponent
2) Avoid personal fouls
3) Score early and often
4) Play or get played

Coach Marcus Leon has always played by the rules…until he meets Addaline Grace, the seventeen-year-old senior transfer on his Oak Crest High water polo team. Addie changes all the rules, mostly because she doesn’t play any games. But as off limits as she is, the more Marcus discovers about Addie, the more he finds himself…and the more he questions whether Addie might just be worth risking everything for.

For Addie, water polo is anger management. She’s driven and focused because it keeps her mind off other things…like the fact she destroyed her family. Her game plan is to keep her head down and graduate so she can leave her father and the crappy town he dragged her to in her wake. But when what starts as friendly completion with Marcus turns into more than a game, Addie has to decide if she’s willing to face down her demons…and possibly ruin the man she may or may not be falling in love with in the process.

What happens when the only thing you need is the one thing you can’t have?

 

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Excerpt

“One more thing I can check off my bucket list,” he says with a grin, then shoves half the slice into his mouth.
“What else is on your list?” I ask.
He gives me a long look as he chews. “I don’t really have one, now that you mention it.”
“They’re stupid anyway,” I say with a shrug. “It’s a waste of time thinking about all the things you want to do before you die. You could die tomorrow and a bucket list isn’t going to mean squat.”
I only realize how bitter that sounded when his gaze locks on mine and sharpens, as if he’s lasering in on my thoughts.
I shake myself loose from those eyes that could compel me to spill my darkest secrets if I were to gaze into them too long and take a bite of pizza. “But whatever. If you want a bucket list, go for it.”
“You don’t have anything you want to do before you check out?” he asks with raised eyebrows.
“Haven’t thought about it.”
“Well you should,” he says, going for another slice. “I want a bucket list.”
“Then make one.”
He leans back and takes a bite. “So where should we start?”
“You already have,” I say with a wave of my slice toward his.
He holds his up. “And you’ve gotten me off to a fine one. So now we need something to top anchovies.”
“We?” I ask. “I told you I don’t want any part of this.”
“Tough, because what if your idea turns out the be the Best Thing Ever and I would have missed it because I never thought of it.” He tears off a hunk of pizza with his teeth. “Like anchovies.”
I look at him a long second as he chews and a hot tingle runs under my skin. “So we’d do stuff from the list together?”
He nods as he swallows. “That would be the general plan. Call it moral support, call it peer pressure, all I know is we’re more likely to check stuff off the list if we’re both doing it.”
My heart starts to pound as the possibilities scroll in my head. “How are we going to do this?”
“A collaboration. We’ll each throw ideas out until we have a list, then we can rank them together.”
“How do you know I won’t put something like ‘lose my virginity’ on the list?” Heat radiates from my face, but I force myself to hold his gaze.
There’s a second that he just stares at me, but then his eyes grows softer. “I’d expect you would.”
For several beats of my racing heart, we sit here staring at each other, then he clears his throat. “I want to try one new food a week. And I’m open to suggestions.” He says with a nod at the pizza box. “Your turn.”
“I have to come up with another one right here on the spot?” I say.
He cocks his head in a question, but then the light dawns in his eyes. “Ah…virginity. Right…” He pulls out his phone and starts typing it like it’s no big thing, then shifts and hooks an elbow over the back of the bench as he thinks. “Swim with dolphins.”
I nod. “That’s a good one. Put that on top.”
He raises his eyebrows as she shoots me a glance out from under those long, thick lashes. “Above virginity?”
All the muscles south of my waist contract. “I guess I’ll leave that up to you, since I’ve never done either.”

 

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Review

* A review copy was provided by the author for the Blog Tour *

~ 4 Stars ~

I am addicted to this series and I am really hoping this isn’t the last book. Mia Storm is becoming a favorite author of mine. She has a great ability to create interesting and captivating stories that have a taboo subject.

Getting Played is another book featuring a coach or Teacher/student relationship and also the age difference (23 yr old Hero and 17 yr old student). This book was a little different than the first book , Getting Dirty, in that the main Hero of the story, is yes attracted to a 17 year student at the school he is a coach at, but this story was more than that, his relationship with Addie isn’t what causes the trouble in this story. This book was also about jealousy and just how far some people will go to get back at someone. Just like in book 1, Mia did a wonderful job showing the real side of this type of situation. She continues to show the readers that there are REAL consequences when making adult decisions and that one wrong move can have dire consequences.

I enjoyed this book, but I think I liked Getting Dirty just a little more because the story revolved around Blaire and Caiden. In this one, yes the story did revolve around Marcus and Addie, but I felt some of the sub plot and characters took over the story. I wanted to see more between Addie and Marcus. She took her time getting these two together. The writing was just a great in this one as with the first book. Her books just move right along and never take me that long to read. I also have a difficult time putting her books down.

Like I said, Getting Played is about Marcus (Blaire’s Brother) and Addie. Marcus and Addie meet in a park one day and just click, but Marcus doesn’t recognize her as one of the swimmers on his water polo team that he coaches, so shocked is not the right word to describe what he is feeling when he finds out. Over the course of the book Addie and Marcus form a friendship and find they have a lot in common, mostly a dad who is an alcoholic. They form a bond over this, Addie finally feels like someone sees her for who she is and understands what she is going through. I enjoyed watching these two characters grow together. I have to admit I didn’t like Marcus in the beginning because I felt he was a little hypocritical, because of how he treated Caiden, when he was after Blaire in the first book. What I liked was the growth we saw with Marcus and that he finally realized that you can’t help who you fall in love with. I think it made Marcus and Blaire’s relationship stronger. There is a lot more that happens in this story but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

I will say this though, I was happy to see that the Nate situation was taken care of in this story. That was my one negative from book 1 and I am glad it was addressed in this book. I also liked that we got to see Caiden and Blaire living their HEA in this book. They are so sweet together :)

Again, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a story with a taboo subject. This series is one of the best ones I’ve read about this subject and I know I will read these books again in the future.

 

jenniferh-sig

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Other Books in Series

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Synopsis

Dirty
A poem by Blaire Leon

If sex is dirty, why would I do it with someone I love?
If sex is dirty, then didn’t we all come from the dirt?
What if I like the dirt?
What if I want to get dirty?
What if I want to roll in the mud until I’m so fucking filthy that I’ll never be clean again?
 
When twenty-five-year-old graduate assistant Caiden Brenner asked Blaire Leon how old she was, she said she was a senior. He chose to believe she meant in college. They connect over Lord Byron’s Don Juan and, as their conversations become increasingly thicker with sexual innuendo, Caiden finds himself obsessing over a totally off-limits undergrad who’s bold, beautiful, brilliant, and one of the most passionate poets he’s ever met.
 
But it turns out Blaire hasn’t been totally honest. She’s the seventeen-year-old valedictorian of her high school class, taking courses at Sierra State while awaiting her acceptance to Stanford.
 
Will Caiden get too deeply into Blaire to back away before he finds out the truth? Or will their connection be enough to seduce him into risking his entire future on Jail Bait?

Jennifer H.’s Review HERE

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About The Author

Mia Storm is a hopeless romantic who is always searching for her happy ending. Sometimes she’s forced to make one up. When that happens, she’s thrilled to be able to share those stories with her readers. She lives in California and spends much of her time in the sun with a book in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other, or hiking the trails in Yosemite.

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