4 stars

Blog Tour Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: 53 Letters For My Lover by Leylah Attar

Title 53 Letters For My Lover
Author: Leylah Attar
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This is not your typical love story. 
It’s not so black and white. Lines are crossed. 
Walls are smashed. Good becomes bad. 
Bad becomes very, very good.
Shayda Hijazi—the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. For thirty-three years, she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: Love.
Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.
Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again. 
Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human journey for hope, happiness and redemption.
“Sexy, intense fiction isn’t afraid to step out of the box.” 
Contemporary women’s fiction: Ages 18+

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

“If we base our decisions on all the things we’re afraid of, we would be paralyzed with fear. We’d never have the guts to love, or hope or dream…”

I have heard so much about this book and was really excited to read and review. But honestly, the first time I tried to read it I had a hard time getting into it. I just didn’t feel connected. I put it down and gave it a rest for a couple of days. After a very busy week, I decided to pick it up and finish it.

“My Grandma used to say that people born on the same day are two halves of the same soul.”

53 Letters for My Lover is a unique love story of Shayda Hijazi and Troy Heathgate spanning three decades. Shayda who was originally from Tehran has moved to Canada and worked for a Canadian family, where she meets Troy.

Shayda and Troy could have been the most perfect couple…only if Shayda wasn’t married.

“You want me to choose?”
“It’s not about what I want. Or what anyone else wants. What do you want, Shayda?”

I have to say my favorite aspect of the book is the moment when they sneak off to spend some time together. I loved reading them and I thought it was such a thrilling touch to really see the complicated feelings they had for each other. 
I had a hard time liking Shayda at first, because she really confused me and I got fed up with some of her actions. But as the story went on, she did redeem herself and I was really impressed with how she adapted and grew as their story progressed. Troy, on the other hand was just sooooo swoon worthy and irresistible. His love for Shayda was just unbelievable. 
Aside from my constantly changing opinions of Shayda and Troy, I found myself unable to put down the story the second time around. I felt like the story was pretty unique. I can’t deny that I was completely sucked into the tension of their relationship and found Troy’s cockiness to be sexy when mixed with his kindness that he showed at points. 
My final thought: This is one of those times where I hate myself for not wanting to declare it epic! I feel like maybe I had such high expectations of it that it ended up just being an OKAY read for me. There were just moments I didn’t feel connected with Shayda and I felt lost on the journey and didn’t understand some of the choices that were made. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it by any means. I really did LIKE it. While I certainly wasn’t blown away by it like everyone else (which makes me want to hang my head in shame), I did enjoy it; the plot, Leylah’s writing and her ability to create a striking love story. The journey was interesting and full of twists that actually did surprise me. At the end of the day, I’m glad I read 53 Letters for my Lover, thought it was a good read and will probably pick up the companion novella, From His Lips.

“A second. That’s all it takes. A single beat of hesitation on my part.
Here I am, ten years later. Troy Heathgate is at my door.
Let me in.
I falter.”

The doorbell rings. Repeatedly. Followed by loud thumping on the door.
“Coming, coming! Now what did you what forget?” I swing the door open.
My heart screeches to a slamming halt. “Troy.” I turn pale. “You…you shouldn’t be here.”
“No?” He storms past me into the house. “Where should I be, Shayda? Waiting by the phone? Staking out your office? Checking my email? Where the fuck, Shayda?” His fist slams into the console table, so ‘fuck’ is an obscure, jarring thud, like some censored song on the radio.
“I changed my mind.”
“You changed your mind. Just like that?” He starts pacing the hallway. “And when were you were planning to tell me exactly? When, Shayda?”
“I made a mistake.” My voice quivers. “I got caught up in the moment. We were alone, we were away. It was…it was all an illusion.”
“An illusion?” He pulls me hard against him. Our bodies collide, knocking the breath out of me. “Is this an illusion?”
His lips assault mine.
“And this?” His hand slides under my dress, claiming my thigh.
“What about this, Shayda?” He pushes my panties aside and slides two fingers inside.
“Tell me, Shayda. Tell me this is all in my head.” He shoves me against the door and deepens his strokes. “Tell me this is nothing.” He rubs his fingers on my neck, leaving the unmistakable trail of my reaction.
“This is you, Shayda.” His finger slips inside my mouth. “Your taste, your smell, your skin, your touch.” He grabs me by the hair and pulls my head back. “Tell me you’re not real, Shayda. Tell me!”
I feel the gathump gathump of his heart. Our breath comes in short, shallow gasps. His eyes darken, black holes pushing sky blue irises to the edges of raw emotion. Hunger. Anger. Love. Pain.

Leylah Attar writes stories about love – shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she’s not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.

What’s next from Leylah?

Book Review: Beloved by Corrine Michaels

Title: Beloved
Author: Corrine Michaels
 Released: May 27th,2014
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Rating: ★★★

Not enough.
Catherine Pope has never been enough. Every man she has ever loved abandoned her—from her father to her fiancé. She finally accepted the fact she would never be enough to hold any man’s heart and soul.
Then Catherine met Jackson Cole.
When her world literally collided with the sexy former Navy SEAL, everything she always believed is turned upside down and left scattered. He made her feel alive and desirable, consumed her with fierceness and loyalty—which completely unnerved her. Jackson got her in a way no one ever had, giving him the power to destroy her. 
If she breaks down and gives him what’s left of her battered heart—will he protect it? Or will Catherine become an irrelevant part of yet another man’s life? 
Will she get the one thing that has always evaded her – to finally be someone’s beloved?

Love has fallen upon Catherine…literally. Asimple girls night out to blow off steam. Forget the pain, push pass the abandonment and regain a small thread of self-worth, Catherine falls into the lap of Jackson. That encounter, albeit brief, encompasses her mind, body, and soul.

‘I’ve never know this kind of feeling. It’s heady and intoxicating, filling me with fear and excitement.”

Jackson is stimulating on all levels and when Catherine is thrown back into his hold, she finds it a bit harder to walk away. Imperfect, they learn to find perfection in each other.

“…I want to be around you. I know I’ve thought about you every day and every night since we’ve met. There are a lot of things we need to learn about each other. But you fell into my life and I won’t let you fall out. So whatever this is…it’s ours.”

Catherine is falling for Jackson. Jackson is falling for Catherine. Both are guarded but will their defenses be what pushes them away from each other for good? 

“Now it’s up to you. Is he worth the fall and possible heartbreak, or is he strong enough to catch you?”

This debut novel by Corinne Michaels is well written and quite enjoyable. The characters issues are real and relatable. No matter how loved you may be personal blinders never allow us to see the whole picture. Questioning self-worth; am I good enough, or am I what he/she needs. The struggle between Catherine and Jackson makes my heart hurt. Jackson’s Navy SEAL past and Catherine’s own personal war leave the battlefield open, without protection, and with war comes casualties. Be prepared for a cliffhanger but I pray this war will be won. Keep an eye out for Corinne Michaels because if Beloved is an indication of whats to come then you will need to open some space on the Kindle.
Corinne Michaels lives with her husband and two children. She loves her wine, kindle and sarcasm is her second language. When not curled up with her laptop, Corinne can be found at the beach enjoying the sun and the sand.

Book Review: Rogue (The REAL series Book 4) by Katy Evans

Title: Rogue (The REAL series Book 4)  
Author: Katy Evans
Release Date: July 29th, 2014
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Rating: ★★★

The fourth story in the new adult series that began with the New York Times bestseller Real, featuring Brooke’s best friend, Melanie, and the ROGUE she can’t resist.

Greyson King…
My boyfriend. My friend. My protector. He’s the reason I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and the reason I fall asleep limp, worn out, and aching for his warm arms around me. When we make love, he says my name like it means something. Like I mean something.
His name is Greyson King, but his alias is Zero.
There’s zero trace of him, he has zero past, and now I know that with him, I will have zero future.
He may leave no trace of him anywhere, but his imprint is in me, in my very soul–and I hate that a mere look at him commands the beat of my heart. The temperature of my body.
I’ve looked for love my entire life. I’ve waited for the butterflies, the rainbows…
Instead I’m in a free fall of emotions and there’s no one to catch me but the one man I should be running away from. The one man I thought was my prince charming.
Except this prince charming went rogue.
Greyson will stop at nothing to make me be with him. He’ll let no one stand in our way, will allow no one to threaten me, and maybe this is what scares me most of all…
What will my rogue do to keep me?

“At a very young age I was taught that there were no certainties in life. Life itself is not a certainty, nor is friendship, or love. But given the first, you have the certainty of an opportunity to chase after your friendships, live your life, and search for love.”

Melanie’s life is empty. Lost in a world she believes was not meant for her. Accepting her false truth, Melanie is going through the motions. Working, family, and friends. Filling the emptiness with a parade of nameless facesin hopes of feeling her own real, she stumbles upon the one man that holds her attention and leaves her breathless. For her its kismet but for a rouge man nothing is left to fate.

“I look at him, and he doesn’t scare me. He lures me. He tempts me, exhilarates me. He makes me want to claim him as if I’m claiming back a part of me that was once lost.”

Enter Greyson King, better known as Zero. To the Underground, Greyson is a finisher. In and out. Zero accountability, Greyson is the beginning, middle, and end. Pulled back underground in hopes of filling his own emptiness, he finds that the one thing he wants won’t allow for zero liability.

“Do you know what it feels like to carry the weight of a dead heart with you your whole life, like you’re just looking for your grave?”

Rouge takes on a whole new feel, differentthan previous books in the Real Series, offering a darker look into the operation known as The Underground. If you are looking for more Remy and Brooke be prepared for a bit of a letdown. Katy has used Rogue to create layers to an already heavy story. Greyson and Melanie are a little darker, flawed, and just as lovable as their predecessors. I enjoyed Greyson and Melanie’s story. Although I didn’t feel as connected to them as Remy and Brooke, the story was well written and keep me interested.

“Always you, just you. You may be zero in your world…but you’re everything to me.”

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…


Title: Unconditional Love

Author: Kelly Elliott
Rating: ★★★★ 

Lark Williams leads a fast-paced life, always on the edge of danger. Running from his past and fighting to keep his present life a secret, he keeps his heart out of reach from love. The walls he built around himself come crumbling down when he meets Azurdee Emerson.

Azurdee lives a peaceful life in the small town of Wimberley, Texas. Her tame world quickly becomes heated as she begins to fall in love with Lark. He’s everything she has vowed to stay away from—dark and mysterious, and not to mention, sexy as hell and full of secrets.

Just as Lark and Azurdee give in to their feelings of love, Lark’s present life threatens the safety of the one person he would sacrifice his own happiness for. When Lark finds history repeating itself, he makes a decision that will forever change both of their lives, leaving one heartbroken and lost and the other fighting to survive.

“Guardia mi corazon siempre…Guard my heart always.”

The pain behind these words is heartbreaking. As we learn the story of our mysterious man, Lark, we find that behind the pretty face is a painfully damaged soul. Fighting with his past Lark uses women, holding them at bay. After meeting Azurdee he finds that she has gotten under his skin, staking claim on this lost boy. 
Once again Kelly intertwines a cast of favorites into a story that is funny, hot, sweet and heartwarming. The Kelly sass I come to love is front and center. I have been waiting for this story and found that both Lark and Azurdee balance each other out, helping each other to see that love has the power to heal. For Lark the hardest mission is a personal one, and when the mission becomes more than he bargained for, Lark learns how far he is willing to go for love. For any Kelly Elliott fan this is a must add for the collection.
Kelly is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason…he claims it’s because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.
One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus….her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.

Book Review: Crossing Stars by Nicole Williams

Title: Crossing Stars
Author: Nicole Williams 
Released: May 6th, 2014
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Rating: ★★★
The Story: While the city of Chicago sleeps, a war wages in the streets between two powerful families. While the public assumes organized crime is nothing more than a chapter torn out of America’s history, the Costa and Moran families battle for territory and domination.
Caught up in the middle of this sinister world is Josette, the only child of Salvatore Costa, the ringleader and notorious godfather of Chicago’s Italian mafia. After the Irish Morans attempted to assassinate her when she was a child, Josette’s parents hid her behind the walls of their sprawling estate and kept her contact with outsiders to a minimum. But now Josette’s eighteen, and she’s questioning if a long life behind walls is worth trading for a potentially short one filled with excitement and adventure and all the things she’s only lived in her dreams.
On the night she decides to risk becoming just an anonymous face in the crowd, Josette realizes that death isn’t only a possibility—it’s a certainty. Yet when a young man comes to her rescue, the turbulent waters between life and death are further muddied.

The mere mention of (modern day) Romeo and Juliet with its own flair plus Nicole Williams had me sold. There’s so much I’d like to say about this book, but I’m having to choose my words with extra care. The element of the plot that most appealed to me was how it kept twisting in unexpected directions, and the last thing I want is to give too much away.

Crossing Stars is an incredibly powerful story about love, friendship, and the potentially destructive nature of secrets.

The romantical element was brilliant and refreshing. I have always loved forbidden romance type stories but they really need to have some real depth in them and consequences I can feel. This isn’t some predictable kind of love story but this forbidden slow dance that just leaves you breathless and your heart pounding especially at the end. It’s not simple or easy or even really a “romance” but more of these forbidden feelings that are just starting to really be explored before the SHIT HITS THE FAN.

Josette, our heroine is the only child of Salvatore Costa, the ringleader and notorious godfather of Chicago’s Italian mafia and one of the most powerful organized crime leaders. Because of the danger that lurks within their community, her family has tried to keep her out of the eyes of both the public and the other reigning mob family in Chicago, the Heat.

But the sheltered life she has known for 18 years turned 360 degrees the night she met Rylan.

Rylan let her feel emotions she wasn’t used to experiencing. He made her feel nervous and excited. Scared and strong. Apprehensive and eager. Love. That is! They barely know each other but the sensation they feel is strong enough to defy their families. And because fate is not on their side, they make secret plan to run away.

Everything in this story is written so brilliantly. And while, initially it took me about 20 pages to really get into it, the way the story is told it’s just so hard not to be absorbed into this new world and its political structure, the character and the romance. And the plot just moved along at a great pace that kept me engaged and at times on the edge of my seat. Nicole Williams knows how to tell a good story!

Josette is a fantastic heroine that really stood out to me. She is very smart, determined and strong-minded. There was something about Rylan that she sensed and she wanted to know. I think it’s because they both had this rebellious sort of kindred spirit thing going on but I equally loved Josette and Rylan and who they were and what they fought for.

The story starts a bit slow but like a good chess game the pieces are being moved in a subtle manner until SHIT HAPPENS and oh does it happen. I was gasping for breath when I realized what was going on and what it meant for our heroine and the story and then the action just kept coming at me and was relentless until the very emotional ending. The story just kept beating the hell out of me as all my emotions and FEELS (anger, sadness, shock, betrayal, triumph) exploded out. So HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS! This action got quite intense.

Nicole Williams kept me guessing about the ending right up until the last page, and I came away feeling rather tearful, but immensely satisfied. Though not your typical romance novel, this book has enough of the crucial components—heartache, suspense, sexual tension—to entice many fans of this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I’m the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the LOST & FOUND series, the CRASH series, and a handful of others. Basically, I get to do what I love. Every single day. I write romance because I’m a sucker for a good love story, and I write happy endings because there are too few of them in real life.

Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaways: IRIS by R.K. LILLEY @authorrklilley

Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaways: IRIS by R.K. LILLEY @authorrklilley

Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaways: IRIS by R.K. LILLEY @authorrklilleyIris Series: The Wild Side
on June 27, 2014
Genres: Erotica, Romance
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Who is Iris? Where did she come from? Where has she gone?

Alasdair Masters has more questions than answers about his new, too young obsession, and when he finds out she’s been lying to him, from their first meeting to their last one, he’s more confused than ever about her feelings, her intentions.

And what’s just as confusing are his own feelings. Has he turned something purely physical into something emotional in his own head? Is any of it mutual?

The only thing he doesn’t question is whether he’ll keep going back for more.

Me, I was simple. I was order. A very neat, efficient machine that ran on nothing but air.

Me plus anyone else, well, that was another matter. And me plus Iris, that was a monster of a machine, with all gears going at different speeds, some spinning off their hinges, just going mad, but it was a wonderful madness, at full throttle, misfiring in all directions.

It felt wonderful and dreadful.
I was breaking down, and it felt amazing.
And terrifying.

This book is intended for readers 18 and up.


Book Review and Excerpt: Phenomenal X by Michelle Valentine

Title: Phenomenal X
Author: Michelle A. Valentine

From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and woman lose their minds with desire. 
Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.
One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.

Growing up I was in LOVE with the WWF. My cousin and would pretend we were wrestlers, jump off of anything that was climbable, and broke a lot of stuff in the process. Since then we have both grown up a lot and are less violent. My love for the sport disappeared but I must say that after reading this book I am down for an old fashion living room match! I may be paying said cousin a call very soon! 

“That’s because you don’t know me. Believe me, beautiful, I’m bad fucking news. A nice girl like you should run away from me as quick as you can.” 

Epic in every sense of the word, X is a treat for the mind and the eye. Anna’s chance encounter with this mass of man candy was a moment nether would forget. There are the moments in your life where you connect on a level far greater than the mind could ever understand. Anna and X’s flight to the Motor City will forever change them both. Flying with more baggage them anyone person can handle the spark they mutually discover has taken hold in a way nether will ever forget.

“We all have things that haunt us – things we’d like to forget. The key is not allow them to get in the way of out happiness.”

Strikingly real, X’s story is painful to read. Overcoming a past filled with demons, X was able to find a sliver of hope. We are products of our environment and X is no different. Reading his POV of view was hard to swallow. 

“Not everyone’s meant to have happiness, Anna. Some of us are meant for the dark.”

X soon learns that even in our darkest moments, love is the light needed to guide you home. Anna becomes his addiction – mind, body, and soul. Anna is not exempt in this beat down match of love. Her own personal struggle weighs heavy on her heart and her mind. Both flawed, they are working together to find their own personal perfection.
An entertaining read, Phenomenal X gave me exactly what I look for in a Michelle Valentine book. Stage or ring, guitar or fist, no matter the venue you are promised hot men, angst, and one hell of a good time. I won’t lie the cliffhanger will sting. The evil villain in this story will have you holding your poster board signs high and screaming your dislike at the top of your lungs. No fear I have complete and utter confidence in our little pint size Valentine! When love is against the ropes I know she will deliver us a win before the count is complete. Stay tuned it just go good…

Just then I notice an extremely tall, broad-shouldered man wearing jeans and a blue button-down shirt, with his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, board the plane. Even with his shirt on I can tell he’s all muscle underneath it. The definition in his chest and arms is undeniable as the fabric strains against his pecs and biceps. Intricate tattoos cover every inch of exposed flesh on his arms, and I immediately know he’s the kind of guy my mother always warned me about—which does nothing to decrease his appeal. 
I bite my lip as my eyes scan further up and take in the dark hair on his head. It’s got a little bit of length to it and is styled to messy perfection. His strong jawline has some light stubble, like he forgot to shave this morning, and the fact that his nose isn’t perfectly straight—indicating it’s been broken a time or two—only adds to his rugged good looks. The way he carries himself, chin up with a daring expression, exudes confidence. Everything about him says he doesn’t take crap from anyone, which is a highly attractive feature in a man. And that body…yowza! It’s absolutely delicious and belongs on the cover of a magazine. It’s designed for masses of women to enjoy devouring with their eyes because in the flesh, that’s exactly what I’m doing. 
And I’m loving every minute of it.
My heart pauses for a beat the moment this man locks eyes with me. When I don’t immediately turn away, a slight hint of a smile plays at the corner of his full lips. Briefly, I’m mesmerized, and then realize I’m still thinking about his body, and I’m biting my lip. 
He winks at me like he knows exactly what’s on my mind before he slides into an empty row of seats in first class. A short, thin man with a mullet and a beard takes the aisle seat next to him. 
I lean my head back against the seat and sigh, feeling the heat in my cheeks. That man is dangerously sexy and way out of my league. .
Michelle A. Valentine is a Central Ohio nurse turned New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of erotic and New Adult romance. Her love of hard-rock music, tattoos, and sexy musicians inspired her erotic BLACK FALCON series.

Blog Tour & Review: Girl of Lies by Charles Sheehan Miles

Title: Girl of Lies
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
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Andrea Thompson is smart, assertive and beautiful. She’s also desperately lonely. Raised in Europe by her grandmother, she struggles knowing neither of her parents wanted her, and she has no idea why.

When Andrea receives an urgent call from her older sister Carrie, she agrees to fly to the United States to help. Carrie’s newborn daughter Rachel needs a bone marrow transplant.

What Andrea doesn’t know is that her return to the United States will launch a chain of events that will uncover secrets hidden for decades. Secrets which will rock the Thompson family and ignite a political firestorm.

Secrets that some will kill to protect.

Girl of Lies is Book 1 of the Rachel’s Peril political suspense trilogy, a spinoff series of the Thompson Sisters (A Song for Julia, Falling Stars, Just Remember to Breathe and The Last Hour).   It is not necessary to have read the Thompson Sisters books before reading Rachel’s Peril.
I have to start by saying this book was not what I expected.  I was first introduced to Charles with The Thompson’s Sisters Trilogy.  I fell in love with this series and A Song for Julia is on the top of my favorites list.  Going into Girl of Lies I was unsure of what to expect.  Unquestionably, Girl of Lies is a total 180 from The Thompson Sisters.  The difference, political thriller takes front and center over romance. 

Andrea was the one sister I was dying to know more about.  She was a mystery from the start.  To say that the Thompson family is 100% wacked is an understatement.  Like fitting a round peg in a square hole, the Thompson’s give new meaning to dysfunction.  No joke.  I read these books and thank God my family is only semi crazy.      
As always Charles presents a well written story with amazing character development.  Although I am not a fan of political thrillers I was able to appreciate the story.  Learning what caused the Thompson family to downward spiral kept me interested.  Be warned that you will be left with a huge cliffhanger.  Leave it to the Thompsons to keep us guessing.

Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive, and is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America’s Future.

Blog Tour: Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard (Review)

Author: Sylvain Reynard
Title: Gabriel’s Redemption (Gabriel’s Inferno Series #3)
Publisher: Penguin Berkley
From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Inferno comes the epic conclusion to the captivating romantic trilogy.
Professor Gabriel Emerson has left his position at the University of Toronto to embark on a new life with his beloved Julianne. Together, he’s confident that they can face any challenge. And he’s eager to become a father.
But Julianne’s graduate program threatens Gabriel’s plans, as the pressures of being a student become all consuming. When she is given the honor of presenting an academic lecture at Oxford, Gabriel is forced to confront Julianne about the subject of her presentation—research that conflicts with his own. And in Oxford, several individuals from their past appear, including an old nemesis intent on humiliating Julia and exposing one of Gabriel’s darkest secrets.
In an effort to confront his remaining demons, Gabriel begins a quest to discover more about his biological parents, beginning a chain of events that has startling repercussions for himself, Julianne, and his hope of having a family.
So I have to start by saying this was a hard read for me. I loved the first two books. Like read in on sitting love. As with all books that I fall in love with…I wanted more. I will say that I was one of the masses that chanted more! So when Gabriel’s Redemption found its way to my Kindle I was oh so happy but for about the first 50% I was unsure. I did not devour Gabriel’s Redemption as I did the other two. This one really doesn’t present anything new in the way of plot but what we do get are final answers. 
Julianne’s struggle with motherhood/career is a huge part of this story. Fighting to make an independent mark in the world of Dante, Julianne has some hard choices to make. Can she have it all? Only time will tell. Julianne’s character is one that any woman can relate too. Do you leave behind what you worked so hard for something of equal importance? Can a woman have it all? Can the love of one man allow you the strength to have it all? Now we are talking about Gabriel Emerson! I will say that my love for this man was one thing I did not battle with in this book. Yet again Gabriel is loveable flawed perfection. 
Old faces appear once again and intertwine with the main story line of Julianne and Gabriel. We know that Paul will forever be in love with Julianne, Christa is a huge “see you next Tuesday”, and Simon and Natalie…well are in a class by themselves. As it was nice to get a little more info I felt that they were unneeded filler and created more questions. 
BUT all is not lost! The last half of this book made the read worth it. I could have lived with two Gabriel books and still could. With that said the last 30% gave me what I was looking for. It made up for that was lacking from the first half. So with that it was worth the read. I really do enjoy Julianne and Gabriel story. Their love is one for the ages. It was a pleasant surprise seeing how this love story played out and as I read the final words I was content with the journey that Sylvain Reynard took me on. There were some moments I was worried and in complete shock but that is what makes a great story. It was a hard earned 4 stars but as an over all trilogy and a rally at the 11th hour I say well done Mr. Reynard.           

I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.

I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Twitter account.

BLOG TOUR: TORN BY KIM KARR (review and giveaways)

Title: TORN (Connections #2)

Release date: October 1, 2013

Rock star River Wilde brought Dahlia London back from the brink of hopelessness with his unwavering love and devotion. But their entwined history is about to test the strength of that love…

Dahlia was certain she had found true love and met her ‘Once in a Lifetime’ when she reconnected with River. But Dahlia’s world comes crashing down when someone from her past resurfaces, and all of River’s carefully hidden secrets are exposed.

River wants to show Dahlia that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass—it’s about dancing in the rain! But how many times can one broken heart be mended? Will River and Dahlia be able to face the turmoil together or will they be torn apart?
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And now I’ve got the answers that I’ve been waiting for but there’s more to it. More secrets, more lies, more pains and more revelations. 

“Nothing has changed. She belongs with me.” 

He’s back. Ben came back and this just maybe the biggest mistake he’s ever made! 
But Ben was letting the past rule his present. He’d lost the chance to be with the love of his life when he made that decision a long time ago, and now that he’s returned, he’s no longer willing to risk losing another chance to be with Dahl. 

“You filled a void, when I wasn’t here, but you’re no substitute for the real thing.” 

“ Then I’ve been your substitute for way longer than you’ve been dead.” 

“She’s mine. You don’t deserve her, you never did.” 

Things became rough for all them. There were doubts, betrayals. There were questions. 

“I want to believe your love is only for me, That your lips are mine. That your kisses are meant for me. That your body belongs to me. But when you leave me to see him, it’s hard to know for sure. 

“You left me a fucking note that you were going to see the man you spent your whole life with. The man you left me for the first tiem we met. The man whose ghost I have had to compete with every day of our lives together.” 

But thank God Dahlia and River’s love for each other is so strong that instead of being destroyed, they took their pain, sorted it out together, and emerged on the other side better and stronger than either of them could ever have imagined. 
But will love ever be enough to hold them together? 

“Relationships are made up of so many different emotions, but the one thing that keeps a relationship strong is love. Can doubt weaken such a strong bond? Not if two people don’t let it…” 

Torn is the second book in this increasingly fascinating series. It picks up exactly where the first book left off. I liked the storyline, the depth of feelings, and the heat and need Dahl and River has for each other. There were a lot of things going on in this story and I kept wondering how the author could possibly wrap up all these threads, but she did well and what a remarkable accomplishment! Although there were quite a few scenes I believe that can be omitted, Torn still packs a very hard punch, in the best possible way and delivers a scorching romance. The continuation of the overall story satisfied my need to know what happens to all the characters and the fact they get to play a fairly substantial role in this second book delighted me. 
When I finished the last page, I sat in silence for a rather long time, not analyzing what I read, but simply feeling the wonderful emotions that Kim Karr has evoked through this story and I can’t wait to read more of her works. 
Thanks Kim! I completely enjoyed your expert way of sorting out the series in this fantastic story.

Close your eyes and you can imagine what it was like. Hot, sticky, crowded. Smoke, flashing screens, and lighters flickering. Fans screaming, laughing, clapping, and crying. Bodies pushing, shoving, trying to catch a glimpse. Everyone wanting to see the stage—the lights, the equipment, the musician himself.
He was running back and forth singing, headbanging, and playing his guitar. The lyrics were jumbled. His movements out of sync. The sound of the bass thumped through the crowd so loud my body vibrated with every wrong note played. I just wanted it to end.
Nick Wilde had opened for the Counting Crows at the Hollywood Bowl. It was his second chance— and he blew it. The crowd was exhilarated at the start of his first song and he owned the stage but it didn’t last long. By the third song he was improvising, pulling notes, and forgetting words. He was lost in his own trance, soaked in alcohol, and no one could help him…not Xander, not my mother, and definitely not me. “Mr. Jones” started playing before he even finished his fourth song…and he never played onstage again.
Music was his soul. Music was in all of our souls. When we were younger he taught us everything he could…how to play, to sing, the right way to command a stage. We knew every song by every artist. We traveled to concert after concert. Music was his life and it became ours.
But he wasn’t happy just playing. He had a dream—he wanted to be famous. And somewhere along the way his dream became an obsession. I’ll give it to him, he got further than most do. By the age of nineteen he had been signed by a label and cut his first album. But after a disappointing run they released him. He spent the next fifteen years working the circuit—clubs, churches, weddings, birthday parties, as he waited for another big break. And then, just like that, he blew his golden opportunity.
Everything in our life changed after that. The drinking got worse, Grandpa came around more to check on us, and Mom went back to work. Every day left another kink in his chain as he lived in his own world. I was sixteen when his plan A became my plan B and, just like him, at a young age, I cut my first album. But unlike him I had Xander. He wasn’t going to let me fail. The band’s album had a slow start but after a year of touring, it started to gain popularity.
I remember the first time the Wilde Ones graced a real stage. We were restless. We had been sitting around for hours waiting. When we were finally up we strutted confidently across the stage like we had in rehearsal, but, really, we were nervous as hell. The lights were much brighter and the audience so much bigger than we were used to. When the guys started to play, soft, barely audible words flew out of my mouth so fast I forgot to breathe. The band was drowning me out and I knew it. Looking around, I adjusted the microphone height and took in the crowd. They were cheering me on with such enthusiasm that my voice finally soared over them. It was the same voice I’d grown up with, the one my dad had fostered. It was raw and present and soulful, and, in that moment, my music came alive. The crowd went crazy and just like that my life changed again.
Xander struck while the iron was hot. He arranged to go on tour. That was the beginning of the end for me. We started out small. Smaller venues, shitty hotels, crappy food, and a lot of drinking. We opened for band after band and the relationships I made…they kept me going, that and being up on that stage doing what I loved…it kept me going, wanting to make my dad proud…yeah, that, too.
But touring was a constant infringement on my personal space. I hated the cramped quarters, lack of privacy, constant strict schedule, never being in the same city for more than two nights, people following you everywhere, people always wanting something from you. Even the girls throwing themselves at you got old. It was the longest year of my life, but I did it for him because somewhere along the way his dream morphed into mine. What I came to realize was that his dream wasn’t mine—my dad thought being on tour meant you had made it. His dream was about being famous. Mine is about the music.
As the venues got bigger so did the crowds, the fanfare, and I could see how you could get lost in it, caught up in it—but I was determined not to end up like my father. He was addicted to the fame. I’m addicted to the creative process. I hope that difference between us is enough. The tour ended and we wrote, we played around LA, and as time passed life was good. But I had managed to put off cutting another album long enough. This time I was doing it for the band and for my brother and for me—because I love the music. Cutting the album—that’s the fun part. It’s the promoting I dreaded, at least until the day I saw her through the glass. The girl who inspired our song “Once in a Lifetime,” the girl Xander always referred to as my muse, the girl who stole my heart one night and then crushed it at the very same time.
She was as beautiful as I remembered and with one glance she took my breath away. She walked my way, pulling a suitcase behind her, and my heart skipped a beat. I knew immediately she was the one sent to interview me and suddenly any negativity I had about doing press was gone. I couldn’t help but watch her. I wanted her unlike anyone I had ever wanted before. I had to stifle a laugh when her briefcase fell off the top of her suitcase and she glanced around to see who saw. I wanted to yell, “Only me and don’t worry because everything about you is sexy as fuck.”
I rushed to grab the door for her, but she pushed it forward and fell into me—not that I minded in the least. I’d catch her over and over. There wasn’t a thing about her that I didn’t remember from the first time we met and even the awkwardness of the moment brought me to full attention. When her body pressed against mine, I knew in that instant…this time I wasn’t letting her get away so easily. I’d go on a thousand tours to have her in my life—there was just something about her, a light in her eyes that made everything wrong feel right. And just like my dad, I got a second chance—it was her. But unlike him, I wasn’t going to blow it.
When she extended her hand and said, “Hello, I’m Dahlia London from Sound Music. I’m so sorry I’m late,” I knew she had to be mine.