Emma in the Night

Title: Emma in the Night
Author: Wendy Walker
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Review:

As soon as I started this book and I saw the reference to mythology I was excited! I love Greek mythology. When I saw that the main character was named Cassandra, I guessed what was going to happen. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was the son of King Priam of Troy. She was cursed with the power to tell the future, but no one would ever believe her. Cass experiences a similar effect, though not as extreme.

This was a very exciting story. I could see some holes in Cass’s story, but I had no idea how it was going to end.

Some of the background stories became confusing after a while because they were so extensive. I kept wanting the story to move forward rather than focus on things that had happened before the girls disappeared. There was also a lot of background information on Abby that was unnecessary to the story.

I really loved this story! If you love thrillers, you should definitely read it!

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Crescent Calling

Crescent Calling
Axelle Chandler
(The Crescent Witch Chronicles #1)
Publication date: August 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Skye Williams is an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life.
Or so she thought.
When she receives news of her estranged mother’s death, she must go to Ireland to claim her inheritance, but when she arrives in the tiny village of Derrydun, she isn’t prepared for what she finds nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
Lumped with a funeral, her mother’s crystal shop, a moody goth girl for an employee, and a crumbling cottage with horrible floral curtains, selling up and getting out sounds like a great plan, but everything and everyone seems determined to keep her from going home.
Skye doesn’t want any part of her mother’s life or the people of Derrydun until she sees the hot Irishman she’s been crushing on turn into a fox.
More absurdly, he tells her her dead mother was a witch who battled evil fairies, there’s magical trees growing in the centre of the village, there’s a parallel universe where the fair folk live, and she’s meant to be the last defense of the magical peoples of Ireland.
Turns out Skye Williams was never an ordinary woman. Not by a long shot.
She’s the last Crescent Witch and has a destiny to fulfil.
Whether she likes it or not.

The Crescent Witch Chronicles is a series stuffed full of Irish charm, myth and mayhem. Come on an adventure fraught with danger and forbidden romance…and the ultimate battle to save magic before it’s gone forever.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

That night, as Buddy kept me company, I fell asleep to the sound of wind howling through the trees outside. Plagued with dreams of wolves, I tossed and turned until I slipped into a deep slumber.

When dawn finally broke, I was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and my head was stuffed with cotton wool. I’d slept but not really. A heavy burden was over my heart, and my body had become twisted in the quilt, my feet trapped.

Ugh, I was all hot and sticky. I kicked, trying to shift the uncomfortable weight and turned over, but it didn’t budge. Lifting my head, my eyes cracked open, sleep still clogging my head. That was when I saw a lump at the end of the bed. A very large, man-shaped lump.

Now completely awake, I screamed, scrambling up the bed. It was Boone. A very naked Boone.

He started, his head shooting up, and when he saw me, he rolled and fell off the end of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud. Scrambling to his feet, his face turned a deep shade of crimson.

“Oh, shit,” he cursed, covering his junk with his hands. “Oh, cac.”

Cac?” I yelled. “I’ll give you bloody Irish cac!

Grabbing the lamp on the bedside table, I pushed up onto my knees and swung it with all my might. The plug popped out of the wall, and the shade barely missed Boone’s face, but the cord came around and whipped him directly on his bare ass.

He howled in pain and retreated across the room.

Pervert!” I shrieked.

“Let me explain,” he said, holding up his hands and leaving nothing to the imagination.

“Explain? What’s there to explain?” I shouted, trying not to look at his you-know-what. “You were asleep on the end of my bed…naked!” I swung the lamp at him again, barely missing his head. “You’re still standing there. I can see your meat and two veg!

“Oh, cac,” he said again. “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way…”

“Find out what? That you’re a pervert, who sneaks into women’s homes butt naked?”


Author Bio:

Axelle Chandler is an Australian Urban Fantasy author. She lives in the western suburbs of Melbourne dreaming up nail biting stories featuring bad-ass witches, hunky shape shifters and devious monsters. She likes chocolate, cat memes and video games. When she’s not writing, she likes to think of what she’s writing next.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Woodlands

The Woodlands Series Box Set
Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult

Do you dare enter the Woodlands?

As the last livable spot on Earth, it’s the only home Rosa and Joseph have ever known. But now they need to escape, or Rosa will be trapped forever in a horrific government program. A dystopian page-turner with over 750 five-star ratings on Goodreads. The Woodlands Series is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, and The Jewel Series by Amy Ewing. Readers can purchase this boxed set at a significant discount over the cost to purchase each novel individually. This is a complete series boxed set.

The Woodlands is an Award-Winning Finalist in the “Fiction: Young Adult” category of the USA Best Book Awards, as well as a Semifinalist in The Kindle Book Awards by the Kindle Book Review.

“Lauren Taylor’s writing is powerfully descriptive; she is a master of words and similes.” – Author Erica Kiefer

“It seems so rare these days to find a dystopian with an original vein in it. The Woodlands Succeeds.” -Author Pauline Creeden

“I went into this story with my own ideas, but they were obliterated by what I found instead. I was so happy to be wrong because this story touched my heart deeply in a way that I never expected.” – Reviewer Amber Douglas Mcallister

“This book was fantastic! Spectacular! It had everything I look for in a book: Action, Adventure, and even romance!” – Reviewer Jocelyn Sanchez

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.

Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey-washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.

My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.

My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.

They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.

“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.

“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”

He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.

Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead.


Author Bio:

Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Start Your Engines

Start Your Engines
Jim Cangany
Published by: Crimson Romance
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Buckle up for a race for the championship and the prize of a lifetime in this heartfelt reunion romance.

When racing team director Brad Thomas needs a new driver, his boss insists there’s only one answer: Gabrielle Marquez. The Indycar ace has newly returned to the United States after becoming one of the European circuit’s top drivers. But ten years ago, Gabrielle caused a crash that ended Brad’s racing career and killed their mutual best friend, along with the burgeoning crush they were exploring.

Gabby’s ready to put the past behind her, even though she knows making amends and regaining Brad’s trust won’t be easy. Rebuilding their professional relationship paves the way for healing, and old feelings soon rekindle, but a rival’s dangerous game of sabotage may threaten their team’s chance at the title.

Then an irresistible offers lands on Gabby’s windshield, forcing her to choose between her heart and her hard-fought career. Will achieving her professional dreams mean personal sacrifice?

Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

The AES machine flashed across the finish line as the starter waved the green flag, the prismatic paint job displaying every color of the spectrum.

“God, she’s beautiful.” The moment Brad had uttered the words, he realized he wasn’t sure if he was referring to the car or its driver. He was happy he didn’t have his microphone on, though.

A video feed of Gabrielle’s progress was in a corner of his computer screen. As she barreled down the long backstretch, which was five-eighths of a mile in length all by itself, he checked her speed. She was zooming at over two hundred miles per hour.

At Gabrielle’s request, the team had disconnected her speedometer. Brad was to report her speed when she finished the first lap and again when she completed the attempt. He was to say nothing else.

Brad held his breath as she flew down the front straight, the song of the turbocharged engine sweeter than an opera singer, and completed lap one. Her speed flashed on the screen. It was all Brad could do to keep from shouting.

“Two hundred point thirteen. Everything looks great.”

The first lap was pole-winning speed.

Down the backstretch and into turn three, the line Gabrielle took was as smooth as soft-serve ice cream. Exiting turn four, she drifted up so close to the white concrete retaining wall, Brad flinched and closed one eye for a moment.

The close call didn’t slow her down, though. She took the checkered flag, completing the run with a two-lap average of 200.2 miles per hour.

“Congrats, Gabrielle, you just set a Continental Series track record.”

“Yes!” Her shout almost burst Brad’s eardrums.

Scott gave Brad a thumbs-up but pointed at the scoring pylon. There were two cars left to make their qualifying attempts. One of them was Chas.

By the time Gabrielle was out of the car and had her helmet off, the number seventy-seven had the first lap in the books at just under 199 miles per hour. He was no threat. The team gathered around her to wait for Chas to make his attempt.

Brad gave Gabrielle a fist bump, but nothing more. He didn’t want to jinx anything.

The Thornton Industries machine looked fast as it took the green flag. Brad reached out and took Gabrielle’s hand. A pleasant tingling sensation went up his arm when they touched. She didn’t pull away. Rather, she held on. It was a perfect fit.

Nobody said anything as Chas came into view coming out of turn four. Brad kept his focus on the scoring pylon as their rival completed lap one.

199.96.

Gabrielle loosened her grip a touch as the group let out a collective sigh of relief. Chas wasn’t far off Gabrielle’s time, but catching her could be a tall order. It was an order he couldn’t deliver. His second lap was a tick over two hundred miles per hour.

Gabrielle was on the pole.

For the most important race of the season.

At the most historic racing venue on Earth.

Amid a cacophony of whoops and shouts of elation, Brad took Gabrielle by the shoulders.

“You did it.” At that moment, someone bumped him into Gabrielle, which brought his lips to hers. The moment they made contact, fireworks went off. Brad wasn’t sure if they were real or imagined, but he didn’t care. Kissing the woman in his arms was electrifying.

Her lips were soft, with a hint of blueberry from her lip balm. His thumb stroked her cheek and wiped away a tear. All too soon, she pulled back. He opened his eyes to find her red-cheeked but smiling from ear to ear. He recovered his senses enough to take her wrist and raise her arm.

“Presenting your pole winner for the Memorial One Hundred, Gabrielle Marquez.”

 

Author Bio:

A lifelong resident of the State of Indiana, Jim Cangany is proud to call himself a Hoosier. The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, Jim gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read. He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.

These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he’ll reply, “Those are the stories in my head.” A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre.

He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy, sons, Seamus and Aidan, and kitty-cat Maria.

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Textrovert


Title: Textrovert
Author: Lindsey Summers
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Keeley lost her phone at the country fair. When she went back to the picnic table where she was eating, she found it underneath. But that might, when she was in bed, someone called her claiming that she had his phone. Keeley had missed calls from her brother in the middle of the night. He needed a ride home because he had been drinking, but she had the wrong phone so he ended up driving home anyway. That’s only the beginning of the problems between Keeley and her twin brother Zack. He is worried about his chances of getting into college with a football scholarship. Keeley continues texting with the guy who has her phone until he can return it. They start a relationship that threatens to ruin everything else in Keeley’s life. 

This is a cute book. I’ve read some other stories like it before, with phones getting mixed up and the two people having a secret relationship over texts. That premise wasn’t original but the way it conflicts with the other relationships in Keeley’s life was unique. 

This the second book that was originally published on Wattpad that I’ve read recently. It’s amazing how writers can publish their stories online and then have them printed too. 

This is a good, light young adult read for the summer. 

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Twenty-Four Hours

Twenty-Four Hours
Carolyn Anthony
(A Shattered Boundaries Novel)
Publication date: July 3rd 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The second chance that might never happen…

Eve Luccio waited years for her first love, but somehow their lives were never quite in sync. Now, at thirty-six, her only focus is completing the final year of her PhD. The last thing on her mind is the honor-driven former Navy SEAL who stole her heart as a teen and left her unable to love any other man since.

When Jake Theron walks back into Eve’s life, his presence shatters her walls of self preservation. He unleashes a dark sexuality that Eve never imagined she would experience, much less come to crave. All he wants from her is a day of her trust—twenty-four uninterrupted hours before she crosses the country for her Post Doctorate position in New York. But letting down her guard for even twenty-four hours with Jake might just destroy her.

For Jake Theron, Eve was always “the one that got away,” except even after two decades, she’s still under his skin. When Eve finally agrees to see him, Jake vows he won’t let her slip through his fingers again.

But nobody knows better than Jake what a vicious bitch fate can be. When his life gets in the way, he realizes he may have to let Eve go once again—this time for her own good.

All he has left are the next twenty-four hours. One day and night in a seaside hotel, after which he has no choice but to let her walk out of his life with no guarantee he’ll ever see her again. The problem is, now that he’s had a real taste of the woman who should have been his twenty years ago, he’s not sure he’ll have the strength to let her go.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

He moved his lips to her ear. “That’s what home feels like.”

Eve framed his cheeks and leaned back. “You are home to me, Jake.”

“Mmm.” He kissed her forehead, pushed his hands under her ass and lifted her up without pulling out.

“What are you doing?” She smiled into his shoulder.

“Bed. No need to mess up the kitchen. I knew that dress would be useful for something other than looking amazing on you.” He knelt on the bed and fell forward with her.
“Jake!”

They both laughed as her back hit the mattress with him on top of her.

Pulling back, he stared down at her before kissing her forehead and slowly pulling out. “Stay here. I’ll get you a towel.” Stark ass naked, he walked to the bathroom.

A smile pushed at her lips as he came back with her towel and his boxers on.

With a longing look at the table full of food, Jake groaned as he walked past it to her.

“You’re hungry.” She fought back a laugh.

Looking amused, he dropped to the bed beside her and gently cleaned her up. Jake was like a grumpy bear when he was hungry.

“I’m fucking starving. I gotta eat something other than you.”

He stood up, grabbed her ankles and pulled her to him by the side of the bed. Then handed her one of his T-shirts.

“Go clean up. I’ll heat it up. We’ll eat then…what? Movie?”

She wrapped the towel around her and sat on the side of the bed. “A movie’s fine.”

Before she could reach the bathroom, Jake’s voice stopped her. “Baby….”

She turned to him. “Yeah?”

“You know I won’t make it through a movie with you…”

Sadness washed over her, because there wasn’t enough time.

“I know.” Never enough time.

His vivacious laugh rang through the small room. “Just so we’re clear. This right here—” He waved his hand over the food. “—Is about refueling. Don’t plan on sleeping too much.”

“I’ll be right out.” She walked into the bathroom, leaving him to heat up dinner. Eve’s body ached and her heart broke. Tomorrow…today would be on a long list of yesterdays—days she could never get back. While it would be one of the best in her thirty-six years, it would bleed into yet another painful memory with little hope of healing.


Author Bio:

Carolyn Anthony is a sucker for a dark romance with a dominant, tattooed, alpha badass man at the helm.

Her characters deal with real life issues: the painful, the tragic, the damaging sort of life events that leave both external and internal scars, because she’s been there.

Her heroines are strong women at the core who will always find what’s been lost, taken or exploited: their strength, their self-worth, their identity, their innocence or their love. She writes about women exploring their sexuality, owning that sexuality and enjoying it. Along for the ride, the hot-ass men who prove worthy enough to be on that journey with them.

Book one in the Shattered Boundaries Series, Twenty-Four Hours, will be available to buy on July, 3, 2017. Each book is a stand alone with a well earned HEA. Book two coming soon as well as Phoenix, the first book in a Contemporary second chances trilogy.

Feel free to stalk me everywhere!

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Heart of the City


Title: Heart of the City
Author: Robert Rotenberg
Genre: Crime 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Ari Greene was a detective in Toronto until he was charged with murder. When they eventually cleared his name, he went to England and met the daughter he never knew existed. Now he is working at a construction site in Kensington markets. His daughter, Alison, is supposed to be in journalism school, but she dropped out to start the blog, Kensington Confidential. She writes about the controversies in that neighbourhood, including the condos being built by Livingston Fox. When Livingston Fox is murdered, Greene finds his body. Greene goes back to working alongside his former coworker Kennicott so solve this murder. 

This story was fast paced and thrilling. I read it in just a couple of hours. 

Being from Toronto, I loved all the references to the city. I could picture where everything was happening, including most of the stores that were mentioned. I felt a close connection to this story. 

I haven’t read any other books in the series, but it was easy to pick up. Things in their past were explained quickly, so the story could move forward. At the same time, I learned enough about the characters to understand them. 

This was a great read, especially for Toronto residents!