Review: Unforgiven by Ruth Clampett

 

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Unforgiven, an all-new sexy and emotional M/M love story from Ruth Clampett available now!!

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Unforgiven by Ruth Clampett
Publication Date: March 9th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?

Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?

Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.

When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

My Review

Jason and Dean have been best friends forever, and unbeknownst to Dean, Jason’s been carrying a torch for him for years. But Dean is straight, right? It’s absolutely hopeless. Until Jason gets the shock of his life and everything he though he knew isn’t so concrete anymore. But is it worth risking their friendship to expand their boundaries?

This is an intense read–somewhat grittier than Ruth’s other stories but just as satisfying in the romance department. Five stars.

Excerpt

 

He stands frozen, every part of him perfectly still, and then he gasps for air. “Please, Dean, please tell me you aren’t toying with me.”

I press my face into his neck. “I’m not toying with you, man. I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I have all these confusing feelings and my curiosity is through the roof. I’ve been so damn restless lately, and suddenly I have a feeling that if I turn a corner, I might find myself right where I need to be.”

Jason slides his arm along my lower back and curves his fingers around my side, then pulls me closer. “Don’t make me hope for something, and then crush me. I wouldn’t be able to take it. Our friendship means everything to me. It’s why I’m still standing and fighting for a future, when for a long time I wasn’t sure if I deserved one.”

I pull my head back so we can be face to face. It guts me to see so much pain in his eyes. Why the hell didn’t I see all of this before? He’s my best friend, dammit. I should have known he was hurting.

He shakes his head. “I can’t lose you, Dean. I can’t. Tread carefully, man.” His eyes are glazed like he’s fighting back tears.

I take his hand and guide him into my room. “You aren’t going to lose me. Maybe this whole thing of me learning your secrets happened to bring us closer.”

“I want that,” he whispers, and then more softly he murmurs, “I want you.”

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About the Author:

Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director Bob Clampett, grew up surrounded by artists and animators. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, she has been VP of Design for Warner Brothers Studio Stores and taught photography at UCLA. Today she runs her own studio and as the Fine Art publisher for Warner Brothers Studios has come to know and work with some of the world’s greatest artists in the fields of animation and comics.

Ruth lives and works in Los Angeles, strictly supervised by her teenage daughter, who helps plan their summer around their yearly pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic Con.

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Connect with Ruth:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RuthClampettWrites/

Twitter: @RuthyWrites

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Review + Giveaway: Hero Hair by Rachel Robinson

 

 

Want to meet a “Real Seal?”

 

 

Hero Hair is NOW LIVE & Free on Kindle Unlimited!

**99cents for a limited time**

 

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Blurb

Everyone knows there is no “I” in team, but to Macs Newstead–orgasm-gifting, muscle-filled Navy SEAL hero–there are more important words than team. Words like victory and vanity and selfishness. People say those words like they are a bad thing, but to Macs, they’re simply tools in his highly effective arsenal. When a man’s entire existence revolves around the necessity to end lives, silly, mundane things like second dates or monogamy seem worthy sacrifices.

 

Downward facing dog or doggy-style–it’s all the same to Teala Smart, a whip-smart yoga instructor. She owns her studio like she owns her life–with focus, positive energy, and pure devotion. That devotion, however, does not trickle into her love life (or more accurately, her lust life.) Relationships are a roadblock to her success. They get in the way and tangle up emotions more than the lotus pose tangles up limbs. Men are best kept just for a night and then released into the wild before feelings get too messy.

 

HERO HAIR, the second novel of International Bestselling Author Rachel Robinson’s THE REAL SEAL SERIES, is the account of an life-altering journey detailing the awakening of two hollow hearts, both set on taking their own pleasures without any emotional attachment. The ruthless SEAL finally meets an enemy he can’t defeat, and both Macs and Teala find, against their wishes, and despite atrocious circumstances, a chemistry so explosive it leaves nothing but deconstructing love in its wake.

 

Excerpt

“Still want to have our third date?” he asks, pulling his t-shirt up to expose his abs. He bites the dark, cotton fabric, like men in fashion magazines do. With his abs flexed he poses so casual, so fucking drool-worthy, so over-the-top, and he gets away with it. He tosses the shirt onto the counter, with his tongue caught between his teeth.

 

I blow out a breath. It’s as hot as a Channing Tatum movie. More so, because I can actually touch this body–can do whatever I want with this body. “How am I supposed to say anything but yes when you don’t play fair? You’re over there with your goddamn abs and dimples and precision stripping skills.” I motion to his body.

 

“Babe, you played dirty first. Your mouth is like a fucking dirty poker game. One you’ll win every single time.”

 

I wrinkle my forehead. “Thanks I guess. Third date?” I ask, tilting my head to the side.

 

“Let’s go to my bedroom,” he says.

 

My Review:

This is the second book in the Real Seal Series but you don’t need to read Black and White Flowers first in order to understand it. The timelines of the two novels overlap, which is always interesting.

Teala (pronounced Tay-la) and Macs are two birds of a feather: they like their lives unencumbered. They know what they like, they aren’t afraid to go for it, and romantic relationships aren’t on the menu. Teala goes out on a date with one of the SEALs but she makes it clear she doesn’t do repeats, so the guy gives her number to Macs thinking they’ll be ideally suited. But Teala’s friends are determined to show her that there’s more to life than one night stands, and they dare her to go out on three dates with one man without hooking up. Poor Macs. He’d been told she was a sure thing and ends up disappointed, but willing to play the game. And–big shock–they find out they have a lot in common. Shame the biggest value they have in common is not going out on more than one date with the same person.

This is one of those stories I love, in which there’s laughter, tears and a lot of tension. It’s a lot of fun seeing these two learn how to go on dates without ending up in bed. They actually have to have conversations. Gasp! And the chemistry is off the charts. That’s not to say that there aren’t some terrible growing pains. But Rachel Robinson delivers a wonderful, believable, topical story. I’m eager for more books in this series. Five stars.

 

 

About the Author

 

Rachel grew up in a small, quiet town full of loud talkers. Her words were always only loud on paper. She has been writing stories and creating characters for as long as she can remember. After living on the west coast for many years she recently moved to Virginia Beach, VA.

 

 Stalk Rachel here:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

 

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Cover Reveal: Two Wrongs by Donna Alam

 

Two Wrongs: A Second Chance Romance by Donna Alam

Trouble by Numbers, Book 2

Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Kellie Dennis – Book Cover By Design

Release Date: April 3, 2017

 

Synopsis

When Ivy Adams is summoned back to LA by her secret husband, it’s for the purpose of revenge, not a second chance. Estranged as long as they’ve been married, Ivy’s never told anyone she even has a husband, let alone he’s the Scots born movie star, Dylan Duffy.

Yeah, that Dylan Duffy. The sexy-as-sin bad-boy. The man whose rumbling accent has half the world’s panties damp.

But Ivy isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and screwing half of Hollywood hasn’t sated Dylan’s need for revenge. He’s hellbent on making Ivy pay for her mistakes in the most despicable way he can.

Two wrongs don’t make the pair even, but can they ever make their marriage right?

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Pre-Order Links

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One of Five ARCs of Two Wrongs by Donna Alam

 

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One Hot Scot: A Second Chance Romance by Donna Alam

Trouble by Numbers, Book 1

Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance

 

Synopsis

Fin Hayes has ninety-nine problems. Quite literally.

She’s lost her husband, her job, recently avoided jail time, and is back living in the place she’s always loathed . . . when problem #100 walks in.

Rory Tremaine is ripped, rich, and handsome, and a blast from the past who seems to have no recollection of Fin. But second time around that’s okay, because when she’s near his firm ass and tattoos, she’s using a fake name anyway.

At least she won’t be leaving her virginity behind this time. Instead, she might just risk losing her heart.

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Purchase Links

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About the Author

Donna writes about exotic locations and the men you aren’t married to, but might wish you were. Escapism reads with heart and humor and, of course, plenty of steam.

Hailing from the North of England, she’s a nomad at heart moving houses and continents more times than she cares to recall. A bit clueless rather than stateless, she once worked at a school like the one described in her Pretty Trilogy. Alas, there were no handsome millionaires hanging around there.

An eclectic reader and part-time perv, Donna’s a huge fan of smart men and enjoys her protagonists with a large measure of inappropriateness.

 

Connect with Donna

Website: http://donnaalam.com/

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Review: Going Up by Katherine Stevens

 

 

My Review:

Oh, man, I would love to spend some time hanging around inside Katherine Stevens’s brain. It’s gotta be crazy in there.

Maggie Foster walks to her own beat. And she’s been holding a torch for a guy named Finn for a very long time. So long, that her friend Cici thinks Finn is a figment of her imagination. But when Maggie meets Finn after a prolonged absence, sparks fly. Obviously, there really is someone for everybody.

This had me laughing like mad. I truly hope there are more volumes to come in this series. I suggest Cici and Maggie get pregnant at the same time. Nothing could be wilder than that. Five stars.

 

Title: Going Up
Series: The Elevator #2 (Standalone)
Author: Katherine Stevens
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: March 6, 2017
Blurb

Margaret Vincent Foster came into the world with two things: money and a rebellious streak. She can’t find the love of her life, so she fills the void by dating characters you would normally only find in the drunk tank on a full moon. She’s the girl your parents never thought to warn you about. She will steal your heart, and maybe a little bit of your soul.Maggie’s only goal is to not end up like her socialite parents and their friends. They want her to settle down and be comfortable, and all Maggie can think about is a boy in a Star Wars costume she met half a lifetime ago. Her prized velvet Elvis and celebrity hair clippings in tow, she drags everyone along as she carves her own path in the world. When others are going down, Maggie is going up.

Purchase Links

 

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Author Bio

When Katherine Stevens isn’t writing, she can usually be found opening juice boxes and looking for lost shoes. Her kids keep her quite busy and always zig-zagging across the line of sanity. She is a lifelong Texan with a terrible sense of direction and even worse memory. She thinks life is entirely too hard if you don’t laugh your way through it.

As a child, she dreamed of being the most sarcastic astronaut in history, but her poor math skills and aversion to dehydrated food kept her out of the space program. Now she writes to pass the time until NASA lowers their standards. Your move, NASA. 

OTHER BOOKS BY KATHERINE STEVENS 

Felony Ever After: http://amzn.to/2ll1sR7 

Going Down (#1 The Elevator Series): http://amzn.to/2m2qKjT 
Getting Off (#1.5 in The Elevator Series): http://amzn.to/2mzqaNW

 

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Review: The Hold Trilogy by Arell Rivers

 

No One to Hold

by Arell Rivers
The Hold Series
Publication Date: December 16, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Succumb to Cole Manchester—talented, witty, charming, sexy and oh-so flawed—a womanizing rock star whose shallow life is transformed when he experiences love for the first time.

From the outside, Cole Manchester seems to have it all: looks, fame, money, awards and women. When tragedy strikes, he realizes how hollow his life is, and opens the door to the one thing he’s never considered … finding love. He’s inexplicably drawn to the quiet wallflower who works on his team, a line he knows he shouldn’t cross.

After devastating heartbreaks, all Rose Morgan wants is to blend into the woodwork. Working at her dream job as a publicist, she’s safely hiding in plain sight. Until her client, the sexy Cole Manchester, notices her. Rose must ignore her desires in order to protect her bruised heart … and keep her prized career.

Cole needs Rose to teach him how to love. Rose needs Cole to teach her how to trust. Together, they form a bond ignited by passion but fueled by insecurities. When her mother’s interference collides with his fan’s twisted plot, Cole and Rose may find themselves with No One To Hold.

Hard to Hold (Book #2 in The Hold Series)
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Cheer for Rose Morgan—strong, determined and driven—a brilliant publicist who thought she had finally overcome her tragic past when, once again, her life is turned upside down. Rose and Cole’s passionate love story continues in this second full-length novel in The Hold Series.

Distraught by news of Cole’s unexpected marriage, Rose Morgan tries to pick up the pieces of her life, only to be confronted by Cole at every turn. With her PR career in serious jeopardy, Rose can’t escape his orbit and is forced to continue working on his account. Under snowballing pressure, she seeks solace from unlikely sources.

Reeling from the disastrous fallout after his drunken night in Las Vegas, rock star Cole Manchester is a tormented man. He reaches out to Rose, the one woman who has always fixed his mistakes, only to realize that he might have pushed her away forever. Now, he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.

Rose and Cole each must face their deepest fears if their love is to survive. But Cole’s stalker is becoming increasingly unhinged … and dangerous. In the end, Rose and Cole must decide if some things are just too Hard to Hold.

To Have and to Hold (Book #3 in The Hold Series)
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Rally around Cole Manchester and Rose Morgan: the rock star and his publicist are about to face their most perilous trials yet. Cole and Rose’s passionate love story culminates in this third full-length novel in The Hold Series.

Back in the spotlight for his world tour, Cole Manchester performs hit after hit before delighted fans. However, his heart remains firmly in Los Angeles with Rose, whose condition remains critical following their terrible car wreck.

After lying unconscious for weeks, Rose Morgan awakens to find herself professionally and personally adrift. Her scrambled memories have convinced her Cole is dangerous, compelling her to shut him out and face an uncertain future on her own.

With nothing left to lose, Cole’s crazed stalker executes her final desperate act. After an explosive finale, who will survive her deadly rampage?

Destinies will be altered. Intentions stripped bare. Rose and Cole must face all of their remaining demons if their love is to survive. In the trilogy’s thrilling conclusion, they’ll discover if they truly have each other forever To Have and To Hold.

My Review:

I was invited to blog the review for Book #1 of this trilogy, with the option to review the other two books. I loved the first book so much that I just couldn’t wait to read the sequels–the trilogy is complete and published–so I immediately bought the other two volumes. It took me about three days to read them all. I didn’t want to put them down.

Cole’s mother passes away and he has an epiphany: everything he’s earned is worthless if he has no one to share it with him. In times of trouble, everyone he knows evidently has a friend to lean on, but not him. He’s unwittingly isolated himself. He decides to find a woman with whom he can have a genuine connection. Somebody normal, outside the environment to which he’s accustomed. And he soon sets his eye on Rose. There are only two problems: she works for him and she has secrets. Oh, and she’s leery of committing to him. Not to mention that he has a stalker who’d like to see her dead.

Book #1: No One to Hold: 4 stars.

Book #2: Hard to Hold: 5 stars.

Book #3: To Have and to Hold: 5 stars.

About Arell Rivers

For as long as I can remember, I have been lost in a book. During my senior year in college, I picked up a Danielle Steel novel … and instantly was hooked on romance.

I started writing my first novel, No One to Hold, because the characters were screaming at me to do so. The story started coming out in my dreams and attacking me in the shower, so I took to the computer to shut them up. But they kept talking.

Born and raised in New Jersey, I have what some may call a “checkered past.” Prior to discovering my passion for writing romance, I practiced law, was a wedding and event planner and even dabbled in marketing. I live with a very supportive husband and two mischievous cats. When not in my writing cave, I can be found making dinner in the crock pot, working out with Shaun T or hitting the beach.

I hope you enjoy my stories about driven men, strong women and the passions that ignite!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Coming Soon: Mr Romance by Leisa Raven

 

Coming in April, 2017

from the Internationally best-selling author

of Bad Romeo

M I S T E R   R O M A N C E

Max Riley is the man of your dreams. Or at least he will be, for a price.

 

As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York’s socialites can’t get enough.  Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he’s careful to keep his real identity a secret.

 

Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes.

 

Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn’t fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies.

 

Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story.

 

Don’t miss this sizzling new standalone from Leisa Rayven! Coming April 30, 2017

Pre-Order Now!

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/h0YRdE

iBooks: https://goo.gl/xxaFdI

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Praise for Leisa’s Starcrossed series:

“Loved. Loved. Loved Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet. I now have a serious book hangover. Leisa Rayven – thank you for all the feels.”

 – E.L. James, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 50 Shades of Grey

 

“I’m in love with Leisa Rayven, and the rest of the world needs to be, too.”

–  Colleen Hoover, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Ugly Love

 

 

“Leisa Rayven crashes onto the romance scene: laughing, flirting, and just daring us to put Bad Romeo down. I couldn’t!”

– Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard

 

 

“An unputdownable debut! Filled with delicious tension that will make your palms sweat, toes curl and heart race.”

– Alice Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of Wallbanger

 

 

“The perfect combination of hot and hilarious. Utterly dazzling!”

– Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author of Real

 

 

“I gobbled this book up in one sitting. The emotions between the characters were superb. The new hottest book couple!”

– Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain

 

“Rayven’s words have the ability the decimate my heart. Her raw and unyielding talent leaves me breathless.

– Glass Paper Ink Book Blog

 

“With the perfect balance of humor, steam, angst and impossible-to-put-down, Leisa Rayven is a gifted storyteller, and Wicked Heart is truly exceptional.”

– Natasha Is A Book Junkie.

 

This book is genuinely PERFECT. In my eyes it is 150% perfection. Actually, I’d even go so far as to say that this is the best book I’ve read this year!!

– Aestas Book Blog.

 

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Review: Jude by Kathy Coopmans

 

 

From USA Today Best-Selling Author comes the second book in a series of standalones in The Saint Series.

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2kfssfG

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2jPDHiF

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Add to your TBR: http://bit.ly/2j3fXWM

 

Blurb

Jude

 

I faked my way long enough by keeping my mouth shut, painting a fake smile on my face and focusing hard on my job.

I quit going out to find that random piece of ass.

Not a one of them would stand up to her anyway.

She hates me, loathes me even.

Little does Vivian Shepard know I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve than she will ever begin to imagine to get her to change her mind, to get my chance.

I’m not giving up.

I want her, and by God, I’ll fight as dirty as I can get to have her.

No matter what!

 

Vivian

Of course, I knew it was a one- night stand.

It’s was the perfect night before all hell broke loose to be quite honest.

Drinking, talking and flirting.

One I relished in as I tried to gravitate my mind back to solid ground after soaring so high I could feel the rush of flying.

My stomach dipped, my heart fluttered, and my toes curled inward and then I splattered to the hard surface of the ground.

Jude Westbrooke opened his big fat mouth.

He ruined it, ruined me, ruined it all.

“We need to talk.” I finally manage to pull away from her. My eyes are diverting from her mouth to her soaked t-shirt. “Fuck,” I snarl. Her pink nipples are standing out against the wet fabric, which is white and very thin. My gaze darkens the further south it goes, down to her tiny little pink and white shorts that are saturated. Rivulets of water are dripping down her long, toned legs, dripping off her silky skin to mix with the giant puddle on the floor.

“You look absolutely beautiful, Red.”

“What in the hell are you doing here, Jude? It’s a monsoon out there. And what gives you the right to barge into my house and attack me like that, anyway? Have you lost your mind?” She shoves me back a step and climbs off the counter, nearly falling on her ass in the process. Slippery when wet, baby! The spell is broken.

“I didn’t lose my mind. You fucking stole it. I can’t stop thinking about you, and no matter what you try and say, I know damn well you don’t want me to. So we are talking, goddamn it!” I yell.

“Well, that sure didn’t sound like talking to me. And take your mind back. I don’t want it.” Liar.

“No, darling, it wasn’t talking. What that was, was several months of pent-up frustration over wanting more of what you gave me the night we met. What that was, was me telling you that I’m not a man who walks away from something he knows is rare. You want to give me my mind back, then let me give you something more to stew about in that pretty head of yours. You are so full of shit if you think for one second I’m buying the piss-ass excuse that you don’t want me. And before your head gets all rattled and you start spewing more of your shit, I’m not talking about sex, Vivian. I’m talking about you. The woman I know is in there, but is too fucking stubborn to let the best side of her out. I want that woman. The woman I met before I fucked shit up. The woman I want to ask out on a date. So, you know what? I’m here to tell you that once you decide to let that woman emerge, you give me a call.”

I turn to leave and grab the door handle. I’m so fucking mad she isn’t trying to stop me like she should that I could spit nails into this door. Hammer this goddamn thing shut.

“I’m telling you right the hell now, Vivian, that if you don’t call me, then you are wasting what I know for a goddamn fact would be the greatest gift given to me, which is you.”

My Review:

This book wasn’t what I expected–in a good way.

I was expecting the usual macho guy with an attitude. But Jude Westbrooke is so much more than muscle. He’s a total sweetheart and one of my all time favourite Alpha male leads. Plus, I love his dog.

Once, Jude made a mistake with a girl named Vivian that cost him dearly. He’ll do anything to fix it and get her back. Unfortunately, somebody doesn’t want that to happen. At all.

This book is full of twists and I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t read Riddick but I’m going to have to remedy that. Five stars.

About the Author:

Kathy Coopmans

USA TODAY Best Selling Author Kathy Coopmans, lives in Michigan with her husband Tony where they have two grown sons.

After raising her children she decided to publish her first book and retiring from being a hairstylist.

She now writes full time.

She’s a huge sports fan with her favorite being Football and Tennis.

She’s a giver and will do anything she can to help another person succeed!

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website |  Goodreads | Newsletter signup | Follow on Amazon

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Review + Excerpt: Another 4.0 by Denise Leora Madre

 

 

SUMMARY:

Daria Nelson’s life seems perfect. She’s the apple of her father’s eye, the love of Maurice’s life, and a straight-A sophomore at Howard University.
But all is not as it seems.

Daria is angry with her father…because her father is angry with her. After four years, Adrian Nelson still doesn’t like Maurice, which makes no sense to his daughter. Maurice is the handsome owner of a successful West Philly barbershop and the kind of guy any girl would be lucky to have. So what’s not to like.

Well, no, Maurice hasn’t exactly supported Daria’s decision to matriculate some 150 miles away. He expected her to attend the University of Pennsylvania like she promised and hasn’t quite forgiven the drastic change in venue. But Daria understands his frustration because college hasn’t been everything she expected either. Though confident in her choice of English as a major, she feels constant pressure to decide who she wants to be when she grows up…and maintain the level of excellence expected of a student at the premiere HBCU in the world to boot.
And with all these issues jockeying for her attention, all Daria wants is peace and another 4.0.

 

MY REVIEW:

I’m so proud to bring this book to your attention during Black History Month. It’s the work of my dear friend Denise Leora Madre. We’re writing partners. We edit for each other when the stories are still raw, and so this book has been in my life for a significant time. The characters are old friends.

Daria Nelson is a good girl from Philly who has a touch of sass and a strong wit, which makes her easy to like. Some of her relationships are a challenge. She has an overprotective dad who doesn’t want to let her grow up and disapproves of her choices, and a boyfriend who puts a ton of pressure on her by disparaging her decisions and values. I love every scene with Daria’s mom, Corina, who tends to steal the show whenever she’s around. Daria has a strong group of established friends who couldn’t be more different from one another, and the conversations and situations faced by students their age will take you right onto the campus of Howard U.

My favourite character, next to Daria, is Mordecai. You’ll see why when you read it.

This is a terrific coming-of-age story–especially for girls–with a touch of romance. It will ring true to young people and bring nostalgic remembrances to adults. I recommend it not just to lovers of Young Adult fiction, but for inclusion in high school classrooms and libraries. The novel includes a list of discussion-oriented questions at the back that will be useful to teachers and book clubs.

Denise Leora Madre has an impressive voice and a strong message for today’s youth. This book deserves to become a classic. Five stars.

 

EXCERPT:

August 1999
I scowled at the bug on my windshield.
The fat, ugly, freeloading bug on an otherwise pristine windshield.
It was a hair’s breadth outside the arc of my left wiper, artfully dodging the blue mist and squeaky blade. I knew that after trying and failing six times to dislodge it.
Stupid, fat, ugly, freeloading, useless…
“Ignore the bug,” came the soft nudge from the passenger seat. “Focus on the road.”
“I am.”
“You’re drifting.” Corina Nelson gazed out the window, eyeballing the distance between our dusty rental and the dotted white line. “Not much, but you’re drifting.”
“I am not. I’m right behind this Lexus.”
“Then the Lexus is drifting, too. I just want you to be safe.”
“I know, Mom.”
“I also reiterate my offer to drive. You’ve had your license only a month….”
“Five weeks and three days, thank you very much.”
“…and you have nothing to prove to me.”
I ignored the subtle emphasis on the last two words. The person to whom I felt obligated to prove myself lately wasn’t here, citing an unmissable meeting at work. I snorted under my breath, refusing to let him ruin a trip he hadn’t bothered to take.Corina mistook my snort for an allergic reaction. “Where’s your medicine?”
“In my bag, and I don’t need it. That was a snort of derision.”
“Is there a pill for that?” I cut my eyes at her, and she laughed. “You have to admit that was good.”
“You should have been a comedienne.”
“Nah, I like being a craftswoman.” She checked her watch. “But I hate being late.”
“It doesn’t matter.” I changed lanes to escape the octogenarian in the Lexus. “Only upperclassmen move in today, and most of them defected to the Towers.”
“Why didn’t you and Cherrie do that? Private suite with a real kitchen and bathroom instead of those broom closets Meridian calls showers.”
“Because she’s an RA, and I didn’t want to risk getting some wacky roommate.”
“Pity. I send delightful care packages.”
The sleek black cell phone in the center console rang, its cheery ringtone identifying the caller. “Great. Now I’m going to get in trouble.”
“I’ll handle Cherrie. You watch that classic pickup on your left. The driver is too busy singing to pay attention.”
“Because that song rocks.” I snapped my fingers. “Gotta love Trisha Yearwood.”
“Never change, Daria.” Corina smiled and answered my phone. “Hi, Cherrie! Yes, we’re finally on our way…. Well, we got a late start because someone pulled a fast one last night.” My cheeks flamed as she glanced at me. “She’ll tell you all about it…. We’ll be there as soon as I-95 lets us…. Oh, I’ll ask her.” She pulled the phone from her ear. “Cherrie can hold an ‘80s room’ for you, whatever that means.”
“The rooms numbered 79-92 are huge, big enough for Bernie to do a cartwheel.”
“Fabulous,” Corina said. “Fourth or fifth floor?”
“Where is she?”
She waited a beat. “Seventh.”
Cherrie was beside the kitchen, so I needed dibs on laundry. “Fourth.”
I crossed “proper room assignment” off my mental to-do list. Sophomore year needed to be seamless, and securing the right room was an encouraging first step.
“Do you need to use the bathroom?” Corina asked after ending the call. “We could stop in the Maryland House.”
“What am I, a toddler? Besides, don’t be using me to feed your habit.”
“Habit?” She batted her ridiculously long lashes. “Whatever do you mean?”
I honked at the bumper sticker-laden SUV in front of us. “Anytime you spend more than an hour in the car, you need a Cinnabon. And we left Philly two hours ago.”
“That means I’m due for two.”
“No time.” I glanced at the clock on the dashboard, one of few working items in the car. “At this pace, we can get to Meridian by three o’clock.”
“Just because you came into six months of Peanut Chews last night doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t need snacks.” I smothered another smile, and she pouted. “I cannot believe you won’t make a quick stop so your poor mother can have a treat. I gave you life, nursed you through chickenpox, and let you sleep in our bed for a week after A Thief in the Night gave you nightmares.”
“First, there is nothing poor about Corina Davenport Nelson. Second, I didn’t ask to be born. Third, it wasn’t my fault I got sick, and fourth…” I shuddered. “That movie gave me nightmares and kept me from youth group forever.”
“And now you’re a heathen who deprives her mother of sustenance.” She crossed her arms, and I deducted fifteen minutes from our travel time. “Fine.”
Then my phone rang again, this ringtone of a decidedly different flavor.
“Too bad.” Corina tsked. “You can’t drive and talk at the same time, so you can’t answer his call until we arrive in DC … in another hour at the earliest.” Her sigh was full of romantic regret. “If only there were a place to stop for a few minutes without detouring completely…”
I wanted to stick to my guns and try to salvage my fading timeline. But each ring of the phone chipped away at my resolve, and I switched to the left lane after passing the second sign for the Maryland House.
“Should I tell him you’ll call him back?” She gave full voice to her laughter, sobering at my glare. “I mean, uh, watch the road.”

BUY LINK:

Amazon.com

 

BIO:

Denise Leora Madre is not naïve…at least, not as much as yesterday. A lifelong Philadelphian, her idyllic childhood was filled with her love of God and family and weekly trips to the Joseph C. Coleman Library. After graduating from Masterman High School, Denise carried her unfocused dreams of singing stardom through four colleges over the next ten years. Though Temple University eventually supplied her cap and gown, Howard University owns her heart and inspired her debut novel, Another 4.0.
As a mother of seven—long story—she primarily uses her English degree to campaign for the Oxford comma and bemoan the pervasiveness of text-speak. When not binge-watching Chopped or Friends, Denise can be found overthinking things and harassing her handsome husband for hugs…or his incredible lasagna.
Denise is a published essayist whose work appears in Color Him Father (Kinship Press, 2006) and The Motherhood Diaries 2 (Brown Girls Publishing, 2014). She is also an avid writer of Twilight fanfiction and has won awards in assorted contests. Though she has yet to learn how to drive or swim—don’t judge her—she is the proud owner of an organized junk drawer.

AUTHOR LINKS:

http://www.deniseleoramadre.com/

@ladylibre on Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/deniseLeoramadre

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16004279.Denise_Leora_Madre

https://plus.google.com/106222116114565974965

 

OTHER PUBLISHED WORKS:

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Review + Giveaway: Pucked Off by Helena Hunting

 

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Pucked Off, an all-new emotional and sexy STANDALONE from Helena Hunting is LIVE!!

Pucked Off by Helena Hunting

Genre: Contemporary Romance

businessman working on laptop in black suit

***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

Excerpt:

Armed with my clipboard, I walk down the hall to the waiting room. Lance is impossible to miss. Despite the fact that he’s wearing a sweatshirt and the hood is covering half of his face, he’s more than six feet of broad, hockey-playing man.

He’s so wide his shoulders encroach on the chairs on either side, which would explain why no one is sitting next to him. He’s slouched down so his head rests on the back of the chair, and his hands are clasped in his lap, a baseball cap hanging off one knee. His lips, plush and soft—I know since I’ve had them on mine; it might have been a decade ago, but I remember it clearly—are parted. He looks like he’s asleep.

I clear my throat. “Lance Romero?”

He doesn’t move.

Bernadette, the receptionist, gives me a meaningful look.

I clear my throat again and call his name a second time. He jolts awake and the hood falls back, exposing his face. It’s not in good shape. He has a black eye and bruises on his left cheek. There’s a fly bandage across one eyebrow.

Sadly, he’s still hot.

He blinks a few times, yawns, and smacks his lips, his tongue touching the split in the bottom one. His gaze sweeps the room and finally lands on me. Heat explodes in my cheeks and courses through my limbs, warming me from the inside out as he starts at my sneaker-clad feet and roams up over my yoga pants to my company-issued T-shirt before stopping at my face. I can’t look directly at him for more than a couple of seconds. I sincerely hope he doesn’t remember me. I cannot go there and also be professional.

I’m sure the smile he gives me has melted many a panty off a slutty bunny. Mine stay right where they’re supposed to, wedged up my ass.

I force a polite, professional veneer. “I’m ready for you now.”

My Review:

Every time I think one of the books in the Pucked Series is going to be my favourite, Helena tops her own achievements.

Lance Romero has a reputation for being a player on and off the ice, but not everything is as it seems. I honestly was worried that I wouldn’t like this character but he surprised me. He was nothing like I expected and I fell for him. Hard.

Lance has had a hard life and bears some scars. When he meets Poppy, he doesn’t remember her. But she remembers him. He occupies a place in her heart that can’t be overlooked. Poppy is a wonderfully nurturing, kind and patient woman; just what Lance needs.

The content of this book is darker than that of the rest of the series, but there’s something wonderfully healing in the growth of these characters. This book touched my heart in unexpected ways. Five stars.

poan

Read Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2iWXrAJ

Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/zs5ltao

Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/znznqfc

Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/hboua56

iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/jpcq5fy

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/jrpnnuk

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/jx62v3a

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2i91aXl

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Enter the Giveaway for a Complete Signed Set of the Pucked Series!

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About the Author:

NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Connect with Helena:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/helenahunting Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelenaHunting

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/Zt1xm5

Facebook Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/385795934890523/

Website: http://www.helenahunting.com/

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New Release + Giveaway: Beast by Debra Anastasia

 

Debra Anastasia is issuing two covers for BEAST! The first was the inspiration (with all the abs), and the second (with the hood) was implemented when it became apparent that the novella was a romantic comedy but with a huge heart. Think a merge of Poughkeepsie and Booty Camp Dating Service. I can’t wait to read this one!

 

Synopsis:

I knew who he was before he introduced himself. Jeans and a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head. The hem of the material hid his face like he was the grim reaper. Or a Dementor.  Legend has it that he’s a serial killer. And that he is covered in abs. Ribbed for a lady’s pleasure.

And he just programed his number in my phone.


Debra has a major giveaway on her site!

Click here for the GIVEAWAY
💪🏼Signed and personalized copy of BEAST
💪🏼Signed and personalized copy of For All The Evers
💪A For All The Evers canvas Pouch
💪🏼Signed and personalized copy of Booty Camp
💪🏼 $20 Amazon Gift Card

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2miUHfj

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06WWQBPFB/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_bx6RybFDKAAN3

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34384644-beast
Print: http://amzn.to/2lfioEn

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