Wednesday, March 22, 2017

BOOK BLITZ: Fall With Me by Jayne Frost


Series: Sixth Street Bands #2
Genre: New Adult Rock Star Romance 🎸
Release Date: December 15, 2016

~Blurb~

As the bassist for the band Caged, the last three years have been one, long non-stop party. Sure, I’ve had some regrets. Everyone does. But getting trapped in a relationship isn’t one of them. I know good and well what happens when the attraction fades. I’ve seen it first hand. Love is a zero sum game, so why play? As long as I'm upfront about my feelings, no one gets hurt. Besides, I'm never in one place long enough to worry about tomorrow.

That is, until the band decided to take an extended hiatus in our hometown. That’s when I met Melody Sullivan. She’s the full-package. Whip smart and beautiful, with enough determination to take on anything life has in store. And the best part? Melody shares my philosophy on the fleeting nature of attraction. She doesn’t buy into the whole “happily ever after” crap anymore than I do. We’re perfect for each other. For now. And now is all I want.

With the expectations off the table, I can let my guard down and enjoy her company until the spark dies. And we both know it will. In a week, or a month. But until then, we’ll just keep having fun. The good kind, with lots of sex and no strings attached. And when it’s time to move on, we will. No drawn out goodbyes and no remorse. 

That’s the plan, at least.


Note: Though part of the Sixth Street Bands Series, it can be enjoyed as a standalone. Recommended for 18+ for adult content and language.

~Book Review~
5 Stars

“Autumn’s gone baby, but you still remain. Under my skin, tumbling ‘round my brain.
Leaves have fallen, and the writing’s on the wall. You’re not coming back, but I’m lost in fall.”
🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃

A fast food joint probably isn’t where you’d expect to meet a rock star, nor is the crabby cashier likely the person to become the love of your life. While defying statistics and probability might go against Christian Sears and Melody Sullivan’s nature, it’s certainly in their fate.

I really enjoyed the unconventional way these two met and then got to know each other.  So often romance novellas lack the building of the romance, but that’s certainly not the case here. Not only could I feel Christian and Mel’s drawl to each other, I could discern the various moments when they were becoming something much more to each than they were looking for.
“I wondered if she smelled the same in summer, or if sunshine emanated from her pores. It was then I realized I really wanted to find out.”
There was definitely more than meets the eye to Christian than just being a rock star. He was a deeper guy. I adored the “nerdy” side to him and the way Mel was it for him even when he didn’t entirely realize it yet.
“I’d grown to believe she was my air. The fact I couldn’t breathe without her proved the hypothesis.”
And Mel, a student researcher, was a smart and strong female character, even when she perceived herself as flawed. Both characters were well developed, and I look forward to seeing more of them in future books as well as how things progress with the band. 

This is the second story in the Sixth Street Bands series although it can easily be read as a standalone. Like the previous one, Gone for You, it’s also told entirely from the hero’s point a view and, like Cameron, Christian is an adorable book boyfriend. A lot of that might have to do with the fact that the stories favor a sweet and sexy romantic tale rather than sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The main focus is on the couples rather than the rock lifestyle, and there are plenty of steamy encounters. 💏
“‘I’m not worried about you touching you. That’s my job, angel. I’ll always take care of you.’”
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

~Also Available~
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Coming Soon!
#3 Missing From Me
#4 Lost for You


~Author Bio~
So…Who is Jayne?

As a writer you would think that would be a simple question…but it’s not. I spend so much time living in my characters heads, listening to their voices, that sometimes I forget about my own.

I guess I should start with the basics: the backstory. I was born and raised in California. At this point, I’m usually asked what it was like to grow up near the beach, but sadly, I don’t know. I grew up in the “other” part of California. Perfect for an aspiring writer, if you ask me. You learn a lot about keeping yourself busy when the nearest house is a mile away…and it belongs to your grandparents.

I spent all my time with my nose in a book, living vicariously through the characters, until I wrote a book of my own. I was ten at the time. It was a scintillating piece that cast the family pet as the protagonist.

By the time I went to high school, I moved on to romance. Why? Because I met my very own prince charming. I wrote love poems in my journal about the green-eyed boy who stole my heart. He promised, the way all storybook heroes do, to sweep me away and take me on a grand adventure. And he did.

We picked up and moved to the Lone Star State and began the story of us. The best stories begin without a road map or a compass. Veering off course makes the journey so much more interesting. 

True to form, just when I thought my life was set, we started the next adventure. I traded in my cowboy boots and followed my green-eyed boy to Las Vegas. My home will always be in Texas, but my heart is anywhere that he is. Our beautiful daughter made the journey with us. Our son stayed in Texas, to write his own story.

Somehow, in the midst of the chaos that is our life, I find time to write. Writing is what I love. I might stray from romance every now and then if that is what moves me…but I always come back. Some of the stories don’t seem romantic at all. They are gritty stories about flawed characters that find each other and hold on tight. Those are the stories that speak to me. Because that’s life. I believe that every story should have a happy ending—even the difficult ones.

Monday, March 20, 2017

RELEASE BLITZ: Crooks & Kings by London Miller

Series: The Wild Bunch #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Organized Crime
Release Date: March 20, 2017

~Blurb~

In a game of crooks and kings, only the cunning survive … 

She was a girl with secrets.
He was a man with demons.

For her, it was supposed to be a way out from beneath the hands of a man who wanted her dead.
For him, it was supposed to be a job to make amends for a past wrong.

They were never meant to fall in love.


Special release day only price of $2.99
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

With a degree in Creative Writing, London Miller has turned pen to paper, creating riveting fictional worlds where the bad guys are sometimes the good guys. Her debut novel, In the Beginning, is the first in the Volkov Bratva Series.

She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two puppies, where she drinks far too much Sprite, and spends her nights writing.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Who Cooked the Last Supper? by Rosalind Miles

March is Women's History Month so I'm interrupting the normal romance book reviews to highlight a title devoted to women's history. The romance community (writers and readers) is predominately women. Ladies, if you aren't versed in your history, then there's no better time than now to expand your reading horizons and become better informed.

4.5 Stars*
This is another instance where I espouse that words speak louder than numbers so it’s what the reviews says that carries more weight than the star rating.  (See my editorial post Make Your Words Count for more details.)
That being said I’m going to tackle this review a little differently, but hopefully this format will be most helpful.

Who should read this book? Everyone! And especially the ones who think this book does not pertain to them.

Genre:  Non-fiction/World History/ Women’s History/Gender Studies

What does this book cover? This book is organized into 4 sections with 3 chapters each. 

Part one (“In the Beginning”) covers “the first women”—detailing prehistoric women’s roles and importance; “the great goddess”—discussing early women centric beliefs; and “the rise of the Phallus”—discussing sexuality and setting the stage for the overthrown of female rights, bloodlines, and worship.
Part two (“The Fall of Woman”) covers “God the father”—documenting how the organization of monotheist religions established unequal balances of power; “the sins of the Mothers”—exposing the abuses inflicted upon women because of their bodies; and “a little learning”—exploring how the development of literacy offered escapes as well as further suppression of women.
Part three (“Dominion and Domination”) covers “women’s work” —exposing the myth that women not only did less “work” than men but also the difficulty and unpleasantness of much of her manual labor; “revolution, the great engine” —looking at distinctly different types of revolutions yet how they both failed to usurp the status quo; and “the rod of empire” —exposing how imperialism further served to oppress and abuse women and extend the patriarchy.
Part four (“Turning the Tide”) covers “the rights of women” —discussing the modern developments that continues to oppress women and the beginnings of the women’s movement; ”the body politic” —discussing the role of contraception; and “daughters of time” —further detailing the advancement of contraception as well as the strides of the second wave of the women’s movement.
  
Triggers: 
Religion—readers who are unwilling to see past the inherent misogyny in major world religions will have issues with this. My advice to readers—keep an open mind and check your own affiliations at the door.

Abuse—physical, psychological, sexual; you name it, it’s documented here. Violence including rape, genital mutilation, female infanticide, and murder.  Oh and some ridiculous contraception ideas. It’s not pretty, but it’s women’s history without all the whitewashing. My advice to readers—bring tissues and don’t eat lunch first.

Controversies:  At times, does the author belittle and reduce the importance men played in not just history but the advancement of the human race? Absolutely, but isn’t that what traditional history has done to women? Until an edition of world history where the sexes are presented equally becomes the mainstream text, readers are going to have to accept that as long as sexism exists a universal human history is out of reach.

Historical Accuracy: I am not a historian so I can’t comment on the complete accuracy of every incident and historical event referenced in this text.  However, I think an objective historian would agree (and many have) that a vast number of history texts out there aren’t accurate either, whether through omissions, hero-making, and/or outright misrepresentations. It’s interesting though how those texts were accepted for so long, yet let a women offer up a book on history that proposes that it was the female of the specifies who had the greatest role in the continuation of the human race, and so much of her credibility and the credibility of the text is called into question.

It is also interesting disturbing how some readers see bias in this work but not the work of the male dominated texts on the market and utilized in the public school systems. That alone says a lot about the extent that sexism is so subconsciously rooted in society. We’ve somehow been trained to accept HIStory but not hers.  And this is a large problem which I believe the text addresses.  History has been shaped and documented through various fields of study where women were not only ignored and dismissed but consciously omitted by men in favor of a pro-male view where man is more important to the survival of human kind than women. Accepted history texts lack the incorporation of women’s role, if not their very existence, throughout places in history.   Once you accept that women and their story have been suppressed, one must pose the next logical question of why. Miles attempts to answer this.

Shortcomings: There are certainly places in the text where sources and exact time periods could be clearer in a wider context and background, as well as a fuller picture of the examples would be beneficial.  The author assumes the reader has a developed formal education and prior knowledge of people, incidents, and events in history.

There are admittedly also places where Miles’s word choice might be going for effect but at the same time distorts her claims. For example, a good editor might have recommended that she substitute “only” with “largely” when referring to Jackie O and Lady Di’s fame and accomplishments via their “royal” men.  Were their life’s accomplishments solely tied to their husbands? No. But would they be the historical icons they are had they not married those men in the first place? Nope.

In another instance, replacing “no” with “minimal” when asserting men’s function and significance under Goddess culture might be help avoid the obvious contradiction that comes a few paragraphs/pages later.

How I felt reading this book:   Some chapters made me feel proud to be a woman and inspired to work towards advancing equality. Some chapters made me angry—the injustices, the abuses—it’s a gut-wrenching history pill to swallow.  Some chapters l was holding back the tears. This isn’t a light read nor should the subject matter be taken lightly, but it is important to understand.

Is this a feminist text?  By definition (cited here from Merriam-Webster dictionary) and largely from a scholarly theorist perspective feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes as well as organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.” This book offer theories (along with and backed by research from various fields of study) of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes so in that frame of reference it’s a feminist text. But bear in mind that over the years the term feminism has taken on a variety of negative connotations (often the work of its opposition in an attempt to discredit it), but I’m not going to give recognition to those distortions.

Why this text is still relevant:
The lack of a women’s history or women studies discipline in general education curriculums have left a large crux of 21st century women and men uninformed and misinformed.  And though originally published in 1988, and thus the last nearly thirty years are not included, this book not only documents women’s struggles through the ages, but also points to issues still at the forefront today.

Women and men living in 2017 should possess a basic understanding of how history has swayed backwards and forward through slow transitions and difficult strides towards equality. We can’t assume that because it’s been won, that it can’t be taken away.

From the very beginning of time, women weren’t affronted with inequality; instead they descended to it.  Many rights that were won in the 20th century were given freely in earlier civilizations. Women’s equality has not historically been a linear progression, but more a series of setbacks and advances as societal conditions change.  

Women’s oppression, while universal and unrelenting for millenniums, varies widely by class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. There is no one answer to fix all ills.  
Bottom Line /Hard Truths: If you are looking for a fluff piece highlighting well known women through the ages, this is not one of them.  This text looks at historical trends and attempts to offer viable explanations (through what little evidence and unbiased scholarship there is on certain time frames) as to not just what women were doing while men were getting all the credit, but why they were omitted in the first place. And I suspect that might be what some readers struggle with—the idea that it became a conscious effort to suppress women’s voices and women’s contributions. It’s mind boggling really that one can acknowledge women’s absence from traditional text but still refuse to admit there is a long standing patriarchal bias that made it that way in the first place. It’s as if some readers want to know what’s missing but don’t want to face the disturbing realities of its absence.

How I got this book/Why I read this book/My background:  I ordered this book (paperback edition) from Amazon after browsing several books on the subject for consideration for my kids’ educational studies.  I read it first and made a chapter by chapter study guide for our lessons. I have a background in English literature with a concentration in women’s literature and feminist criticism so the general subject matter wasn’t previously unfamiliar, but I still found the details moving and the overall thesis an enlightening and essential read.  

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Resistance, United in Love

~Blurb~
We the people 
Will not be silenced 
Our voices are important. 

We the people 
Will not be pushed aside 
We will be seen 
Our numbers are more than you know. 

We the people 
Will make a difference 
We will hold the government accountable 
Our empathy is not a weakness. 

In these turbulent times we the people will stand together in the face of hate knowing we are all equal, and every life matters. 
We the people are The Resistance, United in Love 

Authors coming together to write a collection of poems and essays that reflect our views on what has happened and our hopes for the future. 

This work is not affiliated with any political party. 

100% of the proceeds will be donated to the ACLU 

The Resistance and its authors are independent entities and not affiliated with the ACLU or any political party. 

Authors: 
Danielle Allen, Dylan Allen, JC Andrijeski, Megan Benjamin Evans, Elizabeth Burgess, Deborah Cunningham Burst, Emme Burton, M.C. Cerny, Selene Chardou, S. Simone Chavous, T. Thorn Coyle, Sarah M. Cradit, Ella Dominguez, Nicole Falls, John Gregory Hancock, Bayli Lane, Robin Lee, Olivia Linden, Grant Miller, Harper Miller, Morgan Jane Mitchell, C. Ricketts, Katherine Rhodes, Kimberly Rose, Amalie Silver, M. Stratton, Leslie Claire Walker, and Zoe York.

5 Stars

Over two dozen romance authors have come together to present this collection of short essays, poems, and letters detailing their reactions to and experiences of the events surrounding the US's current political climate. They do not represent a political party; they are speaking as individuals, documenting history in a turbulent time as many have done before. 
"At this point, we are beyond politics. What's happening right now is about equal rights, human rights, social justice, and civil liberties."  Danielle Allen
I previously gave a shout out to this book in a post a few weeks ago upon hearing about it in an article from the Huffington Post. At the time, I hadn't even read it beyond the foreword by M. Stratton in the Amazon sample before 1-clicking it, but I was attracted to its cause. On that note, it bears repeating that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

I've now read it and continue to recommend it. I say everyone should read this book and read it with an open mind and an open heart. Not everyone will experience the same reactions. That’s okay. That’s what makes literature great and people different. Some will benefit from this book by gaining better understanding and others will benefit by having someone to relate to.  
"We’re better than this or at least we could be
If you’d open your eyes, maybe you’d see.”
I personally was most moved by Danielle Allen’s eloquently written pieces, “Do You See Me? Because I See You” and “For Who?” In “For Who?” she breaches the campaign rhetoric and gets to the heart of the matter, exposing the racism, sexism, elitism, xenophobia, and homophobia in one campaign slogan.  Every time in 2016 that I passed a campaign sign with that catchphrase and in 2017 every time I've heard it echoed in the context of it being a positive thing, I've shuddered. Shuddered, because I too saw the underlying context.  I wish more had thought about those words as Danielle Allen did in her contributions.  Maybe now they will after reading this publication.

Other noteworthy pieces include Ella Dominquez’s “Legacy” where she poses the question of what will the US leave behind. “Will it be a legacy of love and acceptance, or of fear and intolerance?”  Now there's a question every citizen should be considering. “I thought I lived in a world that was becoming better; in a world that was learning, albeit slowly, to accept everyone and all of their differences. Where has all of that change gone? Yet, I know there is hope,” she laments. I've had that very same reaction, and it's comforting to know I'm not alone. 

Robin Lee's reaction to November 8, 2016 was also the same as mine.  In “The Decimation of Democracy” and “Clueless” she paints a disturbing but very true portrait of the new POTUS.  

Harper Miller ponders the hypocrisy parents must face when espousing one message to their children but voting for a completely different message in her piece, "The Day Reality Set In.”

And in the final piece, Zoe York closes with an important reminder in “My Immigrant Blood”  “We are all refuges waiting to happen.”

There are many more contributions. I've merely touched on the few that spoke the most to me. But other writings may resonate with other readers; hence why I recommend this anthology.

 👏I applaud all the authors who contributed-- for not sitting down or shutting up, but instead standing up for what is right!

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*This post contains no affiliate links; retailers are merely listed here as a convenience to readers as always.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

REVIEW/RELEASE BLITZ: The Hard Way by Annika Martin

Series: Taken Hostage by Kinky Bank Robbers #5
Genre: Romantic Comedy

~Blurb~
Three hot bank robbers all to herself: ☑
A fabulous Italian holiday: ☑
Enemies long gone: ☑
Amazing food, clothes, and sex: ☑, ☑, and fucking-g ☑!

The gang is in full vacation mode, and Isis has never been happier…until tragedy strikes the farm she had to leave behind. People are dying...and her sister might be sent to prison for something she didn’t do.

Isis is desperate to help, but how can she? It’s too dangerous for her sisters to find out she’s still alive, too dangerous for the gang to return to the scene of that crime. At least that’s what Thor and Zeus think. But Odin’s nightmares are back. And he has other ideas…and those ideas might be more dangerous than anything.

~Book Review~
4.75 Stars

The god pack is back for another installment in the Kinky Bank Robbers series. If you aren’t familiar with the series then it’s best to start at book one when three hot criminal masterminds take a not helpless at all teller voluntarily hostage and the rest is lust, love, and romance history.  Now two years later, the foursome is married, but they aren’t any less badass.
“‘We sweep in and out. Like fucking-g ghosts with the hammer of justice in our fucking-g fists.’”—Odin
They’re still loaded with confidence:
“‘I can do two things at once….You yourself have witnessed that many times.’” —Zeus
They haven’t lost their humor:
“‘Isis. Since when have I put something in you that didn’t feel excellent?’” —Thor
And they are swoonworthy as ever!
 “He knelt in front of me and planted a kiss on my bare mound. ‘Correction: I love you like this.’” —Isis
Awww! 💕

This time around Ice’s sisters are in trouble, and it’s up to the god pack to rescue them, whether they know it or not.  The foursome puts their detective skills to use once again on this incognito mission complete with the series’ signature fresh, light-hearted banter and Isis’s witty first person narration.

My blog followers know I loathe fan girl reviews but I have to indulge just for a moment to say that Annika Martin is a creative genius when it comes to these fully developed characters and specifically their comedic dirty antics.  OMG, the cock-blocking cherubs—one of the many delightful chuckle-snort moments of this edition. The deliciousness is in all the quirky details of so many well crafted scenes.

Now back to being a serious reviewer… I’ll admit I craved just a little more kinky interludes although the mystery angle always kept me engaged. This installment is Odin centric and some of the previous have been Zeus centric so I’m hopeful the next one gives Thor the limelight. I felt like he got a little…neglected this time if you catch my drift. None the less, I'm impressed with the way the series continues to build up each of the characters.

Speaking of future installments, the Claus banter at the beginning…please, please Annika—treat us this holiday season to a Kinky Bank Robbers Christmas. Come on, the role playing possibilities would be endless.
“They were coordinating, of course. This is what you got from seasoned criminals fucking and disciplining you—wicked coordination.”
Let’s hope 😉

Anyways, this continues to be a must read series for fans of erotic romcoms. You just can’t top a strong heroine and three hot heroes alongside a mystery plot that dishes out adventure rather than angst.

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
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~ALSO AVAILABLE~
#1
The Hostage Bargain
“‘Must we spank and fuck you before we even get into the hot tub?’”
1 The Hostage Bargain AMAZON 72
*FREE*  
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#2
The Wrong Turn
“It was like I’d stumbled into a Disneyworld of dangerous sex fantasies.”
2 The Wrong Turn AMAZON72
*Only .99 cents*  
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#3
The Deeper Game
“‘Never with anyone else baby. Ever…This thing is as real as it gets.’”
3 The Deeper Game AMAZON72
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

#4
The Most Wanted
“I burst into a zillion shards of pleasure, coming shamelessly in the crowded nightclub.”
4 The Most Wanted AMAZON 72
BOOK REVIEW
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Annika Martin is a NYT bestselling author who enjoys writing dirty stories about dangerous criminals! She loves helping animals and kicking snow clumps off the bottom of cars around the streets of Minneapolis, and in her spare time she writes as the RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Her Bodyguard by Sabrina Paige

4.5 Stars

Set in the fictional country of Protrovia, this story follows parallel to the timeline in Prince Albert and features his sister Princess Alexandra, 21, and her new bodyguard, Maxwell Donnelley. Both stories can be read as standalones though.

Like her brother, the princess is a bit of a headline maker. She’s a wild child, partying into the wee hour of the night and habitually evading her security detail.  While I wouldn’t condone all of Alex’s indulgences, I give major points for her being a strong, bold, ballsy, and confident heroine. There are just too many weak good girls who get walked all over in romance so it was refreshing to see a bad girl with a good heart in the spotlight here. She certainly keeps the story fresh and funny.  This princess dishes it out just as good as any bad boy, to the point that she keeps Max on his toes. But Max is no pushover either.
“‘You’ve needed a good, hard spanking more than anyone I’ve ever met.’”
The two engage in a battle of wits and control that quickly becomes heated. (I loved the phone retrieval.)  Told via their dual alternating first person POV, Max and Alex sport some steaming chemistry. Their dirty banter is hot, and their encounters quite entertaining in a sultry kind of way to say the least.
“‘I feel like the porn version of Cinderella right now.’”
Despite their different approaches to life and order, it turns out Max and Alexandra are exactly what the other needs. And I really appreciate how neither of them had lived sheltered lives yet they were still able to share certain things together. All in all, a fun, dirty, low-angst, erotic opposites attract-forbidden love romcom with a sweet and swoon worthy resolution. 


~Also in the Raunchy Royals Series~
Book Review