Tuesday, May 19, 2015

REVIEW/INTERVIEWS: Badass by Alana Albertson & Linda Barlow

Genres: Action / Adventure, Contemporary, Erotic, New Adult, Romance

Badass: A Stepbrother SEAL Romance
I f**ked a SEAL—the human kind, the kind who shoots terrorists, sports rock hard abs and tattooed biceps, and scores an easy lay with every girl he ever wants.

I should’ve known better. I should be studying harbor seals’ breeding habits, not conducting my own research into mating rituals of the Navy variety.

He’s a jackass. An arrogant, womanizing, patronizing, Harley-riding jerk.

A one-night stand. One night of the most incredible sex I’ve ever had. Shane is trained to kill with his bare hands in 300 different ways—and he knows 300 ways to f**k me, too.

Now my father is engaged to his mother. And we’re heading to Mexico for the wedding. The prick is blackmailing me. He’s threatening to ruin their big day if I don’t surrender to his demands.

Quit is not in his vocabulary. I hate him, but I know he’ll never give up until he gets everything he wants.

Screw that! I won’t give up—I’ll never submit to America’s cockiest badass.

Read for FREE on KindleUnlimited. 99c for a limited time.

~Book Review~
4.5 Stars

Shane is the badass. He’s a no-commitment navy SEAL guy. Cassie isn’t interested in anything serious either. She’s a grad student studying Marine Biology.  When a sea lion (yes I said sea lion) brings them together this book is off to a hot, dirty (read super steamy) start.

Shane rocks the cocky, alpha bad boy hero role.  
“I could hold my breath for five minutes—a useful skill for stalking pirates. Also came in handy when eating pussy.”
Cassie, meanwhile, is sweet, shows a vulnerable side, but is also feisty. That makes a fun female lead.
“If people fell in love, they fell in love. There was nothing Mr. Super SEAL could do about that. Suck it up, Sand-Boy.”
Though they think their worlds are only going to collide for one sexy night, it turns out they are about to get more…familiar. As in family familiar. Related!  But before things become too incestuous, the pair attempts to get it all out of their system before their parents wed in Mexico.  

This book has one of my favorite things. Hangman time: First word start with an R_ _ _. Second word starts with a T_ _ _.  Road trip!   
“’We take the bike. You can be my old lady for a few days. Yeah. I love that idea.’”
The sexy times go on the road for an adventure that will either fill their erotic scrapbooks or bring them closer together.  Unfortunately, there was one attempted incident on the trip that crops up in fiction far too often for my tastes. Sigh. I won’t go into a long spiel to avoid spoilers and thankfully it is just a close call.  

Movin’ right along…. Overall this was a fun, sexy story about two ‘no time for relationships’ people finding their way. And despite their non-committal mantra, I was relieved that this story was just about the two of them.  As far as the dynamics of their relationship goes, it’s not just the whole forbidden step-sibling thing that stands in their way; Cassie and Shane must address the reasons behind their own commitment issues and a few hang-ups on Shane’s end.  Which, he was actually kind of funny in regards to his distaste and discomfort with the rich. It made the tough guy a little vulnerable too.

In regards to the whole step-sibling ting, it was nice to see the parents addressed/developed as sometimes they are a bit over-looked in some step-sibling tales. But that is not the case here. Even though Cassie and Shane are adults, the authors do a nice job of showing their feelings in regards to their parents getting remarried and the personal responses that raises for them. They don’t come off selfish or immature; simply adult children with real feelings in regards to their family and past.  

Told via Cassie and Shane’s alternating first person point of view, it’s easy to understand both characters.  And as far as chemistry goes, their sexual attraction oozes off the page. And by the last page, I still couldn’t get enough of them.

Want more Cassie and Shane?  Keep reading for the blog’s character interview….

~Character Interview~
“5 Questions with Shane and Cassie from Badass

Welcome Cassie and Shane to the Book-Bosomed Book Blog! (*Discreetly ogles Shane’s hard SEAL body.* Yep, hot just like Cassie described.) *clears throat* Okay, so readers can learn a few more interesting tidbit about you two fabulously intriguing and adventurous people, here’s five sentences for each of you to complete about yourself. Feel free to chime in to each other’s responses.

Q1. I can’t live without…
Cassie: The naughty answer is that before Shane, I wouldn’t have wanted to live without my BOB, but now I don’t need it! But seriously, I love the ocean. I want to live where I can hear the sound of the waves while Shane and I are making love. That was one of the things I loved about our road trip!
Shane: Cassie’s pussy. And my Gerber tactile tool. Has blades, scissors, pliers. Perfect for torturing terrorists, or anyone who harasses my woman.

Q2. I’ll do anything to avoid….
Cassie: Earthquakes! I guess that’ll be hard now that I live in California, but I hope I’m never again so close to the epicenter of a Big One.
Shane: Talking about my feelings. Even to Cassie. Not gonna happen.

Q3. My best quality is….
Cassie: My curiosity, I think. I love to learn about new people and new things. Of course, that gets me into trouble sometimes, too.
Shane: My loyalty. My trust is hard earned, but once you get in my tight circle, I’ll lay down my life for you.

Q4. My worst habit is….
Cassie: Well, I guess I can be a bit snarky at times. Shane, stop agreeing with me!
Shane: Cassie’s definitely a smartass. I’m stubborn.

Q5. You’d never guess this about me but…
Cassie: Even though I’m a vegetarian, I secretly miss a good, rare, juicy steak.
Shane: When I was younger I wanted to be an animator for Disney movies.

Thanks Cassie and Shane! Now let's have a little Q&A with authors Alana Albertson and Linda Barlow.....

~Author Interview~
“5 Questions with Alana Albertson & Linda Barlow”

Q1. The story flowed seamlessly. Your writing styles must blend well. How did you two come together as a writing team? And how do you divide up the writing/editing, etc work?

Linda: First of all, thank you so much! We worked hard to get our writing to blend, going over and over each scene until we got it right. We brainstormed the overall plot and the various scenes together, working out the problems as much as we could in advance. Since we have both our main characters’ points of view, we split it up so that Alana wrote Shane’s chapters and I wrote Cassie’s.
Occasionally we switched, if one of us knew more about a particular subject. We each went over the other’s chapters and offered suggestions for changes or improvements. Then we looked at the book as a whole and fixed everything that didn’t seem to work.
As for how we met, Alana and I have an internet romance! We met online, and one of these days we hope to meet in person, but we live 3000 miles away from each other. We both like smart, fast-paced, sexy books with solid plots and sympathetic characters, so that’s what we tried to write. We both welcome criticism if it makes our writing better, so we could be honest with each other about anything in the book that didn’t quite click. We edited and re-wrote a lot of stuff until we both felt it was right.
Alana: All true! Linda answered my email to join a paranormal Christmas anthology I was putting together. I was so star struck since she’d won a RITA (romance equivalent of the Oscar). She’s such an amazing writer and my own writing has grown so much since working with her. I’m honored to cowrite a book with her. Writing Badass with her was like taking a master class.

Q2. Shane is quite the drool-worthy hero, though demanding and cocky of course. What was your inspiration for his character? Was he purely fictional or based on a real SEAL?

Linda: I’ll let Alana answer that one.
Alana: Uh, I plead the fifth. No seriously, in my 20s I dated a Navy SEAL who was an instructor at BUD/S. Shane is an amalgamation of many SEALs I met, as well as my dream badass hero.

Q3. I was struck by a lot of the details of their road trip and their professions. How much research did you have to do for the story? Have either of your traveled their Baja journey route?

Linda: I have traveled extensively in Mexico, and one of my earlier novels is set there, but I haven’t taken that particular road trip. I watched a whole lot of YouTube videos of folks on motorcycles who traveled through the Baja peninsula to get a feel for what each day on the road would be like. I also spent a lot of time researching wilderness survival and how to find water in the desert.
As for Cassie’s profession, I’ve done graduate work in biology myself so I know a lot about fish and marine biology. I also used to go trout fishing in Montana, so I know Molly and Shane’s hometown and the Big Horn River, where Molly is a fishing guide.
Alana: I live in San Diego and have driven to Tijuana, Ensenada, Puerto Nuevo, and Cabo. As for the SEAL research, all of that came from my personal experience dating a Team guy.

Q4. Do you each have a favorite scene?

Linda: I love how Cassie and Shane first met. I also have a couple of favorite scenes that are in the second half of the book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. I’m a huge fan of all Alana’s Shane scenes, though. He is SO hot!
Alana: Thanks Linda! I adore Cassie! She’s a strong, smart, kickass chick. My favorite scene is when Cassie sees Shane schooling the BUD/S candidates. BUD/S training is such a hot, sexually charged, masculine environment. Picture 200 hot, wet, and sandy men on the beach. I felt it was a great way for Cassie to get a taste of what Shane did for a living.

Q5. What new projects are on the horizon for both of you? Will Badass be a stand-alone or can readers expect more books? Perhaps some featuring Shane’s colleagues or trainees where we might get future glimpses of Shane and Cass? (That might be a not so subtle hint. lol)

Linda: We are hoping to do at least two more sexy romances together, tentatively titled Hardass and Kickass. But they are in the planning stages. I also write contemporary romance (TheDangerous Hero, Uncover Me) and shifter romance (TheZrakon’s Bride, The Zrakon’s Curse). I wrote a novella, My Mile-High Mistake, for the Summer Fire anthology which is about to launch on May 26, and I have a novel coming out in July for the Bad Boy Alphas series of paranormal romances.
Alana: I love writing with Linda and can’t wait for our next two projects. As for Shane’s buddies, all of them have books out or planned. Pat is the hero of Invincible. Grant is the hero of the Seven Deadly SEALs Serial, the first one Conceit is out now, Chronic will be out next month, with the final 5 to follow this summer. And Kyle’s book Invaluable will be out in June. I promise Shane will make cameos!
Thank you for having us!!! Book-Bosomed

-You're very welcome! Thanks so much for the interviews!!! Really enjoyed hearing how the story came together!

About Alana Albertson

Alana Albertson is the President of RWA Contemporary Romance Writers, former President of RWA's Young Adult and Chick Lit chapters, and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing, dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

About Linda Barlow

Linda Barlow is the author of 25 novels, with more on the way. She lives in New England with her mysterious spouse (who sleeps during the day, which has often made her wonder if he's a vampire) and their equally enigmatic and nocturnal cat.
Linda has written in various genres, including historical and contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, New Adult romance, family sagas, and general mainstream fiction. Publishers have included Doubleday, Dell, Penguin, Warner Books, Hachette, New American Library/Signet, Berkley/Putnam, Silhouette and Harlequin.
Linda is a USA Today bestselling author. She's proud to have earned a few awards over the years, including the Rita from Romance Writers of America for Leaves of Fortune; New Historical Novelist of the year from Romantic Times for Fires of Destiny; and a Career Achievement award from RT.

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