Win 1 of 2 THE YOUNGER GODS by Michael R. Underwood (INT'L)
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Win a signed print copy of INSIDIOUS by Aleatha Romig (INT'L)
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Book Bonanza giveaway for LINCOLN LADIES by Suzy Duffy
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October 23, 2014

Liked It: Lincoln Ladies by Suzy Duffy + Giveaway

Series: New England Trilogy 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: October 30, 2014
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Women's Literature | Contemporary
Kate Kavanagh is happy raising her daughter and focusing on work, but when the girl moves to New York for a fantastic job and ends up moving in with her philandering father, things get complicated.

Her best friend, Madeline Stein, has been a career girl all her life. As a single mom, her job defines her, so when she loses it, Maddy needs to find something or someone else to make her forties fun.

Portia Kavanagh hits New York with a bang, but she’s so hungry for adventure she bites off more of the Big Apple than planned. Portia retreats to what she thinks is the sanctuary of her father’s home and soon discovers she’s not the only one in the family with an overactive appetite.

Kate and Maddy find themselves leaving their lovely hometown of Lincoln, outside Boston, for the fertile and romantic hills of Tuscany. However, blue skies, rich wine, and charming Italians bring the women a whole new world that they have to maneuver with the grace and style of a Lincoln Lady. Portia’s high-octane life in Manhattan comes at a price, too. Out of the millions of men she could have, she chooses the only one she’s meant to avoid. Her quandary: Has she made a mistake of epic proportions or found the one in a million?

This is a story of three fantastic women on a journey of self-discovery. With more ups and downs than a Florentine fairground, the ladies survive love, loss, and fresh pasta by laughing at life and using a doggie bag. There are lots of thrills and spills along the way, but in the end it’s all about friendship, attitude, and walking off that fabulous food. Come on an adventure and enjoy the ride with the lovely Lincoln Ladies.

Suzy Duffy's New England Trilogy is like the smarter, way tolerable, and just as entertaining version of The Real Housewives franchise (which is my guiltiest pleasure btw). The blueprint is there's a couple of middle aged housewives who are facing the proverbial fork in the road. One is usually a stay-at-home wife while, then there's the best friend who is corporate powerhouse, then the of-age daughter(s) who is going through life changes that can be challenging to cope with. All three books are women's stories which we can all relate to in some ways. 

LINCOLN LADIES is similar to the previous books and the most romantic installment yet. It may follow the formula but I find the ladies more daring and less accepting of their lots in life than the previous ones. My only critique is that it was too formulaic to the point where it became predictable and I felt like I didn't really get anything "new" in comparison to the previous two books. 

But despite that, I still enjoyed LINCOLN LADIES, Kate, Maddy, and Portia's lives and journeys were very relatable to me. I also like to mention that this novel is inspired by the movie, Under The Tuscan Sun (one of my favorite movie of all time!). Kate and Maddy saw the movie and decided to take a trip to Italy where they found love, friendships, and some sort of an awakening. Getting out of one's comfort zone is one of the predominant themes in this book and SDuffy illustrated it really well. 

I don't know if there's going to be a spin-off based on the ending, I sure hope there is. I certainly won't miss it!

Suzy Duffy is an international and #1 best-selling author. She writes laugh-out-loud, life-affirming stories about women from five to ninety-five. (Sometimes she writes about men too, but only for comedic purposes, and pets—if they’re funny.) Her debut US novel, Wellesley Wives became an instant best seller, won numerous awards and critical acclaim, and is due to be published in Norwegian, September 2013. She was a guest speaker at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.

Newton Neighbors, her second US novel, will be published September 2013.

Other than this, Suzy was a national radio DJ and television presenter in Ireland before she started writing. She has also been an interpreter in the United Nations, Geneva, a water ski instructor in Crete, and a corn cutter in the south of France—from which she was fired!

She gives 10% of her royalties to WWW.FOBH.ORG because she believes in serendipity. (A serendipitist?) She plans to write a book a year for the next forty years, and then she’ll have a rethink.

Link up with Suzy

October 22, 2014

A Shot of YA: Secret Lies by Amy Dunne

Series: Stand-alone
Format: PDF
Release Date: December 16, 2013
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Source: Author
Excerpt here
Recommended by: Livia of Butterfly-O-Meter Books
Genre: Contemporary MYA - LGBT
Would you face your biggest fear, to save the one you love?

Nicola Jackson escapes from her abuser, only to realize she has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. In a twist of fate, she accidentally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, the most popular girl at school. They strike up an unlikely friendship. As their trust in each other develops, they share their darkest secrets, and their relationship blossoms into a secret romance.

Jenny loves Nicola, but she is fearful that if their secret relationship is discovered, she might lose her family, friends, and her seemingly perfect life.

Nicola confronts her abuser and blackmails him to leave for good, but things go terrifyingly wrong. Jenny is left with a life-changing dilemma: should she face her fear and accept who she is, or let Nicola take the blame and pretend their relationship never happened?

I went to an all-girls private school and witnessed first hand some of the things that Jenny O'Connor and Nicola Jackson experienced in SECRET LIES from the standpoint of exploring one's sexuality. Let me clarify that a bit in case some of you get green, I mean I had friends who are gay and I saw them struggle with the semantics, go through heartbreaks, work out their confusions, and hide it from their parents during this time. Now my friends might not have been bullied or considered freaks in our school but some of my friends' parents sure would have a conniption if they found out that their darling daughter's having scissor fantasies with her alleged "bestfriend". These coupled with adolescence, peer pressure, and keeping up with school can be a challenging on its own and comparing them with Jenny and Nicola, my friends had it easy somewhat. 

She [Jenny] was the girl every girl every guy in school fantasized about being with and the girl every other girls desperately longed to be... But she sacrificed a lot for her popularity, more than she dared to admit, and the idea of her friends and others discovering it was aa an act terrified.

Being gay is just the tip of the iceberg in SECRET LIES, Amy Dunne created this perfect storm for her MC's. Aside from the bullying thanks to ignorance, there's also a multitude of issues plaguing both Jenny and Nic. Jenny may be the prettiest and most popular kid in school but she has a dark secret of her own, when things get too intense, Jenny cuts herself. On top of this, she drinks, smokes, and medicates herself with the occasional marijuana to cope. Nic is an outsider, a loner, and a victim of physical and verbal abuse thanks to her mother's good-for-nothing boyfriend. Nic's back is like a portrait of nightmare, riddled with scars ranging from cigarette burns to various proofs of injury. Jenny and Nic's personal stories were raw and very emphatic, it was quite easy to put oneself in either of their shoes and imagine what they're feeling or thinking as they try to survive this phase in their lives. 

And maybe I'm in denial or simply naive because I can't help but be overwhelmed and sometimes shake my head in disbelief over how some people can be so vile as exemplified by the secondary characters! I mean just because someone is different from you doesn't make them a freak! Like who made these people the epitome of perfections?! And I still don't understand how someone can physically beat a defenseless person to a pulp just because you don't like their existence? I know SECRET LIES happens in real life, some situations are even more brutal and even fatal, still it's a tough pill to swallow, fiction or otherwise. 

Jenny and Nic's story might not be for everyone but it's still a story worth knowing. I like the way their relationship developed even if it was quite fast. I think the reason why it didn't come across as insta-love was because it started innocent and real tender, their passion was more protective than insistent and imposing. I liked the realness of SECRET LIES and I recommend it to readers who are fond of reading books riddled with social issues.

Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in philosophy and psychology. After graduating, she worked for a while with vulnerable young people until she moved on to deliver training and educational courses. She is currently in the process of setting up her own speech writing business aptly named, Gift of the Gab. She and her lovely partner Lou celebrated their Civil Partnership at the start of this year. They share a love of Dolly Parton and live with their two gorgeous cats and very naughty puppy.

Follow Amy

October 21, 2014

Suped Up: Insidious by Aleatha Romig + Giveaway

Series: Tales From The Dark Side 1
Format: ARC
Release Date: October 21, 2014 
Publisher: Romigs Words
Source: Author
Genre: Dark Erotic Thriller

Dark desires…Deadly secrets…Devious deceptions…Nothing is exactly as it seems in INSIDIOUS, the new erotic thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author ALEATHA ROMIG!

When a powerful man is willing to risk everything for his own satisfaction, only one woman can beat him at his own game: his wife. Or so she thinks…

“Let’s start with you calling me Stewart. Formalities seem unnecessary.”

Stewart Harrington is rich, gorgeous, and one of the most powerful men in Miami. He always gets what he wants. Anything is available to him for the right price.

Even me.

Being the wife of a mogul comes with all the perks, but being Mrs. Stewart Harrington comes with a few special requirements. I’ve learned to keep a part of myself locked away as my husband watches me submit to his needs. But the more he demands of me, the more beguiled he becomes and that’s to my advantage. So I keep fulfilling his fantasies and following his rules because he doesn’t know that what he’s playing is really my game. And winning is everything, right?

INSIDIOUS is a stand-alone novel and the first Tales from the Dark Side title by ALEATHA ROMIG.

Wow, Aleatha Romig sure has come a long way since Consequences and she's really carved herself a niche in the dark erotic thriller genre. What Consequences started, INSIDIOUS will make permanent. I have no doubt that ARomig will become of the genre's go-to authors for dark and twisted tales, her love stories aren't for the faint of heart and her brand of HEA is provoking and argumentative even. So before you decide to try any of her books, leave any lighthearted expectations you may have because you won't get it, instead you'll find raw, blistering, and passion-filled affairs that may scar and/or scare you away. Be brave, be very brave! LOL

As Tales From The Dark Side is a new series, I know some of you might be curious on how it compares to Consequences. There are a few similarities: an infamous contract, an innocent girl caught in a web of lies and deceit, a trusted bodyguard, and a very unconventional story. It ends there though because for one thing, ARomig did NOT hold back here. Claire and Tony's story, for what it's worth, was somewhat filtered, Viktoria Conway-Harrington crossed a lot of lines and her story had my jaw dropping on the floor constantly in disbelief, revulsion, and admiration. Also the sex scenes were very explicit and sometimes disturbing as expected since INSIDIOUS is a dark tale. As for the romance? Let's just say that ARomig's latest novel started as a fairy tale and ended a nightmare. 

The bad news is, INSIDIOUS is one of those books where you can't really break down in small pieces because inasmuch as it's a well-knitted story, one peep will unravel (spoil) the whole thing and trust me, you don't want that. It's gripping from beginning to end so you'll find yourself furiously turning the pages, thirsting to find out more about Viktoria's secrets and what made her so broken and slightly deranged. And once those were revealed, you'll be astounded but its immensity, disgusted by its perversity, empathetic to her plight, and maybe even admire Viktoria's gumption and cleverness in the end. It's one of those fantastical stories we commonly see on TV or movies either as fiction, stranger still in real life. But stranger things have been reported so I won't be surprised if art imitated life in this case.

So forget fluff and bubble gum romance and go explore the dark side with INSIDIOUS. Take a break from the Prince Charmings, damsels in distress, and fairy tale endings, it's Halloween after all so why not treat yourself to something different for a change? 

Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Together with her high-school sweetheart and husband of twenty-eight years, they've raised three children. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she's not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time with her family and friends. Her pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!

INSIDIOUS is Aleatha's seventh novel. It is her first time to delve into the world of erotic thrillers. The Consequences Series, her first series has been categorized as psychological thriller and dark romance. With INSIDIOUS, Aleatha took the twists and turns of CONSEQUENCES and turned up the heat.

CONSEQUENCES, her first novel, was released August 2011, by Xlibris Publishing. Then in October of 2012, Ms. Romig re-released CONSEQUENCES as an indie author. TRUTH, the sequel, was released October 30, 2012, and CONVICTED, the third in the series, was released October 8, 2013. Unexpectedly, the fourth book of the Consequences series came to life with REVEALED: THE MISSING YEARS. It is the fourth full-length novel in the series. It explores the years in CONVICTED that previously were only mentioned, as well as a complete character glossary and timeline. REVEALED was released May 20, 2014.

INSIDIOUS, the first released book from TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE will be released October 21, 2014. TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE will be a series of standalone, dark, erotic thrillers guaranteed to take you on a wild, hot, and dark ride. Each novel in the series will be independent of the next. The characters from one book will never be revisited. Instead, Aleatha leaves it up to her readers to imagine how each story will end while remembering that it is the journey that is the most fun.

Aleatha is a "Published Author's Network" member of the Romance Writers of America and represented by Danielle Egan-Miller of Brown and Miller Literary Associates.

Stalk Aleatha
Website | @AleathaRomig | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

October 20, 2014

Loved It: Surrender by June Gray

Series: Disarm 3
Format: ARC
Release Date: November 4, 2014 
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Julie Keaton had everything—she had a new career in a new city and, more importantly, a bright future with fiance, Jason Sherman. That is, until the day she discovered that he had been killed in Afghanistan. In one moment, her life changed, as everything she’d hoped for died along with him.

Years later and Julie still feels the aftershocks of Jason’s death. She is no longer the same adventurous, open girl; now she wears armor around her heart in order to protect the most important thing in her life—her son.

But when Julie meets the mysterious Neal, she starts to feel the smallest flicker of hope, as what began as a fling quickly becomes something more. Neal is the first man since Jason’s death to break down her armor and make her believe again. But when she discovers the secret he’s been keeping, she has to ask herself: can she surrender to a future with Neal or will Jason’s death forever tie her to the past?
3.5 Cauldrons

SURRENDER by June Gray is technically the third novel in the series, it says Disarm 8 in Goodreads but that's because the first book was previously released as a serial then Berkley did an omnibus. I want to clarify that in case some of you might look up the series and get discouraged when you see the series number. SURRENDER is the third full length novel but if you're unsure, you can always do the serial first, try JGray's writing and see if it's to your liking. 

Now that that's out of the way, SURRENDER is not a continuation of the previous two books that starred Elise & Henry, Disarm and Arrest. SURRENDER is a whole new story starring Julie Keaton, the baby momma of Elise's brother, Jason, and Henry's bestfriend who died in Afghanistan 5 years ago. Julie has been married and divorced since and raising her son with Jason has been her sole purpose with hardly any room for her dreams and desires. Until she met Neal at Elise and Henry's wedding and her life has never been the same. 

SURRENDER only has two pace, fast and faster, and the tone seesawing between intense and consuming with all the varying shades in between. I have to detach myself from personal opinion so I can put myself in Julie's shoes and appreciate her rather reckless behavior. On one had, I understand Julie's loneliness which made Neal such an enticing escape, handsome, rich, and charming. On the other Julie can be seen as desperate which she confirmed on a couple scenes and if not for the guarantee of HEA and Neal being a good guy, my reaction would be wary and skeptical of how their relationship started. I mean I wouldn't be surprised if the opposite happened and Julie ends up with a broken heart. Sure hooking up at your friend's wedding can be deemed as fun, YOLO! Getting whisked off to Vegas for two days is even funner, excusable even, yet Julie and Neal's love story felt too insta-love IMO and I just don't do insta-love. 

As for Neal, he's alright but not as compelling a character as Henry was. He also did this thing where he kept something important from Julie which is a little too convenient for my taste but heck, anything can happen right? Anyway, Neal's a really good guy, very straightforward, sincere and fell for Julie as fast and hard as she did for him. Can't ask for more on that!

Despite my subjective qualms about SURRENDER, I have to remind myself that every love story is unique and beautiful in it's own way whether or not I agree with the hows. There's beauty in Julie's perseverance, dedication to motherhood and to perserving Jason's memory. I have to admire her daring attitude, getting out of her comfort zone, putting herself on the line which eventually led her to Love's path and Neal's arms. I guess when it's for you, it's for YOU and sometimes it comes like a hurricane, leveling everything in its path to make way for a rebuild and that's exactly what happened to Julie.

SURRENDER wasn't as engrossing as the previous two novels but its just as intense and real as Henry and Elise's love story. It's as engaging and stirring, I'm just not sure if it aroused the intended emotions as far as I'm concerned but it's affecting just the same. Trust on JGray to deliver yet another romance that runs deep with powerful undercurrents. Ignore my critiques because maybe I'm just being a pill subconsciously, and get SURRENDER, you can get away reading it as stand-alone so win-win right?