Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Blog Tour with Giveaway: KALEIDOSCOPE by KEVIN BERRY


Title: Kaleidoscope
Author: Kevin Berry
Series: Stim #2
Publication Date: January 3rd 2014 
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary


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BLURB
The sequel to STIM…an Aspie new adult contemporary novel set in an earthquake zone.
Chloe is different. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and probably a few other inconvenient conditions as well. She’s a quirky, resourceful and clever psychology student, but her world is literally about to be shaken apart. A devastating earthquake sparks a chain of events that spiral her life out of control. She’s off her meds. Her oddly-named cat is missing. She doesn’t know what she wants out of life any more. Misfortune and uncertainty don’t mix well with bundles of energy and Chloe’s tendency to ignore consequences. It’s as if mayhem and trouble are her constant companions.
Will Chloe be able to cope with the earth-shaking events that rock her world? 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N
My Review  of STIM

Review
Genre: NA,review copy,just freaking awesome,favourites

Kevin Berry's first novel in this series, Stim, was one of my favourite reads of last year; it is a book which challenges society's stereotypes of people diagnosed with ASD in an honest and touching way.
Knowing Chloe and her difficulties from Stim I wondered how Kevin Berry would translate this in Kaleidoscope. Chloe's diagnoses are less straight-forward than Robert's 'Autism Spectrum Disorder' label (although this too encompasses so many variables). She falls into what she refers to as her own "alphabet" of identities,
"Over the years, the whitecoats have labelled me with diagnosis after diagnosis, each more exotic than those preceding it, including ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which I think is just ridiculous because I can concentrate on most things for as much as several minutes at a time, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), dyscalculia and various others that I don'y even remember or never properly understood. I suppose it was just a matter of time before they called me bipolar and drugged the wilder side of me out of me."
Chloe's story can be emotionally draining. During her periods of mania the pace is frenetic, but Kevin Berry asks us to be understanding and not to judge his heroine; without her medication she isolates herself from her support system, retreating into her own world which she feels she has control over.
The Christchurch earthquakes of 2011 play an important role in Chloe's story and enforce her need for routine and order. The chaos they create in Chloe's life; losing her home, belongings, her cat, a loved one; are all catalysts for the drastic change we see in her. The earthquakes are an extreme example, but allow Kevin Berry to show how necessary routine is to individuals with certain conditions.
The narrative in Kaleidoscope alternates between Chloe's journal entries in which we witness her very frank point of view about her everyday struggles, and an omniscient narrator who relays Chloe's interactions with other people. Despite her various labels and her periods of difficulty Chloe emerges as an intelligent young woman who is trying to establish a healthy relationship with her illness.
The title of Kevin Berry's story has so much meaning; the world is made up of people, who like colours, are uniques, some brighter than other, but together we make up something of beauty. The word also has significance for Chloe,
"The way I see things is like through a kaleidoscope - disjointed and broken, ever-changing, yet somehow beautiful in a structured way."
This is another amazing and sensitive novel from Kevin Berry, whose own experiences are reflected in his writing.
Rating:
 

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About the Author


Kevin Berry is an indie author. His particular niche is writing Aspie New Adult contemporary novels set in an earthquake zone. The first of these is STIM, published in October 2013.
His first novels, co-written with Diane Berry, are Dragons Away!, Growing Disenchantments and Fountain of Forever (humorous fantasy). These are available as paperbacks and ebooks at Amazon and elsewhere.

Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

*ADULT* Release Event: SUGAR ON THE EDGE by SAWYER BENNETT


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Title: Sugar On The Edge
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Series: Last Call #3
Release Date: July 28th 2014
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance



BLURB
He’s utterly alone…
Tortured and existing in a dark spiral of despair, bestselling British author, Gavin Cooke, has come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to escape the seedy lifestyle he had been living in London and in a desperate attempt to regain his writing focus. He’s twisted, bitter and angry at the world. He’s a loner… needing not a single thing other than his Scotch and a laptop upon which he can bang out his next erotic, dark thriller.

She’s running in place and getting nowhere…
Savannah Shepherd’s life is falling apart. Her dream of being a wildlife photographer seems a distant memory and she’s barely able to make ends meet. Driving herself forward with no clear goals apparent, she’s about ready to pack up her bags and head home with her tail between her legs.

Two unlikely lovers…
He’s raw, forceful and a dirty talker. She’s a flowers and romance type of girl. Yet within each other, they find a mutual craving that can only be satisfied by giving in to their desires for one another.
Lust turns into something more… something they were not looking for but tentatively accept. Will it be enough to push them past the obstacles of Gavin’s bitter past?
*SUGAR ON THE EDGE can be read as a stand-alone*

Purchase: Amazon | B&N


EXCERPT
My hands grip the steering wheel with white knuckles as I realize all of a sudden that I’m driving a $140,000 vehicle.
Then they start to sweat.
“Relax,” Gavin croons at me. “You’re doing fine.”
“I don’t want to wreck your car. It would take me a lifetime to pay it off,” I mutter.
“That’s what insurance is for,” he says casually. Then he demands, “Go faster.”
I push a little more firmly on the accelerator and the Maserati leaps under my request, the engine growling sexily at me. I can’t help the smile that comes to my face.
“Nice, right?” Gavin says.
“Oh, yeah,” I agree, and my smile goes wider.
“You’re fucking sexy as hell,” Gavin says so softly that I almost doubt I heard him right.
I turn to spare him a glance… and his eyes are pinned on me, the gray irises darkened, even with the noon sun sparkling bright. I swallow hard, because it’s the same look he gave me the other night, when I told him to touch me between my legs.
A tingling sensation spreads out from the back of my neck and my thighs involuntarily clench together, as I turn my eyes back to the road.
Gavin’s left arm raises up and his fingers skim along the back of my neck, pushing upward over the base of my skull and sifting through my hair. “Have you thought about the other night?” he murmurs.
My hands grip the steering wheel harder and my foot eases up off the accelerator a tiny bit, but words are stuck in my throat. I’m afraid to say anything.
“I have,” he admits softly as he shifts in the seat and leans closer to me. “I’ve thought about it a lot. About what I could have done differently.”
“Gavin—” I croak, but he cuts me off.
Bringing his right hand across, he places it on my knee and starts sliding it up my thigh. My pulse skyrockets and my foot actually falls off the gas pedal, as it’s almost impossible for me to concentrate on driving while he’s touching me.
“Speed back up, Sweet,” he whispers as he leans closer and sticks his nose under my ear. “Don’t want a cop to pull you over for going too slow.”
“I can’t—”
“You can,” he insists quietly, and his hand travels higher. I blink hard and push the gas pedal, getting my speed back up to within a normal range.
My legs fall open a bit to give him easier access and within just a moment, his fingers sit at my hipbone. His index finger strokes back and forth over my brown tights, but I can feel the burn of his touch all the way through to my soul.
“Let’s do this a little differently,” Gavin says with his finger moving softly against the inside of my thigh. “I really want to touch you and all I want from you is to say ‘yes’.”
“Oh, God,” I gasp out as his finger drifts over to press up against my center.
“Say ‘yes,’” he urges, his lips now against my ear, and I’m helpless.
“Yes,” I moan.
Gavin sits up suddenly and pushes my skirt all the way up so it bunches around my hips. “Lift yourself up a bit,” he growls.
I do as he commands, my foot pushing down on the accelerator inadvertently, causing the car to jump forward.
“Easy,” he chuckles, and I let up off the gas a bit.
Taking both of his hands, he pinches at my tights with his fingertips and with a grunt, jerks at the material, causing it to rip right at the inside of my thigh where it meets my hip.
“Fuck yeah,” he groans, and I glance down to see him pulling one edge of the tights away from my skin with his left hand while his right hand tunnels in.
“White lace panties,” he murmurs as his finger slips under the edge. “And they’re damp. My favorite kind.”

About the Author


USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Blog Tour with Giveaway: MISPLACED by LEE MURRAY



Title: Misplaced
Author: Lee Murray
Publication Date: December 1st 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Mystery


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BLURB
Dream cars have no registration plate…

One evening, Adam’s mum pops out for the milk and doesn’t come back, launching a frantic nationwide search. Yet after weeks with no leads, the television crews drift away, the police start asking hairy questions, and Adam’s dad starts seeing someone else. Adam’s life is falling apart. But then he meets Skye, who it seems has misplaced a parent too, and things start to look up. That is, until a body is found…

Purchase: Amazon

Review
Genre: family drama,review copy,mystery,NA,romance

Lee Murray's novel about a wife and mother who disappears without a trace after leaving the house to buy milk, is poignant and thought-provoking, especially knowing that it is dedicated to the author's missing friend.
The majority of the story is written in the third-person, apart from when we experience Adam's dreams, but Lee Murray writes with an immediacy which allows us ti connect with Adam on a deeper level. We share each event as he does; the police questioning, the truth about his father, the loss of his virginity and his utter anguish and despair because he misses his mother.
Although Misplaced centres around Tiffany's disappearance Lee Murray also addresses other issues from romantic love, the 'misplacement' of an identity caused by dementia, (I love Grandpa!), friendship and the stages of Adam's grief. I was emotionally involved with this book, perhaps because the story echoes so many real-life events or because Lee Murray's characters are so accessible.
The ending of Misplaced is not the one I hoped for and I was left stunned and moved. However, there is the realisation that our journey has been with Adam, watching events change him so that he reassess his priorities in life; he is a different young man than the one we met in Morterain's lair at the beginning of the novel.
Misplaced is beautifully written by an author I am excited to have discovered.
Rating:
 

EXCERPT
The thing that's weird is the word miss goes further than the simple sadness of loss. Missing someone also includes the shock of realising that loss. This is hard to explain. The best example I can give is something I can remember form social studies years ago. We were reading the testimonies who lost family members in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, and this one woman wrote that the worst thing wasn't learning her husband was dead, but realising that he was going to stay dead. That's the gut-wrenching bit.

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About the Author


Lee Murray is a full-time writer and editor with masters degrees in science and management. Lee wrote Misplaced after a friend, Florence, went missing from her home in France in 2003. Sadly, Florence is still missing. Lee lives in Tauranga, New Zealand with her husband and their two teenaged children. 

Links: Website | Goodreads



Blitz with Giveaway: STRANGE AND EVER AFTER by SUSAN DENNARD


Title: Strange and Ever After
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #3
Release Date: July 22nd 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Steampunk/Fantasy



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BLURB
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.
He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.
With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.
Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

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About the Author


Susan Dennard is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Strange and Ever After is the conclusion to her trilogy, which includes A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Something Strange and Deadly. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Monday, 28 July 2014

Blog Tour: SHIFT HAPPENS by J C McKENZIE


Title: Shift Happens
Author: J C McKenzie
Series: Carus #1
Release Date: March 27th 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance


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BLURB
Andrea McNelly's job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire's human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can't afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.
Wick's job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.
Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

Purchase: Amazon

EXCERPT
“Where’s your fera?”
My knees banged against the table and my right elbow broke my fall as I leapt across the desk—the injuries mere flea bites in comparison to what raged inside my head. There was no chance to consider the ramifications of my actions. I strained forward and ignored the pain from the machine straps and chords ripping off my skin.
Tucker’s soft neck squished between my hands. I increased the pressure. No norm asked about feras nowadays. None. Not if the valued their lives. Shifters had been the hardest hit after the Purge. Every dumbass redneck who owned a gun ran out and used feras for target practice. So many died in the first years of the purge that they nicknamed the time the Shifter Shankings. I’d been born in the middle of that turbulent time and always assumed my birth parents had been two of the casualties. Why else would I be put up for adoption?
I squeezed harder, enjoying how Tucker’s eyes bulged.
The door banged open and Agent Booth stepped in.
“Agent McNeilly stand down,” she commanded. “Release Agent Tucker.”

About the Author


Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Review: SUDDENLY YOU by CECILIA GRAY


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Title: Suddenly You
Author: Cecilia Gray
Series: Jane Austen Academy #4
Release Date: March 18th 2104
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Retelling/Romance

BLURB
Fanny doesn't want to be at The Jane Austen Academy. She intends to lay low until graduation when she can try out for the Olympic track team. She doesn't need friends or love. She only needs her running.

But The Academy is in danger. In an effort to save it, Fanny joins forces with the friends she never knew she wanted. Suddenly, Fanny finds herself center stage in the middle of the Academy's biggest love triangle as the lead in the school play...only this track star can't afford to break a leg.

The last thing that the girls at the elite Jane Austen Academy need is guys. But over the summer the school has been sold, and like it or not, the guys are coming. And they're about to turn the Academy—and the lives of its students—totally upside down... 

Dive into the fabulous, fun lives of six Academy girls as their friendships are tested, torn and ultimately triumph.

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Review
Genre: YA,review copy,netgalley,romance,retelling

Suddenly You is book four in The Jane Asten Academy series, but the stories can be discovered out of order and up till now I have read books 3, 5 and 4. Each installment is a contained retelling of a novel by Jane Austen and Suddenly You revises what it perhaps Jane Austen's least loved work, Mansfield Park.
I was never a fan of Jane Austen at college and I have only read Emma and half of Pride and Prejudice. For me Cecilia Gray's novels have been an approachable way to encounter the 18th century works.
I love the fact that Cecilia Gray has retained Austen's feisty female protagonists in the series and Fanny is already my favourite. As in Mansfield Park Fanny is the 'token' non-caucasian character; she has a lower status than her friends because she attends the Academy on a scholarship, but she is intelligent and witty.
This is also the first book in the series in which Fanny and her group of friends openly discuss sex, which is another influence from Mansfield Park, and like Austen's Fanny, Cecilia Gray's version refuses the famous and popular Josh Wickham, instead hoping that her love for the gorgeous but rebellious Tran might be returned.
In Suddenly You the group of girls again prove the strength of their friendship and love for the school and we are swept along in the romantic and personal drama. 
This is an excellent series and has made me consider reading some of Jane Austen's books again. Definitely one to recommend!
Rating:
 


Review: WOUNDED PROTECTOR by NANA MALONE


Title: Wounded Protector
Author: Nana Malone
Series: Protectors #3
Release Date: July 19th 2014
Age Group: NewAdult
Genre: Paranormal Romance

BLURB
What are we without our memories? 

Special Forces soldier, Jansen Michaels, lost a year of his life and his long-term memory to a madman bent on killing everyone Jansen loves. After a daring escape, Jansen runs to the one person he’s sworn to protect at all costs…only to find she doesn’t need his protection. She needs his love. 
Dr. Lisa Trenery has spent the last year of her life searching for Jansen Michaels. As team doctor for the superhero set, her job is to reverse the effects of Peter Reeser’s genetics experiments. She grieved with the rest of the team when they lost Jansen in battle, but now that he’s back, he’s changed—and he has more than retribution on his mind. When the attraction between them explodes, she knows loving him could cost her friends their freedom. 

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Review
Genre: paranormal,romance,novella,review copy,sci-fi

Although Wounded Protector is the third book in a series which I haven't read, I never felt out of my depth. Nana Malone briefly covers the necessary  history of this 'super-hero' group, but only at relevant points in the story.
Wounded Protector is a novella bursting with romance, action and a little sci-fi, so at only 130 pages the fast pace may mean that coffee you sat down for will be cold when you reach for it!
The first book I read by Nana Malone was a NA contemporary romance, and Wounded Protector is a step away from this, but the author proves she can adapt well.
The characters from the previous books in the series make an appearance here, but the story is really about Jansen and Lisa. Jansen has been missing for a year, presumably captured by the evil scientist, Peter Reeser, who is the reason the Protectors possess their powers.
Lisa is the group's doctor and after being made a widow she has fallen into unrequited love with Jansen.
Nana Malone spends time on her characterisation, which is sometimes unusual in novellas and even I felt I knew Jansen and Lisa well.
I enjoyed the fact that the author is able to build her story and add a twist; at the end of Wounded Protector I was left wanting more!
Rating: