Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Exclusive Cover Reveal for Runaway by S.m Knowles as Aubrey Kendall

Exclusive Cover Reveal for Runaway by S.m Knowles as Aubrey Kendall


At seventeen years old, Courtney McKenzey is fed up. With a dead mom and an alcoholic father that beats her every chance he gets, Courtney decides that enough is enough. Packing up only what she needs, Courtney leaves home without telling a soul and heads off to find her new life. 

Life on her own is not exactly as she thought it would be. With nowhere to stay, Courtney finds herself sleeping on an old stoop in an abandoned apartment alleyway. A chance meeting with a new group of friends seems like a great beginning to her second chance at a real life. But everything is not as it seems

Tricked into a life she never wanted and fears, Courtney needs to run away, again. She needs to find a way out of this new and dangerous life. With the help from a man she doesn't know, will Courtney find her way out? Or will she find herself on the run from a dangerous past, and a hopeless future. Faced with a choice that will change her life forever.


Chapter 1

The night was dark as Courtney tossed and turned in the night, sheets twisting around her legs with every toss, another bad dream no doubt. Her emotions frizzled and life moving down a slippery slope any young adult would love to stay clear of. Sitting up in her bed, she reaches for a glass of water situated on her table beside the bed. She takes a gulp feeling the cool water slide down her throat and into her stomach. The only satisfying feeling she’s felt in weeks, months, and years for that matter.
Looking at the alarm clock she realizes the buzzer will go off in another five minutes.
“Ugh.” Reaching over she shuts the clock off so not to make noise and wake her father who again came home late last night drunk. Slurring his speech and throwing things because his food sat cold in the microwave instead of heated up on the table.
Courtney looks at the broken plate lying by her bed and the food that still lay on top of her comforter. She will need to clean this up quickly before she leaves for school or surely another thrashing will happen. She removes the sheets from her legs before tossing them over her bed to stand up. Standing, she stretches her arms and legs as she yawns, finally moving to her closet.
Rummaging through her closet, she finds another denim skirt and jacket. Pairing the denim with a black shirt and socks, oh and of course, her favorite pair of net stalking’s she has her ensemble chosen for the day. Tip-toeing through the living room where her father lay passed out from the night before, she makes it into the bathroom. Slowly closing the door, she is careful to turn the handle so the latch doesn’t make a noise.
Success! She becomes excited as her father still sleeps. Removing all her clothes she quickly jumps in the tub and starts the shower. Jumping a little from the freezing cold water, but warming quickly, she  leans against the back of the shower taking it all in.
Pieces of her skin hurt from bruises she’s endured the last few weeks. More than recently because rent is due and her father hasn’t made an ounce of money working. Well, none that Courtney sees. Most all of it spent on liquor or possibly a liquor store from the smell of her father each night. Stinking up the whole house.
She uses what little shampoo is left in the bottle. Remembering to pick more up in her school locker room later today. Luckily, they keep extra little bottles of soap for the girls to use.
“Four more months of school. That is all. Once I’m done I can leave forever and never look back.” Her smile becoming dreamy. Anything to be away from her father. The man who sees a servant instead of a daughter.
A hard knock beats on the bathroom door. “Courtney!” Another belt on the door.
Shutting off the water quickly, Courtney tries grabbing a towel as she puts her foot outside the tub. Her heel slides along the tub as she places her balance on it causing her to fall  right in the middle on her groin.
“Owe.” She pushes herself off the tub in agony trying to wrap her wet body with a towel. “I’m coming daddy.” She slips again this time hitting her knee on the toilet. “Can this day get any worse?” she mumbles.
Another loud bang beats at the door. Her father growling as he begins to speak. “Courtney! You had best get your ass out!” He hits the door just right it bursts open, catching her ankle.
She looks down, watching a line of blood surge from her opened skin. A tear falls from her face. She knows what’s next. Her father is like clockwork. Immediately, she covers her head as her towel slips down her waist  and she leans over trying to get as close to the floor as possible. If she can lean into the floor she won’t have to worry about her face bouncing, causing more bruising.
He begins pushing his way through the door. “God damn it girl! You get out when I tell you to.”
A hard punch to the back of the head. She shivers as she waits for him to hit her again, pushing her way deeper into the back of the toilet. Anything to keep him from hurting her. This time an open hand slap to her lower back. She jumps hugging the toilet. “Please,” she whimpers.
“Please, what? More?” He kicks her rear at that and her legs are the only thing exposed at this time.
She continues laying, shoved as far as she can get herself beside the toilet. Waiting for whatever else her dad might throw at her. Shaking uncontrollably, tears streaming down her face mingling with the snot coming out of her nose. More whimpers as she lays, waiting.
She holds her breath expecting another blow but this time she hears water entering the toilet. Her father pee’s as she lays hiding from his abuse. She knows better than to move and remains silent trying to soften her cries. More bruising and welts along with a necessary butterfly bandage will take her to school today.
“Stupid girl,” her father mutters as he leaves the bathroom shutting the door behind him.
Courtney slides out from behind the toilet trying to sit up. Every muscle in her back is sore to include her butt. Grabbing her towel she tightly wraps it around herself. Looking for her clothes, she realizes they lay in a mangled mess in the corner near the shower, where a puddle of water usually sits.
Dropping the toilet seat down, she gets into the medicine cabinet where not much remains. An old razor and a pack of band aids she had recently taken from the store. Stealing anything is against her morals but lately she ended up with more cuts and bruises needing something to hide them.
She put her towel under the sink getting it nice and wet to clean up her ankle. Plopping down on the toilet she wipes up the blood exposing the cut. “It looks a bit deeper than normal.” She lets out a loud sigh before trying to pinch her skin back together.
Drying off the area she takes the sticky piece of the band aid and rips it away from the cotton center. She does the same with the other side then places the sticky piece over her pinched-skin then places the other sticky piece on top. “I hope this works.”
Setting her foot down on the floor, she throws the towel to the side picking up her underwear. “I’m so lucky these aren’t wet.” Her face cringes as she picks her leg up to place it in the hole of her panties then does the same with the other leg. Pain obviously still surging through her body.
Her shorts got a majority of the wetness and just the sleeve of her black shirt. After fully putting on her clothes and brushing out her long brown hair she grabs the handle of the bathroom door and slowly walks out, hoping her father fell back asleep.
As she tip-toes past him, he lays with his arm hanging off the couch, mouth wide open. Her face cringes as the man she once adored has turned into a devil of some kind. A careless man who feels no need to take care of him, his house, or his daughter. A whiskey bottle lay between him and the back of the couch. She eyes it trying to decide if it would be worth the effort in taking it from him and dumping it, or just leaving it as is.
She looks at him again and whispers, “I desperately want my daddy back.” Slipping over to the couch she pulls out the bottle.
The tug is a little harder then she meant, as he is now turning to his side. She stands over him holding in her breath, eyes wide complete in horror that he might wake up. She sighs, relaxing her body, as he lies with another loud snore.
Suddenly his eyes open. She runs as fast as she can to the kitchen opening the top of the bottle. Swinging her arm over the sink she begins to pour his bottle of booze down the drain, until his arm grips her wrist tight.
“What made you think you could get away with this little stunt.” He pulls her arm towards him, taking the bottle out of her hand. Putting it up to his dried cracked lips he takes a big swig and whips away the moisture left on his mouth with the other arm. “Ahh. That stuff will put hair on your chest. Something you must need, messing with a grown man’s alcohol.”
He opens his hand parallel to the floor swinging it rapidly in Courtney’s direction backhanding her. She falls over to the floor grabbing her face trying to rub away the pain. But this pain, she will never be able to rub away. The pain of her father never truly loving her.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

When your past threatens to destroy your future; how long will you hang on before Letting Go?
Cassidy Charles is picking up the pieces of her life after another terrible tragedy. The last thing she's looking for is love. James bursting back into her life is the last thing she expected, but possibly everything she needs. She can’t deny the attraction, but can she get past the fact that he may be the reason she’s lost so much? He opens up a whole new world to her that she’s only dreamed about and that she easily falls into. As a result, her relationship with him reveals secrets from her past she thought were long forgotten.
James Benedict III, local playboy and successful real estate investor hasn’t stopped thinking about her since that fateful night all those months ago. He has her back in his life, but for how long? Forever if he has anything to say about it. As more and more secrets from her past are revealed, his own demons and tragedies loom overhead threatening to destroy everything he's built and done for her. He wants her in his life, but because of him her world comes tumbling down, again.
Will they discover that the love they have is strong enough to survive everything and everyone trying to tear them apart before it’s too late?


Review of "Letting Go" by J.M. Witt

Cassidy is an event planner and hasn’t had any luck with dating or men in general. In the beginning, Cass is living with best friend Holly and dating bassist Dan. Enter James, the new bar owner of The Blue Horse where Dan’s band currently plays. Cass becomes obsessed with seeing, touching, and hearing James. Until one night changes everything. Cass has so much to overcome and being a red headed Scorpio doesn’t help! As Cass is planning an annual masquerade ball for a high profile client, she literally runs into James again. The chemistry and lust is instant!

Through tragedy, James tries to stay away from Cass, but one look at her as she stumbles out of the elevator and he knows that he can no longer resist his “Blackbird”!

At first, I felt like this book moved really fast. The first two chapters have so much happening that I wasn't sure how there would be much of a story for rest of the book. Lord, JM Witt did NOT let me down! Letting Go has everything a good book must have! Lust, drama, death, tears, laughs, friendship, and love. Oh my and sex scenes!! I can't forget the sex scenes!!! The book does switch POV’s but it’s such an easy transaction you almost know when to expect it! I love that you know exactly how James feels throughout the book.

I absolutely love that JM Witt kept me guessing. Even though a lot happened in the first two chapters, there is enough excitement to last through the entire book. I loved that each chapter brought something new with it!
There isn’t a cliffhanger but there is definitely some questions left unanswered! I can’t wait see where the next book takes Cass and James!  ~ Kara
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review of "Reluctantly Exposed" by Jessica Leigh

In an alternate universe where almost everyone is born gay, Andrea "Andy" Clearwater struggles to come to terms with being straight. After being outed by a former girlfriend, she endures ridicule and abuse, both at school and in cyberspace. When she meets Ben, another straight, she thinks they just might have a chance at love, but can their relationship survive such adversity?

This book blew my socks off. I love how the author transposed the roles of homosexuals and heterosexuals from our norm to give insight into the ordeals of societal outcasts, while making it seem all too relateable. I genuinely felt like my marriage was an abomination while reading this book, fortunately my husband is in another country so I don't have to worry about the curious stares from strangers when we're seen together in public.

There is very little to laugh about in this book because it deals with some very serious topics, but there were several places where giddy smiles magically appeared on my face. This book does contain strong language, and semi-graphic violence, and if you do not like spoilers, do not read the preface to the book until the end.

My biggest complaint about this book is that Andy seems far too mature for a 16 year old and many of her personal epiphanies would have seemed more genuine and realistic to me if she were slightly older, like in college, but that would have completely changed the story, and probably made it less relevant. Also, just because I wasn't a particularly mature 16 year old doesn't mean there aren't some of them out there, so I guess in addition to being a straight, she is also more mature than me (this is probably still true).

Overall I give this book five out of five stars because it is imaginative and well written and really made me think about things. - Katie

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Saviour" by Lesley Jones *Blog Tour* and GIVEAWAY!!!

Title: Saviour (Book 1 of The Saviour Series)
Author: Lesley Jones
Publication Date: May 16, 2013

She's a smart mouthed Essex Girl, now living in Australia. 
He's a good looking, born and raised. all surfing Aussie Boy.
Enjoy the fireworks, fun and the very hot sex as their worlds collide

Lauren has decided that her marriage is over but has yet to tell Jay, her abusive husband of the past twentyfive years. After making this decision and resigning herself to the fact that she will now be middle aged and single, she embarks on a girls night out and spills her guts to her girlfriends about what she has endured, in secret all these years.

Gabriel joins his brothers for a drink at a local bar. He's thirty five and very single. Good looks and a good job mean the ladies are generally lining up every night, which is just the way he likes it, straight sex, no complications.

Then their worlds collide, neither of them looking or thinking that what they need is each other, but the chemistry is instant and overwhelming and has the possibilty to consume and destroy them both. Can they overcome both their pasts to survive the future, together? Is the amazing, mindblowing sex enough?Join Lauren and Gabriel on their emotional, funny, sexy and traumatic journey as they try to conquer the demons from their past and try to build a future together. Their story will make you laugh and it will make you cry and sometimes do both at the same time!

Add on Good Reads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17841269-saviour?from_search=true

I was born and raised in a small working class town in Essex, just outside of East London. I am married with three sons and in 2006 we all moved to the other side of the world, settling on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, about 50K outside of Melbourne Australia. It's a whole new way of life for us down here,we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

I am currently a stay at home mum but in the past I have worked at Marks & Spencer, as a classroom assistant/teachers aid and have run my business.

As well as writing, I love to read and have been known to get through four or five books a week. My other interests are watching my boys play football...The round ball version; I am happy to admit to being an addict of social media and I owe a lot to my Facebook and Twitter family in promoting my work; I am also rather partial to a glass... or bottle of wine, a nicely chilled Marlborough Sav Blanc being my favorite. Being a born and raised Essex girl, I will happily admit to be being a big fan of spray tans, Shellac and am regularly, waxed, tinted and sculpted, although I am more likely to be found in thongs/flipflops than a pair of white stilettos these days.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review of "Beautifully Chaotic" by Nicole Tetterton

"A story of hurt, loss, and the way that the mind copes with problems... Chell figures that the reason why she keeps losing time is because of her constant drinking and drug use since her parents died and since she suddenly broke up with her boyfriend, Grayson. That is until a gorgeous man shows up at her door with her cell phone in hand. How could she not remember leaving it at his house? How could she forget someone who looks like him? When Miles starts defending her against Grayson, knowing more about her and her life than she can even remember she's not sure what exactly is going on and how her and Miles have become so close. How can she forget someone who she seems to spend so much time with?"

I was privileged to get the chance to BETA read this book, and I'm already dying for the next part of the story. That also means that the book I read, and the book you're going to read are not quite the same, although I really hope she didn't change too much.

This story felt so much more real than books like "50 Shades of Grey" where a wealthy millionaire comes in and rescues you from your boring life. This story felt like something that could actually happen to the average person, which makes dreaming about it that much more enjoyable for me, well at least the happy parts of the book. 

Chell, short for Michelle, starts the book with major problems. After her parents died, soon after graduation, she turns to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain, and starts losing time, but who hasn't had a few nights that they just can't remember after doing a couple too many tequila shots? And honestly, can you blame the girl for drinking a little to dull the pain? I can't imagine how I would cope if my parents were to die at the same time, and I'm almost 30 and married, theoretically I already have my life together. I was elated that the author actually pulled one over on me with this book. The explanation that I thought seemed like the most reasonable and the obvious answer, isn't. 

Because the book I read was a BETA, I am not giving it a ranking out of five stars, but I will say that you should go buy this book. The story was woven together quite well, and I sincerely look forward to the continuation of Chell's story. - Katie

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Review of "Finding Willow" by Dawn Robertson

After being forced to give her daughter up for adoption, Star Bloom's life spirals out of control. Eleven years later, she is a successful porn star, a drug addict, and still at the occasional mercy of the man that knocked her up and abandoned her in the first place. After a brutal encounter that leaves her bloodied and bruised that she fortunately has no recollection of due to her drug use, she decides it's time to turn her life around and find Willow, the daughter she was forced to give up, and free herself from Blue's tyranny. Will life have other plans for her?

If you are looking for a light read, save this book for another time. If you need a pick me up, pick up something else. The issues in this book are heavy and intense and I applaud Ms. Robertson for having the courage to write about them. I'm sure it would have been easier to write about situations that are far less common in the real world, but that wouldn't really have been Star's story.

"Finding Willow" is a follow-up story to "Hers" which was released earlier in 2013. Going in to reading this story I knew that I should have read "Hers" first, but I didn't do it, and I actually don't think it matters that much for me because I don't mind spoilers at all in my stories and have been known to read entire series in backwards order before. I truly feel that this book could be read as a standalone novel, just know that it might have some spoilers about "Hers" in it, and if that's an issue for you, then by all means, read "Hers" first.

Star Bloom is not a very reliable narrator, even when she's only telling her own story. There were a few instances where she would make an assertion and then contradict herself two paragraphs later, which is usually a problem for me, but in this story it works. It really seemed to give deeper insight into how messed up she is in the head from years of abuse and drug use.

My only complaint about this book is the ending. It felt very rushed, like it was just time to wrap things up and get to the happily ever after as quickly as possible. In my opinion I think the ending as it is would have worked better if it were set further in the future, but this isn't my story to tell, so those aren't my calls to make. And if I'm being really honest with you, I probably just wanted the story to go on longer.

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, for the bravery shown in writing about the topics involved and being engaging in spite of the heaviness of the reading. Now I just need to read "Hers" and "Kink the Halls," the Christmas novella that was just released in the last few days. - Katie

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review of "Minutes Before Sunset" by Shannon A. Thompson

Imagine that you are a thirteen year old boy, and you have just found out that in the dark world you live in, you are destined to fight an epic battle to the death on your eighteenth birthday that will determine the survival of your kind. Now fast forward to junior year of high school, when you know you have less than a year to prepare, but due to the nature of your race, you can only train at night and spend your days as a human, doing all the normal boring human stuff, except hanging out with your friends because you don't have any. But in a world where not everyone is what they appear to be, maybe you're better off that way.

This book made me feel a little bit like Sherlock Holmes, trying to figure out who the bad guys were in human form, and while I think I've got it figured out, I'm not 100% sure at this point, which means I'm clearly going to have to read "Seconds Before Sunrise" the second book in the series like immediately when it comes out (or you know, once I can fit it into my TBR list. I'll probably just have to leave my schedule open for it.)

This book transported me back to high school, but this time I got to be the rich kid and also sometimes the new kid (that one's not so different from my high school days, except people weren't nearly as friendly in my small town high school.) I laughed, a lot, and mostly didn't want to put this book down. There were a few times where the story moved a little slow for me, although some of that may have been just me trying to read and getting interrupted by children not sleeping like they should have been.

Ms. Thompson has a real talent for description, making me feel like I was right there training with Eric/Shoman. I would have liked to learn more about the Light, but at the same time, I feel like I know as much about it as Eric/Shoman does, so I'm mostly okay with my lack of knowledge on that score.

Overall I give this book 4.5 stars because it had me mostly engaged and kept me guessing. I would strongly recommend it to my children when they reach an appropriate age to be reading it (at least 10, and as long as they are interested in paranormal books.) - Katie

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble