Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review:Somewhere Between Water and Sky by Elora Ramirez

 
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Somewhere Between Water and Sky Synopsis: 

I heard it said once that every human is a story with skin. If this is true, paragraphs would be etched in the scars on my wrists. Whole chapters could be written about the way my heart pounds when I startle awake. And every single one of my tears could fill a book. 

But stories, with all their promise, only leave room for disappointment. I don’t have room for that anymore. I left it all—the hope, the love, the promise—back in my old life with the ghosts I’d rather forget: Jude. Emma. Pacey. This is how I dare to move forward and to believe in a new beginning. I let go of the old. I just grab the new and run. I don’t wait around anymore. I can’t. Waiting leaves room for the voices. 

Somewhere between water and sky, I'll find a way to burn these voices to the ground.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble |

Somewhere Between Water and Sky Goodreads


What I thought about Somewhere Between Water and Sky


At the end of Every Shattered Thing, Stephanie runs away from her home, freeing herself from her abusive father and leaves Kevin behind after she is devastated by his betrayal. Looking for a fresh start where no one knows her, she lands a job at a coffee shop, lives in a hotel, and tries to forget her past while her father’s voice in her head whispers poison to her.

Against her better judgement, she lets her two coworkers, Jessa and Ren a little bit into her life. Stephanie doesn’t trust anyone with good reason, but she eventually gives into Jessa’s determination to be a friend. A day trip to San Diego turns deadly though and Stephanie is convinced that her father has escaped jail and is now stalking her.

Stephanie has to decide whether to run again or take help from her two co-workers, Ren and Jessa. Elora Ramirez does a wonderful job of building the suspense of wondering if Stephanie’s father is nearby, and at one point I even doubted Jessa’s motives. The tension here is so very nicely done.

There’s the very creative use of poetry to convey some of Stephanie’s darker emotions which helped to keep things from getting too grim when they could have easily gone that way. There’s still bad stuff happening, but Ms. Ramirez manages to maintain threads of hopefulness in the story, especially through the friendship of Jessa and Stephanie.

When Kevin appears, Stephanie comes close to running again, unable to forgive him for not telling her about his part in the job. And it’s become clear that Stephanie’s father is nearby, waiting to pounce. Good thing Jude shows up too. It was really wonderful to see the characters from the first book come back to continue to help Stephanie. And she’s going to need it when the trafficking case comes to a devastating conclusion.

It’s taken me some time to write this review, because this book was really rich in emotions and had a solid storyline that was neither unrealistic or sad to wrap things up. Stephanie’s long term issues from her father’s abuse and prostitution has still left her with damaged, but when Somewhere Between Earth and Sky ends, but you just know that her life has gotten better.

If you like a darker story that focuses on emotions rather than acts, I’d recommend this series. While the subject matter is difficult at times, Stephanie’s story is beautifully told, leaving this author and this series is one of my memorable reads this year.

Giveaway


Enter Elora's fantastic giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Elora Ramirez Bio:

Elora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space--including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. 


Since then, she's grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She embraces the power of story and teaches women from all parts of the world how to embrace theirs. She has a knack of calling things out , the truth and the detail, the subversive threads that make a life a story. 

She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, music, and her husband's lavender liqueur.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review & Kindle Fire Giveaway:Facing the Music by Andrea Laurence


In this sizzling and hilarious contemporary e-book romance, pop sensation Ivy Hudson returns to her small town to face her ex. Only trouble is, she made her Taylor-Swift-like career with the hit song “Size Matters”—and the football hero has had to live it down ever since.

Five years ago, high school sweethearts Ivy and Blake’s relationship imploded and both their lives were changed forever. Ivy became a rock star and Blake lost not only his dreams of a successful NFL career, but his reputation. Ivy’s angry song about their breakup, called “Size Matters,” hit the top of the charts and Blake became a national laughingstock. He’s salvaged his career and returned to Rosewood to be the high school football coach, regaining his status as town hero and leading the boys to the state championships.

When a tornado whips through town and destroys the high school gymnasium and stadium, a committee is formed to help rebuild and plan some charity fundraisers. Blake’s grandmother requests that Ivy return to Rosewood for the events. Forced back together for the good of their hometown and their careers, Ivy and Blake have no choice but to put aside their differences, stop running from their pasts, and finally face the music.

For fans of Kristen Proby and Colette Auclair, Facing the Music hits a perfect balance between small-town romance and big-time success. Follow Ivy and Blake as they fall back in love and figure out what does matter in the end…


Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/RSWFCR

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1thSDBN

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1lDKwcN

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1jpY0vv

 



Excerpt


Ivy pressed her hands against Blake's shoulders, pushing him gently until he was lying back on the blanket.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Whatever I want to.”

Blake arched his eyebrow at her, but he didn’t complain. He held perfectly still as her nimble fingers moved down the front of his shirt, undoing each button and exposing the expanse of skin beneath it. Her palms ran over his skin, relishing the feel of his chest hair tickling her hands. She leaned forward, letting her tongue glide along his collarbone, and then she crept down his body to the button of his jeans.

“Your hair tickles,” he said.

Ivy gathered up the long, wavy strands of her hair into one hand and swept them over her shoulder. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Not on your life,” he said between tightly gritted teeth as her fingertips brushed the edge of his waistband.

“That’s what I thought,” she said with a smile. “Now, stop complaining.”

Ivy settled between his legs, resting on her knees as she unbuttoned his jeans. She tugged at his back pockets, pulling his jeans down the length of his legs and throwing them out of her way. She moved back over him doing the same with his underwear, which thankfully, this time, were a pair of charcoal-gray boxers. They slid easily out of her way, leaving nothing between her and her goal.

She leisurely traveled back up his legs. Her fingertips gently brushed along the puckered pink scars of his calf and across his kneecap. By the time she reached his upper thigh, he was nearly trembling. Ivy wasn’t sure if it was with anticipation, emotion, or pain.

His hand reached out and snatched her wrist as she moved higher. “This hardly seems fair,” he said. “You’re wearing entirely too much clothing for me to be wearing so little.”

“Who’s doing this? You or me?”

Blake acquiesced and released her hand. He crossed his arms behind his head, giving himself an excellent vantage point for overseeing her activities. “You are, ma’am.”

“That’s right. Now are you going to keep critiquing everything I do, or do I need to put something in your mouth to shut you up?”

A wicked grin crossed Blake’s face as he looked at her. “May I offer a suggestion?”

“I have several ideas of my own,” she said.

What I thought about Facing the Music


I'll admit it was the synopsis for Facing the Music that grabbed me. Size Matters! That's the name of the song that catapults Ivy into stardom and  humiliates the ex she caught cheating on her. I had a hard time seeing how a guy would come back from something like that. 


Facing the Music is a charming story of how Ivy and Blake get a second chance in spite of their past mistakes. Andrea Laurence does a nice job crafting two very likable main characters.  I liked Ivy, especially when she comes back home and starts realizing many things about her own life, even before she accepts that she still has some serious feelings for Blake.  And Blake, even though he starts out a bit angry (and rightly so), manages to put the song behind him and open his heart to another chance. It's really a sweet love story.


Tension is provided mostly from celebrity reporter drama and a hometown woman crushing on Blake, but what I liked the developing romance between Blake and Ivy the most in this story. There's some nice heat between them too!

While I did find the pacing a bit too slow for me, I did enjoy Facing the Music.  If you are in the mood for a romance with a bit of tension and suspense, but isn't too heavy, this might be the book for you.


Giveaway
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About the Author




Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://andrealaurence.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAndreaLaurence

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Andrea_Laurence

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5398672.Andrea_Laurence



Friday, September 19, 2014

Bonus Reveal:Loving Eden by T. A. Foster

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Today is the bonus reveal for LOVING EDEN, the sequel to KISSING EDEN by T.A. Foster! It features an interview with the characters. This is a New Adult contemporary romance. This title will be released on September 25th.

  Be sure to ADD IT TO GOODREADS 

BOOK SUMMARY:

 

Have you ever thought of packing up everything you own and moving halfway across the country? I’m talking about leaving your entire life behind—friends, family, school—with no turning back. No? Me either, but that was before a week of spring break changed my life forever. Before I did something I never thought I’d do at twenty-two. Before I fell in love with Grey. Sometimes happily ever after isn’t always what you think it will be. 
 
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Interview with Grey and Eden   


When we last saw you two, Grey had made a trip to North Carolina to deliver a lost suitcase. What have you two been up to since then?

Eden: I graduated from Carolina in May and then spent the summer in Chapel Hill with Taylor.

Grey:
Same ole, same ole for me. Just been working at the Palm Palace, trying to keep the summer guests happy.

No summer trips across state lines?
Eden: After Grey’s visit we talked on the phone all the time. Hours everyday.

Grey: And texted.

Eden: Right, and texted, but once we made the decision I was moving to South Padre, there was just too much to do to get ready to squeeze in a trip.

And how did that decision happen? Eden, did Grey ask you to move?
Eden: I think we realized right away that we aren’t the kind of couple who handles long distance well. I wanted to be with him all the time. The timing is actually perfect. I just graduated and I hadn’t found a job yet, so it made the most sense that I go to Texas. Besides, I love it. I couldn’t ask Grey to give up the Palm and move to North Carolina.

Grey: Yeah, I did ask her, but it was a mutual decision. We both wanted that from the beginning. And she’s completely right. We work best when we’re together.

All of that sounds intense. When is the big move?
Eden: Well, I had to finish out my lease and then my parents insisted I spend some time with them before moving. So, I’ll be headed to Texas the first part of September.

Grey, are you flying up to help Eden move?
Grey: I wish, but she wants to do it on her own. I’ll be getting things ready for her to move down.

Eden: It’s not that I don’t want Grey on the trip, but it’s important to me I do this on my own. I hope that makes sense. Of course my parents think I’m crazy.


Moving in together is never an easy adjustment. Any last minute jitters before the big move? 


Grey: Absolutely none.

Eden: Aww, that’s sweet. I’m a little worried about where I’m going to fit all my clothes and shoes, but I think we can figure something out.

Grey: Darlin’, you don’t have to worry about that. I have a surprise planned.

Eden: Surprise? You have to tell me now. Did you add another closet in your room?

Grey: You’ll see when you get to Padre.

Sounds like you two have a lot of exciting things ahead of you. Good luck on the move!


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Previous book in the series.

KISSING EDEN - AVAILABLE NOW!

KissingEden

Purchase KISSING EDEN from...

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hCXkkv

B&N: http://bit.ly/NKhAGi

Smashworks: http://bit.ly/1dcvQB5

iTunes: http://bit.ly/Y9509p

 

 

 

 


 

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

TAFoster

T.A. Foster's Bio:
 

 T.A. Foster once spent a monthlong spring break on South Padre Island, where she soaked in the Texas sun, beach, and learned what real Texas country music is. Sometimes fiction does spring from reality. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children, and two canine kiddos.

T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing, or planning her next beach trip.  


Author Links:
 
Blog: http://www.tafosterauthor.com/
 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tafosterwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAFosterauthor

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7164289.T_A_Foster
 
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Release Day Launch:Somewhere Between Earth and Sky by Elora Ramirez

SBWaS RDL banner I am so in love with Elora Ramirez's Somewhere Between Water and Sky. it's a gorgeous book in a beautiful series and I'm super excited to share it with y'all. 

I'll be back in a few days with a review. Check out the release day launch and Elora's super special giveaway!!

SBWaS AmazonGRSW
Somewhere Between Water and Sky Synopsis: 

I heard it said once that every human is a story with skin. If this is true, paragraphs would be etched in the scars on my wrists. Whole chapters could be written about the way my heart pounds when I startle awake. And every single one of my tears could fill a book. 

But stories, with all their promise, only leave room for disappointment. I don’t have room for that anymore. I left it all—the hope, the love, the promise—back in my old life with the ghosts I’d rather forget: Jude. Emma. Pacey. This is how I dare to move forward and to believe in a new beginning. I let go of the old. I just grab the new and run. I don’t wait around anymore. I can’t. Waiting leaves room for the voices. 

Somewhere between water and sky, I'll find a way to burn these voices to the ground.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble |

Somewhere Between Water and Sky Goodreads

Enter Elora's fantastic giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Elora Ramirez Bio:

Elora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Seuss and writing anywhere she could find the space--including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. 


Since then, she's grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She embraces the power of story and teaches women from all parts of the world how to embrace theirs. She has a knack of calling things out , the truth and the detail, the subversive threads that make a life a story. 

She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, music, and her husband's lavender liqueur.
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Author Goodreads


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Release Day Excerpt, Review and Giveaway: The Certainty of Violet & Luke by Jessica Sorensen


releaseday_theCertaintyOfVioletAndLuke_banner
Happy Release Day
to Jessica Sorensen and her new book

THE CERTAINTY OF VIOLET & LUKE!
the certainty of violet and luke
Synopsis
Violet Hayes’s life is a mess. Between her stalker, Preston, refusing to leave her alone, her parents’ case still being unsolved, and falling behind in school, she always feels on the verge of losing it. When some unexpected news comes her way, it’s the final straw and she ends up doing something that almost costs her life.

Thankfully, she survives and makes a promise to herself to put her life back together and to try and figure out exactly how she feels about Luke Price, the one person that’s always there for her.

But as a recovering alcoholic and gambler, Luke has his own struggles to overcome. He’s also fallen in love with Violet, but fears telling her the truth, that it will scare her away or worse, she won’t reciprocate the feeling.

Plus, there never seems to be a right time to say it, either the case, Preston, or life getting in the way.

Can the two of them ever get enough peace in their lives to conquer their fears and finally tell each other the truth about how they feel?

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Violet and Luke teaser_Lips
Excerpt
It’s like he’s fighting to breathe, his solid chest rising and falling heavily with each breath he takes. “You have to start trusting me.”
“I do trust you. Too much,” I whisper, shutting my eyes. “You could crush my heart if you wanted to.” The silence that follows is maddening.
Did I just say that out loud?
One…
Two…
Three…
Time feels endless as I wait for what comes next. I hear him shift on the seat, feeling him scoot closer
“Violet, open your eyes.” His breath dusts my cheeks.
I swiftly shake my head, smashing my lips together. “I can’t.” But I find myself opening my eyes anyway and he’s so close, only inches away from me.
“I would never ever hurt you,” he promises, his hand gently cupping the back of my neck, fingers spreading across my skin. His touch sends a shot of tingles across my flesh and causes me to shiver as he guides me toward his lips. But I’m already leaning in, an invisible current pulling me toward him, like two magnets about to collide.
When we do crash into one another, it’s dangerously intoxicating, steals the air from my lungs, and sends my heart slamming in my chest. I’m already falling again to that place where I feel helpless yet safe. Emotions press their way to the surface, this time too strong to ignore. It hits me like lightning, an electric current surging through my body, overwhelming heat that both brings me alive and kills me at the same time.
I think it’s then that I know what I’m feeling. The thing I’ve been trying to avoid for days now, and I’m both terrified out of my mind yet alarmingly at peace.
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What I thought about The Certainty of Violet & Luke

How can you love someone if you’ve never experienced loved at all, if you don’t know what love is? That’s the question of The Certainty of Violet and Luke.

In the aftermath of the devastating trip to Las Vegas, Violet and Luke attempt to put their lives back together. After reaching out to his father, Luke makes some very difficult decisions about his gambling and drinking.
I also have to give kudos to Luke's father for the role he plays in supporting Luke through this difficult time.

Luke's also clear about his feelings for Violet. He loves her, but hesitates to tell her because he doesn’t want to scare her into craving an adrenaline rush or worse to deal with it. So he stays silent and I could feel his anguish. 

While Luke is getting his life back together, it’s Violet who is falling… falling apart in a major way for a good part of the first half of the book. She’s in so much despair over the revelations about Preston and the impending arrest of Luke’s mother for her parent’s murders, but a lot of her emotional turmoil is dealing with her feelings for Luke. She’s never known love in her life, so she has no clue what it looks or feels like.She’s falling for Luke and it’s heartbreaking when she thinks --“I’m not supposed to fall in love. I don’t even know what the f*ck it is.”

So there’s a boatload of feelings and inner thoughts from both Luke and Violet in this book, and I loved that about it. I could really feel Violet’s confusion, her depression, how the past has taken its toll on her and yet she is coming to an awareness that she has to be one to change it, and it’s a slow and gut wrenching process.

Luke shows a tremendous amount of bravery by stopping his gambling and drinking and in recognizing his deep feelings for Violet. The changes he makes from where he was at the start of this series are massive in a very positive way. When Luke makes the decision to go to Violet instead of drinking when he’s placed in a tempting and stressful situation, my heart swelled for this for this character and the journey he’s taken in this series. When an author can drive that point home in the span of just a few pages, well, that’s a great read for me.

My heart broke for Violet for most of this book. She’s gone through so much and she’s at that place where she has to decide whether she will pull herself out of the darkness or succumb to it. Her journey here is sad and yet uplifting by the end.

And speaking of endings, this book ends with one of the most wonderful and touching scenes of the series so far. I just loved it! Luke has definitely found a place in my heart.

One reason I like NA is the character's journey to a new level of maturity.. and The Certainly of Violet and Luke has plenty of that journey for both main characters. Luke goes from being a cocky, alcoholic thrill junkie to someone who has the capacity to appreciate and love others in a major way. And Violet, well, she opens her heart and life to good things when she doesn’t even know what good is. It’s a lovely story of two broken people putting their shattered lives back together to find happiness. 


I love Violet and Luke’s story and I recommend this series highly. Fabulous emotional story of two young adults trying to put their past behind them.




Giveaway



The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives in the snowy mountains of Wyoming. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.


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♥SERIES READING ORDER♥

Book 1: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden
Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes
Book 2: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden
Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes
Book 3: The Destiny of Violet and Luke
Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble , and iTunes
Book 4: The Probability of Violet and Luke
Available on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Smashwords
Book 5: The Certainty of Violet and Luke
Available on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Smashwords
Pre Order Buy Link for The Resolution of Callie and Kayden (book 6)
Pre Order on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Smashwords

Release Day Event:Every Time I Think of You by Tracey Garvis-Graves


We're celebrating the release of Every Time I Think of You by best selling Author Tracey Garvis-Graves! 

Check out how Tracey came up with the idea for the book and take a peek at the excerpt below. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Title: Every Time I Think of You

Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Romantic Suspense


Amazon US (e-book and paperback)

Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia |Barnes & Noble

Apple
| Kobo



SYNOPSIS:
Thirty-year-old Daisy DiStefano has two people she holds dear: the grandmother who raised her, and her three-year-old son, Elliott. But when Daisy’s grandmother is killed in a seemingly random act of violence, Daisy must take steps to protect herself and her child.

Despite a thriving career in San Francisco, thirty-six-year-old Brooks McClain has returned home to spend what little time his mother has left before she succumbs to the deadly disease that is ravaging her. The seasoned investigative reporter has taken a position with the local newspaper and been on the job less than twenty-four hours when he’s summoned to cover the death of Pauline Thorpe.

Brooks is all business, but the more time he spends with Daisy DiStefano, the more invested he becomes; there’s something about a single mother, a defenseless child, and an unsolved crime that has stirred Brooks’s protective instincts like nothing ever has before.

And when the unthinkable happens, Brooks will do whatever it takes to clear the name of the woman he’s fallen for and the child he’ll protect at any cost.

Romantic and suspenseful, Every Time I Think of You shows how far two people will go to fight for the ones they love, and the life they’ve always imagined.

An idea was born.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, “How did you come up with the idea for this book?” My books are fairly plot-driven, and Every Time I Think of You was no different. I could see the opening scene in my head like a movie so I knew what the inciting incident – in other words, the event that would send the main characters’ lives in another direction – would be. But in this case, my opening scene was the result of not only plot, but also a character. I have wanted to write a book where the main character was a crime reporter for a while now. I tend to gravitate toward heroes who are regular guys, and I wanted to see what would happen when I put this particular hero into various situations (and a little hot water). What would he do? How would he react? What, exactly, was he made of?

However, if main character Brooks McClain was going to be a crime reporter, that meant I had to come up with a crime (which ultimately, I’d have to solve). I’ve never written a book with a mystery or suspense element before, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that get in the way of telling this story. I’ve said time and time again that I never want to be an author who writes the same book over and over, but with that motto comes challenges. I have to deal with the discomfort that comes from tackling something different than I’ve done before, and often this means learning new things.

I have a love/hate relationship with research. I keep telling myself I’m going to write a book that doesn’t require as much research, and then I write a book that requires extensive research. I should really start listening to myself! Some of the things I did in the name of research for Every Time I Think of You included taking a four-hour firearms safety course and learning how to load and shoot a gun, which was something I didn’t have any experience with.

I also studied ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, by reading memoirs and poring over countless websites dedicated to the disease. Although the timing of the recent ALS ice bucket challenge is merely a coincidence, it makes me happy to know that this devastating illness is receiving such an outpouring of support from the general public.

I studied addiction, specifically methamphetamine addiction. What I learned was heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and often tragic. In total, I read six memoirs about addiction and read countless online articles. I watched a fascinating Frontline documentary from PBS about methamphetamine addiction and its effects on law enforcement and the community.

I reached out to a criminal defense attorney in California so that I could gain an understanding of that state’s legal processes, and I spent several hours in person and on the phone with my cousin Jack, who is a detective with the Des Moines Police Department. Jack was instrumental in explaining the outcomes of all the different scenarios I proposed (naturally, I named the detective character after him). I interviewed three different crime reporters (who all told me slightly different things), and one of them saved me from a potentially embarrassing gaffe. In Every Time I Think of You, I include an actual newspaper article written by Brooks McClain. Newspaper reporters use the Associated Press Stylebook to ensure that their articles are written correctly whereas The Chicago Manual of Style is the go-to guide for fiction writers. The crime reporter who proofed my article had me make a small tweak so that it was correct in form.

I spoke to a nurse, to make sure I got the details of Daisy’s DiStefano’s work schedule correct. There were less significant things I needed the answers to, such as what kind of jewelry a nurse would be permitted to wear to work and what floor she might work on if she were involved with a particular patient.

In addition to the factual research necessary to write this story, I also had to choose the path I’d take to solve the crime. I learned that there were a few different ways I could handle this: One, I could write the story in such a way that the reader would probably not know who committed the crime until the very end. Two, I could choose the slightly-less-suspenseful route and let the reader be privy to clues that would allow them to guess the identity of the perpetrator much earlier. That way, I could let the focus of the story rest on how the person would be brought to justice. I chose option two because I felt it would lend emotional resonance and depth to the story.

Now that I knew how I’d tell the story, I needed to concentrate on the characters. I usually have a pretty good outline in place before I sit down to start writing. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it helps to have a roadmap of sorts so that I don’t waste too much time writing myself into corners. This is not a spoiler because you know from the blurb that the book deals with the aftermath of the death of Daisy’s beloved grandmother. However, once I was about a fourth of the way through the first draft, I realized that the character I’d chosen to commit the crime didn’t actually do it.

I fought it for a while, but the more I got to know these characters, the more I realized my inner muse was right. This person couldn’t have done it.

Delete, delete, delete, delete. Sigh.

The real perpetrator had a motive, but it was subtle and at first I couldn’t see it. And the person who I’d originally intended to commit the crime was actually somewhat responsible. But it will be up to the reader to draw their own conclusions about what transpired that evening in Daisy’s grandmother’s apartment, because the opening chapter of the book is narrated by Daisy’s three-year-old son, who has a very limited ability to explain it. I actually first wrote this opening chapter from the point-of-view of Daisy’s grandmother, Pauline. It gave the book a much darker tone than I wanted so I scrapped it and decided to let Elliott take the reins.

There is also one final plot thread that I chose not to tie up with a big red ribbon. Initially I wrote a paragraph that would have explained why a certain character made the choice that he did, but then I realized it wasn’t necessary. Readers are smart and book discussions are extra fun when there’s a bit of speculation involved.

I’m not an especially fast or prolific writer, and that’s fine with me. Between the research and the actual writing time, this book took fourteen months to complete, and there were times I wanted to pull my hair out. I’d told my husband there were a couple of twists I was hoping to pull off, but wasn’t sure I knew how to accomplish them. I told several people that writing this book made my brain hurt (but one of the readers who received an advance copy told me she kept saying to herself as she read it, “This book is so smart!”). When I hear feedback like that, it tells me that everything I did in the name of Every Time I Think of You was worth it.

I hope you enjoy Brooks and Daisy’s story.


EXCERPT
 
I glanced at my watch. “I need to get going.” I stood and Daisy followed me toward the door. “Don’t hesitate to call the police for any reason. Pay close attention to your surroundings. Keep your door locked. Don’t ever open it without the chain on.” I paused, once again struck by how alone she seemed. Was anyone watching out for her? “Listen, I don’t mean for this to sound as sexist as it’s going to, but is there a guy around?”

Rarely did I ask such a personal question, especially when the answer was absolutely none of my business.

And I’ll admit to being more than just professionally curious as I waited for her answer.

“There was, but not anymore,” she said. “It’s just Elliott and me. We’ll be okay. When someone knocks, I look through the peephole. If I don’t recognize the person, I leave the chain on when I open the door. I also bought a gun.”

She said that last part with such nonchalance that it took me a second to process it.

“You what?” I probably said it with a little more force than I should have.

She looked taken aback. “Shane helped me pick it out.”

I was speechless. “I’m sorry, but you don’t—”

“Look like the type of person who would own a gun?”

It was hard to argue with that statement when it was exactly what I was going to say. “Yes.”

“I didn’t buy the gun because I wanted to. Frankly, I would rather not own one. They scare me,” she said. “But I bought one anyway because the thought of looking something evil right in the eye and knowing that I’m more than likely going to come out on the losing end of it terrifies me. The fear that I’ll be assaulted, or raped and left for dead, or worse yet, that someone will try to harm my child, is the reason I have this gun. That’s the type I am.”

I saw her then, really saw her. Five foot seven, maybe, but small-boned. She was wearing a fitted V-neck T-shirt that emphasized her slight build. I could see the prominent ridge of her collarbone and the deep hollow at the base of her throat that I suddenly couldn’t stop looking at. She’d be no match for anyone. If she wanted a gun, I was hardly in a position to tell her she couldn’t have one.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was out of line. It’s really none of my business what you do.”

“It’s okay. Pam reacted the same way you did. But I’m doing everything I can to be a responsible gun owner. I’ve signed up for the safety class so I can learn how to handle the gun. How to shoot it. I’ll apply for the permit as soon as I have my certificate. I’ll go to the shooting range, and I’ll practice.”

Taking her to the shooting range was something I could do to help her. It would also give me a chance to spend time with her, which was something that was becoming more appealing by the minute. I could feel the boundary between witness and reporter starting to blur, but I really didn’t care. It had been a while since a woman had sparked my interest the way Daisy had. “You don’t have to justify anything to me. It sounds like you’re doing everything right,” I said. “I’ll let you know if I hear anything on the case.”

“I would really appreciate that.”

Elliott put down his coloring book and ambled across the room.

Daisy lifted him into her arms. “You look tired, buddy. Are you ready for your nap?”

“I’m not tired,” Elliott said, yawning and rubbing his eyes.

“Oh, my mistake,” Daisy said, smiling at him. “I think we’ll try a nap anyway, just in case.” She looked at me. “Thanks for stopping by.”

“It was no problem. I’ll see you soon.”

As I stepped into the hallway she said, “Brooks?”

I turned around. “Yes?”

“Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but you seem to genuinely care about my safety, and I want you to know that I appreciate it. I need all the help I can get.”

I met her gaze and held it for a moment. “You aren’t reading it wrong at all. Take care, Daisy.”

She smiled and it illuminated her face, making every feature even prettier. She closed the door, and I made my way down the hall.

It was true that I cared about Daisy’s safety. Maybe Scott DiStefano had never abused or neglected Elliott, but Daisy’s decision to arm herself made me wonder what he’d done to her.




GIVEAWAY

ONE WINNER WILL RECEIVE (INT):

ONE signed copy of On the Island, Covet, and ETITOY. Also included, a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Also, the winner will receive an ARC of Tracey's next work-in-progress, The Girl He Used to Know (an adult contemporary second-chance romance novel).

And finally, Tracey will either use the winner's name in The Girl He Used to Know (first name or last name only, or the actual real name if comfortable) OR the winner can suggest a name for a character.

**The restrictions to this are that it will not be the name of a main character. It will be a supporting or minor character. Also, this is a fictional character. It is not a character based on the winner.


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About the Author:





Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author. 
Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. 
She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, and Cherish. 
She is hard at work on her sixth book.

Tracey loves to interact with her readers and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Release Day Excerpt, Giveaway & Review: Dire by Alyssa Rose Ivy

DIRE RDL Banner

We are so excited to bring you the 

Release Day Launch for Alyssa Rose Ivy's DIRE.

DIRE is a first novel in her 

The Dire Wolves Chronicles Series.

The Dire Wolves Chronicles Series is a
New Adult Paranormal Romance!

The Order of the books is: Dire, Dusk, Dawn

So excited for Alyssa's newest series, The Dire Wolves Chronicles!!

Dire
 
About DIRE:

Dire: The Dire Wolves Chronicles

Gage was the first guy I ever wanted. He was my first crush and my first fantasy, but he wasn't my first in any other way because he never saw me as anything more than a friend— at least not until the night that changed everything.

It was all Gage's fault. He insisted we drive through the storm and take the back roads. By the time the storm hit full force we had no chance. One night of snowbound sex changed our relationship forever. The problem was at the same time I caught another guy’s attention. This other guy happened to be the alpha of a pack of shifter wolves. I thought the wolves were the worst of my problems, but I was wrong. When things went from bad to worse I had to make a lifelong sacrifice to save Gage, but what price is too much to save the one you love?
 

Excerpt:

A single howl made me stop short. “The wolves!”
“Let’s hope they are farther away than they sound.” Gage tightened his hold on my hand and pulled me forward.
Three more howls filled the night. “They sound closer.”
We picked up the pace, and I chanced a glance behind me. That was a mistake. Several large grey wolves came into view. “Run!”
Gage didn’t need to be told twice. He broke into a run without letting go of my hand.
I ran as fast as possible over the frozen snow, but we didn’t get far before the wolves started circling around us. “Oh my god.” Could things get any worse?
“You have to make a run for it.” Gage’s voice quivered. “They’re going to kill us.”
“I’m not leaving you.” I tried to stay strong, and I kept my eyes locked on the wolves. There were five of them. All of them were massive, much larger than any wolf I’d seen before, but one of them was even bigger and had a large silver streak running down its back. That wolf seemed to be staring right at me.
“I’ll distract them. You run. I’ll catch up.”
I spotted an opening next to one of the smaller of the wolves and went for it. I didn’t make it far before one of the wolves stepped in front of me. I froze, paralyzed with fear, before my legs were knocked from under me. Suddenly, I was lying in the snow with a giant wolf hovering over me.
“We’re fucked.” Gage voiced exactly what I was thinking.
The silver streaked wolf stared down at me. It’s almost glowing eyes bored into mine. Was I really going to die as half-frozen food for a giant wild animal?
Then things got hazy and the air seemed to buzz. Moments later it wasn’t a wolf on top of me—it was a man. A completely naked man with a faint scar across his face.
“What the heck?” I tried to scurry back, but Hunter didn’t move. His very exposed parts nearly touched me. I didn’t want to notice his size, but I did. He was huge. He also didn’t look remotely concerned with the cold.
His lips brushed against my ear. “Were you going somewhere?”

 What I thought about Dire

Mary Anne has always had the hots for Gage, a home town friend giving her a ride home for the holiday. Gage is a player who doesn’t realize that he has some strong feelings for Mary Anne. But when they are stranded in the wilderness during a snowstorm, everything in their lives change, starting with their feelings for each other.

When they are rescued from the elements by Hunter and his companions, everything seems wrong, especially when Hunter makes some serious dominant alpha-moves on Mary Anne. It's clear something's going on, but it isn't until they try to run that they find out just how much trouble they are really in.

Gage and Mary Anne struggle to find a way to escape Hunter and his group. They take a chance and are close to getting free when a new threat enters the game causing very serious consequences for Gage. Things go terribly wrong, and Mary Anne is forced into making a very significant promise to Hunter.

Alyssa Rose Ivy creates a certain atmosphere that was part terror, part romance, part alpha-hotness that built really nicely to an ending that had me pawing at my e-reader for more. Hunter rides a fine between alpha-sexy and could-be-creepy which makes for a very intriguing character -- I definitely need more of him! Gage and Mary Anne are convincing as college students in a whole heap of trouble and it’s going to be interesting to see how Mary Anne handles the sacrifices she’s made.
 

And Gage! What is going to happen to Gage! Nice ending to this first book in the series. Can’t wait for Dusk!
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Alyssa Rose Ivy- Author Photo

About Alyssa Rose Ivy:

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college.

After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.