Friday, March 30, 2018

Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Recovered by Jay Crownover


The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover comes a standalone romance with a hero sure to keep readers up long into the night. 

Check out the review below and pick up your copy of RECOVERED for just $.99 through release week only! 

 It was hate at first sight......


I hated Cable James McCaffrey.

He was entitled, spoiled, a user…and an addict.

He was out of control and didn’t bother trying to hide it.

He had everything anyone could want but still seemed miserable and lost.

Every move he made, every mistake he stumbled his way through, rubbed me the wrong way. However, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to save him from himself when no one else would. In the sweltering heat of the summer, Cable taught me that having it all means nothing if you can’t have the one thing you want more than anything else.


I was obsessed with Affton Reed.

She was rigid, uptight, and no fun. There was something about her innate goodness that called to me.

She acted like she was above all the normal faults and failures that clung to the rest of us like the scent of smoke after a fire.

I was infatuated with her, but that didn’t stop me from acting like she didn’t exist.

In the scorching heat of summer, Affton taught me that there is always a way back from the brink of despair. She showed me that the trick to having it all was realizing that it was already there, in my hands. All I had to do was hold onto it.

The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.


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He looked like a surfer with his shaggy, dirty blond hair and the careless scruff that darkened his chin and cheeks. He had on a light gray t-shirt featuring the logo of his parents’ brewery and a pair of jeans that were in far better shape than the ones he’d dipped in the Gulf last night. He was wearing faded black Converse that were almost identical to mine. Looking at him, it was impossible to tell he was the privileged son of a couple of millionaires. He didn’t look like an ex-con or recovering addict. At least he didn’t until you got to his eyes.

Those dark orbs were perfect for hiding secrets, but if you looked hard enough, you could see the storm raging inside of Cable McCaffrey. There were shadows in those dark eyes, and they were at war with him.

They were winning.

I stiffened as his hand landed on the small of my back where my shirt was tied so it fit instead of handing down around my thighs. It was one of my favorites. I stole it from my dad and refused to give it back even though it was three sizes too big. The bare skin where his palm landed tingled, and I quickly took a step forward to break the contact.

“Yeah, I can surf. We’ve had this house since I was little. I learned how so I didn’t have to be stuck inside while my parents did their best to eat each other alive. I never particularly looked forward to summer vacation, but I always loved being on the water.” He took the car from me and immediately put his feet on the bar and rode it like a scooter as we started through the store. “I was into the girls in bikinis who liked surfers even more.”

I bristled and was going to snap at him that he was into anyone who had a willing vagina when I realized by the smirk on his face and quirk in his gold-tinted eyebrows that he was baiting me. He knew it ruffled my feathers when he brought up sex and his vast experience with the opposite sex. He was purposely rattling my cage just to get a reaction.

 What I thought about Recovered

Affton thinks she's doing the right thing when she confronts Cable, the school bad boy with his drug abuse.  When he doesn't listen, she takes things one step further, setting off a series of events that  changes her life.  

Blackmail has Affton spending a summer with Cable in recovery, and it doesn't start out all that well.  They are both attracted to each other and aggravated by each other at the same time. It's a very tense time, until Cable gradually sees what's staring right in front of him -- Affton. 

The two begin an intense time together that is scorchin hot but doesn't end so well. This is a story of recovery and it doesn't come easy to either of the main characters.

I did like this.  Jay Crownover does an amazing job of creating a bad boy in Cable.  He's got it all -- the looks, the attitude, and the privilege. It wasn't hard to see why Affton fell for him -- even though she knew he was going to break her heart. And Affton has some baggage she's been avoiding and in trusting Cable with her story, she is able to move forward with her life.

I also really liked the ending. Not all real-life recovery stories end this way.  I found myself wanting to know if their happy-for-now would last.  It seemed like Cable was flirting with disaster, just like I'd expect from a real "bad" boy.

Overall, I liked this romance. It's a bit darker than some, you'll spend a lot of time in Cable and Affton's head, and that was okay.  Addiction and recovery is an important societal issue and it impacts so many lives, so this book is also very timely. 

An ARC was provided for review. 

Jay Crownover’s RECOVERED – Review Blitz Schedule:
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    About Jay Crownover: Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.      

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Cover Reveal: Atticus by Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: June 12, 2018


Through the haze of vodka and self-loathing, Hazel Roundtree saw the poor creature lying in a ditch.

One brown eye. One blue.

Covered in mud and crying from pain, the puppy was desperately trying to free itself from a hopeless situation.

She almost kept walking by. She had her own problems and besides… no one had ever stopped to help her.

Who we’re ultimately meant to be is a journey without end, but there’s always a defined start…

Hazel had no idea the dog would be her beginning, her second chance, the miracle she never saw coming. She named him Atticus. He grew up to be a very bad—and completely awesome—dog.

A heart-warming and deliciously funny story about the world’s worst behaved dog and how he taught his human how to love again. Atticus will take the reader on a wild romp of mischievous misadventures in search of a much needed happily ever after.

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About the Author:

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review: Ivan (Gideon's Riders #3) by Kit Rocha

As the sheltered princess of Sector One, Maricela’s life is defined by duty: to her people and to her family. Her wealth and influence have allowed her to build a better world, but they come with a price—the responsibility to secure political stability with a practical marriage. Maricela cherishes the idea of marrying for love, but there’s not much romance in the endless line of suitors interested only in prestige and power.

And her handsome, brooding new bodyguard isn’t helping the situation.

Ivan is the perfect, deadly warrior, a man trained from childhood to be the ultimate protector to the Rios family. His focus on keeping her safe is intense–and a little intoxicating. When the threat of danger cracks his icy control,

Maricela realizes she’s not the only one fighting against temptation.

Ivan knows that the blood on his hands makes him unworthy of the pure-hearted princess. But from the first kiss, their forbidden affair feels inevitable. He can give her a glimpse of life outside her gilded cage and a lover who wants the woman instead of the crown. The only thing he can never do is promise her forever.

Because spurning her noble suitors to marry her bodyguard wouldn’t just be a scandal. It could set off a political firestorm that would tear Sector One apart.

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What I thought about Ivan

 Ivan is the third book in the Gideon's Riders series, a spin-off from the Beyond series.  I really liked the first two books in this new series -- it's in the same world, but the stories tend to be a little more romantic.  But the basic premise is the same for both series -- strong women and their strong men.

Ivan is a warrior, trained to protect the Rios family and that includes Maricela, the princess of Sector One. Yeah, there's a lot of expectations for both of them.  He doesn't feel worthy of her because of his past, but he's tasked to keep her safe, the slow burn between them heats up. Complicating things is the fact that there's an active search for a appropriate spouse for Maricela. 

 As expected, the heat between them cannot be ignored and may have some political consequences due to their different roles in Sector One.  I did like that their relationship had a strong foundation of friendship and respect, and it was obvious that Maricela had some really strong feelings for Ivan. 

This book exposes a lot of the secrets of Sector One and is steeped in politics. One of my growing complaints with this series is the number of characters and keeping everyone relationships straight. It sometimes has an impact on how invested I can get in the main characters when there's so much going on.

There's more focus on the female characters in Ivan, and I liked that about it.  Female empowerment has always been a theme in this world, and I find that is the number one aspect I enjoy about this and the Beyond series.  There's plenty of foreshadowing of upcoming events too. 

Overall another satisfying (and steamy) installment in this world created by Kit Rocha.

An ARC was provided for review.

Ashwin Sale

Ashwin is currently available in ebook for 99 cents!

About the Author(s) 

Kit Rocha is the pseudonym for co-writing team Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. After penning dozens of paranormal novels, novellas and stories as Moira Rogers, they branched out into gritty, sexy dystopian romance.

The series has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, has been nominated for best erotic romance in the RT Reviewer’s Choice award four times, and won in 2013.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Release Day Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Invitation to the Blues (Small Change #2) by Roan Parrish


Invitation to the Blues (Small Change #2)
Publisher: Monster Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): March 28th, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): About 81,000 words
Subgenre: Contemporary romance
Content warning: depression, suicide, thoughts of worthlessness, food issues

Book Blurb

Eight months ago Jude Lucen fled his partner, his career, and a hospital in Boston after a suicide attempt. Now back in Philadelphia, he feels like a complete failure. Piano has always been his passion and his only escape. Without it, he has nothing. Well, nothing except a pathetic crush on the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Faron Locklear came to Philly looking for a fresh start and has thrown himself into tattooing at Small Change. He’s only met Jude a few times, but something about the red-haired man with the haunted eyes calls to him. Faron is blown away by Jude’s talent. What he isn’t expecting is the electricity he feels the first time they kiss—and the way Jude’s needs in bed speak directly to his own deepest desires.

Jude and Faron fall fast and hard, but Jude has spent a lifetime learning that he can’t be what the people he loves need. So when the opportunity arises to renew his career in Boston, he thinks he has to choose: music, or Faron? Only by taking a huge risk—and finally believing he’s worthy of love just as he is—can he have the chance for both.

The Small Change series is set in the Middle of Somewhere universe and features crossover characters from that series. Each book can be read on its own.

Content warning: This book contains explicit discussion of depression, anxiety, attempted suicide, and feelings of worthlessness.


My problem with Faron was that he was stunning.
He was tall and taut, with broad shoulders and an elegant neck. His tawny brown skin was flawless and he had dreamy, gray-brown eyes that always seemed to focus on something in a plane beyond this one. His riot of corkscrew curls was sometimes loose, but today was caught up in a topknot. It had been bleached nearly white when I first met him and was now growing out. His cheekbones were high and broad, casting shadows that made him look like he was candlelit from every angle. His mouth was lush and full, and his rare smiles turned his chiseled beauty to a warmth so engaging that you didn’t ever want him to look away from you.
His beauty was a problem because it made me want him and I hated wanting anything. Desire was the beginning of disappointment.
It wasn’t just his looks, though. I could’ve handled that. I’d known a lot of beautiful people.
No, it was everything.
He was graceful and forceful at the same time. His focus was intense, whether it was on the things that only he saw or on whoever he was listening to. And he made me feel calm—as if he held the whole world in his hands and slowed it down or sped it up to whatever speed I was going.
It was intoxicating: a promise of peace as long as I was in his presence.
A hope.
And hope was even worse than desire.

What I thought about Invitation to the Blues

Jude Lucen was introduced in Small Change, the first book in this series. Invitation to the Blues explores just what is going on in his life in more detail, and it isn't easy. Please see the content warning for this book.

Jude has some serious mental health issues -- depression and anxiety -- and Roan Parrish does an amazing job of showing how isolating and debilitating these illnesses can be. Jude meets Faron at the tattoo shop, and is instantly smitten, but then his mind tells himself lies that have him pushing Faron away.

Faron is very patient with Jude and seems to know exactly what it is that Jude needs and when he needs it, which makes their relationship work. That and the scorchin hot chemistry they have when they are together! Faron's sensitivity and insight into Jude's state of mind was key to this romance, and it was what made me fall in love with these characters too.

The story is told entirely in Jude's point of view, which I really liked because it made me contemplate Faron from a different perspective than if I had his point of view as well. One point of view just really worked for me in this story.

What I love about this series -- it's about making choices, something everyone can relate to. Sometimes those choices come with high stakes like personal happiness and Roan Parrish captures the highs and lows of these situation beautifully. There are some writers that just speak to your soul, and Roan Parrish does that for me.

Invitation to the Blues works as a standalone, but I recommend Small Change, book 1 in the series too so you may as well start at the beginning.

An ARC was provided for review.

About Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

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Release Day Review: The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen

Bestselling romance author Sarina Bowen’s debut thriller, about one woman’s search for the truth after receiving a text from her deceased ex...