Hi and Welcome!

For the last three years I have been a Stay at Home Mother. And during this time, I found I was many things: Household CEO, Toddler Tantrum and Meltdown Negotiator, Executive Chef on a tight budget, Head Cheerleader, Housekeeper, Teacher, Child Advocate, Event Planner, Guru in special education, and so on. But somewhere along the line I had lost myself within a world of diapers, baby talk, and tears. Although I am highly educated, I found myself being defined by my children and the role of being a mother.

Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children. But I am so much more than a Mother. I am a runner, a lover and critique of books, and maybe one day an author. I started this blog at the beginning of 2016 in hopes to redefine and connect with who I once was and discover who I’m going to become. And I feel like I have done just that. I have embraced the rewards and challenges of running. This year I will not only complete my first half marathon, but I will also be completing my first full marathon. I have read amazing books that allowed me to get lost form one imaginary world to the next. And I have been able to meet some amazing people.

Looking forward, I have decided it is time to return to work. Although this probably means I wont be able to read as many books as I am used to, I plan to continue to read, write, and post as often as I can. I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Feel free to post comments or send me a message at boundtobeme3@gmail.com.

 

🙂

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Author Spotlight – Kayla Krantz: Dead by Morning (Rituals of the Night, #1)

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So the consensus on this book is you either love it or hate it. The reviews are either 5 or 1 star, with not much in between. 


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Author: Kayla Krantz
Published: May 1, 2014
Pages: 377

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Synopsis:
Obsession is deadly. No one learns that better than Luna Ketz, a pessimistic high school senior. She wishes more than anything to graduate but things don’t always go as planned. Luna quickly finds herself trapped in a web of lies and murders, spun by the least suspected person in her hometown. It’s not long before she realizes she’s being targeted by the person she despises most in the world. When Luna figures out who is behind the killings, things make a turn for the bizarre when she is contacted by a friend she has not heard from in years. It is then Luna realizes she is very much in danger, but although she can avoid the killer in reality, she cannot avoid him in her dreams.


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Excerpt:
Chance stayed where he was, studying the nearby people. At the sight of him alone, a couple girls ran up to him and Luna guessed they were asking him for a dance. She smiled a bit to herself…maybe if he got distracted with the other girls he would forget she was there. As she watched, he shooed the girls away with a simple movement of his arm, and Luna’s hope turned to disappointment. He walked over to her, searching her eyes with his.

“What’s wrong? Don’t like the paparazzi?” He laughed.

“You should dance with those other girls.”

“Why?” he asked, scrunching up his face.

“Because I want to go home.”

He shook his head. “No way, you’re not going home without at least giving me one dance.”

Luna slumped her shoulders. “Do we really have to?”

“Do I have to tell David that you didn’t follow his orders?” he asked, tipping his head to the side.

Luna closed her eyes for a long moment to hold back the building anger. He’d keep his promise. “Fine, you win.”

He smiled and held out his hand to her. “Of course I did.”

Reluctantly, she set her hand in his. His skin felt clammy beneath her fingers, like he had been sweating. Luna wanted to pull her hand back, but she forced herself to keep it there. He closed his fingers around hers and pulled her onto the dance floor. The music turned to a slow, sappy song, forcing them to slow dance. He forced her arms up onto his shoulders and set his hands on her waist.

As he stepped to the music, she searched his expression for any sign of compassion. “Why do you do this to me?”

“Do what?”

“Make me go to things like this. I mean, I know you don’t like me. What could you possibly want from me?”

He looked back at her, and for a minute, he didn’t speak, as if he had been caught off-guard by her question. “I can’t tell you.”

“You can blackmail me into going on dates with you, and you can have your friends kidnap me, but you can’t tell me why you do it?” she asked in disbelief.

“Look, you’ll find out eventually, and you won’t like it, I know. I try hard to get you to feel something toward me so that when you find that out, you won’t fight me,” he whispered in her ear.

“Find what out? What could be so bad? Do Susan and Kate and all of them know what it is?” She pulled back to watch his face carefully.

“No, they don’t. No one does. Just keep quiet, okay?”

“Does this have to do with the thing you hide in your pocket?” Luna asked him a bit louder. “Do you have it on you now?” She reached her hand forward to try to touch the side of his pants.

A couple people around them turned to look as she raised her voice to him. Chance caught her wrist easily in his hand, returned their stares, and smiled nervously before looking back at Luna. He had to resist the urge to shake her into silence as he let go of her arm.

“I don’t hide anything in my pocket okay?” he snarled. “That’s all just your imagination, Luna. Now drop it.”

Part of her was frightened by his sudden anger. He was hiding something from her…and from everyone else as well.

“Okay, we’re setting up to play,” a voice called from the stage. “We need a volunteer singer to help us out.”

“How about Chance does it?” Luna heard a nearby girl suggest.

The anger dissolved from Chance’s face as he turned to the girl who had spoken. Luna realized all of his rage had been solely directed at her, and she felt oddly cold at the thought.

“Yeah, I’ll do it. Why not?” she barely heard him say.

He let go of her and moved through the cheering crowd toward the stage. The band took its place, and Chance stood at the microphone. He looked completely comfortable up there, normal, as if he weren’t the center of attention. The band began to play “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and Luna studied Chance. He began to sing the words gently, and his voice surprised her.

It sounded beautiful.

As Luna watched him, she knew he looked like any other teenage boy. The girls around Luna cheered him on, but she stayed silent. His eyes flicked to her as he reached the chorus of the song, flashing in the lights. There was something bad about him. Something that separated him from all the other teenage boys and made him a danger to the people who called him ‘friend.’


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Author Picture
Author Bio:

Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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Let me know if you’ve read this book or any thoughts you have on it. Would love to hear from you! Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Priceless (Rylee Adamson, #1)

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This book is full of drama, action, and mixed emotions. For some reason, I felt like sexual tension/situations were a constant theme throughout the book. Each character brings something new. And just when you think things couldn’t get worse, the next chapter does just that. I didn’t love the book but I also didn’t hate it, I guess I’m still unsure about this series. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Priceless

Author: Shannon Mayer
Published: June 2013
Pages: 269

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.” 

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list.

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life.

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural.

One whose kisses set me on fire.

Review:
Rylee has a special skill that is unique to her in that she is able to find any missing child. Well, almost any. Having a sister go missing ten years ago and an FBI agent determined to pin the crime on her, Rylee isn’t exactly living an easy life. Rylee is also known as an Immune, meaning psychics are unable to see into her past or future, most magic won’t affect her, poison won’t harm her.. You get the idea. 

Rylee is a strong character with a soft heart. She puts everything she has into her job and is quite the fighter. But she carries a lot of baggage around and is constantly haunted by her past.

Liam, an FBI agent hell bent on seeing Rylee behind bars, has found himself in unmarked territory. After a flirtatious kiss, Liam can’t stop thinking about Rylee. But the thing that doesn’t make a lot of sense is that there is zero evidence pinning Rylee to her sisters death/disappearance. Yet Liam has been stocking – I mean investigating Rylee for 10 years. That’s a long time to investigate something, especially without any evidence. 

 Priceless is an easy read, the pages turn quickly as the heroine fights her way to save the life of a child. Although I felt like the plot could have dug deeper (a lot deeper), the book was an enjoyable read.

 But like I said above, I’m still not sure about the series. The plot was interesting and I think there is a good story in there but this book is weighed down by the lack of editing. Ok, maybe not the lack of editing but the book could have used more help in that department. Another thing that really put me off was all the sexuality in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a prude. I enjoy reading romance books and everything that comes with them. But in this case, I felt like everything was forced and pushed in your face while reading. There was nothing subtle or smooth about Rylee and Liam. Besides, their attraction just doesn’t add up.

Overall, the author has a good imagination and unique plot to work with. I wish there weren’t so many inconsistencies or forced scenes. And the authors unrealistic sexual attraction between her characters is off putting. I’m just not sure if I will continue with this series…

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)

As of today, there are 102 days before this book is released. And I know, it’s not fair but I promise the wait is well worth it! You are going to love this series!

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I was surprised, albeit happily surprised, with how often Ethan and Merits characters showed up in this book. It was a little weird having Ethan and Merit be side characters, being able to hear their words without their thoughts. I almost felt left out, like I was missing something. But I guess that’s how it is with all spinoffs. It’s a good thing I loved Elisa’s character! Otherwise, I think it would be difficult to stick with the series.


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Author: Chloe Neill
Published: August 14, 2018
Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Series: Heirs of Chicagoland

Where to Pre-Order:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


Review:
First off, do not go into this book expecting a miniature Merit. Although Elisa has aspects of her parents, she is no Merit. She is more and so different. And as a side note, I love the parents Ethan and Merit turned out to be.

“My smart and kind and beautiful girl. He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying that for years, and had always put ‘beautiful’ last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.” 

I love this quote because it says so much about their character and values. And again, it shows what kind of parents Ethan and Merit are. I do wish Elisa would have felt like she could have told them her secret. I can’t imagine the weight of having to carry that around with you, not being able to talk to anyone about it.

The prologue was really fun to read. Chloe Neill did a great job at capturing the innocents of a child and the love/hate relationship between two young kids. If you haven’t read Chicagoland Vampire series, then I don’t think you would fully be able to picture the scene described here. Neill doesn’t go into too much description with the characters. For example, you don’t really get the sense of just how big/dominating Gabriel and Ethan presence would be, especially to two young kids. I do love how Elisa refers to Connor as ‘Connor Stupid Keene’.

Elisa’s character is complex. She is 23 and although she is a vampire, she continues to age. Elisa is heroic but at times can become reckless. And although she thinks she has discovered herself in Paris, she still has no idea who she is in Chicago. But no matter where she is, she is unbelievably brave.  Knowing she has to do something, even if it means hurting the ones she loves most because it’s to save the innocent, doesn’t hurt any less. I love the innocence of Elisa’s character. Although She is able to step up to a fight, she is still affected by the loss of death.

The phrase ‘I’m an immortal’ has come from Elisa throughout the entire book. I’m not sure why it sticks out to me, but it does. I can’t help but wonder how and if this might come into play later.

Connor is just as gorgeous as he is cocky. The naked scene was far too short and such a tease. God I loved it!! I love the dominant side of him and I like how he’s honest with Elisa. Even when it’s hard, he tells her not what she wants but what she needs to hear. I like Connor’s take on Elisa’s ‘monster’. I don’t think I would have looked at it that way, but it makes sense.

Connor and Elisa have a very complicated relationship. On the one hand there’s old childhood resentment, then there is their life’s dream – for Elisa it’s being anonymous, earning her way. For Connor it’s being leader of the pack. – and finally, it’s the connection between them, discovering who they have grown to be. But even as the sparks fly between them, the rules are clear and choices will eventually have to be made.

The banter between Connor and Elisa is fantastic but there is definitely a love/hate, are we friends or more, kind of thing going on here.  Some of the scenes between Connor and Elisa are not only intense but they are seductive! Who would have thought having someone grab your hand to prevent you from turning could be so sensual?!?! Chloe Neill does such an amazing job with building sexual tension between the two characters!! She is such a gifted writer and Wild Hunger is no exception.

The side characters are fun to read. I love LuLu’s hidden hobby of running. Finally, a girl that speaks my heart! I love the little details Chloe Neill adds into her books. They make her characters, no matter how minor, seem more real and relatable. Even the side characters are written in such a  personal way, it’s easy to connect with them.

The plot is fun, exciting, and similar to Chicagoland Vampires series yet much more. Elisa has been away from Chicago, developing control, and is returning to support the houses in hosting peace talks amongst the other supernaturals in the world. And as you can imagine, those talks don’t exactly go as expected. One of the things I found interesting is how Cadogan house struck a deal with the mayor to not get involved in supernatural crimes. And part of me gets it – when supernaturals get involved, the city tends to get destroyed. But another part of me recognizes the injustice that is put upon a single race. I can’t help but make a comparison with today’s world and how we look, respond, and treat those of different races.  I’m not sure if that was Neill’s intention or not and it wasn’t like it was an overwhelming theme. Just something I noticed.

Okay, I promise I won’t say more about the plot and characters, don’t want to give too much away 🙂

The end of the book is fantastic! I’m surprised with how much Connor and Elisa’s relationship changes. Connor is going to have his hands full with her! And that darn prophecy! Ah, I love it. This is a book you will want to read. I’ve had it on pre-order from the very beginning and even though I was given an advanced copy, I can’t wait for the book to come. This will be a book I will read again and a new series I am looking forward to starting.


I would love to hear your thoughts about the review and if you are planning on reading this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Lynn Steigleder: Terminal Core

This book sounded interesting but not something I could read right now. Still, I wanted to help with getting the book some exposure. Let me know your thoughts on the book..


When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
For years, I had written short stories for my own enjoyment. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Two months later I learned my job was being outsourced. On one of our father/son spring surf fishing trips to Cape Hatteras, my son having enjoyed my stories in the past, suggested I try writing as a new career path.


Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
Rogue officials led by President Gaylen and in turn directed by off-worlder’s set an 80-year plan in motion to seize planet Aon’s core. Being made of pure caladium, the planet’s center is the hardest and most valuable substance in the galaxy. Separate alliances unwittingly come together in the dead city of Baine with Clay gravitating to leader. Their objective; preserve the planet. The core is fashioned from living beings, these indestructible creatures prepare to defend their domain. Disregarding all else, the would be thieves continue to process the pilfered caladium. Once Clay melds the coalition, a battle for life and world begin.   

I’ve always enjoyed science fiction. When it comes to writing fantasy, I find it equally enjoyable; however, there are certain conditions: no kings, queens, elves, etc. and definitely no unicorns. As to why I wrote TERMINAL CORE, when I start a novel, I stare at a blank sheet of virtual paper. An idea will soon pop into my head and I will jump in with all fours and take off from there. Because of my interests, I am usually led down a path of sci-fi or fantasy, sometimes a hybrid of both will be the result. To make a short story long as I have just done, there are no ironclad reasons for writing what I write. I give the story a beginning, let it write itself and hang on knowing I’m headed for a wild ride.


You have also written a series. Can you tell me about the series?
It’s a fantasy series with bits of science fiction and dystopian mingled throughout. It follows a couple (Ben and Eve) through a world where land is at a premium due to the rising seas and is soon to be destroyed. To avoid any spoilers, I can tell you they end up on a new world where they are the beginning. They meet a plethora of characters many evil and some who become allies. Let me give you an example. This is a short synopsis from the third book, DEADLY REIGN:

Ben, Eve and Pete continue to push through this new Earth as the world sinks deeper into corruption. They gain new allies, including an intellectual animal equipped with the gift of speech. They are forced to battle six aberrations (beasts and riders) deemed nearly indestructible. The environment has manifested into a frigid terrain with the sun lost in the ice filled cloud cover. Swords forged especially for the riders by the riders offer another layer of defense to an already superior force. The humans have deduced that water may possibly be a weapon, but a weapon that even now is freezing at an accelerated rate.

I am a Christian. I attempt to work my faith into each novel I pen. In many cases, if you know the Bible you will pick up on the references. If not, it will be a Science Fiction or Fantasy novel. There is no offensive language or sexual situations in any of my writings; however, when it comes to killing demons, that can be a pretty grizzly business.     

 What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope readers will remember TERMINAL CORE as a unique Science Fiction novel and it will leave a lasting impression. So much so, they will compare it favorably to other novels of the same genre.

 What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
As much as I love the written word, no book or author other than the Bible has an impact on my life. Some of my favorite authors: Stephen King would have to be number one, Robert Heinlein, H. G. Wells and Ernest Hemmingway, for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
Alex Hailey said it best. When asked how to become a writer, he said (and I paraphrase) if you want to write, then write. I’ve had people come to me asking the same question and I give them the same answer. As far as being published, look for a small press that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Before you submit have other people read your manuscript that will give you an honest opinion and make sure it’s well edited. After you’re published then comes the task of marketing.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this spring?
Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower Series”


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Pages: 358
Published: April 18, 2016

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy, caladium, is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th century earth. Once the oil is refined, the byproduct, gasoline, will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitants to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their home world. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beasts one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggles to finish its journey, hoping to insure their races’ survival.


Excerpt from Chapter One:

CLAY STEPPED UP onto the raised walkway.

“I hate this place,” he mumbled, patting his sidearm. He grabbed the door handle and prepared to enter.

Clay was a bounty hunter. His latest skip (if you want to call him that since Clay had spent the better part of two years chasing empty leads) was Sal Ricky—a career criminal with a taste for refined women, as he would consume certain body parts of his victims after performing whatever atrocities piqued his fancy.

Clay stood tall, six foot five. He almost always wore black, except for his blue jeans. He felt it more intimidating.

He stepped into the brothel. A dozen pair of eyes turned his way. Clay removed his sidearm from its holster.

“I’m looking for Sal Ricky,” he announced. After a slight pause, he repeated the phrase. “I said, I’m looking for Sal Ricky.”

“If you want me, all you gotta do is ask,” came a smug response. The voice emanated from a dark corner. In it stood a six foot tall figure. Instead of legs, it sported four eight foot long appendages. These members would shoot forward landing on the ground and allow the rest of the body to move over them like treads on a tank. He could move surprisingly fast when necessary.

“So?” Sal Ricky asked. “What can I do for you?”

Clay moved closer toward the corner and cocked his weapon.

“Don’t play stupid, you ball of snot.” He raised his free hand and pointed a finger. “I’ve been looking for you for almost two years now.” Clay cocked the second hammer on his handgun. “This time you’re all mine.”

Sal Ricky was a hydrak. He lived up to his name, constantly oozing fluid and leaving a trail similar to that of a slug when he moved.

“Ya think so.” The creature lit a cigarette with two human-like hands. The hydrak inhaled deeply, burning up half the smoke in one drag.

“Better men have tried,” he said, finishing his cigarette with a second drag and dropping it into a puddle of slime; the butt hissed as the glowing ashes died.

Clay tightened his grip.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I get just as much for you dead as alive.” Clay smiled out of one corner of his mouth. “It makes no difference to me.”

Sal Ricky crossed his arms which were anything but human. They were muscular with a lizard-like texture and a green color to match. His lower half was bulbous and horizontal to the ground, turning vertical at mid-thorax until it formed his head.

“Don’t you tire of the same old clichés?” Sal Ricky snickered. “Easy way, hard way, alive or dead, blah, blah, blah. After two years, you should know I do nothing the easy way.” His head was square with a round circle on each side. Sal Ricky could spin his neck three hundred and sixty degrees if need be. He had a set of eyes at the upper portion of each circle. One side contained an orifice with which he spoke and took in nourishment. One big tuft of green hair sprang from the center of his scalp, climbed vertically, about a foot, and then flopped over on all sides.

“Have it your way,” Clay said.

Just then, two dark humanoid figures appeared on either side of the slug. The first figure made a move and then slipped on his boss’ excretions, landing flat on his back.

Clay rolled to his right behind a steel column and fired one barrel, removing most of the second figure’s head. The first man, still floundering in the goo, was an easy take out.

Sal Ricky moved toward Clay knocking him to the floor as he passed by.

Clay moved to one knee and steadied himself. He would have but one shot.

Sal Ricky could easily burst through the wall, and that’s what he had a mind to do, Clay surmised. He made sure both hammers were cocked. Cocking them was one thing; firing both at the same time was something you didn’t do unless you had to.

Clay took a deep breath and pulled both triggers.


2Lynn Kevin Steigleder was born in Richmond, Virginia. He spent most of his adult life as a supervisor in the field of construction and fabrication. When Lynn’s department was outsourced within two months of his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, he realized the need to transition into a new career path due to his energy and mobility challenges.

His son suggested he consider writing as a career; having enjoyed Lynn’s short stories. He agreed to the challenge and his first novel, “Rising Tide”, was accepted for publication released in 2009 then re-released in 2015 with additional content. Rising Tide has become a series with two follow up novels Eden’s Wake and Deadly Reign with a fourth in the works. Lynn has also published TERMINAL CORE a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Lynn writes mainly: science fiction, fantasy, dystopian and hybrids of all three genres including action adventures all with a Christian premise.

Author Page     Twitter     Facebook


Let me know if you check out this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars (Rock Canyon, Idaho #2)

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This book is not what I expected. Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars is the second book in Codi Gary’s Rock Canyon series. I absolutely loved the first book, Things Good Girls Don’t Do, and was excited to read this book. The books not perfect, but it’s a fun read.


Good girls don't date rock stars


Author
: Codi Gary
Published: April 22, 2014
Pages: 384

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
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Synopsis:
Gemma Carlson didn’t plan on waking up married. She also didn’t count on running into her old flame—and her son’s father-turned-country rock star—Travis Bowers, followed by a night of drunken dares. Apparently one of those involved a ring on her finger and a vow … neither of which she intends to keep. Now with a hangover from hell, this good-girl-gone-bad knows there’s just one thing to do: run.

Travis has been all over the world, but Gemma has never been far from his thoughts. So when they had the chance to catch up over a few drinks, he didn’t hesitate. Of course, he didn’t expect it would lead to marriage, or a runaway bride! Travis finally has a second chance and doesn’t plan on losing Gemma again—or the son he didn’t know he had. He proposes, albeit belatedly, a date. Or rather, a few. If they can make this marriage work by starting over, he stays. If not …

Gemma’s not interested; she’s got a son to protect and a heart to heal. But having Travis around could make both a little easier. Still, good girls don’t date rock stars . . . right?

Review:
Gemma is a 28 year old single mom. She is consumed with keeping her child protected, out of the spotlight, and safe. If I had to describe her, I would say she is a hot mess. Gemma has no idea what she wants and hurts others if it means protecting herself and her son. She is full of insecurities and as an adult, she has never fully been able to escape the taunts she received throughout her youth. 

Travis, is a country music star who has a soft and loving heart. Running into Gemma after years apart has brought perspective into his life. Realizing he is a father to a young boy, that completely changed his life. Now Travis is trying to find a balance between his career and his new family. Unfortunately, Gemma makes this exceptionally difficult. 

Wow, Gemma is something else. This is one story I feel like the burden of fault mainly lands on Gemma’s shoulders. For one, how selfish can she be for not telling Travis he has a son. I honestly can’t wrap my head around that. Then the snide, hurtful comments she makes once things start changing.. Did she not realize her life needed to change if she wanted to be with him? 

Gemma hides behind her son instead of taking responsibility and taking a chance. I hate how much of a coward she is. She continues to let Travis down, giving him reasons not to trust her. But he always does and he forgives her like her actions didn’t hurt or cause too much damage. When in reality, her actions turned his entire life upside down. On top of all this, everyone in town blames Travis for everything- for breaking up with Gemma when she’s pregnant. Oh wait, that was Gemma who broke up with him and then hid her pregnancy from him. Then there’s him leaving Gemma after trying to make things work. Oh wait, again that was Gemma who kicked him out. 

Overall, this is a love story that is a fun and easy read. I wouldn’t jump into this book with the hopes of a serious plot. The author, at least for me, really pulls on the readers emotions. And even though I didn’t care for Gemma, the author did a nice job creating a consistent character. This isn’t a book I would buy but it was fun to read. 

 

Advanced copy of Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)

Yes, you read that right!! I am losing my mind right now!! One of my all time favorite authors, Chloe Neil,  is coming out with a new series and I get to read an advanced copy!! LOSING MY MIND!!

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Wild Hunger is a spin off of an amazing series, Chicagoland Vampires. It revolves around two individuals: Elisa, the only vampire child ever born, and Connor, the future alpha of North American Central Pack. And together they will have to choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, and of course they have to do this all before Chicago disappears.. Um, yes please!!

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Stay tuned for the review of Wild Hunger!!!

Author/Book Spotlight – Opal Carew: X Marks the Spot

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Author: Opal Carew
Pages: 256

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Synopsis:
Abi has been in love with Del for years, but they never got around to acting on their mutual attraction. And then she met and married his best friend, Liam.

But when Abi and Liam’s marriage falls apart, Abi decides to take control of her life and find her happily-ever-after with Del. So when they’re all staying in a country inn for her brother’s wedding, Abi decides to slip into Del’s bed and seduce him…except she accidentally ends up in Liam’s instead.

Liam never stopped loving Abi, and he plans to use every blazing hot trick in his book to keep her in his bed…even if it means sharing her with Del.


Excerpt, Chapter One:

Abi ran her finger over the embossed wedding invitation. The feel of the raised flowers, smooth under her fingertip, made her think of white satin.

She stared at the silver letters … Join us … and her mind drifted off, imagining herself walking down the aisle, wearing a beautiful white satin and lace dress adorned with delicate pearls and white sequins. In her daydream, her gaze locked on her groom, standing at the altar watching her approach with eyes filled with joy, his beaming smile melting her heart.

Del.

“Hey, earth to Abi,” Jaime, her older sister, said. “You know we’ve got to get all these done this evening, right?”

Claire, Abi’s other sister, laughed. “Don’t worry about it, Jaime. If our little sister wants to daydream a little, that’s okay. She’s already stuffed more invitations than both of us combined. What were you thinking about, Abi?”

This time Jaime laughed. “Isn’t it obvious? She’s thinking about Del.”

Ignoring her sisters, Abi slipped an RSVP and the invitation into an envelope, then turned it over and ran her dampened sponge over the glue on the flap and sealed it. Then she flipped it back and wrote Del’s name and address on the front.

He was the next guest on the list.

She sighed, wishing this was her wedding coming up instead of her brother Kurt’s. But despite the intense attraction between her and Del, he seemed more than happy to be just friends. Which she couldn’t really blame him for after their false start in college.

But she’d do anything to turn things around. To finally find her happily-ever-after in his arms.

Jaime plucked the completed invitation from Abi and placed it in the box with the others. Claire added the one she’d just finished. Doing the invitations had been Kurt’s task, but of course he’d left them to the last minute, then got pulled into something at work, so he’d called on his three sisters to help out.

Abi sipped her wine and realized Jaime was staring at her.

“What?” Abi asked.

“You know you’ll be seeing Del at the wedding. You should make a move.”

Abi’s lips compressed. “I don’t have a move.”

“You’re a woman. The only move you need is to get naked in his bed,” Jaime said.

Abi’s mouth dropped open. It wasn’t like Jaime to say something so brash.

Claire’s eyebrow arched. “You’re suggesting our little sister march into a man’s room, strip down, and climb into bed with him?”

Jaime shrugged. “I suggest a little more finesse than that but, yeah, essentially. And the point is, this isn’t any man. It’s Del, the man she’s been mooning over for years.”

“Forget it,” Abi interrupted. “That is not going to happen.”

“Come on, Abi,” Jaime said. “You’ve been out of sorts ever since you heard that Scruff was getting married.” Scruff was the nickname her older sisters had for Kurt.

Claire placed her hand on Abi’s, staring at her with concern. “What is it, honey? Why is Scruff getting married bothering you?”

Abi shook her head. “It’s not. I’m thrilled for him. Suzanne is wonderful and I know they’ll be very happy together.” She squeezed Claire’s hand. “I really want that for him.”

Claire stroked her shoulder. “Of course you do. We all do.”

“It’s not really about Scruff,” Jaime said, leaning back in her chair. “Is it?”

Abi shook her head. She’d been thinking about it a lot lately, confused by her own reaction to her brother’s fabulous news. And she’d finally figured it out. “It’s because after this, I’ll be the only one in the family who’s not married.”

“But, honey, you are married,” Claire said.

Abi sighed, pain flaring through her.

“Technically, yes. But I was married for barely a year before we separated and we’ve been apart for over two years now. I don’t really think that counts.”

Her chest constricted at the thought of Liam. The whole ordeal around their separation—her hands tightened into fists—around their marriage … was still difficult for her to think about. It brought up memories that were too agonizing to relive.

Claire slid her arm around Abi’s shoulders and squeezed.

“I know it’s been tough on you. But I still think you and Liam have a chance to make it work. I think the fact that he hasn’t signed the divorce papers yet means he’s not ready to let you go.”

“No,” Jaime said, “it means the jerk’s a son of a bitch who just wants to prolong Abi’s suffering. She belongs with someone who’ll make her happy. Del will do that.”

Abi glanced at Jaime who sat in the chair opposite the couch, sipping her wine. “I always thought you liked Liam.”

The severe expression on Jaime’s face softened.

“I did. Until he hurt my little sister.”

* * *

When Abi got home, she slumped into her bed and stared at the ceiling. Both her sisters were home with their husbands now. Jaime with her two boys in the next room. Claire didn’t have kids yet, but Abi knew she and her husband, Bill, were thinking about it.

Her sisters had everything Abi had ever wanted. A life partner who loved them. A family, or the opportunity to have one soon. And now Kurt did, too. In a month’s time, he would be married and working on his family.

Where was Abi’s happily-ever-after?

She closed her eyes, but sleep wouldn’t come. All she could think of was Del and what might have been.

* * *

Abi had met Del at college, the day she’d moved into her dorm room. She’d received a scholarship to pursue her master’s in Early Childhood Education at Brahm’s University in Eldridge, New Hampshire. The same place her brother, Kurt, had gone for his graduate studies.

It was the first time she’d been away from her family, since she’d done her undergraduate degree close to home, and she’d been feeling a little lost.

Then Del had shown up at her door. He was a friend of her brother’s, and Kurt had asked him to look out for her.

She still remembered glancing up to see the gorgeous man standing in her doorway.

He’d smiled, his straight, white teeth and the warmth glowing from his eyes making his whole face light up in a way that dug into her heart and tugged at her most intense feminine needs.

When she’d shaken his hand, electricity had sparked up her arm, firing every nerve ending along the way. His hand had been so big and warm and … comforting. In his warm olive-green eyes, flecked with what looked like golden stardust, she’d been sure she’d seen a reflection of the same intense attraction.

He’d shown her around town and helped her integrate into the social life on campus.

But because of his friendship with her brother, he’d insisted they remain just friends.

She’d kept hoping. Her face flushed with embarrassment as she remembered when she’d practically thrown herself at him one evening, kissing him and telling him she wanted more from him than friendship.

Despite the sexual tension between them, their friendship continued to grow. He was always there when she needed someone to talk to. And he looked out for her. He even introduced her to his best friend, Liam, clearly hoping she’d turn her attention to him instead.

The moment she’d met Liam, she’d fallen hard. It would be easy to tell herself that she’d only needed someone to distract her from her feelings for Del, but it wasn’t that simple. The chemistry between her and Liam was spectacular, burning brighter than anything she’d ever experienced before. And both of them had mistaken that for love.

Her gut clenched as her mind started along a path that would take her on a rapid downward spiral. Tears prickled at her eyes, and she brushed them away. She pulled herself from the painful memories, refusing to relive them right now.

Over the long, dismal year when her marriage was falling apart, Del had been there for her. Encouraging her. Trying to help her keep it together with Liam, who had sunk into his own man cave of despair.

After she’d finally ended it with Liam, Del had been the one holding her hand. He had been the shoulder she’d cried on.

And he’d helped her get herself back on her feet and focused on getting her degree. Despite the fact that all she’d wanted to do was curl into a ball.

He’d known how vulnerable she was, and he’d been a true friend, never making a move on her. Even though she’d wanted him to.

Then she’d graduated and moved back home, hoping to get a position teaching. And needing to be near her family. She and Del kept in touch, but they continued to stay firmly entrenched in the friendship zone. She was sure that he had feelings for her and now that time had passed, it was time to do something about it.

* * *

Del grabbed the mail from his box and headed up to his apartment, then dropped onto the couch and sorted through it. He spotted the invitation to Kurt’s wedding. He knew that’s what it was before he opened it. Kurt had asked Del to be a groomsman and, of course, he’d accepted. The invitation was a formality.

He recognized the handwriting on the front of the envelope. Abi had addressed it.

He ran his finger over the inked lines, picturing her fingers gliding the pen over the paper. Imagining reaching for her hand and taking it in his, then bringing it to his mouth. Brushing his lips against the soft skin on the back of her hand.

Del couldn’t help remembering the first time he’d met Abi almost four years ago.

He’d been attracted to her the instant he’d seen her. He’d heard a lot about her from Kurt, so he’d already known what kind of person she was. Loving, sweet, and giving, with a strong sense of family. And intelligent.

He hadn’t realized how stunning she was, however. He’d seen pictures of her, but none of them did her justice. Her long, wavy, chestnut-brown hair that tumbled around her shoulders had glistened in the sunlight from the window. Her figure was slim, but well-rounded in all the right places. And when she’d gazed at him with her luminous blue eyes, his pulse had skipped a beat.

Damn, his friend’s little sister should not have been so fuckably attractive. She’d been totally off-limits.

Even now, the memory of how she’d looked at him still sent liquid fire racing through his veins.

He stood up and walked into the kitchen, then grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. He returned to the couch and sat down again.

When he’d taken her out to dinner that first day, despite his best efforts, he’d forgotten he was with the sister of a friend, seeing instead a fascinating, vibrant, sexy woman he wanted to get to know better.

Much better.

When they’d stood outside her door, her wide, blue eyes gazing up at him, his intense desire for her had urged him to take her up on the invitation glowing in her eyes, and follow her to her bedroom.

But he had a sister. He glanced at the graduation photo of Cara on his bookshelf. One he cared about very much. And when Kurt had asked Del to look out for Abi, he’d taken that promise very seriously.

So he’d forced himself to resist the temptation of her lips. Of her incredible body. A feat that had become increasingly difficult the more time he’d spent around her.

He took a sip of his water, then slumped back on the couch.

Especially the day she’d made it clear she wanted more. He’d walked her to her door, and seen the desire in her eyes. She’d wanted him to kiss her. When he didn’t make a move, she’d rested her hand on his shoulder and pushed herself up onto her tiptoes, then their lips had met.

Oh, God, he could still feel the gut-wrenching need that had swelled within him at the feel of her soft lips. His arms were around her before he knew what he was doing, pulling her tight to him. His cock swelling in response to her soft curves. His tongue had delved inside her, her sweetness becoming like an aphrodisiac. He’d pulled her tighter and she’d murmured softly against his lips.

When their mouths parted, she’d smiled up at him and invited him inside.

He raked his hair from his face.

That’s when he’d come to his senses. He’d explained to her that he couldn’t pursue the attraction between them. That he wanted to be her friend.

He’d been a complete fool. If he had only allowed them to pursue the intense attraction that crackled between them … allowed their romance to blossom … then he would have prevented the tragic events that followed.

And the limbo they both found themselves in now.

Fuck, he wanted her in his life. And not as a friend. Desire had turned to something more years ago.

The fact that she was his friend’s younger sister didn’t matter anymore. Not after so much had happened.

But she was married. To his best friend.

The marriage had failed, however. He’d seen it crumble before his eyes, despite Abi trying to keep it together.

Liam was resisting signing the papers, but Abi wanted the divorce. And they’d been separated for two years.

His lips compressed as he opened the envelope and pulled out the RSVP. He grabbed a pen and filled out the small card—no plus-one—then slipped it into the small pre-addressed, stamped envelope.

It was high time he stopped playing by the rules and did whatever it took to win her heart.

* * *

Abi stepped from the car and stood gazing at the lovely country inn with a beautiful garden of bright-colored flowers adorning the sides of the stone path leading to the front entrance, as Claire’s husband, Bill, started pulling their luggage from the trunk of the car. There was a sparkling lake beyond the building, the shoreline spotted with tall trees.

Claire stepped beside her and drew in a deep breath.

“Mmm. The flowers smell lovely,” Claire said. “Scruff and Suzanne definitely picked a beautiful spot for their wedding.”

Claire hooked her arm with Abi’s and they walked along the path toward the front door.

“Abi.”

Abi’s heart stuttered at the familiar male voice and she turned toward Del.


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Opal Carew is the author of several erotic romances for St. Martin’s Press, including A Fare to Remember and Nailed. She lives in Canada and makes regular trips to the US to speak at conferences and industry events.

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Comment below if you’ve read the book or other books by Opal! Check out my review of her other book, Meat

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