Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Clarissa Wild's 5000 LIKES Giveaway!

Yep, that's right! Clarissa has hit 5k, and she's having another giveaway!


The Clarissa Wild Author page has reached 5000 likes!!! To celebrate a few authors and bloggers have banded together to do a huge rafflecopter giveaway ....


You could win a Kindle Fire HDX!!!!
What's more is that there are loads of other gifts you can win, such as gift cards, ebooks, SWAG and more!



Enter below:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blog Tour: Brenda Rothert's EDGE!

Edge Blog Tour Banner


EDGE (Fire on Ice, #3) by Brenda Rothert


I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour! I received a complimentary copy of Edge for review purposes, but I would gladly have paid for this book!

This story was fantastic from the first page to the last! If you love Brenda's work, you will be thrilled with this book. It's my personal favorite thus far, and that's saying a lot, because I can't stop praising Bound (Fire on Ice, #1) or Captive (Fire on Ice, #2) and I adored Brenda's NOW series.

I knew, when Captive ended, that I wanted a story for hockey player Luke Hudson, best friend (and teammate) to Bound and Captive's Jason Ryker. I also knew it would be great for him to step into a relationship with a woman who had a child. I remember telling Brenda that I thought she should pair him with this woman whom Kate had met at her grief support group, in part because she had a baby and I thought that would present some excellent opportunities for Luke to grow. She told me that she thought I'd be very pleased with Luke's love interest, and she was not wrong!

I can never say this enough, if I love the characters in a book, I will love the book. Everything else can be crap and I'll still like it because I am such a fan of character-driven stories. With Edge, you get so much more - great plot, details that will make you feel as if you're there, insanely hot sex scenes - but the characters are phenomenal, three-dimensional beings I'd love to know.

If you've read Brenda's books before, Luke is more polished where Ryke and Ben (my previous faves) were not. He can be suave like Cole and down and dirty like Ryke or Ben. Not only that, he can do it all in the span of a paragraph or so without it seeming out of character. He's strong and soft, sweet and naughty, smart and funny and just downright sexy. And Dell, she's rough around the edges, where Kate, Emma and Layla were not, but she's a fantastic mom. I loved that about her. Not that I didn't like Emma, Layla or Kate, but Dell is definitely my favorite.

I always want a book to make me feel something - it doesn't matter if it's hate or love or anger or sadness or joy, but a good book will evoke sensations and emotions. With Edge, I had several moments when I literally laughed out loud, tears were shed, or my blood pumped through my veins, either from the insanely hot chemistry between Luke and Dell or from instances of excitement (there are some nail-biter moments!) For me, a book doesn't get better than when it can run the gamut like that.

Luke and Dell is a winning combination - the two of them, their chemistry and the plot of their story. Hands down, the best I've read from Brenda yet!

Now, I'm just waiting on a story for Niko...



banner pic

synopsis

One bad hit has left the career of young NHL Center Luke Hudson in question. When he arrives for rehab with a minor league team, his injury has robbed him of the edge that made him great.
Team trainer Adella Price’s job is to help Luke get back in peak condition. But their one on one sessions shake her resolve to remain unattached. Dell is hands-off to all hockey players, even one as charming and successful as Luke.
As Luke starts to get ahold of his game again, he loses his grip on his heart. Helping Luke get his edge back brings to light what Dell is missing from her life. But those who want them apart are relentless, and with their careers on the line, Luke and Dell must decide if their love is worth risking it all.

Edge Perfect

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LukePlaylist

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Buy Links

Other Books in Fire on Ice series:


about the author

Brenda Rothert started her writing career as a print journalist. She now writes Romances, some Contemporary and others with a twist of dystopian society and adventure. Rothert lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three boys.

social links

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/authorbrendarothert
Twitter: @BrendaRothert

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Final Covers for Ward Sisters Series!

That's right! You did read that correctly - this post will have all the official covers for all the books. I've been chatting with my friend and fellow author, Rene Folsom, who is also a very talented graphic designer. Check out her work at Phycel Designs. I asked her a design question one day, and that got us on a roll about little things I could do to tweak my covers and improve them. Well, I'm one of those people who likes to learn new things and loves to get better and better at them. Of course I had to go back and futz with the previous covers, as Rene had suggested, but I also felt a need to keep going. I have NINE books in the Ward Sisters Series, after all!

So, without further ado, here they are...you'll notice that Book 5, which used to be called Buying the Cow, is now called Time to Begin. I know. SO much better!














Friday, May 16, 2014

Blog Tour INTERVIEW: Clarissa Wild

As part of Clarissa's Flame Blog Tour, I did an interview with her. Here is some insight into her writing and her method! It was fun for me to talk shop with another writer and to learn a little more about her process for writing the Fierce series. 


When you started writing Fierce, did you know you would be writing a series?

Yes and no. I knew I had a lot of backstory in mind, but I wasn't sure whether I could write more about it, storywise.

a) if yes, had you planned to extend it through three separate stories?

No, I just realized people wanted to read about Hunter's side of the story, so I gave him his own book, since there was so much going on with the gang that the reader did not see in FIERCE, yet I knew about it. FLAME was a way to tie up the loose ends and make sure their love would stick :)

One of the themes in the series deals with Autumn's experience with bullying. Is there a particular incident that inspired you to write about the effects of bullying?

Yes, actually, most of the events portrayed in FIGHT come from my personal experience. I was bullied a lot when I was younger, and I wanted to show people how it feels and what it does to a person. That the scars never really heal, and that the events from long ago can still affect a person's behaviour even after much time has passed. That's what happened to Autumn.

Likewise, Hunter's disability isn't just your run-of-the-mill learning struggle. Once we learn its genesis, the lengths he goes to for his brother become even more poignant. Was there a reason you chose to focus on this cause of learning impairment?

Yes, because I wanted something that weighed heavily on the family side. I wanted there to  be emotional and internal struggle that involved family and a scar that could never be healed, much like Autumn. That is their most prominent connection to each other. I always love pushing boundaries and writing on the edge. I love getting emotions out of people when they read my stories. Hunter's past was always known to me and it was needed for the story to be emotional and raw. To make Hunter who he is.

Writers are typically big readers. Do you tend to read books similar to what you write? Were there any writing influences that helped shape how you approached this story?

Hehe, well that's a good one, because I do read a lot of books, but not really in the same genre :P The genre I read most is YA paranormal romance & dystopian. Erotic Romance & New Adult come after that, basically. I don't read a lot of adult books, except for the ones that really draw my attention. It's contradictory, I know :P But that's me!

As a writer, I approach storytelling very organically, which can often mean a lot of time spent editing. Do you take that sort of approach? Are you more of a plan-ahead writer? Or is it a combination of things, maybe dependent on the story in question?

First, I think up a beginning, the middle, and the end. Then I fill in the gaps with random scenes that could be drawn out over a couple of chapters. I mold the characters and create their background, their history, which is highly involved in the scene making too. They're basically formed at the same time. Then I write down the entire book with outlines, sculpting each chapter with a few sentences and keywords. Only after every important aspect is on paper do I start writing the story. Editing comes last, and it usually only takes me 2 or 3 days to do it. What I write is always very close to the final result, as I rarely cut pieces out. It only happens sometimes, and that's usually after beta feedback. What happens more often is that extra scenes get thrown in that weren't previously there ;) To make the book stronger.

Last question. Are there plans for more books in this universe? If so, which characters can you see getting their own story? And would you go backwards, follow the same timeline as Autumn and Hunter's story, or pick up after their story concluded?

Probably, yes. I'm writing a different book called Mr. X now, because I need a break from the series, but I do plan to get back to some of the characters. I always knew Jessie would have his own story, and it's going to be similar to Fierce (with the gang and all). It will probably be set after FLAME. It's on my schedule for later this year, and will probably be included in a bundle. I'd also love to write a short story about Jaret, which will also be included in a bundle and released separately later ;). But first: Mr. X: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21948425-mr-x

Saturday, May 10, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Rene Folsom's FOR LIBERTY

I'm excited for this one, because the story sounds amazing and Rene is fabulous. Without further ado...


coverreveal2  


BOOK INFO 

Title – For Liberty 

Series – Red Hot and BOOM! 

Author – Rene Folsom 

Genre – Contemporary Romance 

Publication Date – June 1, 2014 

Length (Pages/# Words) – Approximately 85 pages / 12,000 words 

Cover Artist – Rene Folsom with Phycel Designs

 

BOOK BLURB/SYNOPSIS 

While deployed overseas, his mission classified, the heartfelt letters Maximus writes are the only bits of communication Liberty receives during the year he is away. Her memories of him, along with a box full of letters, become her most prized possessions—that and the life growing inside her.

It’s not until communication stops, and the scheduled return of her Army hero comes and goes, that Libby begins to freak out. Her worry for his welfare, along with concern over her current situation, wreaks havoc on her once-solid nerves.

While she’s waiting for his return with bated breath, she clings to hope and remembers the words he once wrote: “A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind.” The infamous quote is a constant reminder of why he chooses to fight: For Liberty.


ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS TBR SHELF


EXCERPT

Volunteering for the local animal shelter, and helping with their holiday fundraisers, was how I chose to spend my birthday that year. The K9 kissing booth was a huge success. All the local pet lovers lined up to pay for smooches with the four-legged fur friends.

When I saw him standing in line, my heart stopped momentarily. Two years older than I was, Maximus Becker was the boy I drooled over during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Of course, in high school, two years was quite an age gap, and I was a child in his eyes. Other than his occasional visits home, I hadn't seen him since he’d graduated six years ago and enlisted into the Army.

His round, boyish face was now strong and covered in a dusting of sexy scruff. It was obvious the military kept him in great shape, with his built physique and powerful demeanor. He was no longer the boy I knew in high school. His tall stature and confident stance was nothing short of pure, masculine strength.

Looking back, it seemed a bit petty that I frantically searched for another volunteer to take my post. My job was to collect the money for the kissing booth, and I couldn't just bail. But I was also sure as shit I’d end up making a fool of myself in front of this gorgeous man who probably still didn't even know I existed.

Realizing there was no one around to relieve me of this torture, I blew a stray lock of hair out of my eyes with a puff of breath and attempted to put on my best game face—determined to keep my cool. He was next in line.

Smiling kindly at the old lady in front of him, I stuffed her dollar in the money bag and kept my head down, worried my words would stumble if I looked into his eyes. Call me crazy, but those stupid, teenage fluttery feelings took over my stomach at the mere closeness of him. I probably looked weak and scared—words usually never used to describe me.

“Well hello, Libby,” a warm, raspy voice said. The fact he spoke my name actually gave me strength to be the girl I knew was hiding inside me somewhere.

Raising my head and meeting his beautiful, hazel eyes, I smiled. “Max. Haven’t seen you around in a while. How the hell are ya?” I was beyond grateful my voice didn't crack when his name spilled from my lips.

“Doin’ good. Just moved back to town now that I’m stationed at the base nearby.” His eyes roamed down my body and back up to meet my eyes. “Looks to me like I've missed a lot while I was gone.” The smile he so sinfully wore on his face made my insides melt like a tween at a One Direction concert. The fact one man could make me feel that way was both exciting and embarrassing.

And again, I was speechless. Was he paying me a compliment? My brain couldn't seem to comprehend what was happening, so I just stood there and grinned like a damn fool.

Leaning toward me, he crooked his finger and signaled for me to come closer. My heart was nearly leaping from my chest with the thought of him so near. He smelled good too. I had to rein in all the self-control I could muster in order to keep from blatantly sniffing him.

With his warm breath feathering over my ear, he said, “So, I’m a little embarrassed. I got in this line thinking I was lining up for a kiss with—” “We don’t have all day,” a crabby woman behind Max said, cutting off his words. If I weren’t representing the animal shelter, I would have told the lady to fuck off.

Smiling kindly, I held out my hand for his donation and said, “You ready to get your mac on with a basset hound?”

Shaking his head comically, he let out a light chuckle and held up a twenty between his fingers. His instruction for me to keep the change startled me a bit. We’d had several people give us an extra dollar or two toward the fundraising efforts, but no one had offered quite so much.

Stepping over to the line of dogs, he looked back in my direction and gave me a wink before allowing Henry to slobber all over his cheek.

I couldn't contain my laughter as I watched him wipe his face on his sleeve.

 

The Moment You Have All Been Waiting For .

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  For Liberty - Book Cover        



  For Liberty - Author Photo  

AUTHOR BIO 

Rene Folsom, author of paranormal romance and erotica, lives in Florida with her husband and three kids. She has officially diagnosed herself with creative ADD and often has a million and one writing projects going at once. In addition to writing, she is also a graphic artist who enjoys creating custom book covers for indie authors. She is definitely an artist at heart and would love nothing more than to be elbow deep in clay during her waking hours.

Rene believes that all fiction is based on some form of reality—otherwise we would never have the inspiration or knowledge to dream up the realistic situations we portray with our words. She is proud to say that her personal experiences have been inspirational, though perhaps not always identical to that of her fictional characters. Where reality and fantasy diverge, however, must remain her little secret...

 

STALKER LINKS

Amazon Author Page  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  /  Google+  /  Goodreads  /  Newsletter


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GIVEAWAY 

• 2 swag packs with “For Liberty” dog tag keychains (US Only) • 2 “For Liberty” ARCs (will be available and sent to winners a week before release – open internationally)

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[Find, Read, Love] Romance Giveaway!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Official Launch Blitz of Clarissa Wild's FLAME!


Title: FLAME (#2, Fierce Series)
Author: Clarissa Wild
Publication Date: May 8th 2014
Genre: New Adult Romance (18+)

Synopsis

When trust is challenged and desire takes control, is love enough to conquer fear?

When geeky book nerd Autumn Blakewood falls for the cocky, confident fighter Hunter Bane she knows she’s in for life. Their undeniable connection, fueled by the desire to protect, grows stronger every passing second. However, the need to feel cherished threatens her college graduation, family bonds, and future, tearing her apart, but she won’t give up on Hunter so easily …

After he was abandoned by his family, Hunter Bane struggles to cope with daily life. Having a learning disability turns every task into a challenge. With his brother now free, Hunter feels the pressure to succeed and take care of the people he loves, forcing him to choose between college and a job. Hunter’s devotion to Autumn keeps him on the right path. His infatuation with her turns lust into passion, drawing out his alpha tendencies. But with affection comes admission, putting a strain on their relationship as secrets are exposed and unforeseen circumstances spiral out of control.

Being complete opposites, their love is flaming hot, but it burns away all inhibitions, unveiling the fears that were locked deep inside. As past and present collide, difficult choices must be made. Can Autumn and Hunter’s love survive this ultimate test?


Get The Book!


I can’t take my lips off her. I need her so much right now. I’m starving for her lips. I can’t catch my breath, but I can’t stop either. I need her to feel how much I love her, need her to know how much I need her and that everything I said was a fucking lie. It was all the fear of not being able to live up to her expectations, the horror of disappointing her. I pushed her away instead of talking to her. If only I’d told her before why I was doing this, to help her mom out, then maybe this would’ve never happened.
But fuck, I am happy she’s here and that she’s all right. She’s here in my arms and I’m not letting her go. Never again.
I’m such a fucking mess, and still she loves me. I have no fucking clue why, but that’s why I love her. She loves me completely, unconditionally, so much that she can’t stand the thought of me even having the slightest scratch on me. I know I’m a bastard for earning money with fighting, but it’s the only thing I can do, and I’ll make sure I’ll be damn good at it. If she can’t see me get hurt, then I won’t let myself get hurt. I’ll make sure it never happens. I’ll train and fight until I can knockout everyone in my path with her watching me, smiling, proud.
I want to be her winner.
Smelling her, I take in her scent in with eagerness, wanting her so close, holding her isn’t even enough anymore. My fingers slide down her neck to her spine and down to her waist as I turn her around, still kissing her. I’m slowly taking her back to the car, not taking my lips off her. Entangling her fingers through my hair, she lets me push her backward until we reach the hood of the car. I’ve not been the best at finding directions when I have my fucking eyes closed. Kissing her is more important than seeing where I’m going.
She bumps against the hood, and I put my arms around her, making sure she can’t slip away. I’m not letting her out of my sight. Not anymore. Her plump, pink lips are so luscious … so soothing … so volatile for me. They turn me into something I shouldn’t be right now, but I can’t help myself.
Planting my hands on the hood, I trap her inside my arms and ravish her mouth. I can’t get enough of her, can’t get enough of her sweetness, her passion, her spark, her flame. I need her love right now.
“God … I want you so much right now, I can’t stop,” I murmur against her mouth, nipping at her lips, catching them with my teeth.
“I want you too. Don’t stop,” she whispers, and then she drags me closer by my shirt.
“Hmm …” I moan into her mouth, but then take my lips off her again. If I don’t stop now, I’ll turn into that beast again. I know, because I’ve been there before. She does that to me. Especially now, because I haven’t seen her for a while, and now that I’ve finally got my hands on her I’m not sure I can hold back. I don’t even want to, but I’m forcing myself to stop. It’s not right to take it further now. Not after what we just went through.
“We’re soaked,” I say.
“Yeah …” The way she says it sends shivers down my spine. It’s like she’s saying she’s ‘wet’ in a whole different way. Exhilarating.
“No, I mean, we should get back to the car.”
She shakes her head, pulling me in for another kiss, but I barely escape.
“I can’t control myself,” I say.
“You don’t need to.” She leans forward and pulls down my shirt, exposing my collarbone. When she starts pecking my skin, I’m done for.
Groaning, I say, “You don’t know what you’re in for.”
“Yes, I do. We’ve had sex before.”
“Not on a fucking car, on a road, in the rain.”
“I don’t care,” she whispers, wrapping her arms around my waist and pulling me closer. My cock springs alive from her tug. She’s never been this needy. This willing. It’s like she wants me to fuck her.
“I need to feel your lips on me. I need you. I need you everywhere. Inside me,” she whispers close to my ear. Fuck. She’s undoing me with her words. Now I’m hard as fuck.
It feels so fucking wrong after a fight, but so very tempting at the same time. My desire to take her has been multiplied by ten since we argued, as if my inner caveman knows that in order to fix love you need to fill each other up with love. Or in other words, fill her up to the brim.
My cock is throbbing in my pants at the thought of having her right now. I can’t think of anything else; it’s like my mind is only focused on one thing now, which is claiming her.
Ah, screw my conscious. “Fuck it …” I murmur, and then I dive into the little nook between her neck and shoulder and kiss her until my lips are raw and swollen.
I push her up against the car, and the lift her up, setting her down on the car. Parting her legs, I step closer and suck the beads of water off her skin. With my tongue I slip down her neck, licking up all the raindrops until I reach her tits. Her hands drop back onto the hood when I grasp both her perky tits in my hands and kiss the swell, going from one to the other.
“God, you’ve never tasted this good before.”
She giggles, which only gives me more incentive to seize her body and make it mine.
My fingers travel down her stomach while I keep my lips on her collarbone, teasing her as I slide lower and lower, avoiding her pleasure spot. I know she wants it, but I want her to savor that feeling for a while. I want her to realize what she’d be missing if I wasn’t there to please her anymore. And I want to enjoy myself while doing it.
I curl my fingers around her shirt and rip it over her head, surprising her. “You scared someone’s gonna find us here?” I tease, throwing the shirt on the hood of the car.
She squints, a smirk appearing on her face. “No.”
I purse my lips and raise an eyebrow. “Not even a little bit?”
Little moans escape her mouth as I massage her tits. She can’t speak, but shakes her head instead.
Hmm … I wonder how far she’ll go. I want to know if I can push her boundaries. It’s too exciting not to try. So I slide my fingers down her shoulder, pushing her bra down, and then in one surprise move I flip her tits out of her holsters.
She gasps as I immediately lock my mouth over her rosy nipples.
“Oh, Hunter …” she moans as I flick my tongue over her hardened peaks.
“What? You backing down yet?” I tease.
“No. Definitely not. Oh my god …” she murmurs.
“Hmm… I like that.” I grin against her skin as I lick her tits until they are nice and perky. My hand drifts down to her pussy and I splay my fingers, grasping her possessively. “Mine.”


Flame Playlist

Music plays a big part in my writing. For FLAME I used a whole lot of new songs, but you might find a few that are familiar to you from FIERCE/FURY ;) Check them out!

You can check them out below with Spotify, or listen to them here with Youtube:





Other books in the Fierce Series



Buy Links for  #0.5 FIGHT (Free!)


Buy Links for  #1 FIERCE


Buy Links for #1.5 FURY

Author Bio

Clarissa Wild is the Amazon Bestselling Romance author of FIERCE, a top 200 and top 15 New Adult Romance novel. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, the Doing It Series and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

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Author Links

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Monday, May 5, 2014

REVIEW: Fierce Series (Fierce, #1, Fury, #1.5, Flame, #2), by Clarissa Wild

I'm reviewing all three of the current novels in the Fierce series by Clarissa Wild. I read the first two on my own and then received the ARC (advanced readers copy) from the author in exchange for an honest review. After reading Fierce, I decided I wanted to participate in Clarissa's Blog Tour and promotion for Book #2, Flame. So, to simplify things here at the blog, I'm reviewing all three books in succession. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so no worries. Oh! And for the sake of the blog itself, I'm using my 10-star ratings, but for the other review sites, I'm working within their rating systems, so if you see a repost somewhere, that's what you'll see as different.


Fierce (Fierce, #1)


This initial entry in the Fierce series is told from nerd-girl Autumn's POV.  Autumn is a likeable character. I found her internal struggle to be compelling - the sheltered, bullied girl who wants desperately to fit in but just...can't. Her first day of college, she encounters a Bad Boy in Hunter Bane. For some reason, he keeps engaging her. Though she doesn't understand it, she can't stay away from him, even though her past experience with bullying dictates that she should want to do so. The fact that she pushed her own boundaries to befriend Hunter when he seemed to need it most showed a depth to her character that was unexpected. That she also found herself wanting more from this enigma of a young man confounded Autumn and created adequate internal conflict, which would easily have driven the narrative enough for me to award 3 stars with nothing else going for it. But what set this story apart, what drives it to a 9-star (4.5-star) from me, was that the external conflict alone would have made for a thrilling read. I won't spoil you, but there are elements of suspense in this story that will have you at the edge of your seat at times.

I'll warn you, this is a very typical New Adult read. Personally, I like New Adult and don't mind some angst or a lot of sex, provided I've been given characters I like. In this case, I got what I wanted and then some. If you read nothing else of this series, read Fierce. You'll fall in love with Bad Boy Hunter Bane, just as Autumn does, swooning when he calls her Leafy and cheering at the end. But this story doesn't end with this book, so keep reading. You'll be glad you did.



Fury (Fierce, #1.5)


I've noticed that New Adult authors gravitate toward the two-part story. If you've read a lot of NA, you know what I mean. This is where you hear a story from one character and then hear it from another, but not in the same book - two separate stories, told from two separate POV, but the same plot. I get why it happens - I wrote a blog post about it not that long ago. And, as I said in that post, many times I've read the second story and thought, "Why did you write two separate books?"  That's not the case with Fury.

Hunter's story is quite complex on its own. There is so much of it that Autumn does not know about, things that are very pertinent to the narrative. I could tell you, but that would change your enjoyment as you discover them on your own. If I was writing this story, I'd have integrated the two POVs because I think that it's possible to do so. BUT - and here's where I can make exceptions - this book and its predecessor are told in First Person. I don't typically write in first person and there are many reasons for that. One is that you have a harder time selling to the reader that they know things the characters do not. And for that reason, I think we can justify a second story from Hunter's POV told separately from the first book.

Personally, I loved Hunter more when he was seen through Autumn's eyes. Perhaps it was his self-loathing, or maybe his arrogance, but I had a hard time feeling the same level of worship toward him that I did in Fierce. Nonetheless, I still liked him by the end of the story and I felt genuine empathy for him. I can see why the choice was made to tell the stories separately. What I'd like to see is a story that weaves these two books together into the same narrative. I wonder how it might read differently. An 8-star (4-star) rating from me.



Flame (Fierce, #2)


I received this book for an honest review. On the 5-star rating systems, it gets 4 stars from me. On my blog rating, which uses 10-star ratings, it gets 7.5 stars. I'm rounding up because I think that this was an excellent conclusion to Hunter and Leafy's story and I want to recognize that. But there were some issues that made this my least-favorite entry in the series.

First, my annoyance at some of Hunter's attitude in Fury carried over to Flame and multiplied. When he was 100% in protect-Autumn/rescue Jessie mode, he was under a lot of stress and I guess I forgave his behavior more. But here, the worst is over and his attitude is all because of his insecurities and his inability to deal well with his past. Okay. I get it. He's damaged. It was hard to feel sorry for him when he was a HUGE jerk to Autumn more than once. I won't spoil it by saying why, but there were several moments early in the story where I wanted to slap him. For her part, Autumn experiences even more growth than we saw from her in Fierce, so I can't complain about her story too much.

Second, there are a few things in this series that stretch believeability for me - things that are maybe not impossible but are highly improbable - but though they're not enough to make me dislike the story, they are also more obvious once we get to this segment. The narrative moves slower and is more character-driven, so perhaps that's why the improbability becomes more evident. When you're blazing through action, you notice less flaws - sort of like flying through on a bullet train compared to a slower locomotive. The faster you move, the less you can see of the weird stuff on the side of the tracks. Where Fierce and Fury were more like a bullet train, Flame was like long-distance commuter train. It still moved, but I could see more as I passed.

That said, there was one thing that absolutely redeemed the story for me by the end and bumped up its rating, and it was the fact that both characters grew. I don't mind the rougher characters, the ones who are not perfect book boyfriends, as long as they grow. Likewise, the stereotypical heroines have to stretch, too. Here, I loved that geeky Autumn embraced her sexuality and Hunter tempered his sexual beast and they were able to meet in the middle. That's a good metaphor for the emotional changes they undergo as individuals and as a couple. He gave her the love she needed and found that he was stronger than he believed, and she grew to love herself through his eyes. And as I always say, give me characters I can stand behind, and I can overlook a lot of other issues.

Clarissa has said that there may be other stories in the future for Jessie or maybe Jaret, but for now, this is the end of the Fierce Series, and I'd guess, given the ending, that it's probably the end of Hunter and Leafy's story told from their POVs. It was a nice conclusion to the series, and I'd recommend that you sit down and read them in sequence. You'll be rewarded with a lovely ending.


Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm humbled and truly honored...

I'm part of a group on Facebook where authors can seek reviewers for their work. You see, the more people talk about your books, the more likely it is that people will talk about your books. I know. Crazy, right? An author friend, DJ Shaw (whose Wiccan Lies cover I revealed here recently), introduced me to this group and of course, there are many authors in there, too. It's where I met Rene Folsom (whose fantastic erotic short stories set, Roommate Romance, I've read and reviewed - they're excellent!) and where I met the lovely Ella Medler.

Ella recently read and reviewed Back to December, and I wanted to share a link to her review. It made me cry (okay, I'm a huge sap) and it truly humbled me. As an author, to have even one reader truly get your story is such a blessing. Thank you, Ella! I'm thrilled that you loved my book that much! And I promise, when I get through the insanity that is this weekend, you're on my short list!



REVIEW: Brenda Rothert's EDGE (Fire on Ice, #3)

A full 10 stars! Fantastic from the first page to the last! Plus, I can leave a longer review here, too. You'll see a lot more reviews on here from me in the future.

Okay, first of all, I have to say that I'm thrilled to have received an advanced copy of this book for review. I love Brenda's writing and I would gladly pay for it, but I was beyond excited to read this book early. From the moment I started Bound (Fire on Ice, #1), I was hooked on this series.

What can I say? I love hockey. I mean, I went to a hockey school, not because of the hockey, but let me tell you how fantastic it was to have been a freshman when my team took the NCAA National Championship. Yeah, I've loved hockey since childhood, had a Boston Bruins sweatshirt at the age of three, learned to skate by five and took full advantage of free skate times at my college rink. I own a pair of hockey skates and the only reason I don't play is because it was too late in the game for me to jump on board when my school's women's team took off (and my husband, rightly so, has pointed out that I'm not in the right shape to start now!) I spent hours drooling over hockey players in high school and thought it was the coolest thing ever to know the players on my school's team.

Of course, after a year of the giddy crap in college (but without becoming a puck slut!), I grew up a little. Realized they're people (and some of them are jerks). But when I read this series, it takes me back to those days, a time in my life that I cherish and never grow tired of reliving. The star of this book, Luke, reminds me of some of the best guys I knew who played hockey in college. I told Brenda that he reminded me of someone specific before this book was complete, but now that I've read the whole thing, I'd say he definitely brings several people to mind.

In this story, Luke Hudson, best friend and teammate to Bound and Captive's Jason Ryker, has taken a bad hit to the knee. He's been injured and has to follow the slow route to get back into fighting shape. His big motivator? Take down the player (on the ice, of course) who injured him, John London. He spends a couple months in physical therapy, and then gets shipped to rehab at a minor league team. There, he meets Adella Price, the team's trainer. He's instantly smitten with her and though she has basically sworn off hockey players (with good reason), she can't help but return the interest. Only problem? The team has a no-fraternization policy.

Luke was one of those guys who couldn't settle down. He was a playboy of the worst variety, some of which we glimpse vaguely in Bound and Captive, through Ryke's eyes. He laughed at Ryke's desperate need for his wife in the early days when his friend was courting - but not sleeping with - Kate. But here, he finds himself not only coveting what Ryke and Kate have (a first for him), but mimicking Ryke's behavior. Of course, Ryke's reasons for staying away from Kate were more complex than a fraternization policy, but there is more at stake for Luke and Dell than just emotions - it could cost both of them their jobs. That's an even bigger deal for Dell, because she has son, five-year-old Kyler, to consider. And since her role as a loving, doting, devoted mother is one of the things Luke respects and appreciates most about Dell, he wants to go the extra mile to ensure she doesn't lose her job. He might get kicked off the minors team, but his team owner in the NHL would have his back.

I won't spoil it for you. You learn all this in the first chapter or two, and it sets the stage for the story. But there is a lot more going on here, things that bear on Luke and Dell in ways that even Ryke and Kate (and other players) don't have to worry about. It made for some nail-biting moments.

The pace of the story is excellent. Despite a very, very full plate at the moment, I couldn't put it down. I knew, once I started, I wouldn't want to stop reading it, and I was right! If you love sports stories (especially hockey), you will devour this - you will feel as if you're right there, on the ice, in the locker room, at the game with the team. And if you just love a feel-good, steaming-hot romance, regardless of the subject matter, you will want to read this right away! But be warned...cold showers, a fan, or some time alone later might be necessary!

If you haven't read Brenda's books yet, but you like mine, I know you'd love hers. We are kindred storytelling spirits. If you've read her NOW series but not FIRE ON ICE, you must rush to read Bound and Captive so that you can read Edge! Yes, it's technically readable as a standalone. But part of the joy in the story is getting to visit with Ryke and Kate again. And if you've read the first two books in FIRE ON ICE, then you will want to read this immediately. I loved Emma and Cole, Layla and Ben, and Ryke and Kate, but damn, Luke and Dell might put them all to shame! Fantastic story and I can't wait for Brenda to write one for Niko...you're going to write one for Niko, right?