Interview + Book Tour: Finding Paradise

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Welcome to the Finding Paradise Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

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Title: Finding Paradise
Author: V.P. Ortiz
Publication Date: Sept 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Mila Quinn is ready to finally move out of the college dorms into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Lowe. But when Ethan reveals a big secret, her world is suddenly turned upside down, stirring up old memories of love and loss. Completely torn apart, she boards a plane to Hawaii to escape for the summer.

Even though Mila wants to spend her time in paradise in isolation, fate has other plans when it drops sexy local Gage Madden in her lap. Hesitant at first, she agrees to let him take the reins on her island exploration. As Mila discovers the wonders of Oahu with Gage, it becomes harder for her to fight the budding attraction between them.

But behind the curtain of island adventures and undeniable chemistry, trouble is brewing where Mila least expects it. Secrets begin to bubble to the surface that could destroy her all over again. Will Mila find her paradise? Or will she leave Hawaii with another broken heart?

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Interview:

Hi! Welcome to Between Printed Pages, we’re so happy to have you here today.

Thank you so much for having me, Alicia! This is actually my first author interview, so I’m super excited that I can have it here at Between Printed Pages!

Before we start, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a long-time reader, first-time author. I fell in love with reading at a very early age – say, around first grade or so. Unfortunately for me, writing novels isn’t my “day job.” I actually work in the legal field as part of a litigation support team. I’ve been asked why I write romance novels instead of crime or lawyer drama novels if I know the legal field so well. The answer is simple: to escape! Haha! Who wants to work all day, then come home and write for a few more hours about work? No, thank you!

Aside from being a reader and a writer, I’m a mother to two awesome kids and a wife to a very loving and supporting husband. They are really the reason why I feel so inspired to follow my dream of being an author and to never give up!

What was the inspiration for Finding Paradise and what about the story called to you?

My husband and I eloped on the island of Oahu in Hawaii over ten years ago. He had grown up on the island (his dad was in the Army and was stationed there for a few years) and we decided to have a wedding/honeymoon in one. The minute I stepped foot off the airplane, I fell in love with Hawaii! From the culture to the food to the scenery to the lifestyle, it was all so mesmerizing. Fast forward nine years, we went back to Oahu for a family vacation with our children and, as expected, I fell in love all over again. There is just something about Hawaii that is special and I wanted to share that with others so they can see and feel the same things about Hawaii that I do.

It’s interesting because a few months after we returned from our Oahu family vacation, I decided to write and publish my first novel. I wrote about six chapters worth of another story, but always had the Hawaiian islands in the back of my mind. They were haunting me in the most beautiful way. So I pushed that novel aside and mapped out a new idea that transformed into Finding Paradise. I wrote Finding Paradise in a way that the love story of Mila and Gage were almost secondary to Mila discovering Hawaii in the same awestruck way that I did so many years ago.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

JUST DO IT! No, I’m not plugging the Nike brand, though if they paid me to, I wouldn’t turn it down. My advice is to just do it! Go for it! I know it’s a scary concept – to open up your heart and your work to the world. And I will tell you right now: not everyone is going to love your novel. But that’s okay! You’re not writing for everyone else. Not for your significant other, not for your neighbor, not for your frenemies (though I get the innate urge to rub your accomplishments in their face). Write the novel because it’s your dream, not theirs.

Like Gage says in Finding Paradise, “You have to leap if you want to know how it feels to fly.” It’s so easy to find a million reasons why you can’t do it, but you will never know the amazing feeling of being a published author if you don’t try.

Finding Paradise is a self-published book, which is a whole new ballgame when it comes to writing novels. You are now not only the author, but you are also the publisher and the marketing team. I’ve started a blog on my website, www.vportiz.com/confessions, called Confessions of a New Author. This blog is a series of my adventures in writing that I hope can calm some fears and maybe even inspire some aspiring writers to take the next step and publish their novels. I’m hoping to put up some new content on the blog after my next novel is published this spring.

Within Finding Paradise, which character was your favourite to write and why?

Honestly, I would’ve thought it would be Mila because we share so many of the same personality traits. But it turns out that I loved writing Aunt Sophie and Baylee! Probably because I based those two characters on two people that I know personally. Aunt Sophie is based on my best friend’s mom, who is witty and sharp while having the gentlest heart I’ve ever known. And Baylee, oh Baylee, she is based on one of my work besties. A crazy, fun soul who is just as vulnerable as anyone, even though she tries to hide it. It’s so funny because the inspiration for Baylee was one of my beta readers and after she read Finding Paradise, she said she LOVED Baylee. I told her, “Well, of course, you did. You two are the same person!” Both Aunt Sophie and Baylee were such fun characters to write. I loved their dynamic together and separately with Mila. They were a big part of Mila’s journey.

And yes, readers, Baylee will have her own story coming soon! That will be a fun book to write!

What are three songs that describe Finding Paradise?

I have a Spotify playlist specifically for Finding Paradise at https://open.spotify.com/user/vportiz_books/playlist/3loOrvQKy3c6XXStWk4zVj. I listened to this playlist pretty much non-stop while I was writing Finding Paradise. Most of the songs are sung either by native Hawaiians or are sung in the Hawaiian language. Such beautiful melodies that take you to the islands and make you never want to leave!

I love all the songs on the playlist, but if I had to pick three, they would be:

  • Simple Love Song by Anuhea: This song is what I consider to be the anthem for Finding Paradise. The words accurately describe everything that Mila felt for Gage and I love Anuhea
  • Falling by Keahiwai: These Hawaiian singers capture what it feels like to fall in love in paradise in this song.
  • Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: This song is so important to me. Not only does it appear in a great scene in Finding Paradise, but it is also the wedding song that my husband and I chose. It’s a gorgeous rendition by a Hawaiian legend.

I heard that you have some ideas for your next book! Can you tell us anything about them?

YES! YES! YES! I am so excited to exclusively announce my next book on your blog!

Damaged Property is slated to be released this spring, though the exact date is currently tentative. It’s the story of a broken woman, Talia, and her chance meeting with a ridiculously hot Albuquerque Police Officer, Dante, who has demons of his own. Even though they fight it, fate throws them together and they learn to work together to fight their pasts before it catches up with them.

Where Finding Paradise was bright, fun, and sweet, in contrast, Damaged Property is much darker and sensual. The heat between Talia and Dante is unimaginable and you’ll find yourself caught up in their sexual tension, biting your nails and waiting for them to give into each other. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions with an ending that you’ll need to read to believe!

What are three books you believe everyone should take a chance on?

I read across all genres of novels, so my answer to this may seem a bit odd. But there’s something for everyone.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: This book BLEW ME AWAY! I wasn’t so sure about it when I first cracked it open, but I was stuck on a six-hour flight home and that was the only book on my Kindle. By the time my final plane landed in my hometown, I was literally in tears. So perfectly written by my favorite author. My goal in life is to bring Colleen Hoover to tears with one of my books as she did to me with her book.

The Project Eden series by Brett Battles: The first novel in this series, Sick, captured my attention and refused to let it go until the conclusion of the series six books later (seven books total). I’ll admit, I’m a secret lover of doomsday and apocalyptic novels, but many books I’ve read fell short of what I was looking for. Project Eden was what I was looking for!

The Pact by Jodi Picoult: Oh my gosh, this book was incredible. It was the second book I ever read by Jodi Picoult and it was the one that turned me into a lifetime fan. I love that Jodi Picoult can make you question your own morals that you thought were set in stone before opening the book. What you thought, in the beginning, is never what you think about in the end.

Aside from reading and writing, what do you do in your spare time? Any unusual hobbies?

Most days, I share the same hobbies as my three fat cats: sleep, eat, and complain. But, when I can actually talk myself into it, I love to go running outside when the Colorado weather allows for it. I’ve run two half-marathons, a few 10K’s, and an obstacle course race.

But if we’re being honest here, I love to dance and lip sync. I’m not talking about professionally. I’m talking about acting out my own music video when no one is around. Sometimes in the mirror. Sometimes in the kitchen (best place to spin in my socks). Sometimes in my office at work when the door is closed and no one is watching. It’s weird, I know. But it’s fun. In my head, I’m a superstar!

Last, but not least, what is your favourite word?

Peculiar. I like the way it rolls off your tongue, especially if you have some sort of accent. Everyone says it just a little bit differently and I love that. Plus, I tend to describe myself as peculiar and whenever I do, no one ever disagrees with me. Sort of peculiar, isn’t it?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Congratulations on your debut release! We’re extremely excited for Finding Paradise, and we’re looking forward to reading Damaged Goods!

About the Author:vp

V.P. Ortiz lives, works, and breathes in sunny/snowy/beautiful Colorado with her loving husband, their two beautiful children, and their three fat cats. While her home may be in the Rocky Mountains, she left her heart somewhere on the island of Oahu, where she plans to retire someday in a tiny house with an avocado tree and free-range chickens. Besides reading any book in sight, her hobbies also include eating, dancing, lip syncing, and occasionally running until her husband has to pick her up eight miles away because she got lost and has a leg cramp.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, open internationally!

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Review: The Truth She Knew

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Title: The Truth She Knew [Book #1]
Author: J.A. Owenby
Publication Date: Sept 12, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.
For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

I finished this book and wanted to scream like WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ENDING!?!? I can’t even. WHY.

Lacey believes that she is possessed by demons because that’s what her mother says. And she also believes that her mother has a special relationship with God. Lacey believes that God tells her mother what she does when she’s not home, because her mother somehow knows everything.

Enter Walker, normal guy, normal life, relatively normal family. When he meets Lacey, he begins to show her that maybe her family isn’t “normal.”

As a whole, this book was both insanely what-on-earth and yet amazing. Lacey’s belief in her mother’s “relationship” with God is astounding – and it’s sad to think that there are people who live like that. If their family is all they know, they will never be able to tell what’s “normal” and what’s absolutely, totally, insanely wrong. Lacey doesn’t realize that her family is crazy simply because it’s been something that she grew up with, lived with, and has been reinforced through her sister and her mother’s “friend.” There are so many things wrong with Lacey’s perception of the world, and I think this book does a great job of showing how skewed it can be and how much of an impact family can have.

Note: I’m not saying her family is crazy ’cause they’re religious (I mean, I’m Christian, and I’m like 90% sure I’m not crazy…), they’re crazy and dysfunctional for very different reasons…

Lacey grew A LOT throughout this book, and her character grew to be better, stronger, more resilient. Then there’s Walker… Oh man. There’s so much about the second half of the book that I want to just toss out there, but it’ll spoil the book. BUT I WAS SO ANGRY. LIKE… F U R I O U S.

In part, I get why it happened, kind of. But it really flipped some of my initial judgements on their head. I actually got so mad at the end, and then the book was suddenly done. AND I WAS SCREAMING. Ask my roommate.

I mean, it’s one thing to have that happen and for the book to progress, but everything just hits the fan, and the book ends only like 20 pages later.

LIKE WHAT?

YOU CAN’T DO THAT — JHLAKJHFLKAJSDHKAJDH

Anyways, so the book ends – I fly to GoodReads, and I’m both frustrated and relieved to find that this is actually the first book in a series.

Now I’m waiting for the next book to release and am hoping that we see a lot more of Lacey as she tries to navigate the world with her new perspectives (and a few dashed hopes).

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.46/5

eARC obtained through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blitz: Shadow Fall

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Welcome to the Shadow Fall Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Are you ready? The shadow is falling, and the meteor is coming… Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey has arrived! You can get your copy now for the special release price of 99 cents, and be sure to meet us at the Facebook Party happening right now!

sfTitle: Shadow Fall
Author: Audrey Grey
Publisher: Blaze Publishing
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

The asteroid hurtling toward the earth will kill billions.

The Emperor and his Gold Court will be safe in their space station, watching from the stars. The Silvers will be protected underground. But the Bronzes must fight it out at the Shadow Trials for the few remaining spots left on the space station.

When an enigmatic benefactor hands Maia Graystone a spot in the Trials, she won’t just get a chance at salvation for her and her baby brother, Max: She gets to confront the mother who abandoned her in prison, the mad Emperor who murdered her father, and the Gold prince who once loved her. But it’s the dark bastard prince she’s partnered with that will make her question everything, including her own heart. With the asteroid racing closer every day, Maia must trust someone to survive.

The question is who?

Buy Links [SPECIAL RELEASE PRICE OF 99 CENTS!]:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads | Request A Review Copy

About the Author:audrey

Audrey Grey lives in the charming state of Oklahoma, with her husband, two little people, and four mischievous dogs. You can usually find her hiding out in her office from said little people and dogs, surrounded by books and sipping kombucha while dreaming up wondrous worlds for her characters to live in.

Author Links:
Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway:

Click the image below and enter to win one of the following prizes:

  • $15 Amazon GC (INTL)
  • The Ultimate Shadow Fall Swag Pack including mug, pen, button, tote, and bookmark! (US only)
  • Signed copies of Elise Kova’s Air Awakens Series: Air Awakens; Fire Falling; Earth’s End; Water’s Wrath; Crystal Crowned (US only)
  • Bookish Charm Bracelet (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Swag Pack (INTL)

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Book Blitz: The Breakup Support Group

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Welcome to The Breakup Support Group Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

tbusg-ebookTitle: The Breakup Support Group
Author: Cheyanne Young
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Goodreads

Synopsis:

After four years of first love bliss, Isla Rush just got dumped.

Any hope she has of winning her ex-boyfriend back is shattered when the town rezones her neighborhood, forcing her to spend senior year at a wealthy high school in the next town over.

With a broken heart consuming her soul, Isla can’t focus on anything, except maybe Emory Underwood—a ridiculously hot guy who dates a new girl almost every day. She can’t help but crush on him, even though it’s wrong.

When memories of her ex make her cry in second period, the school counselor sends Isla to a club that meets during lunch. The Break-Up Support Group is a collection of broken-hearted misfits who are all helping each other heal.

Just when Isla’s heart is finally on the mend, Emory shows up, forced to atone for all the broken hearts he’s caused over the years. While hiding her massive crush, she helps him understand the seriousness of breaking a heart.

In turn, Emory offers to help Isla get back on the dating scene by agreeing to be her fake date for the homecoming dance. Isla gladly accepts the ruse, because if anyone can make her into a desirable girlfriend, Emory can! There’s just one small problem.

Isla’s little crush on Emory might be exactly full blown. And a homecoming fake date with him could push her over the edge to possibly uttering the “L Word!”

Isla can’t afford another heartbreak so soon after the last one. She will have to resist his charms, refuse to look into those dreamy eyes, and above all else, not make the mistake of letting him kiss her.

If only she hadn’t let her guard down at the end of the night, under the light of her porch in a toe-curling kiss moment of weakness. And now, after months of Break-Up Support Group therapy, and with a heart fully on the mend, Isla has just handed it over to a guy who knows full well just how to break it.

Buy Links:
Amazon

Excerpt:

The first time Nate and I went to the movies was during eighth grade. His dad had picked me up and dropped us off since we weren’t old enough to drive, and I still remember how hard my heart pounded from the backseat of Mr. Mile’s Tahoe. Even over the country music his dad blasted everywhere he went, I feared Nate would hear my heartbeat doing jumping jacks and know I was freaking out. This was an official date after all. My first.

It was the start of December, and it was freezing cold outside. I wore a denim skirt and leggings in an effort to be cute, but the cold had me shivering like a maniac while we waited in line to buy tickets. And then thirteen-year-old Nate took off his jacket, a junior high letterman, and draped it over my shoulders. It didn’t do anything to stop the cold from crawling up my legs, but I was warm all the same. A boy had given me his jacket. I still have that jacket to this day, hanging somewhere in the back of my closet. It officially became mine on that first Christmas we spent together.

We weave our way into the theater, which is oddly packed. Even on a Friday night, this place is usually dead. The theater survives on grant money and Mr. Hasting’s massive trust fund.

The concession stand is whimsically lit up with an old-fashioned marquee hanging overhead. All of the items and prices are meticulously labeled with black plastic letters, and a strand of clear lightbulbs light up the border of the menu, the lights chasing each other around the rectangle. Nate stops at the back of the line, and I take his hand again, glad that we’re finally alone.

The smell of popcorn makes my mouth water. “Large popcorn with butter,” Nate says, taking his VIP member card out of his back pocket. It’s what gets us free concessions. “And two drinks.”

“Two?” I ask, lifting an eyebrow. The large popcorn makes sense—we usually get a medium, but I’d said I was starving. But one drink with two straws is how we’ve always done date nights.

Nate shrugs. “I want my own drink tonight.”

I don’t know why that stings, but it does.

“Is everything okay with you?” The words are out of my mouth, all nagging and whining at the same time. I instantly regret that I even asked. Especially when his reaction is anything but ideal.

He shrugs again and leads the way toward the theater on the left, popcorn in one hand and his own personal drink in the other. “I’m fine.”

My brows draw together as we walk. “You seem weird.”

“Well, I’m not.” He doesn’t even look at me. And when the movie starts playing, we eat our popcorn and we drink our separate drinks. And we don’t kiss, not even once.

Buy Links:
Amazon

About the Author:

Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, and collecting nail polish. After nearly a decade of working in engineering, Cheyanne now writes books for young adults and is the author of the City of Legends Trilogy. She doesn’t miss a cubicle one bit.

Cheyanne lives near the beach with her daughter and husband, one spoiled rotten puppy, and a cat that is most likely plotting to take over the world.

Be the first to know when Cheyanne has a new book out & get access to exclusive giveaways. Sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bO3qgb

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card + eBook copy of The Breakup Support Group!

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Book Blitz: Finding Paradise

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Welcome to the Finding Paradise Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

findingparadiseTitle: Finding Paradise
Author: V.P. Ortiz
Publication Date: Sept 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Mila Quinn is ready to finally move out of the college dorms into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Lowe. But when Ethan reveals a big secret, her world is suddenly turned upside down, stirring up old memories of love and loss. Completely torn apart, she boards a plane to Hawaii to escape for the summer.

Even though Mila wants to spend her time in paradise in isolation, fate has other plans when it drops sexy local Gage Madden in her lap. Hesitant at first, she agrees to let him take the reins on her island exploration. As Mila discovers the wonders of Oahu with Gage, it becomes harder for her to fight the budding attraction between them.

But behind the curtain of island adventures and undeniable chemistry, trouble is brewing where Mila least expects it. Secrets begin to bubble to the surface that could destroy her all over again. Will Mila find her paradise? Or will she leave Hawaii with another broken heart?

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

I stretch my legs out into the sand and lean back on my hands, soaking up the warmth of the sun like the sea turtles down the beach. “Thank you for bringing me here. This has been absolutely amazing.”

Gage covers my hand with his again. “Anything for you, Mila.” His deep voice is raspy and instantly heats up my skin more than the sun ever could.

Anything for you, Mila.

I toss his words around in my head, dissecting them and savoring them. My walls are crumbling, falling, falling, falling. This is what I want. This is what I’ve wanted since that first day on the plane. I wanted Gage. I wanted his hazel eyes to bear into my soul. I wanted his dimple to sink in every time he saw me. I wanted his full lips to touch mine. Even when I didn’t think I did, I wanted it. I wanted it all. I want Gage.

I want him to be mine.

“Mila.” Gage trails his other hand along my jaw, slowly, delicately, like he did earlier. “I’m sorry. I’m trying, but it’s really hard to hold myself back from you. I’ve never met anyone like you before. And I know that’s not what you want to hear right now. But I can’t leave here today without you knowing how I feel about you.”

He’s wrong. It’s exactly what I want to hear right now.

He leans closer to me and my breath quickens. I can’t turn away. I can’t stop this. And I won’t. I need this. Gage needs this. I need Gage. Gage needs me. He draws me in and I let him. Closer. Closer. It’s everything I’ve wanted for so long. He’s holding my heart hostage and I never want him to release it. His breath is on my lips and I close my eyes, holding back my regrets, letting him in–

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Author:vp

V.P. Ortiz lives, works, and breathes in sunny/snowy/beautiful Colorado with her loving husband, their two beautiful children, and their three fat cats. While her home may be in the Rocky Mountains, she left her heart somewhere on the island of Oahu, where she plans to retire someday in a tiny house with an avocado tree and free-range chickens. Besides reading any book in sight, her hobbies also include eating, dancing, lip syncing, and occasionally running until her husband has to pick her up eight miles away because she got lost and has a leg cramp.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of Finding Paradise! Open internationally!

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Book Blitz: To the Ends of the Earth

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Welcome to the To The Ends of the Earth Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

tteoteTitle: To The Ends of the Earth
Author: Skye Warren
Genre: Adult Romance
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Another rundown apartment. Another job that pays cash. Every new city it becomes harder to hide but I can’t stop running.
There are two men after me. One wants to save my soul. The other wants to claim my body.
Part of me wants Luca to catch me, even knowing what he’s capable of. An enforcer. A fighter. The only language he speaks is violence.
How far will he go to find me?
What will he do once he does?
A wild glance over my shoulder. The shadows are moving. I’m about to find out.
Start the Stripped Series Today: http://www.skyewarren.com/books/

Buy Links:
Amazon

Excerpt:

He gestures to the bed. “What do you think is going to happen tonight?”

That’s a loaded question. I don’t want to whisper my fears aloud. I’m afraid I might be right. “Whatever you want?”

My voice curls up at the end, turning it into a question.

He grunts. “Get underneath the blanket.”

This part I’m used to. It wasn’t so cold in Harmony Hills, but I know how to lie on my back, how to squeeze my eyes shut. I know how to stay completely silent no matter what he does.

There’s a soft rush of air as he lowers himself next to me. I feel his size like a looming shadow in the room, as large as a mountain. I’m a trickling valley stream, about to be crushed. Except he doesn’t lay his body over mine. He lies next to me. He pulls me close, until I’m half on top of his body, my head pillowed by his chest.

“Sleep,” he says.

My ear rests right by his heart. I can hear the steady thump thump. In contrast my heart beat’s a mile a minute. My eyes are wide open, looking at the plain white apartment wall. A wall I’ve seen a thousand times but never like this. Never cradled in the arms of a man who could crush me.

I’ve slept with a man before. The proof of that is in the bedroom.

But I’ve never slept with a man before.

I bite my lip. “How—”

“Go to sleep, little bird.”

It’s impossible. He smells like the outside, like ice and pine—with a metallic undercurrent that I think might be blood. His chest moves steadily with his breath. It’s like resting my head on the ocean.

And I never sleep well. It’s not the carpet that bothers me. It’s softer than the whitewashed wood slats in Harmony Hills. The memories haunt me most at night, when my hands aren’t busy, when my mind is still. That’s when I remember what Leader Allen did to me when everyone thought we were praying.

Luca’s hand moves over my hair, brushing softly, petting. The rhythm combines with the motion of his body, lulling me into a kind of trance. His muscles are brick hard. They shouldn’t be comfortable at all, but he’s hot. Burning. A rare comfort in a cold frontier.

I press my face into him, my very own pink and purple pillow. My stuffed unicorn in the form of a hard-muscled man. My hand clenches a fistful of T-shirt, holding him there.

“Shh,” he murmurs. “I’m watching over you. I’ll keep you safe.”

That’s the last thing I hear before the night falls away, replaced only with deep, dark waters. They swirl around me in an endless tide, back and forth, dreamless and warm.

Buy Links:
Amazon

About the Author:skyeprofileimage

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.
Author Links:

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway, open internationally. Enter to win a signed paperback of The Pawn (Skye’s next novel)!

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Book Blitz: The SnowFang Bride

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snowfangTitle: The SnowFang Bride [SnowFang #1]
Author: Merry Ravenell
Publication Date: Oct 11, 2016
Genre: Adult paranormal
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Synopsis:

Centuries of political games killed most of the female werewolves. Now only a few survive, and the Elders work to change the old ways of thinking.

Winter, the only daughter of the SilverPaw Alpha, finally meets the soul Gaia has chosen for her: Sterling, the cold, demanding, and entirely-too-human Alpha of the tiny SnowFang pack.

Thrust into a world of human wealth for which she was never prepared, Winter must become Sterling’s flawless wife and Luna from the moment she arrives. The city is full of threats, both werewolf and human, and Sterling’s past is full of secrets best left undisturbed.

When they are betrayed by those closest to them, Winter and Sterling embark on a dangerous game of brinkmanship that will change their lives, and the future of the werewolves, forever.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook

Excerpt:

So his little show was just to press my buttons? Press his buttons? Fine, I’d play along with that game and press all the buttons.

Slow and deliberate, I turned my head. My cheeks burned with what I was about to do. I swallowed the sudden lump of nervous giggles and daring. I shrugged my shoulders once. My dress slid over my arms, my breasts, until it caught on my hips. I gave the fabric a little push over my curves, and it fell into a pool of silk and sequins at my feet.

I stepped over the fabric, and gave Sterling an eyeful of my delicate panties and rump. This moment made it worth every bit of chafing suffered on account of the thong’s sequins and beads. I paused so Sterling could get a second helping, then sauntered into the bathroom for my shower.

I had to suppress giggles. Naughty giggles, nervous giggles, giggles that half expected him to storm in after me and put his hands all over the flesh that I had just paraded before him. I removed my bra and panties, tossed them outside the shower and waited to see what happened.

Buttons pushed. With both hands.

Sterling appeared about two minutes after I had taken up residence under the delightfully hot water. The giggles had passed, and the burst of maidenly nerves as well. Now I was just smug. So smug. So the brave Alpha hadn’t known what to do, hmm? He thought he got to call all the shots, hmm?

He started it, now it was his move.

The steam carried his scent. He smelled of desire, frustration, the musk of competitive spirit and rankled anger. I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply and took fierce pleasure in having provoked him so completely. The consequences were going to be hard to complain about.

“I can smell your smugness,” his tone was rough.

I laughed. “Oh, can you now, dear Alpha?”

His shadow moved outside the steamy glass. I turned my head just as he yanked open the shower door. He was not naked, but in his robe. His eyes remained rooted above my neckline, and his neck muscles ticked as they struggled to keep his gaze above my shoulders.

I smirked and taunted him, “You can look.”

He made a noise somewhere between laughter, frustration, and a curse. Then he slammed the door. It throbbed on its hinges.

“Am I too intimidating, Alpha?” I called over the water, then collapsed into snickers.

“You are taking too long,” he informed me with raw dignity. “I will shower in the guest room.”

“How cold a shower will it be, dear Alpha?!”

He slammed the bathroom door behind him.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook

About the Author:merry

Merry leads a heavily caffeinated lifestyle offset by the occasional 5K or 10K. She lives in the North Bay area of CA with her husband and fellow author, David, plus their two cats.

Author Links:

Twitter | Website | Facebook | GoodReads

Blitz-Wide Giveaway:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card | Open internationally | Ends October 27, 2016

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Book Blitz: The Surrendered

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Welcome to The Surrendered Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

surrenderedTitle: The Surrendered
Author: Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Dystopian
GoodReads

Synopsis:

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Buy Links:

Excerpt:

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A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”

He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”

I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”

“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”

“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”

He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”

I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”

Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”

My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”

I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.

He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”

Buy Links:

About the Author:case

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

Author Links:

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway
  • $15 Amazon Gift Card (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Swag Pack (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Ultimate Swag Pack (US Only)
  • Rise of the Dystopians Book Set (3 Dystopian Novels) US Only

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Book Tour + Review: A Mortal Song

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Welcome to the reveal for Megan Crewe’s new project – A Mortal Song, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

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Title: A Mortal Song
Author: Megan Crewe
Publication date: September 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.
Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess. As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

Review:

Okay, just to get it out of the way – there are characters named Haru and Jun – I actually grow to like Haru, and Jun is just a name mentioned in passing. That’s right, this is a book about Japan where the characters are Japanese (and Japanese spirits) AND they aren’t named Jun. Rare, right?

This story is about Japanese “spirits” called kami, who are trying to save their kind from an evil spirit. In order to do so, Sora and Takeo need to find the true heir to the kami throne to help defeat the evil spirit. On top of this, Sora needs to come to terms with the shocking news that she is in fact human, and what that means in terms of her relationship with Takeo, and her new band of human friends.

I found this to be a fantastic book about adventure, friendship, love, and self-discovery.

Although Sora has to learn how to cope with being a mere human, she doesn’t get too angsty about it – instead she is strong, resourceful, and open to seeing the world from a different point of view, a human point of view. An honestly, even without the powers, she is absolutely kickass throughout the novel.

To be honest, Takeo as a character was meh to me. He was like wallpaper, and I honestly didn’t see what Sora could be attracted to, save for their childhood history. His character could have also been like this because he was kami. Honestly, I loved Haru and Keiji so much more. As humans, they had more personality and more diversity in responses than Takeo, and they stole the show from him. I loved the characters, overall – they all really complimented each other well, both in skill and wit, and that really helped keep the story moving.

This book got a lot of things right – there was no instant love, but a beginning to something; there wasn’t a special snowflake, but an “oh-crap-I’m-not-actually-special-what-do-I-do-now!?” story line; and there was a lot of culture and time put into world building for the book. Granted, I found that the end was very abrupt and cheesy, the story itself is well worth the read.

The overall concept of the book was fascinating to me, as I’ve never heard of kami before. The concept was new to me, but I loved how it was executed and how it was brought back to the human level of understanding. There was a lot of introspection throughout this book, mainly done by Sora, and I found it to be pretty insightful.

Overall, definitely would recommend!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

eARC obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Link:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Indigo

About the Author:

Megan

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Join her newsletter for book news, recommended reads, and exclusive giveaways: http://eepurl.com/btE8mH

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • Japan Media & Treats Prize Pack

ENTER HERE!~

Book Blitz: Dragonfly Nightmare

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Welcome to the Dragonfly Nightmare book blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

31416150Title: Dragonfly Nightmare [Once Upon A Secret #1]
Author: Erin Richards
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Suspense
Publication Date: September 12, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

To be a normal teenage girl.
To forget about the past.
To fall in love for the first time.
Is that too much to ask?

Sixteen-year-old Allie Bailey just wants a break—a break from her overly-protected life. And Dragonfly Meadows summer camp is the answer. A summer away from her parents in the California Sierras with her best friend is exactly what she needs.

But once at camp, Allie notices that things are a little off. Paid excursions are cancelled and staff is replaced with shady new people. When the camp’s founder goes “missing,” Allie starts to worry. Unable to let it rest due to her past, she starts to investigate, enlisting the help of Logan Montgomery, her best friend’s older and adorably geeky brother.

When hauntingly familiar flowers appear in Allie’s cabin, she’s not sure what to think—has her past caught up to her? Yet, after Allie stumbles across a murder conspiracy and chases down the truth, she becomes a target. Pushing through her paranoia and fear to find strength, it’s up to Allie to save herself and the campers from a deranged killer before it’s too late.

Buy Links:

Excerpt:

My life turned a corner today to a kickass summer. A glorious day sliding past go and collecting $200 on the highway to my freedom, two days after the ultimate Independence Day. I wanted to shout my bliss to the world, but I refrained from killing my mother’s eardrums any further. Nerd, much?

For the first time in my short sixteen years, I was headed to summer camp. How stupid exciting was that? For others it was no big deal, or even lame. For me, camp meant paradise, considering I’d begged my parents to let me go for the last four summers and got the big, fat no every flipping time. It wasn’t even about money. Just major overprotectiveness due to The Incident That Shall Not Be Cloned.

Although I was joining the Teen Leadership Program as a Cabin Leader, I was coming apart at the seams to revel in the whole camp experience. Not all would be work, though. My best friend slash partner in crime, Laurel Montgomery, and I had dibs on fun. Escaping the house for two weeks was a major step toward more freedom in my life. I just wished my parents held my same excitement. The thought deflated my insane joy.

My gaze bounced to Mom’s white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. I brushed my fingers over her thigh. “It’ll be okay. You have to let me go sometime.” The four black beads rolled on my leather cuff as I withdrew my hand from her leg. I spun the beads around the band, ignoring their significance for a change.

“I know, Allie. I’m just—”

I curbed the urge to pull more of my hair out before baldness set in. “We’ve hashed this out. You’ve checked out the camp a zillion times. Carla Amadori’s family has owned the joint forever. Laurel and Logan love her, and you spoke to all the other parents.” Overkill if you ask me. “And you know Laurel and Logan will kill anyone who even looks at me wrong.” Even though I kidded, I mentally kicked myself for dredging up that bit of paranoia.

Four years ago on my twelfth birthday, a psycho abducted me and held me at gunpoint for twenty-four hours. My father’s investment brokerage had fired the freak and he flipped. I knew the man from attending various company events. I was lucky he didn’t lay his grubby paws on me or physically harm me. The mental damage was bad enough. Now everyone looked suspicious, and I couldn’t go anywhere without spying one person who looked like a deranged kidnapper. After counseling, I’d learned ways to cope with the trauma, but I still watched my back whenever I left the house. Seriously, I had developed eyes in the back of my head.

The Incident shaped my teenage existence in so many ways. Worst of all, it royally curtailed my freedom. Four smothering years later, because Laurel and her seventeen-year-old brother, Logan, my appointed watchdogs, talked my parents into letting me go, promising they’d stay with me 24/7, I was on my way. Without Laurel’s nagging, I’d be stuck at home this summer with the swimming pool, my cat, and the housekeeper eagle-eyeing my every move.

For the most part, I had buried the memories of the abduction. When I dwelled on them, I made myself believe The Incident was a fictional movie about a girl named Alex. Now, I just wanted to appease my mother before she changed her mind and locked me up at Casa Bailey for the summer. The gates to my prison had opened. By the skin of my dead body, I wasn’t going back inside.

“Happened a long time ago, Mom.” I fingered the bangles on her right wrist. “You have to let it go.” You have to let me go. “Everything will be fine.”

“I know. I know.” Mom’s fingers loosened on the steering wheel. “You have your phone?”

Groaning, I knocked my head on the headrest. “For the millionth time, you know we aren’t allowed to bring them.” The camp was electronic-free, back to nature, home to crappy cell reception. I had no problems living off the grid for two weeks. I wasn’t big on social media or texting anyone except Laurel anyway. The parentals also forbade me to engage on social media, so my phone was simply a phone.

“Right.” Eyes on the road ahead, Mom dug through her purse and withdrew a new smartphone. “Take this.” She stuck it in my hand. “Keep it with you at all times.” A charger landed on my lap.

“Are you kidding me? Mom!” I held the phone as if dog crap coated it. My nose wrinkled. “Paranoid, much?”

“No, I’m not kidding. Don’t tell anyone you have it. Not even Laurel or Logan.”

“You planning to call me every flipping day?” I stuffed the phone in my hobo purse and clutched the bag to my chest, my irritation fading as we neared the school.

“Watch your tongue.” She wheeled the car into the parking lot.

We passed through the familiar scrolled wrought-iron gates of my private school. The campground had a deal with the San Francisco school to use their bus to cart local kids to the camp. Otherwise, you wouldn’t catch me dead or alive on school grounds during the summer.

Vehicles jammed the small parking lot, ignoring the white parking lines. Logan stood by the Montgomery’s silver van. He’d morphed into a taller, sinewy geek with pale skin sorely needing a tan. Maybe he’d buy one at camp, far, far away from me.

Ugh. Why’d he agree to come this summer? Seeing him set off a tumble of thoughts inside my head and an odd crick in my heart I wanted to avoid. I’d once had a tiny crush on the gangly, too-tall-for-his-body loner. Into mixed martial arts, he had a black belt which made him king of the geek squad. Laurel, Logan, and I used to hang like birds on a wire at their home when my parents worked, which was all the time. Then the abduction happened. Next thing, I had the plague as far as he was concerned. He’d disappeared without a word to boarding school in Arizona, and then abruptly returned home this past December for his final semester of junior year. My crush evaporated along with many emotions and feelings that year. We’d avoided one another since his return, both of us burying our heads in the sand. Logan had much ado about the kidnapping, and neither of us had confronted each other about that gruesome event. Talk about lame times ten. Blame, resentment, guilt, sorrow, it all boiled up into a mixed stew when I thought about him. Confusion skewered me most of all. I repeat, ugh.

Buy Links:

About the Author:2994743

Erin Richards lives in sunny Northern California. She writes young adult fiction and adult romance, where you’ll typically find her characters in peril, whether based in reality or a contemporary fantasy setting. Magic, murder and mayhem are all in a days’ work! In her spare time, she enjoys reading, photography, and re-landscaping her backyard, even though she hates digging holes…unless she’s burying fictional bodies! Erin also confesses to a fascination with American muscle cars…and reality TV shows. Keep up with Erin’s latest news, exclusive content, and giveaways and subscribe to her Newsletter.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Blitz-wide giveaway!

  • Sterling silver dragonfly pendant; dragonfly rearview mirror car charm, and dragonfly notebook (US only)
  • $25 PayPal cash or iTunes gift card (winner’s choice) (INTL)

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