Thursday, July 28, 2016

New Release Blitz ~ Cocky Biker ~ Faleena Hopkins (@faleenahopkins)

Cocky Biker - A Stand Alone MC Romance Novel
My father is Congressman Michael Cocker. He f*cking hates that I live outside the law. I'm Jett. I don't care that I come from old money. The Ciphers MC - they're my chosen family.

We are servants ONLY to our code, our mission. We live it. Breathe it. Search for it. The same force that drives storms, tornadoes and hurricanes, propels us. Like them we arrive without warning and level sh*t, to erect something superior.

A loner, I never expected on the most dangerous of our missions to meet an irresistible feral cat. I nicknamed the kitty, Sunshine, and she is anything but.


My name is Luna, not Sunshine. I am darkness. Only one thing matters to me...killing the man who murdered my mother when I was ten.

I don't have time for Grey Eyes - a f*cking biker named Jett Cocker. No matter how ridiculously hot he is, or how skilled at playing my emotions like a violin.

My WHOLE LIFE I've been gearing up for this. I've finally found the murderer. Now. Is. My. Moment. So why am I wasting time with Grey Eyes in this motel room...why is he making me forget my pain?

_____________________
The Cocker Brothers of Atlanta, Georgia, have earned their nickname -- The Cocky Brothers. Their daddy taught them to be real men. Their momma told them, "Hold out for a different kind of woman." They have one thing in common: ARROGANCE.

A brand new Bad Boy Romance Stand-Alone book series. Six brothers. Six books. Meet Jett Cocker. Book 2.
Excerpt

“Neither do I,” I breathe as he leans deeper in. Grey Eyes is so dangerously close to my mouth that I can feel his heat. 

“Neither do you what?” 

“Have a master.” I could use a good fuck, though. “And I don’t want one, either.” 

“Every woman wants a master.”

“Not true,” I whisper, fighting him because I’m stubborn but inwardly knowing he doesn’t mean equality. He means in the sack. And he’s right.

“Deep, deeeeeeep down, she does want a master, Sunshine. She wants him to take charge. Make her pant his name as she quivers underneath him.” 

With his eyes all hooded and his naked chest lightly touching the tips of my breasts through my jacket and shirt, Grey Eyes lowers his hand. I follow it, unable not to look. He hovers thick, calloused fingers from riding, just short of my jeans’ zipper and crooks his middle finger as though it were about to be inside me. He’s almost touching me there. I’ve stopped breathing.

With a low, slow rasp, he continues to tease me as we both stare at those fucking fingers of his. “Every woman wants a real man. One who knows how to touch her…here. And that man, Sunshine, that man she’d call Master.”

His eyes crawl up my body, locking with mine as I press the back of my head into the door, wishing he’d touch me so I could punch him. Or grab the back of his head and eat him alive. Whichever came first.

“Baby,” he murmurs, “…this is a fucked-up situation. I want you. But I’d never take you against your will.” He kisses my nose like he did this morning, but this time real slow. “However…if you gave yourself to me, you’d thank me for it.” 

He leans in to kiss me but drops down without doing so, grabs my backpack and flashes away from me, pulling my gun out. 

I explode, “What the fuck!?” pushing off the door and coming at him. “Give me that!”

He jumps on the bed and holds it up. “Now what’s this for, huh?” 

“You tricked me!” 

“Yup.” 

I chase him around the bed, totally helpless. I’m not about to tackle him outright. That weapon is fucking loaded.

“GIVE IT BACK!”

He grins. “You sound like my brother Jeremy when I found a love letter from his ex-girlfriend! Now, now, Sunshine, stop trying to grab me. You said it was never gonna happen. Can’t change your mind just because I got ya all wet, baby.” 

YUP...that's me.

I had a Yamaha 80 when I was 10. A Kawasaki at 22, and a Suzuki at 31.

This story Is extra close to my heart because I'm a biker at heart. And damn if one day I don't buy a Triumph. ;) 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Beyond the Books ~ Brandee Who?


Welcome to Beyond the Books. This post was inspired by Lexxie @Unconventional BookviewsUp Close and (Un)conventional, who was inspired by Cuddlebuggery. It's meant to be a way for y'all to get to know me better on a personal level ~ Beyond the Books. ;)


*************

So, I didn't actually fall off the face of the Earth - or a plane of the blogosphere. It's just been one busy summer. I've taken two trips to Texas - visiting both sides of our family. I took an incredible trip to Grand Lake, Colorado, with Robyn. I've been working on staining our house (there are few months this can be done and it *must* be done). I've made so many batches of apple butter (being sold at our local farmers' market with all proceeds going to the high school instrumental music program) that I may never want to eat it again. Tomorrow, our family is taking a trip to the southeast - Sky's graduation gift - as we're following Sherman's March to the Sea (she's a Civil War history buff). When we return, I'll have 2 weeks until school starts for my younger kids and a trip to Portland to drop off Sky for her first year of college. In that respect, this summer has been emotionally difficult. My baby is leaving and I find myself in a mom-unique position of being excited beyond measure as she embarks on this new journey and yet, I'm also incredibly sad that she's leaving the nest. So I've been spending as much time with her as possible. All this activity has made for little time for reading and honestly, that makes me crabby! *ha*

At this point, I've realized maybe I should have taken the summer off from blogging but I'd already scheduled so much - thanks to mini blog-ahead - so I just let it go. However, I've spent very little time visiting any of your blogs. So it's here I must thank you all for continuing to visit me here. And apologize for my absence at your blogs. But also ask for your patience - I will return to visiting  and commenting and commenting back in a very few short weeks. Meanwhile, know that I appreciate and love y'all and am so grateful for your support. Also know that since I follow y'all via email, I *do* read your posts whether I make it by to comment or not.

As a show of my appreciation for your support, I'm hosting a raffle. This one is for a mystery box of books along with some handmade bookmarks from Braine (@TalkSupe) and myself. This particular raffle is for those of you who've visited and commented all summer. The winner will be chosen via a random number generator and I'll announce the winner when I return from my trip. 

I'll be doing another raffle at the end of August so if you want to be entered in that one, just stop by and comment over the next month. :D

Thanks again, y'all. You have no idea how much your continued support means to me. I'm so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful book/blogging community!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Review ~ Give Me Something ~ Elizabeth Lee

Give Me Something (Give Me Something, #1)Give Me Something by Elizabeth Lee
Give Me Something #1
Release Date: March 3, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3 Bookworms
Challenges: #BloggerShame, #CleanSweep, #ShelfLove
Goodreads

Synopsis
Here's the deal...I learned a long time ago that sometimes you have to use what you've got to make things happen. What I happen to have is a pretty smile, long legs and the ability to make men believe anything I say. Before you get on your high horse and start judging me, can you honestly say you've never batted your lashes at some guy for a free drink at the bar? That's what I thought.

Keep that in mind as I tell you my story of how I took it one step further. My story of lies, deceit, manipulation and love. Yeah, love. Believe me, it fits. Especially, when you factor in Nick and Tucker - one had my heart and the other one wanted it all for himself. Which one? Well, I can't tell you that. It would defeat the purpose of the story. If I'm going to fill you in about me, Lila Garrison, and my life as a con artist you're going to need to know all the facts, including the ones about the two guys who made me want to give up the life of fancy clothes, expensive jewelry, fast cars and easy money. Because sometimes, one person can give you something that's more valuable than all of that.

If you're still interested, stick around. Just remember, I'm pretty good at convincing people to do what I want, so if by the end of this whole thing you feel worked over, don't say I didn't warn you.



I think I'm a jaded NA reader. Maybe I would have enjoyed Give Me Something more 3 years ago? I don't know. I wanted to love it but in the end, it was just an okay read.

What didn't work:

  • The heroine. Lila wasn't likable - at least in the beginning. I might have been forgiving of her actions but the reasons behind them boiled down to greed.
  • Nick. Normally I'm just fine rooting for the bad boy but I didn't like him. He was manipulative, deceitful, and greedy.
  • Predictable. Within the first few chapters, I had it all figured out. There was only one small twist I didn't already know at the reveal.
What did work:
  • Lila...eventually. She eventually showed a lot of personal and emotional growth. I appreciated that she saw the error of her ways and realized a lot she'd been doing was wrong, even if there were some good intentions behind some of her actions.
  • Tucker! I LOVED HIM! He's just a good guy. He was made out to be a manwhore but I never saw it. He was loyal, stable, witty, and charming - a good ol' country boy.
  • Lee's writing. It flows well and is very readable. She was able to sway my opinion of Lila, and to a very small degree, Nick, and that's impressive. And even though I knew where the story was going, I wanted to see who the characters got there.
Despite not being over the moon with Give Me Something, I'd absolutely read Lee again.




Friday, July 22, 2016

Audio Review ~ One Second ~ Dannika Dark

One Second (Seven, #7)One Second by Dannika Dark
Seven #7
Narrated by: Nicole Poole
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease

Goodreads

Synopsis
Lexi has faced personal struggles, but nothing has prepared her for the most perilous battle of her life. Shifters are on the brink of war as Northerners target Colorado in an attempt to infiltrate the borders. Texas winds up on the hit list, and the Weston pack prepares to fight for their land...and for their lives.

Austin's courage is put to the test when rogues want to seize his land and slaughter his pack. But that's not all he's facing as two shocking revelations turn their lives upside down. His love for Lexi is unwavering, but their future is uncertain.

Will the local packs set aside differences to fight together, or will this be the end of peace among Shifters?

Stand witness to the epic conclusion of the Seven series.




One Second was the epic ending I was anticipating. I don't think Dark could have done any better with ending this series. I've loved every installment and to have this final one focus on the couple it all started with was perfect.

Lexi and Austin are once again the focus, and I was thrilled. Their love has only grown stronger as has their pack. Facing normal obstacles - growing their pack businesses and their family - would be enough for any alpha couple. Facing a possible war - what they've been worrying about for years - might push them over the edge.

Besides having a story revolving around Lexi and Austin, Dark delivered on elements I adore in this series:

  • suspense so nerve-wracking I hated not being able to listen constantly
  • pack dynamics via all the Cole brothers, their families, pack members as well as other Shifter packs interacting
  • an exciting story
  • parallels between Shifter society, other Breed, etc., and society around the world today. I believe I've said before that I appreciate Dark drawing comparisons between how Shifters, etc., were treated historically and currently to how prejudice and bigotry affect our society.
Nicole Poole once again delighted me with her narration. Her distinct character voices and ability to keep the pacing perfect as well as convey every emotion has made her one of my favorite narrators.

One Second was everything I was hoping it'd be and more. Dark is absolutely one of my favorite authors and I look forward to more from this world.




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Books & Crafts #5 ~ #BookBlogger #CraftCircle



Welcome to Books & Crafts, a craft circle composed of book bloggers, a sporadic meme where we share our other creative pursuits aside from reading and blogging. Everyone is welcome to join, just add yout tag/label links below and you're good to go!


***

I've been dying to share this craft with you but since it was a gift to someone who reads my blog regularly (my blogger wife), I had to wait until after I'd given it to her. As y'all may or may not know, I got to meet Lexxie @(un)Conventional Bookviews for the first time in real life last year at RT in Dallas. We had lots of pictures and since I scrapbook (along with my bookaholic friend, Denise) she and I decided we'd make Lexxie a scrapbook with the pictures we took there and also add in pages for her to use for our trip to BEA this year. Here are a few pictures at a 2-page spread we worked on, as we were working on it.








Here's a few pictures of the finished product:










Denise and I were really happy with how it turned out. And I *think* Lexxie loved it. :D




Do you craft too? Wanna get in on the fun? Just add your link below. And don't forget to check out the other hosts' crafts! :D
(I had problems with the linky - I've included it below. BUT if it doesn't appear correctly or doesn't work, head over to Talk Supe and link up there. Thanks!)


Monday, July 18, 2016

**Sky Reviews ~ House of Leaves ~ Mark Z. Danielewski**

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Release Date: 2000
Genre: Horror fiction, Romance, Satire, Postmodernism (it defies genre. None of these describe it.)
Source: Bought at B&N
Rating: 5 Bookworms

Synopsis: 
Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth — musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies — the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children.
Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices.
The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.

***Sky's Review***
I had originally intended to write a House of Leaves review only after reading the book a second time, but I decided that my summer reading list is so extensive I may not get another read in soon. Also, my first impression may be valuable. Who knows.

Judging from the back cover, many people have tried (and, in my opinion, failed) to describe House of Leaves. It really defies brief description, since the book is filled with numerous and complex plotlines and riddled with detailed nuances. I am of the opinion that one must read this book multiple times in order to fully understand its many facets. This review is accordingly lengthy (sorry!!)

It begins with an introduction by Johnny Truant. His best friend’s neighbor, a strange old man named Zampanò, has recently died. The police report that he died simply of old age, but Johnny can’t ignore the three marks in the floor near Zampanò’s head. Also in the old man’s house is Zampanò’s life work in the form of thousands of bits of paper filled with writing. Here lies, among other pieces, The Navidson Record -- a critical look at a house owned by the Navidson family. Strangely, despite the remarkable length of Zampanò’s essay, nothing he writes about actually exists in either the fictional or real world. Johnny, without really knowing why, begins to transcribe Zampanò’s hefty tome. This is where things really start to go downhill.

Danielewski brilliantly navigates multiple plotlines. As the story progresses, the narrative alternates between Johnny’s annotations and life and the essay-style Navidson Record. The footnotes are often extensive and at times the text is fragmented between pages, interspaced by other information, and even arranged in a circle.
Along with being quirky and intellectual, this book is very dark. The Navidson family finds itself in a very strange house. The inside their house is ¼” bigger than the outside. But more importantly, within lurks an enormous labyrinth with ever-changing walls and an ominous growl. As he transcribes the work, Johnny’s mental health slowly deteriorates. He put the effects of the book best in his introduction:
Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you’ll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You’ll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you’ll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you’ve got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name. And then the nightmares will begin.
This book was truly amazing, although not a light read. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it made me think, and I definitely plan to read it at least one more time. If you’re in the mood for something creepy, intensely intellectual, emotional, and generally complicated, I would definitely recommend this book. But be warned -- this book is not easily forgotten.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Review ~ The Empty Jar ~ M. Leighton

The Empty JarThe Empty Jar by M. Leighton
Release Date: May 8, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Gift from Naomi
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2016NewRelease
Goodreads

Synopsis
Three months touring Europe.
Romantic. Dazzling. Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter...

We couldn't have known it would work out this way.
No one could. No one could've guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.

Yet so, so beautiful.

That's what sacrifice is--beauty and tragedy.
It's pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.
Our true love story.




I knew when I first started The Empty Jar it was going to be a book for which I'd need tissues. As it turned out, I read with a constant lump in my throat, my eyes always brimming with tears. I felt, even before I read Leighton's acknowledgements, that this was a deeply personal story. There was a depth of emotion that could only come from personal experience. It made Lena and Nate's story that much more moving.

The Empty Jar is a story of Lena and Nate - their journey of love and self-discovery. It's a journey of sacrifice and strength, of trust in themselves, each other, and fate and faith. Above all, it's a story of keeping your jar, both literal and metaphorical, filled with memories and love. It's gut-wrenching and heartwarming. It's a lovely story told lovingly.

My only issue with the story is that there are places where the writing could have been tighter. Although this did lend itself to the personal feel, I felt it bogged down the story at times. However, the story overall shone as brilliantly as a jar full of lightning bugs. Thank you so much, Naomi, for sharing this story with me!



Thursday, July 14, 2016

That's What HE Said #66 ~ Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #47



That's What He Said is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies @Chapter Break. Here's the deal: every Thursday, post a line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. Keep in mind, these are direct quotes from dialog in the books. The quote doesn't have to be romantic - just something our hunky hero said to his lucky lady. Be sure to link up over at Chapter Break as well.


My pick this week for That's What He Said is from:

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

***

"On the surface, and I'm just being honest here, I see a smokin' hot woman with the most passionate eyes, deep pools that reflect her mood."
He nuzzled the sensitive spot under her ear, making her shiver.
"On the inside, I see a woman who is witty and clever, who is using ten percent of her brain to work in a coffee shop when she is clearly capable of so much more."
He moved to kiss just under her jaw as he gently nudged her backward into the sand.
"And I see a woman I really wanna kiss again, and I'm kinda hoping she'll let me."


*~*~*~*~*~*


"Licorice?" He offered her the pack of chewy, red candy.
Harper took a piece. "Discreet way of keeping my blood sugar up?" She took a bite of the sticky rope.
"Nope. Just love red licorice and wanted to share. Not liking it would be a deal breaker on the whole doing-your-tattoo thing."
Harper laughed. It felt good to release some of the tension that had been building inside.
"I happen to love it, though I like black licorice better."
He pointed to the door. "That's it. Get out of my studio. Black licorice is one step from devil worship."
"Kind of extreme view, don't you think?" Holy cow, had she just heard herself giggle?