Saturday, May 31, 2014

**Sidekick Showcase ~ #44**

Sidekick Showcase (previously known as Sidekick Saturday) is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jaclyn at JC's Book Haven. There are many secondary characters that are as great as the primaries. In some cases, the sidekicks actually steal the show and you like them better than the heroine or hero. Maybe they didn't have enough page time for how great they were. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Choose a sidekick *or someone other than the hero or heroine* that you would like to put in the spotlight that fits in this week's type

• Share a picture (if possible) and information about the character
• Give the title and author of a book the character can be found in
• Please don't include too many spoilers when describing why the character is such a great sidekick
• Put your link in the Linky thing and comment

May's theme ~ In honor of Mother's Day we'll pick moms, grandmas, strong female mentors, etc. 

My pick this week:
Harmony Hudson
from Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers Series  

I'm picking Harmony for my last pick this month. It's been awhile since I read this series, but I know I admire Harmony. She is a good mom - smart, kind, loving, tough when she needs to be, fiercely protective, generous (she took on teaching Kaylee how to be a bean-sidhe), AND she bakes. Like all the time. ;) What more can you ask for in a mom?

"Can you hear me, hon?" she asked, and I nodded, so grateful for her presence that I didn't think to question how she'd known she was needed. "Your voice is fadin', but I can sing all night." She faced Marg then, and seemed to stand taller. "You're not leaving with her soul. Or the other one's either," she said, glancing at Sophie's soul where it still bobbed sluggishly in the air over her body.
-Harmony & Kaylee, pg. 204, My Soul to Take

"Go wake up van Winkle and see if you can get him to eat something. I'm making apple-cinnamon muffins."
-Harmony to Kaylee, pg. 27, My Soul to Keep

"Laissez faire parenting, Mom. We talked about this." He handed me a soda, and Harmony let me go to scowl at her son.
"That was before I spent two weeks nursing you through withdrawals from a substance more dangerous and addictive than anything the human world has ever even seen. I think that's earned me a little latitude, even if you are old enough to vote."
-Nash & Harmony, pg. 57-58, My Soul to Steal

Friday, May 30, 2014

**Author Spotlight & Interview ~ Starcrush ~ Justine Erler**

When I first read about Starcrush, the debut YA novel from Justine Erler, I was so excited! I have to admit to having a weakness for aliens...and alien rock stars?!? *swoon* So it's my pleasure to share with y'all about Starcrush and an interview I did with Ms. Erler.

Starcrush by Justine Erler
Starcrush Series #1
Release Date: December 19, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance

The Perfect Boyfriend … is an Alien.

What is the best things in life were on the verge of ending? What is a single thought -- or a single kiss -- changed everything? What if you realized that everything you knew -- everything you believed -- was suddenly wrong?

The emotionally-captivating debut novel of Justine Erler's Starcrush series introduces Genna Savoy, a psychically-gifted high school senior who finds herself torn between rival aliens who look...spectacularly human.

In the first half of Starcrush, Genna meets Byron, deliciously aloof and rock-god cool. The second half unleashed Elon, drop-dead gorgeous with a killer smile. Each represents the opposite ends of extreme, scary-wonderful in their own way. In the aftermath of these encounters, conflicted anti-heroine Genna Savoy struggles to accept her own feelings as the reality of her perfect boyfriend...slips away.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Like my protagonist, Genna Savoy, my interests include fashion, music and art. Within reasonable bounds, my adrenaline-fueled lifestyle in suburban New Jersey is represented in the book.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I decided to be a writer, although writing was something that I pursued academically in college. I didn’t actually find my “writer’s voice” until much later. There’s a natural evolution that happens in a writer’s life and
eventually, your personal brand of expressivity will find you…or an idea for a story won’t leave you alone. 

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I have a variety of interests outside of writing, which include reading, live concerts, museum exhibitions and tracking fashion trends. I’m also obsessive about films, especially Indie and foreign films. When I’m not home, a place I love to be, I divide time between New York, Los Angeles and Florence, Italy.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way, either while growing up or as an adult?

Too many to count, but the stand outs are classic, gothic literature, brimming with fiercely intelligent heroines and shadowy, conflicted anti-heroes. Jane Eyre is an emotionally-charged masterpiece, as well as Wuthering Heights. On some level, I think every romance writer is trying to find Heathcliff or some page-ready, personal version of him that can satisfy our own aesthetics. 

How did Starcrush come about?

It was an idea for a story that wouldn’t leave me alone… 

It started with the search to find an alternative to the vampire love triangle, which is a compelling concept, showing little signs of waning. Still, the topic of extraterrestrials always held a special fascination for me, so it seemed natural to pursue this interest in a fantasy context. The fact that “other worldly” life is speculative, yet increasingly probable, enabled a wide range of exciting possibilities. 

With vampires, the rules that govern their behavior, etc. are grounded in literature and popular culture, apart from a few recent variations. It’s quite different for aliens because I didn’t have to compete with reader expectations, which allowed for more creative license in developing the characters and storyline.

Why are readers going to love Starcrush?

It’s the ultimate alien hang-out book…or maybe the only alien hang-out book. It hits all the trigger points of the reigning vampire novels, while tapping into popular culture, music and fashion. It’s totally modern and fresh in this respect. Everything that was cool about vampires is even cooler with high-tech aliens. The style is definitely rocker-edge and street-wise but with a touch of sophistication that recognizes the reader’s intelligence. . 

It’s also a relatable story, written to evoke sci-fi, in the truest sense, without transporting the reader to other worlds or using typical space props. The fantasy elements are deliberately underplayed; the injection of “normal” in the “paranormal” context imbues the story with an insidious tone that drives intrigue and suspense, particularly in the second half of the book. 

The story itself is intensely romantic. It exposes emotions that live just below the surface. The extrasensory abilities in the book allow the reader to get inside a character’s mind, with the opportunity to see how subsequent actions are often inconsistent with the way
people think. To this point, characters are complex, in terms of behaviors and motives. 

Obviously, physical appeal is emphasized, yet I wanted to avoid the typical descriptions associated with male attractiveness…for the simple reason that I didn’t want to talk about what everyone else was talking about. 

Is anything based on real life experiences or is it all purely imagination?

I don’t think my imagination is that good… so YES, I wrote from real life experience. The situations, the conversations…the characters in all their delicious complexity are rooted in my own impressions, something I might have seen, heard or felt. There were
times when I forgot the connection, and only remembered when I tried to find the words. The emotions, the ones that don’t have a name, the ones you no longer feel in the same way, are important because for many of us they still determine how we respond to situations in the present. 

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite parts of the book are the Elon chapters and scenes. I love his expressivity, his arm-sleeve tattoos, and how he never kisses Genna without his hands on her face. He’s the kind of guy that’s effortlessly cool, eager to embrace both love and life which to his way of thinking are really the same thing. I also enjoyed writing his scenes because they were a stark contrast to Byron, who was written as a more dark, brooding, slightly gothic character…fantastically aloof, as opposed to Elon, who is always engaging, always present. 

What project are you working now?

The Starcrush series has a long story arc, which will keep my writing fingers nimble for some time. Currently, I’m working on the sequel, which will expand more on minor characters and develop the potentially dystopian elements of the series. 

However, I will be launching a new adult vampire series shortly (how can I resist). Here again, I’ll be looking for ways to change up how vampires are typically portrayed, while still keeping them in a relatable and hip context.

I also have a pure romance project in the works and a middle grade book series that I will be working on with my daughter, which I’m very excited about.

Justine Erler is a business consultant with a background in health care management. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband and daughter. Starcrush is her first novel of the series, combining Books I and II, and was written while in search of the perfect vampire-alternative novel.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

**Release Day Review ~ Hiding in the Spotlight ~ Karen Booth**

Hiding in the Spotlight
Hiding in the Spotlight by Karen Booth
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

Alex Halford's rock-star husband, Glenn, steals away in the middle of the night, leaving her with their two boys, a mountain of debt, and one person to turn to -- his lifelong friend and band mate, David Callahan. David helps Alex pick up the pieces of her shattered life, happy to have any time wtih the woman he's loved for seventeen years. Every moment with her is ripe with opportunity, and every last idea running through his mind would destroy his brotherly bond with Glenn.

Out from under Glenn's thumb, Alex can see the person she was before marriage, finding feelings for David she thought she'd left behind in high school. A single kiss and the floodgates open, giving her new hopes of happiness. But when David and Glenn's band has a chance to be back on top, David must convince Glenn to return. With every passing day, success comes closer, Glenn's ego inflates, and David and Alex find it more difficult to hide. One misstep and the secret comes out, forcing David to choose between his life's work and the woman he doesn't want to leave behind.

There's just something about Karen Booth's storytelling that makes her books so inherently readable. There's little to no angst, no nail-biting tension - just comfortable characters and an engaging story. Hiding in the Spotlight is another worthy read added to her repertoire.

Alex Halford awakens one morning to find that her husband, Glenn, the man she's been married to for the last 17 years, the only man she ever been with, has up and left her and their sons. She and Glenn have had a troubled marriage for years - he is a rock star, after all - but she wasn't expecting him to disappear. And he left her with no way to pay the bills. So Alex turns to David Callahan, Glenn's best friend and the guitarist for their band. David, being the man he is, immediately steps up to help. And Alex and the boys end up living with him.

David has been in love with Alex since they were seventeen. He was too slow in making his move and Glenn beat him to it. So he's suffered in silence for almost two decades as he watched his best friend treat the woman he loves terribly. Now that Glenn is out of the way, he feels like he may finally have a shot at love and happiness.

Alex and David together? Oh, this is the good stuff. David stepped right in, helping with the boys and being supportive of Alex without hesitation. I loved seeing this as all the interaction between Glenn and Alex was calculated, on Glenn's part, due to Glenn's sizable ego. I also adored seeing Alex really blossom under the love and care David showed her. She made some startling revelations about herself, her relationship with Glenn and the feelings she'd always harbored for David. The way in which the relationship developed and progressed felt very organic and real. It's all in the details and Ms. Booth did an excellent job making sure her characters took into consideration all the various elements that their relationship would affect. Of course, all is fair in love and war and divorce can be war - especially when an egomaniacal rock star  find out his best friend and wife have been intimate. But all the characters behaved in ways befitting their personalities. ;)

One of the things I always enjoy about Ms. Booth's stories is that she includes children and they are in no way one-dimensional or gratuitous additions. Page and Tyler are well developed and add texture and realism to the story. Another thing I adore is the story revolving around the music industry - in this case, a band who's had it's hay day but is seeing a revival. Ms. Booth also incorporates some of the elements surrounding a band, such as managers, touring, groupies, egos, and the media.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hiding in the Spotlight - I just realized that if you take the first letters of each word in the title, it spells HitS. And yes, Ms. Booth HitS the top of the charts with this one. The story includes all the HitS from David's band. And the love story between Alex and David HitS all the right notes. Okay, enough of that silliness. :) Ms. Booth, keep 'em coming...I'll read 'em!

Karen BoothKaren Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. An early preoccupation with rock 'n' roll led her to spend her twenties working her way from intern to executive in the music industry. Much of her writing revolves around the world of backstage passes and band dynamics. 

When she isn't creating fictional musicians, she's listening to music with her kids, honing her Southern cooking skills or sweet-talking her astoundingly supportive husband into whipping up a batch of cocktails.

**That's What HE Said ~ #5**


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.

This week's That's What He Said is from Rock Chick Renegade by Kristen Ashley.

Rock Chick Renegade (Rock Chick, #4)

"You told me I as home to you and I get it. You're home to me. I've never had a home. I like the one I found and I'm not losin' it. No matter what." -Vance to Jules, Loc 7465

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

**Cover Reveal ~ Madly, Deeply ~ Erica Crouch**

In case you didn't already know, I'm a fan of Erica Crouch. So I'm thrilled to bring you the cover of her upcoming release, Madly, Deeply. I'm really excited about this book. And I think this cover is gorgeous. What do y'all think?

Madly, Deeply by Erica Crouch
Expected Release Date: June 2014

It was many and may a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea...

Annaleigh Wells and William Calloway had a love even the angels envied. It was as if the universe spun them toward one another, like the stars crafted their souls to fit perfectly together.

With a wedding on the horizon, fate had a change of heart. Whispered warnings from phantoms and morbid nightmares darkened every night - but even visions of the future couldn't save Annaleigh.

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's poem Annabel Lee, Crouch's period romance Madly, Deeply tells the tale of love so great, it cannot be contained in just one life.

Erica Crouch is from the always colorful city of Baltimore. Currently, she is studying English and Creative Writing with a specialization in Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the cofounder and head of editorial services at Patchwork Press. Her debut novel, Ignitewas published June 2013. The e-novella sequel, Entice, was released in November 2013. The last book in the series, Incite, is expected Spring of 2014. Along with the YA series Ignite, she is working on publishing a New Adult series, titled the Undying series, with the first installment, Cut, due 2014, and a Robin Hood gender swap retelling - titled the Feathered series, a duology (Robin Hood) due out in 2015. When Erica isn’t writing, she’s reading an overwhelming stack of books, watching an obscene amount of Netflix, and procrastinating.

**Blog Tour Promo ~ Taint ~ S.L. Jennings**

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for S.L. Jennings' Taint. My stop includes all the details about the book, a few teasers, and a giveaway.


Taint by S.L. Jennings
Release Date: May 20th 2014

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself two things:
Who am I?
And, what the hell are you doing here? 

Let’s start with the most obvious question, shall we? 

You’re here, ladies, because you can’t f*ck.

Oh, stop it. Don’t cringe. No one under the age of 80 clutches their pearls.
You might as well get used to it, because for the next six weeks, you’re going to hear that word a lot. And you’re going to say it a lot. 
Go ahead, try it out on your tongue. 
F*ck. F***ck.

Ok, good. Now where were we?

If you enrolled yourself in this program then you are wholly aware that you’re a lousy lay. Good for you. Admitting it is half the battle.

For those of you that have been sent here by your husband or significant other, dry your tears and get over it. You’ve been given a gift, ladies. The gift of mind-blowing, wall-climbing, multiple-orgasm-inducing sex. You have the opportunity to f*ck like a porn star. And I guarantee, you will when I’m done with you.

And who am I?

Well, for the next six weeks, I will be your lover, your teacher, your best friend, and your worst enemy. Your every-f*cking-thing. I’m the one who is going to save your relationship and your sex life.

I am Justice Drake. 
And I turn housewives into whores. 

Now…who’s first?

S.L. JenningsMost known for her starring role in a popular sitcom as a child, S.L. Jennings went on to earn her law degree from Harvard at the young age of 16. While studying for the bar exam and recording her debut hit album, she also won the Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking invention of calorie-free wine. When she isn’t conquering the seas in her yacht or flying her Gulfstream, she likes to spin elaborate webs of lies and has even documented a few of these said falsehoods.
Some of S.L.’s devious lies:
v  Dark Light
v  The Dark Prince
v  Nikolai (a Dark Light novella)
v  Light Shadows- coming in 2014
TAINT- releasing in May 20, 2014
Meet the Liar:
Twitter: @MrsSLJ

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

**Review ~ Captivating Bridge ~ Michelle Mankin**

Captivating Bridge by Michelle Mankin
Tempest Series #3
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Release Date: May 22, 2014
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased my own copy.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms

“War” Jinkins is that guy. The bad one. Tempest’s ex front man, an arrogant rock god. The only thing larger than his ego is his capacity for self-destruction. His bad attitude has cost him. His woman. His best friend. His band. Everything.

Shaina Bentley is that girl. The good one. Hollywood’s pink candy-coated sweetheart. The star of Pinky Swear, television’s top rated teen show. She’s been practically perfect since that horrible day. But she’s starting to crack under the strain of being everything to everyone. He’s a one man island. She’s a fragile captive soul. Is love a current too dangerous to cross or will it be the bridge that brings them together? 

*Author note: Each book in the Tempest series features a different band member and can stand alone.* 

Dammit, War. Your story was every bit as captivating as I thought it would be. I wasn't sure if there really were any redeeming qualities in you. Shaina found them all. You had me worrying you were going to ruin it all - in typical War fashion. Thankfully you pulled your head out before it was too late.

War - we know all about Warren Jinkins. The hell he's lived through, the trouble he's made. But he's deeper than that. The attitude he projects, the image he conveys are all part of his hiding what he really feels. The day he's wondering if it's all worth it - if he should just give it all up - is the day he meets Shaina Bentley.

Shaina has trouble of her own - invisible scars that run deep. She's living her life in order to please everyone else - keep her parents happy and together - and she's tired.
"It was a lot of pressure being the key to everyone else's happiness." -Shaina, Loc 193, eARC
She's ready to move beyond the image she's created, finally be the grownup she is rather than pretending to be the little girl her parents and fans see her as. She's just unsure she has the strength to do it. And as she's contemplating these heady things, she meets Warren Jinkins - on a bridge.

The emotions evoked as I watched these two broken souls building a bridge toward one another were stormy. War and Shaina have been to the same dark places and understood one another in a way no one else could. Their bridge building wasn't pretty or smooth - nothing with War ever is. But I loved the way in which they reached one another. Shaina made War realize he was worthy of someone's love...
"When she looked at me that way she made me feel as if I were somehow the best thing that had ever happened to her.No one had ever looked at me that way." -War, Loc 2224, eARC
...taught him what love really is. And he was right when he said
"I definitely got the better deal in this partnership." -War, Loc 5221, eARC
War filled in all the cracks in Shaina's soul. He gave her strength to finally live her life for herself. Together they really are stronger.

The love they built also helped War to see the error of his ways in regards to Tempest as well. And as much as I was feeling about all that was happening between he and Shaina, it was the interactions between he and Bryan that were powerful. The change in War - his emotional growth and the maturity he showed was heartwarming.

One of the things I admire in Mankin's writing is her bringing awareness to social issues and mental health issues. Captivating Bridge addresses depression and suicide prevention in a touching way.

War's story was an incredible one. He and Shaina came so far. I look forward to seeing them again as Tempest's story continues. I'm not sure whose story is next but I'm kinda hoping it's Dizzy's.

**Captivating Bridge is **ONLY 99 CENTS** during it's release week.**

**Teaser Tuesday ~ #20**

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Warren “War” Jinkins is that guy. The bad one. Tempest’s ex front man, an arrogant rock god. The only thing larger than his ego is his capacity for self-destruction. His bad attitude has cost him. His woman. His best friend. His band. Everything.

Shaina Bentley is that girl. The good one. Hollywood’s pink candy-coated sweetheart. The star of Pinky Swear, television’s top rated teen show. She’s been practically perfect since that horrible day. But she’s starting to crack under the strain of being everything to everyone. He’s a one man island. She’s a fragile captive soul. Is love a current too dangerous to cross or will it be the bridge that brings them together? 

*Author note: Each book in the Tempest series features a different band member and can stand alone.* 


I watched her as she listened, statue still, her lips parted and her eyes locked on mine. I saw the thrill of discovering something new and worthy dawning in them. 
And I understood, because the same thing was happening to me.
-War, Loc 1761, eARC

Sunday, May 25, 2014

**Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged ~ #20**

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged (gifted or won) plus a recap of the previous week's reviews, upcoming reviews, and any other bookishness I want to share. :)

Here's what was added to my ereader and/or my physical library this week:


Songs of Submission: Sequence One (Songs of Submission, #1-3)Rock Chick Renegade (Rock Chick, #4)ORPHEUS: A Vampire's RiseRed & Wolfe, Part II (Red & Wolfe, #2)With You (Tear Asunder, #0.5)
I guess I'm stocking up for summer vacation! ;) As y'all know, I LOVED Beg and Kick, so I went ahead and one-clicked the Songs of Submission Volume 1 so I could get a little farther into Monica and Jonathan's story. ROCK CHICK RENEGADE is self-explanatory. ;) I enjoyed Vanessa Fewings' Enthrall Sessions so much, I one-clicked Orpheus to see what she does with vampires. I was so excited to receive my pre-order of Red & Wolfe 2. Y'all, Red & Wolfe is fantastic. I'm looking forward to this second installment. And Naomi @Nomi's Paranormal Palace is responsible for my one-clicking With You and the Angelfire box set. They're both only **99 cents** 


Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)Inked Armor (Clipped Wings, #2)Broken Embrace (Embrace, #3)Lost in Starlight (Starlight Saga #1)

I won print copies of Clipped Wings and Inked Armor in the Inked Armor Giveaway from Andrea @The Bookish Babe. Thanks, Andrea!! I received Broken Embrace and Lost in Starlight for review.

Upcoming Reviews
Captivating Bridge by Michelle Mankin
Hiding in the Spotlight by Karen Booth
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi