Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: The Weight of Words by Georgina Guthrie

Aubrey Price is in the final months of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Bright, witty, and fiercely independent, Aubrey works part-time for the college dean and has her sights set on graduating with distinction. When she meets Dean Grant's son, Daniel, the TA in her senior Shakespearean studies course, a shared love of the Bard's works and an instant mutual attraction draw Aubrey and Daniel together.

Unfortunately, a strict anti-fraternizing policy--made more perilous by a black mark on Daniel's record--keeps them apart. Against this academic backdrop, Aubrey and Daniel navigate their way through a steamy courtship, their forbidden romance aided, abetted, and sometimes thwarted by a colorful cast of friends, family, and classmates.

4 Great Stars

Review by Nicole Lorenzo

Aubrey Price is halfway through to completing her undergraduate degree at Toronto College. She works part time for Dean Grant and is starting her Shakespearian studies class where she can excitedly immerse herself into Shakespeare’s works. When she gets a glimpse of the new TA in the class Aubrey realizes she’s going to like the class a whole lot more. Daniel Grant, with his blue eyes, mussed hair and impossible dimples is the epitome of sexy, but he is also a teacher’s assistant and Dean Grant’s son. Knowing that there are strict no fraternizing rules doesn’t stop Aubrey from wishing things could be different, especially when she senses that Daniel has an interest in her as well. At first Daniel is very hot and cold with Aubrey and she doesn’t know what to make of it, but then one day Daniel lets his guard down and his true feelings for Aubrey are revealed.

“I really like you. I shouldn’t like you the way I do. It’s wrong, and I know it’s wrong, but I can’t seem to help myself.”

Daniel knows he should stay far away from Aubrey, but he can’t seem to get her out of his mind and he knows that they could be amazing together. They decide to keep their relationship quiet until the semester ends and Daniel is released from his TA position. But there’s something else besides the no fraternizing rule between teacher assistants and students that has Daniel nervous about his relationship with Aubrey. Something from his past has him guarded but he still can’t seem to stay away from her no matter what the ramifications may be.

It was as if we were attached by an invisible current, dangerously compelling us to move toward each other.

Aubrey and Daniels attempt to have a relationship and keep it quiet for the remainder of the semester proves to be difficult. When a terrible misunderstanding has Daniel second guessing everything he thought he knew about Aubrey, jealousy and false assumptions can potentially end their relationship before it can really start.

“This was not heart ache. An ache is a dull pain, and there was nothing dull about this; shards of glass were being repeatedly thrust into my heart, twisted, and then violently pulled out.” 

 Can a relationship based on keeping secrets and half-truths really stand a chance? Can Aubrey and Daniel make it through to other side and have the real relationship they both desperately yearn for? I desperately want them to! I was sucked into this story from the first page and now I eagerly await the second book to learn the fate of Daniel and Aubrey. The chemistry between these two is great, and the fact that they have to avoid intimacy and keep their relationship a secret makes every stolen moment they share stand out. Aubrey’s and Daniel’s mutual love for Shakespeare, and the way they banter back and forth using quotes really added a special quality to story. I love the incorporation of Classic Literature in Contemporary Romances, it gives that something extra you don’t find in every other book you read. The Weight of Words is a beautifully written forbidden romance that’s witty, sweet and will have you waiting rather impatiently for the second book which is called Better Deeds than Words.
 “…I’ve spend the last ten years of my life studying words – marveling in their power, their weight. Never once in all those years did I have an inkling that the weight of so few words could be so crushing.”

Review : Curve by Nicola Hudson

** A debut novel from a British writer**

A New Adult novel suitable for readers aged 15+, due to strong language, sensitive themes and sexual content.

Cass is seventeen and never been kissed, let alone touched, when two boys become interested in her. Flynn is the older brother of her best friend, yet Cass has never considered him as anything other than that. Rob is the school sports star and becomes obsessed with Cass when he loses a bet because of her. As the relationship between Cass and Flynn develops, Rob's interest becomes increasingly malevolent. One night changes Cass's life and threatens to destroy her relationship with Flynn, as well as her future.

4 Star Review
Reviewer Allison East

This is a new adult novel, based on high school relationships. High school is hard, especially for Cass. She isn’t like one of the slutty girls that are portrayed in her class. Some of the jocks in her class make a bet that Rob, head jock, (or head jerk as I like to say) that he can get Cass to show her goods to him. Cass has a great best friend, Neve, and her brother Flynn, who try to keep her safe the night of the dance/bet. Cass also has some feelings for Flynn, as more of a big brother type. Cass has always had a low self-esteem, so she has a hard time accepting that Flynn LIKES her for who she is. And Flynn has a hard job ahead of him convincing Cass that he’s had these feelings for her for a while now.

I’ve never so much as kissed a boy before and you have got me ready to give you everything so quickly – it’s scary how much I want you. So sorry if it’s not the response you were after. I’m doing the best that I can.” 

The relationship between Cass and Flynn is cute, and unpredictable. I really loved their relationship, and how mature they seemed for being in high school. He also protects her like the alpha male he is, which I love. Cass shuts out everyone- because of an incident that happens, and I get it, I do. But Flynn was clueless and didn’t understand what was going on with her.

Flynn goes back to university- leaving a defenseless Cass behind. And something happened one night as she was closing up shop. Now, Cass has to figure out how to do easy things again; like go outside. She is fearful of everything around her, and that causes her to shut Flynn out.I love reading books written by British authors. The slang is totally different, and I did have to Google a few things. But with that being said, this book was very good. I loved the plot, it was great. I wish Cass could have been a little stronger, and not have pushed Flynn away, but I do understand why she did what she did.  I love the relationship between Cass and Neve as well as Cass and Flynn. They seem very fitting for the setting -a high school romance. 

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Review: Being With You by Hazel St. James

How much is too much for a battered soul to handle?
Tristan Hart is determined to get his life back together, without anyone holding his hand. Being bipolar doesn’t mean he has to be dependent on others, and he’s going to prove that come hell or high water. As he works one foot in front of the other, something keeps pulling him backwards. There are days he feels close to knowing what is holding him down, but then it slips away with his next breath.
Fate throws him a curve ball when he finds himself needing help from an unlikely source and his life tips upside down…yet again. How many times can Tristan hit rock bottom before it’s too much?
Has fate paved his road to redemption alone, or is there someone else that is meant to be by his side?

4 Fabulous Stars

Review by Jen Hagen

When we left off with the first book, Fighting for You, Tristan had ended his relationship with Peyton because he felt that he was being too dependent on her.  In the second book, Being with You,  Tristan continues to be self loathing and doesn’t want to be dependent on his medications to make him a healthy man.  He wants his life to be stable without all the medications.  Tristan’s nightmares have continued and his panic attacks immediately after awakening from the nightmares have escalated in their frequency and their intensity.  But when he awakes, he cannot remember what the nightmare was about.  He thought life without Peyton would be better as he would maintain some of his own decisions and dependence.  This is not the case, in fact things have gotten worse.


…he was in a habitual circle of dulling the constant repeat of thoughts in his brain with strong mood-altering pills, and as of late, he was adding shots of booze to his nightly regime.


Tristan’s life is not heading in the direction that he envisioned when he forced Peyton out.  His drinking occasionally turns into binges, and his best friend happens to be somebody that he is having regular sex with. He seems to have dropped his dependence on Peyton and ran into the arms of the next available woman without a second thought.   This made me very frustrated with Tristan.   Eventually something has to give in his life and when it does, it brings his world to a stand still.  Tristan just can’t seem to get ahead in his life.  He continually is taking the proverbial one step forward, two steps back, but it seems like his steps backwards are much larger than your normal step.


He could only handle one thing at a time right now, and having his ex-girlfriend whom he was still in love with, but who smothered him, his roommate, whom he was casually sleeping with…all in the same room at the same time was way more than his currently overtaxed brain could handle right now. 


Now Tristan has added one more thing on his list of things to conquer in order to be what he considers a whole man.  The reality of it can either push him further into his depression and self-loathing, or he can face this life-altering challenge with a new-found resolution to find his father who walked out on him as a child.


“What if it’s the final nail in my coffin and it snaps me into pieces that won’t go back together again?”


Tristan’s story will continue to be told in a third installment.  Tristan must learn to accept that he cannot always be independent and will need the comfort and love of others  to get him through the latest detour he has been handed.  He now has strong friendships and love in his life, things he never has had before, and this may be what he needs to accept the challenge head first and come out on top.

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Review and Giveaway: Last Hit by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick


I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all bespoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.


I’ve been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Homeschooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best in people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man that has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk..and also, my life.

Mini Excerpt:

I watch her through my bathroom window. I've placed one of my four rented chairs in here for that express purpose. I tell myself it is not creepy, as the American girls would say, because I watch everyone. But really I watch only her.

I cannot see everything. I've never seen her nude. I've never seen inside her shower. Smartly there is no window there. But I can see her bedroom and her living room and beyond that, with my scope, her kitchen. I know her schedule. When she gets up in the morning, when she returns to her apartment. If she were a mark, I could've killed her a dozen times over by now and been in the wind.

She throws her bag onto her bed and then lies down next to it. It takes many muscles to smile, more to frown but only a few to pull the trigger. I peer down the scope and place my crosshairs over her forehead. Puff, dead.

4 "I Loved It" Stars
Review by Jen Hagen
Daisy is a naïve 21-year-old who has just carried out her thoughtfully planned escape from her agoraphobic father.  She has been planning this escape for 6 years and has been stashing away any spare money she can sneak away from her father, including purchasing name-brand items on her grocery store trips only to exchange them for the generic brand to get more cash in her hands for her escape.  Her father is deathly afraid of being outside his home and keeps Daisy under his watchful eye at all times, not allowing her out of the home without his permission, and not allowing her any of the modern-day technologies that we all take for granted.  She has only had a taste of what it could be like living without constraints by reading romance novels. 


Nick is a hitman.  He was raised by the Russian mob and trained to be a killer from the moment they found him on the streets.  He was forced out of the organization when he was 15.  He had done many killings in those young formable years and has been on his own since then, taking orders for hits.  Although he is very good at taking out people, he suffers from not being exposed to everyday activities in life and social interactions.  He has no education but seems to be well versed.  His only relationships with women have included the pay-for-services type.   Nick has been watching Daisy through the scope of his gun and has an attraction to her.  He never plans to carry out his attraction and is happy to watch her from afar, until the one day when he is caught in the laundry room of her apartment building. 


Nick is now in unchartered territory.  He doesn’t know how to interact casually with a member of the opposite sex.  He is very observant and notices that she does not dress in clothing that fits properly and is able to deduce that she cannot afford fine things.  He quickly forms a plan to enable him the opportunity to be able to purchase these things for her.  Nick handles himself about as well as a bull in a china shop.


Maybe if I visit a whore again I will pay her to teach me to flirt.


From this point on Daisy and Nick discover that both of them are not cut out for flirting.  I found myself relishing in their inadequate attempts at flirting.


I’m also glad that I’m learning to flirt with Nick instead of someone else, because he seems just as bad at it as I am.  Like we’re learning together.  Maybe he was homeschooled too.


Nick has yet to tell her what he does for a living and he realizes that he is spinning himself a web of lies and all of the deceit will eventually catch up to him.  He is enjoying the time that he can spend with Daisy under the pretense that he is a normal guy who does a very shady dealings. 


My time with her might end swiftly, but I want her to remember me.  The more firsts I experience with her, the longer I will be imprinted in her mind.  Enough firsts and she will never forget me.


I enjoyed Nick and his weakness of being able to speak fluently with a member of the opposite sex.   He was fun to get to know and I found myself speaking his “da, nyet, and allo” in my mind with what I felt was a perfect accent.  (Probably more like with a Norwegian brogue).  The writers had an ability to describe each character’s movements through every scene as if I was the one in the story.  When Nick would walk through a bar, I walked through it with him and I could visualize the exact way the scene was set up.  Not every story is able to do this for me.   I smiled at Nick and Daisy’s attempts to become involved in a relationship and how they both were so uncomfortable when it came to speaking about their feelings.  It was easier for them not to speak, but rather to convey their emotions for each other in actions.


The first half of the book was more of Nick and Daisy telling their story, finding their mutual attraction,  and working the attraction into each other’s lives.  This is the part of the story that I enjoyed the most.  The second half took place on Nick’s home court, and the story took a more action-packed sequence and I found myself drifting away from the characters.  Granted, I still was caught up in Nick’s quest for a new life that didn’t involve killing people but I wanted to go back to their simple elementary courtship; however, Nick’s bedroom abilities are far from elementary.   As awkward as Nick was with his romance, he still was a lovable guy.


Last Hit did not end on a cliffhanger and can be read a stand alone.  The secondary characters will be the focus of the next book due out in spring 2014. 

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Release Day Blitz: Damian by Jessica Wood

Damian by Jessica Wood
Release Day: 12/22/13


Meet Damian Castillo. The man, the legend, the heartbreaker. As a self-proclaimed man-whore, Damian doesn’t believe in love or commitment. In fact, he can’t remember the last time he’s had feeling for a woman that went beyond hot, no-strings-attached sex. The only things he cares about are his bar, his appearance, and his needs.

But then he meets Alexis.

Meet Alexis Blythe. A small town girl that has lost a lot of love in her life. Wanting to leave her past behind her, she moves to San Francisco looking for a big change. Yet, despite everything she’s gone through, she still believes in true love.

But then she meets Damian.

When Alexis shows up at his bar, Damian’s caught by surprise. She’s different. She’s sweet, innocent, and feisty. But above all, this woman didn’t respond to his charm and piercing-blue eyes the way every other woman did. To Damian, she’s his ultimate challenge.

Could Alexis be the girl that will break through Damian’s wall of perpetual bachelorhood without getting hurt? Or will Damian remain true his ways and break Alexis’s heart and her hopes of true love?

It was 9:10 p.m. on a Thursday night and two hours into my shift. I had just made three gin and tonics for a group of girls at the bar when I saw a ridiculously hot redhead walking toward me. Definitely a 9, I thought. Also, she looks familiar.
She leaned across the bar and seductively whispered into my ear. “Hey Damian.” I saw her full breasts heave as I felt her hot breath against my face.
“What’s up, beautiful?” I caught a scent of her floral perfume. She sat down on the bar stool in front of me. I looked at her and gave her the signature Damian smile.
“Have we fucked before?” I asked. I saw the hurt look on her face, but she quickly played it off.
Yes, we must have fucked before.
“Uh—No. No, we haven’t,” she said, avoiding my eyes.
Liar, I thought.
“So what can I get you?” I asked as I grabbed a clean glass from under the bar.
“A Screaming Orgasm,” she said seductively as she licked her lips.
I smiled and knew very well she was not just referring to the cocktail.
“I want it in a shot glass, and I want it Damian style.” She bit her lower lip and gave my body a once-over.
I chuckled. Of course. A Damian style shot was something I had came up with when I opened Damian’s. It had became an instant hit. It involved taking the shot you ordered as a body shot off the bartender you ordered the shot from. I got a lot of business from the Damian style shot, and I loved having girls take shots off my body.
“My name’s Courtney, by the way,” she offered. I wondered if she had been waiting for me to ask.
“Gotcha. So where’d you like the shot from?” I asked as I made the shot.
She gave me a meaningful smile and bit her lower lip. “From your mouth.”
“Sure thing.” I turned away from her and leaned my head back until my head and shoulders were flat against the bar table. I then placed the bottom of the shot glass into my mouth and waited for her to take it.
She looked down at me with lust in her eyes, and I knew I must have fucked her hard. And now she was coming back for more. She purposefully placed her hands on my chest as she bent down to take the shot with her mouth. She knocked the shot back quickly and removed the shot glass from her mouth. She then grabbed my face as she bent back down and kissed me hard with her lips. This usually happened after a Damian special shot off my mouth, so I was not at all surprised by her aggressiveness. I opened my mouth and her tongue eagerly explored me as moans escaped her lips.
When Courtney finally went up for air and released me from her grip, I stood back up and turned back to her to give her a wicked smile. I love my job.
And then my entire body tensed and my heart stopped when my eyes locked onto the last person I had expected to see.

Author Bio

Jessica Wood writes new adult contemporary romance.
While she has lived in countless cities throughout the U.S., her heart belongs to San Francisco. To her, there’s something seductively romantic about the Golden Gate Bridge, the steep rolling hills of the city streets, the cable cars, and the Victorian-style architecture.
She loves a strong, masculine man with a witty personality. While she is headstrong and extremely independent, she can’t resist a man who takes control of the relationship, both outside and inside of the bedroom.

She loves to travel internationally, and tries to plan a yearly trip abroad. She also loves to cook and bake, and—to the benefit of her friends—she loves to share. She also enjoys ceramics and being creative with her hands. She has a weakness for good (maybe bad) TV shows; she’s up-to-date on over 25 current shows, and no, that wasn’t a joke.
And it goes without saying, she loves books—they’re like old and dear friends who have always been there to make her laugh and make her cry.
The one thing she wished she had more of is time.

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