Thursday, 5 March 2015

Review ~ Fighting Silence (On the Ropes #1) by Aly Martinez

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 Stars

“I had already been drowning in the ocean of life. Every gasp of air was a struggle. Just as I would breach the surface, filling my lungs with hope and determination to make it through another day, I was forced back under – harder every time.”

I have to admit this is my first read by Aly Martinez but I can easily say it will not be my last. I am a sucker for friends to lover’s stories and this book was no different. From the time that we were introduced to these two you could tell that they had a unique bond, a bond that was the forever kind, no words were necessary, actions always spoke loudest.

This book was real, life is a real battle sometimes and this shone through Aly’s words, the fight to stay together, the fight to remain together as a family and the fight in the ring are one of the same. The fight to be “normal,” the fight to be accepted, the fight to live and the fight to love and be loved, everything is a battle but battles are meant to be won and by the time I had finished this book, my heart felt it had survived a huge one.

This was such a beautiful story that will have you empathising, sympathising and most importantly swooning. Neither character was perfect, neither came from a good background but the common denominator with these two was that they did not let it define them, they found their outlets, their safe places and for these two it always boiled down to the same thing, each other.

Eliza used to escape her home life, she found a dilapidated house that was marked for demolition, but she used it as her escape, her fortress, a place that she could be alone and do what she wanted. Her parents never noticed her missing, nor seemingly cared which for a thirteen year old was hard to stomach. But she loved her haven and spent as much time as she could there. One night Till climbed through one of her windows and from that day on a friendship was born. At first words were not spoken, both were content with the companionable silence, but slowly but surely, they communicated, they trusted each other and both look forward to and cherished each other’s company.

“No more windows. No more pretending.”

Till was struggling, his father was off the scene and his mother was a feeble excuse for a parent, so it was left to him to bring up his brothers and for a thirteen year old, that was no easy task. Some days he just needed to get away and he found solace in Eliza, these two needed each other.

As they get older life changes and as Eliza goes off to college Till panics about being left behind. He is scared of losing his soul mate, the one person he could always rely on, the only person that was there for him when he needed, one night before Eliza departs they finally cross that line and give themselves to each other completely, but for Till it was bitter sweet…it meant the end.

“…because one thrust later – without the use of hands – I claimed Eliza Reynolds final first. And every. Single. One. Of her lasts.”

With any friendship that was born from a solid foundation such as theirs you know that these two were destined to be. Their lives may have taken different paths but sometimes life has a way of making those paths cross once again, maybe being older and wiser is what these two needed, but when their paths finally intersect once again, you could tell that the spark was still there and I for one was begging them to give in and see where this relationship took them. Olive branches had to be delivered, forgiveness had to happen but once these two get back on the right track, love took over and that is what I loved about this book and this is where the story really begins.

“I fell in love with a man whose fantasy is crawling through my window to escape reality. All the while, my fantasy is walking out that door to navigate reality by his side.”

Till and Eliza were such strong characters in their own right, both could be stubborn at times but they bought out the best in each other. They were each other’s foundations and their anchor. Till was trying to do everything himself, he wanted to prove that he could be that person for his brothers, but money and work were necessary problems that needed to be overcome and it took a lot for him to finally accept Eliza’s help. The relationship that Eliza had with the brothers was fantastic, I could picture this family unit in my head, they were loyal to each other and looked out for each other, every one of them had their part to play which only lead to a happy, cohesive family unit.

“You’re not hungry for more in life. You’re fucking starving.”

I cannot express how much I loved this book, the writing style and the plot lines had me hooked from start to finish and I just didn’t want it to end. The character connection was perfect, the emotion was there in spades, and it was powerful and raw. This book took over my life for those few hours and those boys have wormed their way into my heart and my head. I cannot wait for Flint’s story and I just know that it is going to be even more emotional that this one. I don’t know if my heart could take it. I loved this dude, so I will be eagerly anticipating the next instalment.

“And I am unquestionably serious about spending the rest of my life with you.”

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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review ~ The Deal (Off Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 Stars

“Living well and being happy is how we get over the shit in our past.”

I have to admit I am a sucker for college books, when you get to my age you like to re-live your past and a fun and fabulous college experience is something I never had, so I live vicariously through these types of reads and boy did I live while reading this one.

I loved everything about this book, the characters, the writing and the story. While the storyline itself may not be unique, the way it was delivered certainly was. This is a beautifully written NA college romance where the characters spring to life before your eyes. The way that Elle Kennedy has written this book, will transport you back to your college campus living the life and walking every step with these characters. You will smile every smile, you will laugh every laugh and you will shed every tear. Written in dual POV of both Hannah and Garrett means that you cannot help but connect to these characters on every level and it won’t be long before both of them have taken a permanent residence in your heart.

“Exactly how old is your penis?”

“He’s twenty, like me…But he’s way more mature than I am. What about your lady canal? Is she wiser than her years, or is she…”

Hannah was a beautiful character both inside and out. She had dealt with a lot in her past and was trying to build a new life for herself. Everything was a struggle, especially with money, but with hard work and determination she was a straight A student, majoring in music and was just as talented behind the mic as she was on a philosophy paper.

I fell in love with Hannah, while you would have expected her to be the meek and timid type; she actually had guts, balls and determination. She may have blushed like a tomato at any innuendo or while in the company of boys but that only made her all the more endearing. You couldn’t but be sucked into her charm, her honesty, her integrity and everything else in between.

Garrett, oh my god, this man had me swooning. For a guy that had never done romance and was the college lothario, when he fell, he fell hard. Despite his one night stand reputation, no relationships, no girlfriends’ mantra at least he had the balls to admit that Hannah was different and embraced it. He happily gave up his man card and it was endearing to read. You couldn’t help but champion for these two, but with two novices, you always know that they may have a bumpy road ahead.

“I never expected her. Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them…”

Garrett never had the best start in life either and he also had his troubles and problems to deal with. Whereas before he would just bottle it up and never told a soul, Hannah was like a truth serum, both to herself and Garrett and to watch these two open up to each other tore at my heart strings. These two trusted each other implicitly and because their relationship was borne of friendship and trust you couldn’t help but hope they would make it.

This book was beautifully balanced, the wit and banter between Hannah and Garrett will have you smiling and laughing, these two really clicked, they were totally down with each other’s humour and both gave as good as they got. This was unique for Garrett, he had only been wanted for being a hockey god and for being his father’s son, but Hannah was someone he had found himself and wanted to be with him just because he was Garrett.

“…but this time it’s different. Because it’s Hannah saying it, and she’s not just any girl. And because I know that when she says she loves me, she actually means me – Garrett – and not Briar’s hockey star, or Mr Popularity, or Phil Graham’s son. She loves me.”

Garrett was fiercely loyal and protective, like I said above, once he went in, he goes all in and gives it everything. He may have been cocky and arrogant at times but it was all in jest, waggly eyebrows and all and you couldn’t help but fall for his charm. It is both their personalities that really brought this book to life and the sizzling chemistry between these two was palpable and radiated off the page.

“I don’t look back these days. I only look forward.”

This is my first read by Elle Kennedy and it certainly won’t be my last, I just loved everything about this book and I cannot wait for Logan’s story. Unrequited love is a bitch and I cannot wait to see where his story is heading now that the girl he lusts for is most definitely taken.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Release Blitz ~ Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Sustain by Tijan

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Book Description:
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I had a simple life.

I worked two jobs, made ends meet, and hung out with my mom and twin brother. The other part of my life was about avoiding him, but when SWAT raided my boyfriend’s home, that was the last straw. The boyfriend got tossed and to help me keep busy, my brother talked me into joining their old band again, but I had to be honest. It wasn’t a hard sell. Playing drums was in my blood. I used to be addicted and that craving hadn’t been satisfied in three long years. The only problem was their lead singer.

It was him.

The drums might not have been the only thing I was addicted to. I think I was still addicted to him too.
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 (Bri's pov)

Luke hit a jarring note on his guitar below, drawing me from the past and back to reality. Seriously. I’d been ready to take on two thugs beside a dumpster for my stupid-ass cousin, but this had ice filling my veins.

I rolled my eyes upward. What was wrong with me?

The melody was addictive. I felt it reach deep inside me and take root. My breathing wavered as he kept playing. He moved down a chord, and the sound of it seeped into me, smoothing out the haunted memories. Then he began singing. His voice was soft and low, but I could hear it as if I were in the room. He was weaving a spell. It was like he threw a spear that had a rope attached to it at me from a hundred yards away, and it embedded deep into my stomach. Then he began pulling on it. I couldn’t fight because it would yank out my insides, but damn, I didn’t want to go with it. This whole thing with Luke was both painful and exhilarating at the same time. I had two urges going through me at once. One was to crap my pants, and the other was to start doing cartwheels.

I was just messed up, which is why I started down the stairs. I still had no clue what to say, but I had to do something.

He was hunched over the guitar in his lap with a beer at his feet. His eyes were closed, and his head hung over the guitar as he hit another chord, his thumb beating out the base. Since he was only wearing jeans, I saw some of the scars on his back. A storm of regret, shame, and longing all swirled inside me. I wanted to go to him, run my hands over those scars, and make them disappear. I couldn’t, though. We weren’t close anymore.

So many ghosts within you

So many haunts to pull you away

You look, I reach out and there’s nothing to do

They take you from me again, far away

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t take your hand

He kept singing, and my heart felt like it was splitting into two, but then he faltered. His eyes opened, and he looked up. He didn’t stop playing, but he stopped singing.

I felt like he was strumming me. I couldn’t look away from his gaze. His thumb stopped hitting the bass, and his fingers slowed on the guitar. “What are you doing here?”

Right. I was pretty sure I was seeing lust in his eyes. With that thought, a fever took over my blood, heating me up. “I,” my tongue wet my lips, “um, I’m here to talk about you and me.”

His gaze clouded over, and his eyelids lowered. He bent his head back over his guitar, but he didn’t start strumming again. “There is no ‘you and me.’ You’re in the band. That’s it.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Luke,” I started.

“No.” He stood up abruptly, setting his guitar to the side. He advanced toward me, his eyes were smoldering.

When my back hit the wall, I realized I had nowhere else to go and could only watch as he closed in on me. A part of me wanted him to keep getting closer; the other part of me was still thinking about crapping my pants.

He leaned a hand against the wall beside my head, keeping a few inches between us. His eyes were hard as he said, “There is no you and me. That died long ago, remember?”

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About the Author:

tijan bio.jpegI didn't begin writing until after undergraduate college. There'd been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can't blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I'm hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.

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Monday, 2 March 2015

Cover Reveal with Excerpt ~ Taz by Andrea Smith

Book Description:


My life is finally perfect. My dreams have all come true. I'm where I want to be with the bureau; having the career I've been planning since I did my stint in the military. I'm married to the one and only woman I've ever loved; my heart beats for her alone. Together we've made beautiful babies that I adore. I'm thirty-three years old and I'm complete.
Then one day, it all changes. Slate recruits me for a temporary assignment that is underneath the radar for a reason. The bureau hasn't sanctioned it as a priority, but Slate feels it is because of who is involved: Sue Ellen Reynard. Yeah, remember her?


Our lives were perfect. Taz and I had everything we'd ever hoped for: family, careers and an everlasting devotion to one another. Suddenly nothing is the same. In a single moment, my biggest fear is realized by one phone call from Slate: an 'agent is missing'.

My agent; my Taz . . .

This is just the beginning of our long journey. Will things ever be the same again?

Find this on Goodreads:


Lindsey gave me the silent treatment on the way over to Ralston's office. "How did you know where I was? I asked.
"Hey, I said I was sorry. We're not all that late," I pointed out to her.
"It's rude to keep Dr. Ralston waiting, Trace. I don't do rude. I thought this counseling was important to you, apparently I was wrong."
I stopped instantly and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her around to face me. "What the fuck, Lindsey? What's up your ass at the moment?"
She gave me a glare. "It just seems to me that you might find more productive ways to spend your time when you're here other than flirting your ass off with the resident skank," she snapped, jerking her arm free and turning her back on me.
Fuck to the no!
"Wait one damn minute," I growled, spinning her back around to face me. "It just so happens I went to the shooting range because I've been trying to qualify to the new standards. It's a requirement for all agents to recertify. Diana's job is to ensure that they do."
"Hmmph," she snorted derisively, "It looked pretty cozy to me, but that's neither here nor there because it sounds to me as if you plan on continuing your career with the Bureau once you're cleared."
"And why shouldn't I? It's the career I've had for years, what do you expect?" I was getting angrier by the second, and her eyes were flashing pure pissed green at the moment.
Time for a showdown.
"I don't know why I would expect any less," she snapped, "It's always been about the FBI, right? It's never been about me and the kids, has it?"
That did it.
I totally lost it when she flung those words at me. No matter how much I still didn't remember, one thing that I knew, with every fiber of my being, was that what she'd just said had no truth to it. And what really burned my ass was that she knew it too!
I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up against me. My eyes bored into hers and without thinking, I lowered my mouth to hers and kissed her with a vengeance. It was the first time my lips had touched hers since I'd been back. There was no tenderness; it was my way of claiming her and taking possession of what was mine. She would not deny me this.
Her fists pushed against my chest, and then she attempted to pull away, but her efforts were no match for my strength and determination. My lips worked hers, and my tongue invaded her mouth and possessed it. "Stop," I growled pulling back briefly to look down at her, "Don't resist me."
It was something I might've said to a perp that was resisting arrest, but at this moment, I was saying it to my wife.
My mate.
The woman that I loved more than life itself.
And suddenly the realization that this was the truth overwhelmed me. My tempo slowed, morphing from anger to affection; and from frustration to need.
Lindsey felt the change and stopped struggling against me. Her arms looped around my neck, and her lips started responding to mine. It was familiar, and as my tongue once again found hers, we struck a rhythm that was ours. I could feel her anger and bitterness dissipate. It was replaced with a soft sweetness that I remembered, and that I could totally bury myself into if only she would let me.
"Taz," she moaned softly, finally pulling back a bit.
"Lindsey," I breathed against her soft lips, my heart pounding in my chest.
"Come on, we've got to make our appointment," she said softly.
And we did.
It was the first joint session that we'd had where Lindsey took her place next to me on the leather sofa, instead of her usual chair in the corner. Ralston didn't miss it either, quirking an eyebrow as his eyes met mine with just a hint of amusement.
It was a fucking start.

About The Author:

I was born and raised in southern Ohio, and with the exception of a brief stint in Dallas, TX, have been an Ohioan most of my life. My dream has always been to write a novel, and back in the early eighties I tried to do just that, having been influenced by authors such as Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Rosemary Rogers and Laurie McBain. I remember writing to all of them through their listed publishers, and the only response I received was from Johanna Lindsey (who lived in Hawaii at the time.

Ms. Lindsey advised me to continue with my dream; and to submit to various publishers again and again. Of course, at that time, publishing e-books yourself was not on the horizon; there were vanity publishing houses of course, but she advised me to avoid those.

So my dream was put on the back-burner for more than 25 years until June of 2012 when suddenly I no longer had a reason not to write a novel. My sons were grown; I found myself without a career (blessedly) and the creative juices flowed once again.

I finished my first novel, "Maybe Baby" in September of 2012; the next two books in the "Baby Series" titled "Baby Love" and "Be My Baby" were published in early 2013. I learned a lot in my first endeavor with self-publishing. I've made so many friends as a result that it is over-whelming.

In the spring of 2013, I had an idea for a different type of Alpha, and wrote Book #1 of the "G-Man" Series, titled "Diamond Girl." This book was well-received, and I followed it with Book #2, "Love Plus One." These are stand-alone books.

I am finally doing what I love and I sincerely appreciate the wonderful readers who provide feedback and take the time to comment. I hope that with each book, my writing has grown and improved as I strive to publish quality fiction..

Authors Links: