Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Reveal + Giveaway

Today Amy McNulty and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for NOBODY’S LADY! Book 2 in the Never Veil Series which releases April 12, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!!

On to the reveal!

Author: Amy McNulty
Pub. Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | Goodreads

For the first time in a thousand years, the men in Noll’s village possess the freedom to love whom they will. In order to give each man the chance to fully explore his feelings, the lord of the village decrees all marriages null and void until both spouses declare their love for one another and their desire to wed again. What many women think will be a simple matter becomes a source of village-wide tension as most men decide to leave their families and responsibilities behind.

Rejected by the lord and ashamed of her part in the village’s history, Noll withdraws from her family and lives life as an independent woodcarver. This changes when her sister accuses her of hiding her former husband Jurij from her—and when Jurij eventually does ask to move in. Determined not to make the same mistakes, Noll decides to support her male friends through their new emotional experiences, but she’s soon caught up in a darker plot than she ever dared imagine possible from the men she thought she knew so well. And the lord for whom she still has feelings may be hiding the most frightening truth of them all.


Chapter One

When I thought I understood real friendship, I was a long-lost queen. When I discovered there was so much more to my life than love and hate, that those around me were just pawns in a game whose rules I’d unwittingly put in place, I discovered I was a long-forgotten goddess. But goddess or not, powerless or powerful, my feet were taking me someplace I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. What did I hope to find? Did I truly believe I could hear him call me—that he’d want to call me? Yes, I did. I wanted to see him again. I wanted to hope, even if I wasn’t sure I was allowed. If I deserved to. I headed down the familiar dirt path beneath the lattice of trees overhead, pausing beside the bush with a partially snapped stem that jutted outward like a broken limb. The one that pointed to the secret cavern.

Only, it’s not much of a secret anymore, is it?

My feet picked themselves up. Glowing pools would never again tempt me.

I reached the black, towering fortress that had for so long shaken and screamed at the power of my glance.

For the first time in this lifetime, I stared up at it, and nothing moved. My legs, unused to such steady footing while in the sight of the lord’s castle, twitched in anticipation of a fall that never came.

There was no need. My feet dragged me forward.

At the grand wooden door, I raised a fist to knock.

But I stopped. I felt like if I touched it, the entire castle might crumble. It had done so once before. Not at my touch exactly. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was responsible for whatever destruction I’d find in this place. But that was presumptuous of me. He was strong-willed, and he wouldn’t crumble at the prospect of freedom. If anything, he’d be triumphant over it.

You can’t stop now. I pulled my sleeves over my wrists and propped both elbows against the door, pushing until it gave way.

The darkness inside the foyer tried to deceive me into thinking night had fallen. The stream of light that trickled from the familiar crack in the garden door called the darkness a liar.

I gripped the small iron handles, the material of my sleeves guarding the cold metal from my touch, and pulled.

My touch had come to the garden before me.

The rose bushes that surrounded the enclosed circular area were torn, ripped, trodden, and plucked. The blooms lay withered, scattered and turned to dust, their once-white petals a sickly shade of yellowish brown, smooth blooms turned coarse and wrinkled.

The fountain at the center no longer trickled with water. Its shallow pool was stagnant, piles of brown festering in mildewing green liquid. Dotted amongst the brown was pallid stone rubble. The tears of the weeping elf child statue, which belonged at the top of the fountain, had ceased at last. But the gash across its face told me the child’s tears had not been staunched by joy. I wondered if Ailill had had it carved to represent the pain I’d inflicted on him as a child. And I wondered if now he could no longer bear to remind himself of what I’d done.

I hadn’t done this. But I felt as if I had. If Ailill had gone on a rampage after he came back to the castle, it was because of what I’d done to him. Everything I touched turned sour. I yanked and pulled, trying to draw my hands further into my sleeves, but there wasn’t enough material to cover them entirely.

“Well, what a surprise.” I gazed into the shadow beside the doorway. How could I have not seen? The stone table was occupied. The place where I’d sat alone for hours, days, and months was littered with crumpled and decaying leaves, branches, and petals, obscuring the scars left by a dagger or knife striking time and time again across its surface. The matching bench that once nestled on the opposite side was toppled over, leaving only dark imprints in the dirt.

“A pity you could not make yourself at home here when you were welcome.”

My breath caught in my throat.

The man at the table was clad entirely in black, as I knew he would be. The full-length jacket had been swapped for a jerkin, but I could see the embossing of roses hadn’t been discarded in the exchange. He wore dark leather gloves, the fingers of which were crossed like the wings of a bird in flight. His pale elbows rested on the table amongst the leaves and branches and thorns. He wore the hat I was used to seeing him wear, a dark, pointed top resting on a wide brim. Its black metal band caught a ray of the sunlight almost imperceptibly. But I noticed. I always did.

His face was entirely uncovered. Those large and dark eyes, locked on me, demanded my attention. They were the same eyes of the boy I’d left alone to face my curse—not so long ago from my point of view. He was more frightened then, but there was no mistaking the hurt in those eyes both then and now.

“You are not welcome here, Olivière.”

His words sliced daggers through my stomach.

“I … I thought I heard you call me.”

He cocked his head to the side, his brown eyes moving askance. “You heard me call you?”

“Yes … ” I realized how foolish it sounded. I was a fool to come. Why had I let myself fall for that sound again, for my name whispered on the wind? Why was I so certain it was he who’d said my name?

He smiled, not kindly. “And where, pray tell, have you been lurking? Under a rose bush? Behind the garden door? Or do those rounded female ears possess a far greater sense of hearing than my jagged male ones?”

I brushed the tips of my ears self-consciously. Elric had been so fascinated by them, by what he saw as a mutilation. This lord—Ailill—wasn’t like that. He’d touched them once, as a child. He’d tried to heal them, thinking they were meant to be pointed.

The boy with a heart was the man sitting there before me. Even after all we’d been through, he’d still done me a kindness by healing my mother. “No, I just thought—”

“No, you did not think, or you would not have come.”

I clenched my jaw. My tongue was threatening to spew the vile anger that had gotten us into this mess to begin with.

He sighed and crossed his arms across his chest. “I gave explicit instructions that I not be disturbed.” He leaned back against the wall behind him, his chin jutting outward slightly.

I wiped my sweaty fingertips on my skirt. I wouldn’t let the rest of my hands out from the insides of my sleeves. The sweat had already soaked through them. “I needed to thank you.”

He scoffed. “Thank me for what? For your prolonged captivity, or for not murdering both your mother and your lover when I had the chance?”

So you admit you took Jurij to punish me? You admit they were both in danger in your “care”? Quickly, I had to clench my jaw to keep down the words that threatened to spill over. He’s not who I thought he was. He wouldn’t have harmed them.

I loosened the muscles in my jaw one hair’s breadth at a time.

“For healing me when you were a child. For accepting me into your castle instead of putting me to death for trespassing in it. For … For forgiving me for cursing you, even though you were innocent.” My voice was quiet, but I was determined to make it grow louder. “For saving my mother’s life.”

He waved one hand lazily in the air. “Unfinished projects irk me.”

“But you didn’t have to.”

A shrug. “The magic was nearly entirely spent on the churl anyway.”

“I beg your pardon?”

He leaned forward and placed both palms across the rotted forest remnants on the table. “My apologies,” he said, his lips curled into a sneer. “I simply meant that I wasted years and years and let the magic wither from my body to save a person of no consequence. You may thank me for that if you like. I would rather not be reminded of it.”

How odd it was to see the face I’d imagined come to life. The mocking, the condescending—it was all there. I just hadn’t known the canvas before.

And what a strange and beautiful canvas it was. That creamy peach skin, the brownish tint of his shoulder-length tresses. He was so much paler than any person I had ever seen. Save for the specters.

Despite the paleness, part of me felt I wasn’t wrong to have mistaken one brother for another. Elric had been dark-skinned, but they seemed almost like reflections of the same person; they shared the same brows, the same lips, and even eyes of a similar shape if not color. Perhaps the face before me was a bit gaunter, the nose a bit longer. It was easier to focus on the differences. Thinking of the similarities made me want to punch the face in front of me all the more—and that would undermine everything I had set out to do when I made my way to him. I wanted to see if you were really restored to life. Say it. I wanted to know if you really forgave me. Say it. I wanted to know why I … Why I feel this way about you, why I keep thinking about you, when I used to be unable to stand the sight of you. Say it, Noll! I dug my nails into my palm and shook the thoughts from my head. He’d called my mother a “churl.” I couldn’t just tell him everything I was thinking. “Have you no sense of empathy?”

“What a coincidence that you should mention that. I am sending Ailill to the village with an edict. He can escort

you there.” “Ailill?” But aren’t you him? Could I have been mistaken? Oh, goddess, help me, why do I do this to myself? Why do I think I know everything?

He waved his hand, and one of the specters appeared beside me from the foyer.

The specters. There were about a hundred of them in the castle. Pale as snow in skin and hair with red, burning eyes. Mute servants who seemed to anticipate the lord’s every command. Only now I knew who they really were.

Oh. “You call him by your own name?” I asked.

He raised an eyebrow. “I call them all by my name. They are me, remember?”

His icy stare sent another invisible dagger through my stomach. “Yes, but—”

“A shame you never cared to ask my name when you were my guest,” he said. “I have a feeling things might have turned out much differently—for all of us.”

“You knew what would happen! Why didn’t you warn me?” I had to squeeze my fists and teeth together to stop myself from screaming. This wasn’t going at all like I had hoped. But what had I hoped? What could I have possibly expected? I thought I’d be forgiven. I thought that Ailill and I might start over, that we could be friends, perhaps even … What a fool I’ve been.

Ailill turned slightly, his attention suddenly absorbed in a single white petal that remained on a half-trodden bush beside him. “I was not entirely in control of my emotions,” he said, “as you may well know.”

“I tried to give you a way out!” My jaw wouldn’t stay shut.

Ailill laughed and reached over to pluck the petal from its thorns. “Remind me exactly when that was? Perhaps between condemning me to an eternal life of solitude and wretchedness and providing yourself with a way to feel less guilty about the whole affair? And then you just popped right back to the present, I suppose, skipping over those endless years in a matter of moments.” He crushed the petal in his hand.

“A way to let myself feel less guilty?” He wasn’t entirely wrong. But it wasn’t as if he had done nothing wrong.

Ailill bolted upright, slamming the fist that gripped the petal against the twigs and grass on the table. “Your last words to me were entirely for your own benefit, as well you know!”

If, after your own Returning, you can find it in your heart to forgive me, the last of the men whose blood runs with his own power will free all men bound by my curse.

“How is wishing to break the curse on the village for my benefit?”

“Perhaps because the curse was your doing? Perhaps because you only wanted the curse broken to free your lover from it in the first place?”

“Stop calling Jurij my ‘lover.’ He’s not—”

“And you did free him with those words. You knew I would forgive you.”

“How could I have known? I didn’t think it possible you’d forgive me, not after all we’ve been through.”

“You knew because you knew I wanted to be free myself. That I would do anything—even forgive you for half a moment—to earn that freedom.” His voice grew quieter. “You never wanted anything from me, not really. I was just a pawn in your game, a way to free the other men in your village, a way to punish the men from mine.”

I fought back what I couldn’t believe was threatening to spring to my eyes. No tears, not in front of him.

“The men of the old village deserved everything they got,” I spat at last, knowing full well that wasn’t the whole story.

Ailill scoffed and put both hands on his hips, his arms akimbo. Oh, how I tired of that pose. The crushed petal remained on the table. Its bright white added a bit of life to the decay.

“There were plenty of young boys not yet corrupted,” he said. “And some that might have never been.” He took a deep breath. “But, of course, you are not entirely to blame. I blame myself every day for ever taking a childish interest in you. That should not have counted as love.”

I swallowed. Of course. Before the curse of the village had broken, a woman had absolute power over the one man who loved or yearned for her. When I visited the past through the pool in the secret cavern, I discovered a horde of lusty men who knew nothing of love but were overcome with desire. Since so many had lusted for any female who walked before them, and I had carried the power from my own version of the village with me, it had been child’s play to control the men. But why had that power extended to Ailill? He had only been a boy then, broken, near silent—and kindhearted. He couldn’t have regarded me with more than a simple crush on an older sisterly figure, but it had been enough.

“But you did forgive me.” Why couldn’t I stop the words from flowing?

Ailill shook his head and let a weary smile spread across his features. “Forgive you? I could never forgive you. No more than I could forgive myself for daring to think, if just for a moment, that I … ” He stopped.

I shook my head. “The curse wouldn’t have been broken. The men in the village wouldn’t now be walking around without masks. Nor you without your veil. If you hadn’t forgiven me.”

Ailill tilted his head slightly. His dark eyes searched mine, perhaps for some answer he thought could be found there. “I would still need the veil even now?” he asked, his voice quiet. “Are you certain?”

Removing the veil before the curse was broken would have required the Returning, a ritual in which I freely and earnestly bestowed my heart and affection to him. It would have never happened, not with the man I knew at the time to be mine. So yes, he would still need the veil to survive the gaze of women. I was sure of it. He’d been arrogant, erratic, and even cruel. Perhaps not so much as Elric, Ailill’s even more volatile older brother, the one who wound up with a mob of angry, murderous women in his castle and a gouge through his heart. But even so.

It was my turn to cross my arms and sneer. “I said you could break the curse after your own Returning, and I specified that you didn’t need my affection to have a Returning. All you needed to do was crawl out of whatever abyss I’d sent you to.” I shifted uncomfortably in place. “And I suppose I should be grateful—for my mother’s sake—that you did.”

Ailill waved a hand at the specter beside me and brushed aside a pile of clippings on the table to reveal a hand-written letter. It was yellowed and a tad soggy. “Yes, well, the endless droning that made up your curse gets a bit foggy in my mind—assuming it even made sense in your mind to begin with. I am afraid I lack the ability to retain exact memories of an event that took place a hundred lifetimes ago when I was but a scarred child terrified of the monster before him.” He looked up to face me as the specter retrieved the letter from his extended hand. “But I suppose it was not all that long ago for the monster, was it?” He turned again to the table, shuffling brush about aimlessly. “Take her with you to the market,” he said.

The specter made to grab my arm as he passed. I slipped out of his reach only to back into another specter who had appeared quick as lightning from the foyer. He grabbed one arm, and the first specter seized the other.

“Let go of me!” I shouted as they began to drag me away.

The specters didn’t pause, as they once would have.

“Stop!” called Ailill from behind me. The specters did as they were told.

Ailill spoke. “I forgot to inform you that my retainers lost all desire to follow your orders when I did.” He waved his fingers in the air. “Carry on.”

I struggled against the grip the specters had on my arms. Again. He has me under his thumb again. “I can walk by myself!” I screamed as my toes slid awkwardly against the dark foyer floor. “I don’t need to go to the market!”

A black carriage awaited us outside the castle doorway. A third specter opened the carriage door, and my captors heaved me up into the seat like a sack of grain. The one with the letter slid in and took the seat across from me. He stared vacantly at the top of the seat behind me.

I leaned forward, whipping my hand out to stop the carriage door as one of the specters moved to close it. I didn’t care what I touched in the castle anymore. Let the whole thing crumble.

A black-gloved hand covered mine. I jumped back. Ailill stuck his head inside the carriage. His face stopped right before mine, the brim of his hat practically shading me under it. The sight of his face so close to mine, unveiled and painted with disdain, caused a thunderous racing of my heart. It was as if I’d just run the length of the entire village.

“You kept your hair short,” he said. He reached his free hand toward it, then pulled back.

I’d once let the bushy mess of black hair grow as long as it wanted, but once I cropped it closely to my scalp, I found it easier to deal with. “There hasn’t been enough time for it to grow, anyway. Not for me.”

He snorted. “Of course. But it makes me remember you as you were, long ago. When you cursed me and every man whether he deserved it or not.” He leaned back a bit, putting more space between our faces. “I think you will be most interested in going with my servants to the market,” he said. “But there will be no need to thank me in person afterward. I would rather not see you again.” His eyes drifted upwards, thoughtfully. “In fact, remind the villagers that I am closed to all audiences. My servants will be out there to see that my edict is obeyed.”

Before I could speak, he leaned back and let my hand fall from his. He reached around the door to close it.


And slammed it in my face.

About Amy: 

Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently writes professionally about everything from business marketing to anime. In her down time, you can find her crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings. Visit her website at

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive an eBook of NOBODY’S GODDESS and an eGalley of NOBODY’S LADY. International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (135) Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7) by Kristen Ashley

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, created by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week I'm waiting on: 
Bounty (Colorado Mountain, #7)
Justice Lonesome has enjoyed a life of bounty.

Even so, she’s inherited the curse of the Lonesome. A poet’s soul. Which means she’s still searching for something. Searching for peace. Searching for the less…that’s more.

And when the foundation of her life is pulled out from under her, grieving, she goes to the mountains to find her oasis. She hits Carnal, Colorado and decides to stay.

Deke Hightower lost everything at the age of two. He lost it again at fifteen. His life has not been about bounty. It’s been about learning to live with less, because there’s no way to get more.

Deke’s also watched all his friends go down to the women who gave them what they needed. He wants that for himself. But he knows that search isn’t going to be easy because he’s a rider. His home is the road. That’s the only place he can breathe. And the woman who takes her place at his side has to do it sitting on the back of his bike.

When Deke meets Justice, he knows she’s not that woman. She’s cute. She’s sweet. And she’s into him, but she’s got it all and Deke knows he won’t fit into that. So he holds her at arm’s length. Establishes boundaries. And Justice will take it because she wants Deke any way he’ll let her have him.

But when Justice finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game, Deke makes a decision.

When he does, he has no idea he’s just opened himself up to bounty. (Blurb via Goodreads)

Expected publication: April 18, 2016
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (125) Saved by the Seal by Diana Gardin

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(s)
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) -- or less or more -- “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!) 

She nods, giving me a real smile for the first time.
Good Lord.
Saved by the Seal by Diana Gardin

Monday, February 22, 2016

{eARC Romance Review} Countdown to Zero Hour (Black Ops: Automatik #1) by Nico Rosso

Countdown to Zero Hour (Black Ops: Automatik #1)

Countdown to Zero Hour (Black Ops: Automatik #1) by

Black Ops: Automatik

Ex–Special Forces agent Artem "Art" Diaz is tatooed, muscular and undeniably dangerous. He's also deep undercover, posing as mob muscle for a deadly bratva boss. His mission: gain the Russians' trust. Then lead the strike team that will kill them all.

Chef Hayley Baskov knows better than to get involved with someone with such close mafia ties, but the handsome bodyguard who brought her to this cold, sprawling estate full of ruthless mobsters is inexplicably kind. A little firtation may keep her safe amidst the growing menace.

As Art’s timetable for action escalates, so do his encounters with Hayley. Stealing what illicit pleasure they can keeps them both sane in the face of evil. But when things get dangerous, Art has to tell her about his assignment, bringing her deeper into the shadowy world of black ops...and putting her life on the line.

Now Art has a new objective: protect Hayley from the man they both call boss. (Blurb via Goodreads)
{Details} eARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication: February 22nd 2016

{Rating} 4/5 - I really liked it!


I absolutely loved the relationship between Art and Hayley. I adored the way Art supported Hayley, mentally and physically, reminding her of how much she'd survived, that she was strong, that she could handle anything that came her way. Hayley was great for Art, reminding him of his softer side, that there was someone who could love him and who he could love.

I really enjoyed the writing style. Nico Rosso did a great job of keeping the tension, the sense of impending battle throughout the entire novel. I do have to note that Art is a really unsexy name. The cover model is exactly how I pictured our hero and all through the book, that how I saw him, but I really couldn't get over the name. I know, I know, it's a really nit-pick thing to mention but the name 'Art' kept taking me out of the story. I mentally substituted his full name, Artem.

I'm officially hooked on this series. I was excited by the few glimpses we get of the other members of the Automatik group and hope to meet each of them again in their own novels.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (133)

 Stacking The Shelves, a weekly meme from Tynga's Reviews
where I list what I've read, what I've reviewed, what I've acquired
and anything else worth mentioning
  • When We Met by Susan Mallery
  • Howl at the Moon by Christine Warren
  • The Rescue by Maria Monroe
  • Vados by Celia Kyle and Erin Tate
  • Alpha Fated by Scarlett Grove
  • Letting Go by Holly Renee
  • The Panther King by Amanda Jones
  • Try Me by Olivia Cunning
  • Worth the Risk by Savannah Stuart
  • Frisk Me by Lauren Layne
  • Protector Panther by Zoe Chant
  • Make Me Sin by J.T. Geissinger
  • Unmemorable by A.P. Jensen
  • Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale by Christine Warren
Atone (Recovered Innocence, #2)

4 star review

Sabin, A Seven Novel
3 star review

Book image property of Microsoft  

{eARC Minute Review} Sabin, A Seven Novel by A.M. Hargrove

 Sabin, A Seven Novel
This is an Adult soft sci-fi stand alone novel that contains sexual scenes and language, making it unsuitable for younger readers. This novel contains hot aliens. You have been warned.

The Seven have a code: find and protect Judgment Day (a weapon of mass destruction that poses as a harmless necklace) and the ones who possess it at all costs; and never, under any circumstances, divulge information about ourselves.

I have always abided by this code. Until Serena Callahan, a sassy, no nonsense female, found the damn choker, and now I’m the one being choked by my own emotions. Ever since the day she entered my life that code has meant nothing to me. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why I’m allowing a damn woman to lead me around by her slender finger. The rules have changed and she’s calling all the shots only she doesn’t know it. But if we can’t find the necklace soon, none of it will matter anyway.

My name is Sabin and I am the commander of The Seven.
(Blurb via Goodreads)
{Details} ebook. Published October 29th 2015. Source: eARC provided in exchange for an honest review

{Rating} 3/5 -  I liked it!


Sabin is definitely high on the drama - battles, death, passion - that kept my attention until the very last page. Sabin and Serena can't stay away from each other, can't keep their hands off of each other either. Serena has been thrown into a new world, a new reality but she never loses her determination - or her stubborn side. Serena sends Sabin spinning, despite his upbringing, station in life and responsibility he loses all sense. If you're a fan of hot sci-fi give Sabin a try.

{eARC Review} Atone (Recovered Innocence #2) by Beth Yarnall

Atone (Recovered Innocence, #2)
Beth Yarnall’s sexy and emotional Recovered Innocence series continues as two broken souls discover that keeping their hands off each other is even harder than facing their demons.

Beau: Six years. That’s how long I spent behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit—the murder of the woman I loved. Now I’m free, but life on the outside is a different kind of prison. I don’t know who I am or who I want to be. At least I have my sister, Cora. She never stopped believing in me. She even got me a job at the private investigation agency that cleared my name. And then Vera Swain walks into Nash Security and Investigations and kicks my world on its ass.

Vera: There’s only one thing that would make me come out of hiding after two years on the run: finding my sister. I made the mistake of telling a monster about her, the same monster who beat me and broke me. Now I’m forced to confide in Beau Hollis of Nash Security and Investigations. He looks at me like he knows me—the real me. He sees too much, makes me feel too much. The pleasure he offers is exciting and addictive. But I can’t fall for him . . . because my love could get us both killed.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
(Blurb via Goodreads)
{Details} eARC,  February 23rd 2016 by Loveswept. Source: eARC provided in exchange for an honest review

{Rating} 4/5 - I really liked it!

Dark. From the very first this book had a much darker feel than Vindicate, but where the characters are in their lives, where they've come from, endured, survived... it's a dark place they've come from.

Beau is still stuck. he may be free from his cell but he doesn't know who he is after all the plans of his life died with Cassandra. I appreciated seeing the other side of his life with Cassandra from what we saw in Vindicate, all the things he wouldn't tell his sister; and though it made my heart ache I understood him better.

Vera is living a lie. Well, less like living, more like existing. She's always ready to run, never putting down roots, never trusting, never letting her guard down. I felt for her as she struggled with her secrets, her past and how terrifying it was to trust Beau with her truths. I loved Beau and Vera together; seeing what they were able to do for each other, helping each other forgive themselves, to move past the horror they endured.

Again I felt that the ending was a bit too rushed for my taste though I loved the event that the book ended on (which I can't spoil, but I liked how the promises were fulfilled.) Beau and Vera's path wasn't easy, it was very hard and it hurt, but the earned their happily ever after.

All in all, an excellent follow up to Vindicate and confirmation that Beth Yarnall deserves a place on my auto to-by list.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (134) Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, created by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week I'm waiting on: 
Diplomatic Immunity

Diplomatic Immunity by

A standalone novel about a recent scholarship recipient who sets out to expose debauchery at her exclusive private school in Washington, D.C., only to find herself falling in love with the baddest boy of all.

Expected publication: September 6, 2016
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (124) Make Me Sin by J. T. Geissinger

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(s)
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) -- or less or more -- “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!) 

We're spooning. Holy Jesus, A.J. is spooning me.
Make Me Sin by J. T. Geissinger

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (133) A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivison

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, created by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week I'm waiting on: 

A Totally Awkward Love Story

A Totally Awkward Love Story by

Kate Sullivan at Delacorte has won North American rights at auction to Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison's A Totally Awkward Love Story (previously titled Lobsters in the U.K.). The book, which Sullivan calls The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight meets Bridesmaids, is a dual narrative novel by authors who dated when they were in high school, about a boy and girl who must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears about being virgins forever. It's slated for summer 2016; Allison Hellegers of Rights People brokered the deal on behalf of Barry Cunningham and Elinor Bagenal at Chicken House in the U.K. (Blurb via Goodreads)

Expected publication: May 3, 2016
What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (123) Conspiracy Game by Christine Feehan

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(s)
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) -- or less or more -- “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!) 

And of course I'm a chauvinist, but it isn't my fault."
"It isn't?"
"No, Jack was born first and I share his genes. I can't help it if he infected me inside the womb."
Briony burst out laughing. "I should have known that would be your excuse.”
Conspiracy Game by Christine Feehan

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (132)

 Stacking The Shelves, a weekly meme from Tynga's Reviews
where I list what I've read, what I've reviewed, what I've acquired
and anything else worth mentioning
  • Night Games by Christine Feehan
  • Conspiracy Games by Christine Feehan
  • Score by Gina Watson
  • The Chameleon Soul Mate by Evelyn Lederman
  • Jaxon by Alisa Woods
  • Paradise by Tess Oliver
  • Their Virgin Concubine by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake
  • Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley
4 star review

Book image property of Microsoft  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

{Blog Tour + Review +Excerpt + Giveaway} Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome #1) by Rebecca Zanetti @TastyBook Tours @RebeccaZanetti

The Scorpius Syndrome #1
Rebecca Zanetti
Releasing on January 26, 2016

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynne Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynne is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…


USA Today Bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes contemporary romances, dark paranormal romances, and romantic suspense novels.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day—or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.


Buildings crumbled like they always had in the rough area of L.A., and shadows lingered, like before, waiting to harm. But these were different. Jax wandered down the street, looking for survivors, when the patter of gunfire stopped him cold.
            The small distribution center. Shit.
            Dodging into a run, he hurried around rusting cars to the warehouse, finding a group of Twenty gang members firing on a huge black guy wearing a bloody football jersey. The man looked familiar and seemed to be protecting the warehouse.
            Keeping out of sight, Jax had angled around to the back, only to find a bunch of elderly people and kids hiding in the warehouse near a barrel of what looked like toasted oats.
            The gang would kill them without a thought.
            Jax hustled by them, gun out, and inched up behind the football player’s side. “I’m with you.”
            The guy half turned, a wild glint in his dark eyes. “You sure?”
            “Yep. Jax Mercury.” He angled farther and fired, clipping a Twenty member in the side, having given up his allegiance the second he’d taken his oath in the military. “You have any combat experience?”
            “Wyatt Quaid. No.”
            “From the Niners?” Jax took aim and fired again. A yelp of pain filled the afternoon.
            Wyatt fired and hit the dirt. “I used to be.”
            “Go left, and I’ll go right,” Jax said, shifting into command mode. For now, he had a mission, and he’d win it.

            “Jax?” Wyatt asked, yanking him back into the present.
            “Is your stomach okay?”
            “No.” Wyatt grimaced. “You ready?”
            The back door to the cavernous space opened, and a group of twenty people filed in. They wore torn clothing but had jackets and hand-stitched patches on their arms showing they’d completed the training for scavenging. Jax breathed out. “Fuck, they’re young.”
            Wyatt winced. “No shit.”
            “They’re supposed to at least be sixteen years old,” Jax muttered.
            “They are.” Wyatt stood. “Line up.”
            The kids, and there was no doubt they were kids, formed two lines of ten. Jax shoved to his feet, eyeing them. A couple kept his gaze, while several more dropped theirs to the floor. “How many sections are there inside our grid?” he asked.
            “Seventeen,” a blond girl in the back said.
            The girl should’ve been planning for college and going to dances, not memorizing the layout of their territory. “Good. How many sections outside to the west?”
            “Fifty sections straight west,” a kid barely sporting a goatee said from the left.
            “Good.” Jax walked back and forth in front of the line. The kids were smart so far. “Do you ever go out of your ordered area?” he asked.
            “Only in extreme situations to avoid Rippers.” The blonde spoke up again.
            “What’s a Ripper?” Jax asked.
            A couple of the kids chuckled. “Zombies,” one muttered.
            Jax cut a hard look at Wyatt.
            Wyatt shook his head. “Zombies don’t exist, dumbass.”
            The kid with the goatee shot an elbow into his buddy’s gut. “We know that. First of all, zombies aren’t real.” He stood at attention. “Second of all, if zombies did exist, then they’d be what was left over after a human died. The person dies, and then the zombie bug takes over. Everyone who ever watched The Walking Dead knows that.” He sighed and looked down at his feet. “And third, zombies don’t exist in real life.”
            “That was number one,” his buddy drawled.
            “No shit.” The kid rubbed his eyes. “But if they’re still human, it seems like we could reason with them.”
            Jax rolled a shoulder. So long as the kids knew how to scavenge and how to defend themselves, he had to send them out. “You have to understand that the bacteria does not always kill human beings; sometimes the patient survives, but the Scorpius bacteria still remains within the body, stripping a small part of the brain. The contagion alters brain activity in everybody who is infected, but only turns half of the folks into killers. We don’t know why. It might have something to do with oxytocin, which is a chemical we think relates to empathy. Some folks lose it all, and some only part or none.”
            The kid nodded. “So there’s no hope for Rippers.”
            “No.” Jax kept the kid’s gaze. “Don’t try to reason with them. There are two main types of Rippers. The first is organized and intelligent like a serial killer. If one of these attacks you, it’s planned, and they have bad things in mind for you. The second is disorganized and just plain crazy, and they’re more likely to rip you apart like an animal. Run from either.”
            The kids started to shuffle their feet. Jax put bite into his voice. “When you’re out on mission, your goal is to be as quiet as possible. Don’t be seen, and definitely don’t be heard. What’s your motto?”
            “Shoot first, question later,” the kids said in unison.
            “Good.” Jax clasped his hands at his back and walked toward a small girl, another blonde, this one with bright blue eyes. What was her name? Haylee. Yeah, that was it. Her mother, April, worked as a cook at the soldier headquarters. “Who’s the enemy?” he asked softly.
            Haylee kept his gaze. “Everybody not in Vanguard.” Sadness and determination lifted her chin.
            “Yes. Out there you’ll find Rippers, rival gangs, and just ordinary people willing to kill you over a bottle of water. You wouldn’t be wearing that patch if you weren’t fit and prepared to fight.” He’d set the training requirements himself, and they included learning how to fight hand-to-hand, with a knife, and with guns. The kids were as much soldiers as scavengers, but he needed supplies more than protection right now. “We require medical supplies, food, water, and gas. Go out and find some.”
            Haylee drew in air. Her eyes held both an old wisdom and a desolate acceptance. “To what end?”
            Jax paused. “That’s a good question. Right now, it’s to survive. The bacteria is still running its course, Rippers are either getting reckless or planning big, and rival gangs want our supplies. For now, we fight.”
            She swallowed. “For now.”
            Smart kid. “Then hopefully we find a cure or at least a way to live with the infection, and we build anew.” Including some sort of civilization.
            “But now we fight,” she whispered, her face too pale.
            He tried to infuse confidence and arrogance into his voice. “And we win.”
            The kids stood at attention and then slowly filed out.
            Jax eyed Wyatt.
            “I know. They’re young and have no clue what a Ripper will do.”
            Yeah, but who did? Jax loped toward papers taped to the west wall where the entire seven square blocks of his territory had been painstakingly drawn. The outside buildings had all been fortified with turned-over trucks, vans, and other vehicles. Kids and the elderly were in the dead center near the hospital, which used to be an elementary school, and the current food depot, which had once been a small grocery store.
            He’d planned every single inch of Vanguard territory with protection and survival in mind for his force of five hundred people, but it was getting more difficult to keep the enemy outside. “We need to shore up the eastern edge,” he said, pointing to a series of old apartment buildings.
            Wyatt nodded. “We have a new force of soldiers ready to defend, but none have seen combat.”
            “They will soon enough.” Jax rubbed his left eye to get rid of the pain behind it.
            “When’s the last time you slept?” Wyatt asked.
            Jax shrugged. “Day before yesterday? Maybe?”
            Wyatt shook his head. “How do you do that?”
            “Military training.” Jax turned to recheck the security for headquarters. Training wasn’t all, though, was it? He swallowed and kept going, not looking back. Now wasn’t the time to share his secrets, not even with Wyatt.

{Details} eARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

{Rating} 4/5 - I really liked it!


Another winner from Rebecca Zanetti; I couldn't put it down.

Zanetti paints a bleak picture of the future - a deadly bacteria that kills you or, if you survive, changes you into a new person, but more likely turning you into something like a zombie or a high functioning murdering sociopath. Resources are scarce, people are afraid and desperate and fighting with all they have to survive for just another day.

Jax is a gangbanger turned soldier turned leader of a small band of survivors. He doesn't want to be a leader and struggles with what that means is a big part of his journey throughout the book. Jax is all alpha male; he's loyal, honorable, determined, he'd walk through gunfire, bombs, for someone he cared for or considered his responsibility. If I was living in a world where the Scorpius bacteria reigned there's no one I'd rather follow than Jax.

Lynn is an anomaly. She's the girl with a blue heart. A girl everyone is looking for. I admired her strength, terrible things have happened to her but she never gives up. Her notoriety and blue heart make her an outsider and target of distrust leaving her feeling alone but she takes it and keeps going. Jax and Lynn are such a great match, complimenting each other, strong where the other is weak and they're both so protective.

Mercury Striking is the first book in the Scorpius Syndrome series and I can't wait to see what happens next.