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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Claim Vol 2 by Ashley Suzanne Review

After a frightening, nearly unsuccessful bout of online dating, Loren Tena finally found the guy she'd been searching for. Nolan was the epitome of her idea of perfection. Loren's used to waiting for the other shoe to drop, and in this case, it came knocking on her door.

Face to face with her past, Loren has to decide which path to take: The one she'd already been down and failed or the new, exciting one leading her into the arms of her perfect cowboy.

Claim Volume Two should be read following Volume One. The final installment, Volume Three, will be released in February 2015.

VOL 1 

Looking For Love…wait, scratch that. How about…looking for a date?
Loren Tena has spent her adult life building her career, and dating all the wrong men. Now, with all of her friends on the verge of marriage, Loren can't help but feel that life is somehow passing her by.

After exhausting every avenue available to try and find a decent man, she decides to try her hand at online dating. What’s starts off as comical, as men bombard her inbox with bizarre introductions, eventually Loren receives the sort of message she’d been seeking, from a man who appears to be everything she’s ever wanted.

The pair hits it off almost immediately, and just as Loren thinks she might have found her happily ever after, her past comes knocking on her door...literally.



The final installment of the Claim serials. Loren and Nolan must make final decisions as to where their lives are headed. With prior relationships hanging in the balance, the pair must decide if they truly belong together or if they're better off with their former partners.


MIRAGE (book 1)

INCEPTION (book 1.5)

AWAKENING (book 2)

FACADE (book 3)

EPIPHANY (book 4)

THE DESTINED SERIES BOX SET (complete with all 5 books)

RAVEN (stand alone)

CALLING CARD (stand alone)

RESTRICTED PART ONE (co-written with Pamela Ann)

MOMENTS IN TIME (a short story charity anthology)

Claim (Volume Two)

In this installment, we learn about Jordan. He was really a nonentity in book one. Slowly he is now working his way back deeper into the fold. I'm not sure exactly how I feel about him yet.

Nolan still seems quite perfect. He does nothing out of character for how he's been. Seems he's a great person, and a great person to know.

Nolan's ex also comes back into the picture, but it's a totally different situation than that of Loren and Jordan. I think this is going to end up just further proving what a great guy Nolan is.

Things I didn't like as much this go around were as follows: I didn't feel the connection with Loren that I felt the first go around. I still like her oodles better than many female leads, but last time she was my girl. Something just felt a little off this time. I also wasn't crazy about how quickly she seems to welcome Jordan back. Jordan...I just don't know how believable his reason for leaving is. Kinda sounds like BS to me. The storyline was perhaps a bit too rushed.

I also had several things I liked. I super appreciate that their wasn't a bunch of going behind each other's backs, lies and misunderstandings. It's wonderful for characters to just come out and be honest. Loren and Nolan have that. There is definitely something to be said for behaving maturely. I think it's cool that a character that was assumed forgotten in book one came back reinvented. Seeing more from other secondary characters was nice too.

The way that the story ends really makes me want the next book to find out the fate of this cast, and I will definitely be reading the next installment.

***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dance with Destiny by Sloan Johnson Release Blitz + Review

Title: Dance with Destiny
Author: Sloan Johnson
Genre: Adult, Gay Romance
Release Date: December 18, 2014

Tony DeLuca has to get to New York, nor’easter be damned. His older sister is getting married and it won’t matter to her if the entire east coast is shut down if it means she’s short a groomsman. She’s the only reason he’s willing to make the trip home to face a father who’s never forgiven him for wasting a perfectly good degree to become a firefighter. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything about Tony that his father will never accept. 

Dominic Tricoli’s living his dream. He’s spent the past few years working to mesh his business degree and love of the outdoors into a thriving company, providing team building retreats for some of the country’s largest corporations. Unfortunately, there’s a price to pay for happiness, and having someone to come home to at night is the sacrifice Dominic made. 

When Dominic overhears Tony’s plight, he’s drawn to help the man get to New York City. Little does Dominic know that one kind gesture will awaken a side of him he’s ignored for far too long. Against his better judgment, he gives in to his desires and Tony’s advances. Just for the night. 

When destiny steps in, giving him another chance with the charismatic man who saved his hide, Tony’s willing to do whatever it takes to earn Dominic’s forgiveness and understanding. There may not be forever, but Tony’s determined to enjoy every single minute he’s given with Dominic. 

You can’t fight fate. Whatever’s meant to happen, eventually will.

So much for never seeing one another again. Had I known that I was going to see Dominic this weekend, I might have tried harder to make things right with him Thursday night. If I’d realized the Cara he mentioned was marrying his college roommate was my sister, who I’ve always called Caroline, I wouldn’t have touched him no matter how much I wanted to. Actually, that’s probably not true, because he’s damn fine and I’m not stupid enough to pass up an opportunity when it presents itself. But I definitely wouldn’t have walked away until I knew that neither of us had any regrets.
I trip over my feet as I follow the rest of the groomsmen into the front of the cathedral, my attention focused on the man sitting next to Mr. and Mrs. Rossi, looking like he’s just been scolded.
Dominic was gorgeous the night we met, but now, he’s downright breathtaking. I take my place in line and, because God has a twisted sense of humor, I’m going to be stuck knowing that Dominic is directly behind me for the next hour and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
As we wait for what seems like forever for all of Caroline’s bridesmaids to make the mile-long trek to the front of the cathedral, I try to catch Kennedy’s attention. Thursday night, I told her everything. After telling her about the sexy-as-fuck scene in the truck, I went on to tell her how much it annoyed me that Dominic and I parted on bad terms. She agreed with Dominic that there was no need to feel anything since we’d never see one another again. When Kennedy finally makes eye contact with me, I nod ever so slightly to my left and watch as her eyes threaten to bug out of her head. “Oh, my God. Is that him?” she mouths. I nod subtly. “Are you going to talk to him?” she asks. I shrug, and catch the attention of my older brother, who is standing directly behind me.
“Anthony, quit talking to your girlfriend,” he hisses. “Caroline needs you to make her the priority for the next hour, then you can run off and find a quiet corner to do whatever it is the two of you do.” I close my eyes tightly before glancing at Dominic, finally realizing that he probably thinks the same thing I’ve led most of my family to believe all these years. The urge to elbow Peter in the gut to show him exactly what I think of his comment is strong, but I’ve already made enough of a scene. If he noticed, I’m sure other people have as well. And sure enough, Dominic is now glaring at me. He looks across the aisle and his entire body stiffens when he notices Kennedy sitting with my family. I need this wedding to hurry the fuck up so I can get a drink.
The music changes and everyone stands and turns to see Caroline and our father walking down the aisle. I take the opportunity to admire the way Dominic’s suit jacket hangs off his shoulders. The subtle pinstripes act as beacons, drawing my eye down to his narrow hips, and suddenly I’m standing in the cathedral with a semi, thinking about the tight ass beneath those perfectly tailored pants. Go straight to Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect two-hundred dollars.


Sloan Johnson is a big city girl trapped in a country girl’s life. While she longs for the hustle and bustle of New York City or Las Vegas, she hasn’t yet figured out how to sit on the deck with her morning coffee, watching the deer and wild turkeys in the fields while surrounded by concrete and glass.

When she was three, her parents received their first call from the principal asking them to pick her up from school. Apparently, if you aren’t enrolled, you can’t attend classes, even in Kindergarten. The next week, she was in preschool and started plotting her first story soon after.

Later in life, her parents needed to do something to help their socially awkward, uncoordinated child come out of her shell and figured there was no better place than a bar on Wednesday nights. It’s a good thing they did because this is where she found her love of reading and writing. Who needs socialization when you can sit alone in your bedroom with a good book?

Now, Sloan is a tattooed mom with a mohawk and two kids. She’s been kicked out of the PTA in two school districts and is no longer asked to help with fundraisers because she’s been known to lose herself with a good book and forget she has somewhere to be.


Dance with DestinyDance with Destiny by Sloan Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a mix of sweet, sexy, drama and humor. Tony and Dom are both pretty likable guys. Both have painful parts of their lives that need the other's healing. The reader goes through the full roller coaster of them meeting, discovering a connection, revealing secrets, facing fears and overcoming life-changing obstacles. Destiny seems to constantly step into the lives of these two men causing them to have to take notice of the other, repeatedly. No matter what distrations pop up in their way, the heart doesn't lie.

Not long after the story started, I wanted to call Dom a diva because he always seemed to be having hissy fits. Then, after finding out his background, I understood him much better. I instantly liked Tony because he is such a clown and so forward. He totally goes after Dom. He does has some big issues of his own that he needs to get past.
As much as I want to, I can't stay cooped up in this room all day; I have gifts to open and parents to piss off. Such is the life of black sheep...

I think this is well-written story of love. It's very full. There isn't one exact part that makes the book. It's sexy, but doesn't depend on the sex. The main characters are great, but all the supporting characters are fully developed also. Family plays a big role. The over all message in my opinion is love, whether is self, familial or romantic.

***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Songbird Freed by Lisa Edward Review, Excerpt + Author & Character Interview

Songbird Freed (Songbird #3) 
Lisa Edward

My name is Tara O’Connell, and I’ve always believed we control our own fate. That life is a journey with many roads, and the choices we make can shape our future.

Life has presented me with two paths and I’ve chosen one.

Was it right? Did I make the best decision?

After the uncertainty of the last twelve months, my destiny is now crystal-clear to me. I have a man I love more than words can express, a thriving business, and the best friends anyone could ask for. But just when I thought I could put the turmoil of my past behind me and move on, a life-changing phone call has rocked me to the core and turned my life upside-down once more.

To make matters worse, influences outside my control have taken hold and are shattering my perfect world.

But some things are worth fighting for.

Dreams can come true and I’ll do everything in my power to make them happen. But dreams can also be smashed into tiny pieces, and no matter how hard we fight or how hard we wish for something to be, sometimes with the hand we’ve been dealt, we can never win.

Unable to sleep, I slipped out of bed and went down to the living room to pace the floor. What I really wanted to do was play the piano until my nerves settled, but we didn’t have one in the apartment and it was too late to go down to Songbirds.
I stopped by the window to gaze out at the ocean from twelve stories up, as the full moon lit the tip of each wave when they rolled into shore. Maybe I should get dressed and slip out to Songbirds. Cole had been restless but had finally drifted into a troubled sleep. If I was quiet I could leave and come back without him even knowing.
Cole’s presence filled the room behind me before he made a sound.
“You don’t need to be up for a few more hours, babe,” he whispered, wrapping his strong arms around me from behind. “Come back to bed.”
Pressing my body back into his, I took comfort in the warmth of his skin. “I can’t sleep, I’m too worried about this trip.”
“Who said anything about sleeping?” His hot breath in my ear gave me goose bumps. “I can stroke your hair, help you relax.”
“I feel like I need to play, I wish we had a piano here.” I paused, contemplating what to do. “Maybe I’ll go down to Songbirds.”
Cole squeezed me tighter, kissing my hair. “Just stay with me, it’s our last few hours together.” He said it with such finality that I turned to face him.
“Last few hours before I go away, but I’m coming back.”
Cole diverted his eyes. “Maybe.”
Placing my hand on his cheek, I turned his head back towards mine. “What do you mean ‘maybe’? I’m not moving to Kabul permanently.”
“I know, but you may not be coming back … to me.”
I sighed. After everything we’d been through how could he doubt how much I loved him?
“I just don’t want to be alone tonight. There are going to be too many nights of sleeping alone,” he said sadly.
Taking his hand, I led him over to the couch and lay down, leaving enough room for him to lie beside me.
“This feels familiar,” he said with a smile. “Back to where it all began.”
“Is this where it began?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“This is where I realised I was in love with you. Before then I knew I had feelings for you, but I didn’t really understand them.” He chuckled softly. “I know I acted like a complete jerk sometimes, I just didn’t know how to deal with what was going on in my head, and my heart. I tried to tell myself it was just lust. I was desperate to spend time with you, but I convinced myself I only wanted to get into your pants.”
I slapped him playfully on the chest. “Good thing I didn’t give in to you then, isn’t it?”
He grabbed me and pulled me into his side, squeezing me close. As he gazed up at the ceiling, his mood seemed reflective. “I guess so, although if you had we would have been together a lot longer.” He draped his other arm around me and I gladly snuggled in. “It was when we were laying like this and your body was wrapped around mine, I realised you were the perfect fit.
“Do you remember the first night out here on the couch? You dribbled all down my neck,” he chuckled.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe you remember that,” I said, recalling how embarrassed I’d been.
“I remember everything,” he replied softly. “Every glance when you thought I wasn’t looking. Every smile, every hug where you squeezed me just a little bit tighter, or kissed my cheek and held it for a few seconds longer than a friend should. All those little things are what kept me going. They gave me hope that we would end up together.
“Pops kept telling me not to give up on you, that I would never fall in love with someone the way I love you, and he was right.”
He was grinding his teeth, his jaw clenched.
“What’s wrong, babe?”
Concern was etched all over his face as he looked down at me. “I always knew I had you on borrowed time, but I wanted longer, it hasn’t been long enough. I haven’t had enough time to make you fall in love with me, I mean really fall in love, the way you loved Riley.”
And there it was, the crux of the problem.
Leaning up on my elbow, I peered down at his gorgeous face. His eyes were boring into me, looking for answers, for reassurance.
“I love you, Cole. I think in a way I have loved you since we used to cuddle on the couch. I just couldn’t express it because I couldn’t betray Riley.”
“But now he’s back. Back in your life, and you’re going to be spending the next couple of weeks with him.” He ran his hand through his hair. “It’s going to drive me crazy not knowing what’s happening.”
“Nothing’s going to happen.” My hand was resting on his chest. I could feel his heart beat racing under it. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re together now. I’m not with Riley.”
“Yeah, but he doesn’t know that. He’s going to take one look at you and think his beautiful fiancée has come to rescue him, so you can run off and get married.” His voice was so full of concern, his face so drawn from stress.
He had a point, though. While I had taken the time to mourn the supposed death of Riley and move on emotionally, Riley’s head was likely to be in a completely different space. Trouble was, after what he had been through, I had no idea where that space would actually be. He might be withdrawn and completely shut down, or he might see me as his saviour and never want to let go.
I kissed Cole softly on the forehead, and then pressed mine to his. “I’m coming back to you. This is something I need to do, I can’t leave Riley there with those monsters. I couldn’t leave any of our friends there when I have the means to save their life. But it doesn’t mean this is the end of us.”
Cole ran his hand gently up my back and into my hair, fisting it lightly.
“You’re mine, Tara. He had his chance and he blew it. I know what he does is selfless and brave, but he put his career ahead of you. I put you ahead of everything. I’m not letting you go without a fight.” His lips brushed against mine as he spoke. “I love you Tara, with every part of me, I love you.”
“I love you too, Cole. I am yours, for as long as you want me.”
“How does forever sound?”
“Not long enough. Forever with you wouldn’t be long–”
His lips were on mine before I could finish the sentence. His arm wrapped around me, pulling me on top of him and against his firm body. I couldn’t catch my breath—it was as if Cole thought this would be our last night together, his kiss growing hungrier by the second.
He ran his hands down my sides to my hips, pushing them down firmly, then rocked his own hips up, pushing himself against me.
“Just one last time,” he said almost to himself, his kisses becoming ever more urgent.
I raised my head. “This isn’t the last time. Please don’t think that way.”
He nodded unconvincingly. “If something were to happen between you and Riley while you’re over there with him,” he hesitated, “you know what I mean.” He waited for me to nod. “But you do choose me, I don’t want to know about it. I know you would feel like you have to tell me, but I couldn’t deal with it.”
“Look at me,” I chastised. “Nothing is going to happen. I love you and I want to be with you. So enough silly talk and do something useful with that mouth of yours.”
He grinned. “Yes boss.”

Have you read the SONGBIRD trilogy?

The SONGBIRD trilogy is a love triangle with a difference. Two men fulfil different needs in Tara O’Connell, but she can only choose one. Will she go with her heart or her head, and will it be the right decision?

Book 1: Songbird

Book 2: Songbird Caged

Instrument— Okay, I'm gonna keep this clean and choose a musical instrument. Although I play guitar in the band, I write all my music on the piano, and of course it's Tara's instrument of choice, so I'm gonna say piano is my favorite
Song— It changes all the time, but I love Best Day of My Life by American Authors
Car— I used to love my little sports car, but I'm really enjoying driving my Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Part of the Female Anatomy— Everything between the top of the head to the tip of the toes. I love everything about a woman. Do I have a favourite? It would have to be Tara's heart
Jungle or Desert? Maybe desert - less bugs
Art or Science? Definitely Art, it's in my blood
Deep Sea Diving or Sky Diving? Sky diving, although I've never done it, I reckon it would be exhilarating
Giving or Receiving? Giving or receiving what? I used to be a taker but now I love giving. I guess it depends who the other person is. There’s nothing better than making Tara happy.

Color— Purple, has been since I was a little kid
Article of Clothing— jeans
Sports Team— not a huge sports fan, but if Australia is playing anyone, I have to go for the Aussies
Candy— M&Ms - love the red ones
Drama or Chorus? I’d go for chorus, anything musical is a hit with me
Ocean or Swimming Pool? Definitely ocean - we have the best beaches in Australia
Rain or Snow? Snow because it's rare where I live, so it's a treat
Paperback or E-Reader? I collect paperbacks, but I love my Kindle to read, so much easier

While Lisa Edward has called Melbourne Australia home for her entire life, she has lived and worked in England, and travelled through most parts of Europe and the United States. 

She loves nothing more than spending time with her husband and beautiful daughter, or curling up into the early hours of the morning with a great novel. 

Her deep appreciation for literature was nurtured from a young age, being taught to respect books and get lost in their stories. She enjoys reading honest and realistic novels that are relatable, thought provoking and leave a lasting impression. 

She can’t write without music playing, using the emotions from different songs to invoke that of her characters. 

Lisa takes inspiration from her own life experiences, the people around her and those she has met in her travels.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love when a book really makes me feel. Songbird Freed very much did that. Barely into the pages, I was already fighting the tears. I laughed, cried, sulked, worried, fumed, emotional cup ran over.
"Hey," I said, squeezing his hands so he would look at me. "Don't worry. I'm leaving my heart here for safe keeping." He half smiled. "Yeah, but you're taking mine with you."

This is the finale in a love triangle. I knew who I wanted Tara to end up with a long time ago, but things don't always go as the reader wants so I was nervous. And the hardest part of all is that both men are wonderful. Most women would love to have either.

Riley is a strong, heroic helicopter pilot in the Special Forces. They were together first. He always takes care of others and chooses to do his duty to whomever he feels the obligation instead of thinking of what he should do for himself. Commitments come before desires.

Cole is a sultry, fun playboy musician and heir to old money. Cole and Tara share the connection of music. They get each other in ways she and Riley can't. Cole has been promised to marry another since childhood though. Is he brave enough to stand up to his family?

Throughout this series, whenever Tara would seem to be solid with one of these men, something would happen to throw the other back into her life. All three must finally decide to take a stand. I believe things went the best way they possibly could, but I still hurt for the other man. The ending was beautiful. The whole book was beautiful. So much detail went into causing the reader to experience each sentiment, action and response.
I pursued Tara because from the moment I laid eyes on her, she was all I could see in my future.

I also want to give special props to the fact that although it was a love triangle filled with drama and angst, the main characters behaved maturely for the most part in this book. They didn't hold back, just came out and said how they felt, what they did, etc. There weren't as many misunderstandings as there could have been, and I appreciated the forwardness and honesty parts.

***copy given in exchange for an honest review***