Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Twosome Tuesday: Bang by EK Blair



They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence.
But I’m not innocent.
I haven’t been for a very long time.
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice.
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs.
Until now.
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**












5 - beautiful & tragic f-ed up SMOOCHES

Mind-fuckery at its finest.

Seriously.

This book had me reeling and talking about it FOR DAYS with my BBs (blogging besties).  I've been racking my brain trying to come up with the best way to review this book without giving anything away because anyone who spoils this book is an a$$hole.  You *MUST* experience it without knowledge of what goes on.  Period.

I really, really loved this book .... cliff hanger and all.  Yes, there is a WICKED cliff hanger but it's so worth it not to wait.  Trust me on this.

I loved the book's heroine Nina.  She is scheming up one heck of a payback and while I totally don't get why she's directing it at Bennett, I completely see why she feels the need to blame someone for changing her life so tragically.  Her childhood is HORRIFIC and makes her current state of existence understandable.  She is a survivor, plain and simple.  Yet the transformation she makes gives me so much hope for her and the life I want her to have.

There is so much I want to say about the men (yes MEN) in her life but, again, I don't want to spoil anything.   Pike, Declan, and Bennett are easy to love and just as easy to hate depending on where you are in the book.

*sigh* this is frustrating.

E.K.'s writing is flawless and poetic.  And dirty.  So, dirty.   I think she just might be brilliant.  The story is captivating .... I was engaged from start to finish.  And I have no doubt I will stalk E.K. until the series continues.

This book is not for everyone.  I had to step a bit out of my comfort zone (there is some abuse that is hard to stomach) but I still loved it.  Bang is one ride wild .... one I highly recommend!




4.5- “Life’s cruel, and I’m its bitch.”- Smooches!


Well, hell.  I have put off writing this review for a few weeks now… hoping something brilliant would come to me and I am still as emotionally drained and fudged in the head as I was then.  So, here goes nothin’!

“The heart is a weapon—a self-inflicting weapon—that if not trained properly, can destroy a person.”

Nina, our heroine is all sorts of screwed up.  She has had a shit life and the flashbacks to her past ripped me apart.  I’ve read that some did not connect with her and that is unfortunate because I totally did.  My heart ached for this tortured girl.  She was taught early on to harden her heart, not to feel and she could survive anything
.

The hero…  there isn’t really ONE hero.  There are three guys in Nina’s life, all completely in love with her.  I guess we could call them past, present, and future.  I can’t say too much about these men without giving the story away and this is a book that you do NOT want ruined.  It is interesting to see how they all fit into the web Nina is spinning.


This review is so vague but really it has to be.  All I can say is WOW.   This mind fuck was SO unexpected.  Did you read Ryan and Candace??? That sweet romantic love story.  Well, if you have any preconceived notions about EK’s writing… throw those out of the window now.  This is no fairytale…   Bang is dark and gritty and filled with suspense.  It was twist after jaw dropping twist.  I literally hung my mouth and said WTF?!? more than just a few times.  That ending… just EPIC!!!  I had one hell of a hangover and am DYING to know what happens in the next book.  Yes, it ends in a cliffie and while usually I recommend and hold off on reading a series until all books are out, I wouldn’t advise waiting on Bang.  I think the story is SO freaking good and unforgettable that you won’t need to reread when book two comes out.  


Why 4.5 and not 5 stars?  Agh I debated with this but there is one INSANE act in this book that still is not sitting well with me.  I think had this thing happened with Nina’s past guy rather than her future, I could have accepted it more.  But, it just didn’t fit IMO and left me really grossed out.  Taking out that one crude instance and this would have been a five star for me!  I loved it.  Great job EK!!!!!  I NEED book two… soon!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

FOR THE LOVE OF A LUSH BY SELENA LAURENCE BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY



For the Love of a Lush (Lush No. 2)
by Selena Laurence
Genre: Edgy Contemporary Romance
Release Date:  May 29, 2014
Hosted by:  The REAL Housewives of Romance





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Six months ago, Walsh Clark was the drummer of America’s hottest rock sensation, Lush. Now he’s living at the Double A Ranch in north Texas, home to cows, cowboys, and lushes—like him. He’s survived alcoholism, rehab, and the breakup of his band. But the one thing Walsh might not survive is the return of his ex fiancée Tammy DiLorenzo.

Tammy and Walsh met at fourteen, and she was with him on every step to fame and fortune—until one fateful night when she betrayed him. Now she’s back, begging for forgiveness and ready to fight for her man. But some betrayals are too painful to forget, some mistakes can’t be repaired, and Walsh is certain that he and Tammy can’t ever be together again.


But DiLorenzo women don’t back down, and Tammy always gets what she wants. In the wake of the lies and losses, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes for a second chance. She’ll give it all—for the love of a lush.



A Lush Betrayal
(Lush No. 1)


Joss Jamison has it all. He's the lead singer for the world's hottest rock band, Lush. He's wealthy, sexy, talented...and miserable. Twelve months ago, Joss lost his finely honed control and made a mistake he can't undo. A mistake that could end up costing him his best friend, his band, and maybe his heart.

Mel DiLorenzo has it all. She's been hired to document the world tour of her sister's fiance's rock band. She's gorgeous, talented, loved...and sick of being the little sister. When she agrees to the summer job, Mel has no idea she's walking into a minefield of friendships lost and hearts destroyed. She also has no idea what it means to be the object of Joss Jamison's affections.

One hot rock star plus one life-altering mistake, add a dash of sexy younger sister and a handful of broken hearts, and you've got a recipe for fire. Life on the road can be hot, but for the boys of Lush, it's about to get a whole hell of a lot hotter.


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Heather's Review


5 "I just wish you could have forgiven me..." smooches!

Selena has done it again. I don’t know how she is not better known because her writing is AMAZING. From the first book I’ve read by her, I have loved them all. Selena writes some of the most realistic and swoon-worthy BBFs out there! If you haven’t read her books yet… there is no better time than the present. You won’t be sorry you did!

For the Love of a Lush is book 2 in the Lush series. Yes, it is a series but each book can be read as a stand-alone novel as they each follow a different band member. Selena gave just enough background information not to make the book feel like rereading book 1 but so that you understand the roles the characters from Lush 1 played in Walsh and Tammy’s story.

I get so emotionally involved in these books. In For the Love of a Lush I questioned my own beliefs. You always think you know for certain how you personally would react in certain situations. I’ve always said NO WAY would I ever forgive a cheater. In A Lush Betrayal(bk 1). I HATED Tammy. That lying cheating skank… no way did I expect to fall in love with her in this book and to even *gasp* like her MORE than Walsh. She just kinda snuck up on me. Her love for Walsh was unwavering no matter how badly he treated her or how hard he tried to push her away. She was strong and determined. She was truly sorry and I wanted Walsh to forgive her so badly.

Walsh was not only betrayed by the woman he has loved since he was 14 years old but also by his best friend. He is an absolute mess. He is a recovering alcoholic and when his world fell apart ended up at a AA ranch with no other focus than to keep busy and keep sober. So, when Tammy shows up trying to win him back, he has every right to be angry, hurt, confused… and a bit of an asshole!

“I could tell her how much I still love her…say I don’t want her to go. I could promise to be what she needs. But I don’t… I step back, and let her walk out of my life.” ~Walsh
“I saw a …boy when I was fourteen years old and I knew that I was his and he was mine. But love is more complicated than knowing. More complicated than wanting. Sometimes love, even in its purest, most vital form still isn’t enough to overcome the circumstances of our lives…” ~Tammy
AGHH queue music “sometimes loooooooove just ain’t enough.” But, I wanted it to be. Poor Tammy reaches her breaking point. One person can only fight so much… can only handle so much rejection. Has Walsh finally pushed her away for good? Can he find it in his heart to forgive the ultimate betrayal?

Selena writes realistic stories. Stories that suck you in and make you feel like you are living these characters lives. Their feelings and reactions are so raw. Life isn’t black and white. Good people can be pushed to do really stupid things. Sometimes the obvious victim isn’t completely blameless.

“Sometimes I think loving Walsh Clark might have ruined me forever.”

Selene's Review

4.5 SMOOCHES

For the Love of a Lush is the second book in the Lush series and focuses on the band’s drummer, Walsh. The book can be read as a standalone but I strongly encourage reading the first book beforehand not only to be more in tune with Tammy and Walsh but because you really don’t want to miss lead singer Joss and Melanie’s story!

This book did a number on me … but not in the way I was expecting. I was expecting for Walsh’s alcoholism to be a focal point of the story and, honestly, I wasn’t excited to read a book about an alcoholic. Thankfully I didn’t have to. I read a book about two people trying to forgive each other as well as themselves as they attempt to salvage a once cherished relationship. Oh, and one of them happens to be an alcoholic.

For Walsh and Tammy, it was love at first sight. They were high school sweethearts who spent fourteen years together until one tragic betrayal destroyed not only their relationship but also the band and friendships within it. Going into this book, I wasn’t a fan of Tammy’s but somewhere along the way, she gained my respect and forgiveness. Now Walsh …. Well, I’ve loved him from day one so it was difficult for me to have moments of dislike for him throughout the book. Trust me though, he earned them.

One of the things I like most about Selena’s writing is that it’s real. You can relate, sympathize and often times empathize with the characters in this story. Her plots are not far-fetched and ridiculous … she hunkers down on her characters and you live and breathe every up and down with them. I especially felt that way with Walsh and Tammy. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted two people to find their way back together more.

The Lush series is quickly becoming one of my favorites … gorgeous men, sexy relationships, top-notch writing, and some emotional carnage here and there … all make for an amazing read! I LOVED Tammy and Walsh’s journey and the way Selena ended this story was perfection!

Now, BRING ON MIKE in Lowdown and Lush!!!!







Selena Laurence lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and spends a lot of time at soccer games, on her laptop, and reading. She is a full-time romance author who loves nothing more than a good love story, whether it be about rock stars or college kids. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Colorado Romance Writers. Her books have been on Amazon Topselling lists in Military Romance, Contemporary Romance, Hispanic fiction and Multicultural Romance. She requires a Mocha Latte every day to function, keeps a goldendoodle at her feet most of the time, and has more kids than she knows what to do with.


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MENDED BY KIM KARR RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY






 Connections #3 by Kim Karr
© 2013 by Kim Karr
Published by the Penguin Group
Release date: June 3, 2014


(Preorder)



Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever....





4.5 Smooches

Move over River and Jagger .... 
Xander's the new man to love in the Connections series!

Mended is the third book in the Connections series.  If you've read Connected and Torn (books 1 and 2), you'll remember River's older brother Xander.  This is his book and it is a stand alone.  When we met Xander in earlier books, he was an ass.   There wasn't much to like about him so I was super curious as to how I'd feel about his story.   Well, I was worried for nothing because I fell in love with Xander!  I absolutely loved his alpha, take charge ways and his sexy, rough around the edges hotness.  *sigh*

Xander and Ivy are high school sweethearts with big plans to go away to college together after graduation.  Ivy is miserable under her controlling mother's ways and Xander is ready to escape the unhappiness his alcoholic father brings to his otherwise happy family.  They find a comfort in each other and share an incredibly passionate love that surpasses their young age.  Tragedy strikes unfortunately and their plans, along with their relationship, fall apart.

Twelve years later, Xander and Ivy are brought together again.  Xander manages the band the Wilde Oats and Ivy is a singer brought in to replace their ailing lead singer.  Once Xander spends time with Ivy, he realizes he never stopped loving her and is determined to rectify a huge misunerstanding that led to their breakup.  
She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was, what we were.  Not what I did to her.
Having been left heart-broken all those years ago, Ivy is determined to keep her heart far, far away from Xander Wilde.
With his first grin in my direction - I melted.
When he first played his guitar for me - he scored my mind.
When he first kissed me - he stole my heart.
And when he cheated on me - he took a piece of my soul. - Ivy
I am such a complete sucker for "second chance at a first love" story lines and I loved this one .... so much!  I was surprised to fall in love with Xander along the way .... I really did not care for him much in earlier books.  The story is told in both Ivy and Xander's POVs and once I got inside his head I was a goner.

This book is super sexy and romantic ... which I've come to expect from Kim.  Much like in her other books, she couples sexy and romantic with a great story that includes twists and turns you don't see coming.  And if you are a fan of River and Dahlia from earlier books, you'll be pleased to see a lot of them in this story.

After reading an excerpt from Ben's book at the end of Mended, I am left SO EXCITED and anxious for Frayed.   Squeeeeeee, can't wait!!!


Xander Wilde

Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good PR.

I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house, and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.

To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs.

My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful—the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.

My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her that I could.

It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was, what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing—remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.

She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty, wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent, her fiancé, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore.

She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we weren’t near each other.

Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.

“Are you okay?”

I nod. Not able to say a word.

“Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me agitated.

 “Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it was too late—she had gotten engaged.

Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”

My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen, I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”

“That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles and starts toward the bar.

Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough to call me back.”

“I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the doctor say about Zane?”

“He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.”

“You sure? You’re back in LA for almost two weeks after tomorrow night right? Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”

“Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice to change forever.”

“Do you blame him?”

“No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to Dahlia?”

He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

“You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”
“Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”

“Because you have no idea what this means to me.”

“Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I can’t play a twelve string.”

Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. “Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.

He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”

Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t get your panties in a wad.”

“That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’

“What?”

“Ivy Taylor’s here.”

“No way. Have you talked to her?”

“Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”

“You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.”

“What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think I’m lying.”
“You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”

“No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time is right. Do you hear me?”

“Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t mean shit.”

“Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my skin crawl.

Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him—why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin, I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years. 



Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance, including her sexy New Adult romance series, Connections. She describes herself as wearing a lot of hats–writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all-around go-to person of the family. However, she always finds the time to read. She believes in soul mates, kindred spirits, true friends and Happily-Ever-Afters, and loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart. Kim lives in Florida with her husband and four kids.

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Our reviews of Connected (5 Smooch) and Torn (4 Smooch)
Our review of Dazed (4.5 Smooch)
➜ Blurred - http://amzn.to/1mCHwQ1
➜ Frayed - http://amzn.to/1cnBwof