Strength by Carrie Butler

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, 15206714considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation–and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace’s powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do–even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

4.5 stars

I received an ARC copy of this book for an honest review. I thought Strength was a great combination of New Adult romance and paranormal. I am a big fan of NA romance novels and they are usually contemporary NA but I don’t often find one with a paranormal twist.

The story starts out with Rena Collins, a college student who is in search of the campus “Madman”. Rena is a strong female main character. She is a character that refuses to give up when she knows something is right (or wrong). She pictures the Madman as a “scrawny little recluse in pedo-glasses” but is determined to see him for herself. She is creeped out by the man who is rumored to have muffled screams and thuds coming from his dorm room at the same time every night.

Wallace Blake, a.k.a the Madman, is sexy, quiet and crazy — well according to the school rumor mill. In reality, Wallace has secrets that only those really close to him know and those secrets can really hurt people he cares about.

I like the secondary characters — Gabby, her quirky roommate; Aiden, her somewhat geeky friend who  is neighbors with Wallace and Cole, Wallace’s brother who you really want to hate but at the same time, can’t seem to fully do.

The paranormal aspect of the book doesn’t really come into play until almost the second part of the book. That is one thing that confused me at first because all the way through the first part of the book I was wondering “where the paranormal” of the book was.

Rena and Wallace do not have what most people would consider a “normal” relationship. There are reasons the two cannot truly be together but at the same time, they are together. Their relationship is more than boy meets girl and they fall in love. There is something bigger to their romance.

I tell myself that I don’t want to read series stories because honestly I am an impatient reader. I want the big HEA! However, I am glad I was asked to provide the review for an ARC copy because I would have missed out of a great book. I cannot wait to see what happens next for Rena and Wallace — hopefully they can find a way to truly be together.

Bedding the Wrong Brother by Virna DePaul

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Melina Parker prides herself on being a lady in public, but after she’s dumped yet again for being a lady in the bedroom, she’s ready to go back to school.  

Determined to find her inner sex diva, she enlists her childhood friend, Max Dalton, to tutor her after hours.

Instead, she ends up in the wrong bed and gets a lesson in passion from Max’s twin brother, Rhys Dalton, a man Melina’s always secretly wanted but never thought she could have.

I received an ARC copy for an honest review of this book and I am glad I had the opportunity to read it. The story starts out with 14-year-old Melina Parker. Melina is not your “normal” teenage girl. She would rather play around in the dirt looking at bugs and lizards than being dressed up.

Soon comes Max and Rhys Dalton — the Dalton boys who are identical twins but Melina is one of the few people who can always tell them apart, even when they are trying to fool her. Melina, Max and Rhys have been friends to years although from the outside looking in, it seems like Melina and Max are the closer two. However Melina has always had a hidden desire to be with Rhys, one that she never thought would come to life so she made the decision that she would rather be friends than nothing at all.

Melina in dumped yet again for having no imagination in bed. She decides to enlist in the help from her good friend Max. Max is the perfect tutor because he is single and loves it. She knows that they can keep the emotions out of the bedroom and she will get all of the education she needs.

Little does she know that Max has switched with his brother Rhys (unknown to Rhys). Rhys walks into his hotel room to his dream come true, Melina in his bed and willing.

I really like the concept of this story because it is not something you normally would read about. I honestly cannot remember another book where the main hero is a professional magician. Yes I said magician. Regardless of the sigma of a magician, Rhys and Max are far from a thin nerd in a black cape asking the audience to pick a card.

Not only does this book have the unexpected hot professional magician but it also has best friends falling in love — which is in my opinion the BEST romance story line out there. There is nothing better than best friends falling in love.

Overall this book had a great story line and the writing was good. There is sex — obviously — after all the story line involves Melina wanting help with her bedside activities however it is not to the point of erotica.

Max’s story is scheduled to be coming soon and I look forward reading it.

Emma Hart’s Always Remember teaser and pre-release giveaway

As a self-proclaimed romance guru, I am excited to have the opportunity to share pre-release information and giveaway for Emma Hart as she promotes her new book Always Remember. As an avid romance reader with interests ranging from YA, New Adult, Paranormal and Contemporary, I am truly excited about the upcoming release from an author who should be considered an inspiration to all young adults.

Release date: May 13, 2013.

Signup for Emma’s giveaway of Never Forget below. Also make sure to check out the exclusive teaser photo at the bottom of this page.

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Always Remember Synopsis

How long does it take for a long-distance relationship to break down? Sixteen months.

When Jen and Carl put their relationship to rest after Christmas, Jen’s biggest problem is going back to London ten days earlier than planned – and her ever-present attraction to Samuel ‘Bing’ Edwards.

Bing has no idea why Jen left Devon so fast. All he knows is that he wants her as much as he did the first day he laid eyes on her – so spending time with her while Lexy is still in Devon isn’t exactly a hardship for him. When he finds out she’s single, the only thing on his mind is finishing what they started at his dad’s fiftieth birthday party.

Feelings that have been a long time building between the two explode, and they both find themselves sucked into an easy yet passionate relationship, with Bing determined to prove to Jen that she’s it for him. That she is The One.

But in a city like London, the odds are stacked against them, and there’s always that one person ready to stir things up… And Jen doesn’t know how much of that she can take – even for the guy she loves more deeply than she ever imagined, and eventually she breaks.

Bing isn’t down with that. He wants Jen, and he wants her by his side for good.

Jennifer Mason must learn that Samuel Edwards doesn’t do giving up. Especially not when his forever girl is involved.

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So who is Emma Hart?

Author PhotoBy day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to a terrible two year old and growing bump, due September 2013. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of juice and writes books.

She likes to write about magic, kisses and whatever else she can fit into the story. Sarcastic, witty characters are a must. As are hot guys.

Emma is currently working too many books to even count – including Playing for Keeps, the companion book to New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Love Game. She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to when all the ideas come to life.


Find Emma online at:

Blog: http://www.emmahart93.blogspot.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/YAAuthorEmmaHart

Twitter: @EmmaHartAuthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6451162.Emma_Hart

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SPECIAL GIVEAWAY!

Win one eCopy of Never Forget

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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EXCLUSIVE TEASER!

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Upcoming books for review

As an avid romance reader, I have read MANY of books that I didn’t like, that I liked and that I loved. I read paranormal, new adult, ya, contemporary, and any other sub-genre book that happens to catch my eye. This blog was designed for a way for me to express my opinion on the romance genre, writing and reviews. In going through my kindle book list and noticed that there are many books that I have overlooked a review on and in an effort to keep myself accountable to do a review, I am compiled a list of books that I WILL be reviewing soon.

Michelle Valentine’s Rocker series (Rock the Heart & Rock My Bed)

Awakened (Vampire Awakenings) – Brenda K. Davies

Bad Rep – A. Meredith Walters

The Bet – Rachel Van Dyken

Breathe Into Me – Amanda Stone

Broken At Love (Whitman University) – Lyla Payne

Buried Castles (Broken Fairtales) – Monica Alexander

Charade – Nyrae Dawn

Claimed (The Circulate Series) – K.R. Smith

For You – Mimi Strong

It Was You – Anna Cruise

Just For Now – Abbi Glines

Kiss the Girl – Susan Sey

Just Watch the Fireworks – Monica Alexander

The Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles

Kissing Coach (Erotic Romance Novel) – Mimi Strong

Losing It – Cora Carmack

The Love Game (The Game) – Emma Hart

Love Evolution – Michelle Mankin

Me & My Invisible Guy – Sarah Jeffrey

The One For Me – Layla James

Kristen Proby With Me In Seattle series

Playing Doctor – Kate Perry

Putting Boys on the Ledge – Stephanie Rowe

RiverTime – Rae Renzi

Rock Me – Cherrie Lynn

Terri Anne Browning The Rocker series – The Rocker That Holds Me & The Rocker That Savors Me

Rule – Jay Crownover

Someone to Love – Addison Moore

Strength – Carrie Butler

Then Kiss Me – Jade C. Jamison

Unbroken (Cedar Cove) – Melody Grace

Under Her Skin – Alexis Lauren

Unleashed – Cherrie Lynn

Wait for You – J. Lynn

Waiting on Forever (The Forever Series) – Ashley Wilcox

Wallbanger – Alice Clayton

When Summer Ends – Isabelle Rae

So the reviews are to come — some I will need to skim back over as it has been a while since I read the book originally however many of the books I have read repeatedly so a review should be an easy tasks. I hope you all enjoy my reviews.

Plastic Hearts by Lisa De Jong

521486_211618018983664_1608460574_nNew Adult Romance — the time between high school and the “real” world where characters are learning more about themselves, what they want in life and becoming a “new” adult.

New Adult Romance has been an unofficial sub genre that has turned into a favorite very quickly. Being a publisher I purchase/download MANY books within a month for numerous reasons; work related — checking out what is the current trend and for pleasure.

I came across Plastic Hearts by chance on Amazon.com as a “recommendation” from Amazon due to my purchase history. I will be honest, I didn’t purchase it immediately — I wish listed it. Not because of the book itself; I had no knowledge about the book other than the synopsis details. I wish listed it only because I had other books in line for reading. I ended up going through many books over the past month that I just did not connect with so I decided to download Plastic Hearts — I am glad I did.

We are introduced to Alex who has lived her life in a plastic world. What is a plastic world you ask? It is the world where you have no say in what goes on. Artificial. She is an actress in the story of her life — playing the part of the perfect daughter, girlfriend, student and overall perfect person. Although with appearances you often only see what is on the surface. She is not allowed to make her own decisions about anything in her life.

Right from the beginning we meet Ryan, Alex’s boyfriend, who based his interactions in the story, is a nice guy. He is respectful and truly seems to want Alex to be happy but at the same time he is either oblivious to her unhappiness or chooses to ignore it because it is easier. But either way, he seems like a good guy — someone your parents would love and is willing to spend the night watching you and a friend dance in a club when he doesn’t even dance. However no matter how nice he is and even though they are still “dating”, Alex knows she does not have the feelings she should have for someone in a relationship. Since they are going back to school, Alex tells him that they should take a break since their schools are miles apart.

Here enters Dane. Alex knows that Dane is trouble and that she should run fast and far away. Even though she knows that Dane will never be accepted by her parents, she still couldn’t walk away. Right from the beginning of their “relationship” Dane is a contradiction if there ever was one. He is this sexy (and he knows it) artist, tattooed bad boy. One look at him and you are almost guaranteed heartbreak however he seems to just want to be around Alex and take care of her.

Alex and Dane’s relationship is not an easy one — there is an element of true raw emotions from both characters so that one move, right or wrong, can make being in love the best or worst thing to ever happen to them.

Plastic Hearts is Lisa’s debut novel and what a debut. The book has a sequel where Glass Hearts is the second book to continue Alex and Dane’s story. I will be honest, I am someone who really dislikes sequel books where the main characters are still the same from the original book. I am an impatient reader — I like receiving the happily ever after at the end of the book and not having to worry that one of the characters is going to royally mess something up in the next book to make it so that they might not end up together. HOWEVER, Plastic Hearts does not end on a cliffhanger and actually makes me want to continue to read Glass Hearts — I don’t know what it is about the book that make this an exception to my sequel dislike rule but it is. Whereas with Plastic Hearts we found out more about Alex, Glass Hearts is going to be more about Dane.

I highly recommend Plastic Hearts to anyone looking for a new “New Adult” romance novel as you will not be disappointed. You can also keep up-to-date on Lisa’s  upcoming books, teasers, and updates on Goodreads, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Easy by Tammara Webber

In an age of technology, there are not many books that I personally will actively seek out to purchase a physical copy when I have already purchased it as an eBook – EASY by Tammara Webber is one of them. I purchased this book in eBook format in July and instantly fell in love with the characters.

Jacqueline is a character who seems to be in this bubble world. She has her close friends, the perfect boyfriend, Kennedy, who she followed to college and is an overall likable character but all of that changes in the course of a few weeks. The perfect boyfriend turns out to be not so perfect when he tells her he wants to “date” other girls to get it out of his system. Her close friends, with the exception of her best friend and roommate, turn out to be more his friends than hers. To make matters worse she is almost raped by her ex’s frat brother, Buck. Jacqueline is fortunate to be saved by a stranger, Lucas, the night of the attempted rape.

Lucas is the stereotypical “emo” guy from his longer hair, dark clothing, lip piercing and tattoos – but seriously lickable, oops, I mean likable – well actually both (yes he is described as lickable in the book). You can tell how much of a bubble Jacqueline was in during her Kennedy days because she never notices Lucas until that night, then he is everywhere she turns. Not only is Lucas HOT but he is the perfect male character and a great combination with Jacqueline. There is a quiet and passionate intelligent of the man that paired up with the overall hotness makes you swoon. Although Jacqueline has serious feelings for Lucas, there is also a problem with her growing feelings for her Econ tutor, Landon. Landon is the flirty, dry witted Econ tutor that Jacqueline is required to work with to pick up her grade due to an emotional set up from the breakup with Kennedy. The problem with Landon is Jacqueline only knows him from emails – how can you have feelings for someone you only talk to through email?

I love the fact that the author is able to spin a true romantic story with the twist of the rape hanging over the heads over the characters. Often this type of drama in books can make or break the book when the characters are unable to move past the occurrences. The author makes Jacqueline to be a fighter in the face of the evil of the rapist. She fights for not only her safety but what is right. I also love the secondary characters. They are perfectly developed from the completely opposite best friend to the gay new friend in Econ class to Dr. Heller the Econ professor. Each has their own backstory that makes the story complete.

My husband doesn’t understand my interest in the romance genre and especially does not understand how I can read a book over and over again. It is really hard to explain. When you re-read a favorite book you find surprises you didn’t see the first, second or tenth time around. You fall in love with the characters all over again. EASY is one of those books you want to re-read. I guarantee you will be fulfilled the first time but even more so the second, third or fifth time you read it.

Don’t hide from your story

Why do we always end up having countless untold stories and ideas just sitting around? They are the Post-its littering your desk; the two line word documents floating about your computer; the scribbled remarks in that blue notebook sitting by your bed named “ideas”; or maybe they are 10 line long ideas from your MFA in Creative Writing program. Wherever they are it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they are untold stories waiting to be written.

So why are they pushed aside? If we have so many stories and ideas, why aren’t we sitting at our desk at 2:00 a.m. typing away? We hide from our stories. In the beginning we are filled with so many ideas but once we decide on one, we get to a point that we just don’t know where to go. Then we all know what happens to that story — it goes into hiding. They build up in our bank of untold stories never to be looked at again.

There is always going to be a time in our writing that we get stuck on where to go. That doesn’t mean we stop with the story. This is actually when you push yourself to continue. We are all different in what inspires us but when you hit this point, you need to get yourself past by finding your inspiration. It might be a change in direction of the story, rewriting chapters or just adding new characters to give the story more depth.

You have to remember that you’re not going to come out with a bestseller with your first draft. More often than not, first drafts are crap. The characters might lack depth or the relationships might seem superficial. Your first draft will not get your story picked up by a publisher. You will need to revise it and sell your story idea. But it’s important to get it finished. It’s easier to revise your story than to have no story at all.

My advice to you is simple: don’t hide from your story. Go riffle through your bank of stories and push yourself to finish your first draft. Who knows, that story you are hiding might be Spectacle Publishing Media Group’s next published novel.

http://www.SpectaclePMG.com

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