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Monthly Archives: February 2015

NEW RELEASE! Review – Drowning in the Dark (The Veil Series #4) by Pippa DaCosta

“I wasn’t demon enough to defeat my brother before. Things have changed.”

As the veil begins to fall, and the demons bleed through onto the streets of Boston, Muse knows the battle is lost before it’s even begun.

To make matters worse, Adam and the Institute have captured Akil at a time when the city has never needed him more. Muse believes Akil’s incarceration is a ruse, because if he truly is at the mercy of the Institute, she must choose which side she’ll fight for. Human or demon?

The princes are coming. Valenti, Muse’s immortal half-brother, leads the charge. The Institute is not ready, the people of Boston are not prepared, but one man is. Stefan knows what it will take to beat back the netherworld. Will his demon allow him the freedom to right his wrongs?

Muse’s loyalty will be tested. To save those she loves, she must give up that which she cherishes most. Her humanity.

The Mother of Destruction is about to go nuclear.

Can we please just take a moment to relive the amazingness that was that prologue…

…The things she’s doing to me. I am not this man. I am demon. And yet this impossible woman undermines everything. Undermines me. Burrows deep. Deep into shadows, into darkness, into facets I’ve refused to acknowledge.

Oh my LIFE Akil. The prince of Greed is seriously off kilter, it’s unsettling, especially for Muse. Common sense tells her that he is deluding himself thinking that he feels something for her. But she can’t seem to get away from the fact that his actions are trying to prove otherwise. Welcome to the very complicated world half-blood Muse. Right from that prologue I knew that I was going to be lost to this book. I have been an avid follower of this series and as the story has twisted and turned into hell and back I have had my emotions wrung out too many times to count. That doesn’t change here in book 4, in fact I think my heart was lucky to survive this instalment.

 

We land in this story right as the Institute makes their biggest move yet and captures Akil AKA Mammon. Muse is horrified, Akil needs to be out in Boston helping them fight the demons and Princes that are heading Boston’s way, but no one is listening to her.  Muse knows she has a limited amount of time until chaos claims her and she wants to do everything she can to prevent the two worlds from colliding. This is where Stefan comes in. He’s back and it seems that he and his demon are wanting very different things.

I don’t want to say too much more specifically about the story because you really want to be able to feel shocked, stunned and spun-out as the story demands it. Because that is one of the strengths of this series, these demons really keep you on your toes! I’m still unsure where each demon stands exactly in relation to Muse and humanity. I am in love AND hate(!) with parts of both Akil and Stefan, which is completely owing to the care Pippa DaCosta takes in her character building. Demons by their very nature should be confusing to our human sensibilities and that absolutely is achieved. I don’t know half the time if I want to love these guys or kick them! So yes, I’m conflicted. I don’t know if I should be, but I am. 

Meanwhile Muse is still the badass chick I have come to expect. Even at her darkest hour, even when she feels her control slipping away. Even when she’s not sure she has anything left to give or to fight for, she pulls out the biggest guns that she can and she hits full throttle. Every. Single. Damn. Time. You can’t beat an epic female character and Muse definitely delivers.

So you need to read this book. Like you seriously need to read this book. Obviously if you’ve been following this series then you’ll already be one step ahead and will be currently reading this book… But if not then get onto it! If you’re new to this series then you REALLY need to get onto it and read all of the books! I will end with one word of warning… The ending of this book… it almost killed me, mostly from multiple heart attacks, but also from knowing that I now have to wait until APRIL to find out what on earth had just happened! (In more ways than one) I’m still slowly coming to terms with Drowning in the Dark (can you tell!) I need closure…. So I swear nothing is coming between me and the final book in this series…

ARC kindly received in exchange for an honest review

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Blog Tour and Review: Fighting Silence by Aly Martienz

Meet Till & Eliza in Aly Martinez’s newest fighter series!

NOW AVAILABLE

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1CF0YEq

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Lhhn62

Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it’s the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?

I’ve always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn’t a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.

You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.

They both happened anyway.

Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.

Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.

I think that’s the sound I’ll miss the most.

Each book in this series can be read as a standalone.


My Review

Fighting Silence follows the story of Till and Eliza. Till has always been a fighter and had to grow up way too fast. His parents did care about him and he was barley able to keep his little brothers out of foster care. He’s always taken what life has given him and tried to make the very best out of it. The one saving grace he had in life was Eliza. The two of them meet one fateful night and that starts the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Eliza fell in love with Till the moment that she met him. For years, she pretended that it was ok to just be friends. It hurt her that he didn’t acknowledge her at school, but Till thought he was doing the right thing by not drawling attention to her. As time goes on, it seems as though the two of them are headed in different directions. Eliza is working hard to finish school and Till is barley making the grade. Till is in love with Eliza, but doesn’t want to jeopardize what they have. Until one night he decides that he will give into the fantasy life that he’s always wanted. Who knew that the fantasy had the power to change everything?

Six months later, Till and Eliza are reunited. Just when Eliza had mended her broken heart and was finally moving on, Till is back in the picture. Till still feels as though he is unworthy of Eliza and that he can only offer her friendship. He’s still struggling with all the curve balls that life has handed him. He’s trying to work and take care of his brothers. He just doesn’t want to struggle anymore. Will Till finally open his eyes to the reality that’s been in front of him this entire time? 

Fighting Silence is a beautiful story. It is a story of romance, strength, the fight to handle what life throws at you. It’s about family, not giving up and the joys in life that no money could ever bring. Fighting Silence is frustrating and will have you screaming and tempted to throw your kindle. The characters are real, and complex. Their struggles difficult and dreams of something better. 

I loved Eliza. She was strong, and determined. She supported Till no matter what.  Even when things were at their worst, Eliza was always there for Till. She gave Till the family that they both dreamed about and made him see that he was worthy of good things. If only he could open his eyes.

Till……He had so much thrown at him. He had so many responsibilities at such a young age and just made the best out of every situation. He didn’t throw in the towel, when many would have. My heart broke for him as his medical condition took a turn for the worse. His emotions and frustrations, so real. He had such a big heart and fought for what he wanted in life.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fighting Silence. I found the story to be captivating. I loved the characters, especially Till’s brothers. I really hope we’ll see more of them in the future. There were also some cameos from a few familiar faces. Fighting Silence is the first book in a new series by Aly Martinez and I’m can’t wait to see where the story will take us next!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*


 Excerpt 

“That wasn’t yours to take away,” he exploded into the otherwise silent night. His words echoed off the surrounding buildings, each wave slicing me to the quick all over again. “That was our place. Not yours.” His voice cracked right alongside my heart.

“Yeah, well, there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t yours to take either.” I held his gaze, desperately trying to be strong, but as his eyes grew wide, I whimpered.

His long legs strode forward, stopping only inches away from me. He was crowding me, but he still leaned in closer to my face. “There is nothing in this world that was ever more mine than you,” he stated. Though it was the absolute truth, I wished with all my heart that it were a lie.

“Till,” I cried, swiping the tears from my eyes.

“Why!” he shouted, causing his muscles to tense under the force. “Goddamn it! I needed that place.”

Porch lights flashed on from the surrounding apartments, illuminating not only the dark but also my rage.

I shoved my hands into his chest. “What about what I needed? You left! I waited in that fucking apartment for weeks.”

He didn’t budge, but my bare feet slipped, sending me toward the ground. Impossibly fast, Till’s hand snaked out and caught my arm. I didn’t let his chivalrous gesture douse my fire. I had six months’ worth of words to say to the man I was irrevocably in love with.

“You took what you wanted. Then you left me.”

“Doodle,” he whispered.

I had been perilously close to the edge of insanity, and with one single word, he’d pushed me over.

I lost it completely.

Pounding my fists against his chest, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “It’s Eliza! My name is fucking Eliza! Not Doodle!” I spun to march away, but Till’s arms folded around me, lifting me off my feet to restrain me.

I was miniscule compared to him. There was no use in fighting, but I still kicked my legs, irrationally desperate to get away from him—but only because I knew I couldn’t keep him for forever.

“Stop it!” he growled into my ear. “I know your Goddamn name—probably better than I know my own.”


About the Author:

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of 

job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


 GIVEAWAY

$50 AMAZON GIFT CARD  (2 Winners) 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARMAINE!!!!

Posted on

Today is a veeeeeery special day!! It’s our very own Charmaine’s 30th birthday!!!! Woop!!! Please join us in wishing Charmaine a MASSIVE HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Charm is an amazing member of the Once Upon a Book Blog team, as well as the best BFF anyone could ask for. We ❤ you, Charmaine.  

P.S Pics of the 30th shenanigans to come 😉

Blog Tour and Review: A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give… 

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she’s helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

 


Purchase Links: 

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00TWOLMC0 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-stone-in-the-sea-al-jackson/1121263588?ean=2940151484169 


FACEBOOK RELEASE PARTY 4pm – 9pm EST: https://www.facebook.com/events/437176576441038/


 My Review

“But where there’s beauty, there’s also pain. And I wanted to share in his, because I felt it every time he looked at me. I wanted to immerse myself in it, in him. To be set adrift in all he kept hidden, to slip under, to see and feel and experience what she shored up tight inside”

Wow! Just wow! My poor heart! I just….no words. This. This is why I love A.L. Jackson:

“And I fell. Plunged into his abyss. Heart first. Through the waves of ecstasy. Deeper. Deeper. To where I touched a sea of stars that blinded my eyes, where I floated in that place that belonged only to us, a placed that didn’t belong to the world. Where darkness and light reigned and wrong or right had no bearing. A brutal ecstasy. I never wanted to end”

These words, her words. They’re powerful. They pull me in. They captivate me. They hold me hostage, demanding that I devour each one of them…..

A Stone in the Sea follows the story of Sebastian and Shea. Sebastian has it all: fame, money, girls. But he’s bitter and has a terrible reputation. Things go wrong, when Sebastian tries to protect his younger brother and he’s sent to Savannah to lie low while things calm down.  The last thing he planned for was to meet Shea…..

Shea is everything that Sebastian never knew he wanted. She’s kind, beautiful, good and has this light about her. She knows from the moment she sees Sebastian, that he’s trouble. He makes her remember and want things….things that she can’t afford to have anymore. They try desperately to deny what they are feeling, the passion that is brewing. But, once they give in, they find themselves in a place neither one of them expected.  Things are going well, until the past decides to time to catch up with them. It seems that Sebastian isn’t the only one with secrets. Will the past have the power to destroy everything???

When we first meet Sebastian, it would appear that he is nothing but trouble, a complete bad boy. But, the more you get to know his character, the more you see that appearances aren’t everything. I can not fault him for wanting to keep his identity a secret. All he wanted was to be seen as Sebastian. Not some famous musician. He just wanted that fleeting moment, where he could just be himself. The quote/question “Do you see me?”  is asked by Sebastian a lot.  Does Shea see him? The real Sebastian, the one hiding behind the facade….

Shea. She is inspiring. She has a secret that she’s willing to do anything to protect. She doesn’t have time for distractions. But, somewhere along the way, Sebastian got under her skin. Made her see things differently, made her hope again. Shea was the perfect balance for Sebastian. The light to his dark. Both healing from their pasts. Their chemistry is so powerful. They will have you questioning, if love will be enough.

A Stone in the Sea is a fantastic start to this new series by A.L. Jackson. This book was well written and beautiful. The angst, guilt, and romance so palpable that it will leave you begging for more. This book will make you laugh, cry, and swoon. You will get completely lost in Shea and Sebastian’s story. And the end……Oh, that ending! There are no words. I was shocked. I was not prepared. Book 2 can not get here fast enough!

*I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

*Quotes taken from ARC and may differ from the final product*


Excerpt 

With a smile, I turned around, then froze when my sight registered the obscured figure leaning against the wall. A strangled gasp caught in my throat, and my heart took off at a sprint, blood pounding hard in my ears.

Pushing from the wall, he stepped from the shadows, his hands again stuffed deep in his pockets. 

My heart rate only increased, the energy radiating from him almost as strong as the disappointment he’d left me with when he’d gone.

I pressed my hand to my chest to try to still the panic thundering against my ribs. “You scared me.”

“I’m sorry.” The words were soft. “That’s the last thing I want to do.”

But he did. I was scared of what he was capable of doing to me, the way I knew he held the power to trounce all over this hammering heart, to hold it in his hand and crush it into a million unrecognizable pieces.

“What are you doing here?” I asked on a shaky breath.

He looked to the sky and exhaled heavily, before he leveled his gaze back on me. “The same thing I’m doing every night, Shea. Thinking about you and wondering why the hell I can’t stop.”

My stomach flipped, and I gulped for air.

“What do you want from me?”

He laughed, lifted his elbows out to his sides in a helpless gesture without pulling his hands free. “Dinner?”

Nonsensical laughter shot from me. “At three in the morning?” 

“Breakfast?” he amended, a coy smile pulling at his full, crooked lips.

Tingles spread across my skin, and I ran my hands up my bare arms. “I already told you I don’t have time for distractions.”

“Come on, Shea. It’s just food. Go out with me. Just tonight.”

Somehow I knew it was a lie, even though he wanted to believe it was true.

Nervously, I glanced to the back door all the while being inexplicably drawn to this man I didn’t even know. I knew I should make a break for it, run for the safety of my little world and give him no opportunity to rip it apart.

“I am hungry,” I found myself saying. After a long night of work, it was true. But it had nothing to do with the reason I was giving in.

Because I just wanted to…

I shook my head.

That was it. I just wanted. I wanted to be in his space. I wanted to understand why he had this pull on me. I wanted him.

Even though I’d never allow myself to have him.


Author Bio

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

To stay up to date with important news on A.L. Jackson, including new releases, sales, and exclusive specials and excerpts, text “jackson” to 96000 to subscribe!

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Blog Tour and Review: Collateral Damage by Elisabeth Grace

Now trending.
Hollywood It Girl, Francesca Leon, has just landed the biggest role of her career…one that could clinch an Oscar nomination and open doors. If she’s going to move her career to the next level and work with top directors, she has to nail this part — and keep her sexy, but unreliable leading man from screwing everything up.

Team Calder
Bad boy Calder Fox is the son of Hollywood royalty and fresh out of rehab after his best friend’s death sent him on a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol. While his fans still love him and the paparazzi stalk him, he’s never taken life, or anything about his career, seriously. He may be charming and drop-dead gorgeous, but if he doesn’t stay sober, he could ruin Frankie’s future and expose her long-hidden family secret to the voracious media.

Behind the scenes.
Things heat up during filming and have the potential to become hotter, deeper, and much more real. But can Frankie trust Calder with her secret? Or is he doomed to sabotage his own happiness yet again? 

Add COLLATERAL DAMAGE to your Goodreads list here!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo


My Review

Collateral Damage follows the story of Frankie and Calder. Frankie just landed the role of her life. She’s under a ton of pressure to nail this role and make it a success. Everything was going to plan until there is a change in the leading man. This change has the potential to ruin everything….

Calder is the bad boy of Hollywood and is fresh out of rehab. His career has taken a turn for the worse due to some bad choices that he’s made. Now, he’s looking for a fresh start and to make a mend for him mistakes. Being sober is proving to be quiet a challenge for him, but his up to the task. Calder just wants a second chance, but has to be careful because he doesn’t want to ruin Frankie in the process. Calder isn’t the only one who has a past. Frankie has secrets too. Will Frankie finally open up about her secrets and let someone in? Will Calder get his second chance on life?

Collateral Damage was a quick and easy read for me. I found the writing to be captivating and the story-line intriguing. I am big fan of  second chances story’s and this one does not disappoint. Once you get to know Calder, he is one character who really deserves it.

Collateral Damage is story about second chances, finding yourself, accepting your mistakes and the cards that you’ve been dealt. It’s about taking chances, redemption and of course falling in love.

I loved watching Calder and Frankie’s relationship evolve. They really were there for one another and gave each such great support. I couldn’t help but cheer for them. I was crossing my fingers that even when thing got tough, that they would have the strength to work out and that they would be able to get past anything. 

Collateral Damage was a great addition to The Limelight Series. I loved the angst and romance of the story. I loved the flawed characters and the reality of the pressures that being in the limelight causes. Another fantastic read from Elisabeth Grace!

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*


Newsletter

Be sure to sign up for Elisabeth Grace’s newsletter – she’s releasing a new chapter of BUILT TO LAST every two weeks, which will be available to newsletter subscribers only as she writes it!


Connect with Elisabeth Grace

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+ | Instagram

 If you’re US based and you want to receive a text message when Elisabeth has a new book go LIVE, text ROMANCE to 313131!


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Review: Dirty Proof by Jade Eby

For the first time – the enthralling novels Whiskey and a Gun and The Finish are combined together. 

Carter and Tawny have a story to tell – but you won’t like what they have to say. 

Follow as they each get their turn in this coming-of-age tragic story about love gone wrong.

+ Extra scenes not available anywhere else.


My Review

I’m just going to keep this review short and sweet and say that Jade Eby has done it once again! Once again, she has written a story that has pulled me in and wouldn’t let me walk away until I finished every last word. I will warn you that this is NOT an easy read. These books deal with some very, very intense and difficult subject matter. It might even take you out of your normal realm of comfort, but the way that Jade Eby tackled this subject matter was amazing.

Dirty Proof takes you on one heck of a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It brought out emotions in me that I didn’t even know existed. Carter and Tawny’s story is not an easy one and reminded me why I love broken characters so much. They’re so real, so raw. They are so complex and their story so captivating that you have to see how it all ends. This book….there just….they’re aren’t any words. This isn’t my typical read, but I’m so glad I decided to give it a chance. 

* I was provided an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Loves & Loathes – 22 February 2015

Loves

1.  Sometimes you just need a break from angsty same-same romance and read a sweet and fun chicklit. Chicklit always reminds of everything I love – best friends, chocolate, rainy days and warm blankets. If the book is set in the Cotswalds it’s even better.  I DNF’d a bunch of books recently before deciding to go for Jill Mansell’s Three Amazing Things About You. LOVED. IT. Book funk = officially over. Thanks, Jill Mansell! Always a winner. – K

2. Only 2 More Weeks Until Austin Book Festival!!! -A

3. Dakota Johnson. Didn’t love the Fifty Shades of Grey movie but loved Dakota Johnson as Ana. She saved that movie from being a total dog. That board room ‘negotiation’ scene? She killed me! – K

4. I’m currently reading the newest installment of the Beyond the Veil series by Pippa DaCosta. I LOVE these books! Whether you’re an Urban Fantasy lover or if you’re new to the genre I bet you’ll love them too! – C

5. Kristal’s Chicken Pie recipe. So easy and SO delicious! – C

 

Loathes

1. Cliffhangers!!!! This is actually a love and loathe for me. I love a good cliffhanger, but loathe the wait for the next book to come out! -A (Oh I’m with you on that one Amy! -C)

2. The Fifty Shades of Grey movie. See above. That ‘laters baby’ line actually made me cringe. Cringe. – K

3. I’m right handed… my kid is looking to be left handed. I can NOT for the life of me understand how to teach him how to hold a pen! Argh! – C

4. Hanging baskets. They look cute, so cute, but they die. And then they look hideous. Mines off for a visit to Grandmas house. Maybe she can revive it. – K

5. Charm and I are starting the Kayla Itsines bikini body guide next week. We have to do it for 12 weeks. 12 whooooole weeks. Maybe even longer if it all goes well. We’re are not hoping for bikini bodies out of this (HAH!) but more a general tightening and toning. I’m 1/4 excited and 3/4 dreading the food part. It all looks so….boring. Check it out here and feel free to join us! http://www.kaylaitsines.com.au/ – K