Surrender The Dark (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong-Review & Interview

SURRENDER THE DARK (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong-Review and Interview

Surrender the Dark

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 23, 2017

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: I had not read anything by this author before reading this book.

I read the back cover and was hooked…. How could the author manage to make Ben the vampire hunter and Tzadkiel the vampire that killed his family and blinded him go from enemies to lovers?

Ben’s a hunter, from a long line of hunters, when Ben was eight, his parents and uncle were slaughtered by a vampire and he was blinded. Ben had to learn quick and he did….. For the last 20 years, Ben has hunted and killed as many vampires as he could find in his home town of Boston. He hunts with his two best friends, Nyx, who is part witch and part fae, and Akito, who has always wanted to be a superhero.

The vampire in question has been walking the earth for thousands of years, but the last 20 years Tzadkiel has been in hiding, trying to heal from his injuries that were inflicted by Ben’s family. He has a plan, though, to get his strength back and also strengthen his mora (his vampire family) once again, he will need to take out the hunter in Boston.

Tzadkiel sets out to teach Ben a lesson before he ends his life, so he pretends to be a hunter like Ben, and to reeducate Ben in the art of vampire killing. He makes Ben’s previous teachings from his family a sham, he puts doubt into Ben’s mind. He makes him question his own background.

Ben and Tzadkiel and are very attracted to one another and neither of them can seem to stop it. But there is so much between them, that it takes a while before any real feelings emerge. There is a lot of hatred and mistrust.

But there is a power struggle going on in Boston that puts everyone in danger, there are zombies and strange goings on, so Ben and Tzadkiel decide that it’s better the devil you know basis and form an uneasy alliance between them.

So will they have a happy ending? It was hard to believe they would, there was so much hatred and bad blood between them, I couldn’t see how. So I won’t tell you 😉you’ll have to buy the book and find out yourself.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B

Interview

TRC: Hi, Tibby and welcome to The Reading Café.

Tibby: Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here!

TRC: Congratulations on the release of SURRENDER THE DARK

Tibby ArmstrongTibby: It’s such a thrill to have the book out in the world and to be able to share it with you and your readers!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /Facebook /

Tibby: I come from a family that had a book addiction. There are more bookshelves in my family than family members, and more books in three of our homes than in all of my home town public library. I think I started writing out of self defense. At least at first, writing my own stories was easier on my budget.

Thinking I would love to work as well as live around books 24/7, I obtained a Master’s of Library science in 2011. Alas, the economy and my student loans didn’t support my actually working in a library. So, now I work in the technology sector by day and allow my author alter ego to come out on nights and weekends.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Tibby: I grew up in a house with 10 people, my great grandparents included. My great grandmother used to tell me stories as I fell asleep at night. She came up with tales about elves who lived in our backyard, as well as relating the fun of being the middle of a family of 12 children. It’s safe to say that my imagination is influenced in large part by my relationship with her.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Tibby: I’ve been extraordinarily lucky with publishing my work. My third completed novel was picked up a few months after I completed the pages. I’ve had some wonderful mentors, friends, and professionals such as my agent and my editors to rely on. If I had to say anything has been difficult, it’s that I work pretty much seven days a week and don’t take vacations because I need to use that time to meet my deadlines. I love writing though, so it’s really no sacrifice.

Surrender the DarkTRC: Would you please tell us something about SURRENDER THE DARK?

Tibby: The plot of Surrender the Dark came to me almost three years ago when I had first moved back to the Boston area for work. I was walking down a snowy street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wondering how a person with visual impairments would navigate the icy brick sidewalks, when I looked up and saw a Victorian building decorated with gargoyles and urns. I thought, “Hm. That would be a great place for a vampire to crouch in wait for its quarry.” On the heels of that came the thought, “Blind vampire hunter.” Boom! A story was born!

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series? Is the series entirely M/M based?

Tibby: There are three books planned for the series. They are all m/m, of a sort. The third book explores some gender issues, but I think readers will be intrigued. I know I am!

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Tibby: I think most folks enjoy a certain amount of predictability in Romance, but the key is to satisfy those expectations while keeping the world and conflicts fresh. Tropes can be used as long as they’re used for a reason. The key is to make those choices consciously and to let the characters and conflict drive the story. Also, I rarely read inside my own genre anymore. I read outside the genre and find that weaving storytelling methods from those other genres into my own process helps me not to reach for the “easy fix”. Some authors can read in their genre, but I’m not someone who can do that without getting bogged down.

TRC: You write several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find the most difficult?

Tibby: True! I write contemporary, paranormal, m/m and m/f. I find PNR the most challenging, but the most enjoyable. The complexity of world building, characterization, and plot keep me engaged more fully. I have had a marvelous time writing contemporary stories, but PNR has long been my first love.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Tibby: I do believe the cover image is very important. It’s a shorthand that tells readers several things at a glance:

1. The genre
2. The tone (light, dark, fun, angsty)
3. The quality of production put into the book by the publisher (Did the publisher believe in the book enough to spend time on the cover?)
4. Author brand

If the cover is compelling it will make the reader stop and notice the book, picking it out of a sea of other available and often wonderful options.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Tibby: Oh, it’s very much the characters directing the show. If I don’t give them control, they simply shut up and I have nothing to write or what I write comes out wooden. I learned a long time ago that they run the show!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

Tibby: My goodness. I don’t know that I’m qualified to say why writers might fail in showing emotions, but I think the key here is “show.” If you tell readers “It was a dark and stormy night,” you’re setting a scene, but it’s a cardboard cutout that evokes little. Writing, instead, “Tree branches scraped the leaded pane windows, their shadows like bony fingers on the ceiling. Thunder cracked, the simultaneous lightning flash illuminating the room. Sophia stifled a scream. Jared stood at the end of her bed i. He smelled of rain and freshly turned earth.”

We’ve set the scene and created anticipation so that when Jared does appear, we’re experiencing the authenticity of Sophia’s emotions. To merely say “it was a dark and stormy night” makes the reader feel as if they are watching a costume drama minus the costumes and period setting.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

Tibby: I do! However, I don’t usually find my playlist for the novel until I’ve written several chapters and understand a little more about the characters. Then, I go on Pandora and listen to my Alternative station until I find the songs that speak to mood and psychology. Sometimes those songs influence the emotions later in the story, but mostly they support the ones I’ve already discovered.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Tibby: I have several critique partners. I also bounce ideas off of my editor and agent.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Tibby: Probably that we are born knowing how to write. Learning to tell a good story takes many years of practice.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Tibby: There’s not much I won’t tell people, given a chance. So, not much! Though my close friends know this, possibly not many of my readers do, however. The character of Greg in No Apologies lives the career that I wanted for myself. He also has some life experiences that were also my own.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Tibby: Currently, I’m working on the second draft of the follow-up novel to Surrender the Dark. It is titled Taste the Dark, and tells the story of Akito, who falls in love with Lyandros, brother to the vampire king.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Tibby: Thank you for having me! I hope you and your readers enjoy Surrender the Dark!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food

Smoothies!

Favorite Dessert

Cheesecake

Favorite TV Show

Currently, The Crown and Victoria. I’m researching a historical PNR!

Last Movie You Saw

Oh dear. I can’t recall. It has been a while.

Dark or Milk Chocolate

It depends on the chocolate. If it’s really expensive dark chocolate, it can triumph over milk chocolate. My guilty pleasure, however, are Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Secret Celebrity Crush

Daniel Craig

Last Vacation Destination

Manhattan

Do you have any pets?

I have two cats, Dean and Diana.

Last book you read

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. If you haven’t read Cordelia’s Honor, pick it up!

TRC: Thank you, Tibby, for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Tibby: Thank you for having me. I’ve enjoyed myself immensely!

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Interview with model Jacob Rodney Hogue

Interview with model Jacob Rodney Hogue

TRC: Hi Jacob, and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the cover of Laura Kaye’s RIDE WILD. We are BIG fans of Laura at The Reading Café. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Jacob Hogue 4Follow Jacob on : Instagram

Jacob: I grew up living in multiple states temporarily, but spent most my time in Great Falls, MT until I was 15. I moved to Yuba City, Ca at that age. At age 19 I joined the Army reserve and after 8 years and one deployment to Afghanistan I chose not to reenlist and moved to Long Beach, CA to model and act.

TRC: What were your dreams and aspirations growing up?

Jacob: Dreams and aspirations as a child were very limited. I grew up in a loving yet sheltered Christian home. I loved singing and sports but never really approached either as a career possibility.

TRC: When not modeling what is your ‘day job’?

Jacob: I work security at Sgt Peppers Dueling pianos on the weekend and am also an avid writer in my free time. I write songs, poetry and am creating my own tv show.

Jacob Hogue 7TRC: Would you please tell us about your beloved four-legged friends?

Jacob: My pets are my children. I have two pitbulls. My male is 1/2 bullmastiff. I also have a savannah cat, who is the coolest guy ever (hence the name “Xander Cage” and my girlfriend has a dainty little Siamese girl.

TRC: What first sparked your interest in modeling? Is there a defining moment where you knew that modeling was something you were interested in pursuing?

Jacob: Modeling was something I never really considered, but my good friend, John DeWall, had dove into modeling and acting and put me in touch with Wander once I was out of the Army and now here I am.

Jacob Rodney Hogue cover 2TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Jacob: I have never had a shoot go completely wrong, but if it ever does happen I’m sure I will make the best of it because that’s all one can do. I love to be challenged.

TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality to pornography. What would you tell young models/actors /body builders just entering the business about nude modeling and photography?

Jacob: When it comes to nude modeling. My advice is always do your homework on those involved and then do what you want to do. I’ll repeat that. Do what YOU want to do. If you’re truly self aware and know who you are then focus on that. There will always be people who disagree with you or have different perspectives and that is okay. There’s always a chance that walking through a door can open others as well as close others. If you’re happy with what you’re doing than that’s what is important.

TRC: The modeling industry exposes you to many people and sometimes it can be very stressful. At times do you feel alone, surrounded by so many people? What do you do when the stress becomes overwhelming?

Jacob Hogue 1Jacob: I never feel alone. I consider myself an outgoing introvert. I thank my girlfriend and my younger Brother for that. We see most things the same way and they always have my back because of our similar perspectives on everything. She loves photography and modeling and he is a musician. I’m an outgoing introvert so if I’m alone it’s because I’ve chosen to be for that moment. When I’m stressed I just remind myself that I can handle it. Eight years in the Army help with that. I also smoke a joint and have a glass of wine. I focus on controlling what I can control.

TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry but the popularity of the romance storyline has skyrocketed in the last few years especially with the erotic and sensual cover images. What is your opinion about the recent popularity and the very busy industry of the ‘romance cover model’?

Jacob: When it comes to a stigma on the male model/ romance industry I don’t really give it much attention. There are so many perspectives and opinions out in the world. A person just needs to focus on doing what they want and love. I think the recent jump in the industry is due to the love of all the people involved. I’ve only been to one event/signing but the fans are fanatics and I believe the same could be said for the authors. It’s a community happy within itself and growing. There will always be those throwing shade or causing conflict but the few cannot destroy the masses.

Jacob Rodney Hogue coverTRC: What do you do to prepare yourself for a shoot?

Jacob: As an avid writer and inspiring actor when I get on set I just create my interpretation of the character and write my own scene in my head to play with. I become what is asked of me. And I love it. I always approach shoots like I’m in a scene of something.

TRC: Do you know the number of novel covers that your image has appeared?

Jacob: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t keep track of the number of stuff I’m on. I’m honored and enjoy every single one but I’m always chasing the next one. Plus, the goal is to be on more than I could count so why bother lol

TRC: Do you remember the first cover (book or magazine) on which you appeared?

Jacob: The first magazine I was on was a cover/ editorial for obvious magazine which was awesome. I actually wore most of my own clothes and helped style myself which was awesome.

TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax?

Jacob Hogue 2Jacob: I spend a lot of time on walks with my dogs to relax. I live 4 blocks from the beach so how could I not. Also, I’m a huge believer in the best way to relax is to just do nothin. Non-typical meditation of sorts. I just sit down somewhere and do absolutely nothing, except for maybe smoke a joint 🙂

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Jacob: In the next 5 years I’d like 1) quit my day job 2) have my tv show idea really go into motion 3) still be happy. You will always hear me resort back to being happy. There are so many forms of it and I feel people get too caught up in chasing other people’s happiness or trying to please everyone. I believe in being selfish and kind at the same time. Do what you want, be nice to people and avoid those who aren’t.

Jacob Rodney Hogue cover 7TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Jacob: I’ve actually already mentioned it in an earlier question. Hardly anyone knows I write and love to sing. I was a choir boy in high school and took vocal lessons.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about modeling ?

Jacob: The biggest misconception I’ve experienced is many people believe there is no hard work in it. It is unreal the work behind the scenes and when you’re on set shooting you are expected to do your job so it’s not all for nothing. People who don’t look for the big picture will never see it. Misconceptions are for the ignorant who are not concerned with learning. And I have ZERO time for that. I love to not know things so I can learn. But I do wish I knew everything.

TRC: What type of music do you listen to? and what music is on your playlist today?

Jacob: I listen to almost everything so I’ll name artist : Mixon (my brother) Logic, j cole , usher, JT, Lukas graham… all country, all types of rock, some classical, some jazz… like I said… everything

Jacob Hogue covers 8

TRC: On what on your currently working?

Jacob: I’m currently finishing up the script for my pilot episode and trying to book more modeling and acting jobs. To see my Latest project follow me @jacobrodneyhogueshow I put everything in instagram

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Jacob: I would love to stress my beliefs in being happy. Whatever your happiness is. Do that. Always try to understand others perspectives whether you agree. Seeing how all different types of people get to different types of places will help you navigate life. In the end do what you want and be happy. Stop caring about what everyone else thinks. You can always find people who are on your level. Be happy be happy be happy.

Lightning round

Favorite Foodpizza

Favorite Dessert-Twinkies

Favorite Movie-Legends of the Fall and Warrior (sorry had to give 2)

Favorite TV Show-Shameless

Last Movie You SawLa La Land

Secret Celebrity Crush-Michelle Rodriguez

Dark or Milk Chocolatemilk chocolate

Last Book You read-Inside Delta Force

Pet Peeve-ignorant pit bull comments

TRC: Thank you Jacob for taking the time to answer our questions. It is always a pleasure to meet the man behind the cover. We wish you all the best.

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The Bridal Squad (Enchanted Bridal #2) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview & Giveaway

THE BRIDAL SQUAD (Enchanted Bridal #2) by Samantha Chase-Review, Interview & Giveaway

The Bridal Squad Banner

THE BRIDAL SQUAD
Enchanted Bridal #2
by Samantha Chase
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: May 10, 2017

The Bridal Squad

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

About the book: Release Date May 10, 2017

Click HERE for more details about Samantha Chase and the Enchanted Bridal series

The Friday Night Brides are back! And this time, it’s their first season running the business! It was one thing to just model in a weekly fashion show, it’s quite another to be the ones calling the shots and making future brides’ dreams come true. Their first client has them wondering if they’re really prepared for their new roles!

The Bride: Julianne is big on fitness, small on patience. And planning her wedding is grating on her every last nerve. As a Zumba instructor, she loves the freedom to create and choreograph her routines and help others achieve their goals, but having to stand back and let others choreograph her big day has her wanting to hip-hop toward eloping!

The Matron of Honor: As the only married member of the bridal party, Natalie considers herself the aficionado on all-things weddings. And even though her time in the spotlight is over, that doesn’t mean she isn’t full of ideas on how her best friend’s wedding should look and feel and be! And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that maybe it’s not so much that she’s wanting to help as it is that she’s afraid of her own honeymoon ending.

The Bride’s Sister: Nothing screams unwanted relationship advice than when your younger sister gets married before you. It’s not that Harper doesn’t want to get married, after three failed engagements she really does! But finding the right man to walk down the aisle with is proving harder than she thought. And it gets even harder when constantly being compared to the perfect couple!

The Reluctant Bridesmaid: There is nothing Kayla wants more than to see one of her best friend’s get married…if only the whole process wasn’t so exhausting! Travel and adventure and being on the go fuels her. Having to stay in one place for an extended period of time while wearing taffeta? Not so much. Her job tends to take her away on a moment’s notice and this is one time she may have to pass up the trip of a lifetime in the name of friendship.

•••••••••

REVIEW:  THE BRIDAL SQUAD is the second installment in Samantha Chase’s contemporary, adult ENCHANTED BRIDAL romance series. Like the first book Friday Night Brides, THE BRIDAL SQUAD focuses on four women-Julianne, Natalie, Harper and Kayla-four friends whose personal lives implode as they make preparations for Julianne’s wedding.

Told from several third person points of view THE BRIDAL SQUAD follows the four friends as they traverse a minefield of relationship hiccups and disasters-misunderstandings, new love, fear of commitment, meddling mothers, and being taken for granted. While Julianne makes plans for her upcoming nuptials, everyone’s life begins to spiral out of control until the bride-to-be announces she was done with it all.

THE BRIDAL SQUAD looks at four women whose personal struggles are not unlike the reality of relationships and love but for each their battles loom larger through a lack of communication, issues of trust, secrets and the sheer exhaustion of their friend’s impending wedding.

Samantha Chase writes a heartwarming, realistic and poignant story of romance, and love, heartbreak and pain, perception and emotional withdrawal for four women who love hard, and work hard for love. Julianne battles for control of her wedding; Harper can never measure up to her mother’s ideals; Kayla receives an ultimatum; and Natalie realizes she may had made the biggest mistake of her life. THE BRIDAL SQUAD is an enjoyable, animated and lighthearted look at life. The premise is playful and energetic, and the characters are vivacious and passionate.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book 1-FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

CATCHING UP with Samantha Chase

TRC: Hi Samantha and welcome back to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of THE BRIDAL SQUAD-the second installment in your Enchanted Bridal Series.SamanthaChase

For anyone new to Samantha Chase, please tell us something about yourself?

Follow: Goodreads / Twitter / Website / Facebook

Samantha: Thanks for having me back! I write contemporary romance – some call it sweet, but I like to just mention that most of the sexy stuff happens behind closed doors!

 

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Samantha: I started reading romances in the 7th grade when my science lab partner introduced me to Harlequin romances. I was instantly hooked. I always knew that I loved writing stories, but it wasn’t until I got serious about reading romances that I knew that’s what I wanted to write. Sandra Brown was a huge influence on me wanting to do it.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Samantha: There are so many amazing authors out there that it’s hard to stand out and find readers! I am fortunate in that I am a full-time writer so I can set my own schedule and really write the books that I want to, but finding and keeping an audience is a constant challenge.

The Bridal SquadTRC: Would you please tell us something about THE BRIDAL SQUAD and Enchanted Bridal Series?

Samantha: There was never really going to be a series! Whew…it’s good to finally admit that! I had originally published THE WEDDING SEASON as a standalone. FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES was a story that I always wanted to write because growing up, I knew a family who owned a bridal shop and they did those fashion shows and I was always intrigued by them. As I started to plan it, I was talking to a friend about it and she mentioned using some of the characters from WEDDING SEASON and I thought “Why not?” So we sort of considered that the prequel. Readers seemed to really enjoy FRIDAY NIGHT BRIDES and I knew I could totally do more with the girls from that story but bring them back in supporting roles.

I wrote THE BRIDAL SQUAD in a very short amount of time. I won’t say how short, but trust me, it was! And the interesting thing was that I didn’t really know what I wanted these girls to be dealing with. I knew the dynamic that I wanted but this story was truly a by-the-seat-of-my-pants event. As the story progressed, I have to admit that even I was surprised at where some of the stories went but in the end, I felt like these were women who I would want to be friends with and the response from readers has confirmed that they would as well!

TRC: Are any of the characters based in reality?

Samantha: The character of Angie is based on a friend of mine. I mean like solidly based on her personality, not the life situation that the character in the book finds herself in. But most of my characters end up being a combination of people that I’ve known in my life.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Friday Night BridesSamantha: While I’m physically writing, the only sound I usually hear is my dog snoring or I put on a Sounds of the Ocean CD. However, almost all of my books have at least one song that has either inspired a particular scene or even the entire book. I tend to turn to music when I have writers block and that’s how I’ll find that perfect song to help me out.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Samantha: That writing is easy. I get so upset when people get flippant about what I do and then say “Oh maybe I’ll write a book!” It’s not easy. And it doesn’t get any easier. Each book takes more hours that I think it will and it means that I sit at my desk for fourteen hours a day or I don’t go out of my house for days on end.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Samantha: I’m actually kind of an introvert. Online I don’t seem that way, but most times if given the choice, I will gladly stay home with my husband and son and just hang out and watch TV.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Samantha: I am currently working on two books. The first is a new book in my Montgomery Brothers series. No title yet and I’m about 40K into it. And the other is book three in the Preston’s Mill series that I am co-writing with Noelle Adams called Complicating.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food – Steak

Favorite Dessert – chocolate milkshake

Favorite TV Show – Modern Family

Last Movie You Saw – Beauty and the Beast

Dark or Milk Chocolate – Dark

Secret Celebrity Crush – Jeffery Dean Morgan

Last Vacation Destination – San Diego

Do you have any pets? – Yes! My sassy pug Maylene

Last book you read – An ARC of GOING IN DEEP by Carly Phillips. And I LOVED it!!

TRC: Thank you Samantha for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release

Giveaway

Samantha and her publicist are offering an ecopy of THE BRIDAL SQUAD to THREE (3) commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please follow Samantha Chase on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

7. Giveaway is open to  international entries.

8. Giveaway runs from May 12-16, 2017

Trident Media Group

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Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway

Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons – Review, Spotlight, & Giveaway

 

Dating the Undead
Undead Dating Service series – Book #1
by Juliet Lyons
Release Date: May 2, 2017

Dating the UndeadAmazon / B&N / Kobo  / BAM / Book Depository

Dating the Undead Promo

Description:
It’s Bridget Jones with vampires in this fresh and funny paranormal romance from debut author Juliet Lyons

When Silver Harris kisses sexy Irish vampire Logan Byrne on New Year’s Eve, she knows other humans just won’t suffice. Convinced she’ll never see him again, she joins the uber-popular vampire dating site, V-Date.com.

What Silver doesn’t know is that the site is more dangerous than she could ever imagined, and soon she’s in over her head. When Logan returns, sparks fly and attraction sizzles, but they’ll have to escape some very real demons if they have any chance of lasting forever.

 

Review:

Dating the Undead by Juliet Lyons is the 1st book in her Undead Dating Service series.  This was a different type of paranormal story line revolving around vampires and humans.   Silver Harris, our heroine, is a beautiful feisty sexy young girl, who secretly is trying to find the person responsible for killing her mother.  Silver starts dating vampires, which in this book, seems the norm for human girls who find them sexy and attractive.  Silver has agreed to go undercover using the V-Date.com site to help the police learn more information about how vampires live and how to stop them. 

Logan Byrne is close to 200 years old, and is a gorgeous vampire with sexy green eyes.  He saves Silver from a bad vampire, and in no time their attraction for each other is hotter than hell. Logan works for Ronin, the ancient vampire who he is blood bound to; Little does Logan know that the assignment he is given, will bring him to Silver.   Their relationship was great, as Silver was a piece of work, with her off the cuff sassy comments, and  I loved them together.  They were so much fun, not to mention totally steamy. 

Logan realizes he is falling in love with Silver, having feelings he has not had for so long. Because he knows his boss will not approve, and his fear of his old dangerous sire coming back to haunt him, Logan will decide to break up with Silver to keep her safe.   Once he finds out that Silver is working for the police, Logan knows he has to protect her, and also knows he can’t live without her.  At this point, all hell is about to break loose, with Logan’s sire returning putting both of their lives together.   During this time, Silver will also find out who was responsible for her mother’s murder.

I enjoyed Dating the Undead, mainly because the main characters were lots of fun, likeable and their chemistry was off the wall.   After the exciting & surprise climax twist, there was an epilogue that moved forward three years in time, which was a nice touch.  Wonderful start of this new series by Juliet Lyons.  I recommend Dating the Undead to read if you enjoy paranormal romances with vampires.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

Guest post-White and Red

10 ways to tell if your date is actually a vampire by Juliet Lyons

  1. They only want to meet at night, using the excuse that they’re not ‘a morning person’
  1. On a date to the beach, you catch them harassing the lady in the mini mart to check the stock room for Hawaiian Tropics factor 500.
  1. When you get a paper cut, they’re oddly excited.
  1. They’re still not over their ex. Even though the latter has been dead for two hundred years.
  1. Every time you mention a church wedding they recoil in horror*.
  1. They often refer to Eric from True Blood as someone who ‘has their shit together.’
  1. They drink a lot of red wine, but never seem drunk. Wait — is that actually wine?
  1. They have pale, flawless skin despite the fact you’ve never once seen them cleanse and/or moisturize.
  1. When watching any kind of sporting event, they constantly scoff and sneer at the athletes.‘Please! Is that the best they can do?’
  1. They are particularly keen to remind you that the neck is a top five erogenous zone…

*Does not necessarily mean they are a vampire. Mortals — particularly males—are also prone to behaving in this way.

Clichéd lines from dating profile

Want to grab a bite?

I’d love to take you to dinner…If you’re okay with being the main course…
Male Vampire seeking a special someone to share his life—or death depending on how you look at it.
I can’t offer you sunshine, but I can offer you eternity.



excerpt

I freeze in terror. What a waste of Dad’s money those self-defense classes turned out to be.
“Silver, it’s just me,” a lilting Irish voice says at my ear, the hand dropping from my shoulder.
I turn around to find myself nose to nose with my vampire from New Year’s Eve, his bright green eyes piercing mine.
I’m struck by several conflicting emotions all at once—anger, relief, and in a tiny measure—happiness. Anger wins out. On impulse, I slap him hard across the face, pointing with a white, clenched hand to the garden I’ve just sprinted across.
“I thought I was about to be murdered, asshole,” I hiss through my teeth. “I ripped my coat. My heels are ruined. All because you thought it might be fun to follow me home.”
He smirks, nonplussed, sliding his hands into the deep pockets of his navy pea coat. “I wasn’t following you,” he says, eyes twinkling.
“Oh, that’s right,” I say, voice dripping with sarcasm. “You were just walking me home again. Except this time from fifty yards behind and without me knowing.”
Before he has a chance to reply, the front door flies open and my landlady Vera emerges in a long, silky, oriental dressing gown. She is wigless for once, a Pucci scarf twisted into a makeshift turban covering her head. In her right hand, she holds a meat cleaver.
“Step away, you rapist bastard!” she yells, holding the large knife shakily aloft.
I glare at the vampire, expecting him to either throw his hands in the air or take a step backwards. Instead his brows knit together and his mouth drops open. “Etta Marlow?” he asks, staring at her as if she just walked on water.
The meat cleaver lowers a fraction. “What’s it to you?” Vera demands, her voice losing some of its previous menace.
I roll my eyes. Of course he remembers her. He’s probably seen all her films.
“It is you!” he erupts, wagging a finger in her direction. “You’re Etta Marlow! You played Susie De Sousa in Girl Uptown with Gregor Lane. I love that movie.”
The meat cleaver drops, forgotten, to her side as she pats her turban, eyelashes fluttering. “Fancy you recognizing me,” she mutters happily.
“Excuse me, Vera,” I interject, “but there’s still a potential rapist on your doorstep here.”
Vera looks back to the vampire, who shakes his head, smiling. “A misunderstanding, Etta. I was making sure Silver here made it home safely. She got the wrong end of the stick.”
Vera, or Etta as she was once known, glances over at me. “Do you know this charming fellow, dear?”
I scowl at them both. “Well, yes, but— “
“Well then, you must come in, dear boy. I could show you my Oscar, if you like?”
The Vampire looks as if he’s about to pee himself with excitement. “You mean the one you got for Days Like These with Vic Stevens?”
She holds out a thin hand towards him, gold bangles jangling on her wrist. “The very one, dear. Come, come in.”
I watch, stunned, as he takes her hand, green eyes lit up in excitement.
Before stepping through the door, he hangs back. “Ms. Marlow, I’m afraid it’s only courteous to let you know before I enter that I’m not human. I’m a vampire.”
Vera’s tinkly laugh echoes around the street like a bicycle bell. “Oh, you’re so sweet. Didn’t you know I’ve met dozens of vampires? They’re two a penny in Hollywood, darling.”
Following her across the threshold, he flashes the cockiest of grins. “Coming, Silver?”
My jaw drops in disgust. I’m tempted to sulk off to my basement flat, but instead, I trail after them and slam the door.
We follow Vera along an elegant gold and cream hallway into her immaculate, monochrome front room. Even though I’ve been here on numerous occasions, I’m always mesmerized by the sheer extravagance of the place—buttery white leather sofas, cream fur rugs, one wall is painted black and white to resemble piano keys. It should look tacky, but somehow, it works.
“You two make yourselves at home whilst I go and make myself presentable.” Vera says. “Then I’ll dig out that old Oscar of mine.”
I know, of course, the Oscar will not have to be ‘dug’ out of anywhere. It’s always on display in the den, alongside her film stills and other memorabilia.
“I didn’t catch your name,” she croons to the vampire before she leaves.
He puts a hand on his chest. “Forgive me, I should have introduced myself. Between the meat cleaver threat and getting slapped by Silver here, I seem to have forgotten my manners. I’m Logan. Logan Byrne.”
For strange and unfathomable reasons, my stomach flips. Logan. It suits him.
“Charming,” Vera says. “Don’t you go anywhere, Mr. Byrne.”
As soon as Vera disappears from the room, Logan collapses into one of the white leather arm chairs and puts his crossed feet onto the cut glass coffee table.
I’m still standing, one brow arched, arms folded across my chest. “So, Logan,” I hiss. “What the hell is this?”
He grins, dimples putting in their first appearance of the night as he gazes up at me. “Did anyone ever tell you, you’re particularly beautiful when you’re angry?”
“Oh, cut the crap,” I say, ignoring the hot flush climbing my neck. “Why did you follow me?”
“Like I told Etta, I wanted to make sure you got home safely, that’s all. Though I’m a little confused as to why you have three houses.” He holds up fingers to count. “The one I left you at on New Year’s, the one Nathaniel dropped you at, and now this—cohabiting with an aged 1940’s screen siren.”
“It’s none of your business,” I say, chin in the air. “And anyway, how do you know Nathaniel?”
He shrugs. “I know most of the vampires in London.”
I humpth. “I bet you do.”
In the blink of an eye, he is towering over me, face inches from mine. I inhale his clean, masculine scent like a drowning person coming up for air, and as he leans closer, I find myself gravitating towards him—a flower reaching for sunlight.
He pulls the collar of my coat aside and peers into the gap. As his fingers brush my jaw, an uncontrollable shiver zings through me. I disguise it by stepping out of reach and batting his hand away.
“He did a messy job on your neck,” he says, in a low voice.
“What’s it to you?” I snap.
Before I realize what’s happening, he closes the gap between us. One hand cupping my cheek, he bends over, lips brushing the place Nathaniel bit me, tongue gently swiping the puncture holes.
“That should stop the bleeding,” he says, pulling away. “But you’ll still have a bruise in the morning.”
I rub my neck and look at my fingers. No blood. “So, you can heal wounds? Just another of your unique skills along with beating up drunk men and following young women home for kicks?”
He sinks back into the armchair. “You’re a sexy girl, Silver. I’m glad we’ve met again.”
I snort incredulously, trying, without success, to forget the warmth of his hand on my face. “Well, you certainly made sure we did.”
“And of course,” he continues, pretending to examine a photo on the coffee table. “I’m hugely flattered I’ve managed to turn your head towards my kind.”
“You didn’t turn anything,” I say tartly.
He cocks a brow, gaze burning through my clothes like a laser. I feel a sharp twitch between my legs, as though he’s controlling my private areas by some invisible string. “Are you sure about that?”


 

About The Author

Juliet Lyons
JULIET LYONSis a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and
Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time
discussing Harry Potter. Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has receivedmillions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over theworld. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Social Networking Links

 

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Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen-Review, Interview & Giveaway

PIPE DREAMS (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Pipe Dreams Banner

PIPE DREAMS
Brooklyn Bruisers #3
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date : May 2, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, hockey, romance

Pipe Dreams

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

About the book: Release Date May 2, 2017

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

••••••••

REVIEW: PIPE DREAMS is the third installment in Sarina Bowen’s contemporary, adult BROOKLYN BRUISERS erotic, romance series focusing on the men and women of the Brooklyn Bruisers professional hockey team. This is Bruisers’ goalie Mike Beacon, and the team’s temporary office manager Lauren Williams second chance story line. PIPE DREAMS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Lauren and Mike) PIPE DREAMS focuses on the rekindling romance between Brooklyn Bruisers’ goalie and single father Mike Beacon, and office manager Lauren Williams, and the Bruisers run for the Stanley Cup. With the office manager Rebecca Rowley on sick leave, team owner Nate Kattenberger brought his former office manager, and current corporate employee Lauren Williams to fill in for the remainder of the season knowing Lauren’s history with team goalie Mike Beacon was icy and cool. Two years earlier Lauren and Mike were lovers; making plans for something more permanent when demons from the past forced Mike to walk away from the woman he loved. Fast forward to present day and Mike Beacon wants a second chance with Lauren Williams-a woman struggling with her attraction to the man that broke her heart. What ensues is the rekindling love between two people whose relationship was destroyed by secrets, miscommunication and Mike’s overwhelming need to care for someone from his past.

The relationship between Mike and Lauren is one of second chances. Lauren’s need to run from the man that she loves finds our hero begging for another chance to prove he is worthy of Lauren’s love. Lauren’s struggles with a broken heart that has to be mended; her trust in Mike Beacon is tempered when the truth is revealed. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive.

Most of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles including team owner Nate Kattenberger, and the woman he secretly loves Rebecca Rowley. I am hoping for Nate and Becca’s story line next. We are also introduced to Mike’s teenage daughter Elsa who struggles with the loss of her mother, and her father’s relationship with a woman she blames for her parent’s marriage demise.

The world building follows the Brooklyn Bruisers’ as they make a run for the Stanley Cup; a championship season that takes the team to the final round.

PIPE DREAMS is a story of second chances, forgiveness, falling in love and moving on from the past. There are moments of heartbreak, betrayal, romance and love. The conflict between our leading couple is easily resolved with little to no drama or anxious moments. The premise is engaging and realistic; the romance is sexy, seductive and spicy; the characters are spirited and passionate. PIPE DREAMS is a heartwarming and moving story about family, love, and second chances.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Rookie Move
Hard Hitter
Pipe Dreams

Copy supplied the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

TRC:  Hi Sarina and welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of PIPE DREAMS, the third book in your Brooklyn Bruisers series.

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Sarina BowenSarina: Sure! I live in northern New England and I love hockey. And coffee. And wine with bubbles.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Sarina:Every new book is a challenge. With the Brooklyn Bruisers I wanted to make my new hockey series have a terrific sense of place, using Brooklyn as a rich setting. Penguin loved the idea so the Brooklyn Bruisers was born!

Pipe DreamsTRC: Would you please tell us something about PIPE DREAMS and the Brooklyn Bruisers series?

Sarina:Pipe Dreams is a unique second chance love story. Lauren isn’t very nice in the first two novels in this series, but she has a terrific reason. It was really fun to unspool her back story and turn her into an empathetic character. And Mike Beacon is a swoony single dad. I’ve always wanted to write one of those.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?

Sarina:I’m really not sure, but each book stands alone on its own. No cliffhangers in sight.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Sarina:I don’t find that a problem because hockey is unpredictable! And the men and women who live the pro hockey lifestyle experience some pretty wild circumstances. There is a fun plot twist in this book provided by the hero’s teenage daughter.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Sarina:Probably! We take many cues from book covers. But that doesn’t mean a reader rejects a book just because she doesn’t love the image. She might, however, reject a book if its cover design doesn’t accurately depict the book’s contents.

TRC: Do you have any say in the cover selection?

Sarina:Sure. My editor at Penguin and I discussed the covers right away, before the first book was even finished. At that point my publisher went into a photo studio and shot unique images for all the books, so that they wouldn’t overlap imagery on other books in the market.

TRC: You have co-written several books with author Elle Kennedy. How do you determine the break down of the writing/ story line process?

Sarina:We brainstorm the story together ahead of time. And then we take shifts, trading off every half chapter or so. It’s a really fun way to write a book!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

Sarina:The trick is to never cheat your story’s emotional touch point moments. When something big is happening emotionally, the scene should linger and take it all in. If a big moment feels rushed, that’s when the reader feels cheated.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Sarina: Nope. I write in silence. Music sounds fun but I can never make it work for me.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Sarina:You mentioned co-writing before. The bouncing of ideas is what makes that so great. When I’m working alone I don’t really have anyone to help me. Actually, sometimes I call up Elle Kennedy and make her listen to my plot woes. She usually points out something incredibly obvious and then I slap myself on the head.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Sarina:I’m not sure there are any misconceptions left. Facebook has made all of us terribly accessible.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Sarina:For twelve years I traded derivatives on Wall Street. It was stressful but fun.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: tacos

Favorite Dessert: cherry pie

Favorite TV Show: I don’t have a TV!

Last Movie You Saw: Hidden Figures

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark, with nuts

Secret Celebrity Crush: Anna Kendrick

Last Vacation Destination: What is a vacation?

Do you have any pets? We have 11 chickens. I’m not sure that counts.

Last book you read: Outlander

TRC:  Thank you Sarina for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your PIPE DREAMS.

Giveaway beige

The Reading Cafe and SArina Bowen’s publisher are offering a finished copy of PIPE DREAMS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Follow Sarina Bowen on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from May 5-10, 2017

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Too Hard to Forget (Romancing the Clarksons #3) by Tessa Bailey: Review, Q&A, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

TOO HARD TO FORGET (Romancing the Clarksons #3) by Tessa Bailey-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

Too Hard to Forget Banner

TOO HARD TO FORGET
Romancing the Clarksons #3
by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: April 25 , 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Too Hard to Forget

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM / Google Play / ibooks / indiebound

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 25, 2017

This time, she’s calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

•••••

REVIEW: TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third installment in Tessa Bailey’s contemporary adult ROMANCING THE CLARSONS erotic, romance series focusing on the Clarkson siblings. This is youngest sibling Peggy Clarkson, and college football coach Elliott Brooks’s story line. TOO HARD TO FORGET can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and cohesion.

SOME BACKGROUND: One year earlier Miriam Clarkson passed away but not before leaving her now four grown adult children (Rita, Aaron, Peggy and Belmont) a journal of her most intimate thoughts and dreams. Miriam’s final wishes were for her children to seek out what is important in their lives and thusly a cross country trek began wherein each sibling will find his or her own happily ever after as they venture their way from California to New York City ending with a New Year’s Eve celebration. Rita found the love of her life in book one –Too Hot To Handle/ Aaron found love in book two-Too Wild to Tame.

Told from dual third person points of view (Peggy and Elliott) using present day and memories from the past, TOO HARD TO FORGET is a second chance story line focusing on college football coach Elliott Brooks, and one time cheerleader Peggy Clarkson. Three years earlier Elliott and Peggy ended a torrid but forbidden affair between coach and student-an affair that ended when Elliott pushed Peggy out of his life. Fast forward to present day, Alumni Week is in full swing at the University of Cincinnati, and the Clarkson cross-country tour pulls Peggy into the vortex of her of alma mater. Prepared to give Elliott a piece of her mind Peggy comes face to face with the man that ruined her for everyone else, never expecting to pick up where everything went wrong. Enter Elliott Brooks, widowed father of one pre-tween daughter, and the man that broke our heroine’s heart and soul. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Elliott and Peggy, Elliott’s struggle to forgive himself for sins of the past, and the scramble to save one player’s home from bankruptcy and loss.

The relationship between Elliott and Peggy is one of second chances for two people destroyed by one man’s guilt. Elliott is a practicing Catholic who has difficulty forgiving himself for the loss of his wife (a woman he considered more of a friend than soul mate) and for falling in love with the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Peggy was a senior at University of Cincinnati but catching the eye of the school’s infamous football coach placed Peggy on the fast track to lust, love and a potential happily ever after until her world came crashing down when Elliott pushed her out of his life. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense and seductive. Elliott likes to talk dirty in the bedroom; Peggy likes it a little rough.

With two of the Clarkson siblings having found love on the cross country journey, that left Peggy and Belmont, along with Peggy’s best friend Sage to continue onward towards New York and a New Year’s Eve celebration. Belmont struggles with dark demons and his attraction to his sister’s best friend Sage; Sage’s past hints to an abusive and neglectful start.

The world building continues to focus on the Clarkson’s journey towards love and a happily ever after. Told through present day, as well as memories from the past, the reader goes along for the ride as each sibling finds their purpose and role in life. The story line advances the series but a few days.

TOO HARD TO FORGET is a story of heartbreak and sorrow; love and pain; emotional guilt and loss. The premise is realistic, emotional and energetic; the romance is passionate, palpable and compelling; the characters are colorful, intelligent and spirited. TOO HARD TO FORGET is a sultry story line of second chances for two people caught in a tidal wave of one man’s guilt.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews

Romancing the Clarksons

Too Hot To Handle
Too Wild to Tame
Too Hard to Forget
Too Close to Call (June 2017 novella)
Too Beautiful to Break (September 2017)

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Too Hard to Forget Teaser

Q&A

TRC:  We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Tessa:  I’m a control freak living in Long Island with a wine habit. Ha! I have a five-year-old daughter, a husband of ten years and a temperamental cat. Romance is what makes me cry, laugh and everything in between.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Tessa:  I’ve always thought writing was my one talent, but I lacked the discipline until my daughter was born. After that, I was very motivated to carve out a career for myself. I guess you could say she influenced me. I wanted to make her proud.

TRC:  What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Tessa:  At this point, I have a tried and true system that ensures I can get the book written and released in its best form. In the beginning, I would say my biggest opponent was doubt. Or letting others get in my head and spread doubt about story ideas. Now I ignore everything but my own gut.

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about the premise of TOO HARD TO FORGET and the ROMANCING THE CLARKSONS series?

Tessa:  The Clarksons are four dysfunctional siblings on a cross-country road trip from San Diego to New York, each of them finding love at a different stop along the way. TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third book in the series—the youngest sister Peggy’s turn—and she’s out to make her old flame’s life hell on their stop in University of Cincinnati where he works as the head football coach.

TRC:  How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Tessa:  My characters do it for me! A characters’ pasts and insecurities dictate how they respond to any given situation, so give two characters the same plot and they each could take it in a different direction. I love when a character surprises me or I learn something about them during the course of a book. That can often make me change course when it comes to the plot.

TRC:  Thank you Tessa for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of TOO HARD TO FORGET.

Excerpt

“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”
Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”
“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”
“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”
“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”
No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”
The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”
“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”
“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”
“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”
Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.
He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”

About The author

Tessa BaileyTessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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Saving Mercy (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads-Review,Guest Post & Giveaway

SAVING MERCY (Fatal Truth #1) by Abbie Roads-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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SAVING MERCY
Fatal Truth #1
by Abbie Roads
Genre: adult, contemporary, psychological, thriller, romantic suspense
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Saving Mercy

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM / ibooks

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 4, 2017

First in a chilling new paranormal romantic suspense series from award-winning author Abbie Roads

He’s found her at last
Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past-and only one woman could know what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare
Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful-and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he’s the one who can save her. He also knows he’s beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood-but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?

•••••••••

REVIEW: SAVING MERCY is the first instalment in Abbie Roads’s contemporary, adult FATAL TRUTH paranormal, romantic suspense series. This is FBI profiler Cain Killion, and Mercy Ledger’s story line.

NOTE: SAVING MERCY contains scenes of graphic violence, blood shed and murder, and may not be appropriate for all readers.

Told from several third person points of view including Cain and Mercy SAVING MERCY focuses on Cain Killion, the son of a serial killer, and Mercy Ledger-one of Cain’s father’s victims -a woman who survived but finds herself victimized over and over again. Twenty years earlier Mercy’s entire family was brutally slaughtered by Adam Killion and in the ensuing years, Mercy has struggled to find her place in society until the day she found herself locked in a mental institution against her will. Enter Cain Killion, Adam Killion’s son, and the man who will fall in love with one of his father’s victims. What ensues are Cain’s attempts to save Mercy from a potential copy –cat killer; a stalker who uses Mercy for his own perverted pleasure; and the fall out from a killer’s need for power and control.

Cain Killion has the ability to ‘read’ blood-a killer’s thought and ideas whenever he touches the blood of one of the victims. His psychic abilities leave our hero in a world of hurt and pain, and not without some difficult side effects he’d rather not endure but as an FBI profiler Cain’s ‘powers’ can be used as a positive when on the hunt for the criminally responsible, making amends for his father’s past. His connection to Mercy Ledger comes on the twentieth anniversary of her family’s murders, and a string of killings linking directly back to Mercy and Cain find our couple on the run, not knowing whom to trust or where next to turn. The overwhelming darkness and demons continue to ride Cain Killion-a man whose own father destroyed everything he touched. Mercy is not without some psychic abilities of her own, and together they will form a powerful team but not before Mercy is targeted by someone from her past.

SAVING MERCY is an intense, tragic and alarming look at one man’s ability to destroy everything in his path. There are moments of passion and romance, atrocious violence and abhorrent acts, betrayal, redemption and vindication. The premise is suspenseful and disturbing; the characters are broken, destructive and tormented; the romance is fated, profound and heartbreaking. SAVING MERCY is a dark, deadly, fiery and tense story; a well written psychological thriller about a tortured hero, and the woman with whom he will fall in love.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post=Black and Red

Developing the hero/heroine with Abbie Roads

I’m a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants author. That means I don’t plot out my books and I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen from one scene to the next. I’ve tried plotting and planning and the thing I’ve discovered… If I know what’s going to happen, then I don’t want to write it. I get a weird writer’s high from all the unexpected things that happen on the page.

And I’m the same way with developing my heroes and heroines. I’ve sat down and filled out complicated character development forms. I’ve spent weeks exploring every single facet of a character and you know what happened when I tried to write that character? I couldn’t write him. I couldn’t force that character to be the things I said he was going to be.

I wish I could plot a story. I wish I could plan out my characters. But it’s just not how my process works.

Here’s how I develop my characters:

I write. And write. And write. I keep writing until I feel that spark that interests me. Then I delete all the crap I wrote before. I follow that spark and let it guide me. It doesn’t always lead me in a good direction, so I delete a lot.

The first one hundred pages of my books are always the hardest for me. It takes me a long time to find my characters in writing and re-writing—usually six to eight months to get those pages right. The rest of the book comes easier after that. Thank God.

A weird thing I’ve noticed about my heroes and heroines is that they all tend to be introverted and crave to live isolated lives. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but those are purely Abbie Roads traits. I’m a super-deep introvert, but I can become extroverted sounding when I’m excited about something—it just exhausts me. I yearn to live in isolation from other people. I want my home to be in a place where I can walk outside naked and there’s no one around for miles to see. Not that I’m a nudist or anything. It’s just the idea of being able to do that that appeals to me! Lol.

QUESTION

I have a question for the readers: What kinds of heroes/heroines do you like best? Are they a reflection of your own personality?

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Fatal Dreams giveaway

Abbie’s publisher is graciously offering a two-book bundle of Race the Darkness and Hunt the Dawn (Fatal Dreams 1 & 2) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please follow Abbie Roads on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from April 10-14, 2017

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Sabotage (Under Covers #2) by Jessica Linden-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Sabotage (Under Covers #2) James Patterson’s Bookshots Flames by Jessica Linden-Review, Interview & Giveaway

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SABOTAGE
Under Covers #2
by Jessica Linden / James Patterson
Release Date: April 20 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romantic, suspense

Sabotage

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 20, 2017

The Most Dangerous Kind of Love

Secret Agent Abbie Whitmore is used to putting her life on the line, but she’s never endangered someone she loves. And now, Congressman Jonathan Lassiter is embroiled in a political scandal–and it could be all her fault.

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Original romances presented by JAMES PATTERSON Novels you can devour in a few hours Impossible to stop reading

•••••••••••••

REVIEW:  If I have to describe this book in one word it would be the word: Like. There was just a lot to like about the book, the big things and little things about the book. I mean where do I begin on what I liked about this book?

One thing I really appreciated about Sabotage was how both Abbie and Jonathan are able to keep their professional identities but still maintain their relationship. Being a secret agent and congressman can no doubt be time consuming careers but it endears me to the couple that they can make time for each other. Let’s just be honest here but in this time and age often times it feels we are unable to have both a romantic relationship along with the winning career. Often times we feel we can have one but not both. So in all honesty I feel when couples split due to one or both are concentrating on their careers is utter BS. Their downtime together whether they are having lunch at a restaurant or lounging around watching a Star Wars marathon at home was all the more endearing.

Another element I really enjoyed about the book was how the story just kept you on your toes about who the bad guy or girl is and why they are bent on revenge on Abbie. You also get glimpses of what’s going on in the head of the villain as they are implementing their actions in their ultimate plan. Sometimes it’s interesting to get in the minds on the villain to see them mentally justify the evil actions they are doing. It really was a fun journey following the mind of the villain but also Abbie following close on the villains heels to put a stop to the evil plan to screw over her love, Jonathan.

The thing is considering that the book was not very long, the character development and growth was satisfactory as well. Abbie is able to hand over the reins and control to others trusting them. While I can understand Jonathan’s feelings about being the man wanting to protect his woman even though she is very capable, he respects her fighting abilities.

A story that keeps you engaged and on your toes, positive career and relationship aspects, great character development, soft romantic scenes and the very best good triumphing over evil; for such a shorter book this book packs an awesome punch. Highly recommend and highly enjoyed.

Copy supplied by the publisher for review

Reviewed by Xtina

Interview-Black and Deep Rose

TRC: Hi Jessica and welcome to The Reading Café.

Congratulations on the release of SABOTAGE

We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

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JESSICA LINDENJESSICA: I live in Virginia with my husband, two sons, two rescue dogs, and various other pets. I was a high school and college English teacher for thirteen years, but I gave that up nearly two years ago to focus on my writing. I don’t necessarily miss the teaching, but I definitely miss the students. Spending my days with teenagers was a lot of fun.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

JESSICA: I’ve had a lifelong love of books, so I can’t point to one specific influence. Mostly, I think it’s the pure joy I feel when I’m lost in a great book. I want to create that joy for my readers.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

JESSICA: The publishing business is full of rejection, which sometimes makes it difficult to keep a positive outlook. Also, it’s tough when a reader leaves a negative review. Sometimes the bad stuff is easier to believe, you know?

SabotageTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of SABOTAGE and the UNDER COVERS series?

JESSICA: I got the idea for Abbie’s character when I was driving to pick up my sons from TaeKwonDo. I thought it would be cool to have an agency similar to Angelina Jolie’s character’s agency in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Women tend to be underrepresented in law enforcement type jobs, but sometimes you need a woman to get the job done. Thus, the Cartwright Agency was born.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

JESSICA: This is a tough one and something that all authors face. I play the “what if” game when I’m writing to try to put my characters in unusual situations. Often I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until the words land on the page.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

JESSICA: I don’t write erotic romance or erotica, but this is how I understand it. The focus of romance is the developing romantic relationship between a couple. Sex may or may not be part of that. In erotic romance, sex is an integral part of the relationship development and if it were taken out, there would be a huge hole in the story. However, there is still a developing romantic relationship. Erotica is more about the sex than the relationship.

TRC: Where should authors draw the line when writing romance vs erotic vs erotica story lines?

JESSICA: I don’t think there necessarily needs to be any line drawn, as long as it is communicated to the readers what they’re getting with a particular book.

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

JESSICA: Yes. The adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” is totally bogus. No matter how excellent a book is, readers won’t pick it up if it has a horrible cover.

TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

JESSICA: The characters direct the writing for me. I usually have a general idea where I want the story to go, but I don’t always know exactly how the story is going to get there until I get to know the characters in the first few chapters.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

JESSICA: I think this comes from making the characters relatable. Often in fiction, things happen that 99% of us will never experience in real life, but emotions are universal. So if the character is relatable and believable, then his/her emotions should translate. I think writers sometimes fail in this endeavor by not fully developing characters.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?

JESSICA: I actually don’t listen to music while writing because I find myself singing along instead of writing. It’s quite the show. LOL.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

JESSICA: It depends on the situation. My husband is helpful, especially when it comes to technical or “manly” things, like the different kinds of guns and ammo. My author friend Marnee Blake is usually my go to for overarching plot and character issues. I’ll also turn to my agent and editor. I’m lucky to have a plethora of people I can call on.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

JESSICA: Most authors can’t support themselves on their writing alone. I think a lot of people assume that if someone has a book published, they are rolling in money. That’s simply not the case.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

JESSICA: I actually have a section like this on my website, so it’s hard to come up with another random obscure fact. I’ve recently become obsessed with my Happy Planner, and I even make my own stickers for it.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

JESSICA: I’m currently in the final stretch of writing the third book in my Fight for Me series.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

JESSICA: Nope! This interview was pretty thorough.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Calzones

Favorite Dessert
Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate

Favorite TV Show
I don’t watch TV. I seriously can’t remember the last time I turned it on.

Last Movie You Saw
The Lego Batman Movie

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush
Theo James

Last Vacation Destination
Bahamas

Do you have any pets?
Two dogs. My sons have guppies and a hamster.

Last book you read
It’s top secret—it was a book I judged for the RWA RITA contest.

TRC: Thank You Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulation on the release of Sabotage. We wish you all the best

giveaway

Jessica’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of
SABOTAGE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please like and follow Jessica Ruddick/Jessica Linden on Facebook.

4. LIKE The Reading Cafe on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE The Reading Cafe on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW the Reading Cafe on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from April 8-12, 2017

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