Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Reviewing Process

Sponsorship disclaimer: I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because everything always sounds perfect until Grammarly shows me it absolutely isn't. Don't let this post fool you; I definitely needed the help to create such a perfect article.

One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is "What's your reviewing process?" so here's a little regimen guide to share the way I read and review books with you guys. I'll try to include all the online and offline tools I use to facilitate my reviewing process, and hopefully these tips will be useful for you.

Mark deadlines in Google Calendar


Google Calendar is a godsend (if you have a Mac, the iCal app is fabulous, too!). A lot of the books I review are for virtual tours, so I'll be given a specific host date and my review needs to be published on that day. Others I work with are pre-releases, meaning I receive ARCs of upcoming titles and am expected to publish the review on or around the official publication date.

I mark all of these dates down in my online calendar so I can always keep track of by when I need to finish a book, and to see what's scheduled for my blog. Here's a screenshot of what September looks like:
All the green boxes labeled "REV" are the reviews I have scheduled. I also use the schedule calendar to keep track of other promotions such as upcoming guest posts or interviews.

The calendar can also help you determine what order you should read books in. With so many deadlines, it's easy to miss a few if you don't prioritize the books that have earlier publication dates, and hang onto the ones that aren't due until later. For instance, here's how I "prioritize:"
I stack the books in chronological order, the book with the nearest deadline at the very top. Above is my actual current stack of ARCs that need reviewing. I seldom stray from this reading order unless there's a book I desperately want to read at the bottom (Jamie Ford!!!!!). It's a good system and is helpful in getting your books read on time!

Read


This one's fairly obvious, but read. Just read. This is the most time-consuming part of the reviewing process because reading takes time, but you have to keep up with it, because it's also the most important aspect! I'm a university student so I know sometimes your eyes get tired, I know your life is crazy, I KNOW you can't afford the time to sit down and read every day. Well, make the time. Read on the bus, on the train, waiting in line at the bank, during your lunch break, fifteen minutes before bed. If you get in the habit of it, reading doesn't take effort at all (even if it's a miserable book). You just need to find a way to incorporate reading time into your daily life.

While reading, take notes


Reading for reviewing purposes is slightly different from reading for pleasure. I always have a pencil in hand when I'm reviewing. The thought of marking up a book may make some of you wince, but I've gotten used to it because I do it so much for school. It's pencil, guys. It'll erase.

Underline, write little notes in the margins, and mark important quotes. If you're like me and your mind runs a mile a minute while engaged in a book, you will need to jot your thoughts down before you forget them. Usually while I'm reading, I'll come up with the perfect opinion or observation to possibly include in my review, but I know I'll never remember it, so I scribble it all down on the title page. By the time I've finished reading, these frantic scrawls accumulate to look like this:
This is what my margin notes look like on a good day.

Some people reread their review titles, but I don't feel the need to do it. (I don't have the time, either). As long as I have my notes, reading once is more than sufficient for me.

For most of my reviews, I also include a favorite quotes section, so if I find a phenomenal quote, rather than writing it down, I just mark it, and write the page number down in the front of the book so I can come back to it later:
These pictures are from my ARC of All Our Yesterdays, by the way. My review goes live tomorrow, but in case you missed my fangirl rants all over Twitter and Goodreads: I. Loved. It. Seriously, don't even wait for my review; just go pre-order it now. You will not regret it.

Prioritize the order in which you need to write


After you've finished reading, you need to get to reviewing, but before you do that, you should have a general idea of what order you will actually write your reviews in. Here's my current pile of finished books that are on queue to be reviewed:
This is pretty mild. When I'm really in a procrastinating mood, my "to review" pile is bigger than my "to read" one! Don't be me! Get your reviews written right after you finish the book!!!

This method is similar to the above one in which the most urgent book to be reviewed is at the top, and the books are in chronological due date order. This is a minor step, but it just helps me be more organized.

Draft


As you can see, my margin notes aren't exactly... legible. They can be a pain in the ass to work off of, so I always perch that title page open and type everything down onto a fresh blog compose page. Nothing is coherent at this point; it's straight from my notes, little phrases here and there and adjectives clumped together.

Then, I have to start using my brain. This is the most difficult part. I have to form sentences—and they have to sound nice, at least to my ears—so that others will be able to actually understand my review. I have Pros, Cons, and Verdict sections just to sum my thoughts up better (as my reviews tend to go terribly off-topic, especially when I'm raving).

Write


Another simple one. If a book has affected you enough, the words—your thoughts, opinions, and personal reactions—should just flow freely. Sometimes, I have a little too much to say and I have to cut everything down so I don't sound like a maniac.

Even if a book hasn't really resonated with you profoundly, there should be a reason why. You don't have to say nice things. Just say reasonable things and always be sure to justify. If you didn't like a certain aspect to a book, don't just punish it with a low-star rating; explain what you didn't like. This will at least help beef up your review if you have nothing else to say.

Edit and revise


This step isn't particularly hard, but it's really annoying. You've already written your review, but now you need to read it again—and again—and hone it down to perfection. I always preview my post because it helps me catch spelling errors better; seeing your words on-screen can be helpful while editing because it looks different from the composition draft page.

Recently, I discovered Grammarly to help me out with this. Grammarly is an computerized "extra pair of eyes" to help catch your writing mistakes. It's not just a spellchecker; it's a proofreader that actually catches grammatical and structural errors, which can really tighten up your review, not to mention make it sound more professional.

It's super user-friendly, and I love how it explains errors, and gives suggestions on correcting them, rather than just slashing through them with a red line:

Check it out when you get the chance!

Include relevant information


Goodreads is my favorite source for collecting book links which I always include in reviews, and it's also great for getting accurate ISBNs, synopses, cover images, series details (if a book is a part of a series), and author information. A one-stop site for all your book specifics!

Publish


I always feel hugely accomplished every time I finally click "Publish." Book reviewing, as fun as it is, is mentally and physically draining—from all the late nights you stay awake finishing just one more chapter to that one sentence you've beaten to a pulp because you just can't get it to sound right—but it's all worth it in the end. The satisfaction of seeing your words published and actually out there is like no other.

Repost


For additional exposure, I like to copy and paste my reviews to various retailer and literary sites. My current ones are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, Goodreads, BookMooch, PaperBackSwap, LibraryThing, and Books-A-Million, plus any others publishers or authors specifically request.

What about you?


I'd love to hear from fellow blogger babes! Are there any techniques from this post that you use or would like to? What do you do differently? I want to know what works for you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How To Use a Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate and Giveaway!

It's my pleasure to share Lisa Wingate's newest novel with you guys today...

The Prayer Box, currently on tour with JKS Communications

Page Count: 400
Release Date: September 1st, 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Literary

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper—the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

Click "Read more" to find out what a prayer box means to the author and to win a finished PRINT copy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Hero by Robyn Carr Giveaway!


Brought to you by the fabulous Little Bird Publicity...

With warmth and sensitivity, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr shows readers that falling in love can be the bravest act of all.

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind... just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it... and sometimes, you find a hero.

Giveaway!



We've a terrific giveaway for you readers! Thanks to the publicist, there's one print copy of The Hero up for grabs—I know y'all are just dying to read this latest installment in the Thunder Point series! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

For extra entries, leave me a comment about the book, the Thunder Point series, small-town romances, your favorite romance book setting, and/or wounded hearts.
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL—comments only consisting of "I like that small towns, great interview" or "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry!!!! I really want to hear you guys' preferences! :)
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends 10 September 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, international! Check my sidebar for international giveaways.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I do select winners via Rafflecopter (Random.org), I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!

Books to Movies Giveaway Hop!

The Books to Movies Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Last Hurrah Giveaway Hop is scheduled from August 27th at 12.01 AM until September 3rd at 11:59 PM (EST).


The Prizes


This will be a choice giveaway. One lucky follower gets their selection of a book that has a movie out! Some of my personal favorites include Fight Club, The Princess Bride, and the Harry Potter series because both the movies and books were equally fabulous.


What about you? What's your favorite book-turned-movie?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8 Heart Review: Red Velvet and Absinthe edited by Mitzi Szereto

Red Velvet and Absinthe
edited by Mitzi Szereto

Page Count: 220

Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Publisher: Cleis Press
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Cleis Press!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Explore Your Dark Desires

The supernatural: it evokes excited shivers, both of fear and of the sexual. Think vampires, werewolves, ghosts... darkness and decay, eerie sounds in the night, impassioned whispers teasing at the depths of sleep... Think red velvet, flickering candles, howling winds, the flavor of absinthe and blood on the tongue... But most of all, think dark desire.

Red Velvet and Absinthe explores love and lust with otherworldly partners who, by the sheer nature of their otherworldliness, evoke passion and desire far beyond that which any normal human being can inspire.

Red Velvet and Absinthe offers readers a collection of unique and original stories that conjure up the atmospheric and romantic spirit of the Gothic masters (and mistresses), but take things a bit further by adding to the brew a generous dosage of eroticism. Lie back and listen to the wind howling outside your window as you read these stories in the flickering light of a candle, the absinthe you’re sipping warming your body like the caressing touch of a lover’s fingers...

Review


Sometimes he stares at me through the darkness with his liquid amber eyes, and I wonder what taking advantage really is. And who's doing it to whom. 

Sunlight, Moonlight by Rose de Fer: With gorgeous prose and a deeply sensual style, this untraditional werewolf love story revolves around an eccentric, but yummy, doctor and a sexually charged woman during her rebirth and transformation - 8/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Cover Him with Darkness by Janine Ashbless: An account of the seduction of the young, naïve Milja by an imprisoned fallen angel. Disturbing as it is tantalizing, this story takes place in a rustic faraway land and has biblical notes. I found it absolutely explosive, and it reads almost like a folktale - 10/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

A Rose in the Willow Garden by Elizabeth Daniels: Apparently this was inspired by the murder ballads "Down in the Willow Garden" and "Where the Wild Roses Grow," but being unfamiliar with both, I was really lost while reading. Daniels's effect is majestic and surreal, but the supernatural summoning in this story is too confusing for me to enjoy greatly - 5/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The Blood Moon Kiss by Mitzi Szereto: Hot! I love the southern spunk with which Szereto writes. Daytime television's most popular hunk Talen and small-town actress Christine hook up in this surprisingly refreshing vampire tale of reincarnated love and its path to eternity. The shifting perspectives aren't clearly labeled, which is a bit disorienting, but other than that, The Blood Moon Kiss is a delight of an erotic read - 8/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Painted by Anna Meadows: Benjamin, a lowly groundskeeper at Mr. Lawrence's estate, loses his innocence and discovers ecstasy within the mysterious beauty of an enchanted painting. The way he completely loses himself in a seductive art's form is fascinating. The plot is kind of confusing, but the concept, lovely - 7/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


Dolly by Charlotte Stein: Ohhh this one's kind of twisted, but a fantasy you can't deny: a make-believe man come to life. Sophie imagines the man of her dreams and literally creates him: a gorgeous Frankenstein. However, that's all he is: a doll. No mind of his own, and no soul... or so she thinks. Love the perceptive tone in this one, but not a fan of the choppiness. Overall Dolly is red-hot and has an amazing implication at the end. Simply mind-bending! - 9/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

La Belle Mort by Zander Vyne: Eliza, imprisoned in a dark cell for a crime she hasn't committed, comes face to face with her executioner, whom she just as well may be imagining. This one is a bit darker than the rest, but enjoyable in a devastating way. Grim and chilling, La Belle Mort follows an unlikely pair of lovers and highlights the keeping of faith and the promise of light after darkness - 8/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


The Persistence of Memory by Evan Mora: A passionate lesbian story to spice things up a bit. Rowan, a healer who has the power to wipe the memory of her grantees clean, falls for the vulnerable but ever-strong Lily. The concepts of soul mates and protective duty are touched upon in this story. It's emotional and will make your spine tingle, but the plot itself is nothing terribly exciting - 7/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


Scratched by Ashley Lister: Vicky must deal with the transformation of her werewolf lover, Jake... even though she might be his biggest prey. The curse this storyline revolves around is great, but the actual sex scenes are just okay - 6/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Bitter and Intoxicating by Sharon Bidwell: Wilting artist Émile finds inspiration in the eerily alluring Vérène, which propels his greatest piece yet. I found this one rather strange and didn't "get" it for the most part, but do appreciate how it combines French mythology with the essence of abstraction and the fine line between art and pleasure - 6/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tea for Two by Claire Buckingham: Not of fan of this story about Anastasia's coming-to-terms with her fallen angel husband, Gregory because it dragged on so much. The plot is messy as well, so it took me a while to comprehend, and the sex just falls flat - 4/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Milady's Bath by Giselle Renarde: The maid of a young, impulsive lady who lusts for a beast she seeks to tame, narrates this sensual story. The actual supernatural eroticism takes place behind closed doors, while a tender female passion takes place in front—an interesting perspective! The juxtaposition of rough werewolf sex and gentle womanly loving makes for a rich story that will make you squirm - 9/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 


The Way Home by Carrie Williams: Darker and more sinister than the other stories, The Way Home follows the downfall of a nameless woman who finds an escape from her complicated life in a bartender whom she only knows as "Freddy." The mindless, pleasurable routine they fall into is a French paradise, but she soon discovers that this little vacation of hers won't last forever. While I'm still not exactly sure what kind of creature this story depicts, the depth and obscurity of it makes it an exemplary piece of Gothic fiction - 9/10 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The Queen by Tahira Iqbal: Upon a sudden attack in the King's court, Amelia is snatched out of her vampire King lover's arms, and forced to face the tragic aftermath, as well as the throne she inherits. The new Queen finds solace in the sexy but detached bodyguard, Landon; she soon discovers that between them, is lust... as well as bloodlust. The plot here would make a terrific novel, but it was just way too much to fit into 14 pages. Iqbal's ideas are ambitious, but The Queen moves way too fast; too much happens for a tiny story that's meant to be longer - 5/10 ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥


Benediction by Bonnie Dee: Micah's soul is stripped bare when he seeks redemption in the form of an angel, the gorgeous Hasdiel. She alone has the power to separate him from his sins, as well as teach him to finally forgive himself. While the tone of Benediction is ethereal—perfect for an angel story—I didn't like it that much because the plot isn't novel, and the characters are rather unmemorable 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Pros


Very diverse stories with all sorts of paranormal creatures and folklore // Intricate plots // Complex characters and relationships // Rich, seductive mood // Quality erotica

Cons


Some of the stories are hard to follow because they're so fantastical // Only a few stories were actually arousing ("Dolly," "Milady's Bath," and "The Way Home."

Love

"Dites-moi qui vous aimez, et je vous dirai qui vous êtes," she said. "Isn't that pretty? It's French. It means 'tell me whom you love, and I'll tell you who you are.' I read it on a tombstone, once."
— from Elizabeth Daniels's A Rose in the Willow Garden

Verdict


Red Velvet and Absinthe is a Cleis Press classic, with lush worlds built into every story, and sensuality that reaches supreme heights. This anthology is as good as Gothic short fiction gets: dark as night and smooth as velvet. While I didn't really connect with some individual stories, the majority of them are hauntingly seductive and gloomy in the most alluring way Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended (x)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Author: Kelly Braffet Interview and Giveaway!

I'd like to welcome Kelly Braffet to the blog today to celebrate her newest book, Save Yourself from Crown Publishing, a division of Random House. Be sure to stick around until the end to get the chance to win a copy!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Kelly! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief bio with us?


Kelly Braffet is the author of the novel Save Yourself, which was released August 6 from Crown Publishing. Her previous works include the novels Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving, and her writing has been published in The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, the author Owen King. Her likes include caramel, soft furry things, and things with stripes. Her dislikes include snow days, passion fruit, and having her blood pressure taken. (Seriously, when they put the cuff on your arm, and it gets all tight, and you just know that deep inside your muscles there are veins and arteries going, “Hey, where's our blood, we need that for living?” That is super, super creepy.)

Spot on! So glad to have you here with us today! Readers, here's a little bit about Save Yourself, which has been described to be as addictive as Breaking Bad, with some of Gillian Flynn's mysterious flair...
Patrick Cusimano is in a bad way. His father is in jail, he works the midnight shift at a grubby convenience store, and his brother's girlfriend, Caro, has taken their friendship to an uncomfortable new level. On top of all that, he can't quite shake the attentions of Layla Elshere, a goth teenager who befriends Patrick for reasons he doesn't understand and doesn't fully trust. The temptations these two women offer are pushing him to his breaking point.

Meanwhile, Layla's little sister, Verna, is suffering through her first year of high school. She's become a prime target for her cruel classmates, not just because of her strange name and her fundamentalist parents: Layla's bad-girl rep proves to be too huge a shadow for Verna, so she falls in with her sister's circle of outcasts and misfits whose world is far darker than she ever imagined.

Kelly Braffet's characters, indelibly portrayed and richly varied, are all on their own twisted paths to finding peace. The result is a novel of unnerving power-darkly compelling, addictively written, and shockingly honest.
Can you describe Save Yourself in six words?

Dark, beery, frustrated, passionate, scared, tense. Although those words probably describe the characters as much as they do the book.


"Beery," huh? Trying to imagine what that reads like and for some strange reason, I have a quite distinct idea! What was the inspiration for Save Yourself?


Desperation. I promised a friend a short story for an anthology, and the deadline came closer and closer until I basically had to shut myself in my office for a weekend and figure something out. The anthology didn't end up happening—or not with me in it, anyway—but Patrick and Mike and Caro did, and they kind of stuck in my head.

But inspiration is sort of like a sitcom neighbor who just sort of drops by at random times with no warning. At one point, I had most of the plot in mind but was having trouble getting anybody's feet to move—Patrick's in particular. I felt like there was something about him that I just didn't know. Then, one day, I was driving down a highway and passed a youngish guy in a black T-shirt and jeans walking by the side of the road. It was one of those ten million degree days, where nobody wants to walk anywhere, and the highway itself was a completely unsafe place to walk, there was barely even a shoulder. I looked at that guy, and I thought, That's Patrick. He doesn't drive anymore. And that was it. That was the thing I didn't know. He needed a reason not to drive, so he hit the deer, and once he hit the deer, the book came alive.


The origins might have been a bit understated, but I love how you found your Patrick—and the story revolving around him! Readers, click "Read more" to learn how Kelly got her foot in the door with a Big Six publisher, gain insight on the character Kelly had most difficulty writing, and discover how SHE deals with negative reviews. You also don't want to miss the great giveaway at the end—you get the chance to be one of the first people to read the book!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Last Hurrah Giveaway Hop!

The Last Hurrah Giveaway Hop, hosted by Candace's Book Blog, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Last Hurrah Giveaway Hop is scheduled from August 18th at 12.01 AM until August 24th at 11:59 PM (EST).


The Prizes


I have two different giveaways going on for this hop.


One US follower will have the chance to win their choice of one of the following ARCs:
Anything Gena Showalter writes is a masterpiece, and Just Between Us and Gated are fabulous, fabulous upcoming YA reads—the lucky winner gets to one of them before they're even published! This giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Two international readers will win their choice of one of the following titles in electronic format:

Again, a great selection of books from some of my favorite authors! This giveaway is open to anyone in the world.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin Launches with Afterburn by Sylvia Day and Giveaway!


Brought to you by the fabulous Little Bird Publicity...

Harlequin + Cosmo = the hot new hookup!
How did these two not get together sooner?!

Like peanut butter and chocolate, like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, like Friday and cocktails, Cosmo and Harlequin just belong together. The world's largest women's magazine pairing up with the publisher that's synonymous with romance fiction? Talk about a hot relationship!

Together, these international entertainment empires are launching a line of books, Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin, that will get ladies around the world hot and bothered—because what two brands know women better?

"Cosmo readers love sexy fiction," says Editor-in-Chief, Joanna Coles. "Our Red-Hot Read in the magazine is one of the most popular features each month among our 18 million-plus readers. This exciting partnership will satisfy their demand for modern erotic fiction by offering two steamy new tales each month.

Harlequin wrote the book on series romance, offering readers an instantly recognizable brand that consistently delivers a satisfying consumer experience keeping readers coming back for more. Says Harlequin Publisher and CEO Donna Hayes: "Women look to Harlequin for the same qualities that Cosmopolitan provides—entertainment, enjoyment and inspiration—so it's a natural fit."

The Kick-Off


Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin's first published titles will be two books by #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author, Sylvia Day. The first electronic short, Afterburn, will be published on August 15th, 2013. The second title, Aftershock, will be released on November 15, 2013. Both titles will be connected editorially and feature characters newly created for this Cosmo-Harlequin series.

Here's a little bit about the very first release to get you guys excited...

 Afterburn
Sylvia Day

Series: Afterburn #1
Page Count: 99
Release Date: 15 August 2013
Publisher: Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin
Genre: Erotic romance, Contemporary

The realization that Jax still affected me so strongly was a jagged pill to swallow. He'd only been part of my life for five short weeks two years ago. But now he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. And God, he was magnificent. His eyes were a brown so dark they were nearly black. Thickly lashed, they were relentless in their intensity. Had I really thought they were soft and warm? There was nothing soft about Jackson Rutledge. He was a hard and jaded man, cut from a ruthless cloth.

In that moment I understood how badly I wanted to unravel the mystery of Jax. Bad enough that I didn't mind how much it was going to cost me...
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iTunes

Giveaway!


What better way to celebrate than to offer my beautiful readers an exclusive Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin goodie bag? Yes, you heard me right! This fabulous prize pack consists of:
  • A full-length copy of the latest issue of Cosmopolitan
  • A cute Afterburn and Aftershock teaser booklet (you'll be the first to take a sneak peek at these titles!)
  • One eye-catching tube of Afterburn/Aftershock lip gloss
  • One red-hot bottle of nail candy
  • A fabulous Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin beach bag
Who's going to be the lucky b that gets to take all that home? For the chance to win, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
As an optional entry (you get 4 additional raffle tickets in the draw!), leave me a comment below telling me what YOU love about Harlequin or Cosmo... or both!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL—comments only consisting of stock answers like "It's fun to read" or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be awarded the extra points.

I really want to hear you guys' thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions:
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends 29 August 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, rest of the world! Please check my sidebar for a list of giveaways that currently are running internationally—there are plenty you can enter!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do select winners via Rafflecopter (Random.org), I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Top Five Things You Didn't Know About The Last Camellia and Sarah Jio and Giveaway!

I'm happy to feature today, in conjunction with TLC Book Tours...


Page Count: 306
Release Date: 28 May 2013
Publisher: Plume (Penguin)


A romantic and suspenseful tale about two women whose destiny is bound across the years
On the eve of World War II, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?
 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Love at High Tide by Christi Barth and Giveaway!

It's my pleasure to share Christi Barth's newest novel with you guys today...


Page Count: 119
Release Date: 8 July, 2013
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Summer

Darcy Trent is lucky Cooper Hudson is on hand to sweep her off her feet—literally—when she nearly drowns while swimming in the ocean. But life-saving aside, Mr. Perfect's timing stinks: Darcy's career is about to take her to the complete opposite side of the Atlantic. Still, a little summer loving with the tall, blond and sexy former cop is far too tempting to pass up.

When his plans to enter the Secret Service went south thanks to a bum knee, Coop retreated to the family beach house to mull his future. Romance is the last thing on his mind, until he fishes a curvy brunette out of the sea. Now, spending time in Darcy's arms seems like the ideal distraction, even if it is just for a week.

But with Darcy's departure date fast approaching and their careers on the line, can they realize in time that their beach fling might become the real thing?

Click "Read more" for a sneak peek of the novel, and to win a copy, as well as another one of Christi's books!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lords of the Underworld Cover Lovin' and Giveaway!

Brought to you by Book Monster Promotions...

The Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter


Long ago, twelve immortals warriors—each more dangerously seductive than the last—stole and opened Pandora's box, unleashing the evil from within. Now they carry that evil within themselves: Violence, Pain, Death, Disease, Disaster, Misery, Doubt, Promiscuity, Defeat, Lies, Secrets, and Wrath. When a powerful enemy returns, they will travel the world in search of a sacred relic of the gods—one that threatens to destroy them all.

I haven't read every book in this series, although my reviews for #8 and the newest released, #10, are coming your way later this month; but being a HUGE Gena Showlater fangirl (REMEMBER THAT TIME SHE ACTUALLY VISITED MY BLOG???), I'm in premature love with it... and I don't even know the whole story. The characters are hot, the covers hot, and the entire mysticism of Pandora's box's evils—super intriguing! If you love hot paranormal romance with a unforgettably witty and entertaining flair, I definitely recommend you start this series now. The only reason to hold back would be out of fear of becoming completely obsessed... but hey, that happens to even the best of us.

Cover Lovin'


Now, let's take a moment to drool over these ten works of steamy perfection...

And here's a little about the tenth and most recent installment:

The Darkest Craving
Lords of the Underworld #10
Gena Showalter

Page Count: 466
Release Date: 30 July 2013
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Series

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a breathtaking Lords of the Underworld tale about a warrior trapped by darkness and the woman determined to save him

Having endured weeks of torture in the bowels of hell, Kane wants nothing to do with his beautiful rescuer, Josephina Aisling. The half-Fae female threatens to awaken the demon of Disaster inside him—a beast he's determined to kill, no matter the price.

Josephina is hunted by a brutal enemy—her royal family—and Kane is her only source of protection. He's also the only male to ever set her aflame, and even he succumbs to the heat. But as they navigate the treacherous world of the Fae, they are forced to make a choice: live apart... or die together.
 

About the Author



Gena Showalter has always believed in love. An avid romance reader, she decided to try her hand at a story of her own and is now the author of sexy paranormal romances, including The Stone Prince, The Pleasure Slave, and Heart of the Dragon. She is also the author of Awaken Me Darkly, the first in the darkly seductive Alien Huntress series.


Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories," while Showalter herself has been called "a star on the rise."

Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and Karen Marie Moning will find a new favorite in Showalter. Her wildly sensual page-turners have mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex, a combination sure to enthrall.



Giveaway!

There is a tour-wide giveaway going on to celebrate this exciting new release! One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card, while two runners up will each receive a print copy of The Darkest Craving! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to Book Monster Promotions and Harlequin!
Giveaway ends August 14th at 11.59 pm (EST).
Open internationally! Woohoo!
As this is a shared tour giveaway, I am in no way responsible for drawing winners, handling prizes, or shipping or mailing issues.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

Summer Road Trip Giveaway Hop!

The Summer Road Trip Giveaway, hosted by The Starry-Eyed Revue, works like this: each participating blog hosts a giveaway and then we link up together allowing our followers to hop easily from one giveaway to another. For followers, it means lots of chances to win free books. For blogs hosting giveaways, it means lots of new visitors and followers. It's a win-win! The Summer Road Trip Giveaway Hop is scheduled from August 5th at 12.01 AM until August 12th at 11:59 PM (EST).


The Prizes


I have two different giveaways going on for this hop.


One lucky follower will have the chance to win their choice of one of the following ARCs:
Fabulous, fabulous upcoming YA reads—lucky winner gets to read the book before it's even published! This giveaway is limited to US residents only.

Two international readers will win their choice of one of the following titles in electronic format:

Again, a great selection of books from some of my favorite authors! This giveaway is open to anyone in the world.