Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

Title: Wicked White
Author: Michelle A. Valentine
My Rating: B
Narrator: Eric G. Dove, Kristin Watson Heintz, Laurie West

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Wicked White #1
Main Characters: Ace and Iris
Release Date: June 2015 (audiobook)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot



Story Overview:
After his mother dies, rock star Ace White—lead singer of the red-hot band Wicked White—is done with the celebrity game. The phony people, the meaningless one-night stands: he doesn’t want any of it anymore. Quitting in the middle of a sold-out tour, Ace sets out to find some place—any place—where he can be alone.

Aspiring singer Iris Easton’s life has never been easy. First, her mother walked out on her when she was a kid. Now she’s buried in debt, weeks after losing her beloved grandmother. When a mysterious and sexy new guy moves in next door, Iris can’t help but be drawn to his soulful gaze. She can tell there’s something from his past haunting him—something he’s not telling her.

Just as Ace starts falling for Iris, the media go on a worldwide hunt to find the missing rocker. Will true love conquer all, or will the truth be the very thing that tears the couple apart?

My Review:
Overall.... 3.75
Performance... 4.25

Story.... 3.25

I grabbed the audiobook for this one after reading book #2 in the series for review (yes, I read them completely out of order). While I enjoyed this one, it wasn't quite as good as book #2 was, but it was still very entertaining.

Ace is a mega-rock-star. The issue...his career isn't anything like how he envisioned it being. He has no control, hates his bandmates, and hates the music he's playing even more. So when his foster mother who raised him suddenly dies, he runs away to disappear in a trailer park. That's where he comes across Iris. 

Iris is also a singer with dreams of Broadway, but first she has to get her grandmother's trailer park in order and functioning (back taxes are owed.) They meet and chemistry ensues...along with a few other things. 

It was entertaining. I love what Ace is able to do with Iris's ability to perform. The story seemed to lose a little motivation at the end when unneeded conflict arose. At the end, I simply did NOT understand Ace's actions. Like Iris, I didn't get it. He said one thing and then didn't act...and at the END of a book, I just don't get it. 

But the book was entertaining and provided a good distraction as I listened to it on audio while wrapping Christmas presents and did the majority of my holiday shopping. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Promo Post: The Billionaire's Touch by J.S. Scott

The Sinclair Most Likely Blog Tour 

In J.S. Scott's contemporary romance series, the Sinclairs were born into one of Boston’s richest families, the siblings separate and leave their troubled childhoods behind…until life pulls them back together in the sleepy coastal village of Amesport, Maine. 

There they meet their matches, discovering that the satisfaction of having billions in the bank pales in comparison to the passionate love affairs that are shaking up—and righting—their worlds. 

Get to know each of the Sinclairs as J.S. gives readers a glimpse into each hero...


Which Sinclair is most likely to…

1)  … spontaneously fly a date to Italy to show her his favorite restaurant?

Dante, from No Ordinary Billionaire, will go far and beyond to show the woman he loves how much he adores her and a spontaneous dinner in another country might do just that.

2) … go on an extreme sports vacation?

Jared, from The Forbidden Billionaire, as we all know is the daredevil of the Sinclair brothers so it is natural to think he would think of an extreme sport vacation as a type of holiday!

3) … forget an important birthday because they were working on a million dollar merger?

Evan, from The Billionaire's Touch, has always been focused in his work. Being the eldest and the one responsible to take the role of the head of the family, makes it hard for him to let the business responsibilities to fall on someone else.

4) … write a romantic poem to their significant other? 

Evan. However regardless of being 99.9% business focused he will still indulge in something as romantic as writing a poem for his significant other.

5)  … take a ballroom dance class? 

Aww Grady, from The Billionaire's Christmas, known to the residents of Amesport as “the eccentric beast” he still has a soft side and will take pleasure in learning to ballroom in order to see Emily happy and have an excuse to be close to her.

6) … have the most children? 

Grady (but they all have a bet running on who will succeed).

This one was a tough one as all the Sinclair men love nothing but to show their women their Alpha and possessive side, however we thought Grady after discovering the miracle of Christmas and being surrounded by children in the youth center would love to see Emily carrying his babies.

***

And now get to know the Evan, the newest Sinclair hero, better with an excerpt from The Billionaire's Touch:

“Can I ask you a question?”

She lifted a brow before asking, “What?”

“Does Beatrice give out these stones to everyone?” Evan pulled the crystal from his pocket and held it out to her.

Hesitantly, Randi reached out and took the rock into her own hand. She turned it over and over a few times before handing it back with a perplexed look on her face.

“Hardly ever,” she admitted. “You got one, too?”

“She mailed it to me with a letter a few months ago, telling me I was going to be married within six months,” he answered reluctantly, slipping the Apache tear back into his coat pocket. “I think she might be demented.”

Randi laughed, and a bolt of pleasure raced through Evan’s body at the husky, sultry sound.

“She’s not crazy. She’s just a little eccentric. Sometimes her predictions actually do come true.”

Evan shook his head. “She’s destined for disappointment with me.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” Randi admitted, reaching for the door of her rapidly defrosting vehicle. It was a deep-purple SUV that somehow suited her bold personality. Evan could finally see the make and model clearly.

“Randi?” he questioned huskily.

“Yes?” She turned and looked at him, her expression no longer hostile.

“Don’t worry about my coat. I have another one.”

It wasn’t what he really wanted to say, but he couldn’t exactly tell her what he was thinking. She was likely to apply a knee to his balls, and he rather liked them intact.

“I told you to send me a bill if the stain doesn’t come out. You might try the dry cleaners here. They’ve done miracles with some of my clothes. Stains are a job hazard for teachers,” she told him amiably.

It was her smile that made Evan snap. Her eyes were warm and happy, her lips curving into a beautiful expression of joy when she talked about her profession. But the grin was aimed at him, and Evan couldn’t possibly resist seizing the moment. He’d never made an impulsive move in his entire life, but he couldn’t seem to control his mind or body when she smiled at him this way.

He stepped forward without debating his options first, pinned her body against her vehicle, and without a cautionary thought in his head, he kissed her.

Evan groaned as his lips crashed down on hers, knowing that he’d just made a mistake that would probably cost him his sanity. Her body stiffened as he wrapped his arms around her, one hand threading through her hair to protect her head and keep it exactly in a position that allowed him complete access to her mouth. An unfamiliar sense of male satisfaction moved deep in his gut as the clip holding her hair fell to the ground and the dark strands tumbled around her shoulders.

***

About the Book

Title: The Billionaire's Touch
Author: J.S. Scott
Publishing Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Summary

After a troubling childhood, wealthy Evan Sinclair likes his life orderly and controlled. He rarely gives in to spontaneous urges—until he begins a chance correspondence with a mystery woman who sounds like his complete opposite. She intrigues and amuses him, and the interest seems mutual…which is more than he can say for his current obsession, Miranda Tyler, the tough-as-nails, sexy schoolteacher who’s made it clear she’s not impressed—or interested.

Miranda finally has it all: a good job, friends, and the security of living in the quaint coastal town of Amesport, Maine. She even has an anonymous pen pal—a man she’s never met yet has bonded with almost effortlessly. The only thing unsettling her life is Evan Sinclair. The handsome billionaire is arrogant, pompous, and far too used to getting his way. Miranda tries her best to avoid him, until Evan’s steamy kiss turns her world upside down.

Soon their red-hot desire is scorching the sheets and has them both spinning out of control. But when secrets are revealed, will their insatiable attraction keep them together or force them apart? In J.S. Scott’s The Billionaire’s Touch, the eldest Sinclair just might have met his match.

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author J.S. Scott is an avid reader. While she loves all types of books and literature, romance has always been her genre of choice. Because she writes what she loves to read, she excels at both contemporary and paranormal romances. Most of her books are steamy and generally feature a to-die-for alpha male, and all have a satisfying happily-ever-after ending. She just can’t seem to write them any other way!

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The Tycoon's Forced Bride by Jane Porter

Title: The Tycoon's Forced Bride
Author: Jane Porter
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: -
Main Characters: Colm and Ava
Release Date: January 2015
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
Malcolm McKenzie will never forget that night in New York when he put Ava Galvan in a taxi following a heated argument, and the Argentine beauty was involved in an horrific accident—one that ended her career as an acclaimed soloist with the Manhattan Ballet, and impaired her memory and ability to live an independent life.

The Scottish tycoon and philanthropist lives with his guilt, and another consequence: Ava was pregnant with his child the night of the accident. Ever since that night, Malcom has raised Jack as a single father.

But Ava is stronger now, and Jack wants his mommy to come home. Malcolm has never stopped wanting her and he’s determined to do whatever it takes to claim Ava—with or without her consent
.

My Review:
OMG...this book. It's short on pages, but is REALLY not short on story. This is an incredibly emotional and heartbreaking story. My heart stayed clenched and hurt through the entire book. Poor Ava...I just wanted to bundle her up and force Colm to love her.

3 years ago, Ava suffered a horrific traumatic brain injury when her taxi was hit. She was recovering. She was, but she still had horrible issues with short term memory. Something happened and she was out shopping with her son and forgot him...walked away from him and spent 12 hours lost herself. It WASN'T her fault. She never should have been left alone with him, but after so many hours terrified, Colm reacted badly and said things he shouldn't have said. Trauma and stress makes her condition so much worse. The events of that day set her back so much farther. 

Since then, she's stayed away from Colm and her little boy...for their safety. She doesn't trust herself anymore...and she's so, so alone. She doesn't realize that Colm watches over her in every way that he can, just waiting for her to decide to come back to him. But it's been a year. No one makes Colm wait and his patience is gone.

Seriously, there is so much truly deep emotion and hurt in this story. I loved the way the author wrote it. There are times when a deeply angsty book is just perfect. This is one of the best I've ever read. I loved it and hope to re-read it over and over and over again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Guest Post: The People I've Invited to Live in my Head by Jenn Burke

Jenn Burke, one of the co-authors of the amazing sci-fi m/m series, Chaos Station, is taking over the blog today to talk about characters. These two authors have created incredible characters in their books (go read the series, if you haven't yet...my review for book #4 can be found here) and it's fun to see a tiny glimpse into their process. So enjoy...

The People I’ve Invited to Live in my Head
One of the best things about being a writer is dreaming up characters for a new book. Let’s be honest, trolling the internet for inspirational pictures of men is so not a hardship. But that moment when your characters flip from specs and traits on a page to a full-fledged person in your head is amazing—and maybe, just a little annoying.

Because sometimes, they just don’t shut up.

In the shower. As I’m falling asleep. When I’m at the dayjob. Constantly I get poked and prodded by these people I’ve invited to live in my head, offering me suggestions about what they should do in the next scene, or criticism that no, they would not act like that, thank you very much, rewrite that bit.

But’s part of the magic of writing.

It helps to have a well-rounded idea of who your characters are before you start putting words on paper. I have a spreadsheet I use with pertinent details, and each important character gets their own worksheet. If it’s a series, I keep all characters in the same spreadsheet, so I can easily flip back and forth to ensure the main characters from the first book are still represented correctly in the second book. I’ve also been known to add worldbuilding info to these spreadsheets if needed.

So here are the details I find important to know for my characters:

·       Name – This is essential, of course. A name has to represent the character, but also be a name that isn’t going to trip up a reader. If you’re writing spec fic, especially, consider the pronounceability of made-up names. A name full of apostrophes might look cool on paper, but if the reader can’t figure out how to pronounce it, it’s going to throw them out of immersion every time they see it.

·       Casting – If I’ve found an inspirational picture of a model or an actor that captures my impression of the character, I’ll include the name here for reference and/or link to pictures.

·       Nationality – Not always important, depending on what you’re writing. For my work-in-progress that features American and Canadian law enforcement, this is an essential bit.

·       Alignment – My roleplaying roots are showing. This refers to the Dungeons & Dragons system of alignment. It helps me keep in mind how a character will react. For example, a lawful good character will act with compassion and a strong sense of honour, but within the boundaries of established laws. A chaotic good character will do whatever they need to in order to bring about change for the better, regardless of laws.

·       Physical description – I have a separate line for each of: age, eye colour, hair (colour/style), skin tone, build (lean, athletic, muscular, height, etc.), markings (tattoos, piercings, scars, etc.).

·       Marital Status – A character who’s divorced or widowed will have a different outlook on life than a single guy.

·       Occupation – A baker is going to have a different personality than a cop. Unless the baker used to be a cop. All this information goes here.

·       Sexuality – Regardless of whether you’re writing LGBT or heterosexual fiction, this shouldn’t be assumed to default to “heterosexual”.

·       Background – Cultural, racial, financial. I put details in history, but this is a quick reference. It will colour their reactions to everything.

·       History – This is the character’s pertinent history, from childhood. What events shaped him into the person he is at the beginning of the story? If there is an important sequence of events, I might also add a timeline.

·       Good traits – You know when a job interviewer asks you to name your strengths? That’s what this is.

·       Bad traits – Flipside, this is that “what’s your greatest weakness” interview question everyone hates. You need to make these bad traits real, because although readers will like a character for his good traits, the bad ones he’s able to overcome will be why they love him.

·       Hobbies – These may or may not get detailed in your story, but they help to colour the character in your head. For instance, a highly physical cop who does word puzzles in his spare time is just that much deeper than you first expect.

In the Chaos Station series, Kelly and I each dreamed up one of the main characters—Zed is mine, Felix is hers—and we write their POV scenes exclusively (though we both write our third POV character, Elias). Here’s an example of Zed’s good/bad traits from the profile I created before we started writing the first book of the series.
Good traits: Noble, self-sacrificing; when he commits to a cause, he commits all the way; loyal; protective; stubborn. Easily believes and supports big causes, understands the large picture.
Bad traits: Rich boy. He can be selfish and entitled and occasionally resents his lot in life; he was supposed to be a hero, not a damaged ex-soldier who was tossed aside when he was no longer needed. Ruthless and deadly soldier. He hates that he has the capacity to make difficult, awful decisions, but knows that someone needs to do it. Lost. He’s on the edge of giving up and just finding someplace to die. He's tired, burned out, disillusioned.

In Inversion Point (Chaos Station #4), we see flashes of Zed’s resentment at his lot in life, particularly when he’s confronted by Felix’s ex, Theo Paredes—the guy he might have been, had his service in the war gone in a different direction. Even though I created this profile for Zed as he was at the beginning of Chaos Station (and he’s grown over the series since then), it was really satisfying to be able to pull on this thread, four books later.


What do you think of this list? Anything you’d add or change? I love seeing other writers’ processes, so please feel free to share in the comments!




Inversion Point
Book four of Chaos Station

Zander and Felix's relationship has been to the brink and back: the Human-Stin War, imprisonment and death/resurrection. Zander's death, to be specific, and the experience has left him…changed. The mysterious race known as the Guardians chose to revive him and appointed him as their emissary. A high honor, but he could do without the group of would-be cultists following him around the galaxy.
When a recently discovered species destroys a stin probe, Zander's new role soon commands all of his time and focus. The human ambassador—Felix's ex-lover, much to Zander’s annoyance—pulls them into strategy talks aimed at preserving galactic peace. Soon everyone is relying on Zander's Guardian tech to telepathically communicate with the strange aliens.

Only Felix seems concerned with the strain piling up on Zander, but he has his own resolve tested when the very stin that imprisoned him show up to a summit. Zander and Felix will both have to find a way to face their doubts and preserve their love—while preventing another galaxy-wide war.

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Bio
Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.

The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.


Connect with Jenn: Twitter | Facebook | Website
Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway
Prize: The first three books in the Chaos Station series, Chaos Station, Lonely Shore and Skip Trace and a $25 gift card to the online bookseller of your choice.

Signing up for our newsletter gives access to our free Chaos Station story, “Graduation”.

Terms: Rafflecopter runs from 12:00 AM EST 1/25/2016 to 12:00 AM EST 2/1/2016. Giveaway is open internationally. Gift card value is US dollars. Winner will be contacted via email.

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Thank you, Jenn, for sharing with us today!!