7th Blogiversary!

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Hello fellow readers, bloggers and authors,

Today marks the 7th year since I decided to put my emotions to good use after reading a book, and opened up the pages of wordpress to determine how I would best go about entering the world of book reviewers. Being the lover of the written word that I am, I have always wanted to write. Perhaps it was my desire to do so that saw me start this blog, which has persevered till today.

All of it has not gone as smoothly as I would have liked it to. But hey, that is life! But what I have learned during my somewhat eventful and sometimes not so years of being a reviewer is to always choose books that I love to read! Being requested for reviews is part of the journey for a self-proclaimed reviewer such as myself. Accepting all the requests for reviews that comes my way is humanly impossible, especially since I do this all on my own. Not to mention the fact that reading, something that I have always done for pleasure, started to turn into a chore that I didn’t want particularly for myself. Which is the reason why I have found myself turning down more requests than I agree to – and even those that I do accept, I find myself at times hard pressed to attend to.

I have also found that I have become more pickier in choosing books that I identify with. Of course, there are the timeless classics that I always revisit every now and then. Being someone who reads mostly romance and rarely stray into other genres, I have been becoming increasingly restless with the lackluster reads that have darkened my reader doorway. In light of that, Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series turned out to be a godsend. I have practically steamrollered through the series and eagerly await the release of the next book this September. Those are the sort of books that I as a reader appreciate. Well written, heroes and heroines who are likable and words that create magic when they come together! But alas, I believe that romance is a genre that has become muddled with too many books with too little quality, books conforming to the modern notions of what romances ought to be, which has rendered male leads in books to come off as more “feminine” than what I would like a hero to be. Perhaps my emotions are colored by the fact that the infamous bodice rippers were my introduction into romance novels. Somehow I have a hard time finding authors that defy this newly accepted norm and write romances as they should be written. Julianna Keyes is an author that I have come to love as such.

So with 900+ reviews and hopefully more to come, I am pretty much found on most social media platforms, the last of which I signed up on was instagram. So do come for a visit, if nothing else to take part in the celebratory giveaway that is included with the post! I will be picking a winner for each of the giveaway categories separately!

May we all get to read what gives us pleasure, be it of the kind of books that tickles our brains or the heart!

Happy reading! x

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Pick of the Month & Giveaway: A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

It has been a long while since I have published a pick of the month post. One reason is because such outstanding reads have been few and far in between.adarklure

Loreth was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about the book and writing in general, for which I am grateful. Hope you guys find the interview as insightful as it was for me!

What made the book stand out:

  • A Dark Lure was a book that warranted a 5-star rating from start to finish!
  • The book is intensely emotional – there is no way you can be removed from what takes place in the story!
  • There is darkness, depravity and hope in the story. Nothing can beat that.
  • Dark romantic suspense of the well-written kind is rare in the world of romance today. All the more reason to appreciate it!

Interview with Loreth Anne White on A Dark Lure

MBR: What inspired you to write A Dark Lure?

Loreth: The story was born out of several fishing trips into British Columbia’s Cariboo country and fleshed out around campfires at night. While sitting under a vast northern sky, listening to coyotes cry in the Marble Mountains, and hearing the crack of hunters’ rifle shots at dawn, as all writers do, I began to wonder ‘what if’ there was a human hunter in those dark woods around us. And I began to braid these thoughts with inspiration that came from the real life serial killer, Robert Hanson, the so-called Butcher-Baker of Alaska who abducted, tortured, then set his victims out to be hunted in the wilds.

MBR: A Dark Lure deals with disturbing material. While writing this particular novel, which aspect of it would you say was the toughest to write?

Loreth: I think my greatest challenge came in trying to create a heroine who is both vulnerable, and afraid, yet also incredibly strong, resilient, and brave—a true survivor. Even the strongest of people have fears, yet they face them—I hope I’ve managed to show this. And I wanted to do justice to PTSD.

MBR: Olivia is a woman who has gone through more than most people for that matter would go through their entire lifetimes. Where did you draw inspiration from, in crafting her character?

Loreth: I have long been intrigued by real life survival stories of people who triumph against seemingly impossible odds, while others die when all they needed to do was wait for help. There appears to be some interesting common traits among these survivors, and they’re not what one might imagine … I wanted to show these traits in Sarah/Olivia, yet also show that while people can survive a devastating event, they remain forever changed in some form.

MBR: Are any of the events that took place in A Dark Lure drawn from real life events or experiences?

Loreth: As mentioned above I drew some inspiration from Alaska’s Butcher-Baker case. Other than that, inspiration comes from some of my own real life experiences. For example, like the dead character in the book, Melody (Tori’s mother), I worked as a journalist. And while working for the newspaper in the ski resort in which I live, I covered countless search-and-rescue and survival stories. People go missing in our mountains all the time. Some come back. Some never do, and what happened to them remains a mystery to this day. This in turn led to a personal interest in the psychology of survival. And like Melody, and Olivia, I’m also a mother. Like Tori, I lost a parent at a vulnerable age. And like Olivia, I am rarely without my dog.

I have also done tracking with my dog, Hudson. This was something else borne out of my obsession with people who just go missing, and are never found. Hudson and I have attended several BC Search Dog Association wilderness training camps where we were lucky to have tracking and air scent instruction from some of the best Royal Canadian Mounted Police K9 handlers and BCSDA volunteers. And I’ve done courses in man tracking through the BC Outdoor Association. My husband is also a keen fly fisher, and I do fish with him, too. We often camp at a place called Big Bar Lake in the Cariboo, which was the inspiration for the setting of Broken Bar Ranch.

MBR: What did you, as an author and as a person, learn from crafting A Dark Lure?

Loreth: In writing A DARK LURE I went deeper than my earlier/shorter romances into developing secondary characters and layering story lines, and I learned how much I enjoy digging into this direction. This book also veers further into mystery/thriller territory than my earlier romantic suspense stories which is something I am enjoying.

MBR: Is there any message or messages that you wanted to convey to your reader base with A Dark Lure?

Loreth: I hope the book shows the resilience of human nature, and how important forgiveness is, especially forgiveness of oneself. And how dark and dangerously powerful a sense of shame can be, however unjustified. I also hope to show how love, and how belonging to, or being welcomed into a family/tribe in its many disparate forms can help healing.

A Dark Lure, at its core, is a story of survival and finding the strength to accept oneself in spite of scars both inside and out, and allowing oneself to be loved.

MBR: Are you currently working on any projects? If so, would you care to share some information regarding that with us?

Loreth: I have a book coming out August 16 – IN THE BARREN GROUND. It’s a dark, atmospheric romance and police procedural with gothic/horror overtones set in a remote fly-in community just south of the arctic circle.

I’m also working on a more mainstream suspense/thriller, which I hope will appeal to those readers who enjoyed A Dark Lure, as well as a new romantic suspense police procedural series.

MBR: Looking forward to all of it! So excited! Thank you so much Loreth, for taking the time!

Giveaway!

You can choose either one of the following. Just state which one you would like in your comment below the post!

  1. One e-copy of A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White.
  2. A US$ 10.00 gift certificate from either Amazon or B&N.
  3. A paperback version of A Dark Lure to those residing in US.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Tell us the darkest romantic suspense you have read, to-date!
  2. Specify the number or which of the 3 options of the giveaway you would like!
  3. Leave a valid e-mail address as a way for me to contact you in case you are the winner.

Giveaway Timings:

  • Giveaway begins: 00:00 hours, February 4, 2016 – Maldivian Time
  • Giveaway ends: 23:59 hours, February 5, 2016 – Maldivian Time
  • Maldivian Timezone: GMT+5

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

slavetosensation_2Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series is one of those series that words of praise cannot do justice. It is a must read for anyone who loves romances, strong, protective and alpha heroes and their admirable heroines whom you root for every step of the way.

The first book in the series, an absolute favorite of mine has a new cover and Nalini is holding a giveaway to celebrate! Don’t forget to take a peek at my review of Slave to Sensation. I don’t think I could have ended up being gushier even if I had tried!

Book Blurb

Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

MBR’s Review of Slave to Sensation

Wow!! That is all I am capable of saying at the moment with the remnants of Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation still coursing through me. If not for Dina’s review of Kiss of Snow on Goodreads that picks up bits and pieces of Hawke from each and every story till the 10th book in the Psy-Changeling series that delivers Hawke’s story, I would not have been tempted to pick up and read the first book in the series which has left me with a sort of breathless anticipation to continue reading.

Slave to Sensation introduces us to the world of Psy and the Changelings whose worlds cannot be more different even if they tried. Psy’s are well known for their icy control, inhuman practicality and their inability to resort to any sort of violence – or so they say. Changelings on the other hand are races that allow their animal sides to rule them and thrive on all sorts of emotional bonds and attachments that they form within their packs.

Our heroine Sascha Duncan has lived her whole life as a Psy knowing deep inside that she is unlike the rest of her race. Where icy control should be what runs through her veins, Sascha is a Psy that feels, a trait that would get her terminated if the Psy Cardinals were ever to find it out. Thinking that she is going crazy and that life as she knows it would come to an abrupt end if she ever were to show her vulnerability to her own race, Sascha is a woman torn apart on the inside, crying out for something which she doesn’t even fully comprehend.

When things on the business front brings her in contact with the sexy Lucas Hunter, alpha of the DarkRiver pack, she is at a loss as to how to handle the full frontal attack of sensations that bombard her right from the very first meeting. Lucas is a Hunter on a mission, who has vowed that he would do everything in his power to crumble the lines of defences around the Psy to find out who it is that are preying on females of their kind. What he doesn’t expect is to feel a compulsive need to touch and be touched by the woman of mass contradictions with whom he is to spend considerable time with for the next couple of months.

Scared out of her wits that Lucas and the way he constantly touches her is accelerating her deterioration process, Sascha tries her damnedest to erect walls of control around her heart and emotions which proves to be no match for the lethal touches and kisses that invoke a blaze of hunger across all her senses that refuse to be denied any longer.

When the news about a killer amongst her race comes to light, Sascha knows that finding him and bringing him to justice is the one thing she would do for the Changelings whose way of life makes her crave to embrace life with Lucas by her side which she knows is an impossibility. However, Lucas who has finally found his mate refuses to be denied as Sascha undertakes a mission that could very well mean her death and the end of a love that grows and fosters no matter how much Sascha may try to shield Lucas from eternal pain and loss that is sure to follow.

Slave to Sensation is a masterpiece that has everything going for it starting from its very appropriate title, the story underneath which has the power to invoke powerful emotions in the reader. The fascinating world which Ms. Singh creates is an unbeatable one where you can’t help but be in awe at the powers of her imagination in coming up with a world that feels as if its unfolding right in front of you.

All the characters whether it be Sascha and Luke, or the delicious Hawke from the SnowDancers pack to the ruthless and emotionless Psy are well rounded lending the story an extra richness that only in-depth character development can give a story.

Lucas (sigh) has wanting me to braid my non-existent long hair  just so that I can feel even a minute figment of what Sascha feels throughout the story when Lucas focuses his lethal brand of charm and seduction on her. Loved the purring and the rumbling that went on and especially the way Lucas protects, cossets and cherishes Sascha. Fantastic right from the very start, this is a series that fans of paranormal/urban-fantasy romances should not miss!

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And if that doesn’t entice you into giving this a go, here’s an excerpt of the novel.

“Mr. Hunter.”

Sascha looked up at the sound of her mother’s voice. And found herself within touching distance of the most dangerous male she’d ever seen. There was no other word to describe him. Well over six feet tall, he was built like the fighting machine he was in the wild, pure lean muscle and tensile strength.

His black hair brushed his shoulders but there was nothing soft about it. Instead, it hinted at unrestrained passion and the dark hunger of the leopard below the skin. She had no doubt she was in the presence of a predator.

Then he turned his head and she saw the right side of his face. Four jagged lines, reminiscent of the claw marks of some great beast, scored the muted gold of his skin. His eyes were a hypnotic green but it was those slashing markings that grabbed her attention. She’d never been this close to one of the changeling Hunters before.

“Ms. Duncan.” His voice was low and a little rough, as if caught on the edge of a growl.

“This is my daughter, Sascha. She’ll be the liaison for this project.”

“A pleasure, Sascha.” He tipped his head toward her, eyes lingering for a second longer than necessary.

“Likewise.” Could he hear the jagged beat of her pulse? Was it true that changeling senses were far superior to those of any other race?

“Please.” He gestured for them to take seats at the glass-topped table and remained standing until they’d done so. Then he chose a chair exactly opposite Sascha.

She forced herself to return his gaze, not fooled by the chivalry into dropping her guard. Hunters were trained to sniff out vulnerable prey. “We’ve looked at your offer,” she began.

“What do you think?” His eyes were remarkably clear, as calm as the deepest ocean. But there was nothing cold or practical about him, nothing that belied her first impression of him as something wild barely leashed.

“You must know that Psy-changeling business alliances rarely work. Competing priorities.” Nikita’s voice sounded utterly toneless in comparison to Lucas’s.

His responsive smile was so wicked, Sascha couldn’t look away. “In this case, I think we have the same ones. You need help to plan and execute housing that’ll appeal to changelings. I want an inside track on new Psy projects.”

Sascha knew that that couldn’t be all of it. They needed him but he didn’t need them, not when DarkRiver’s business interests were extensive enough to rival their own. The world was changing under the noses of the Psy, the human and changeling races no longer content to be second best. It was a measure of their arrogance that most of her people continued to ignore the slow shift in power.

Sitting so close to the contained fury that was Lucas Hunter, she wondered at the blindness of her brethren. “If we deal with you, we’ll expect the same level of reliability that we’d get if we went with a Psy construction and design firm.”

Lucas looked across at the icy perfection of Sascha Duncan and wished he knew what it was about her that was bugging the hell out of him. His beast was snarling and pacing the cage of his mind, ready to pounce out and sniff at her sedate dark-grey pantsuit. “Of course,” he said, fascinated by the tiny flickers of white light that came and went in the darkness of her eyes.

He’d seldom been this close to a cardinal Psy. They were rare enough that they didn’t mingle with the masses, being given high posts in the Psy Council as soon as they reached any kind of mature age. Sascha was young but there was nothing untried about her. She looked as ruthless as the rest of her race, as unfeeling and as cold.

She could be abetting a killer.

Any one of them could be. It was why DarkRiver had been stalking high-level Psy for months, looking for a way to penetrate their defenses. The Duncan project was an unbelievable chance. Not only was Nikita powerful in her own right, she was a member of the innermost circle–the Psy Council. Once Lucas was in, it would be his job to find out the identity of the sadistic Psy who’d stolen the life of one of DarkRiver’s women…and execute him.

No mercy. No forgiveness.

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Cover Reveal: Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

Book Cover

petalsandthorns

Book Blurb

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.

If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.

Excerpt

The wedding ceremony took place deep in the woods. The chapel looked innocent in its white prettiness, as if a normal wedding took place there instead of this monstrous farce. At first Amarantha had wept. When her father had arrived home on the magnificent stallion, his arms overflowing with luscious red roses and saddlebags full of gold coins, and told the wild tale of the Beast who wanted Amarantha and only her, she’d been at first astonished, then enraged. She’d thought of running away, but her father and sisters had talked Amarantha around. The Beast had promised wealth to restore her father’s fortunes and more. They assured her that the Beast wouldn’t kill her. “He saw your portrait and finds you beautiful,” her father crooned. “It will be a marriage in name only. You need not lie with him” — he snickered — “if the creature is even able to perform as a man. Likely he is too deformed and wants only a pretty wife to look upon. “Remember” — the merchant took his youngest daughter’s slender hands in his as they stepped down from the carriage — “if the marriage is not consummated within one week, then he has agreed to have it annulled and to settle upon you half of his fortune! All you must do is retain your chastity for one measly week, and any ninny can keep her legs closed that long. Remember it every day, and the week will fly by. Soon you’ll be at home again with us, our fortunes forever secured.” “He only has to take her by force,” Anastasia scoffed. “No,” a deep voice rumbled behind them. They started like finches when a hawk flies over. No one had heard the Beast arrive. He stood back, tall and broad shouldered as her father had said, watching from the depths of his cloak. The winter wind caught the black folds, whipping them tight against his massive body, but never stirred around his face. Amarantha couldn’t make out his features, though she thought perhaps she caught the gleam of a white tooth. And was that the shadow of a muzzle? She shuddered, looking away quickly. “No, Amarantha,” the Beast said, “I will never take you by force. I will only take you when you ask me to. That one choice, at least, will always be yours.” Amarantha stirred uneasily inside the confines of her corset. Something about his words seemed…unwholesome somehow. Angelica laughed brightly and clapped her jeweled fingers together in a graceful flutter. “Then we are saved! For, Sir Beast, though we cannot see you clearly, we understand that you are so hideous that no woman would willingly have you. Perhaps your beastly exterior reflects a similarly feral and corrupt heart?” She waved a languid hand at Amarantha. “Else why resort to blackmail to obtain a bride?” “Indeed” — the voice sank into a near growl — “sister of my bride. You are undoubtedly correct. But since blackmail has, in fact, won me a bride, I’m anxious to take possession of her. Shall we?” Amarantha gasped and stepped back when the Beast moved toward her, dark and sinuous. But he only offered her his arm to escort her into the chapel. She took a deep breath, as deep as her tight corset allowed. After the short ceremony, Amarantha kissed her father and sisters good-bye. She couldn’t seem to hear what they were saying to her, only that she had promised to obey this man. This monster. “Do you take this man, Sir Beast… Do you promise to love, honor, and obey?” the chaplain had asked. The word seemed to reverberate in her skull. Obey. Chased by the image of how his eyes had glowed at her sparking amber from the depths of his hood. Love and honor seemed to pale before the other word. Amarantha possessed enough cleverness to avoid shaming him, and she could pretend to love him. Obedience might not be so simple. She almost felt his sigh of satisfaction at her promise, as if something that had pained him suddenly eased. Amarantha wished she could feel the same. In his carriage, they rode facing each other, though Amarantha gazed steadfastly out the window as the forest deepened and thickened. The trees grew more gnarled, the roots thrusting up from the soil only to twist away again, diving into the moist ferns covering the soil. Still, it was easier to keep her eyes on the strange landscape than look at her husband’s shrouded form and wonder what horrors it might contain. “Am I ever to see you?” she asked. “Do you wish to?” Amarantha glanced at his black silhouette. Looked away again. “It occurs to me it might be easier to see you and” — get it over with — “learn to become accustomed to you.” “Consider that I might be so frightening to you that you would be unable to bear coming near me again.” Amarantha trembled. “No” — the Beast chuckled darkly — “these things are best done in stages. I intend to win you over, lovely Amarantha.” “I don’t see how that’s possible.” “Because you are innocent,” the Beast said, his voice nearly a growl. “And you have not discovered how I can make you feel.” “I have. You make me feel fear. And revulsion.” She looked out the window. “Despair, perhaps.” “None of those are real, Amarantha.” She forced herself to look at him. “I must tell you, I don’t see how I can ever be your wife in truth. I cannot imagine asking you to — ” “To take your maidenhead? To rend you with my cock so that you scream in agonized pleasure?” The shock drained Amarantha’s cheeks of color. Even as the image somehow stirred her. “Sir Beast, you cannot say such things to me.” “It seems, my bride, that we must stretch your imagination as well. The only thing I may not do is take you by force. Everything else is open to me.” He settled back in a very masculine satisfaction. “If you intend to keep the bargain that saved your father’s life, that is.” Amarantha bit her lip. Her father had wept even as he handed her into the Beast’s carriage. Had he realized? Her virginity wouldn’t matter at the end of the week if she was dead. “Amarantha.” The Beast leaned forward. She shrank back, but he only laid a gloved hand over hers. “I swear I will not injure you. Your beauty is precious to me. I would not see it marred in any way.” She restlessly moved her hands out from under the black leather of his glove. A mistake, since his hand fell to her knee instead, a heavy weight through the thin cloth. “I will wish to see it, however,” the Beast said, gravel in his voice. Amarantha’s heart stuttered. “See it?” “You, in your naked glory. When we reach the house. In exchange, I will not touch you just yet.” He leaned back again. “I mention it now so that you might mull the idea over.” Amarantha drew in a breath. “I do not think I shall become peaceful with the idea in that space of time.” “You mistake me, my bride. Peaceful is not how I want you.” If he’d intended her to think about it, to imagine herself naked and vulnerable in front of his black-cloaked figure, then he succeeded.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | ARe | iTunes

About Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under, followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Contact Links: Website | FB | Twitter | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Jeffe Kennedy is giving away a copy of Petals and Thorns to 4 lucky winners tour wide. (winners can chose between epub, mobi, or PDF)

Giveaway Rules:

  • open internationally
  • use raffle copter to enter
  • open to anyone above 18, and who is legally allowed to enteropen to anyone above 18, and who is legally allowed to enter

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Promotional Post & Giveaway: In Deep Series by Kella McKinnon

Author Kella McKinnon has a two book series out In Deep and In Deeper, both full length novels. Graced with gorgeous man-titty covers, both books with rave reviews on Goodreads seems like the kind of story that most romance readers would love!

Kella is visting MBR’s Realm of Romance today and has answered some questions about her releases, giving readers an insight into what writing is about for her. And don’t forget, Kella is giving away 2 boxed set of e-copies of the books and a 50$ Gift Certificate. Giveaway will continue to run for 4 days, starting from the 24th till the 27th. Don’t forget to share the good news with your friends!

Interview with Kella McKinnon

MBR: Welcome to MBR’s Realm of Romance Kella. Its a pleasure to have you here with us. My first question is about your inspiration for writing the series. What would you say inspired you to write this two book series; In Deep and In Deeper?

Kella: Well… I had decided to take a break from paranormal/fantasy and write a contemporary romance. I wanted to create an alpha male character who was somewhat dark and broken, but still worth the heroine’s love. Around this time, my husband and I went to Las Vegas for a long weekend (we have three kids and almost never get away!), and I realized that Vegas was the perfect setting for a little bit of crazy because just about anything can happen there.

MBR: Why the first person POV for both characters? Any particular reason for writing in first person?

Kella: It’s true that third person is the more ‘traditional’ POV in the romance genre, but I think more and more authors are beginning to write in first person because of the immediacy and intimacy it can create. When you read a book with first person POV, you aren’t listening to someone tell you a story, you’re in that story as it’s happening. I find that, for me, it’s easier to connect with the characters.

MBR: Which part of Cristos’ character was the hardest to write and why?

Kella: Cristos is a man who has lived through a horrific childhood, and because of that has some pretty deep psychological scars. The way he thinks and reasons is not what most people would consider ‘normal’, or even appropriate, and yet Brielle still eventually falls in love with him. In writing Cristos, it was difficult to have him be, as one reviewer put it, “certifiable”, and still have the reader be sympathetic to how he got that way, and what Brielle sees in him that makes him redeemable in the end.

MBR: Was there anything that surprised you about Brielle while you were writing her and why?

Kella: Brielle is a young woman who knows exactly what she wants out of life. She has been through some pretty hard times herself, but that’s only made her more determined to grab hold of life and live her dreams. When she meets Cristos, she knows in her heart that she’s not going to be able to walk away from him again once their relationship progresses, yet she takes that risk. She knows that he’s hiding something that could be a game changer for her, but she can’t stop herself from letting him into her life.  

MBR: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of writing the In Deep series?

Kella: Probably weaving snippets of Cristos’s past into the story so that the reader would learn little by little where he’s coming from, without giving too much away. Oh, and the quotes at the beginning of each chapter… I must have gone through thousands to find just the right ones that spoke to where my characters were in their story!

MBR: Would you say writing romance, being an author is a fulfilling career? Why?

Kella: Being a romance writer, or a writer in general, is really a very solitary endeavor, and is definitely not for someone that needs to be around other people all the time. Luckily, I truly enjoy my quiet, alone time when I can grab a cup of coffee and my laptop and get down to work. Finally finishing a manuscript is very gratifying. Putting it out there for the world to read is just plain scary (what if I’m the only one who likes it?) Getting feedback from readers who have enjoyed my work is very fulfilling and makes it all worthwhile.

MBR: Your Goodreads profile states that you write Contemporary, Historical and Paranormal romances. Which other genre might you be interested in and would you ever pursue your interest in writing one in that particular genre?

Kella: Hmmm… I have to say that those are my three favorite genres to read, and therefore also my favorite genres to write, at least right now. In the future, who knows?  

MBR: What would be the message that you want readers to draw from your In Deep series?

Kella: I think that the overall message of this series is one of understanding and forgiveness. While Cristos has done something that I think even the readers will have a hard time forgiving, Brielle is able to put it all in the perspective of his past and the emotional damage he suffered because of it. She knows that she has a choice: either live her life without him in it, or accept him for who he is. In the end, she knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to take it.

MBR: Are you currently working on any books? If so, tell us a bit about them?

Kella: I am! Right now I’m working on another contemporary romance featuring a tattooed, fighting, pierced badass with an emotional, artistic side. It’s going to be quite a ride!

MBR: Who would you say is your favorite author and why? Any book(s) that you might recommend for readers who might not know him or her?

Kella: What a hard question, there are a lot of authors that I love! I have to put Karen Marie Moning on the list, along with Kresley Cole., Larissa Ione, K.M. Scott, and K. Bromberg to name a few. The one book that was a surprise to me and I still think about is Transcendence, by Shay Savage. It was so touching and so different…

MBR: Thank you so much for your time Kella. Hope to see that bad boy, tattooed badass come to life soon!

Book Blurb

Briellenew cover in deep

What would you do if you met a man that made you burn like wildfire from the inside out? Burn so hot that with one touch you forgot to breathe?

And if you knew that he had dangerous secrets? Would you be able to walk away?

I couldn’t. As strong as I know I am, I kept going back for more of him. That body… those eyes…

I saw him for the first time on my very first day in Vegas, and even then I think a part of me knew, because I couldn’t look away. It was like that moment when you see something flying towards you and you know it’s going to hit you before you can ever move out of the way, so you just watch, transfixed, as it crashes into you. Cristos Vicario: owner of the illustrious Adagio hotel and casino and reputed billionaire playboy. He sure as hell wasn’t what he seemed on the surface. That man had secrets. No one knew what a dark and dangerous world he lived in, and when I finally saw him for what he was, it was already far too late. I found myself inextricably tied to him forever. The course of my life altered. My entire world changed forever as he took away my freedom and gave me the key to my dreams in one fell swoop.

How could I have known that the one man who should have been my greatest nightmare would become the one thing I couldn’t live without? And all I had to do was forgive him…

Cristosnew cover in deeper

I was only living for one thing, one goal, one endgame… until I saw Brielle. And when I touched her, it was all over for me… I just didn’t know it yet. Not until I broke all of my rules for her, one after another, and that still wasn’t enough. I wanted more.

I wanted it all. Yeah, what I did to her was pretty much unforgivable. I know that now. Some small part of me might have known it then, too, but it didn’t matter. I had to hold on to her. I would have done anything to keep her… and I did.

Now I’ve put her in danger, dragged her into my world, and I don’t know whether to push her away or hold her tighter. Letting her go would be the right thing to do… but every time I try to do the right thing… I can’t.

When I take her, it’s always hard and desperate, as if she’ll disappear if I can’t make her feel the same things I feel… if I can’t force her to care about me enough that she’ll look past everything else and see into my heart.
Last night, after she fell asleep, still wrapped in my arms, I rested my lips against the top of her head and inhaled the scent of her as she slept. Trusting me, even though she shouldn’t. “I don’t deserve you”, I whispered. “But I want you. God, I want you so badly.”

Purchase Links: Amazon

About Kella McKinnonkella

Kella McKinnon lives in New England on a mini-farm with her husband and three children, and is finally making time for her favorite past-time: writing passionate stories that take the reader away to another time or place.

Contact: FB | Goodreads | Email | Twitter | Website

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Rumor by Skye Jordan

Book Blurbrumor

Former Navy SEAL Josh Marx thinks he has it all figured out. He’s living the bachelor lifestyle in southern California, running risk assessment for the Renegades, but most importantly, he’s finally gotten over the unrequited love he’s harbored for his former teammate’s ex wife. Then his buddy calls from overseas, worried because he hasn’t heard from his ex, and asks Josh to check in on her. Josh doesn’t want to get involved, but the same code that urged him to walk away in the first place is suddenly pushing him to change his Christmas plans.

Grace Ashby doesn’t appreciate the sexy SEAL trying to step in and take over. He thinks she’s hit rock bottom by working at a strip club, but she knows differently. She could set him straight, but he’s already rejected her once, and she doesn’t need one more man judging her.

She tells him to butt out of her business and her life. But Josh’s conscience won’t let him walk away this time.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Excerpt

From this angle, Grace could only see one wall of the storeroom; it’s bare studs now covered with gypsum board. Trepidation crawled through her chest. She was going to be so pissed if Dean had gone for the cheapest labor he could find to—
“Whoa! Oh, my God!” The familiar male voice carried from inside the large room, one that made Grace’s feet stop mid step. Made her heart flip and squeeze. “What’s this? There’s two of you?”
The twins giggled.
“Good Lord, what a handful,” Josh said. “Your poor mother. No, little dude, don’t touch that. Here, I’ll show you how this works.”
An electric buzz filled the air, followed by more giggles from the boys.
Grace didn’t know how to respond to his voice. She was first shocked, then angry, then confused, then angry again.
I’m going to find a way to help—both you and Carolyn.
Josh’s last words filled Grace’s head. No, dammit, she was so done with this freaking rollercoaster. He wasn’t going to come in here and start controlling her life.
Teeth gritted, she pushed her feet forward and gripped the doorframe as she turned into the room. Angry words filled her mouth, ready to spill, but the sight on the floor in front of her froze her tongue.
Josh knelt on the floor between the twins. He was shirtless, wearing only jeans, lightweight suede work boots, and a leather tool belt. And Grace instantly understood Jasmine’s Trojan Ultra Ribbed metaphor. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen his body. Over the years she’d seen him in swim trunks dozens of times.
But, God…this was like seeing him again for the first time, all bronze and beefy, the thick muscles of his shoulders and biceps curved and cut. The scars on his right shoulder had healed well, but left thick, discolored welts on his skin. Somehow, it only made him more authentic, more masculine more…delicious.
“Dillon, Dalton.” A strong male voice called from the back door. “Let’s go.”
The boys ignored their father, enamored with Josh’s drill.
“Sounds like Dad’s here.” Josh put the drill down.
“Noooo,” Dalton whined, the twin with hair a shade lighter than the other.
“Again,” Dillon chirped, leaning into Josh, half in his lap, hanging on one broad shoulder. “Do it again.”
“Little man,” Josh said, “I am not gonna get my hiney whooped by your daddy today.”
He wrapped an arm around each boy’s waist and whipped them up and over his shoulders, one on each side. The boys squealed and giggled, and Josh’s smile could have powered the club for a week. But what Grace saw was a wide, chest, six-pack abs and jeans pulled so low by the heavy tool belt that the hollows at his hip bones pointed to what Grace’s body craved most.
Jasmine appeared at Grace’s side, laughing. “Oh, God, they’re going to want to come here after school every day.”
“Excuse me ladies.” Josh carried the wiggling bundles of happiness through the doorway, his muscles flexing, then passed through the short hallway toward the rear door where Rocco waited.
Both Grace and Jasmine turned to watch him go. The muscle in his back played in the shadow of the hallway, rippling beneath his tattoo—the skeleton of a frog overlaying a waving American flag, with the word Frogman curved into the design. His ass and thighs filling out his jeans deliciously. Two little boys gigging on his shoulders.
Grace’s mind was in the clouds, the only clear thought: I want that. All that.
“If your panties haven’t melted by now,” Jasmine murmured, drawing Grace’s mind from the haze, “I might start thinking you’re sexual preferences have changed.”
The comment directed Grace’s attention between her legs where she was hot, tingling, full, aching, and…wet.

About Skye Jordanskyejordan

Skye Jordan is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling romantic suspense author Joan Swan. Skye’s novels are about enjoying that little wild streak we don’t let out often enough. About those fantasies we rarely get the opportunity to indulge. About stretching limits, checking out the dark side, and maybe even acting a little naughty. They’re about escape and fun and pleasure and romance.

And, yes, even love, because while wicked-great sex is good, happily ever after with wicked-great sex is even better. Skye (aka Joan) lives on the central coast of California in the heart of wine country with her husband and two daughters. As often as possible, she retreats to a hotel with critique partners for a power-writing week where much drinking, laughing, and yes, even working, ensues. When she’s not writing, Skye goes to breakfast with her hubby, attends her daughters’ barrel races, and spends a lot of time with her own horse, Riddle…while her two dogs, Paxton and Indie, tag along. She also loves to read, knit, craft, row, ride, and dabble in photography.

Links: Website | FB | Twitter | GR | PInterest | Newsletter

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What You Need to Know!

There are two giveaways included! The grand prize which happens to be a 6″ Kindle Tablet (1 winner from the entire tour – US/Canada ONLY).

The other giveaway is applicable to the post that appears on this blog.  Includes winner’s choice of Reckless, Rebel or Ricochet AND a 10$ gift card (1 winner; US/Canada ONLY). 3 Swag bags, up for grabs for 3 winners! Cool stuff! Both sets of giveaways are provided by the author Skye Jordan.

Grand Prize

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Blog Tour Stops

November 10, 2014

Smut Book Club

So Many Reads

Same Book Different Review

November 11, 2014

I Am A Book Addict

Just the Write Stuff

November 12, 2014

Cricket’s Chirps

TBQ’s Book Palace

November 13, 2014

Becky on Books

Books-n-Kisses

Maldivian Book Reviewer’s Realm of Romance

Ms. Romantic Reads

November 14, 2014

Smut Book Junkie Reviews

Promotional Post & Giveaway: Just Not Ready Yet by Brooklyn James

Excerpt

justnotreadyyet

“Charlie,” Cage whispers tenderly, kneeling in front of her. For all of their quarrelsome banter, a shared empathy sustains. His hands preoccupy themselves with strands of straw at the floor as he fights the urge to touch her, comfort her.

“What about his heart? Dylan’s? Did they check it? At the hospital?” She anguishes through tear-stained eyes, the constant worry that something could be wrong with it, much the same as his daddy’s.

“It’s fine. He’s fine.” Cage looks up at her, forcing an encouraging smile.

“What about yours? Did you ever have it checked?” The thought of losing another McCloud man to a faulty heart continues to break hers.

He shakes his head. “I’m sure it’s fine.” The elder McCloud of the same mindset as his late brother―if there is something wrong with it, he’d rather not know. Cage gives in to his compulsion, touching his hand against the left side of her chest. “It’s yours that concerns me.” The rapid lubb-dubb of the life-sustaining organ ensuing beneath his hand causes him great turmoil, wishing he knew what to say, what to do, to calm it.

Charlie emits a quiet sob. The warmth of his flesh against her shirt coupled with his shielding presence so inviting yet so wrong, a betrayal. Tears fall from her eyes, collecting at the corners of her mouth, her words crackling with the moisture, “I want him back, Cage.”

His hand transferring from her heart to his own, he lightly taps it off his chest. “I would trade places with him, if I could.” His chameleon eyes, now devoid of the sun’s rays appear light green, resonate with a kindred yearning and solitary guilt only an older brother would understand.

Charlie shakes her head, swallowing a conflicted protest, knowing his virtuous solution to be entirely impossible. The passing thought causing guilt in her eyes to match his as she momentarily contemplates such an avowal, the life of one brother for another.

“When we were kids,” Cage begins, his deep voice now completely free of its customary pretense as it grows quiet and compassionate, giving in to the emotion the memory brings, “I could fix everything. If Cash had a problem, I had the solution. If we got into trouble, I’d take the heat. When he needed a cool ride to impress his uptown New York college girl, I gave him mine.” His full lips soften, curling up at the corners, thinking about all the time and money he put into rebuilding the classic 1970 Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup only to turn around and hand it over to Cash.

Charlie chuckles, sniffing back tears. “Even that was a test,” she remarks, knowing the Texan in him thought that would be a surefire way to smoke out the prissy New Yorker in her―sending his baby brother to pick her up in a jacked-up, old-school pickup. “Bet you never expected me to keep it…or keep him.”

“Nope. But you did.” He releases an admirable smile, grateful for the happiness she gave his little brother. “And I’ll fix that damn truck for the rest of my life. Keep it running for you.” He reflects on the numerous tune-ups the truck has required since Cash’s passing, knowing she keeps it as an homage to him. His smile disappears as he quells the rising lump surfacing just beneath his Adam’s apple. “But I’ll be damned if I can fix this.” He looks at Charlie, his expression as hopeless and helpless as hers, knowing there is no way to fix death.

“It’s okay,” she forces the words from her mouth somehow hoping to believe them herself. “I just keep waiting for it to get easier, you know.” She wipes the back of her hand across her face and nose, gathering leftover moisture from the leaky orifices. “I keep waiting for the memories to fade so I won’t miss him so much. I guess maybe I thought I’d eventually forget how his arms felt around me. The sound of his voice. What he looked like.” With her sentiment, Charlie looks away from Cage, who remains a constant reminder, maybe some sort of living, breathing apparition of her dead husband.

“I know,” Cage whispers. “I know that’s the reason you can barely stand to have me around. Why you’re always dodging my efforts to help out around here. I’m sorry it hurts you to have to look at me.” He dips his chin to his chest, camouflaging his face, the ruggedly handsome form usually a most impressive calling card to women only seems to push Charlie away.

“Don’t be sorry. It’s just confusing, that’s all.” Her unsteady hand takes a course of its own, her fingers gently cupping his chin and raising his face from his chest. She sucks in a deep breath, her abdomen fluttering with a second round of tears. The feel of his squared jaw and dark five o’clock shadow―the pattern unequivocal to Cash’s―against her palm conjures a sensation she presumed as departed as her late husband. “If I didn’t know any better, I could just close my eyes…and you would be him.”

Cage exhales somewhere between a sigh and a moan, pressing his cheek tighter to her hand, unable to refrain from enjoying the feeling. “I know. The closest I’m ever gonna get to Cash again is you.” He rises, his torso in line with hers, their mouths mere inches apart. He breathes her in, their shallow breath exchanging off each other’s lips.

Her eyes dart back and forth between his, a mixture of trepidation, guilt and desire, knowing that the reverse is equally true―the closest she is ever going to get to Cash is him. “We can’t,” she whispers a verbal warning, unable to refrain the visceral pull.

Book Blurb

Charlize ‘Charlie’ McCloud, young widow and mother, is seemingly content with her secluded life on a sprawling Texas ranch. Her moonlit horseback rides provide the perfect dreamscape to obsessively reminisce about her college sweetheart—her first and final love—Cash McCloud.

When intern Hunter Bowie arrives on her ranch to work for the summer, his engaging persona threatens Charlie’s treasured reliving. Her interest in moving on as departed as her late husband, Hunter’s youthful exuberance and guitar revives dreams she once laid to rest.

Hunter’s presence stirs up everyone around the ranch, including her late husband’s older brother, Cage McCloud. A near replica of Cash, Cage’s very existence is a painstaking reminder of how much she has lost.

Unintentionally revealing the truth about Cash’s death, Cage sets off a firestorm of emotions, ultimately propelling Charlie to face her future—hopefully one that includes him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

About Brooklyn James

Brooklyn James is an author/singer/songwriter inspired by life in the Live Music Capital of Austin, Texas. Her first novel, The Boots My Mother Gave Me, has an original music soundtrack and was chosen as a Quarter Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. This book has ranked in Kindle’s Top 100 Coming of Age and Women’s Fiction.

When she is not writing books, she can be found playing live music around Austin as part of an acoustic duo. Like most everyone, she treasures her time spent with family and friends. Brooklyn has been in a Weezer video, met Harry Connick Jr. as an extra on the set of When Angels Sing, and she was Mira Sorvino’s stand-in on Jerry Bruckheimer’sTrooper pilot for TNT. She enjoys reading, dancing, working out, fishing with her hubby, and a good glass of kombucha.

Brooklyn holds an M.A. in Communication, and a B.S. in both Nursing and Animal Science. Her nursing career has seen specialties in the areas of Intensive Care and Postpartum. She serves as a Guest Speaker with a focus on awareness and prevention of Domestic Violence and Suicide.

Contact: FB | Website | Twitter | E-mail

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