Category Archives: Giveaways

Review & #giveaway – Counting Wolves by Michael F. Stewart @MichaelFStewart @xpressotours

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Book details:

Counting Wolves
by Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

CWSynopsis:

The Breakfast Club meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the lair of an adolescent psych ward.

Milly’s evil stepmother commits her to a pediatric psych ward. That’s just what the wolf wants. With bunk mates like Red, who’s spiraling out of control; Pig, a fire-bug who claims Milly as her own—but just wants extra dessert—Vanet, a manic teen masquerading as a fairy godmother with wish-granting powers as likely to kill as to help; and the mysterious Wolfgang, rumored to roam for blood at night; it doesn’t take long for Milly to realize that only her dead mother’s book of tales can save her.

But Milly’s spells of protection weaken as her wolf stalks the hospital corridors. The ward’s a Dark Wood, and she’s not alone. As her power crumbles, she must let go of her magic and discover new weapons if she is to transform from hunted to hunter.

review

What a beautifully crafted book this is.

For me, the skill in the story telling is that the reader is never 100% sure what is real, and what is imagined: is this a story with a paranormal twist, or a touching and delicately handled depiction of mental illness.  The manner in which the narrative deals with that blurred line for Milly, meant that I was able to forge an emotional connection with her character, and, by extension, those around her.

Unflinching, yet not brash, this was an absorbing read.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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purchase links

Amazon (universal link) | B&N | Kobo

About the author

Michael F. Stewart is winner of both the 2015 Claymore Award and the 2014 inaugural Creation of Stories Award for best YA novel at the Toronto International Book Fair.

He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia, and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. In addition to his award winning Assured Destruction series, he has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights are published by Scholastic and early readers are out with Pearson Education.

For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS–a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.

Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he was the Ottawa Public Library’s first Writer in Residence. To learn more about Michael and his next projects visit his website at www.michaelfstewart.com or connect via Twitter @MichaelFStewart.

Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.

author links

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

giveaway

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Review & #giveaway – At Her Own Risk by Rachael Duncan @rachaelauthor @ejbookpromos

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Title: At Her Own Risk
Author: Rachael Duncan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 14th 2017
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography
Cover Designer: Cover Me Darling

 

AtHerOwnRiskSynopsis:

Sex.

That’s all it was supposed to be. No strings attached, no feelings, no heartache.

But if I thought Sean Riley would be content having only parts of me, I was dead wrong. His persistence wore me down and I found myself in the one situation I was trying to avoid.

Little does he know a life with me will lead to nothing but disappointment and heartbreak. He’s a good man and deserves everything I can’t give him. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m unable.

Pushing him away in the beginning was to protect me, now I’m trying to protect him as I gear up for the fight of my life.

A fight I could lose.

Getting into a relationship was my risk, but as things get worse, I’m not the only one who will have something to lose.

I just hope it’s worth it.

review

This is an elegantly woven story that didn’t shy away from the gritty nature of the plot.  The characters were colourfully described and were easy to connect and empathise with.

The easy relationship between the two was a perfect balance against the heartache that is explored within the pages of this story.

And yes, in case you’re wondering – I did cry at points in this book.  The author succeeding in drawing a deep emotional response from me with this novel.  And I still loved it.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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purchase links

Amazon (Universal Link)

excerpt

“Come back to me,” I finally plead.

She looks into my eyes and there’s so much pain I can’t stand it. “I don’t know how.” Her voice is strained as she tries to hold back the tears.

“Let me help you.” I cup her face and she leans into it.

“I just want to stop feeling this way and I can’t.” A tear falls down her cheek.

“Like what?”

She pauses and says, “Empty.”  

About the author

Rachael Duncan is an Army wife and mother to two beautiful girls. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and went off to graduate from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in political science. With initial plans to work in politics, she moved to Washington, D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill for a House Representative. After a short time, she realized it wasn’t for her and began pursuing other careers until she started writing. She’s the author of Tackled by Love, The Lies and Truth Series, and Hopeless Vows.

author links

Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | TSU | Amazon

giveaway

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Review & #giveaway – Beard in Mind by Penny Reid @Reidromance @jennw23

Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available now!

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All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

 Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.

She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

review

I think that I have said this before – when Penny Reid says that she thinks that her book will appeal only to 1 person in a gazillion (I may be taking liberties here, but I’m sure that’s what she meant), that’s when I sit up and pay attention, because invariably, I have come to realise that this means that I can expect to read some of her best work.

And yes, dear reader, this book does not buck that trend.

Now. I’m not going to lie. This book is not without its frustrations. In this case, it is the dance that our protagonists do around each other. And, because the timeline overlaps with Cletus’ book, there is that sense of knowing that adds to that disquiet; that puts a subtle layer of tension into the interactions.

But this love story? It is not loud and garish. It is subtle. It is gentle. It is a beautiful, if unconventional choreography of two people learning how to gravitate towards each other.

Although I don’t think that they are quite my favourite couple (albeit by a narrow margin), nevertheless, there is such a lot to love about this story, that its not a hardship to give this a 5* rating.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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excerpt

She’d taken the sofa, in her own house, and given me the bed. That didn’t make a lick of sense.

I crouched next to her, threading my fingers into the silky hair at her temples. “Honey.”

“Mmm.”

I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”

“Mmm.”

I grinned at her soft noises, at the untroubled expression on her face, and how her brow—even in sleep—still looked regal and stern.

Sliding my arms under her legs and shoulder, I picked her up. And, unfortunately, that woke her up.

She jerked in my arms. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking you to the bed.”

“Don’t do that.”

“I don’t mind, I’ll take the sofa.” Our mouths were just inches apart, and hers was distracting.

She squirmed. “Put me down.”

Sighing unhappily, I did. I set her on her feet next to the couch. The blanket pooled at her feet and I stepped back to give her some space. It was dark, but I could see her just fine, and that meant I had to force my eyes to remain above her neck. The woman was wearing two pathetic scraps of fabric as pajamas. A thin little tank top and shorts. That’s it.

I set my jaw and turned to the side, waiting for her to walk past.

“Where are you?”

I glanced at her and realized she couldn’t see at all. She didn’t have a hand out, but the way her eyes were moving about the room gave away her blindness.

“I’m here.” I didn’t touch her, because if I did, I wouldn’t want to stop.

Shelly turned her head in my direction and took a deep breath. Still she didn’t reach for me. I didn’t know the specifics of what to expect after her Friday session, but I recalled Dr. West saying something about Shelly doing self-guided ERP exercises over this week.

“Can you see?” She licked her lips, her voice sandpapery. “Because I can’t see at all. It’s so dark.”

“I can see.” Unbidden, my eyes dropped to her body, to the swell of her breasts, the panel of bare stomach, the curve of her hips. Pinpricks of heat raised over my skin and I curled my hands into fists.

She shuffled forward and I caught her before she bumped into me, setting my hands gently at her waist.

“Let me take you to your room.” My voice was rough, for obvious reasons.

Saying nothing, she brought her hand to my forearm, her body gently colliding with mine. And then her hand on my arm slid up my bicep to my shoulder.

“Shelly.” I was running out of breath.

“I like this.”

“What?”

“Touching you.”

Oh fuck.

I held still and endured her hands moving over my body, down the front of my shirt, stopping at the hem, then pushing it up.

“Take this off.”

I did. I pulled the T-shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor.

We stood there, facing each other in the dark, not touching. Despite the session on Friday and the progress that had been made, I realized she wasn’t quite there yet. Dr. West was right, Friday was just a step, the first step. Shelly wasn’t able to initiate contact. Not yet.

Her hands balled into fists and she swayed forward, her breath struggling little puffs.

If anything was going to happen tonight, I had to initiate it. I had to be the one to touch first.

God, how I wanted her. How I wanted her above me, beneath me, surrounding me. But how could I?

“I know why I hesitate,” her voice was breathless, “but why do you hesitate?”

“Lots of reasons.”

“Give me one.”

“I don’t want to you use you.”

“I wish you would.”

That pulled a laugh from me, just a small relief from the mounting tension. My eyes moved over her body, an undeniable impulse to devour the sight of her, her legs, stomach, chest, then up her neck to her lips.

“You asked me on Saturday if sex was a big deal for me, or if it was you. The answer is both.”

She held very still, and I got the sense she was holding her breath, straining to listen.

“You are a big deal to me. I don’t want a fling. I don’t want a flirtation. I want promises.”

“What can I promise you?”

That you’ll love me. That I’ll be your priority.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. A spike of anxiety that she might leave me like this had me acting without forethought. I lifted my hands to her waist again and immediately, her fingertips skimmed over skin of my lower stomach in response, making my muscles tense in hot anticipation. She grew more assertive as she caressed my sides, abdomen, ribs, chest, shoulders, and then back down.

Shelly stepped closer, a hint of thrilling contact between her breasts and my torso, and all the words and worries melted from my mind, died on my tongue, suffocated by the feel of her body, and the possibility of this moment.

Her finger hooked in the waistband of my jeans. “Take these off.” Her hand turned, her fingers and palm cupping me over my zipper.

Instinctively, I pressed myself into her touch even as I grabbed her wrist.

“Beau, I promise—”

She didn’t get to speak, because I kissed her, hard and wild, unbuttoning and unzipping my fly with one hand and bringing her palm inside my boxers with the other.

purchase links

Amazon (Universal link) | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

About the author

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

author links

Facebook | Amazon | Twitter | Newsletter | Website

giveaway

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