Monday, July 23, 2018


Title: Checkmate
Series: Neighbor from Hell #3
Author: R.L. Mathewson
Rating: 

There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.

As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil's bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not...

She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.

    


The Neighbor From Hell series never disappoints. In the latest installment, Checkmate we follow the story of childhood enemies, Connor O'Neil and Rory James.

Summary:
Rory is a cousin to the Bradfords. She also has five freakishly large brothers. Needless to say, she never has a problem dealing with men who are assholes to her. That is, except for with Connor. For some reason her family seems to think she can handle Connor just fine. Connor delights in making Rory's life a living hell. She does the same for him. He likes it so much that he bought the house next door to hers. He has tormented her and her him since preschool. It is a well-known fact that Connor and Rory don't get along and often end up in serious trouble from their pranks and antics against each other. The town has even gone so far as to ban them from entering certain places at the same time. Lol. Imagine their horror when they bid on the same construction job and the owners tell them they will be working together in order to renovate an old hotel in five months. Rory is determined to do what her father taught her and work hard to garner the respect she wants. She also wouldn't mind pushing Connor out of the way and just using some of his men and equipment. Connor has the same idea about Rory. He especially doesn't want her working in a dangerous situation. he wants her safe. At one point in their long history, Connor was madly in love with Rory and wanted to marry her, but with ruining her life with what happened on her eighteenth birthday in Canada, he knows he's lost any chance he could have had. he pushes it deep, and tries to move on. The only problem is Rory is the best part of his day. When Connor finds out that Rory has a secret side project, he uses it against her devise a plan and put it into motion. See, he figures he should get all he can out of this five month hell they are forced to live. His plan is to eventually steal Rory's brothers from her employ and run her out of business. That way he won't have the competition and won't have to worry about her getting hurt. He also figures he can lift some of the bans on them in town if Rory pretends to be his doting girlfriend. In order to get access to the one project Rory has dreamed of her whole life, Rory reluctantly agrees. But soon the simmering passion that they both bury for each other, is fighting to be freed. Rory decides that if she has to go through with Connor's plan, then she should get what she wants from him, too. Him and sex. Connor is all for it. He quickly realizes that he never stopped loving her (the fact that he beat a lot of her ex-boyfriends to a bloody pulp should have been his first clue), and that he can't let her go. Even after their arrangement is over. Connor again devises a plan to get Rory to marry him, but he never anticipated the threat of what actually happened that long ago day in Canada coming up to shadow their relationship. He also has to deal with the fact that his best friend is dying. So many issues vie for his attention, but he has to hold it together to convince Rory if his love. Rory is seriously confuzzled about her feelings. She can't wrap her head around the swift change in their relationship. Connor and Rory are trying to fight for their relationship amid confusion, misunderstandings, and the threat of bodily harm (Connor) by Rory's brothers, but nothing can prepare them for what happens when Rory's father gets involved and the details of Connor's original plan to steal her business come out.

I just love the Bradfords and James families. They are awesome. If they existed in real life, I'd be first in line to be their friend (or marry into the sexy as sin clan). ;-) Rory was so stubborn and tough. If a boy did some of the stuff Connor did, I'd totally have a mental breakdown. Lol. Connor was sweet. So misguided at first, but once he got a handle on it, he redeemed himself and really stole my heart, although I'm still infatuated with Jason. My only complaint is that we got an update on Rory's side project. It was a big story-line and it kind of just disappeared. I'm seriously racking my brain trying to figure out who's story is gonna be next. I need more Bradford and James!! <3
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by Shooting Stars Reviews 6:00 AM No comments

Friday, July 20, 2018



Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon 
Julia Kent 
(Shopping for a Billionaire #14)
Publication date: July 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

He says we never had a proper honeymoon.
So, instead, he’s giving me… a prepper honeymoon?
Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing?
I guess I’m about to find out.
Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling romantic comedy series continues in Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon as Andrew and Amanda settle in to married life… and so much more.
EXCERPT:
Amanda
It’s Monday.
Our home looks like the set for Extreme Home Makeover, except there’s no bus to move and all of the workmen act like I’m invisible as I wander downstairs after waking up naked in an empty bed.
I throw on clothes and am down the stairs when I spot my husband.
“What is going on?” I ask Andrew, who is huddled over blueprints with some guy who looks like he runs a union hall in South Boston. Tight eyes, distrustful look, goatee, and an intensity that makes it clear you want him on your side.
Andrew breaks away, kisses my cheek, and gives me a saucy half grin. “Just like you wanted. Here we go.”
“Here we go what? We barely talked about what we wanted!”
“We did,” he says, suddenly defensive. “In bed,” he whispers.
“What I want in bed has nothing to do with tile colors and three-season sunrooms!” I say.
Loudly.
“The guys aren’t working on anything like that,” he hisses as a few workmen suppress smiles. “We’re putting in new backup systems.”
“Backups for what?”
“Power outages. Acts of God. Hurricanes. Bomb cyclones that leave six feet of snow.”
I snort. “What, no alien contingency plan? Got a blueprint for a universal extraterrestrial language translator in there?”
Andrew reddens and avoids eye contact.
I frown. “Andrew?” I grab his arm and pull him aside, his muscles tense. “What are you doing? This isn’t how I envisioned remodeling and spending our honeymoon. For one, we didn’t have sex that second time this morning.”
He looks at the clock. “It’s only 7:53. Plenty of time for that.” He grabs me at the waist and pulls me close, trying to divert me with a kiss.
It works.
“We’ve got the geothermal heat unit figured out, and when we redo the gutter system and the roof, in addition to the solar panels, we’ve got an evaporation system set up for clean water collection. Storage is next,” he says to me.
“All that in the first hour of work?” I’m stunned.

“I’m efficient. Two weeks of my focused attention is like five years of a normal human
being’s time.”

“Efficient and humble. I love that in a man.”
“You’d better, because you’re stuck with me forever.”
“Is that a threat or a promise?”
I get a pat on the ass in response.


Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

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by Shooting Stars Reviews 3:00 AM No comments

Thursday, July 19, 2018



A Pilgrimage to Death 
Alexa Padgett 
Publication date: August 14th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

They murdered her sister. They threatened her church. But their day of reckoning will cost her everything…
When Cici Gurule finds the dead body of a parishioner in the nearby Santa Fe National Forest, she’s horrified to realize the victim bears the same stab wounds that ended her twin sister’s life one year earlier.
Now, as a freewheeling, progressive reverend who’ll stop at nothing to protect her flock, she’ll need to join forces with her detective friend and loyal pair of Great Pyrenees to hunt down the killer before she’s forced to officiate another funeral.
Soon, however, Cici discovers her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation, and her death was no random act of violence. With the criminals out for Cici’s blood, she needs to catch the wolf by the tail…before it goes in for the kill.
Fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Stacy Claflin will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel! Scroll up and click to start this fast-paced, high-octane mystery thriller!
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EXCERPT:
Sam brought his chair down with a soft thump as it hit the patio paver but he didn’t say anything for another long moment.
“Anna Carmen was my best friend. She helped me through a hard time—she helped me see what I couldn’t then.”
Cici’s lip trembled as she lifted her teacup. “I miss her, too. So much. Yesterday . . . it all came bubbling back up.”
Sam’s hand settled on Cici’s shoulder in that gesture of comfort she’d come to depend on.
“I know you do. And, yeah, I figured it would.”
Jaycee sidled up to their table and settled Sam’s large glass of iced tea on the table. Condensation formed on the glass, dripping down to wet the white napkin beneath it.
“I thought of something,” the girl said.
Both Cici and Sam turned their faces up to the teenager.
“Mr. Johnson told me one time he was meeting someone about a case.” Her brow wrinkled for a moment before she shrugged. “Does that help?”
Sam tugged at his short ponytail. “Maybe. Thanks, Jaycee.”
“Sure.” The girl skittered off to greet some new patrons.
“You think you know what the case is, don’t you?” Cici asked, pouring more tea into her cup.

Author Bio:
With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.

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by Shooting Stars Reviews 3:00 AM No comments

Wednesday, July 18, 2018



The Gathering 
Bernadette Giacomazzo 
(The Uprising, #1)
Publication date: March 31st 2018 
Genres: Adult, Dystopian

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.
In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.
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EXCERPT:
Jamie
I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.
“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryanand Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.
At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.
But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.
“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.
“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”
My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.
At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.
Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.
“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.
And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.
For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.
When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.
I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was calledcarne asada.
“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”
“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.
I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.
Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.
They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.
“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.
She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”
Arepas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.
“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.
I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed fordays with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”
Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”
I sat under a wilting star magnolia tree and stared, intently, through the open window of a room that had to be Rosie’s dressing room. She peeled her black silk kimono off and turned her back to the frameless window, exposing her prominent ribs and shoulder blades as she did so. The sight of her suddenly-bare, emaciated frame shocked me, especially given how pronounced her curves were in our younger years, and tears welled up in my eyes yet again.
In the decades since Angelique and my son had died, I could count the number of times I’d cried on one hand. In the past 72 hours, though – as I realized that my best friend’s kid, and my best friend’s girlfriend, were alive and well, and that the Uprising was bigger than I’d ever imagined – the tears came quickly and flowed easily, and I couldn’t decide if this was a sign of strength or weakness on my part.
Rosie slipped a shimmering white camisole over her emaciated frame, which she then tucked into a pair of white linen slacks. I couldn’t get over how thin she’d gotten, then wondered if this was by her own design, or if she was under orders from that evil husband of hers. No way would Jordan be cool with this, I thought to myself. On his fucking grave would this go on. On his fucking grave. And wouldn’t you know it – here we are, on his fucking grave.
I saw Rosie leave the room and begin to head down a flight of stairs, and I took that as an opportunity to get her alone, away from the rabid Cabal and out of sight of the vainglorious Emperor. She’d taken a few steps away from her building, and into Emperor’s Park, before passing by the wilting star magnolia tree that I was hiding behind. It was only when I saw the back of her slicked back, perfect ponytail – what a difference from the one she was wearing when we first met, I thought – that I saw the opportunity to get her alone and began walking behind her.
“You’ve come a long way from making arepas on Ludlow Street,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder when I finally caught up with her.
She spun around, her face scrunched up in fear, and for a split second, I thought she was going to hit me. But just as quickly, she relaxed as her eyes registered who owned the disembodied voice. “Jamie,” she whispered tearfully. “You’re here. You’re alive. I didn’t realize…”
“How the hell did you not?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows and side-eyeing her. “Your damned husband has been hunting me for decades.”
“I knew that,” she said, taking ragged breaths. “But just the fact that he was never able to take you alive led me to believe that you were…you know…” Her voice trailed off.
I wasn’t convinced, and I continued to stare at her intently as I scratched my left cheek, which was now beginning to show the first signs of salt-and-pepper beard stubble. “First of all, why the hell are you talking like you’re Queen Elizabeth? Second, let me just state it for the record: you give your asshole husbandway too much credit if you think he can take me down.”
Rosie bit her lower lip, then shifted her eyes down. I put my hand under her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her eyes to meet mine as I tried, desperately, to search for a sign of the Rosie I once knew. “Rosie,” I whispered intently. “It’s me. You don’t have to hide from me.”
Her face was a blank slate. “My name is Rose. Rose Cunningham,” she said with flat affect.
“Oh, bullshit,” I whispered, even more intently. “Whatever happened to ‘call me Rosie, everyone else does’? What happened to that woman who was makingarepas in the kitchen with my Angelique?”
That got her attention, and her deep brown eyes flashed with fire as she balled up her fists and began swinging at me. “You shit! You bastard! You did it! You almost killed my baby!”
I ducked, bobbed and weaved, avoiding each blow as I carefully tried to talk her down from the ledge. “Rosie! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t do that shit! I swear!”
She continued to swing at me. “Yes! Yes, you did!” she squealed tearfully, repeating the same “yes, yes” with each swing, her voice getting louder each time.
“Do you want to knock it off before the fuckin’ Cabal finds us, Rosie? The fuck is wrong with you? Jesus Christ!” I was shouting despite myself and began scanning the landscape frantically for Cabal soldiers that would have undoubtedly heard us, all while bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter to avoid getting punched in the face.
She swung even harder and squealed even louder. “You tried to kill my baby! Just like you killed yours!”
That line finally got me to react, and I had to steady my breathing to stop from clocking her in the mouth. Even in the throes of the worst of my Faustian behavior, I never hit a woman, and neither did any of my bandmates – the thought of violence against a woman, let alone a woman we’d loved, didn’t even cross our drug-addled minds.
Instead, I grabbed her wrists and forced them down to her sides, holding them in place at hip level as she struggled, trying to hit me, until she finally began whimpering in defeat.
“Now you listen to me, Ramira Diaz, and you listen well,” I began, angrily. “You may have forgotten everything you were and are, but I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten a goddamn thing, and let me rest assure you, I never fuckin’ will.”
Her lower lip was trembling, her eyes were watering, and it became evident that she was on the verge of tears. Still, I continued. “So, let me get a few things out of the way now, so we’re not confused. Number one: that blast? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t anyone tied to me. It wasn’t anyone whose name I can even spell. Because let me assure you, again, that if it were me, or anyone tied to me, we’d have burned down the entire fuckin’ city, even if it meant killing ourselves in the process, and wouldn’t have left a survivor anywhere on this God-forsaken island.
“Number two: you know goddamn well I didn’t kill Angelique or our baby. Now I wear their death on my heart every. Fucking. Day. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in twenty fucking years, from the day they were killed, because I can’t get their murders out of my mind. There are times I wish I was dead, just so that I don’t have to live with the guilt of their murders, but no, here I am, and ain’t that a fuckin’ bitch from Hell. I’d give all the money in the world to have my Angelique back. I’d trade my life for Jordan’s any day of the week. And my son – my only legacy – never had a chance at life, and you think that’s all fair?
“Number three – and this is the most important part, Rosie, goddamnit, you’d better fuckin’ listen to this if you listen to nothing else: remember that promise I made to you in the hospital room? All those years ago? Because I fuckin’ do. And that’s why when Evanora and Tommy came down the Bowery after the blast, and I realized who she was, I made sure she was safe and clean and warm…”
Rosie looked shocked. “Wait. She came to you?”
I searched her face, trying to see if I could register where her loyalties lie before I continued to answer the question. For some reason, however, I couldn’t make it out. I even tried to read Rosie’s mind using a gentle form of psi, but I still couldn’t read her mind at all. It was like trying to probe a brick wall. So, to protect Evanora – and the rest of us – I chose to cover my tracks. “Yeah,” I said airily, “she mentioned something about listening to Uprising Radio.”
The name of Uprising Radio registered some type of recognition with Rosie, and her eyes lit up slightly. “My baby has heard Uprising Radio?”
“I don’t know for sure,” I continued, still adopting an airy affect, “but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.” Using my Cabal training, I put a mental wall between my thoughts and Rosie, mostly because I didn’t know how much training she’d had in the psi arts, and I wasn’t sure if she, too, could read my mind. And if, God forbid, her loyalties lied with that pathetic excuse of her husband, I could at least protect, if not myself, then the whole Uprising movement.
I made sure the wall was firmly in place before I continued. “I think I’ve heard Uprising Radio a few times, but I don’t know much about it, who does it, or anything of the sort.”
“Yeah,” Rosie said, hesitantly, behind a mental brick wall of her own, “I have no idea, either.”
We were calmer, now – our breath was steady, our thoughts were collected, and Rosie’s fists were limp. I finally felt confident that she wasn’t going to try to hit me again, so I loosened my grip on her wrists.
But I suddenly found myself unable to let her go, so I slid my hands from her wrists to her hands and grabbed her fingers lightly. I was overcome with emotion.
“What is it, Jamie?” Her voice was cracking.
I exhaled loudly, then drew in a ragged breath. “Do you think about him, Rosie? Do you think about Jordan at all?”
She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to fall as she exhaled shakily. “Every day of my life,” she said softly. “There’s not a day that goes by that Jordan doesn’t cross my mind. Every time I look at Evanora – every time I hear her laugh – he comes to my mind. Sometimes, she gives me this look – you remember, Jamie? You remember when Jordan would hear something that was just too stupid for words, and he would get this look on his face, like, ‘were you dropped on your head as a child?’” – and to this, I gave a half-smile and a nod – “and now, she gets that look. And that one eyebrow” – she took her finger and drew on her left eyebrow – “it would just go up like…like…”
She dropped her hand as her voice trailed off, her eyes filling with tears.
I nodded my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. “Fuckin’ guy,” I said, opening my eyes and looking at Rosie. “So. You didn’t see me, right?”
Rosie smiled and winked at me. “Ivan Sapphire? Please. Get over yourself, rock star.” She squeezed my hands one last time for good measure. “I’m going to leave now. I’m not going to look back because I don’t want to see where you’re going. This way, if someone with bad intentions against you asks me if I know where you are, I can answer honestly when I say I don’t know. But just because I don’t look back, doesn’t mean I want to see you go. I need you to understand that, Jamie Ryan. I don’t need you to over-analyze things that don’t need over-analyzing. I need you to let me go, Jamie Ryan, and I need you to know that I love you, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
She finally let go of my hands, gave me a slight nod, then turned and walked back to her home. I watched her, silently, keeping the promise I made so long ago to Jordan Barker and didn’t leave what was once known as Central Park until I saw, for sure, that she was safe inside.


Author Bio:
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.
Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

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by Shooting Stars Reviews 3:00 AM No comments

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week is: 
Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

This week we are talking about our top favorite novellas/short stories. I actually didn't think I could find that many, then I remember that I went on a serial spree for a while a few years back, and found a bunch of them. I like the serials even if they are short, it makes it more exciting some times. 

These will be my top 5 favorite short stories in no particular order! 

1) Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley

BLURB: 
From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloane—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

Daisy and Marcus finally got there story in this book! I really adored that they got their happily ever after, and while it was a bit sad at times, it was great to see how they started. This is one of my favorite novellas! 


2) Game Master by Scarlett Dawn

BLURB:
Skeleton Key Book Series
One Skeleton Key. Endless Adventures.

Arizona Creed lost her assassin father, and her whole world changed.
Literally.
With one magical skeleton key, Arizona lands in another realm.

Forget Earth. Terlant is the place to be. And Lucifer wants her there, the dashing man with no last name and more secrets than even she has. But love isn’t always enough. Arizona must find purpose in her new life.

The Royal Guard could give Lucifer and Arizona what they desire.
They only need to pass two tests to win the Game and enter the elite Guard.
But is her real test to open her heart to true love?
And will she win her wings to fly into his arms?

This book was really good, the only downside it was too short, so it makes the list as a top favorite! It has action, romance, and an intriguing world filled with strange creatures. I really thought it was awesome. 


3) Blood Enchanted by Nicola Claire

BLURB: 
For fans of the Kindred series comes a delicious new Urban Fantasy by Nicola Claire, introducing a darker and grittier world, laced with magic, power, and preternatural beings all determined to possess the one woman whose blood calls to them all. 

One bite. One drop. That’s all it would take for Éliane Durand’s blood to change it all.

As the daughter of the most powerful Nosferatu, and equally as powerful Nosferatin, Ellie has had to make sure that all those who meet her know just how deadly she can be. Making a name for herself in the cut-throat arenas that dot Auckland City’s supernatural underworld, has not only convinced those who might think to come against the head strong and independent vampire hunter that she means business, but has also lined her pockets with much needed cash, as well.

In a world where power talks and the power of blood says it all, Ellie soon discovers that hers is a much sought after commodity. But she’s not alone. Her twin, Lucien, is just as powerful. And when Luc goes missing, and all the clues lead to a strange new Master Vampire in the city, then Ellie must dig deep to save not only her brother, but herself.

One bite. One drop. That’s all.

But Ellie’s not the only one to realise this… And the power of her blood soon calls to so many more.

I was so excited for this to finally come out! I thought it was awesome that the Kindred series got a spin off, and that it starts out so awesome as well. This book has lots of awesome characters, but also a really kick ass story line as well. So, of course, I had to add this one to this list! 


4) Attraction Part 1 by Penny Reid

BLURB:
One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.

Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family's billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.

When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

Kaitlyn is the nerdy alp partner to Martin the bad boy of the school. However, when she ends up helping Martin out, he invites her for a week away. But, Kaitlyn isn't prepared for what is to come, and things get a little crazy. This book is very funny, and really good. I enjoyed Kaitlyn a lot. And I love the whole nerd-meets-popular-guy thing, that was awesome. So, of course, this one meets the list, and it is a whole serial series as well. 


5) Unlovable by Cynthia St. Aubin

BLURB:
It isn’t every day a sexy demigod throws a pissed-off Cupid onto psychologist Matilda Schmidt’s couch and informs her the fate of the world depends on her ability to get him off his diapered ass and back to helping people fall in love.

Just when Matilda convinces herself she’s not hallucinating, in walks a Vegas hit man with a big gun and a bigger threat: pay back the million dollars she owes a notorious casino mogul, or wind up as fish food in Lake Mead.

Rocketing across country with a gun to her head, Matilda has a dysfunctional love-god in her laptop bag, a million dollar debt she has no knowledge of, and must convince the seductive hit man he’s snatched the wrong woman before he convinces her he might be the right man—for a night.

Can Matilda stay alive long enough to keep love from becoming history?

This book is a unique hilarious short story about Matilda the psychologist. She is an interesting psychologist and her world is getting even strange now. 
This book makes the list because it is short, sweet, and hilarious! I laughed a lot during this story, so I had to add it to the list. 

Thanks so much for joining the blog today, these were my Top Five Picks, be sure to keep reading for Nica's Top Five as well! 




I have a love/hate relationship with novellas and short stories. On one hand, I love getting even that littlest tidbit more of characters and worlds I love. On the other, I almost always wish they were longer. Lol. I’ve read quite a few novellas this year and have shared a few of my favorites below.

1.)  Rock Chick Reborn (Rock Chick, #9) by Kristen Ashley
Blurb:
As a Rock Chick, Shirleen Jackson lived through all the kidnappings and explosions. Along the way, she also watched the dramatic love stories that came with those rides unfold.

But long ago, Shirleen made her choice. It affected who she was and would always be. She decided to settle for what she had and not want more. She had good friends. She was raising two fine young men who weren’t hers, but she loved them anyway.

She was good.

And then Moses Richardson crashed into her life, literally… and deliberately.

Moses has different ideas about Shirleen. He’s more interested in the Shirleen of now, mostly because she’s interesting. And funny. And loyal. Smart. Beautiful.

But Moses has a big challenge on his hands.

He has to convince Shirleen of all that.

And then convince her she deserves to have more.

☆The Rock Chicks were my introduction to Kristen Ashley, and the start of my unending adoration of her work. They hold a special place in my heart. That said, Shirleen was a staple throughout the series. Badass, sometimes scary, supportive, loving, smart, and beautiful, the Rock Chicks wouldn’t have been the same without her. I love that after all she endured, she found her own sexy alpha male and HEA.

2.) Until Susan (Kindle Worlds: Happily Ever Alpha) by C.P. Smith
Blurb:
From Kindle Worlds and the world of NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Aurora Rose Reynolds. See how the Mayson clan began. You've read their sons' stories, now it's James and Susan's turn. Experience the boom all over again in this action-packed novella of insta-love and suspense.

☆Aurora Rose Reynolds sent her belief in the #boom out into the world with the beginning of her Until series. It has even continued to a new generation. C.P. Smith made all of our dreams come true by giving us the original #boom. James and Susan are the foundation of the Mayson clan, and their journey to love was everything I could have hoped. You definitely see where the Mayson men get their charm, good looks, possessiveness, and protectiveness from.

3.) Until Leo (Kindle Worlds: Happily Ever Alpha) by Rochelle Paige
Blurb:
Having been burned in the past, Leo wasn't sure he believed in the boom. Not even seeing the happily married Mayson couples had him convinced...until he met Carrie and felt it for himself.

Carrie wasn't looking for love when she crashed into the hot cop, but that's exactly what she found. Then his past reared its ugly head, and she found a strength she didn't know she had...until Leo.

☆We met Leo in Until Nico by ARR, and I was more than interested in his story. Single dad romances are some of my favorites, and Leo made my heart melt. His determination to do whatever he could to give his daughter the best of everything and make her happy was sweet and sexy. The romance was hot, and as a bonus, we got to see some of the Maysons.

4.) The Eternal Edge of Aether (Elemental Awakening, #5) by Nicola Claire
Blurb:
For those fans of the Elemental Awakening series who wondered just what Theo got up to in Pyrkagia when Casey was busy growing trees. This one is for you.

"I am Aether’s sword; my blade is sharp and it is precise. I am the eternal edge of Aether and no one and no thing shall be free of my justice.”

The Right of Rule is a fight to the death and Theo Peters has just challenged his father for one. Alone, without his Thisavros for support, he faces the hardest battle of his life.

For although his father may be crazy, he is an Ancient. And Theo’s chances of success are pretty slim. But don’t count the Prince of Pyrkagia out just yet because he has a formidable group of allies.

If only he could trust them.

This novella is set at the closing of The Tantalising Taste of Water and is for those curious readers who have already read the series to its end. A little extra…Just because!

☆Nicola Claire is an amazing author and one of my absolute faves. Her Elemental Awakening series was action-packed and magical. I loved it, and was not ready to see the series end, and thank goodness, Nicola wasn’t either. The Eternal Edge of Aether was the perfect ending to a brilliant new world. I adored Theo, and was inordinately pleased that we got his POV and the complete story of his trials and tribulations while separated from his Thisavros.

5.) Bear the Consequences (McMahon Clan, #1; Fated Mates, #4) by Rochelle Paige
Blurb:
Alasdair McMahon isn't focused on finding his mate. He only has one thing on his mind - avenging his sister. Knowing the damage his dad's fated mate had done to his family, he isn't even sure he ever wants to find a mate of his own. Alasdair quickly discovers that sometimes the thing you want the least is what you need the most when his journey leads him straight to the woman fate has chosen for him.

Finley Woulffe is the beloved daughter of an alpha. Her parents' marriage set the example of what she thought life would be like when she meets her fated mate. She accepts Alasdair's mark without a second thought but soon learns of the grudge her new mate and his family have against her father. Will she have to bear the consequences of his mistake?

This is book one in the McMahon Clan series, a spin-off from the Black River Pack series. Each novella features a different couple.

☆I liked all of the books in the Fated Mates interconnected series, but Bear the Consequences is one of my favorites. Not only does it have steamy romance and shifters, but it also has a hint of the rejected mate trope, which I love. Alasdair and Finley had sizzling chemistry, but outside forces causes a rift between them. I loved watching Alasdair and his family win over Finley, since I see nothing wrong with a bit of groveling from a sexy hero. 😘

♡♡♡

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by Shooting Stars Reviews 5:00 AM 3 comments

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