Monthly Archives: April 2015

An exciting announcement and an important message from Cora Carmack

**Home Page**

Link to Cora Carmack’s original blog post

Copied with permission directly from Cora Carmark’s blog:

But now, let’s get to the real point of this blog post. I’ve been hinting at an upcoming announcement for the past week or two, and I am so excited to finally share it with you! I debated for awhile about how to share this, and an open letter seemed like the best way…so here we are!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven’t yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I’m not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a TRIGGER for some people*


Hello beloved readers!

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was “Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?”

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They’d make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end… I couldn’t envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again).

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It’s a wonderful experience, but in Stella’s case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports.

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said… Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, “Mine. This is my story.” I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn’t take crap from anyone. She’s everything I always hope to be. And I didn’t want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella is vibrant and enjoys a wild party. She’s not afraid of her sexuality, and she has no problem with casual sex. She’s the kind of girl that probably has a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn’t mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, “Someone needs to tell this story. And I’m strong enough to do it. Let me.” And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I’d been adamant wasn’t right for her. Because as it turns out… Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren’t so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before.

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It’s about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It’s about the way that kind of event can change everything– how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It’s about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you’re still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light.

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book…

IMG_9806

ALL CLOSED OFF
By Cora Carmack

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.  

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.

Vulnerable.

ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don’t have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I’ll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I’ll be able to ensure that I’m able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won’t be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you’ll add the book on Goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links.

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella’s story. When it’s finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do.

All my best,

Cora Carmack

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

Adrenaline by Sunniva Dee

CAM

Life’s the shit!
Chicks squeal over how wild and yummy I am, play their silly games trying to tie me down. But I’m free as a bird, doing what makes life life: kicking extreme-sport-ass!

I base jump, snowboard, bungee jump. I do anything for the rush.

Then, Ingela blows into town for college—a cool Swedish blast of trouble. Foulmouthed and runway-gorgeous, the girl seeps in like poison and melts the freaking brain.

To Ingela I am what chicks were to me: pastime, leisure, entertainment, pleasure. She’s killing me, and I’m digging it. There’s a new rush in town! Yeah, I hunt down my highs, and now the chase is on. I’ll catch her soon enough, just, what’s the deal with her ex?

BO
With Ingela, sex is a dance. A slow tango where skin flows over skin. It is slick readiness, a quiet welcome. It’s smooth, warm, right, and all wrong.
On and off. On and off. Again, she’s wrecked with grief. It’s a reminder of how I destroy her, how crushed relationships shouldn’t be revived.
We’ve done this for years, now, but clearly we’re in for more.

REVIEW

5 Stars

So I want to be perfectly honest, something really strange happened to me when I started reading this book. I’m not sure if it was the writing style or the flow of the book or the fact that I just finished reading my favorite series of books in the history of books, but I read the first four chapters and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s not that it was bad, because based on my rating it clearly wasn’t, something was just off with me.  So I made the executive decision to put the book down read another novella in the interim and then go back and start this one over. Boy was I glad I did!!   That’s when the strange thing happened, I started over at the beginning and I loved it! I was literally wondering what the hell I had been thinking the first time because I got into it so easily the second time.  So lets chalk that up to me being off…..not the book.

I was warned before starting the book that I would love Cam, but that Ingela was hard to love.  As you can imagine, I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that for me nothing could be farther from the truth. I loved Inga, I got Inga. I completely believed Inga.  I thought she was fun and funny and feisty and had a great, dirty sense of humor. And I love a girl with a dirty sense of humor.  I loved that she went with the flow and was up for anything.  But I also felt like I completely understood her mindset when it came to the two men in her life. She liked Cam. They were great friends then they were great friends with benefits and she liked that too.  She had fun hanging with him, he made her world fun and bright.  But I also understood that she was in love with Bo for a long time, since she was a kid and he was the one that broke her heart. It made total sense to me that when he reached out to her and tried to pull her back to him, she would feel that pull.  I also believed that the pull towards Bo was utterly and complete separate from her feelings for Cam.   Letting go is hard, especially when something new is so unsure.

Cam was just fun. It’s been a long time since I read a male lead that was just so much fun! Daredevil, bad boy, adrenaline junkie and occasional dirty talker.  He was funny…and always trying to get laid.  And it was pretty funny watching him try to get laid.   But he was also a good friend to Inga. A damn great friend actually, the way he took care of her was beautiful to watch.

I think my favorite thing about this book was that the story was so different. I have read tons of books and so often the characters and situations are repetitive. The opposite was true with this book, like the roles were almost reversed . Cam was the fun one, he was the caregiver, he was the first one to realize that this was more than just a hook up. He protected her and looked out for Inga and took her back, no questions asked, when she was confused about Bo’s place in her life.  Inga was the emotional, moody one in the relationship.  She was the one who had an entirely separate relationship going on on the side. She was the one who was afraid to commit to Cam.  It was refreshing.

I really, really liked this book. Without spoiling anything, I’m going to say what set this book apart for me were two situations that occur in a lot of books, that I felt were handled more believably and more true to life by Sunniva in this book than in any other book I’ve ever read.  BUT….I can’t tell you what they are without spoiling so……

OH….and did I mention this book was fun? Crazy fun?  Cam is crazy and funny and silly (but still super hot) and Inga is just as crazy (if not more so) and so easy going.  Guaranteed they will make you laugh…out loud.

Goodreads Page

Buy it on Amazon

Adrenaline Playlist

ARC was generously provide by Sunniva in exchange for an honest review.

You Really Got Me (Rock Star Romance #1) by Erika Kelly

The first irresistible novel in a hot new series about a rock star on his way up—and the woman he wants to take all the way…

Emmie Valencia has what it takes to be the music industry’s hottest band manager. She just needs to prove it. Determined to discover a killer new band, Emmie is ready to make her move. First stop: Austin, Texas.

As a sizzling-hot lead singer, Slater Vaughn has no trouble raising heart rates—but his band’s been flat-lining for years. When Emmie, his bandmate’s sister, crashes with them in exchange for some free management, her industry know-how lands them a spot in the biggest music festival in Texas. But it isn’t just her business acumen that catches Slater’s attention. Emmie is sexy and warm, and—for the first time in his life—he wants more.

But as irresistible as Slater is, Emmie is done with musicians. In her experience, a man can’t be a rock star and someone to trust with your heart—but Slater is determined to show her he’s both.

REVIEW

6 Stars

I absolutely love this book! I read a lot of these rock star romances and this is one of my very favorite! I love both of the main characters, completely real, believable, insecure, flawed, strong people. There was just the right amount of back story to really flesh out the characters and make you feel like you understood their motivations and reactions. I thought the sexual tension and the drama and the romance and the friendship and the obstacles all seemed true to real life, not manufactured to cause drama. God, I could FEEL the attraction, the frustration, the joy, the release, the heartache and the love.

And for the record….Jonny ‘Slater’ Vaughn might just be the best book boyfriend I’ve ever come across.

All of the peripheral characters and storylines were great too, not too much, just enough to add to the story. Emmie’s relationship with her brother was a nice addition. I can’t wait to read Derek’s story this year. In the mean time, I am starting over at page 1 and reading this entire book again! BTW this is a standalone novel!

Goodreads Page

Buy it on Amazon

Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers Book 1) by Claudia Connor

Prepare to be swept away by a talented debut author with a passionate, powerful story to tell.

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

rating 5 of 5 stars
bookshelves favorites, my-top-10-na, read

 

format Kindle Edition (edit)
review This book blew me away. One of the most beautiful, honest, believable romances I’ve ever come across. Matt and Abby are amazing characters. Both of them are intelligent, independent, and loving but also flawed and confused. Abby is everything a heroine should be. She’s been through hard times and a rough childhood, but she is strong and loves her children fiercely. Pregnant and now alone, she’s determined to get through on her own and, after years of being hurt by the people who should have protected her, she simply doesn’t know how to let someone into to her life.

Matt is a Navy Seal. Loyal to a fault, independent and focused on duty, he’s never had the time or the need for a relationship. But something about Abby and her children draws him in and has him seeking out ways to spend time with them before their week at the beach ends and they go their separate ways for good.

This story is beautiful and believable. Matt is sexy as hell but I’m not sure what I loved more, his relationship with Abby or watching him fall for her children. Often I find children in romance books annoying clichés and plot devices. Not these kids, I loved them all and they added so much to this story.

READ THIS BOOK. I would have given it 6 stars if I could. This is the book I recommend to everyone and I have had NO complaints. Book 2 is out now (also a wonderful book) and book 3 is on the way.

 

Amazon : Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

Favorite Author : Claudia Connor

Claudia Connor

Claudia’s Website  Claudia’s Goodreads Page  Claudia’s Amazon Author’s Page

Claudia Connor is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of heartfelt contemporary romance. Claudia attended Auburn University, where she received her undergraduate and masters degrees in early childhood education, and completed her studies in Sawbridgeworth, England. Always a lover of happy endings, she enjoys movies, reading, and travel, but spends most of her time typing out the love stories of the almost real people that live in her head. Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.

 

Laura Kaye

Laura’s Amazon Author’s Page  Laura’s Goodreads Page  Laura’s Website

Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

S.C. Stephens

S.C. Stephens Goodreads   S.C. Stephens Amazon Author’s Page  S.C. Stephens Website

S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.

Cheryl McIntyre

Cheryl’s Amazon Author’s Page    Cheryl’s Goodreads Author Page  Cheryl’s Website

Cheryl McIntyre is the author of the bestselling Sometimes Never series, as well as the Dirty series, Infinitely, Hard and Dark Calling. She calls Ohio home, though she secretly dreams of living somewhere much warmer–preferably near a beach.

You can follow her author page on Facebook where she lives part time. On Goodreads. On Twitter, though she has still not yet mastered the art of tweeting.  Or on her website.

Stay up to date on all of Cheryl’s new releases by joining her newsletter here

Click here to check out a great Q & A with Cheryl

Click here for our review of Grit by Cheryl

Click here for our review of HARD by Cheryl