Ellie reads fiction

21 Oct 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Darker Than Desire by Shiloh Walker

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Darker Than Desire (Secrets and Shadows #3)
Author: Shiloh Walker
Genre: Romantic suspense

Release Date: 3 March 2015

Pre-order links: BN | Amazon | Indiebound | The Book Depository

Add on Goodreads



Synopsis
LUST FOR LIFE

No matter how many times he’s left her in the past, Sybil Chalmers can’t ignore her feelings for the one man who stole her heart years ago. For countless nights, she has waited for him—for his kiss, his touch—and has longed for him to emerge from the shadows of his past. Only when she is in his arms does Sybil really feel alive…and finally, after all these years, that time is now.

A DEADLY DESIRE

He’s a man raised in a world of strict rules and unbreakable traditions and he’s always yearned to break free. But when a family tragedy lures him back home, he finds his one true passion has been there all along. With Sybil, he can explore his greatest potential—and allow her to discover a whole new level of ecstasy. But will a long-buried secret threaten to tear them apart? The only thing he knows for sure is that he will do anything to keep Sybil in his life…and keep her coming back for more.
*** *** ***

This is the final installment of an intense and intriguing romantic suspense series. I recently finished book 2 and it left far too many unresolved issues for me to wait patiently for book 3. March 2015 seems so far away. It’s captivating series, a bit darker than I usually read but I can’t wait for that happy end coming with retribution for terrible crimes. 

Release Day Launch for Rowdy by Jay Crowover

ROWDY RDL Banner 2  

RowdyTitle: Rowdy (Marked Men #5)
Author: Jay Crownover
Publisher: William Morrow, and imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Release Date: 23 Oct 2014

Purchase links: Amazon * iBooksBarnes and NobleKobo * IndieBound





EXCERPT

WHEN I PUT THE key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark. 

I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles. 

Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out. 

Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth. 

“Hey.”

  Rowdy Teaser 2   

About ROWDY: The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances. After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned. Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister. Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.     
  

Jay Crownover
About the author: Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with ROWDY. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.         

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20 Oct 2014

Book Blogging #2: How to Get Review Copies of Books (ARCs)



I started this new feature on my blog with advise on books and blogging with my post on How to Get Free Books last week.

Today I want to tell you more about the services of NetGalley and Edelweiss as a way to get free books in exchange of reviewing them online.

I have been using NetGalley for over a year now and I’m very happy with it. It’s very easy to use. Basically you register there and request the books you want to read. I after you’ve read them you have to provide feedback and it’s desirable to publish your review on your site/blog, Goodreads or other platforms for readers and on booksellers sites (Amazon, B&N, ect.).

Now, the tricky part is the approval of your requests. Initially, I was often declined, since my blog was new, I didn’t have many reviews posted there or elsewhere. As a good way to start, I’d suggest that you check out the Read Now section which lists books free for download. It’s important to provide feedback on the books received regularly, even if you didn’t like the book. I, personally, try to maintain my request/review ratio around 60%, though it’s better to be keep it higher than that.

People often go overboard with requests because initially they don’t get many approvals and then suddenly they get far too many review copies to be able to go through them.

The publishers providing copies of their titles for review have different criteria for approving reviewers. Some don’t approve request outside US at all, the UK publishers also provide titles only to UK-based bloggers. 

Edelweiss offers the same service but I have more difficulties with it. As an international reader based in Bulgaria, I can't really use the search option. The only way for me to see the titles available for review is through the email they sent me every week.

This site works in a slightly different way than NetGalley. You have to register with the site and provide some general information about you/your blog but when you request a specific book, you also write a short note explaining why you want this particular title. I get the feeling that Edelweiss offers more YA titles, while NetGalley gets more adult and romance titles but this is pure speculation on my part based on personal observations. 

So far, Edelweiss is not working very well for me and I get more rejections than approvals there and very often I don’t get any response. Still, I check regularly the title offered for review and place my requests when I see something that I like. 

Here is some useful tips for you on how to request ARCs:

-          Start with Read now books (there such sections both on Netgalley and on Edelweiss)
-          Don’t be shy when requesting, you never know when you will be approved, at the same time
-       Go only for books you really want to read, otherwise you will loose the desire to review them
-          Provide honest feedback regularly
-          Don’t depsair if you get declined often. 
-          Sing up for the site’s newsletter, it’s a great way to learn for a limited-time only read now books

Lately, I’ve noticed that some of the companies organizing book tours and promotional events also offer copies of books for review.

-          InkSlinger PR
-          Xpresso BookTours
-          AToMR Book Blog Tours
-     IndieSage

Note: I will be writing a seprate post on PR companies prganising book tours, blitzes, etc. soon (I hope)

Now, if you are a blogger, it’s good to have a section on the blog with your Review requirements/criteria. In this way authors can send you copies of their books for review. I’m swamped with books to review at the moment and I recently went back to work fulltime, so I’m not accepting review requests. I did make an exception recently, since the blurb of the proposed book intrigued me and it ended being a wonderful surprise (Complicated Creatures by Alexi Lawless). 

That's pretty much all I have gained as personal experience in requesting and reviewing ARCs. Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities and knowledge. Your own thoughts and tips on requesting and reviewing ARCs are most welcome!

16 Oct 2014

Review: One in a Million by Jill Shalvis

Title: He Is So Fine (Lucky Harbor #12)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Date of publication: 28 Oct 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Small town

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 3 Stars



Synopsis

As the brains behind wedding site TyingTheKnot.com, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It's that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she's sworn off love . . .

Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past—and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he's still paying for his own mistakes? It's hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there's something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she—and his son—deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?

Mini Review

This is the final book in the Lucky Harbor series and it offered a cute romance thought it didn't end up as one of my favourites in the series.

I liked the hero and  heroine  (Tanner and Callie) a lot both when the were together and separately as characters. I wanted to see more of them but was often distracted by Lucille's story. The old Lucky Harbor's busybody has been a great supporting character through out this series but she took too much center stage here. We already know what to expect of her and reading about her antics over and over again felt repetitive.

Callie was cute, a bit nerdy and insecure which her background made perfectly understandable and acceptable, yet she often acted childish and immature. She seemed like the teenager who had a crush on Tanner and not like an independent young woman falling for a grown up man.

Tanner was an interesting character and I really wanted to see more of him. I have a soft spot for single dads in fiction who are struggling with the task of bringing up a child. I very appreciated Tanner's efforts to be a good dad to his teenager son and I wish their issues were presented with more depth and development. 

Troy, Tanner's son was a wonderful brooding teenager and I felt he fitted very well into the story and was both endearing and realistic. 

As usual, we get glimpses of characters from the previous books in the series and as always, it gave me a nice, heart warming feeling.

The story ends with the expected HEA for Callie and Tanner and unlike most of the other books which end with the proposal, here we get to see a wedding - a crazy, sweet beach weeding and it was the perfect end to this much loved series.

Now, I'm ready for some new series by Ms. Shalvis!

Purchase links: B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Amazon

14 Oct 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hooker and the Hermit


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: The Hooker and the HermitAuthor: L. H. Cosway and Penny Reid
Genre: Contemporary romance, Sports

Release Date: Feb 2015


Add on Goodreads




Synopsis

New York’s Finest
Blogging as *The Socialmedialite*
February 14, 2015
LADIES AND GENTS! I have an announcement!

You know that guy I featured on my blog a few months ago? The really, really hot Irish rugby player who plays the position of ‘hooker’ in the RLI (Rugby League International)? The one with the anger management issues, the body of a gladiator and the face of a movie star? The one with the questionable fashion choices leading me to ask whether he was the lovechild of a leprechaun and a hobbit? Ronan Fitzpatrick? Yeah, that guy. 

Well, I have a confession to make…

THE HERMIT
Annie Catrel, social media expert extraordinaire at Davidson & Croft Media and clandestine celebrity blogger, can make anyone shine in the court of public opinion. She is the Socialmedialite, anonymous creator of New York’s Finest and the internet’s darling. Virtual reality is Annie’s forte, but actual reality? Not so much.

THE HOOKER
Ronan Fitzpatrick, aka the best hooker the world of rugby has seen in decades, despises the media—social or otherwise. The press has spun a web of lies depicting him as rugby’s wild and reckless bad boy. Suspended from his team, Ronan has come to Manhattan to escape the drama, lay low, fly under the radar. Only, Ronan isn’t easy to overlook, and he can’t escape the notice of the Socialmedialite…

THE PLAN
When Ronan is sent to Davidson & Croft Media to reshape his public image, he never expects to cross paths with shy but beautiful Annie, nor does he expect his fierce attraction to her. He couldn’t be happier when her boss suggests pairing them together. 
What lengths will Annie take to keep her virtual identity concealed? And what happens when the hooker discovers who the hermit really is? 

The Hooker and the Hermit is a collaboration between authors L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid, is a full length 100k word novel, and is a standalone.

*** *** *** 

Two of my favourite authors are collaborating on a contemporary romance involving a rugby player and a celebrity blogger, told from dual POV. I expect a lot of nerdy fun and sexy times. What's not to like about that? 

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