New Release – Tess by Ashley Pullo

Title: New Amsterdam: Tess (#1)
Author: Ashley Pullo
Release Date: Oct 15, 2015
Find on Goodreads

 

Inspired by the captivating stories from Humans of New York, and the narrative structure of a television mini-series, New Amsterdam chronicles the lives of three women defining love in New York City.
Tess – Thessaly Sinclair owns an artisanal honey shop in the historic Seaport district of Lower Manhattan. She’s savvy and charming, and appears to have it all, but a romantic hang-up is holding her back from experiencing true love.

 

On sale for $1.99 on Oct 15 & 16th

 

BFF K’s Review

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Ashley Pullo is the master of sweet, endearing, emotion packed vignettes. I’m a BIG fan of her other books, The Album and The Ballad. Her newest, Tess, did not disappoint.

Inspired by Humans of New York, this “short novel” is centered around sorta-random, every day people. But, they’re wonderful! They have interesting lives and careers and emotions. Like Pullo’s previous books, you can see how lives intertwine and the decisions/interactions of one character may impact another without even knowing it.

I think Tess is an exceptional heroine. She’s independent, smart, caring and hard-working. And, it is all of those qualities that attracts Levi who has the same wonderful characteristics. Their romance is quirky, real, honest and sweet. The cast of supporting characters adds to the overall charm of the story. (Meg and Seth are adorable!) The romance is absolutely swoony and a little steamy!

Tess is the first of the New Amsterdam series. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving peaches and honey. I’ll be waiting anxiously to read Julia and Darby!

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An ARC was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt

“How did a tomboy from Asheville end up in New York – Downtown even?” asks Levi.

Cracking her knuckles, Thessaly laughs nervously. This is that moment – the one where the truth becomes a part of the story arc. Turning into him, she admits, “I followed a boy.”

Levi’s mouth hovers near Thessaly’s lips as he whispers, “You don’t like to follow.”

Caught up in the sexual tension, Thessaly’s mouth twitches in anticipation. “And you?” she hushes.

“I nudge.”

New Amsterdam: Julia (#2) | Coming Nov 30, 2015
Inspired by the captivating stories from Humans of New York, and the narrative structure of a television mini-series, Ashley Pullo lends her unique voice to a new series releasing this fall. Combining her unmistakable wit and distinct writing style, New Amsterdam will feature a trio of petite novels chronicling the lives of three women as they define love in NYC.
Julia – Julia Pierce is a popular wedding columnist for a large NYC newspaper. She creates modern fairy tales by penning editorials about average couples. Cynical and cautious, Julia must define love by writing her own story.

 

 

New Amsterdam: Darby (#3) | Release date TBA
Inspired by the captivating stories from Humans of New York, and the narrative structure of a television mini-series, Ashley Pullo lends her unique voice to a new series releasing this fall. Combining her unmistakable wit and distinct writing style, New Amsterdam will feature a trio of petite novels chronicling the lives of three women as they define love in NYC.
Darby – Darby Wallace is an anthropologist reporting human interest stories for a trendy online magazine. She watches people, studies their habits, and then gives them an interesting narrative – but her own life is a spiraling disaster of bad decisions. Selfish and careless, Darby must seek the help of a mysterious stranger in order to understand the power of human connection.

 

About the Author

**Residing in New York with her husband and two children, Ashley Pullo is an author, an entertainment blogger, and an advocate for cultural literacy.**
Hey y’all!
NYC is an amazing place to find inspiration – the random and the ordinary that make up reality. My writing showcases inspired ideas, as well as my love for dichotomy, authenticity, pop-culture, and humor.
Dreams need chasers.

 

 

Review – The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick

Title: The Sparrow Sisters
Author: Ellen Herrick
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Genre: Magical Realism/Fantasy
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 


With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

 

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

 

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

 

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

 

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

 

Purchase the Sparrow Sisters

 

Harper Collins     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Google Play     Audible

Add to your Goodreads

 

The Amazon.com links used in this post are directed to the paperback copy of The Sparrow Sisters. This is an unusual case where the paperback is less expensive than the Kindle copy, FYI!

 

BFF K’s Review

 

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The Sparrow Sisters is an absolutely lovely book and the perfect pick for your fall book club meeting! I was captivated by the beautiful imagery and remarkable sense of place created by Ellen Herrick in this book. At first Granite Pointe is such an idyllic little seaside town. The residents and their surroundings are seen through the eyes of several of the characters. You learn about the quirks and nuances of Granite Pointe and its’ inhabitants. At the center of the community are the Sparrow Sisters and their nursery.

The mystical presence surrounding the Sparrows is woven through the first parts of the book and you’re left believing in the magic of who they are and what they can do through the plants that they grow in their nursery. The synopsis of the book hints at a pending tragedy and the build up creates a delicious sense of angst and suspense. There were a couple of times I was so nervous, I hesitated to turn the page or press play on Audible for fear of what might be coming.

Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are intertwined with the town and you soon realize that the success or failure of one is equal to the other. When Dr. Henry Carlyle arrives in Granite Pointe, he is immediately drawn into a passionate and life altering relationship with Patience Sparrow. When the tragedy strikes, the relationships of EVERYONE in Granite Pointe are tested and strained. I was so intrigued by the way that town turned on one of their own and the strife created from the discontent. It was too easy, almost unsettling, the way the witch hunt unfolded with the Sisters and Henry at the center. But, the devotion that the Sparrow sisters have to one another and their close-knit circle of friends/family is heartwarming. It’s critical for the women of Granite Pointe to take a stand and the Girl Power is fully awesome!

I had hoped for a little more magic and mystery, but the exceptional characters and relationships made up for any lack of alchemy. Herrick has created a delightful world full of beautiful passages and quirky characters. I enjoyed the entire book, both audio and written. The Sparrow Sisters has an immensely satisfying ending, but still leaves an opening to revisit these endearing characters. I’m looking forward to discovering what’s in store for Sorrel and checking in with all of the Sisters.

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This book was reviewed using a combination of audiobook and Advance Reader Copy. The audiobook was purchased by the reviewer, the ARC was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Ellen Herrick was a publishing executive in New York until she moved to London for a brief stint; she returned nearly twenty years later with three grown children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and a small Cape Cod town very much like Granite Point.

For More Information

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 Visit Ellen’s website

Review – Palm South University – Season 1, Episode 6

Title: Palm South University: Episode Six
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: Sept 29, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Drama. Lies. Sex.

Welcome to Palm South University.

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in South Florida. At a school where fraternities and sororities don’t exactly play by the rules, relationships are bound to be tested. Parties and sex are definitely key ingredients in the Palm South recipe, but what happens when family issues, secret lives, and unrequited love get tossed in the mix?

Follow Cassie, Bear, Jess, Skyler, Erin, Ashlei, and Adam as they tackle college at a small, private beach town university. Written in television drama form, each episode of this serial will pull you deeper and deeper into the world of PSU.

Where the sun is hot and the clothes are scarce, anything can happen.

Amazon

BFF K’s Review

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The Season 1 Finale starts off with a BANG and builds from there! We follow each of the characters as we get a final glimpse into each story line. Skyler gets some unsettling family news and Bear is there to help her out. Jess and Jarret – well – they’re HOT as ever, but questioning what’s next for their fling. Cassie and Adam are breaking my heart with their friendship/could be more relationship. Ashlei is a HOT MESS! And, Erin…..well there’s a surprise or 2 here.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Palm South University Season 1 episodes. My Tuesdays are going to feel a little lonely without my quick and dirty, weekly check-in with these lively characters. Now that all of the episodes are released, you can binge-read the entire season without having to wait for the next episode.

Palm South is a smoking hot, drama-filled, reality show in book form. I anxiously awaited a new episode each week and now I’m impatiently waiting for Season 2! If you haven’t visited PSU yet, I encourage you to make a little time for your campus visit!

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An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Excerpt

I can’t remember the last time I had a hangover, but my eyes aren’t even open yet and my head is hammering away in my skull. It’s safe to say I have one now. Groaning, I squeeze my eyes shut tighter and pull the fluffy, light blue covers up and over my head. When they’re jerked back, I bolt upright.

What the hell? Slowly craning my neck to the side, I squeak and scurry from the bed, taking the covers with me and quickly wrapping them around my chest.

“Fuck, Josh, stop messing around!” Clinton sprawls out, naked as the day he was born, stretching his legs and wiggling his toes. I swallow as the tight muscles of his abdomen ebb and flow with the movement. His dark skin is a vast contrast against my cream sheets and my eyes can’t help but fall to the cut V that leads right down to another part of his body coming to attention this morning. When his eyes open and he finds me cowering in the corner and staring at him wide-eyed, he blanches.

About the Author

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband.

Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

 

Review – Screwball by Linda Morris

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Passion dominates the diamond in the second novel in this fun and flirty baseball romance series by the author of High Heat. Paul Dudley, president of the Plainview Thrashers, is spinning out of control. Preserving his family’s baseball legacy in these tough times takes everything he’s got, and constant clashes with his father have left him struggling for authority over the team and even his own future. So when sports reporter Willow Bourne, a one-night-stand from a year ago, walks back into his life, he knows he can’t give into his feelings for her—no matter how strong they are. Willow never expected to see Paul again, and she’s got her reasons for keeping her distance. Except the more time she spends around Paul, the harder it is to hide her secrets—or stop herself from falling head over heels. As the sparks between them fly, Paul discovers what Willow has been concealing from him, leaving him with a difficult choice—keep the team his top priority or make his own legacy by following his heart…

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     iTunes

BFF K’s Review

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Willow Bourne and Paul Dudley have a history. A super-steamy, one night stand changes both of their lives forever. But, only one of them fully realizes that change until they meet by chance a year later. Both Paul and Willow are struggling with significant career issues and major life issues. I thought that their professional issues were believable and added depth and interest to the story. Those details also impacted their personal lives and decisions they made.

I liked Willow and Paul and was definitely invested to see what happened in their story. However, I have a limited amount of patience for problems that are created because characters refuse to communicate openly and honestly. There were times in this story that I wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted to grab both of these characters, shake them and yell, “Just tell him/her the truth! Talk about your issues. End this discomfort!” I wouldn’t consider it angst, but it’s definitely tension filled.

The times that Paul and Willow were together, sharing, getting to know one another and collaborating were really really good. I had butterflies and Paul said some of the sweetest things. (He’s a really good man.) I wish there had been a few more of those times and less communication-induced confusion.

I liked the backdrop of the baseball setting. The scenes and scenarios were interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed the main characters and the supporting characters as well. If you’re looking for a sports-themed, quick read, with interesting characters and some good tension, I can recommend Screwball.

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An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

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Linda Morris is a writer of contemporary romance, including High Heat, the first book in the Hard Hitters series; Melting the Millionaire’s Heart; The Mason Dixon Line; and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She writes stories with heart and heat, along with a joke or two thrown in. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause.

 

 

 

 

Website: www.lindamorrisbooks.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/lindamorrisbooks

Twitter: @LDMorrisWriter Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ldkmorris/

Palm South University – Season 1 – Episode 5

Title: Palm South University: Episode Five
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: Sept 22, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Drama. Lies. Sex. 

Welcome to Palm South University.

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in South Florida. At a school where fraternities and sororities don’t exactly play by the rules, relationships are bound to be tested. Parties and sex are definitely key ingredients in the Palm South recipe, but what happens when family issues, secret lives, and unrequited love get tossed in the mix?

Follow Cassie, Bear, Jess, Skyler, Erin, Ashlei, and Adam as they tackle college at a small, private beach town university. Written in television drama form, each episode of this serial will pull you deeper and deeper into the world of PSU.

Where the sun is hot and the clothes are scarce, anything can happen.

Amazon

BFF K’s Review

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Episode 5 sets up just like the next to last episode of a good TV show. I have a feeling the groundwork is laid for an explosive season finale! In this episode, I LOVED the interactions of Bear and Skyler. They’re my favorite non-couple-couple! And, I continue to be frustrated with Adam and Skyler. They like each other and might be a fine pairing. But Skyler and Adam aren’t willing to commit to each other and Adam just won’t leave Cassie alone. He’s messing with her head whether he means to or not. But, there were great advancements in the stories for both Ashlei and Jess and Jarrett. I’m anxious to see how this season ends – just one more week to go until the final episode of season 1!

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An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt

“Are you okay?”

“Peachy,” I remark, snatching my board from the ground. The quick motion of bending over and standing upright again sends me spinning and Jarrett’s hands find my waist to steady me again. “My phone on the other hand, not so much.”

At that, Jarrett’s lips twitch into a devilish smirk. “It was a necessary casualty.”

My heartbeat quickens and my mouth feels like I swallowed cotton. I know Jarrett can sense it. He feels my nerves. He can feel me trembling. I know, because he’s smirking wider now, his dark eyes hooded in a mixture of lust and amusement. When he bites his lower lip and drags his teeth along the tender flesh, my eyes flutter closed before I realize what I’m doing.

“I can buy you a replacement, if you’d like,” he adds, but he says it huskily and I know it’s on purpose. “We could go to the mobile store on campus after class Wednesday.”

“It’s fine,” I say, snapping out of my trance. “It’s already being fixed.” Why is my voice shaking? Why am I staring at him like he’s stark ass naked instead of fully clothed in a tight gray t-shirt and basketball shorts? Wait… he’s wearing basketball shorts? My eyes fall lower and I can clearly see the outline of him straining beneath them.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Really? Like really?

About the Author

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Duo Review – The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

BFF’s Duo Review

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BFF A’s Review

A summary of the text conversation between BFF K and myself.

BFF K: You HAVE to read The Bourbon Kings. It’s soooooo good.

Me: OK

BFF K: No, you have to download it NOW and start reading, I need to talk to someone about this book. I love it so much. (I think there may have been a little drooling on her part)

Me: Ookaay!!

So of course I buy the book. I mean, how can I not after that conversation? When your best friend insists you read a book, you do it, right?

Here’s the text after I finished reading:

Me: I did it! I started and finished reading The Bourbon Kings yesterday.

BFF K: OMG, I’ll call you when I’m on my way home! What did you think? I might cry if you didn’t love it.

Me: Please don’t cry. Of course I loved it, I read the whole thing in one day!

So, if you haven’t dropped everything you are doing and started reading The Bourbon Kings, you must do it now!

I was so caught up while reading; it felt like I was living through the story. I was upset when I didn’t find myself relaxing by my gorgeous outdoor pool, being delivered fresh lemonade by the butler while watching the gardener create fabulous floral arrangements and the maid cleaning the house. Reality check, I guess it’s up to me to get all of that accomplished, not the staff I have at the estate. I also found myself wanting to shop for large, fancy hats to wear to the derby while sipping on a glass of the family reserve of bourbon.

The story line is just like a soap opera; there are a lot of characters and so much going on, but once I got to know each of them and make connections, I couldn’t put it down. Start with the wealthy family trying to cover up deep down secrets and hide love affairs that are not supposed to happen. Mom is sick and bed ridden, unable to communicate with the family. Children have been kidnapped, lost and abused and end up with scars, both physically and mentally. Daddy is hiding many demons and always getting his way, even if that means cutting off all the family money when one of the children doesn’t do what he wants. A crazy wife married to one of the sons, she is so manipulative, you just want to reach in a slap her. But the best part is the love story. Love between two people that is so genuine and real, but not without broken hearts and obstacles to overcome to get to your true love. Death, manipulation, lies, tears, and secrets are exposed, but not all answered, which kept me hanging on, wanting to know more and find out the truth. I can’t wait until the next book comes out!

BFF K’s Review

I grew up watching Dallas, Knots Landing and Days of Our Lives. I’m a BIG fan of epic, sprawling, family-based, character driven stories; the seedier and steamier, the better! I remember my mom and my aunt’s gathering on Friday nights to watch a new episode of Dallas and then sitting around for hours discussing the characters and their predicaments. We would hypothesize for days anticipating the next episode and wondering what dastardly things would happen the next week. The Bourbon Kings is just like that, only BETTER. Think Dallas meets Downton Abbey, soaked in bourbon and deception!

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of The Bourbon Kings. I’ve listened to the audio TWICE in the last 6 weeks. I’ve got bookmarks and notes everywhere and keep replaying my favorite parts over and over! This narrator’s thick, deep, smooth, southern drawl has me swooning like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been over to BFF A’s house to pet the hard copy because seriously, how beautiful is this cover?!?! I just bought the Kindle version. I LOVE everything about this book.

Lane and Lizzie…I adore this couple. Their re-connection and struggle to stay together despite all the drama in their lives is the steady heartbeat of this story. Lane is the playboy who runs away from adversity. His return to Charlemont, Kentucky, and Easterly, his family home, is fraught with emotions and entanglements. Lizzie King is the sweet, genuine, hard-working, love of his life that he left behind. This cast of characters is extensive and colorful. Everyone has a story, a secret (or 10) and a HUGE personality. Lane and Lizzie, Gin and Samuel T, Edward and Sutton/Edward and Shelby, Miss Aurora, William Baldwine, Chantal Baldwine, Rosalinda Freeland, Richard Pford….I can’t get enough of these characters! My heart soared and broke, and my anger flared with every drama-filled chapter!

I’m addicted to these characters and their stories. I have read/listened to parts over and over again. I’m dying to know what happens next and what the outcome will be for my favorites and the foes! I’ve badgered many of my BFFs into reading it, raved about it on Facebook, and talked with anyone who will listen about this amazing book! I know that the price point is higher than most of the books we recommend but, it is worth EVERY PENNY!

Please, please, please buy this book and then contact me so that we can chat because the only thing I like better than listening to/reading this book is talking about it with my BFF’s!

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BFF K’s Favorite Quote

“I’m prepared to be a very patient man when it comes to you. I will seduce you for how ever long it takes; give you space if you need it or follow you tight as sunshine on your shoulder if you’ll let me.”

His eyes locked on hers.

“I lost my chance with you once Lizzie King. That is not going to happen again.”

I’m not kidding – this quote gives me all the feels! And, you should hear it on the audio – OMG!!! Swoon!

Purchase The Bourbon Kings on Amazon

Purchase The Bourbon Kings on Audible

About the Author

 

J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with the Author

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Review – Darken the Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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Darken the Stars is the heart-stopping, adrenaline-fueled, hangover-inducing conclusion to the Kricket Series by Amy A. Bartol.

Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.

As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.

As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.

Read BFF K’s reviews of: Under Different Stars and Sea of Stars.

BFF K’s Review

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I’m not sure how to write a review for a book that concludes (?) a series that I have dearly loved in a manner in which I’m still coming to terms. I’m a HUGE fan of Amy A. Bartol. I think she’s an absolute genius and her creation of worlds beyond my wildest imagination is exceptional. Darken the Stars blew me away, hence the rare 6-Rating!

If you’ve been following Amy Bartol or any of the social media hype surrounding this book, you will know that it has left many in a state of great unrest. The ending is not what many (including me) had hoped for these beloved characters.

While the conclusion to this story left me sobbing and bleeding; it’s honestly better than the worst case scenarios that ran through my head before and during my reading.  The ending is better than the countless horrific outcomes I had envisioned where all my favorite characters in the series, including Kricket, die unspeakably horrible deaths. This ending is NOT what I had expected or hoped for but, in retrospect, I can’t imagine being satisfied with something different at this point.

Kricket has a life on her own terms. She belongs to no one and is controlled by no one. She also knows the truth about who she is and what her abilities allow her to do. Kricket has true friendships and a true understanding of who she is, how brilliant she is and how many people love her to the point that they will kill for her.

It is sometimes easy to forget, but this series is about Kricket. This series is about her journey, her discoveries, her fights for love and acceptance and life as she chooses. All of the other characters and plots exist to highlight and develop Kricket. Darken the Stars emphasizes all of the amazing complexities and nuances of Kricket’s character; she has proven herself over and over again.

Throughout this series, it has been no secret that I LOVE Trey (still do.) He’s been one of my all-time favorite book boyfriends. I also had a strong dislike for Kyon. I have spouted in several forums on social media my dislike for Kyon and the assertion that I would never, could never like this character……When I’m wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong. After Darken the Stars, I see Kyon differently. I valiantly fought against liking him but, through this book, I understand him so clearly. I understand Kricket’s feelings for him and his feelings for her. It is a testament to Amy Bartol’s storytelling to take a character that was so despised and completely redeem and endear him to the reader. This character exploration alone makes Darken the Stars worth reading!

This book has always been billed as the final installment in the Kricket series. If it ends today, I can live with the conclusion. I will imagine in my head countless continuations for my favorite characters as the story will continue to play out in ways I envision. However, if we raise our voices together – rant, rave and beg, maybe the publisher #47North would consider a continuation to Kricket’s story. Like so many others, I’m just not ready for this story to end.

If you have read the first two books in the Kricket series, you absolutely MUST read Darken the Stars. If you haven’t started the series, I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is. This series is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorites!

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An ARC of this book was received in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Links to Purchase The Kricket Series

Under Different Stars – Book 1

Sea of Stars – Book 2

Sea of Stars: The Kricket Series, Book 2 – Book 2 on Audible

Darken the Stars – Book 3

About the Author

I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed. Please visit me at my website: http://www.amyabartol.com

 

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Review – Palm South University – Season 1 – Episode 2 by Kandi Steiner

Title: Palm South University: Episode Two
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: Sept 1, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Drama. Lies. Sex.

Welcome to Palm South University.

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in South Florida. At a school where fraternities and sororities don’t exactly play by the rules, relationships are bound to be tested. Parties and sex are definitely key ingredients in the Palm South recipe, but what happens when family issues, secret lives, and unrequited love get tossed in the mix?

Follow Cassie, Bear, Jess, Skyler, Erin, Ashlei, and Adam as they tackle college at a small, private beach town university. Written in television drama form, each episode of this serial will pull you deeper and deeper into the world of PSU.

Where the sun is hot and the clothes are scarce, anything can happen.

BFF K’s Review

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You had me at “Eskimo Sisters”! (I was absolutely dying laughing at this part!) The PSU Series is like fluffy, mind-candy, reality TV in book form. I accept it for what it is and I LOVE it all the way! I’m absolutely all-in when it comes to the Palm South University series! I am loving reading these short little episodes that follow the lives and drama of the PSU crew. There are parts that remind me of my college days, only with palm trees, an ocean and a lot more steam!

 

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An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon

Excerpt

“Fuck,” she curses as I slam her back against my bedroom door. “Easy, Bear.”

I suck and bite down her neck and toss her onto my bed with ease, pulling my shirt up and over my head at the same time. “I’m not doing easy tonight, babe. You either get me hard and rough or you don’t get me at all. Your choice.”

About the Author

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. 

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

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Review – Life Rewritten by Andrea Johnston

Title: Life Rewritten
Author: Andrea Johnston
Release Date: Aug 20, 2015
Find on Goodreads

I never thought that, at 40, this would be my life. Mourning the loss of the man I vowed to love for life was hard enough. Online dating, starting a business, and falling in love was never the plan.

Victoria Bennett has been blessed with a loving husband, a wonderful son and amazing friends. Always the organized planner, Victoria was thrown life’s curve ball when she found herself a widow and single mom before 40. After mourning the loss of her husband and rejoining her friends and family in her once simple life, Victoria finds herself venturing into the world of online dating with little success.

After hanging up her keyboard and focusing on new experiences and hobbies, Victoria is as surprised as everyone else when her favorite pastime leads to a new career and passion for life. When a friendship turns to romance, her life is once again thrown for a loop. Like everything new in her life she takes on the relationship with gusto, and a series of mishaps. 
Victoria soon learns that sometimes the life you’ve planned isn’t the life you lead. It is still your life, just your life rewritten.

 

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

BFF K’s Review

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#DillonisMine

I’m just putting that out there right now. Up front. Honest. Throwing down. I want this hero! He’s sweet, sexy, smart, caring, kind, compassionate, patient, loving, trustworthy, honest. And, he bakes. I’m convinced he’s pretty much perfect! And he’s mine!!!

Now that that is out of the way…..Prepare yourself with all the things you will crave as you read this book: wine, chocolate, coffee and a hot, sensitive manly-man. And, if you can’t find the guy, just get more wine!

Victoria is a 40-year-old widow coming to terms with the massive changes to her life. After a series of memorable, but unsuccessful outings via online dating, she’s decided to take a break from dating. She pours herself into a new business venture centered around her love of reading. I was so moved by Victoria’s circumstances and her approach to life and love at this stage of her life; it was honest and real and emotionally charged. And, her internal (sometimes accidentally external) monologue cracks me up!

Enter Dillon, the owner of Irish Coffee, Victoria’s favorite coffee shop and haunt. He agrees to help her with the business plan and general planning for her new venture. The relationship grows from a really authentic place. Dillon’s patience and understanding of Victoria’s emotions and needs make him the most amazing BBF I’ve read in a long time. He’s also the perfect match for her.

Experiencing Dillon and Victoria navigating  their new relationship and the burgeoning business is fun and fresh. Dillon is also keeping a bit of a secret from Victoria and it was one I didn’t see coming until it smacked me in the face! But, it’s perfect!

I think the best thing about Life Rewritten is the way I felt when I finished the story. There is a perma-grin on my face and a lightness in my heart. Not only is it a sweet and poignant romance, but it’s a great story to remind us that life doesn’t always go as planned. But, Life Rewritten can still bring us more joy and satisfaction than we ever imagined.

This is Andrea Johnston’s debut novel, and I’m so looking forward to the next book. I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Anna finds on her upcoming trip! If you like a sweet story, full of rich characters, delightful surprises and a satisfying happily ever after, one-click Life Rewritten today!

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An ARC was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.  

 

Excerpt

Everyone manages to keep me distracted and on task for a solid thirty minutes. With how I’ve been feeling, that is quite the success for them. When the doorbell rings I’m a little taken aback. It is far too early for the guests and if they are already arriving, what am I going to feed them? Lunch at 10:30 in the morning? I guess, but I could go for those baked goods and Sara isn’t here and … just answer the door. Relax. I head to the door feeling as nervous as I did the day I took my driver’s license test. It’s like a swarm of butterflies has taken up residence in my stomach while a dragon flaps its wings next to them. Basically, I want to throw up.

What lies before me is a shock. All six-foot something of him, swirly blue eyes, and dressed like a gift from the hunk heavens … Dillon.

“Mornin’,” he says with that toothpaste-commercial smile. Oh boy.

“Hi. Uh, what are you doing here? What’s all that?” I say, pointing at the bags of what appear to be groceries he is holding. Groceries? Has word gotten back to him that I am not exactly Rachael Ray in the kitchen? We’ve been spending afternoons together working on my plan and I suppose becoming friends, yet none of this has come up. We don’t really get too personal, just talking about movies, my love of books, baking, and our town.

“Goodies for your guests. Well, not quite, but the ingredients to create them,” he replies with a simple shrug and a move into the house.

I step aside and hear Justin chuckle and whisper, “Close your mouth, Mom, it’s just groceries.” Justin gives Dillon the “what’s up” nod as he’s heading to the kitchen.

“Ello, ladies. Beautiful mornin’, isn’t it?” Dillon says as he starts emptying his bags. He wasn’t kidding, he even brought his own measuring cups. Just because I choose to eat culinary treats created by others doesn’t mean I don’t have the means to create my own. I have measuring cups, for goodness sake. Of course mine are from Target and hot pink, but that is neither here nor there.

Anna kicks my shin while I hear Charlotte giggle. Apparently I’m still standing there with my mouth open. Classy. “Hello, Dillon, it is a lovely morning. Isn’t it, Victoria?” Anna asks as I give her the evil eye and pull up a chair. Not one to be deterred by my so-called evil eye, Anna continues, “So, Dillon, what brings you by?”

“Well, I knew Sara was supposed to bring the treats for today and to be honest I couldn’t see her here. She has referred to reading as ‘so, like weird and scary.’ Plus, I feel compelled to see this first day through. Plus, I wanted to be here to help Victoria with Pages and Quiet if she needed it.”

He says all of this without a single misstep as he moves with ease about my kitchen. I’m sure my kitchen appreciates his presence. Dillon begins pouring ingredients into a bowl, never once pausing to squat down and check his measurements. Show off.

“What better way to get people to relax than the smell of freshly baked muffins? Don’t you agree, ladies?”

Oh sweet baby jeebus. He’s going to bake. In my kitchen. He could only be sexier if he mopped the floors after. Get it together, girl, he’s just a guy. Barely a friend and definitely not interested in a forty-year-old single mom with a fondness for spending her nights with a pint of ice cream and book.

“Well, don’t let us stop you. We’ll just be right over here watching the show,” Anna coyly replies.

A show is putting it mildly. The three of us sit there like we are watching the creation of a new civilization. He’s a master with a whisk. How is he not getting stuff all over him? I have to shower, spray down the kitchen, and still don’t get everything clean after I make some break ‘n bake cookies. And is it normal to find forearms sexy? There’s a hint of a tattoo above his shirt sleeve. And Charlotte has already whispered how he must obviously work out to have that chest. I’m ignoring her assessment. I couldn’t care less if he’s just blessed, I could watch this show all day.

“Victoria?” I hear my name but I’m so focused on those arms it takes yet another kick to the shin before I look up, thoroughly embarrassed when I realize Dillon has been talking to me.

“Sorry. I just spaced out for a sec. What was that?” Please don’t ask me anything that requires me to leave the room. I don’t want to miss any of this.

“I was asking if you wanted to come over here and help me. That way you’ll be honest with your guests when you say you made muffins.” Swoon. I’m swooning. And apparently, so is Charlotte because she lets out the sigh I am holding in. Suddenly I hear hysterical laughter coming from the doorway. Justin. He’s lucky I love him.

“Justin, really? Is it really that funny?” I ask as I stand and face him with the best Mom face I can manage.

“Mom, it really is. I don’t think Dillon has any idea what he’s asking and I think I’ll go outside and play with Tilly just to keep her safe,” he says as he grabs an apple and heads out the back door.

“Don’t mind him, come over here and help me. Nothing will feel sweeter than proving him wrong,” Dillon says with a big grin.

I want nothing more for Dillon to be right. I grab my apron off the hook and tie it as I make my way to his side. He looks at my apron and lets out a chuckle as he shakes his head. I look down and can instantly feel the blush creep up my neck to my cheeks. “Wine Not” is displayed directly across my chest. I love this apron and really, “wine not”.

Over the next thirty minutes Dillon patiently tries to help me melt chocolate. I don’t care what anyone says, anyone can catch a pot of chocolate on fire. Dillon ushers us out of the kitchen so he can finish just as the first guests arrive.

 

 

About the Author

Andrea Johnston spent her childhood with her nose in a book and a pen to paper. An avid people watcher, her mind is full of stories that yearn to be told.  A fan of angsty romance with a happy ending, super sexy erotica and a good mystery, Andrea can always be found with her Kindle nearby fully charged.
Andrea lives in Idaho with her family and two dogs.  When she isn’t spending time with her partner in crime aka her husband, she can be found binge watching all things Bravo and enjoying a cocktail. Nothing makes her happier than the laughter of her children, a good book, her feet in the water, and cocktail in hand all at the same time.

 

 

Giveaway

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Review – Hot in the Hamptons Series

 BFF K’s Review of Hot in the Hamptons

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Hot in the Hamptons is just that – HOT, HOT, HOT! This set of 3 novellas is the quintessential beach read! They’re fast, fun and super sexy! I absolutely fell in love with Kelsey and Sean, Leigh and Nick, Storme and Holden.

Kelsey fulfills her life-long lifeguard fantasy with the super sexy Sean!

Leigh shares her most life altering secret with the sure and steady Nick.

Storme and Holden put their lives and expectations on hold to diacover if their chemistry is the real deal and OMG, You’ll want to find a Holden!

I <3 Jennifer Probst! I hate to single out one of these authors because the stories and styles flow together effortlessly, but Probst has become one of my go-to’s for great stories!

This is the summer that changes EVERYTHING! What seemed like a carefree last blast is that and so much more for these 3 BFFs. These are novellas, so the stories are quick and succinct. You’re not going to get rich character development and back and forth angst that lasts chapter after chapter. You will get super fun, incredibly sexy, quick reads that are perfect for the beach or a day by the pool. If you’re looking for quick but fulfilling romantic stories with fun characters in an idyllic setting, make this your last summer blast!

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An ARC of each book in the series was received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Backlit Sexy Blond Girl In White Bikini

SUMMER DREAMING by Liz Matis

I’m looking for a hero. Not.

You’d think as a new college grad I’d be looking for the perfect job and the perfect man. Well, I’m not. Summer is here and instead of plotting my future, I’m playing in the Hamptons with my two best friends. Sun and sex is all I’m

looking for. Then I meet Sean Dempsey, my fantasy lifeguard in the flesh. But he is more than just a hot bod with a whistle. And after he makes a daring save, I’m thinking a hero is exactly what I’ve been looking for all along.

To the rescue…

By day I guard the beaches in the Hamptons, by night I’ve had my fair share of summer flings. Then I meet Kelsey Mitchell, a girl with eyes like the setting

sun and I burn for more. Something I have no right to ask of her…forever.

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.

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SUMMER TEMPTATION by Wendy S. Marcus

Meet Leigh DeGray…

After graduating college with honors and landing the job of my dreams in New York City, I’m off to The Hamptons to spend the summer with my two best friends.

My life seems perfect, right? It’s not. The truth is, I have a secret that may make the future I’d planned so carefully completely fall apart. A hot summer romance is the absolute last thing I’m looking for… Until I meet a man who tempts me like no other and shows me a hot summer romance is exactly what I need.

Meet Nick Kenzy…

After two years of working my ass off as a Wall Street analyst, I’m out of a job, with no warning, no thank you, and no severance. Am I angry? You’re damn right I am. So when I head to the Hamptons for the weekend to spend time with my granddad, I plan to regroup and relax before I return to the city to hit the job search hard. I don’t need any distractions. Then I meet Leigh. Suddenly, a summer temptation makes me question everything I want for my future…

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.

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SUMMER SINS by Jennifer Probst

Summer fun before my wedding…

I have one goal this summer. Hang with my besties for some much needed sun, sand, and relaxation while I put the final touches on my idyllic wedding. I didn’t count on meeting a smart-mouthed, bad boy biker whose gaze burns hotter than a beach bonfire. I never planned to lose myself, body and soul, and question my entire future. Now, I have to make a choice that’s tearing me apart, and could shatter the lives of the two men I love…

Turns into summer sins….

I have one goal this summer. CHILL. Do nothing. Nada. I need simple before I have to head into Manhattan to take on a high powered position on Wall Street. I didn’t count on a dark haired, inky- eyed spitfire who’d spin my world upside down, or make me burn for things I never thought I wanted. I vowed to make her my summer fling, but had no idea she was claimed by another. And now that she possessed not only my body but my soul, the stakes are too high for me to lose her…

Love burns hotter in the Hamptons. Come play.

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SERIES BOOK TRAILER

Youtube: bit.ly/HotintheHamptonsTrailer

 

 HITH_Purchase

SUMMER DREAMING by Liz Matis

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

SUMMER TEMPTATION by Wendy S. Marcus

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SUMMER SINS by Jennifer Probst

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS

Liz Matis:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Jennifer Probst:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Wendy S. Marcus:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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