Thursday, May 22, 2014

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Where There's Smoke by Elizabeth Lee


 
 
 
 
Where There's Smoke Front Cover


There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He'd let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He'd perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn't just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you. Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She'd saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren't tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she's forced to see that things aren't always as they seem. The people who she'd left behind might not have been saved at all. In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper's sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.


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What an enthralling start to a new series! Where There's Smoke is nothing like I expected it to be and everything that I needed it to be.
 
Original
Captivating.
Edgy
Suspenseful
 
This novel really showed how much range Elizabeth Lee has as an author. I loved that she changed it up while still keeping her usual style intact. One of the things that I have always loved about this author's work is the witty, sarcastic bite in the character's dialogue. Where There's Smoke delivered.
 
So what's this book about? I have to be vague. Basically, this is a second chance romance between two high school sweethearts. They set the town on fire (literally) back in the day and were torn apart. Feelings were hurt. Trust was stolen. Hearts were broken. So... imagine the drama when Piper returns to town to see her dying mother. She's not exactly welcomed back with broken arms - by her step dad or Ryland, her high school sweetheart. In fact, the only thing that Piper and Ryland can agree on is that they need to watch out for Piper's little sister, Hadley. Could that be the one thing that brings them together? I can't tell but I will tell you that some CRAZY stuff happens. Crazy, crazy. Like crazy enough to send Piper, Ryland, and Hadley on the run. Gotta love three fugitives ;)
 
All in all, this is an exceptional read. It's action-packed, mysterious, sweet, and sensual in all the right places. All that crazy that I mentioned other is balanced off with a realistic take on rekindled love. Plus, there's a great side story that's developed in the background. I can't wait to get my hands on There's Fire later this year to read Hadley's story!
 
 
5 Stars!
 
 
 




Author PhotoAbout Elizabeth Lee: When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand. Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination! Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!      

Website I Author Goodreads I Novel Goodreads









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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

RELEASE BLITZ: Where There's Smoke by Elizabeth Lee

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We are thrilled to celebrate the Release Day of Elizabeth Lee's WHERE THERE'S SMOKE!!! WHERE THERE’S SMOKE is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel that you don't want to miss! 
 
 
Where There's Smoke Front Cover


There is something to be said for letting go. Ryland Roberts knows that better than anyone. He'd let go of his ambitions, of his family and—most of all—of her. He'd perfected the art of putting his past behind him and accepted the fact that the town he wanted to leave in his rearview was the place where he was going to live out his days. But sometimes the past doesn't just go away. Sometimes it comes back to haunt you. Piper Jameson convinced herself that she left for all the right reasons. She'd saved people by leaving—made sure that they weren't tainted by her rebellious ways. When her little sister asks her to come home and say goodbye to their ailing mother, she's forced to see that things aren't always as they seem. The people who she'd left behind might not have been saved at all. In the amount of time it takes a bullet to travel from point A to point B, Piper and Ryland will have to put their feelings for each other aside and make a choice. Forced on the run with Piper's sister, they begin to understand that the future they thought was gone was never really lost.



Excerpt:
I stretched my arm out and placed a hand on the cool concrete, the grit and dirt sticking to my palm. Such a contrast to the warmth I felt with Ryland firmly pressed up against me. The curves of my backside fit perfectly against his long, lean frame, our skin heating up the chill around us. The fall weather had descended upon our small Midwestern town almost overnight. It seemed like only a week or two ago we had been wearing shorts and flip-flops. Now it was jeans and jackets. Well, actually, now it was nothing. I felt my cheeks heat as I thought about what we had just done. I wasn't embarrassed. Far from it. In fact, I'd never felt more sure about anything in my entire life as I was about what had just happened with Ry. “That was incredible,” he whispered against my neck as he traced lazy circles on my shoulder with his fingertips. “Yeah,” I breathed, rolling onto my back to look up at him. The soft glow of an outdoor utility light crept through the open side of the airplane hangar, barely lighting up the space. “Never imagined our first time being on a blanket spread out on a cold, hard floor, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.” “Me too. Let’s get on that then,” he said with a wicked grin before he pressed his lips to mine. Propping himself on one arm—his hand resting against the side of his head—he snaked his free hand under one of the flannel blankets he'd commandeered from an airplane parked beside us. I liked this side of him. The side that wasn't perfect and calculated. The side that just did, said, and felt what he wanted. He was literally feeling his way up my body—his hands smooth and rough all at the same time—sending all of my teenage hormones spiraling out of control. We were living in the moment, which was exactly where I preferred to be. “You know how much I love you, right?” His face became very serious, almost concerned. “I wanted tonight to be special. I thought we'd go back to my house after we looked at the planes. My parents are gone and...” He was back in his head, thinking about his meticulously thought-out evening. Doubting his ability to be perfect. He did this sometimes—overanalyzed things. “It didn't go exactly as I planned, but—” “It was perfect,” I assured him. “Plans, schmans.” I pulled his face to mine, giggling, my lips barely grazing his. “And I love you, too.” That was the thing about Ryland—I saw a side of him that no one else saw. I could probably say the same for him about me. Until him, I’d never felt like I was going to amount to much, but he believed in me, even when I didn't—which was most of the time. When I was with him, I didn't feel like I needed to do everything in my power to piss people off. He made me want to stay in this Godforsaken town with a family that ignored my existence. They ignored it until I did something wrong—which was about ninety percent of the time. Then my stepfather made sure to let me just how worthless I was. “So do you feel like a rebel?” I asked. “This being your first breaking and entering and all.” It had been his idea to sneak on to the airfield—something that was much more in my wheelhouse than his. I was the one who usually threw caution to the wind. He was the good boy. The straight-A student. The doting son. “Oh yeah.” He laughed. “I'm a regular badass. Nothing like walking through an open gate to an abandoned shed.” He cast his arm out sarcastically in the vacant space above our heads. Nothing but sheet metal and wooden beams. A handful of airplanes were parked around us with a smattering of fuel cans, tools, and parachutes hanging from the walls. “I'm not sure we actually broke into anything. More like casually strolled in.” We lived in a town where people left their front doors unlocked. The kind of town where everyone knew everyone and all of their business. Truitville. It was a place with a minimal crime rate. I think that night, that's what we’d both thought: What's the worst that could happen? “So what's next then, Clyde? Wanna rob a bank?”
 



Author PhotoAbout Elizabeth Lee: When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand. Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination! Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!      

Website I Author Goodreads I Novel Goodreads

Monday, May 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR + REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Last Second Chance (Second Chance #1) by Caisey Quinn





When Stella Jo Chandler gets an offer to work at the Second Chance Ranch celebrity rehab facility right after graduating from Texas A&M, she’s tempted to turn it down. She wants to help real people with real problems, not spoiled celebrities going on vacation for publicity. But growing up on her family’s ranch left her with a love of horses that draws her to the opportunity. How bad can babysitting a bunch of strung out celebrities be?
 
What she didn’t count on was being roped into a tangled mess with infamous rocker and three-time rehab drop out Van Ransom on her first day. And she sure didn’t expect to feel the overwhelming attraction that pulls her to the man who has more issues than she can count on both hands. Like the hotel rooms and tour buses he’s famous for trashing, the havoc he could wreak on Stella’s heart would be irreparable.
 
Van isn’t at Second Chance for publicity or because he’s suffering from “exhaustion”. He’s on the brink of destruction, and he needs the kind of help Stella isn’t sure she can give. But without her, he'll lose everything. Because he’s on his last second chance.
 
 
  Kobo   
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20723588-last-second-chance


 
 
 
Caisey Quinn brought her sexy all the way up to 10! Last Second Chance was a provocative and intimate read that kept me up late into the night. It was edgy and fast paced and while it did push my boundaries, I found it to be completely relatable and addicting.  I was totally unable to put it down. A must read!
 
So without giving anything away, this novel is about a rock star that has hit rock bottom. He was given an ultimatum - go to rehab or no music deal. He's definitely not excited about this forced rehab stint but he'll do anything he can to hang on to his music career. Things start to look up when he hits rehab and runs into the new sexy little employee named Stella. Van knows from the very beginning that his attraction to her isn't something he should give in to. She's different from all his other conquests. She's something he's not sure he's ready for.
 
Then there's Stella. She's jumping headfirst into a new job at Last Second Chance Ranch. She needs this job because she doesn't want to go running back to her hometown. Her parents are an issue that she doesn't want to deal with quite yet. Or ever. Stella loves horses and is excited to find out that she can help out in the stables at Last Second Chance Ranch. She has no idea what she's in for when she meets Van.  They both bring steam to those stables. Lots of steam!  They are playing with fire because they are risking it all for each other as their careers hang in the balance.
 
Overall, this is a sexy little read. While it's a tad edgier than  Caisey Quinn's other work, it still has that spark that her fans love so much. I found the characters to be completely relatable along with their relationship. This book was so intimate while showing the tumultuous side of Van and Stella's relationship at the same time. I loved Stella because she was a female character that I could relate too, and I loved Van because he was one of those redeemable bad boys that I can never get enough of. Basically, I loved Van and Stella-- Team Vanella!! I can't wait to get my hands on more books in this series. This is a standalone with a sweet ending.
 
 
 



 
5 Stars!!! 
 
 
DREAM CAST





 
Caisey Quinn lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, daughter, and other assorted animals. She is the bestselling author of the Kylie Ryans series as well as several New Adult Romance novels featuring country girls finding love in unexpected places. You can find her online at www.caiseyquinnwrites.com . 

 
Website
Goodreads
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  CQ 10 Must Have's
 


Caisey Quinn’s

TOP TEN WRITING MUST HAVES


I get asked about my writing process and where I write so I wanted to share my Top Ten MUST HAVE’s for writing sessions!


1.    My MacBook Air (& its charger)– It’s light and travels well!

2.    My headphones/ear buds – Because not everyone in the library/bookstore/coffee shop wants to hear my Spotify book soundtrack apparently. (weirdos)

3.    A pen & notebook – Yes, I write lots of things out by hand still! Call me old fashioned! #iprefervintage

4.    My iPhone – The notes app is my friend!

5.    Bottled water – so I don’t dehydrate

6.    Iced coffee – So I can stay awake

7.    My reading glasses – For years I got migraines while typing, until I started wearing them! #lifesaver

8.    Snacks – Sometimes it’s chocolate, or granola and dried fruit, or a protein bar, just something so I don’t get hunger headaches.

9.    Pepcid Complete – Not kidding. My characters give me indigestion. Or it could be number 6…

10.  Excedrin Migraine – Are you sensing a theme with the headaches yet? Hours at the computer and looong nights make this miracle drug very necessary. I might be slowly destroying my liver or something, but writers gotta write! ;)

 

So there is my complete (and very unglamorous) list of writing session must haves!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Mini Review: Under Different Stars (Kricket #1) by Amy A. Bartol



Under Different Stars (Kricket, #1)

All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?
BUY: AMAZON 
   
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18845233-under-different-stars?from_search=true




This book is pure gold. Everything about it. The writing is insanely good. To be honest, I'm in awe of the author's talent. The storyline was so intricate but enthralling at the same time. The world that the author created is just so...cool. I love the way the story let it all unravel too. Instead of boring me with chapters of information and history about this new world, Bartol gradually revealed all of that information within the dialogue. It was just so entertaining.

It's action-packed, sweet, intense, and so funny. I laughed out loud too many times to count. It's a sweet romance that doesn't end on a cliffhanger. There is probably going to be some bumps in the road in book 2 though. No. Definitely.

This is probably my favorite read of the year. It's sitting right beside Heather Lyon's Fate series. They are both so good. I know some people are skittish of paranormal books, but that's because they're reading the wrong ones! This will turn your love of paranormal books back on for sure!


5 Stars

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR + CHARACTER'S FAVORITE THINGS + GIVEAWAY: A Matter of Forever (Fate #1) by Heather Lyons

 



It all comes down to this . . . Chloe Lilywhite has struggled for years to find her footing in a series of dangerous and demanding worlds. Creator, first tier Council member, and one of the most powerful Magicals in existence, she was little more than one of Fate’s pawns. But now, Chloe is back home and ready to call the shots. She knows what she wants and who she wants to be. Except the Elders never got the memo. Annar and Magical-kind are under attack. The lives of Chloe’s loved ones, and life as they know it, are at stake. Chloe's the key to taking the Elders down, but they won't go quietly into the night. This time, neither will Chloe. *This is a New Adult title, suitable for readers 18+.  






 
 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18456157-a-matter-of-forever?ac=1
 
 
REVIEW:

Biggest *sigh* everrrrr. This is a series that I will never forget. It really has one of the most brilliant, creative, and intense storylines that I've ever read. My emotions were all over the place!

I've never read a more bittersweet series. I can't even begin to describe the feeling that I had when I finished this book. It was sort of like extreme happiness mixed with extreme sorrow mixed with understanding plus a little irrationality on my part. I mean... this series put me through the ringer emotionally yet it's one of my top favorite series. I'm not saying that flippantly either. When I first stumbled upon A Matter of Fate (Fate #1), I read all three of the first books in a three day window. I haven't been that absorbed or obsessed with a series in a long time. Long, long time.

As we all know, the last book left off on a intense cliffhanger. A Matter of Forever picks up right after that and the intensity is off the charts starting at page 1. I had NO idea what was going on. I was totally freaking out. Actually, I was pretty much freaking out the entire time. Even though I knew that Chloe had made her choice in the last book, things still felt unsettled to me because I knew that the other person was still hurting. I've never hurt so much for a character in my life! I wanted it all to be better for him, but it really was a lose/lose situation. Another long *sighhhhh*

I don't know what to say. I don't want to give anything away. If you've read this far into the series, I feel like there's no need for me to convince you to read this book because you're going to read it anyway (how couldn't you? lol). I will tell you that things are settled at the end but so bittersweet. Incredibly bittersweet. I've rarely ever felt so connected to a group of characters before. I felt their pain and their happiness. I worried for them. I cried for them. I just felt for them. Ohhhh the feels... I really believe the series ended where it was supposed to though.

This is truly an incredible conclusion a series that is on my top recommendation list. If you were my bff, I'd tell you to read this series (in fact, I did tell my bff to read it).


5 STARS





CHARACTERS FAVORITE THINGS:

Chloe, Jonah, Kellan, Will, and Callie from the Fate series sat down and shared what some of their currently favorites are . . .

FAVORITE TV SHOW

 
Chloe: New Girl. It totally makes me laugh.

Jonah: Uh, do sports count?

Kellan: SportsCenter does, bro. So that’s my answer. SportsCenter.

Will: Deadliest Catch, naturally.

Callie: Project Runway. I’ll even watch the re-runs.


FAVORITE FOOD


Chloe: Hot dogs! Mmm…

Jonah: It depends on my mood. I really like Chinese, though.

Kellan: Chinese is good. So is Indian. Curry is my fave.

Will: Pancakes. Specifically my pancakes.

Callie: Does tea count?

 
FAVORITE MOVIE


Chloe: Amelie! Thank goodness for subtitles.

Jonah: Old School—right, Kel?

Kellan: Hell yeah. Old School is awesome. We must have watched it a hundred times in high school.

Will: Pacific Rim was brilliant.

Callie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s


FAVORITE MUSIC

 
Chloe: I love Taylor Swift. LOVE HER.

Jonah: I do not love Taylor Swift. But I do dig Death Cab for Cutie.

Kellan: I’m in a big AC/DC phase.

Will: Frightened Rabbit. They’re a bloody brilliant Scottish band everyone needs to listen to.

Callie: Chloe, I agree about Taylor Swift. I love her. But I’d say I’m really partial to Miranda Lambert lately.


FAVORITE COLOR


Chloe: Blue. Specifically cerulean.

Jonah: Green. Specifically light green.

Kellan: Yellow. I mean, why else would I have a yellow car?

Will: Uh . . . I don’t have a favorite color.

Callie: Everyone has a favorite color, Will. You wear a lot of red, so just go with that? I’ll pick silver. 


FAVORITE BOOK


Chloe: Jonah and I have the same favorite book, I think—isn’t that funny? Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I love that it speaks to both of us.

Jonah: She’s right. It’s an amazing book. I’ve read it like five times.

Kellan: I’m all about On the Road by Jack Kerouac. My copy is totally marked up.

Will: Hmm . . . I really like About a Boy by Nick Hornby.

Callie: Is it weird I love A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett? Because that’s a beautiful story.

 


 
AMoF Series Banner3
   

And don’t miss the first books in the Fate Series!

A MATTER OF FATE (Fate Series #1) Just $.99 right now!

BEYOND FATE (Fate Series #1.5) Just $.99 right now!

A MATTER OF HEART (Fate Series #2)

A MATTER OF TRUTH (Fate Series #3)

 
 
Author Photo    Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.          
 



 



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Release Day Launch: A Matter of Forever (Fate #4) by Heather Lyons

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We are so ecstatic about the Release Day Launch for Heather Lyon's A MATTER OF FOREVER! A MATTER OF FOREVER is the stunning conclusion to Heather's Fates Series and you do NOT want to miss this!  


AMOF Banner
 

It all comes down to this . . . Chloe Lilywhite has struggled for years to find her footing in a series of dangerous and demanding worlds. Creator, first tier Council member, and one of the most powerful Magicals in existence, she was little more than one of Fate’s pawns. But now, Chloe is back home and ready to call the shots. She knows what she wants and who she wants to be. Except the Elders never got the memo. Annar and Magical-kind are under attack. The lives of Chloe’s loved ones, and life as they know it, are at stake. Chloe's the key to taking the Elders down, but they won't go quietly into the night. This time, neither will Chloe. *This is a New Adult title, suitable for readers 18+.  






 




Excerpt:
Quiet voices nearby send my focus to the other end of the large room. I make out Kellan and Will, matching in cross-armed, tense stances as they talk with Astrid Lotus and Kate Blackthorn. They’re not alone; at a table nearby sit Cameron and Callie, exhaustion coloring them almost as strongly as that I feel here in this bed. “This is unacceptable,” Kellan is saying, his voice low, like he doesn’t want to wake his brother or me up, but it’s angry, too. “You’re the Council’s lead Shaman!” “Sweetling,” Astrid murmurs, reaching out for her son’s arm, but he yanks out of her grasp. “No. I’m sorry, but no. This is not acceptable.” She tries again. “Kellan—” He’s livid. “We’re going on five days, Astrid. Five. Days. How is it, with all of the worlds’ best Shamans working on her, nobody can wake Chloe up? Or at least figure out what the fuck happened to her?” Five whole days? I’ve been . . . asleep, or whatever it is I’ve been, for nearly a week? What did that Jens-like person do to me? I’m desperate to let Kellan—let them all—know I’m okay, that I’m finally awake, but only a tiny rasp escapes me, like somebody has stolen my voice. Speaking shouldn’t be so difficult. Curling my fingers around Jonah’s hand shouldn’t be so tiring. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. “I’m going to have to concur with Kellan,” Will is quietly saying, yet his words are just as harsh as Kellan’s. “I know I’m only a M├ętis, but I’m pretty sure that with all the Magic you all can do, something should have worked by now. I mean, you are Magicals. Isn’t this the bloody point?” Cameron stands up, a hand going to his son’s shoulder. “William—” “Dad, don’t even try to excuse this. Weren’t you raving to Erik just this morning how somebody better bloody do something or heads were going to roll?” Cameron doesn’t deny this in the least, nor does he look chastised. “We’re trying our best, but Kellan,” Kate says, “maybe it’s time to prepare yourself.” “Prepare myself?” he sputters. “What, like . . . you mean accept that she’s gone and not coming back?” Try as I might, no words escape my lips. I’m here, I want to shout. I’m alive and awake. Turn around. See me. “Or,” he continues bitterly, “prepare myself that you’re going to keep her on some kind of Magical life support until some new Creator is born? Because that’s what you’re thinking, right?” Astrid says his name again, all heartbreak and sympathy in her syllables. Kate turns white in the face of his quiet fury. “This is . . . I’ve never seen anything like this. If we only knew about the circumstances leading up to what happened—” “How many times do you need to hear it?” Kellan seethes. “Chloe and Jonah were having dinner in a crowded restaurant. She ate food off of both of their plates. He ate off of hers, so there can’t be any poisoning issues—but you all should know that, considering the food was all tested. Chloe went to the restroom. She never returned. Ten minutes later, when it felt like somebody was literally gutting us—” He stops, hands yanking at his hair. “When it felt like somebody was tearing him apart, Jonah went and found her on the floor of the bathroom, bleeding and unconscious. He tried to wake her up. He failed. Cora Carregreen tried to work on her, but failed. I tried to wake her up, but failed. Kiah Redrock was sent in to see if she could reach Chloe through her dreams, but she failed, too, as Chloe’s brain wasn’t . . .” He takes an unsteady breath. “Isn’t even functioning enough to have dreams. Shall I continue, Kate? Because, I mean, you’re the Shaman and all.”


 
   

And don’t miss the first books in the Fate Series!

A MATTER OF FATE (Fate Series #1) Just $.99 right now!

BEYOND FATE (Fate Series #1.5) Just $.99 right now!

A MATTER OF HEART (Fate Series #2)

A MATTER OF TRUTH (Fate Series #3)

 
 
Author Photo    Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.          
 



 



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BACK PORCH BOOK CLUB SPECIAL GUEST: L.B. Simmons, Author of The Ressurection of Aubrey Miller

The girls in the BOOK CLUB went crazy over The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller (as did I)!! We had a lot of questions that we wanted to ask the author, L.B. Simmons, and she was ready to answer! If you haven't read this book yet, you should!! Here is [my review].
 
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller
 
 
 
L.B. Simmons
LB Simmons
Hey L.B.! Erica here. Thanks for being our first Back Porch Book Club Special Guest!  The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller, your newest release, has received some major buzz lately. After several recommendations from ladies in the book club, I decided that I had to read it right away. And read it I did!!  I loved it and so did all the other girls in the book club. Naturally, since we loved it so much, we have a ton of questions. Feel free to overshare and tell us all your secrets ;) We won't mind.
 
Ok, we will now begin the interrogation (haha)
 
 
 
 
Bianca: Kaeleb is the epitome of one's soul mate. What inspired his character?
When I start to write a book, I typically know the heroine pretty well. I already have in mind her issues, her humor, her quirks…most of it. And then hero typically balances her out. I write freely as the story begins and let them play off each other as they interact in my head. With my first book, Running on Empty, Alex was incredible stubborn so Blake was extremely patient. In my second book, Running in Place, Tatum was a crazy party girl and Noah was the perfect, grounded polar opposite. And in The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller, of course, Aubrey was lost and she needed someone strong to push her and call her on her bullshit. But he also had to be wise enough to give her time and room to fight her own battles. I really can’t take credit for him, that’s just how he was when it came to her.
Tori: What was the toughest scene for you to write from this book?
GAH! So many heart-wrenching scenes, but I can say that when Adley dies was the first scene I have ever cried in while writing. I’m not a crier at all. So when tears started forming, I knew it would be an emotional one. I have three little girls, all of which were fans of sliding in the bathtub. My husband started to read it and flat out walked away, but not before turning and asking how the hell I can write something like that. It wasn’t easy, but it had to be done. Linda’s death scene was very hard for me to write as well. I felt the emotion right along with Aubrey when she crawled up and pulled that blanket up over the both of them. Kaeleb’s goodbye was also very difficult, because I knew both of them so well at that point, I knew how hard it was for him to let her go. To trust that she would find her way. Even though he had to give her that tough love push toward the end, he knew she needed to reach her low before he would ever get her back. The amount of frustration he felt with her in that moment, I still get a lump in my throat. I miss him so much!
Bianca: Were there times you cried during the writing process?
LOL! I already answered that one. Linda and Adely were the two that really got to me. It’s different when you write, because I read avidly as well, but when you are creating the story in your mind as you type it, you are omniscient. You feel everyone’s emotions, not just the central character. So, the scenes can become compounded with everyone’s feelings hitting you as you write. So in Linda’s and Kaeleb’s scenes, as mentioned before, they were probably even more emotional for me than the readers. Linda’s thoughts while approaching death and Kaeleb’s fear to let her go were definitely at the forefront.
Tori: Did either Aubrey or Quinn's struggles require much research?
I have had the same struggles that both of them had in the book. Depression definitely, maybe not to Aubrey’s degree, but definitely feeling lost and wanting to give up. In order to write the story, I had to find those feelings and I really hone in on them to be able to depict them for readers. I also had an eating disorder, so a lot of Quinn’s statements were my own. That was a very long time ago, but I did not find it difficult to recall them. And as for Palmer’s sessions, even though he was a doctor, his role was not to psychoanalyze her. His presence was really to help guide her, as a friend. So when writing him, I really just asked questions I would ask as a friend. I don’t have a Psych degree, and wouldn’t feel comfortable playing that part in a book.  
So, to answer your question, (LOL), the research was more internal than external. Finding those feelings of despair and sadness and getting them out on paper for the both of them and praying to God I do them justice. 
That being said, I did research Linda’s illness. I had to build a believable timeline for her, and address her treatment, surgeries, and the affects that both of those along with cancer would have on her body. Hospice also. I would say because hers was more physical, that required more outward research than the emotional aspects of Aubrey and Quinn.
Tori: Would ever consider writing scenes from The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller from Kaeleb's POV :D????
LOL! I would definitely. It’s funny, you let them go after release, but it’s not really hard to recall them. Although I have already started planning my next project, I would be able to slip back into Kaeleb’s character easily. I really fell hard for him. So revisiting him definitely wouldn’t be out of the question.
Erica: I've read Running on Empty and The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller (I loved them both). There's a little bit of a genre hop there. I was wondering what genre your next book will be? Are you more comfortable writing one genre more than the other?
LOL! Yes, they are very different. I would say that Running in Place is kind of the bridge between the two, because it has the same feel as Running on Empty but is of the NA genre. As stated earlier, I am already planning my next project. It will be another genre hop as I am going to be writing something in the YA genre. I don’t really feel bound by genres, because I write what I feel. If a story calls to me, and I can emotionally connect and feel that initial excitement when I start to develop a plot, I know I’m onto something. My writing is mostly emotional, so that connection is all that is really required for me to invest in a new book. Not the genre.
Group Question: We just want to thank you so much for stopping by our book club and chatting with us. It's so nice of you to take the time out of your schedule to chit-chat with readers. We think you're awesome. Is there anything else that you want to add about your books or future books? Also, since we all have a serious book hangover from YOUR book, do you have any suggestions for books we should read now (while we wait on another release from you)??
Regarding my future books, I just hope they continue to get better and the stories continue to touch people as they have in the past. With each new one, I feel more confident as I really try to perfect the way I write. Running on Empty was my very first one so personally, I feel it could be improved upon. But, then I wrote Recovery (novella), Running in Place, and then Aubrey. With each new book, I feel more confident and I think that carries over into my writing.
I have a really random list of favorites: For major book hangover, I would say The Fault in Our Stars. I love the writing and the banter between the two is laugh out loud funny. But it also has the emotional depth that I love. For paranormal, I always recommend the Charley Davidson series by Darydra Jones. Also laugh out loud funny, but super sexy. For Romance, I loved Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and Tangled and Twisted by Emma Chase. Now that I am listing these, I am seeing that the funny books seem to be my favorites. So maybe not so random. LOL! J
Thank you so much for having me and reading The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller! I have been so overwhelmed by the response her story has had and the way that the lessons were received by so many. It means so much to me that you even wanted to ask me anything. LOL! I really enjoy reliving the story, so this was very fun for me. Thank you ladies for everything.
 
 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Release Day Launch: All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack

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We are thrilled that Cora Carmack's highly anticipated ALL LINED UP is finally here!! ALL LINED UP is a New Adult contemporary romance novel being published by HarperCollins’ William Morrow Impulse imprint and is a part of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University Series!!
 
 
All Lined Up
 
 
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights. In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both. Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past. But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again. Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated. Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter. And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
 
 
Excerpt
There’s only one thing in the world I despise more than football, and he’s making his way down the stairs toward me. My eyes flit around me like I’m scanning a battlefield instead of a blowout:fraternity banners, litter of red Solo cups, and a freshman pledge dragging around a trash bag playing reluctant maid. Part of me wants to keep doing that, to pretend like I didn’t hear him. But I can’t. If I ignore him, it will only prove to him that he still bothers me. I face him as he steps off the last stair, crossing his arms over his broad chest and grinning at me. Levi. My ex. He leans his hip against the banister of the grand staircase, and I spy not one but two girls sitting halfway up the stairs, obviously upset that they’ve lost his attention. Behind me I hear someone shout, “Ready. Aim. Fire!” and I know the beer guns are back in play. “Alcohol and bad decisions, Levi? Can’t say I’m surprised to find you smack-dab in the middle of that.” He kicks off from the banister, swaggering a few steps closer. His dark hair and eyes are as striking as always. I’d fallen for him so hard my freshman year of high school: doodling our names together in my spiral, watching him play from the bleachers, wearing that monstrous mum he gave me for homecoming, beaming on his elbow at his junior prom. The memory of all that just makes me nauseated now. But as Stella always says, hindsight is a pretentious, know-it-all bitch. “You come here to make some bad decisions?” He moves closer, his voice pitching lower. Intimate. His gaze drifts down my body with an arrogant familiarity. “Because you know I can help you with that.” Levi Abrams has been the cause of enough bad decisions for a lifetime. Stella steps in, her voice colder than I’ve ever heard it. “I’m fairly certain she’d rather sandpaper her own skin off.” I nod and plaster on the fakest smile in my arsenal. “And then take a bath in lemon juice.” Levi smiles back, and I’m pretty sure the bastard is enjoying this. He’s bigger than when I last saw him. Bulked up. I guess that’s the difference between high school and college ball. But it’s not just muscles… he reaches out a hand like he’s going to touch my hair, and as I jerk back, even his hands seem bigger than I remember. A man’s hands, rather than those of the boy I knew. Or maybe his head got so big that his inflated ego overflowed to other parts of his body. Also a possibility. I knew Levi was here when I chose Rusk University—hard not to when he’s the starting quarterback—but I didn’t think I’d ever have to see him. Since Dad wouldn’t let me leave Texas, and only a handful of universities here actually have a true dance major, Rusk was the best option out of the schools to which I was allowed to apply. Levi lets his hand fall away and turns to leave, but then stops to say over his shoulder, “You don’t have to pretend to hate me so much, you know. I’m here. You’re here. We could start fresh, D.” Why does no one get that it’s impossible to have a fresh start when nothing has really changed? God, I knew that better than anybody because no matter how many new coaching jobs Dad took, every school ended up the same. Levi is still a douche-bag who only cares about himself. Dad still approaches parenting like I’m a member of his team. And I… I’m still stuck. In my father’s shadow. In Texas. In this lame state school with a joke of a dance program. And now I’m stuck at my first frat party with the ex who broke my heart. Yay college.
 
 
 
 
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.        

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