Liked It: Working With Heat by Anne Calhoun

Series: Cosmo Red Hot Read
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Cosmo via Harlequin
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance

For now, Milla Jackson is an American in London, but she’s also been an American in Paris, Rome, Prague and more. She’s working hard to combine her love of travel and growing social media presence into a career, even involving her followers in her (somewhat dismal) dating life. When the combustible heat between her and her best bloke, Charlie, explodes, she’s unprepared for the secrecy of “friends with benefits.” Charlie’s an artist who’s already been burned by one woman who used social media against him. He’s determined to keep his hands on the glass he works with–and off the irresistible Milla, who’s sure to share every detail with her followers. Will their best intentions survive a secret relationship? Or will the heat transform their fling into something that can overcome Milla’s fear of permanency and Charlie’s reluctance to trust again?

With my unlucky reading streak of late, I decided to take it easy and tackle something I’m familiar with and something short because I am exhausted! Well I’ve read one of Anne Calhoun’s The List a while back and totally loved it! It was smart, well-written, and very relatable. I thought, hoped, prayed, that Ms. Calhoun would be a godsend and give me something worthwhile. 
WORKING WITH HEAT was fun, flirty, young, sweet, short, and exactly what I need right now. This might be a shorty, but it’s well crafted and didn’t feel incomplete nor rushed unlike other novellas/short stories. The plot is quite simple, Milla and Charlie are friends and roomies who hooked up and fell in love. Both weren’t looking for anything serious and ended with one anyway. 
I love Milla and Charlie’s dates, ACalhoun highlighted their chemistry as well as their easy going vibe. The conflict was believable as its rooted in their individual differences so I get why Charlie got upset. Milla’s apology was a bit cheesy, a personal letter combined with a vague blog post, the cheesiness extended to the resolution which I didn’t mind, it coule easily be translated as a grand gesture of love. Overall, I had fun with WORKING WITH HEAT and I am hoping this shorty is the beginning of a streak of outstanding reads.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


It’s that time of the week where we share sexy eats!
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts
hosted by the lovely lady over at UnConventional Book Views

I don’t know what is it about breakfast, didn’t realize it can be so sexy!


Talk Supe

Naughty Nooners: Starry Eyed by Alexia Russel & Enticed by J. A. Belfield

I got shorties for you today. Some quick reads to make your legs cross or give you sweet dreams 🙂


Starry Eyed | The Becca Kingsley Diaries 1 | Alexia Russel
Serial | Contemporary Romance | March 4, 2015 | Self-Published
Goodreads | Amazon

I imagine this is how those famous actors hook up with a lesser known actress while they’re filming an indie movie. Such is the case with Becca Kinsgley and Mason Riley. I think this is a serial as the story is only 31 pages. I finished it on my lunch break. But don’t be deterred by its shortness. Sure these two hooked up fast BUT Alexia Russel wrote a good precedent indicating that there’s some chemistry going on between the two prior to STARRY EYED. You can say this is where things came to a head where Mason finally saw Becca and now she’s pseudo moving in with him back in LA.

I like how the short is written, it’s very personal, intimate and very sexy. Becca Kingsley is a great narrator. I’m usually unsatisfied with stories this short, that’s not the case here though. I’m curious to see if this is going to be a short-lived romance or if there’s more to Mason than his playboy reputation and if he is indeed very smitten by Becca or if she’s just another notch on his bedpost.


This week’s Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts, hosted by Unconventional Book Views


Enticed | Halloway Pack 4.7 | J.A. Belfield
Novella | Paranormal Romance | April 16, 2015
Goodreads | FREEBIE: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I haven’t read nor am I familiar with J.A. Belfield’s Halloway Pack series, but when she wrote to me about this novella Ms. Belfield assured me that it can be read as standalone. I was skeptical about the standalone thing because I’ve read books where the authors assured me I can skip the first books only to feel totally lost. Despite my skepticism, I agreed just the same because I’m always on the look out for new authors to try and fresh series to read. It also helps that Keri Lake is endorsing this series and was even blurbed on the cover. I do love Keri and if she’s giving ENTICED her stamp of approval, then I’m game.

ENTICED is simply a shortie about birthday sex. Ethan is one lucky dude because Shelley really prepped for his birthday gift. Cake, sexy lingerie, mind blowing sex, ready and waiting for him. 50 pages of coital bliss! Just so you know, you won’t get anything about the Halloway Pack from this novella. No world building, no pack politics, just good ‘ol sexin! Nobody even shifted or did anything non-human… unless sexual prowess and stamina is considered paranormal?

Talk Supe

Loved It: At The Stars by Elisabeth Staab

Series: Evergreen Grove 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND
I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.
A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO
For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her.

What a sweet romance story to get lost in! AT THE STARS, Elisabeth Staab’s first stab at NA, didn’t annoy me one bit. In fact, it doesn’t have the usual “sex, drama, & rock ‘n roll” the genre is infamous for. The story is quite simple, boy and girl are running away from their pasts. Then the stars aligned, they met, fell in love, helped each other unload their respective baggages, stayed together. Amen.

Let me give you the details because I don’t want to over simplify it lest you think it’s boring. AT THE STARS is far from plain:

  • I loved the simplicity of the plot. The emotional depth of the story made up for its small radius. 
  • I like that it’s set in a small, never heard town where the locals are nice to strangers like Cassie. 
  • I love Cassie. This chick has a lot of spunk and just the right amount of vulnerability to make her endearing. It also didn’t hurt that she made the first move on Jake. She’s not slutty though, she just knows what she wants, how she wants it. Also, Cassie has been dealt quite a few lemons in life, didn’t use those as an excuse to be bitchy or started acting like the world owed her something though. I related to her especially the way she gravitated to music. When I was her age, I had mix tapes for every. Single. Mood I may have. Lastly, this chick is crazy in the best way possible.
  • I love Jake. See the cover? Well match those eyes with a kind-hearted man. No asshole moves, no temper tantrums, no “you don’t deserve a broken man like me” shit. He’s may look like a bad boy but he’s far from one. Super book boyfriend material.
  • I love this couple’s maturity! They’re not like reality stars where they blow up the most benign things out of proportion for the sake of drama. They might be new adults, but they dealt with their shiz like ADULTS.
  • I like the secondary characters. I hope AJ gets his own story and even if it’s M/M I’ll read it.
  • I love that the lack of “villains” like jealous exes or spurned lovers. Just lots of antagonistic situations stemming from their past that righted themselves eventually. 
  • I liked Cassie and Jake’s “dates” although I hoped there’s at least one super simple and romantic one for kicks. Hopeless romantic here! 
I swooned, had a goofy grin on my face, hugged my tablet a few times while reading AT THE STARS. I felt the moment these two fell in love, shot me through the heart and had me feeling giddy like a 20yo. Oh EStaab, I knew I could trust you, thank you for not giving us yet another NA lit! AT THE STARS is such a beautiful and touching. It’s young, hopeful, a bit angsty, and an overall swoontastic love story. Loved it!

All at once she bites her lip and I see her going for the drinks, but I slap my hand over hers. “You shouldn’t be walking home late. It’s dangerous.”
She gives me a look like she’s being patient with me. “It was good enough to get here. I’ll have AJ with me. We’ll be fine.”
She gestures toward the patio door where her buddy is probably waiting for her to return with the drinks. Dante chooses that moment to come inside, and I don’t like how he’s looking at her. Too much like he had a good dinner, and she could be dessert.
The icing on the cake comes when AJ calls through the open door. “Hey birthday girl, you bringing us drinks or what?”
Stupid fucker.
Dante grins at Cassie, veering her way like a homing missile. “Birthday girl, eh?”
She smiles slightly, trying to take the drinks again. “What do I owe you?”
My hand tightens over hers. “On the house.” I lean close, so nobody else can hear me over the din of music and chatter in the bar. “If you let me give you and AJ a ride back tonight.”
I can’t even believe it when she starts to pull away. “I can pay for the drinks.”
I’m still gripping her hand and feeling a surprising unwillingness to let the subject drop. “You’re not walking home in the dark on a night when everybody’s out getting stupid, with nobody but your skinny sidekick for protection.”
She presses her lips together, giving me what I figure is supposed to be a death stare for a few seconds before she caves. “Fine. My feet hurt anyway,” she says with a slight smile.
Cassie turns to go back to her table with her friend, and I turn to deal with Dante. My chest is tight and my heart is skipping around. I don’t take time to wonder why getting what I wanted has me more weirded-out than I was before.

Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance, she enjoys date night with her husband, reading Harry Potter with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series. 

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WebsiteFacebook | @ElisabethStaab | Newsletter | Goodreads

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Quick Hits: A Midsummer Night’s Romp by Katie MacAlister & Rescuing the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

I’m still being a lazy pants so here’s another edition of lazy reviews. It’s just so pretty and warm outside, frolicking in the sun has been distracting me from my blogger duties so forgive me for slacking off. Anyway, I loved both of these novels, they’ve been the perfect companion to my afternoons in the park.


A Midsummer Night’s Romp | Ainslie Brothers 2 | Katie MacAlister
Contemporary Romance | Signet | May 5, 2015
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S ROMP is leaps better than the first novel. Not that The Importance of Being Alice was bad, it was a silly and funny case of insta-love, however it was more entertaining than romantically sweeping. Its sequel has a more substantial plot and Katie MacAlister gave the illusion that the romantic development between Gunner Ainslie and Lorina Liddel was drawn out despite having met and fallen in love in only a week’s time. 
I love the flirty banter and the romantic tension between Gunner and Lorina and as per the usual case in KMacAlister’s novels, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S ROMP is abundant in awkward scenes and comedic reliefs. Aside from the wonderful romcom, I also loved the treasure hunting angle. Ainslie Castle is home to ancient Roman Villas and from the artifacts unearthed, there seems to be a treasure buried underneath the rubble. Unfortunately, someone got greedy and Gunner and Lorinda fell victim to the perpetrator’s schemes. They eventually caught the culprit and on the big reveal, the motives and mystery behind it all is rife with broken hearts and intrigue. So if you read the first one, was slightly underwhelmed and unmotivated to continue, I suggest you take a second look, Gunner and Lorinda just might win you over.

Rescuing the Bad Boy | Second Chance 2 | Jessica Lemmon

Contemporary Romance | Forever | May 26, 2015
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

I am in love with this series! Second Chance is really sticking to it’s series name because the stories so far have been oozing with sweetness I can’t handle the love fest! It’s so good it’s almost painful at times! So the prologue of RESCUING THE BAD BOY had me fuming because Donovan Pate is a jackass. I mean I don’t like virgins, although Sofie Martin is not of the slutty type, still Donny took it to Asshole Level! The upside is, we know how these types of stories work. We know that Donny is going to eat his words with a side of Great Romantic Gesture, he will be beg and grovel for Sofie, and although we also know that our lovely heroine won’t be able to resist him, watching it unfold with all the delicious drama and sexy times in between is nothing short of enthralling. 
Jessica Lemmon enriched the present by cleverly using the rich histories behind the characters and their relationship to up the stakes and contrast the past with the present. Donny and Sofie’s do-over started antagonistic because of that night and both are still haunted by that fateful evening. However the attraction between them is so undeniable, it was just a matter of time before they tumbled in each other’s arms and set off fireworks on Pate Mansion. Now after everything was said and done, I didn’t buy Donny’s reason or justification for being such an asshole to Sofie. His dad abusing him when he was a child didn’t have anything to do with him hating Sofie for giving him her V-Card and walking out on her like she had the Ebola Virus. Obviously it was enough for Sofie and I applaud her for her it. The girl’s a saint! I hold grudges so I think I would put Donny through more Hell before I can consider his slate clean. 
It goes withouth saying that I am a fan of Second Chances and RESCUING THE BAD BOY is a solid follow-up to Bringing Home The Bad Boy. It’s the nail to my Jessica-Lemmon coffin. The novels are devoid of unnecessary angst, juvenile conflicts, the characters act like adults, and the themes and situations are of the mature kind. This series is a favorite now which explains my super early review. I’m an eager beaver, no shame in that!

And I’m a few hours early, but I can’t wait to share my Thirsty Thursday Hungry Hearts (by (Un)Conventional Book Views entry for this week! 
S’mores anyone?

Talk Supe

Real Love Stories + Giveaway: Let Me Love You Again by Anna DeSteano

LET ME LOVE YOU AGAIN
Anna DeStefano
Montlake Romance
April 28, 2015
Contemporary Romance

Selena Rosenthal left behind her high school sweetheart, who was the love of her life, seven years ago.

Now, she and the once-rebellious Oliver Bowman are back in Chandlerville—after his foster father’s heart attack and Selena’s contentious divorce—to deal with her secrets, the recklessness that caused their breakup, and the almost-strangers they’ve become to each other and their families.

As soon as his father is stronger, Oliver must return to the successful career that helps support a new generation of foster kids. But he’s falling for Selena again, her daughter has a hold on his heart, and he can’t imagine leaving behind his brothers and sisters once again.

More attached by the day to their charming hometown and families, Selena and Oliver fall in love for the second time.

Has fate brought Chandlerville’s prodigal children together again…this time forever?




We got a treat today because Anna’s here to talk about a real life love story. Read up & go *awwww* with me as she shares how she met and fell in love with her hubby of 24 years.





I HEART having the chance to talk about what romance has meant to my life. Romance is so personal to me. It’s not always a fantasy or love at first site or something you know is happening when it’s happening. But for me, it’s always been a very real, very magical thing—in my life and in my books ;o)


I’m very lucky to still be with my husband of 24 years—which means we’ve known each other for going on 30. And, yes, since I met him when I was 18, that makes me O.L.D. I could talk about countless “storybook” romantic moments in our lives together. But did they all feel perfect when they were happening. Um…no. At least, not from the very start.

Because like many of the stories I write, including Let Me Love You Again, some of the best moments in my husband’s and my relationship have been when we cared for each other through something difficult. Something that once we were on the other side of it taught us that this was an amazing person I needed more of in my life.

So… Let’s take a peak at my “cliché” romance checklist:


LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? Check.


This one is easy. I met my hunk of burning Italian love when our eyes met across a crowded room (at a fraternity party my daddy told me not to go to). Another guy wouldn’t take the hint and stop hitting on me, and my now husband strolled over and rescued me. Before I knew it, we’d talked all night. And then I’d taken him home at Thanksgiving to meet my daddy. And then…

By the way, a lot of what I just described has made its way, I’ve just realized, into the first meeting of my hero and heroine in His Darling Bride (Echoes of the Heart Book 3, which won’t be out until next year). Minus the frat party, but the rest… Hmmmm. Maybe I should let my husband know?


ROMANTIC 1ST DATE? Check.

Except it was also an epic fail for most of the date. Right up until the surprise ending!

My husband (a New Yorker) learned I’d never seen a Broadway play, and he bought tickets for us to see CATS at the historic Fox Theater in Atlanta. Off we went, all dressed up and walking the few blocks from our college campus to the Fox. Holding hands on a warm Fall afternoon, we were in for a magical night… Except somewhere along the way the tickets disappeared along with his wallet, neither to be seen again.

We had to walk all the way back to his place, bummed and him steaming mad at himself and eventually me. Because he was so sure I’d never want to have anything to do with him again. So our first date turned into the warming rumbles of our first fight—until I realized why he was being such a jerk. At which point I let him have it. A kiss that is, as I told him that I wanted to go out with him, period. Whatever we ended up doing.

The play would have been nice, and I was sorry for the money he’d lost (not to mention the things in his wallet). But did he really not know how into him I was, and how amazing he already was to me? The wonder on his face, the magic of that kiss… I’m pretty sure our hearts connected honestly that night, for real, for the very first time.


An “I KNOW FOR SURE” MOMENT? Check.

We’ve had so may. I LIVE for those kinds of moments, looking back at my own love story and at the ones I’ve created for characters in books. The ones when people face conflict or challenge or hard choices together and just know, as a result of how they get through it, that they’ve met a good person whom they want in their lives forever. Not just a hunk or a perfect goddess or a sexy love connection, but also someone they can depend on to be there when they need someone the most.

One of my husband’s and my “for sure” moments was the time when we were still in college, and we were having lunch with my roommate. She was on full scholarship and financial aide, and her checks weren’t there on time. If she didn’t pay her tuition and fees that day, she was going to lose her next semester’s schedule and her housing. And she didn’t have the money. She was in tears, frantic. And this was a girl my husband barely knew.

But what did my hero do? He whipped out his checkbook for the account his parents kept for him and wrote her a check for pretty much all the money he had to live on for the next four months or so. When she said she couldn’t take it, my guy told her he trusted her to pay him back whenever her aid and scholarship money came in. She burst into tears with relief, and so did I. He very nearly did, too.

Did he do it to impress me? Maybe a little, he later confided. But he’s also the kind of guy who can’t watch someone else suffering, and not do whatever he can to help. I realized it that day. He’s proven it to me time and again through our lives together. I’d found someone I could depend on, despite the cost and risk to himself, to put whatever he had to on the line for someone he loved—and someone he barely knew.

Did I find myself a real life hero, or what?!


You definitely did! Thanks for sharing such a lovely story with us, Anna!

Anna DeStefano is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Mimosa Lane novels and the Atlanta Heroes series. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, she’s lived in the South her entire life. Her background as a care provider and adult educator in the world of crisis and grief recovery lends itself to the deeper psychological themes of every story she writes. A wife and mother, she currently writes in a charming northeast suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, not all that different from her characters’ beloved Chandlerville. She is also a workshop and keynote speaker, a writing coach, and a freelance editor.

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A Shot of YA: Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone + Print Giveaway

Series: Stand-alone(?)
Format: eGalley
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Genre: MYA-Contemporary Romance

BLURB:
What is Normal?

For Trevor normal was fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves Trevor with no band, no teammates and no chance of graduating. It’s kinda hard to ace your finals when you’ve been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutor—those beautiful blue eyes catching every last flaw.

For Everly normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor’s daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowly tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.

QUOTABLE QUOTE:
It was about meeting someone who kind of knocked you on your ass. A girl who wasn’t anything like I imagined. A girl who was hiding stuff, and just like me, she was hoping no one would notice.
So maybe we could hide together, or maybe we could fix each other. [Trevor]

Oh my heart! Juliana Stone, why do you always give it such a firm but gentle squeeze?? You guys! SOME KIND OF NORMAL is my first Summer-ish read and it. Was. Wonderful! In case you didn’t notice the 5-cauldron rating. And if you haven’t tried Juliana Stone’s contemporary romances (there’s a couple of FREEBIES on Amazon), I suggest you do! Her stories are always relatable, realistic, and heartfelt, you’ll come back for more to get the feels! 
So I don’t know if SOME KIND OF NORMAL is part of a series or what. A sequel was mentioned in the end of Boys Like You, and Trevor was first introduced there… That said, this novel can be read as stand-alone, although I suggest you still read both… for the feels! Anyway, Trevor had it rough. He just came out of a coma after getting into an drunk driving accident and now things are sorta, kinda, normal with a few kinks that requires a lot of adjustment, positivity, and resilience from our young leading man. 
Trevor Lewis’ struggle was very believable to me. I appreciated that he wasn’t angry all the time, he didn’t dwell on the things he used to have, things he used to and can’t do anymore because of the after effects of his accident. I find it normal for him to be frustrated at times, but almost losing his life gave him some perspective, and helped him understand the difference between concern and control. Trevor’s a good guy overall, I expected him to pull the “victim” card but instead he surprised me by still maintaining a good vibes attitude. Suffice to say that Trevor wasn’t in a dark place that he failed to spot Everly’s need for friendship and empathy.
Everly (I love her name!) Jenkins was the pastor’s daughter and everyone put her in this “perfect box”. What people don’t know is her “perfect” family is going through a rough patch. For once, I love a young adult heroine who didn’t make every stupid thing about her! Anyway, Everly’s issue is about her parents’ crumbling marriage and I was astounded with how matured she handled the situation. I think it’s expected that Everly had her moments. After all, she’s only 17 and is forced to share the burden of her parent’s issues. But on those tense confrontational moments, Everly was very mature and even wise for her years. And amidst all of her personal problems, Everly still found it in her to extend the same empathy Trevor gave her in the beginning. And fixing each other is exactly what they did. 
I had a personal connection with SOME KIND OF NORMAL, this story hit so close to home, it set me in a melancholic/contemplatative mood after reading it. These kids are dealt sour lemons and I love how they turned it into a sweet and tangy lemonade. There was just one part that I felt was unneccessary, I don’t think the dirty laundry here should’ve been aired in that manner. But for the sake of dramatic tension, I’ll give it a pass. Fans of Katie McGarry will totally get into this series, it’s not as angsty as Pushing The Limits, but just as hard hitting. I just love this (series) so much I hope there’s another on the way!

Talk Supe

Suped Feature: At The Stars by Elisabeth Staab & The New Adult Tropes

At The Stars
Elisabeth Staab
New Adult Contemporary Romance
May 5, 2015

A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND
I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.
A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO
For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her.

All at once she bites her lip and I see her going for the drinks, but I slap my hand over hers. “You shouldn’t be walking home late. It’s dangerous.”
She gives me a look like she’s being patient with me. “It was good enough to get here. I’ll have AJ with me. We’ll be fine.”
She gestures toward the patio door where her buddy is probably waiting for her to return with the drinks. Dante chooses that moment to come inside, and I don’t like how he’s looking at her. Too much like he had a good dinner, and she could be dessert.
The icing on the cake comes when AJ calls through the open door. “Hey birthday girl, you bringing us drinks or what?”
Stupid fucker.
Dante grins at Cassie, veering her way like a homing missile. “Birthday girl, eh?”
She smiles slightly, trying to take the drinks again. “What do I owe you?”
My hand tightens over hers. “On the house.” I lean close, so nobody else can hear me over the din of music and chatter in the bar. “If you let me give you and AJ a ride back tonight.”
I can’t even believe it when she starts to pull away. “I can pay for the drinks.”
I’m still gripping her hand and feeling a surprising unwillingness to let the subject drop. “You’re not walking home in the dark on a night when everybody’s out getting stupid, with nobody but your skinny sidekick for protection.”
She presses her lips together, giving me what I figure is supposed to be a death stare for a few seconds before she caves. “Fine. My feet hurt anyway,” she says with a slight smile.
Cassie turns to go back to her table with her friend, and I turn to deal with Dante. My chest is tight and my heart is skipping around. I don’t take time to wonder why getting what I wanted has me more weirded-out than I was before.

Amazon | ARe | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo


I love Elisabeth Staab, she had me trying and reading a few things that I won’t necessarily gravitate to, but end up liking. So even if New Adult isn’t my cuppa, I trust her enough to know that I will at the very least enjoy AT THE STARS. She’s here today to talk about NA tropes this genre is notorious for. 


A Tattooed Bad Boy, a Teenage Runaway, and a Wounded Heroine Walk Into a Bar

(Look, Mom, I wrote a new adult novel!)
By Elisabeth Staab



Okay, so first? Thank you to Braine for letting me come on the blog. Second? I honestly don’t think my mom will ever read any of my books, and that’s probably best for everyone involved. 😉

So. New adult. I started reading the genre a little while after it emerged, I guess, and I found I loved it for all the reasons I found it so heartbreaking to read: it took me back to a difficult and confusing time in my life. YA is similar, of course, except the characters in NA are largely on their own and struggling to find their place in the world. The stakes are higher, in theory, with little or no parental safety net.

It’s a genre that tackles many complex issues, and some that I think are particularly important during that early-adult period in a person’s life. Sarina Bowen’s recent release, The Shameless Hour, does an excellent job of casting a light on slut shaming, and Robin York’s Deeper similarly takes on “revenge porn.”

The emotional punch of these kinds of topics are why I thought I’d never want to write NA (not that all NA is angsty). As much as I loved reading these books, my own college-aged years were difficult, and I didn’t want to revisit that time period even in a fictional sense.

Next thing I knew I was writing At the Stars.

Cassie and Jake came to me a little over two years ago, in the middle of the night. I guess that’s fitting, since that’s when they meet. Cassie is stranded by the road in the dark, and Jake saves her.

I resisted writing At the Stars as hard as Jake resisted his attraction to Cassie, which is probably why it took two years to finish.

Is it an “average” new adult novel? I think yes and no.

Some of the things that you might expect to find in an average new adult novel do not appear in At the Stars. There’s not much sex, because Cassie is an assault survivor and Jake spends most of the book trying to convince himself he is not going to sleep with her. Anyone who’s read my adult novels knows I don’t shy away from writing explicit love scenes when the moment calls for it, but for these characters it didn’t fit (it’s character dependent, really. I suspect there will be more on-page sex in the sequel, because those characters have a different story to tell).

There will also be no billionaires in At the Stars, which according to my recent Amazon searches are also common in NA right now (and where are these kids getting all their money? When I was in my 20’s I lived on Ramen and cold pizza). And no step-siblings, which might be a bummer, because apparently those books are selling like hotcakes.

There is plenty of classic angst in At the Stars (one of Jake’s scenes makes me cry whenever I read it, because I’m a sap like that). There’s a wounded heroine—I say wounded rather than damaged, because Cassie is a survivor, and we meet her in At the Stars when she is in the process of picking up a life that recently fell apart. She’s healing, and while she makes some very human mistakes (as all 21 year old girls do), she fights for her happiness, which is what we all want, ultimately.

And then there’s Jake, who I love beyond all reason. He’s probably one of my favorite heroes that I’ve written. He ran away from home as a teenager, and soon after there was a terrible accident where a friend died. He blames himself. He tries so hard to keep the world away, and by the time he meets Cassie he doesn’t even realize how much he’s dying for someone to love.

So as many times as I stopped and put the book aside because it didn’t fit anywhere in my to-do list, Jake pushed me to pick it back up. And then finally I saw the picture that would become the cover for At the Stars, and I was stuck. I had to finish.

And now, here we are. Wounded heroine? Check. Bad boy who ran away from home? Check. Angst? Check. A little humor? Check. Gay sidekick who used to be a male escort? I wasn’t aware, but I read something recently about the prevalence of gay BFFs in new adult. I swear I hadn’t noticed that trend, but anyway, Cassie has one of those too.

Happy ending? I don’t write them any other way.

Happy reading, everyone!

Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance, she enjoys date night with her husband, reading Harry Potter with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series. 

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WebsiteFacebook | @ElisabethStaab | Newsletter | Goodreads

Talk Supe

Liked It: The Delivery by Mara White

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: January 28, 2015 
Publisher: Heightsbound
Source: Author 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Lana Finch is a twenty-five-year-old social worker. She believes wholeheartedly in saving the world—one broken kid at a time. Lana is headstrong, she’s righteous and she’ll let nothing stand in her way. Except for maybe her entire family that’s financially dependent on her.

Enter Mozey Cruz, the eighteen-year-old juvenile delinquent assigned to her charge. He’s an illusive artist, he’s misunderstood, and he’s a natural born troublemaker.

Their love is illegal, much like Mozey’s undocumented status in the States. So Lana lets him go even though it might be the worst mistake she’ll ever make.

But destiny has a way of catching up with us even when we run from it.

Los Angeles————
————Detroit
Tijuana————
————Mexico City

But first, Lana has to find him before she can deliver him.

Mara White. She’s one of those authors whose work I can’t help but read because she doesn’t give two cents about conventions and comfort zones. And when you’ve read more romance novels then you can count, tales of HEA become monochromatic. So I sometimes tend to take on the opposite ends of the spectrum to sensitize my heartstrings again: either I read something that is super light, bubbly, even clean or silly; or I go dark and pick up something offbeat with themes and situations you’re more likely to see in the news than in a romance novel. 
THE DELIVERY is tamer than MWhite’s debut series in that the heat is low, but fully compensated by tight sexual tension. However the themes are still provocative: a social worker, Lana Finch, falls for her case, 18yo hot Mexican delinquent and graffiti artist, Mozley deal Cruz, seven years her junior. Forbidden love, ageist issues, citizenship and deportation problems, cross country love affair, THE DELIVERY promises quite the romance adventure. 
0%-35%: I loved the beginning. The premise was set perfectly, the conflict was stated, and the relationship between Lana and Mozley is tense due to their strong sexual attraction to each other. For the most part I was waiting for these two to mess up and start complicating things already. Then surprise! Surprise! Lana and Mozley parted ways way before anything can happen between them. They moved on with their lives, got into relationships that’s more appropriate for them. Totally unexpected and had me blurting out What’s next?!
Part 2 35%-60%: Things went South. Meaning the chase between Lana and Mozley moved to Mexico as the latter searched for his long lost sister and got into even more trouble with the law. Moz then called Lana for help, naturally Lana went because she’s been waiting for the perfect excuse to see Mozley again under official business pretenses even if she’s no longer his social worker. 
And this is where Lana lost me. She’s always been this level headed, ambitious, goal oriented lady so I was so disappointed when she started acting like one of her cases on a situation where she needs to be in her best form! Also, I didn’t find enough justification for her juvenile behavior with people she barely knew. Speaking of people, Lana met these crazy gay couple while she’s in Mexico. I also didn’t know how to feel about these characters and failed to grasp what their purpose is in the story. Were they supposed to bring comedic relief? 
60%-90%: Lana and Mozley reunited but the quest is far from over. They’re now on the hunt to find Moz’s long lost sister. Who they eventually found, but not without major complications. The whole thing became national news, and our couple became front page celebrities. This reunion also shed light on Moz’s backstory, much to Lana’s disappointment. Her hero isn’t the mad she thought he was, giving her pause and questioning the entire thing.
90%-HEA: Naturally things were set to right and all is forgiven. I’m happy that Lana and Moz’s odyssey was finished and it seems Moz finally found a family in Lana. Still there are some loose strings, but I’ll just assume that with Lana’s problem solving skills, it will also be set to right.
Overall, I liked THE DELIVERY. It was very low angst given the very complicated situation and the hurdles Lana and Moz went through. I also enjoyed how the story wasn’t about sex, MWhite really explored the depth and different factes of Lana and Moz’s relationship, if they survived this type of odyssey, I’m sure they’ll survive everything else. And as I stated above, the themes incorporated in the story are not the norm so if you’re looking for diversity, THIS IS IT! 
THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS 
A weekly meme hosted by Lexie at (Un)Conventional Reviews.
I love Mexican food, the spicier the better.  That said, the scene below had me laughing hard. Lava chips anyone?

Suped Feature: The First Kiss by Grace Burrowes

The First Kiss
Grace Burrowes
Sweetest Kisses 2
February 3, 2015
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Contemporary Romance
Classical pianist Vera Waltham is recovering from a bad break up by taking a hiatus with her daughter in the Damson Valley countryside. She’s content with her music, and has no interest in complicating her life with further attempts at romance.
Attorney James Knightley is a numbers guy who reads contractual fine print for lunch, and wants nothing to do with damsels, in distress or otherwise. Nobody is more surprised than James when he falls for Vera Waltham, and the only contract on James’s mind when it comes to Vera is holy matrimony.
**If you like, or even love, second chance romances, family drama, witty kids, sensitive men, with a dash of legal issues, then Grace Burrowes’ Sweetest Kisses series is perfect for you!**


“May I ask you a favor?”
“Of course.”
“Play the piano for me?”
Nowhere near play with me, but this was Vera. “You want to do a lesson now?”
“This isn’t a lesson. I’m asking you to play for me, James. Get out your old favorites, the friends you turn to when you’re heartsore and soul weary, the consolation pieces that aren’t for everybody else. You play them for yourself.”
She curled up across the room in a pap-san chair and pulled an old quilt around her.
Could he do this?
If Vera had asked James to go to bed with her, he would have known he was competent to bring her pleasure, to satisfy her most intimate wishes and secret, sexual desires. But this? To play? For her?
She wanted music that had called to him, spoken to his soul and become a part of him. Pieces of his heart.
James set his hands on the keyboard, took a slow, deep breath, and began to play. He played from memory, his fingers finding the notes easily in the dim light. He could play this waltz with his eyes closed, and he had, many times. He hadn’t heard it since the night his mother had died, but she’d loved it too, and his hands would never forget how to craft the phrases and melodies.
“Oh, James, the Chopin.” Vera signed her pleasure at his choice, and James’s heart sighed with her. He could do this for her, soothe her with music the way she’d made music to soothe and delight so many others. The waltz shifted from a work he’d set aside years ago – a grieving piece – to a gift from him to Vera.
Only to Vera.
When the last rippling rise of notes died away, Vera remained curled up, eyes closed, mouth slightly parted.
James had played her to sleep. He took a moment to memorize the sight of her, safe and at peace under the quilt his mother had made for her hope chest.
Then he thought back over other pieces he’d set aside, the ones that were too sweet or too sorrowful or both, and he began to play again.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

Follow Grace
Website | Facebook@GraceBurrowes | Goodreads

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Quick Hits: All of Me by Lisa Renee Jones & Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

 

Yup! I’m starting this week in a VERY lazy fashion. I hope you have an awesome week, Supies!

All of Me | Inside Out 6 | Lisa Renee Jones
Erotic Suspense | February 2, 2015 | Gallery Books

I’m up to my neck with happily ever afters and I LOVE IT! Chris Merit and Sara MacMillan is one of my favorite kinky couples and I’m so happy they finally got to say their “I Do’s”! ALL OF ME, the last Inside Out Series novel was short, super sweet, very spicy, with a hint of suspense to keep us wanting for more! 

I love that LRJones didn’t make ALL OF ME unnecessarily long by including other characters’ storylines that would’ve muddied up this sweet story. It was entirely about Chris and Sara and I can’t help but swoon and be swept by how much they love each other. Yes, I am jealous because who doesn’t want to have a man/hubby like Chris Merit?! Forget his movie star good looks and fat bank account, the man is a good lover and a better friend, there’s not much to complain about! Same goes for Sara, she has been Chris’ rock, wall, and ground, Chris would be stupid to let her go.

Fans of the Inside Out will definitely love this ending. Also don’t fret because this world is far from over, Chris and Sara might have bid us goodbye but according to LRJones, Ella’s story, Sara’s friend and the original owner of Rebecca’s Journals, is getting her own story soon! It’s crazy suspenseful I can tell, I’m getting a white slavery/Euro mob vibe from it and I can’t wait to ride this new roller coaster LRJones has in store for us! Also I hope Mark Compton’s novellas continue, I’d like to read more of his relationship with Crystal and hopefully they get to say their I Do’s soon too!



The Novels
The Novellas





Bringing Home The Bad Boy | Second Chances 1 | Jessica Lemmon

Contemporary Romance | January 27, 2015 | Forever

Who doesn’t love second chance romances?! BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY reminded me a lot of my fave small town series, Bad Boys of Crystal Lake (Juliana Stone), with it’s small town feel, characters that has intricate histories, touching romances, and like the series name, a second chance to finding happily ever after.
Now BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY had me all torn up. See the couple are connected by Rae, Evan Downey’s deceased wife and Charlotte Harris’ best friend. On one hand, I feel uncomfortable about their relationship because it felt incestuous and made me wonder if they’ve always been attracted to each other. On the other hand, Jessica Lemmon effectively depicted Evan’s mournful state over Rae’s death and Charlie’s grief and guilt over losing her bestie and “encroaching” on her family. 
Evan and Charlie’s relationship might not have had a “clean” start in that they come with a lot of unique baggage from the beginning. I loved that part though because it felt very realistic, and I saw how much Evan and Charlie loved Rae. And aside from their heartfelt courtship, both Evan and Charlie did the proper steps to validate their feelings for each other and making sure it has permanence than a mere hook-up. On a personal note, Evan just SMOLDERED throughout BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY, Charlie (and myself) didn’t really stand a chance against his charms. 
JLemmon, you made a fan out of me, rest assured I willbe following Second Chances closely.