Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday Tracks: Me, Myself & I

What's up party people?!  I heard today's song selection for the first time this morning and fell in love with the hook.  It got me pumped to face the day.  The rap part of the song is, as the yutes (10 points if you know where that's from) say, aight.  Check it out and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

@TastyBookTours Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

Title:  I Wish You Were Mine
Series:  Oxford Series Book 2
Author:  Lauren Layne
Release Date:  February 2, 2016
Publisher:  Loveswept 

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

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"I thought I might find you out here," he said quietly as he took a sip of his own champagne.

Mollie snuck a look out of the corner of her eye. He’d come looking for her? She hadn’t thought anyone had noticed she’d slipped away.

“I messed up the toast,” she said quietly.

“Nah,” he said, stretching his long legs out in front of him and slouching down a bit to get comfortable. “Just think how many people you educated on the mating ritual of parasitic worms. They should be thanking you.”

Mollie groaned. “It was supposed to be romantic. I did a paper about them for my systematics and biotics diversity final. They’re unusual because they’re bonded for life. Most organisms sleep around or, you know, the male dies after mating—”

Jackson winced, and Mollie wished she could wither and die just like a male bee.

Mollie knew she had lots of useless trivia in her head, but she didn’t normally go spouting it out like this. Not that she was a smooth talker or anything, but she was usually pretty quiet and normal, if a bit nerdy.

But tonight she felt . . . off. Starting with the fact that the dress Madison had picked for her was the 
exact color of Mollie’s complexion, so she looked like a mole rat. And then there was the fact that she’d tripped a bit as she’d been going down the aisle, courtesy of the five-inch stilettos her sister had insisted on.

Add in an awkward maid-of-honor speech where she’d gone on for a good five minutes about Schistosoma mansoni worms and how they mated for life, just like the bride and groom, and . . . oh God. Why had nobody stopped her?

Mollie scrunched down on the bench with a moan as she took a sip of champagne. “Madison’s going to kill me.”

Madison was in a mood anyway. She’d been a bridezilla from the moment Jackson had put a ring on it, but Mollie had figured when the actual day came around, her sister would relax.


She’d been pissed about the flowers being ivory instead of true white to match her dress. Had bitched about the fact that Lily, one of her bridesmaids, had styled her hair in a way that was too close to the bride’s style.

Then Madison had vented about how the bracelet Jackson’s mother had shyly presented as Maddie’s “something old” was dumpy.

That one had gotten under Mollie’s skin. Mrs. Burke was the closest thing to a mother that either of them had. Their own mother had died of an overdose years ago, and Mollie would have given a kidney to have a surrogate as lovely and kind as Jackson’s mom.

“Maddie won’t kill you,” Jackson said, putting an arm around the back of the park bench and smiling down at her. “She loves you, even if she doesn’t get your whole triple-major, science-camp vibe.”

Mollie withheld a snort. That was an understatement. She loved her sister, but the closest Madison ever got to science was her monthly chemical peel.

Still, Mollie felt a fierce need to make sure that Jackson Burke knew she was an adult. “I’m twenty. I do not go to science camp.”

He lifted an eyebrow, and Mollie pointed her champagne flute at him. “Okay, I used to go to science camp. But I’m not the one who used the word ‘lactation’ in relation to a mermaid.”

“Hey, you’re not the only one who took bio in college.”

“But you were a communications major. Journalism,” she said.

He gave her a surprised look, and Mollie looked away, mentally kicking herself. That was exactly what Jackson Burke didn’t need—another groupie stalker.

She snuck another glance and saw that he’d slumped even farther, matching her own crappy posture, and Mollie was surprised to see that he looked . . . exhausted.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Because she couldn’t not ask. Not after she’d seen the weariness around his eyes, the slight tension in his shoulders.

Jackson turned his head so their eyes locked and he frowned before returning his attention to the mermaid. “Nobody ever asks me that.”

Her heart squeezed at the lost note in his voice. It was strange to think of someone as big and important as Jackson Burke being lonely, but somehow . . . somehow she knew he was. Even here, among all these people, he was somehow alone. Apart.

Like her.

Can't wait?  Buy It Now:  Amazon l Barnes & Noble l iTunes l Kobo l Google Play

Giveaway is hosted by the author, Lauren Layne

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Lauren Layne is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

 Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This one's for my South Florida folks: @Marissa_Meyer is coming to @BooksandBooks!

Yes! You read that correctly.  MARISSA MEYER will be stopping by my favorite indie bookstore TODAY to talk about Stars Above.  *throws confetti*  I'm beside myself with anticipation.  Here are some important things you need to know about the event before you head down to Coral Gables:

  1. Each customer will receive a bag with goodies inside it, including one number card and one raffle ticket.
  2. The number card determines where you sit and your order in the signing line.
  3. The better numbers are reserved for people who purchase books from the store.
  4. Saving seats will not be permitted. If you wish to sit with friends or family, please be sure to have numbers within the same row.
  5. Raffle tickets are for prizes that will be drawn after the event, but before the signing.
  6. If you purchased Stars Above from Books & Books previously, please bring your receipt. No purchases without a receipt will be honored.
  7. Marissa will sign any of her books that you bring but, to keep things going a little faster, will only personalize ONE book.  Feel free to bring the entire series but, only one book will be personalized.

Hope to see you guys there!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

@TastyBookTours Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Title:  Mercury Striking
Series: Book 1 of The Scorpius Syndrome series
Author:  Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date:  January 26, 2016
Publisher:  Zebra


With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury...

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…
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Jax rubbed his gritty eyes and left Lynne in his room, already planning how to best use her. He strode down the worn concrete stairs to what had always been a crappy alcove that served as entrance to the upper two floors of the rentcontrolled brick building. The first floor had consisted of a free medical clinic, soup kitchen, and offices for attorneys down on their luck. When he’d created the Vanguard headquarters, he’d changed the clinic into a triage infirmary, the soup kitchen into a soldier cafeteria, and the offices into his war rooms. He’d tossed legal books out in favor of weapons.

Well, he’d actually burned them for fuel. The old laws no longer mattered. Then he’d promptly punched doorways between the three areas for better access.

He hit the alcove, turned to go through the new doorway to the soup kitchen, which was dead empty at the hour of dawn. The smell of burned tomatoes followed him as he skirted tables and rickety lawn chairs for another new doorway, this one to the former waiting room of the clinic.

Banging echoed from the back of the suite, so he crossed behind the dented reception desk. He found his man in a room that used to be the lunch room of the clinic. A blue halogen lantern gave off an otherworldly glow in the small space. “How much B do we have now?” he asked.

Tace Justice, dressed in full combat gear, glanced up from a microscope they’d found at a junior high several months ago. It rested on a surprisingly smooth wooden table in the center of the room, across from a counter lined with other medical supplies. “Finished the inoculations for this month, except for yours, and this is it. We’re out, kaput, done.” He stood and grabbed a syringe. “Since you’re here, let’s wrap this up.”

Jax grimaced and tilted his head to the side. 

The needle slid in, and fire flamed through his neck. “You have the finesse of a fucking elephant,” he muttered. 

Tace shrugged. “I was a field medic, not a doctor or a nurse. Take it and shut up, or go to the main infirmary for civilians in the center of Vanguard territory.”

Jax scrubbed both hands down his face and glanced at a child’s drawing of a distorted blond guy with his head open taped to the wall. “Is that supposed to be you?”

“Yep.” The Texas twang deepened. “Not sure what it means, and the open head is a little creepy, but it’s nice the kids found some crayons.”

“Lena?” Jax asked with a sigh.

“Of course.” 

The little girl often found a way to wander into military headquarters to give presents, and Jax had a drawer in his quarters of oddly shaped and painted rocks she’d showered on him. “They need to do a better job of keeping the kids inner territory.” 

“Then you should go inner territory more so folks can see you,” Tace said.

Jax avoided going beyond his command unless absolutely necessary and stuck to the perimeter of the seven square blocks, making sure their defenses stayed shored up. Barbed wire fencing protected the entire territory, which was a trick he’d learned from serving at several military bases, and he didn’t want to discuss going inner territory. “We’ve been getting shot up with B for months. Is there any chance our own bodies will take over production of the vitamin so we don’t need the shots?”

“Hell if I know, and so far, the new data hasn’t helped. Nobody knows about Scorpius.” Tace winced. “I can just affirm from my own review of the public documents initially sent out by the CDC that vitamin B, in this concentrated form, provides a protection so that if somebody contracts Scorpius, they might live through it. The B seems to keep the bacteria from spreading in the body. By testing those who have confessed to being survivors, the CDC discovered the Scorpius bacteria localizes just in saliva and blood.” Tension rode his words. “Of course, most survivors don’t tell me the truth in our community, so I don’t know who has been infected.”

In his past life, Tace had been an army medic after having grown up on a Texas ranch with several siblings, all of whom had succumbed to Scorpius. Now he gave off a vibe of being one with the universe and at peace. But he was a damn good medic who at least somewhat understood Scorpius and vitamin B.

Jax grimaced as thunder rolled again. Shit, they needed rain but not bad wind. “It’s a vitamin,” he muttered. “Vitamin fuckin’ B.”

Tace blew out air. “The B vitamins deal with dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which has something to do with hormones and empathy. That’s all I know.”

Jax scratched his stinging neck. “Have you had much of a chance to go through the data we took from the CDC outpost and contracted labs in the area?”

“We went through it for medical data, but some of it was pretty confusing.” Tace stretched his shoulders. “Why?”

Jax rubbed his chin. “Lynne Harmony thinks she might be able to find a concoction that creates B in the blood so we won’t need constant injections. She’s not telling me everything, but I think she was truthful about that.”

Tace stilled. “Interesting. The research I read did talk about B quite a bit, but some of it might as well have been in Sanskrit.”

“You don’t know much.”

“Probably not nearly as much as Lynne Harmony does.” Tace turned and leaned back against the counter, scattering papers. “Is it true? Do you have her?”

“Yeah.” Jax looked at the collections of drugs, chemicals, and test tubes, which had already been in place in the building. They’d made good use of the facilities, mainly because the compound was situated perfectly to protect and defend. A row of warehouses lined the rear of his territory, backed by an old street and several worn railroad tracks. Then many apartment buildings congregated around an old elementary school that now served as the main hospital for his people. Several businesses took up space with a church in the center. 

The seven square blocks also had held a food distribution center by the warehouses, which was now well guarded. He’d immediately run barbed wire around the entire territory inside the public roads while barricading it with semi trucks, vans, cars, and piles of tires on the roads outside. 

Yet an attack was coming. He could feel it. “Do you have the facilities necessary to study her blood, if she gives it?”

“If?” Tace asked slowly, crossing his arms.

“Answer the question,” Jax ordered his chief medic. Now there were three doctors inner territory, but he trusted Tace most. They’d known each other for almost six months and had fought, killed, and nearly died next to each other during rounds of attacks. The six-foot blond had been on leave from the army when the shit had hit the fan. “Please answer.”

“No.” Tace rubbed his square jaw. “We don’t even remotely have the resources to study her blood, so there’s no reason to take any of it. Did you see her heart? Is it really neon blue like in the pictures?”

“Yes.” The CDC and newspapers had shown pictures of Lynne’s heart before the epidemic had spread. “If I can somehow find you the right equipment to take her blood, maybe you can create a cure?” Jax asked.

Tace snorted. “Sure. I mean, the CDC and some of the smartest doctors on the planet were unable to do so, but why the hell not?” He gestured around the makeshift lab. “Without electricity and millions of dollars of high-tech equipment, the most I can do here is look under an old microscope. There’s no way for us to find any sort of cure in her blood, even if there is somehow a cure that the real CDC missed.”

Jax exhaled slowly. “No need to be an asshole. Just think about it.” The second they lost hope of survival, they lost everything. “Hope is the dream of a waking man.” 

Tace snorted. “I like that quote better than the we’re all gonna die quotes you spouted yesterday.”

Jax rubbed his aching temple. “I was moody, and now you seem concerned.” Tace was as good-natured as they got, and Jax relied on him to cheer up the troops when necessary, which was more often than not.

“Concerned?” Tace slowly nodded. “Based on the rumors we’ve heard, you’ve brought a woman rumored to be carrying something more dangerous than the Ebola, AIDS, and smallpox viruses combined with the plague, meningitis, and flesh-eating bacteria into our barely secured home base, and you’re keeping her at command headquarters.”

“Her knowledge is our hope. Our only hope.” Jax rolled his shoulders. “You know as well as I do that there a million unfounded rumors out there. Yeah, they say she’s carrying a new, even more deadly mutation of the contagion, but you know that’s probably not true. We know for sure she’s the one person still alive with the best chance of finding a cure.” Though he’d expected resistance from his men, he hadn’t thought Tace would be reluctant. “This could turn the tide.”

Can't wait?  Buy It Now:
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About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes contemporary romances, dark paranormal romances, and romantic suspense novels.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day—or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about..

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson

Title:  Against the Wall
Author:  Jill Sorenson
Genre:  New Adult, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Publication Date:  February 2, 2016
Series Info:  Standalone
Cover Artist:  N/A
Who/What/Why/Where/How:  I was scrolling through Tasty Book Tours' upcoming events and the cover for this book caught my eye.  NetGalley was nice enough to provide me with an advanced copy to review.
Where to Buy:  Amazon

Fans of Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Tammara Webber will love Against the Wall! As teenagers, they fell for each other despite the odds. But now that Eric and Meghan are all grown up, they’re reunited by fierce passion and dangerous secrets.

Eric Hernandez is the bad boy of every schoolgirl’s fantasies—and every mother’s nightmares. But after serving time for manslaughter, he’s ready to turn his life around. He just needs a chance to prove himself as a professional tattoo artist. The one thing that keeps him going is the memory of the innocent beauty he loved and left behind.

Meghan Young’s world isn’t as perfect as it looks. The preacher’s daughter is living a lie, especially now that Eric is back. Tougher, harder, and sexier than ever, he might be the only person she can trust. But there’s no telling what he’ll do to protect her if he learns the truth, and that’s a risk Meghan won’t let him take. And yet, back in the arms of the troubled boy with the artist’s soul, Meghan can’t help surrendering to the man he’s become.
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This one's going to be short and sweet.  I liked Against the Wall.  Did I love it?  No. HOWEVER I had enough interest in the story and characters that I managed to finish the story in one sitting.  Contradictory?  Perhaps but, there were certain parts of the book that had your girl like...

Other than those questionable moments, it was a decent read.  I liked Ms. Sorenson's characters (some a little more than others), I liked the setting and the overall story/plot was good.  I also particularly liked how she used a little Spanish here and there throughout the story AND that it was properly used.

Short story shorter, if you're into reformed bad boys and the ladies that love them then you'll most likely dig this book.

Favorite Scenes/Lines:

Hilarious exchange between Meghan and Kelsea:
"Do you want to go to the bathroom or rest?" I ask.

"I want to pee in private."

"I've seen you pee before. I wasn't impressed."

"Don't lie. You had vagina envy."

I lean against the doorjamb, smiling. "I wouldn't mind seeing your dad pee."

This gets her. She doubles over and laughs weakly. "You're sick."

I move closer and put my arm around her. "You're sick. Or are you just pretending? What an attention whore."

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Also Reviewed By:
Publisher's Weekly
Harlequin Junkie (3/5)
Novel Addiction (4/5)