Spotlight + Giveaway: Locked by Eva Morgan

Friday, February 28, 2014

Locked (Locked, #1)
Title: Locked (Locked #1)
Author: Eva Morgan
Date of Publication: February 10, 2014
Genre: contemporary NA romance

When eighteen-year-old Irene Adler meets her new neighbor, the gorgeous, brilliant, and arrogant Sherlock Holmes, she never expects him to be the one to make her feel like life is worth living again. Ever since her sister's death, she's been addicted to risk-taking as a way to deal with her depression, and Sherlock quickly becomes the biggest risk she's ever taken.

Locked is the story of a broken girl and the genius who gives her life back to her. It's the story of a witty asshole who's never known love, and the girl who shows him what love means. It's the story of an unexpected connection, two people who save each other, and the importance of seeing the goodness underneath.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords

Excerpt

The door opens and my new neighbor is a vampire.

He’s nearly a foot taller than me. Unruly ink-black hair, and a face made of knife angles. If I were obnoxious, I might use the term 'shockingly attractive'. Or 'terrifyingly handsome'. 'Holy mother of balls' would also be an option. His eyes are crystalized, glittering, and they get even more diamondlike when he sees the casserole.

“Yes,” he hisses.

I swallow. “I’m glad you like casserole so much…”

“What? No. No.” He waves at me distractedly and yells into the house, “Casserole, Mycroft! Not potato salad!”

There’s an echoed “damn” from the living room.

“Knew it the moment I saw the garden gnome,” says the vampire to the universe at large before directing his voice back to the living room. “That means I get the upstairs bedroom.”

“Um…sorry.” I always apologize to people when I have no idea what to say. Safest thing to do.

“Apology accepted.”

He has a British accent. The girls at Aspen High will lose their minds.

“Wait, no,” I say. “I mean, I wasn’t actually apologizing for anything.”

“I assumed you were apologizing in advance for boring me with the standard introductions, which I would actually prefer to get over with, so: I’m Sherlock Holmes, you’re someone whose last name is Adler, going by the surname on your mailbox. No, I don’t find it a particularly lovely neighborhood. No, you’re not invited inside for tea. Goodbye.”

And the door slams.

I check myself to see whether or not I’ve been hit by a truck, because that’s what it feels like. No truck. Nobody tasing me, either, which was my next guess. I shuffle the casserole to my left arm and buzz the doorbell two more times.

The vampire answers it again. No, not vampire. Sherlock. He’s pale like one, though. It makes his eyes even more alarming.

“We’re not big fans of Girl Scout cookies,” he says and tries to shut the door again, but I stick my foot in the way.

“What the hell is your problem?”

Sometimes my anger outpaces my anxiety and later I’ll regret it, but not yet.

The person with easily the weirdest name I’ve ever heard raises an eyebrow. “Did you really want the tea that badly?”

“No, it’s just—we made this for you. Take it.” If I return without the casserole, there will be questions. Mom needs to think I got along with the neighbor. Mom needs to think I get along with everyone. “And you could say thanks.”

“Thanks,” Sherlock says like he’s never heard of the word before and takes the casserole, sniffing it like he’s never heard of a casserole either.

“It’s not laced with arsenic or anything.”

“If it were, that would make you much more interesting than I believe you are.” His eyes flick up, and I might as well have just slid through an MRI machine.

I should be nice. Sherlock is reading very low on the social skills meter. Someone like him probably doesn’t get a lot of nice. “Okay. So…you’re my age, looks like. My first name is Irene, by the way. Not on the mailbox. You’re transferring to Aspen High, right?”

He does this pained twitch. “I’ll save both of us some time. I don’t do this.” He gestures.

“What, talking?”

“Not about things that don’t matter, no. We’re not going to be friends, I’m not going to come round your house after school to do homework, if you ask to borrow sugar I won’t give you any. Now goodbye.”

The door bounces off my foot again. At this rate I’ll need crutches. “Yeah, no, I don’t want your sugar. I just thought it would be nice, since we’re neighbors, to get to know each other a little. But obviously—”

“I already know as much about you as I’ll ever need to,” Sherlock cuts in.

I laugh. “You know my name.”

“And I know that you suffer from insomnia, likely a side effect of the fact that you’re clinically depressed, also likely a side effect of the fact that your elder sister died in a car crash nearly a year ago and you were in the right back seat. No—” He tilts his head to the side. “Left back seat.”

I hunt through my mind for the part that keeps my lungs working. My stomach wrenches and I will myself not to throw up, like I did when the car finally settled on its back and I unhooked himself from the seat belt and got a good look at—no, stop, don’t go there.

Sherlock’s face changes. Just a little.

“Nice trick. Been talking to my mom? Looked us up online?” The words fall from me like rocks. “You got one thing wrong. It’s not insomnia.”

“Damn.” His face ices over again. “In that case, what keeps you awake at night? I assume you’re not crying over your sister. You two didn’t get on. You were always the favorite. She must have resented that. People do. And you, let’s see…you were ashamed of—”

One moment, Sherlock is loosely holding the casserole. I move and then it’s slathered down his front, clumps of it splattering on the porch, the flakes of burnt cheese dotted across his collarbone. The dish clatters to the ground.

“Oh my God.” The pain is sliding farther and farther back, the scene in front of me getting crisper. “Oh God, I’m sorry—”

There’s surprise in his expression. An expression that’s been so flat that any hint of emotion stands out like white on black. There’s a tiny bit of hurt there too, almost unnoticeable. I want to yell well what did you expect, but instead I turn and run.

When I get back to the house, my heart is beating so fast it hurts. I scream into my elbow without making a sound.

“What are the new neighbors like?” my mom calls from upstairs.

“Very…” I manage. “Nice.”

About Eva Morgan

Eva Morgan is an author in her twenties, although she's mentally about fifteen. She's been a Sherlockian her whole life, and is a self-described giant nerd. She spends most of her day writing. The rest of the time she's shoveling snow off her New England porch.


Giveaway

Everyone who reviews LOCKED on Amazon before April 10th will be entered to win a Kindle Fire! Reviews can be positive or negative, but they do have to be more than one sentence, and it has to be clear that you've read at least some of the book.

Spotlight: Shadow Fire by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Thursday, February 27, 2014

One of my OIRA tour hosts has published her own novel! Wee! Check out her debut novel and let's support Kimber Leigh!

Shadow Fire (The Light Chronicles #1)
Title: Shadow Fire (The Light Chronicles #1)
Author: Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Publisher: Astraea Press
Date of Publication: February 25, 2014
Genre: YA fantasy romance

Ashlyn – a free-spirited teenager whose peaceful life is shattered when the village elders honor her with a perilous quest to recover a stolen relic.

Zane – a jaded mercenary, torn by his undeniable desire for Ashlyn and the dark secret that could make her hate him forever.

Delistaire – a malevolent sorcerer driven by an insatiable lust for power.

All three are bound together by an ancient relic supposedly infused with the power of a Goddess.

Shadow Fire – adventure, passion, secrets, and betrayal

As Ashlyn and Zane race to stay one step ahead of the evil lurking in the shadows, their passions are ignited and their bond strengthens. But will they find the relic before Delistaire? Or has their entire quest been orchestrated from the very beginning by a madman in pursuit of ultimate power?

Each installment of The Light Chronicles is a standalone story.

Purchase from Amazon

Excerpt

We walk in silence for what seems like several hours. The sun is at midday, yet we still haven't stopped to rest. Zane isn't holding my hand like he was in the forest. Of course, there's nothing for me to trip over on this wide clear road, with the exception of the ruts from the wagon wheels. I miss feeling his strong hand gripping mine. Perhaps I should just be bold like Celeste and take his hand if I want to hold it. The thought leads to a tiny giggle escaping my mouth. I'm mortified when Zane glances back at me, his right eyebrow arched.

"Are you okay?" he asks as he stops walking. My face must be crimson. When I don't answer, he places his hand on my forehead. "You're quite warm. Maybe we should rest for a little bit."

I nod my agreement and sit down in the tall grass on the side of the road. Hopefully the grass will conceal my red face from view. Zane does one last survey of our surroundings before lowering himself to the ground next to me.

"Here," he says, handing his canteen to me, "Have some water. It'll help you feel better. Be sure to tell me in the future when you need to rest."

Nodding, I take a slow drink while trying to calm my racing heart. Then another unbidden thought enters my mind, and I picture his lips on the same flask. I choke on the drink I'm taking. Zane pats my back as I sputter and cough. So embarrassing. I wonder what other evils my mind has planned for me.

"I'm okay," I say, handing the flask back, "but I think I'll hold off on water for a while."

Settling on my back in the thick grass, I hide my red face beneath my arm. Just a couple of minutes and the flush will fade. If I don't stop blushing around him, he'll start to think red is my natural skin color. I feel movement in the grass beside me. His fingertips trace a feather light caress along the arm slung over my face. Lowering my arm, I breathe out a tiny gasp. Zane's face is within inches of mine. I watch his lips curl into a slight smile as his hand moves from my arm to caress my cheek. His garnet eyes are mesmerizing, trapping me within the twin pools of fire.

He leans closer, his lips so close yet still too far away. My heart pounds in my chest, my eyes still ensnared by his gaze. His lips meet mine, softly at first, then more demanding. A soft moan escapes my throat, and my eyes flutter closed.

"Is this okay?" he asks in a breathless whisper, his lips brushing mine when he speaks.

Instead of answering, I wind my arms around his neck, pulling his body closer. My mouth opens under the soft pressure of his tongue, granting him entrance. He explores my mouth with excruciating slowness. My body feels like it's on fire as tiny shivers of pleasure race up and down my extremities. I bury my fingers into his auburn hair trapping him against me. He groans, pulling me against him, tightening his arms around my upper body, and I feel a delicious warmth pool deep within my body.

When his lips leave mine I'm still lost to the sensations, all so raw and new. Opening my eyes, I gaze up at him, my limbs not quite ready to function yet. His eyes are darkened with passion, which sends another wave of desire coursing through my body.

"As much as I'd like to stay like this all day," he murmurs, nipping at my lower lip. Clearing his throat he continues, "We need to get moving."

About Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America.

She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and four cats. No, she doesn't live on a farm, she just loves animals. Her house is filled with dragons, though she does lament that they are the porcelain, non-flying variety.

Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!)

Her debut novel, Shadow Fire, is the first book in The Light Chronicles series. Watch for book two, Stolen Moon, a standalone sequel, coming soon.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Spotlight + Giveaway: Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology
Title: Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology
Author: Julie Cross (creator) and 18 more authors!
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of Publication: February 25, 2014

You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.


Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.


Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.


NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you'll have to buy us a pet monkey first.


Purchase from Amazon | B&N

19 stories from 19 authors!!!

Read stories by Julie Cross (creator), J. Lynn, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, Roni Loren, Tracy Wolff, Lauren Layne, Andrew Shaffer, Cole Gibson, Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Mark Perini (the guy in the cover of Tempest series by Julie Cross!!), Gennifer Albin, Lisa Desrochers, Hannah Moskowitz, Lyla Payne, Alessandra Thomas, Melissa Landers and Melissa West!

Check out some of the authors dish about their main characters!


Andrew Shaffer: The unnamed narrator is a booksmart English major who spends too much time studying and not enough time partying—at least according to his best friend Allen.


Julie Cross: Audrey appears quiet and timid on the outside, but inside she has gifted intuition when it comes to reading people and a fierce loyalty to those she loves.


Lisa Desrochers: Rene Vargas' army unit was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, and she's scarred in more ways than one. She's kickass is so many ways, but her whole life has changed, and now she's left to discover who she is...with some help from Rick Hamilton (Lexie's dirtbag ex from A LITTLE TOO FAR).


Mark Perini: Luke comes off a bit nerdy, but he’s got an inner Juno cool that he’s just now figuring out about himself. He wants that movie romance but doesn’t think it’s in the cards for him. Well not yet anyway.


Melissa West: Summer is strong and opinionated, and Blake is a classic guy's guy with a huge heart.


Myra McEntire: Ben is not your typical jock, but he is an amazing athlete. Liza is a go getter with a crunchy shell and a smooth center.



Giveaway






Review + Giveaway: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)
Title: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date of Publication: February 25, 2014

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Review

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (and my panties)

Thank you to Lisa of Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

Oh holy gobsmackin' awesomeness. How to start this review? How to justify all of my raging feelings and hormones with words? Can I just say that WHITE HOT KISS is as amazing as Roth? Would that one-liner review be enough? No? You don't even know who the heck Roth is and why he's making my panties do double knots by itself? Roth is a demon and I would like to sign up to have his babies right now. I'd be willing to be a hellspawn factory if he gets to do it. Really now. Because my thoughts are in the gutter and there's no freaking way I will be able to write a coherent review without typing Roth and exclamation marks too many times, this is going to be a list review. Yay!



Infinite Reasons Why WHITE HOT KISS is A M A Z I N G aka Why You Should Read WHITE HOT KISS and Spazz With Me and Bow Down to JLA


1. World building. I have previously read the prequel novella BITTER SWEET LOVE (Linked is my review and it is free so grab it!) and loved it. While you don't need to have read it to drown in the terrific that is WHITE HOT KISS, it served as an appetizer and a sneak peek into the world of The Dark Elements series. I've wanted to learn so much more about the world and WHK certainly delivered that. While it is still set in a world and time similar to ours, demons run amok in here and Wardens, or commonly called gargoyles, are the ones eradicating them. Before, Wardens did this in secret but when portals to the "topside" (or earth as we know it) have let demons come and go as they please a decade ago, the Alphas (or the Big Guys Who Call The Shots) let the Wardens come out. Naturally, there were humans who totally abhorred the Wardens. ANYWAY, see, just sharing those bits ended up in a lengthy paragraph and I haven't even grazed the surface. JLA just kept on unraveling layers and layers of the world she has crafted and it was just glorious.

2. Good vs evil. I loooooove stories exploring the extremes. Especially romances using it as a theme. Past and present. Famous and an average person. Good and evil. So naturally, I relished every scene and dialogue talking about good and evil. Roth is a demon and he's supposed to be completely evil but he is so obviously not. He cares for Layla and HE IS NOT ALL BAD. Layla has been raised to believe that all demons are bad but Roth made her see that good and bad isn't as clear as black and white. There are all sorts of gray areas and every single one of us has both good and bad in them. I freakin' dig this aspect of the novel. I love villains in general and they are usually just misunderstood hot people (I think it's a requirement that villains are hot). As expected, the demon not being THAT bad gets ice-cream-with-sprinkles points. Tons of it.

3. Free will, labels and identity. Let's get all of the deep stuff out so I can proceed to spazzing, okay? WHK also tackled free will. Is free will real or are we kidding ourselves believing we have a choice in the matter? Are our fates determined even before we've been born? You'll be thinking of these questions while reading WHK. That is, if you still have enough brain cells to do so because I'm sure Roth sizzled them all. If you're a demon, are you supposed and expected to be bad? I know that this is a paranormal novel but it can be applied to real life too. Do labels make your identity?

4. Characters. I mean, you get a half-Warden-half-demon protagonist. Who can suck your soul in very close or intimate contact. Hence being unable to kiss anyone. Anyone with a soul that is. (DEMONS DON'T HAVE SOULS!) Two best friends who are entertaining. A demon who you can't resist and who surprises you. Then your ~first love~ aka your adopted hot brother. Clans of Wardens. All sorts of demons. The dynamics of all the characters are just so well-attuned that it's an ensemble. Even Morris the human chauffeur got a bit close to me in his very limited scenes. Jennifer L. Armentrout was able to showcase each character and made them shine when the spotlight was theirs. I never once felt like there were impertinent scenes, dialogues and subplots. Because all were necessary to make WHK as amazing as it is.

5. THE romance. Oh for the love of all holy and unholy things. You've read my introduction, right? Needless to say, the romance was SWEET. SEXY. HOT. But still clean enough for a YA novel. But it's definitely an upper YA in my opinion. We have off-the-charts sizzling, crackling chemistry between Layla and Roth. Zayne should just turn into his stone of a gargoyle shell (He's so boring anyway!) and let Layla and Roth be. Just trust me on this. You will end up a pile of squealing, squirming, hyperventilating, fanning-yourself mush of goo with super red cheeks from all the blushing.

6. ROTH. Who names a snake tattoo that is actually a familiar that can get out of your skin and be real Bambi? Only Roth. Who names his badass tattoos after cute Disney animal characters? Only Roth. Who is so much hotter than Hell itself? Only Roth. Roth, Roth, Roth. Seriously, Roth is just *sigh*. I am now daydreaming.

7. Roth's hotness.

8. Roth's sweetness.

9. Roth's kiss.

10. Roth's touch.

11. Roth's playfulness.

12. Roth's smugness.

13. Roth's smirk.

14. Roth's honesty.

15. The extra bonus scene at the end from Roth's perspective. OH FREAKIN' HELL FREEZING OVER MY HEART (this doesn't make any sense but whatever I am incoherent)

16. You probably get it now. ROTH FOREVER UNTIL INFINITY. Roth is THE reason. Roth ad infinitum.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout


# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Giveaway


Spotlight + Giveaway: Falling From The Sky by Nikki Godwin

Monday, February 24, 2014

Falling From The Sky
Title: Falling From The Sky
Author: Nikki Godwin
Date of Publication: February 21, 2014
Genre: LGBT contemporary YA

All stability in sixteen-year-old Ridge McCoy’s life crashed and burned in the plane crash that killed his dad. This summer-long basketball camp is his chance to improve his skills and escape his problems back home. But his summer plans take a turn in an unexpected direction when he meets Micah Youngblood, the guy who runs the carousel at the local mall and has a reputation for devouring straight boys’ heterosexuality for breakfast, alongside his chocolate chip pancakes.

Ridge needs a way to avoid the guys at camp, whose only quest for the summer is to drown in beer and hook up with girls. So when Micah offers to explain how the ten unique horses on the carousel are significant to his tribe, Ridge takes him up on it. Still, Ridge can't decide if this is a bad thing or not. All he knows is that he hasn’t felt this alive since his dad fell from the sky, and as the horse adventures come to an end, Ridge finds himself falling as well – for Micah.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | Smashwords


Excerpt

Once we’re at the candy stand, Terrence places his order while I scope out the scenery. I keep a low profile until I see Micah. He leans against the edge of the carousel booth and motions someone over to him. It’s a guy. He’s shorter than me, about Micah’s height. Brunette. Thin but somewhat athletic. Then Micah hugs him. 

“Uh oh,” Terrence says, following my gaze. “You better go squash that now or someone else will be playing your Xbox games.”

“Shut up,” I mumble. But he’s right. Micah is all too friendly with this guy. 

It physically stings. What the fuck is wrong with me? There’s no way I’m jealous. I mean, yeah, if this dude showed up at his house and crashed an Xbox session, I’d be pissed. But Micah is free to talk to whomever he damn well pleases. 

Except this guy. 

I tell Terrence that I’ll be back and make a beeline for the carousel. I slow down once I’m a bit closer, shake my hair like an emo kid to look a little more natural, and stand tall – because you know, male dominance and all that. Whatever that other guy says is in one ear and out the other the moment Micah sees me. 

“What are you doing here?” he asks. He smiles, though, so obviously this isn’t an awkward moment…unless he’s expecting an orgy.

“Terrence had to bring something to his cousin, so I just tagged along,” I say as nonchalantly as I can. “Busy night?”

Micah shakes his head. “Nah, dead actually,” he says. “Oh, this is Tyler, Emilia’s boyfriend. You remember my cousin Emilia, right? Pax’s sister?”

I swear, something inside of me literally crumbles like a broken statue. I don’t know if it’s my lungs or my heart or maybe my entire ribcage. I should have the words ‘fucking idiot’ permanently inked into my forehead, branded like a goddamn cow. 

Tyler reaches out to shake my hand, mumbles something about Emilia wasting too much time looking at nail polish, and how he better get back and find her. I finally catch a bubble of oxygen about the time he walks away.

“So, Fourth of July? You coming?” Micah asks, completely oblivious to my male dominance and green glow of envy. 

Terrence’s shadow closes in on us just as the question leaves Micah’s mouth. 

“What’s happening on the Fourth?” he asks, looking at me instead of Micah. Terrence is damn good at playing dumb as shit. 

“We’re having a cookout on the res, pretty huge,” Micah says. “And then we go down to our side of the river for the fireworks show. It’s epic. You should come too.”

“Hell yeah,” Terrence says, nodding along like this is such a freaking brilliant idea. “McCoy here can give me directions. I’ll definitely swing by.”

And then, as quickly as he popped over here to seal the deal for my weekend, Terrence makes some lame excuse about going to look for some Adidas shorts and that he’ll wait for me at the sports store but “no rush.”

When I finally break away from Micah fifteen minutes later, I take the walk of shame down the mall to find Terrence. I dread having to look him in the eye when I know, without a doubt, that he was right. 


I want Micah to want me.

About Nikki Godwin

Nikki Godwin is a Young Adult/New Adult author. She is a city girl who can't live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she's not-so-secretly stalking her favorite bands. She may or may not completely love One Direction.


Giveaway

Review: Layers by Sigal Ehrlich

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Layers (Stark, #1)
Title: Layers (Stark #1)
Author: Sigal Ehrlich
Date of Publication: October 10, 2013
Genre: contemporary adult romance

According to Hayley love is a subject of ridicule, a myth created by hopeless romantics.

When Hayley makes a resolution to declare her loose lifestyle era R.I.P, it’s all good in theory…

That is until she meets Daniel Stark, a well-respected, mid-thirties business man who is known for his short temper, lack of steady relationships as well as his strict preserve of his private life.

Opinionated, sharp tongued Hayley accidently steps into his office leaving Daniel resolved to put Hayley in her place and have her in his bed.

Both Hayley and Daniel can’t avoid the immediate instigation of the attraction between them.

In a unanimously agreed upon verdict by Hayley and her two best friends, Ian the gay self-absorbed, aspiring model and Natasha the witty, borderline neurotic soul mate, Daniel Stark is to be Hayley’s pure physical attraction, emotions aside era closure.

Will it indeed be a closure, or a beginning to something neither Hayley nor Daniel ever bargained for…

Purchase from Amazon | B&N

Review

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours and Sigal Ehrlich for the signed review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

I feel really bad that I didn't enjoy this as much as I would like since I even received a signed paperback as a review copy all the way from I think Germany? Especially with how I think that the only reason I didn't connect with this novel - and I only learned it while reading LAYERS and reading other reviews - was because I am apparently not fond of billionaire novels. Maybe it's just me who didn't quite like LAYERS because the reviews I've read were all glowing and called it a great billionaire novel. Then I realized that the problem's with me and not the book.

First, this is my first billionaire novel. And said billionaire in the story, Daniel Stark, irritated me. I don't mind assholes if they're assholes to everyone. Hey, that's your attitude, can't do anything about it. But if you're a boss, the CEO to a big company, and you're an ass, oh good lawd, stop me from strangling someone. Daniel Stark was the epitome of the rich-guy-who-is-so-good-he-cannot-fathom-us-normal-earthlings who was such a mean boss. Then he goes all sweet on Hayley and HEY, how can you be so two-faced? Well, I guess, when you're trying to get inside someone's pants and/or you love said girl, you can be sweet to her and be a jerk to everyone. Fine, he's also good to his mother but ANYWAY, I just can't stand mean bosses.

Aside from Daniel, Hayley's characterization didn't sit well with me as well. She was supposed to have been a no-strings-attached kind of girl before but I couldn't pick that up from her actions and thinking. The story begged her to be that girl but her actions spoke otherwise. I just couldn't reconcile her characterization with her actual character.

Daniel was domineering and I had flashbacks to Fifty Shades of Grey. While this book is not erotica, it still had steam and some sensual and sexual scenes but there was nothing graphic. Then there's that bit about predictability. I know, I should not expect when reading a book but every action these characters took was the same from all the books I've read before. This is my first billionaire novel, yes, but I guess formulas are universal because that's what I got.

Dump be the bit where it's also a series and I just couldn't stand behind reading a series where I have a vague idea what's going to happen. Do take my thoughts with a grain of salt because like I said, fans of billionaire novels did enjoy this book. So if you dig dickwad billionaire bosses, you might enjoy this book. If not, maybe you can try for yourself. As for me, I'm out!

So thank you Sigal for the wonderful message on the copy you sent me and I'm really sorry for not liking your book. I do admit though that your writing was good and that it's completely me and not you in this case. What I did like about the book was it constantly incorporated songs into the narrative - what was playing at this moment and so on. With that, it actually inspired me to make a playlist for the book! Go check it out here!

About Sigal Ehrlich

By teen age, Sigal already lived in three different continents where she had the luck to experience and visit varied places, meet unique people, which only helped fuel her overly developed imagination. Currently, Sigal calls Estonia home where she lives with her husband and three kids.

Not exactly sure where they will end up next…

When she is not hiding in her office, writing, she enjoys music, reading and taking care of her little clan.

With a great believe in "don’t wait for things to happen - make them happen," she enjoys anything exciting life has to offer.

{Blog Tour} Review + Giveaway: The Polaris Uprising by Jennifer Ibarra

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Polaris Uprising (Polaris, #1)
Title: The Polaris Uprising (Polaris #1)
Author: Jennifer Ibarra
Publisher: Tiwala Books
Date of Publication: October 20, 2013
Genre: YA dystopia

In less than seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will succeed her father as the president of Neress, a nation where all citizens are cared for from the moment they’re born. Fed, sheltered, even educated—every need of theirs is met.

The only price they pay is their free will.

Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with her sister’s blind allegiance to their father.

Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must decide just how far she’s willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N

Review

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours and Jennifer Ibarra for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

It has been a while since the last time I've read a dystopian novel and I don't even know if I still love the genre as much as I did before. So I have to thank The Polaris Uprising and Jennifer Ibarra for taking that doubt away because I can still roaringly say that "DYSTOPIA ROCKS!".

The Polaris Uprising started out a bit slow and while its writing was good, it didn't captivate me immediately. Maybe it's because the author spent time with character introduction and world building and it's written in the third person point-of-view. It's not exactly my favorite perspective. But the set-up and characters were interesting enough so I continued reading.

Neress is a country ravaged by war and brought back into order by Ryla Jensen's father, the President. In exchange for providing for the citizens, their free will was taken away from them. Every choice has been made for them and while some are thanking the President for everything that he has done the past three decades in making their country rise up from the ashes, there are still a lot of people not happy with it, primarily the Polaris Movement. Ryla's as naive and sheltered as can be, which kind of reminded me of Natalie in Elizabeth Richard's Black City. She has always seen everything from the inside and has been oblivious to how people suffer on the outside and how her father hasn't been the glorified hero and leader she thinks he is. It took a boy (of course it's a boy HEE) and her father including her in government meetings (she is geared up to succeed him) to open her eyes to the cruelties of her father's regime. Sounds like your run-of-the-mill dystopia, right? Yes, I do admit that but here are the reasons why The Polaris Uprising should be read and not glossed over as "just another dystopian novel". (And I couldn't resist making a list review!)

1. Family-centric. Sure, there is romance as after all, Tyson was the one who opened Ryla's eyes to the world around her. But see, it was never the focus. The focus was Ryla and her older sister Alanna. Alanna's turning twenty-five and getting married to Owen, who she loves and who loves her. Not everyone is as lucky as Alanna to be in love with their genetic match. Alanna and Owen's love story was also explored but still, romance wasn't the main foothold of the book. It was always Ryla and Alanna's sisterhood and how vast their differences is. Their personality, their beliefs, everything. They love each other so much but here comes THE question: Which has more weight? Love or principles? Love or your beliefs?

That was what made me in awe of The Polaris Uprising. It's not just about going against the government. It is going against the one person you love the most, the one person you can't live without. And it's not a lover but it's family. A sister. Good lord, Jennifer, you certainly know how to twist me.

2. Romance. I know, I just said it wasn't romance-centric. It has a lot of scenes dedicated to Ryla and Tyson and Alanna and Owen but these just served as another plot arcs. Even still, they were grin-inducing and heart-flutter-inducing. I didn't know when it happened but I just got so invested in each of the couple, it took me by surprise. Sure, Ryla and Tyson's development were a bit fast but hey, you can always be attracted and you can always care for a person. Alanna and Owen's were a bit a-long-time-making so when the fruits of that seesawing were reaped, it was cute and sweet.

3. The ideologies. I touched upon this a bit with Reason #1 but I'll talk a bit more about it here. It always boils down to this: equality or freedom? If you yearn for equality, you can never be free. And if you want to be free, there can never be equality. A perfect society only exists in theory, if the ones that make it are not humans. Alas, we are humans and the human nature is a savage beast tamed by social conventions and culture. Oh yes, I know my social science courses will pay off someday. (Disclaimer: I do believe in the innate good of people but I also believe in the innate evil, or more like selfishness or survival instincts, in us.) Ryla's father chose equality for his nation - no one will starve and everyone will be provided for - but in return, they couldn't choose who they'll marry or what their careers will be. There's bound to be dissent in every government, however close it might be to the perfect society, because humans always wish for what they don't have. ANYWAY, my point is, this book isn't just for young adults. It can be for all ages because it will certainly make you think. I read books for entertainment but when it can give me an intellectual discussion I'd likely tackle with only myself, it just makes me even happier.

And lastly...

4. THE ENDING. Or better yet, the better half of the novel with all the deaths (Gasp! Don't be angry at me, that is not a spoiler. It is a dystopian novel after all.) and the action and the EVERYTHING. I've never read anything like The Polaris Uprising with regards to the set-up in the revolution in dystopians and I just applaud Jennifer Ibarra for it.

So Jennifer Ibarra, JOB WELL DONE! I am eagerly awaiting the sequel because this story demands to be told. I do hope you'd still stir the social scientist in me with all the thoughts on government and society.

Just look up in the sky and find the brightest star and that's where I'll be looking too

About Jennifer Ibarra

Jennifer Ibarra grew up on a steady diet of books, Star Wars, and other fantastic feats of the imagination. Her debut novel, The Polaris Uprising, is the first book in a trilogy and mixes dystopia with family drama, romance, and political intrigue.

She lives in Silicon Valley, where she does marketing for a tech company and spends her time running, cooking, baking, and keeping up with celebrity gossip.


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