Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beyond These Walls - Review

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Author: J.L. Berg
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: JL Berg, LLC
Series: The Walls Duet, book 2
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 17 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:

Happily ever after.

That was what we were supposed to have.

Pudding cups, sandy toes and a lifetime of making each and every one of our dreams come true—that is the future I’d promised her.

I could see it in my dreams, hold it in my hands, but then I watched as all of our hopes and wishes suddenly slipped through my fingers like sand.

I thought the worst was behind us, but what if we’d just delayed the inevitable?

They say love can overcome any obstacle. But can it survive death?

The breathtaking love story of Lailah and Jude concludes in Beyond These Walls.

 My Review:

Let's just start this out by saying grab your tissue.  If you read Within These Walls you know that this series is a tear jerker, not in a terrible sobbing mess kind of way, but in a sweet tears slowly rolling down your cheek and muddling the words kind of way....this one might be a good one to read on an e-reader so you can just wipe off all the dropped tears as you go.

I fell in love with Layla, Jude and pudding cups while reading Within These Walls, their's is a story that stays in your heart and I was absolutely beyond thrilled to see that J.L. Berg had decided to continue their romance....until I read the synopsis and then I began to panic.  She wouldn't, she couldn't!  I admit to being terrified to pick this book up because while I don't mind a sweet tear jerker I am not one to go into a book knowing it is going to rip my heart out and stomp on it. So it was with both longing and trepidation that I started to read and I can honestly say that I am so pleased I did.  Was it an emotional read?  Oh, wow, YES.  Where there moments that I wanted to shout NOOOOOOO into the dark, waking my family with not one care in the world?  YES!  Has J.L. Berg cemented this couple in my heart as one of my all time favorites? YES!  Do I think that everyone who is a romance lover should read this book?  no......Wait you know I am kidding, YES!!!

I loved seeing how Layla has grown from where we left her 2 two years ago.  She is out there making her way in the world, living the life she could only have ever dreamed of and she is getting to do it by the side of the man who taught her how to love, how to want to fight, how to live.   

Jude...sweet, adorable, kind, loving, strong, sexy....I could seriously go on and on.  Jude is the epitome of what every girl wants in a book boyfriend, he's the book boyfriend that ruins you for every other book relationship you ever have.  Mr. Darcy, I am sad to say you have a challenger!    As much as he teaches Layla how to live she has done the same for him.  She gives him a reason to keep going, gives him a purpose to live fully and to love, not just move through each day in a haze.  Their relationship is by no means easy, but it is how they choose to love one another despite the challenges that is the most beautiful part about this book.  It's a book about learning what to sacrifice and more importantly what not to.  While Within These Walls was about learning to live again, Beyond these walls is about learning to overcome the fear of living.  Of learning to enjoy every moment as they come and opening yourself up and loving with your whole heart.

J.L. Berg wraps up Layla and Jude's story beautifully and I am truly sad to see them go.  Although I am hopeful that we will be seeing bits of them again in another story.  Through out this book we have gotten glimpses of Jude's brother Roman and according to the end of this book we will be seeing him again soon.  He's quite the enigma and I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing how his story plays out.

If you are a contemporary romance reader you will definitely want to read this series.  I won't promise you it is all smiles and joy because it is not, you will want your tissues, you will want a lovely cup of tea and a pudding cup, but you will leave with your heart lifted and a loving sense of peace about where you have 'been'. 



Within These Walls is on sale for a limited time! Grab it now for just .99c!


J.L. Berg has a $20 Amazon giftcard and a signed paperback of WITHIN THESE WALLS for giveaway! Enter via the Rafflecopter below
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About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.  

Cora Carmack - Special Announcement!


Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

  ALL CLOSED OFF Coming 2016

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!


Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven't yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I'm not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

  Hello beloved readers! The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was "Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?" At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They'd make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end... I couldn't envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again). But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It's a wonderful experience, but in Stella's case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports. I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said... Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, "Mine. This is my story." I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn't take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn't want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn't mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, "Someone needs to tell this story. And I'm strong enough to do it. Let me." And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I'd been adamant wasn't right for her. Because as it turns out... Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren't so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before. So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It's about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It's about the way that kind of event can change everything-- how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It's about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you're still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light. So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book… ALL CLOSED OFF: Stella Santos is fine. Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same. But none of that matters because she’s just fine. For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t. When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again. Vulnerable. ***** ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don't have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I'll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I'll be able to ensure that I'm able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won't be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you'll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links. Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella's story. When it's finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do. All my best, Cora Carmack   *Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

#WhenitHappened banner

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her. Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance. If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard…. If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through…. If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours… I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself. So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening. #WhenItHappened Google Form:  

Headshot ABOUT Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.      

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Newsletter ~Author Goodreads

  z-InkSlinger Blogger

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Taking What's His - Release Day and Review

Author: Diane Alberts (Jen McLaughlin)
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Series: A Shillings Agency Novel, Book 4
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:

Some lines are meant to be crossed...

One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he's still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can't resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she's blown his mind...and then skipped out the next morning.

Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there's that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself-Holt just spent the night doing naughty things...with his best friend's little sister.

One night isn't nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what's his?

My Review:

Why Hello Holt Cunningham

I am just going to put this right here.......

“Geeks were the dirtiest, freakiest, sexiest men of them all. Hands down. And this guy might be the king of them all.” -Lydia

Do you really need more of a review than that?  I didn't really think so, but sadly for all of us I am going to pull you away from that bit of gorgeousness up there and give you one.

Taking What's His is a sexy romance centered around an ex-Marine turned IT guy fighting his way through PTSD (and trying to do it alone, Oh Holt *sad frowns*) and Lydia the woman who corners him in a bar, agrees to go home with him, turns out to be his best friends sister, and the best thing to ever happen to Holt.

 I loved the layers of these characters.  Diane Alberts gives you a real look into their lives and in particular Holt's PTSD struggles...and you guys know being an Army Spouse myself this is something very important to me.  It has to feel authentic and Diane details Holt's struggles beautifully with out making light of them or making them more outlandish than need be.  Each Soldier deals with their PTSD differently and it comes in varying degrees, but every moment of living with PTSD and living with someone who has PTSD is a moment that we get to be thankful.  PTSD is a serious issue and I am so glad to see that while this is a fun romantic story Diane never fails to show the seriousness of Holt's challenges and Lydia's desire to be there for him, to help him heal.  So before we go on I am just going take a quick moment and leave this webiste here in case someone needs it...

 .... I loved how strong Lydia was in this book.  You come into it seeing her as this timid, inexperienced girl who turns out out to be this amazingly strong, independent woman and I love how she refuses to give up on Holt, they were truly a perfect paring. I know I have already talked a bit about Holt, but let me just add that he is on the top of my list for this new phenomenon we seem to be...these Nerdy Alpha Males...and I am all about it. I loved that he is this kick arse Ex-Marine/Nerd/Alpha/Boy Next Door/ All Around Nice Guy (even if he doesn't believe that is) and that he genuinely wants what is best for everyone even at the cost of his own wants and desires. I enjoyed the push and pull between the two characters.  I never felt like we were going on to the far side of annoying or emo between them.  Their desire to be together and the fears of the same were realistic and understandable.  Sufficed to say I never felt the need to chuck my Kindle or the unhealthy want to choke a book character.  What you want is just for them to find this amazing happiness and for Holt to feel free of his demons! You won't be surprised by this being an HEA, but the story between these two will keep you glued to the words and wanting more. 

If you are a fan of Dr. Who you will adore all the little moments where the series is brought up, they add a beautiful sweetness to the story of these two lovers

“You said if I knocked, you’d always let me in. I’m knocking.” -Holt

I have to admit here that this was the first Shilling Agency book I have read so that being said I can tell you that you can read these as standalones, but I will be going back to read the others, 1. Because I really enjoyed the story and 2. because there were little things that popped up and made me say....hmmmm, wonder what is going on here. I am also very curious to see where things go for Lydia's brother and Holt's Best friend Steven. If you love a romantic book with a heaping side of sexy, a struggling military hero and a woman who brings him back from the edge than this is a great read! 

Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She's hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn't until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

Changing His Game - Release Day Review

Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Series: A Gamers Novel, Book 1
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Descritption:

He controls the game, but she’s rewriting all the rules…

Marley Lake is no stranger to awkwardness, but getting caught watching a dirty GIF by the company’s hot new IT guy exceeds even her standards. That is, until she realizes he's as turned on by it as she is. But with a big promotion on the line, she refuses to let her current dry spell be her downfall. Maybe.

Austin Rivers has no business lusting after the irresistible editor of Gamers Magazine. He's a secret partner in the business—and technically Marley’s boss. One look at that GIF, though, and he’s ready to install a whole lot more than just software…as long as she never finds out who he really is.

But reality’s not as virtual as it seems, and when Austin’s identity jeopardizes Marley’s promotion, he has to change his game or risk losing the only woman with the cheat code to his heart.

My Review:

 On Megan's website she says that this book was written for fun and I've decided she means my fun.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was sexy, funny, snarky, romantic, nerdy, all the good things.  

Marley Lake is a hard working up and comer in the male driven gaming world.  She's put her life outside of work on hold so she can focus on being one of the best in the industry and proving to herself and her male co-workers that she is just as good if not better than they are when in comes to her job.  What does that mean for us and Marley?  Tumblr, lots and lots of Tumblr...and you guys know as well as I do that Tumblr isn't for the demure.  When Marley's Tumblr fantasy is thrust (oh the puns) front and center into the eyes of her long distance crush, Austin Rivers things begin to get interesting.  

Austin Rivers kind of reminds me of my physicist husband, nerdy but not in a terribly geeky pocket protector way, although I have a feeling Austin could even make a pocket protector hot.  He's one heck of a hot nerd with introverted tendencies (many due to a painful past) and as you all know, it's always the quiet ones! 

"He talked like a textbook and looked like an underwear model."

Austin is quietly sure of himself while at the same time being unsure about everything else.  His trust has been shattered and he craves the ability to control his small piece of this world which leaves him struggling to open himself up to Marley out of fear that she will leave him faster than "you can download a 256K file on a 1gig connection" (Bows down to my dear friend Tracy for that one, she's going to have to explain that to me soon...remember I said my husband was the nerdy one, ha!)

I love Megan Erickson's books and have to say that while this was a bit of a departure for her, a bit (okay a lot) steamier, in terms of romance I loved this book as hard as I have all her others.  Austin is one heck of a dirty talker as well as just a genuinely kind and caring guy and I loved  Marley's tenacity and strength.  If you are a romance fan, that likes her Alpha males with a bit of a tender side, a girl who is not afraid to put herself out there to get what she wants, and some amazing secondary characters that you just know are going to rock their own books in the future than I can't recommend Changing His Game enough.  This is a quick enjoyable read that will suck you in by the first few pages and have you anxious for more at the end!   Also, I would like to mention to Megan how much I would really like to see Aric's Revenge become a reality, haha.  Now I am off to design my own Evelyn CosPlay for the next Comic Con!  Okay, so my husband may not be the ONLY nerd in the house *Wink* 

Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Molly Pepper and the Night Train - A Mom Monday Review

I am so happy to share this amazing book with you.  I seriously don't even know how to say enough good things about it and I can't wait for your middle grade readers to give it a try.  Check out my review below and make sure to enter the giveaway before you leave to go one-click this moving story about family, friends, love, adventure, loss, loyalty, and growing up.

Author: Courtney King Walker
Publication Date: 
Publisher: March 13, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Suspense
Age Recommendation: 9 and up
Rating: 5 Stars

Book Description:

Hidden somewhere in the fog of the San Francisco bay lies Blue Rock Island, home to the bay area’s two best-kept secrets: Bell’s Bluff, the old, abandoned prison on one side of the island, and the Night Train, a mysterious train ride on the other. When twelve-year-old Molly Pepper receives a secret invitation promising a night of magic and adventure aboard the Night Train, she is skeptical. In her experience, most promises prove too good to be true. The fact that she lost her mom is proof enough.

Still, Molly gives hope another chance. Together with her loyal friend, Noah Wonderly, they sneak out of the house and follow a string of clues leading to the Night Train. But when the train stops at Bell's Bluff, Molly discovers the real reason she was invited. There, she starts to wonder if hope and magic not only fix broken promises; but make you believe in them again.

My Review: 

Is it cheesy of me to admit how much I adored this book, how wrapped up in the world of Molly Pepper and her best friend Noah I became.  How I want to watch these two continue to grow into adults, watch them fall in love, watch how they continue to deal with all the best and worst part of life?  

This book is a beautiful story about a young girl dealing with tragedy and being swept along on a magical adventure that helps her hold tightly to her memories and look to the future while letting go of her past.  It is this amazingly complicated story that is told through beautiful imagery, a wild adventure, and loving words.  

I loved the suspense in Molly Pepper and the Night Train, this feeling like at any minute Molly and Noah who are being lead on this crazy adventure are going to get into a sticky situation....but the best part for me as an adult and mom is knowing that the way Courtney King Walker has written the tale I don't have to worry about my young reader, because it's clear that even though to Molly this feels like a secret (and at times scary) outing she is always being watched, always being cared for.  I loved knowing that if she ever fell apart Molly's family are waiting there to catch her, but yet they let her take this exciting moment and run with it.  They let both her and Noah find their own strengths and weaknesses.  In a time when we have become a society that hovers over our children it is refreshing to read a book about children being able to take on the world on their own, but always with the safety net in case they need it.  

First I have to talk about Noah because what an amazing character, what an amazing friend.  He is with Molly every step of the way,  he builds her up and stands beside her.  He allows her to be exactly who she wants to be and loves her because of it.  His summer goal is to tackle his fear list,  (Seriously, I know what #4 is and I want a YA, then a NA and so forth book on this!)  and I love him all the more for it.  That he challenges not only Molly to be the best person she can be, but that he challenges himself.  Noah is Molly's rock and I love that about him.

Second, Molly...what a beautiful free spirit.  She's 12 and while she has 12 year old moments in general she carries herself with such grace, you just know she has this amazing old soul.  She's hurt, her world has changed but instead of giving up she continues to push forward.  When I watch my girls I hope that they have her spirit, he drive, and while I hope that they at that young age never have to deal with the pain Molly is, that they are able to be as strong as Molly is. 

Finally, Molly and Noah's families.  I wanted to cry for Molly's Dad...I can't even begin to imagine the struggle he is going through, the pain, and the doubts.  That he doesn't tamp down Molly's adventurous spirit, that he lets her fly all while keeping her safe...he's the kind of parent I like to think I am or would be.  The other person in Molly's family (who I can't discuss), I melted to watch how he keeps her mother's promise.  Then Noah's parents...specifically to Noah's dad...I am literally sitting here crying about the surprise message he leaves for him.  I want to be these people for my daughters.  This book leaves me wanting to be a better parent, to be encouraging and freeing.  To be the parent, not their friend, and to be their support.  You just know that these two children are going to grow and never fear that they can't talk to their families, that they can't ask for help, that they won't be supported in anything they choose to do.  

It's a bit hard for me to talk about this book because I am so wound up in it emotionally as a parent and because I don't want to give anything away.  I think, like Molly was given, I just have to give you little clues and let you put them together as you jump into this story.  Every piece builds to these little beautiful moments that make me fall deeper and deeper in love with this story.  I just want to sit here and talk to you about it all day, about all the little things you may not have seen the first time through, about how it makes you feel, and whether or not it left you wanting to be better than you were when you started reading it.  The more I think on it the more it settles into my heart and wraps it's arms around me in this beautiful book hug.  When you can walk away from a book feeling like you've been wrapped up in a pair of warm arms that held you tight while you learned to breathe again then you know you've read something truly magical and that is exactly how I feel about Molly Pepper and The Night Train, I feel like I've just had the most amazing adventure and hug ever.  

One note (ah, what bummer after all that gushing right, haha) if your readers are on the younger side of middle grade I do suggest you read this with them or make sure to talk with them about it.  There are some rather painful topics (death and prison time) and our littles might feel the need to hug you a bit tighter for a while after reading.  I could go on about this book for days and since you don't want me to do that I highly suggest grabbing yourself a copy!    Then come tell me what you thought :-)

Courtney King Walker grew up Walnut Creek, California building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard just so she could go to the moon and Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got.

After being banned from the kitchen after a few too many catastrophes, she discovered a love for writing, music and art, and eventually earned her BFA in graphic design at BYU.

She has lived in St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco, and now resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and four children where she continues to pursue all things creative, including writing, designing, composing music and baking, with an emphasis on making a killer piecrust.

Tour Schedule:

Monday, April 13th - LuLo Fangirl (Interview)
Wednesday, April 15th - Book Lovers Life (Review)
Friday, April 17th – Refreshingly Riki (Guest Post)
Monday, April 20th - Dalene's Book Reviews (Review & Guest Post)
Wednesday, April 22nd- I Am a Reader (Interview)
Friday, April 24th - I Heart YA Fiction (Review)
Monday, April 27th - Reads All the Books (Review)
Wednesday, April 29th - Thoughts in Progress (Guest Post)
Friday, May 1st – Bookworm for Kids (Review & Interview)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Third Debt - Review

More Jethro & Nila?  Yes Please!

Author: Pepper Winters
Publication Date: April 16, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Series: Indebted, book 4
Genre: Dark Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and UP
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
“She healed me. She broke me. I set her free. But we are in this together. We will end this together. The rules of this ancient game can’t be broken.”

Nila Weaver no longer recognises herself. She’s left her lover, her courage, and her promise. Two debts down. Too many to go.

Jethro Hawk no longer recognises himself. He’s embraced what he always ran from, and now faces punishment far greater than he feared.

It’s almost time. It’s demanding to be paid.

The Third Debt will be the ultimate test...

My Review:
This has been an interesting series for me.  If you go back to my tiny little review from book 1, Debt Inheritance you will see that I was pretty bothered by the concept and plot.  So here we are 4 books later and I have become intrigued while still managing to stay a bit off kilter with it all, which I think is actually what Pepper Winters is looking for in her readers reactions.  This is a dark romance series, heavy on what I consider the dark or cruelty depending on how you look at it.  

This book picks up right at the end of the last one, Second Debt and while we are thrown heard first back into the action one thing to know about this series is Pepper takes her time.  Yes, we are right back in the thick of it all but there will be a slow build up to what you know after the last 3 books is going to be a brutal come to Jesus moment, then a calming make you think everything is going to be okay pace, until BAM she hits you with a maddening, when the hell is the next book coming out cliff-hanger.  I love the concept of this book, I love the history surrounding it, the idea that through horrifying moments, terrible pain, soul-wrenching anguish, love can some how overcome it all.  The hard part is wondering if it will ever be enough, will love of family overrule them all, will love of each other save them or will it destroy them? 
Nila, has been rescued (or has she) by her beloved twin and father, Jethro is left to deal with the ramifications of his failure, and their crazy f'ed up world has been turn on it's side leaving them both lost, confused, angry, and hurt. 
My biggest challenge with this story is that we have been bounced around with these two for so long now.  Nila, at times I want to shout about her bravery to the world and other times I want to shake her senseless because I can't understand why.  I don't know if in the end that makes her a stronger person than I would be in this situation or not.  Me, I said in my first review I think I would have ended this a long time ago, but then were would the book be right?  
Jethro (Kite), dude's got problems, no doubt.  I like that we get some explanation of what haunts him.  I think from the beginning I've always had more of a connection to him than I have Nila.  Nila,I just want to shake until she does something insanely drastic and fixes it all but I am always afraid she's too weak to do it.  Jethro, I feel like Jethro is always doing something.  He is always trying to save himself, Nila, Kesterl, and Jasmine (although lord help us all if Nila ever finally figures out that maybe, just MAYBE listening to Jethro for once might be a good idea.), is he hot and cold, uh, yeah.  Does it drive me insane sometimes?  Most definitely, but do I want to see him happy, do I want to see him succeed?  Somehow even at his worst, always.  Jethro just has this magnetism about him that sucks you in even when he is being horrid because you know deep down in his black soul he really isn't this beast of a man.  He will never be his father, Daniel, or Grandmother (guys, Grandma...grandma has to go, like seriously...old woman is causing all sorts of trouble and I blame her for almost everything even if we don't see her that often.  I know she's back there in her rooms, scheming and in general being evil.), and at the end of this book if you hadn't already realized that you will be over the moon, albeit heart broken.

This is a tough series to read I am not going to sugar coat anything for you, it is dark, cruel, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, angering, and swoon worthy. If you like dark romance and can accept that this is something that would NEVER happen in real life, if you can just enjoy the weaving (no pun intended) of a complex tale then I think you will like this.  After getting over my initial shock and putting my righteousness on the back burner I have really come to enjoy this story and am more than ever anxious to see how Pepper Winters finishes this story.  I am praying or some sort of HEA, but I am honestly not sure that we will get it.  

Book Excerpt:
HOW HAD THIS happened?

Where did it all go so wrong?

Jethro was supposed to love me. I was supposed to love him.

Yet he’d given me over to his family. He’d bound the ropes, blindfolded my eyes, and gifted me to his kin.

“Know what time it is, Nila Weaver?” Daniel breathed in my ear.

I jerked away. The restraints around my body meant I couldn’t run, couldn’t fight; I couldn’t even see.

Oh, God.

Please don’t let them do this.

I wanted to scream for Jethro to save me. I wanted him to put an end to this and claim me once and for all. Didn’t our connection mean anything?

You know it’s all different now.

Ever since I’d returned to Hawksridge Hall, things had been different—horribly, horribly different.

The fire crackled in the billiards room where the Hawk men had been playing poker. The air was hot and muggy and laced with cognac fumes.

Tonight, I’d had plans to end whatever changed between Jethro and me forever.

But now…those plans had changed.

Kestrel ran his fingers over my collar. “Relax, little Weaver. It will all be over soon.”

Cut chuckled. “Yes, soon you can go to sleep and pretend none of this happened.”

My ears strained for one other voice. The voice of the man who controlled my heart even though he’d thrown it back in my face.

But only silence greeted me.

Daniel snickered, licking my cheek. “Time to pay, Weaver.”

Someone clapped and in a voice full of darkness and doom said, “It’s time for the Third Debt.

I shook my head, my heart smarting with pain. “What happened to you?” I reached for him, wanting to clutch his forearm and reassure myself that our bond was still there.

With a sneer, he sidestepped, staying out of reach. “What happened to me?” Smiling coldly, he made me seem as if I were some idiot child asking for the universe’s secrets. “I got better. That’s what happened to me.”

“I don’t—I don’t understand. You weren’t ill.”

“You wouldn’t understand. No one can understand another’s problems. All you need to know is that I’m cured and I won’t make the same mistakes again.”

I took a step back, goosebumps scattering over my body. “Don’t say that. I’m in love with you. Something like that cannot be undone—”

“Love is a chemical imbalance, Ms. Weaver. I am no longer imbalanced.” He came closer. “Don’t get cold feet on your invitation. You promised you would come, and you don’t want to give me a reason to punish you so soon…do you?”

My skin pinpricked with panic. That sentence should’ve dripped with eroticism. But it wasn’t. It was cold…lifeless…like him.

Snapping his fingers, Jethro held out his hand. He kept his digits curled slightly so I couldn’t see the tattoo marks on the tips. “Come. I want to be back at Hawksridge before sunrise.

Series Reading Order

Debt Inheritance (Indebted #1) FREE

First Debt (Indebted #2)

Second Debt (Indebted #3)

PREORDER Fourth Debt (Indebted #5) NOW

Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex... her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

Her Dark Erotica books include:
Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1)
Quintessentially Q (Monsters in the Dark #2)

Her Grey Romance books include:

$50 Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway