Posted in Make Money

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ STILL LIFE WITH STRINGS BY L.H. COSWAY

My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.

The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.

After all, I was never going to see him again, right?

Wrong.

Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.

He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

3.5 ‘BLUEBIRD’ STARS
[5 stars for the first half2.5 stars for the second half]
Overall it’s a wonderful feel-good romance! Sprinkled with humor and rooted in reality, this book took a much overused premise and turned it into a story that entices the reader into wanting to know more about the plot and characters. I was never bored while reading and though the plot is quite simplistic, I never found any scenes to be mundane.

Jade is such an admirable and refreshing female lead. I can’t tell you how many times I gave up on a book because the heroine is a weak, sniveling character but Jade isn’t like that. She’s responsible, loyal, daring, and witty; a recovering alcoholic and acting as a parent to her younger siblings, Jade’s character really appealed to me and I admire her resilient personality.
Shane is not your typical hero. He’s shy but can be possessive and attentive. He’s experienced betrayal in the past and his childhood was quite cold and lonely so meeting Jade was like finding buried gold. What made this book really work for me was how the author portrayed Jade and Shane’s relationship that went from friends to lovers: convincing and believable.
There is a strong musical element to the book and without it, the story would not be the same. Part of what makes Shane and Jade connect on such a deep level is his music and I loved the way the author weaved the musical aspect into the story so when I read it, I didn’t feel like it dominated the plot, but instead, supported, gave weight, and helped validate their relationship.

Another thing I have to point out: this author KNOWS how to make the little things count. Often times I read a book and minute details are glazed over and not given much thought, but this book was rich in setting description, character quirks, and that in itself helped deliver an additional layer to the story and helped me connect with the book on a deeper level. Example being: there is this emotionally powerful scene at 40% that completely stole my breath. I did not expect it to affect me so much but it did so props to the author for achieving that.

1. “His face moves to my hair as he sucks in a deep breath, scenting me.” Sorry, the term “scenting” doesn’t do it for me. It totally kills my ladyboner.

2. The sexual tension hindered the plot. Normally I love feeling how palpable the tension is but in some cases, Jade’s reluctance to give in for even an millimeter made me angry. It’s like…they’re having a great scene where they really connect and then Jade pulls up her ice-cold wall defenses again and the moment is ruined. RUINED I say! This happens multiple times and I walked away rolling my eyes! What is wrong with Jade…

3. This is probably my biggest complaint of all. At precisely 76% I considered slapping a DNF on the book and walking away. Mind you, it’s not cheating. What went through my head (besides WTF) was why is this added in? It certainly helped explain why earlier chapters in the book didn’t really make sense until this revelation came out, but with this fact revealed, it made me question the believability of the characters and the story as a whole. You see, what was uncovered should’ve brought forth a lot more turmoil and emotionthan was described in the book, but Shane and Jade’s blasé reaction towards it not only undermined the point of adding this in the first place, but also tainted the realism and convincing portrayals of their characters in the first 50%, hence, ruining the book for me.

I really struggled with my feelings for the book as it was so evenly split into two: first half, total enjoyment and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it; second half was a downward spiral and ended up as a big let down compared to the beginning. Perhaps if the events at 76% were taken out, this could’ve made a solid 4 or 4.5 star read for me, but unfortunately it didn’t make the 4 star mark.
To take a sentence from the book, “close…but not close enough.”
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Make Money

BOOK BLITZ ~ LESSONS IN LOVE BY CLARISSA CARLYLE

Book title: Lessons in LoveAuthor: Clarissa CarlyleSeries: Lessons in Love #1Genre: NA Contemporary RomanceRelease date: February 24, 2014

Alex Heron is a high school cheerleader. She’s pretty, blonde and popular. Alex seems to have it all, but she’s hiding a dark secret from her past that threatens to destroy her future. Only the handsome new math teacher, Mark Simmons, can see past Alex’s façade to the real girl hiding inside. He wants to help Alex overcome her past, but will their developing feelings for each other get in the way?

I have been an avid reader and writer since my earliest school days. Reading was my first and earliest passion that I can remember, often seeking the safe sanctuary of my room or the library to read everything I could. My favorite has always been romance. I penned some romantic poetry in high school and was winning school awards for my short stories at 16. In college I would hibernate in the library for days at a time, consuming every short story and novel I could find. My diploma says Bachelors in English Lit., which I’m very proud of.
I probably drink too much coffee and eat too much junk food, but to compensate do like running outdoors when the weather is nice. I love shopping in the mall even if I never find what I’m looking for. I’m a hopeful romantic who prefers stories with a happy ending. You can often find me in a coffee shop either working on my next story, or with my nose in a book.

Posted in Make Money

BOOK BLITZ ~ RANSOM SERIES BY A.T. DOUGLAS

My body is broken.
My life is shattered.
Everything I’ve ever known is gone from me, yet I’ve discovered something beautiful.
I didn’t expect to be taken. I never dreamed that love would find me while my life was slowly stripped away.  With him something new and alive stirs within me, and I am completely changed. 
Though battered and broken-down, I’m not alone. The most unlikely man protects me and gives me strength.
I will survive this for him.  I will find a way to save us both.
While they hold me, he holds my heart, and I’m not willing to pay the price to get it back.
WARNING: Beyond Ransom and Beyond Revenge are New Adult Romantic Suspense novels intended for mature audiences 18+.  They contain disturbing situations, graphic violence, strong language, and sexual content.

The conclusion of The Ransom Series:
We made a decision.
We had a plan.
We were so close to having it all, then it was snatched away before our eyes.
Our bodies and minds are pushed to the brink of destruction. We wither away into darkness with more to lose than ever, but we are strengthened by our love and hold on to hope. It’s all we have left in the devastating chasm between us.
We keep reaching and holding on, striving to overcome the power of vengeance. 
We will find a way.WARNING: Beyond Revenge is a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel intended for mature audiences 18+. It contains disturbing situations, graphic violence, strong language, and sexual content.

I don’t think Leo even notices our proximity until a slight gasp escapes my lips. They’re parted slightly, eagerly awaiting another pair of lips to reciprocate theirfervent desire for contact.Leo stills above me for a moment, observing me intently and clearly interpreting the signals my body is sending to him. He dips his face down toward me until ourmouths are within centimeters of each other. I can feel his breath pass between my lips. I can feel the heat of his skin so close to mine.He moves the tiny amount of distance to close the space between us and connects with my lips, touching them gently with his own before engaging them more forcefully.Our kiss becomes frenzied and desperate, as if this may be the last night we ever see each other and we’re making the most of the time we have left before we’re separated. Leo’s hands are in my hair, his thumbs caressing my cheeks, his tongue exploring my mouth. I feel like he’s all over me and in me and on me in every way possible even though we’re only kissing. My hands fist his shirt and pull desperately at his shoulders and neck.I’ve kissed guys before in high school, but never like this. This is passion at its purest. This is undeniable lust. These are the needs and longings and desires of two bodies coming together in one moment amidst a swirl of surrounding chaos.I feel the change in Leo’s demeanor even before he withdraws from me. He stares at me for a moment, my eyes still wide with lust and my chest rising and falling erratically.“This is a bad idea,” he says quietly before standing up and looking at the door behind him. “This will not end well for either of us if we’re caught. We can’t do this.”I pause for a moment before looking away from him. Though my mind completely understands his concern, my body really doesn’t give a shit. Whatever just passed between us made me feel alive. I felt a strange taste of freedom despite my captive state. That one experience and this gorgeous and caring creature in front of me gave me something to live for, even if only for a few short moments. Now I just feel hollow.“Okay.” It’s my go-to answer in this place. It’s obedient and submissive, just how they want me to be. I can’t look at him now. I’m too embarrassed and disappointed in what just happened to face him.I hear the first aid kit being closed up followed by footsteps moving away from me to the door. My eyes close to fend off the burn of tears behind my eyelids. Leo doesn’t say another word as he leaves me, vulnerable and alone, locking the door behind him.

A.T. Douglas embraced her renewed passion for reading by diving into the self-publishing world in 2013.  Fueled by her love of music and her addiction to the Young Adult/New Adult genres, she strives to turn daydreams and the realities of life into words the world can read.  She lives in New Hampshire, USA, with her husband and son and wishes desperately that there were more hours in the day for family, reading, and writing.

Posted in Make Money

BOOK REVIEW ~ BUSINESS AS USUAL BY DENISE GROVER SWANK

Lexi Pendergraft has given up on finding love after a disastrous encounter with her last boyfriend. Instead, she focuses on two things: One, setting up a summer program for underprivileged middle-school aged students. And the second, getting to the bottom of her brother Reed’s recent strange behavior. His secret is destroying his relationship with his fiancée Caroline, and Lexi will do anything to help him save it. Especially after he gave up his dream to give Lexi a chance at a semi-normal college experience, something her parents threatened to steal from her after her rape a year ago. 

Ben Masterson is determined to make it through his final semester of his senior year at Southern University. After recently losing his full ride scholarship, he’s suffering from sleep deprivation while trying to keep up with his mechanical engineering courses and working three part time jobs. He thinks he’s lucked out getting a job in the university math lab. The only problem is his boss—Reed Pendergraft.

As part of a role in a community theater play, Lexi wears a black wig and feels a confidence she hasn’t experienced in over a year. When she wears it to a bar close to the theater, she doesn’t think Ben, a bartender there, recognizes her. While Ben’s intrigued about what she’s up to, he’s smart enough to stay far away from his overprotective boss’s sister. Until fate forces him to help her, but why won’t she tell him her real identity?

3 STARS
Although this book is a standalone, there is heavy overlap with book 2 so read at least Redesigned before starting Business as Usual. Of course, I highly recommend reading them in order…
Unless unicorns fly in and animals start talking, NA books are pretty much a miss for me. I’m just bored and tired of the same college setting with the same type of bad boy who sleeps around and miraculously falls in love with the heroine, blah blah blah. But that didn’t happen with this book, and the others in this series. I don’t know what it is about Denise’s stories, but I’m pretty sure if she wrote a lab manual I’d read it and end up enjoying it.

This is the third book in the Off the Subject series and focuses on Lexi, Reed’s sister. From book 2 (and this book’s blurb) you find out that Lexi was raped and as a result left her old life as the rich Monroe girl and settled in at Southern College with her brother Reed as Lexi Pendergraft. She’s outwardly open, friendly, and at first glance she’s just like any other normal college girl, but in reality, Lexi is incapable of maintaining a longtime relationship and she knows it.
Ben has one goal: finish out his last semester at Southern College. Wrongfully accused of a heinous crime he didn’t commit, Ben wants nothing more than to get out of town. Though he doesn’t trust and love easily, he’s a really thoughtful, caring guy who’s responsible and loyal to friends. Lexi and Ben, two people who were never supposed to cross roads, meet each other by chance and they just connect. At the same time, Lexi is busy figuring out what Reed is hiding from her and his fiancée Caroline, getting her caught in some dangerous situations; however, Ben is always watching out for her and pretty soon, Lexi and Ben start to fall in love with each other: he with her sweet personality and inner strength and she with his protectiveness and caring heart.

I really liked this book in terms of plot development and I loved revisiting all the old characters and catching up on their stories. However, there were a few things that kept me from fully enjoying the book and one of them was how Reed dominated the book. I like his character, but this is Lexi’s book. Granted his role in the book pertained to Lexi, but I would’ve liked to see more of how she was involved. A lot of the plot suspense and twists dealt with where Reed was, what his secret was, etc…Another thing was a lot of the decisions Lexi made really pissed me off. She came off as an immature child and if it weren’t for Ben coming to the rescue, who knows what would’ve happened to her. I understand that those events had to happen as part of the plot development but gosh, she was so stupid in those scenes I facepalmed. Anyway, in the end it worked out well since all those events led to a smackdown finale where Lexi’s past and present collided, and the author wrapped up that part nicely.
Compared to the first two books, Business as Usual fell flat for me, but nevertheless, still a good read. I think fans of the series will be happy with Lexi’s story, but me being me, I just wanted more: as this is Lexi’s story I needed more about her and not a story revolving so much around the side characters. I needed more Lexi and Ben time.