Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour + Book Blitz: Clarity (Book Five: Loving Liam) by Loretta Lost

Clarity 5: Loving Liam
Loretta Lost

Publication date: April 26th 2016

Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Happily ever after isn’t always easy…

Helen and Liam are engaged to be married and their relationship is stronger than ever. But when Helen encourages the young doctor to mend fences with his estranged family before the wedding, she unintentionally opens a dangerous can of worms.

A devastating secret from Liam’s past emerges, threatening to tear him apart. The horrors of his family skeletons make him feel that it is a huge mistake to try to start a new family with Helen. Unable to cope, he pushes everyone away, including his fiancée and even his best friend Owen.
Now Helen must do all she can to save the man who has saved her so many times. Liam has put himself on the line to help her heal in the past, and she hopes to do the same—if she can even get close enough to try…

Liam Larson, 1989

I am standing on the side of the road and holding a newborn infant.
She is looking up at me with curiosity on her face, and I can already tell she’s going to be my best friend. We’re going to do everything together, especially coloring and making snow angels. She’s really tiny right now, but I’m sure that when she’s a little bigger she’ll love playing catch with me. I have a ball, but I don’t have anyone to play with.

First, I need to know her name.

“What are we going to call her, Mama?”

Turning to the side, I look at my mother who is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car and crying softly. I think she’s crying because it hurt a lot to take the baby out of her stomach. There is blood staining her dress, and she is clutching her midsection as her shoulders shake with sobs. She barely makes any sound, but she is shaking so hard that the car is trembling beneath her.

I thought she needed to go to the hospital, but she said no.

The baby in my arms is bloody and red. Maybe that’s why Mama never wanted to touch her. When she came out, I tried to wipe most of the gooey stuff off her before wrapping her up in Mama’s green sweater. Once I got it all off her face, I was able to see that she’s perfect. She has clear blue eyes and chubby little fingers. Her bellybutton was funny. I asked Mama what to do about the floppy string, but she wouldn’t help me.

“Liam,” my mother says from the car, and she is crying so much that she can hardly breathe. “Leave her there. Hurry! Before someone drives by.”

I look around in confusion. It’s early morning, and there aren’t many other cars on the road. Why would Mama want me to leave the baby here? It’s winter and there is a thin layer of snow on the ground. I shift the baby in my arms, because they are growing tired. She might be tiny, but I’m not that big and strong yet and it’s hard to hold her.

“Please, Liam,” my mother says again, placing her face in her hands as though she cannot look at me. “Put the baby down and come back into the car.”

“I don’t want to. She’ll be cold.”

My mother wipes her face on her sleeve, trying to remove some of the tears and clean her runny nose. She sits up a little straighter and grasps the steering wheel tightly. “Liam, if you don’t get your ass back here this instant I’ll tell your father that you disobeyed me. He’ll give you a good beating!”
I flinch at this prospect, and hug the baby tighter against my chest. I don’t want Papa to hit me anymore. He’s been away for a little while, but I know he’ll be back soon, and he’ll start hurting me again.

“For god’s sake, Liam,” my mother whispers desperately. “If you don’t do as I say, your father will kill me. He’s going to strangle me to death, and who knows what he’ll do to the baby. He hates little girls.”

She’s right. I have seen my father choke my mother before, and he always says mean things about girls. I begin to grow very afraid. Will he treat the baby in my arms even worse than he treats me? If putting her down means she won’t get punched or kicked by Papa, is that better? Somehow, she feels glued to my chest, and I don’t want to let her go; not for anything.

“Please,” my mother says frantically as she waves me over with her hand. “Please just leave the baby there.”

“But… but she’ll get hurt. If cars drive by, they could hit her.”

“We’ll come back for her, soon. I promise. I just need to go home. I’m in a lot of pain.”

I look down at the ground fearfully. “Are you sure, Mama?”

“Leave her, Liam!”

I quickly move to do as she says, and place the baby down in the snow on the side of the road. The little girl looks at me in confusion as I stand up, and her tiny arms move a little, reaching out for me. I can tell she already misses the warmth of being held; she misses me. My heart is breaking. This feels wrong.

“Quickly, Liam!” my mother shouts.

Ripping my own coat off my shoulders, I lay it over the baby as an extra layer of protection. She makes a cooing sound as she looks up at me, and I feel tears falling from my eyes onto her cheeks. “I love you,” I tell her, bending down to place a kiss on her forehead. “I’m sorry. We’ll come back for you, little sister. Mama promised.” I have a terrible feeling, but I’m too afraid to go against my mother, so I run back to the car. I can hear the baby start to cry, and my insides ache.

I have barely jumped into the vehicle before my mom starts driving away. I didn’t even get a chance to close my car door, but it slams shut with the force of the car’s acceleration. My mother is sobbing and the car is veering dangerously as she drives away at breakneck speeds.

“Mama?” I ask her nervously. “Are we gonna go back for her soon?”

“Who?” my mother asks brokenly.

“The baby.”

“What baby?” Tears pour down my mother’s face as she shakes her head violently. “There is no baby. There never was a baby.”

Her words confuse me, and I look behind the car to try to see where I laid the infant down on the side of the road. I can still hear her cries echoing in my ears. I can still see her sweet face looking up at me. “Mama, we have to go back,” I say as panic begins to fill my chest. “I left the baby there and it’s so cold. She doesn’t even have clothes yet. Can we go back now?”

“There is no baby,” my mother says quietly, repeating the words to herself over and over. “There is no baby.”

I am terrified. There’s something wrong with my mother and I don’t know what to do. What’s going to happen now? Is my little sister going to be okay? I am her big brother. I was supposed to protect her.

What have I done?

Author Bio:
Loretta Lost is a USA Today bestselling author who writes stories where very bad things happen to good people. Mystery, tragedy, and danger complicate her unique romances between characters who will do anything to protect each other.
In the two days of summer that she gets in Canada, she grows a garden of the hottest peppers in the world. She loves using these peppers to torture her guests and challenge their manhood. This could be why she isn't married.
Subscribe to Loretta's mailing list for updates:
You will also receive a FREE book as a gift for signing up!

Hosted by:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blog Tour + Book Blitz: Safe With You by Sophie Lira

★✩★✩Book Details★✩★✩

Safe With You by Sophie Lira 
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

O ​livia Simon is starting over in the Big Easy. Her new job as a yoga instructor means she gets to pursue her passion, while giving her the motivation she needs to get back on track. But she’s scared. Really scared. Scared her abusive ex-boyfriend will find her. Scared of all things that go bump in the night… and day.  She knows her ex will have a claim on her future happiness unless she can find her own peace. Which starts with Kyle.

Kyle Avery, a former college baseball player on the brink of going pro, is also starting over. His dream since Little League was shattered when a jealous rival went too far in a pre-season game. After a few surgeries, all Kyle is left with are a few rods in his leg, a rebuilt knee, and no idea who he is without baseball. But when he trades center field for a yoga mat, he finds solace in a way he never imagined. Kyle knows there’s something about Olivia. Something he needs to move forward.
But Olivia loves to run, and it’s too soon for her to be playing house. Olivia and Kyle want to invest in each other, but the secrets they’ve kept take a dangerous turn when Olivia’s past returns with a vengeance. Devastated and helpless, Olivia wonders who she can really trust, and Kyle questions if he was ever able to keep her safe.


★✩★✩Book Excerpt★✩★✩

“Hey, is everything okay?” A deep Southern accent floats into my ear. I startle backwards and drop my yoga mat, colliding with the hotter, tattooed-god version of Captain America.

“Oh my gosh, are you all right? I’m so, so sorry.” My fingers tighten around the strap of my bag. The past six months have been a nightmare, no matter how much I tell myself otherwise. Now I can tack humiliation onto my heartbreak.

His messy blond hair and milk-chocolate eyes are an instant comfort to my day­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­. He bends to pick up my yoga mat and I try not to stare as his shirt rides up, exposing a hard, muscled side. “I’m fine,” he says as he hands me the mat. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

“No, yes … I don’t know.” I shake my head, mortified at my rambling. (Olivia, Chapter One)

"Somehow in the midst of our conversation about junk food, she lightens up enough for me to take my chance to draw her out again. I keep the conversation strictly Man vs. Food vs. Cute Shy Girl as long as I can. I can sense something different inside her, like the real person under the surface is screaming at me for help. Because when she lets her guard down, even for a moment, she’s different. She seems fun, kind, and compassionate. Not the person she thinks she probably needs to be, someone who pushes everyone away.

I know someone like that. Me." (Kyle, Chapter Four)

"You’re killin’ me, Simon.” I lower the bat and look at the imaginary watch on my wrist. “I don’t have all day.”

She sticks her tongue out at me and pitches a floater. It comes toward me in slow motion with a million arrows begging me to launch it into next year. My mind switches off and instinct takes over. Before I can think, my left heel rises off the sandy dirt and I raise the bat back farther. I crush the ball so hard I almost expect the casing to fly off. The sound of contact reverberates and explodes like a strike of lightning splitting a tree. Olivia’s head arcs with the ball and follows it as it lands about ten feet beyond the right field fence.

“Nice throw!” The swing takes my breath away completely. I almost need to use the bat as a cane for support. A familiar smile flows across my face and the rush comes back as if it never left … the rush of playing and knowing this is what my life was meant for. The hole in my heart starts to close and the missing piece reappears as quickly as it went.

“Kyle!” She runs over to me with the same amount of wide-eyed astonishment I think is all over my face. “That was incredible! Your stance, your follow-through, everything was perfect. For someone who hasn’t played in a few years, you’re pretty awesome.” She sighs and the most beautiful smile stretches across her face." (Kyle, Chapter Six)

“Liv, I would never let anything happen to you.” I know. The words are a firm, solid promise. As his lips press to my forehead, I practically shudder. “Just let me in a little more. I won’t let you get hurt.”

I won’t let you get hurt again, either.

Before I can look up, his arms wrap around me and he holds me close. The hug has the most perfect amount of affection and pressure to shield me from the world. The softness of his T-shirt laced with his cologne is like the most luxurious blanket I never want to leave.

I get comfortable, leaning into him still, basking in the quiet, serene atmosphere, until I doze off, loving the way I feel in his arms. (Olivia, Chapter Seven)
“Hey, munchkin.” Cam's exotic aqua and deep sapphire eyes have half the luster they normally do and he offers me a smile. I know he was out late last night, so I feel even worse that he’s babysitting me hungover and playing Julio Child.

I sigh, rolling my eyes with a smirk. “Why do you always call me that?”

“Because you’re three feet shorter than me and weigh like four pounds.” He laughs, nudging my shoulder. “You okay? Seriously. You look like you’ve been about to implode since I got here.”

I shrug, trying to ward off the tears I won’t allow myself to shed.

“Liv … come on.” Cam pulls me into one of his overwhelming hugs and kisses the top of my head. “I know I’m not your studmuffin but don’t make me feel like shit. You’ll be okay.”

“I know. I’m trying.” I can’t help but laugh at his attempt to cheer me up. It always looks like he’s a grizzly bear protecting an acorn when he hugs me, but right now I don’t mind. (Olivia, Chapter Seventeen)

★✩★✩Author Details★✩★✩

Sophie is represented by Julia Weber & will be publishing her first novel, SAFE WITH YOU, on 04/26/2016, by Swoon Romance

★✩★✩Rafflecopter Giveaway★✩★✩

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • $5 Amazon Gift card + eBook copy of Safe With You
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, April 25, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Title:  Red Rising

Author:  Pierce Brown

Genre: Science Fiction

Year Published: 2014

Number of Pages: 639

Date Read:

Publisher: Thorndike Press (Gale Cengage Learning)

Series: Red Rising #1

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 16+ (Gory Violence and Strong Language)

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

I have read many books that were similar to “The Hunger Games” and they all had the same setup as the main character has to take down an oppressive government to save their people from a life of ruin. But, Pierce Brown’s book “Red Rising” proved to be something quite unique in the Dystopian future genre!

Darrow was known as a Red, who are a group of people that are set at the lowest caste in their society and they are constantly shown to be mining away in the caves to make the surface of Mars a place for everyone to live in.  Darrow was also married to a young and beautiful woman named Eo who made his life worth living for.  One day however, Eo shows Darrow a forbidden forest that they were not allowed to go into and it was there that she explains to Darrow that he needs to save their people from the oppressive government controlled by the Golds.  Even though Darrow did not want to go through with starting a rebellion, he soon changes his mind when his beloved wife Eo ends up being executed due to them breaking the laws, which included Eo defiantly singing a forbidden song in front of the Arch Governor Augustus.  It was then that Darrow decided to sneak into the Gold Institute by disguising himself as Gold and as soon as he gets into the Gold society, he is immediately thrown into a violent game where the Proctors will determine who the strongest Gold member in the game is and who will become Primus in this game.  Now, Darrow has to use his wits and strength to survive this savage game in order to take over the Gold society and save his people from a life of hardship.

Wow!  I have to tell you that Pierce Brown has most certainly written a truly unique Dystopian future book of the century!  Now, even though I have read plenty of young adult books that has a setting where the characters have to fight an oppressive government to save their people, this book was unique as it took place on Mars and yet, the society that the characters lived in resembles ancient Rome where the characters are forced to participate in violent games where only the strongest will survive.  Pierce Brown has done an excellent job at making this world unique as I was impressed with some of the phrases being said in this book such as “ghostCloaks,” nanoCams,” and “Gas Giants” and it made the book seem authentic in what kind of phrases would be said if humans lived on Mars or another planet.  I also loved the way that Pierce Brown wrote each character in this book as they were truly interesting characters and I like the fact that we get to learn each character’s backstory as it made me get attached to these characters and their goals in life. Probably my most favorite character in this book was none other than Darrow himself as I loved the character progression that he goes through in this book.  It was interesting seeing Darrow go from being unsure of himself in regards to whether or not he can make Eo’s dream come true to eventually commanding his own army to rise up against the Government, which made him into a character I truly root for!  I also loved the characters Mustang and Sevro as they were extremely interesting characters as you truly do not know whether or not they are loyal to Darrow and when you think that they are either betraying Darrow or stay on Darrow’s side, they would pull up surprises that the reader would never suspect!

Anyone who does not like strong language and violence might feel a bit uncomfortable with the fact that there is some strong language in this book, including the “p” word and the “f” word being dropped a few times.  Also, the violence in this book is pretty gory, especially with many scenes of people having their throats or their stomachs sliced by various weapons used in the story.

Overall, “Red Rising” is a truly fantastic book that would make the Dystopian genre proud and I will definitely be looking forward to reading the second book in the “Red Rising” series, “Golden Son!”


Sunday, April 24, 2016

[BOOK REVIEW] The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton

Title:  The Girl Who Spun Gold

Author:  Virginia Hamilton

Artists:  Leo and Diane Dillon

Genre:  Fairy Tale / Folktale / Africa / Drama

Year Published: 2000

Year Read:  2010

The Blue Sky Press

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Scary Imagery and Domestic Abuse)

Buy or Add on:  Amazon  //  Goodreads

 “The Girl Who Spun Gold” is an African retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale “Rumpelstiltskin” by Virginia Hamilton along with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon and it is about how a young and beautiful woman named Quashiba has to spin golden thread for the King while guessing the name of a mysterious and frightening little man.  “The Girl Who Spun Gold” is truly one of the best retellings of the classic Brothers Grimm tale ever written!
Virginia Hamilton has done an excellent job at retelling this popular Brothers Grimm tale in a West Indian dialect, which greatly reflects the West Indian influence of this tale.  Virginia Hamilton makes this story extremely intense as Quashiba goes through so much tension with both the King and Lit’mahn, who both threatened her with imprisonment if she does not do what they tell her to do.  Even though Quashiba goes through so much turmoil, she is portrayed as a humble woman who tries her best to get through the horrible situations she is put through.  Virginia Hamilton also does a great job at portraying Lit’mahn as a cocky and frightening character as he threatened to turn the queen into a small person and make her live with him and even the characters in this book are frightened of him as Virginia Hamilton effectively describes in detail about the mischief that Lit’mahn causes in a frightening manner.  As usual, Leo and Diane Dillon’s illustrations are beautiful, but this time, their illustrations look much more realistic than in any other of their books.  Leo and Diane Dillon have done an excellent job at drawing Lit’mahn as a truly frightening figure as he has sharp teeth, evil looking eyes, pointy eyes, a wooden leg and a long and pointed tail.  Leo and Diane Dillon have also done a great job at capturing the style of West India as the characters are dressed in lavish robes and the background images of the forest clearly create the beautiful world that Quashiba lives in.

Parents should know that the king starts mistreating Quashiba after he marries her and even this incident happens in other variants of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, children might be upset at the idea of the king mistreating Quashiba after they are married and children might think that the king does not really love Quashiba at all, even though the reason why the king married Quashiba in the first place was because he thought she could spin thread into gold and that is the wrong reason to marry anyone just because they can make a person rich.

“The Girl Who Spun Gold” is easily one of the best retellings of “Rumpelstiltskin” ever created and children who love the story “Rumpelstiltskin” will easily enjoy this distinctive variation of the classic tale.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the West Indian dialect might confuse smaller children and the appearance of Lit’mahn might frighten smaller children.