Hell and Back by Natasha Madison

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Meeting him was a fluke. Dating him was a mistake. Watching him become a drug addict put me through hell. Running was my only option.
***
I’m running from my demons and when I find out she’s trying to escape her past, I know what I have to do.

One broken cop. One woman fighting for her life. A fragile love.

Sinister secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

They’ve been to hell. The hard part will be finding their way back together.

To start off, this is the second book that Natasha Madison has written. I say this because I read her first book and was beyond in love with it. Now I read this book and I am just in awe of her storytelling talent. Being a blogger, I love to read new authors, whether it be their first book or their tenth. But Natasha Madison is easily one of the most talented that I have come across.

Our story starts with Bella and her daughter, Lilah. They are primarily hiding out in a home that Bella’s grandma left to her after she passed. We see Bella and Lilah only going outside at night and hiding in the house, and we immediately find out why. I really appreciated that, from the start, we know what Bella has gone through. We aren’t given the run around or anything. We know what is going on and why Bella is taking the actions that she is.

Another thing I really liked was how Jackson recognizes is that there is more to Bella and Lilah than you might first realize. Jackson is a SVU Detective and he is keenly aware that Bella is running but he doesn’t know from what. He is patient and kind to both Bella and Lilah but I never felt like he was just trying to brush their problems away either.

Another amazing character we get to meet is Brenda. She lives next door to Bella and she is basically a real life angel. With her unconditional love and support, Bella is slowly able to start healing (not without some help from Jackson too, of course). But once Bella is able to start healing, she becomes stronger.

I don’t want to give away any more of this beautiful story, but know that there are darker moments. This story is complex and we are dealing with a lot of different issues and concerns for both Bella and Jackson.

This story is intense and heartbreaking, but I would definitely recommend it. I still am blown away that this is only her second book and I can’t wait to see what else she comes up with as she continues to write.

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Find Me Alastar by T.L. Swan

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Find Me, Alastar by T.L. Swann

He outbid me, that was our initial interaction.

He was cocky, my first impression.

Then he stole my heart, I don’t even think he noticed.

Alastar O’Shea was full of sexual energy, the things he would say, the addictive things he would do.

He knew how to make me come undone.

He knew how to love me.

He was the best experience of my sheltered life.

But do you ever really know who someone is?

What if the story I know isn’t the story at all?

I thought I knew him.

I was wrong.

 I finished this book yesterday and I have spent the time since trying to figure out what to say in this review. I didn’t care for this book initially, and then by the end, I thought the author was a complete genius and was beyond impressed with the story.

I will say this book is different than anything I have read before. The synopsis above doesn’t do it justice at all.

This book starts with Emerson moving to London, with her best friend, Brielle. Emerson and Brielle have both just gotten out of relationships that were going nowhere. Both girls are working, and just adjusting to their new lives when Emerson meets Alastar aka Star in an antique shop. He and Emerson are both vying for the same ring, (Alastar claims its for his mother) but Emerson is the one who ends up leaving with the ring.

As this book went on, many times I found myself wanting to kill Alastar. He really gives Emerson the run around a lot, but when he’s with her, he’s beyond head over heels in love with her. In all honesty, some of this book was hard to get through until I got to the end and everything made sense.

This book will leave your head spinning. It does NOT end in a cliffhanger or anything like that. However, you will be confused at times. You will think you know what Alastar is doing, but you won’t even be close to guessing accurately. You’ll wonder what is happening with Emerson. Again…you’ll be guessing wrong the entire time.

This book would be great for someone who wants to try something different, or if you love solving a puzzle. This book is well written and extremely well thought out. I was beyond fascinated by how this author constructed this entire story, because a lot of thought had to have gone into every little detail. You will take a chance on this book, but its absolutely worth it.

Exposed by LL Collins

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Exposed by LL Collins

What do you do when all your secrets– and your heart– are exposed?

Natalie Anderson has spent her life being strong for everyone else, always putting herself last. But that has come with a price because the stress and secrets are affecting every part of her life. Looking and acting the part is one thing, but feeling it is another. She knows she’s at a crossroads and she needs to make a change, starting with loosening up and living a little.

Kai Pierson is done being a grunt. He’s finally worked his way up the ladder and he now finds himself a rep at the hottest label, representing the hottest band in all of rock music. He’s living the life…alone, but he’s okay with that. It’s the way it needs to be.

Though they’ve never met in person, they become friends and spend hours talking about life. When the chance to meet arrives, neither of them are ready for how they feel when they see each other for the first time.

But when Natalie’s secrets are exposed, will she be able to put it all behind her and find her own happiness, or will the lies destroy her once and for all?

Welcome to the final act in the Jaded Regret series. Consider this your backstage pass to the show!

This book was unlike I’ve read before. I don’t want to give this as a spoiler, but I do know many people appreciate a trigger warning, so I will say that Natalie very clearly has an eating disorder. I thought the way the author wove this fact into the story was beautiful.

No, I’m not saying the eating disorder is beautiful. What I mean is that as this story is happening, you don’t really realize anything is wrong with Natalie. We don’t see what she looks like. So when she is particular about not liking her photo taken, or sees herself with fat on her stomach…that didn’t strike me as unusual. For me, I also don’t like my photos taken and I know I see things in myself that others don’t. I am not sure if this was the author’s intention, but for all the social media things we see about women’s figures and how women are expected to see themselves, this was one of the first times that I felt bad about how badly I see myself. Seeing Natalie’s behavior and not thinking it was alarming was shocking to me.

When Natalie and Kai finally meet in person, he starts breaking down those walls. My favorite piece of Kai was that he was effortless. When he makes Natalie feel sexy, or good about herself, its not because he has to try and do it. He’s just speaking his heart to her. I also really admired that Kai did the right thing. When he was worried about her, he knew to act on it.

I know that, especially for book bloggers, its easy to say everything is your favorite, or every guy is your book boyfriend. Its hard because there are so many authors out there that write these amazing books for us. But Kai and Natalie are probably one of the most realistic couples I’ve ever read. I feel confident that there are couples like Natalie and Kai all over the world, facing the world together, and having to face their demons while still going through everyday life stresses.

I would absolutely recommend this book. It was an incredible story of love, strength, and having the ability to move on with your life.

Rein In by Anne Jolin

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RELEASE BLITZ

Title: Rein In

Series: Willow Bay Stables #3

Author: Anne Jolin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: October 25, 2016

 BLURB

Aurora Daniels is the bleeding heart of her family. With a gift and a passion for helping to heal others, she has a legacy of kindness and gratitude—a modern-day saint.

Every Sunday since she turned eighteen, Aurora has driven three hours into the city of Edmonton, Alberta, where she volunteers at an equine facility that rehabilitates troubled youth by working with horses. With their increasing success rate, the facility is expanding to foster violent parolees in hopes of a more effective release into society.

Assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder—that’s what it says under the name on his sheet. Rhys White is released on good behaviour and promises to remain under contract for community service at the Equine for Hearts facility for a court-ordered period of twelve months.

Willow Bay’s saint may have stumbled across the one sinner who can’t be saved from himself.

Will Aurora be able to rein in Rhys’s quest for revenge before it’s too late? Or will she spend the rest of her life loving a man behind bars?

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29959872-rein-in

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EXCERPT

 He was interrupted by the sound of a convertible pulling into the space next to us. The speakers were blaring some kind of racket that made my brain feel like I was going to have a seizure.

Some guy folded out from behind the wheel and Dirt nearly choked on his chew at the sight of him.

He looked like an asshole with his pink sweater folded over his shoulders and one of those polo shirts that looked like it belonged to a rowing club. When he rounded the hood of the car, Fun Bobby’s upper lip curled in disgust. I fought back a grin. This ass hat was wearing loafers.

“Morning, baby girl.” Glitch hollered over the sound of the car stereo.

I let my eyes follow his and land on her blonde hair in the passenger seat. It was light, almost white in the sun and so long it fell well past her shoulders.

The loafer guy held open her door and long legs stretched into my line of vision. She wore those cut of jean shorts, the kind a girl in a country song would wear, but hers were more tasteful, covering the round curves of her ass completely but not hiding them either.

Stretched over her chest was the token white volunteer shirt, she was here to work.

When she stood in front of him, she slung a backpack over her shoulder and waved in our direction.

If you’d ever seen an angel after a bad dream, it felt like that in the air when she smiled.

He pulled her into his chest by her upper arm and dove into her mouth.

My chest rumbled and Glitch widened his eyes in my direction.

I hadn’t seen or felt a woman since I was a teenager and it almost hurt my heart to look at her. She was the picture of all the years that I gave away. She was a breathing memory of everything I missed out on.

Stuffing my hands in my pockets, I let loafers live his dream against her lips.

What did I have against the puke anyway? Let him be happy.

REVIEW TIME

So if you’ve followed my blog at all, you know I’ve reviewed the earlier books in this series. I adored “Change Rein” and “Eight-Second Ride”, which are London and Owen’s stories. But all this time, I knew Aurora would get her story. In “Eight-Second Ride”, we know Aurora is dating Wells, this sort of pretentious, preppy guy she knows. Even in that book, no one really likes him. So I was beyond happy to see that Aurora ditches him quickly in this book.

This is an Anne Jolin story we are talking about here, so I’ll just say I loved it since I love everything from Anne Jolin. But in all seriousness, I thought this book was such a great way to end this series. This book deals with some more complex issues, while still maintaining a lot of the charm that is found within the other books.

**Side nore: this book is a part of the Willow Bay Stables series, but if this was your first book from Anne Jolin, you would be able to follow the story just fine.**

One thing that I simultaneously loved, and also hated, about Rhys was how responsible he was. When he was charged with a crime, he just admitted his guilt and didn’t try to fight anything. Even though he should have. He initially runs from Aurora, but once they get to know one another, he isn’t afraid to tell Aurora how he feels.

I think that was actually my favorite aspect of this entire book. This couple faced drama but it was never drama between them. They experienced things together. I never like seeing characters hurt or suffering, but with this couple, I was happy to see them face things as a team, as opposed to them pushing and pulling each other around.

I really related to Aurora. At one point in the book, she makes a comment to Rhys about everyone saying she has a big heart, and that she compares it to when someone tells you they like something or something is good, when really it isn’t. I already liked Aurora’s character but this was the pivotal moment for me that changed everything. I knew EXACTLY what Aurora meant with that comment because I’ve felt that way about myself before. It can be so hard to know your value, your worth, when we don’t see what others see in us.

I would absolutely recommend this book. I have loved this entire series from the first time I met the Daniels family and I continue to love them, even though the series is complete now.

ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE WILLOW BAY STABLES SERIES

 #1 Change Rein

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#2 Eight-Second Ride

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AUTHOR BIO

 I was born and raised in Ladner, a small farm town just outside Vancouver, Canada.

I never expected to be an author. Writing was something that snuck up on me and rooted itself into my life. It was beautiful to discover that love, and I’m truly grateful to say I’ve found my passion.

If I could leave y’all with one thing, it’s that life’s far too short to not live it out loud. Drown in your passions, hold on tight to the things that inspire you, and chase your dreams relentlessly. I can promise you without a doubt that you won’t regret it. I know I don’t.

Mad love,

Anne Jolin

 

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Website: http://www.annejolin.com/

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Becoming Blue by Angie Brashears

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Becoming Blue by Angie Brashears

Every single thing I’ve been taught not to do…I just did.

Talk to a stranger? Check

Get in a car with a stranger? Check

Go to a second location? Check

Go into a stranger’s house? Check

Take candy from a stranger? Check

If this is a kidnapping, it’s the kindest one I’ve ever heard of.

I’m living a fat girl fantasy. Snatched from a Weight Watcher meeting by a powdered-donut eating stranger, was by far the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. Who knew I didn’t need to make appointments or attend meetings to have someone to talk to. A Friend. Two Friends. A dark, intense stranger. Secrets.

Everything I ever wanted, and something’s I didn’t. Not every tasty treat is for eating.

To each his own….right?

Mature theme, sexual content, may contain triggers…you’ve been warned

Let me start by saying this is not your average love story. This book deals with some darker themes, along with some fetishes that are definitely beyond what we normally hear about.

Our story starts with Sara, no H, at a weight loss meeting. Sara attends these meetings but nothing ever clicks for her. But at this particular meeting, she meets Sasha, who has decided to rescue Sara and simultaneously recruit her to join Chubby Chasers.

I know this is the debut book for Angie Brashears and I have to applaud her for taking this book in directions that I don’t think many debut authors would want to go in. Just being up front, this book won’t be for everyone. And even for myself, it took me a bit to warm up to the story line. The one thing I really liked about that is as the reader is warming up to new ways of thinking, so is Sara. She’s also learning to change her way of thinking and opening her mind to new possibilities.

Chubby Chasers is basically a web cam service. The women who work there might partake in other fetishes for their client, such as BDSM, but it can also include feeding. That’s where Javier aka Javi comes in. He’s primarily the resident handyman around the house. But as our story continues, his relationship with Sara grows. Sara’s “stage” name is Blue. The thing about Javi is that he’s a feeder…and he’s got a darker side. One that Blue has no idea about.

For a debut novel, this book is fantastic. The author seamlessly introduces to this cast of characters, all while keeping the story going in one direction. The story does handle topics that I can honestly say I’ve not read before. Even though they may be topics that one isn’t comfortable thinking about, the story is extremely refreshing in the fact that its something different.

I would absolutely recommend this book. I loved seeing a debut novel written so well. Furthermore, I admire the courage and bravery that it takes to not play by the “romance rules” and to push an idea that isn’t the norm.

*This book is the first in a series. The second and third books are out now**

Hell and Back by Natasha Madison: EXCERPT REVEAL

hell-and-back-ebook

Hell and Back by Natasha Madison

Excerpt Reveal

Blurb:

Meeting him was a fluke. Dating him was a mistake. Watching him become a drug addict put me through hell. Running was my only option.

***

I’m running from my demons and when I find out she’s trying to escape her past, I know what I have to do.

One broken cop. One woman fighting for her life. A fragile love.

Sinister secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

They’ve been to hell. The hard part will be finding their way back together.

 

Releasing October 31, 2016

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32181227-hell-and-back?ac=1&from_search=true

Pre-Order Links

iBooks: http://apple.co/2dnAEKV

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2dF6Bfm

 

Excerpt

I pull up in my driveway looking over at the house.  What I see pisses me off.

Here she is in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and glasses pushing a brand new lawn mower.

I make sure I check my temper before I walk over.  Right before I cross the street the little girl on the front porch stops me mid step.

She looks like just like her mother, just a smaller version.  She is sitting on a plastic little table, that they probably just bought, coloring.

I make my way over to her right when the lawn mower goes off

“I told you I would cut the grass.”  I try to sound casual, but the blood in me is boiling, it must be ninety-five degrees outside, and she’s wearing enough clothes for a trek across the frozen tundra.

She looks up “I also said I got it, and I would be doing it myself.” The little girl from the porch makes it to her mother and hides behind her, yanking on her pant leg.

The fearful look that she gives me is just like her mother’s.  I crouch down, getting eye-to-eye with her and say “Hey there, beautiful. What’s your name?” She doesn’t reply, and instead she lowers her gaze so she is looking at her feet. “I’m Jackson,” I reach out my hand, but drop it when I know she won’t take it.  I gesture behind me, as I say “I live in that house right over there.  I used to know your great grandma.”  I’m trying to draw her into a conversation with me, but nothing I say engages her.

“It’s ok baby, you can tell him your name.  Nan used to make him cookies, so you know what that means, she must have really liked him.”  She rubs her daughters shoulder.

“I’m Lilah,” she says in barely a whisper.

“That is the most beautiful name in the whole wide world.  You’re lucky to have such a beautiful name.”  She smiles at me, right as a car back fires. She yells and puts her hands to her ears.

Two things happen at the same time, her mother grabs her and runs toward the house, and I vow to protect them.

“Wait,” I rush after them and make it right to the door before it’s closed in my face.  I stand there inside the house and watch them rushing to the corner and hide.

Two broken girls protecting each other against some monster of the outside world.  I walk up to them “It’s ok, it’s just a car, it was nothing but a car.”

“Lilah, baby it’s ok, it’s ok.  I’m here.  It’s ok baby girl, were safe.” She is trying to comfort the little girl who is sobbing quietly in her mother arms.  “No one is here baby.”

She looks over at me, our eyes meeting for one minute before she lowers them again.

“Look it’s ok, it’s just Jackson.  There is no one here, baby.”  She rocks Lilah back and forth. Her back against the wall while she soothes her baby girl whose sobs are slowly stopping, her eyes closing.

“What can I do?”  I’m now sitting in front of her not sure how to even start to dissect this.

“Nothing, you can’t do anything for us,” she kisses Lilah’s head. “No one can.”

I ignore that last part not sure how to talk about this now.

“I’m going to go outside and finish cutting the grass, then I’m going to go pick up some food for us.  Does she like pizza?”

“Jackson, I don’t know what relationship you had with my grandmother, but I don’t need your help.  We will be fine.  Please, it’s ok, you can leave.” She rests her head on the the wall closing her eyes, the defeat of the day leaving her body.

“I’m going to go outside and finish mowing the lawn so Lilah doesn’t have to go outside anymore today.  Then I’m going to pick up pizza for myself.  You won’t have time to cook, so I’m going to pick one up for you.  I want to eat with you guys, but I’m not pushing myself on you either after today.  Now I don’t want to fight with you or even discuss this, so just nod that you understand?”

She looks into my eyes, but nods yes.

“I can pay you for the pizza?  I have money. I don’t need a hand out,” she says while trying to push herself up to go get fucking money.

If she weren’t so scared of things I would punch the fuck out of something right now.  “I don’t want your money, now or ever.  I have no doubt you can take care of yourself.  Consider this a housewarming present.” I get up going to the door not even giving her a chance to say anything else.

“She’s never had pizza before, so can you just get us plain cheese.”

I don’t say anything afraid of what will come out of my mouth.  I nod and walk out the door, closing it quietly so as not to wake Lilah.

I close my eyes exhaling the breath that I didn’t even realize I was holding.

“She’s barely holding on while fighting for her life.  She has demons, they both do.  Whatever happened to them, it’s in there deep.  The both of them are so scared, you can practically see the fear coming off of them.”  I look over at Brenda who is on her porch watering her plants. “Tread lightly, Jackson, or better yet walk away if you aren’t going to do anything about it.”

I don’t have a chance to respond she walks into her house closing her front door softly, leaving me fighting my own demons.

 

About Natasha Madison:

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

Social Media Links:

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A Sacred Vow by Willa Thorne

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A Sacred Vow by Willa Thorne

I swore a solemn oath that saw to the end of the Cormacs, a family of hunters that persistently sought to rid my coven’s existence.

For years we have lived in the shadows, free from hunters and the weapons of wood that could destroy us.

But the familiar scent of Cormac blood is awakening my senses. We were certain that we had ended the bloodline. Now, the vow I swore plagues my mind. The guilt I harbour buries deep. The desire and lust burns.

My pledge to my family is now a promise to protect the woman I love.
Aurelia Galligan is a descendant of the Cormac bloodline. I should drain her. I have to destroy her. But she may just end me.

**This is a forbidden vampire romance between the hunter and the hunted. The content is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.**

I believe this book started out as a standalone, but is progressing into more. I know the author could go in any direction she would like, but based on the ending of this story, we will see more Julian and Lia in the future. With that said, this book does NOT have a cliffhanger. I know some readers have certain feelings about that (myself included- I think cliffhangers suck out my soul, one cliffy at a time).

This book was really interesting to me. Our story starts with Aurelia “Lia” moving back into her grandmother’s home after she passes. Once there, she finds some odd items in a small basement closet and is intrigued by the maps and weapons she finds. Add into that a strange phone call from her estranged brother and Lia knows something weird is happening.

At an art event, she meets Julian Devereux. Both are taken with each other from the start, but for very different reasons. Julian is a vampire, and he’s primarily interested in feeding from Lia. Until he sees a particular birthmark on her shoulder. That birthmark tells Julian that Lia is a descendant from the Cormac family, a family that he has vowed to destroy.

This book gives us flashbacks into Julian’s past and I loved that the author included that. It made the story have more context, especially seeing Julian as he was in the past. Seeing him in the past helps the reader see why Julian is the way he is in present day as well.

In all honesty, Lia wasn’t my favorite character. I think for Julian and Lia’s relationship to work though, Lia needed to have the personality that she did. She was naive, innocent, foolish. As much as her character sometimes drove me a little crazy, I could see why Julian would be attracted to her. I think Lia’s character, to me, represented that youthful innocence. That was something that Julian had lost a long time ago and as we watch them interact, you can see Lia bringing Julian back to life.

I think the only thing I would have changed about this book is that I wish some of this was laid out differently, knowing there is a possibility of more books for the characters. The reason I say this is that we meet some characters and you almost wonder why. They don’t get closure and its hard to see what role they are playing overall in the story.

If you love paranormal, or are just in the mood for some quality time with a handsome vampire, then this is the book for you. I still feel this story is complete, but I admit I’m looking forward to seeing what direction the author takes the characters into next.