Review of Ahead of the Darkness by Simone Nicole

Ahead of the Darkness

 

Ahead

From Goodreads:

It has been a long, long time since I’ve seen your little face, chérie. Not once did you visit. That really hurt; after all, it was thanks to you I was convicted. That’s not something you forget.

I thought it was time— a visit was due. Seeing as you wouldn’t come to me, I thought it only right I come to you. Sadly, you weren’t home, but your furry feline was more than accommodating . . . I’ll be seeing you soon, mon chérie. I’ll always find you . . .

For six years, a letter has dictated Amelia’s future. She’s running from a past that refuses to stop, always trying to get one step ahead. Amelia is clever and resilient, and refuses to slip up. Relying only on herself, she’ll be anything and anyone she needs to survive. But everyone slips up . . . eventually. You can’t always stay ahead of the darkness

****

Mia is on the run from her past. Hunted for the past six years, she doesn’t stay in one place very long, and changes her identity with each new location. She works jobs that pay cash to get by, until the next place she hides out in the open. Mia refuses to let anyone know the truth or form any real relationships. The result is a very lonely existence. And that loneliness is not just about companionship– Mia is alone with her fear, her sorrow and her secrets.

I really liked the way Simone Nicole handled this part of the storyline. I’ve read way too many books where the main character holds onto secrets of their past, and *YAWN* runs before anyone can figure it out. Usually something lame like– I’m poor. Or I’m unlovable. Or ______ <– insert zero self-esteem reason here.

Not so in this book. For Mia, keeping secrets is not just about protecting herself while on the run… every single person she’s loved has been killed by the very person who is after her.

Enter Drew

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Drew has a past of his own and recognizes almost immediately that Mia is hiding something, but he doesn’t push her. Their relationship slowly builds, and for the first time in so many years, Mia follows her heart. She lets herself wonder and feel and oh God, does this woman deserve some happiness.

The chemistry between Drew and Mia is crazy good! I also loved the pace, realistic dialogue and I LOVE ME SOME JULES!!! Jules works at the same bar as Mia. He’s hot, funny as hell  and is the cause of Possessive Drew. Yeah, I wrote that as a proper noun.

At one point while reading Ahead of the Darkness I realized that every single thing Drew said had me swooning. I can honestly say that’s never happened before. Drew is hilarious, has a killer accent and isn’t afraid to call Mia out on her crap. He’s also quiet. Reserved. And he watches. Again, I loved the way Simone built his character. It allows the reader to wonder– what’s he thinking? What will he do about this? And before long, we know…

There’s nothing or no one who will hurt his girl.

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Oh God indeed.

Ahead of the Darkness is a fantastic debut novel by Simone Nicole.

star

It’s on sale RIGHT NOW for $0.99 on Amazon!!

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About this author


Self-confessed chocoholic and undiagnosed crazy person, Simone can be found climbing Himalayan mountaintops like a ninja, sky diving backwards and rubbing shoulders with billionaires. She is also full of crap, but can read backwards and upside down, the one plus of being dyslexic. Simone loves all things Disney and alcoholic, and is rarely seen not reading, writing or wearing lipstick, usually of the red variety.

Interview With Shadow From Semblance by Logan Patricks

SEMBLANCE is on sale for $0.99!!

On Sale from Feb 10th to Feb 12th
AMAZON TOP 100 BESTSELLER!! 
#1 Bestseller in Gothic Romance!
#1 Bestseller in Romance Mystery!

Check out our 5 STAR review & Shadow/Lincoln hashtag fun here

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Fair warning– Kristin and I are obsessed with gifs lately. If you have one you must share– feel free to post that baby in the comments.

Kristin and I beta read Semblance for Logan Patricks. Beta reading is reading a copy of the novel, usually before it goes to the editor, and giving the author feedback. While beta reading we both commented on the same single sentence, “I turned around to see Shadow standing behind me, dressed in shorts and sandals and short-sleeved, collared shirt with a red and white checkered pattern.”

Kristin said– “In my head I see tablecloth.”

I said — “Um, no.”

Just wanted to give you a little background on the scene below.

*****

This is how I felt watching Kristin fangirl when Shadow’s car pulled up.

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Below is Kristin’s level of fangirl.

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Gabi– “Kristin! Get your sh#t in check, woman! God, you act like he’s Henry Cavill or something!”

*digs in mommy purse and hands Kristin a brown paper bag to breath in*

Kristin — no response…

Shadow walks in the door and we both catch our breath. He’s wearing dark, worn looking jeans, and a red and white checkered shirt. We glance at one another, and only as best friends can– we know what the other is thinking… Shadow can rock red and white plaid. Also, Oh MY GOD! He’s so much hotter in person.

Shadow– Good evening ladies. I heard from my number one Canadian advisor, Logan Patricks, that you don’t care for red and white plaid.

Kristin — *clears her throat* That’s right.

Shadow– *raises a single eyebrow* Hm. I’m not used to anyone questioning my taste.

Kristin –Maybe you should, ah, remove that offensive shirt.

Gabi– Yeah. Ah, all I can think about is fried chicken at a picnic.

*Kristin gives me the, “you’re a total dork, don’t ruin this” stink-eye and kicks me under the table*

Kristin– I’m really thinking the shirt needs to go.

Shadow smirks, like he planned this. Like… like…

I’m so grateful for every button, and suddenly a picnic in the park is the way to go. When he pulls it over his shoulders and down his incredibly defined arms, I  bite back a groan. Kristin is not so lucky. She whimpers and snaps her pen in half.

Shadow tosses his shirt and sits casually in an armchair across from us. I both love and hate Aria right now.

Shadow– Now that we are all comfortable, shall we begin? I have business to attend to.

Gabi –As a member and the head of The Midnight Society I know there isn’t much you can share. Is there anything you can tell us about the society?

Shadow –Not unless you have a death wish. I don’t have to remind people of what happened to the last ‘outsider’ who learned about our business. If anyone wants to know more, you’ll have to discover it yourself. I don’t want any more innocent blood on my hands.

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Kristin–You were conditioned your whole life to one day be the leader of the Midnight Society. Given the relatively young age when this occurred, what was your biggest obstacle, if any, when transitioning from member to your position of power?

 

Shadow– Before the death of my parents, it had always been the pressure to succeed. Being schooled at the Academy, we were all conditioned to be faster, stronger, and smarter than everyone else. Everyone was working hard, while backstabbing each other in the process, to get to the top of our classes–a reflection of the competitiveness  required to climb the ranks of the Midnight Society. Even when you stood at the top of the mountain, there were no guarantees of how long you’d stay there. There’s someone always waiting to push you over the edge on order to claim your spot. 

After my parent’s death, none of it mattered anymore. Sitting on the Society’s throne has cost me far too much to be worth it.

 

Kristin–Your parents died when you and your sister were very young. Tell us about your relationship you had with Calisto as a child. And how did it change when you lost your parents?

 

Shadow– Calisto’s the only family I had, and as the man of the house, I felt it was my obligation to protect her from the ugliness of this world. It’s funny how a lot of times she ended up being the one taking care of me. She always was smarter than I was. I’ll always love her. She’s my blood. It’s programmed into my DNA.  

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Gabi —Since their death, you have been searching for the murderer. In some ways it seems that you could walk away from the society. At times, like you have a vendetta against the society even though you are their leader. Do you blame The Midnight Society for your parent’s deaths in any way?

 *can’t wait for this answer…

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Shadow — I don’t know who I blame for my parent’s death. Some days, it’s me. On other days, it’s the c0cksucker that put the knife to their throats. And yes, there are days that I blame the Midnight Society. My dad was a king on his throne, and it was foolish to think that there wasn’t someone lurking in the shadows, seeking to take his place. It’s only a matter of time before someone comes after me as well.

 

Kristin– A lot of the traditions in The Midnight Society seem a bit archaic by today’s standards. What, if anything, would you hope to change to make the Midnight Society more relevant in today’s modern world. And what traditions would you not see changed?

 

Shadow — It’s hard to shake the old traditions of the Midnight Society, especially since the first doctrine of the Society was drafted back when swords and sandals were still in fashion. The main tradition I’d like to see changed is the entire “born-into-royalty” bullsh*t. A useless t*t will always be a useless t*t, no matter what their last name is. Lincoln was the first member of the council that broke free of the stigma behind “last names”, using his smarts and wits to earn his place in the Society’s elite circle. We need more people like him. We need new blood.

 

Gabi — If it wasn’t about bloodlines, who would be your choice to lead the society? *cough* Lincoln *cough*

 

Shadow — Abraham. It always should have been Abraham.

 

Kristin –You have a reputation of being a player. But you are reaching the age when you’re expected to settle down. What qualities are you looking for in a partner?

 

Shadow — One that can accept all the messed up f*ckery that’s going inside my head at the moment. I’m also a sucker for a pretty smile and a golden heart.

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O.M.G!!!!

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Gabi –This may be a touchy subject (given recent events), how is Aria? Have you spoken to her? *evil eye*

 

Shadow — We’re done here.

*****

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To say that we need book #2 our my hands NOW is an understatement. What the hell!! Is up with that answer about Aria!?

I will totally throw a hissy if I don’t get my HEA!!!

****

Semblanceamazon

Whoever said money couldn’t buy happiness has never starved a day in their lives.
My name is Aria Valencia, a third year classical music student at the university, and I was down to my last dollar. Some nights, I seriously considered working at the rippers just to make ends meet, but the thought of my dad’s spirit–God rest his soul–scowling at me while I danced up on some drooling degenerate was enough to turn me off the idea completely.

And then one night, chance came knocking on my door under the guise of the Midnight Society, a secret cabal comprised of the most wealthy and influential souls this side of the Universe. Their leader was a man named Shadow, who was equally enigmatic as he was gorgeous and, for some mystifying reason, had his dark brooding eyes focused on me.

Seduced by the promises of fame and fortune in exchange for a seemingly innocent request, I soon found myself drawn into a provocative world filled with both vast riches and unending lies and it didn’t take long for me to realize what being a part of the Midnight Society actually entailed: shiny things, sensual romance, and dead bodies.

Being with Shadow came with a terrible price, one that I wasn’t willing to pay. There’s a dark side to every love story, and this one was mine.

Genre: Dark Romance Mystery and Suspense
Date of Sale: Feb 10, Feb 11, Feb 12
Sale: 80% off $4.99 for $0.99

Review of Under Different Stars by Amy Bartol, Character Profile + HUGE Giveaway

HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO AMY BARTOL!

Title:   Under Different Stars (Kricket #1)

Author:   Amy A. Bartol

Genre:  YA Dystopian

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Under Different Stars_book cover

FROM GOODREADS:

All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own. When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

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Excerpt:

Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”

Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”

As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.

Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.

“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.

Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”

“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe. “Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”

“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.

Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”

“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.

Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.

“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.

“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”

Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.

“Yes.”

“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.

“So that means she’s smart?”

Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”

“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.

“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”

“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.

Review

I’m so thoroughly impressed with this book that it’s difficult to put into words.

star

First, what is dystopia?

an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly

Honestly, the world building and original ideas Amy came up with could easily put this book in either the sci-fi or fantasy genres. It was that well done. I’m all with my swoony romance… but I read just as much sci-fi and dark fantasy to say that I could put this novel up against any of the novels I’ve read.

Captivating from page #1, I want to know more, more, more! Why is she on the run? Where is her family? How is she surviving on her own?

This incredibly intense story unfolds at the PERFECT pace. From slowly discovering and accepting that she isn’t human, to figuring out who to trust, and plotting how the hell to get herself out of all this craziness.

When Kricket first arrived on Ethar (I want to go ga-ga over how they traveled, but I don’t want to spoil one of the coolest scenes I’ve ever read!), we discovered this new planet with Kricket. Amy described it’s beauty in such a way that I could vividly picture it; Redwood-like trees as tall as skyscrapers, weird and terrifying creatures, the night sky.

And, of course, it’s a totally advanced civilization. Their technology was incredible! Kricket couldn’t figure out half the gadgets. It was ALMOST as funny as Trey & gang trying to figure out the American slang Kricket used.

Yet, the society’s views on “class” and women is backwards. This is all unacceptable to Kricket. But, being the survivor she is, she bides her time, played nice, and formed alliances where she needed to.

I am so glad Amy picked the scene above as the excerpt for the blog tour. It was a turning point for me…

“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.

Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”

They put the medical visor on her while still on Earth. She checked out fine. But now, on their home planet of Ethar and “under different stars”, her brain activity goes crazy. Loved that twist! Had me wondering just how special Kricket was. Turns out– pretty special.

She is young but very mature, intelligent, and has a few gifts that help her go from pawn to player.

I fell in love with Kricket immediately. Despite the fact that she’s been in the foster care system since she was five and brutally abused– she’s so strong, compassionate, fiercely loyal to the only two friends she has on Earth, and is the definition of a survivor! BOOYAH!

She also has understandable and significant trust issues, and a deep-rooted fear of abondonment that comes out at times when she is desperately trying to be or remain independent.

This is an exchange between Kricket and Trey:

“It will take a very hard, very determined personality to survive what is ahead for you without help.”

“Got it,” I growl through clenched teeth, anger flaring up in me at the sympathy in his voice.

“You’re tough?”

“I’m stone.”

“Stone can be broken.”

Tilting my head toward him, I meet his eyes. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I’m used to holding on to nothing as tight as I can.”

I was so emotional by this point, I had to set my Kindle down for a while after I read that. This poor girl. Pushing away the only 3 people she knows on the planet. Why? Because she refuses to accept help. Worse! Be pitied. It’s not even about having a wall of protection… she’s got no wall. It’s raw. All of it; Pain, abuse, multiple disappointments, being just another number is the system. And this is why I absolutely love Amy’s writing– Instead of giving up and wallowing in it all, Kricket keeps it fresh. A reminder. She uses her past to build HERSELF up and strive for a better future.

That said, accepting help and depending on Trey is setting herself up for another blow. Plus, she can take care of herself.

Up until this point they shared a few tender moments. But it was this part when Trey’s professional, all-business military badass front came down a little. Said a different way, he likes her. A lot.

Did someone say badass?

I’m going to get my swoon on because, well, I have to.

Character Profile

Trey Allairis: Mr. High-ranking Cavar military alien badass!

“Request permission to carry her down, sir.” Wayra says, staring at me.

“Denied,” Trey scowls with a clipped tone…

*Rawr*

That’s right, Wayra–you fool. Request denied! It’s just so delicious. On top of Trey’s all-around alien hotness, with his black hair and violet eyes, these military commands took it to another level for me… “REPORT!”, “DENIED!”, “ENGAGE!”, “POSITIONS!”  *oops, that last one was me…. 😉

Trey in his tripped out, camo gear that changes with his environment like a chameleon! Flanked by Jax and Wayra! Guns poised on their shoulders– ready to kick some serious ass.

***Just a little side note here: OMG! Even the way Trey used voice command on his military vehicles was hot***

Trey

Yes. He’s hot–literally– his alien body holds it’s warmth even in freezing water. *shivers* Yeah… time for a snuggle session.

First sight

“…My eyes pause for a moment on his neck, seeing thick, black tribal tattoos covering one side of it… But I lose my breath when my eyes connect with his. His irises are a lovely shade of violet, a similar color to mine.”

As Trey gets to know Kricket, his one-track “I must complete my mission” mind starts to shift. Just enough to see her as more than a mission. Just enough to wonder if it’s not just the Alameeda that she needs protecting from. And just enough that, for the first time in his life, Trey may very well risk it all… for Kricket.

Kyon smirks. “She’ll be the death of us both. I’d be doing you a favor by pulling the trigger. Don’t you know that you should eliminate what you can’t have? She’s a priestess. She’s in your head, Trey.”

“My head, my heart, my blood,” Trey responds immediately.

“That’s unfortunate for you, because she belongs to me. I own her…”

Moving on to Jerkface. I mean Kyron.

Talk about a delusional, self-absorbed, entitled ass!! OMG! The ways I hate this guy! Yes, folks, Amy created another villain we will all love to hate. I just know he’ll make a real play for Kricket’s heart in future books. That and one of Kricket’s abilities is to be able to tell when someone is lying. So when Jerkface says, “I have feelings for you.” She knows he speaks the truth. UGH.

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AUTHOR BIO:

I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re  real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.

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BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY:

1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars

2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card

3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card

GIVEAWAY Under Different Stars

GIVEAWAY CONDITIONS:

Giveaway administered by Amy A. Bartol

Winners will be notified via email and if winner does not respond within 5 days another winner will be selected

Amazon ships most Kindle e-readers worldwide, however, it is up to the participant to ensure the country they reside in is listed as one of the countries Amazon ships to. If a winner is selected and Amazon does not ship to their country, another winner will be selected.

Before entering this giveaway please check:

HYPERLINK “http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWQR21A/ref=fs_jw”To ship Kindle Fire outside the U.S. view important information specific to your country.

A Review of: ‘Paint Me Beautiful’ By: C.M. Stunich

krkistleA Review By Kristin

PAINT ME BEAUTIFUL

By: C.M. Stunich

Synopsis from Amazon: Recommended for Ages 18 and Up.  “I'm dying to be beautiful.”  My story isn't unique. You've heard it before. I'm just a girl who doesn't eat as much as she should. See, I have goals, big ones, and nobody is going to stop me, not even a boy named Emmett. He has good intentions and he's hot as hell, but he doesn't understand what it's like to want something so bad that you'll do anything for it. I'm going to become a model, even if it kills me. Dream big or go home, that's what they always say, right?

Synopsis from Amazon:
Recommended for Ages 18 and Up.
“I’m dying to be beautiful.”
My story isn’t unique. You’ve heard it before. I’m just a girl who doesn’t eat as much as she should. See, I have goals, big ones, and nobody is going to stop me, not even a boy named Emmett. He has good intentions and he’s hot as hell, but he doesn’t understand what it’s like to want something so bad that you’ll do anything for it. I’m going to become a model, even if it kills me. Dream big or go home, that’s what they always say, right?

 I am a HUGE fan of C.M. Stunich’s writing and this book is one of the reasons why.  Paint Me Beautiful tackles the subject of anorexia and it’s not sugar coated or wrapped up neatly.  It’s real, it’s raw and it’s emotional.  I cried throughout this book because it made me question everything I’ve ever felt about my own body image and self esteem.  As the mother of a pre-teen it opened my eyes to how my own daughter could be viewing herself and how important it is for me to reinforce that beauty comes from the inside

“I am broken in my own eyes. I am sick in my family’s.  I am not good enough in the fashion world’s. In Emmett’s, I am whole.”

Paint Me Beautiful is a heart-breaking story told through the eyes of Claire.  This is her journey of self-loathing and self-discovery.  She is a young woman in a stable home with two parents and a sister who love her.  She has never been abused or traumatized.  She has the perfect life in everyone’s eyes but her own.  Claire’s dreams of being a model drive her but rejection chips away at her self esteem to the point where she only sees her flaws.  Her eyes are too big, her lips are too thin, her hair is too red and her body is too fat.  She covers all the mirrors in her room so she can’t see her imperfections and has memorized the calorie count of everything.  She bleaches her hair, exercises excessively and starves herself because, in her eyes, this is what she needs to do to succeed. 

“Emmett Sinclair will save me in more ways than one, and I’ll hate him for it. I’ll curse his name and even wish for brief seconds in time that he was dead, or at the very least out of my life for good. Later though, later I’ll understand that he saved my life and breathed beauty into my dreams.”

“I mean that they can’t try to fix something that you don’t think is broken.”

Emmett has such an important role in this story.  He’s supportive and patient.  He doesn’t judge her, label her or give her ultimatums.  He is the only person who realizes she has to want to be fixed and she can’t be forced into it.  His love is unconditional and Claire feels safest with him.

“Emmett’s love isn’t enough; my family’s love isn’t enough. The only thing that would be enough is my love for me, and that, that is the one thing I am still searching for.”

Paint Me Beautiful is a must read for every young woman.  It’s a powerful, heartbreaking and inspiring story from start to end.  I haven’t been this moved by a story in a long time and I had my own journey of self-discovery while reading this book.  As a whole, we need to criticize ourselves a little less and love ourselves a little more.  We need to show young women self worth isn’t measured by the love of others; it starts with finding something to love about you.  I started today.  I now ask my daughter to tell me three things she loves about herself and I tell her three things I love about myself every night before she goes to bed.

I absolutely LOVED this book.

Would I read it again?  YES

PAINT ME BEAUTIFUL is currently $3.99 on Amazon find it HERE

WARNING – It ends on a cliffhanger but the second book

COLOR ME PRETTY is currently $3.99 on Amazon.  Find it HERE

To find out more about the awesomeness that is C.M. Stunich visit:

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Review of Undertow by Amber Lynn Natusch + Giveaway

Undertow COVERFROM GOODREADS:

How far does a girl have to run to escape a lifetime of pain and loss at the hands of Alaska’s notoriously unforgiving Bering Sea? Twenty-seven-year-old Aesa Fredriksen thought landlocked Columbus, Ohio would suffice, and it does until the fear of regret drives her to return to Dutch Harbor in a final attempt to make amends with her nearly estranged father. Intent on salvaging the wreckage of their relationship, she reluctantly agrees to join him—the only family she has left—as he heads out to fish for king crab, forcing her to brave the very waters that pulled him away from her as a child. The waters that stole her mother’s life.
When the day finally arrives for the Norwegian Queen to sail off into an uncertain future, Aesa can’t help but fear the worst. Beyond the violent swells and impending storms, there is far more than death and danger awaiting her on her journey: love awaits her too.

Decker, a young but seasoned member of her father’s crew, is a force of nature as strong as Aesa, He’s her perfect match, and even she can’t deny it. But he too is a man of the sea, and with memories of tragedy and abandonment etched so deeply into her mind, can she overcome her demons and let him in or will she drown in her darkness, forever caught in its undertow?

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Review

First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Amber’s work. Her Caged series is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series. That series (like Undertow) was so incredible well written, but it was Amber’s ability to write such deep and relatable characters that moved Caged to that next level for me.

Undertow– Wow. I will start with the setting; Dutch Harbor, Alaska. At first I thought, oh no! King crab fishing? *cue theme music for Deadliest Catch* But, I loved that this contemporary romance novel had such an unusual setting. I’ve read romance novels set all over the world… never near or on a crab boat. And let me tell you, I could not put Undertow down! This novel was a page turner from beginning to end with nail-biting suspense and such cringe-worthy scenes that even though I know what happened– I won’t read those scenes again. They felt THAT real to me. And I loved all the characters THAT much. *shivers*

Nine years ago Aesa ran from all she’d lost, her father, and the Bering Sea that did nothing but take from her. She returns with the intent to mend the broken relationship with her father, but is not anywhere near ready (emotionally) to walk into her childhood home and face it all. On the surface she seems ready– she’s a doctor now, she’s got a handle on her anger, and she’s matured. Part of what makes her so relatable is that old wounds bring her right back to where she was emotionally nine years ago. Aesa has a death grip on her anger. If she’s angry then she doesn’t have to feel pain. And she thinks her anger is justified.

Aesa is cold at times, neurotic about order, and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Where they are safely on that side. Where she won’t be hurt. Where there is no fear. Where it doesn’t matter if that person leaves and never comes back.

But it does matter; Decker matters.

Decker has a past. He’s learned from it, and it doesn’t define him. He is a fisherman through and through, but  unlike anyone Aesa has ever met. And by anyone, I mean he is the first person she’s let past her walls in nine years. And now that he’s there, there’s no way in hell Decker is going to let Aesa push him away to protect herself.

“You can’t live your life through the eyes of the past forever. You’ll never be able to move forward with that fear tethered to you, holding you back. Whatever it is that haunts you, you need to learn to either accept it or push past it. You’re too strong to let it bring you down. Don’t drown yourself in the sorrows of what has been.”

I’d recommend this book to anyone. I wasn’t surprised that I loved Undertow as much as I did, given how over-the-top in love I am with Caged. And just a quick side note: Fans of Caged, Amber gave a shout-out to creatures that react to a full moon. WHOOT! Or at least my Team Cooper heart took it that way. 😉

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Giveaway

1 winner will receive a $50 amazon gift card + plus an ebook copy of Undertow

2 winners will each receive a $25 amazon gift card + plus an ebook copy of Undertow

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cc2e0c24/

ALN author picAbout Amber Lynn Natusch  If you’re dying to know more about me, allow me to put you at ease. I’m a sharp-tongued, sarcastic cancer, who loves vegetable smoothies, winter storms, and the word ‘portfolio’. I should NEVER be caffeinated, and require at least eight hours of sleep to even resemble a human being. At thirty-four, I just now feel like I can keep a straight face while saying the word “rectum” (which is actually a huge lie because I just laughed out loud while reading this to my husband). I live with my iPod firmly affixed to my body, drive too fast, and laugh/cry at inappropriate times. I’m obsessed with urban fantasy… When I discovered that genre, I knew I had found my tribe. Now I write in that world because that’s what the voices in my head tell me to do. And they are very, very loud.

Allegiant (#1 NYT Divergent Trilogy) GIVEAWAY!!

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Allegiant by #1 bestselling author Veronica Roth is ALREADY #1 in Kindle ebooks sales!! And there’s a reason– The Divergent Trilogy rocks!

We are celebrating Allegiant’s release with a GIVEAWAY! All 3 Divergent ebooks!

Link for giveaway at the bottom of this post

From Goodreads


What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
EEEEEEEE!!!!

Allegiant will be released tomorrow, Oct 22nd, 2013– and will be told from dual perspectives. I cannot wait! to get inside Four’s head.

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Allegiant is a YA dystopia novel. In Divergent we meet Beatrice Prior, who lives in dystopian Chicago. The society is divided up into five factions: Candor, Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, and Amity.

As it is for all sixteen years olds, she must pick a faction. If she does not pick the faction her family belongs to, she may never see them again. Worse! Beatrice’s test she was given (to figure out what faction she should belong to) came back with two answers. VERY unusual.

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She made her choice and has to go through a brutal initiation. If she doesn’t make the cut, she will be homeless and shunned from all factions.

Enter Four

DIVERGENT

Turns out Tris (Beatrice) was not the only one who had unusual test scores and was told to keep it quiet. Tris is the tiniest, weakest, and is the one most likely to fail the initiation… But Four sees something in her and pushes Tris day after day. ❤ And out Tris never gives up.

I did a swoon list on this blog (find it here) and Four made that list:

FourYea, yea, I know his real name is Tobias. He will always be Four to me. From Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. You’ve all read these books. No point in explaining why Four is on my list. Let’s take a moment of silence and relive the first time he took off his shirt in front of innocent Tris! Or threw the knife at her. Or showed her his simulation. Or watched helplessly as Tris got her ass kicked and refused to stay down during Dauntless training. Who’s Dauntless now, bitches!?

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If you can’t tell, I love Four. And The Divergent Trilogy is my favorite dystopia series.

I already pre-ordered Allegiant, it comes out tomorrow Oct. 22nd!!!

Would you like a chance to win an ebook copy? How about ALL THREE EBOOKS IN THE Trilogy?

Many ways to enter, and if the winner already read Divergent and Insurgent I will send the equivalent in an Amazon gift card!!

Click on the link to enter  

                                                                           a Rafflecopter giveaway

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!!!

GOOD LUCK!!

Let The Countdown to Greed by Fisher Amelie Begin!

We’ve talked about Fisher Amelie’s Vain on this site a few times.

Vain is book #1 in The Seven Deadly Series

Here is a post on Vain

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Okay. Let’s take a minute and talk about novels with a strong message. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want said message shoved down your throat. I also don’t care for epiphanies based on another character’s actions/reactions. This rings false to me and ends up having the opposite effect.

We’ve all eye-rolled our way through a few, or twenty.

Not so with Vain. It’s raw, brutally honest, and our girl, Sophie Price SLOWLY becomes a better person. Correction– she becomes the woman she was meant to be. AND NOT because of a guy’s devotion and love and shit. No. Although the swooning in this book had me in tears.

This story is a journey in self-discovery.

And I can’t stress enough that you NEED to read this book. Vain is $2.99 on Kindle Amazon right now.

Moving on…

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Greed is book #2 in The Seven Deadly Series

Nice cover, eh??

That’s Spencer Blackwell. Not sure what the horses are about. But they certainly do add to that 8-pack and any images that may or may not be running wild in my head.

From Goodreads:

“Gather ‘round, love, because I want you. I want what you have, I want what you don’t have, I want more of what I already have. I want. But if you so much as ask for something in return, go ahead and walk away. Know if you want to play in my world, it’s every man for themselves and the weak become mine. Leeches will be obliterated because I make it my job to destroy them. I protect what’s mine and I take what’s yours…because that’s what I do. I want.

My story will not endear me to you and, frankly, I could care less if it does because I’m in this for the money and nothing else. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a corrupt, money hungry, immoral asshole from Los Angeles. I’m every man’s worst nightmare and every girl’s fantasy.

I’m Spencer Blackwell…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most coveted guy to the guy no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Expected release date is Oct. 29th 2013

This is author Fisher Amelie

8d14c20c2a2e0a7e9d9ad9_L__V395751581_SY470_Fisher Amelie resides in the South with her kick ace husband slash soul mate. She earned her first ‘mama’ patch in 2009. She also lives with her Weim, ‘Jonah’, and her Beta, ‘Whale’. All these living creatures keep the belly of her life full, sometimes to the point of gluttony, but she doesn’t mind all that much because life isn’t worth living if it isn’t entertaining, right?

Fisher grew up writing. She secretly hid notebooks and notebooks of dribble in a large Tupperware storage container in her closet as a kid. She didn’t put two and two together until after college where it suddenly dawned on her, “Hey, I like writing”. She’s a bit dense. “No, I’m not.” “Yes, you are. Put down that Oreo, your butt can’t take any more.” “You’re rude.” “Yeah, yeah.” Anyway, she likes to write and has finally beaten her self-esteem into submission enough to allow herself to be scrutinized under the ‘other readers’ microscope. “No! No! Not a cover slip! Last time it gave me a ra….” (mumbling)

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Yeah, she looked familiar to me too…

It’ll drive you nuts, so I will go ahead and tell you– she’s not the hottie actress who sucked face with this guy in the movie, The Happening. 😉

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When I first saw her picture I had this itchy feeling– like I needed to hate on her for some reason. Turns out my stabby feelings were misplaced, Fisher looks just like an actress who touched Mark Wahlberg’s chest.

Greed, mark it as “want to read” on Goodread!! 

Buy Vain!!

And no hating on Fisher, I’ve confirmed that she’s suffered the same deprivation as the rest of us and has never seen Mark’s Calvins in person.

* Group Hug *