25 January 2014

Forever Young Blog Tour: Excerpts+Reviews+Giveaway

MASQUERADE by Nyrae Dawn
A biker. A tattoo artist. A love to last a lifetime.

Maddox Cross has always had to be tough. When his father went to jail for murder, the teenager took care of his sister and mother. Now on his own and working security at a night club, Maddox wants to become a tattoo artist-a dream that comes closer to reality when he falls for the hottest, most tatted woman he's ever seen. She's wild and beautiful, and Maddox will do anything to be with her.

Bee Malone came to town to open up her new tattoo parlor, Masquerade. Since being kidnapped as a young girl, Bee has had trouble getting close to anyone. But when she meets Maddox, she sees that under his hard biker's body is the sensitive soul of an artist. What starts out as a sizzling one-night stand soon becomes so much more.

Bee wants Maddox to join her tattoo business, but letting him into her life means revealing all her most intimate secrets. And as the past begins to intertwine with her present, Bee fears their love may not be as permanent as their ink . . . 
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Bookish | iTunes
My Review

Wow! This is my favorite book in the series. Hands down.

Let me tell you, I wasn't quite sure about this one since it started off slow and I didn't feel any connection between the two MCs. And then bam! It hit me like a ton of bricks; the feels, the dialogue, the character development--everything just became better and better as the book progressed.

The Story
Masquerade is Maddox's story. We met Maddox in Facade. He was Laney's big sister and he's the most conflicted hero in this series and the HOTTEST, in my opinion. Maybe because he's older than Colt or Adrian or whatever, but this guy is HOT.

Bee is the new girl in town and the owner of Masquerade, a tattoo parlor. They met at a bar one night and they had a one night stand. It was only later that Maddox found out that Bee was actually the owner of the tattoo parlor he wanted to apprenticeship in.

It took me a while to warm up to this book. As I have said, the first 15% or so were a little slow. In fact, I wasn't quite sure about Maddox and Bee as a couple. I didn't feel any chemistry during their first time together. But slowly but surely it changed and the build-up of the romance between Maddox and Bee was pretty awesome after that.

Bee is another awesome character. She is, by far, the most complex. Her backstory will give you chills and will break your heart. Like Maddox, I wasn't feeling her at first, but then as I get to know her character, I was rooting for her.

Nyrae Dawn did a magnificent job with this book. This is more character driven compared to the other two and Maddox and Bee are both complex characters. For me, this is her best work yet.

ARC provided by GCP via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

RATING:  4.5 Stars!!

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn's passion. Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she's a total romantic at heart and proud.

Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.

When she's not with her family, you can be pretty sure you'll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. Nyrae also writes adult romance under the name Kelley Vitollo.

Social Media Links:Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
THE DESTINY OF VIOLET & LUKE by Jessica Sorensen
Luke Price's life has always been about order, control, and acting tough on the outside. For Luke, meaningless relationships are a distraction-a way to tune out the twisted memories of his childhood. He desperately wishes he could forget his past, but it haunts him no matter what he does.
Violet Hayes has had a rough life. When she was young, she was left with no family and the memory of her parents' unsolved murders. She grew up in foster homes, living with irresponsible parents, drugs, and neglect, and trying to fight the painful memories of the night her parents were taken from her. But it's hard to forget when she never got closure-and she can't stop dreaming about what happened that tragic night. To make it through life, she keeps her distance from everyone and never allows herself to feel anything.

Then Violet meets Luke. The two clash instantly, yet they can't seem to stay away from each other. Although they fight it, they both start to open up and feel things they've never felt before. They discover just how similar they are. But they also discover something else: The past always catches up with you . . .

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Bookish | iTunes

My Review

This book took a lot out of me. This is one of the most depressing book I've come across considering that both main characters are barely 20 years old and they're already carrying loads of baggage.

Luke and Violet both suffered very traumatic events in their childhood that rendered them incapable of forming healthy relationships. They met and despite their reservations, became friends and then lovers, for lack of a better world. Their relationship wasn't an easy nor a conventional one.

Luke and Violet are two of the most broken characters I've ever come across. Honestly, I had a hard time connecting to them and the story. In fact, I stopped reading at some point because both of them were just too miserable that they're making me miserable too. I had to change my mindset a bit in order to finally enjoy the book. I did enjoy it immensely after that.

And just when Violet and Luke are finally starting to open up to each other, and just when you thought they might actually make it work, a massive twist happened. The 'twist,' if you pay attention, is easy enough to figure out. You can see it a mile away but still well executed. And this wouldn't be a Jessica Sorensen book if there's no cliffhanger. Of course, there's a cliffhanger and a brutal one at that.

I don't want to say anything more least I might spoil it for y'all but if you're in the mood for something heavy and dark, this book is definitely for you.

ARC provided by Forever in exchange for an honest review.

RATING: 4 Stars!!

Bio: The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives with her husband and three kids. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

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Brayelle Bates has always been a force of nature. Even as a child, Bray's wild and carefree spirit intimidated everyone around her. The only person who's ever truly understood her is her best friend, Elias Kline. Though every fiber of her being wants to stay with Elias forever, Bray can't bear the thought of him discovering her agonizing history. She's done everything she can to keep him at arm's length, including moving away. But their undying bond was too strong a pull to deny, and Bray couldn't survive without him. Now she's back home with Elias, and things have never felt more right-until one night changes everything. 
Elias vowed never to be separated from Bray again. So when she decides to flee in a desperate attempt to escape her fate, Elias knows he must go with her. As the two try to make the most of their circumstance, taking up with a reckless group of new friends, Elias soon realizes there's a darkness driving Bray he can't ignore. Now in order to save her, he'll have to convince Bray to accept the consequences of their reality-even if it means losing her.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | Bookish | iTunes

When I made my way back to the top, I found Bray wasn’t sitting near the edge of the ridge where I had left her I moved farther out into the clearing with our blankets draped over one shoulder.
“Bray?” I said, looking around.
I brushed it off for a second, thinking she was probably just taking a piss behind a tree somewhere, and I set our blankets on the ground.
But then I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I walked quickly toward the edge and looked over. My heart started to bang against my rib cage. I peered down as far as my sight could penetrate the darkness, but took a step back upon realizing that if she had fallen there was no way I’d be able to see from way up here.
She had to be somewhere around close by. She had to be.
“Bray?” I called out again. “Where the hell did you go?”
Still no answer.
Panic set in quickly. I stood there as still and as quiet as I could for several long seconds in case she was coming through the woods, but I heard nothing. I arranged both hands around my mouth and shouted, “BRAY!” and my voice echoed through the wide-open space. But still nothing. I felt sick to my stomach. She wouldn’t have left like that way out here. And if she did, I would’ve seen her on the path coming down as I was making my way back up.
I ran toward the tree line, searching for any sign of her, for another path she might have taken. I refused to believe that she had fallen off the edge.
Just as I noticed another path through the woods that seemed to head south and I started to go toward it, I heard footfalls in the leaves. I didn’t wait to see if it was her, I ran blindly straight into the woods. A skinny branch slapped me across the forehead on my way, but I didn’t stop.
Bray and I nearly crashed into each other.
“Shit, baby! Where the hell did you go? Scared the hell out of me!” I started to pull her into a hug, but something about her was off and I stopped. She didn’t respond or even raise her head to look at me.
“Are you all right?”
I took her hands into mine. Hers were shaking. Her whole body was shaking.
I cupped her face in my palms and raised her head so that she’d look at me. She was crying, and something in her eyes…I couldn’t place it, but it haunted me. I wondered if she even knew I was standing right in front of her. Her hair was messy, with pieces of leaves stuck within a mass of strands. Dirt was smeared across her left cheek. She looked like she’d been in a fight.
I touched her split lip, where a thin line of blood glistened near the corner. “Bray, you’re scaring me. What happened to you?” I shook her gently and then more aggressively when she still didn’t respond. “What happened? Talk to me!”
Her lips trembled and more tears seeped from the corners of her eyes. And then as if a floodgate had been opened, she started screaming through her tears, “It was my fault! Elias! Oh my God!”
What happened?” I roared, scared for her and for myself, my heart about to burst through my chest.
J.A. Redmerski, New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC's The Walking Dead.

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UNDONE by Shannon Richard
Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:

Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called "buck urine"
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King

After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn't easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who's interested in much more than Paige's car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?

                When Brendan pulled into the shade of the park he saw Paige sitting on top of a picnic table. She was staring down at the screen of her camera, biting the corner of her lip. She looked up at the tree and then back down to her camera, shaking her head. Brendan pushed his sunglasses to the top of his head, grabbed his loot, and got out of his truck. When he slammed the door shut she looked over at him. She turned her camera off and shoved it into a bag that was on the table.
                “Hey,” she said, standing up and brushing the back of her orange dress down before she started walked toward him.
                “Hi,” he said, walking past her and sitting down on top of the picnic table.
                “What are you doing?” she asked, spinning around and looking at him. “My Jeep’s over there.”
                “Yes,” he said, grabbing a Coke and popping the top. “But lunch is over here.”
                “I thought you were going to change my flat,” she said, frowning.
                “I am, after I eat lunch. Care to join me?” he asked, patting the empty space next to him.
                “You’re serious?”
                “Paige, it’s almost one o’clock, so I’m going to eat. You can either stand there and watch me, or you can split this Cajun turkey sandwich that my grandmother made,” he said, taking the sandwich out of the bag.
She shook her head and smiled.
                “You, Brendan King, are a whole mess of trouble,” she said, walking over to the bench and sitting down next to him.
                “Good choice,” he said, taking his half out of the bag and handing her the other half. “What are you doing out here?” he asked, taking a bite of his sandwich.
                “Taking pictures.”
                “The tribute program that Mr. Adams wants to start using during the memorial services. He wants to use local pictures instead of the stock pictures that are already in the program.”
                “That sounds like it’s right up your alley.”
                “It is actually,” she said, reaching for the other can of soda and popping the top. 
                “Don’t sound so surprised.”
                “Why? That I could actually fit in around here? It does surprise me.”
                “I’m not used to this whole small-town thing, where everybody knows everybody and their business.”
                “Yeah, that’s one of the things about small towns that sucks,” he said, opening a bag of chips and holding it out for her.
                “You can say that again,” she said, reaching for a chip. “Why don’t you have oil stains on your hands? I thought all mechanics had oil stains.”
                “I wear gloves,” he said, grabbing a few chips for himself and popping them into his mouth.
                “Right.” She glanced down and frowned, reaching out for his arm.
                “The tree,” she whispered, grabbing his elbow and pushing up the sleeve of his shirt.
Her soft, delicate fingers lightly traced the lines of his tattoo. It took only one simple touch from her for him to completely lose his mind again.
                “I knew I’d seen it somewhere.” She looked up to the oak tree in front of them and then back down to his arm. “Why do you have that tree tattooed on your arm?” she asked, looking up at him.
                She must have seen the heated look in his eyes because she let go of him and started blushing.
                “Sorry, I just … yesterday when I’d been looking at your tattoo, it just sort of fascinated me, and … and it’s that tree,” she said, pointing to the tree in front of them.
                “It is.” He cleared his throat and finished his sandwich. He grabbed an orange from the bag on the table and started peeling it. “My mom loved that tree,” he said, looking up at it for a second. “She would bring me and Grace here all the time.”
                “Loved?” Paige asked.
                “She died,” he said, turning to look at her. “Twelve years ago from breast cancer.”
                “Oh God, Brendan. I’m so sorry.”
                “I am too. She was a great woman. Grams still can’t talk about her without losing it.”
                “Wait, your mom was Lula Mae and Oliver’s daughter?” she asked, confused.
                “Yeah,” he said, looking over at her. “I know a little bit about being the center of town talk too. My dad walked out on us before I was born, and Grace’s dad, well, no one knows who Grace’s dad is. My mom wouldn’t tell anybody. That was a source of gossip for years,” he said, handing her half of the peeled orange.
                The orange was still cold from being in the refrigerator. Brendan stuck a slice in his mouth, the juice bursting across his tongue. Paige sat next to him in silence, eating her half.
                “How do you do it?” she asked, looking at him.
                “Do what?”
                “Accept stuff like that? Move on? I lost my job, my apartment, and my boyfriend all within a span of two months and I thought that everything was falling down around me. But you? God, Brendan, you had a girlfriend run off with another man, your dad abandoned you, and your mom she …” Paige trailed off. She looked down at her empty hands shaking her head. “You make my problems look trivial.”
                “Paige,” he said, edging closer to her and pressing his thigh against hers.
                She looked at him, her hair falling in her eyes. He reached out and pushed it behind her ear, letting his fingers trail down to her chin.
                “That stuff happened over a long span of time, and I’ve had years to deal with it. You had to deal with a lot over a very short amount of time, and it didn’t happen so long ago. It isn’t trivial,” he said, rubbing his thumb across her jaw. “One day, you’ll wake up and it won’t hurt as bad. You’ll be able to move on.”
                “I think I had that breakthrough a week ago,” she whispered, her eyes dipping to his mouth before they came back up to his eyes.
                “Really?” He smiled, moving in closer. “And what was the catalyst for that development?” he asked, moving his hand to the back of her head, his fingers tunneling in her hair.
                “A cracked radiator,” she said, putting her palms on his chest.
                He brought her mouth to his. She parted her lips and when his tongue touched hers he lost himself. She tasted like oranges, like the sweetest freaking oranges that he’d ever eaten. He wrapped his free arm around her back, pulling her into his chest as he slanted his mouth over hers, deepening the kiss. One of her hands was in his hair, her nails racking the back of his head.
                Brendan pulled back and looked at her, both of them breathing hard. He was still holding her face in one of his hands as he ran his thumb across her lower lip.
                “That was …” He couldn’t even find the words to describe exactly what it was.
                “Yeah.” She looked at him, dazed as she fisted her hand tighter in his shirt and pulled him back to her. And then they were off again and neither of them had any desire to come back up for air for a long time.

Buy Links:Amazon | B&N | Bookish | IndieBound
Shannon Richard grew up in the Florida Panhandle as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a BA in English Literature and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She's still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she's a pretty big fan of the whimsy.
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