Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bully (Fall Away #1) Review

Bully by Penelope Douglas

 My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We're neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I'm back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I'm hoping that after a year of breathing room, he's moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn't changed, I have. I'm not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We're going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down.

I read this book a while ago... but considering it's Summer and here in the Midwest we have had some absolutely beautiful weather... it's been a little difficult to sit down and write reviews, plus my kids are constantly asking to go outside to play (we recently introduced them to water balloons - Big Mistake lol).  Anyway, when I woke up this morning I told myself - "Lori you HAVE to review this book"  and considering it's been a few weeks and the characters and message behind the book are still on my mind I figured it was perfect.  Normally I write a review with in hours to maybe 1 or 2 days after finishing it so considering I'm going on a few weeks here it tells me one thing - This book is extremely memorable!  So memorable that I could honestly read it again and enjoy it just as much.  I can honestly say I've read very little that stays with me like this one did... sure characters stick with me, especially boys, but everything stuck with me with this one - Especially Tate!

Tate and Jared's characters are so well built that you actually feel yourself inside Tate.  You're just as confused by her attraction to Jared and you're there patting her on the back when she's done something to stand up to him.  It's always amazing to watch a heroine grow in a book but in this case it was watching Tate grow a backbone and finally do what she should have been doing from day one - and that's put the very sexy Jared in his place.  I've seen reviews that she was immature and should have rose above it but come on... a person can only take so much.

I would have liked a little more out of Jared but I was satisfied with what I got... he wasn't easy to fall for but there is no doubt in my mind that once that wall he was holding up so tightly fell it became impossible not to fall for him.  

Needless to say this book is definitely worth a read and a reread... maybe even another reread after that!  If you haven't read it.. pick it up and as always feel free to email me or comment below and tell me what you thought of Bully! 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blog Tour: Truth (Finding Anna #3)

Truth by Sherri Hayes

For the last two months, Brianna has discovered something she never thought she would again. Hope. After the horror of being Ian’s slave for ten months, a fate she never imagined she’d escape, it feels as if she is living a dream. She has freedom she hadn’t expected to have again, and she wakes up every morning not fearing what the day will bring. There is also Stephan. The man who saved her from the daily torture she had to endure at the hands of Ian and his friends. The same man who makes her heart race with just the thought of him. Life is good.

Outside forces are determined to conspire against them, however. When Brianna’s father shows up on her doorstep, it sends her world spiraling out of control. He brings with him new information about how Brianna ended up in Ian’s clutches, but will it make a difference? Will Stephan be able to find a way to make Ian pay for all he made Brianna suffer? As Brianna and Stephan try to find out the truth, their relationship is tested. She is forced to face her past head on, and deal with the ugly reality of what happened to her. Will Stephan’s love be enough to see her through her newest challenge, or will the fragile trust they’ve built come crumbling down around them as the truth makes itself known.

JUST when I thought that everything was going to be perfect....  First of all there isn't a whole lot I can tell you about Truth without giving anything away except that Stephan is still amazing and Brianna is still growing.  But I can say that Sherri Hayes keeps rockin' with this series.  I was NOT expecting a lot of what happened and she literally has me aching for more!  This woman can write!  She had me feeling every emotion (BOTH Brianna's and Stephan's), she has me rooting for these characters to get the happily ever after they deserve with each other, and she had me on the edge of my seat more than once.  Let's just say that I am ready for the final book in this series! 

So Stephan... can I just say - PERFECTION!!!!  His patience throughout this entire series is so endearing and his love for Brianna is so amazing that just thinking about him makes my heart skip a beat.  But this funny thing about him is, you'd think he would lose his alpha presence and would be some kind of love sick sap... but he is so not.  He is the absolute perfect combination of Sweet and Dominate!  HE is really the main reason why I can't seem to get enough of this series... okay so yeah I have LOVED watching Brianna grow to be the woman she is meant to be but she wouldn't have that chance if it weren't for Stephan.  Needless to say... Stephan is right up on the top of my Book Boyfriend List ;)

If you've been reading the Finding Anna series I will tell you that this is an amazing (yet heartbreaking) addition to the series!  If you haven't started the series... OMG... you totally should!

Big thanks to Sherri for stopping by today to tell us which of the Finding Anna books was her favorite to write:

Wow. Both Stephan and Brianna are very special to me. I’ve spent over six years with these two at this point. Their struggles and their triumphs are very real to me. I was sitting with my beta at RomCon discussing Stephan, and began to tear up. I feel everything they’re feeling whether that is joy or pain. It’s going to be hard for me to let go of this series once it’s finished.
My favorite book in the Finding Anna Series thus far is probably Truth. Brianna is finally to a point in this novel that I could push some boundaries I wasn’t able to before. I was also able to explore a lot of emotions in this one. Throughout this book, I laughed, I cried…oh boy did I cry…and I rejoiced in revelations that were a long time coming. With that said, however, I have a feeling that the fourth and final book in the series will top it once it’s all said and done.

Sherri is the author of five novels: Hidden Threat, Slave (Finding Anna, Book 1), Need (Finding Anna, Book 2), Behind Closed Doors (A Daniels Brothers Novel), Red Zone (A Daniels Brothers Novel), and a short story, “A Christmas Proposal.” She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother fostered her love for books at a young age by reading to her as a child. Stories have been floating around in her head for as long as she can remember; however, she didn’t start writing them down until she turned thirty. It has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found helping her husband in his woodworking shop.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Before You Go (Before You Go #1) Review

Before You Go by Clare James

Paralyzed by the past and terrified of the future, Tabitha Kelly is broken.
After a public sex scandal at her college, Tabby moves to a new city with a new school, convinced she can start over. But she soon realizes the changes are not enough. Tabby must take action to help her heal and move on from the past.
And though it sounds crazy, she believes a one-night stand is the best way to take back what’s hers. If she can choose where, when, and most importantly, who … maybe she can regain control.
First, she needs a willing participant.
She finds more than that when she meets Noah Adler.
Unfortunately, she can’t go through with it. And when she tries to forget about the plan—and the guy—it becomes impossible.
Noah quickly weaves his way into her new life and her heart. But as he comes dangerously close to discovering her secret, Tabby’s at risk of losing it all.

Noah, Noah, Noah.... this book is seriously all about Noah and the extent he is willing to go for Tabby and the love he feels for her.

Watching these two fall for each other was something that just made me smile.  She didn't want to fall... she was scared to fall because of her past.  But there was no question about who would make her fall.  He was just to persistent (and not in the bad way you're thinking, in the way that he always seemed to be there when she needed him most) and it was more than clear that these two had a connection that was beyond their interests.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book... to the point where I felt every emotion that was running through Tabby and I could see the love Noah had for her.  And that love he felt was clear very early on and made even more known towards the end of the book when Tabby's past is not only discovered but about to become even more public than she ever could have dreamed. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sometimes Never (Sometimes Never #1) Review

Sometimes Never by Cheryl McIntyre

Hope didn't have the best role model when it came to relationships. She’s content with her current no-strings-attached extracurricular activity with the lead singer of her band. She’s never believed in love and commitment.

Mason starts his eighth school in five years anticipating nothing more than the usual—boring classes, fighting more than making friends, and girls happily willing to succumb to his easy smile. He’s never put much stock into love at first sight—until he sees her.

Regardless of their painful pasts, Hope and Mason discover that sometimes never can become forever.

*This is a mature young adult. Recommended for 17+ due to sensitive subject material, harsh language, and sexual situations.

Most of the time when I read a book it's all about connecting with the characters and trying to escape the reality of everyday life... Sometimes it's all about how heartbreakingly beautiful the hero is or how the heroine made me love her even though I typically wouldn't have.  But, for me, it's always about the story and how the story made me feel.

Sometimes Never was one of those books that I couldn't put down.  The funny thing is, is it's not like I was connecting with the characters and was dying to know what would happen next to them... because I really didn't.  It was about the issues in the book and how they were handled.  How they affected everyone else and how deep the scars actually ran.  Cheryl McIntyre took a situation that I do not understand and under normal circumstances would have stayed away and she made me want to know more... want to understand why someone would make those choices.

Then there was the romance between Hope and Mason.  It was sweet in the fact that these two very damaged young kids were able to heal each other emotionally... or at least start to heal each other.  I loved the banter they had between each other as well as their super vague that it made hardly any sense unless you paid attention conversations.

Then there was this quote that made me think:

"Someone who listens to a broad assortment of music is more open to different things.  Sees there's more than one way to look at things."   

That quote has stuck with me... because it's true, or maybe it's not but in a way it kind of is.  I personally love to listen to all different kinds of music, I know what I like best and I know what gets on my last nerve the quickest.  But I also know people who refuse to listen or get real disgusted looks on their faces when they hear something that is not in their "genre".... and those same people are the ones who seem to only stick to what they know or what they deem as normal.  But seriously that quote... I kind of want to print it out and stick it on my desk just so I can look at it.

While I have to say that this wasn't the greatest book that I can't wait to run and tell all my friends about... I will say it's definitely worth the read.  It's well written and has a great flow that left me wanting to read more by Cheryl McIntyre.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

SNEAK PEEK: Love Me (Keatyn Chronicles #4) by Jillian Dodd

The following is part 11 an extended sneak peek of:

 love me

The Keatyn Chronicles: Book 4

 by Jillian Dodd

How do you say fuck off in French?


Dawson comes to dinner with me, even though he has to be in the locker room shortly to get ready for the football game tonight. Fortunately, they have all the prospective students sitting together, so we can eat alone.

“Wow, Keatie,” Dawson says, looking at the now Greek cafe. “This looks great.”

“Yeah, the art students worked really hard today. I think it turned out pretty cool. I hope the rest of the weekend goes well.”

“It will. You helped plan it,” he says, leaning in to give me a sweet kiss.

As we get in line, Dallas walks up to me and holds his closed fist out in front of me. Like he wants me to open my hand so he can put something in it, or he wants me to guess what’s in it.


He bugs his eyes out at me, so I hold my palm up to his hand.

“I’m pretty sure these are yours,” he grins and drops an orange lace thong into my hand.

“Where’d you find these?”

“Ha! I knew they were yours! You wore them when we were in the limo. I recognized the little daisy charm on back. You don’t see that very often.”

“Yeah, where did you find those?” Dawson asks with a big grin. I can tell he is trying to think of where we might have lost them. Most likely the lacrosse field.

“At the cave,” Dallas replies.

My eyes get big. “Oh,” I say, looking totally guilty. “Uh, thanks.” I quickly shove them into my bag. Then I turn my attention toward food. Dawson loves food. “Wow, dinner smells great. You sure you aren’t going to have something?”

“No,” he says flatly, while I grab a tray and pile it up with food.

I figure maybe if I get enough food, Dawson won’t ask me how my panties got left at the cave.

And that appears like it won’t be a problem, because Dawson has gotten very quiet. He hasn’t said a word.

I start munching on a gyro. Try to feed him some hummus.

Finally he says, “You gonna even attempt to explain why your panties were at the cave? We never done it there.”


“We’ve always been honest with each other, right?”


“Okay, I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. And it’s one hundred percent the truth.”

He nods at me to go on.

“Last night after the JV game, I met Aiden at the cave.”

His eyes get big, and his anger swells.

“Let me finish before you get all pissed, okay? He wanted to show me that thing he did with his hands before he kicked the field goal last night. It had been raining, and I sat on a stump and my underwear and my sweats got all soaked. Aiden had on gym shorts under his sweats, so he took them off and let me wear them.”

“How does a thong get wet when you sit down?”

“I don’t know, but it’s thicker in the back. I sorta leaned onto the stump, and I don’t know, but it was wet. I was embarrassed. Aiden turned around and didn’t even try to look when I changed. Then it started pouring, and we wrapped it all up in the sleeping bag he brought to sit on and ran back to the dorms soaking wet. It must have fallen out.”

He shakes his head like he doesn’t believe me.

“That sounds like bullshit. Let me guess, you just kissed?”

“Yes, we did. Oh, not like that. Like we actually just kissed. And not for very long because it started pouring.”

“Uh huh, sure. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. How do you say fuck off in French?”

Aiden who apparently has been standing behind us says, “Casse-toi. But she’s telling you the truth.”

“Yeah well, cassy-twa to both of you,” he says. He gets up, slams his chair into the table, and stomps out of the cafe.

Aiden says, “Hell, if I woulda known that would work, I would’ve stolen some of your panties and hung them in my football locker.”

“It’s really not funny,” I tell him.

“I’ll sit and eat dinner with you.”

“No, we’re hanging out tomorrow.”

Aiden looks like I just threw his puppy under a bus and sulks off.

I sit at a little romantic table all alone, picking at my food, but wishing I could tap my sparkly dance shoes together three times and go home.

Riley wanders over with Ariela on his arm. He looks really happy, for a guy whose neck is varying shades of bruise. He looks like he was in a freaking car wreck.

“What happened?”

I get big tears in my eyes. Try to keep them from falling.

I can’t.

“I gotta go,” I tell him and march quickly outside.

Tears are blurring my vision. I need to sit down and gather myself, so I go to the nearest spot.

As fate would have it, it’s the bench where Dawson first really kissed me.

I put my head down into my hands and cry.

I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I feel the weight of the bench shift slightly, as if someone sat down. I don’t even have to open my eyes to know it’s Dawson. I can smell him.

He puts his arm around me, pulls me into his chest, and whispers, “I’m sorry. I believe you. This is all my fault. If I would have told Whitney no, we wouldn’t even be in this mess, would we? You wouldn’t be dating Aiden. We’d still be going out, right?”

“That’s right,” I sputter out, and then start bawling again. I’m bawling about all of it. Brooklyn. Him. Aiden. Him. Vincent. I just want to go home. I’m done here. I failed.

I hate me.

Dawson rubs my back gently. “No relationship is perfect, Keatie. What matters is if you still want to be together when things get really hard.”

I half laugh, half cry, “That’s the problem, Dawson. I like it when you get really hard.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

I look up at him. His gorgeous, sweet brown eyes. His beautiful hair. I don’t want to be done with him. But I feel like I should be. But it’s killing me. Because I don’t want to be done with him. I don’t want to give up.

“Oh, wow. Um, here.” He pulls his polo up off his stomach and uses it to wipe my face. “Lets go, get you cleaned up, then we’re gonna figure this all out, okay?”

I nod okay.

We go to my room so I can get cleaned up. “Tonight is pretty much over for me, and it’s not even six.” I sigh. “I’m not going to the game.”

“No. You’re not skipping. You’ll get in trouble with the dance team. Just put some makeup back on. It will be fine.”

“I don’t want to go to the movie after the game.”

“You have to go. You’re my date.”

I throw my arms around him and start crying again.

“You can’t go to the game bawling.” He looks perplexed. I’m sure growing up with three brothers, he’s not used to this.

“Okay, let’s talk first, figure this out, get all the crying out.”

“You’re supposed to be in the locker room in ten minutes.”

“This is more important, and I can be a little late. So, you want honesty, right?”

I bite my lip and nod my head.

“This is honesty. I love sex with you. It makes me feel amazing. I’ve told you that. I feel like I’m in love with you. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t feel it. And obviously, I didn’t tell you just to get you into bed. On the other hand, do I think you are my one true love?” He stops, rubs his hands together, and shakes his head. “I honestly don’t know. You helped me. Healed me, really. I feel grateful. Do you remember that first night at the cave?”

“Yeah, you told me your goal was to ask Whitney to Homecoming.”

“And you told me that Aiden spoke to you soul. Or kissed your soul.”

I nod my head, remembering.

“Keatie, I don’t know if we’re soul mates. I don’t even know how you know that. Do you?”

“I don't think I believe in soul mates or true love anymore.”

He pulls me gently onto his lap and snuggles me into his chest.

“Yeah, you do believe in it. I know you. Under all that sexy is a true romantic.”

“I mean, I want that. Doesn’t everyone want that? The idea of that special someone made just for them.”

“I think everyone hopes for it. But then we get our hearts broken and it makes us cynical. After what happened with Whitney, I felt pretty cynical.”

“Did you think she was the one? Like, did you want to marry her?”

“We used to talk about it sometimes. She always described our future life, but I could never picture it. I thought it was just because I’m a guy, but now I don’t think so. I think it just wasn’t right. So what should we do?”

“What do you want to do?”

He shakes his head. “Honestly, I can't wait to graduate and go to college.”

“That makes me sad.”

“I don’t know if we’re soul mates, Keatie, but we’re gonna be friends for a very long time. I wasn’t lying when I said you’ve become my best friend. I’ll give up the sex if I have to, but I don’t want to give up the friendship.”

“Do you want to give up the sex?”

“Hell no. Do you?”

“Well, it complicates things, but no, I really don’t want to. You make me feel good. I think you know how attracted I am to you. But, lately, I do feel a little guilty about it. Should we feel guilty about it?”

“As long as we’re both single, no, we shouldn’t feel guilty.”

“I don’t want to let you go.”

“I’m not going anywhere, and there’s no one here I want to date. So, we’ll see how it goes, and I’ll try my best not to be a jealous idiot. It helps knowing you’re not sleeping with him.”

“I told him I wouldn’t sleep with him for a very long time.”

“I’m a life lesson, huh?”

I laugh in a sad way. “Sorta. But I love life lessons. And I know I’m on the Social Committee, have a prospective student to attend to, and all that. But I don’t want to go to the movie. I know we were supposed to have a date. Will you be mad if we don’t go?”

“Hell, no. I didn’t really want to go anyway.” He gives me a sweet kiss on the cheek and glances at the clock. “Shit. I gotta get going.”

“Okay,” I say as he walks out the door.

You got lucky.


I march down to the field house, my emotions everywhere.

I’m kind of upset to find out that Dawson didn’t really want to go tonight. But, at the same time, I’m glad that he was going for me.

I’m sad. Sad that the boy who says he loves me and wants to woo me can’t wait to leave me for college.

First Brooklyn leaves me.

Now, Dawson can’t wait to leave.

Which makes me really, really want to leave.

To run away.

To forget this place. Forget these people.

But as I look out over the campus, I realize that I don’t want to leave this place. Or these people. I don’t want to run away from my problems. I want to stay here and figure them out.

And, maybe, hopefully, figure out myself in the process.

I whip open the door to the field house to find Cooper Steele standing in the entry.


“We need to talk,” he says as he pulls me in his office and shuts his door. He drops down into the chair behind his desk, rubs the stubble on his head, and says, “This place is crazy. I’m supposed to be guarding you. How am I supposed to watch out for you when I’m constantly busy? And how did I suddenly get in charge of an event I didn’t even plan?”

I can’t help but smirk. “Whitney and Peyton are on the Social Committee that planned this weekend. You need to be careful. They both want you.”

“I know they want me. They’ve already got me doing all this stuff.”

“Uh, no. That’s just to get close to you. I mean they want you. Sexually.”

“Sexually? They’re in high school?”

“Yeah, but they’re both legal and in some sort of competition to see who can sleep with you first.”

“This is my job. I’m not going to screw it up by sleeping with some high school girl. They’re both in my Health class too. It’s weird talking about health and human body issues to girls that just a few years ago I would have been the guy trying to get in their pants. Now I’m supposed to teach abstinence.”

I laugh. “That’s pretty funny. And I’m sorry if you’re overwhelmed with hot girls trying to hit on you, but have you had a chance to learn the school? It’s weaknesses in security? Anything productive?”

“Not yet. But I’ve already discovered the most important weakness.”

“Really, what’s that?”


“Me? What do you mean?”

“I can’t be with you all the time. Garrett wanted me here so that you’d have someone close. Says I’m the calvary, whatever that means. But you have to be able to get to me. If Vincent shows up, you have to be ready. He won’t come after me. He’ll come after you.”

“But I’ve always gotten away.”

He looks at me very seriously. “I don’t want to take away your confidence, but I’ve studied your file and listened to your side of the story. You got lucky. Plain and simple. You got especially lucky in Miami. You’ve been in situations where you’ve been able to run. What will you do if you can’t run?”

My hands start to shake and I feel like I’m going to cry. What is he talking about? That’s what Garrett told me to do. To run.

“Um, I’m not sure, but I’m going to be late for dance. If we’re not in the locker room on time, we get in trouble.”

“You’re avoiding the question. Go to dance. Think about it. We’ll discuss your answer tomorrow.”

As I fly out of his office, I literally collide into Whitney. “Watch where you’re going,” she says snottily, as she picks herself up off the ground.

“I’m sorry. I have to get to dance.”

“Why were you in Mr. Steele’s office?”

“Uh, he just asked me some questions about tomorrow’s competition.”

She raises one eyebrow at me. “For future reference, that’s my job.”

I’m almost late for dance, but I need a minute to breathe.

I walk outside for a few moments of peace, just as the entire football team barrels out of the locker room and down to the field.

I put my head down, push my back up against the building, and try to blend into the brick wall. Fortunately, no one notices me.

Except for Aiden.

He turns around, holds my eyes with that tractor beam of his, but continues down to the field with team.

Once they’re out of sight, I allow myself to close my eyes.

I run through the scenarios. Let my mind go to all those scary what-if places.

What would I do if I couldn’t run? If I couldn’t get away?

I’d have to go with him. Figure out how to get away later. Trick him.

But the truth is, I’m not as smart as him. Or as sick. Whatever.

I’ll be okay. I’ll figure it out. I have a lot I want to do with my life.

Maybe that’s part of loving myself. Knowing what I want to do with my life. Having the courage to go for it no matter what. To have that courage even when someone crazy like Vincent is after me.

I feel a forehead lean against mine. “Dawson was late getting in the locker room. You’re upset. What happened?” Aiden asks.

I reach out suddenly, wrap my arms around him, bury my head in his shoulder, and hug him. He doesn’t hesitate for even a second. He immediately hugs me tightly back. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“You’re going to get in trouble too.”

“I told Coach I forgot my lucky charm. Had to go back and get it.”

“You have a lucky charm?”

“Yeah. You. Tell me.”

“I’m not going to the movie tonight. I know I should cuz of SC and all, but I’m not. Turns out Dawson didn’t want to go anyway.”

“You’ve been crying.”

I nod my head.

“Go with your friends.”

“What do you mean?”

“Tonight. Go to the movie with your girlfriends. You’ll have fun. And don’t you have two prospective students spending the night in your room?”


“Show them how much you love Eastbrooke.”

I smile at him.

Because he’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t just decide to run away.

He gives me a sweet kiss on the cheek and says, “Everything will be okay. I promise.”

And for some reason, I believe him.


keep reading more of the sneak peek, click here!

To pre-order Love Me, click here!!

If you haven't read The Keatyn Chronicles yet, book one is FREE. Click here to read Stalk Me.
Click here to read book two: Kiss MeClick here to read book three: Date Me.

The Game Changer (The Perfect Game #2) Review

The Game Changer by J. Sterling

Jack & Cassie's story continues in the follow up to the Best Selling book, The Perfect Game.

Thrust into the spotlight, Cassie must learn how to navigate the waters of this sometimes unforgiving and cruel world. It's a lifestyle that makes you question your happiness and sanity as the past is never truly far behind.

How do you stay together when the world's trying to tear you apart?

 ***This Review DOES contain spoilers to BOTH The Perfect Game and The Game Changer***

I'm not going to lie... I struggled a little bit with the sequel to a book that J. Sterling executed perfectly considering I'm one of those readers who shuns any kind of cheating in books... the fact that she was able to make me see what happened in a different light and find the heart to forgive Jack for what he had done - Pure Genius!  I was extremely excited for the release of The Game Changer because I was dying to know how they would overcome what had happened in The Perfect Game.  But I have to say I was a tad disappointed... not in the writing, not in the story itself, but in Cassie.

Here's the deal.... or at least my thoughts and please feel free to correct me if you disagree because I've not been in Cassie's situation but I'm going to give my 2 cents anyway:

HE cheated... why did she appologize for bring something up?  While I will definitely admit that I LOVED the flashbacks I hated the fact that it seemed like Cassie was walking on egg shells trying to avoid conflict because she was afraid to lose him again.... that bummed me out because that is not the Cassie we all know and love from The Perfect Game.


She comes back... the girl that I seriously could not get enough of because of her smart mouth and strong back bone... she comes back and even though she doesn't share things she really should she DOES make sure that Jack knows his place... regardless of where they are.  (Poor Cassie)


I got a little frustrated with Jack... well okay I got really frustrated with Jack.  Why in the world would he feel he has the right to get mad at her considering all she'd been through because of him... maybe I should reword that because it's not that he got mad at her it's what he said to her when she told him "I know what I want"  His response... Uh yeah - Pissed me off.  I will say that again... J. Sterling knows exactly when Jack's POV (when he's about to do something royally stupid) is needed.... had I not read that scene in his POV or at least not gotten his thoughts on how he felt about what happened between the two... I probably would have lost all hope that these two could ever make it.  BUT the writing genius that is J Sterling gave me exactly what I needed to see where this was going.  I wasn't happy with the characters decision but I have to admit the anticipation of what was to come was pretty intense.

With all of that said I have to say that J. Sterling gave all Jack and Cassie fans exactly what we all wanted by the end of this book  - Complete closure with one of the funniest yet sweetest HEA's.

3.75 hearts!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blog Tour: Branded

Branded (A Sinners Series) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kaliciki 

Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadliest sins were the downfall of our society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me.   I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.
Now, every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.


Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Chapter One
I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost.
My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”
I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.
“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.
I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.
The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all I have left.
Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.
Did they need so many guards to capture me?
I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.
The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.
To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.
“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.
“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.
Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.
They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.
Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.
I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.
The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.
The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.
I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.
“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.
What do they think I could possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.
“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.
“Lexi Hamilton.”
A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”
A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.
Click. Click. Click.
The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust ¾ Blue
Gluttony ¾ Orange
Greed ¾ Yellow
Sloth ¾ Light Blue
Wrath ¾ Red
Envy ¾ Green
Pride ¾ Purple

“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw, making me wince.
He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi, you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything… short of death.
“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,” Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.