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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Goal (Off-Campus #4) by Elle Kennedy Review

The Goal (Off-Campus, #4)The Goal by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elle Kennedy’s THE GOAL is an amazing addition to the Off-Campus Series. Sabrina James has her five-year plan laid out, and it does not include hockey players. Then she meets hockey forward John Tucker, who has every intention of being part of her future. THE GOAL takes place during the same time frame as the previous book, THE SCORE. This new adult contemporary sports romance takes place at Briar University and Massachusetts.

I like Sabrina. She is an intelligent and strong individual. Her home life is not the best, and she is set out to do everything in her power to improve her life. Her step father, Ray, is a piece of work. That man is pure slime. I like her two best friends: Carin and Hope. I’m glad she has them. I appreciated that she has Professor Gibson on her side. Sabrina comes off as cold to others, but it is extremely understandable why. She is a good person that has been dealt a difficult hand. She has to work hard for everything in an environment where most people have things handed to them.

Tucker is a great guy. He is honest, calm, confident, patient, and persistent. He is a great roommate because he takes care of everyone. He is a good son. He is the perfect guy for Sabrina; he mostly understands her, although he does make a few mistakes.

Sabrina and Dean Di Laurentis (book 3) are nemesis. Since Dean is one of Tucker’s best friends and roommate, this is a bit of an issue, as a result, they hide their relationship from Tucker’s friends.

The scenes with Beau Maxwell were emotional from the start since I knew what was going to happen from the previous book. It was heartbreaking to read others’ perspectives.

Once again, Elle Kennedy, does a fantastic job with both her character development and plot. The novel is well written. I like that this story continues past graduation. Just like real life there are a lot of ups and downs. The characters grow tremendously and endure a lot. THE GOAL is a believable a heartfelt story that made me experience just about every emotion possible. Off-Campus is an amazing series that I highly recommend.

Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Published September 26th 2016 by Elle Kennedy
ASIN: B01FTC8I84
Edition Language: English
Characters: Tucker, Sabrina James


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Lost Wolf by Stacy Claflin: Interview & Giveaway


Lost Wolf
Stacy Claflin
(Curse of the Moon, #1)
Publication date: July 17th 2016
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

She’s hiding a dark secret. It already killed her once.
Victoria can’t wait to start college, but there’s a hitch—she can’t remember anything before arriving on campus. Her memories spark when she sees her ruggedly handsome math professor, but she senses something horrific. The shock on his face affirms her fears.
Toby is an alpha wolf who never thought he’d see his true love again—not after she died in his arms. Nothing could have prepared him for her walking into his class. But to his dismay, not only has she forgotten what happened, she doesn’t even know who she is.
He’s determined to do whatever it takes to restore what they’ve lost. Can Toby help Victoria recover her memories, or will he lose her forever?


Excerpt


Attention, please,” Professor Foley said and turned around.
Grace snapped her attention toward the front. I followed suit.
“Welcome,” he continued.
I studied his profile. There was something familiar about him.
My heart raced at the thought.
He continued speaking, focused on the other side of the group. I couldn’t understand a word he said. The longer I stared at him, the more convinced I became that somehow I knew him. Or at least had seen him somewhere.
His hair was dark and thick, his skin tanned to perfection. He had stunning features and a gorgeous profile. It was hard to believe he was old enough to be a professor. He was younger by far than all the others I’d seen. A magazine cover would have been a more fitting place for him.
Professor Foley turned toward my side of the group. “And be sure to ask questions. That’s what we’re here…” His voice trailed off as our gazes met. His face paled and his eyes widened. His expression held something. Horror? Shock? Whatever it was, he continued staring at me.
I was frozen in place. My heart thundered in my chest, threatening to break through my ribcage. I knew him. Without a doubt, we had spent time together. I just couldn’t remember any of it. My palms had grazed that stubble and my eyes had stared into those deep blue eyes. Even with the distance, I recalled that he often smelled of woodsy aftershave and soap.
Those around me whispered, bringing me back to the present.
Professor Foley cleared his throat and glanced around at the other students. “Excuse me. As I was saying, the faculty is here to help you. Just don’t wait until the final hour.”
“What was that?” Grace whispered.
My mouth gaped and I shook my head.
“You know him or something?”
“Shh,” I snapped.
“Sorry.” She scooted away.
My hands shook. I sat on them to get them to stop.
Foley stopped talking, and everyone paired off. Grace glanced at me, her expression pensive.
I nodded and tried to push the instructor out of my mind. But how could I? He was my only clue to my past. Part of me longed to run around the other students and throw my arms around him.
Grace came over. “I wasn’t trying to bother you before.”
“I know. Sorry. What are we supposed to do?”
“We’re supposed to discuss…”

My gaze wandered back over to Professor Foley. He was speaking to a couple students and smiling. My chest constricted. Oh, that smile. It had taken my breath away countless times, though I couldn’t remember a single one of them.


Author Bio



Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling author who writes about complex women overcoming incredible odds. Whether it's her Gone saga of psychological thrillers, her various paranormal romance tales, or her sweet romance series, Stacy's three-dimensional characters shine through.
Decades after she wrote her first stories on construction paper and years after typing on an inherited green screen computer that weighed half a ton, Stacy realized her dream of becoming a full-time bestselling author.
When she's not busy writing or educating her kids from home, Stacy enjoys watching TV shows like Supernatural, Pretty Little Liars, and Once Upon a Time.
Join Stacy's newsletter to get three free novels. Register here to get your books right away: http://stacyclaflin.com/newsletter/

Interview 


Please welcome Lost Wolf author Stacy Claflin to Diane’s Book Blog. 

What inspired you to write Lost Wolf?

The Curse of the Moon series is a spinoff of my Transformed series. In that series, there are twelve books that cover a long timeframe. Some characters faded into the background as the series went in various directions. One such character, Toby, was a reader favorite. I received a lot of requests to bring him back or give him his own side story. With so much excitement, I decided to give him an entire series!


How did you get into writing?

I’m a lifelong storyteller. When I was a kid, I always got into trouble for trying to convince others that my stories were real. One time I even convinced my friends that she had a robotic unicorn built by my grandpa. Now I save my stories for novels. I love stories of all kinds, and my writing shows it. I write paranormal romance, contemporary suspense, and sweet romance. Regardless of what I write, I always have suspense, twists, and turns.


What are your biggest creative influences?

That’s always a difficult one to answer. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and I’ve read all kinds of stuff, from The Babysitters Club to Stephen King. I used to read half a dozen stories at one time and never had any troubles keeping the story lines straight. I think I bring in a little bit of everything with me when I write my stories.


Tell us something interesting about your main characters.

When Victoria was getting ready for her first day of college, she realized had no memories of her life before showing up in a fully-packed Jaguar. Her phone has no contacts, nor does anything else offer her any insight to her life before college.
Toby is a hot alpha werewolf who never has any shortage of beautiful women interested in him, but he can't even pretend to have any interest because he can't forget the love of his life who died so long ago. He has reason to believe that she's alive, but doesn't know where to look.



What are you reading now?

The Afterworld series by Karice Bolton If you love paranormal romance, it's a must-read!


What’s your best advice to hopeful writers?

Take it seriously and treat it like a business now – long before it is a business. I’m certain that if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be a full-time author now. Bonus tip: Learn what you can from successful authors: listen to podcasts, read interviews, and join writer’s groups online or off.


Are you related to Sam Claflin, the actor who plays Finnick in the Hunger Games?

Yes, he’s my nephew.


What do you do when you're not writing? 


I spend my time planning my books and going over my editor's feedback. Oh, did you mean when I'm not doing anything related to books? :) I love spending time with my kids. Much of my days are spent homeschooling them. We also love going for walks and spending time outdoors. Our black lab, Lilly, is a popular member of the house.


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #108



Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


For Review:


Making an Impact (Men of the Ice Book 6) by Michele Shriver 
Back to Me (Carolina Rebels #1) by Lindsay Paige 
Dragons like it hot Box Set


What did you add to your shelves this week?

Click here to check out my Giveaways

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Friday, September 23, 2016

A Wicked Halloween Blog Tour - Phoenix Johnson: Giveaway


Feed your paranormal cravings!
Halloween can't get here soon enough! Especially when we have this tantalizing boxed set to look forward to.
A Wicked Halloween ~ 13 **BRAND NEW & EXCLUSIVE** paranormal romance tales that will thrill and chill you just in time for All Hallow's Eve.

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5 Favourite things
1.      Movies. Especially sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal/supernatural, and comic-based movies. I also count those types of TV shows, ie Supernatural, Jessica Jones, Arrow etc.
2.      Books. Does that surprise you? Hehe
3.      Pets. I love my pets, and can’t wait to get more. We already have 1 dog, 2 cats and 3 snakes. We also want another dog, horses, chickens… we want a menagerie!
4.      Quiet times with my fiancé and our daughter, or just one-on-one time with either of them. I don’t care if it’s at home or out. “Us time” is always magical.

5.      House planning. Sounds weird, I know. But I love looking at houses for sale, especially ones with floor plans, and imagining what furniture would go in it, themes, and yes, even making my own floorplans. I have considered doing interior decorating, and haven’t yet ruled out chasing that path. 




She's one powerful Goddess, with acolytes she loves as children. They're her coven, and she will protect them however she can. She is Hecate. As she wills, So Mote It Be.

This inclusion tells the tale of a powerful coven in Salem. They face off against Bokors, demons and fellow witches. Will the power of their Goddess be enough to protect them as they fight to keep Salem safe? Will the women who lead them get the love they desire? Or will they burn in the fires that condemned their ancestors so many years ago?







Darkness surrounded her, smoke and the metallic scent of blood filled her nostrils. Panicked screams and bellows echoed around her as she fumbled about. She couldn’t tell which form she was in, human or stag, she was simply overwhelmed. Out of nowhere, fiery red eyes appeared in front of her. White fangs gnashed together in a sadistic grin. The figure came closer, allowing her to see it clearer. Wrinkled skin cracked and oozed as the blackened flesh moved. The foul apparition had been born of fire, she was sure, brought here to destroy and devour. Large, leathery wings sprouted from its back, the bony frames licked by flames that seemed to come from the creature itself. It was a nightmare summoned from the bowels of Hell, just one of many. If she didn’t stop it, they’ d consume the world, at the word of one scorned witch. She needed to get to the root of the problem, Hilana, before it was too late.
“Morgan!”
She opened her eyes at Caleb’s call, his face filling her field of vision. He pursed his lips and frowned, and it took her a moment to realize she must have fallen asleep and called out in a dream.
“Morgan, you were having a pretty bad nightmare, what happened?”
“It wasn’t just a dream; it was a foreshadowing.”
“That bad, huh?”  Caleb sat on the window seat next to her. 
“I don’t know what Hilana will promise them, but the demons will devour the world for her. She’s beyond seeking simple revenge. She has been twisted by her own magic and foul attitude into something truly evil.”
Caleb whistled. “So it’s a good thing Junie returned while you were sleeping.”
Morgan sat upright. “What did she find out?”
“You’re right, she isn’t just after simple revenge. Junie was able to get close enough to the sigils to look them up in the books now she’s back. It’s not looking good. They’re cacodemon sigils. She thinks Hilana will trade them free reign to create havoc, as long as they first destroy everyone who has done her harm.”
Morgan’s throat constricted that the mention of cacodemons.  “She’s crazy.”
Caleb nodded. “That was Siobhan’s diagnosis as well.”
“When does Junie think Hilana will summon them?”
“At the full moon on Friday.”
“Damn. That doesn’t give us long. Any suggestions on preventing the summons to begin with?”

“You mean besides burning down the house with Hilana in it?”




Award winning, bestselling author Phoenix Johnson has always been intrigued by the written word. Even when she was a young girl, she usually had her nose stuck in at least one book, and her need to read would drive her to peruse the back of the same cereal box each morning at breakfast. Paranormal and fantasy captured her heart, with tales about dragons, magic, and fanciful creatures sweeping her away to a wonderful new world where she felt she truly belonged.
Phoenix Johnson has had her nose to the grindstone, working to make her name known. With only a few months left to the end of her Bachelor of Arts Degree, she is eager for more time to focus purely on her writing.  Phoenix is extremely excited to see where her writing career takes her next.
To follow other projects by Phoenix Johnson, please visit http://deaalmon87.wix.com/phoenixjohnsonauthor. She can also be found on Facebook, where you can sign up to her newsletter, The Nest, and you can follow her on Twitter.










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Thursday, September 22, 2016

In Another Life by Carys Jones: Interview

In Another Life
Carys Jones

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Self Published

Date of Publication: 13th May 2016

ASIN: B01BZ7S9L8

Number of pages: 316
Word Count: 72120

Cover Artist: Carys Jones

Book Description:

Pans Labyrinth meets Once Upon A Time in this fantasy thriller from Carys Jones

Returning home one weekend Marie Schneider’s life changes forever when her car collides with a lorry on the motorway and she is left fighting for her life. Whilst in a coma, Marie awakens in the fantastical world of Azriel which appears to be right out of the pages of a Fairy Tale book. Here, Marie learns that she is their long lost Princess North, and that Azriel is where she truly belongs.

When Marie eventually wakes from her coma her thoughts of Azriel are still very present in her mind and she struggles to adjust to her 'normal' life. Everyone around her insists that Azriel is just a figment of her imagination but as she tries to recover from her wounds people start approaching her on the street, insisting that Azriel needs her and that she must return there at once.

Confused, Marie tries to discover which reality is the right one. Could she truly be a long lost princess from another world or is she just losing her mind? As the world of Azriel starts to creep in to her current life it gets harder for her to ignore that perhaps she really is Azriel's Princess after all...



Excerpt



Beginnings

The unusually bitter October wind pulled at loose strands of Marie’s hair as she walked briskly along the busy pavement. Checking her watch she noticed with a plunging sensation in her stomach that she was already running five minutes late.

“Damn it,” she cursed aloud as she tried to increase her walk from brisk to fast. Her high heeled shoes clipped manically against the floor creating a sharp staccato soundtrack to her commute.

With as much speed as the six inches of her stilettos would afford her, Marie descended down from the pavement and the ominous grey clouds overhead into the underbelly of the city and the tube railway system.

Despite having lived in London for almost eighteen months Marie still struggled to accept the infiltration of her personal space each time she rode the tube to work. People would push up against her as though she were completely invisible. She’d learnt to use her bony elbows as a weapon against the more persistent of intruders. Clutching her handbag tightly to her chest she boarded her train, moving with the same militant precision as the commuters around her. Everyone seemed to move with such urgency, as though their very being depended on boarding the waiting train before them.

As the train surged in to motion and swept the passengers deeper into the city, Marie dared to remove one hand from her hand bag to wipe wearily at her eyes, careful not to smudge the mascara she’d barely had time to apply.

Marie was tired. The previous night, like all the nights before, the twenty seven year old had struggled to sleep. She lay awake, anxious, as though she were waiting for something though she had no idea what.

It took twenty minutes for Marie’s train to arrive in central London. Not quite long enough to remove her Kindle and delve in to the latest fantasy novel she was reading. She thought about the story as she looked forlornly out of the train windows. Endless miles of nothingness sped by. She missed travelling through the countryside and looking out and seeing endless fields of luscious, green grass. Marie Schneider was a city girl by necessity, not choice. She’d grown up amongst trees and fields not sky scrapers and stop signs.

Every morning as she stood on the tube she wished the same thing; that she didn’t have to go to work that day that instead she could stay home and read and get lost in another world.

“You spend far too much time with your head in books,” her mother would note with disapproval.

“Reading stories won’t get you anywhere,” she’d add callously. Marie would just roll her eyes. Her mother didn’t understand the magic which existed within a great story. She was too pragmatic, existing only in the moment. But Marie dared to dream bigger. She always secretly harboured the belief that she was meant for great things, that her destiny would somehow be wondrous.

Yet as she stepped off the tube and an overweight man in a suit already covered in sweat pushed a little too close up against her Marie realised she was hanging on to her romantic notions of a better life with a very thin thread.

“Excuse you!” Marie exclaimed as the man peeled himself off her and headed towards the escalators. He didn’t so much as turn back and offer an apologetic glance.

“Chivalry is so dead,” Marie muttered to herself as she straightened her blue dress which was adorned with patterns of white tipped daisies. Checking her watch she realised she was still running late, so taking the briefest moment to tuck back any loose strands of hair which had wrangled themselves free of the bun at the nape of her neck Marie headed out of the tube station, back up to the surface.

Emerging in to the dim light of an autumn morning Marie squinted slightly, feeling momentarily as blind as a mole squinting up from the ground. She could scarcely afford even a second to get her bearings. Her boss, Amanda Pickens loathed tardiness almost as much as she loathed those who opposed her right to wear real fur.


When Marie finally pushed her way through the glass doors of the office building where she worked her cheeks were flushed and a slight spattering of perspiration had formed upon her forehead.



Author Bio


Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader's imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

When she's not writing, Carys likes to indulge her inner geek by watching science- fiction films or playing video games.

She lists John Green, Jodi Picoult and Virginia Andrews as her favorite authors and draws inspiration for her own work from anything and everything.

To Carys, there is no greater feeling then when you lose yourself in a great story and it is that feeling of ultimate escapism which she tries to bring to her books.

Blog     Facebook     Goodreads      Twitter     Website


Interview 

Please welcome In Another Life author Carys Jones to Diane’s Book Blog. 

 Who or what inspired you to be a writer?


I’ve always loved reading. From a really early age my Mum encouraged me to explore the pages within books. She often gave me copies of all the books she’d loved as a child like Little Women and Ballet Shoes. I remember loving how reading these stories connected me not only to my Mum’s past but also to the worlds and characters within books.

I started to see the magic held within books. How they can take you anywhere. And once I was hooked on that magical element I became desperate to write stories of my own.

What books have most influenced your life?

My Grandmother didn’t read much so there were few books in her house but I remember finding one and becoming obsessed with it. It was called Little Dot and it was a short story about a little girl who befriended an old grave digger. She loved to decorate lonely graves with daisies. Sadly, at the end of the story the girl dies and the old grave digger has to dig a small grave out for her which he then fills with daisies as he cries. It was a beautiful, simple story with a haunting sadness and I loved it. I’d read it every Sunday when we visited my Grandmother. I read it until all the pages fell out and my Uncle had to tape the book back together again.

Little Dot influenced me because it showed me that books can pack a powerful emotional punch. Even now, decades later, thinking about Little Dot brings a tear to my eye. And that’s the mark of a great story – something that stays with you long after you turn that final page.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’m a big fan of Holly Black. I love the pacing of her stories, the sense of urgency she creates which leaves me feeling like I have to keep reading. I’ve also been really impressed by the work of Courtney Summers. All The Rage has been one my favourite books that I’ve read this year. I love the detail she adds to her stories, how she seamlessly drops the reader into this fully realized world and how she acknowledges that things happen beyond the pages, that we are just glimpsing a brief period in the character’s life as we read their story. It reminds me of how Brett Easton Ellis always starts and ends his book mid-sentence. Because stories should never truly end.

What is your typical day like?               
I tend to write in the mornings as that’s when I’m at my sharpest. Once I’ve hit my word count for the day I’ll take my dog, Rollo, for a walk around the woods near my house. Then I’ll indulge in a spot of Netflix, I’m currently addicted to Gilmore Girls, then I spend my afternoon catching up on emails and any other bits of work that I need to do.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Notes. I rely on so many notes it’s scary. After I’ve had an initial idea for a book I flesh it out into chapters, then I break down each chapter into exactly what I need to write within a word limit. It’s all very methodical and definitely removes any romanticism about how I write but it does ensure that I don’t get blighted by writer’s block because I always know where the story is going, right from the start.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure. This is from a story I’ve just finished which has a working title of Wrong Number. It’s being released in January 2017 and is an adult contemporary thriller;

Prologue

Amanda ignored the metallic taste in her mouth and did her best to focus. Sunlight was bleeding in through the windows in the small kitchen casting ornate shadows upon the bare wooden floors.

But Amanda didn’t notice them. Nor did she smell the heady aroma of lavender floating in through the open door or hear the gentle rustle of the long grass outside as a cooling breeze brushed its way through it.

All she saw was the barrel of the gun looming inches away from her head. There was only darkness in its depths. And possibly her own death. Her fate hung on the twitch of a trigger. Amanda had known fear like this before when she was eight years old and she’d almost tumbled over the edge of the cliffs near her home. The sun had be shining that day too.

Only now her father wasn’t waiting in the wings to save her.

“Why did you come here?” he growled the question at her, each word drenched in angry disdain.

Amanda swallowed, using the second to gather her thoughts. She couldn’t risk saying, or doing, the wrong thing.

“I had to.” She squeaked out the words like the frightened mouse she had become.

“No,” he was shaking his head but the hand holding the gun remained eerily stoic, like his muscles were well rehearsed in steadily managing its weight. “You should never have come here.”

The taste in Amanda’s mouth grew sharper. Just as it had that day when she tumbled over the cliff edge and saw the sea and jagged rocks swirling beneath her. She defiantly raised her chin to meet his gaze.

“I had to come,” she told him, her voice strengthening along with her resolve. “I had to find you.”

What book are you reading now?

I’ve just started the Morganville vampire series and am reading the first book, Glass Houses, and really enjoying it so far. I love a good vampire story! The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is one of my favorite ever books!








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