Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blossom by Jennifer Martinez - Review

Blurb:

My name is Maia. I'm a princess, a fae princess to be exact. But I don't want to be. See, my whole life, I've always been the center of attention, and I've never understood why. Give me boring, ordinary, and simple any day. It's hard enough trying to work my way through high school. Add running a kingdom to that? Yea, not so much. 

Magic, mystery, fairies. I just want to pass driver’s ed.









My Review

I quite enjoyed this book.  It was a new take on the Fae world for me, and I loved the uniqueness of it all. Maia is a very fun character and reminds me quite a bit of the author.  The love story moved a little fast, but it did not bother me at all as Jennifer incorporated how fast the romance blossomed into the story.

I loved that there was not a huge love triangle when there could have been because, let's face it, there is usually never a huge love triangle in real life.  At least there wasn't for me, and I'm extremely happy about that! And, YUM!  Heaton is all kinds of book boyfriend material!

There was plenty of closure at the end of the book, but still a minor cliff hanger leaving you wanting more, but not driving you insane with needing to know what happens. 

It's a fun, quick read and I would recommend this book to all ages.  Nicely done!

Excerpt

A bed of orange, red and yellow flowers envelop me in my forest bed. The sweet song of the bluebirds rouses me from my sleep. All around me I see trees and feel at peace. “Maia,” I hear whispered behind me. “Come and find me Maia.” I turn and begin my search for the melodic voice that calls to me. His voice is getting farther away and now I am running to find him. The greens and oranges fade to browns and whites as I run through fall and into winter. His voice is getting louder, “Maia.” As I round the next snow capped tree I come face to face with beautiful silver eyes. 

“You know my name. You were calling me.” I say in a breathy whisper afraid to disturb the peace of the forest.

“I know not only your name, but you. It is almost time for you to come home. We have all missed you.”

“But I don’t know you. How can you miss me?”

“It will all make sense in time Maia.”

He leans in close and kisses my cheek. The intoxicating smells of ylangylang and pine enter my nose and send my nerves into a tizzy. His kiss is soft, almost as if a butterfly had landed on my cheek. The feel of his breath on my face sends the butterflies from my cheek to my stomach.

“Can I at least know your name?”

“Heaton, young Maia. My name is Heaton. I must leave you now. We will meet again soon.”

Get your copy of Blossom on Amazon!

About Jennifer Martinez

One day while slaving away at her monotonous day job, Jennifer Martinez found her true calling. Like a firefly in the night, the pages called to her. Once she caught the bug there was no stopping it. Her fingers flew furiously across the keyboard winding tales of love, mystery and anger. She snapped out of her reverie to find herself still behind the desk but at least she knew who she was… Author Jennifer Martinez.

I like to think of myself as a beautiful conundrum. When I am not writing, I can be found surrounded by my amazing family and 4 dogs or volunteering at a local animal rescue. I love who I am and don’t mind at all when I get strange looks from people. I am a tattoo covered, child and animal lover who looks forward to destroying peoples preconceived notions of what “someone like me” would be interested in. You only live life once… you may as well make it interesting.

I love to get lost in a good book and hope that everyone will get lost in mine.

Stalk Jennifer

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sydney Rye Series by Emily Kimelman



Unleashed


Blurb:

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.


When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

Excerpt:


I found us wandering not to the park but toward the Brooklyn Bridge. The night, sticky from the day’s heat, made me sweat as I walked through Carroll Gardens. The windows of brownstones flickered with the reassuring light of the television. Walking down Brooklyn Bridge Avenue we passed Family Court, a hideous building with a flat facade and barred windows. Across the street an ancient-looking armory sat dark and deserted.

We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge on the wooden pedestrian path that hangs above the roaring traffic. We followed the thick steel cables under the massive granite towers. To my left, glass skyscrapers mixed with turn-of-the-century stone houses perched on the tiniest tip of Manhattan. A gaping hole in the sky where the towers used to be made the island look off- balance. The Statue of Liberty glowed small but still impressively in the distance.

City Hall, white and large-windowed, stood at the end of the bridge. I turned us uptown, and we passed more courthouses. People stood outside fiendishly smoking in doorways, even at this late hour. Most were women who had come to watch their husbands, sons, and boyfriends be arraigned. To cry in the bathroom, to plead with the judge, to yell at the officer behind the bullet-proof glass, to smoke cigarettes outside.

Heading uptown, we passed Canal Street, its storefronts covered in pull-down metal gates in every shade of gray, deserted by pedestrians, at least human ones. The entrance to the Manhattan Bridge was still active with cars honking at each other as they tried to make the turn. A police officer watched from his parked cruiser.


In Soho we passed the flagship stores for Prada and Apple, and galleries with photographs of Bob Dylan and Audrey Hepburn. Above us, giant windows of fabulous lofts glowed. The occasional cobblestone street, the uniquely dressed, the tall, the skinny—here was the center of deciding what we want to be, how we want to live, what will make us belong. Giant billboards of young girls caressing bare-chested, glistening men in expensive jeans loomed over us.


Death in the Dark

Blurb:

At the beginning of Death in the Dark we find Joy Humbolt hiding, not only from the law, but also from her past and the mistakes she's made. Living this isolated life doesn't last long though when a visit from Mulberry brings Joy to accept her new identity as the Private Detective, Sydney Rye. To complete the transformation, Joy must learn to control her emotions as well as her giant aggressive dog, Blue. With the help of an expert trainer, Joy learns to fight with her mind as well as her body. However, when the daughter of a close friend is brutally murdered in the desert, Rye turns away from her mentor to seek revenge. Sydney's quick temper and deadly intentions lead her into a trap that she will need all of her new skills to survive.

Excerpt:

A couple of guys wearing plaid shorts and collared shirts, their hats on backwards, spotted me as they spilled out of a bar, blind drunk, and perpetually stupid. But before their verbal appeals for blow jobs could turn into something more sinister, their girlfriends, in minuscule skirts and teetering on high heels, tumbled out of the bar and pulled them away.

Past where the tourists drank I walked up into the crooked streets of the ghetto. Sand and broken bottles lined the road, sure signs that trouble lurked in the shadows. Maybe it was Blue or maybe I was so obviously dangerous that no one approached us, I spent hours wandering through the town but nothing touched me.


Eventually Blue and I went to a bar and I proceeded to get hammered. Shots of tequila chased by cool, crisp beers soothed me and made sleep seem possible. We left the bar and headed for home. I was humming the last song they’d played on the stereo. I was off key but there was no one around to care. The night was warm, the stars bright, and I was headed home. The yearning was, for the moment, subdued. We left the lights of the town and started down the paved road toward the oyster farm.


Insatiable


Blurb:

The third book in the series begins with private detective Sydney Rye living a simple, disciplined life in London, but when a dangerous man from her past calls, Rye finds she cannot turn him away. Robert Maxim explains that the daughter of a powerful friend has gone missing and he wants Rye to find her. In exchange he offers her something she had given up hope of ever having; freedom from her past.

With her dog, Blue, at her side, Rye meets up with her new partner, a handsome man she's not sure she can trust. Heading for Mexico City, they go undercover, posing as husband and wife. After meeting with the bereaved parents, Rye starts to sense that there is more going on than just a missing girl. But it isn't until they arrive in the Yucatan Peninsula, hot on the girl's trail in Paradise, that all hell breaks loose. Sydney has to reach out for help from old friends and deal with the consequences of her past, if she's going to find the girl and keep them all alive.

Excerpt:

Out on the street the rain had stopped. I walked a couple of blocks just letting my body warm up to the idea of movement. It didn't take long before I wanted to run. I started going a little faster, jogging gently past shop windows filled with pencil-thin, faceless mannequins posing in extraordinary fabrics. A woman teetering on stiletto heels while jabbering into her cell phone walked a small, white, curly-haired dog. The little dog strained against its pink halter, yapping at us. Blue's head stayed straight and even with my hip. The little dog's bark faded as we turned onto a side street filled with shade, the sticky sweet scent of flowers, and the soft whoosh of a breeze. My pace picked up as I tread on fallen bright purple petals. I felt my heart quickening as Chapultepec Park rose up ahead.

Crossing into the park, I began a sprint. A line of families waiting to enter the zoo watched us pass. Little arms shot out to point at Blue, whispers of "lobo" followed us.


I felt like I was flying. Not a thought entered my head only the joy of speed as I raced down an empty path. When my chest felt like it was on the verge of explosion and my legs were no longer communicating I slowed down. The path under my feet was a light sand. The trees around me bent and swayed in the gentle wind. I relished the shade and mild temperature, the occasional gust that helped cool me.


My Thoughts

I have read all of the books in this series and I absolutely love them.  I was lucky enough to discover Emily and her awesomeness when reviewing Insatiable.  That's right, I read book 3 before the first two.  The wonderful aspect of this series is that they are all tied together, but can actually be read as stand-alone novels without any of the other books being ruined.

Sydney Rye is basically an alter ego.  Well, she is the fake identity of a woman who felt that justice would not be served if left in the hands of those who were supposed to.  The relationships she forms with people during all of her cases are just comical - and very real considering she is not a real person.  Sydney Rye is a girl I could get along with very well and she is very easy to connect with while reading.  I absolutely love Emily's writing and I will forever be a fan.  You can read my review for Insatiable here.

This is a very fun series to read and I am uber excited to read the next installment to the series - Strings of Glass.  

You can get the books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or you can get the "box set," which I absolutely love! You can purchase the box set on Amazon.

About Emily Kimelman

Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure. 

Her "Sydney Rye Series" are dark murder mystery novels which features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

The first three books in Kimelman's series, UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, and INSATIABLE are available in the Kindle store individually and in a box set. The fourth book in the Sydney Rye series STRINGS OF GLASS is due out Mid-Summer 2013.

If you've read Emily's work, and enjoyed it, please let Emily know. You can reach her via email ejkimelman@gmail.com 

Stalk Links

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sizzling Summer Blog Hop

It's here!!! Yay!

Keeping with the theme of the hop, I've decided to give you all an excerpt from Losing Me, Finding You by C.M. Stunich!  I absolutely LOVE this book and nearly wet myself when CM announced that she was writing a sequel!  Squeee!  Of all of the numerous books I have read, this is my number one, favorite book.  Ever.  Seriously.  Anytime someone asks for book recommendations, the first book I suggest is this one.

Here is Chapter 1 from Losing Me, Finding You by C.M. Stunich

I wake to a dull roar that quickly becomes deafening. The sound rattles the windows in my bedroom and sends my father into a raging fury about those darn criminals which I can only assume refers to the motorcycle gangs that have been rolling into town lately for the antique bike show. My father does this every year, says these things every year. I should really move out.

“Amy,” my mother says, opening my door the same way she has every day since I started kindergarten. “Time to get up. We're meeting your aunt over at the church to plan the potluck on Saturday.” I smile and nod, hold my tongue and refuse to tell her that a potluck plans itself. People bring dishes; other people eat them. There isn't much to figure out.

“Thanks, Mom,” I say and blow her a kiss as she backs away and resigns herself to listening to my father complain. What he conveniently forgets is that those 'criminals' make up a pretty hefty portion of our town's summer economy. Without them, I don't think many of the shops downtown would still be in business. I sigh and stand up as another wave of noise approaches from the direction of the highway. Moved by my curiosity, I stand by the window and part the drapes so I can catch a glimpse of the men and women who are so far outside my realm of being that they might as well be aliens. They wear leather and have piercings and tattoos. The open road is their home and mine, mine is this three bedroom, two bath prison which is perfectly nice but so stifling that sometimes, it makes me sick.

I watch the wave of bikers drive by and press my fingertips to the shaking glass.

“Take me with you,” I whisper as they fly by and disappear around the corner. I imagine what it would feel like to just run away with them, try something new, something different. I shake my head and turn away. It's not going to happen, not for me. Girls like me don't wrap their arms around men in leather, straddle massive hunks of metal that my mom refers to solely as death traps, drive to cities we've never been. Girls like me put on their yellow camisoles, their white sweaters and their below the knee skirts. We grab our purses, slather on some clear lip gloss and sit in the passenger seat while our mother talks about the nice boy who just moved to town with his parents. Poor guy, I think as I imagine his fate. He may as well have the words 'fresh meat' tattooed on his forehead like one of those biker boys. The girls from my church are going to be all over him. After all, in a town of five thousand people, it's not as if we have many choices. I should go to college, I think as my mom continues to talk in the background. Maybe somewhere far, far away. I sigh and smile at my mother who's patting my knee. Like I said, me, coward. Period.

“I'm so glad you're here!” my aunt says as she comes out the front doors of the church in an outfit disturbingly similar to mine. “We have a serious problem.” She sighs and makes the sign of the cross which bothers my mom because we're not Catholic. My aunt loves church functions, church rummage sales and church gossip, but I don't think she really likes church in and of itself. I bet she'd be hard pressed to even remember Jesus' role in the whole of things. I'm not judging her, but I just think she's shallow and as see-through as a piece of glass. I'm like that, too, I think, but I wish I wasn't. I wish I had some substance.

I tune out my aunt and turn slightly, so I can see the main thoroughfare of the town down the hill from us. It's absolutely packed with people, humming with this wild energy that makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. I've never been to the motorcycle show which seems strange since I've lived here my whole life. My father, however, has always forbidden me to go. This year, even though I'm twenty-one years old, isn't any different. I really should put my foot down and let him know that I'm an adult and can make my own choices, thank you very much, but I haven't felt passionate enough about anything to take a stand.

When my mom and aunt start to move inside, I follow them and sit at the table with the other lunching ladies while they plan the same potluck we have every month, the one that doesn't really need any planning. Of course, under the table I have the greatest treat of all, one that doesn't involve church or yellow sweaters or cheese casseroles. Under the table, my book boyfriend is sucking on my toes.

“I want you like I've never wanted anyone else,” Adam says to me as he kisses the arch of my foot and starts to move his way up my leg, ever so slowly, teasing my skin with his teeth, tasting my thighs with the hot heat of his mouth until he comes to my –

“Amy?” my mother says, waving her hand in front of my face. I look up and see seven curious expressions staring back at me.

“Hmm?” I close the book around my hand, determined to dive back in as soon as the setting permits; it's the only way I'll stay sane. The rest of the day isn't exactly looking up as we have plans to help my cousin try on wedding dresses. My mother wanted to wait until the motorcycle show was over, but Jodie's having a shotgun wedding (don't tell anyone outside the family, please) and she needs a dress like yesterday. The wedding is in two weeks after all, and there isn't much time left. My bridesmaid dress is going to be fuchsia. I know it is. I just know it.

“Can you make your caramel sticky buns for Saturday? The ones with the pecans?” Oh. Yes. Sticky buns. Maybe I can steal a few for myself, put them in my room and get ready for my hot date with Micah, the book boyfriend I haven't met yet but am absolutely thrilled to climb into bed with.

“Of course,” I say with a smile as I tuck my chestnut hair behind my ear. It's the same color as the tabletop we're all sitting around. That's kind of depressing. The ladies go back to discussing the tablecloth colors and the chair arrangements in the dining room while I duck my head and reopen my book.

“Fuck me, Adam,” I say as I turn over and put my ass in the air for his viewing pleasure. “Fuck me until the cows come home.”

I snort with laughter and once again manage to draw attention to myself.

“Are you laughing at a book?” my mother asks, like that's so strange. I know she reads romance novels, too. She hides them from my dad under the sink in the bathroom and takes extra long showers so she can finish them. I shake my head and clear my throat.

“No, I just had a little something in my throat.” I gesture vaguely around the area of my neck and try to keep smiling. I manage to divert their attention and make it out the door and into the car without further incident.

“I doubt we're going to be able to find a parking space,” my mom says with a sigh as we wind down the road back into town, my aunt trailing too close behind us. “I may have to drop you off at the door so Jodie knows we're here. You know how moody your cousin's been lately.” Yeah, I think, because she's like three months pregnant. I smile and try not to think about Adam's deliciously sexy body. I'm almost finished with him, so I brought along an extra. Daniel's ready and waiting inside my purse for me to finish these last few chapters.

“Okay, Mom,” I say with a cheerful smile that quickly turns into an open mouthed gawp as we hit the first traffic light downtown and find ourselves in a sea of colorful characters that make little beads of sweat appear between my mother's eyebrows. “It's okay,” I tell her before she starts to hyperventilate. “They're just people.” My mother scoffs.

“Godless people,” she says, and I don't correct her. There's no point. Some guy with a pentagram tattoo just walked by and much as I know that could mean anything, my mom thinks it's the sign of the Antichrist. “Do you have your pepper spray in your purse?” I took it out to accommodate Daniel, but I nod and tell her that yes, I do. I need an e-reader, I think as I imagine carrying thousands of books around in my hand. My father refuses to buy one for me, saying that digital devices like that are portals to hell in and of themselves. He let me have a computer, but he unplugs the Wi-Fi at night. I should really move out. “Go straight inside and don't talk to anyone.”

“Okay, Mom.”

“And please don't let Jodie try on anything that you know isn't going to fit. You know how moody she's been lately.”

“Okay, Mom.”

My mother pulls up to the curb and lets me out into the throng of people. I can see that she doesn't want to leave me there, but that she's more afraid of Jodie's wrath than she is of the motorcycle fanatics. I'd have to agree with that one. I start towards the front door of the bridal shop and then just stop. My mom isn't looking; Jodie doesn't know I'm here yet. Now's my chance to look around, just take a peek at the motorcycles. It won't take long; after all there's a whole row of them parked at the end of this block, just behind the red signs and yellow tape banning cars from this stretch of road. I glance over my shoulder to make sure that Mom's completed her U-turn and start down the sidewalk.

It's pretty obvious that I don't fit in here which is a strange feeling. I'm your typical, middle-class, all-American white girl with blue eyes and pale brown hair, but I'm the one that's drawing stares and raised eyebrows. Something about that is exciting to me, makes me hold my head high and strut like I'm something special. Instead of blending into the crowd, I'm standing out. Fantastic.

I pause next to a big, blue bike with metal that shimmers like the lake in summer, reflects the early afternoon sunshine into my face and makes me squint. I bend down to read the sign.

“You like Road Kings, beautiful?” a voice says from behind me, and I spin around to find a man standing far too close to my behind. My ass, I correct myself. You're an adult; you can say it.

“Um.” My eyes are looking directly at a black T-shirt stretched over a wide chest, and I have to tilt my chin up to find the face of the man with the most amazing body ever. Oh. My. God. He looks just like my book boyfriend! “I, uh, it's pretty,” I say which makes Mr. Motorcycle laugh.

“Pretty?” he says with some sort of Southern accent that I can't place. “I've never heard 'em described like that, but I guess you're right. She's one, hot fucking bitch.”

“E-excuse me?” I say, floored by this man's language, and his fall of sandy blonde hair, his dark brown eyes that are even now sweeping my body like I'm one of the bikes for sale. He licks his lips and steps even closer to me. “S-she?” Mr. Motorcycle laughs again and I jump. I can't help myself. I've never been so close to a man, let alone one with a sleeve of tattoos and muscles that are slick and moist from the hot sun overhead.

“Can't very well be a he, right? The only thing I'm willing to ride cross country is a she.” He winks at me, but I can't respond, not with him standing so close to me. My throat has just closed up and my mouth is dry.

“Um, okay,” I say and my voice comes out in a whisper. The man, who has the most beautifully chiseled face I have ever seen, reaches out and brushes his fingers across my arm, making me shiver.

“If you like this baby, I could show you mine,” he says and I have to blink several times before I can respond.

“Yours?”

“My ride, beautiful. You want to come see?”

“I … ” I see my mom come around the corner at the end of the block and reflexively reach out my hand for Mr. Motorcycle's massive bicep. My fingers curl around his hard flesh and my whole body goes up in flames. Oh. My romance novels suddenly make a whole lot more sense. My skin feels hot and flushed, like it could conduct electricity. I look up into his face and see that he's looking at me like he's the predator and I'm the prey. “I … I have to go,” I say as I step around him and start back down the block at an even quicker pace than I came.

“Hold up there,” says the man with the dark eyes and the skulls on his upper arm. He grabs my wrist and spins me around. “You in town for the show?” he asks, as I clutch my purse against my chest and try not to pass out. It's awfully hot out here, and my pulse is thumping in my neck like a live thing.

“I live here,” I whisper and he releases me with a wicked, nasty smile that gives me all sorts of strange feelings in my gut. “Why?”

“Well,” he says with a glance over my shoulder. “I thought you might want to grab a drink or something?”

“Um.” I steal a glance down the block and see that while my mom is gone, my aunt is staring at me like I'm possessed. Uh oh. “I have to go.” I start to turn away, but he reaches out and grabs me by the arm, firm but not rough. I shiver.

“Come on, beautiful,” he says. “Tell me your name.”

“Amy,” I say quietly, too quietly. “Amy Cross.”

“Austin,” he says, and that's it. “Now, Amy, I'm not letting you go until you promise to meet me back here tonight for a drink.” I look into this man's dark eyes and feel like I'm falling and burning up at the same time. Two beautiful, beautiful ways to die.

My aunt is coming towards us now, and I can see that she's digging around in her purse. She's probably got her pepper spray in hand. Or a cross. I have to get out of here.

“I … ” Austin does not look like the kind of man that likes to hear the word no. “Okay,” I say and he releases me with a smile.

“Yeah? Alright, maybe six?” I nod, just to get away from him, never intending on holding up my end of this one-sided bargain. “See you then, pretty girl.”

I turn away and run all the way back to the bridal shop.

Coming Soon!

While you're waiting, go check out Losing Me, Finding You on Amazon!


Check out these other titles by C.M. Stunich

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$50 Amazon/B&N Gift Card

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