June 21, 2014

Book Review: Above the Noise by Michelle Kemper Brownlow


Becki Mowry’s journalism expertise keeps her busy as she spends her waking hours filling a calendar with gigs and public appearances for her boyfriend’s up and coming band, Alternate Tragedy. Radio interviews and TV spots result in sold out concerts and rowdy groupies hot for her guy; lead singer, Calon Ridge. But, as fame would have it, their time in the limelight also brings sabotage, rumors and false accusations. Becki and Calon try to stay steadfast on a personal journey that takes them to the depths of fear and uncertainty. And finally, the rug is pulled out from under the band when they must make a transition they never dreamed they’d be faced with.

In this third book of the In Too Deep series, Becki and Calon struggle to find balance as they navigate their new relationship while living amid the rock world’s nocturnal chaos. But when life’s unexpected obstacles come out of nowhere, they focus on finding their own private solace Above the Noise.




Go! I don’t want you near this!” I turned back toward Max. I’d allowed my eyes
off him for way too long.
What is this about, Calon?” Max was a
dumbass for challenging me with semantics.
hands all over Becki. That’s what this is
about, Max!” I motioned between us with my hand.
then the beat of “Tsunami” by Dvvbs and Borgeous bounced the floor. The music
was so loud it’s all I could hear. Max’s mouth flapped, but I had no idea what
he said. I didn’t need to hear anything to read his cocky swagger as he walked
toward me or the two middle fingers he shot up when he got within reach. That’s
when it all went down.
threw the first punch, seemingly in response to what he knew was coming his
way. He caught me in the jaw, and I heard Becki shriek my name, but my head
sprung back instantly, and my eyes locked on his. My fist connected with the
side of his head right at his temple, and I felt something in my hand crack,
but I felt no pain.
James! Knock it the fuck off!” Becki’s voice was garbled, like it was coming at
me through liquid.
wanted to just leave with her and keep her safe, but the cocky motherfucker in
front of me needed to feel the line I
was drawing in the sand. He came at me again, this time he ducked and ran
straight into my chest with his head. I curled my arms under his and brought
them up violently and made contact with his chest with a deep thunk. I could
feel the hit reverberate through my forearms.
He staggered back, but his feet caught up with his body and he kept his
think you’re such a fuckin’ hot shot, don’t you?” He was calling me the hot shot?
shook out the hand that hit him, and then ran it through my hair. I shoved the
other hand in the pocket of my jeans. “Are we done, Max?” I had to yell over
the music, and he was less than three feet from me. I drew my line. He needed
to understand his boundaries if we were going on tour together, but I didn’t
need to kill him. We could be done as soon as he got the point.
we’re done when I walk out the front door with Becki.” His lip curled when he
said her name, which sent a shock through my body I’d never felt before. I
could only imagine what went through his mind as her name rolled off his
tongue. We weren’t done.
 I lost it and caught him in the head again
with my fist. No doubt, I felt that one. I took another shot and made abrupt
contact with his jaw then another. Becki was yelling, but I couldn’t make sense
of anything she said, the music was too loud. Someone grabbed me from behind
and pulled me back. “Dude, he’s not worth it, let’s bounce. C’mon, Cal, don’t
do this.” Spider, always the voice of reason.
nodded and wrestled my arms back from him. I took a deep breath and calmly
walked back over to where Max was crouched, trying to get up.
you were out of line.” I crouched down in front of him and watched him wipe the
blood coming from his nose with the back of his hand. I didn’t want to
apologize. I wanted to continue smashing his head with my fist, but that wasn’t
how I wanted people to see me. “Stay away from her. She’s not yours to take.”
I’m not yours to take either!”
Becki’s voice was loud and clear as the song ended. I stood and turned to her.
She didn’t say another word, but her eyes said it all. I’d disappointed her.
That revelation stung way worse than if she’d just punched me in the gut.

Above the Noise (In Too Deep, #3)Above the Noise by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a big fan of this series, and once again Michelle Kemper Brownlow delivered an excellent read! I have loved Becki and Calon since they were introduced in books one and two, so I was ecstatic that they were going to get a book of their own.

The pace of the story was great. It never bogged down, and it held my interest from beginning to end. Calon ended up being an even better character, and boyfriend, than I could have ever imagined. However, I couldn't help but wish that he was just a little bit more bad. After all, he is on his way to being a huge rock star, but he acts like he's a church altar boy. Plus, much like I felt about the first two books, there is just too much crying! From both Calon and Becki. Don't get me wrong, these books are very emotional, but I guess I prefer my characters to be more stoic or something. Tears should be reserved for very, very, very, extreme circumstances. If I'm not moved to tears by what's going on in the story, it kind of bothers me that the characters are crying.

Anyway, that is literally my only complaint about this book. And it didn't detract from the story - in fact it's probably only something that bothers me. I loved how the story ended, I loved the journey they took along the way, and I can't wait for more of these characters and this world!

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Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.

Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.

The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.

Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.

Stay connected with Michelle:


Follow me on Twitter: @MK_Brownlow

"Like" me on facebook: Michelle Kemper Brownlow/ Author




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June 20, 2014

Book Review: Purely Professional by Elia Winter

Purely Professional by Elia Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a surprisingly delightful read. It wasn't a really long novel (about 150 pages), but had enough meat to it that it was thoroughly enjoyable. The BDSM scenes were nice and hot, but didn't cross the line into totally hard core. I loved it!

Bridget is a writer that works for Sultry magazine. When they give her an edgier assignment, she is forced to enlist the help of her sexy neighbor Max who agrees to show her the ropes of the BDSM scene. In fact, he actually agrees to be her private tutor. But of course the chemistry between the two of them is unreal, and Max is just sex on a stick, so of course things get complicated really fast. While the two of them agreed that they just wanted to keep things professional, the intense emotions and experiences that they share make that impossible.

But when push comes to shove, they have to decide if a real relationship that includes BDSM is something they both want, or if they need to just cut their losses and walk away.

Like I said earlier, this book was great! The characters were interesting, the sex scenes were hot, and the entire thing was well written and had a nice pace to it. I definitely recommend it if this genre is your sort of thing.

**I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

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Author Info:

Elia Winters has always been a New England girl, despite having spent much of her childhood in Florida. She holds a degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school where she runs too many extracurricular activities. She balances her love of the outdoors with a bottomless well of geekiness.

Elia dabbles in many genres, but erotic romance has been one of her favorites since she first began sneaking her mother’s romance novels. In high school, she kept her friends entertained with a steady stream of naughty stories and somehow never got caught passing them around. Her erotic fiction and poetry have been published online at Clean Sheets and Scarlet Letters under a different name. Elia currently lives in New England with her loving husband and their odd assortment of pets.

In addition to her official website, you can also find Elia on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

June 17, 2014

Spotlight: Crave by Violet Vaughn

Crave by Violet Vaughn
Publication date: June 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Purchase:  Amazon  //  Barnes and Noble

With five men for every woman, the selection of eligible bachelors in Breckenridge, Colorado during ski season couldn’t get much better. Casey Cassidy can’t help but enjoy the view. But Casey didn’t move here to sit on the sidelines. Desperate to get over Jason and find a man that wants a family, Casey finds Blaine Johnson – a wish come true. A hunky surfer turned ski instructor, he checks off every requirement on her list.

Except for the one she forgot to add.

Blaine has a secret. A secret so big it keeps intimacy smoldering, when Casey needs fire. No matter how hard she tries, the embers won’t ignite. Can she live without passion to get the family she craves?

When Jason comes to town, Casey questions everything she wished for. Their consuming love threatens to explode and ruin her dream. Will she have to choose between a family and the love of her life?


 “Hey Casey, lose your friends?”
“Something like that. I shouldn’t drive. Would you give me a ride home?” I think I might regret this, but right now I don’t care.
Jason pushes the door open for me. I hop up, slam the door, and snap the seat belt in place. It’s like an old friend’s embrace. The odor of his truck is a mix of dirt, stale coffee, and cut pine. I reach down and take off my shoes. My feet are killing me. He chuckles. “What’s so funny?”
“Your feet stink.”
“Charmer.” I snort.
“Does your boyfriend know about those feet?” He’s still smiling.
“Oh, you’re a comedian. Not only does he know, he massages them after a long ski day.”
Pain flickers in his eyes, before his face gets serious. “What did you eat today?”
“What? I’m not trashed, Jason. Just a little buzzed.” I sniff my shoe. It does stink.
“I know. That’s not why I’m asking. So tell me, what did you eat today?”
I haven’t missed the food police. But I know one thing; he won’t stop until I tell him, so I might as well get this over with. I think for a minute. “Coffee, half a sandwich, cheese, and an apple.” Okay, so he doesn’t need to know it was a tiny piece of cheese and one slice of apple. I add, “Hey, at least it’s not junk.”
“There’s that.” He pauses. “What’s going on? Something’s wrong. You’re skinny and not eating.” There’s concern in his voice.
Oh man, tears pool in my eyes. “I’m fine.” My voice cracks and gives me away.
Warm fingers wrap around my hand. “Casey.” His voice is soft, and my tears start to fall.
I snap open his glove box in search of a tissue. He has three packages. I take one out and look over at him. “Tired of snot on your shirt?”
He chuckles.
The truck groans as he puts it in park. The seat belt snaps back as he turns to me. “Come here.” He opens his arms.
I unbuckle and slide over. He pets my hair as I cry, and I breathe in the musky-wood scent of him. Each stroke sends a jolt to my heart. I look up into his eyes. Their color is deep in the darkness of the night. My eyes fall to his lips, and I want to kiss him. I bite my lip in reflex, tamping down the impulse. I reach up and touch his mouth with my fingers. He pushes me away. “You need to get back on your side of the truck.” His voice is husky. He holds his head for a moment and then takes my shoulders. “Really, I need you to move.”
I move over with a questioning look in my eyes.
“Hey. You’re just a little too tempting that close.” He shifts in his seat. “So why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
You’re pretty tempting yourself. “I can’t. I just can’t.” I pick up my shoes and my purse. “Thanks for the ride.” The door creaks open, and I slide off the leather seat. The gravel in the driveway hurts my feet, but I walk on it anyway. I wave and let myself in as headlights swing away.
Violet Vaughn writes New Adult Romance in her home in New Hampshire.  She lives with her husband, two teenagers and three Portuguese Water Dogs.  An avid skier she taught skiing and snowboarding before she started her family and now skies every winter weekend for enjoyment.  Summers are full of hiking and running with her dogs.

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June 13, 2014

Review: Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jay Crownover returns with a heart-stopping new series… Welcome to the Point.
There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.
Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.
Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.
Bax terrifies her, awakening feelings she never thought she’d have for a guy like him. But it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize . . . some boys are just better when they’re bad.

Amazon US ** iBooks ** Barnes and Noble ** Kobo

Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point, #1)Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love, love, love, LOVE the first book in this new series by Jay Crownover. I am a huge fan of her Marked Men books, but I have to say that Welcome to the Point might have just become my even more favorite series. (Is that even a real sentence? Lol.)

While the men in the Marked Men series definitely walk a little on the wild side, they don't have nothing on Shane Baxter, aka "Bax" - leading man in Better When He's Bad. Bax is a street smart, bad ass, scary ex-con who knows how to handle his business. He is a criminal, and he has no intentions of changing that, even after his 5 year stay in prison. Even when he meets a girl that makes him reconsider his womanizing ways, he still doesn't feel the need to walk the straight and narrow. Dovie, the sister of his best friend, sees Bax for who he really is and is able to love him in spite of all of his flaws. She knows he's a bad boy, but also knows that while he may not be a good law-abiding citizen, he does have his own moral code and is as loyal as any person you could ever find. Plus he's sexy as hell and knows how to push all of her buttons.....all at once.

I loved how this wasn't a story about a good girl meeting a bad guy and "fixing" him. Dovie doesn't feel like Bax is broken, she knows that he does what he needs to do in order to survive. She understands him and accepts the whole package. Bax loves how innocent and untouched Dovie is, plus he realizes that she brings out a more tender and tamer side of him. They really are a perfect match in the sense that opposites attract. He brings out the bad girl in Dovie, and she brings out the slightly less bad side of him.

I speed read through this book in a day, and wanted it to go on and on. I was hooked from page one and never lost interest. I loved these characters, loved this new world, and I can't wait to read Race's story in book two. (Race is Dovie's brother and Bax's best friend) I'm not sure how it's going to be possible, but I have a feeling his story might even top this one. Thank you Jay Crownover for another amazingly addictive series!!

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1st $100 Amazon gift card and a signed BETTER WHEN HE’S BAD for 1 winner
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About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with Better When He’s Bad. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.


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