Aug 25, 2013

Life Over Love

 Brianna Garcia is a young mother whose spirit and fiery temper were so beaten down, she was barely recognizable to her own self. Beaten both by the words and the fists of her first love. The father of her children. She was at her lowest, lost, and ashamed by what she had become. Brianna felt so full of self-loathing that she constantly entertained thoughts of suicide. She devised a plan to take her children and leave her abusive husband on his birthday, as a gift to herself making it a special day neither will soon forget…

I received a copy of this story for an honest review.

Mike and Brianna Garcia appear to be a perfect couple with everything going for them. Teenage sweethearts, the two married young, had two adorable kids, and made a home. But appearances are deceiving. The sunglasses Brianna sports cover her black eyes and the long sleeves hide a multitude of bruises. “Life over Love” is Brianna’s story. It’s a story of strength, courage, and love. I really enjoyed this read and think you will too.

“Life over Love” is a quick but important story. It in turns made me tear up and smile. Brianna is one of those rare characters where I felt like I could know her and be friends with her in real life. To me that’s a pretty special feeling that I only occasionally get from characters. That feeling made me cheer for each of her accomplishments, particularly her blossoming relationship with Officer Ryker Danner (aka Officer Sexy Pants - Brianna’s words not mine).

This story touched me deeply because it hit very close to home. My mother and father got together in their teens and after my father got back from Vietnam the two got married. What followed in the marriage were two kids, my father’s raging alcohol dependency and years of physical and emotional abuse for my mother. As I’ve gotten older I’ve pieced together stories from family, friends, and even my parents about the abuse. It’s not my story to fully tell but I’ll say it wasn’t a pretty picture.  One morning in 1981 my mom had enough. When my dad left for work she grabbed my sister and me and she left for good. Sometimes when she and I have talked about it she’ll laugh about the fact that she didn’t even take time to grab her purse. She knew that was her time to leave so she just grabbed us two kids, and with the clothes on our backs the three of us booked it.

Scars from domestic abuse fade but never completely disappear. I think Seagraves did a beautiful job capturing that in “Life over Love.” It has been almost three decades since my mom left my dad and she’s been married to my step-father for over 25 years. To this day mom will leave a store or a restaurant if someone is raising their voice at another person and she noticeably flinches when a door slams. In “Life over Love” Brianna creates a new life for herself and her children but she’s not magically fixed. Her new love is important but doesn’t wash her past away. Brianna embraces her fresh opportunities but accepts that the insecurities she carries from the years of abuse will be part of her as well. That’s realistic, and it means a lot for the author to portray it that way.

Please show Seagraves some support and pick up a copy of “Life over Love.” Share it with your friends, with the women in your life; you never know who it may help or touch.

Happy reading.

Aug 24, 2013

Covert Craving

She just stripped in front of an NYPD detective...

The glow-in-the-dark water at Camp Sunny Woods left Chloe Sanders with the ability to disappear from sight.

Thirteen years later, she uses her “gift” to take out criminals when she can. If she’s got to be part of a freak show, she’s going to do some good while in the buff.

And he’s enjoying studying every luscious curve…

Color blind detective Jacob Greiff smokes to weaken the overwhelming messages his nose sends him. One summer camp trip was enough for him. His priority right now is busting the vigilante leaving burglars tied up with panty hose and women’s scarves.

He thinks he’s hallucinating when he sees a petite, bare foot brunette in an enormous trench coat at his crime scenes because for the first time in years, he’s seeing someone in full color.

He’s not sure he’s buying it, but Chloe sure looks great when she’s “invisible.”

Despite his own supernatural abilities and the raging lust between them, Greiff wonders if Chloe isn’t some kind of nut who gets off on public nudity. She insists she can disappear from view when naked, that he’s the only one who can see her when she’s in the buff.

Their shared past comes to a treacherous intersection when a man shows up at Chloe’s apartment and informs them at gun point it’s time to report for duty—or else.

I received a copy of this story for an honest review.

Have you ever had a friend recommend a recipe to you and when you hear all of the ingredients you shut them down? You think “There’s no way any of those things work together, no way would I eat that.” Then that friend forces the issue, you try it, and it turns out to be one of the tastiest things you’ve ever eaten. “Covert Cravings” is that recipe, I’m the friend, and I’m telling you – YOU. HAVE. TO. TRY. THIS.
When she was young Chloe Saunders begged her parents to send her to Camp Sunny Woods, a special summer camp with glow in the dark water. Instead of coming home with sunburn or poison ivy, Chloe came home with the ability to turn herself invisible and regenerate body parts. Now 25, Chloe decides to use her gifts as a vigilante targeting petty criminals. In her mind it’s simple – get naked, turn invisible, catch crooks in the act, knock them out, truss them up for cops, and watch from the background as justice is served.
Jacob Greiff is a seasoned detective with a background in the Special Forces. He hides his color blindness with a super sense of smell. Greiff is a human blood hound, once he catches a scent he can track a person anywhere in the world. At his latest crime scene Greiff catches a whiff of Chloe and when he tracks her down he’s shocked to realize 1) she’s naked and 2) he can actually see her in full color.
Chloe’s doesn’t understand how Greiff can see through her abilities and she’s even more confused with the instant lust that sparks between them. What she does know is that she’s been monitored by a man called the Professor for years and if he feels she’s been compromised he’ll lock her up in a lab faster than she can blink. To protect herself she knows she has to hit the road, but not before hitting the sheets with Greiff.

 “The most she could hope for at this point in her relationship with Greiff was a quickie to remember a hot-ass cop with a five o’clock shadow and the inability to color coordinate. Not a bad memory to take with her.”

What follows includes a voodoo priestess, a cross-dressing double agent, a lecherous computer hacker, a centuries old alligator man, gun fights, a boat chase, government conspiracies, scientific breeding experiments, and several scenes of major hotness. The bedroom scenes between Jacob and Chloe had me covering my eyes and reading through my fingers.

I confess up front I’m a wee bit of a sci-fi nerd. I grew up loving the quirky X-Files episodes and Supernatural is one of my favorite TV shows ever. “Covert Craving” reminds me of both shows. In theory this book should be over the top ridiculous, but author Jennifer James makes everything work. Chloe and Greiff embrace the crazy in a really human way that I think helps the reader do the same thing. The book also has a little bit of everything for everybody. There’s humor, there’s mystery, there’s danger, and there’s sexy romance.

“Covert Craving” is an unbelievably crazy fun read. Highly recommended for fellow sci-fi lovers or those just looking for a great fast-paced adventure. When I rate a book 5 out of 5 it means I would 100% read the story again. I guarantee I’ll be spending more time with Chloe and Greiff. Nudge, nudge – go check this book out!

Happy reading.

Aug 23, 2013

Seductive Shadows

 Reader's Beware: This is not your mother's romance, nor is there a rich, playboy millionaire seducing an innocent virgin. Charlie leads a passionate, controversial, and thought-provoking life - the sex scenes will make you blush, the twists will make you gasp in disbelief and the characters' angst and pain will make your heart ache. Prepare to dive into a highly sensual, unique storyline with substance and a touch of darkness - as well as explicit language and descriptive sexual content. After all, real life is lived in the shadows, and Marni will take you there. But love can linger in the darkness....
Charlie is a sensually-inspired art student, desperately seeking an escape from the abusive past that haunts her and a tragic accident that emptied her heart. Scarred and unable to love, her yearning for physical pleasure leads her into a tantalizing, dangerous world of power and seduction. The anonymity of the deal offers security; the money brings financial freedom and the madam is the mother figure she longs for.
But the thrill of the mansion and its arousing dominance quickly fades when she meets renowned-yet-mysterious Cameron Hardy, whose intense baby blue eyes send a nervous flutter through her core. Cameron is sexy, and not in a subtle way. He stimulates Charlie's art, her intellect and her desires. Just as he begins to break through her emotional boundaries, she discovers a devastating connection between her past and her scandalous work at the mansion, shattering everything she thought to be true.
Provocative, intoxicating and erotic, Seductive Shadows is the unforgettable tale of a young woman's self-discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption amidst a remarkable journey that will captivate your mind and stimulate your soul.
This book is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.
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I received a copy of this story for an honest review.

Child abuse, alcoholism, cancer, death, random sexual encounters and prostitution don’t usually add up to a fun read. But when handled with the skill and care shown by Marni Mann in “Seductive Shadows,” all of the elements add up to a gritty and gripping tale of survival, redemption, and finding a way to love yourself.
To truly appreciate light you have to have experienced the dark and twenty-three year old artist Charlie knows dark. She has spent her entire life existing in the shadows. From a brutal childhood full of neglect and violence to a traumatic accident that broke her body and stole her best friend, Charlie goes through the motions of life without any hope for herself. Art allows Charlie to channel her feelings but sex is her only honest release, brief but fleeting sparks of light and pleasure. Sex is like water or air for Charlie, she needs it just to survive.

Faced with her mother’s pending death and mounting credit card debt, Charlie thinks she’s found a solution to all of her problems when she receives an offer to work at the mysterious Mansion, sexually entertaining the upper-crust of New England society. 

“I could get lost in the sex; I could escape, even if it was for just a brief period of time. I could forget.”

As Charlie navigates her way through the Mansion she learns that it may not be everything she hoped for. Charlie’s time with her clients serves as an escape but she begins to realize that the encounters do nothing to fill the emptiness that she feels inside. Secrecy about the Mansion begins to wear on Charlie.
“Sex and art briefly waylaid my emptiness, but I didn’t believe I had ever found fulfillment.”
Charlie’s newly forming world is rocked when she’s partnered in her college art class with Cameron, a talented professional artist who see’s value in Charlie’s art and in Charlie herself. Cameron challenges Charlie to embrace her scars and begin to heal.

 “Accept the darkness, because it’s who you are. It’s who we all are. Some of us get lost in it…others wrap themselves in it and wear it like a skin.”

“Seductive Shadows” was a difficult but rewarding read for me. Flashbacks to Charlie’s childhood are heartbreaking and make Charlie’s pain palpable. Scenes between Charlie and her clients in the Mansion are in turns steamy, intense, and disturbing. The story continuously shifts between drama, suspense, and erotica. Through every twist and turn, Mann ensures the story flows seamlessly. 

I found myself alternating between feeling happy for Charlie in her brief moments of pleasure to wanting to jump in the book, pull her out and just give her a big hug and safe place to stay. “Seductive Secrets” made me invest in Charlie from page one and I really cared about what happened to her. 

If you’re a fan of well-written angsty reads, “Seductive Shadows” is the story for you. “Seductive Secrecy,” a continuation of Charlie’s story, is scheduled for release 10/24/13. I’ve already added it to my TBR list and look forward to being part of Charlie’s continued journey.

Happy reading.

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