Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Breaking Through" by A.M. Hartnett


SERIES: Carried Away #3
GENRE: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
SOURCE: Review copy received from the publisher via Netgalley

Simon Reeve is charming, sly, and a man who can make things happen. But a foray into the dirty world of politics has left him with a tarnished reputation. Sharing the responsibility for her orphaned nephew with a feckless sister and putting her own ambitions on hold, Miranda is barely keeping her head above water. She's never taken a man home before, but there's something about Simon's haunted eyes and easy smile that's irresistible, and once in bed he opens her up to heart-pounding heights she never imagined she'd experience. As they grow closer, two people who thought they knew who they were and where they were going learn to see themselves in each other. For Simon, it means becoming the man Miranda needs him to be. For Miranda, it means realizing she's more woman than her crushing little world has allowed her to be. 


This is the third and final book in the Carried Away series and, although you can read the books as stand-alones, I'd personally suggest not to pick this one until you read the previous instalments. Simon is a recurring character in the series and it doesn't matter how much he stays in the scene, he does leave an impression on the reader. Plus, his role is connected to the general storyline, so...

If you're under the impression I liked Simon from the beginning, you got it right! He totally intrigued me from the first moment and, I must say, his own book didn't disappoint me. He's charming, sexy, funny but also messed up, and that makes his story one to really want to listen to. That's also why I've really appreciated to be able to read his POV, not just Miranda's. Indeed, there's a double POV that works well and keeps things even more interesting. Perhaps I'd have a complaint about an event that, as I see it, should have provoked a fight of some sorts. Then, I'm not Miranda and we see things differently as much as we have completely different lives, so I think I can't really judge her.

I'm very happy to have given this series a go, and I would recommend it to you if you're looking for some mysterious, engaging, cocky alpha males, quite the hot moments, and a pleasurable escaping read.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Blitz: Shinigami Eyes by Cheree & Adam Smith!

Today I'm happy to be part of Shinigami Eyes Book Blitz, organized by Dark World Books!
(Click on the banner above to see the schedule.)

(Shinigami Eyes #1)

Most children hope to grow out of their imaginary friends.
17-year-old Rin Waters’ only hope is that hers doesn’t kill someone, especially when said imaginary friend puts a boy in a coma. Finding herself shipped half-way around the world—to Japan, of all places—she is forced to live with grandparents she hasn’t seen for ten years and a cousin she can’t even remember.
Rin would rather just forget about the one night that ruined her life and pretend her imaginary friend doesn’t exist—if it was only that easy. When manga-obsessed otaku, Matt, won’t stop pestering her about a manga that sees the future and the tragic accident she’ll be involved in if she doesn’t listen to him, pretending becomes quite a challenge.
Suddenly mysterious accidents begin to happen to students in her school, and Rin has to wonder what length Matt is willing to go to prove his manga is real. Is it all a sham or is there really something that wants to see Rin and her new friends dead?

Cheree's favourite scene

“Hurry, Rin-chan, we’re going to be late,” Haruka yells, diving from the train before the doors have even finished opening.
I try and shove my way through the pack of harried commuters crowding the doorway before I lose sight of Haruka. One little train delay, and suddenly everyone is in a rush. It was only like three minutes tops. Maybe ten. Now it looks like we won’t even be stopping for food, in case we’re late for Juku. This sucks.
I watch Haruka tear off up platform, ducking and weaving between pedestrians like she’s trying out for the Olympics. I lose sight of her and suddenly she’s at the far end of the platform. I have to run or else she’ll leave me at the station. I don’t know the way to Juku on my own. Not that I want to go there, but still.
I stop at the top of the stairs, huffing and heaving. I’ve never done so much running in my life. Peering down the steep flight of stairs, I catch a brief fading glimpse of Haruka disappearing down the far end of the hallway like a white rabbit down the rabbit hole. I’m never going to catch her now.
“No. Stop. Wait.” Sucking in a breath, I mutter weakly.
Well, I tried. Maybe if I find a nice place to sit down, she’ll come back for me. Like a McDonalds or something.
A hard shove lands on my back, and I feel the ground fall out from under my feet. My foot catches on the edge of the step, and a sharp jolt race up my leg as I suddenly become airborne. Everything slows and my panicking brain struggles to comprehend my newfound ability to fly. Countless stairs drift by before my eyes as I watch the concrete floor creep up to greet me. Screaming, I squeeze my eyes shut and await the inevitable thud against the hard surface below.
 A firm hand grabs onto me, and I thud into something soft instead.
When I gather up enough courage to finally open my eyes I come face to face with the broad chest of the boy—young man—who caught me. His dark hair hangs casually over eyes brimming with concern.
“Are you okay?” he asks, carefully repositioning his grip on me. His black woollen jumper ripples against his lean, athletic body as he gently lowers me to the ground. The black jumper and faded jeans stretched across well-maintained muscles gives him a look I can only describe as roguish.
“I’m fi—” I start to say, but end up biting back a scream when I try to stand up.
“You are not.” He grasps my ankle.
I cringe as pain shoots up my leg when he moves the ankle back and forth.
“Here, lean on me until you can walk.” The guy pulls me into his arms and starts leading me away from the stairs.
I glance back and think I see a certain blond lurking at the top of the stairs, glancing everywhere and looking shifty, but when I look again he’s gone.
“Hiro~shi~, why’d you run off on me like that?” an incredibly whiny voice calls out as soon as we enter the station proper, and a girl with wavy copper-tone hair comes running over to meet us. The instant she sees me clinging to the guy, a look of pure murder enters her eyes. “Get your hands off of my boyfriend!”
Freaked by the sudden anger directed at me, I reflexively start trying to bury my face into the guy’s chest. This doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen the girl’s rage, for some reason.
“Ease off, Sakura. She fell down the stairs, and injured her ankle. I’m just helping her walk.” He gives her a crooked grin and the girl seems to calm down. “You’re lucky I’m fast on my feet or things could have ended up a lot worse.”
The girl, I belatedly recognise as Sakura, leader of the music club, the one who didn’t show up to club today, turns towards me, and I could swear a scowl tugs at her lips before it’s replaced by a warm smile. “Are you alright, Waters-san?”
“I’m fine.” I try to push myself to a standing position. Away from her boyfriend.
“Oh, so you two know each other then?” Hiroshi frowns at my wobbly distancing and grabs my shoulder to keep me upright.
“Yes, Waters-san joined the music club yesterday. She’s my newest kouhai,” Sakura adds in a sickly sweet voice, still unhappy about my proximity to Hiroshi beneath her friendly grin, but at least no longer looking for a knife to stab me with.
“Found her! She’s over there hugging that boy!” a sudden cheerful voice shouts loud enough to attract the attention of several passing commuters.
Sakura looks ready to snap, and I almost tumble back onto my ass trying to put as much distance between me and her as possible. Hiroshi just laughs and grabs my hand to keep me from falling as a distraught looking Haruka and a way too happy Miki come bounding over to us.
“Rin-chan, gomenne.” Haruka stops in front of me, taking in my awkward stance between Hiroshi and Sakura. “I-turned-around-and-you-weren’t-there. I-looked-everywhere. Where-did-you-go? Miki-chan’s-been-helping-me-look-for-you.”
I can only blink as her hyperspeed rundown washes over me while Miki bounces around beside her like a joyful dog expecting a treat. Sakura just stares at us like she’s planning a killing spree and is trying to work out who to start with.
“She had a bit of trouble on the stairs,” Hiroshi volunteers when it becomes clear no one’s going to talk.
“Stairs?” Haruka stares blankly like the entire concept is foreign.
“I fell down the stairs.”
“Oh my god, are you okay, Rin-chan?” My overly concerned cousin nearly barrels me over in her rush to comfort me.
“I’m fine,” I mutter. Really, I just want people to stop fussing over me.
“Takahashi-san, maybe you should take Waters-san to a hospital? She might need to get looked at.” Sakura is casual and friendly, but her eyes still glare at Hiroshi’s hand on my arm.
“I’m fine,” I assure them, my much-used catchphrase. Even if I did manage to break a leg, I’d probably still tell them I’m fine. I’d really like for my mother not to hear of this. “I just jarred it, that’s all. I’ll be right in no time.”
“Come on, we’ll skip Juku tonight, let’s get you home.” Haruka grabs me around the waist and Hiroshi finally let’s go, much to Sakura’s relief.
“I’ll help,” Miki pipes up as she grabs my arm, then in her usual energetic way begins bouncing on the spot. Each tug on my arm sends another jolt of pain across my wounded ankle. Oh, yay! Looks like I’ve got two babysitters, one of which is doing more harm than good, to make sure I get home safely. Super.
As I hobble away, well aware of everyone gawking at the scene I’ve caused, I can’t help but notice Sakura throwing herself into Hiroshi’s arms the moment we step away from them. I turn my gaze away from the lovely scene and that’s when my eyes catch on a certain blond kid standing near a cafĂ© on the other side of the station. He’s there watching me, usual manga held open in one hand and clutching something small in the other. He mouths something at me and I can’t help trembling as his warning comes floating back.
‘Be careful on the stairs’.

Adam’s favourite scene

Darkness surrounds me. I don’t know where I am. Not Haruka’s room, that’s for sure. It’s much smaller, I can feel the walls closed in around me, just out of reach. The wooden floor beneath me sends chills up my spine as a feeling of familiarity crashes into me. It feels as though I’ve been in this room before, but I have no idea when. I squeeze my fingers tightly around the small box I didn’t even realise I was holding. Matches. I desperately want to light one, but it’s not time yet. What?
Laughter sounds from outside my tiny universe, little girls laughing, as if they’re enjoying my panic. The familiarity of their voices washes over me, making me want to find a way out of this darkness as if I’m going to greet some long-lost friends.
A shiver rushes down my spine when the girls sop their giggling and start repeating a single phrase in singsong whispers, seemingly from everywhere at once, “Watashi ni hikari o misete, samonakuba yami no naka ni nokose.” Their whispers become repetitive chanting, growing louder and louder until they’re booming in my ear. I try to make sense of what they’re saying, but I can’t get past the feeling that I’ve heard this all before. Concentrating on the words, I translate: Give me the light or keep me in darkness.
All of a sudden the voices cut off, plunging my tiny room into silence once more, allowing me to hear the one last whispered warning from the girls. “Teokure ni naru mae ni hi o moyase.”
Light a match before it’s too late.
I yank a match from the box and start striking it. Sparks fly but no flame appears.
Icy hands grasp my shoulders and the match tumbles unlit from my trembling hands. I scramble for another match as I feel the icy claws dig into my flesh, turning me to face it. Pop! A faint golden light springs to life in my hands as I come face to face with ... nothing. An empty closet with creaky wooden boards. I giggle with relief.
A puff of air—as if someone is blowing out a candle—and my match goes out. Out of the darkness a pair of glowing red eyes erupt. I can’t see what creature’s attached to those eyes, and I’m sure I don’t want to know. I can only stare as it approaches. I can only stare as it—
“Rin!” Misa’s voice screams as tiny hands give my shoulders a furious shake, jerking me awake.
Sweat cascades down my back and my breathing comes out in short, ragged gasps. Pushing myself into a sitting position, the tangled sheets around me suck at me trying to drag me down to the floor. I look around the dark room, disoriented. I’m not in some dark forgotten closet. Everything’s the same as when I went to sleep. Haruka is still asleep in the bed beside me, not disturbed in the slightest. Everything’s normal. Everything’s fine.
“You were having a nightmare, Rin.” Misa’s nervous gaze never leaves my face.
“It felt so real,” I mumble as I lie back down and stare up at the ceiling. “Almost like it was really happening.”
“No. It was just a nightmare,” Misa says in a quick breath as she places her small hand against my forehead.
“Yeah.” I force my eyes closed, afraid that I’ll see those glowing red eyes again as soon as I do. My heart jackhammers as I briefly panic that I’ll have to spend my first day of life in Japan wandering around on zero sleep, but slowly I feel myself drifting off to sleep again. This time, thankfully, without dreams.


Cheree Smith lives in the coastal city of Newcastle in Australia where she is studying graphics design and photography. When she is not hard at study, she is busy writing paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults. She enjoys listening to and learning about legends and myths, watching scary movies and dreaming up new worlds where monsters can come alive. When she is not in her writing cave she can be found listening to music, even dabbling in the occasional writing of music or reading.

Website - Blog - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads

Adam Smith has always loved the Japanese culture, which began with his love of anime and manga. This helped him accomplish his goal of moving to Japan to become an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Iwate, Japan. When he’s not reading, writing or speaking Japanese, he is working on paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults with his sister, Cheree.


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Fun Fairs

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat.
Every week we talk about a non-bookish topic, so that we get to know each other on a more personal level.

This week's topic: FUN FAIRS

Every time I get the occasion, I go have fun at Fun Fairs. HA! There, I said it and no, I don't consider myself too 'old' for them. As a matter of fact, I think you're never too old to have fun and enjoy the colourful outside with a smile on your face trying to win some gorgeous prizes! Indeed, I play and I always win a little something :P

In UK, Fun Fairs are everywhere and they keep you busily happy quite often. Here's one of the very first I went to and I got to bring home a few (many) presents. If you've never tried, you should go and have a great time! :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Holding My Breath" by A.M. Hartnett


SERIES: Carried Away #2
GENRE: Contemporary/Erotic Romance
SOURCE: Review copy received from the publisher via NetGalley

Molly has watched that blue-eyed seducer for months, but now that her hotel is targeting a more family-friendly clientele, he has to go. Quinn wants to bargain: give him until New Year’s Eve, and he’ll make it worth her while. “It’s a skill not every man possesses, and it can’t be taught. That’s why I’m good at what I do.” For half his life Quinn has been making his living as a professional Casanova. Challenged by Molly to take his business elsewhere, he strikes a bargain with her: give him until New Year’s Eve and she’ll never see him again, and in the meantime he’ll make it worth her while. As their arrangement becomes a passionate affair, there’s no denying that Molly’s been waiting for him to come into her life for a very long time. She never imagined that a man like Quinn would be the one.


It takes skills to write a book with sex in every chapter that makes the reader hot and keeps them also interested in the story. A.M. Hartnett manages to do exactly that and, with a few surprises and not a moment of boredom, "Holding My Breath" is a pleasure to read.

Sensual and seductive, the chemistry between Quinn and Molly is gorgeous and, besides the amazing sex (a lot and smoking hot), it was lovely to see their connection growing stronger every time they met. They're perfect for each other but they do have different backgrounds, and an event from the past that sometimes may get someone's mind carried away...Yet, Quinn and Molly seem to get along quite great and, in the end, what happens between these two can be as much surprising for them as it is for the reader. I personally loved every moment spent in their company, and I felt more compelled than I was with the first instalment.

I had a fantastic time with this book, it all flew so well and naturally that I found myself devouring it and wanting more, so much that this is why I'm on my way to the third and final instalment in the series!


Monday, December 08, 2014

Book Blitz: Caress Of Darkness by Julie Kenner!

Today I'm happy to be part of Caress of Darkness Book Blitz, organized by Dark World Books!
(Click on the banner above to see the schedule.)

(A Dark Pleasures Novella)

From the first moment I saw him, I knew that Rainer Engel was like no other man. Dangerously sexy and darkly mysterious, he both enticed me and terrified me.
I wanted to run–to fight against the heat that was building between us–but there was nowhere to go. I needed his help as much as I needed his touch. And so help me, I knew that I would do anything he asked in order to have both.
But even as our passion burned hot, the secrets in Raine’s past reached out to destroy us…and we would both have to make the greatest sacrifice to find a love that would last forever.

This is part of 1001 Dark Nights

But I can’t get the words out, and I feel the tears snaking down my cheeks, and dammit, dammit, dammit, I do not want to lose it in front of this man—this stranger who doesn’t feel like a stranger. 

And then his grip on my shoulders tightens and he leans toward me.

And then—oh, dear god—his lips are on mine and they are as warm and soft as I’d imagined and he’s kissing me so gently and so sweetly that all my worries are just melting away and I’m limp in his arms.

“Shhh. It’s okay.” His voice washes over me, as gentle and calming as a summer rain. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

I breathe deep, soothed by the warm sensuality of this stranger’s golden voice. Except he isn’t a stranger. I may not have not met him before today, but somehow, here in his arms, I know him.

And that, more than anything, comforts me.

Calmer, I tilt my head back and meet his eyes. It is a soft moment and a little sweet—but it doesn’t stay that way. It changes in the space of a glance. In the instant of a heartbeat. And what started out as gentle comfort transforms into fiery heat.

I don’t know which of us moves first. All I know is that I have to claim him and be claimed by him. That I have to taste him—consume him. Because in some essential way that I don’t fully understand, I know that only this man can quell the need burning inside me, and I lose myself in the hot intensity of his mouth upon mine. Of his tongue demanding entrance, and his lips, hard and demanding, forcing me to give everything he wants to take.

I am limp against him, felled by the onslaught of erotic sparks that his kisses have scattered through me. I am lost in the sensation of his hands stroking my back. Of his chest pressed against my breasts.

But it isn’t until I realize that he has pulled me into his lap and that I can feel the hard demand of his erection against my rear that I force myself to escape this sensual reality and scramble backward out of his embrace.

“I’m sorry,” I say, my breath coming too hard.

“Callie—“ The need I hear in his voice reflects my own, and I clench my hands into fists as I fight against the instinct to move back into his arms.

“No.”  I don’t understand what’s happening—this instant heat, like a match striking gasoline. I’ve never reacted to a man this way before. My skin feels prickly, as if I’ve been caught in a lightning storm. His scent is all over me. And the taste of him lingers on my mouth.

And oh, dear god, I’m wet, my body literally aching with need, with a primal desire for him to just rip my clothes off and take me right there on the hard, dusty floor.

He’s triggered a wildness in me that I don’t understand—and my reaction scares the hell out of me.

“You need to go,” I say, and I am astonished that my words are both measured and articulate, as if I’m simply announcing that it is closing time to a customer.

He stays silent, but I shake my head anyway, and hold up a finger as if in emphasis.

“No,” I say, in response to nothing. “I don’t know anything about this amulet. And now you really need to leave. Please,” I add. “Please, Raine. I need you to go.”

For a moment he only looks at me. Then he nods, a single tilt of his head in acknowledgment. “All right,” he says very softly. “I’ll go. But I’m not ever leaving you again.”

I stand frozen, as if his inexplicable words have locked me in place. He turns slowly and strides out of the shop without looking back. And when the door clicks into place behind him and I am once again alone, I gulp in air and feel the warm trickle of a tear as it snakes down my cheek.

I rub my hands over my face, forgiving myself for this emotional miasma because of all the shit that’s happened with my dad. Of course I’m a wreck; what daughter wouldn’t be?

Determined to get a grip, I follow his path to the door, then hold onto the knob. I’d come over intending to lock it. But now I have to fight the urge to yank it open and beg him to return.

It’s an urge I fight. It’s just my grief talking. My fear that I’m about to lose my father, the one person in all the world who is close to me, and so I have clung to a stranger in a desperate effort to hold fast to something.

That, at least, is what my shrink would say. You’re fabricating a connection in order to fill a void. It’s what you do, Callie.  It’s what you’ve always done when lonely and  afraid.

I nod, telling myself I agree with the voice in my head.

And I do.

Because I am lonely.

And I am afraid of losing my dad.

But that’s not the whole of it. Because there’s something else that I’m afraid of, too, though I cannot put my finger on it. A strange sense of something coming. Something dark. Something bad.

And what scares me most is the ridiculous, unreasonable fear that I have just pushed away the one person I need to survive whatever is waiting for me out there in the dark.


He wanted her.

When you got right down to it, that was the bottom line. Raine wanted Callie Sinclair. Craved her. Hungered for her.

Hell, he fucking yearned for her, and that was simply not a feeling he was used to having. Hadn’t been for a very, very long time.

Oh, sure, he’d gotten off often enough. Lost himself in a women. In the feel of her body against his. There was power in the claiming of a willing female, in that hard, rough ride that erased the world, at least for those few singular moments as the sensation built and climax approached.

And when the inevitable explosion came, he’d lose himself in the sharp oblivion that mimicked the death he sought again and again, and yet this death was forged in pleasure and not pain.

But that was all he wanted or needed—just that physical connection to remind him that no matter how dead he might feel on the inside—no matter how hard he chased that escape and no matter how many times he burned—this body still functioned and he still had a job to do.

Because if he could fuck, then he could fucking well survive another day, another year, another century.


He ran his fingers over his close-cropped hair and told himself to get a grip. An ironic lecture since he stood like a criminal in the shadows across the street from Sinclair’s Antiques, his eyes trained on the now-locked door.

Thank goodness he’d dismissed Dennis, Phoenix Security’s driver, telling him to go ahead and simply be on call in case Raine needed him later. He hardly wanted to explain to the eager twenty-three year old why the hell he was standing like an idiot, waiting for just another glimpse of this women who’d gotten so deep under his skin.

Christ, he was pathetic. For millennia he’d not been distracted by a woman. Not since he’d lost Livia, his mate.

Oh, he’d fucked plenty, but that was to escape. Because even after all these centuries he still craved what he’d lost when she’d been ripped from him.

He’d loved her beyond all reckoning, and never once had he believed that he would ever feel that same connection with another female.

And yet this woman—Sinclair’s daughter—not only caught his attention, but sparked his awareness.

He told himself that he was simply attracted to her beauty. That he hadn’t brought a woman into his bed for over a year. A short time for a man such as him, but still too damn long.

He told himself that he just wanted to fuck her—but that wasn’t true at all.

He wanted to know her. He wanted to protect her.

He wanted have her.

And that’s why he was standing here in the dark.

That’s why he was watching her door.

And that’s why the moment she left the building, he was going to follow her—all the way to wherever the hell that might lead.


J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres. Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, Victorian-era thrillers (coming soon), and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, has been consistently in development in Hollywood since prior to publication. Most recently, it has been optioned by Warner Brothers Television for development as series on the CW Network with Alloy Entertainment producing. JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for him.” A three time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her books have sold well over a million copies and are published in over over twenty countries. In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.


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