Sneak Peek! Meant to be Family

In case my giddy exclamations of glee haven’t been a clue, the third book in the Meant To Be Series, Mean to be Family will be releasing in just a few weeks and I am OVER THE MOON to share a few little sneak peeks with you.

I gotta admit this first scene I’m sharing is one that I love. Who doesn’t find a messy meeting adorable?

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Connor

Six years earlier

 

“OhmygoshIamsosorry.”

The squealed words all ran together to form one semi-incoherent one. And hit his ears about half a second after the warm liquid landed in his lap. Thank everything good the cafeteria managed to only heat their food to tepid levels. It didn’t help the fact, however, that the red liquid billed as tomato soup was now being soaked up by his khaki shorts. On reflex, he pushed the sketchpad away and breathed a sigh of relief that his drawing had been spared.

A tray clattered onto the table beside him and small hands grabbed several napkins from the dispenser nearby and shoved them in front of him. “I am so, so, so sorry. My foot slid in these stupid sandals which are completely inappropriate and I really shouldn’t be wearing anyway because they hurt my feet and I have to walk across campus three times a day for all my classes. Which is absolutely ridiculous and I have discussed this with my advisor on more than one occasion, but it isn’t like it matters anyway and—” The girl slapped a hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled from behind her fingers.

Connor pressed the thin paper napkins against his shirt and pants and swallowed back a chuckle. “It’s not a big deal.” He looked up and his eyes collided with wide, slate colored ones that stood out against her dark brown hair and creamy ivory skin. Even the thought of laughing was stolen from him and he swallowed, licking his suddenly parched lips. He’d never seen anyone as beautiful as the mortified girl who plopped down on the bench seating beside him.

Her hands fell away from her face. “I tend to talk. A lot. And ramble when I’m nervous. Or when I’ve done something really stupid like pour the entire contents of my dinner on a stranger’s lap.” She groaned and slapped her palm to her forehead. “Particularly a stranger wearing khakis and a light blue shirt. Did I mention that I’m sorry?”

He looked down at the stained shorts and spattered shirt and really didn’t care about any of it. “Would you believe me if I told you that these were old? Hand me downs from my brother?”

The girl’s full lips twisted to the side and her eyes rolled heavenward. “Not for a moment.”

This time the chuckle escaped before he had a moment to stop it. “Good answer.” He wiped some of the residue that had clung to his hands while he was attempting to clean what he could off his clothes and stuck it out. “Connor.”

She offered a small smile and slid her palm against his, giving a gentle shake. “Kelsey.”

He tightened his fingers around her slightly. “Well, Kelsey, I think a little payback is due.”

Her mouth fell open for a moment before her head bobbed enthusiastically. “Yes, of course, just tell me what size you wear and where your dorm is and I promise I will replace your clothes. I really am sorry, did I say that already?”

Connor pressed his lips together to contain the grin forcing its way to the surface. “I meant you.” He gestured to the nearly empty bowl on her dinner tray. The remnants of her soup that hadn’t been deposited in his lap filled the bottom of the plastic surface. “Looks like you are out of dinner.”

She wrinkled her nose. “It wasn’t much to look forward to anyway. I have some granola bars back in my room that would probably taste a whole lot better.”

He shook his head. “How about I take you out instead?”

Kelsey’s eyes fluttered a few times, confusion tinging the edges. “I spilled my food all over you and you want to buy me a meal?” She pointed to the three quarters of what was supposed to be a turkey sandwich on the plate in front of him. “Besides, you’ve already eaten. Or are eating. Or were. Before I ruined your dinner as well as your clothes. Please let me buy you new ones or at least pay to get these cleaned.”

He squinted at her and rubbed his earlobe between his thumb and forefinger. “You really do talk a lot, don’t you?”

“It’s a bad habit.”

“You say bad, I say cute.” When a light pink tinted her cheeks and her head dropped he lifted her chin with one of his knuckles. “Please let me take you out to dinner tonight.” His gaze fell to his ruined clothes. “After I change.”

Her lower lip caught between her teeth for a moment before she nodded.

Connor’s hand dropped and curled around the one laying against her thigh, bare beneath her denim shorts. “Where is your dorm? I’ll pick you up.” Something flashed across her face and every lecture on campus safety he’d listened to freshman, sophomore, and now junior year came rushing to the forefront of his mind. “I promise I’m not a psychotic stalker that will show up and follow you around.” He winced. “Which is probably exactly what a psychotic stalker would say, but I have two older brothers, a father, and, most terrifying of all, a mother who would kick my ass if I was anything less than a gentleman.”

The answering giggle created a bubbling against his ribcage, nerves and excitement all mixing together.

“I’m in Mills Hall.”

His shoulders drooped slightly with relief that she didn’t think he was a total creep. “That’s kind of perfect since I’m in Ponder.” He tightened his grip for a brief moment before releasing her hand. “I’ll meet you in front of your place in fifteen minutes?”

She lifted one shoulder and grinned. “I like the sound of that.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, she stood and scurried from the building. An uncontrollable, and probably ridiculously goofy, smile stayed fixed in place while he threw away the remnants of both his tray and the one she left behind, and he jogged out of the building. “So do I.”

Add Meant to be Family to your TBR today!

Goodreads

Book Review! THE OTHER TIDE by: Carly Spade

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Dr. Samantha ‘Sam’ Smith and Luke Jansen have gotten under each other’s skins since they met 10 years ago on the Royal Australian Naval base. They never thought they’d see each other again until their love of sharks brought them back together, giving their competitive and stubborn natures another chance to clash.

Sam, marine biologist and shark specialist, recently landed her dream job with the aquatic research department at Miami University. When her mentor invites her on the expedition of a lifetime, she eagerly takes the bait. The goal: obtain coveted, groundbreaking footage of Great White sharks breeding.

Unbeknownst to Sam, her mentor has invited one of the best shark experts in the business as well — a certain Aussie diver too arrogant and sexy for his own good. Luke, different after a life-changing diving accident, is the last person she expected to see.

Sam and Luke’s competitive streak picks up right where it left off as Sam realizes Luke knows almost as much about sharks as she does, despite her eight years of education. When a deep sea dive goes awry, Sam has to rely on Luke’s experience, both with sharks and as a Navy Clearance Diver, to get her back on board alive and in one piece. To make matters worse, a reckless rival crew surfaces, determined to beat them to the punch. Amidst the adventure and exhilaration of the hunt, Sam and Luke ignite a passionate spark that they slowly realize may have been simmering all along. If they can make it through with the footage and their lives, they may just have a shot at Happily Ever After.

 

Okay, let me be upfront and admit I am a big fan of Shark Week on The Animal Planet so I was kind of tickled pink to see sharks featured front and center in this read. I also want to take this opportunity to just draw attention to a really important detail, Ms. Spade has a note listed at the end of her blurb, “A portion of all proceeds will be donated to shark and ocean conservation.” This is a lovely sentiment and a great reason to grab a copy of this book ASAP knowing your money is going to a great cause.

This story has so many things I love. First, it’s a second chance romance with a ten year gap in between the time Luke and Sam first met until they are reunited. Second, and most delicious of all, it’s an enemies to lovers/opposites attract trope. I might have fallen over in my seat when I realized the friction between them. I did love that the snark was never intentionally nasty.

Sam and Luke have fantastic banter, something that I adore, sniping constantly giving me some much needed chuckles.

However don’t take any of that to mean that this is a lighthearted tale. That could not be more inaccurate. There are some heart stopping moments where survival doesn’t look like a possibility.

I was really impressed with the author’s dedication to research which was very obvious in the facts relayed during the story, well threaded through the obvious romance center.

Even if you aren’t a fan of sharks (I’m a fan of Shark Week… a little anxious about the creatures themselves), I’d recommend grabbing a copy of The Other Tide for a tasty little romance with an intriguing nautical education seamlessly woven throughout.

Where to find The Other Tide

Amazon

Goodreads

Guest Post! Why Authors Can’t Self-Edit by: Christina Kaye with Top Shelf Editing

Perfect Book

Writerly Friends,

Today, we’re going to talk about why authors should never try to publish their books without having an unbiased third party review/edit it first. Who am I to have such an opinion you ask? I’m an award-winning author and the co-owner/editor of Top Shelf Editing, an elite editing service created for author by authors. We’ve been on both sides of the publishing world and we know how tempting it can be to self-edit to save time and money. But we also know firsthand the pitfalls an author faces when doing so. Let’s discuss.

So you’ve finished your novel after weeks, months, or even years of hovering over your laptop and ignoring everyone and everything else in your life outside of your fictional world and the characters you dropped into it. Great. You’re ready to upload it to Amazon. Right? Wrong. You need to have it professionally edited first.

But, wait! I’m this, like, awesome, amazingly talented writer! I’m really good at comma placement and catching typos. I have a good eye for mistakes. And better yet…I have Grammarly! Why on earth would I pay someone I don’t know to edit my work for me when I can do it myself for free?

Slow your roll. Pump the breaks. Hold your horses.

I have heard this rebuttal more times than I can count. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I heard something along these lines, I could quit editing altogether, and Stephen King and I could be sipping mimosas on the Maine coastline, burning our money on the beach for the fun of it.

So…I did some research and I’ve gathered some facts, statistics, and other useful information to prove to you that you absolutely, unequivocally, irrefutably CANNOT edit your own book.

Reason #1 – Your brain literally cannot process your own mistakes.

Ever heard of the phrase, “can’t see the forest for the trees?” You’ve written these words, and if you’re a smart, dedicated author, you’ve been over the entire manuscript at least once. The more you sit and stare at words you created on your own, your brain will quite literally zone out, and your eyes will gloss over the mistakes and even fill in/auto-correct the errors the longer you stare. It’s like one of those optical illusion paintings where, the more you sit and stare at it, you begin to see shapes and patterns forming that weren’t there before…or maybe aren’t even really there to begin with! The reason you struggle to spot your own typos is because what you’re seeing on the computer is competing with the version already formulated in your head.

Reason #2 – You aren’t trained/experienced/practiced at editing.

Unless you’re a trained editor, it’s doubtful you’ve taken courses or studied all those intricate little writing rules that no author ever learns until someone teaches them. I want you to close your eyes. No, wait. Open them. You can’t read if your eyes are closed. Anyway, just think back to when you first starting writing novels. Remember how you were just typing away words that sounded great together and weaving together this beautiful story you just knew the whole world needed to hear? Now…think back to the first time you learned that there are actual RULES to writing that go beyond what you learn in high school and college English courses. Most new authors have never heard of writing techniques such as “show, don’t tell,” etc. And that’s just one of dozens of “rules” we must follow. You may be a wonderfully creative storyteller. Hell, you may even be a natural born “grammar Nazi.” But let’s face it. Learning all those pesky rules, techniques, and devices takes YEARS of research, practice, and training. But even the most highly skilled book editors never edit their own work.

Here’s a fact/statistic to put things in perspective (if you’re a numbers kind of person). According to industry standards, even the very best of editors may still miss about 5% – 15% of errors in a given project. So if people who have spent many years of their lives and spent God knows how much time, effort, and money to train to be the best they can be in their field STILL miss things, how on earth is the average writer ever supposed to catch ALL of their own mistakes? They can’t. That’s how. It’s absolutely impossible.

Reason #3 – Bad Editing and/or Lack of Editing Leads to Bad Reviews and Low Sales

If you’re a published author, odds are, you’ve been there. You’ve published your book (or your publisher has) and you sit there anxiously refreshing your internet browser every day, waiting for those amazing 5-star reviews to start rolling in. And you get them! But then…then, you get that first dreaded less-than-four-star review. (Side note, I consider anything less than four stars a “negative” review). Your heart sinks to your knees. You break out into hives. You fight the urge to throw up on your computer. You also fight the urge to cyberstalk said reviewer and give them a piece of your mind! It’s true, there will ALWAYS be a Negative Nancy. Someone who finds fault in even the best of literary masterpieces. Hell, Stephen King gets bad reviews from people who think they could do better, while they sit in their mom’s basement all alone, unemployed, in their underwear, staring at the blank notebook, which should contain that next best seller they’ve been telling all their friends they’re writing. There is absolutely no way to avoid ever getting ANY negative reviews. Get used to it. Deal with it. Talk to your therapist about it.

However! There is one sure-fire way to guarantee you will get negative reviews and slow or no sales. Don’t hire an editor. Just write your book, type THE END, have your best friend/mom/brother/mailman “edit” your book, then slap it up on Amazon. Just sit back and watch the three, two, one-star reviews roll in and try not to jump off a bridge as you read all those scathing remarks about how poorly written/edited your book is. Because it WILL happen. Don’t believe me? Here is just ONE example of a scathing review for a poorly written/unedited book:

Don’t take any of this to mean that you are incapable of writing a brilliant and lovely book. Of course you can. But the bottom line is simply this. You cannot edit your own writing well enough that you will catch all possible mistakes, typos, and errors. And we haven’t even touched on content and developmental issues in this post. Hiring a trained professional to work with you and help make your book baby shine is the only logical route to take for any author who desires to not just write and publish books but to have them reach the masses and satisfy readers and keep them coming back for more.

Okay, great, Christina. You’ve talked me into not self-editing and hiring a trained professional like you to edit my manuscript before I publish it. Now what? How do I find the right editor? How do I know if an editor is for real or a wannabe? How much should I pay? How does it work?

Well, my friend, stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series where I will next answer all those questions and more.

In the meantime, be sure you’ve taken a minute to browse our pretty website. You can read all about us, our mission/goals, our success stories, our services and rates, and read testimonials. You can even check out our Author Resources Page, where we list ONLY the best and most affordable service providers which we have personally vetted and guarantee are among the best in their field. We only list a few of each kind of service provider (cover designer, formatters, promoters, PAs, etc.) because who wants to scroll through a really long list? And besides, we don’t trust our clients and their books to just anyone. Those listed on this page are providers we have worked with directly in the past, and we GUARANTEE they offer the best combination of skill and affordability.

And, finally, if anything I’ve said here has resonated with you, and you’d like to talk to use about what we can do to help make your book the absolute best it can be, visit our Contact Us page, where you can reach out to us by email. Simply say, “Hey, Top Shelf! I want to learn more!” And we’ll take it from there. Every interested author gets a completely free, no-obligation evaluation of the first 5 pages of your manuscript. Within 24 hours, you’ll get back a complete content and line edit of those pages, along with a professional quote for our services and an estimated turnaround time.

Talk Soon,

Christina Kaye, (Co-Owner/Editor of Top Shelf Editing)

***A Note from Amelia***

Top Shelf Editing is offering a special giveaway to three of my blog readers who email them at info@topshelfedits.com and type in the subject line “3PRIZES”

1) 20% off all editing services
2) A FREE sample evaluations of the first 5 pages of their book
3) a FREE $30 value social media blast from HEA (courtesy of Lydia Harbaugh)

Book Review! FED UP by: Kathleen Duhamel

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Death breaks you in ways you never thought possible while grief swallows you whole. After losing my husband I’ve been trapped in emotional limbo, a place I don’t think I’ll ever be able to escape.

Not even the British actor and heartthrob, Ian James, will be able to thaw my frozen heart…at least that’s what I thought.

Being his personal chef is merely a short-term job while he’s working on location in Virginia. But cooking for him five days a week becomes more personal when a mutual attraction starts to burn between us.

I’m hopelessly drawn to Ian and being with him makes it possible for me to breathe again. But I’m wary of the self-proclaimed womanizer who is far too charming and handsome for his own good.

With me a grieving widow, and Ian struggling with his own demons, there are too many variables involved for us to have a future together.

But I can’t stay away from him, and I’m afraid falling for a player might just shatter my already broken heart.

 

I’ve been so focused on writing and editing ALL THE THINGS for the past several months that my reading time has been very neglected. As you can see by the number of posts going up lately, I am making up for lost time! Continuing that trend, I have a new review for you guys today!

Romance is often focused on the gorgeous twenty-somethings with perfect hair, skin, and curves. But that isn’t real life. Sometimes real life is a more experienced heroine with silver in her hair and smile lines on her face. And I love seeing reality played out in my romances.

Which is exactly what you get with Shelby Durand. She is a chef trained at one of the best culinary schools in the world. And also a woman grieving the loss of her husband and trying to carve a new place for herself, rewriting the life story she thought had ended in a perfect HEA when she married Jean-Pierre. She sort of just floundering through the days when her friend Denny approaches her with an offer: take over his duties as personal chef to celebrity actor Ian James while Denny and his partner travel overseas to adopt their daughter.

Not the glittering life she had once known as the owner of a highly sought after restaurant, but probably a job much more in line with the slower pace her broken heart required.

What Shelby never planned on was Ian and all things… Ian. Let me tell y’all, the only thing that had me drooling more than the delicious meals Ms. Duhamel described to perfection was Ian James himself. I love me an older man to begin with and the graying at the temples made my knees weak, but Ian’s charm was nearly overwhelming. He took Shelby’s somewhat standoffish attitude in stride and she is soon flirting back despite herself.

And that flirting culminates into some steamy times that rival the delicious foods Shelby prepares. If you ever have the notion that smexy stops when the gray appears, y’all better think again because Shelby and Ian have chemistry for days.

Fed Up is a unique and fresh voice in the romance world representing seasoned love interests that are sorely underrepresented. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, food, and supporting love across all generations.

Where to find Fed Up:

Goodreads

Amazon

Book Review! HELD by: T.K. Barber

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Nick doesn’t want to be a hitman. The mobsters holding his younger sister hostage have other plans. With the threat of her death looming, Nick’s only option is to follow orders. Repeatedly.

Getting mugged isn’t on Scarlet’s agenda when her janky car breaks down, and she opts to walk home rather than pony up for a cab. But being rescued by a dreamy, brooding, knight-in-shining-hoodie almost makes up for it.

Nick’s decision to step out of the bloody shadows and be her hero has dire consequences, shifting pieces in a sick game and setting into motion a plan that’s decades in the making.

With their smoldering chemistry impossible to fight, Nick’s midnight murder trail is at risk of exposure. And wanting what he shouldn’t have could put his heart as the next target, or his loved ones in the crosshairs of a mad-man.

Happy Wednesday beauties! Today I have a fast-paced, dark, and gritty romantic suspense that has just been released and you can pick up hot off the presses today!

HELD is the first in the Twin Bay Saga series that focuses on a mob run town that is occupied by not one, but two rival families. And when I say rival I mean this is a long, deep, and twisted battle between the two that takes NO prisoners. No one is safe from the corruption and devious minds of those in charge.

Unfortunately for Scarlet, she finds this out first hand when she gets mugged one night. Fortunately this turn of events brings a sexy hero to her rescue. The mysterious stranger saves her from a potentially horrible fate and entices her in a way she never expected.

But Scarlet’s hero is a rather tortured soul and even though he is completely attracted to his damsel in distress, he knows the complications and dirty reality of his life are far too much for her to be burdened with. So he pushes her away.

Fate, in the form of a rather sinister villain, steps in and not only throws Scarlet and Nick on the path to each other over and over with each interaction steadily growing as the threat surrounding them intensified. Even though the only other woman in Nick’s life, his baby sister Anna, is in the grip of a madman and even though he worries the same will happen to Scarlet, the two are helpless to fight the palpable chemistry between them.

Held is the definition of a page turner with a story that grips you by the throat and refuses to let go until the final page.

The good news: This is only book one in a thrilling upcoming series.

The bad news: You’ve gotta wait a few more weeks for book two!

What you need to do: Run out today and grab a copy of Held then smash the preorder for Hidden because you’ll need to find out how Anna’s story ends… and it certainly isn’t on the last page of Held!

Where to find Held:

Goodreads

All retailers

 

Book Review! HEART OF THE STORM by: Gemma Snow

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Cade and Sawyer might be Hollie’s biggest risk yet…

Ten years ago, Hollie Callihan left her best friends Cade Easton and Sawyer Matthews in the middle of the night for fear of breaking their hearts—and broke her own instead. She’s spent her whole life chasing adventures on distant shores, but spring floods in the Black Reef Mountains force Hollie, Region VIII FEMA Response Director, to return to Wolf Creek, the town where she left her heart in two.

Cade and Sawyer are now Wolf Creek’s chief of police and fire captain, Hollie’s first line of defense in emergency response…making them unavoidable. Her former friends are all grown up now and totally at odds since she left.

Hollie knows she should stay as far away from temptation as possible. After all, Wolf Creek is a temporary stop and there’s no place for the daydreams or nightly fantasies she has about Cade and Sawyer—the same ones she’s been having for the last ten long years.

But facing genuine destruction and danger alongside Cade and Sawyer helps Hollie learn that vulnerability and trust aren’t dirty words. If she’s brave enough to let Cade and Sawyer in on what had her running all those years ago, Hollie might just find that taking the biggest risk of her life leads to its biggest adventure—three hearts beating as one.

 

Yes, you are getting QUITE the influx of reviews from me this week. Don’t blame me, it isn’t my fault that I have a circle of brilliant writers around me releasing epic levels of awesome at the same time. Lucky you, you not only get tipped off to the decadent richness, but also get all my rambly and possibly nonsensical thoughts on them.

Today we have Heart of the Storm by a fellow Totally Bound author, Gemma Snow. Now let me preface this review by saying that Heart of the Storm is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Snow and it is the 4th in her Triple Diamond series so I am quite the perfect little guinea pig for whether or not this story would work as a standalone. And yes, folks, this very much works.

Heart of the Storm is a MFM menage/polyamory story which is kiiiiiiinda my catnip. I am all about all the love. Although this story starts out very much NOT in love.

Straight off the bat I fell madly in love with Sawyer. Not gonna lie, love me a tortured hero. Sawyer is a literal hero when he saves not only a little girl from a house fire at the opening of the story, but also her two kittens. Yeah… that was just… yeah.

Not to be outdone, his counterpart/rival/frienemy Cade is the sheriff of the town and a hero in his own right. Both men are as dedicated to the town they live in as the woman they both still love… a decade after she left them.

Now this, folks, is where it really tickles my fancy because not only am I a huge fan of polyamory stories, I am damn near giddy for second chance romances. Alllllllll my boxes got ticked here.

Cade and Sawyer spar in a way that has some friendly tones, but a lot of bite. Until Hollie shows back up in their small town and the bite turns into a brawl. We discover that the animosity between the men came from a whole boatload of misunderstanding that all stemmed from Hollie’s sudden departure when she turned eighteen. Each man outwardly blamed the other… but inwardly, I suspect, blamed themselves.

The only problem is that they are both very right and very wrong.

But once Hollie returns, the same chemistry between her and each man comes back as well, this time when they are all grown up. And they figure out an all grown up way to, at least temporarily, satiated their needs. All the dreams Hollie had played over and over in her head throughout the years she was gone finally came to life as both the men she loved worshipped her and her body.

Even though every second feels so right, she struggles with the fears that expressing her true desires will not only drive both men away for good, but turn her into a social pariah. Top all that off with the threat of a storm that could completely destroy the town and you have a tangled web that Ms. Snow does a lovely job of untangling to give a super swoon-worthy HEA.

Where to find Heart of the Storm

Goodreads

Amazon

 

Book Review! SOMETIMES I LIE by: Alice Feeney

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My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

 

Continuing with my September birthday gift reads is the psychological thriller, Sometimes I Lie. Yeah, most DEFINITELY out of my normal wheelhouse.

Normally when I write the review I do it within a day or so of finishing the book because I want it to be fresh in my mind so I don’t miss any details. For the particular book, I needed exactly the opposite. I needed time to think and process and pull my brain back together because more than once it exploded in a total “WTF just happened” kind of way.

So when we meet Amber she is in a coma because of a car accident that we quickly learn is NOT an accident. The question being who was driving because it was never in doubt that it was NOT Amber. The first suspect is her husband Paul. Suspect to the level that my man is taken into custody by the police.

Sometimes I Lie is written in a way that I looooooove and somewhat employ in some of my own works. It’s written in multiple timelines. First we see Amber as she is currently in the coma, unable to move or speak, but completely cognizant of everything going on around her. We also get to see the weeks leading up to her accident as well as childhood diaries.

I am being much more brief in this review than I’d like to be because I adored this book, but you all deserve to read it spoiler free. There was a bit of a slow start, but it was engaging and captivating… and the second half completely flipped the script on the first half. Everything you thought you knew was proven to be so, so wrong. A new threat you never knew existed is brought to light and the “good guys” might not be so good and the “bad guys”… well you’ve gotta read this book. Seriously if I say much more I will most definitely spill some really important beans.

However, if any of y’all do grab this book pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease email me, message me, send a damned carrier pigeon if you must but PLEASE FANGIRL WITH ME OVER THIS BOOK WHEN YOU’RE DONE!

Slightly spoilery, in a necessary way though, is a very serious content warning. Sometimes I Lie contains rape that occurs while the person is drugged more than once, pregnancy loss, infertility, and adultery. So please read with caution.

If you’re able to handle all of that, though, I STRONGLY encourage you to grab this book ASAP.

Where to find Sometimes I Lie

Goodreads

Amazon

 

Book Review! NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK by: Skye McDonald

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The competition is stiff. The stakes are high. And what happens on Halloween night is definitely not suitable for work.

Celeste Greene and Ben Addison didn’t realize the internship-to-hire opportunity was actually a contest, but neither of these talented web designers can afford to walk away.

After betrayal destroyed her fabulous life in New York City, Celeste moved home to Nashville, Tennessee broke and broken. Restarting her career is her only goal. An ice queen who drove her partner to cheat can’t even think about friends or fun. Celeste’s talent and desperation should make the competition an easy win—if only she could stop gawking at her rival long enough to concentrate.

Ben Addison doesn’t want to be a corporate climber or live in a high-rise downtown. He just needs a steady paycheck after foolishly investing everything in a pretty face and a shot at a music career. He has no business fantasizing about his competitor, even if she is the most stunning—and guarded—woman he’s ever met.

This contest can’t rival the chemistry between these two, but is the risk worth the reward? With a haunting past and her future on the line, Celeste must decide what she wants, what she needs, and what her heart is really worth.

 

Tomorrow will be another book review for my most beloved cousin, but guys… Not Suitable For Work released today and I HAD to share this gem with you!

While this is Skye McDonald’s debut release, it manages to have all the stellar craft abilities of a much more seasoned author and is an absolute delight to read. Granted I am mildly biased as I find Ms. McDonald to not simply be a brilliant writer, but also an amazing human. I am four-leaf-clover-at-the-end-of-a-rainbow level lucky to have my readerly world enhanced by knowing such fabulous authors.

You’ll thank me for introducing you to Ms. McDonald and her work. Guaranteed. I’ll take a dozen soft chocolate chip cookies when you feel the need to repay me for this recommendation.

Not Suitable for Work features a tough as nails leading lady Celeste Greene, but here’s the thing. Celeste isn’t bordering on bitchy for no good reason. No, see, our girl here has just gone through a break-up. A bad one. Not one of the ones that is fixed with a girl’s night out of heavy drinking or even a week long cruise laced with liberal amounts of debauchery. Unfortunately the break-up Celeste had to deal with was life changing. The kind that takes your heart, shatters it, and scattered the pieces in the wind as well as pulling the financial rug out from under her feet. Life threw curveballs at Celeste from 10 different directions at a speed that left her unable to duck.

Instead she left the New York City life she loved and moved back to her home in Nashville. And the first job she wound up landing an interview for? Yeah, that was curveball #11 when she was informed she wouldn’t just be hired because there was one other candidate that was just as qualified as her and their boss simply couldn’t decide. No, folks, she had to win the job that was her chance at rebuilding her life. Basically no big deal.

Enter our DARLING Benjamin. Oh. My. Gosh. THIS MAN IS EVERYTHING. Sorry, I’ll calm down as much as I can, but when it comes to discussions of Benjamin Addison, I get a little excited. Not only is the man sexy as hell, he has a charming personality that manages to hide the skeletons he has in his own closet. See, Benjamin… got taken by a pretty face before and now needs this job just as much as Celeste. And even though he is exceptionally attracted to his counterpart, he can’t let that take his focus off the prize.

Or can he?

Yeah, see, here’s the thing folks, Ms. McDonald builds the sexual tension between our love interests to epic proportions and when they finally get their shot… heaven help me. Their smexy times are out of this world!

If that isn’t enough you need to know that this is only book one in a multi-book series that will give you all the book boyfriends you didn’t know you needed. Go one click today to get your start with the Anti-Belle Series.

Where to find Not Suitable for Work

Amazon

Goodreads

Book Review! THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by: Emily M. Danforth

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When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship–one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self–even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.

 

Continuing my September reading dedication month to my lovely cousin (and today is her birthday so this post had to come today) with The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

This is a deep novel that tackles some hard hitting issues, but the tone of the book is light and completely relatable. No matter whether you are within the LGBTQ+ community or straight, I think pretty much everyone can identify with the floundering lack of identity you experience from about age twelve through… well, let’s be real, sometimes it never really ends. But that’s exactly where Cameron Post finds herself when her best frienemy Irene kisses her during the summer when she’s twelve. Something they are doing when her parents tragically die in a car accident which makes the discomfort Cameron feels at kissing Irene melt into something like relief that her parents will never know because she worries about their reaction.

And then the relief transforms to guilt because she should NOT be having those thoughts about her parent’s deaths.

We follow along as Cam basically treads water in her life (which is a very ironic euphemism when you know that Cam is a champion swimmer and eventually becomes a life guard) trying to figure out how to navigate as an orphan cared for by her crime-show obsessed grandmother and devoutly religious aunt. A girl who sometimes makes out with other girls… but also kisses guys. Although the guys are much less enjoyable than than the girls.

Her life is pretty much in a static place until she meets Coley Taylor and falls in love. Their friendship leads to experimenting for both of them and taking things much farther than friendship. Unfortunately one night this culminates in going almost all the way (I say almost because frankly if BOTH parties aren’t mutually satisfied…) after Coley moves into her new apartment in town to be closer to school. It’s unfortunate because Coley’s older brother and some of his buddies choose that moment to bust in and nearly catch Coley and Cam in the act. They smooth it all over and Cam leaves not really thinking much about it.

That is until Coley’s older brother Ty needles Coley into admitting everything and then confessing it all to her mother who then takes it to their pastor and Cam’s Aunt Ruth. This part made me SHAKE with rage because Coley, who was not only a consenting party, but an active and enthusiastic participant, blamed Cam for everything. Calling her the “aggressor” in the situation.

Because of that label, Cam (not Coley, another point of rage for me) is sent away to a conversion camp/school to learn to control her sinful impulses. Listen, if your heart wasn’t already breaking for Cameron before this happened, it certainly would be at this point. Not only was she betrayed by the girl she loved, she was forced into exile with a group that made her question her existence and her sanity.

Something happens to another one of the teenagers at Promise that I think should definitely come with a trigger warning, but it feels so real and authentic and genuine I was grateful to see it there.

For me, much of this story was open to interpretation. Cam never specifies her sexual identity and that’s okay because maybe even she doesn’t have full ownership of it. She’s only 17 at the end of the book, after all. It’s okay to not know everything.

By far my favorite character in this book is Adam. He is… amazing. On many levels.

And a micro character named Dane might have completely won my heart BUT you guys also know I have a thing for broken boys.

The story is unique, gripping, and at times heartbreaking… unfortunately some of the emotion is lost in the excess of words. If I were beta reading this, I’d have requested probably at least 1/3 be cut. An example: The festival is important to the story, but the history of it? Yeah, very much not important. Little details like that were over explained and pulled me out of the depth of the story which makes me a wee bit of a grumpy reader.

I’d highly recommend The Miseducation of Cameron Post with the caveat that you need to be prepared to take your time reading and have a very upfront content warning about certain parts.

**This is also a movie, but I can’t comment on the accuracy of the movie to the book or compare the two as I didn’t watch the movie.**