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I Belong


Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Architect Song by A.G. Howard

July 25th, 2016 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Bridget under Blog Tour Tags: , , , ,

Hey guys! A.G. Howard wrote a new book and I am seriously so excited about it! It is called The Architect of Song and it will be hitting shelves on August 15th! As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of her Splintered Series so when I heard that she was self publishing a new adult historical story with paranormal elements I was over the moon excited. I got to read an early copy and you guys Anita did not disappoint! I adored this book and would highly recommend it! My full review should be posting on the blog very soon!

I’m going to be honest I was very curious to know why Anita decided to self publish instead of going the traditional publication route. And guess what? That is exactly what my guest post is about. Anita talks about her choice to self publish and her experience with publishing as a whole.  I thought this was an excellently written post and if you are an aspiring author you should definitely check it out! Or if your like me and just want to know more about Anita then you should read it as well :D !

There is also a fantastic giveaway at the end of the post and there will be 12 winners so make sure to check it out!

About A.G. Howard:

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

You can visit A.G. around the web here:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr Pinterest

Want to read more from A.G. Howard?

The Moth in the Mirror (Spl...Splintered UnhingedEnsnared (Splintered, #3)

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THE-ARCHITECT-OF-SONG Blog Tour Banner

Why I chose to be a hybrid author…

For those who don’t know, The Architect of Song (think Pride and Prejudice meets A Certain Slant of Light) is the first book in my New Adult series. If you’d like to read more about my conception of the story idea, check out this post.

All four books of this series will be published by me under my own trademarked imprint: Golden Orb Press.

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You might be asking, “Why did A.G. have to publish this herself? Didn’t any traditional publishers want this series?”

The truth is, I didn’t *have* to. My agent and I originally sent this out to several publishers who passed for reasons I’ll address later in this post. But, there were still a lot of publishers remaining that we could’ve approached, and a referral on which we never followed through. There were options available that I scrapped to go this route instead.

So the question becomes not why I had to do it. It’s why did I *choose* to?

I’m going to answer that today, in hopes to discount the “authors self-publish because their writing isn’t good enough to meet the standards of a traditional publisher” misconception that still seems to pervade certain circles. It’s just not true.

Some authors choose to self-publish so they’ll have more control over things like covers, edits, deadlines and launch dates, while others (like me) do so because their story breaks genre rules, and doesn’t fit into a traditional publishing box.

My books have always been difficult to label. In 2006, my first novel, a romantic fantasy called INFINITY’S POND—about an elemental witch set in the colonial era and how she’s persecuted for her abilities—won honorable mention at a writing conference and the attention from an editor at Kensington, yet later received a hundred agency rejections because no one knew exactly how to sell it. After two years, I put it aside and started querying my third book to agents, a dark vampire fantasy called THE WISDOM OF BLOOD, about a powerful clan of female halfling vampires.

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In 2009, I met my first agent. She really liked my writing in THE WISDOM OF BLOOD, but the literary quality of my prose paired with the horror/fantasy and romantic aspects gave her pause, because she wasn’t sure how to sell such a combination. She ended up falling in love with my fourth book, titled FORGOTTEN SILENCES (now known as THE ARCHITECT OF SONG), because it felt closer to a traditional romance. After signing me, my agent submitted the manuscript to publishers as a historical single title romance.

Here is some of the editor feedback we received:

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In essence, my book was turned down, not because the writing wasn’t good enough, but because the overall plot and story didn’t fit romance guidelines. They wanted the romance faster paced; they wanted third person dual heroine and hero POVs; they wanted only one hero who’s consistently in the story from the beginning—so the reader knows who the heroine will end up with from the get-go.

To put it simply, my book didn’t fit into their box. Could I have rewritten it to make it work? Well, yes and no. I could’ve, but it would have shattered my author’s vision and crumbled the story’s foundation.

The first person POV is pivotal in this book. The reader has to be isolated and engulfed by Juliet’s deafness for the very reason voiced by one of the editors: “the magical, haunting quality of the story stayed with me, rather like a complex chord in music”.  That haunting magic would be lost were there also a “hearing” POV in the story, such as the hero’s, to break the spell. And on the subject of heroes, both of them are crucial. The mystery and tensions fall flat with only one of them there.

As painful as it was to think of my book never being published, I refused to compromise, because I knew this story needed its uniqueness—those very things that set it apart from traditional paranormal romances and kept it from being “sellable.” So, I moved on to writing other books that my agent didn’t know how to sell for their uniqueness.

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Three books and two years later in 2010, I parted ways amicably with my first agent (deets about our breakup are here) without finding publication. Within months, I had signed with my present agent (the fantastic Jenny Bent) with book number seven,  an Alice in Wonderland spinoff, and a few months later we sold SPLINTERED (which itself had 23 publisher rejections for being “hard to place” before it went to auction).

Once the dust had settled from my YA series, some five years later, Jenny and I sent out THE ARCHITECT OF SONG to publishers again, this time as a mainstream women’s fiction entitled GHOSTFLOWER. The feedback from editors?

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On this venture out, so many of the perceived pros and cons contradicted one another, proving subjectivity played more a role than genre boundaries. Yet still, once again, they couldn’t decide where the book would belong because it straddled lines between literary and commercial fiction, and YA and adult.

Ian GIF

Out of the handful of mainstream submissions we sent, I ended up getting a referral from one of the editors to the romance-based imprint of their publisher, because they were “huge fans of A.G. Howard” there. As flattering as that was, it felt like coming full circle to the prior experience I had with my first agent in the romance venue.

What is it they say about insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

As far as I could tell, the romance genre still had the same strict rules, and even if they took on my book, I suspected things that I knew were necessary would have to be compromised during edits to make the story more “sellable” from their perspective. By this time, I’d had two agents believe in this book enough to champion it, glowing compliments on the beauty of the writing from editors who read hundreds of manuscripts a month, and many beta readers who loved the story itself. I knew it was sellable as is. So, I never followed through on that referral.

I wasn’t going to let the “process” hold me back any longer. Not when I had an advantage I didn’t have before. The biggest hurdle for a debut indie author is finding a readership. And I’d already earned mine with The Splintered Series.

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And to sweeten the pot, now there was a category that fit my book’s “somewhere between adult and young adult” quality: New Adult (NA)—a genre in which many authors were already finding self-publishing success.

However, even while sharing some likenesses with NA, my book was still going to be different. Most  NAs are contemporary or urban fantasy. There aren’t many gothic historicals with paranormal elements. Also, NA has a reputation for more graphic love scenes, bordering on erotica. And my prose—having a literary quality—doesn’t quite meet that expectation. Sensual, yes. Erotic, no. But this time, since I was planning to indie-publish, those peculiarities could be a good thing, because it gives NA readers something different to read in a rather new and limited genre. So instead of needing to change what makes my stories hard to place, I could at last embrace it.

In the back of my mind, I’d always toyed with the idea of being a hybrid author one day . . . publishing both traditional and indie books each year to lessen the wait between titles for my readers, and this series would be the perfect springboard to my indie career.

I was free. No more trying to land a traditional home for my non-traditional, genre-crossing, niche story.

The Fifth Element GIF

In case you’re wondering, my agent was and is fully supportive of my decision. In fact, Jenny’s written an inspirational blog post about self-published authors here: Think of me as a conduit, not a gatekeeper.  Although I’m in charge of domestic publishing, Jenny is helping with foreign sales, audio sales, and film/TV rights, etc… So, my agent is still aiding in my career, even on the indie side.

If you’re an aspiring author, and you’ve had outside reads from legit readers (not just friends & family) who love the story, yet you’re being rejected consistently by agents or traditional publishers who seem hung up on “how to place the book”—all the while complimenting your writing—you don’t have to trunk that manuscript for life. Self-publishing is a viable option for those willing to put in the work. In an upcoming post on this tour, I’ll be sharing some online tools I’ve found very helpful during my own experience.

If you’re a reader who’s been looking for unique stories, but shies away from self-published books because you think it somehow reflects on the skill of the writer, I hope you’ll reconsider. Today you’ve been given a behind-the-scenes look at the obstacles some authors face while trying to put their hard-to-label well-written stories into your hands.  Check out the reviews of other readers; they can serve as the acquiring editor / gatekeeper in this instance … they’ll let you know if the book is well-written.

Traditional publishing will always have its place—for books that can be branded; but there are wonderful stories that get turned away for no other reason than editors don’t know where to shelf it; and now, thanks to indie publishing, those stories have a place, too.

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I hope you enjoyed learning about my journey to being a hybrid author. Now, onto the exciting portion of the tour: the prizes!

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At each guest post, I’ll be spotlighting one of the above prizes to give you a closer look. Today, the spotlight is on The Architect of Song paperback.

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Over the next two weeks, I’ll be giving away two signed paperback copies, (and also three e-book versions!). That’s five chances to win a book (INTL).

So be sure to enter the rafflecopter, and join us during the rest of the tour where there will be reveals, excerpts, and reviews to give you glimpses into the characters and settings of my NA gothic historical series!

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

7/25/2016- Dark Faerie Tales– Guest Post-Hybrid Author

7/25/2016- a GREAT read– Review

7/26/2016- Lisa Loves Literature– Review

7/26/2016- Bookfever– Review

7/27/2016- Fiktshun– Character Interview

7/27/2016- The Cover Contessa– Review

7/28/2016- The Reading Café– Review

7/28/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Review

7/29/2016- Please Feed the Bookworm– Review

7/29/2016- 21st Century Once Upon A Times– Review

 

Week Two:

8/1/2016- Once Upon a Twilight – Exclusive Excerpt

8/1/2016- Ramblings of a Daydreamer– Review

8/2/2016- My Friends Are Fiction– Guest Post- Fashion

8/2/2016- Sarcasm & Lemons– Review

8/3/2016- Cornerfolds– Review

8/3/2016- BookHounds YA– Review

8/4/2016- Bookiemoji– Exclusive Excerpt

8/4/2016- Owl Always Be Reading– Review

8/5/2016- Mundie Moms– Review

8/5/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post- Playlist

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contest

This contest is provided by A.G. Howard!

2 – signed The Architect of Song paperbacks

3 – The Architect of Song e-books

1 – heart locket necklace

1 – Architect of Song poster

1 – faux leather journal

1 – 5X7 musical print

3 – The Architect of Song swag packs

(12 separate winners and all prizes are INT)

The Architect of Song

Available August 15, 2016 by Golden Orb Press

About this Book:

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

Pre-order from

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Review: The Rule of Mirrors by Caragh M. O’Brien

July 25th, 2016 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: , , , , , ,

The Rule of MirrorsTitleThe Rule of Mirrors

AuthorCaragh M. O’Brien

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: The Vault of Dreamers (Book #2)

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 1596439408 (Fierce Reads)

ISBN-13: 978-1596439405 (Fierce Reads)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

The entire country was watching when Rosie Sinclair was expelled from Forge, the prestigious arts school that doubles as a reality TV show. But few know how Dean Berg was mining students’ dreams in laboratories deep below the school. And no one, least of all the Dean himself, knows that when Rosie’s dreams were seeded into the mind of another patient, Rosie’s consciousness woke up in that body–a girl far from Forge, a girl with a completely different life from Rosie, a girl who is pregnant.

Told from alternating points of view between Rosie as she makes sense of her new identity and the shattered subconscious that still exists in her old body, The Rule of Mirrors will keep readers on the edge of their seats and leave them hungry for more.

Quick & Dirty: A fast paced addition to the series that I enjoyed more than the previous one.

Opening Sentence: When I feel soft, breathy pressure on my lips, I open my eyes and grab the guy’s throat.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Spoilers for book one! Rosie is still trapped in the vault of dreamers, her own personal hell, having her creativity and parts of herself mined in order for The Forge School (reality TV series crossed with an arts academy) to have shady undertakings. And another part of Rosie is awakening in the body of a coma patient across the globe, a girl called Althea who has different circumstances and who is very pregnant. Rosie will attempt to escape and gain revenge. Althea-Rosie will attempt to make sense of her new surroundings and decide on her future. Pasts will be exposed. Secrets will come to light. Vengeance will be sought.

Last year I read The Vault of Dreamers. I thought it was a decent read, but nothing I was completely lost in or something I felt was exceptional. The reality show premise was a nice twist that added interest to the story and laid the groundwork for Rosie’s adventuring and discovery, so I enjoyed it. For this novel, I wasn’t quite sure what was going to be happening, now that Rosie’s consciousness had fled and Rosie herself was trapped in the vault. When I read the synopsis, I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised. Rosie’s consciousness lives on – in another body! And not just any body, but a pregnant one, a body with a loving and wealthy family, a girl in entirely different circumstances.

To my horror, the love triangle was not completely decimated yet, although I don’t know how it could have been left resolved in book one. I thought it was unfortunate how Rosie used both guys to her advantage and as an asset, but in Rosie’s defense, she was in a tricky situation. Rosie (nor Thea) didn’t really fully trust anyone in this novel, which is understandable. Dean Berg used relationships and twisted them to manipulate the characters in his sick little game, so it was difficult to really know whose presence was going to be your undoing, whether or not the boys realized it. The love triangle is still unresolved to my eyes, but I don’t fault O’Brien too much for that – the plotline, action, and suspense was still a formidable section of this novel and what I chose to focus on.

Speaking of Dean Berg, he definitely grew as a villain in this novel for me. Knowing some of his backstory helped to explain his motivation and the reasons he was doing what he did. It made sense that he would be driven to such actions by an unfortunate past, and a glance at his life gave a clue to his share of issues. Nevertheless, there was nothing about his past that made his present ethically justified, and his failure to realize that was probably what caused him to go so far and spiral away from his original goals. I still feel that book three will need to address more of Dean Berg and his family, and come full circle in order to explain his point of view. A villain without a backstory is not nearly as frightening as an antagonist with a purpose and a goal, in my opinion.

Altogether, this novel was a good one, and in my opinion better than the first. Again, I didn’t feel fully connected to the story, but that could be partly my fault – I’ve been in a reading block lately and not many of the books I’ve opened I’ve finished, so this novel gets props for my actually reading it. Rosie and Althea were a lot of fun and it was cool seeing how different parts of Rosie differed, and how they both grew as the story progressed. The ending had a couple pretty big twists and I’m unsure how the next novel will continue – there is a lot of the story left open ended, after all! If you enjoyed the first book, however, be sure to grab this one.

Notable Scene:

“I know what’s real,” I whisper.

“Do you? What about me?”

My heart leaps in terror.

Ian’s face shimmers for a second and comes back into focus, nearer and harshly clear. “Desperate people invest desperate solutions. It’s not my fault if they do,” he says, in the voice of Dean Berg.

The Vault of Dreamers Series:

1. The Vault of Dreamers

2. The Rule of Mirrors

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FTC Advisory: Fierce Reads/Roaring Book Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy of The Rule of Mirrors. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle

July 24th, 2016 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Steph under Review Tags: , , , ,

Dark AlchemyTitle: Dark Alchemy

Author: Laura Bickle

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Dark Alchemy (Book #1)

Publication Date: April 28th, 2015

Format: Paperback, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 006240492X (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062404923 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

Geologist Petra Dee arrives in Wyoming looking for clues to her father’s disappearance years before. What she finds instead is Temperance, a dying Western town with a gold rush past and a meth-infested present. But under the town’s dust and quiet, an old power is shifting. When bodies start turning up – desiccated and twisted skeletons that Petra can’t scientifically explain – her investigations land her in the middle of a covert war between the town’s most powerful interests. Petra’s father wasn’t the only one searching for the alchemical secrets of Temperance, and those still looking are now ready to kill. Armed with nothing but shaky alliances, a pair of antique guns, and a relic she doesn’t understand, the only thing Petra knows for sure is that she and her coyote sidekick are going to have to move fast, or die next.

Quick & Dirty: A woman comes to a small town looking for her father but ends up finding much more than she bargained for in this enthralling first book in Laura Bickle’s new series.

Opening Sentence: The raven saw it first.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

After experiencing a trauma on her last job, geologist Petra has come to the town of Temperance to search for her missing father. Little does she know this trip will open her eyes to the supernatural. Shortly after arriving in town, Petra saves a man, Gabe, from a vicious beating, only to discover the next day that he looks as if nothing had happened. She’s also come under the scrutiny of the local drug lord, known as the Alchemist. He believes she has something that belongs to him, and he won’t rest until it’s in his possession. Has Petra escaped one trauma only to become the victim of another? Will she find her father? Only time will tell . . .

I had read a book by Laura Bickle a long time ago and remember enjoying it, but for one reason or another, I never picked up the second book. So I was hesitantly positive about the prospect of reading this book. Can I just tell you, from the moment the book started, I was completely hooked! It starts off with some very creepy goings-on, and that just immediately caught my attention, and I wanted to know more about what was going on in this town. The pace of the book was really good, and my interest never really waned.

While I wouldn’t necessarily classify this book as horror, the creep factor is certainly high, as is the gore factor at times. If you’re a little faint of heart, this might not be the right book for you. As someone who loves Stephen King though, this was right up my alley! Laura Bickle definitely knows how to ratchet tension up and leave you on the edge of your seat.

As for our main character, I absolutely loved Petra. She’s strong, smart, and doesn’t need a man to get her out of tough situations. She doesn’t do stupid things, which is one of my biggest pet peeves about some heroines. In a word, Petra’s awesome. Plus she has a coyote sidekick named Sig. What’s not to love?

The one problem with the book though hinges on the romance. It kind of feels shoehorned in and isn’t necessary to the plot at all. Part of the problem is while we get to see some events from Gabe’s point of view, we don’t see enough to really give a good feel for his character, which makes it hard to connect to him. I liked the guy fine, but I really wasn’t invested in him as a character. Plus, the romance seemed to just pop up out of nowhere, and it left  me feeling like I’d missed an important chapter where more development was given to their feelings for each other.

All in all though, I think this was a great first book in a series, full of creepiness, tension, and well-paced action. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be checking out the next book!

Notable Scene:

She paused in climbing to her feet, squinting at something pale and splintered below the pines. Her GPR cart had rolled away into the soft bed of pine needles. The shape beyond it looked like a piece of the petrified forest. Had the ridge eroded on this slope enough to reveal another, older incarnation of the forest?

Her curiosity piqued, Petra crawled forward on her hands and knees. Pinesap stuck dried needles to her palms.

Sig growled. Petra looked back at him. His fur bristled, and he crouched close to the ground.

“You need to get over the squirrels. Really.”

But Sig wasn’t looking up. He was looking past her, at the petrified specimens. His nose flared and shivered.

Petra reached into her pack for a pick. Was Sig sensing a snake . . . or . . . God forbid, a larger predator? A bear?

A thin, reedy moan echoed from the foot of the pine.

Petra scrambled back, heart hammering. She dropped the pick and reached for the bear spray.

The moan sounded again. It didn’t sound like a bear. It sounded . . . human.

Petra crept toward the sound, expecting to find an injured hiker. The pine needles were soft underfoot, muffling her steps. Sig slunk before her. But he didn’t go beyond the tree. He stopped at the jagged piece of petrified wood, whimpered, circled it.

Petra peered at what she’d assumed to be a centuries-old tree. Something dead and silent. She pressed her hand to her mouth. “Oh, my God . . .”

It wasn’t a tree. This thing was horribly, horribly alive. Bones were warped and twisted, calcified around what was unmistakably a human face. She saw no evidence of eyes in the sockets, but she did see teeth in a jagged, frozen jaw. A thin, wordless keening flexed the ribs.

Her hands scrabbled in the pine needles for her pick. “Hang on. I’ll get you out of there.” She swung awkwardly with the pick, splintering away pieces of petrified material and summoning blood in the jagged surface. The thing shrieked.

Petra recoiled. This wasn’t someone encased in a prison of petrified wood – the prison was the person.

A prison of bone.

Dark Alchemy Series:

1. Dark Alchemy

2. Mercury Retrograde

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FTC Advisory: Harper Voyager Impulse/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Dark Alchemy. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh

July 23rd, 2016 @ 12:10 am
Posted by Kristie under Blog Tour Tags: , , ,

rock wedding book tour

nalini“New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…” I’m super excited to bring you today’s giveaway and the newest release from Nalini Singh! Rock Wedding is the last book in the Rock Kiss series and completely wraps up this wonderfully emotional series! Rock Wedding was released on July 19, 2016 from TKA Distribution. Check out my review after this post or by clicking here.

One lucky winner will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! A huge thank you to Nalini and TRSOR Promotions for this giveaway!

About Nalini:

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her websiteSlave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

You can visit Nalini around the web here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Want to read more from Nalini Singh?

Rock Addiction Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss, ...Rock Hard Rock Redemption Rock WeddingAngels' Flight (Guild Hunte...Angels' BloodArchangel's KissArchangel's ConsortArchangel's BladeArchangel's StormArchangel's LegionArchangel's ShadowsArchangel's Enigma (Guild H...Archangel's Heart (Guild Hu...Wild Invitation (Psy-Change...Slave to SensationVisions of HeatCaressed by IceMine to PossessHostage to PleasureBranded by FireBlaze of MemoryBonds of Justice (Psy-Chang...Play of Passion (Psy-Change...Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changelin...Tangle of Need (Psy-Changel...Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Cha...Shield of Winter (Psy-Chang...Shards of Hope (Psy-Changel...Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Ch...Wild Embrace (Psy-Changelin...

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rock wedding now live

Excerpt from ROCK WEDDING by

Nalini Singh

Plowing his gloved fists into the punching bag in front of him on the morning of the fourth day, Abe blocked out the other sounds in the gym and attempted to lose himself in the rhythm of the mindless action. It worked for about a minute before his mind filled with Sarah again. Her shy smile when he gave her a compliment. The way she’d sit curled up under his arm and read to him on lazy summer days.

Hard on the heels of that memory came one of him throwing her books in the pool in a drug-fueled rage. She’d been sobbing as she tried to save them.

“Fucking bastard,” Abe muttered, talking to his past self. He punched the bag so hard that it threatened to swing back right into his face. He didn’t care. He deserved to have his face beaten in.

Ripping off his gloves afterward, he showered, then went straight to a bookshop.

It was too little too late, but now that he’d remembered his asshole behavior, he couldn’t just leave it. Ball cap pulled low, he wandered the aisles… then realized most people here didn’t care who he was; they were more interested in the volumes that lined the shelves. He spent an hour inside the murmuring quiet of the store, searching for the titles he remembered seeing on their bedside table. She’d definitely read him Jane Austen.

He couldn’t remember which one though, so he bought the entire set.

And there was this one romance novel she loved and had read over and over again. He’d teased her it would fall apart in her hands one day. She’d just smiled and read him a paragraph that she’d told him was part of her favorite scene. What the hell had it been? Yes, that was it. In the end, it turned out the store didn’t have that book in stock, so he bought her a bunch of new releases featuring people with dogs or puppies on the covers. He definitely remembered seeing covers like that in their home

After spotting it in a display, he added in a nonfiction book about a woman who’d set up her own company while nearly flat broke and who was now a millionaire. At the counter, he paid extra to have the books wrapped up and packaged.

He’d called his car service earlier; the driver shot him a funny look when he put the package in the passenger seat and gave him Sarah’s address. “I’m a courier now?” the stocky middle-aged man asked, having worked long enough for Schoolboy Choir that he was a friend. They’d all missed his calm demeanor and total trustworthiness when he broke his leg recently and had been out for a while.

“Best in the business,” Abe responded.

The other man snorted. “I’ll get it to her now.”

Blowing out a breath after the gleaming black town car pulled away, Abe went to where he’d parked his SUV and got in. He didn’t want to go home to his empty house, but he didn’t want to barge in on his friends either. David and Thea, Noah and Kit, they needed time alone. As for Molly and Fox, while the newlyweds were back home after a short wedding trip, having postponed their honeymoon until later in the year, Abe wasn’t about to bust up their love nest.

Gabriel and Charlotte probably wouldn’t have minded the company since they’d been doing the sightseeing thing, but the other couple had flown back to New Zealand twenty-four hours earlier—after inviting all of them to their own wedding.

His phone buzzed right then.

Picking it up, he saw a message from Fox. Molly and I are at that Thai place with the noodles you like. We saved you a seat if you want to join us for lunch.

Damn, he loved his bandmates. On my way, he messaged back.

Starting the engine, he tried not to obsess over if Sarah would call him after receiving his long overdue gift. Hell, he’d be content with her throwing the books at his head. All he wanted was for her to talk to him, to let him show her he wasn’t that guy anymore, the one who’d destroyed them both.

rock wedding teaser 1

Excerpt #2 from ROCK WEDDING by

Nalini Singh

Sarah sat on the floor of her living room, books spread out all around her.

Having worked nonstop for days, she’d given herself the afternoon off. First, she’d gone to see her son. The anniversary had rolled around again, and though she hurt, this month wasn’t one of the bad ones. She’d talked to him, told him about her day, left him with a kiss.

Her plan for the rest of the day had been to get into her pj’s and curl up on the couch with Flossie to binge-watch a favorite television series. Then had come the buzz at the gate that made her heart thunder and her skin flush… and the delivery of a most unexpected package.

I hope you’re doing okay today. Say hi to Aaron for me. I’m sorry I threw your books in the pool. I was a dick. – Abe

Sarah stared at the note card again, still not certain she was reading it right. The first two lines, they turned her throat thick, but the rest… He’d been so high that day that she’d have bet her business he had no memory of the ugly incident. Sarah had never forgotten it: she could still feel the wrenching ache of the sobs that had overwhelmed her as she tried futilely to fish out books that had been well and truly drenched.

Abe, meanwhile, had moved on to throwing the pool furniture into the shimmering blue water.

Her fingers trembled as she picked up a leather-bound copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. It matched the other Austen novels he’d sent her, the set a lovely reissue packaged for collectors. Beside the fancy collector’s editions lay cheerful paperbacks with laughing couples and/or dogs on the covers.

She stifled a wet laugh. He’d clearly chosen those at random, but it was cute that he’d remembered she liked romances with animals in them. Half the time when she’d read to him or talked to him about her favorites, she’d thought he was mostly asleep. It hadn’t mattered—she’d just liked being with him.

The most surprising book in the package was the one about the entrepreneur who’d gone from rags to riches on stubborn grit and sheer determination.

It gave her a funny, fluttery feeling in her tummy to realize Abe really did take her business endeavor seriously. It wasn’t mockery, not when he’d gone to the effort of choosing these other books with her likes specifically in mind. He’d thought she’d like the book because she was an entrepreneur too.

Her eyes burned.

Her hand went to her phone, but she hesitated, the memories of her awful loneliness while she’d been with Abe holding her in place. Curling her fingers into her palm, she picked up the television remote instead.

She had to keep her distance if she was to have any chance of protecting her battered heart. Because this Abe? The one who sent her flowers and books and who dropped by to make sure she was all right? He was more dangerous than the man who’d broken her to pieces.

© Copyright 2016 by Nalini Singh

rock wedding teaser 2

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This contest is provided by Nalini Singh & TRSOR Promotions!

One lucky reader will win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

rock wedding by nalini singh

Available July 19, 2016 from TKA Distribution

About this Book:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss  series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

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Review: Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh

July 23rd, 2016 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: , , , ,

rock wedding by nalini singhTitle: Rock Wedding

Author: Nalini Singh

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Rock Kiss (Book #4)

Publication Date: July 22, 2016

Format: Paperback, 382 Pages

ISBN-10: 1942326382 (TKA Distribution)

ISBN-13: 978-1942356387 (TKA Distribution)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

Quick & Dirty: Heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story of two ex-lovers who must fight their inner demons in order to love again.

Opening Sentence: Sarah knew today was a bad day for Abe.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series concludes with Abe Bellamy and Sarah Smith’s heartbreakingly sad story in Rock Wedding. Although, I do think the title should have been Rock Weddings with almost all weddings for the previous Rock Kiss stories taking place within the time span of this book. Be prepared for your heart to be ripped out. Nalini writes with such emotional depth plus it doesn’t help that the characters have had to deal with the losses that they have.

If you’ve read the previous title, Rock Hard, then you know that Abe and Sarah have a history together and it must not have been pretty. Rock Wedding begins with the event that ripped them apart for years before time jumping to the present time of the novel. Abe and Sarah both have tragedies in their past that make them compatible souls. The only unfortunate was how they each dealt with their past. Abe delved into drugs while Sarah latched onto Abe and his family to fill a void she was missing. Sarah was right in separating from Abe, they were both too young and too immature to be in a relationship.

Several years pass and Sarah is still reeling from yet another tragedy when Abe reappears back into her life. She does not want to get into a relationship with Abe again, not after the pain he caused her. She cannot go through that again. She knows they have undeniable chemistry, something that she has never been able to find again. The years haven’t been entirely unkind to Sarah. She has been able to grow as a person and been able to learn to rely on herself.

Abe has never gotten over Sarah. He knows he was a complete jackass to her, now he must prove to Sarah that he is no longer the man that she first married.  He knows he must stay away from the drugs. Now he only has a few months to gain Sarah’s love and trust that he utterly destroyed years earlier. Abe is no longer the man he used to be, but I did feel he needed to redeem himself in the eyes of the reader also, even though we didn’t know the full extent of some of the things he did to Sarah.

The Sarah at the beginning of the novel is not the same Sarah at the ending of the novel. She is a loner and very insecure about herself. As time passes, she learns that she can only rely on herself and she can only get better if she makes herself become a better person. She goes back to school and opens her own business. She makes friends. She’s more outgoing. Yes, she is still a bit insecure especially when it comes to her body but when you hang out with other rock star girlfriends and a movie star it is a little hard not to be insecure.

Abe has also gone through a drastic personality makeover. He has gone through rehab and stayed clean with the help of his bandmates. Abe has opened up with Sarah. He tells her his vulnerabilities and why he acted the way he did. He excuses can’t make up for the hurt but they definitely make situations more bearable.

This novel could be a huge lesson in open communication and trust in relationships. I love the way that Nalini writes, although I do prefer the more intricate worlds of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunters but this world of rock stars seems equally as real. The major conflict is one’s own inner demons and how to fight them. This series wrapped up wonderfully. I could feel the love with all the major characters which always makes me shed a tear so if you like emotionally rich stories then pick this one up!

Notable Scene:

Sarah dipped her spoon into the mousse, took a taste.

There was no way she could hold back her moan this time.

“Jesus, Sarah.” Abe’s words were rough, ragged. “I won’t be able to fucking walk if you keep that up.”

She stared at him, swallowed the mousse… and realized she’d dropped a curl of chocolate right in the V of her red top. It was sitting on the plump curve of her breast. She didn’t even have the chance to attempt to pick it up before Abe leaned over and wiped it off with soft white of his cloth napkin.

“Behave,” he ordered in a tone as stern as that of her junior high school principal. “I mean it.”

Sarah took another bite of the mousse, slid the spoon out oh-so-slow from between her lips. She didn’t know what had gotten into her except that Abe was looking at her like he wanted to eat her alive, and no one had looked at her with that much raw want for a long, long time—not even the man who’d once been her husband. He had back before everything went wrong, before the grief and the drugs and the anger turned him into someone she didn’t know.

It was a heady feeling to see that look in his eyes again.

Rock Kiss Series:

1. Rock Addiction

1.5 Rock Courtship

2. Rock Hard

3. Rock Redemption

4. Rock Wedding

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FTC Advisory: TKA Distribution provided me with a copy of Rock Wedding. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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