Monday, January 28, 2019

Blog Tour/Giveaway!! The Vampire's Temptation, by Cecelia Mecca

Welcome to the blog tour for
The Vampire's Temptation,
sponsored by
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring 
an excerpt with mini-review!
There's also a tour-wide giveaway!!

The Vampire's Temptation
(Bloodwite, Book 1)
Cecelia Mecca
Trade Paperback, 280 pages
January 22, 2019
Kindle Edition, 267 pages
January 24, 2019
Altiora Press
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

 Even cursed blood can fall prey to love’s bite.
Kenton Morley and Lawrence Derrickson have hated each other since they were feuding border lords in medieval England and Scotland…seven hundred years ago.

When their bloodlines were cursed, birthing the world’s first vampires.

Their feud has carried through the centuries based on an old argument: Kenton seeks to destroy the Cheld—the only line of humans capable of killing their kind—while Lawrence seeks to save them.

It’s said that men can forget, but never forgive. It’s also said that true love knows no bounds.

When the vampires move to Stone Haven, Pennsylvania, Alessandra Fiore will find out firsthand which of those old adages is true.

It doesn’t matter whether she believes in vampires or not…

Because they believe in her. And she’s on the very cusp of discovering her dormant powers as a Cheld—a potential vampire hunter.

With both of these strangely wealthy newcomers’ storming into her sleepy, peaceful town, warning her to stay away from the other, what is a girl to do? Especially when Kenton—the one that supposedly wants to kill her—has a devilish twinkle in his eyes that she just can’t say no to?

No matter how dangerous she instinctively knows both men to be, strengths and powers of her own are beginning to bubble to the surface, encouraging her that she can take care of herself, thank you very much.

Love and Hate—two sides of the same coin. Literally.

The only thing left to do is flip that coin and hope for the best…to see which old saying is true. And how many innocents bet the wrong way.

This mini-review is of the excerpt below, and not 
the entire book. I only do this with tour books 
that I'm REALLY interested in reading,
 and that's DEFINITELY
the case here!

I LOVE how skillfully this author has sketched out the contrasting personalities of these two
vampires! They are both obviously alpha
males, sworn enemies, and yet, one of them
is more compassionate than the other.
The verbal sparring is very effectively done,
and it made me want to read more, so I could
find out more about how these two came
to be so antagonistic toward each other.
Their attitudes in regards to the woman who
is a Cheld (who has not yet appeared on
the scene) are also markedly different.

The ending of this short excerpt also tells the 
reader much about these two.
Kenton is obviously the cynical one, as well.
He laughs at Lawrence's impulsive
reaction, and has actually enjoyed baiting him.
This is going to be a riveting read, as
it includes some humor right along with
all the drama and romance!
And that cover SURE rocks!!

Lawrence was here.
Taking a sip of a gin and tonic, Kenton stared out into the distance from the second-floor balcony of his new home. A train’s whistle broke the blessed silence, though “silence” wasn’t truly silent for him, and hadn’t been for some time. In still moments, he could hear shop owners in town putting out their trash and preparing to close for the evening.
Even so, the view was relaxing—the line of trees across from him was broken by only one discernible building, the courthouse that stood guard on Main Street. The downtown area of Stone Haven was lined with brightly colored Victorian homes and townhouses. He’d considered purchasing one of the latter, only to dismiss the idea.
Too confining.
Now, it would seem, the decision had been a good one. If his senses were accurate, and they always were, his temporary lodgings were located just next door to his nemesis. Purchasing the mansion had attracted attention, but no matter. He would be long gone as soon as the deed was done.
He sat, making a mental note to request that his maidservant purchase cushions. Apparently the previous owner had not found wrought iron as uncomfortable as he did.
Kenton took another sip of his drink as darkness fell. The maid he’d hired from the previous staff—the mansion had been a bed and breakfast when he purchased it—appeared around the balcony to his right. She’d not spoken yet, but Kenton could hear her breathing.
“Send him up,” he said without turning toward her. “But from the outside entrance,” he added. “He may not go inside. Ever.”
 Whether the woman was startled by his knowledge of her presence—because he already knew a guest waited below—or because of the vehemence of his request, Kenton wasn’t sure. Nor did it matter. What did matter was the man who even now made his way up the winding outside staircase.
As Lawrence entered the room connected to the balcony, it struck Kenton that he’d made a critical error. He should have killed the girl—woman, more precisely—before Lawrence had arrived. Now his purpose in Stone Haven would be more difficult to fulfill.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” Lawrence asked, walking around to stand just next to him. He didn’t need to ask who. The man wasn’t talking about his elderly maid.
“I’d offer you a drink, but regrettably, you’re not staying.”
“How long have you known about her?” Lawrence Derrickson had the sole honor of being the only person to almost make him lose his temper in over seven hundred years, and it would seem he still had the ability to get a rise out of him.
“Longer than you, apparently.”
He knew the barb would hit its mark, and it did.
“Yet you haven’t killed her?” 
“Regrettably not.”
Knowing it would anger Lawrence, Kenton took a slow sip of his drink and looked down at the town below them.
“A quaint little place. Didn’t expect as much, although I must admit, the only other time I’ve been to Pennsylvania, when—”
“I don’t give a damn when you were here last or what you think of the town that you plan to terrorize, Kenton.”
“Terrorize? A bit harsh, don’t you think?”
He didn’t give Lawrence a chance to answer. “Nice of you to move so close to me, though I wouldn’t have expected you to splurge on such a luxury.”
Two mansions sitting side by side in a town of this size. The irony wasn’t lost on him. 
“I won’t let you kill her,” Lawrence insisted.
He laughed, not to taunt the other man, but it did have that added benefit. “I will enjoy watching you attempt to stop me.”
“She may not pose a threat. Will you for once listen to reason?”
Kenton shot to his feet in an instant, so close to Lawrence he could stun him into silence if he so chose. Centuries of fighting this very same man had taught him not to attempt to kill the Scot. It couldn’t be done. But he certainly enjoyed trying.
“She is a Cheld,” Kenton said.
For Lawrence, that wasn’t enough. For him, it always would be. “She is,” the Scot agreed. “But you don’t know—”
He rolled his eyes, annoyed by the tedious predictability of the argument. “Nor do I care.” Lawrence narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists, telegraphing his intentions as clearly as if he’d punched him. “Are you alone?”
He could lie, but Lawrence would learn the truth soon enough—that his siblings were far away from this quaint little Pennsylvania town. Their kind could sense one another, an ability Kenton had more than most, so he did not need to ask the same question about Lawrence’s kin.
Clan Karyn consisted only of one man, for now. Odd, since Lawrence usually traveled with at least one member of his precious clan, although a four-person family could hardly be called a clan, truth be told.
Nothing like the hundred men Lawrence once led.
“I am,” he said. “And so it seems we will have a bit of fun here in”—he waved his arms around him—“Stone Haven.”
Lawrence ground his teeth. “Fun? If you call the murder of an innocent woman—”
“Innocent?” Kenton lifted his chin. “She is a Cheld,” he repeated. “And for that, she cannot be allowed to live.” He lifted his glass. “A toast to our little secret. And to Alessandra Fiore’s last days on earth, poor thing.”
He downed the remainder of his drink in one gulp, then set the empty glass on the table. Droplets of red remained. Mary was none the wiser about the real contents of his favorite bottle of sloe gin. Stepping around Lawrence, he gripped the railing of the balcony and looked down below. “Have fun attempting to save her,” he said over his shoulder.
Just as Lawrence turned to walk away, muttering a curse under his breath, Kenton added, “I hope you have better luck than you did in Caltabellotta.”
He wasn’t surprised when Lawrence pushed him from the balcony. Indeed, he allowed it. And laughed the whole way down to the ground despite the risk of discovery.
Taunting him had been worth it.

Purchase Links
Amazon US/Amazon UK/Amazon CA

Cecelia Mecca is the author of steamy historical and paranormal romance that transports readers to another world.
Every heroine, from Lady Sara in the Border Series to Alessandra Fiore in Bloodwite, is your best friend– the one who kicks butt and takes names. When these ladies meet alpha males who try to take control, sparks fly until the very last page.
Cecelia writes the Amazon bestselling Border Series, which takes readers to an admittedly romanticized time of knights and castles in 13th century Northumbria, along the Anglo-Scottish border. Next, she’s jumping into a new world which tests the patience of even the most steadfast romance heroine. After all, dealing with the ultimate bad boys– sexy, wealthy and swoon-worthy vampires– is not for the faint of heart. In other words, she’s releasing her first contemporary paranormal series in January 2019.
Our Highlander-loving, vampire-writing author can be found in Northeast Pennsylvania, chai in hand, thinking up new ways to tame both medieval and paranormal playboys. She is firmly House Stark and Gryffindor.

Amazon Author Page

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Buddy Read Update No. 2: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Hardcover, 444 pages
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
African-American Fiction,Coming-of-Age, Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Reads,
Social Justice, Young Adult Fiction

A three-time winner of Goodreads Choice Awards

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


This buddy read is presented by 
Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books
Barb @ Booker T's Farm!!

For this week's post, 
we both read Chapters 8 to 14.

Be sure to visit Barb's blog to read
her half of our "chat"! 
You can access her post HERE!!

This post, as well as that of my fellow
buddy reader, may contain spoilers!
Read at your own risk!!

We're both well into this book now! I must say that, in spite of all the profanity (which I don't like at all), I'm finding this to be a RIVETING read. Thomas has created characters that one can really resonate with! She has totally made the point that all human beings are basically alike, underneath different skin colors, cultures and belief systems. We all want justice and decency for ourselves and our families. We all want a harmonious, peaceful planet. Well....perhaps I shouldn't have stated that "all" of us want these same things. There are, unfortunately, people out there who want power over their fellow human beings over and above the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, novels like The Hate U Give would not be necessary reading in this world.... 

So now I'm going to answer this second week's questions from Barb. She, too, will be answering my own questions. The link to her post is above.

Our last post will be a review of the book. Please refer to our Launch Post for the weekly schedule. You can find that post HERE.

Barb: You asked how I felt when Ofrah announced at Khalil's funeral that the officer wasn't going to be charged and I have a question for you along those lines. How did you feel in general about Just Us for Justice being present at the funeral at all? Do you think it was the time and the place for them to make their presence known? I know funerals are often full of drama but this one really amped it up.

Maria: Girl, you just seem to keep reading my mind! Lol. This is a sign we're both in tune with this book! 

To be honest, I had the same little niggling thought as I was reading that part of the novel. At first, I really didn't think it was appropriate for Ofrah to be at Khalil's funeral. (And by the way, have you noticed the similarity to the name "Oprah"? I think this was intentional on the author's part.) I said to myself, she should have waited to contact the family after the funeral. Starr needed some time in order to process her feelings about what happened. Also, Khalil's family, as well as the community, needed time to process it.

Later, though, I changed my mind completely. The funeral was actually the PERFECT time and place for her to introduce herself and her organization to Starr's family, as well as the community. What I do think she should have done, though, was to protect the privacy of Starr and her family by not giving them her card at the end of the funeral. Starr was nervous about people knowing that she was "the witness". So I do think that Ofrah could have been more discreet about that. She could have easily found out where Starr lived, or she could have gone to Maverick's (Starr's dad) store, and given him her card there.

As for the drama that erupted at the funeral, I was SHOCKED. I've NEVER attended a funeral that was as disruptive as this one! However, I don't blame Ms. Rosalie one bit for acting as she did. The King Lords are similar to the Mafia in the way they operate. Ms. Rosalie did not want them present at Khalil's funeral, and I totally agree with her! I also totally agree with her opinion of Iesha......

Another "by the way": the organization named Just Us For Justice is obviously a reference to the real-life organization, Black Lives Matter, although the names are not similar. However, both organizations have the same goal: achieving justice for African-Americans. 

Barb: The drama between Starr, Hailey and Maya seems to be deepening. When it came out that Hailey actually unfollowed Starr's Tumblr for potential racial reasons, and that she had made comments to Maya in the past that were inappropriate, do you think they will remain friends? Seems Maya and Starr have formed a sort of alliance. Do you think the character of Hailey can be redeemed? 

Maria: Yes, the drama has been deepening, and in Chapter 14 Thomas gets to the bottom of it. Maya is actually not part of the problem except insofar as she has been Hailey's friend. But then Hailey made a racist comment to Maya as well. Now Maya's eyes have been opened, so that's why she and Starr are now allies. Both of them are racial minorities; Starr is African-American, while Maya is Chinese-American. Clearly, Hailey does have an issue with their ethnicity.

I don't think racists can be reformed, UNLESS they come to realize that they are, indeed, racists, that this is wrong, and strive to change. I myself was brought up to be a racist, but I rebelled. Nevertheless, this was something that my family definitely tried to instill in me.

The bottom line is this: a racist can either remain a racist, once they realize that they ARE one, or make every effort to change. Sadly, die-hard racists are unable to change, because they don't think they are, in fact, racists. Hailey is one of these people. She simply doesn't SEE that her way of thinking and looking at the world are totally racist. 

Here's the passage from Chapter 14 in which Maya finally tells Starr the UGLY truth:

"She's lying," Maya says. That's not why she unfollowed you. She said she didn't wanna see that s--t on her dashboard."

I figured. "That Emmett Till picture, right?"

"No. All the 'black stuff,' she called it. The petitions. The Black Panther pictures. That post on those four little girls who were killed in that church. The stuff about that Marcus Garvey guy. The one about those Black Panthers who were shot by the government."

"Fred Hampton and Bobby Hutton," I say.

"Yeah. Them."

WOW. How can someone call herself somebody's friend, and then negate their whole identity, of which their ethnicity is a part?! This is blatant racism! I KNEW I SMELLED A BIG RAT, back when Starr first mentioned that Hailey had unfollowed her Tumblr blog!

The funny thing about racists is that they will ADAMANTLY deny that they're racists. Like when I hear comments such as these from white people: "Just because I don't mingle with blacks doesn't mean I'm a racist. I don't mistreat them. I don't insult them. I just think that they should stay in their own neighborhoods. We have our place, and they have theirs. And I don't think you should "mongrelize" children, either. That's what happens when blacks and whites intermarry."

WOW. Hey, as the saying goes, "Denial is not a river in Egypt." The comment above is a composite of several racist comments I heard from our neighbors, as I was growing up. This type of thing is just SO ingrained in these people, they will NEVER stop thinking this way. I think, from the quote I provided above, that Hailey is one of these racists who think, "Hey, I'm not a racist. I have a BLACK friend! How could you EVEN accuse me of being a racist?!" This question is asked in an indignant tone. Such people are BLIND as to how racist they really are. And they DON'T want to have their eyes opened, either. You see, they're very COMFORTABLE in their racism. 

There's another great saying here: "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts." Racists are entirely close-minded. Why? Because prejudice is irrational. No amount of evidence and logic will make a die-hard racist change their twisted way of thinking. 

So my final verdict is: no, Hailey cannot be redeemed. Just as a die-hard alcoholic cannot be redeemed. As long as either a racist or an alcoholic continues to think that they don't have a problem, then they will NEVER change. Wanting to change has to come from within. 

The problem here is, if minorities and other oppressed groups sit around waiting for racists and people who think like them to change and treat them better, these minorities and other oppressed groups will remain mistreated forever. Therefore, activism is necessary. New, anti-discriminatory laws must be put in place. And this is what the great Martin Luther King, Jr. did. Although we still have a loooong way to go.....

Also, I don't think that Hailey and Starr will remain friends. Instead, Starr's friendship with Maya will grow stronger.   

Barb: So it seems now everyone is out to save DeVante. Do you feel they are acting out of guilt, and do you think that Starr will eventually leave Chris for DeVante? (And by the way, in the movie, Chris is played by the guy who plays Archie on Riverdale. I may have trouble accepting him as another character when I watch it).

Maria: Starr's dad, Maverick, definitely feels some responsibility for DeVante. He (Maverick) remembers how difficult it was to leave the King Lords, and he can see how scared DeVante is of their leader, King. I think Mav is doing the right thing by helping DeVante.

Once again, you've read my mind! When DeVante and Starr went out to play basketball at Rose Park, I started wondering if the author was going to have Starr fall for him. There was also a scene in her dad's grocery store, in which she was teaching DeVante the duties of his new job as a clerk at the store, where I started to ask myself this question, too. 

I don't know if I would want Starr to leave Chris. He is just SO sweet to her! Even though she's been hard on him, he hasn't reacted immaturely by ignoring her, or playing some sort of head game, in order to "get revenge".

Starr is already suffering enough, due to Khalil's murder. She doesn't need to take on DeVante's issues, too. On the other hand, DeVante is not really a bad guy. He wants to get out of the King Lords. And he actually asked Maverick for help in doing so. When Maverick offered him a job at the store, he accepted. So there's hope for him.

DeVante might be a better match for Starr than Chris, simply because, like her, he's grown up in Garden Heights, and sees the world the way Starr does. I don't know that Chris can thoroughly understand where Starr is coming from, how she thinks, just because she's African-American, and knows what it's like to live life in a racist world.

So I actually have mixed feelings about whether Starr should be dating Chris or DeVante. I like both guys. But on the other hand.... I'm not sure I like DeVante calling Starr "li'l momma". Was he being condescending? I'm wondering about that.....
Barb: So Mr. Lewis makes a point of calling out King and his gang on a live interview. Do you think this was smart or a complete lack of judgement?

Maria: OMG.... I thought that was absolutely the WRONG thing for Mr. Lewis to do! Not only did he risk his own life, but also, the King Lords are not the real problem. Gangs like them exist because of the complex set of circumstances that limit the progress of African-Americans living in "the hood". It's a whole chain of events. And it all starts with poor schools. Inner-city schools never have enough funds to function at quality levels. Kids are not given the tools necessary to better themselves. So a vicious cycle begins. That was why Starr's parents decided to send her to Williamson, the prep school all the way across town, in the white neighborhood. Unfortunately, Starr would not be getting a good education at a Garden Heights school.

Before gangs like the King Lords can be disbanded, social conditions must change. The vicious cycle of poor education and lack of opportunities must change. 

So Mr. Lewis's outburst was completely misguided. All he got from it was a heavy beating by the very people he exposed in a live TV interview. And he was lucky he wasn't killed!

Thanks for the GREAT questions, Barb!!  <3  :)

Blog visitors and regular readers, come on over to each of our blogs every Friday for the next few weeks, as we share our thoughts and insights on this highly-acclaimed novel! Thanks in advance for any comments you might wish to make!  :)

What do you all think?
Have we piqued your curiosity
about this book?
Be sure to let us know!
Don't forget to visit Barb's blog
to get her side of this "chat"!!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Blog Tour/Giveaway!! The Risk of Happiness, by Cathrine Goldstein

Welcome to the blog tour for 
The Risk of Happiness,
sponsored by
YA Bound Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring 
an excerpt with mini-review!

There's also a tour-wide giveaway!!

The Risk of Happiness: The 
Punk Rocker
(The New York Artists Series, Book 3)
Cathrine Goldstein
Trade Paperback, 344 pages
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
January 21, 2019
Contemporary Fiction, Humor, 
Music, Romance

Bad boy punk rock star Reale Lynxx never expected to see his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Simmons, again. And after she'd stomped on his heart and walked out on him six years ago, he's not so sure he wants to. Certainly Reale never imagined he would rescue Amanda and her son, Johnny, from drowning. But all it takes is one evening with her and Reale is ready to leave the past behind and try again.

Amanda never meant to hurt Reale and happily jumps heart-first into rebuilding their relationship. But when she confesses she left him to secretly raise their son, Reale grows livid, fighting her and gaining custody of Johnny…

When Reale realizes he was wrong for taking Johnny away, he tries to win Amanda back. But can she forgive the man who took her son? And can she ever trust Reale again, no matter how much she loves him?

This is a mini-review of the excerpt below, 
and not the entire book.
I always write these when I'm 
REALLY interested in a particular novel, 
as I am in this one!

This time around, I have to mention that cover!
I don't wear ripped jeans, but this image
is really making me want to start! Lol.

As for the short excerpt, I think it's so cute!
Some readers might roll their eyes at this comment, but I find this vignette adorable. This is definitely going to be a fun read, as well as one that will tug at my emotions, too. Yes, I know this is a romance trope, but what can I say? I'm just a sucker for happy endings! Besides, each romance author
puts her own spin on these things.

Right off the bat, I like Reale. He sounds like a totally mischievous, fun-loving guy who actually has a deeper side -- well hidden, of course.
As for Amanda, I can tell she usually doesn't
let herself go as far as she obviously has in this excerpt. She's obviously a responsible person.
Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Reale 
who encouraged her to "let down her hair".
I'm really looking forward to reading about 
this relationship, especially since there's a child involved. That makes it extra special! 

Reale winked. Damn, he was too happy. 

Johnny was completely locked into his tablet. She had a strict, no-tablet-at-the-table rule, but right now she’d make an exception just to find out if she had broken her own strict, do-not-sleep-with-your-rock-and-roll-ex-boyfriend-no-matter-how-sexy-he-is rule. “And um, where did we…or more specifically, did you…sleep last night?” 

“Don’t you remember?” He waltzed past her, stuffing two slices of whole grain bread into the toaster. 

“No. Uh, sorry…” 

Reale smiled, grabbing his pan and crossing to the table, expertly sliding scrambled eggs onto Johnny’s plate. “Seconds.” He nodded toward Johnny proudly. 

“But…you slept where exactly?” 

“Babe. You were drunk. I carried you in, changed you into your PJs, and slid you into bed. I slept on the couch. Scout’s honor.” He held up his peace fingers making a “V.” 

“That’s the wrong sign, dumbo.” She smirked. “So nothing happened?” 

He came closer, whispering. “As tempting as it was—what with your ruddy glow and contagious laugh, I figured after you had sung every song on my last CD to me—twice—you were perhaps a bit too intoxicated to partake in any additional activities that evening. Or morning.”


Purchase Links

Check out the other books 
in the series!!
Click on the book covers for the Goodreads pages!

Purchase Links

Purchase Links

I am a bestselling author and an NYC girl at heart. I write “gritty romance,” in the genres of YA, NA; women’s fiction; and romance. I’m also the author of The Letting and The Coupling, books 1 and 2 of The Letting series. 

I began my career as an award-winning playwright, and I am a proud member of RWA, PAN. I have my BA in English and my MA in Theatre.
I am a fan of Luna Bars, decaf coffee, yoga, Hemingway, and Bukowski—and the loves of my life are my husband and my two young girls.
To find out more about me; Summer of Irreverence, the first book in The New York Artists Series—standalone novels about strong, artistic men, and the smart, unexpected women they fall for; The Letting series; and what’s coming soon, please visit my website at the link below!

Amazon Author Page

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!!