Monday, August 31, 2015

Guest Post: The Eight Things You Need to Know About The Solarversia Player's Grid

Title: Solarversia:
The Year Long Game
Author: Toby Downton
Release Date: August 31, 2015
Pages: 441

Solarversia is the story of an epic year-long game played by 100 million people inside a virtual world modelled on the real world Solar System. Given three lives, three vehicles, and told to master The Science of Solarversia to stand a chance of winning, players compete for the £10m grand prize, and the chance to help design the next game, starting in 2024.

Nova Negrahnu and her friends Burner and Sushi cannot wait to start playing. But when an international terrorist organisation sets its sights on the game and it’s creator, Nova finds her life turned upside down, as the line between simulation and reality blurs. Can she navigate between playing the game, coping with all the issues an eighteen-year-old girl faces and avoid the very real and present danger mounting outside Solaversia?

| Goodreads | Amazon |

The Eight Things You Need to Know About The Player's Grid

Toby Downton’s new book, Solarversia, is about a year-long game played in virtual reality in the year 2020. He plans to make the game for real, to launch on the same date, so that people can experience the game for themselves. To promote the book, and his plan to make the real world game, Toby created something called the Player’s Grid, and it’s got a lot of people really excited. 

Here are the eight things you need to know about it:
1) The Number of Squares in The Grid
The Player’s Grid is composed of 100 million squares, each of which is numbered (from 1 to 100 million). That means the Grid is 10,000 rows wide and 10,000 columns deep.

2) How The Squares Are Arranged Within The Grid
Square number 1 is in the very centre of the grid, squares 2-9 are situated around it, squares 10-25 around them, and so on. The numbers spiral outward in this fashion all the way to 100,000,000. For the geek’s out there, this pattern is know as an Ulam Spiral.


3) What The Squares Look Like
The squares act like player profiles. They contain the player’s avatar name, number, vehicles, nationality, catchphrase and shortcode. Here’s some early concept artwork showing Nova’s profile square (Nova’s the protagonist of the story and her Player Number is 515,740).


4) The Purpose of The Player’s Grid
Each player has three lives in the game. Lives are represented by a coloured band that surrounds their profile square (this isn’t shown in the above picture because the concept hadn’t been introduced when the artwork was done). A violet band represents three lives, a green band represents two lives, and a red band represents one life. When a player loses a life their profile squares flashes a few times as the band changes colour. When they lose their last life the square flashes are then goes black, extinguished like a candle being blown out. The Player’s Grid therefore acts like a giant score board.

5) The Location of The Player’s Grid Within Solarversia
The Grid is located in a flying palace known as Castalia. This is the place the game starts, and it’s the place players return to whenever they log off or die. Castalia is situated over the southern Atlantic ocean, although it moves a couple of times during the year. Here’s some early concept art for Castalia:


6) The Grid Comes to Life
Although the Grid features a lot during the book because of its role as a giant scoreboard, there’s another scene where it features prominently. Toward the end of the year the remaining players are subjected to seven final rounds, one of which takes place inside the Player’s Grid itself when the 100 million squares become cubes. The remaining 500,00 players start in one of the corner cubes and have to solves puzzles that appear on the cube faces, making their way toward cube number one in the centre. This round is known as Race to the Origin, and it pushes players to their puzzle-solving limits.

7) The Golden Grid
Part of the story of Solarversia is told from the perspective of Spiralwerks, the company behind the game. It’s mentioned that Spiralwerks selected a 10x10 section of the Player’s Grid and used it for marketing purposes leading up to the start of the game in 2020. Because author Toby Downton plans to make Solarversia for real, he’s created the Golden Grid for real. Here’s what it looks like:


8) The Amazon Reviewers Game
The 100 squares in the Golden Grid are going to be assigned via a series of competitions and charity auctions. You might have noticed that the square in the bottom right-hand corner looks a bit different? That’s number 994 and it will be the first square to be won by a lucky reader (winners will receive a Golden Ticket, a signed copy of the book, and the square itself). Anyone who leaves a review on Amazon in the first month after publication will be eligible to play (31st August - 30th September, 2015). It’s known as the Amazon Reviewer’s Game, more information can be found here.

Solarversia is published on the 31st August. Toby is giving away copies until then to anyone who signs up to the newsletter on his site. Current reviews can be found on Goodreads here.

About the Author:
Toby's first novel, Solarversia, about a year-long game played in a virtual world, will be self-published through Amazon on the 31st August 2015.

The book was created by Toby to showcase the world of Solarversia, a game he plans to launch in the real world in the year 2020.

If you like sci-fi, think of yourself as a gamer, and are interested in the coming virtual reality revolution, this is a book you can't afford to miss!

| Website | Twitter | Goodreads |

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Guest Post: What makes an amazing hero? by Chris Malburg

Title: A Pirate's Time Served
Author: Chris Malburg
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Pages: 234

Careful what you wish for...

Sarah Schilling’s twelve year-old brother is wicked smart. But this? Pure genius. Brian snagged an invitation to spend the summer with their favorite aunt and uncle on St. Croix. Uncle Jack tells them, “There will probably be some swimming, some diving. We like to run. There’s a range, so maybe you’ll learn to shoot. Cooking. Your Aunt Helen is a classically trained chef. You knew that, right? There’s the Mallard seaplane, so maybe you’ll learn something about flying. That sort of thing.”

That sort of thing sounds like too much work for Sarah Schilling’s summer on the beach. Until Brian’s scuba regulator mysteriously fails sixty feet underwater. Her training snaps into laser focus. During Brian’s rescue they unearth the 250 year-old secret of Black Bart—the pirate and his ghost. The discovery launches them into a hurricane of peril at the hands of modern-day pirates. The Schilling family will not survive unless Brian and Sarah discover the most powerful weapon that is within themselves.

A Pirate’s Time Served is a YA thriller of a ghost story. It shows how two teens can dig deeper than they thought possible, discovering what it means to lead, to follow, and to never ever give up—especially on family.

A Pirate’s Time Served is my third novel. I wrote it while attending Stanford’s Writers School, Continuing Education. My second novel, God’s Banker, reached number eight on Amazon’s suspense list. I have also written eleven business books published by Simon & Schuster, Putnam, McGraw-Hill, Wiley, and Adams.

| Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | Nook | B&N | iBooks |

What makes an amazing hero?
by Chris Malburg

There are a number of ingredients that I strive for when creating the heroes used
in my books. First, the person must have a solid moral compass. Readers need to
trust the hero—even a flawed one—to do the right thing. However, in the
action/adventure genre, the hero cannot be too good. They’re going up against
some pretty unsavory types. So they are often somewhat flawed. This allows for a
certain redemption—authors call it an epiphany. We want to see the hero grow
and change in some significant way.

In A Pirate’s Time Served Brian and Sarah Schilling are two teens who turn into
amazing heroes. My readers have developed a relationship with their uncle, Jack
Schilling, over the first two books in the Enforcement Division series—Deadly
Acceleration and God’s Banker. Like Uncle Jack, Brian and Sarah are consistent
throughout and true to the values of justice and faith in themselves and their
teammates. These are core values on which readers can always count.

I chose Jack Schilling as the two teen’s primary coach because he’s
extraordinarily competent, from the training of his early days as a Navy SEAL
and later in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. Jack carries none of the swagger
and self-righteousness that some authors give their lead characters, making them
something of a walking cliché. Instead he is humble and focused on his people
and his objective. These are the qualities he and Helen Schilling teach Brian and
Sarah. In my interviews with those having such a background in real life, every
one of them has such qualities. I have had the privilege of spending time with men
having Schilling’s background—they are the best of the best. Knowing them is
quite an experience. Jackson Schilling is modeled after these extraordinary

There’s a converse to what makes a great hero. That’s what makes a great villain.
After all heroes need villains to go up against. Great villains are tough for me to
create. I have no frame of reference for people who would do such awful things as
shown in A Pirate’s Time. But I’m a fast learner. What helps me most is to think
of how I would react in that situation, then do exactly the opposite and ramp it up
to inflict the most pain and misery.

Some characters start out as villains and have an epiphany. By story end they are
every bit as loved as those characters who maintain their hero status wire to wire.
Black Bart is just such a character. He begins the story as the villainous ghost of
the most notorious pirate who ever was. But he changes—partly due to Brian and

I crafted Bart so that readers can see inside him to his point of view and how he
rationalizes his past. To me, this is the key to creating both great heroes and
villains. Readers need to see inside the person. Their behavior must be consistent
with the person they are portrayed to be. Their actions must logically follow from
this construction of the person. Anything other than this confuses everyone and
creates a less believable character.

When done right heroes and villains alike become unforgettable characters.
They’re strong enough to appear in book after book and to carry a series—as 
Jackson Schilling has done for three books with a fourth now in production.

Oorah, Jack!

Enjoy the day,
Chris Malburg

About the Author:
Chris Malburg is a widely published author, with work spread over 11 popular business books--including How to Fire Your Boss (Berkley) and Surviving the Bond Bear Market (Wiley, March 2011).  In his other life, Chris is a CPA/MBA, a former investment banker and now the CEO of Writers Resource Group, Inc., providers of professional financial literary content to corporations (  That’s the professional side of Chris’ career.  The fun side began when UCLA’s Writers’ school taught him to transition from biz-speak to fiction. GOD’S BANKER and the first installment in the Enforcement Division series, DEADLY ACCELERATION, both combine Chris’ natural talent for story telling with his professional command of the high-stakes investment world and what money and power do to some people. 

GOD’S BANKER  came to fruition from Chris’ hospital bed while recuperating from an athletic injury.  As a long-time endurance athlete, Chris is no stranger to the surgeon’scalpal.  Over 130,000 words later, GOD’S BANKERwas complete.  “It just poured out me,” says the author.  “I carried my note pad to physical therapy; made plot notes during the hours in the gym doing rehab; even while on my long bicycle rides through the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we live.  Slowly endurance returned and with it, GOD’S BANKER.”

Chris Malburg lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Marilyn.  Their hobby is raising service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  As of this writing, they have raised eight Labrador retrievers and have had three make the cut for placement with their disabled partners.

| Website | Twitter | Goodreads |

Friday, August 28, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday (42) / Friday 56 (11)

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the two Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself!

This weeks question is: 
Share a random quote from the book you are currently reading.

I answered: 
This weeks question kind of kills 2 birds with one stone seeing as the second part of this post is already about sharing a quote. So anyways, I'm just going to put it down there as usual. :)

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Basically you flip to page 56 (or 56% in your eReader) of any book and post a sentence or two (more if you want) from that page without being too spoiler-y. This gives us a glimpse into what you are reading or have read, and may even prompt us to add your book to our TBR piles!

My teaser:
I stand in silence, tapping my foot on the tiled floor. I don't want to look at Jett and Lucas, don't want to see the hope drain out of them. Hari's not here. None of the elders are. Id been relying on them to tell us what to do next. We've hit another dead end. I;m not sure how speaking to the doctor will even help us, unless he knows where they went. 
Excerpt From: Kate Ormand. “The Wanderers.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Guest Post: The When, Where, What, Why and Who of Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden (w/ Giveaway!)

Title: Push Me, Pull Me
Author: Vanessa Garden
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Genre: Contemporary, YA

Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.

Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.

Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.

Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.

When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.

Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.

Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?

Or should they save their hearts and just let go?

The When, Where, What, Why 
and Who of Push Me, Pull Me

by Vanessa Garden

When did you decide to write Push Me Pull Me?

I decided to write Push Me, Pull Me while I was waiting to hear back from publishers who at the time were looking at my first Young Adult novel, Captivate.
For a while I'd been tinkering around with an idea for a contemporary YA set in a small town (I'd only written books with fantasy elements up until then), and, needing a complete break from the fantasy series I'd been writing, I dived head first into Ruby and Byron's story. 

Where did you write it?

I wrote the first draft of Push Me, Pull Me in two of my local cafes. Seeing as a lot of the story is set in a bookstore cafe, being in that environment really helped me to lose myself in the story. The daily coffee and cake helped too!

What is your favourite scene from Push Me, Pull Me?

Without a doubt the explosive kiss scene, where Byron and Ruby lock lips in the rain during a thunderstorm! It's sizzling!

Why did you decide to include a bookstore in the setting of Push Me, Pull Me?

I was working at a lovely bookstore at the time and this greatly influenced the one in Push Me, Pull Me. Plus, I'd always wanted to write a meet-cute set in a bookstore. Now I have! :)

Who is your favourite character?

This is like asking who your favourite child is! I love all the characters in Push Me, Pull Me, but I'd have to say Ruby, because she is such a strong individual and I really admire her for her strength despite the many difficult situations she faces. But I love Byron too! He is so beautiful and mysterious and... he's a musician! *sigh* I'll always have a bit of a crush on him...

 About the Author:
A bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her books, Vanessa enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (48)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

Hello, Goodbye, and 
Everything In Between
by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: September 1, 2015

From Goodreads:
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: Here They Lie by D'Ann Burrow

Title: Here They Lie 
(The Bloodstone Legacy, #1)
Author: D'Ann Burrow
Genre: NA, Southern Gothic
Release Date: October 5, 2015

Reese Everett’s aunt picked a bad time to die.  Just weeks after a car accident left Reese’s mother unable to travel, her aunt’s house needs to be emptied and sold, leaving Reese as the only member of the family who can do the job.  She typically wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to sift through her aunt’s collection of antiques, but when she arrives in Devil’s Vale, Georgia, she discovers the family house in a state of disrepair she won’t be able to handle alone.

Colton Waters is back in Devil’s Vale – whether he likes it or not.  After he loses his acceptance to medical school with no explanation, he’s left with a single job offer…one that will return him to the hometown he’d hoped to escape.
When an errand to help his sister ends in a meeting with Reese neither will easily forget, Colton takes a job as her temporary handyman.

The longer Reese stays in town, the more she realizes the condition of her aunt’s house isn’t the only thing she hadn’t expected when she made the trip to Devil’s Vale.  Reese isn’t the only gifted member of the family – her aunt Kate has been practicing the family business…the business Reese has been sworn never to discuss.

After a ghostly visitor arrives one night, Reese and Colton learn Kate wasn’t the only one practicing the darker arts.  They begin to uncover secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Here They Lie won the Young Adult Romance Writer’s 2014 award for New Adult fiction.

| Goodreads  |

About the Author:
D’Ann Burrow once told her preschool teacher she wanted to be a witch when she grew up. That simple comment signaled the start of a life-long fondness of things that go bump in the night. As she grew older, she could most often be found with her nose buried in a book, and she was especially fond of the Nancy Drew series as well as anything by Christopher Pike or Stephen King.  Occasionally she’d take a trip to the world of the classics where The Scarlet Pimpernel and A Little Princess reigned among her favorites.  She’s lost count of the times she’s read Little Women.

Today, D’Ann enjoys the world of Supernatural, stories about guys with fangs, and she’s seldom met a disaster film she hasn’t liked.  When she grows up, she’d like to work at the Haunted Mansion. Until then, watching Ghost Hunters will have to count as research.

D’Ann writes about secrets people keep.  Even the bravest heroine or a guy with a heart of gold has a few skeletons in the closet they’d rather not share with the world. When those secrets get out, things get interesting.

A Texas native, she knows making great guacamole is an art form. As a theater mom, she’ll happily chat about Broadway musicals by the hour.  Molly and Lizzie, the family furry ones, are frequent stars of her Instagram account.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review (62): Dismissed by Kirsty McManus

by Kirsty McManus

Series: N/A
Other Reviewed Titles: N/A
Release Date:
April 27, 2015
Pages: 166
Format: eBook
Source: Author

My Thoughts: 
The start of Lizzie White’s last year of high school brings about some unexpected surprises. The biggest being her very hot--but very off-limits--new English teacher. Every girl in school has their eyes on Brandon Thomas, who is unlike any of the other teachers; he is young, sexy, and in a totally cool band. Lizzie decides that the situation is futile so she sets her feelings aside and focuses on her budding romance with a fellow student, Gabe. However, things get a bit complicated when Brandon’s twin brother, Jason, shows up. Jason has no quarrels when it comes to getting involved with one of Brandon’s students so that’s exactly what he does. 

I found a lot of faults within this. My biggest issue is that the book is probably 90% dialogue. No time was really focused on describing things, instead everything is straight up told to us which takes away from the reading experience in my opinion. The whole thing--plot, characters, drama, conflicts--just did not seem believable in the slightest. Lizzie speaks to Gabe (her classmate) on the very first day of school for the very first time and by that afternoon they have already decided that they want to be boyfriend/girlfriend. As for her romance with Brandon, they have a total of like 2 moments where they connect and seem to like each other. But again, two whole conversations does not make an amazing romance or relationship. Another issue I had was that Jason is portrayed as the player, but by the end he isn’t actually any of these things and is really just “misunderstood”. The problem with this is that it all happened out of the blue and without any character development whatsoever.

I also didn’t particularly like Lizzie. She complains all the time about what a terrible friend Taylor is (and she’s right, don’t get me wrong), but at the same time she never says anything and continues to let Taylor mistreat her. I can’t stand when anyone--whether they be real or fictional--constantly plays the victim. 

I really wish I had liked this because the premise is something I usually enjoy, but there were just way more problems than redeeming qualities. This is a really short read which is a plus (and probably what got me all the way to the end) and the cover is super cute, but other than that this just wasn't for me. 

* Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review (61): Half-Life by Tina Ferraro

by Tina Ferraro

Series: N/A
Other Reviewed Titles: N/A
Release Date:
March 24, 2015
Publisher: Leap Books, LLC
Pages: 108
Format: eBook
Source: Author

My Thoughts: 
Trisha and her friends have a Halloween tradition wherein, at the strike of midnight, they hold compact mirrors up to the flame of a candle in the hopes of seeing the faces of their future husbands. Year after year, the only face staring back at them is their own. This year something incredulous happens; the face Trisha sees in the mirror is identical to her own, but it does not belong to herself. She sees Chessie, her twin sister who passed away when the girls were just 5 years old. In nightly meetings that only she can see and hear, Chessie claims to be back on a mission that involves Trisha. Trisha is pretty sure she’s gone crazy, but chooses to follow the instructions her sister has outlined for her in the hopes that it will help Chessie finally move on and gain the peace she deserves.

The official synopsis for this book is very misleading and alludes to a much more sinister plot (especially in the last paragraph) than is actually present. I thought this was going to be a lot spookier and more supernatural, but all that really happens between Trisha and her long-deceased sister is that they get together and talk about Chessie’s plan every other night or so. (Unfortunately, she isn’t even a cool ghost with powers because she can’t manipulate anyone or anything) Chessie supposedly has a way to get Trisha and her ex-best friend to patch things up, but in order for this to happen, Trisha apparently needs to start dating a classmate of her choice. The whole plan was really random and didn’t make much sense--it didn’t add up with the ending in my opinion. I just felt that the whole central plot was off and lacked believability. 

There was not much of a romance aspect either; Trisha lacked chemistry with both of her romantic interests which was disappointing. She has a huge crush on a fellow student, Kirk Maxwell, but the boy she chooses to help her fulfill Chessie’s task is someone completely different and someone she hardly even knows. As expected their relationship went nowhere. Kirk kind of just shows up at random times and “saves” her from situations. He seemed to be into her, but they don’t ever really share any special moments.

My favorite aspects of this were the overall message of friendship, honesty, and the familial bond and the fact that it is barely over 100 pages long. Other than that, I feel like this was a cool concept, but was just trying too hard to be something it unfortunately wasn’t. 

| Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

* Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC in return for my honest review *

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (47)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Release Date: September 1, 2015

From Goodreads:
This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Excerpt of Body Checked by Katherine Stark (w/ giveaway!)

Title: Body Checked
Author: Katherine Stark
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Genres: NA, Romance, Suspence

SERGEI DRAKONOV. The newest left wing for the Washington Eagles hockey team is a triple threat: muscle, roughed-up good looks, and a dangerous tabloid reputation. Not the kind of guy who fits into Jael Pereira’s five-year plan. Jael doesn’t have time for a relationship, between her challenging senior-year course load and her stiflingly dull internship at the FBI. But for one steamy night, she gives in to Sergei and his smooth-talking ways.

Sergei wants more than just another one-night stand. But his brother—a high-ranking member of the Russian mob—wants him to help the family business. He can use Sergei as an easy way to launder money, or to smuggle drugs on the Eagles team plane. And if Sergei doesn’t agree, he can kiss his skating career goodbye.

The FBI’s been watching Sergei. When they learn about Jael’s fling, they want her to persuade him to inform on his brother. But the more Jael sees the real Sergei, beyond the role he plays on the ice and in front of the cameras, the more she wants him in her life. How can she win his trust, though, when she’s playing a role of her own? And how can she protect him from his mobster brother when she can’t even protect her own heart?

Body Checked is a standalone HEA sports romance (m/f) in the Center Ice series of interconnected hockey athlete stories. It contains explicit language and sexual content between consenting adults.

Goodreads | Amazon |

“Hey. Brazil.”

I glance toward the corridor’s entrance. Sergei ducks through the red velvet curtains and lopes toward me, his eyes glittering in the darkened corridor.

“It’s Jael.” Shit. Why did I tell him that? But it doesn’t matter. He won’t remember anyway.

“Jael.” He says it slowly, teasing, testing out the way it shapes on his tongue. I know this because I’m staring at his mouth as he says it, that ripe, boyish mouth, his lips just a little pink from drinking. His tongue grazes along the edge of his teeth as he speaks. And then I’m imagining how that tongue might feel on my earlobe and running between my legs and—oh, god. I have got to stop.

“I promise you,” Sergei says in Russian, “I’m not what you think.” He props one hand against the wall behind me and leans in close. He’s got half a foot on me, and at least a hundred pounds of muscle, but he’s left me an escape if I want it. 


I tilt my head up toward him and keep the scowl firmly fixed on my face. “And how do you know what I think?”

“It’s what everyone with half a brain thinks about me. That I’m some overly talented, privileged asshole with no discipline and no concern for anyone but myself. That I’ll screw over my teammates, cheat on my partners, and burn through all my money.” 

His voice is so low. It hums inside of me, steady as a drumbeat, igniting my every nerve ending.

“They think I’m just skating through on raw talent alone, and sooner or later, all my mistakes and all my callousness are going to catch up with me.” He sighs. His breath is so warm against my throat. “Is that what you think?”

“You really think I care enough about you to think all of that?” I ask. “That anyone does?”

Sergei’s hand curls into a fist and he closes his eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Well, that’s how it sounds. That none of us have our own lives, our own problems, and all your adoring masses live and die by the attention bestowed on them by Saint Sergei.” I’m whipping out Russian vocabulary I didn’t even know I knew, but it’s flowing effortlessly. Maybe I am still a little drunk. “That all those women over there fawning over you only exist in whatever moment you choose to acknowledge their existence. That other teams only exist for you to defeat them. That your teammates only exist to make you look good.”

He runs his tongue across his upper teeth, quick enough that I don’t think it’s intentional, but oh, god, does it turn me on. Only the white fury of anger is keeping me from grabbing him by his belt buckle right now. Like I so badly want to do, despite how much I hate him right now. Despite how much I hate self-centered boys like him.

But I hate boys like ex-boyfriend, too, trying to dress up their baser instincts in their elaborate plans and career goals and trust funds. In the end, all it took was a pair of good legs attached to an MBA candidate to lure him away from me. At least Sergei is honest about what he’s after. 

“So that’s what you think of me.” Sergei straightens up, his face no longer looming before mine. “I guess it’s fair.”

“It’s not what I was thinking right now,” I admit.

About the Author:
Katherine Stark is the pseudonym for an author of novels in a variety of genres for children and adults. She can nearly always be found buried underneath a pile of story notes. If she isn't writing, she's probably reading, playing video games with her husband, watching hockey, or eating her way across the East Coast.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday (41) / Friday 56 (10)

Feature & Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkiee's View & Alison Can Read. Check out their blogs and the two Featured Bloggers of the week! This is great for finding amazing new blogs to follow and for gaining followers yourself!

This weeks question is: 
If you could have an endless supply of food, what would it be?

I answered: 
An endless supply of food? As in, I wouldn't have to pay for it and it would never end? Probably an endless supply of Mexican food then. Not sure if that's too broad lol but that's what I'm going with. I eat Mexican food on a weekly, if not daily, basis and have yet to reach a point where I am sick of it so an endless supply sounds like Heaven.

What about you? Leave your answer to this weeks question in the comments below.


The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice. Basically you flip to page 56 (or 56% in your eReader) of any book and post a sentence or two (more if you want) from that page without being too spoiler-y. This gives us a glimpse into what you are reading or have read, and may even prompt us to add your book to our TBR piles!

My teaser:
Inside the house, the music has been turned up again, and people are streaming in and out of the kitchen with their cups held high, swaying to the beat.  
Clare glances up at the sky, which is pocked with stars, and closes her eyes. 
When she opens them again, Aidan is watching her intently, his face only inches from hers, as if he's about to kiss her. She pulls back uncertainly, and he frowns. 
"You're definitely going to have a shiner." 
Clare brings a hand to her cheek, touching it lightly. "So are you," she says. "Maybe even two."
Excerpt From: Jennifer E. Smith. “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Interview with J.A. George, Author of Gifted: The Hayven Series

Title: Gifted
Author: J.A. George
Release Date: May 10, 2015

“Why do birds fly? Why do lions hunt deer? Why does the sun shine and the moon glow? Because it must. I wish I could tell you why, I truly do. It mustn’t be easy, such pressure weighted on such young shoulders, but we do not always choose the lives we must lead.” 

Avery Gray had no choice but to be different. She was not born that way; she was chosen. 

After having met a special, silver-haired woman, and the handsome and enigmatic Theodore-James Connors, Ava finds herself in Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. With Theo, his friends, Hayven, her gift, and the ability to ‘travel’ in different colours, Ava must now accept that she can no longer classify herself as normal. As friendships develop, and Theo and Ava become closer than she anticipated, it turns out her new gifted life comes with a catch. With no choice or say on the matter, Ava must save a city she is starting to fall in love with; a city that has almost begun to feel like home. 

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Hi Jessica! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! 
What inspired you to write GIFTED?
I was once told to write a story that I wanted to read. Now, of course not every reader has the same taste when it comes to books but we at least have similar tastes and I believe that if I enjoyed reading Gifted then hopefully (fingers crossed!) somebody else will too.

What can you tell us about your book in 140 characters or less?
It's about 7 friends who, & the world they live in, face a major threat. It's young adult mixed with fantasy, romance, dystopia & adventure.

How are you similar to or different from your main character?
I try not to make my characters resemble myself or anyone I know, simply because it's a lot more fun to make up my characters from scratch! However, I like to think that the characters reactions are realistic because I try and write it like it's me reacting to whatever life-changing news they are receiving. 

If your book was being turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leading roles?
I couldn't say because the images of the characters in my head don't match those I've seen on T.V. So perhaps some unheard of actors and actresses? That would be nice.

Are you excited about any new books being released soon?
I am definately excited for Gifted part 2 (it's a four part series) to be released! But that's not happening anytime soon! It still needs some work.

Favorite place you have ever visited?
If I'm answering this question to impress you then I'd say Paris. If I'm being honest? My local bookstore.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? 
Telesales. Ugh! I was one of those annoying people who called you up and asked you if you needed insurance whilst you answer the phone call, wonder how on earth I got your number before either politely declining or just slamming the phone down. I lasted a day and a half  in that job because I just couldn't do it! I hated annoying people! But, I do now know it's not an easy job so when telesales people do call me, I politely decline. Before slamming the phone down.

This or that:
Christmas or Halloween? 
Crayons or markers?
Markers, but only because I can't remember the last time I used crayons! But I do remember that you were the cool kid in class if you had that awesome 24 pack.
Cup or cone?
For ice-cream? Is bucket an option? No? Then cup.
Call or text?
Hot or cold?
Apples or oranges?
Since I'm allergic to the skin on apples, it has to be oranges by default. I do like oranges though.

Once again, thank you for sitting down with us & good luck with your next novel!

About the Author:
J.A. George is the author of the four-part series, GIFTED: THE HAYVEN SERIES. Jessica spent years of her life reading book after book before sitting on her bed one morning, opening her laptop and typing Chapter One into her word document. Now, not only does she read book after book, she now writes book after book too. When she's not writing, she's trying to break her record of finishing a tub of Oreo ice cream in less than forty-five minutes.

You can contact her at

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (46)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we can not wait to read! This meme is the perfect way to add books to your TBR list. Along with upcoming releases, I sometimes include books that I have not had the chance to read or buy even if they have already come out. 

Vengeance Road
by Erin Bowman
Release Date: September 1, 2015

From Goodreads:
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Excerpt: Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon w/ Giveaway!

Title: Blackmail Boyfriend
Author: Chris Cannon
Release Date: Aug 11, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Sometimes, blackmail is the only weapon a girl has…

Haley Patterson has had a crush on golden boy Bryce Colton for ages. But then when she hears a rumor—Bryce is telling everyone that  he hooked up with her. With Haley’s reputation taking a nosedive, she gives Bryce him a choice: be her boyfriend for a month for a month or face the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up withto show other guys that she’s dateable—despite her overprotective and very intimidating brothers.—or deal with the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up with.

Bryce didn’t know the other Haley even had a boyfriend. He was just trying to get his ex off his back. And now doesn't know what's more unbelievable, not only is—that he's he being blackmailed,  or that he's being blackmailed by an honor student. His little “hook up” was supposed to end his problems with girls, not create new ones. Not only that, but his new “girlfriend” has two overprotective brothers, three-legged dogs, her father mows grass at the country club, and she's…well, difficult. And different.

Besides, everyone knows that perfect boys never fall for imperfect girls…Sometimes, giving in is all a boy can do…Can something so fake turn into something real?

“We need to talk.” Bryce gave an exaggerated sigh.

“Okay.” I opened my bag of chips. 

“I’m sorry, but there’s someone else.” 

He wanted to break up with me in the cafeteria? Fat chance. I leaned toward him and touched his arm in a girlfriend sort of way. “If you planned to stage a public breakup with me, you can forget it.” 

Amusement showed in his hazel eyes. “Think you can stop me?” 

“Yes. First, I’m going to appeal to your sense of decency. I’m not a hook-up kind of girl. Thanks to you, the entire school thinks I am.” 

He snagged a chip and popped it in his mouth. “Do you even date?” 

Ouch. It’s hard to have an active social life when you have two older brothers who chase everyone away, which is why I need you to stick around and stop that cycle.” 

“Sucks to be you.” He stole another chip. 

“If you don’t go along with Operation Boyfriend Bait, I’ll go with plan B.” 

His brows came together. “Ratting me out to Denny?”

“After he pummels you into the ground, people will definitely believe you slept with his Haley and not me, so doesn’t it make more sense to play this my way? We both win.” 

Jane came back and took her seat. “What did I miss?” 

“He’s trying to break up with me. I gave him two options.” 

“You or dismemberment by Denny?” she guessed. 

“Exactly.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “What will it be?” 

“I pretend to be your boyfriend for a week, and you keep your mouth shut.” 

“Two months,” Jane chimed in. 

Bryce grabbed another chip. “One week and you can keep the Homecoming tickets.” 

“Five weeks and you can have the Homecoming tickets back,” I countered. 

“Two weeks,” he said. “And I don’t want the Homecoming tickets.” 

“Four weeks.” He reached for another chip and I smacked his hand. 

His mouth dropped open, and then he laughed. “That was not good girlfriend behavior.” 

I pulled the bag of chips closer. “Landing me in detention was not good boyfriend behavior.” 

He grinned all-knowingly. “You didn’t mind at the time.” 

My face heated. “Whatever. I want four weeks, the Homecoming tickets, and a double date with Jane and Nathan.” 

“Thank you.” Jane bounced in her chair. 

“Thought I’d share the wealth.” I smiled at Bryce. “And this should go without saying, but I expect you to play my monogamous boyfriend. When this is over, we’ll do a mutual breakup with no one to blame.” 

He sat back and seemed to weigh his options. “Three weeks, keep the tickets, one double date, and a no-fault breakup. Deal?” 

About the Author:
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or snarky romantic comedies.

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