Thursday, February 28, 2019

Release Bllitz: Redeem (Under My Skin #4) by: Christina Lee (Review, Excerpt, Teaser, & Giveaway)

Redeem RDB Banner
Redeem
Under My Skin Series, Book 4
Christina Lee
M/M Romance
Release Date: 02.28.19

Redeem Cover
Cover artist: Kanaxa 
Successful financial analyst Michael Walsh leads a picture-perfect life that anyone would envy—unless they caught a glimpse beneath the surface. Haunted by failed relationships and self-doubt, Michael harbors a soul-deep loneliness that no number of casual hookups can fulfill. So why can’t he stop thinking about his New Year’s fling with a man whose quiet desperation matches his own? Barista Stewart Jenkins has an abysmal track record with relationships, and no matter how hard he tries to keep things tightly under wraps, his life is spinning out of control. His hookup with the gorgeous Michael was only supposed to be sex—hot, dirty, and uncomplicated—but that small taste leaves him desperate for more. Every no-strings encounter that follows between Michael and Stewart peels away more layers, blurring the lines between them, until they’re left with a raw tenderness and acceptance they’re both urgently craving. A relationship absolutely wouldn’t work on paper; they come from drastically different lives and are plagued by inexcusable sins. All that vulnerability is sure to reveal old wounds, and forgiveness seems so far out of reach unless they can find a way around their fears on the road to redemption. Goodreads | Amazon | Universal Link
REDEEMteaser1

My Thoughts:

So...I think this is my favorite of the series. Christina Lee took two characters that I SO did not like and turned them into real and relatable characters. Sometimes people deserve a second chance, and I really enjoyed watching these two get that chance. 

Michael and Stewart were the villains of our previous stories but this book digs so much deeper into that. It made them real and allowed the reader to see it all from a different perspective and I really felt for them both. They both recognized their shortcomings and where they went wrong in the past and wanted to do better. It was so easy to root for them because you could see that they really wanted to do and be better and took actual steps to do so. It is SO hard to take a villain that readers have good reason to dislike and make them the hero of their own story and Christina Lee did that with two characters here in excellent fashion. I loved these two together, they fit together so well and were able to relate to each other in a way they both needed. And man oh man their chemistry is ridiculous. This book was FIRE, but it was also sweet. Nobody is perfect, but it takes a big person to recognize where they went wrong and to then take steps to better themselves and I think that is what I loved about this book. My only teeny tiny nitpick is that Michael is described to be a financial analyst, which is what I happen to be, and it is so hard to not nitpick and find all the things that are not accurate in his day to day job description, but this is something I am sure everyone does when they read about their own profession. 

All in all, Redeem was definitely my favorite of the series and I just adored how raw and real and sweet this book was. It’s such an easy book to devour and speed through and if you enjoy redemption stories this one is for you.  


Man comforting his upset boyfriend by kissing him on the head

Excerpt:

“Ah, hell, that’s good,” I gasped as he stroked upward while simultaneously sucking on my neck. I probably should’ve protested because he was sure to leave a bruise, but I couldn’t find it in me to care. Besides, it would be a marker of this night. Like a sexy brand. His breaths grew heavier, and his chest rumbled in deep pleasure as he jerked sloppily against me. His hand stayed firm and tight on my cock even as he drew back and shuddered out his release. The sound was so sensual that my orgasm slammed through me at nearly the same time. “Holy fuck.” My body grew limp as my come spilled over his hand and onto the floor. I shut my eyes and kept my head anchored against the wall as he released his grip and my shaft pulsed in response. The quiet in the room grew deafening—the only sound our breaths and the muted noises of the crowd outside the door. “You got a name?” I didn’t know why I said it out loud. It was only a fleeting thought through my mottled brain. “Why the fuck does it matter?” he replied as the sound of his zipper cut through the echoing silence. “Not like I’ll ever see you again.” “Dunno.” My cheeks flushed red, so I kept my head buried in my arm. “Maybe when I yank on my cock later, replaying this scene in my head, I can call you something.” He didn’t respond. I heard him straightening his clothes and then pulling a few paper towels, which he forced into my hand. “Michael,” he mumbled against my ear. And then he was gone.

Christina Lee LogoOnce upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I've been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn't until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I'm addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.Facebook | The Swoon Room | Instagram | Twitter | Website
Under My Skin Series

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: Last Of Her Name by: Jessica Khoury

Release Date:February 26, 2019
from Scholastic
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"Sixteen years ago, rebellion swept the galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels. Every member of the royal family was murdered--down to their youngest child, Princess Anya--and the Union government rose in its place. But Stacia doesn't think much about politics. She spends her days half-wild, rambling her father's vineyard with her closest friends, Clio and Pol.

That all changes the day a Union ship appears in town, carrying the leader of the Belt himself, the Direktor Eminent. The Direktor claims that Princess Anya is alive, and that Stacia's sleepy village is a den of empire loyalists, intent on hiding her. When Stacia is identified as the lost princess, her provincial home explodes into a nightmare.

Pol smuggles her away to a hidden escape ship in the chaos, leaving Clio in the hands of the Union. With everything she knows threading away into stars, Stacia sets her heart on a single mission. She will find and rescue Clio, even with the whole galaxy on her trail."

My Thoughts:

This book was so so good and was the perfect Teresa read. I am such a big fan of Anastasia and then throw in a sci fi twist and it makes for a great read. The book has a real addictive quality to it and the action keeps the reader turning pages. I never wanted to put this book down and I just had to keep reading. 

Stacia “I always push the red button” Androva is great and I loved her. She is fierce and spunky and devoted to those she loves. She never set out to be special or save the world, but she steps up when she has to. She is brave and flawed and doesn’t always think before she acts and it makes her a really great and dynamic heroine. My other favorite character was Pol. I just adored him to bits and pieces. He and Stacia have grown up together and always been close and I just loved them together and how they were always there for one another. 

My favorite thing about this book though was the way it handled a rebellion, because I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that handled a rebellion this way. In this book there is no good side. Everyone is in it for their own ends and neither is better than the other and innocent people are getting caught up in their crossfire. It was a very interesting take and it really showed that the people who want power are probably not the same people who should have power. We get so used to being on one side of a rebellion, fighting for freedom and sometimes justifying not so great things they do, so this was a really interesting perspective on it and I enjoyed it a lot. 

All in all, Last Of Her Name is a great sci fi twist on the Anastasia tale. This is a truly addictive read and its one I recommend for sci fi fans. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

On My Shelf: Unhooked by: Lisa Maxwell

On My Shelf is a feature I started here on the blog and I'm sure there are a ton of similar ones out there, but basically I just wanted to start spotlighting some of the MANY backlist titles I have accumulated on my shelf and kindle. The idea is to spotlight an older book I have on my massive TBR. I also thought it would be a fun way to discuss these books with my fellow bloggers, get some of your thoughts and figure out which ones I need to read ASAP and which ones can wait a bit more. And if you want to join in too, I would love to see what is on your shelf! Just leave me a link in the comments.


I love Peter Pan retellings and twists so of course I had to have this one and then like so many other books I never got around to it. I adore this cover though and it sounds so amazing.

So tell me. Have you read it? Did you love it? Hate it? Was it meh?


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Review: Warrior Of The Wild by: Tricia Levenseller

Release Date: February 26, 2019
from Feiwel & Friends
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"How do you kill a god?

As her father's chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying."

My Thoughts:

This was so good. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this one, but I didn’t expect it to be as unputdownable as it was. This had such an engaging plot with great characters. Our heroine in particular is fantastic.  I enjoyed this authors Daughter Of The Pirate King series and I’m glad she delivered here too. She writes such incredible and dynamic heroines. 

Rasmira is fantastic and I loved her. She is so smart and so strong. She has trained her whole life to be a warrior and lead her village and it’s made her a bit of a target. When she is betrayed and cast out she doesn’t want to trust again and who can blame her. She is more than capable of taking care of herself, but when she meets up with some other outcasts she really starts to shine and proves that she was meant to lead. And this brings me to Soren who I just adored. He was such a sweetheart and I loved his wit. He’s just adorable to put it simply. But he’s also a warrior in his own right. And I also love Iric and these three made a good team. What I loved most about the dynamic though is that Rasmira is the leader. The boys were surviving but it's Rasmira who really pushes them and brings them to another level. She’s the strong one and the leader and neither of the boys balk at it, but they admire her and respect her for it. Strong women are not something to be feared and I loved that these guys acknowledged that. This author really writes a great heroine. I adored Alosa and I adored Rasmira just as much.

I also loved the Vikings vibe. I finally binged Vikings recently so this was perfect for my mood. I want to be clear, this book isn’t about actual Vikings but the world is definitely inspired by Viking lore and myths. It made for a really dynamic plot with a bunch of action, but it was also about finding yourself and who you want to be and the story balanced that really well. And then there was a touch of romance that I just LOVED SO MUCH. The story just balanced these aspects all so well.

Warrior Of The Wild delivered in every single way. Fantastic characters and a fantastic plot and STRONG WOMEN TAKING CHARGE FOR THE WIN. My feminist heart was so happy with this book and I can’t wait to see what this author does next. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Recent Reads: Queens and Deals

Recent Reads is feature here on the blog. The point is to feature books I've read recently in quick recap fashion with fun info-graphics. The info-graphics came from the Bookly app, which is a great app for bloggers. You can log quotes and thoughts and track your reading stats (and no I'm not paid for this, I just really like this app). Recently I dove into worlds of queens and deals.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

Guest Review: Mike by: Andrew Norriss


Today my sister Samantha has dropped by to review MIKE by: Andrew Norriss.

Release Date: February 26, 2019
from David Fickling Books
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: Received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"MEET FLOYD. He's a tennis star. Possibly good enough to win Wimbledon one day. MEET MIKE. He's... different. Apart from anything else, Floyd seems to be the only one who can see him. But Mike must have appeared for a reason. And finding out why is perhaps the most important thing Floyd will ever do..."

Sam's Review:

Today I’m reviewing Mike by Andrew Norriss and I think the best way to start this review would be to talk about my first impressions based on the cover of the book and the description on the back. The summary on the back tells about how the main character Floyd starts seeing this boy named Mike, that nobody else can see. Floyd throughout the novel has to figure out why Mike is there, and what he wants. It is a tale of self discovery and learning to follow your own path. The cover is a teenage boy holding a fish. I’m not above admitting that before starting the book, I was positive that Mike was the fish Floyd was holding. Not my best guess, but what the book actually ended up being was so much better, I can’t really explain why without spoiling the story, so you’ll just have to read to find out.

The story is told from the third person point of view, which I really enjoyed. As much as I love first person stories and hearing everything from the perspective of the main character, there was something about the detachedness of the perspective that I liked. The reader didn’t have to go through every thought Floyd had, but instead we only saw what was most important, how he felt going through everything. In a way it made Floyd a character that was easier to see yourself in, because although not everyone has been through specifically what he has, we’ve all felt the way he has and we can recognize that through this method of storytelling. Or at least I was able to. Maybe I’m just rambling, because I always see myself in characters told in first person, but this was just something I personally haven’t seen too often that I really enjoyed.

I think the lesson I learned from this book is that in some sense or another we all have a Mike. Not in the sense that we all have an imaginary boy showing up at the most inconvenient yet important moments, but more in that we all have somebody that shows up when we need them and that we take those people with us through the lessons they teach us. Much like Floyd learns in the novel, it’s important we listen to them and find what makes us happy.

Now comes the part where I ask myself “would I recommend this to other readers?” No surprise here, I totally would. As I said, it’s an interesting story, with an amazing lead character and an even better lesson to be learned. Also added bonus if you’re an animal geek like me, they talk about fish, like, a lot. I actually learned some things about marine biology which I think is just overall super cool. Basically, if you’ve liked other books I’ve reviewed for Teresa, you’d probably really enjoy this one as well. It was right up my alley while also veering me into a new direction of books I never would’ve picked up otherwise.

Friday, February 15, 2019

On My Shelf: Parallel by: Claudia Lefeve

On My Shelf is a feature I started here on the blog and I'm sure there are a ton of similar ones out there, but basically I just wanted to start spotlighting some of the MANY backlist titles I have accumulated on my shelf and kindle. The idea is to spotlight an older book I have on my massive TBR. I also thought it would be a fun way to discuss these books with my fellow bloggers, get some of your thoughts and figure out which ones I need to read ASAP and which ones can wait a bit more. And if you want to join in too, I would love to see what is on your shelf! Just leave me a link in the comments.


I found this one on my kindle and I think I grabbed it as a freebie years ago! Honestly, I kinda forgot I had it but as I was scrolling through my kindle the cover caught my eye. It definitely sounds interesting, but I'm not sure the series was ever finished so that makes me nervous.

So tell me. Have you read it? Did you love it? Hate it? Was it meh?


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Mini Review: The Date Deal (The Date Dare #2) by: Tara Sue Me

Release Date: February 11, 2019
from After Six Publishing
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a complementary copy of this book from the author and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"Seven years ago, I went from being America’s Golden Son to That Idiot, faster than you can say, “Foul ball”.

At the time, I thought I was making the right decision and today, I know I did. But I’ll admit, being the punch line of every late night comic changed me.

The paparazzi no longer follow me and the media’s forgotten my name, but I still live my life around rules I put in place to ensure I never found myself in that place again.

The rules are restrictive and controlling. They dictate what I do and who I do it with.

They do not allow for a free spirit bound and determined to make it in Nashville. A woman actively chasing a life I turned my back on. And they certainly will not accept that woman to be the little sister of the man who just married my ex.

Unfortunately, that’s the only woman I want.


So I made a deal…

THE DATE DEAL

Tate "Tommy" Maddox and Carsen Taber will put 'Love Conquers All,' to the ultimate test."

My Thoughts:

This was such a cute read! I read The Date Dare last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was really excited to see Tate’s story. He was so closed off and it was nice to see him open up. He is such a good guy and he really deserved to truly find happiness. And Carsen! I adored her. She was such a fun character and so strong. And together they had fantastic chemistry. I loved that Tate broke his rules for Carsen and I loved that Carsen got to see what she really wanted. You just root for these two right from the start. Even though their lives seem to be going in opposite directions, they just work. It was also great getting to see Elliot and Darcy again and see that they are so happy together. What I also really loved about this book was that it was really light on the angst. Tate and Carsen have some things to work out but it was never over the top and was the perfect book to get lost in for a few hours and read cover to cover. Overall, The Date Deal is a really quick and sweet read that’s just easy to devour.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Recent Reads: Myths and Beasts

Recent Reads is feature here on the blog. The point is to feature books I've read recently in quick recap fashion with fun info-graphics. The info-graphics came from the Bookly app, which is a great app for bloggers. You can log quotes and thoughts and track your reading stats (and no I'm not paid for this, I just really like this app). Recently I dove into worlds of myths and beasts.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Cover Reveal: Things We Never Said by: Samantha Young


Things We Never Said
Hart's Boardwalk #3
by: Samantha Young
Cover Design: Hang Lee
Release Date: May 7, 2019 in eBook & paperback
This book can be read as a standalone.

"Local metalsmith and gift shop owner, Dahlia McGuire, likes her quiet life in Hartwell, Delaware. It's the perfect place to hide from her family and the tragic events that led to their estrangement. However, when her father, the person she loves most in the world, needs her Dahlia has no choice but to return to Boston to face her ghosts. One of those happens to be her ex-boyfriend's best friend, Michael Sullivan. The man she was never supposed to fall in love with.

Michael Sullivan has never forgotten Dahlia McGuire. Some might say he’s never gotten over her. For years he lived with the anger of her desertion, and now, newly-divorced, he’s finally ready to move on. That proves impossible when Dahlia returns to Boston and reawakens their explosive connection. Despite everything, Michael wants her back, but  Dahlia can’t seem to let go of the tangled emotions of the past. When she flees home to Hartwell, Michael follows, determined to do everything in his power to convince her they belong together.

However, when the unthinkable hits the quiet seaside town, Michael finds himself trying to unravel more than the mystery of Dahlia's broken heart. It's time for truths left unsaid to finally be spoken or Michael and Dahlia might find themselves torn apart forever…"


Follow Samantha Young
Instagram : @authorsamanthayoung

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book Review: The Beast's Heart by: Leife Shallcross

Release Date: February 12, 2019
from Berkley
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast's side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast's heart."

My Thoughts:

Beauty and the Beast is pretty much my all-time favorite story. It’s been my favorite basically my whole life. I always jump on Beauty and the Beast retellings and I have to say this one delivered. 

With all the Beauty and the Beast retellings I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve ever read one that was told from the Beast’s point of view and I found that it was a refreshing perspective. It’s interesting to see how he has coped with his solitude and just how unhappy it made him. It’s also interesting to really see behind the mask and see his motivations. I did like though that in this case the Beast gave Isabeau much more choice than in other iterations and she really wasn’t much of a prisoner in this tale. I think that makes a whole world of difference. I mean, he’s not perfect, but he is much more desperation driven in his actions here.

This story definitely moves at a very slow pace, but it’s still enchanting and very much a fairy tale. But for readers who crave action, this is not the story for you. It’s a slow story that takes its time with the reader and really relies on the reader knowing the story to begin with. Because being in the Beast’s head you know he is cursed and so you lose that mystery of the Beauty discovering the curse. It’s much more about the characters and watching them grow together. I will say, with the slow pace and it not being all that short of a book, I think it could have done without some of the secondary storyline of Isabeau’s family. We spend a lot of time with the Beast dropping in on them in his magic mirror and I think in this case less of that would have helped move the story along a bit faster. But overall, I liked the slow and almost lyrical pace of the story.

All in all, The Beast’s Heart was a good retelling. This is definitely a read for those who love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Book Review: Soul In Darkness by: Wendy Higgins

Release Date: February 12, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Source: I received a complementary copy of this book from the author and voluntarily provided a fair and honest review.
"People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche's punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche by Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Adult Historical Fantasy. Standalone."

My Thoughts:

I have always been a big fan of Greek/Roman mythology, so when I heard Wendy Higgins was writing her own twist on the Cupid and Psyche story I was so excited! Wendy Higgins always brings the swoon and I was dying to see what she did with this story and she delivered.

Going into this I knew the Cupid and Psyche story, so I kinda knew what was coming, but I loved seeing how Wendy gave it her own spin and really fleshed out the characters. Psyche and Cupid are both great characters and you want them to make it work. So much is stacked against them and nothing comes easy. Throw in that Cupid is a god and well it’s going to be harder. We all know the gods and we all know they have an arrogant streak and think they know best and that doesn't always work for Cupid, but Psyche was a match for him. And man the SWOON between these two. Wendy does adult very very well.

I also loved the way this was written. We get to switch between Psyche and Cupid’s POV, but we spend the beginning of the book with Psyche before switching to Cupid and then alternating between the two. I love how this built the mystery of Cupid and kept the reader in the dark while Psyche was in the dark, but at the same time allowed the reader to see how things came to be and see Cupid’s motivations. And I think it’s very important the reader come to understand his motivations because like I said before, he is a god, he doesn’t think like we do all the time.

All in all, Wendy Higgins delivered again. I love Greek/Roman mythology so much and she delivered a great romance with a myth that hasn’t been done over and over again. Such a good read for fantasy fans.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

On My Shelf: Stalking Jack The Ripper by: Kerri Maniscalco

On My Shelf is a feature I started here on the blog and I'm sure there are a ton of similar ones out there, but basically I just wanted to start spotlighting some of the MANY backlist titles I have accumulated on my shelf and kindle. The idea is to spotlight an older book I have on my massive TBR. I also thought it would be a fun way to discuss these books with my fellow bloggers, get some of your thoughts and figure out which ones I need to read ASAP and which ones can wait a bit more. And if you want to join in too, I would love to see what is on your shelf! Just leave me a link in the comments.


I've had this one since it released practically. It just sounds so perfect for me and I am in love with that cover! I actually have this entire series and I just really need to make the time to read it.

So tell me. Have you read it? Did you love it? Hate it? Was it meh?


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