Thursday, October 23, 2014

RELEASE DAY: GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - COME BACK TO ME by Mila Gray


It's the release day of the Paperback of Come Back to Me, the highly acclaimed New Adult book under the pen name Mila Gray but you may also know her as Sarah Alderson, author of The Sound (read my review hereLila series, Fated and Out of Control. It has also beaten Fifty Shades in the erotica listing on Amazon it’s reached #8 in the bestseller charts in WHSmith here in the UK (yay!)

I was very lucky to receive an advanced copy when it was due for release as an e-copy, which you can read my review here. Sarah/Mila is also the first author I've had the pleasure meeting as well, when myself and a few other bloggers had Afternoon Tea with her early this year. As part of the Paperback release here in the UK, it is also due for release in Australia in November and in the US till the end of 2015, which is a ridiculously long way away. Never fear, today I'm pleased to share with you a guest post as well as Mila running a giveaway to win to win a goody bag and signed copies. First, here a little bit about the novel...


Come Back to Me 
by Mila Gray
Publisher - PanMacmillan
Release Date - TODAY
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend's sister, Jessa - the one girl he can't have.

But Kit's not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa's falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer's over and it's time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa's finally following her dreams and Kit's discovered there's someone he'd sacrifice everything for.

Jessa's prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they're forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

ME - I feel that NA as a genre has definitely matured ever since your book Come Back to Me this year, before, it was very much sort of similar plotlines and character persona's but your novel saw a new dynamic to the genre and I was wondering what you thoughts were of NA are and what you did to research or prepare yourself from writing a different genre you've written previously. 

MILA/SARAH -

When I was asked by my publisher Pan Macmillan to write something for the 18-25 market I was thrilled. I hadn’t read any new adult books though so the first thing I did was download a few on my Kindle and read them.

I read about three and was really stunned by them and their representation of romance and relationships, to the point where I stopped reading and actually felt quite depressed. I was really disheartened by how the male characters were all alpha and aggressive, often violently so (one was actually about a sociopathic hit man), and the girls were generally damsels in distress.

A stalking, aggressive, violent, emotionally abusive man is not hot just because he has chiselled cheekbones and is ‘broken’ in some way, at least not to me. So my first thought was that I needed to get away from that trope. I wanted to build a story that was about a healthy relationship where two people who are quite different come together and complete each other, because I think in the best relationships that is what happens.

I wanted to show that a man can be ‘alpha’ and tough (Kit is a Marine) but also soft, sensitive, respectful and nurturing. The two are not mutually exclusive. In the same way a girl can be ‘feminine’ but also stand up for herself and be assertive and strong. It’s so dangerous to keep portraying young men in this way - because boys then think that’s who they have to be to get a girl.

I’ve just read this very short book by the incredible author Chimamanda Ngoza Adichie, called We Should All Be Feminists (highly recommend everyone read it). In it she says: ‘We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability…We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller…'

As a writer and a feminist I feel I have a responsibility to my readers. I want girls to read my books and feel empowered. If, as a writer, I can help just one person see themselves in a different, better light, or feel less alone, or reconsider gender expectations, then that’s a job well done in my mind.

I don’t want to portray a saccharine experience of love either. I’m fortunate that I’ve experienced some really beautiful relationships and have some incredible men in my life, not least my husband. So I know that love and healthy relationships exist and want more women to expect that as the norm.

In Come Back To Me Kit and Jessa go through a real tragedy that rips them apart. It’s an honest portrayal of loss and grief. It doesn’t pull punches. I’d like to think that’s why it’s done so well in terms of reviews (it’s currently #4 in the WHSmith bestseller list!) - and has won so much praise - because it’s real. I am so happy to think that new adult might be pulling away from its first wave - where books were built around the sex, with plot line an afterthought, because for me the ages of 18-25 were some of the most intense, amazing and uncertain of my life. I would have craved stories like this one.

- Click Read More for the Giveaway -


Monday, October 20, 2014

ARC REVIEW - ROWDY by Jay Crownover

Rowdy (Marked Men #5)
by Jay Crownover
Publisher - Harper
Release Date - October 23rd 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

After the only girl he had ever loved told him he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and decided he was going to do everything in his power to live up to his nickname. Life was all about a good time, good friends and never taking much too seriously. Only now he has a new coworker, a ghost from the past who’s making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules – and no fun allowed. She left it all behind as soon as she could, but she never forgot the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been in love with her little sister. Now, fate and good intentions from an old friend have placed her right in Rowdy’s path and she’s determined to show him he picked the wrong sister all those years ago…
As you all know by now, Jay Crownover's Marked Men series, is one I've followed and loved from the beginning (or the middle if you count Rome, that I reviewed first) Rowdy novel is just amazing... Whilst I was buddy reading this with the lovely Donna from Book Passion for Life, we have both really enjoyed this series and it was great to share it with in the next installment.

Rowdy is an odd character, you only really get to see him from being another member of the Marked Family, I guess you can say that he is a surrogate of the family but considered an equal nonetheless, much like Nash. In the beginning Rowdy sort of reminds me of Rule, where he tends not to commit to relationships and sticks to the one-night stand, the less complicated the better. So when an old flame, and first love rocks up into the new Marked shop...Salem, his new colleague was going to be more than just trouble to mind but to the heart. Rowdy was a kid of many talents including his imaginative and artistic nature, since being chucked here, there and everywhere in the system, he didn't didn't feel like he belonged until he found his family and best friend, next door. Salem and her sister, Poppy saw him for who he really was. One day, Salem got up and left forever, with one kiss she was outta there, and that was the day that Rowdy would never love or go back again.

Salem was certainly nothing we've ever met before, her style, kick-ass persona and strong sense of self really shone through this novel. I mean how cool is her name!?! Salem obviously came here to work in the business for one reason and one reason only...Rowdy. Salem had her reasons for leaving, her family are not the easiest and forgiving to be a part of of. Her father, a vicar, was the culprit in all of it. Poppy was always the golden girl, so her father saw that Salem wasn't worthy of him or God for that matter. He was pushy and forceful and would hardly show any amount of emotion. But her mother was no better, she followed where he followed. So she left, even with the consequences so dear, her sister and her best friend, Rowdy. So when Rule, manager of the Marked shops, phoned her to offer her job, courtesy of the legend Phil, she couldn't say no. 

At times her background became a little repetitive and overly dramatic. What was frustrating for about 40% of the book, was that I really wanted them to bash there heads together, yes Salem left, yes Rowdy certainly had his moments with Poppy. The build-up was incredibly tense and made me feel a little impatient. But if they are so hell-bent on ignoring then there is more chemistry, desire and passion between them that they have ever realised. Like Rowdy says he's had plenty of firsts but he wants to only have her as his last! 

Whilst we had Rowdy's and Salem's alternate POVs, I felt that there was also more than just them in the background. We have the whole Marked family, seeing some of the old gang building up their futures together. However, what I felt and loved most of all was the presence of Phil. For me, Phil really has inspired and motivates this story, not because he grew the Marked family from scratch but it's that Crownover keeps him living after Nash's story. The Marked Men series is really Phil's written legacy. What I loved though was that there wasn't that horrible and gut-wrenching tension and break-up between them. Instead Crownover encompassed the beginning of a new relationship which we all can't wait to read, Asa. 

Rating - 4

Friday, October 10, 2014

REVIEW - SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT by Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2)
by Darynda Jones
Publisher - Piatkus Books
Release Date - January 25th 2012
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 

"If you hang around with dead people, life can deliver a whole world of trouble."

Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time P.I. and full-time Grim Reaper.The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible...

When Charley and Cookie, her best friend slash receptionist, have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally.) has left his corporeal body because he's being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can't let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they'll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven...well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.

Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm's way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?
I read First Grave on the Right a few years back and remembering how much a I really enjoyed it, but I never actually continued the series, honest to god I don't know why I didn't. With the Seventh Grave and No Body to be released later this month, the publishers have very kindly sent me novels 5,6 and 7 of the Charley Davidson series. I thought it was about time I continue where I left off and order it from my library. Reading it a little over a day and half, I really don't know why I didn't continue the series ages ago...

Charley Davidson, professional status PI - Leading Investigator of the State of Albuquerque, working alongside her father and her Uncle Bob also known as Ubie since she was 5. How and Why? you say, she also provides an invaluable service for the society, for humanity and for the world as the only Grim Reaper this side of forever. The one and only on the planet and universe to let the departed, dead people, pass over into...well we assume Heaven. Alongside her killer supernatural entity within her, described as this shining bright light that the dead are drawn too as well as Reyes. Charley takes on a dangerous game, in Second Grave on the Left, but there isn't one day that someone isn't trying to kill her, it was only last week that she nearly died, but her supernatural half lets her heal pretty quickly. It's just another day at the office. Or that is until, her receptionist, Cookie gets a call, that her friend Mimi, has been missing for a week which leads to a high school conspiracy, with a very powerful senate involved is this mix. 

Charley also is in love with the Son of Satan, also known as the part-human, Reyes Alexandra Farrow. Wanted man serving a life sentence for killing his father, but he also departs from his corporeal body to always protect and passionately seduce his 'Dutch', Charley. Reyes is all kinds of hotness, but he also key to hell and key to physically to being the beginning and end of the apocalypse if said certain demons, destroy and find his body and Charley to go with it. Reyes presence in the novel, brought all kinds of feels, leaving blushing and hot as hell at certain scenes as well as feeling pity and compelling sense to back his side throughout. 
"His gaze slid over me like a veil of fire. He could ignite my deepest desires with a single glance. I decided right then and there no more reading romance novels by candlelight.” 
Charley's character has this uncanny brilliance to make this such a humorous take to Urban Fantasy. What makes me laugh is her take to life itself, how she names things, Danger and Will Robinson, and Misery, to make her life that more interesting or for people to see who she really is and she isn't afraid to be show that. I mean if you didn't know Charley you probably think she's crazy, or needs to go to a mental institute but that's the beauty of Jones's writing, because that's the humour and laughter that just shines through Charley's character. Oh and let's not forget Cookie, what an awesome name. There were just some scenes that had me cracking up laughing, she is a real klutz but she does it with style. With a Grim Reaper as a neighbour, best friend and colleague she certainly has to put up a lot. 

When it comes to UF I haven't really read many in a very long time, and it's about time I did. Darynda Jones is only the tip of the iceberg, but with her kick-ass heroine, hot son of Satan and a page turner of a missing person's case, what could be better. If you have any recommendations to UF let me know in the comments, I'm always looking for more like this! 

Rating - 5

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