Well I’m sure you have noticed that I haven’t posted reviews for the last week. I have unfortunately been sick and unable to focus on my reviews. I am sorry to everyone that I owe a review to and hope you all understand my predicament. I am now a full week behind and am not sure how long it will take me to get caught up. If anyone has any helpful suggestions, I am all ears. Thanks for any help…
Publication date: February 2nd 2017
Genres: Gothic, Young Adult
An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out… Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
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Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”
Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.
Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”
As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.
“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.
I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.
“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”
I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.
Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?
I felt a drop of rain. Great.
Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”
I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.
“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”
And that was it. She was gone.
For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.
I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.
Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.
However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?
Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.
The incident left me strangely unsettled.
I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.
Go away, damn it.
As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.
Dear God…what’s happening to me?
I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.
I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.
I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.
I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand. The water had turned blackish with grime.
I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.
Madre Estela was long gone from the window.
Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.
From one to the other.
Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.
Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.
My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.
I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.
The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.
Icy breath, on the back of my neck.
I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.
I spun around in terror.
Then I hit something hard.
A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.
Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.ZoeKalo.com and get her exclusive short story “Irkalla.”
Still Love You
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Willow has had her life planned out since she was a little girl. So when her boyfriend, Silas, proposed when they were still in high school, she turned him down. Marrying Silas was not part of the plan.
Unlike Willow, Silas lives in the moment and lets his heart guide his decisions so he had no hesitations when he asked Willow to marry him. When she said no, he needed to get away so he took off to do volunteer work overseas.
Willow assumed she’d never see Silas again so she’s shocked when he shows up at her dorm room. For the past two years, she’s tried to forget him. Tried to move on. But she can’t. He was her first love. Her only love.
She still loves Silas, but is convinced they can’t be together. They want different things in life. It would never work. So why can’t she stop loving him?
“Why were you flirting with her?” Willow asks. “You don’t live here. It’s not like you could date her.”
“I wasn’t flirting. I was just giving her my order.” I stretch my legs out under the table, letting them brush against Willow’s.
She crosses her legs and turns to me. “You were giving her the Silas smile. No girl can resist that and you know it. You were definitely flirting.”
“Why do you care?” I nudge her leg with mine and keep it there. I know I shouldn’t keep touching her but I can’t help it. I haven’t seen her forever and now that she’s here, I have this need to touch her, even in just an innocent way. I’m a very tactile person. Touch is a way I communicate, sometimes without even knowing it.
“I don’t care,” she says in a tone that implies the opposite. “Do what you want. I just don’t think you should flirt with some girl you have no intention of asking out. You’re leading her on.”
“A person can flirt without having it go anywhere.”
“Then what’s the purpose?”
Typical Willow logic at work. She has to have an answer to everything. An answer that makes sense to her.
“There doesn’t have to be a purpose.” I know that comment will get her going, but I put it out there anyway.
“Of course there does. You can’t just do something for no reason.”
“Fine.” I lean across the table and give her that Silas smile she was referring to. “I flirted with her so she’d get your order correct. I’m sure they’re not used to having to follow such specific guidelines for making a burger. I was just making sure they got it right.”
She sighs. “I appreciate your efforts but you don’t have to resort to selling your body just to get my order correct.”
I laugh and sit back. “I wasn’t selling my body. It was just a smile.”
“I think that girl would like more than that.” Willow holds up the receipt, which has a phone number written on back with the words ‘call me.’
“Huh. I wondered what she wrote on there.” I take the receipt and shove it in my pocket.
“You’re keeping it?” Willow looks disgusted with me.
I shrug. “You never know.”
“Never know what?”
Before I can answer, our food arrives, delivered by a short, scrawny kid who doesn’t look legally old enough to work. He’s probably the little brother of the girl at the register. They look similar.
“Wait.” Willow stops him before he leaves. “Could you get us another cup for the milkshake? And another straw?”
He nods and walks off.
I set the basket of fries between us as Willow inspects her burger, lifting the top of the bun.
“Is it the way you wanted it?” I ask.
“Yes. It’s perfect.” She puts the bun back in place. “But your flirting trick didn’t completely work. She forgot the cup and the straw.”
“That’s because you asked for that, not me.” I smile, then take a big bite of my burger.
“Whatever,” she mumbles, picking up a fry.
She eats fries one at a time, whereas I grab several and eat them all at once. That’s why we always shared an order. It would take Willow forever to finish a basket of fries on her own, eating them one at a time like that.
I wonder if she shares her fries when she goes out with other guys. I try not to think about that. Thinking about her with another guy makes me angry and I never get angry. Except when it comes to Willow. She brings out all my emotions. The good, the bad, the in-between. This girl gets to me the way no one else can.
When I left two years ago, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see her again, and now, working for her parents, I’ll see her every day.
This is going to be a very interesting summer.
Allie Everhart started writing romance three years ago with Choosing You, the first book in the bestselling Jade Series. Since then, she’s published eighteen books. Allie writes romance because she loves watching a relationship develop between her characters, from those first flirty encounters to the point they realize they’re in love. Allie’s always been a romantic, as evidenced by her early years as a wedding singer, her obsession with dating shows, and the fact that she still watches reruns of The Love Boat.
(The Moran Family #2)
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Playing the field does have its perks.
Marco Moran knows all about those perks. Wealthy, successful, and fully committed to being single, he’s content strolling through life with numerous women traipsing in and out of his bed. Unapologetic, he embraces the life of a single man, doing all he can to avoid tying himself down.
Amita Morales has a mediocre life….a decent job, a car that runs, a boyfriend she tries convincing herself is worth staying with, even though any love she might have felt for him died years before. Meeting Marco Moran is nothing more than an inconvenience, and yet their attraction to one another is undeniable.
When Amita is suddenly single, everything changes. For the first time in years, her future is open to possibility and happiness. But friendship is the name of the game for Marco and Amita. The committed bachelor in him will gladly settle for friends with benefits, but even he is surprised at their off the charts chemistry. Will she be able to tame this wild playboy? Or will she have to reconcile herself to a life with a man who is determined to remain unattached?
This, the 2nd novel in The Moran Family series, can be read as a standalone, though these characters are introduced in book 1, “Saving Cruz”.
“Are all the guys who work here hot?”
I quickly get to my feet. The sultry and all too sexy voice behind me is like my own personal cat nip. I give the brunette a thorough once-over, then do it again because once really wasn’t enough. Between her knockout curves, fantastic rack, and a face most men only dream of, I’m putty in her hands. If the blush tinting her face is any indication, it’s fair to say she’s having a similar reaction to me.
My good friend Mia, who happens to be the on-again, off-again girlfriend of my older brother Cruz, as well as his assistant for our family-owned company, chimes up and breaks through the hot, sexual chemistry with an introduction. “Marco, this is my best friend, Amita Morales. Amita, this is Marco Moran. He’s the CFO here at The Moran Group.”
Amita rolls her sultry brown eyes over me once more. She reaches out her hand and murmurs, “Mr. Moran.”
It’s like sticking my finger in a light socket when I take her hand in mine. The zing of energy that races through me from her touch is tangible. She’s no longer blushing but her eyes widen expressively and she blinks rapidly, telling me she’s feeling the exact same thing based on her semi-shocked look.
Mia hops to her feet and interrupts us again. “…you need me to let him know you’re here?” I vaguely hear something that sounds like words, but I’m so damn transfixed by this woman standing in front of me I barely know my own name. “Marco, do you need me to let Cruz know you’re here?”
Regaining my senses, I quickly drop Amita’s hand and shove my own, slightly shaky in my pocket. “What? Oh, no … I’ll let myself in. You girls enjoy.” I give the beauty one more trademark Moran grin and drawl, “I look forward to seeing you again, Amita.”
She smiles broadly, showing me a row of perfect, white teeth. “Oh, you will. You can bet on it.”
Alexis James lives on the beautiful Central California coast. When she’s not spending time with her hubby of almost 30 years or her amazing kids, you can find her tapping away on the computer. She loves reading, spending time with family, reading, camping, reading….and writing too! She enjoys a good date night, an inexpensive glass of wine, and any story that can make her smile and/or cry.
Alexis’s first novel, “Losing Faith”, was released in September 2014. Her second novel, “Loving Emma”, is a standalone, though it does feature some characters from “Losing Faith”.
She invites you to visit her author pages on Facebook and Goodreads, and her website: alexisjamesauthor.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (@alexisjames27) or you can email her at: email@example.com.
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
“A story that captures your heart and continues you thinking about it long after you fall asleep.”
Autumn Nash lives a nomadic existence with her harvest-travelling father, except every summer when they return to one place like clockwork…Ligonier, PA. But this season, Autumn meets a young man who changes her world and makes her long for more.
Eric Foster has been sent to stay the summer in Ligonier with his grandfather in hopes of altering his path as his life spirals downward. His direction changes the moment he sees Autumn; he knows his very reason for breathing is solely to be with her.
When Autumn is ripped away from Ligonier, she leaves Eric confused and devastated that their time is over. Both teens struggle through the years gone by without the other. Will Autumn ever see the boy who changed her life again? Will Eric wait for her? Will Autumn ever make it back to Ligonier? And what will happen when buried secrets surface?
Discover a love that takes you back to what it’s all about—the confusing, yet simplistic, beginnings of falling in love and watch it evolve into something that takes your breath away.
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So this is me in short. I’m plus size and completely adorable (or so my husbands tells me) A momma of three princes who light my world. I drink way too much coffee, chocolate is a staple. I love to write after midnight and my love for short stories will never fade. With such a limited amount of time to enjoy quiet writing, I have mastered the skills of fitting a lot into a small amount of pages. Humour keeps me smiling and well.. if you’ve read my books you’ll know that I put a lot of myself into the characters. And to answer your questions. My best friends and I forgot the part about growing up and love every minute of it. Aside from writing I also run a publication IndieLove Magazine, promoting Indie Awesomes from a range of fields and professions. Check it out at http://www.indielovemagazine.com
In 2017 I will be saying goodbye to Chick lit for a while and heading into Contemporary Romance. I hate to be put in a box! Join my street team at http://www.sarahgai.com and come have some fun!
Love to all xo.
Wanting to write for all the women out there who want a good short read about strong friendships, romance and body positive, love the skin you’re in kind of fiction. Check out http://Facebook.com/sarahgaiauthor or http://www.sarahgai.com
(Love Unexpectedly #3)
Publication date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.
“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.
Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.
Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.
“I, um . . . you’re giving me the car?” I ask.
“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.
“And this one’s . . . not broken down?” I ask skeptically.
Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just . . .
Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.
I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.
But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.
“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.
“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”
“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.
“Like, as in he actually starts?”
“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”
I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.
“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.
“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.
“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.
“Reece agreed to fix him up.”
I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”
“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”
And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.
I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.
“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.
They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.
Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”
Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.
He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .
I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.
And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR
Prior to becoming an author, Lauren lived in Seattle with a cushy job in e-commerce/web-marketing. On a whim, she quit her job and moved to NYC to pursue a writing career. A year later, she had an agent and two publishing contracts.
She now lives in midtown Manattan where she writes full time, although has been known to be lured away from the computer by a well-made cocktail.
(Face-Off Series #1)
Publication date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Former collegiate athlete and successful sports agent, Charlotte “Coach” Coachman, is a straight shooter who has a very strict policy—no dating clients. The loves of her life are coaching little league basketball and managing the careers of her players, leaving no room for men.
Coach hasn’t met an athlete she couldn’t handle and a deal she couldn’t close—until she meets Alex Parker—the NHL’s most notorious bad boy both on and off the ice.
Alex is the best defenseman in the league, breaking records along with hearts. He’s made a name for himself as a womanizer, and after a scandal involving the owner’s granddaughter, Alex is traded to Philadelphia. Still reeling from the loss of his father, Alex is on a downward spiral, drowning himself in booze and women, until Coach takes him under her wing.
She might be attracted to the sexy hockey star, and certainly not immune to his charms, but Coach can see that Alex needs her help, and coaching players is what she does best. Now that the lines are blurred and the passion between them is too strong to deny, Coach has to decide if Alex is worth making an exception to her rules.
As my cell phone rings, Tony mumbles that he’s going to grab us a few more beers, and then he disappears into the hallway. I do not recognize the number on the caller ID, but I do know the 215 area code. Philadelphia.
I press the button to answer, and before I can even say hello, a woman on the other end of the line says, “Parker, this is Coach. Mickey wanted me to call personally, so here you go. You’ve got me for all of two minutes and thirteen seconds.”
It takes me a minute to remember the name before I realize it’s Mickey’s girl, Charlotte Coachman. Her voice is so stern and confident, yet she’s exactly what I expected from what I’d heard about her from Mickey and some of her clients. She has made a name for herself in the sports world, and she’s one of the few women who didn’t sleep her way into that position, which is rare in this business.
“Hello to you, too, sweetheart.”
At first, she chuckles, but then her laughter slowly turns into a cackle. “Call me that again, Parker, and watch what happens. Let’s get something straight. I’m not one of your puck bunnies. I have a name. That name is Coach or Charlie, but it sure as hell isn’t sweetheart. You got that?”
This chick is crazy and feisty, and I kind of like it.
“One minute and thirty seconds.” She sounds like she’s chewing glass, the words harsh and painful on the tip of her tongue. “In the interest of saving ourselves the headache, I’ve arranged for my secretary to meet you at the apartment building. Please don’t look at her, smile in her direction, or flirt with her because I’m sick of replacing secretaries. I did you a solid with the Philly deal, so I’d appreciate you doing the same and keeping your hands to yourself.”
She went from intriguing to working my last nerve in a matter of seconds.
“Give me some credit at least. You make me out to be a total creep.”
“That’s not entirely off base, Parker. You seem to have a problem with keeping your pants on—or is it finding them?”
I can hear her covering the phone and chuckling to herself before she returns to being a mega bitch.
Damn those stupid YouTube videos.
What is her problem?
She’s so uptight, she might snap in half.
“Like I was saying, Kayla will meet you at the building with the keys. If you need food, clothes, whatever, just let her know, and she will have it delivered. I put my ass on the line for you. Please make sure you’re at practice on time.”
“Sure thing, boss lady. Anything else?”
She sighs loudly into the receiver. “No. My cab is here, and I have to hang up. Mickey said you had the address and Kayla’s contact info. Just call her when you arrive. That’s all.”
I’m about to speak when I realize she already hung up on me and without even saying good-bye. I guess she sucks with them as much as I do.
Every second of our phone call replays in my mind as I try to wrap my head around what the hell just happened. It’s not hard to see why Charlotte is Mickey’s favorite agent and close friend. She’s the female version of him.
Jillian loves Mafia men, sports, bad boys, dirty talkers, strong female characters, and books with plenty of heat, all of which you will find in her books. As a lover of all things bookish, she has a serious book hoarding problem and runs a book blog in her free time. When she’s not reading, writing, or blogging, she’s obsessively fangirling over hockey players and can be found wherever she can catch the next hockey game.