Contemporary Romance Challenge: Final 2016 Link-Up

1st Dec 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: Final 2016 Link-Up

And just like that it’s over!

I cannot believe how fast this year went. Maybe a blessing in disguise? Who knows, but I’m sure looking forward to 2017. I’m sure you guys have read many amazing contemporary romance books this year because I know I have!

I finished with 14, which is a lot less than I thought I was going to read this year, but it is what it is. You can see all the books I read for this challenge in my goodreads shelf: challenge-2016-contemp-romance. But I do want to highlight some of my favorites!

Did you guys read and like and of my top five??? I hope so!

In this post you’ll need to link up wrap-up posts. In January we will choose two winners from the combined November and Final (December) link-ups.

And finally, for 2017 we’ve decided to pass the baton to host this challenge to Andi of Andi’s ABCs, who is a HUGE contemporary romance reader. Be sure to head to her blog for details and to sign up for next year’s challenge!

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: November Link-Up

1st Nov 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: November Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

November… will you bring me cold weather, please? So far it has not been cool at all and I’m ready for it. Oh, well. Anyway, the end of the year is in sight! I, for one, am ready to be done with 2016. lol But I hope your 2016 has been better! :)

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have October posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the October Link-up, which closes on November 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

No Topic This Month!

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

Important note: The November linky will close on December 3rd due to some dumb InLinkz rule, so be sure to get those links in. :)

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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The Morganville Vampire’s 10th Anniversary – Guest Post: Regarding Myrnin by Rachel Caine

7th Oct 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Guest Posts

The Morganville Vampire’s 10th Anniversary – Guest Post: Regarding Myrnin by Rachel Caine

I think it’s time to talk about Myrnin. You know, the guy who lurks in the alley next to Gramma Day’s house? In the shack? You might also know him as the adorable/terrifying vampire who’s built a steampunk lab underneath the shack, blown it up a few times, can’t use bookcases worth a damn, invented a computer that runs on blood and requires a real brain, and … wears bunny slippers. Vampire bunny slippers.

These bunny slippers. (FULL DISCLOSURE: Myrnin’s never watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I have. Therefore I can say they are *probably* Killer Rabbit slippers.)

Lots of readers are hooked on Myrnin, and write in to ask for more, more, more Myrnin. Which I love, of course. But I thought I’d tell you Myrnin’s origin story.

The character of Myrnin was a placeholder in the first two books. In my head, I had a slot for the “strange scientist” who helped create and run Morganville’s various weird systems, like the field that makes you forget the town when you leave it, the portals Amelie uses as her own personal express lane, etc. But I didn’t know anything about that guy. He was just a shadow in the dark, which was why, in the beginning, I described him as the trapdoor spider that lurks in the shadows of the alley, and also might be the actual inspiration for the Arthurian legends of Merlin. I wanted to discover him, in a sense, as I wrote him.

Discovering him was more like opening a door and finding a fully formed person on the other side of it.

— Rachel Caine

The Morganville Vampires | Morganville: The Series | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a personal Halloween card from Rachel Caine, a TPU sampler booklet, a photo still from Morganville: The Series, and a Fall of Night lenticular bookmark! 4 runners-up will also receive a personal Halloween card from Rachel Caine! Giveaway ends on 10/14/16

Rafflecopter Link for Blog Giveaway 

 

Scavenger Hunt

There are 10 blogs participating in the Morganville Vampires 10th Anniversary Bash and each blog has a bold, red, hidden buzz word in the body of the post that entrants must find and submit via the Rafflecopter below. Find all 10 buzz words, enter them in the Scavenger Hunt Rafflecopter on any of our 10 participating blogs, and be entered to win 1 of 3 prizes!

2 Runners-up will receive a Morganville Vampires tote bag, a signed paperback copy of Midnight Bites, a TPU sampler booklet , a Fall of Night lenticular, a photo still from Morganville: The Series, a Welcome to Morganville postcard, a Ghost Town lenticular, and a Morganville: The Series poster.

1 Grand Prize winner will receive a Morganville Vampires tote bag, a limited edition UK  Daylighters, a signed paperback copy of Midnight Bites, a TPU sampler booklet, a Fall of Night lenticular bookmark, a photo still from Morganville: The Series, a a Welcome to Morganville postcard, a Ghost Town lenticular bookmark, and a Morganville Resident Survival Kit. Giveaway ends 11/7/16

Rafflecopter Link for Scavenger Hunt Giveaway

 

Stay tuned for more Morganville throughout the month of October!

10/3 Mundie Moms
10/3 Vampire Book Club
10/7: Gone with the Words
10/10: Wicked Lil Pixie
10/14: Pandora’s Book Blog
10/17: Lost in Ever After
10/21: Adventures of a Book Junkie
10/24: Ali’s Reviews and More
10/28 Take Me Away To A Good Read
10/31: Beauty and the Bookshelf

About Rachel Caine

Rachel Caine is a fictional character herself…a pen name of writer Roxanne Conrad. Since 2003, Rachel has written in the adult Urban Fantasy genre (the Weather Warden, Outcast Season, Revivalist and Red Letter Days series) as well as in Young Adult fiction (the Morganville Vampires series and the upcoming novel Prince of Shadows). She is the author of more than forty novels and many short stories, and is regular featured in anthology collections.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: October Link-Up

2nd Oct 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: October Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Octooooober!! I love fall, I love Pumpkin Spice everything, and I’m glad weather isn’t scorching anymore. I’m also really looking forward to some cozy fall/winter romances. Aren’t you?! :)

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have August posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the September Link-up, which closes on October 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

No Topic This Month!

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

26th Sep 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways

Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Jimmy Patterson
Pub Date: September 20th 2016
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Happy Monday, friends! I partnered with JIMMY Patterson Books to share this amazing giveaway of one of the most anticipated books this Fall! And with Halloween right around the corner, nows the perfect time to enter to win a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco!

Here’s a little more about the book from the author herself:

Stalking Jack the Ripper is without a doubt a new take on the legendary mystery of Jack the Ripper. What drew you to the story of Jack the Ripper, and why did you choose him as a villain?

Unsolved crimes and history have intrigued me since I was a teen. I was fascinated by the Ripper case in particular because of the mystery that still surrounds it. There are so many theories and suspects, and as a writer it’s a wonderfully blank canvas for creating your own backstory. Who was Jack? Where did he come from? What were the circumstances leading up to that Autumn of Terror? I think the most interesting villains are ones that fit into that questionable gray area—the place where we understand their motivation, even if we’re horrified by it.

I chose Jack because I wanted this story to focus on a young woman who turned the tables on him. When I researched case details, I immediately thought about the forensic team behind the scenes. It was one of the first times in history forensics were applied to a case with gusto, so I imagined how interesting it’d be if a teenage girl was involved with stopping this notorious killer of women. From there it evolved into Audrey Rose’s story of how her world and Jack’s converge.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside New York City, where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: September Link-Up

1st Sep 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: September Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Well, hello there September!! You’re a sight for sour eyes. Unlike Danielle, I’m looking forward to Summer being over. lol She loves Summer. I do not. I’m hoping my blogging/reviewing mojo comes back with this new month. How has your Summer been?

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have August posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the August Link-up, which closes on September 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

Favorite Type of Heroes

 

 

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Blog Tour: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase | Review + Writing Playlist + Giveaway!

10th Aug 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess, Tunes for Books

Blog Tour: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase | Review + Writing Playlist + Giveaway!Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Can you ever really know the person you love?

She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can't get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband's other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story's ending will mean forgiving the man she's loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.

Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the fact that in love and in life, we rarely get exactly what we bargained for.

We’ve all heard the stories: after years of marriage, a husband finally admits to himself and to his wife and family that he’s gay. Most recently you may have read about Trey Pearson, a Christian Rocker, who come out as gay and whose story really touched me. The difference here is that in Results May Vary the revelation wasn’t as honest or heartfelt as Trey’s was.

Results May Vary is about the fallout of a betrayal in a marriage. It’s about how Caroline picks up the pieces of a life she was so secure in and how she comes to terms with the realization that she’s never really known the person she loved and married. But it’s also about all the good that will come after such a devastation.

If you’ve visited my blog in the last year, or even the past six months, you’ve probably seen me say at some point that Bethany Chase’s debut, The One That Got Away, was a favorite read last year. This book is really different than that one. I loved Results May Vary in a completely different way. This is one of those books that really made me think about myself and the people I know, about the experiences in my life and how they’ve shaped who I am now. While reading I wondered, “What if that was my man? How would I react?” Devastated, for sure. But I would hope that above all I’d be kind. Caroline’s journey through this was really heart-wrenching at times, but I really admired her in the end. I was glad that we got to see her go through so many ups and downs because it made her character more authentic. I was very happy with where this story left off and felt content, but at the same time I was left feeling like I was saying goodbye to people I knew in real life. They sure stayed in my mind for a long while after.

Results May Vary is easily my favorite book of the year so far, and I think it’s going to be hard to top at this point. The writing is superb and the emotional depth really moved me. I hope you all run out and get a copy! Or you could try to win the extra one I unknowingly purchased, haha.

gwtw-separate-line

And now, here’s Bethany Chase…

Writing Playlist – Results May Vary

This is an interesting thing to write about, because this book has such a different musical personality from my first book, The One That Got Away. When I was writing that, I was listening to a lot of classic soul and 70’s rock (think Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack), and that made its way into the book in many places. Results May Vary’s playlist is a lot more eclectic, both on purpose and by accident.

  • Sugar & the Hi Lows, “Right Time to Tell You”: This song is gorgeous. The melody and harmonies are about as pretty as it gets, and the lyrics are incredibly apropos to Adam’s situation—the narrator has something to confess, has been waiting for the right time to do it, but no time is ever the right time.
  • Fountains of Wayne’s gorgeous “Valley Winter Song”: This is a quintessential New-England-in-winter song for me. It talks about short, dreary winter days and snowstorms and hanging in there till the summer. (True, perfect fact: the Fountains guys are Williams alums just like Caroline and me.)
  • Band of Horses, “No One’s Gonna Love You”: Really sums up Caroline’s feelings toward Adam in the early part of the book.
  • Amos Lee, “Chill in the Air”: Another beautiful breakup song (in this one, it’s the steel guitar that cinches it), and a nod to Caroline’s predilection for mopey singer-songwriters. I think Amos is fantastic, but the man sure can write a good mopey song.
  • The Grateful Dead, “Fire on the Mountain”: This is one of my personal favorite songs that I was delighted to give to a character. I am only an entry-level Deadhead, but the guitar riff on this song is just so mellow and pretty that I could listen to it for hours. Or, you know, 13 minutes, which is the length of the longest live version of it that I own.
  • The Apache Relay, “Katie Queen of Tennessee”: Very pretty little love song from one of Jonathan’s favorite bands.
  • Jo Dee Messina, “Downtime”: Ruby wasn’t kidding that Jo Dee is the queen of upbeat breakup anthems. I’ve always loved this song because it’s about the process of recovering yourself while you get over a breakup, which is really what the book is about. I especially love the line where she says “Your memory’s taking second to a good book and a nice, long bath.”
  • Duke Ellington, “Jeep’s Blues”: this piece gets a very specific call-out in the book because good lord, is it sexy. I’ve always thought blues is the sexiest music there is. (And this stood me in good stead when one of the questions on my online dating survey was “What’s your favorite music to get you in the mood” and I referenced something about one of the Allman Brothers barn-burners, which impressed the musician who is now my husband.)
  • Rodgers & Hart, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”: I have an Ella Fitzgerald recording of this song that is one of my favorite all-time pieces of music. Ella’s voice is so beautiful, and the song’s lyrics have this sly, witty charm that—yes, I sound like an old person—you so rarely find anymore. “I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again…” It’s such a great description of being infatuated.
  • First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”: Stunning harmonies in this song, and sweet, upbeat lyrics that remind me of Caroline and Neil. Especially where she says “I’m not asking much of you, just sing, little darling, sing with me” and “Things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.”

gwtw-separate-line

Giveaway

Paperback copy of RESULTS MAY VARY by Bethany Chase

 

About Bethany Chase

A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: August Link-Up

7th Aug 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: August Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Summer has me in a real blogging rut so I’m pretty much taking a blogging vacation these days, which is why this post is late. I’ve been reading though! Just not reviewing. :/ I’m hoping I get my mojo back soon. Until then, happy reading!

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have July posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the July Link-up, which closes on August 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

 

No monthly topic this month. Just keep reading those kissy books!

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Blog Tour: Reliquary by Sarah Fine | Excerpt + Giveaway!

20th Jul 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Blog Tours, Giveaways

Blog Tour: Reliquary by Sarah Fine | Excerpt + Giveaway!

Blog Tour: Reliquary by Sarah Fine | Excerpt + Giveaway!Reliquary by Sarah Fine
Series: Reliquary #1
Published by 47North
Pub Date: June 14th 2016
Pages: 280
Format: Paperback | Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.

Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.

I’m so excited to be today’s stop on the Reliquary tour! I have an awesome excerpt to share with you guys, along with a chance for you to win 1 of 3 copies up for grabs! You can also buy it now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble!

Exceprt

RELIQUARY, Chapter one, part one excerpt:

The night before everything fell apart was the best of my life—the last purely happy, uncomplicated hours I would ever have. Looking back, I’m amazed by how lies can soothe the soul, quell every fear, blind you to reality in the most pleasant of ways. Not forever, of course. And only if you really want to buy into the illusion. But back then, I did. Even as the truth sharpened its knives and hunted me down, I refused to see it.

            I was too worried about whether I’d made enough deviled eggs.

 

“We really could have had this catered,” Mom said, stopping to rub my back as I balanced each egg half on the platter and then sprinkled them all with paprika.

I blew a lock of curly hair off my forehead. Outside I could hear laughter and the faint caress of Lake Michigan against the shore. “How many people are out there?” I asked, ignoring her comment. “Should I do another dozen?” It’s my engagement party and I want to feed people, I had said. Just appetizers and beer. I’ll be done with plenty of time to spare.

            Ugh. My mother was right. Again.

Her soft hands closed over my wrists. “We’ll have plenty. But Mattie, you need to be on the deck with Ben, not stuck in the kitchen. Your guests want to congratulate you—that’s the whole point of the party! Let me finish this up.” She held up my hands and glanced at my fingernails, short but coated with a bright-orange polish that set off my mustard-yellow dress and strawberry blond hair. “You’ll ruin these if you keep this up.” Smiling, she grabbed a dishrag and wiped a smear of mayonnaise off my ring finger, and the diamond that now lived there sparkled in the light. “Look—you’ve already done all the prep on the perperoncini wraps and the bruschetta. I’ve got this covered. Go.”

I glanced out to where my fiancé (fiancé!) was standing, a bottle of beer in one hand, flashing that smile that could melt glaciers. His hair ruffled in the breeze off the lake, the sun glinting off golden strands. I bit my lip and stared. Seriously—how had I gotten so lucky? “You sure, Mom? I feel terrible leaving you with all this work.”

She chuckled and shook her head. “Honey, that’s my job.”

My mind skipped through memories of all the times she’d rescued me from my own ambitious schemes. Like when I’d taken on decorations for the senior prom (DIY string chandeliers are harder than they look, damn you, Internet!), or the time I’d decided that I totally had time to make three hundred cupcakes for my sorority’s homecoming party despite the fact that I had to cheer in the actual homecoming game. “I guess I’m the queen of biting off more than I can chew.” I sighed. “Sorry.”

She pulled me into a hug, brushing my unruly hair off my face. “It’s just one of your many charming qualities.” She inclined her head toward Ben, and when I turned, he was watching the two of us, his honey-brown eyes full of affection and invitation. “And clearly Ben thinks so, too.”

“Remind him of that after he takes a look at the supply closet at the clinic, okay?” I nodded as he beckoned me to come outside. “I might have tried to install a new shelving system while he was fishing with Dad yesterday.” Ben had told me that it was my practice, too, even though he was the vet and I was just the lab tech and assistant. I’d wanted to show him I could pull me weight. And I could…but unfortunately, the new shelving system could not.

I explained the catastrophe that had once been Ben’s tidy closet. Mom just said, “We can get Dad over there to take a look at it tomorrow morning. He gets a kick out of fixing other people’s messes.” One of the reasons my dad was the most popular real estate agent in Sheboygan was that he actually seemed to enjoy patching holes and installing crown molding, and it certainly helped with sales.

“You guys are the best parents. I don’t deserve you.”

Mom handed me the egg platter. “Pay me back by making sure Grandpa’s having a decent time, okay?”

“You got it.” I grinned. “I’m a ray of sunshine. I even dressed the part.” I kissed her cheek and scooted through the open sliding door to the deck, where I set the platter on a table already crowded with food.

A warm hand closed over my arm. “Finally,” Ben said, his voice full of gentle teasing.

I leaned my head back and let him kiss me, savoring the taste of taste of beer on his lips. “Mm. I think I read somewhere that anticipation is a fine aphrodisiac.”

He laughed, and it accentuated the adorable dimple in his right cheek. “Is that what this is? I thought maybe you were avoiding me because of the supply closet.”

“You weren’t scheduled to go in until tomorrow!”

His arm slid around my waist, and he pulled me against his muscular body. “I had to go pick up some eyedrops for Barley.” His aging golden retriever was falling apart at the seams, but Ben was determined to give him a good life for as long as possible. “And it’s okay, really. It’ll be easy to fix.”

I buried my face against his shoulder. “You are amazing.”
He tipped my chin up. “And I’m marrying an amazing woman. Come on. Your friend Chelsea’s just gotten here, and I know you haven’t see her in a while. Also, a couple of your aunts and uncles have already asked me when you’ll appear. We need to greet your guests.”

Your guests.

I laced my fingers with Ben’s and looked out over my parents’ sprawling backyard, crowded with my extended family and everyone from my mother’s book club to my preschool gymnastics coach. Chelsea, my best friend from college, lifted her glass and grinned from her spot at the makeshift bar next to the pool.

“They’re not all mine,” I said quietly. Feeling lame, I waved toward Franz, one of a handful of Ben’s patients (or, rather, the family members of Ben’s patients) I had invited to beef up his part of the guest list.

Ben laughed as Franz waved back enthusiastically, looking a little lost and desperate as he stood among a group of my parents’ church friends. “I’m really flattered he decided to come,” Ben said. “He’s much more comfortable surrounded by books and wine.” A professor of anthropology at University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan, Franz had invited us over to his home a time or two, where I spent the evening playing with his dachshund, Lemmie, and Ben and Franz huddled in his library discussing lofty topics they claimed were too boring for me to sit through.

“I’m glad he came, too.” I bit my lip. “But he’s not your family. We could have invited Asa, you know.”

Ben’s grip turned to iron. “You can’t be serious.”

“Come on, Ben. He’s your brother.”

“Listen, even if we could find him, and even if he were sober enough to show up, trust me—you don’t want my brother here.” His jaw clenched over the tremble in his voice. “And I don’t, either. He’s a criminal. A lowlife. He’s—”

“Ben, he’s the only family you’ve got left.” My heart ached for him. His mother had taken off when Ben was only a toddler, and he and Asa had been raised by their father, who died a few years back. “Weddings bring people together!”

“But with some people, that’s more of a curse than a blessing.”

“You don’t think he’d be happy for you?”

“Mattie, the last time we saw each other, he threatened to kill me.”

What?” My eyes went wide. “You never mentioned that before!”

He bowed his head and shrugged. “It was a long time ago, and I don’t like to talk about it. But Asa’s just…he’s messed up. He’s got rage inside of him. And he’s always been jealous of me. Do you think it would help if he got a good look at all of this?”

I leaned my head on his shoulder. “I just wish you two could find your way back to each other. Family is important.”

“I’m building a new family, Mattie. And there’s no one I’d rather do it with.” He shoved his left hand in his pocket, and I knew his fingers were running over his lucky agate. Just one of the odd, endearing habits that had made me fall deeper in love with him. I watched his face as he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. And when he opened them, he smiled down at me. His hand rose from his pocket to stroke my cheek. “You are so beautiful,” he murmured.

I shivered with sudden pleasure. His touch was like a drug to me, and I was the happiest of addicts. As his fingertips trailed down my throat, my entire body tingled, and my hands balled in the fabric of his shirt, barely keeping me from sliding my palms up under it to feel his bare skin. “Do you think anyone would notice if we disappeared for a few minutes?”

My old bedroom was a few steps away, and I was already envisioning myself on the bed. His grip on my hips would be bruising and delicious. My body was already slick and soft and hot. I felt like I was one deft touch away from having an orgasm, right there on the deck. Ben’s hand spread across my back, steadying me, and he glanced down at my flushed cheeks with an appreciative grin. “What were you saying about anticipation?”

“Screw it. Or, wait, screw me. That would be even better.”

“If someone doesn’t bring me a damn plate of food, I’m going to starve!” said a gravelly voice to my left.

Ben released me instantly and clasped his hands behind his back, like a little boy caught stealing. My reaction wasn’t much better—I slapped my hands over my warm cheeks and turned toward the source of the complaint. “Grandpa! I-I was just coming to find you.”

Grandpa looked up at me from his wheelchair. Dad had parked him in the corner of the deck so that he could look out over the lawn. His wide-brimmed straw hat shaded his watery, red-rimmed eyes, and his gnarled hands were clawed over the armrests. “Yes, that much was obvious.”

Great. Grandpa had probably heard every word of my scheme to sneak in a quickie with my boyfriend (fiancé!). I blushed from my forehead to my toes. Could I just control myself for once in my life? “What would you like, Grandpa? Summer roll? Deviled eggs?”

“Surprise me.”

Grabbing a plate and a napkin, I listened to Ben doing his best to make nice—and to Grandpa having none of it. I scooped up a few appetizers from each platter and turned just in time to see Ben reaching out to shake Grandpa’s hand. When my grandfather didn’t let go of the armrests, Ben saved face by giving Grandpa’s hand a friendly pat.

Grandpa jerked away like he’d been burned, first glaring at the back of his liver-spotted hand and then up at Ben. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he snapped.

Ben blinked down at his fingers, the shock on his face similar to my own. “I’m…sorry?”

“You should be,” Grandpa growled. “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to, boy.”

“Try the eggs!” I said, rushing forward with the plate and nearly tripping in my strappy sandals. Stepping between my gaping fiancé and the tight-lipped old man who for some inexplicable reason had chosen the occasion of my engagement party to lose his mind, I put the plate in Grandpa’s lap because hey, snacks can fix nearly anything. (Despite everything that’s happened, I still believe that.)

“Mattie, I think I’m going to…um…I’m going to go make sure Franz is having a good time,” Ben said.

I threw him and apologetic look over my shoulder. “I’ll be there in a few.”

Grandpa didn’t touch the food. His hands were shaking as I knelt next to him, my sunny skirt fanning around me. “Grandpa,” I said gently. “Are you okay?”

“Don’t take that tone with me,” he said, though his voice had lost its edge. “My hospice nurse uses the same damn voice when I dare to express an opinion about anything other than whether I would or would not care for raisins in my oatmeal.” His tremulous fingers clutched at mine, and he sighed. “Never get old, Mattie.”

“I won’t.” My chest squeezed with regret. Just a few weeks ago, the doctors had announced he only had months to live. He looked okay—apart from the rattling couch that kept him up nights and fatigue and pain meds that made him groggy during too many of his waking hours—but lung cancer was taking him down. After the doctors’ verdict, my parents had shipped him all the way to Wisconsin from his home in Arizona so they could take care of him until the end. They’d said it was the best thing for him, and to my surprise he hadn’t objected. But he didn’t seem happy about it—especially because everyone was tiptoeing around him like he was going to keel over any second. I tried to take a different approach. “Hey. In exchange for not using the you’re-a-crazy-old-man voice, I want to know what just happened with Ben.”

He grunted. “It was nothing.”

“Nothing? You refused to shake my fiancé’s hand! I mean, if you overheard us just now, that was as much my fault as—”

“Mattie, how much do you know about him, really?”

“We’ve been together for three years!”

“That doesn’t mean you know his secrets.”

I frowned. “How about you tell me what you’re getting at?”

Grandpa rubbed at his chest as he looked over at the lawn, where Ben was mingling like a pro. “Ask him.”

Frustration began to creep in. Seriously, he had to pick this night to get all protective of my virtue? They’d spoken for two minutes. What could have gone that wrong that fast? “Grandpa, what did he say to you that has you this upset?”

“Find out everything you can about him. You owe it to yourself.” He turned back to me, his chin trembling. “You and I haven’t spoken much since your grandma died.”

I looked away, ashamed. “I’m sorry. I should have written more.” Or called. Or visited.

“Come have lunch with me tomorrow?”
“I have to work.”

“Tuesday, then.”

“Okay.” I’d have to arrange with Jan, our practice manager, to cover the waiting room during what was usually her lunch break, but that wasn’t anything a box of Girl Scout cookies couldn’t fix.

“Mattie?” Ben called from the lawn. “The girl cousins are here.” His tone said, Help.

My aunt Rena’s four teenage daughters were a handful. I stood up and smoothed my skirt. “I’d better get down there before they stick one of their iPhones in Dad’s speaker dock and turn this into a rave.”

Grandpa squinted at me. “Are you speaking English?”

“Never mind.” I rubbed his shoulder. “Enjoy those eggs.”

I floated over to Ben, the incident already behind me. This was my engagement party, and I was marrying the love of my life. Nothing—and especially not my cranky old grandpa—was going to ruin it.

Re-printed with permission from 47North, copyright © 2016 by Sarah Fine

 

Giveaway

3 Finished Copies of RELIQUARY (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

7/17: Polished Page-Turners – Spotlight
7/18: The Eater of Books – Excerpt
7/19: Behind Closed Covers – Spotlight
7/20: Gone with the Words – Excerpt
7/21: Reading is Better with Cupcakes – Excerpt
7/22: Supernatural Snark – Q&A
7/23: Quite the Novel Idea – Spotlight
7/24: The Book Cellar – Review
7/25: Fiction Fare – Q&A
7/26: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
7/26: Emily Reads Everything – Review
7/27: Stuck in Books – Excerpt
7/27: Reads All the Books – Review
7/28: Ex Libris – Review
7/28: BCS Reviews – Review
7/29: kimberlyfaye reads – Review
7/29: Wandering Bark Books – Review
7/30: Lost in Lit – Review
7/30: Bookish Lifetsyle – Review
7/31: Don’t Fold the Page – Review
7/31: Miranda’s Book Blog – Review

 

About Sarah Fine

Sarah Fine is a clinical psychologist and the author of the Servants of Fate and Guards of the Shadowlands series. She was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Giveaway: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

13th Jul 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways

Giveaway: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Giveaway: Afterward by Jennifer MathieuAfterward by Jennifer Mathieu
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Pub Date: September 20th 2016
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.

Friends!! Happy Wednesday! Today the wonderful Jennifer Mathieu is sponsring a great giveaway of her upcoming novel, Afterward, along with some cool swag!

 

ARC of AFTERWARD by Jennifer Mathieu Giveaway

 

Good luck!

 

 

About Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu started writing stories when she was in kindergarten and now teaches English to middle and high school students. She won the Teen Choice Debut Author Award at the Children’s Choice Book Awards for her first novel, The Truth About Alice. She is also the author of Devoted and Afterward. She lives in Texas with her husband, son, dog, and two cats. Read about her books on her website!

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

5th Jul 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Top Ten Tuesday

This topic is a new way to talk about underrated books in a more technical way, especially when underrated is subjective. The way I did this — in my Goodreads read list, I added a column for # of ratings, then sorted them by that!

 

Adult Reads

 

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
Before and Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
Truly by Ruthie Knox
When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Unbound by Cara McKenna
Unforgettable by Shannon Richard

 

YA Reads

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: July Link-Up

1st Jul 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: July Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Ok, well I’m over the heat. And it’s only July. *cries* All I really want to do is stay in my air-conditioned home and read, but I have to adult and go to work. Good thing good books have been keeping me company lately!! June was a slow reading month all around, but I think that’s typical. Hope you’re getting some great beach reads in!

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have June posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the June Link-up, which closes on July 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

 

This month’s topic:

Ten Most Anticipated Romances for Second Half of 2016

Completely Yours by Erin Nicholas
Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Maybe This Time by Jennifer Snow
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Into the Blue (Wild Aces #2) by Chanel Cleeton
My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
The One Real Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk #1) by Samantha Young
Only You (Bachelor Brotherhood #1) by Denise Grover Swank
To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!

30th Jun 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Jess, Tunes for Books

Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!

Bitsy Words: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller + Giveaway!The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pub Date: June 28th 2016
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback | Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

From critically-acclaimed author Trish Doller comes a powerful new psychological page-turner perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and Sara Zarr.

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving--the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The Devil You Know was just released in paperback and since I’ve read AND listened to the audiobook and have yet to post a review for it, I thought now would be a great time to do so, PLUS offer my friends a chance to win a copy!

Trish Doller delivers the perfect Summer suspense beach read in The Devil You Know. Not only is it a page-turner, it’s also SEXY AS HELL. Trish gives us TWO hot guys in this book, but only one of them is a good guy… the other one could turn out to be a straight up killer. DUN DUN DUUUUUN.

I love Trish’s writing. It’s always so lush and atmospheric. I could literally picture the outdoors in this one, as well as feel that humid heat. Grant it, the humidity is not a stretch for me to imagine considering I live in it here in Texas, but she made it to where you’ll feel it anywhere you live.

Audiobook lovers!

I re-read this through audio and OMG, IT WAS FANTASTIC! The audiobook only builds on the suspense in the story. The performance by Susannah Jones was spot on. I highly recommend you listen to this book.

Trish also has some really great visuals and music to go along with The Devil You Know
 

 

Giveaway

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller – Paperback Giveaway!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Series Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

29th Jun 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Jess, Series Review

Series Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince #1
Published by Berkley
Pub Date: April 7th 2015
Pages: 270
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Historical, LGBT, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2 Stars

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

I was beyond grateful and excited when I recived this series in the mail from Berkley publishers. I’d heard so many people just losing their minds over it. So I was ready to join in the fun. :)

Captive Prince started out really strong for me. I was instantly intrigued by this Prince (Damen) who was being carted away as a slave and being delivered into the hands of another Prince (Laurent). These guys aren’t friends, btw. Damen killed Laurent’s brother, so he’s always been out for his head, but when they finally come face to face with Damen as a slave, Laurent doesn’t know that he’s looking at his brother’s killer. Or does he?! LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

I was warned that this series would be “pretty dark with some serious sexual slavery portrayals” and it was! And I think a lot of the reason why this book is my lowest rated in the series is because I felt too much time was focused on showing us how bad it was for slaves in Laurent’s kingdom when what I really wanted was just a lot of Damen and Laurent period. But I get that why it was set up this way.

Also, expect nothing to happen between these two. Settle in for the long haul. They have a lot of crap between them before anything romantic or physical can happen between the two of them.

I was worried that since I didn’t love this book I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of the series, so I continued on with tamped down enthusiasm….

 

Series Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince #2
Published by Berkley
Pub Date: July 7th 2015
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Historical, LGBT, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…

Prince’s Gambit takes us out of the castle and into the lands and already I liked it so much better! For one, the Damen and Laurent pagetime increased, so YAY! Secondly, with their countries about to go to war, there’s so much scheming and stratergizing that goes on and I really loved that. It made it exciting again.

Something more was building between Damen and Laurent and tension started to get delicious. Will they, won’t they, WHEN, DAMMIT!! All I’ll say is, settle in for the long haul with these two, because the payoff will be worth it.

There’s also the question of will Damen reveal his identity to Laurent. It feels he’s on the cusp of it throughout the book and you won’t get an answer to that until the end either.

There’s this EPIC battle scene near the end that left me saying “whoa” and after it’s over EVERYTHING IS REVEALED! That was a scene I was so looking forward to and it left me so surprised. Definitly not what I was expecting, but in a good way.

Overall the second book made me excited to continue reading. It took away my worries that I wouldn’t enjoy the series after all.

 

Series Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatKings Rising by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince #3
Published by Berkley
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Historical, LGBT, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master Prince Laurent as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hangs in the balance. In the south, Kastor's forces are massing. In the north, the Regent's armies are mobilising for war. Damen's only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen's identity - can it stand against the Regent's final, deadly play for the throne?

I was a little nervous going in because I didn’t know how Damen and Laurent’s dynamic would be affected by everything being out in the open and oooooh, was it ever affected. But the best part is that even though they were at odds, they still had to work SO CLOSELY together in this one to get their countries in order and out of the hands of usurpers.

I loved that we got to see Laurent in situations where his true self could finally shine. Before this book he’d kept himself really private but I knew there was so much more to him and we finally got to see it. Damen on the other hand was always pretty much an open book throughout the series, aside from the hiding his identity thing. He never wavered, while Laurent wasn’t a sure thing. I always felt he was very cunning and would somehow betray Damen in the end. But I worried for nothing. These guys are loyal!

The ending was really gratifying and when I closed the book I was happy I’d read it and stuck with it. It’s been a very long while since I’ve binged a series like that.

gwtw-separate-line

Some general thoughts on the series as a whole that I wanted to mention:

So much of the story is Damen and Laurent and their quest to take back their kingdoms… I didn’t feel like we got a good sense of what the people of thier land are like. I often wondered why it was that being love slaves was such a high regarded position, or why slavery exsisted at all. It was never really explained. And why mostly men? And why young men? There’s hardly any women in this series, and the ones we do meet aren’t that great.

Obviously none of these things affacted my overall feelings but they are thoughts I had that I wanted to share with you all.

Series Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

Have you guys read this series? Is it one you’ll be reading soon? Let me know in the comments!

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

21st Jun 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Top Ten Tuesday

 

Favorite Reads

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase – Review coming in August!
Fly With Me (Wild Aces #1) by Chanel Cleeton – Review
Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C.S. Pacat – Series Review coming soon!
Listen To Me (Fusion #1) by Kristen Proby – Review

 

Favorite Audiobooks

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski, Justine Eyre (Narrator)
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, Tom Phelan (Narrator) – Review
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter, Mariska Hargitay (Narrator)
Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach, Francisco Pryor Garat (Narrator) – Review

 

Not So Favorite

Since I didn’t have ten great reads, I wanted to include the two that didn’t work for me just to have ten books listed. Haha I’m weird like that.

Stone Cold Cowboy (Montana Men #4) by Jennifer Ryan, Coleen Marlo (Narrator) – The narrator for this audiobook was so over the place. I couldn’t listen to much of it.

Finding Fraser by K.C. Dyer – I had such high hopes for this Outlander-centered story but I could not get into the story at all. And it made me really sad. :(

 

What have been some of your favorite 2016 books so far this year? Did any of mine make your list too?

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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