Sunday, 20 January 2013

[Novel Publicity Whirlwind tour] Review: Come a Little Bit Closer (The Sullivans, #7) by Bella Andre

Publication year: 27th November, 2012
Publisher: Oak Press, LLC
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: Review copy provided as a part of blog tour
Rating: 3.5/ 5 stars
from goodreads

Movie star Smith Sullivan can’t afford any distractions. He’s staking his entire reputation on his new film...but he can’t stop thinking about Valentina Landon and the fire he sees smoldering just beneath the surface of her cool exterior.

Valentina isn’t averse to sensual pleasure, or even to the idea of finding true love, but as a Hollywood business manager she’s watched too many smart women fall for actors...only to be torn apart when the fairytale comes to its inevitable end.

But when intense weeks together on set turn their heated attraction into red-hot flames of passion, Smith knows he has to find a way to convince Valentina to let him get a little bit closer. Close enough to completely steal her heart...the way she’s stolen his from the start.

Three words that describe Come a Little Bit Closer by Bella Andre: mild, adorable and electrifying!

Mild in the sense that nothing was overdone. The thing about romance novels that are solely about romance is that they are always in danger of getting a bit too mushy. Come a Little Bit Closer, thankfully, never felt like an overdose of mush. Instead, the romance was dished in manageable doses; with enough of a love-hate conflict and gradual growth, shared connections and a bond that was believably forged.

Electrifying because... well, the chemistry between Smith, movie star, director and screenwriter extraordinaire and Valentina Landon, whose prime concern had been her baby sister's transition to Hollywood all this while, was undeniably... undeniable! The author with her simple, easy-to-flow-with writing style nailed every bit of the steamy, sexy and drop-dead-amazing instances where Smith and Valentina's interactions would leave you swooning.

And despite most of Come A Little Bit Closer taking place on a movie set, the book captures less of the glitz and glam that personifies Hollywood and more of the hard work, dedication and passion that goes into every take of reel life. Smith Sullivan is this amazingly down-to-earth family guy whose main focus is on making the perfect movie and who can't deny his feelings towards his co-star's sister (Valentina). Kind of makes your heart melt, doesn't it?

I mean, who wouldn't want to fall head over heels in love with an unbelievably talented movie star (with or without a reputation)?

Every page of Come A Little Bit Closer screams GUILTY PLEASURE.

And that, in a nutshell, is how I felt about my first Sullivan novel (yes, I started the Sullivan series out of sequence... kind of on purpose, since it was mentioned that you don't need to read these in sequence). It was nothing short of adorable; and gave me quite the sugar rush! I cannot wait to meet the rest of the Sullivan siblings (I'm already half way into From This Moment On). These novels are gold.

Oh, and: Come a Little Bit Closer features a first date that is made of win. Definitely makes the top of my favourite fictional first dates!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Note: The reason why this gets 3.5 stars and not, say, 4 stars is precisely the reason why I also happened to like CaLBC: it's solely a guilty pleasure. But if you regularly indulge in romance novels, this might easily get a 5/5 stars from you!


fall in love
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We've got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW! You'll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You'll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world's heart. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
About The Sullivans:

In this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love...usually where he or she least expects it. Get the eBooks via Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, the iBookStore, or the Kobo Store. Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.
All Sullivan Covers

Bella Andre_1About the Author: 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she'd found her perfect career. Known for "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they'll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine "Red Hot Reads" twice and have been translated into nine languages.

Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her "One of the top digital writers in America" and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Review: Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker

Publication year: 5th April, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Links: Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository
Source: Review copy obtained from author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5/ 5 stars
Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical “B” celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC's, FWD's and inadvertent Reply to All's, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

Renee is about to turn thirty, making her even more aware of the absence of a ring on her finger. Since she's certainly not getting any younger, she agrees to join her friend Mark in a quest to find love in the WWW. Whether it gets her any closer to finding The One or not, she's certainly in for a high-larious ride; with hits and misses, encounters with the serial texter, the B grade celeb, the sporty guy and every other guy you are likely to meet on a cyber date in LA!

Click is exactly what it promises to be: a quick, fun and witty read. To be fair, it's the kind of story that even if I've read a dozen times in a dozen different perspectives, I'd never get bored of. You will love:
  • the dates. It's all of those hilarious first cyber dates with the most can-you-believe-them-hilarious guys packed in one book
  • the friends. Judgmental Ashley, "over-sexed" Shelley and anal-compulsive Mark (as described in the blurb) make the best company. They are constantly looking over Renee's shoulder and their banter was always entertaining! I wish there was more of Mark, though. He gets into the online dating scene with Renee but... poof, his story kind of goes nowhere. 
  • the friend dynamics were realistic and I liked that. As happy-go-lucky as the plot is, I liked that it is not without conflict and whether it's too-judgmental Ashley or the-one-with-too-many-sexcapades Shelley or even girl-next door Renee, their interactions and flaws make them anything but caricature-like and their issues with each other were very realistic and relatable
  • the format. Click is told as a series of emails and I've always loved the format! It's a great, breezy way of story telling. I loved how Meg Cabot made it work in the Boy series and I loved it here too.
  • the running gags. One of which really came back to bite them!
But I also wished:
  • the ending was less abrupt. Even with the drama-filled climax and the sort-of conclusion, I kept swiping my finger against my e-reader, thinking... no, that can't be it! Was that really it? I mean, Mark did not really have an ending! And that bothered me because I really liked Mark. 
Rushed ending aside, Click is exactly the kind of book you can read between other books or even during a super-busy week... it's as light as it gets but so worth your while!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Novel Publicity Whirlwind Tour: Excerpt: Cephrael's Hand by Melissa McPhail

I am a bit late in posting this, but here's an excerpt from Cephrael's Hand by Melissa McPhail, courtesy the Novel Publicity Whirlwind Tour.

Please enjoy this excerpt from Cephrael's Hand, a spellbinding epic fantasy by Melissa McPhail. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Ean hugged the shadows as he tried to find his way back to le Comte’s estates. He feared they’d hurt his head worse than he thought, for the twisting alleys of the city disoriented him now. He was sure he’d passed the last street corner already once, and he had the uneasy feeling that he was walking in circles.

Trying to break the cycle, he turned into a long and shadowed alley, spotting a streetlamp at the other end. Abruptly a form reared out of the shadows. Ean reached for his sword—


The prince halted with his hand around the hilt. “Fynn?”

“Balls of Belloth!” Fynnlar crossed the distance in a rush and grabbed him by both shoulders, giving him a shake. “What are you doing out here, you wool-brained fool?”

“I might ask the same of you, cousin.” Pushing a hand to his throbbing head, Ean closed his eyes. He’d seen so much death since the last moon…so many lives lost, and for what? He couldn’t fathom the events that spun violently around him, only knowing they somehow had him caught in the whirlwind.

“Ean, are you unwell?”

“Hit my head pretty hard,” the prince murmured, lifting tired eyes to refocus on his cousin. “I’ll be all right.”

“Come on. We’d best keep moving.”

The prince shook off the numbness edging his thoughts and followed his cousin. Fog was rising from the river as they headed back toward le Comte’s villa, fat fingers sliding through the streets to leach the color from the night. They reached a corner, and Fynn paused and looked warily around.

“Fynn, what are we waiting fo—”

But the words stuck on Ean’s tongue, for he heard it then: a strange whispering, the whisk of silk across the rough edge of glass. The sound had prickly tentacles that pierced into the soft flesh of Ean’s inner ear and twisted there, making him cringe.

Something flew out of the shadows and Ean swung his head after it, straining to make out what he’d seen. “What in Tiern’aval was that?”

Grimly, Fynn held his sword before him. “A Wildling—a Whisper Lord.”

The whispering continued, tormenting, growing soundlessly louder until it shrieked inside Ean’s skull, shattering any hope of focus.

The Wildling shot out of the shadows again, and Ean forced his eyes to follow, to find him in the shadows where he hid.


He saw him lurking against the wall, smiling around big white teeth. His leathery skin was pitch black , and his eyes were golden like the desert sands. The man locked gazes with him, and—

Suddenly they were nose to nose. Ean felt the heat of his breath in the same moment that the fiery sting of steel pierced his flesh.

Shade and darkness!

“Ean, he cut you!”

“I’m all right.” But Ean grimaced as he gingerly probed the wound. “Shadow take the abominable creature.” Fynn gave him a long look. “Be ready,” and he rushed to meet the Wildling.

The fight turned instantly vicious. Whisper Lord fought with long, stiletto daggers that speared like claws out of his gloves. His hands crisscrossed with amazing speed, never failing to find their mark on Fynn’s person, while his body twisted and spun. Fynn’s thrusts in turn only seemed to meet with the slashed silk of his garments. So fast did the Whisper Lord dart and cavort that Ean at first felt helpless to join in, for he could barely see the Wildling move until after it had happened, as if the sight had to bounce off the back of his eyes…as if he could only see the man’s reflection.

Then Ean found his focus and rushed to help Fynn.

The Whisper Lord marked him before he even got his blade around, a long swipe at the joining of neck and shoulder that burned bitterly. Ean realized that trying to use his sword alone would get him killed, so he pulled his dagger and dove in again. The Whisper Lord dodged like a jumping spider and managed in the same maneuver to slash a deep cut across Ean’s thigh, his daggers flashing first with the silver of steel and then dark with blood. Ean snarled a curse and staggered into the wall, teeth clenched against the pain, for the wound was angry and deep.

Abruptly Fynn threw himself backwards, himself narrowly avoiding a deadly thrust to his gut. Those spine-like blades sliced a chunk of flesh out of his side instead. The royal cousin clenched his teeth and held one hand to his midriff, using the other to pull himself out of reach.

Ean dove at the creature with renewed determination, his battered head forgotten in his haste to keep the man away from Fynn. He wore a malicious grin as they battled, and his golden gaze was flecked and sparkling against his face of leathery pitch. As Ean’s strength failed, the Wildling grinned even broader and began to chant in a voice like sand, “Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!  Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!” Over and over while he pressed Ean on the retreat; gleefully, like a madman.

And then he made a sudden thrust, and Ean jumped to avoid the slashing daggers that barely missed his throat. He came down unevenly on his bad leg, and his knee buckled. Stumbling, he hissed a curse and the man bore down on him. A swipe of his hand, and three spiny daggers cut deeply across Ean’s back with their sharp fire. The Wildling’s other hand darted for his throat again, but the prince veered and twisted so the blades caught his chin and cheek instead. Ean rolled and thrust upward, but the Wildling merely laughed and arched out of his way; the weapon met only the whisper of silk.

Ean lay panting. His dagger seemed lost along with his will, and desperation could no longer drive him on.

The Whisper Lord advanced slowly wearing a grim smile. With the shrieking noise still accosting his skull and the loss of blood and nausea in his stomach, Ean felt only numb acceptance. Shaking, he lowered his head—

A tall form pushed past him, knocking Ean aside as it rushed to engage the Whisper Lord, driving the Wildling back and away, taking the battle out of Ean’s hands.

Ean fell onto his back, gasping as the last of his strength bled out of him, and lay watching his rescuer take offensive control.

The woman’s brown half-cloak floated behind her as she advanced with long, fast strides, forcing the Whisper Lord on the retreat beneath two short swords wielded in a flashing figure-eight.

The Wildling smiled no longer. Every thrust and swipe of his daggers was blocked by the woman’s whirling black blades. She matched him stride for stride, spinning when he spun, darting as he did, dodging as he lunged. They performed a ferocious, twisting dance of death where both knew the steps intimately and took them with ease.

As Ean watched, the Wildling slashed his daggered gloves in a motion that should’ve gutted the woman, but she flipped out of his reach, thrusting long as she landed. Her sword met with the flesh of his side, drawing a hiss as he jumped back. He glared malevolently at her and pressed one palm to his side.

“Merdanti,” he snarled, his golden eyes hot as they assessed her black blades.

Arching brows with a predatory smile, she twirled her blades and lunged for him again, and once more the dance began, the meeting of their deadly weapons a rhythmic beating that seemed in time with Ean’s still-racing heart.

And then—

Ean thought he must’ve dreamed it, his tortured mind inventing an impression for what clearly defied explanation. The woman and the Wildling seemed to shift and slow, their cloaks floating as if suspended on the wind. Then the woman launched out of her turn so quickly that Ean lost sight of her, only to spot her again as she stood squarely before her opponent, blades crossed. With naught but a grimace of effort, she chopped her short swords crosswise through the Wildling’s neck, removing his head completely. His body toppled to the stones at her feet, paying respects to her skill.

Silence hung in the street, a palpable blanket sewn of incredulity fringed with pain.

The woman lowered her dripping blades and leveled tawny eyes on the prince...

Cephrael Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael's Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael's Hand for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
About Cephrael's Hand: Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive... A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming... A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within... And all across the land, magic is dying. Cephrael's Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Review: Pink or Black 2: High Drama at High School by Tishaa

Publication year: 2012
Publisher: Rupa
Links: Flipkart | Indiaplaza | Indiatimes Shopping
Source: BlogAdda
Rating: 3/ 5 stars
Tiana’s school year has just started and looks bleak already. Her boyfriend is concerned they ‘don’t connect anymore’, her best friends are being super nasty, her lunch group has been taken over by newcomers, and the final nail in the coffin: a blast from the past, whom she believed she had left behind forever, has moved to Hill View High.

Will anything go right for Tiana as she juggles friends old and new, tries to stay in her teachers’ good books, and, most importantly, attempts to keep all the boys at bay while she figures out her own feelings?

Find out in this funny yet moving sequel to the bestselling Pink or Black, as Tishaa brings alive all the high drama at high school with wit and understanding.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be. 

I usually don't read books out of sequence but technically, I'd already met Tiana, the protagonist of Pink or Black 2. I had flipped through the pages of Pink or Black, the first book, at my favourite bookstore while waiting for my dad to pick me up. The author blurb was what got me really interested in the book... given that the author was only sixteen years old when she wrote the book.

There was something really endearing about Tiana and her quest to find herself... and though I didn't do more than read a couple of pages of the first and second to last chapter... and didn't end up buying the book, I was curious enough to read Pink or Black 2.

Pink or Black 2 picks up at the beginning of Tiana's eleventh grade year, a mere two weeks after the end of the board examinations. There are two "hot new guys" and one "hot new" girl...making things interesting for the old timers at Hill View High. Not for Tiana, though... especially since Ronit, one of the "hot new" boys stomped on her heart only a summer ago and the new girl is none other than her cousin Tea who loathes her.

With rumours, gossip and enough boy drama to make you dizzy, it's definitely not going to be a smooth year for Tiana and her friends... but when has high school ever been a smooth ride? It doesn't help that Tiana's ex Karam is annoyed with her because Tiana took their break up well. Or that her friends are constantly making Tiana feel alienated and dismissing her as a stuck up goody two shoes because she always ends up taking responsibility and prefers to avoid trouble.

Friend politics and changed seating arrangements at the cafeteria are only few of the many catastrophes Tiana has to wade through in eleventh grade as she struggles to stay afloat without giving up her ideals. The author, Tishaa, has a clean and simple writing style that makes the book a quick and breezy read.

And while reading about love triangles and endless circles of bitchiness and scheming may not be my favourite kind of story, now that I'm twenty and "all grown up" (okay, I wish), I can see my fourteen year old self really relating to many of the themes prevalent in the book. Especially the jealousy, complete misery and chaos that can prevail in one's friend group. And how, in spite of the huge fights, backstabbing and insecurities that are prevalent in a big group, at the end of the day... you love them so much.

I wasn't all that impressed with the boy drama... I found some of it a bit filmy and unrealistic... how many boys will fall for the same girl? And what's with shifting schools out of the blue just to be with said girl? Still, the almost monotonous or rather, routine chain of hook ups and link ups with nothing more than slight sentimentality attached to the whole ordeal was very high school. 

Pink or Black 2 is a quick and fun read that will bring back the ridiculous complications, over the top expectations from teachers and equally conflicting expectations from friends that funnily enough makes everybody nostalgic for their high school years. Indian Young Adult fiction is hard to come by and this is just the kind of teen read that is sure to resonate with the 13+ crowd!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!