Friday, 28 November 2014

Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway : All For You by Jessica Scott


I'm thrilled to be part of the Blog Tour for All For You by Jessica Scott because her stories speak to me! As part of my stop I have my review, an excerpt, and not just one giveaway but TWO.  So be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a chance to win!


All For You (Coming Home #4) by Jessica Scott
Publisher: Forever
Publication date: November 25th 2014
My rating: 4 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755773-better-homes-and-hauntings

Sergeant Reza Iaconelli joined the army to make something of his life. On the surface, Reza is the perfect soldier, a warrior god who men follow anywhere. But beneath the uniform is a jaded soldier, worn down by the war.

After a disastrous relationship, Army Captain Emily Lindberg donned the uniform, searching for a purpose in a life she'd nearly surrendered control of. She's always admired soldiers, despite her upper-class parents looking down on all things military. When Sergeant Iaconelli ends up in her office, she's unexpectedly drawn to the wicked flirt, despite the barriers that exist between them as officer and enlisted. But as she digs deeper, she discovers that Reza is not what she expected.

My Thoughts:
This is the second book I’ve read by Jessica Scott and I’m impressed by her beautiful and realistic portrayal of romance.  I felt an emotional connection to these characters and their story, and rooted for their happy ending!

Captain Emily Lindberg left the privileged life she led in Cape Code to be a therapist in the army in hopes of making a difference in the lives of soldiers damaged emotionally by wars. But joining the army has proved to be more of a challenge that she thought. To help at risk soldiers Emily must battle against commanders that think the Rest and Resiliency Center is a place where the screw-ups come to get out of working, a place for “sissies” instead of refuge for those on the edge.

On first meeting Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli, Emily is struck by how absolutely gorgeous and powerful looking he is, waking up desires in her long buried:

Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of the single most beautiful man she’d ever seen.—
Dear Lord, men actually came put together like this? She’d never met a man who embodied the fantasy man in uniform like this one.

Immediately after laying eyes on Reza, he opens his mouth and she puts him firmly in the column with the jerks she’s constantly fighting against.  But there’s a lot more to Reza than what he presents on the surface and Emily soon realizes there’s a big heart residing in this powerful, yet vulnerable warrior.

Reza has a whole mess of issues, first from his upbringing and second from his experiences in war.  He carries a load of guilt and anger and has tried to cope by using alcohol to numb the pain.  He’s sober, but always just on the edge with the stress of responsibility for his soldiers and the climate of intolerance nurtured by his commander.  Reza’s become cynical, but meeting Emily has him looking at things in a new light. She’s awakened new feelings in him, a desire to be a better man, a man good enough for her.

Although I have no experience with military life, Jessica Scott seemed to capture the harsh realities in a way that touched my heart.  Instead of making Reza a sexed-up alpha army man like we get in a lot of romances, I felt like he was a more of a true-to-life portrayal of man in uniform.  Make no mistake, though, I was drooling over Reza! He struck a tantalizing picture of masculine power and protection, enough to make me a little weak in the knees!  His desire to protect and care for Emily was a potent aphrodisiac! What woman doesn’t want a knight in shining armor? Yet, Emily was a bit of a savior as well, providing comfort and understanding to Reza without judgment. Something Reza desperately needed.

While their romance ends with a satisfying resolution, I hope to catch more of Emily and Reza in the next installment!  It’s Always Been You is next and centers on Reza’s friend, Captain Ben Teague. Can’t wait!




Excerpt:

It was fate. It had to be. A slow warmth unfurled inside him as the doctor he could not get out of his head looked up at him, her cheeks flushing pink.
         She was all buttoned up at work. Tonight, she looked different. Looser. Unbound.
         Compelling. That’s what she was. Her fire at work. Her refusal to let him bully her. He’d admired her backbone before.
         Tonight, he admired her in an entirely new light. Her hair framed her face in careless curls. He hadn’t expected to see her outside of work. He damn sure hadn’t expected to see her here. An old familiar need rose inside him. A need for touch, human and warm. A need to lose himself for an interlude in sweat and sex and stunning pleasure. He’d given up drinking but women had apparently fallen into that category as well.
         It had been months since he’d felt a woman’s hands on his body.
         This woman was not someone he needed to be talking to at the bar tonight but he found himself walking toward her anyway.
         After the week of confrontation they’d had, he’d be lucky if she didn’t slap him the minute he approached her.
         He could do this. He could talk to a woman without drinking. Right?
         Emily met his gaze as he approached. He almost smiled.
         “Not your usual scene?” he asked, leaning against the bar.
         She shifted, putting a little space between them. That slight reclamation of power. He made a noise of approval in his throat. “I’m surprised you’re talking to me.”
         “I’m surprised you’re here. Shouldn’t you be home reading medical journals or something?” Her cheeks flushed deep pink and he wondered how far down her body that color went.
         She tipped her chin then and looked at him. “Have you been drinking?”
         He looked down at the bottle in his hand. “I don’t drink anymore,” he said quietly. No reason to delve into his abusive history with alcohol. “You?”
“Glass of wine,” she said.
         Reza shrugged and leaned on the bar, taking another pull off his water and being careful not to lean too close. She looked like she’d bolt if he pushed her. “That would explain why you’re talking to me. We haven’t exactly been friendly.”
         Her hair reflected the fading sunlight that filled the room from the wide-open patio doors. He wanted to fist it between his fingers, watch her neck arch for his mouth.
         She motioned toward his bottle with her glass. “‘Anymore’?”
         He simply took another pull off his water. He was going to be damn good and hydrated after tonight. He wondered what she’d do if he leaned a little closer. “Long story.”
         “One you’re not keen on sharing?” she asked. She leaned her cheek on one palm. The sun glinted across her cheek.
         “Let’s just say alcohol and I aren’t on speaking terms. Bad things happen when I drink.” It was nothing to be ashamed of but there it was. Shame wound up his spine and squeezed the air from his lungs. He was just like his dad after all.
         “You say that like giving up alcohol is a bad thing,” Emily said quietly.
         Reza snorted softly. He should have guessed she wouldn’t let it alone. She had stubbornness that could last for days. “It’s not something I’m proud of.”
         Her hand on his forearm startled him. Soft and strong, her fingers pressed into his skin. “But stopping is something to be proud of.”
         Reza stared down at her hand, pale against the dark shadows of his own skin. A long silence hung between them.
         He lifted his gaze to hers.
         “It takes a lot of strength to break with the past,” she said softly.
         “What are you doing?” Her eyes glittered in the setting sun and he thought he caught the sight of the tiniest edge of her lip curling.
         Her fingers slipped from his skin. “Offering my professional support?”
         His lips quirked. “Was that a joke?”
         “Maybe,” she said. “I’m working on developing a biting sense of humor. Defense mechanism against raging asshole commanders.”
         Reza barked out a laugh. “You look different out of uniform,” he said lightly, pressing his advantage at this unexpected truce.
         “So do you.”
         He angled his body toward hers. “You like my makeup?” he asked.
         Her lips parting as she tried to figure out if he was kidding or not. Finally, she cracked the barest hint of a smile.
         Something powerful woke inside him and he moved before he thought about it. He reached for her, brushing a strand of hair from her cheek. The simple gesture was crushing in its intimacy. Her lips froze in a partial gasp, as though her breath had caught in her throat.
         “Sergeant Iaconelli,” she said quietly, her voice husky. But she didn’t move away. Didn’t flinch from his touch.
         “Reza.” He swallowed the sharp bite of arousal in his blood, more powerful without the haze of alcohol that usually clouded his reactions. “My name is Reza.”
         “Reza.”
         His breath was locked in his lungs, the sound of his name on her lips triggering something dark and powerful and overwhelming.
         He wanted this woman. The woman who’d stood in opposition to him this week. The woman who lifted her chin and stood steadfast between him and his soldiers.
         There was strength in this woman. Strength and courage.
         “I’m Emily.” Her words a rushed breath.
         He lowered his hand, unwilling to push any further than he’d already gone. This was new territory for him. Unfamiliar and strange and filled with potential and fear.
         “It was nice talking to you tonight, Emily,” he said when he could speak.
         He waited for her acknowledgment that she’d heard him. Some slight movement of her head or tip of her chin.
         Instead her throat moved as she swallowed and she blinked quickly, shattering the spell between them.
         He left her then because to push further would challenge the limits of his restraint. He wasn’t ready to fall into bed with someone. No matter how compelling Emily might be.
         He waited and he watched for the rest of the evening. Watched her slip out with her friend, leaving an empty space at the bar.
         Leaving him alone with the fear that included the empty loneliness as well as the cold silence of sobriety.
         His thoughts raced as he made sure his troopers all got home that night, and Teague crashed on his couch.
         He fell into bed later, need and desire twisted up, filling the cold dead space left inside him by the lack of alcohol. A dead space he usually filled with work while deployed. Tonight, though, unfamiliar pleasure hunted his thoughts, whispering that he could still love a woman, that he didn’t have to be drunk to climb into bed with someone.
         But Emily wasn’t a random someone.
         And she was so far out of his league, it wasn’t even funny. Even if there was some sexual attraction there, she wasn’t likely to go slumming with a burned-out infantryman like him.
         He lay there in the darkness, waiting, clinging to the single, simple pleasure of her touch, hoping that maybe tonight he could sleep, avoiding the nightmares that reminded him of the monster he’d become.
         A beast who had lost his compassion somewhere on the road to Baghdad.




About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon.  She's currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.


Connect with Jessica Scott:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 



I have not one but two giveaways today. One is the Blog wide and one is exclusive to The Readers Den (US & Canadian residents only) so be sure and fill out both rafflecopters below for a chance to win!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review: The Chase (Fox & O' Hare #2) by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Publisher: Headline
Publication date: November 4th 2014
My rating: 3 stars



Evanovich and Goldberg provided another exhilarating read in The Chase. Once again we find con man Nick fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare working to together to bring the baddest names down, and this time I think they sort of meet their match in Carter Grove, he’s ex chief of staff, so always in the knowhow and he’s always surrounded by his Black Rhino operatives and now he has the one thing Kate and Nick need immediately.

This time’s mission wasn’t as straight forward at all, it once again involved bringing a team together, and we were introduced to some great new characters and got to hang out with some much missed familiar faces. But this time I really had my doubts, First of all Nick and Kate didn’t really know who had the item they were looking for and each time it seemed as if they were making progress, something would go horribly wrong or they were given a much shorter time frame to sort things out, making it practically impossible to accomplish everything they had set out to do. But of course when Nick’s on your team nothing is impossible he truly was at times imagining the riskiest suggestions ever, which had me thinking would they even work? But with Kate on his side too, they truly made such a strong team. When their backs were against the wall, they were luckily able to find a way out. I know if I was in their position, I would have crumpled and handed myself in.

Despite many near close encounters, Nick’s team were able to bring several laugh out loud moments during some tense scenes. I loved Nick’s sense of humour; he was never one to get stressed under a difficult situation. I also liked how some characters tried to get their two minutes of fame during what is meant to be a major con and how Kate’s father Jake despite being retired tried to help out anyway that he could. In my review for The Heist I mentioned that I would have liked to see something romance wise between Nick and Kate, although they did seem to get closer in this book, I kind of needed more! The Chase was a wonderful follow up book to what is becoming a series I’m having a lot of fun reading. I can’t wait to see what Nick and Kate get caught up in next.




Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Short & Tweetish Reviews: A League of Her Own & Deadline

I'm (Rachel) back again with some Short & Tweetish Reviews (There's no way I can keep it to 140 characters!) This style of reviewing was introduced to me by Mary@The Book Swarm , Andrea@The Bookish Babe, and Karen's @For What It's Worth.


A League of Her Own by Karen Rock
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: December 1st 2014
My rating: 2.5 stars 
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads


My Thoughts:
Heather must manage her father's floundering baseball team after he suffers a heart attack. Dealing with doubt from the teammates, as well as her father, makes this a challenge. Can she measure up? Being attracted to Garrett, the wayward pitcher with a chip on his shoulder disturbs her especially since he's a recovering alcoholic. Her mother's addiction nearly killed Heather years ago, so Heather is immediately distrustful. 

Great writing made me invested Heather and Garrett and root for their happiness, but I never really felt their romance.  Baseball details were a good portion of the story which may appeal to sports fans, but didn't work for me. Also, I would've liked to see more backbone from Heather in her dealings with her overbearing and critical father.  A scrapbook didn't excuse his behavior, IMO. 

  
Deadline by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Narrated by: Stephen Lang
Length: 12 hrs and 21 min
Publication date: September 24th 2013
My rating: 4.5 stars 
Amazon | Audible | B&N| Goodreads

My Thoughts: 
Dawson, a star reporter, returns from Afghanistan battered by war and suffering from PTSD.  At the request of his godfather, a retiring FBI agent, Dawson goes to cover a murder trial he has no interest in.  This all changes when Amelia, the beautiful ex-wife of the murdered, takes the stand.  Dawson is helpless in his desire to get to the bottom of things.  His past and the present collide putting all involved in great danger. 

The romance was a slow, satisfying burn, and that as well as surprising twists keep glued to this riveting story!  Another well-plotted mystery from Sandra Brown that has me anxious to work through her entire backlist of titles! This woman is good!




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR

   

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week they post a new top ten list and ask fellow bloggers to share their lists on that topic.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR.

I love making season to read lists, normally I'm not that great in reading many books from my list being the mood reader that I am, but I just had a look at my Top Ten post from last year's Winter tbr and I actually ended up reading 8 out of the 12 books. So here's hoping that I'll be able to tackle most of them from this pile of 12 again! 




 



Being the reader that I am I usually pre-order all the books I'm dying to read, but never end up reading them for ages afterwards. So above are the eight books I have copies of and I'm hoping to read this Winter!

And here are a few of my review books that I'm hoping to tackle! I have heard brilliant things about A Thousand Pieces of You, Snow Like Ashes and The Body Electric so can't wait! Also I love The Bone Season, so will probably be diving in pretty soon! 




Which books made it your Top Ten List today? And are there any of the books above you that you think I should read first?


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Showcase Sunday: #63


Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.  


Hi guys, I hope you've had an awesome week! I (Jasprit) was excited about watching Mockingjay, but my local cinema was fully booked for the weekend like by Wednesday! So I'm going to try and book the tickets for next weekend! Has anyone seen the movie already? And if so what are your thoughts so far? This week was another great week in terms of book hauls, Edelweiss put some amazing titles up on my birthday and I have the lovely Siiri and Rashika to thank for The Art of Lainey, Exquisite Captive and Afterworlds and The Crown of Embers respectively. Also how awesome does Sarah Alderson's new book sound? And I know that I'm totally going to devour Kirby's newest read, it sounds like something I'm going to love. And everyone I know seems to be loving Mcfarlane's books, so I had no qualms in purchasing It's Not Me, It's You. 


Jasprit's Haul:
(Click on Title for Goodreads link) 

Conspiracy Girl Things We Know by Heart It’s Not Me, It’s You





Rachel's Haul:
(Click on title for Goodreads link)

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1) Worth the Risk (The McKinney Brothers, #2) Vision in Silver (The Others, #3) I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas (Half-Moon Hollow, #2.7) 


Thank you to Loveswept, Roc, Pocket Star, Audible, Signet, Edelweiss and Netgalley!

Two books had me doing a happy dance when I saw the approval in my inbox: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop and Worth the Risk by Claudia Connor.  I LOVE Anne Bishops' series The Others and so I'm so thrilled to get the third installment! Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor was a romance that stole my heart so I can't wait to read Worth the Risk the second in the series! I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas is actually FREE on Audible, but I got a copy from the publisher as well. The only drawback is that if you haven't read the first book in the series, The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires, the story won't make much sense. I borrowed the audio copy of Low Pressure by Sandra Brown from the library.

We'd love to know which books made it to your haul this week, so please link us up in the comments below!
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