Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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Friday, 5 January 2018
Saturday, 23 December 2017
All We Want For Christmas Is You
Publication date: December 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Hayden Halloway wants to see her name in print when she gets out of college, preferably in one of the big five newspapers in New York. She has everything lined up to make that happen, except for that one perfect story to finalize her portfolio.
Christian, Vinnie, and Justin, first string forwards on the college hockey team, all have their sights set on Hayden. But a situation involving her best friend and the Puck Games – the hockey team’s sex rating competition – ends up setting them on a collision course that could leave more than their reputations damaged.
Eggnog, coffee dates, and the Winter Wonderland all have Hayden losing bits and pieces of herself to the guys. Will Hayden sacrifice her integrity for her heart, or will she ruin the guys chances at going pro and any chance they have of being together?
Anita Maxwell is from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. She has one husband, one son, two dogs, one mean cat, and no kangaroo. She loves to be the center of attention, even when noone else wants her to be. She used to be a ballerina, but now does pole dancing. She is a massive I.T. nerd. She loves planning events. One of her favourite things to do is tell K.B. "No, the main character can't do that because...". Her favourite genres to read are Science Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Historical, Based on True Stories, and Reverse Harem of course. She has a book she carries with her called "My little book of big ideas", which is currently a quarter full.
Thursday, 21 December 2017
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: December 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Breaker James is no longer the boy locked in a prison of his own making. He’s not afraid to leave his house, and he doesn’t need Ash twenty-four hours a day, just to function—just to breathe.
Hell, lately it feels like he might not need her much at all anymore.
He’s a heart breaker, pure and simple. Turns out love is easy when you’re secluded from the outside world. Maybe Ash is the one who is afraid now…afraid she’s done her job a little too well. Can she learn how to let Breaker love her, now that he doesn’t need her to be his crutch?
HeartBREAKER is the endearing companion story to Lila Felix’s best-selling AnguiSH novel. Fall in love with Breaker James all over again!
In most instances, I was strong—I could handle anything. But something about Breaker James—well, broke me. I guess that’s the other tough thing about love—it exposes your weaknesses and shines a spotlight on them.
Apparently one of my weaknesses was feeling like Breaker didn’t need me anymore.
That his need for me in his life had come and gone.
Fizzled to nothing.
Apparently one of my weaknesses was feeling like Breaker didn’t need me anymore.
That his need for me in his life had come and gone.
Fizzled to nothing.
Breaker was breaking me again.
God, it felt beautiful to be broken.
God, it felt beautiful to be broken.
Lila Felix is full of antics and stories. She refused to go to Kindergarten after the teacher made her take a nap on the first day of school. She staged her first protest in middle school. She almost flunked out of her first semester at Pepperdine University because she was enthralled with their library and frequently was locked in. Now her husband and three children have to put up with her rebel nature in Louisiana where her days are filled with cypress trees, crawfish, and of course her books and writing. She writes about the ordinary people who fall extraordinarily in wild, true love.
Friday, 15 December 2017
Queen of Corona
Publication date: December 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Queen of a Corona delves into the mind of a young American adult growing up in today’s multicultural society. It is a human look at contemporary existence “from the bottom of the barrel.” It tells the story of a high school senior who is running after a student protest ends in tragedy. She is ushered onto an airplane by her mother, headed back to the land of her ancestors for the first time in her life. Her journey is both a way of escaping a seemingly dead-end existence and a chance at rediscovering herself by stepping outside the confines of societal standards. Queen of Corona is a coming-of-age novel in a dangerous age, in the age of Trump and all the forces stirring with and against the American president.
EXCERPT:I bet you thought I was going to fold. That I wouldn’t be able to resist that fine china-white powder resting right there in the sanctuary of my pocketbook.
But it stays tucked away the entire night, I swear. I ride my bike to the river to get some air. I sit down on the concrete bank and look out at the wilderness just across the water. At the narrow beaches spotted with bushes, fluo-green against the fading sky of late summer.
Here the riverside is wild, untempered. The bars along the water light up, the music gets louder. I go to the bar. As I’m standing in the endless line I can feel someone’s eyes on me. I count to five in my mind and I look up. Oh man, I think, here we go again. And I let myself fall into it one more time because I need anything to get myself out of this emotional hole I dug for myself.
At first, I’m confused. Because the face that is looking back at me is a face I know so well. A face so familiar and unfamiliar. A face I’d seen dozens of times, but not a face I’d ever called a friend. I stared at him as I tried to place him. He smiles back at me amused. The cogs in my mind begin to click. An actor. I know his face from the movies. That series on Netflix about the homicide detective addicted to porn.
I’m not drunk enough to get up the balls to sidle up to him all sassy and shit. But I don’t need to because he comes up to me. He looks me up and down and nods like he’s approving a shipment of the latest iPhone.
“Mind if I sit down?” he says in that Hollywood voice.
“Yes. I mean no. Why not.”
He says he’s here filming an episode where he’s chasing some jewel thief around Eastern Europe. He can’t believe I’ve never heard of his show. He doesn’t waste any time pouring me doubles out of the bottle the waitress brings over. He asks me if I want to dance and I follow him out to the dance floor. He’s a terrible dancer. He’s basically grinding against my pelvis and slobbering on me. Then he’s trying to get into my panties under my dress like we’re not out in the open and all these people aren’t looking at us. At some point, he grabs my hand and leads me towards the car he’s got waiting for him. I’m not good with cars, so I can’t say what kind of car it is, just that it’s shiny and black. The driver drops us off at one of the big hotels where he’s got a suite. He opens the door like he’s a sheik opening the palace gates. As if a hotel room that looks like millions of other hotel rooms around the world is going to make me go woozy with passion.
Pretty soon he gets back to his sloppy kissing. He’s got my dress off and he says he wants to fuck me like Charles Bukowski and I don’t know who he’s talking about.
I’m probably only fucking him because he’s famous, not because I really like him. What’s there to like in an arrogant middle-aged man with a paunch and a lazy eye? And what’s in it for him, fucking a girl young enough to be his daughter.
“Can I take a picture of you?”
I shrug and he takes it as a yes. He asks me to stop covering my breasts and to spread my legs. I feel horribly shy but it’s exciting at the same time to think this famous dude is going to be looking at my pictures later and reminiscing about our time together. But what if he posts them online? I should have said no. Julita tells me I’ve got a real problem saying no. I’m too much of a yes girl. A goddang people pleaser and where’s that been getting me? Not very far, eh? says the reasonable voice in my head. The other voice, the one that just wants me to take it easy and go with the flow, tells me that it’s fine. It’s just two consenting adults having a good time. Isn’t it?
We end up trusting celebrities almost implicitly, as if their fame is guarantee that they’re harmless. We trust them to tell us what’s fashionable and what’s not, how to eat and how to vote. And sometimes we let them fuck us just because they’re famous. And sometimes we let them get away with the worst.
He goes to take a shower and I walk around the room and look at the stuff lying around his room. There’s his passport on the table. I open it up and look at the picture, which looks nothing like him, he must’ve aged a lot in the past few years. I look at the birthdate and do the math. It turns out he’s 52, not 45 like he told me last night. I pick up my stuff and go straight out the door. I feel sick, not the throwing up kind, just the sick dismay of disappointment. Sick at how they think it’s okay to treat you like an empty shell of a person and then got the nerve to lie to you. I think this might be my breaking point. At last, you say.
I’m sobbing into my sleeve as I walk through the lobby and my mascara’s running all over the fucking place, so I sit down for a minute. In a flash, hotel security is coming my way and they’re asking me to leave and if I didn’t feel like a whore before then I definitely do now.
Monday, 11 December 2017
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.
**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at http://bit.ly/siandmeela until Dec 25th!**
Somewhere on the Pacific OceanThe young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.
Friday, 8 December 2017
Abroad Book Two
Publication date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance
The heartwarming and romantic conclusion to the duology celebrated by Teen Vogue as “a nuanced and sexy take on growing up and learning to accept who you are.”
Nick Melnikov has finally done it — he’s come out.
To himself. To his sister. And to Dex, who listens, hears him, and understands. To Dex, who kisses him and shows him all that they could be, if Nick could only find the courage. It’s one thing to let yourself be open thousands of miles away from your family, but exchange student Nick is uncomfortably aware that his time with Dex is running out. Who will he be when he goes home again?
Dex Cartwell is as happy with Nick as he’s ever been, but he can’t ignore the shadow of Nick’s inevitable departure from London, back to his life in Michigan. Is it worth it for Dex to expose his heart to another doomed relationship with a predetermined expiration date? What does Dex really want for the beginning of the next chapter in his life, post-graduation?
Dex wants to turn to his best friend in the struggle to find a way forward, but Izzy Jones has her own problems. She’s got one friend in love with her, and when she turns to another for help things get twice as complicated. Izzy never wanted complicated, but life just keeps getting in the way — and sweeping her off her feet.
Then Nick’s mom and sister come for a visit, and he is forced to decide between living his truth and protecting himself from fear and change. It’s going to take a lot of courage and a few leaps in the dark if Nick, Dex, and Izzy are to find a way to live and love on their own terms.
EXCERPT:A shift next to Nick, then a sigh. He froze. Had he woken Dex up after all?
He waited as Dex moved behind him, and then the futon shifted. Dex was up. Nick turned over, only to see him escape quietly out of the study.
Nick took advantage of it and shifted into a position he could maybe fall asleep in, provided he could shut his fucking brain up. God, sleeping next to another person was stressful as hell. He and Lena did it rarely enough that he had never managed to get used to it. Dex didn’t seem to have this problem. Again, Nick’s lack of experience made him squirm.
Dex came back shortly, kneeing his way up the futon, his body graceful in the dark. Nick swallowed. “Hi.”
“You’re awake!” Dex plopped down next to him and immediately cuddled up, their knees meeting. “Did I wake you? Sorry.”
“No, I wasn’t asleep yet.” Nick wished he hadn’t said it the moment it left his mouth.
“You all right?” He almost jumped when Dex’s hand found his side, wrapped around his back.
“Yeah,” he lied. “Maybe just not tired.”
The shadow of Dex’s face loomed closer, then Dex’s breath fanned over his face. A kiss—a peck really—to his lips. “Sorry.”
It was so much darker here than in London. “Not your fault.”
Their voices were quiet, almost whispers. Dex sounded uncertain when he said, “I hope you like Easter. It’s one of Mum’s favorites.”
“I’m excited,” Nick said. He sort of was. The only Easter thing he had ever done was dye eggs in school as a kid, back in Russia. “I’m sure it’ll be great.”
Dex sighed. “This is weird, isn’t it?”
“Which part?” Nick tensed.
“Just, you know. You, meeting my folks. I mean, the last boyfriend of mine they met was the one I had in school for, like, a month.”
“Well, the last set of parents I met were my parents’ friends, so … ”
“Is that … parents of someone you dated?” Dex sounded careful. Nick sighed. He hadn’t meant to open up this door, but Dex had been so generous with his past. It was probably time for Nick to mirror him.
“Yeah, my girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend, I mean. We dated in high school and college.”
“That long, huh?”
More than one question in his voice, Nick knew. He was so glad they were in the total dark. He squirmed. “Yeah. I mean, I did … you know, I did like her. We were best friends. I … I really messed that up when we broke up.”
“When was that?”
“Just this past summer,” Nick breathed.
“Was it … why? Who broke up with whom?”
Nick chewed the question over. He still didn’t know what had given him the courage to do the right thing, as it were. He hadn’t ever really felt comfortable with Lena, not in a physical relationship, anyway. He loved her so much, and he’d hated having her as a girlfriend. Just as he would have hated having any girl for a partner.
“I did. Before I left for London. I mean, I think … I think I used that as the overall reason, but really, it was because … ” He sighed.
“Because you’re gay?” Again, Dex sounded careful, tender, even.
Nick’s breath whooshed out of him. “Yeah. I didn’t tell her that, though.”
“She didn’t take the breakup well?”
Nick screwed up his eyes. Thoughts of Lena always brought on intense flushes of shame, peculiar only to her. He had used her, whether as a cover for others or for himself, he had used her, and discarded her. She deserved so much better than him. “No,” he whispered. “She … she kind of hates me now.”
“Would you … I mean. Would you consider telling her?”
Nick swallowed. “Telling her what?”
“That you’re, you know. Gay.”
The very thought made him wince. How could he? What if she felt more hurt? What if she would hate him even more, if that was even possible? What if—what if she told her parents, who would—no. God. No, he couldn’t—he couldn’t even imagine that. He couldn’t imagine anyone besides Zoya knowing, he couldn’t even form an image, it was all static in his mind. Could he ever look them in the eye, knowing that they knew he was into boys, into—no. He recoiled from the very idea, felt sweat break out on his back, soaking into his t-shirt.
“N-no, I—I don’t know. I can’t … I don’t think I could.”
“Why? What could happen?” Dex’s whisper sounded halting. Nick twisted away and Dex’s hand slipped off his side. They were only touching at the knees.
“I just … I guess I’d never thought about it,” he said. Maybe if he pretended to keep the demons in the past …
“That makes sense,” Dex said. “‘S all right.” Again he leaned in and kissed him. Then he turned over. “We should probably sleep, long day tomorrow.”
Nick felt cold everywhere Dex had been touching him. He made himself roll over and get into a good position for sleep. If he ever did sleep. “Good night,” he whispered, but it had been so quiet, he wasn’t sure Dex had heard.
Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee. All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.
She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.
She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.
Monday, 4 December 2017
Publication date: December 4th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance
I’m a true romantic. I believe in fairy tales, soulmates, and happily ever afters. The last way I’d ever try to find my true love is with a one night stand. But that night of the party, I wasn’t looking for my soulmate. I just wanted to do something wild and crazy. So I did.
When a hot guy with dark hair, brooding eyes, and a chiseled face made eye contact with me across a crowded room, I held his stare and waited for him to come over. Before even asking my name, he kissed me. I kissed him back. And then, without giving it a second thought, I followed him to a room and had my first ever one-night stand.
The next morning, I took off. It was only supposed to be one night. Nothing more. But I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Even months later, when I was dating someone else, I was still thinking about that mysterious stranger and the night we shared. Then I found out he’s not a stranger. He’s the friend of my roommate’s boyfriend and has been looking for me all summer.
I can’t let him find me. We were never supposed to see each other again. I’ll admit it was a magical night. One I’ll never forget. There were sparks, fireworks, and this unexplained feeling that we belong together. But soulmates aren’t found with a one-night stand. They’re found with handwritten love notes. Flowers. A first kiss under the moonlight.
A one night stand is the worst love story ever. But what if it’s mine?
I lean down and kiss her, and not a short goodbye kiss, but a real kiss. Slow and drawn out and expressing what I feel for her, which is more than I should feel for a girl after knowing her for such a short time and yet I still do. My feelings for Amber are more than I’ve felt for girls I’ve dated for months. But why? Why do I feel this way? Was it the sex? Did that one night mess with my head, making me think I love this girl after knowing her for just a few hours? That can’t be it. I’ve had sex plenty of times and never felt this way.
Someone’s car alarm goes off and I slowly back away.
“You weren’t supposed to do that,” Amber says in a soft, breathy voice.
“You said I could if we’re in public.”
“But I didn’t mean—”
“No changing the rules now. If we’re in public, I can kiss you. That’s what you said.”
“Fine, but it doesn’t matter because we’re not going out like this again. We’re going back to the letters. You said you’d try it so that’s we’re going to do. No texts. No emails. Just letters. You broke the rules today by coming here but we’re going to get this back on track.”
I just smile at her, then wrap my hand around hers and lead her inside the apartment building. We go up the elevator and when we’re at her door, I say, “I didn’t break the rules.”
“What are you talking about?”
“By showing up here, I didn’t break the rules of our arrangement.”
“Yes you did. You were supposed to just write letters.”
“And do romantic gestures. That’s what you said. And today was a romantic gesture. I showed up at your apartment unannounced. I surprised you. Surprises are romantic gestures.”
“Oh.” She looks perplexed. “Well, that’s not really what I meant.”
“You can’t define romantic gestures. They’re different for everyone. And to me, surprising you like this was a romantic gesture, as was buying you your favorite muffin.”
“Did you look up the definition of gesture? Because you seem to know a lot about them.”
“Not really. I’m kind of learning as I go. This is all new to me. I’ve never had all these dating rules before.”
“I know it seems strange but I warned you I was a little crazy when it comes to romance. And given the way we met, I just feel like we need to step back and start again. I don’t want us to just be about sex. I want more.”
“So do I.” I kiss her cheek. “I have to go. I’ll call you—I mean, I look forward to your next letter.”
She smiles. “I’ll put extra time into it.”
“I hope so,” I say, walking to the elevator, “because if it’s like the last one, I’ll fall asleep before I even finish reading it.”
The stunned look on her face is the last thing I see before stepping into the elevator. It’s fun giving her shit about that letter. She knows it was crap and I could tell she was embarrassed by it. I can’t wait to see what she writes me next to make up for it.
Allie Everhart writes romance and romantic suspense and is the author of the popular Jade Series, Kensington Series, Wheeler Brothers, and several standalone titles. She’s also a freelance health writer and has worked on several New York Times bestselling books. Allie's always been a romantic, as evidenced by her early years as a wedding singer, her obsession with dating shows, and the fact that she still watches reruns of The Love Boat. When she’s not writing, she’s outside running, which is when she gets her best book ideas.