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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Unafraid by Gracie Malone

A 365-day devotional that will encourage and help readers overcome the fear that consumes, disturbs, and paralyzes them.

To live without fear is one of the most challenging goals you can make in your life. Fear lurks in the deep recesses of the human heart and surprises even the most mature Christian.

There are over 400 instances in the Bible of God telling His children to not be afraid. If repetition of a matter has anything to do with importance, God decided this was a big one. But rather than being a command or admonition, the tone spoken in turn by God, angels, and disciples is compelling and encouraging, like a parent comforting a fearful child.

In UNAFRAID, Gracie Malone brings light, a touch of humor, stories, quotes, prayers, and encouragement to everyone who is fighting to trust in the only One who can take their fear away.

Goodreads Summary

This is a daily devotional book that gives you a bible reading for each day of the year pertaining to living you life without fear. So many of us these days succumb to overthinking and obsessively going through negative thoughts and fears in life. According to this book, christian enlightenment partly comes from shedding these burdens and placing trust above that things will work out for the best. The book is full of great readings that reinforce this idea a little bit every day of your life in the year. Overall, this definitely can make an impact on any person's life following the Christian faith. 

3.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon: Excerpt and Giveaway!


Josiah King reached for his gun and grabbed only air. Not that a weapon would do him any good. Shooting a wall-sized monitor wouldn’t stop the bloodthirsty execution unfolding in front of him.
“What are you watching . . . Wait, where is this feed coming in from?” Mike Shelby asked as he walked up to stand next to his team leader. “Man, I hope this is some sort of training exercise because that guy looks like shit.”

“It’s real. A video. One-way, and I have no idea how were getting it.” But this was personal and meant for him. Josiah knew that much. “I’m pretty sure it’s live.” It had to be because Josiah would know if this horror had already happened. They all would. No, this hell played out in real time.

“So we can see this poor bastard but he can’t hear or see us?” Mike got up close and squinted as his gaze scanned every inch of the screen. Even waved his hand in front of the monitor. “I don’t get it. What exactly is this?”

Josiah feared he knew the answer. “A message.”


“Me.” That’s really all he could say. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea of his personal life being beamed into a secure facility as spectator sport.

Mike glanced over, already frowning. “What?” Josiah kept staring up at the center screen hanging right in front of him in the Warehouse, the de facto headquarters of the undercover task force called the Alliance. He blinked a few times, sure he’d fallen into a bleak nightmare he needed to fight and punch his way out of if he ever wanted to breathe again.

Somehow he spat out the right answer. “Uncle.” Mike shifted the whole way around and faced Josiah head on. “Uncle . . . as in your uncle?”

The man highlighted on the screen in front of them looked like a version of the very formidable 3rd Earl of Stonechase, Thomas Benedict Asher, a hereditary peer in the House of Lords. For Josiah, simply the uncle who taught him how to fish. Now a man tied to a chair, his white hair sticking out in every direction. His usually pristine white shirt ripped open to reveal the folds of pale skin around his stomach and spray of gray hair on his chest.

Blood ran in a line from his temple. More pooled in a circle near his heart. Yet more on his wrist. He’d been beaten and strapped down in a room painted gray with high ceilings and dramatic print curtains. Josiah couldn’t see the bookcases he knew lined the wall, but he recognized the desk. Intricately carved, with a secret compartment used by his ancestors as they passed the secrets of the four-story stone manse down from generation to generation along with the title and the land.

It all looked familiar except for the bomb strapped to his uncle’s chest and the obvious shake moving through him. Those were the parts that finally registered in Josiah’s brain and kick-started him into action. This was no nightmare. He couldn’t wake up, couldn’t unsee the scene unfolding in front of him.

“Phone.” He snapped his fingers and pointed to his cell on the conference table behind Mike. “Get me a phone.”

“It’s . . . it’s too late for me. I will . . . die.” His uncle’s voice, usually perfectly smooth, held a rough edge as he stumbled over the words and his voice trembled. He stared straight ahead, probably into a camera, in a way that looked like he was talking directly to Josiah through the monitor. “No matter what action you take that will happen.”

Mike froze as he handed over the cell. “Sweet Jesus.” Through the haze falling over Josiah he realized the clipped words coming through the monitor speakers weren’t delivered in his uncle’s normal style. That likely meant he read from a script or something similar. No question someone wanted to deliver a haunting message and decided to use an old man to do it.

“He says you caused this.” His uncle’s gaze darted up and to the right as he spoke, as if he were taking direction from someone in the room.

Josiah hit a few buttons and dialed to get through to his uncle’s house. A beeping sound greeted him, so he tried again, desperate to hear the familiar voice.

“Anything?” Mike’s gaze did not waver from the screen as he slipped his phone out of his back pocket.

“No.” He was going to fucking fail again. Josiah could feel it. Be so close but not on time.

His heartbeat thundered in his chest. He’d spent a lifetime in the intelligence service. Seen people cut down by bullets and shredded by explosions. He’d stayed focused. Now, his mind took off on a wild rush and he fought to wrestle it back under control. Strategies bombarded his brain, none of them workable from his position on the grounds of Liberty Crossing, the modern complex outside Washington, DC, that housed the National Counterterrorism Center. Virginia had never seemed farther away from his uncle’s London townhouse than right now.

“You and your team ruined everything.” His uncle visibly swallowed as the trail of blood seeped down his cheek and his gaze stayed locked on the camera, which must have sat just out of sight. “Now you’ll pay.”

“He’s being told what to say but seems to know he’s talking to you.” Mike didn’t wait for agreement. He shook his head. “I’m calling everyone in.”

No one else stood in the room with them. Bravo leader Ford Decker had his team practicing building raid maneuvers. Josiah had his Delta team muster for weight training earlier but they’d all moved out after showers, taking the rest of the day for some much-needed time off.

Somewhere the people who ran the Alliance sat in their offices across the Liberty Crossing grounds. Being people with access to everything they’d have access to this feed, as would other intelligence services, which were likely monitoring and mobilizing. Josiah knew in the next five minutes people would pour through the doors with theories and strategies. Later there would be questions about how this video beamed into the Warehouse with such apparent ease, about protocols and firewalls, but none of that mattered now.

He hit the emergency button and the metal doors clanked and locked with heavy precision as the Warehouse switched into lockdown mode, trapping them inside. The move would send a warning to the entire Alliance team. Bravo, Delta, and admin would get the call to come rushing back to assist. As he waited for that to happen he tried his uncle again, this time using private backdoor numbers.

The ringing in his ear echoed on the monitor in front of him. His uncle jerked at the sound but couldn’t go far in his chair thanks to the cords binding him. Something in the room, something Josiah could not see, had his uncle’s gaze shooting to that same corner spot again.

Then he looked directly into the camera. “You can’t stop this, Josiah. Please don’t try . . .”

The brief break in his tone. Josiah read it as a personal plea. One he had to ignore even as he knew to his soul no one could get to his uncle in time.

Phones started ringing in the Warehouse. Josiah could hear Mike relaying information, likely to team members. The other monitors lining the walls flickered to life in front of them and a steady hum filled the room as computers turned on and paper started spilling out of the printer. Lines of information filled one screen. Josiah knew his team had started working its magic but the gnawing in his stomach, the rolling bile, told him whatever they did would be too late.

Mike put a hand over the phone. “Where is he? Which residence are we looking at?”

The behind-the-scenes recon had flipped into action. The people Josiah trusted most in the world likely searched files and made calls to try to find a peaceful end to this. “Belgrave Square. London.”

“Shit, nowhere near here.” Mike repeated the information and listened for a second before disconnecting the line and going back to staring at the screen. “They’re mobilizing MI5 or MI6 or whoever stops bullshit like this in your country other than us.”

But Josiah knew it wasn’t that simple. His uncle possessed resources. Serious resources. “He has security.” Mike shrugged. “We both know that can be broken.”

He didn’t get it. “He has guards, Mike. A damn militia within shouting distance at all times.” Josiah rubbed a hand over his face as he started to pace.

“Who the hell is your uncle?”

He didn’t wallow and never felt helpless. Right now both sensations raced through Josiah. “Someone hard to get to, which I’m assuming is the message here. No one is safe, no matter how well-connected or high up in government.”

He was about to say more, to explain why this could only be described as surreal and impossible and how it shouldn’t be happening, but the words fell away as he clenched the phone even tighter in his palm. He called the line that went directly into his uncle’s home office again, hoping to get through to someone in power and reason with him.

The second after the private line rang his uncle started talking again. “He knows you’re the one calling.”

“Who is the ‘he’ leading all of this?” Mike asked to the monitor as a second screen filled with images of men in uniform, approaching vehicles on the way to the Belgravia residence.

One name popped into Josiah’s head and refused to leave. The name of the same “he” the Alliance had been hunting across every continent, sifting through every lead and turning over every rock, waiting for him to slither out.

“There’s only one person who knows enough background on us to come straight at us like this.” Their nemesis, the enemy of every law enforcement and intelligence operation in the world. The man who hid under the radar until the Alliance had dragged him into the open seven months ago. They’d stopped a major international sale he brokered among some of the worst motherfuckers around, and then destroyed the delivery system he hid in Pakistan to spread a new viral weapon of destruction.
Mike’s mouth dropped open. “It can’t be. No fucking way.”

“He wants you to know how this works . . . for . . .for next time.” His uncle closed his eyes and his head dropped. The rest of the words muffled against his chest. “Because he will not stop. I am only the first.”

Josiah needed to walk, to hit. Much more of watching this and he’d crawl right out of his skin. Claw his own eyes out. “I can’t believe this.”

Mike grabbed the remote and zoomed in on the picture. “If it is him, he’s smart enough to stay far off- screen.”

“Goddamn coward,” Josiah screamed at the screen even though he knew only Mike could hear him.

The minute he had this guy, whoever he was and whatever he called himself, Josiah would use more than words to eliminate the threat. Some people looked at him and saw a proper British businessman. Little did they know what lurked under the surface. The rage. The ability to turn off his humanity and get the job done.

“The bomb is attached to me . . . to my . . .” His uncle squinted as he looked away from the camera. “What did you say?”

A second later horror flashed across his uncle’s face. What was left of the color drained away, replaced by an icy paleness that had Josiah dreading the answer.

“Heartbeat.” His uncle coughed out the word as he faced them again. “As it accelerates, it triggers the bomb.”

Mike turned to Josiah. “Is that even possible?”

He wanted to deny the possibility. They worked for an undercover group that answered to few and were bound by almost no laws or internal government rules. They saw fucking awful things on a daily basis. Women used as pawns and literally ripped in half. Men thrown off buildings and burned alive. And those were the lucky ones. But standing there as a mix of adrenaline and frustration pumped through him, Josiah knew the sick truth.

“Look at the incision.” His gaze wandered over his uncle’s chest, then down to his arm. “The blood. Even if making a human bomb isn’t possible, someone wants us to believe it is.”

“If my heartbeat stays even, he has a . . .”

“A what?” Mike leaned in, as if he were having an actual conversation through the screen.

Josiah watched as his uncle stared right into the camera, unblinking and almost still, and opened his mouth. “Kill switch.”

“Fuck me.” Mike answered the phone and hung up again without talking. “MI5 and SCO19 are moving in now.”

“Firearms Command, like British SWAT.” The words rolled off Josiah’s tongue without even thinking them through first. He’d gone into operations mode. Heard everything around him, saw the battle unfolding on the screens in front of him. Only this time he would not be able to react in time. There wouldn’t be a single defensive maneuver or offensive strike he could launch before death took his uncle.

Mike blew out a long breath. “These armed squads can get in there and—”

“I will be the first but not the last,” his uncle said in a monotone voice, clearly parroting the message he’d been ordered to communicate.

The camera moved back and panned around the room. Men in dark suits, sprawled in lifeless heaps on the floor as blood ran from their bodies and pooled on the carpet that had always been his uncle’s favorite. Worse, he was giving up. Surrendering to the end and letting the terror go. Josiah heard it in his uncle’s voice, saw it in the now-determined lines of his body.

The calmer his uncle became, the more unraveled Josiah felt. He ached to do something—anything— even if it meant tearing the giant screen from the wall and smashing it into pieces on the concrete Warehouse floor.

“You will all pay. You will all watch as . . .” Fear morphed into sadness in his uncle’s eyes as he continued passing on the information he’d clearly been kidnapped to tell. “You will all lose someone you care about.”

Mike grabbed his phone and started punching in numbers. The yelling came next. “Where are these supposedly impressive reinforcements?”

“You need to . . .” His uncle leaned in.

Sensing his uncle was breaking from the prepared script again, Josiah stepped closer to the screen, desperate to hear any piece of intel that might help. Eager to keep his uncle talking until the gunmen had a chance to storm in.

His uncle’s gaze darted around the room as he inhaled. Then his words came out in a rush. “About forty and scarred with burns. He said his name is—”

A sharp bang rang out, making Josiah jump back. He started to rush forward again but his knees buckled and he had to grab the corner of the table to keep from falling as the room on the screen in front of him blew apart.

“No!” But Josiah knew he was too late.

A static buzz sounded in his ears. The talking, the pleading cut off, and the heirloom desk vanished in an explosion of smoke. The room shifted on him as his gaze traveled over the devastation. Everything inside him stopped—his heartbeat, his breathing—as he looked at the splatter of blood and flesh on the screen.

Being thousands of miles away didn’t save him from the pure brutality of the moment. Someone he loved, broken down to nothing more than bone and skin. Not recognizable. Not even human anymore.

“Holy shit.” Mike grabbed Josiah, locked his arms around him, and wrestled him back. “Do not look.”

But he had to. It was all so unreal and impossible. His uncle had people and prestige. This could not happen. “Let me go.”

Mike held on as he stepped in front of Josiah, blocking the direct line of sight. “You don’t need to see any more of this.”

Just as Josiah broke free, the screen went blank. Completely black. He could hear a crunching sound and decided his mind had shut down as some sort of defense mechanism.

He stood there and rocked back on his heels. Buried his face in his hands and silently cursed a world where shit like this happened. As if blowing up another person were normal. “Fuck. I can’t believe . . . fuck.”

“Now what the hell is this?”

Josiah heard the shock in Mike’s voice and looked up. The black screen had turned a smoky gray as the video snapped to life again. The crunching sound grew louder and Josiah could make out legs through the haze. Hear the crackle and thud as each footstep landed on unidentifiable piles of debris on the floor.

The figure turned toward the camera but the lens never strayed higher than knee-level from the floor. Bodies were scattered and shards of what looked like wood stuck up here and there. Papers littered the area and a ball of something—something Josiah feared was once his uncle—lay right between two black wing-tipped dress shoes.

A voice broke into the horrible silence. “The name is Benton, but then I think you know that.”

That word. One name. It’s all they had to go on. All any law enforcement agency in the world had of the faceless, seemingly invisible international terrorist who didn’t pick sides and delivered death and destruction in the form of weapons sold to the highest bidder. A pure psychopath. One sick fuck.

“He survived.” Mike shook his head. “We lit him on fire with a rocket launcher months ago and he lived.”

But that was just it. They did hit him. Josiah knew that now. Gone was the smooth, cultured tone he remembered from their one meeting. Now Benton sounded winded, his voice scratchy. Josiah hoped that meant they’d done some real damage to the guy while in Pakistan. Nothing compared to what Josiah intended to do to him, but something he hoped hurt like hell, burned with pain, every day since.

“Your uncle was a hard man to reach, Josiah.” A harsh laugh followed the line. “But I did. I couldn’t get him to admit he knew you. So proper. So dedicated to protocol and keeping your identity secure. It’s a shame your actions killed him.”

Mike swore under his breath. “This guy sure does like to hear himself talk.”

“I started with Josiah but you’ll all get a turn.” The figure they assumed was Benton shifted as he used the toe of his shoe to push the body at his feet to the side like nothing more than garbage. “Some of you will not be able to hold on to your secrets.” He made an annoying tsk-tsking sound. “And you should know once I kill those you care about most I’ll start again and keep going until the head of everyone you know is splattered in pieces against a wall.”

“Next time I’m putting the rocket launcher right up his ass before I fire,” Mike said to the empty room.

“See you soon.” Benton delivered the line, then the screen blinked out.

For a few seconds they didn’t move. Didn’t talk. Alarms blared inside the Warehouse and monitors not already on sparked to life all around the room. Josiah heard a thunk as the lock on the main doors disengaged. The sound of voices as team members flooded in.

“They won’t catch him.” The police could surround the house and lock it down, and Benton would get out. Josiah didn’t doubt that for a second.

“No, but we will,” Mike said, making every word sound like a guarantee.

“Right.” Josiah stared at the dark screen. “We’re coming for you, asshole.”


HelenKay Dimon returns with another hot installment of her romantic suspense series featuring the fierce men of Alliance—a top-secret military security agency—and the only women who can tame them.

When his uncle is brutally murdered, Josiah King knows that business just got personal. His uncle’s ties to the Alliance can mean only one thing: Josiah and his black ops team are targets, along with everyone they love. Primed for vengeance, Josiah is determined to unravel the plot—until long-legged redhead Sutton Dahl becomes a dangerous distraction.

Sutton is very good at uncovering other people’s secrets—and protecting her own. When Josiah bursts into her life she’s torn between pushing him away and asking for his help. Mysterious, strong, and much too sexy, he’s a puzzle she longs to solve, and a temptation she can’t ignore.

Thrown together in the face of Alliance’s most lethal threat, Josiah and Sutton become unlikely partners, fighting for their lives even as the attraction between them flares into real passion. Torn between his team and the woman who means everything to him, Josiah will risk it all to save Sutton, even if that decision is his last. 

Helenkay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a . . . divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But if you ask her, she’ll tell you the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose again.

“The Bad Boys Undercover are back, and this third installment gives readers everything they love: high stakes, intense action and unexpectedly searing chemistry.”—RT Book Reviews on FACING FIRE

“Nail-biting suspense and steamy romance are the mainstays of this novel, as the protagonists must discover whether their attractions stems from deeper emotions.”—Publishers Weekly on FACING FIRE

“The latest high-adrenaline installment in Dimon’s (Playing Dirty, 2015) Bad Boys Undercover series delivers plenty of testosterone-fueled action and smoking-hot sexual chemistry between a rough, tough, alpha hero and a strong-willed heroine, who is more than his match. Give this one to fans of Suzanne Brockmann or Cherry Adair.”—Booklist

Where to buy DIRTY TALK


a Rafflecopter giveaway This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family--the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

Goodreads Summary

Get ready to enter a story that covers every social topic that YA books can go into. You have drugs, love, sex, growing up, getting caught, and everything else that a teenager could possibly come across as they travel through these years in their lives. This is a story of flashbacks and piecing together the past in a journey of self discovery. Dive in to Molly's world and see how the adventure unfolds.

I loved the retrospective and introspective thinking of Molly. She is certainly someone who can reflect on things, see where she went wrong, and think of a new plan. There are so many people in the world who plow through life and never look back and it was enlightening to see a character that cares. I also can't say enough how much I loved the wide range of emotions that you experience. You feel for the love, the confusion, the hate, the suspense, and the guilt right along with the characters. It deepens your connection to the story and your bond with the people in it. The author really got it right here and I'm sure that you will agree when you take a look yourself.

4.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Forbidden by Eve Bunting

In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She's told that Eli, the young man she's attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village's secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author's note gives the historical inspiration for this story. 

Goodreads Summary

Here we have a tale of forbidden love in a world filled with darkness. Everything seems to be going against Josie and it seems like she is caught in a current flowing the opposite direction than the gaze of her desires. Even the spirits present floating around seem to be perched and ready to strike.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for Josie as it seems like she keeps getting mentally beaten on more and more the more she turns around in life. Then she finally finds the man that she wants in life, and is told by her family that she can't be with him. I would be completely frustrated and depressed. One thing that screams positive about this book is the historical presence. I love all the mental images I get while reading through the story and thinking about Scotland. Overall, it is definitely worth a read.

3.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.

Truest is a stunning, addictive debut. Romantic, fun, tender, and satisfying, it asks as many questions as it answers.

Goodreads Summary

Here is another contemporary YA romance that you can sink your imaginative minds into. Bring yourself into small town life with Silas and his sister and experience another love triangle where the girl is the sneaky one here. Her name is West and she is very flirty with newcomer Silas even though she has a man of her own.

One thing that bothers me here, is the blatant infidelity. I can never fully get into a book where one of the characters is attached and openly flirting with someone else. It just irks me. That being said, there is a good story here that many will find something to connect to. I know there are many out there that love conflict in love and this book definitely delivers a healthy serving of "woman player." Also the ending has a pretty interesting twist which I personally did not see coming. Check it out.

3 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry: Banned Books Blog Tour!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

To Anastasia Krupnik, being ten is very confusing. For one thing, she has this awful teacher who can't understand why Anastasia doesn't capitalize or punctuate her poems. Then, there's Washburn Cummings, a very interesting sixth-grade boy who doesn't even know she is alive. Even her parents have become difficult. They insist she visit her 92-year-old grandmother who can never remember Anastasia's name. On top of that, they're going to have a baby -- at their age! It's enough to make a kid want to do something terrible. Anastasia knows that if she didn't have her secret green notebook to write in, she would never make it to her eleventh birthday.

Goodreads Summary

This is a girl who sees the world in a different light than everyone else out there. She is intelligent, witty, and quirky in all the right ways for a ten year-old to be incredibly successful in the world. She is far ahead of anyone her age and has a way of describing things that will make you laugh and cry in some cases.

Lowry weaves a delightful story here that many have come to strongly associate with being a stable piece of their lives growing up. You go and look up this story or mention it to people and it will still ring the same buzz that it did when the series was originally released. I love Anastasia's personality and I believe that everyone will fall in love with her within a few paragraphs. Please, I implore you, if you haven't heard of this book, or just haven't gotten around to it yet, read it! You will not be disappointed.  

5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

You’ll Love to Listen! INTRODUCING AVON ON THE AIR, A New Podcast for Romance Readers Hosted by Avon Books

Friday, September 25, 2015
New York, NY (September 24, 2015) – With increased demand for podcast content in niche markets, leading American romance publisher Avon Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) is taking to the airwaves with “Avon on the Air,” part of the HarperCollins global podcast network.  The first author featured is none other than New York Times bestseller Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a queen of the romantic realm.  (Direct Link to launch episode on iTunes:

This new podcast will showcase fan-favorite romance authors being interviewed by Lucia Macro, VP/executive editor of William Morrow/Avon Books.  New “Avon on the Air” podcasts will post on iTunes andSoundcloud every Thursday.  All episodes will be archived online at  Listeners can follow the “Avon on the Air” Soundcloud page for alerts via newsfeed of new content; and via iTunes, listeners can subscribe to the podcast for email updates, and automatic downloads.

Programs feature enticing interactions with reader-favorite romance authors. The “Avon on the Air” podcast is always lively, sometimes provocative, and never afraid to ask the question, “What really happens between the covers…of your novel?” 

Ana Maria Allessi, HarperCollins VP of Digital Innovation and Publisher of Harper Audio, identified a special opportunity in the digital broadcast arena…for more romance! She began working with the Avon team to create interviews and episodes featuring some of the biggest and most beloved voices in the genre – content that readers would love to listen to! “It’s well known that romance readers consume content voraciously, and they share a special connection with their favorite authors,” says Allessi. 

Liate Stehlik, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Avon Books, says, “Weekly podcasts, available anytime and anywhere, that take readers beyond the book – and make them feel more personally in tune with beloved novelists: this is a new platform that all of us at Avon feel passionate about.”

“Readers will have as much fun listening to Avon on the Air as I did being interviewed,” says New York Timesbestselling author Julia Quinn.  “I love that Avon is always coming up with inventive new ways to support and promote their writers.”

“Avon on the Air” already has an impressive array of interviews scheduled, with Macro and the Avon team recording new content weekly:

·         9/24/2015: Susan Elizabeth PhillipsHeroes Are My Weakness
·         10/1/2015Sophie JordanAll The Ways to Ruin a Rogue
·         10/8/2015Tessa DareWhen a Scot Ties the Knot
·         10/15/2015Jennifer RyanHer Lucky Cowboy
·         10/22/2015Tessa BaileyMake Me
·         10/29/2015Lisa KleypasCold-Hearted Rake
·         11/5/2015Lori WildeBack in the Game
·         11/12/2015Wendy Corsi StaubBlood Red      
·         11/19/2015Helen Kay DimonFacing Fire
·         11/26/2015Julia QuinnRomancing Mr. Bridgerton
·         12/3/2015Tonya KappesA Ghostly Murder
·         12/10/2015Megan EricksonDirty Talk
·         12/17/2015Lizbeth SelvigThe Bride Wore Red Boots
·         12/24/2015Beverly JenkinsForbidden 
(Schedule subject to adjustment)

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About HarperCollins Publishers:
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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

Goodreads Summary

I could not imagine the toll that a major car accident can take on someone who has lasting scars and injuries. Not to mention the mental scars that will be present from knowing that a friend of yours died and will never be around again. The only thing that seems to console Sadie, is her budding relationship.

I could see being completely changed from an incident that left your body and face scarred. If you were used to being physically beautiful and that was taken from you all of a sudden, most people would probably be bitter to the world in one way or another. It was a relief when Max showed Sadie some compassion because I was feeling really bad for the situation and how it was unfolding. I like that the love part of the story isn't the main plot, but a compliment to an already good story. There are so many love based stories out there that fizzle out and lack depth and this one does not dwell into that pitfall. This is a story about re-finding yourself after a tragedy, and it is carried out quite beautifully.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: New Video Released!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Every month, around the 20th, we will reveal new content about ILLUMINAE as we get closer to the on sale date. This month visit to watch a video featuring AIDEN. Then click through to see all of our content:
Ø Ezra’s court martial  
Ø Ezra and Kady profiles
Ø  Explore the ships
Ø  Meet the Authors
Ø  Start Reading – book page and excerpt

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But pursuit by battleship is the least of their worries. Their fleet’s artificial intelligence—which should be protecting them—may actually be an enemy. And a plague is slowly ravaging the fleet with terrifying consequences. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking in search of the truth, she realizes that there’s only one boy who can help her bring everything to light . . . and of course, it’s her ex-boyfriend, Ezra.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—ILLUMINAE is a ground-breaking, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that will draw teen and adult readers of James Dashner, Rick Yancey, and Veronica Roth yet stands on its own with Kaufman and Kristoff’s unique storytelling.

« “…a stylistically mesmerizing tale, where story and art are interchangeable, and words act as pictures.
The more experimental sections may require extra effort on readers’ parts, but the result is worth it.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

« “Ambitious, heartbreaking, and out-of-this-world awesome.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“An exuberant mix of space opera, romance, zombies, hackers, and political thrills, told with eccentric aplomb. 
ILLUMINAE is both the weirdest and most heartfelt thing you'll read this year. ”
—Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies and Zeroes

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Monday, September 21, 2015

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Goodreads Summary

We have all read or seen that story of the troubled teen that comes into town from some other land in hopes of turning her life around. In this one, we have Summer, and she is hoping to meet a guy in Paris that will help her point things in the right direction. The problem is, she meets two guys that she considers possibilities while there and they couldn't have put her in a worse situation than where she is at. One is suffering from major injuries, and the other is the up to no good attractive bad boy. She falls back into her old ways and is again stuck at a fork in the road where she must choose the best decision for her own good.

I liked the allure of Paris in this book. It automatically makes the book take on a different air and makes you more accepting to entering a romance with the pages you are about to read. In all seriousness though, this book is a good romance for those that typically explore this genre. One thing that you have to be ready for, is that this book dies into some dark topics. Alcohol, suicide, and self destructive behaviors run rampant through its pages but make the story more real. The boys in summer's life are almost like and angel and devil on her shoulders and she must choose to be "good or evil." This is definitely a story that will captivate your heart and you won't want to put it down until every last word has passed your eyes.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Goodreads Summary

I have always loved the different takes on the Frankenstein story that have come out over the years and this one is no exception. The difference here is that there is a whole network of doctors that piece together monsters underground and are called Shadow Boys. One of these Shadow Boys has lost almost everything that has been important to him, and he tries to bring his brother back from the dead, in hopes that he can still hold tight something that he loves. The problem is, that reanimated people don't come back the same beautiful people they used to be. They come back as monsters.

You really feel for Alasdair in this story. He is under so much stress from loosing his family, re-animating his brother, and failing to live up to the expectations of his father. Its a lot to go through in a short period of time. I loved the twist that the book, "Frankenstein" written in the story seems to have been written about Alasdair, and he can't figure out who knows his story and wrote it down. The characters were animated by the author very well and because of this, were very easy to relate to. In general, this is a good story and anyone who liked the original will find this one re-animating your love for monsters made from parts.

4 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Catacomb by Madeleine Roux

Sometimes the past is better off buried.

Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

Goodreads Summary

Many seniors in high school plan the road trip of their lives the summer before they head off to their first year at college. It is an adventure of fun that friends look forward to where they do one last thing they want to before having to get to their studies. This road trip however doesn't end up being all fun and games though, as some creepy disturbance is following this group as the head towards Jordan's uncle's house. 

This book is the right amount of darkness for the avid horror lovers out there these days looking to get a good thrill. All of the typical elements of a good horror movie are here in this book, and the author did a great job at planning out the plot and movement of the story. I will say though, that a lot of events in the story seemed to happen only to push the plot forward to the next part. It isn't to say that the events were bad, they just could have been executed a little bit better. Everything is here for the book to be a decent horror though and I think many readers will enjoy the story.

3.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris  

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ