Psyched for Romance

Sports Romance & Romantic Suspense With a Psychological Twist

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits

With the Goodreads Choice Awards opening, I want to share my review for the book I voted as best Young Adult Fiction--truly one of the best reads of this year for me: Pushing the Limits.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreaking Tale of Healing and Young Love

I love YA issue contemporaries, and this story is the best I've read. Thank you to all my GR friends who recommended this story. Yes, Rena...Mrs. Collins rocks!

Echo Emerson used to be the popular girl at her Midwestern high school. Sure, her controlling father and mentally ill mother had divorced, and her older brother had died fighting in Afghanistan, but she was managing okay. Until the night her mother stopped taking her medication for Bipolar Disorder. Echo emerged from that night covered in scars, with absolutely no memory for what happened. She went from popular to freak -- withdrawn and scared.

Luckily for Echo, the school hires a new clinical social worker -- Mrs. Collins -- who meets with selected troubled students for therapy. (Echo doesn't feel so lucky to meet with Mrs. Collins, but she doesn't have much choice).

Another student Mrs. Collins targets is Noah Hutchins, the hot, dark boy in cheap clothes and a leather jacket. His backstory slays me. Noah's parents died in a house fire, forcing him and his much younger brothers into foster care. And foster care hasn't been pretty for Noah. The system labeled him as dangerous after he hit one abusive foster father, and now he has limited visits with his brothers. Every time Noah interacts with his adorable bros, I bawled. Jacob is eight and little Tyler's only four.

The door opened and I automatically stood with the gifts still in my hands. Jacob flew through the door and rammed his body into mine. His head reached my stomach now. I tossed the presents on the table, lowered myself to Jacob's level and wrapped my arms around him. My heart dropped. Man, he'd grown.

The scheming Mrs. Collins knows Echo wants a job and Noah isn't working up to his potential in school, so she hires Echo to tutor Noah in Calculus and other subjects. They gradually disclose their pain to each other, starting with Noah:

"It doesn't get better," I said. "The pain. The wounds scab over and you don't always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you'll never be the same."

Later Noah asks Echo:

"Think Mrs. Collins put the two most depressed people together on purpose?" I flashed a smile to keep the honesty of the statement from corroding the remainder of my heart.
Echo's hand retreated. "Wow, I thought I was the only person at this school faking every moment."


When they compare their scars, they reveal their immense insecurity, starting with Echo:

"It's not the same. You're strong. You helped people. I...I trusted the wrong person and I go all pathetic and don't remember a thing. Anyhow, you're a guy. Scars on guys are, like, sexy. Scars on girls...that's just...ugly." And there, I said it -- out loud.
His hold on my hand tightened and his eyes darkened into thunderclouds. "F that. There is no shame in trusting your mother. She f'ed up. Not you. As as for that pathetic bullshit -- f that too. You are not pathetic. You had the guts to return to school and continue to live your life like nothing happened. Me? I lost it all and flushed anything left of me down the damn toilet. Now that's pathetic."


Beautiful! If only Noah could give himself the same compassion. But these two do grow emotionally in the story, and I thought the ending was both happy AND realistic -- my favorite.

This story truly moved me and I want to recommend it to everyone I know. I can't believe this is a debut novel! I can't freaking wait to read the continuation of Echo and Noah's journeys.

View all my reviews

And now bounce with Omnific Publishing! Instructions HERE.

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Get your spook on with this giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer blog and The Diary of a Bookworm blog.


I'm giving away a $10 gift card to an online bookstore. Get out there and buy some creepy reads this Halloween.

Might I suggest two books written by my pub sisters?

* Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez...my review HERE

* Grave Refrain by Sarah Glover...a love/ghost story

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And did you know there are over 400 participating blogs? Visit as many as you can and improve your chances of winning!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alpha Male Blog Hop

Thank you to Carrie Ann for hosting the Alpha Male Blog Hop!
Roar! This guy's all "I get hot and powerful when I read books."

Alpha males are wonderful -- I've enjoyed reading their exploits in romantic suspense novels by Pamela Clare and Cindy Gerard.

But my ideal hero has a mix of Alpha AND Beta. He's wounded, physically and/or emotionally, and therefore has a lot of depth. He's intelligent and respectful of women. He's clean-shaven, tall, and lean. And I don't mind him in handcuffs (wait...the Hot in Handcuffs Giveaway just ended!) My ideal hero is not a bad boy, but a man who gets in trouble due to standing up for others.

When I was dating more, I sought a man who was athletic and could talk about his feelings.

And I wonder why I'm still single! *snorts*

Anyway, Carrie Ann offers some amazing GRAND PRIZES if you comment and leave your email address on the comment:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!


Wow! Thanks, Carrie Ann. Hop to all the blogs and enter 200+ times!

And I'm sweetening the pot by giving away two ebooks of my novels which feature sexy alpha/beta heroes: With Good Behavior (romantic suspense) and Streamline (YA swimming romance).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Look! The Next Best Thing!

Author Darcia Helle sure is creating a lot of work for me on the blog. ;-) First she tagged me for The Next Best Thing Blog Challenge. Then she tagged me AGAIN for the U Got the Look Blog Challenge.

Both challenges involve my work-in-progress On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3).

Author Gail Baugniet started The Next Best Thing HERE. The rules are:

Answer 10 questions about my current WIP (Work-In-Progress)

What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I decided to follow Gail by posting my answer to one question a week, with the hope of finishing the manuscript in ten weeks.

Sadly the past two weeks have been epic FAIL for me and I've forgotten to post my answers among all the giveaways I've been hosting. (And another giveaway starts tomorrow--stay tuned).  So, I'm answering three questions today to catch up.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Actor Wentworth Miller is my absolute celebrity crush--he's an easy pick to play Grant Madsen. I can't remember this actress's name but I can totally see her as Sophie Taylor.

Thanks to Julie from A Tale of Many Reviews for framing these photos!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Planning a wedding is never easy, especially when the Russian Mafia want you dead.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither--it will be published (I hope!) by Omnific Publishing, a small publisher I lurve.

And now onto U Got the Look!

The Look is a writing prompt, a game, another tagging event. This is how U Got “The Look” works: you take your current manuscript, search for the word “look”, and post the surrounding paragraphs. Lastly, you tag 5 blogging authors who you think will be a good choice for the game.

(I use the word "look" approximately 20,000 times in each manuscript so this should be no problem.)


Sophie looked into his worried blue eyes and reached for his hand. “Grant, I have absolutely no qualms about marrying you. I’d do it today if we could.”
“Then let’s just go to the courthouse right now.”
She grimaced. “You know I’d love that, but my dad would kill me. No, we’ll do it this summer, like we planned. We’ll do the big church wedding.” She turned back to the door.
He tugged at her hand, drawing her to face him again. “Sophie, talk to me.”
“It’s just…” She sighed. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen Pastor Tom, and…do you know anyone whose marriage is actually happy, Grant? We love each other, but who’s to say we won’t turn out like our parents?”
He flinched. “There’s no way we could be as bad as my parents.”
“But they were in love once too, right? Your dad even sang to your mom at their wedding.”
“I guess you could say they were in love once, before my father showed his true colors.” His eyes darkened. “But Sophie, we’re different from them. I’m not an alcoholic, for one thing.”
Her lips curled into a faint smile. Their psychologist Hunter’s insistence that Grant was not his father had finally gotten through to him. “You’re not a child abuser either.”
“Though Ben sure tempts me sometimes.”
Sophie’s grin widened. Grant joking about the trials of helping to parent his nephew, instead of freezing up at the mere mention of child abuse, definitely indicated his progress in counseling.
 
And now I tag 5 author friends to get the "look". No worries if you've already participated.


And finally, please join us on the Omnific Publishing Author, Author Blog Bounce! Instructions are HERE.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Did I Notice Your Book?

Thanks to Ciara Knight and Ninja Alex Cavanaugh for this clever blogfest!

Here are the guidelines:

Post about a book you’ve noticed.

You can choose a book that you’ve read, something you saw on a blog or social media site, Goodreads, or a sales website. Anything that caught your eye because of a great cover, blurb or reviews, but DON’T tell the author that their book has been noticed. Instead, shout out on social media sites, and encourage others to do the same, until the author finds his/her book.


Leave a blog comment at Ninja Captain Alex or Ciara Knight when the author finds their book. 


I've actually noticed TWO books recently (hopefully that's not cheating?)

First, I met author Kyra Lennon on the A to Z Blog Challenge in April, when she posted compelling excerpts about a soccer romance (I love sports romances.)

Then I blink and suddenly her debut novel Game On had already been released! How could I have missed it?


That cover bends it like Iniesta!

Naturally I had to get my hands on Kyra's novel and I loved it. Here's my 5 star REVIEW.

Just yesterday I noticed another book, this one by my pub sister Alison Oburia. Her romantic suspense (also a favorite genre) Between the Lies launches in one week (10-23-12) and I can't wait to read it.

Doctoral student Cari Lopez’s academic life is in a rut, but when she comes home to discover a stranger asleep on her doorstep, her personal life becomes immediately more interesting. British accountant Tristan Saunders is a kindred spirit—with a fantastic accent—and there’s a connection kindling, but Cari soon learns he’s made an enemy of the Bulgarian mafia. His trip to the US is far from a vacation.

The enemy is hidden, yet ominously present and always watching. And though they’ve known each other merely a few days, Cari and Tristan are soon on the run for their lives.

Alison Oburia’s layered storytelling reveals a tale of international intrigue and complex relationships, which is distilled to its essence in two hearts. Not everything is as it appears, and people are not who they seem to be. Faced with deception at all angles, Cari must sort out what’s real. If she’s to stay alive—and possibly fall in love, she has to find the truth…between the lies.

Doesn't that sound great? I'm totally into the Mafia, romance, and suspense.

I look forward to checking out what books YOU have noticed. Have fun today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hot in Handcuffs Blog Hop

Thanks to the naughty ladies at Under the Covers (Suz, Ann, Francesca, and Angela) for hosting the steamy Hot in Handcuffs Blog Hop!


I lurve this hop because my romantic suspense novels actually have HANDCUFFS on the covers!



With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) and Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2) follow the journey of parolees Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen as they try to navigate life on the outside, run from the Mafia, and just maybe fall in love. These stories are more romance than erotica.

I'm currently writing book three in the series, On Best Behavior. Grant and Sophie might find more uses for handcuffs in this story!

Complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win ebooks of With Good Behavior and Bad Behavior. Spank you very much. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Out of the Darkness

Authors Justine Dell and Sarah Fine have hosted a week of giveaways and fundraisers in celebration of Suicide Prevention!

Click HERE

Today from 11-6 is the Out of the Darkness Auction HERE where you can bid on some amazing critiques and prize packs.

As a psychologist, I often check in with my clients about suicidal thoughts and urges. Obviously it's frightening when a loved one contemplates suicide. Individuals suffering from clinical depression, addictions, or other mental disorders may get into a dark place and feel hopeless about ever escaping the pain. When they get so down, they fail to realize emotions are temporary and they WILL feel better.

If you have a loved one who is deeply depressed, it's okay to ask if he or she is thinking about suicide. You can't turn somebody suicidal by asking about it. Danger increases if your loved one has a suicidal plan and clear intent to carry out the plan. Better safe than sorry--CALL 911 if you fear for your loved one's life.

In my young adult swimming romance Streamline, 17 year-old Leo Scott enters a hopeless place when considering his future, dominated by his abusive father.

Leo popped the cap off the bottle with his thumb and slowly
poured its contents into his palm, mesmerized by the cascading
shower of little white pills.

Oxycontin had been both his friend and his enemy. It soothed
him when he was troubled. It didn’t yell at him or hit him when he
screwed up. But it had also distanced him from others, forcing him
to keep secrets and leaving him out of control. And it made him feel
sick when he couldn’t get it.

Yes, both his friend and his enemy. And now it would end his life.

Trapped somewhere between numbness and despair, Leo barely
registered his own sobs. As he stared at the mountain of pills in his
sweaty palm, a tear fell from his eye and splashed onto one of his
fingers. Why does my father hate me so much?

Yikes. Leo needs some help! Perhaps the warm embrace of his girlfriend Audrey?

Head over to Justine and Sarah's blog to bid on some great prizes!

Note: To all Insecure Writers Support Group participants, I apologize for completely blanking this month. I was in Hilton Head visiting family and my doggie nephew Auggie, so I'm all confused and out of sorts this week! I'll be back for November.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Excerpt from With Good Behavior

Thank you to Barb at Romance Promo Central for hosting my romantic suspense novel With Good Behavior today. Check out an excerpt of one of Sophie and Grant's first interactions HERE!

On October 6th I'll be joining authors Justine Dell and Sarah Fine to promote suicide prevention. There are abundant awesome giveaways at her blog so please visit out the Out of Darkness Giveaway and raise awareness for suicide prevention.

Join us for the Author Author Blog Bounce, hosted by Omnific Publishing!

 


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