~BOOK EXCERPT~ Green by S.M. West @SMWestAuthor @Barclay_PR

Review and Excerpt Tour: GREEN by S.M. West

Thank you for joining up for the Review and Excerpt Tour for S.M. West’s GREEN! Devour this hot and sexy romantic suspense where hope and friendship grow into something more. Follow along for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Title: Green (Love in Color)
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense

 Synopsis:

Green. The color of hope.

ANNA MARI is living for today, not daring to hope for tomorrow. She’s a pawn in her grandfather’s game, and time is her enemy. Her freedom is the prize.

DAVIS COOPER is licking his wounds of betrayal when he’s assigned to babysit his boss’s sister. The pretty little thing who’s most definitely off-limits.

Though they struggle to set boundaries, the root of their friendship grows into something more. But none of that matters – Anna’s fate is sealed and neither hope nor love can save her.  

 

GREEN Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 S.M. West

 Eventually, I select a large canvas, so large, I can’t get it on the easel and settle for the floor. I strip my jeans, long sleeved shirt and slip my shoes off, donning the sizeable green smock hanging on the wall. And I paint. Losing track of time or space. Fully immersed in the colors, my vision, my emotion.

“Here you are,” Coop says from the doorway, and I twist on all fours in his direction.  

He’s leaning on the door jamb with his arms relaxed at his sides, and his feet crossed like he has been standing there a while.

“How long have you been here?”

I’ve been painting for hours, my fingers tingle, my feet are numb, and my lower back aches from crouching and contorting myself into strange, awkward positions. I was oblivious to the cries of my body while working.

“A bit.” He pushes off the wall, nearing to help me to my feet.

I roll my neck and shake out my limbs before tilting my head to look at him. He smiles, his white teeth and twinkling eyes pop as he tucks a few strands behind my ear.  

“You’ve got some paint on your face.” His finger slides down my check and then the side of my nose. “It looks good on you.”

Heat travels from the center of my chest outward, and I can’t help but smile, “I’m glad you think so.”

Gone is my anger or bruised ego from his departure last night. I don’t really know what I was expecting or wanting, and I’m glad to see him. I’m also happy to see that he’s more himself.

“What am I going to do with you? You have to stop disappearing on me.”

“And what? Make your job easier, not a chance.” I tease, treading lightly, all too aware of the kind of trouble my wondering off could cause.

Don’t miss the first two standalone novels in the Love in Color series, RED and BLUE.

RED: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

BLUE: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

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About S.M. West:

S.M. West writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotica and whatever her heart desires. She spends most of her time juggling a day job, being a mom, wife, and writing. She's a self-professed junkie of many things, including a voracious fan of music, a born wanderer, a wine aficionado and chocolate connoisseur.

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~BOOK REVIEW~ Brighter by: Rochelle Allison @roglows

(This review was originally posted on Amazon in December 2017)

I love Rochelle’s writing and have for a while, so when I got an ARC of Brighter I kind of already knew I was going to love it, and I was pretty much right! Lol.

There were a lot of things I liked about this new version of the story. A few things I loved. And even a few things that I didn’t.

Our main character is Alina. She’s a recent college graduate whose plans are sidelined when reality happens and she doesn’t snag her dream internship. This leaves her summer empty of plans but full of doubt about herself and what her plans should be. Still, she holds steadfast to her dreams and her pretty messy friends with benefits situation that she’s in, and ventures off to St. Croix with her “lover” aka the messy best friend with benefits.

Now, to one of the things I didn’t like about this story. Theo. The aforementioned bed buddy. I couldn’t stand him. Nope. Not one bit. Rochelle did a really good job of trying to make him and their situation relatable. Even as I read it, and rolled my eyes at Theo, I could read what she was doing but I wasn’t falling for it! HA!

He is every guy who has ever had a good girl staring him in the face and didn’t give a damn to act on it until a sexier more suitable man noticed her. Theo could kick rocks for all I care. But Jude? JUDE?

Jude is hot.

I know, I KNOW … it’s a romance so of course, the guy has to be hot. But no, Jude is, like, super-hot. The descriptions of him were spot on! He’s tatted. Has an island accent that slips through from time to time. Doesn’t take anyone’s shit, even razzes our heroine, but is such a real kind of dude that even in the few moments where he does kinda get on your nerves you want him to win.

When they first meet, their situations are blurred between single and unavailable. I won’t get much into it because it’s an important factor in the book that you need to read to understand. And even though I was okay with the “kind of love triangle” I can see that some people might not be with it. I would still say give it a chance. It’ll be worth it.

My biggest critique of the story is the too large (in my opinion) extra cast of characters. There were really a few too many for me to keep up with. I loved Alina’s best friend, Caroline, though really her island best friend is Ivy. Whose twin sister, Ariel, has a thing for Jude. Then there are the boys who Theo hangs out with, (Colin and them) and then there are Alina and Theo’s landlords who also have kids. It’s a lot to remember and keep track of, and it doesn’t really take away from the story but the long list of secondary characters doesn’t really add to it, either. YET!


Because since Brighter is the first in a series (Rochelle says this so this isn’t a spoiler) we know that all these people and the ending (not a cliffhanger but more of a “Happily For Now”) will all come together. So it’s only slightly jarring, but not enough to hurt to story.

My biggest takeaway!?

This is a great beach read with a romance meets coming of age theme. And I most definitely recommend it.

 

Brighter
By Rochelle Allison

 

 

  (My original review was posted on Amazon in December 2017)

(My original review was posted on Amazon in December 2017)

~BOOK REVIEW~ Riot Street by: Tyler King

Heads up for anyone getting ready to read Riot Street:  This is one of those deceiving reads whose book hangover sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

When I first finished this book—well over a week ago now—I closed it with a satisfied smile, pleased with the writing and appreciative of the ending.

However, I was able to get on with my life quickly.

Until three days later, when I woke up thinking about something that happened with one of the characters. The hangover was subtle, but it was there, and I knew I had to talk about it.

So even though I’m not great with writing reviews … here goes because there are some things you have to share with others.

Tyler King’s writing was superb and the characters in Riot Street were heartbreakingly real. I knew I was going to read this the minute I read the blurb because the premise was different from anything I read so far.

I mean come on! The hero—Ethan Ash—wrote a book inspired by the heroine’s—Avery (aka: Echo)—real life as being the daughter of an infamous cult leader. She is literally known as “The Girl Who Lived” because her father killed a whole bunch of the cult members, and even tried to kill her, but failed at the latter.  

Now she’s about to work for the same magazine/online news outlet as one of the only other people who know the truth of her story. You can’t help but wonder if their relationship is going to be bred from hate or, as the blurb suggest, Ethan’s obsession with her and her past.  

GENIUS!!!

You already know you’re going to get some of that office drama, as well as a hell of a lot of UST with them in closed quarters. And don’t forget that pesky little fact that—thanks to an interview he secured with her father in prison—Ethan knows more about her story than she knows about it herself. A fact that works well as a silent antagonist.

The thing I didn’t expect is that Avery’s past in the cult and Ethan’s unfiltered knowledge of it wasn’t so much the antagonist we expected it to be. It was definitely an issue between them but also not really.  

And while I’m the kind of reader who appreciates when drama and uncertainty get wrapped up quickly—as it does in Riot Street—instead of being dragged on forever, I have the feeling that hardcore angst lovers might feel some disappointment.

Especially with the what, when, and where’s of the other shoe dropping coming to light. Did that make sense? Probably not. I mean the ‘twist’ … the big reveal of what Ethan’s issues really are. It was jarring, not gonna lie. But it didn’t take away from the story one bit. If I’m being brutally honest, it didn’t really add anything to it either, but with the way it’s written it barely hits the point of any kind of frustration. I know some people hate spoilers, but I also know that some people love them so if you DON'T want to know squint your eyes and scroll past the next paragraph...

(Sidenote: I tried to make it where you had to highlight the spoiler text to see it, but alas Idk how to do that on Squarespace.)

Anyway...


{Spoiler: Turns out that Ethan is an alcoholic. When I realized this, or when it was called out, I nodded to myself, realizing that the clues were there all along. But I think because we learn very early on, and even from the blurb, that Avery was once a drug addict, I didn’t expect it. I thought his biggest issues were going to be the effects of his semi-dysfunctional family, and I didn’t really have enough time to process the reveal because shit had already hit the fan.  End.}


 

I think mostly what ‘the twist’ did for me, was expertly provide an opportunity for Avery—and the reader—to see how strong she is, how fiercely loyal, but also not irritatingly co-dependent.

For someone who has had a lifetime of battles of her own, she’s willing to go to bat for Ethan but she’s also not willing to go down with his alpha ship. I appreciated the hell out of that.

In the end, it was all handled realistically, respectfully, and quickly. Though when I say quickly, I mean quick in words and chapters not so much in time as there are a couple of time jumps.

I definitely recommend this book. There were plenty of sweet and funny moments to go around, a cast full of characters to bring the story to life, and splashes of drama and angst. It’s everything I want a Contemporary Romance to be, and I so look forward to seeing what Tyler King comes up with next.  

You can check out this great book for yourself here: Amazon

 

 

Stop Getting Mad at Friends Who Don't Promote You

It took me longer than I’m proud of to get to a point where I’m not disappointed when my friends don’t promote me. And if I’m being honest, it wasn’t until I was put on the other side and stared down with something akin to “friendship doubt” did I realize it’s almost second nature to expect too much from our friends.

Sometimes I get busy, sometimes I forget, and sometimes I’m not interested and that’s okay.

I hope my realizations will help some of you out.

Here are three reasons why I think we should stop expecting our friends to be our freelance marketing team.

1.       You’re not the only one trying to sell them something.

These days, it seems like everyone is an entrepreneur.

I think it’s awesome. What a time to be a hustler … amirite?

And I mean that sincerely because I will ALWAYS respect someone’s hustle. Trying SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING. However, it gets hard to keep up. If you have more than 10 friends on Facebook, at least ONE of them is trying to sell you something. 

On my timeline, I’ve seen everything from Mix Tapes, designer leggings, sex toys, books, lipstick, Jamberry nail stickers, hair bundles, and everything in between.

Hell, I still get tagged in party flyers for states I don’t live in anymore. Boston promoters—sorry lovers but—I’m looking at you. I moved years ago. Take me off the list. Anywho.

That’s what my timeline, started fresh about a year ago, and with approximately a mere 300 friends, looks like.

Now imagine what your friends are seeing and what that means. To me it means that 9 out of 10 times your project is just one more thing they have no intention of buying or sharing. It’s muck they have to filter through to get to the viral meme of the day or see if their comments got any replies.  

2.       Promoting you is not in their job description

I know I’m a lucky one in this equation, but at any given time I can tell you at least six people I can call up right  now—no matter the time you’re reading this—that will listen to me cry, vent, scream or talk about nothing.

I have people in my corner who will pick up the phone at 2 in the morning and shoot the shit with me simply because I can’t sleep, and my not sleeping is giving me anxiety, and my anxiety is making me lose sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. I applaud anyone who has the patience to deal with me in these moments.

Anyway, I have friends—old and new—who have talked me off the ledge from anything as tragic as a miscarriage and as mundane as breaking a nail. I have a TRIBE of people who will cheer me on, set me straight, or just listen when I really don’t feel like hearing a pep talk.

 

Being a friend is hard work and honestly, if I had to choose, I would rather they put the energy into being here for me then pushing my project like a dealer.

 

3.       You might suck

This one is hard for me to say. I get it. No matter what it is, you’re doing, you know with certainty that it’s good. The weight loss pills your pushing works. The mixtape jams. The book you wrote can change lives and beat out the best of the best sellers out there.

We put our blood, sweat, and tears into something and the truth is, our friends might still think we suck.

One friend might read your book and fall in love while another sees nothing more than absolute trash. Your bestie might love the premise and hook but hate the execution, and your beta readers might love the title but hate your book cover. Your high school study partner might play your music in his car, but the DJ you grew up with thinks you’re too whack to get spins.

There is a plethora of reasons why whatever you’re selling simply isn’t your friend's thing and it doesn’t have to be.

Now, none of this is to say that I don’t hope—and you shouldn’t also hope—friends and family share your work. It’s always reassuring when you see someone just as excited about what you’re doing as you are. It’s just not their job, and now that I’ve gotten to a place where I realize this, I’ve stopped feeling misguided disappointment. It’s freeing.  

~Lo