Captive →

captiveRating: 4 Cups of Coffee

Goodreads’ Book Description:
He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Natasha’s Experience:
 I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never wanted to be kidnapped before. That would make sense, not wanting to just be taken away from everything you know and thrown into a scary situation you have no control over.

That being said, if Ghost wanted to just come on by and whisk me away to a secluded cabin in the middle of what seems like nowhere, I’d probably ask for two minutes to pack a duffel bag.

I realize how ridiculously insane that sounds, but after you read CAPTIVE, you’ll more than likely be packing along with me.

Madison Frost leads a lonely, sheltered life. She’s a student who’s more worried about her mother’s addiction than she is school and a father who wants to steer clear from his parental and husband duties. I feel terribly for Madison because she’s just not happy. Nothing seems to ever work in her favor, and then she’s kidnapped! What a predicament!

Ghost, Madison’s kidnapper, is terrifying. He’s all rough edges and almost too intense to handle. But he’s keeping secrets. He’s also not as terrible as he portrays himself to be.

 “I’d walk to hell and back if it meant she’d get out of this unscathed. If it meant I could keep her safe, even if it caused my demise.”

CAPTIVE had the perfect amount of suspense, sweet sexiness and was just absolutely captivating.

Links: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Keep Up With Brighton Walsh: Website | Twitter | FacebookGoodreads | Pinterest

Bone Gap →

bonegapRating: 5 Cups of Coffee

Goodreads’ Book Description:
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Alex’s Experience:
I was hooked from page one of this novel. Although the story intrigued me, it was Laura Ruby’s writing that drew me in. The abundance of beautiful similes and metaphors sometimes made it hard for me to read this book without pausing every paragraph to think, “Damn.” Her descriptions made the whole story so much more vivid and real for me. For example: “The pavement in front of Finn ended in a wall of sky, as if it had been sliced off by the swing of a scythe,” or The water churned and rushed and sucked and tossed him, and strange yellow eyes watched him from the sky and from the tall banks, and black shapes writhed under the surface of the river and brushed and bumped against his body – ridges of bone, sandpaper skin, the brief press of teeth that tested, tested.” Damn.

If the writing doesn’t do it for you, the story will. When Finn O’Sullivan witnesses the kidnapping of his friend Roza but can’t remember the face of the man who took her, nobody believes his story. He’s still determined to find out the truth behind her kidnapping, to remember the face of the man who moves “like a cornstalk twitching in the wind.” Finn’s beautiful and heartbreaking story explores themes of love, loss and magic and will keep you wanting more. The book switches perspectives every chapter, usually between Finn and Roza, but other residents of Bone Gap make their thoughts known to us as well, like Petey, the beekeeper’s daughter whose tongue is sharper than a bee’s sting and makes a shocking discovery about Finn, or Sean, Finn’s older brother and town hero. This is a novel that really needs these perspectives, because the story isn’t whole without them.

This novel seems like a regular thriller/suspense story, but it is so much more than that. As it progresses, you realize there is so much more to Finn, Roza and Petey than meets the eye. Finn isn’t just a spacey, awkward boy. He’s perceptive, loving and surprises everyone in Bone Gap with his determination despite a strange affliction you do not see coming. Roza’s Polish roots seep into every page of her thoughts, and the story wouldn’t be complete without them. She is strong and fights for her freedom with rough, calloused hands and a heart that longs to see Sean again. Petey is tough and hates being in Bone Gap, yet she has a soft spot for two things: bees and Finn.

Bone Gap is a thrilling, magical story that will take you through the gaps of Finn’s mind, Bone Gap and the sea of corn that whispers here, here, here. You will escape to another world, and then another world within that one.

Charlie Valentine, the bizarre man who lets his chickens run wild in his home and harbors a secret Finn desperately needs to know, puts it best: “We don’t have your typical gaps around here. Not gaps made of rocks or mountains. We have gaps in the world. In the space of things. So many places to lose yourself, if you believe that they’re there. You can slip into the gap and never find your way out. Or maybe you don’t want to find your way out.”

Brew some coffee with honey (recipe here!) and lose yourself in this book. You won’t regret it.

Links: Amazon US | Amazon CA| Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Keep Up With Laura Ruby: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr

#5ReasonsFriday: Where Sea Meets Sky →

WhereSeaMeetsSkyRating: 5 Cups of Coffee

Goodreads’ Book Description:
A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.

Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go even when you know you have to say goodbye.

Natasha’s Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Read This Book:

  1. I read this during my spring break and I can’t explain how absolutely fitting it was. Tanning by the pool and reading about Josh leaving his home to go on the adventure of a lifetime made me want to pack up my bathing suits and get on a plane to anywhere.
  2. I highlighted a TON of quotes in this book, but my favorite one by far says: “Choice, in the end, is freedom and freedom is everything in life.” It’s like Karina is preaching to me and I’m soaking in all her words of wisdom.
  3. Josh Miles himself is probably a perfect reason to read this book. He’s so real and scared and I felt like I could really relate to him. He sees an opportunity to change–completely uproot— his life and he takes it. He’s braver than he realizes and really, truly cares about Gemma, who is practically a stranger to him.  His loyalty is something to be admired.
  4. Gemma is my girl. She comes off as this fearless, carefree gal who does what she wants, consequences be damned. I love that she shows Josh her sensitive side, even when she’s so insanely terrified of how he makes her feel. “How is it that being loved is even scarier than being in love?”
  5. This entire story felt like a vacation for me. I feel like I actually went to New Zealand and explored alongside Josh & Gemma; that’s how exquisitely descriptive and flawlessly written this book was. Props to Karina Halle for taking me on the coolest, craziest adventure without ever having to buy a plane ticket. 😉

If you’re a fan of reading about traveling, amazing friendships, characters with palpable chemistry and the desire to live life exactly the way you want to, don’t even hesitate. Get this book the second it releases March 31, 2015.
I’ll leave you with another favorite quote: “There’s a lot of happiness out there if you’re not afraid to reach for it.”

Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS/NZ | Amazon CA | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Blio | Books-a-Million | Google ebookstore | IndieBound

About the Author: karinahalle

Karina Halle is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact, Love in English, and other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

COVER REVEAL + EXCERPT: Racing the Sun by Karina Halle →

racingthe sun

From the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky comes a new adult novel about a young woman who becomes a nanny in Capri and falls for her charges’ bad-boy brother.

When I’m traveling, I feel like the secret to my life, to myself, to really becoming, is one step ahead. It’s in the next destination, the next town I get lost in, the next stranger I talk to. It’s always next but never here . . . 

After six months of backpacking and soul-searching across the world, Amber MacLean is flat broke. There are worse places for a twentysomething to be stuck than the Amalfi Coast, but the only way she can earn enough money for a plane ticket home to California is to teach English to two of the brattiest children she has ever met.

It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, the young master of the crumbling villa tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.

When her position turns into a full-time nanny gig, Amber grows dangerously closer to the enigmatic recluse. But can she give up the certainty of home for someone whose closely guarded heart feels a world apart from her own?

RACING THE SUN by Karina Halle
Atria Books | 384 pages | Paperback ISBN 9781476796444, $15 | July 28, 2015
eBook ISBN 9781476796482, $7.99
Learn more at S&S.com

And don’t miss Karina’s next book, WHERE SEA MEETS SKY, on sale 3/31!

US ORDER LINKS: Amazon Blio | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Google ebookstore | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

UK ORDER LINKS
Paperback: Amazon | Waterstones | Foyles
eBook: Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

AUS/NZ ORDER LINKS: iBooks | Amazon ebook | Booktopia Pbook

Read on for a sneak peek at the next novel by Karina Halle, Racing the Sun
Available as an Atria Paperback and eBook in July 2015

I think we’ve all thought about how we’re going to die. My friend Angela Kemp, whom I’ve known since we were playing in saggy diapers together, is convinced she’s going to choke to death on something. Every time we go out to eat, she searches the restaurant for the person most likely to know the Heimlich maneuver and tries to sit by them. It doesn’t seem to matter that I know the Heimlich maneuver; she just wants to know that she’ll be safe if it happens.

Personally, I’ve always thought I’d fall to my death. I think it all started when I was seven or eight years old and had dreams of my house turning over and me falling from the floor to the ceiling, dodging couches and tables. After that my dreams turned into me falling off of balconies, getting stuck in plummeting elevators, and finally, being in horrific plane crashes. Actually, it was never the crash that killed me, nor was it the scariest part of the dream; it was that I was always sucked out of the airplane before then and fell to my death in a horrible rush of cold air and mortality.

It shouldn’t surprise me then that I currently think I’m about to die, and by falling, no less.

In fact, I’m sure there’s no way I can possibly survive this. It’s not that I’m in a taxi that seems to be coughing black fumes out of its tail pipe every two seconds, or the fact that the driver—with a mustache so big he looks like a land walrus—is looking more at me and the two other backpackers in the backseat instead of on the road, but that as we round the corners of the “highway” toward the famously postcard-worthy town of Positano, we’re going full speed and there’s nothing but a sheer cliff face on my side of the vehicle.

“Shit,” I swear, trying to hold onto something—anything—that will keep me in the car and not fall to my death, as my sordid dreams have foretold. I look over at Ana and Hendrik, my Danish traveling compadres for this leg of southern Italy, and they don’t seem all that concerned. I’m especially not going to grab onto big, blonde Hendrik since Ana has a problem with random girls touching him.

Not that I’m random at this point. I met up with the couple in Rome and spent a few days with them there before we took the train down south. I know they have plans to keep going all the way to Sicily and hunker down on some beach hut with a bunch of goats (I don’t know, but whenever Hendrik talks about their plans, goats are involved somehow) but I’m starting to believe that Positano is the end of the line for me.

And it’s not just because I’m certain I’m going to die on the way there. It’s because I am flat fucking broke. We all knew this day would come (and by we, I mean my parents and I.) After all, I’ve been traveling for six months around the world, and even though I’ve been trying to spend as little as possible, the world isn’t as cheap as you’d think.

It probably doesn’t help that I went a little overboard in Europe and went on a mini shopping spree in every city I was in. But I like to think of my new shawls and sandals and jewelry as souvenirs, not just clothes. I mean, do you get to wear your postcards or ceramic doodads or tiny calendars with pictures of the Eiffel tower on them? No. But you can wear a scarf you picked up from a market in Berlin.

But of course, in hindsight, maybe I should have managed my money a bit better. I just thought that my savings were enough. And then when my parents started bailing me out, I thought I could coast by on that. Just for a little while. Until I found out they sold my shitty 1982 Mustang convertible to help pay for this trip. And then after that, they just stopped putting money in my account.

I’ve now eaten into the money that’s supposed to pay for my return ticket home, a ticket I didn’t think I’d have to buy until I got down to Morocco, or even Turkey.

So, Positano, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast, might just be the end for me.

Or this cab ride. As we round another bend, I can see crazy people parked on the road and selling flowers—not the side of the road, but parked on the actual road. So now people are swerving and going around them, but when Italians swerve they don’t slow down—they actually speed up.

I decide to close my eyes for the rest of the journey and hope I end up in one piece.

Even though the journey from Sorrento to Positano doesn’t translate into many miles, it still feels like it takes forever for us to finally get there.

The walrus-mustached cab driver pulls to a sudden stop, abruptly enough that I fling forward, my curly blonde hair flying all over the place as my seatbelt barely restrains me.

“Amber,” Ana says in her deep accent. “We’re here.”

“I gathered that,” I say, and do the very awkward act of pretending to search through my messenger bag for euros. I don’t really have any euros to spare. Thankfully Ana thrusts some bills into the driver’s hand as we clamber out of the cab.

And so here is Positano. I’d been so busy closing my eyes and praying, I hadn’t really gotten a good look at the town on the way over.

It’s fucking charming. I mean, it’s beautiful and stunning and photogenic as all hell, but its charm is the first thing that comes to mind. The cab dropped us off at the top of the hill and you can see just how packed the town is. Building after colorful building crammed below cliffs, staggered down the hillsides, tucked into every nook and cranny. It makes you wonder what crazy person decided to put a town here, of all places.

The one-way road leading down to the beach is narrow, with cars and pedestrians and patio seating vying for space, and lined with stores that beckon you to come inside. Actually, knowing Italy, the minute you walk past, some shopkeeper will come out and literally beckon you to come inside because, like, you can’t say no (maybe that’s how I’ve ended up with so much stuff). In the distance, the Mediterranean Sea sparkles from the sunlight, glittering on the water, and hydrofoil ferries glide through the waves with ease.

“Wow,” I say softly, trying to take it all in. “This is like the movies.”

“Yes, it’s very nice,” Hendrik says blankly. He’s never really impressed with anything. When we saw the Coliseum, he said he thought it would be bigger. Well, I thought it would be bigger, too, but that didn’t stop me from being overwhelmed by the structure and history of it all. “Luckily the hostel is at the top of the hill.”

That is lucky, considering if it was at the bottom of the hill on this one-way road I’d have to lug my overflowing backpack and duffel bag up to catch a cab or bus when it’s time to leave. Then again…I have a feeling I’m going to be here a while. I have enough money to stay at this hostel for a week and then I’m officially fucked.

I try not to dwell on that as I follow the Danes down the road for a few minutes as cars and motorcycles—ubiquitous here—zoom past, narrowly missing me by an inch. Even being on foot and at your own pace, there is still something so dizzying about this place. All these houses, burnt orange and pastel yellow and faded rose, looking down on each other. When I turn around and look behind me, the steep, rocky hills rise up into the sky.

It feels like the whole entire town could topple over at any minute.

This could be a metaphor for my life at the moment.

After we’ve settled into a rather pleasant looking dorm room (pleasant compared to the fleabag we stayed at in Rome), Ana and Hendrik invite me to go with them down to the beach. I really do want to go and explore, but I have a feeling they’ll want to eat at some restaurant, and that would be more euros than I can afford. As much as I hate it, I have to stick to my weird Italian granola bars and fruit for as long as I can. Besides, I’m sure the lovebirds would rather stroll on the Positano beach with each other and not have some broke, frazzle-haired American girl tagging along.

So they leave and I take my time exploring the hostel. It’s small but even though it’s the only one in town, it’s not as packed as I thought it would be. It’s the beginning of June so I thought all college kids and post-college kids (like myself) would be flocking to this area but I guess not.

That’s fine with me. After living out of a backpack for months on end and never really getting any time for myself, strolling around a quaint but quiet hostel is a pleasure.

I end up back at the reception desk where a girl with shiny, poker-straight, chocolate brown hair is sipping some lemon drink. I get major hair envy over anyone with straight strands.

Buongiorno,” the girl says with a smile—and an American accent—once she notices I’m there. Then she recognizes me from check-in earlier. “I mean, hello. Amber, right? From San Francisco?”

“San Jose,” I correct her, finding her easy to talk to already. I’ve always been a fairly quiet girl but that changed real quick once I started traveling by myself. “Listen, I was just wondering…well, I mean, I know you work here, right?”

She nods. “I hope so, otherwise I’ll be in a lot of trouble.”

“Right. I was just wondering, how did that happen?”

“Oh,” she says and leans back in her stool. I notice how sun-browned her skin is and gather she must have been in Italy, or at least some place warm, for a long time. She breaks into a wide smile. “It’s kind of a long story.”

I lean against the counter. “I’ve got time.”

And so the girl – Amanda – launches into the story of her current life. She only came here on a whim with a friend of hers but fell in love with Positano so badly that she didn’t want to leave. Her friend ended up going back home and she asked the owners of the hostel if there was any way she could work for them. They told her she could work the front desk full time in exchange for room, board, and little bit of extra money. She jumped at the chance, doing this all under the table, of course.

“So how long are you staying here for?” I ask her.

“I leave in a month. My three months is up.”

I make a frowny face. “That sucks.”

She shoots me an impish smile. “But I’ll be back. Alfonso is making sure of that?”

“Who is Alfonso?”

“The man I’m going to marry.”

And then she launches into another story, this one far more exciting than the last one. On her second week of working here, she ended up running into a local cop. He was hot. It was love at first sight. Now, with her having to leave the country (Americans can only be here for three months at a time), Alfonso is building a case to bring her back in seven months. If they can prove they are serious about each other and intend to marry one day, she can get a permit to work here for longer.

“Wow,” I tell her when she’s finished. “I was just saying this town was like a movie town and now this is like movie love.”

She blushes. “I know it’s rather fast. No one takes our relationship seriously, not even his mother. But I do love him, and he loves me, and I know this is the right thing to do. So why not take the chance, you know? If it doesn’t work out, at least I’ll have a hell of a story.”

“You already do have a hell of a story.” I’ll admit that even though I think it’s sweet and romantic, the jaded and cynical side of me thinks it’s a bit ridiculous that she’s doing all of this for a man, that you could even fall in love that fast. But that’s probably because I’ve been screwed over by men a few times already on my travels.

“See,” she says, pulling out her phone and showing me a picture. “This is Alfonso. You’d stay for him, wouldn’t you?”

I let out a low whistle. Alfonso is hot. Dark-skinned with piercing light-colored eyes. And he’s tall, too. Not that it’s too out of the ordinary—everyone warned me that Italian men are short and hairy, but so far that’s not the case at all.

“Nice,” I say to her. “Well, I wish you both the best and hope it all works out.”

She shrugs. “Life works out the way it wants to.”

“Uh-huh.” And then I remember the real reason why I came to talk to her. “Listen, I’m having some financial difficulties at the moment. You know, overdid it a bit in London and all that. Anyway, I was wondering if you knew if there was any work available for someone like me.”

Her eyes narrow slightly. “Well, there’s no work here.”

Relax, I think. I’m not after your job.

“Oh, I don’t mean here, per se. I just meant in town. Or in the area. Even Sorrento or Salerno.”

She purses her lips and thinks. “Well, there would be jobs in Salerno, but you don’t want to work there. Have you tried the English cafe down the street? Sometimes they need English speakers. There’s also a work-notice board they put up for foreigners. Usually the jobs posted are one-offs for guys, like a day spent painting a house or something like that. But sometimes you can get lucky.”

This sounds promising. “And it’s just down the street? It’s a long street…”

Amanda smiles and pulls out the hostel map and proceeds to draws on it. “Follow the road all the way to here and then take these stairs here. You’ll come to Bar Darkhouse. Beside it, kind of tucked in the back, is Panna Café. That’s the one.”

“Thank you,” I tell her, folding the map before shoving it into my bag.

I walk down the streets with an extra spring in my step. The air is fresh (when you’re not inhaling diesel fumes) and the sun is warm, baking my bare arms. I’m feeling a bit optimistic about the whole money problem now. If Amanda can find work here, I can too.

That should also go to say that if Amanda can find love here, I can too. But thankfully, that is the last thing I’m looking for. I’ve had enough fun and heartbreak during this trip, falling for boys who either have their hearts set on someone else (like Josh in New Zealand) or who love you and have to leave you (like the Icelandic boy, Kel, whom I spent a sex-filled week with in Prague). No, the next guy I was going to fall for would be a Nor Cal boy when I returned home to San Jose. No drama, no heartache, no tragic goodbyes.

No fun either, I think to myself, but I quickly push that thought away.

The café is easy enough to find but it takes me awhile to get there. The town is just so pretty and tightly packed that I want to linger in every single store. Eventually I find it and order an espresso at the bar. Unlike most cafes in Italy, this one actually has tables and chairs where you can sit down and sip your drink, obviously catering to tourists. But at this point I’ve gotten used to doing quick shots of coffee while standing up. It’s at least more efficient.

After I ask the British barista whether they are hiring and find out it’s a big fat no, she points me to the corner of the cafe where the notice board is. Though most of the postings are actual flyers for parties or advertisements for ceramic sales, there are a few work notices.

One of them looks fresh—none of the phone number/email strips on the notice have been taken.

It reads:

Need help. Want English speaking woman. Two children. Must be good to young children and help with language. Fluency needed. Italian is helpful to have. Please email Felisa. Locate to Capri.

I quickly take the notice off of the board before anyone else notices. Like hell I’m going to compete for this job. Even though I’m not really sure what it entails, other than possibly teaching English to two kids, or what it pays or if it includes room and board, I’m not going to give the opportunity up. If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll just put the ad back.

I immediately connect to the cafe’s Wi-Fi on my cell phone and shoot an email off to Felisa. I make myself sound as good as possible: Graduated from college with an English degree. Worked as a receptionist for a prestigious company (before I was fired). Great with children (I think I baby sat once when I was fifteen). Willing to work in Capri, provided help with housing is included. Have spent a great deal of time building up life skills while traversing Southeast Asia. Knows how to bake a mean tiramisu.

That last part is a lie but I thought they might find it endearing.

I press send and then wait.

And wait.

And when I realize I’m not going to get a response right away, I head to the bar next door, taking the work notice with me.

POPSUGAR Cover Reveal found here!

About the Authorkarinahalle

Karina Halle is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact, Love in English, and other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Baristas Mugs Now Available →

I’m so incredibly excited to have collaborated with Hey Shabby Me to sell Book Baristas mugs exclusively on their website. You can now sip your coffee/tea from your very own Book Baristas mug!
We are working on getting more merchandise out, but for now I’m so happy to have these perfect (I’m a little biased ;)) mugs available to you all!

Here are the two available designs:

bookbaristas
shopify_mug_mock

Buy link: Hey Shabby Me

About Hey Shabby Me

heyshabbyme

Our little shop started when as a bride I wanted to customize everything for our wedding. My love for coffee & pop culture was the inspiration when we started designing our mugs. How fun it is to express yourself while you sip your coffee/tea/wine! If you would like to get in contact with us please email us at info@heyshabbyme.com.

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest

ICYMI COVER REVEALS: November Nine & Before We Were Strangers →

november-nine-9781501110351_hr

ABOUT NOVEMBER NINE:
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

NOVEMBER NINE by Colleen Hoover
Atria Books Paperback | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110344 | November 10, 2015 | $16.00
eBook: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110351 | November 10, 2015 | $7.99

PRE-ORDER (US): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Apple | Blio | Google | Kobo

PRE-ORDER (UK): Apple | Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:image005

Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, and Confess. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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ABOUT BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS:
During their senior year at NYU, Grace and Matt struck up a friendship over Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, and the Ramones. She was going to be a world-class cellist and he was going to be a famous photographer, their paths destined to diverge after graduation.

Even after an afternoon pub crawl ended in their drunken, spontaneous wedding, their visions for the future never overlapped enough for them to be together. The summer after college, he left his “ex-wife” on good terms and went to Brazil to work for National Geographic. They vowed to stay in touch and see each other soon.

They never did.

Fifteen years later, back in New York City, Matt sees Grace as she boards the J train. They’re both different in a hundred ways, and yet they’re still the same. But just as they recognize each other, just as he understands what he left behind all those years ago, the train pulls away. His only recourse is to send a missed connections letter out into the world, and hope she remembers where to look.

BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS by Renée Carlino
Atria Books Paperback | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501105777 | August 18, 2015 | $15.00
eBook: Atria Books | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501105784 | August 18, 2015 | $7.99

PRE-ORDER: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Apple | Blio | Google | Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Renée Carlino is the author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, and After the Rain. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

www.reneecarlino.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Book Baristas Goes Vogue For a Day →

Just last week, I was given the opportunity to have a photo shoot with a friend of mine who is an up-and-coming photographer who has a passion for creative visuals. I obviously couldn’t pass up the chance at having a photo shoot with books and coffee; they are the best kind of models 😉

Without further ado, here are a few of the final products shot by Desiree Prieto. Feel free to check out her Instagram account and Tumblr page, she is brilliantly talented.

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About the Photographer

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Hello! My name is Desiree Prieto, and I’m a student residing in Miami, Florida. I am a freelance photographer who’s continuously trying to perfect and expand my craft. ‘Artistic Desire’ was conceived in 2014 to simply brand myself; I feel as though it represents my work, which is a reflection of who I am, and of not only what I create presently but also my perpetual desire to find the beauty in all of the moments that surround us. As I’m developing in terms of my photography, I’ve grown to love the ideas of capturing life in a photo. With an open mind, I appreciate the opportunities brought to me by those who wish to be photographed with projects or ideas of their own that cause me to grow and expand my knowledge in the craft that I love.

Links: Tumblr | Instagram

Confess →

cchRating: 5 Cups of Coffee

Goodreads’ Book Description:
Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

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Natasha’s Experience:
This book was an actual masterpiece. For Colleen to write a story about art and have her story be the most beautiful piece of art that I’ve ever read is just something I can’t wrap my head around.

Confess is a story about a city girl forced to live a small-town life and an incredible artist who has a dark past that he hasn’t quite escaped yet. Confess is told with hints of suspense twisting between little bits of truth that are strategically placed within the story line to keep the reader guessing and wholly, emotionally invested.

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I genuinely read this entire book with goose bumps. Do you know how insane that is??? To have real-life goose bumps lining your arms because every sentence makes me feel an emotional and physical reaction?

“It appears as though she’s afraid I’ll alter her canvas if she allows me too close. She doesn’t need to worry. The feeling is mutual.”

Owen Gentry is making me rethink my lineup of favorite CoHo book boyfriends. It’s always been Will Cooper then Dean Holder but now?? WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO PUT OWEN GENTRY? He owns a huge piece of my heart and this tiny little vessel in my chest is bursting with love for all the other CoHo characters already.

“Every part of me hurts. My arms ache to hold her. My mouth aches to touch hers. My heart aches to love hers.”

He is so smooth and heartbreakingly romantic; I can’t stop swooning any time I randomly think of him. Omg.

Auburn Reed is so beautiful to me. Truly, she is one of the greatest heroines I’ve read about. My heart aches for her a million times over.

“Sometimes we don’t get second chances, Owen. Sometimes things just end.”

Some of the confessions embedded throughout the story were hard to swallow. Nonetheless, I loved reading the confessions because they added such an authentic feel to the story.

One of my favorite things about Confess is that it is just brimming with love. Not just the romantic kind, but real, honest-to-god, pure, unconditional love that seeps through the pages of the book.

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I’m so terribly upset that I have finished this book because I just want to go back and experience it for the first time, over and over again. I can’t recommend this read enough. If you are a diehard CoHo fan like I am, I won’t have to tell you to grab this one, ASAP. I can say–and guarantee–that you won’t be disappointed.

Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Blio | Books-a-Million | Google eBookstore | iBooks | IndieBound | SEE MORE RETAILERS

CONFESS by Colleen Hoover
Atria Books | Paperback
On-Sale: 03/10/15
Paperback ISBN: 9781476791456, $16.00
eBook ISBN: 9781476791463, $7.99
320 pages

Enter for a chance to win! Visit Atria’s Tumblr page from 3/9 – 3/22 to enter to win and a grand prize of a signed framed print of one of the images in the book plus a signed copy of CONFESS or one of the runner up prizes of one of four signed copies of CONFESS.

About Colleen Hoover:image005

Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Maybe SomedayFinding Cinderella, and Ugly Love. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit ColleenHoover.com

Connect with Colleen: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Instagram

Becoming Rain →

Becoming RainRating: 5 Cups of Coffee

Goodreads’ Book Description:
Luke Boone doesn’t know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it-the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he’s finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set-one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it’s not exactly legal, Luke’s never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game-at only twenty-six years old, she’s one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington D.C. major crime unit, and she’s just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the west coast’s most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she’ll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she’ll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she’ll even want to.

Natasha’s Experience:
How does K.A. Tucker continuously do this? How does she always keep me on edge with these stories????

This book was a phenomenal read. It had the perfect amount of suspense (holy hell, suspense), romance (LUKE! I need you in my life), and that flawless writing style that is wholly and uniquely K.A. Tucker.

Clara Bertelli has a really rough job. She’s got to go undercover as Rain Martines and get close to Luke Boone (this isn’t the rough part, obviously). Clara has to deceive Luke in order to solve the case she is working on. It doesn’t help that she’s genuinely attracted to Luke Boone.

When you first meet Luke Boone, you might see him as a spoiled brat, but his heart is golden. He’s smart, young, funny, great with dogs (a fabulous plus) and all kinds of gorgeous.

“I don’t know a lot about what’s going on in my life right now, but I know that I want there to be a tomorrow with Rain.”

Luke and Clara don’t have the most conventional relationship, especially when secrets are brought to light. But what they do have is a real and raw connection.

Reading Becoming Rain was like finding myself in the middle of an intense Criminal Minds episode. I was on pins and needles the entire time, rooting for the good guys and biting my nails with anticipation as the story progressed. I’m all about this thrilling, suspenseful and h-o-t read.

If you read and loved Burying Water, you won’t want to miss out on Becoming Rain.

Thank you K.A. Tucker for an amazing reading experience, as always. You’ve got a (forever) fan in me 😉

Links: Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About K.A. Tucker

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Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six  with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls,  and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Novel Goodreads | Author Goodreads | YouTube | Pinterest | Instagram

In case you missed it, check out my exclusive interview on BECOMING RAIN with K.A. Tucker!

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Happy Release Day: The Design by R.S. Grey →

the designTitle: The Design
Author: R.S. Grey
Release Date: March 1, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Synopsis:
Five minutes until the interview begins.

Fresh on the heels of her college graduation, Cameron Heart has landed an interview at a prestigious architecture firm.

Four minutes until the interview.

She knows she’s only there because the owner, Grayson Cole, is her older sister’s friend.

Three minutes.

For the last seven years, Grayson has been the most intimidating man Cammie has ever had the pleasure, or displeasure, of being around.

Two Minutes.

But the job opportunity is too good to pass up. So, Cammie will have to ignore the fact that Grayson is handsome enough to have his own national holiday.

One.

After all, she shouldn’t feel that way about her new boss. And, he will be her new boss.

“I’m not scared of you,” I said with a confident smile.
“Perhaps we should fix that, Ms. Heart. Close the door.”

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Buy Links: Amazon
Read my review here!

Excerpt:
I paused just outside of the front doors and took a deep breath, trying to get my bearings. I was twenty minutes early for my interview. My outfit was still wrinkle-free. My pad-folio was filled with extra copies of my resume and reference letters, and I’d rehearsed every possible question that Grayson Cole would ask:

Greatest weakness? My inability to settle for anything less than what I deserve. I’m stubborn and persistent.

The honest answer? My inability to overcome my schoolgirl crush on you even though you’re a self-righteous ass.

I would NOT be giving him the honest answer.

About R.S. Grey
I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things… everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I’m a comedy geek and love all things “funny”. Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

Facebook | Twitter | Website| Goodreads

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