Thursday, October 31, 2013

BLOG TOUR - REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling

Title: Phantom Summer
Author: Amy Sparling
Publisher: 336Love
Date of Publication: September 5, 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA with ghosts

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably watching her.



I drive through the remnants of what used to be a gated entrance. Now the metal gate lies on the ground, weeds having grown over it. Mom's place is number 336-A. I park in the visitor section closest to Mom's address and step out of the Ford.
As I slam the truck door behind me, the smell of salt in the air fills my lungs. Waves crash on the shore, and seagulls…well I'm not sure what kind of sound they make overhead. A quack-ish type of caw. It's unlike any other bird's song I've ever heard.
The shabby buildings are long overdue for a new paint job and many of them have blue tarps nailed over sections of the roof. People usually do that when a hurricane comes through and blows off shingles, but it's a temporary solution. We haven't had a hurricane in over four years. Please, please let the inside look better than the outside.
I grab my backpack and suitcase and drag it up to Mom's door, tapping on it with my keys. The door swings open and a thin woman with white-blond hair stares back at me. She's wearing a purple bathrobe and has a cigar in her hand. Shit, I'm at the wrong address.
"Hey babe, I didn't expect you so soon." She puffs from her cigar and swings open the door.
"Mom?" I say, as she grabs me in a one armed hug. My mom has dark brown hair like me and a beer gut. At least, that's what she used to look like. She pulls my suitcase inside for me and closes the door behind us.
"Let me get a look at you." She grabs my shoulders with her bony fingers. "You're so different. All grown up."
"Yeah, you too," I say, studying this woman who does look a little like my mom. She has the same butterfly tattoo on her chest. Even still, I can't shake the feeling that I walked into the wrong apartment, that I'm standing here being embraced by a woman who isn't my mom.
Two seconds later the loving moment is gone. I watch Mom’s lipstick smudge onto her cigar as she takes one last puff and snuffs it in an ashtray on an end table. "I go to work at four, so you'll have the place to yourself all night,” she says, winking at me.
Mom shows me the kitchen, complete with microwave, and the bathroom and the living room with a two-seater couch which will now be my bed. "Maybe we can get you an air mattress or something," Mom says, kicking at the springy cushions with her slipper.
The old me would have freaked out if I had to spend a weekend here in Mom's living room. The old me liked having her own room, with her own bed and all of her stuff. And her best friend and lover living next door. But that's the old me. The new me doesn't mind all of these new changes.
I sit on the couch and place a smile on my face. Okay, well maybe now that I've pointed them out they kind of bother me. Sleeping on a couch? Oh well. Brendan doesn't get to sleep in his bed either. He gets to be dead in his coffin. And that thing didn't even have padding like this couch. I know because I left a copy of the Denali user's manual in his coffin when no one was looking. He wanted a Denali so bad, but as an eighteen year old he didn't have the money to spend on luxury motorcycles. I figured in the afterlife he could at least read about one.
But that was Old Taylor. And Old Taylor doesn't exist anymore. She has left the building and wants me to get acquainted with New Taylor. New Taylor lives in Sterling with her mom, and she's not afraid of anything and she has no regrets in life. New Taylor won't remember Brendan.
I hope.

Author Bio:
Amy Sparling is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her daughter, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world. Amy Sparling is a pen name for YA author Cheyanne Young.

Author Links:

My Thoughts:

You don't know what sad is until you do something really bad. Like if you accidentally kill your best friend. And once you've known sorrow like that, you don't have to wear all black to prove it.
I'm not.

I'm such a baby when it comes to scary books. I'm not a fan at all, so I was really glad to find that Phantom Summer wasn't some creepy ghost story, but a story about friendships, grief and love, with some really cool ghost tales thrown in for good measure.

Seventeen year old Taylor Grey is dealing with grief, loss and guilt, when she makes the decision to move away from her Dad and live with her Mum in the beachside town of Sterling Island. Taylor is running from the memories of her best friend and the boy she was in love with, Brendan who died. She is not looking for love. She had that with Brendan, and it didn't turn out so well. But she didn't count on the gorgeous and quirky Raine entering her life and putting her all in a spin.

Taylor was such a wonderful character, although at first, I didn't like her. But grief is such a hard thing to deal with, and add into that the added guilt that Taylor feels over Brendan's death and you have a girl who is all kinds of sad. The move to live with her mum might take her away from the proximity of where she spent her time with Brendan but now she also has to deal with her Mum's issues as well and for the most part Taylor is the more grown up of the two.

Not long after arriving in Sterling Island, Taylor encounters Raine Tsunami, the local ghost tour guide. Raine and almost everyone in the town believe in ghosts and has a story to tell. But Taylor doesn't buy it. Ghosts are not real. But she ends up spending time with Raine as he takes her on his adventures digging into the latest ghost story. Even if she doesn't believe, she still enjoys the time they spend together and the discoveries they make. I loved the progression of the relationship between Raine and Taylor. The had a really great friendship. But along with Taylor's increasing feelings towards Raine, also comes a growth in the depth of her guilt. What would Brendan think of her feelings for Raine?

He brings his lips down to mine, and they squish together perfectly in what is sure to be the world's most epic kiss. It will go down in history as the greatest kiss known to man. We'll be famous.

I loved Raine and all his ghost stories. He was popular and outgoing. The complete opposite to Taylor. I loved that he was so sure of his beliefs. But we also got to see a side to him that all his adoring fans didn't get to see. Things haven't always been so easy for him. But above everything he is a good son and a great brother and friend.

Phantom Summer is a book that has some depth to it, but also has lots of light, fun moments. I especially enjoyed the romance, along with hearing the history related to all the town's ghost stories. A really enjoyable read!!

4/5 Ghostly Stars

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BOOK BLITZ - EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Scarred Love (Sulfur Heights #1) by M.S. Brannon

Scarred Love by M.S. Brannon
(Sulfur Heights #1)
Publication date:
June 6th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

“I am certain, without any doubt, she was meant to be in my life. We belong to each other. I spent too much of my time consumed with what everyone else thinks of my feelings for Darcie, but the truth is, it was always supposed to be this way.” ~Reggie Evans
Darcie Claiborne spent several years of her young life living with a monster, always fearing what he would do next. Clasping onto her last ounce of hope, Darcie releases a scream. It’s her final attempt to live; to survive the villain of her reality. Sweeping her up in his arms, Darcie’s knight in shining armor rescues her from the hell she’s been living; from the stepfather she’s feared for all those years.

Reggie Evans has been forced to grow up before he’s ready when his mother dies of an overdose, leaving him responsible to raise his younger brothers. One fateful night, Reggie jogs by an old, run down house and discovers a young girl clinging to life as she screams for help.

Three years later, Darcie is healing and always protected by the man who saved her, but now she’s fighting with something she isn’t prepared to face. The growing love for the man who saved her life three years ago, the same man who’s nine years older. All the while, Reggie fights to protect Darcie from the demons of her past and new ones of her present.
**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content**


I make my way from behind the bar and spot their table. Drake, Presley, Grady and Darcie are sitting around, laughing and sipping their drinks when I approach. She really looks happy with this douche; it makes my heart sink further. I release the frustrated breath I was holding and walk right up to their table.
“Hey, Reg, it’s fucking crazy in here tonight,” Drake says.
“Yeah, that’s why I’m here. You guys should leave. It’s way too packed and I can’t keep an eye on you and everyone else,” I say, looking straight at Darcie.
Grady instantly recognizes I’m addressing Darcie and stands to challenge me. “I don’t know who you think you are, but I can take care of her myself. Back the fuck off.”
“You’re in my Goddamn bar and if I want you to leave, then you’ll leave. So get the fuck out before I toss you out on your ass,” I seethe with anger. It’s been a month in the making and I’m ready to lay this fucker flat.
I ball up my fist and roll my head from side to side, loosening up my muscles. Grady moves around Darcie, getting dangerously close. He stands a few inches shorter than me and breathes his beer laced breath in my face. The corner of my mouth lifts slightly as I get this gratifying urge to punch the guy’s face.
Jake and Jeremy come from the pool tables to stand behind me. Jake is bouncing like he’s on a pogo stick. His excitement is impossible to contain because he knows I’m about to kill this dude. “I’ve been waiting for a fucking month for this to happen. Knock his bitch ass out, Reggie!”
Drake protectively moves Presley behind him, but places his hand on my shoulder. I jerk my arm forward. No one is going to stop me from destroying this douche bag. “Lay off, Drake. You aren’t stopping this.”Drake steps back and joins Jeremy and Jake a few feet behind me. They have witnessed my murderous rage before and know I am beyond the point of no return. I square my shoulders and roll them back. Clenching my fists open and closed, I glare down Grady, careful to never break our gaze. The bar turns deathly quiet as a crowd forms around us. Here we go. I’m ready to knock this useless piece of garbage on his ass. My feet turn as I ready myself to punch Grady in the face then I see her.
Darcie moves from behind Grady and stands beside him. “Reggie, please. Don’t do this. We’ll leave okay. Just…don’t do this.” Her face is pleading. The anger starts to slowly dissolve. Darcie has the uncanny ability to convince me of anything. The boys often take advantage of it because they know I can’t say no to anything she asks. I start to relax, settling my tense muscles. I can’t hurt her. Not again.
Jake shouts from behind me, “Darcie! He disrespected Reggie in his own bar and deserves to get his ass handed to him. I remember a day when you would be on our side. Now you’re a fucking traitor!”
“Fuck you, piss ant!” Grady shouts back to Jake.
This situation is spiraling out of control quickly. Darcie’s face falls as she looks like Jake slapped her across the face. “Jake! Shut up! Don’t say that to her!” I shout back to him.
Grady’s glare turns deadly when he steps within inches from my face. “You know…you’re really starting to piss me off. She’s not your girl! She’s mine!”
I’m ready to blow. She’s not his! She will never be his! Darcie is mine, forever! I clench my fists again and ready myself to destroy Grady once again when Darcie moves between us. Her hands are on my chest, pushing back against me. The smell of vanilla perfumes the air as Darcie wedges herself between Grady and me.

I break my gaze from Grady and meet her pleading, jade colored eyes. She’s my solace. When I look at Darcie, I find peace in a world filled with shit. I relax my fists and bring my hands to the side of her face, just like I’ve done so many times before, but this time, like the few times before, is different. This time, I want nothing more than to press my lips to hers. As we look into each other’s eyes, time stands still. Everyone else disappears. It’s just us. For a split second, she glances at my lips then back to my eyes. Her head nods slightly and before I can make my move to kiss her, Grady pushes against the back of Darcie and tries to cheap shot me in the jaw.

Author Bio:
M.S. Brannon was born and raised in the Midwest. She still resides there today with her wonderful husband and son. When she is not writing or reading, M.S. Brannon spends time with her family, watching movies, and discovering new music. She writes romance because she believes love and heartache is the rawest emotion one can experience.

Author Links:

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Expected Release Date: January 2014
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover reveal organized by: Shh Moms Reading

Tristan never gave a shit about the girls he used and abandoned. His manwhore ways were ingrained in him from birth. His past has always been a mystery his conquests have wanted to crack, but no one has been able to... until now. 

 Senia has always fallen for the wrong guys, but this time she's fallen for the worst of them. Her attempts to guard her heart from Tristan's charms and sexual magnetism only spur on his pursuit. And soon, the electric energy between Tristan and Senia sparks a fire too wild to contain. 

 Now Tristan must decide if he will abandon his old ways or if he will stay true to his past and abandon Senia instead. 

  Note: This is a spin-off from the Shattered Hearts Series and can be read as a standalone.   


She walks into Yogurtland with her cell phone pressed to her ear and a scowl on her face. Behind the scowl, her vulnerability shines like a fucking nuclear explosion in a dark closet. Whoever she’s talking to has stripped her bare. I find myself wishing it were me who affected her that way.
She’s digging inside her purse while balancing the phone between her shoulder and her ear; probably searching for money to get her frozen yogurt fix. What is it about frozen yogurt that makes us feel better? Maybe it reminds us of being kids, and how something as simple as a trip to the yogurt shop could turn a bad day into a great one. Whatever it is, I can see that she desperately needs some frozen yogurt. But with each passing moment that she’s unable to locate her money, I see the hope draining from her face.
“I told you to stop calling me. I don’t care if your car is in the shop. I’m not picking you up!”
She drops her purse and cell phone onto the checkered tile floor and curses loudly. “What the fuck are you staring at?!” she barks at the man who’s ogling her ass while ushering his small child out of the shop. “You’ve never seen a girl in a skirt bend over?”
She falls to her knees as she reaches for the cell phone first. She presses it to her ear and says hello a few times before she realizes there’s no one there. I walk over to her, coolly taking my time, then I kneel next to her and reach for the lipstick tube that rolled behind her left foot. I hold it out in front of her. She looks sideways at me and her mouth drops as she’s stunned into silence. Most girls are stunned when they see me. I’m used to that. But Senia has seen me plenty of times. She’s not amazed by my good looks. She’s stupefied by my impeccable timing.
Her gaze immediately falls to my lips, which are just inches from her own. Then she begins to sob as she throws her arms around my neck.
I can’t help but chuckle. “Hey, it’s okay,” I whisper into her ear as I breathe in her scent. She smells like strawberries or pineapple. Something fruity. It’s intoxicating.
I reach up and grab her face to pull her away, so I can look her in the eye. “What flavor do you want?”
A tear rolls down her face and I wipe it away as she stares at me, still dumbfounded. “Cheesecake, with strawberries.”
I help her gather the rest of her belongings into her purse then I order her yogurt as she watches me from where she stands next to the trash bin. She watches me as I approach her with her bowl of frozen yogurt, one of her perfect eyebrows cocked skeptically.
“Don’t look at me like that,” I say as I pass her the bowl of yogurt.
“Why?” she says as she pops the first spoon of creamy yogurt into her mouth.
She licks the spoon clean and I find myself wondering what it would feel like to have those full, red lips wrapped around my cock. I lean in and whisper in her ear, “Because you’re turning me on and I can’t fuck you in Yogurtland.”
She continues to cock her eyebrow as she takes another spoonful of yogurt into her mouth. “Then maybe we should get the fuck out of Yogurtland.”
In the three years I’ve known Senia, we’ve almost fucked three times. The first time happened the day I met her, after a show we played in Durham. We were interrupted backstage by Xander, the band’s manager, just as Senia was about to get on her knees. The second time was at a Memorial Day picnic. We were both pretty shitfaced and she ended up tossing her cookies all over me as I was sliding her panties off. The third time happened less than three months ago, in a pub restroom stall. She started crying and couldn’t go through with it; she was too heartbroken over her ex. I think the fourth time may be the charm for us. For some reason, this makes me really fucking nervous.
I’m not afraid I won’t be able to satisfy her. There’s no doubt I’ll make her come harder than she’s ever come before. But for the first time in my life, I’m afraid of what will come after the sex.
Senia is Claire’s best friend. Even if Claire and Chris never get back together, I know she’ll always be around. Chris is my best friend. I can’t avoid Claire and, therefore, I can’t avoid Senia. Something about this terrifies me and intrigues me; like I’m flirting with danger or, more accurately, fucking with danger.
I grab the door handle on the passenger side of my silver Audi and pause as I look her in the eye and pull the door open. “Get in.”
She smiles and shakes her head as she slinks into the passenger seat. “Please don’t bother using your manners.”
“I won’t.”
I slam the door shut and walk around to the driver’s side, tapping the trunk as I note my surroundings. It’s eight in the evening. There are only three other cars in the parking lot and at least one of those belongs to the guy working behind the counter in Yogurtland. I look up at the lamppost in front of the car illuminating the hood and shining through the windshield.
I open the door and slide into the driver’s seat. Gazing into her eyes, for a moment I’m reminded of the last time my mom took me to get ice cream, when I was nine years old. I clench my jaw against the visceral nature of this memory and Senia takes this as an invitation.
She climbs into my lap and takes my face in her hands as she crushes her lips to mine. I thread my fingers into her hair and roughly grab a fistful of her dark locks. She whimpers as I thrust my tongue into her mouth and squeeze my fist around her hair, intermittently tightening my grip then easing up. Finally, I pull her head back by her hair and her eyes widen with shock and excitement. That’s when I notice her styrofoam bowl of yogurt upended between us, the cold stickiness seeping through both of our shirts.
She smiles as she swipes her finger through the cool, sticky substance and slowly eases her finger in her mouth. “Creamy,” she purrs.
“Fuck,” I whisper as my dick jumps, trying to escape my jeans.
I grab the bowl and toss it into the backseat and she smiles as I swipe my finger through the yogurt and reach under her skirt. Her thighs are smooth and warm against the back of my fingers as I move straight for her panties. She holds my gaze as I slip my fingers under the fabric and find her clit. She swallows hard as her smile melts into a look of pure ecstasy.
“Oh, my God,” she breathes as I stroke her gently.
I grab the back of her neck and pull her mouth against mine, swallowing her moans as if they were the air keeping me alive. I shove two fingers inside her and she gasps as I curve my fingers to reach her spot. Her body curls into me as I lick the soft skin below her earlobe. Abruptly, I remove my hand from her panties. Her face is incredulous as I lift her up by her waist and place her on the passenger seat.
“Get in the back.”
For a moment, it seems as if she’s questioning this abrupt request. “This better be good,” she says as she slithers between the two front seats to get into the backseat.
I reach under her skirt as she crawls into the back and I yank down on her panties. “Jesus Christ, Tristan!”
“Make up your mind,” I say as I place my hand on her ass and push her into the backseat. “Am I Jesus Christ or Tristan?”
She laughs as I scramble into the backseat after her, holding onto her panties so she’s forced to leave them behind. I quickly position myself between her legs as she lies on her back and smiles. “You can be whoever the fuck you want.”
I slide my arm under her waist and lift her up so I can place her back against the passenger side window. Pushing her skirt up, I spread her legs wide open and marvel at the sight of her. She perfectly shaved with a small landing strip of dark hair that ends at the top of her slit.
“I prefer Tristan,” I say as I flash her my crowd smile.
She whimpers like a kitten in pain, her hips writhing against me as I devour her slowly and methodically. She tastes like the frozen yogurt I smeared all over her.
“Oh, Tristan,” she moans and I hook my arms tightly around her thighs to steady her as her legs begins to tremble. “Oh, my fucking God!”
I suck gently as her clit pulsates against my tongue. She lets out a loud cry that sounds like a sigh mixed with a scream. I can’t help but smile as I continue to stimulate her until she grabs chunks of my hair and yanks me up.
“Holy shit,” she breathes as she wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me on top of her.
But she doesn’t kiss me. She just holds me there and I quickly begin to feel uncomfortable with this closeness. I begin to push away, but she tightens her grip.
“Please don’t move,” she begs, and I can hear something strange in her voice—she’s crying.
I lie still with her for a while until I no longer hear her sniffling. I slowly pull my head back to look her in the face and she quickly wipes at the moisture on her cheeks.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers.
I grab her hand and pull it away from her face. “It’s okay,” I murmur as I brush my thumb over her cheekbone.
“No, it’s not,” she says, a hard edge to her voice as her hands reach down to undo the button and zipper on my jeans. “But it will be.”
She pushes my boxers down until my dick springs free and I suck in a sharp breath as it comes in contact with her.
“I don’t have a condom.”
My shoulder-length hair hangs around my face as I hover over her. She reaches up and pushes my hair back as she pulls my mouth to hers. I groan as I try to resist making such a stupid mistake. Despite the rumors, I don’t have unprotected sex. I may be a whore like my mother, but I’m not as reckless as she is.
I try to pull my face back, but Senia holds my head still. Suddenly, I’m royally pissed off. I rip my head out of her grasp and glare at her.
“This is just a fuck. Nothing more,” I insist and her eyebrows scrunch together. A sharp pang of regret twists inside my chest. “I’m sorry.”
Why the fuck am I apologizing?
“Then shut up and fuck me,” she says as she tightens her legs around my hips and the tip of my cock presses against her opening.
I slide in slowly, watching as she closes her eyes and tilts her head back. Leaning forward, I suck on her throat as I gradually ease myself further inside her with each stroke.
“You’re tight as fuck,” I whisper as I carefully work my way deeper inside.
She doesn’t respond, so I keep thrusting, slowly at first then working my way up to a steady pace. I pull my head back to see her face and her eyes are still closed. I don’t know why, but I want to see her eyes.
“Look at me,” I command, and she opens her eyes instantly, her gaze finding mine.
Her eyes are slightly red and that’s when I notice the tear tracks running from the corners of her eyes, down her temple, and disappearing into her dark hair. A strange urge overcomes me and I lean down and kiss her temple. Licking my lips, the saltiness of her tears turn me on even more. I ease my hand behind her knee and lift her leg higher so I can thrust deeper.
She whimpers as she threads her fingers through my hair and pulls my mouth to hers. I kiss her slowly, matching the rhythm of my hips to the movement of our tongues. She bites my top lip and I feel myself getting so close to blowing my load.
“Holy shit,” I whisper as I try to pull my head back, but she holds my head still and kisses me deeply as I let go inside her.
My dick twitches as I fill her with my gushing warmth. I grunt into her mouth and she continues to kiss me, swallowing my cries the way I did hers. Finally, I tilt my head back and look her in the eye. Then I ask her a question I haven’t asked anyone since I broke up with Ashley four years ago.
“Who was that on the phone?”


Cassia Leo Author Pic_new

USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she's not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she's not watching reruns, she's usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading--sometimes both.


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