Saturday, August 31, 2013

REVIEW: Protected (The Ariya Adams Trilogy Book 1) by Anna Applegate + Giveaway

(Book 1 in the Ariya Adams trilogy)

By Anna Applegate
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 2, 2013
Length: 104,000 Words

Available Here:

At the start of her senior year at Kingsbrook College, a small school in Northern Michigan, Ariya Adams has a perfectly normal existence. Determined to make this her best year yet, she attends her classes and hangs out with the friends she has come to love more than life.
That is until the arrival of the sexy and mysterious transfer student James Rymer, who captivates her affections almost instantly. With her emotions on the fritz for no apparent reason, and unsure if he shares her feelings, Ariya finds herself on an emotional rollercoaster in which everything she knows and loves is questioned.

When fantasy and reality mix, Ariya’s world is turned upside down and she learns that “normal” isn’t what she thought it was. Danger soon comes for her and she discovers that everyone has been keeping secrets from her. The battle between one’s duty and what feels right will have to be fought and it may be a struggle for Ariya to stay alive. When Ariya’s life and the lives of the people she cares for most are endangered, she learns to never underestimate the power of blood.
When you begin reading this book you come across Ariya Adams…. A normal college senior coming back from summer break and beginning her emotional senior year… wrapping up things with her friends and dealing with all that it includes to be on the final leg of college… However, we find out that Ariya is no normal girl… Ariya is a very special young lady and being such a special one, she has protectors around to keep her safe. Meeting Caroline was a treat!! Bubbly happy best friend, roommate, and yet... throughout the beginning…. Seems to get weirder and weirder... Nick, her boyfriend is awesome and then we meet James…. Muscular, tall dark and handsome… I will admit that a small part of me was rooting for Riley to be a new paranormal extremity that would come in and be Ariya’s saving grace and *BAM* happily ever after J . James has a very conflicted being with his feelings and his duties getting entangled and there were quite a few times that I wanted to take James by the shirt and kick him… lol. And then when we meet Emma…. I was … *shudders* we shall just say I was most definitely NOT “Team Emma” lol. This was an amazing book where I got to meet the characters in a slow and steady way and then the ending….. *BOOM* I was Sooooo not expecting that!!! Bravo Author Anna Applegate for throwing in such a plot twist!! I will definitely be reading book 2 (releasing November 2013).
Hello Anna and thank you for agreeing to an interview to accompany my review *Excited squeal*!!

First things first…. I don’t usually read the blurb on most books. I read a review or two making sure not to read spoilers, and then begin the book… I had no idea until about 30% through that this book had vampires!! LOVED the slow intro there…

Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself?

Certainly! My name is Anna Applegate. I live in rural Maryland and absolutely love books. I have an addiction to reading, as I’m sure most of us do here J I’ve loved reading my whole life and I’ve always had an active imagination. I’m a big fan of happy endings, and yes I do believe they happen in the “real world.” When I’m not writing, I’m a meeting planner in the DC Metro area. I’m a big fan of people doing what they are passionate about and dreaming big so that is what this journey has been for me.

And Protected (The Ariya Adams Trilogy Book 1) how did you come up with this story?

Like I mentioned, I’m addicted to reading. Paranormal is usually my genre of choice (although now I’m being thrown into contemporary romances and LOVING them, too). I was getting frustrated, feeling like I was reading the same story lines over and over in the books I was picking up though. They were all wonderful, but I felt like I had read the story already. I remember complaining to one of my girlfriends about it and she said, well if you think you can do it better, try to. I sat down, thinking I’d get a page of writing out and realize I should NOT have though I could do it. After a month or two of keeping with it though, I had multiple pages, and an idea of where my characters were going. The story just kept playing out in front of me. I like to think it’s unique and that my desire for something different came through.

Loved James (most of the time…) and definitely a Riley fan… Can we look forward to seeing him in book two?

YES! Oh man, Riley and James both will grace us with their smexy presence in Book 2. There are quite a few interesting scenes between both James and Ariya and Riley and Ariya, that I think people will like. There will also be a few heartbreaking scenes with both. But they will BOTH be involved in Ariya’s life.

This is so exciting!! SO I just have to know…. Do you plan out your books or do you usually let the characters tell their own story? I know there were a few times when I wanted to grab James and shake the ever loving out of him for ignoring his feelings… lol

HAHAHA! I wanted to do that too, trust me. I was so pissed off at him for being so stubborn. That said, my characters take over and it basically is like I’m watching a movie and just transcribing what’s happening. There is a particular part in Book 2 that when it played out in front of me, I rushed through it and refused to dig in deep. I was furious with a character. My beta called me out and said I needed to suck it up and focus. So I went back and relived it and HATED going through it it…but it ended up being an emotionally charged scene that I’m now really happy with.

I know that most of the authors I have talked to have a playlist that either encouraged or helped inspire their books… do you have any songs that you think helped you along?

You know, I don’t really write to music. I do edit to music though. Now that the book is done, I’ve been hearing songs on the radio and I think, that’s totally this part! Some of the ones that I edited to are:
1. Half Alive – Secondhand Serenade
2. I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons
3. The Great Escape – Exit 245 (James Madison University A capella group – that was my college J)
4. Out Loud – Dispatch
5. Rule the World – Take That
6. Open Your Eyes – Snow Patrol

I realize these are all mellow but the rest of the playlist would be upbeat J The mellow helped me focus while editing and I thought a lot of these lyrics could be applied to some emotions of the book.

Is there anything besides Book Two in The Ariya Adams Trilogy that you are working on?

Book Three!! Yep, already started it and am about 1/3 done. The problem is, I have an idea for another series and it’s eating away at me. I’m trying to make notes and stay focused on getting all of the Ariya books out. We’ll see if after Book Two I’m able to focus on Book Three or if I jump to the new series. I hope to keep doing this for as long as ideas come to me J

I have tons of questions for James and Ariya… do they ever do interviews?

Yes, they do. Ariya would be easy to get. James, since he’s so reserved, would be harder. I enlisted Ariya’s help last time. She convinced James to do one awhile back that is on my website, BUT I’m sure I could get him to do another one.

OH!! Are there any MUST HAVES for while you are writing that you have to have near you or used while you are writing?

COFFEE!!!! Oh my gosh, it’s like oxygen for me.  Maybe not so much while I’m writing because I get so focused that my fingers are just flying over the keyboard. The coffee really is a MUST HAVE for editing! To me, that’s my most difficult focus time, so coffee and music for edits.

Have you ever used anyone in your novels or writings as a subject or inspiration to your villains?

Not as the villains, no. My character Caroline Lufsky, Ariya’s best friend was inspired by a mix of two friends of mine though. One part of Caroline comes from my college roommate, and the other part is from my very best friend, who I’ve had in my life for 21 years now. Without living through what a best friend is and what a college roommate is, I don’t know if the character Caroline would be what it turned out to be.

LOL! When writing out these character’s stories, are there any celebrities or models that you think look like Ariya, James, Riley, Nick or Caroline?

It’s funny you ask. I JUST created my dream cast a few weeks ago. I have been struggling with it for sometime because each character is so unique in my mind. Trying to find someone to “play” them was tough. I begrudgingly decided one some people I think could pull of the roles, but I’ve been known to change my mind quite a bit. That being said here is my current list:
James: I actually don’t have a name but he’s the guy on my cover. In my mind James has dark dirty blonde hair, which I describe in Protected as light brown because to me the two are interchangeable. I think some might argue with me on that one though 

Ariya – Teresa Palmer
Caroline – Jessica Stroup
Nick – Max Irons
Riley – Matt Lanter
Emma – Isabel Lucas
Devon – Brant Daugherty

(After interviewing with me, I made this from Anna's Description/Named characters)

Well Anna, this has been awesome talking with you!! Would you mind a teaser from Book two to end the interview with?

Of course! Here is one that hasn’t been posted anywhere yet (it hasn’t been through final edits):
I barely turned the knob on the front door when Caroline froze. Her head jerked to the side. “Get inside the house.” She hesitated only a moment longer before turning and pushing me through the door. She locked it behind her and whipped her cell phone out.
“Damn it,” she said under her breath as she shoved her phone into her back pocket.
“What’s wrong?” My heartbeat steadily started increasing. Caroline seemed concerned and James and Nick were still out there somewhere.
She didn’t answer me but turned towards the large windows in the family room. She looked around for a moment longer before shoving me to a bedroom adjacent to James’ “Get to that room, now. Lock the door and do not come out.”
“What? No, come with me. What’s going on?”
“Ariya, go. Please don’t argue. I’m fine, but I can’t worry about you if I’m going to handle anything.”
“What do you mean handle anything? I’m not leaving you,” I walked closer to her as I spoke.
“You will cause me to be distracted and that will endanger me. Do you understand?” Her emotionless voice startled me and I turned heading for the room I hadn’t been in yet. I peeked back over at her as I got to the door. A noise at the front of the house made me jump.
“Now,” Caroline whispered urgently. She stood as if she was ready to pounce on something. “Don’t say a word, Ariya. Please shut the door.”
Before I obeyed and shut the door, I heard a terrifying sound. It sounded like nails scraping down glass. Caroline’s body jerked from the front door over to the living room windows as a voice sounded from somewhere outside.
“Come out, come out wherever you are.” Frightened by the malice of the voice, I quickly shut the door I was hidden behind and locked it as instructed.
Caroline is fine, she’s a vampire. Whatever that is, she can handle it.
I tried convincing myself of her safety, but I was frightened. I could feel terror welling in my gut, creeping up into my chest and causing my breathing to become erratic.
Outside the door, I heard glass shatter, followed by a snarl. Oh please, please let Care be okay, I prayed silently.
Noises outside the door increased. I could hear banging, growling, and tearing. I didn’t want to know what the tearing was. I was caught between wanting to do something to help and the words Caroline said to me about her being in more danger if I didn’t stay put. It sounded like a warzone outside the door, it couldn’t be good. Where were James and Nick?

Thanks for being here on my blog today and I am looking forward to reading book two as SOON as it comes out!! 

Anna Applegate lives in rural Maryland with her husband and goldendoodle.

She loves reading, romance of all kinds, sappy chick flicks, paranormal 
literature, shooting stars, Disney, traveling, and having an imagination.

If you are interested in staying up to date when she releases new books, teasers, and more, please sign up for her e-mailing list at under the Contact Me tab. Just put a note in that you're interested in joining the mailing list.
Find out more about Anna and the latest in the Ariya Adams trilogy through one of the below methods of communication:

Friday, August 30, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Linked By Judy Serrano GUEST POST

Linked Series Book One
By Judy Serrano

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: July 18th, 2013
Number of pages: 263
Word Count: 81,403
Cover Artist: Danielle Barnard

Available Here:
Amazon    BN

Book Description:
Daphne Foster is a substitute teacher stuck in an English class, waiting for that dreaded parent-teacher conference. With much preparation and anxiety, she encounters the unforgettable Charlie Cross. His charm and good looks, win her over but rumors of his involvement with organized crime make his continued disappearances disturbing.

In walks Heathcliff Vanderpool, creating a love triangle of unusual sorts. Unknown to Daphne, Heathcliff and Charlie are old friends: Older than she could have imagined. With Charlie away on business, Daphne and Heathcliff discover a passion between them lying beneath the surface. As their souls link, pulling away from Charlie becomes next to impossible. Will his involvement in organized crime consume them both before she’s able to get free? When you become “linked,” the choice may not be your own.
“Mr. Cross,” I started, leaning into him so that no one else could hear me. “What are you doing here?”
“It’s nice to see you too, Miss Foster.”
“I think we’re passed the formalities now, don’t you?” I asked.
“Daphne, then.” My name played so softly on his lips that I shuddered, and embarrassingly so. He smiled. “Then you must call me Charlie.” He kissed the backs of my hands. “I see I already have a positive effect on you.”
“Don’t read too much into it,” I told him. “It’s just a chill.”
“Or maybe a warm sensation,” he whispered, putting his finger on my face and tracing it down to my lips. I swallowed hard and I know my face was yet again bright red.
I looked over at Janice who was having a pleasant conversation with his brother. Then I looked back at him. “Does your wife know you frequent schools to pick up teachers?” I asked.
“You mean substitute teachers,” he answered. I stuck my tongue out at him. “I like when you do that.”
“Stop it,” I whispered harshly. “Look. I’m sure I’m not the type of woman that you’re used to. Especially since I know first hand that you’re married, and I think I already mentioned that I don’t date married men.”
The waitress showed up with four shots of tequila. I looked at him in amazement. “Really?” I asked.
“Come on, Daphne, let go a little,” Janice added, shining like a brand new diamond.
We downed the shots and Charlie got a little too close. “I find you irresistible, Daphne.” He leaned in so that he was almost whispering in my ear. “I don’t know what it is about you, but I must have you.” He took my hand and brought it to his cheek.
“What is it that you do, Mr. Cross?” I asked.
“I thought we were past formalities.”
“Charlie,” I corrected. “Sorry. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a businessman,” he answered. “Acquisitions are my specialty.”
“And what exactly do you acquire?” I asked. “And please do not say women.”
“I do not buy and sell women,” he answered, his voice getting suddenly harsh. “But when I see something I want, I go after it until it yields to me.”
I pulled my hand away from his face and looked at him. He was most unsettling. “You think I’m just going to fall right into your arms, don’t you, Charlie.”
“Not into my arms, necessarily,” he answered. “but certainly into my bed.”

An interview between Daphne and the author, Judy Serrano.

Daphne, as you know, you are the main character of my new paranormal romance, Linked. Were you happy in general about the outcome?

Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but you certainly did surround me with some very handsome alpha males. I can’t complain about that.

So true. Did you enjoy being a schoolteacher?

I wasn’t really a schoolteacher. I was more of a substitute teacher for high school, as Charlie was only too happy to continuously point out to me. It was a hard job but very rewarding. Next time make me something really exciting like a werewolf or a cheetah. I want to be something unusual and hard to catch.

I will keep that in mind for the next book. Do you think you made the right choice with the man in your life or do you wish I directed you somewhere else?

I am very happy with the choices I made. I think you made the right decision. Although the love triangle became very painful, in real life that’s how it is.

I suppose so. Did you wish you ended up with Dante, Charlie’s brother?

There is no doubt that Dante will always hold a special place in my heart. He was so sexy and crazy, but certainly I had other places to be. I had other men who needed me more.

One last question, Daphne. What do you think life would have been like if you just didn’t extend the invitation to Charlie Cross? Sometimes I think I should have named this book, The Invitation.

Don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me that I should have just said no. Nothing would have changed and I’d be a teacher by now, teaching high school English. But, that being said, I love my family and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Not many girls can say they have done what I’ve done or been where I’ve been. I am a lucky girl.

Thanks, Daphne, for letting me ask you a few questions.  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes. Girls… if you meet a guy and you know in your head that this is going to be the most thrilling ride of your life… get on board.
Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors.

She is a substitute teacher at the local school district and writes for various on-line publications. She is the author of Easter's Lilly, Brother Number Three, Relatively Close and Memoirs of a Mobster, which are romantic thrillers and part of The Easter’s Lilly Series.

Judy currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.
Contact Judy Here:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Blast: After Alex Died by Dakota Madison +GIVEAWAY

After Alex Died
by Dakota Madison
Genre: Romance/New Adult
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Available Here:

“Don’t be someone who defines her life by someone else’s death.”

Dee Dee DeMarco’s brother, Alex, was funny, free-spirited and creative. He was also gay. Tormented by bullies, Alex killed himself on his 15th birthday.

Two years later, and now in college, Dee Dee believes getting a summer job working with a college-prep program for disadvantaged high school students is a stroke of luck, until she discovers that the guy assigned to co-lead her group is Cameron Connelly, a star basketball player and one of the bullies who tormented her brother to death. How can Dee Dee possibly spend the entire summer working so closely with one of the boys she blames for her brother’s death?

This NEW ADULT ROMANCE contains MATURE LANGUAGE and SUBJECT MATTER and is indented for readers ages 17+
Dakota Madison has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Book Blitz & Giveaway - Naughty Girl by Scarlett Metal

#1 Naughty Girl Series

Alexandra loved the hot
sex she experienced as a submissive in the bedroom, but would never give her
heart to any man.

After getting hurt by his sub and wife, Paul swore he
would never make that kind of commitment to a woman again.

They meet at
the club that Alex frequents and quickly become play partners. The sex is
amazing, but despite their reservations, they begin to fall for each other. Will
they be willing to admit their feelings for each other?

Contains some
BDSM (light) and sexual situations. Intended for audiences 18+.

#2 Naughty Girl Series

Alexandra opened her heart and let herself be vulnerable to Paul. The walls around Paul's heart were torn down by the feisty Alex. Both of them are happier than they've been in a long time.

Paul's ex-wife comes to town and turns their life upside down and shakes Paul to the core. Will Alex be collateral damage of his past?

Can Paul show Alex that she's the only one for him before it's too late? Or will someone else from their past destroy them beyond repair?
Due to language and sexual situations, this book is intended for ages

a Rafflecopter giveaway