Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book review:Hunger Awakened (Vampire Hunger #2) by Dee Carney

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Available now!
There’s something inside of him, some dormant part that’s been awakened. And now it wants to be set free…

Something’s wrong with Sebastian Kent. Already considered an outsider in the vampire community as a half-vampire, half-something else, he’ll do everything in his power to hide his weakness. But when sickness strikes, he has no choice but to turn to a human for help—a woman whose touch provides his only relief.

Alice Bowman is hiding her own illness, one that has left her homeless. When she comes to Bast’s aid, she doesn’t expect to be thrust into the world of vampires. But he offers her refuge and a job researching his family history in the hope of finding a clue to his mysterious affliction. She can’t resist his offer of protection—and the chance to spend more time with the man who arouses her every desire.

But as Bast and Alice’s hunger for each other grows, so does the power of Bast’s unexplained half. And soon his unknown past and her uncertain future threaten to keep them apart forever….

Sebastian Kent has a problem. He is a vampire. Ok well that's not the problem the problem he is only half vampire. He doesn't know what the other half of him is. He's been trying to figure it out forever. He's also the head of guard who protects the Vampire Council and if they find out he's toast.  Alice Bowman is sick like really sick. Down on her luck, no money and no place to live. Literally eating out of trash cans when she happens upon Sebastian.  Sebastian or "Bast" and he calls himself in the book starts getting violently sick. He's not really sure what's going on. Alice takes cares of him and gets him home and next thing you know there is a connection being made and Bast must keep Alice close to keep his symptoms at bay. Somehow her being around and touching him and kissing him helps get rid of the symptoms he's having.  Bast find he can't get enough of Alice and wants to keep her forever but he doesn't know that something is really wrong health wise with Alice.  I can't give a lot of details  without giving to much away. Bast will eventually figure out what his other half is and you can guess before he figures it out. The relationship between him and Alice is interesting because she is so fragile yet really comes across as a strong woman. As big and brawny and alpha as he is he needs Alice. The writing in this book draws you in and and pulls you through. I enjoyed the main characters as well as the secondary characters.  Good solid read for me. 4 out of 5 stars for Hunger Awakened by Dee Carney.

Find out more about Dee Carney and her books here

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book review: The Chieftain (Return of the Highlanders #4) by Margaret Mallory

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Available now! 

Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

A Warrior's Heart

Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa's bloodline is far too humble. 

With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she's ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?

This is book 4 in a series that i didn't read the first 3.  I usually don't do this but the blurb drew me in. On a quick side not i am now half way through book 1. I plan on reading the other three soon as i can get through them. Since i have started book one i can tell you the series starts with the 4 warriors as boys. They all go to visit a seer to see if she can tell them something about their futures. They are hoping to hear about the feats as warriors but that's not what they get. lol  In book 4 we finally get to Connor who is the Chieftain of his clan now. He needs to take a bride with a rival clan so he can get help taking his lands back when they go to war.  The seer tells him that his bride will choose him. He doesn't quite understand that and makes several mistakes a long the way that might make you wonder how smart he really is.  Good thing he has Ilysa who is Duncan little sitter.  Ilysa has loved Connor for a long time but he doesn't know it and she's hiding herself behind clothes that are to big and a head covering. Making her appearance really severe.  This was her mother's way of protecting her from attention. What Connor doesn't know is Ilysa has the gift of a seer as well. She keeps protecting him from things  that would hurt him and he doesn't know it and ends up chastising her instead and finally driving her away. She goes through a makeover from the other warrior's wives and when Connor sees her again he can't believe what a beauty she is. This when things change for both of them. Even after all this though Connor still thinks he needs to marry a woman from another clan. Love blooms but is it enough? Before the end you can kind of figure out how this is going to work out but it's interesting to see how to gets to that conclusion.  I enjoyed the characters in this book especially the bond between the 4 warriors. Their relationship is one of absolute loyalty to each other and those they love. 4 out of 5 stars for The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory.

Find out more about Margaret Mallory here on her website

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Laura Kaye HARD AS IT GETS (Hard Ink #1) cover reveal

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Available  November 26th 2013

Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome-pure catnip to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...

Amazon Kindle Pre-Order:

Amazon Paperback Pre-Order:

Nook Pre-Order Coming Soon:

Add to Goodreads
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About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hot Cover Monday! Homemade Hijinks by Debra Kayn

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Available April 1st! 

Barnes & Noble

Can a house make unlikely demands…and be the savior for unsuspecting lovers?

After being dragged around the world since birth by her parents, quirky hairstylist Shannon Johansson has sworn to plant her business…and her butt…in Seaport, California. Risking the loss of the love of her life, she settles in a defective Smart House.

A bulldog in the courtroom, Alex Yager has to convince Shannon he still loves her. Nine months apart has proven his success is nothing without her to share it with. When Shannon’s pain of a Smart House locks them in during his New Year’s visit, he seizes the opportunity to win back his girl once and for all. No matter what it takes.

Alex is back and playing hardball like the attorney he is, and Shannon’s tired of fighting. Can she give in to her love for Alex? He’s hoping he can get them out of the crazy house and propose before the town rings in the new year.

CONTENT WARNING: Old flames, a smartass smart house and NO dog. Hot reunion. There’s more than one way to ‘ring’ in a new year.

Find out more here

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"The Long Way Home"Jessica Scott winner!!!

Winner of Jessica Scott's entire back list in ebook form is AMY!! Congrats! Email has been sent to the email address you gave. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! 

Find out more about Jessica Scott and her books here

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Book review: Beyond Shame (Beyond #1) by Kit Rocha

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Available now with book 2 ( Beyond Control) available now as now as well.

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

I had heard lots of things here and there on twitter mostly about this book. Then a friend of mine asked me if i had read it and i said no but decided i needed to check out the author's website and read a the blurb and excerpt and see what the fuss was about.  You can do that plus the first 3 chapters if you want. I did and decided YES i did need to read this. I have not read a lot of dystopian themed books and certainly not one that's jointly themed with erotica.  Based on the first three chapter's i thought i would like it although i was afraid it might get to heavy on the sex and not enough story. I was wrong. The books opens wtih Noelle Cunningham being kicked out of Eden. This is where all the civilized people live now and laden with strict rules about everything. Her dad is a councilman so she is privileged supposedly but in reality she's more of a prisoner than anything. Told how to live and what to do and how to feel or not feel. She runs smack into Jasper McCray literally. He takes her under his protection along with Lex another woman in the sector who is linked to Dallas the man who runs Sector 4 where she is. Where Eden is  the place civilized people live, everyone else lives in sectors each run by a leader who can control everyone in it. Here almost anything goes. It's dangerous and the people are fighting for freedom and a chance to live. Totally different from Eden and Noelle slowly learns how to feel and how to be her own person. The world building is slow and steady and paced along with the story as it moves along. The pace is even, leaving you with a chance to absorb everything you read and thank goodness for that. The characters feel real and fleshed out. I fell in love with the men of course. The women were pretty cool too though.This is seriously one of the hottest erotica books i have read. From start to finish i was engrossed in the story and left wanting more. Lucky for everyone this is only book one so there is more coming. Three more so far based on the author's website. Good for me and good for you. 5 out of 5 stars for Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha.

Find out more about Kit Rocha and read the first 3 chapters of both Beyond Shame and Beyond Control the 2nd book in the series also available now. At the time this review was written you could by the ebook version of this book at most etailers for 99 cents so it's your chance to read it yourself and see what I'm talking about.  Find out more and buy links here

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book review: Down and Dirty (Dare Me #2) by Christine Bell

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Available NOW! 
He was a dare she’d never been able to resist…

Cat Thomas has never been the kind of girl to stick. A self-professed infatuation junky, she latches on the newest, hottest guy on the block, then finds a reason—real or imagined—to dump him. When she accepts a dare to rekindle her high school flame and jump in bed with her brother’s best friend, Shane Decker, she knows she’s in trouble. She can’t resist the man, even after all these years apart, and that just won’t do.

Shane has come back to town for a couple reasons. The biggest one? He’s tired of living away from those he loves, including Cat. But now she’s spooked and will do anything to drive a wedge between them, including trying to fix him up with other women through an online dating service.

What does he have to do to make her see that settling down doesn’t mean settling, and he’s ready to spend a lifetime proving it?

This is book 2 in the Bare me Series. I red book  one and loved it. Book 2 is about Cat Thomas. Galen's sister from book one. We got a pretty good introduction to her in book one. Shane is Galen's best friend and has the hots for Cat for a really long time but he was sworn to watch out for her in her teen years when her brother and his best friend left for college. She couldn't get away with anything with him on the job. Problem was he wanted to be doing some bad stuff with her but felt he couldn't because she was his best friends sister and he swore to watch out for her not corrupt her. Cat liked him too and put the moves on him but he rejected her because of his promise to Galen but she doesn't know that.  Now ten years later and he's tired and wants to come home and be around his friends and finally claim Cat if she'll let him in. I really enjoyed the story and loved Shane. I think Cat was a bit over the top but i guess when i can see when you get something set in your head and you heart has been hurt it can really hard to get past it. Sometimes it just takes a whole lot of time and persistence and Shane certainly had that.  This is a fun fast read. The kind of book you know your going to enjoy from the first chapter. 4 out of 5 stars for Down and Dirty by Christine Bell.

Find out more about Christine Bell and this series here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Elisabeth Naughton’s “Bound” Blog Book Tour "Giveaway and excerpt!"

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Eternal Guardians, Book 6
Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
MARCH 26, 2013 
Book Blurb:
TITUS—To most his gift seems like a blessing, but for him it’s a curse the other Eternal Guardians—those who protect the mortal realm from threats of the Underworld—seek to exploit. One he would gladly trade for the chance to be free…

Obsessed. Her touch is like a drug. From the moment he met her, Titus knew she was different. Even dangerous. Yet though his guardian brethren are convinced Natasa is working for Hades, Titus can’t stop thinking about her. Can’t stop fantasizing about her. Can’t stop craving the one thing he knows could lead to the downfall of his world.

Possessed. Faced with stopping Natasa or joining in her quest, Titus falls to temptation and is thrust into a world of lust, deception, and deadly treachery designed by the gods. Her touch—only hers—frees him from his bonds, but desire may just condemn him. Because before the end he’ll have to decide which is more important: duty and honor to those he took an oath to defend, or a woman who could very well be the biggest curse to them all.

Exclusive excerpt from Bound By Elisabeth Naughton
Never had Titus been thankful for his curse until this moment.
Not only were the Amazon queen’s freakin’ eyes glowing, she was shaking and rubbing against him like something was trying to claw its way free from her body.
He was never going to look at jiggling breasts the same way. This was not a turn on. It was a major-ass turn off. And shit, he did not want those things touching him.
He swallowed hard. Jerked against the bindings. Couldn’t move them even a centimeter. The only consolation was that as soon as she did touch him, he’d be in too much pain to pay attention to what she was doing to his body.
And skata, do not think about what she’s going to do to your body.
Closing, his eyes, he imagined Natasa’s fire-red hair and those mesmerizing green eyes to distract him from that first touch of skin against skin. Wondered—again—why she’d pulled away from him back in her tent. She’d wanted him. He’d known it even if he couldn’t feel it.
A whir echoed through the air. The queen jerked against his legs. A scream rose up in the night.
His eyes shot open. The queen lurched to her feet on the stone slab, stood over him and batted at the headdress. The feathers burst into flames. An arrow hit the ground. The queen knocked the headdress off her head. The heavy metal object cracked against the slab then dropped to the ground with a smack.
Gasps rose up from the audience. The queen’s face tightened, and she whipped toward the crowd to see where the arrow had come from.
Another whir cut through the silence. The queen flinched. This time the banner just to the right of her head ignited in flames.
Screams echoed.
Titus lifted his head to see what the hell was going on. Bodies rushed every direction. The guards scrambled down the steps, armor clinking. Another whir echoed through the air, then the queen’s robe, lying where she’d dropped it on the stage, ignited in flames.
“Natasa,” the queen growled. She pointed toward the trees on the far side of the crowd. “Find her!”
Excitement flooded through Titus. She’d come back for him, even after she’d been so freaked out in her tent. He pulled against the bonds tried to find her in the crowd.
The queen scrambled off the altar and lurched into the crowd.
Another whir. Another banner up in flames. Titus pulled and wrestled with the bindings. If he could just break free… If he could get to her...
“There!” The voice rang out clear. Before Titus could track what the Amazon guard was pointing, and an entire tree burst into flames.
A thud echoed to his right. He strained to look behind him. Natasa pushed up to her feet, her eyes as intense as he’d ever seen them, her face illuminated by the flames around her, making her look like a fire-goddess.
Relief and hope and excitement shot through his entire body. But quickly morphed to fear. At her back, closing in fast, an Amazon raced toward her with sword held high.
“Behind you!”
Natasa dropped the bow and arrows in her hand, reached for the daggers she carried at her back. Panic overwhelmed. Titus strained against the cuffs with every ounce of strength left. She didn’t have time to react. She—
The chain anchoring one wrist gave with a snap. The other burst free. He bolted upright, kicked out at the shackles around his ankles. Couldn’t take his eyes off Natasa.
She whipped around. But before the charging Amazon’s blade could slice deep into her flesh, the warrior jerked, her eyes grew bug wide, then she hit the ground with a thud. An black arrow stuck out of her side. Blood pooled all around her body.
Natasa’s eyes grew side. She scrambled back. More screams echoed from deeper in the city, and her head whipped that direction just as Titus’s did. Blood-curdling screams. Followed by hooves pounding the earth and male voices rising up in the night sky.
Natasa lurched to the railing and looked down. Shock raced over her features. She stumbled back, turned and raced toward Titus.
“What the hell’s happening?” He fumbled with the bindings on his right ankle. That arrow hadn’t come from her. And it wasn’t an Amazon weapon. Which meant it had come from someone or something else.
Natasa unstrapped his other leg, reached for the bow she’d dropped. “Zagreus’s army found us.”
Zagreus…Hades’s fucking son??”
Her hand closed over his upper arm, and she yanked him from the altar. “I don’t know how, but be thankful. I wasn’t going to be able to distract Aella’s guards for long with my flaming arrows.”
Heat built in his veins and shot to his belly. She’d rescued him. Again. He was supposed to be the hero and yet she was the one doing all the saving. And at the moment, he didn’t mind one bit.
She tugged him out of the torchlight and into the shadow of a tent. Before she could pull him around the other side, he closed his hand over her wrist, dragged her close and lowered his mouth to hers.
She gasped in surprise, but it didn’t stop him. He dipped into her mouth, slid his tongue along hers and reveled in the warm, wet taste of her. That and the fact he couldn’t feel anything other than the heat of her body, the silkiness of her skin and the pulse in her veins that indicated she was alive.
He pulled back, smiled at the confusion swirling in her mesmerizing eyes. “You did it again. You saved me. I knew you cared.”
“I…” A frown turned her lips, equal parts frustration and desire. He didn’t have to read her mind or feel her motions to know what she was thinking this time. “I haven’t saved you yet. Save your thanks for someone who deserves it.”
He kissed her again. Quick. Safe. Chaste. Not a thing like the way he wanted to kiss her. “I will. When we get out of here and are finally alone, I’ll thank you the right way. That’s a promise.

Author’s Bio & Picture: 
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I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.
Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.

My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.

Author Links:
Eternal Guardians FB Page:

Buy links

Barnes & Noble:

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·        1 ebook copy of “Bound”
·        Character Trading Cards
·        1 Eternal Guardian Bookmarker
·        1 Eternal Guardians Drink Coaster
·        1 Eternal Guardian logo Temporary tattoo
·        1 Bound Car Charm
·        1 Bound Keychain

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follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book review: Grave Secret (Secret McQueen #5) by Sierra Dean

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Available today!
Sometimes a secret goes to the grave. Sometimes Secret puts you there.

It’s been a hell of a year for Secret McQueen, and the last thing in the world she wants is to get caught up in werewolf drama. But when her former fiancé Lucas Rain shows up asking for her help, she knows there’s no easy way out.

After making it known she wants nothing to do with him, Secret agrees to help find Lucas’s wayward sister Kellen. After all, how much trouble could one socialite get into in the city that never sleeps?

Unless that socialite has been spirited away by fairies.

Trying to track down a missing girl in an alternate reality is just the start of Secret’s problems, though. Someone appears to be killing teenagers, and the MO looks eerily similar to something for which the half-fairy oracle, Calliope, might be responsible. Throw in a rogue wolf pack claiming allegiance to Secret’s mother, Mercy, and she’ll have miles to go before she rests.

Warning: This book contains a promise fulfilled, sex that’s out of this world, and more heartache than one hybrid assassin can handle

Book 5 in the Secret McQueen series  picks up  with more drama for poor Secret. Kellen Lucas sister and Secret's friend is missing. She promises to find her. Mercy Secret's mom is back and trying to kill her again. There's a possibility that Calliope is killing teenagers and Keaty wants her to find out.  There's more than that but i don't want to give anything away because part of the big draw for me when reading is the fact that you can't figure out what's coming. Least i can't. lol  Big stuff happens in this book. I still can't decide if i am team Holden or Team Desmond. You get plenty of both in this book to screw up your head deciding. There are also a few twists i didn't see coming and am not sure i am happy with at all. This book for me made me laugh and feel for the characters. Lucas is still a ass but hopefully he can learn something soon and redeem himself  a bit. I did like him in the beginning when he seemed smart and strong but i am thinking he's pretty lost right now. Sierra Dean is a master at torturing her characters.  It's a thrill ride all the way through and leaves you as always, wanting more. 5 out of 5 stars for Grave Secret by Sierra Dean.

Find out more about the series and this book here

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway!! The Long Way Home by Jessica Scott

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Available today
My name is Jessica Scott. I am a soldier. I am a mother. I am a wife. 

In 2009, Army second lieutenant Jessica Scott deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. She thought deploying was the hardest thing she'd ever do. 

She was wrong. 

This is the story of a mother coming home from war and learning to be a mom again. This is the story of a lieutenant making the grade and becoming a company commander. This is the journey of a writer persevering through a hundred rejections. This is the story of a soldier learning to be a woman again. This is the story of a wife waiting for the end of a war. 

This is the journey as it happened, without commentary.

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About Jess

Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

Oprah has called her. True story.

Her debut novel BECAUSE OF YOU launched Loveswept, the first Random House digital imprint.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and is currently a company commander stationed at Fort Hood.

Most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012. 

Connect with Jessica at


Excerpt to The Long Way Home by Jessica Scott

In 2009, I kissed my children goodbye and deployed
to Iraq.
I thought deploying would be the hardest thing I'd
ever do.
I was wrong.
Coming home from war is not an event, not a
solitary moment on the parade field. I never knew
what it would take to walk through my front door and
become a mother after a year away.
This is my story of coming home from war. Of
kissing my children and learning to be their mom
again. Of taking command of my company and growing
up from a smart-mouthed lieutenant to more
thoughtful commander. Of being a wife at the end of
the war.
A mom. A soldier. A writer. A wife.
If you’ve been following the journey thus far, thank
you for joining me again. If you’re reading it for the
first time, I hope you enjoy.


December 27, 2009
WHEN YOU GET HOME from deployment, the
Army sends you through all this reintegration training.
Some of it is worthwhile, a lot of it is a waste of time
and even more is a check-the-block exercise. I
understand the intent behind it, but frankly, I didn’t
need or want most of it. There was, however, one class
that I really got a lot out of and it was taught by the
chaplains. They discussed reintegrating with your
families and I paid attention because honestly, I’ve
been worried about reuniting with my kids.
They talked about expectations and reactions and
how you and they are different now than when you left
home. I knew all this but still I paid attention. There
was a lot of anticipation within me about seeing the
kids and getting my family back together.
I thought I was prepared.
So when we’re in the middle of a busy rest stop in
New Jersey last night and my youngest starts crying
out of the blue, I wasn’t prepared to hear why she was
upset. She had real, painful tears, the kind of crying
that sounded like her little heart hurt. When I asked
her what was wrong, she sobbed, “I don’t think you love
It was not a fake cry. It wasn’t a cry for attention.
And I had no idea how to react. Instantly, I started
crying. In the middle of a rest stop, with people
wondering what the heck was going on, I was trying to
get my oldest’s coat on her while trying to get my
youngest to understand that I did love her and I had
missed her.
My husband freaked out when he walked up and
saw me and our youngest both in tears. My oldest
rested her head on my shoulder and told me she knew I
loved her. But none of that helped until I could make
my youngest understand.
It was a brutal episode and one I did not expect.
They tell you about the babies not knowing you or your
grade school kids wanting to talk incessantly but
nothing prepared me for my three year old’s confusion
and true heartache.
It’s better today. She’s back to normal and so am I,
but the pain from last night lingers. So today, I’m
hugging both of them more and telling them I love
them. I’d already been doing that but apparently, it
wasn’t enough to make up for a year of no hugs and no
up close “I love you”s. The web cam was good but it
wasn’t enough.
I don’t know if I can ever make up to either of them
for being gone. I don’t know what else is coming.
And I don’t know that I’m prepared to deal with it.
The Unexpected Mommy Box
January 4, 2010
IN DAVID FINKLE’S THE Good Soldiers, Finkle
describes a “Bad News Bucket,” an emotional coping
cache that, once filled, puts a soldier near the breaking
point. According to Finkle, who heard of the idea from
General Petraus (I believe), soldiers need good news in
order to drain the bad news they carry around inside
When I read Finkle’s description, I thought, this
was it exactly. There were days in Iraq where I simply
couldn’t handle anything else, that I was barely
holding on and needed to get away and pull it back
together so that I could continue.
I did not expect this once I returned home but
apparently, I have my own version of the bad news
bucket: the Mommy Box. I discovered very early on in
my deployment that I needed to stay busy in order to
keep my mind on the tasks at hand and not sit and
mope about my kids. They were happy, they were
healthy, and they were in my mom’s more than capable
hands. I didn’t need to worry.
What I was doing, apparently, was shoving
everything inside the Mommy Box and closing the lid. I
shut those emotions down and ignored them.
Except that sometimes, the Box got too full. Like on
my oldest’s first day of school. My husband and I both
agree that the hardest day on this deployment was
missing that event. Birthdays we could recreate.
Anniversaries, we would ignore. But the first day of
school is something we can’t get back and we don’t get
a do-over.
But having put everything aside for the duration, I
fully expected to come home and simply go back to
normal. I did not expect to be crying the first weekend
back with the kids every day for four days. It seemed
like I couldn’t stop.
And I also discovered that drinking makes the
Mommy Box even harder to handle. Apparently, alcohol
unleashes the flood of emotions that I’ve still got boxed
up inside me.
I can sit back and pretend that everything is fine
now that we’re all home, having hauled the entire
family back from the diaspora, but that would be lying
to myself. I’m not fine but I am one hell of a lot better
now that I’ve got my family back together. There are
still a slew of emotions inside me that I still have to
handle and I’m sure they’re going to leak out, a little at
a time (because I’m not drinking anymore, but that’s
another post).
The Mommy Box was set in a corner for an entire
year. Now, I guess, it’s time to clean it out.
Banning New Year’s Resolutions
January 8, 2013
I’M NOT ONE TO start the New Year off by saying
I’m going to loose fifteen pounds by February 15. It’s
never happened before and I’m not sure why I would
think starting now is anything different than on
December 31st.
But I am a big fan of goals and I’m an even bigger
fan of attainable goals. So this year, I’m setting goals
and I’m telling y’all about them so at the end of 2010, I
can come back and let you know how I did.
Last year, I didn’t really have any goals, other than
come home from Iraq and landing an agent. I managed
to do both, except that the agent part didn’t really
stick. So I’m on the agent hunt again, and that’s okay.
And making it home safe and sound from Iraq is an
extra bonus that’s a whole ’nother adventure in and of
This year, however, is different. This year, I want to
get an agent who really wants me and my body of work
as a client and is willing to say “here’s what we need to
do, let’s go.” I hope the book I’m working on now will be
the book that gets me out there.
This year, I will be better at being a mom. Granted,
last year, I had no time to be a mom, other than an
absentee one, but this year, I’m going to focus on what’s
really important: my kids. I don’t get that time back
and they need me more than anyone else does.
The only other thing I’m going to do is keep
reading. I’m absolutely positive that I won’t have the
same amount of time to read in the States as I had in
Iraq, but I’m not going to give up the passion I was able
to rediscover this past year. There are books I’m simply
dying to read that are coming out soon and I’m going to
read them, not just stick them on my book shelf!
So that’s it. Those are my goals. You might notice I
did not put sell a novel on there. I can’t control that. I
can’t control if I land an agent, but I certainly hope I
do. So we’ll see how it goes.


The Long Way Home Official Page:

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Jessica has graciously offered her entire backlist in eBOOk form  to one lucky person who comments on this post Please leave your name and email to be entered. I need to be able to contact you to claim your prize. Giveaway ends Friday March 22nd.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book review: Free Fall (Elite Force #4) by Catherine Mann

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Available now!
On This Mission, There Are No Accidents...

Pararescueman Jose "Cuervo" James is the guy they call for the most dangerous assignments. He lives for his job.

On a high-risk rescue deep in the African jungle, Jose encounters sexy, smart Interpol agent Stella Carson. They'd once had an affair that burned hot and fast, but family is everything to Stella, and Jose just can't go there.

Fate has thrown them into the deadly hot zone together, and sparks will fly...but only if they can live to tell about it.

Wow I have read several book by Catherine Mann and she always delivers a action packed story with plenty of action and romance mixed together. Stella Carson meets Jose James while on a mission. One look in his eyes and she's hooked. After 5 great months together though it all comes crashing down when they discover there are a few things they can't compromise on when it comes to being together forever so it ended. A month later though Jose finds himself saving Stella from a kidnapping situation and what follows is a lot of revelations about each other, a deadly traitor in their mists and a missing person who might not really be missing. This is a action packed fast paced book once it gets going. There are multiple things going on so sometimes you really have to pay attention.  I figured out a few things before they happened but it was still a thrill ride to the end! 4 out of 5 Stars for Free Fall by Catherine Mann.

Find out more about Catherine Mann and her work including a excerpt for Free Fall here