Friday, 17 March 2017

Spotlight: Incense and Peppermints by Cathrina Constantine #ComingOfAge #YA


Incense and Peppermints

Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.
When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.
Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.
With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

EXCERPT:
September 1969
The corners of my bedroom had dulled to a muddy gray by the time my brother leaned on, or rather wobbled against, my door. His glassy eyes floated in their sockets. Stoned, again.

“Whatcha doing, Sis?” Stevie, my older brother slurred.

My gaze slipped over his pasty chest, sprinkled with wiry hair, and past his jockeys to his stick-like legs. Did he realize he was only wearing saggy underwear? Normally, I’d say gross and mock him, but only because he normally treated me like a speck of toe scum.

“Nothing much.” I slipped my diary into my sock drawer, away from prying eyes. Our parents weren’t home, and our little sister was asleep in her crib on the other side of my room.

“You need to grow up,” he said. “Here, it’s party time.” Pinched between his thumb and finger, he revealed an ordinary aspirin as if he’d procured the magic solution.

“Uh… I don’t have a headache.”

“Hey, turd. It’s not an aspirin. Stop the nerd act and get with the program. Grow up.”

Our sibling behavior toppled into the belittling and ridiculing stage. Though I figured it was his way of helping me. Yet, staring at the pill, I was interested, but a hootenanny of cymbals clashed inside my head and my sensible side screamed.

You’ll puke! I hate puking. Wasn’t it only last week Stevie was tripping and heaving guts like a water hose?

Shaking my head, I declined his kind and strange offer and tried using simple logic to get rid of him.
“Not tonight. Mom and Dad will be home any minute. Go to bed. It’s late.”

“They’ll be so-o plastered. I can’t stand them like that.” Dejected, his shoulders slouched, and his body seemed to deflate. Until he tossed the pill, saying, “Catch.”




Author Bio:
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Prah, Constantine & Baryeh Reviews: Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson #PrahConstantineAndBaryehReviews

Hi good people! It's a brand new month and time for another Prah, Constatine and Baryeh Review ***Applause***

Well... it's actually a Prah and Baryeh event this month, since Cathrina Constantine is busy preparing for the release of her brand new book, Incense and Peppermint (more on that next week).

Okay, to the business at hand. We read Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson in February.



Here's the blurb
Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the Richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.



My Review
Taking a fairy tale and giving it a modern twist can be tricky, which is why I approach fairy tale adaptations with caution. Although, to be honest this one had me at 'cindermama' (and the simple, but beautiful cover design).

Where do I start! The story starts off with an introduction to the heroine, Pumpkin, and her unenviable relationship with her cousins. In drawing a contrast between Pumpkin and her cousins, the author is able to show her heroine to be a woman of substance.

The first meeting with the hero is sweet, with just the right amount of humour woven in that made the scene magical. 

Speaking of magic, the hero, Manny, has a family history of 'the third eye', which allows them to 'see' The One. Unfortunately for Manny, he has had to kiss many many frogs in search of the one. And the scene where he 'sees' her is so well-described that I could picture it.***sigh*** 

I loved this story. I loved how the heroine challenged the hero, how he was ready to at least consider what she had to say, how they 'got' each other. I haven't been so engrossed in a book in a long time. A definite must read. (Off to get Book 2)

Disclaimer: I bought my copy of the book from Amazon.

Don't forget to check out Prah's review.





Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Book Review: Love to Win by Lisa Ricard Claro









Love to Win is the third in the Fireflies series,  which tells the story of barista Brenna Kinkaid and Restaurateur Dante Caravicci.

The Blurb

She hates to lose…

Competitive barista Brenna Kinkaid loves a challenge, and she’ll do whatever it takes to win, especially when it comes to her nemesis, Dante Caravicci. But when forced to team up to save their best friends’ wedding, Brenna recognizes that Dante might just be her ultimate win.
He plays to win…

Restaurateur Dante Caravicci won’t quit anything until he can claim success. He’s bided his time, but he’s used to taking big risks and surviving, so he figures he’s got nothing to lose by playing for Brenna.

Hearts at risk…
These two fall fast, and it looks like a win-win—until a competition pits them head-to-head and one of them goes way too far. A nudge from an improbable source may be the only way these two competitors will ever admit that the only way to win is to lose their hearts.

My Review
The story starts with a bang, dropping the reader in the middle of a small town truth or dare fundraising competition, in which the heroine, Brenna, is dared to kiss the first guy who walks in. Enter, Dante - all sexy and willing to do his part. Brenna suffers through the kiss (not!), which we and all the onlookers enjoy very much.

The kiss opens the doors to a romance that neither ever expected. I found Brenna and Dante perfectly matched. This is a smooth enjoyable read with more good dialogue, humour works, and more than enough spicy scenes to make up for the closed-door sex.

The author's writing is fluid, which makes the story that much more enjoyable. It was the perfect end to a wonderful series.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Book Review: The Red Scot by Twyla Turner

In the recently ended Color of Love Blog Hop 2016, several books were recommended to me by a readers. I'd promised to select one of the books to read and review. The book I chose was The Red Scot by Twyla Turner.

Here's the blurb:
She'll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn 'The Red Scot' MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn, but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

The Red Scot is the charming standalone novel and Book 1 of the Curvy Girls Club Series. A series about four inseparable best friends and their individual journeys to each find their Happily Ever After.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Prah, Constantine & Baryeh Reviews: Challenging Miss Valentine by Cindy K. Green #PrahConstantineAndBaryehReviews

I am so thrilled to post on Valentine's day! Thanks for stopping by amidst preparations for big dates and events tonight! As always, we try to  pick something that's relevant to the season, so naturally we went with a book that's all about Cupid's day: Challenging Miss Valentine by Cindy K. Green.

Before I go any further, here's the blurb:
For one mad moment Ella Valentine steps outside her comfort zone and ends up caught in a lie and saddled with a new boss who she suspects might be losing his mind. Now he has her enacting insane acts of espionage while trying to catch the culprit who has embezzled money from their company.

Charles "Charlie"Murray II might be heir to the Murray family dynasty, but he'd rather be off creating than running the CFO office. However, if he can discover who's been stealing from the company then he just might attain the position of his dreams or will he sacrifice it all to be with Ella.



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Prah, Constantine & Baryeh Reviews: Jingle Bell Harbor by Tracy Brogan #PrahConstantineAndBaryehReviews

Hello one and all! Happy New Year 2017. I trust that you all had a joyous holiday season (hopefully, restful too, but probably not likely). 

Welcome to the first edition of this year's Prah, Constantine and Baryeh Reviews. Over the holidays, we chose a short and sweet holiday romance titled Jingle Bell Harbor (Bell Harbor #3.5) by Tracy Brogan.

Here's the blurb
As assistant buyer for the world’s second-largest Christmas store, Kelsey Parker feels like a holiday
harlot. She’s contractually obligated to promote the yuletide season. All. Year. Long. And it’s taking a toll on her spirit. But when her clueless, self-absorbed boyfriend goes on their long-anticipated romantic vacation—without her!—Kelsey is beyond disappointed to find herself tromping through the Bell Harbor snow instead of lounging on a tropical beach.

Drew Hampton is considered quite a catch among the Bell Harbor bachelorettes, but when his high school dream girl, Kelsey Parker, shows up at his grandfather’s Christmas tree lot complaining about her love life, he decides it’s long past time to get her under the mistletoe himself.

As things heat up between the two, a surprise visitor arrives, making Kelsey an offer she can’t quite believe. Now she must decide what matters most, and she just may discover the key to her happiness.