*WEEPING ANGELS* by Cristy Rey ~ Blog Tour, Review and Giveaway

Four years ago, Frankie Rios walked away from her best friend and big sister, Iris. To Frankie, Iris died the day that she last rejected Frankie’s attempts at getting Iris alcohol and drug treatment. Rather than accept grief for her beloved sister’s loss, Frankie turned to her music. A renowned cellist, Frankie has managed to ignore the pain and suffering of losing the person she loved most in this world. With Iris out of her mind and out of her life, Frankie was able to move on…or so she thought. Until Iris really died.

Topher went to war in 2001 only to return two years later damaged and broken. Unable to reconcile the war vet with the boy he used to be, Topher gave up on life. When Iris Rios, his long-lost childhood best friend, dies from liver failure at thirty-two years-old, Topher is forced to confront his past. He must decide whether he deserves to heal. He must decide whether he will take that first step and then take another until he can recover what he lost: himself.

Weeping Angels is a story of grief carried and grief ignored. It’s about learning to love and moving on. Mourning someone once is hard enough, but mourning someone twice is unimaginably harder.

 

Weeping Angels

Cristy Rey

Goodreads

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release date: June 27, 2014

Purchase Links

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords

Excerpt

What Frankie says breaks me. It breaks me. And it’s not even about Iris or me; it’s about Frankie. Everything she said about Iris fills me in on years that I’ve missed. Even when I’d been standing right beside her, I was ignoring what now seems so obvious it’s blinding. Yet, for all the talk about Iris’s alcoholism and suicidal tendencies, what Frankie’s opened up about is herself.

I’m not even sure she notices because she’s so guarded. Never once has she reflected on what she’s said. She’s been stating facts, telling stories. That’s what she thinks, anyway. I know this like I know myself, because it’s what I do. I state facts and I tell stories, and what I’m actually doing is diverting attention from what’s going on inside.

Frankie’s all Iris this, Iris that, but what I hear is: I can’t live with myself because Iris was never happy and I couldn’t save her. It’s what I hear inside myself every minute of every day, and my heart breaks for Frankie and for me. What I do next comes so naturally that it scares the living shit out of me. I don’t let her leave. I hold her as close as I can because what I want is for her to be inside of me the way she’s let me be inside of her.

In this space and time, Frankie and I are one person. I’m angry with her. I’m aggressive about it, maybe even hurting her, but I reason that it can’t be any worse than how she’s been hurting herself by balling this all up for decades.

As much as I need her to be close, I want to push her away. I want her to leave and never come back. I want Frankie to take flight tomorrow morning, and I want to be the one to deliver her to the airport because what I’m feeling is something that I’m not ready to deal with. I tell myself to let her stay here, to give her this space from death that she needs. I’m surer now more than ever that we have an unbreakable bond, but I don’t want it.

We have right now and I need it right now, but I can’t want to have it tomorrow. I can’t want to have it ever again. It’s like being with yourself all the time, but only with the ugliest parts of you. It’s looking at all the broken pieces of your psyche and being forced to confront them.

That’s what Frankie is to me. That’s what she’s been to me all day if I cop to it. Maybe it was like that last night when I went out after her in the parking lot and walked her back to the service. Maybe it’s why I couldn’t believe that she could be out there alone with no one to hide her sadness from the world. I’m making up for it today, though. Right now, I’m making up for leaving her naked and on a slab for the world to pick apart. The more I hold her, the more I fear that I’ll never be able to let her go, but I keep doing it because she’s something worth saving and, if she can be saved, then maybe I can be, too.

My Review

A Beautiful, Raw and Intense Love Story

I am familiar with Cristy Rey, having read her Paranormal Romance Taking Back Sunday which I hugely enjoyed. Weeping Angels is an entirely different read, billed as Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance, it portrays an intense journey embarked on by two lost souls and deals with the raw emotions of grief, guilt, anger and pain. It is also a beautiful inspirational love story, unlike no other I have read, and I am awed by the versatility of this writer.

In Weeping Angels Frankie and Topher meet after Iris, Frankie’s sister, has died as a result of alcoholism. Frankie, a renowned cellist, has been estranged from Iris and her family for four years after Iris refused to seek help for her addiction and her family did not acknowledge that she had a problem. Frankie pours her anger and grief at the situation into her music, which in many ways has been her constant prop in the face of witnessing her once beloved sister’s slow demise since childhood. Despite qualifying and working as a lawyer after being discharged from the military, Topher has all but given up on life and struggles to cope with PTSD arising from a Traumatic Brain Injury. Topher used to be Iris’ best friend before he enlisted, having little to do with the reclusive Frankie who refused to party and was devoted to her music.

However Iris’ death draws them together. Topher gives Frankie first the physical and then the emotional support she needs and a strong bond develops. Yet Topher believes that he is broken beyond repair, too broken for Frankie, who has her own demons to deal with. Frankie too has issues, not least her guilt at the death of her sister and the anger towards her family who did nothing to help her sister deal with her addiction. With Topher based in Miami determined to protect Frankie from himself and Frankie living in San Francisco any future together appears doomed, unless the bond they formed is strong enough to overcome their distance and overcome the tangled emotions at play.

I was totally absorbed in the development of the relationship between Frankie and Topher. Cristy Rey cleverly portrays their innermost thoughts in chapters alternating between Frankie and Topher’s POV. Both are broken in their own way and their coming together does not magically make their problems go away. Instead their meeting offers them an opportunity to overcome their problems and embrace a future together if they are willing to chance it. I loved both characters, who display a great deal of strength despite the cards Fate has dealt them. I also loved how the author illustrated Frankie’s character and emotions though her relationship to her cello and how Frankie’s music helped strengthen their bond.

Weeping Angels is a beautiful, original and emotional read, which although will have you reaching for the Kleenex, is also an inspirational one. I strongly recommend it.

A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

About Cristy Rey

Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. The first book, Taking Back Sunday, and a short prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, are available now at online retailers. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Her first standalone, Weeping Angels, is available now, and her second, Heart Grow Fonder, will be out in winter 2014/2015.

Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.

Contact Cristy

Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Website

A few of Cristy’s other novels

  

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

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*BOOK BLAST* ~ TO DREAM OF A HIGHLANDER (Highland Fae Chronicles), by Samantha Holt ~ Book Blurb and Personal Review

1010856_689421744447989_5886160877122772037_nA Passionate and Magical Highland Romance!

Book Blurb

Scotland, 1230 Sent on a rescue mission, Finn Mac Chaluim is prepared to do his duty, hand over the lass and return home. But fate has other ideas.

In the midst of a Norse invasion, Catriona barely escapes with her life. Masquerading as her sister, she finds herself in the hands of Finn who intends to hand her over to her sister’s betrothed, Laird Gillean. In the interests of bringing peace to her home, Catriona is determined to continue the ruse—even if it means going along with the marriage and denying her growing attraction to a man who keeps his hurts hidden behind a quick grin. If the green faery, Tèile, has anything to do with it, Catriona and Finn will come together—but only at the right time. Thanks to her last attempt at matchmaking, many paths were changed and now it’s up to her to put it right. Can she help Finn— who learned the hard way that sharing your life with someone only leads to heartache—get past his doubts? And will the battle-scarred Catriona even accept him into her heart? When Laird Gillean’s attentions toward Catriona become dangerous, both Finn and Tèile will find they have an uphill battle on their hands.

My Review

Passion combines with danger, faery magic and subterfuge in To Dream of a Highlander, another sensual Highland romance from Samantha Holt. I found it to be another super read from an author who never fails to deliver in whatever genre she is writing in.

Finn, who appears in the previous novel, To Steal A Highlander’s Heart, is a hero whom I very quickly fell in love with. Despite his jovial manner, this handsome warrior is still mourning the loss of his first love, his wife who died in childbirth. When Finn first casts eyes on Catriona, he feels that she is familiar to him somehow, and comes to realise that she is the very woman who has been haunting his dreams…..

Finn believes that Catriona, who unbeknown to him, is masquerading as her twin Katelyn, is destined for another. He is constantly at war with himself over his wild attraction to her and his fear that he cannot let himself love again, being convinced that he failed his first love. However, when he realises that Catriona is in danger he will do his utmost to protect her, laying his life on the line. I just loved how the author portrayed Finn’s inner struggle and really felt for him throughout.

Catriona is both a strong yet vulnerable heroine and I immediately admired her bravery in coping with the bloody and brutal Viking attack on her father’s keep. Although in the initial confusion she at first fears that Finn is  another Viking, she is drawn to him, due to his thoughtful behaviour, easy humour and the care he takes of her. Once she realises that he is her saviour she finds it difficult not to succumb to her attraction. It is Finn she turns to for support as she strives to cope with the memories of the attack on her childhood home and person, a traumatic experience that plagues her.

The scenes between the couple are both tender and passionate as they both struggle with their own inner demons, but neither can deny their mutual attraction for too long! Sexual tension is high and passion refuses to be denied between them, and they come together in a number of scorching swoonworthy scenes which I LOVED!

Catriona is determined to put the safety of the people of Bute first and continues to masquerade as her sister, even as she places herself in danger, for it seems she cannot escape the impending marriage to Laird Guillem. Will Finn put his fears aside and realise Catriona is destined for him alone or will she belong to another who may not have her best interests at heart? Also how will he and her prospective bridegroom react to Catriona’s deceit?

The antics and magic of the faerie Tiele, tasked by the Sidhe Council to bring Finn and Catriona together, are pivotal to the plot and are often amusing in the effect that they have on the couple, particularly Finn! Once again Tiele finds that the hearts of humans are far from easy to control. The supporting characters were well portrayed, in particular the widow Lorna, Finn’s sister, and her brother-in-law, Lord Guilleam who is her overlord and Catriona’s betrothed.

To Dream of A Highlander is another awesome read from this author and I recommend it to lovers of sensual  historical romances, especially those who love tales featuring hot Highland warriors and feisty heroines!

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Buy on Amazon UK  Amazon US

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http://www.samanthaholt.org.uk/

http://www.samanthaholtauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

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*SPOTLIGHT* A Saint’s Salvation, by Beverly Ovalle

A Contemporary/Military Romance

A BIG welcome today to author Beverly Ovalle who writes romances which literally sizzle off the page! A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to review Beverly’s latest release, A Saint’s Salvation, and today Beverly is sharing the book blurb, an excerpt, a trailer and some fun facts which spotlight some insider information. You can find the link to my review of A Saint’s Salvation and our reviews of Beverly’s other books at the end of this post. Tina 🙂

Angel’s life changed the minute Saint saved her from a grenade. Now Saint has a second chance to prove he’s the man for her.

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A SAINT’S SALVATION

by Beverly Ovalle

Published by Secret Cravings Publishing

Released February 10, 2014

Blurb:

NJO17

Corporal Nicholas ‘Saint’ Santiago needs to go home to reclaim the man he used to be. To be the man he was before Operation Enduring Freedom slowly hardened his heart. He needs to reconnect to the values and the reasons he is doing what he does. Saint also needs to try to forget the courageous woman he knows was meant to be his.

Petty Officer Angelina Jones’ life changed the moment Saint saved her life. She survived the blast but now has to deal with the fact that she will never be whole. Knowing Saint received a ‘Dear John’ letter, Angelina has no intention of being his rebound romance. She needs to be loved for herself. She needs to forget about the one man she knows was meant to be hers.

They each try to find someone to help them forget.

But what does fate have planned for them?

Excerpt:

A shout from Hamilton brought him back to the here and now. “Hey, Saint, do you see any trouble coming?” On guard at the west wall, Nick shook his head. Not that it was much of a wall, a couple of sandbags holding up a makeshift bullet riddled wooden fence, an illusion of safety and security.

“No, it all looks clear.” Well, as clear as normal, Nick thought. The Seabees and the Army Corp of Engineers had done their best to give them a clear line of site, but the rubble of buildings and piles of rock where there used to be a town never seemed to go away. Rebels constantly hid there, randomly firing at their FOB, a forward operating base in Helmand Provence, making it almost impossible to build a more secure perimeter.

Nick could see kids playing in the dirt. In the distance the locals were harvesting the poppy fields. Some of the largest poppy fields in the world were right outside the walls of the FOB. Beautiful when in bloom, they were more pervasive and did more damage than the terrorists.

“Anymore threats?”

“When aren’t there threats?” Every damn day there were threats. “Why, is there a problem?”

“The brass is making noise. When they do something stupid, we end up paying for it.” Hamilton sounded disgusted. As Hamilton spoke, shots were fired over and through the fence, adding more holes to the dilapidated barrier. Nick and Hamilton hit the ground, rolling toward the sandbags to return fire through the cracks. “See what I mean?”

“Yeah it’s been a while since they shot at us, at least a couple of days.” Nick’s sarcasm caused Hamilton to laugh.

“Probably someone is coming to pick up something from the poppy fields and they want to keep us from seeing who.” Hamilton glanced at him. “You doing okay?”

“Gettin’ there. It was just a shock, ya know?”

“Yeah, damn women. The least they could do is be faithful while we’re out here fighting.”

“Yeah, it sucks. I just can’t help thinking it’s my fault.”

“Fuck. How the hell could it be? You weren’t even there. The bitch knew you were gone, were going to be gone.” They fired shots, aiming at the muzzle flash in the distance. More Marines headed their way, sprinting from cover to cover. Perez came running, bringing out ammo and providing more fire power.

Another crack and Perez went down with a cry.

“Fuck! Medic! Man down!” The cry went out, passed through until the call went to the corpsman, while Nick tried to stem the blood flow. Hands pushed his away. Nick looked up. Petty Officer Jones, better known as Doc, had bandages ready.

“Help me roll this on until we can get him out of here.” Her voice sent a ripple through him. Nick had always ignored the attraction he had felt for her. He’d had his girl back home, and fraternization out here could get him thrown in the brig. Not to mention the brig out here was a hell hole.

Nick was leery about approaching Doc now. The Dear John letter had been a shock. He had known Leila for years. Hell, they had been friends since they were little. Her betrayal was unexpected. Nick didn’t even really know Doc. He could trust her with his life, but he wasn’t ready for another go around with his heart, no matter the attraction he felt.

Nick looked toward the fence line, rifle at the ready. Shots were firing sporadically around him. That’s when he saw it, the trail from a grenade launcher, unmistakable. Shit!

Buy Links:

Amazon US    Amazon UK    Barnes and Noble

 All Romance Books    Bookstrand    Secret Cravings

Add it to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20623026-a-saint-s-salvation

Book Trailer:

http://youtu.be/yy8xo3zzFCU

Fun Facts:

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The name was changed less than two weeks before publication!

A Saint’s Salvation was inspired by my son’s tattoo

His tattoo says ‘St. Nicholas’ – the original of my book

A Saint’s Salvation took me eight months to write!

The name of A Saint’s Salvation was my editor’s suggestion

The teasers were made from photos from Afghanistan

The Marine in the teasers is my son

He only gave me permission to use his photo because he loves me

He only gave me permission if I cut off his head! LOL

Author Bio:

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 24 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Having her own Dragons is expected as she is dragon crazy and anyone that walks in her house can tell. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines.  Her daughter Susannah visits to grocery shop in the pantry and to see what might be cooking for dinner.

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

Contact Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyOvalleAuthor

Tumblr:  http://ovalleba.tumblr.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ovalleba

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/ovalleba/

Website: http://ovalleba.wix.com/beverly-ovalle

Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982787.Beverly_Ovalle

AUTHORSdB at http://www.authorsdb.com/author-directory/preview?id=3752:beverly-ovalle

LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=236055547&trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Book Blogs:  http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/BeverlyOvalle

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Blog: http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com 

Our reviews of A Saint’s SalvationDragons’ Mate and Lightning Strike (click on the book titles for the links)

A Saint’s Salvation, by Beverly Ovalle

9781631051005ASaintsSalvationOvalle_pic0001A Love and Life Affirming Sensual Read!

Contemporary/Military Romance – Novella (61 pages)

I jumped at the chance to review author Beverly Ovalle’s new release, her contemporary romance, A Saint’s Salvation. I was immediately drawn to the fact that the book tackles the issues of physical and psychological trauma which the men and women in military service risk every day, as they put their lives on the line. I was also curious to see how a contemporary tale would compare with the author’s previous novellas in erotic romance which I enjoyed so much, Dragons’ Mate and Lightning Strike (scroll down for links to our reviews).

Book Blurb

Corporal Nicholas ‘Saint’ Santiago need to go home to reclaim the man he used to be. To be the man he was before Operation Enduring Freedom slowly hardened his heart. He needs to reconnect to the values and the reasons he is doing what he does. Saint also needs to try to forget the courageous woman he knows was meant to be his.

Petty Officer Angelina Jones’ life changed the moment Saint saved her life. She survived the blast but now has to deal with the fact that she will never be whole. Knowing Saint received a ‘Dear John’ letter, Angelina has no intention of being his rebound romance. She needs to be loved for herself. She needs to forget about the one man she knows was meant to be hers.

They each try to find someone to help them forget.

However, fate has plans for the two of them.

My Review

I loved how A Saint’s Salvation is bursting with pride that we all have in our service men and women. It also highlights the many scars that they may bear, physically and emotionally, upon their return from active service, in what I feel is a realistic way and how important it is for them to reconnect with civilian life to aid the healing process.

At the start of the novella, the hero Nick has reached a low point, after receiving a  ‘Dear John’ letter from his childhood sweetheart and having been ground down by the horrors of war. It is only when he saves the life of Petty Officer Angelina Jones, a doctor, that he believes that life is worth living again, as he realises exactly how much her cares for her. On his return to the US, fate brings them unexpectedly together again and there are some hot and sensual scenes as mutual attraction and desire, hitherto repressed, finally ignite. These scenes are both passionate and tender and downright SMOKING HOT! Angelina is one lucky girl!

I enjoyed the character of both the hero and heroine immensely. They are both strong  characters, attempting to cope with their war inflicted wounds in their own way. Despite the strength they show they are also vulnerable and I found the passages where they share their inner fears with each other immensely touching. Nick is a hero who every girl would be proud to call their own and has a wicked sense of humour. He also knows exactly what Angelina needs to help her rediscover her confidence and self-worth as a woman and how to persuade her that he is serious about her. Angelina welcomes the fact that Nick sees her as a woman, injury or no injury. They are both very believable characters and a memorable couple.

I recommend A Saint’s Salvation to readers of contemporary and sensual romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of A Saint’s Salvation was given to me by the author for the purpose of  a fair and honest review.

Published by Secret Cravings Publishing

Cover Artist: Dawne Dominique

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Purchase Links

Secret Cravings Publishing

Amazon US      Amazon UK

Author Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyOvalleAuthor

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SslySmileSomebodyLovesYou?ref=hl

Website:  http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com

For our reviews of Beverly Ovalle’s erotic romance novellas, Dragons’ Mate and Lightning Strike click on the links:

https://areadersreviewblog.com/2013/04/17/dragons-mate-by-beverly-ovalle/

https://areadersreviewblog.com/2013/12/05/lightning-strike-by-beverly-ovalle/