RELEASE DAY REVIEW – My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh

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Title: My Strongest Weakness
Author: Brighton Walsh
Release Date: October 25, 2016
(Previously Published in 90s Playlist: A Romance Rewind Anthology)

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Synopsis

She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American.

But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.

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Bs Review

Brighton Walsh has once again managed to amaze me with her fantastic storytelling in My Strongest Weakness. This talented author packs some great character growth and genuine emotion into these few pages, leaving me desperate for more. Brighton had me effortlessly falling in love with Mason and Tia and I’d gladly take a full length novel and then some of this fun, sexy couple. Tia and Mason couldn’t be more opposite, yet their chemistry is undeniable. From the second this story began, their connection was absolutely electric, pulling me into their world and getting me hooked on them. Brighton Walsh has crafted something fierce and palpable between them that made my heart race and ache as I experienced the ups and downs of their journey. My Strongest Weakness is a perfect taste of what this author has to offer and a great reminder of what the new adult genre really is.

“All thoughts and preconceived notions about how this might go flee my head, because it’s Mason Brooks, and he kisses me like I’m the very air he needs to breathe.”

Despite its limited length, My Strongest Weakness made me feel deeply. I laughed at Tia’s feisty and sarcastic nature, swooned over Mason’s character-revealing internal conflict, and melted at the toe curling heat this couple generated. Both characters evolve over the course of this story, a combination of self-realization and emotional honesty driving their mutual growth. I adored seeing them grow into their own and mature beyond their years, allowing themselves to see the true value and rare honesty in their relationship. I was pleasantly surprised by the poignancy of Tia and Mason’s story. Not only does Brighton Walsh entertain with My Strongest Weakness, but she broaches social issues that anyone can relate to, imploring her readers to root for this couple to defy societal norms and find their happily ever after. Brighton’s writing maintains its enchanting quality, making this love come to life with her vibrant imagery and evocation of emotions while revealing the surprising depth that makes this author so brilliant.

Rating
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Cs Review

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh ended up translating to a love that embodied the expression ‘opposites attract’. What I really enjoyed the most was that I think everyone, at one point in their lives, could relate to Mason and Tia. Mason was the perfect jock that everyone wanted to be or to date. Tia was the complete opposite, the girl who looked different, acted different, and just gave a standoffish vibe. While they never thought they could work together, Mason and Tia were insanely attracted to each other and that passion and heat could be felt through every single page. As the book went on, I loved how each of their insecurities really became prevalent. As a society in general, I think we’re so often seeking approval and crave that acceptance from those we surround ourselves with. In some ways, these characters were like mirrors into people, myself included.

“She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.”

My biggest complaint is that I wanted more from the lovely Brighton Walsh! No matter the genre she is writing, she always sucks me in and makes me want to know absolutely everything. I’d love to get a glimpse of where these characters are sitting now. Everything from the writing, to the flow, and the plot all came together to work incredibly well. I could see hints of the Janet Jackson song lyrics shining through, while also maintaining Walsh’s own voice – which I can’t imagine is an easy feat. Overall, I truly adored My Strongest Weakness, and can’t wait to see how the other authors transform songs into stories as well!

Rating
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Book Links

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | Kobo | iBooks

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Author Links

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | PinterestAmazon | Website

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Our Love Unhinged by Brighton Walsh

Title – Our Love Unhinged
Author – Brighton Walsh
Series – Reluctant Hearts #3.5
Release Date – August 20, 2016

Synopsis

Once upon a time, two people fell in love. They overcame obstacles. Persevered through challenges. Came together despite the odds stacked against them.

Now forever and always is within their grasp—he asked, and she said yes. Just a trip down the aisle, an exchange of vows and rings, and they’ll be bound together for the rest of their lives…

But even the greatest love can’t silence fears.

Our Love Unhinged is the final novella in the Reluctant Hearts series, and is best enjoyed after reading books 1-3 in the series.

Bs Review

Brighton Walsh returns to the Reluctant Hearts series with Our Love Unhinged, a beautifully written and emotionally powerful novella that wraps up the series with all of the warm and fuzzy feelings I’ve come to adore from this author and then some. Brighton’s words are as enchanting as ever, allowing me to lose myself all over again in the fantastic family of characters she has created with this series. I loved being able to glimpse the lives of these unforgettable personalities further in the future, sharing in their hard-won love and reveling in the promise of the happily ever afters yet to come.

“There’s just me and her and this amazing love I’m somehow lucky enough to be part of. And I can’t wait—I don’t want to wait anymore.”

In true Brighton Walsh style, Our Love Unhinged doesn’t pull any punches and this Happily Ever After is not without its battles. For fans of the series, this novella will remind you exactly why you fell in love with Cade and Winter to begin with. As their relationship changes, old insecurities and fears rise to the surface, causing all of the pain and emotional growth they’ve already been through to move through me once again. This novella made me feel raw and vulnerable, perfectly capturing the tone of the story and bringing every incredible moment of Cade and Winter’s journey back to me in a rush of heartache and unrelenting hope.

“How much time do we have before you freak out?”

Cade is still book boyfriend perfection. His patience, understanding, and unconditional love is utterly swoon-worthy and I find myself lost to him the moment he opens his mouth. So many feels! A part of me relates to Winter in unexpected ways and this novella rekindled that connection instantly, making it easy to once again root for her. One of the things I love most about Brighton Walsh’s writing is her ability to transform words into poignant prose and palpable human emotions. Her writing is exquisite, effortlessly delivering the joy, self-doubt, and humor of this story and bringing Cade, Winter, and the rest of the crew to life. Our Love Unhinged was the perfectly imperfect happily ever after for these two beloved characters.

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Cs Review

Oh. My. Goodnesssss! Our Love Unhinged came as a complete and total surprise from Brighton Walsh and honestly, I feel like Christmas came early this year! This short novella is an afternoon read that left me aching for a re-read of the couple’s entire story the moment I closed it. I tend to be super sappy when it comes to goodbyes, but with this final book in the Reluctant Hearts series, my heart felt so elated and utterly filled. While I always want more from the characters I’ve fallen in love with, there was something incredibly gratifying with every moment in Our Love Unhinged.

“How many times should he have to be there, waiting to pick up my pieces when I fall apart?”

I’m keeping my review super vague because the surprises I received made me fall in love with the characters, with the author’s writing, and with the entire series all over again. Trust me when I say that if you’re a fan of the Reluctant Hearts crew, you won’t want to miss this heartwarming conclusion. There’s a little bit of everything you’ve fallen in love with – and then a little something extra. Brighton Walsh keeps getting better and better in her writing, and while I’m sad to say goodbye to this fantastic group of friends and family, I’m already smiling at the prospect of what is to come!

Rating
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Book Links

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Don’t miss the rest of the Reluctant Hearts series:

Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Paige in Progress (Caged in Winter #3)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & NKobo | iBooks

Our Love Unhinged

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Author Links

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | PinterestAmazon | Website

RELEASE DAY BLITZ – Paige in Progress by Brighton Walsh

Title – Paige in Progress
Author – Brighton Walsh
Series – Reluctant Hearts, #3
Publication Date – January 19, 2016

Synopsis

She wanted a one-night stand…and then he moved in next door.

Paige Bennett is more than content with her life and what she does—and does not—have in it. She’s got a supportive family, a great apartment, and the best friend a girl could ask for; so what if her relationships expire faster than a carton of milk? After a disastrous detour courtesy of poor judgment in the boyfriend department, her plan is back on track and her dream job is finally within her grasp. Nothing can make her lose focus now. Well, nothing except the one-night stand she had with her best friend’s surrogate brother. The one-night stand she can’t stop thinking about.

Adam Reid has always been reliable…the responsible son, the loyal friend, the steady boyfriend. Two years ago, he graduated Magna Cum Laude and is well on his way to making a name for himself at an accounting firm in Denver—a far cry from working as a helper in the Mom and Pop store his parents own in Michigan. But when said store starts failing, he’s the only one who can step in and help. So reliable Adam does what he always does, and he comes to the rescue.

Paige thought Adam was a safe bet because he lives halfway across the country. But then suddenly he’s moving back to their town, and then into her apartment building, and soon he’s worming his way right into her life. If she’s not careful, he might sneak his way into her heart, too…

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Bs Review

Brighton Walsh continues her Reluctant Hearts series with the fun, sassy new addition, Paige in Progress. Not only do we get a little more of unforgettable series characters Cade, Winter, Tessa, and Jason, but Brighton Walsh also delivers two more incredibly lovable characters in Paige and Adam. Adam’s preference for the stability of a relationship is no match for his attraction to Paige, the beautiful girl with a wild heart who is determined to never fall in love again. Together, these two seemingly opposite personalities absolutely combust. Brighton Walsh has written a chemistry that is palpable and electric, delivering a story wrought with escalating tension, flirtatious banter, and unexpected emotions. This novel captures all of the things I love about this author’s work, her easy writing style, relatable characters, and fresh dialog never cease to capture my attention. Paige and Adam’s story is fun, sexy, and hilarious – a great new adult novel you’ll definitely want to dive into.

“But Adam is more than that. I actually enjoy spending time with him, and that it happens when he’s not touching any part of me is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying.”

Paige is the kind of character you wish was your best friend. She’s funny, sarcastic, intelligent, fierce, and totally sassy. She lives her life vibrantly, determined to keep her relationships uncomplicated and casual. I loved the depth that Brighton Walsh cultivated in this character. When Paige could no longer keep her heart detached, she struggled to make sense of her changing feelings and their implications. Brighton Walsh wrote her emotional turmoil in a way that allowed the readers to experience it for themselves, making connecting with Paige effortless. Adam was a fun character to unravel. Paige seemed to totally undo his normally regimented lifestyle, pushing him outside his comfort zone and challenging him to live in the moment and just feel. Brighton Walsh expertly captured his emotions as he allowed himself to discover an entirely new version of himself, revealing a man who was vulnerable, unsure, and every bit his age. This enigmatic couple was truly captivating and I found myself wholly invested in their journey.

“She’s running away from everything I’ve ever run toward.”

The storyline was lighthearted and youthful, perfectly reflecting Paige and Adam’s relationship. Their many adventures and non-dates made me smile, loving the way they turned simple athletic endeavors into steamy foreplay. The push and pull between this couple was addictive and unquestionably my favorite part of the book. Their easy flirtation and witty banter kept me laughing. I adored the sense of humor and good-natured teasing that made Paige in Progress simply sparkle. The carefree fun proved to be the perfect balance to the underlying emotional component of this story. Both Adam and Paige face the challenges common in the new adult genre, struggling to define themselves, find their place in the world, and decide where it is their hearts truly lie. For the most part, the story was well paced. It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but eventually picked up and took off running. I had hoped for a bit more of a bang at the end. Their entire relationship was so hot and cold, that I expected something more to wrap up their story. Overall, Paige in Progress is a fun and fierce addition to the Reluctant Hearts series. Sweet, funny, sexy, and smart, Paige in Progress is another gem from Brighton Walsh!

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Cs Review

If there is one thing I can say for certain, it’s that I always look forward to a new release from Brighton Walsh! Her writing is fresh and fun with characters that make you swoon. Paige in Progress is the latest in the Reluctant Hearts series, and I’d venture to say that we were introduced to the two most reluctant characters yet. I had a big ol’ grin throughout most of this one because it’s just one of those feel good, laugh out loud books that you can’t, and don’t want to, put down.

“You’re a work in progress. Don’t be so jaded that you ignore the parts of you that still need to grow.”

Paige is such a feisty, crazy heroine that you couldn’t help but fall in love with her. I wanted to be her best friend and have the chance to experience all her antics. She’s quick-witted, independent, and though she may be scarred by her past relationships, there’s something so loveable about her. Paige is determined not to fall into a relationship and watching that play out was just so much fun. Adam was the perfect counterpart hero; he was essentially the complete and total opposite of everything Paige stood for. He pushed her boundaries, while unknowingly surpassing his own, which made for some interesting transformations by the end of the novel. I loved both of them separately, but when they were together, it was pure gold. Their witty banter, teasing playfulness, and non-traditional relationship truly made for excellent reading material.

“Her lips speak the words, but her body is telling me more than her mouth ever could.”

My only issue was that I felt like the ending sort of happened abruptly. With the characters’ personalities that I had come to know, I expected a little bit more from them in terms of the resolution. That’s not to say it was lacking, because I definitely don’t feel that, but I think my own expectations just hindered it slightly. That being said, the shining star for me of Paige in Progress was the dialogue between the characters. The back and forth was filled with so many one-liners, zingers, and just playful teasing that reminded me of youthfulness, but not in an immature way. It brought me back to the fun of flirting with the person you’re interested in. I’d also venture to say that this novel is Walsh’s steamiest to date. There were certainly a handful of scenes where I was fanning myself off! I didn’t know that we’d be receiving Paige’s story, but I’m glad that Brighton Walsh chose to tell it. Each book in the series is so different that I honestly couldn’t choose a favorite. Her storytelling ability keeps getting better and better; I’m so looking forward to what she delivers next!

Rating
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Book Links

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & NKobo | iBooks

Paige in Progress_3

Don’t miss the rest of the Reluctant Hearts series:

Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Our Love Unhinged (Reluctant Hearts #3.5)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Author Links

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | PinterestAmazon | Website

RELEASE DAY BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – 90s Playlist: A Romance Rewind Anthology

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Title: 90s Playlist
Authors: Amy Jo Cousins, Audra North, Brighton Walsh,
Jennifer Blackwood, Lorelie Brown, Rebecca Grace Allen
Publication date: October 13th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance

90s Playlist Anthology

Synopsis

Six stories of sex, love, and being young in the ‘90s, inspired by songs of the decade…

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh
It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American. But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.

Creep by Lorelie Brown
Roni lives for the raves in Oakland’s warehouse district. Dancing till dawn in white gloves under black lights breathes life into her soul. Nothing will get her kicked out of her underground world faster than turning over Skittles, her dealer. She refuses to provide info about the underage runaway to his big brother Tom. But Tom is going to find Skittles with or without Roni’s cooperation. But Tom is special. He’s rich, handsome and bold. Roni wishes she was special. And like the rave scene she loves, nothing lasts forever.

The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins
Shelby Summerfield is a gold star lesbian, even if she doesn’t look like one. Florence Truong is the only other dyke at Carlisle College in 1993 not wearing plaid flannel, and Shelby sets her sights on seduction. But instead of a delightful tumble in the sheets, Florence calls her out for being a straight girl. With seduction off the table, Shelby settles for revenge for her humiliation. But if all she wants is to show up her campus rival, how come Shelby can’t stop herself from saving Florence instead of annihilating her?

Worthwhile by Audra North
Jill didn’t expect her semester in Leeds to start with getting dumped by her boyfriend. Especially since she only came to England to be with him. Two weeks in, all she wants to do is go home. Finding love with someone new is definitely not an option. But when she literally stumbles into grad student Stuart’s arms, her experience abroad becomes a lot more worthwhile.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen
Rory Stone’s days of grunge and poetry are behind her, her reality now in bags of Arabian brew, and counting the change in the tip jar. Can indie singer James Griffith rock her muse back into the present?

Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood
Emily Jones is ready to embark on the most epic spring break trip of her college career with her bestie, twin brother, and her brother’s best friend, Chase. Chase has been in love with Emily since the eighth grade when she kicked his ass in laser tag. He’s not going to piss away his last chance to tell her how he feels. When the group decides to play a game of Spring Break BINGO that involves body shots, a red thong, and secret hookups, this is the perfect catalyst to get him out of the friend zone. But as things get heated, they have to decide if twenty years of friendship is worth putting in jeopardy because of a game, and what will happen when they hit dry land.

Bs Review

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh has once again managed to amaze me with her fantastic storytelling in My Strongest Weakness. This talented author packs some great character growth and genuine emotion into these few pages, leaving me desperate for more. Brighton had me effortlessly falling in love with Mason and Tia and I’d gladly take a full length novel and then some of this fun, sexy couple. Tia and Mason couldn’t be more opposite, yet their chemistry is undeniable. From the second this story began, their connection was absolutely electric, pulling me into their world and getting me hooked on them. Brighton Walsh has crafted something fierce and palpable between them that made my heart race and ache as I experienced the ups and downs of their journey. My Strongest Weakness is a perfect taste of what this author has to offer and a great reminder of what the new adult genre really is.

“All thoughts and preconceived notions about how this might go flee my head, because it’s Mason Brooks, and he kisses me like I’m the very air he needs to breathe.”

Despite its limited length, My Strongest Weakness made me feel deeply. I laughed at Tia’s feisty and sarcastic nature, swooned over Mason’s character-revealing internal conflict, and melted at the toe curling heat this couple generated. Both characters evolve over the course of this story, a combination of self-realization and emotional honesty driving their mutual growth. I adored seeing them grow into their own and mature beyond their years, allowing themselves to see the true value and rare honesty in their relationship. I was pleasantly surprised by the poignancy of Tia and Mason’s story. Not only does Brighton Walsh entertain with My Strongest Weakness, but she broaches social issues that anyone can relate to, imploring her readers to root for this couple to defy societal norms and find their happily ever after. Brighton’s writing maintains its enchanting quality, making this love come to life with her vibrant imagery and evocation of emotions while revealing the surprising depth that makes this author so brilliant. Rating — 5 Stars

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Creep by Lorelie Brown

Creep is a quirky short story about opposites attracting. Roni and Tom made for some great chemistry. Their seemingly incompatible lifestyles only served to fuel the sparks they were generating. I enjoyed the build up of tension between them, despite the short timespan of the storyline. Lorelie Brown wrote with vibrant detail that brought Creep to life. Her words pulled me into the rave with Roni where I could practically feel the pulse of the music and the stifling heat of the dance floor. She did a great job setting the scene in this short story. I needed a little bit more character development with Tom in order to better understand his strained relationship with his brother and his abrupt decision to help him and Roni, but all in all this story was full of life and a lot of fun. Rating — 3.5 Stars

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The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins

The Belle vs. the BDOC is one of those stories that was just fun to read! When Shelby realizes that the only way to get the super competitive Florence to pay attention to her is to become her biggest competitor, all hell breaks loose. I loved the friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) competition that took these girls on a crazy adventure. It proved to be the perfect way for them to get to know one another. Amy Jo Cousins did a great job capturing college life without over stereotyping. She created a relaxed, accepting, and funny storyline that kept me grinning from start to finish. I loved the tension she generated with Shelby and Florence and the palpable push and pull between them. Amy Jo Cousins developed these characters well, despite the limited length of the story. She even managed to acknowledge some deeper fears and feelings that influenced the characters’ relationship. The Belle vs. the BDOC made me laugh and struck me with its sweetness, definitely peaking my interest in this author! Rating — 4 Stars

Worthwhile by Audra North

For a short story, Worthwhile certainly gave me all the feels! There was so much substance to Jill’s journey that I couldn’t help but be impressed by Audra North’s writing. Jill and Stuart were both great characters, who proved to have significant depth as their story progressed. Not only did these two have great chemistry, but they also had an emotional connection that made their journey absolutely shine. I loved the character growth Audra North managed to orchestrate in Jill. As she came into her own, I found myself becoming truly invested in her happily ever. Stuart was sweet, intelligent, and downright swoon-worthy, making him total book boyfriend material. Worthwhile definitely stirred up a multitude of emotions and Audra North proved she knows how to write a short story, making me laugh and giving me that thrill that only comes from the excitement of new love. Rating — 5 Stars

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Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen

Rory and James are one of those couples that just made my heart soar. They are so unconventionally adorable that I couldn’t help but grin through most of this book. Rory’s closed off and stubborn nature was well balanced by James’ giving and sweet personality. While they were definitely different in so many ways, they connected through their art; their mutual love of music adding fuel to the already burning fire. Rebecca Grace Allen has written a great chemistry with this couple. I loved their banter, their raw honesty, and of course their naughty trysts. In the short length of this story, the author not only managed to make me care about both of these characters, but she had me wanting to continue on their journey. I’m hoping there will be more of Rory and James at some point in the future because I’d love to see Rory’s continued character growth as she works through her issues and learns to accept and trust in love again. Smells Like Teen Spirit was a sweet, fun, and steamy read that has me wanting more from Rebecca Grace Allen. Rating — 4.5 Stars

Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood

Jennifer Blackwood had me absolutely grinning from beginning to end with Little Red Thong! First of all, there was so much win in this story. I was truly taken for a ride back to the 90s with all of the pop culture references, my mind invaded by memories of warheads, butterfly clips, and of course, the Thong Song. Chase and Emily were such a fun couple. They had a connection that really felt rooted in their lifelong friendship. There was a chemistry there from the beginning that sizzled under the surface, waiting to explode. Jennifer Blackwood kept me on the edge of my seat wishing for the moment when these two would just give in. Little Red Thong was fun, carefree, and full of life, but the best part was the genuine emotion fused throughout the story unexpectedly. Melissa and Drew were great additions to the cast, making me laugh at their ridiculous antics and helping me fall in love with the main characters even harder. I’d honestly love to see more of Emily and Chase in the future. Even with just this short story, Jennifer Blackwood already has me hooked on them. Little Red Thong was an enchanting beginning for a vibrant, quirky, and totally lovable couple. Rating — 5 Stars

90s Playlist_Little Red Thong

Cs Review

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh ended up translating to a love that embodied the expression ‘opposites attract’. What I really enjoyed the most was that I think everyone, at one point in their lives, could relate to Mason and Tia. Mason was the perfect jock that everyone wanted to be or to date. Tia was the complete opposite, the girl who looked different, acted different, and just gave a standoffish vibe. While they never thought they could work together, Mason and Tia were insanely attracted to each other and that passion and heat could be felt through every single page. As the book went on, I loved how each of their insecurities really became prevalent. As a society in general, I think we’re so often seeking approval and crave that acceptance from those we surround ourselves with. In some ways, these characters were like mirrors into people, myself included.

“She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.”

My biggest complaint is that I wanted more from the lovely Brighton Walsh! No matter the genre she is writing, she always sucks me in and makes me want to know absolutely everything. I’d love to get a glimpse of where these characters are sitting now. Everything from the writing, to the flow, and the plot all came together to work incredibly well. I could see hints of the Janet Jackson song lyrics shining through, while also maintaining Walsh’s own voice – which I can’t imagine is an easy feat. Overall, I truly adored My Strongest Weakness, and can’t wait to see how the other authors transform songs into stories as well! Rating — 5 Stars

90s Playlist_Brighton

Creep by Lorelie Brown

I’m crazy for these stories in the 90’s Anthology, so I do go and listen to the songs and look up lyrics before diving in so that I can get a sense of the direction and tone. Creep was exciting in a very different way for me. Rather than this one being all about the characters, I think it highlighted the culture and mindset for many in the 90s. The raves, the fashion, the CD stores…it all brought back iconic images from the time period which naturally lends to an authenticity and general nostalgic feeling. Tom was a surprise for me, if I’m being honest. I expected him to be this pompous jerk who had something up his sleeve. However, I love the way he was attracted to Roni. He played the big brother role very well and you could tell that he was a protective, dominating personality. I also admired Roni’s independence and could relate to her on some levels. Because of that, I took an immediate liking to her – despite the trouble she may have gotten herself into. That being said, I felt like the story ended a little abruptly and there just wasn’t enough follow through. I was expecting some sort of closure but I didn’t get that at all. I’d definitely be interested in seeing more of their story. Lorelie Brown hooked me, kept me interested, but also left me feeling incomplete. Rating – 3.5 stars

90s Playlist_Lorelie

The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins

The Belle vs. the BDOC was definitely a cute, fun way to translate the theme of hate to love in a relationship. In the beginning, I never guessed that the story would take a spin into a game of Assassins – but it was innovative and kept the novella action packed. Shelby and Florence were such a quirky couple to get to know. I loved their competitive nature, but especially Shelby’s inner one-liners. I was cracking up watching these two characters develop and forge an unlikely friendship. However, while I did enjoy these two, I did have a little bit of a hard time getting into The Belle vs. the BDOC. I enjoyed the female/female aspect – because it made the story stand out from the other novellas. My issue lied in the fact that Shelby kept referring to how much she hated Florence, but the only emotions that I felt were lust and infatuation. There was just a mismatch to what was felt on the pages, and what was described in the words. Furthermore, the story did feel a tad jumpy to me, up until the end when the ball started to get rolling. Amy Jo Cousins has created two characters that were great to get to know and left me wanting to see more into their future. I appreciated the female/female dynamic of the story and am interested to see other works by this author. Rating — 4 stars

90s Playlist_Amy Jo Cousins

Worthwhile by Audra North

I’m not going to lie, Anthologies and short stories always sound great to me, but then as soon as I start reading them, I remember why I’m hesitant to go into them to begin with. However, Worthwhile by Audra North was executed so perfectly that it completely renewed my faith in these little snippet stories. This short story was packed with so much emotion and feeling; I just loved the journey that North took us on. Worthwhile epitomizes everything that college students go through – losing a first love, learning who you are, how to be independent, and figuring out a direction in life. The way she writes Jill’s story stirred up memories within me, therefore pulling me into this storyline deeply. I could relate because I was there – not too long ago. Furthermore, the pacing was spot on-and that’s normally where my biggest issue lies. Worthwhile never felt flat or rushed; it was believable and heartfelt and I really appreciated that. It was my first taste of North’s writing, but if she can pack that much punch in an Anthology story, I’m excited to see how she writes a full-length novel! Rating — 5 Stars

Worthwhile

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen is a short story that caused me to have a myriad of emotions, probably more so than any of the other stories in the Anthology. Rory and James seemed to be almost from opposite ends of the track, but each had a lot of depth which allowed their similarities to shine. They provided such a perfect balance to break the walls or boundaries that the other had. Together, I just couldn’t help but root for them. Further, I just love that the story so intently focused on music and poetry. As a child of the ‘90s, I remember how much music of the time lent to the creative process. I could relate to how much the lyrics of so many different songs spoke to the generation as a whole, making intent listeners feel like they weren’t alone. That feeling that Rory got when she listened to words and was able to pour her heart on to a page – I was that girl. I would definitely LOVE to get the opportunity to see an expanded story of Smells Like Teen Spirit, which I don’t often say about short stories. However, Rory and James made me yearn for more in every sense of the word! Rating — 4.5 Stars

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood

Oh my goodness – I think Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood might just be my favorite short story of this entire Anthology. It was flirty and fun, and had so much nostalgia packed into it that I couldn’t get enough. I’m a sucker for a forbidden romance so the whole brother’s best friend angle had me hooked the moment I knew what was going down. The fact that the brother was so passionate about it made it that much sweeter. Blackwood approached the whole story in the perfect way that I couldn’t help but become addicted. Furthermore, everything was done in such a fun twist with the Spring Break bingo card. I can easily say that it’s not something I had previously seen, but it definitely kept me intrigued. Finally, the author brought the ‘90s time period to life for me as a reader. There was so much of the stuff I grew up with (hellooooo Freddie Prinze, Jr.), that I found myself smiling the entire time I was reading. She really excelled at setting the scene for her readers, which I felt was somewhat missing in the other books of the Anthology. I’m super excited that I got to read this one, and kind of wish that there will be an expansion or a book that chronicles what happens to Emily and Chase after they got back from their cruise. In the meantime, I’ll go curl up listening to Genie in a Bottle after watching She’s All That 😉 Little Red Thong was an excellent addition to the Anthology and a banging way to end it! Rating — 5 stars

Little Red Thong

Excerpt

from My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh

This is so not my scene. It’s not that I hate parties…just these parties. Snooty sorority girls with their Heathers cliques, whispering and pointing at anyone who looks different from them. Jocks who are obnoxious and irritating, doing keg stands or groping chicks in the corners or on the couches. I’d rather be just about anywhere. But when Stacy, my roommate from Freshman year, cornered me in the quad after my foreign film class and begged me to come along, saying all her other friends bailed on her and the guy she was trying to catch the eye of was going to be here, I figured why the hell not?

Plus, I thought it would be a good opportunity to fuck with him.

Him being Mason Brooks. Starting quarterback, a legacy and vice president of Zeta Alpha Tau, and Mister All-American. He’s perfection personified. Perfect hair, perfect body…straight white teeth anchoring the perfect smile. Perfect clothes. Perfect life. His parents, both lawyers, are still married. They attend every football game, or so I’ve heard, and live about an hour upstate in a suburb I can’t even afford to drive through, let alone live in. Perfect.

We’re like water and oil, never mixing well. As different as night and day. I hate him on principle alone.

A game of Quarters is going on in the corner, and he’s there, standing almost a head taller than everyone else he’s with. He looks stupid in his backward baseball cap, No Fear shirt, and jeans, just a lemming talking to his lemmings. Everything about him should turn me off, from his neatly cropped hair, to his cocky stance, to his booming voice, to all those muscles hidden beneath his clothes.

Sadly, it doesn’t, which is what got me into this situation in the first place.

He’s talking with some guys I’ve seen him with around campus. Two girls hang off each of his arms—one of whom I overheard in the dining hall say she was going to hook up with him tonight. Since overhearing that, there’s been a fissure of…something…that started low in my belly and worked its way up, and now it’s nearly overwhelming. Must be anticipation. Excitement at the shit that’s about to hit the fan. Mason hasn’t noticed me yet, and I’m kind of looking forward to when he does. The Fourth of July will have nothing on the fireworks between us when he sees I’ve broken our code and shown up on his home turf.

There aren’t a lot of rules between us. In fact, there are only three: No interacting in public, no unscheduled hookups, and no home turf invasions.

I’m planning to break all three tonight, just for the hell of it.

“Tia!” Stacy grabs my arm and spins me around, pointing toward the far end of the house. “I see Brad over there, so I’m gonna try and catch his eye. You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, waving her off. “I’ll find you when I want to leave.”

“Okay, an hour, tops!”

Without another word, she takes off in that direction, her long hair flying behind her, and I’m left without a buffer. There’s no denying Stacy fits in here with the rest of the crowd in the house. She’s everything I’m not. Styled blonde hair and trendy clothes, bubble gum personality to my black licorice. When we were assigned the same dorm Freshman year, I thought it’d be a disaster. Turned out we clicked despite our differences and managed to keep in touch even when we moved on to other living arrangements.

Head held high, I ignore the thinly veiled looks of judgment tossed in my direction as I make my way through the crowd. God forbid I not be here in a schoolgirl skirt and a baby tee clinging to my tits, all my goodies on display for everyone to see. The chains of my necklace jangle as I walk through the party, not really sure where I’m going. But moving is better than standing still, waiting for the vultures to strike.

Even though I’m on my third year here, I’ve managed to make it my entire college career thus far having yet to actually step foot into a frat house. Until tonight. It’s bigger than I thought it would be. Cleaner, too, even with all the people around. I was picturing a slum, basically. Bug infested, maybe, with garbage lying all over the place, beer-stained carpets and cigarette burns on the couches. How could it not be, with a horde of guys living under the same roof and multiple parties here every week? They must have someone in to clean, because there’s no way any males from the ages of eighteen to twenty-two could keep this shit up.

There’s a wall to my right showcasing dozens and dozens of photographs. I don’t know a lot about fraternities, but I know enough to realize they’re pictures of members of Zeta Alpha Tau, going back several years. Mason is in those photos, somewhere, though I don’t allow myself to stop and look.

I’m on a mission, and reminding Mason our agreement is tenuous is priority number one.

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Brighton Walsh

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Lorelie Brown

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Amy Jo Cousins

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Audra North

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Rebecca Grace Allen

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Jennifer Blackwood

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RELEASE DAY REVIEW – Exposed by Brighton Walsh

Exposed Banner

Title – Exposed
Author – Brighton Walsh
Publication Date – July 21, 2015
Series – Captive, #2

Exposed

Synopsis

Love can be lost but never forgotten.  Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it’s all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can’t run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever—the one man she’s never been able to forget.

Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie’s heart. Years have gone by, but he’s never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he’d still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.

As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can’t give up the perfect life she’s been working toward…and Riley has no part in it.

Review

Exposed by Brighton Walsh was definitely a novel that kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting for everything to just explode. I absolutely loved Riley in the first book of the series, so it was such a treat to get some of his background and see how his story would evolve in this book. Walsh has a very special talent when it comes to her writing; she always gives you enough to feed your curiosity, but never more than you need resulting in a feeling of never wanting to put the book down.

“It’d only been a day, one measly day, and this heat between us had already reached a crescendo.”

If there was something extraordinary and outstanding in Exposed, for me it would be in Evie. Her character spoke to me on some levels, made me sympathize for her on others, and made me overall just love her. She wasn’t afraid to sacrifice anything to keep those she cared about safe and I truly admired that. Evie did what she had to do which resulted in a courageous, independent, strong heroine who blazed her way through the novel. Though I love Riley, he honestly took a backseat for me simply because of how much I loved Evie’s character. He was protective and intuitive, everything that I love in a book boyfriend. Based on his personality in Captive, I never would have guessed at the depths that his character contained, but I was certainly happy to be proved wrong. These two shared something special and unbreakable which translated so beautifully in the pages.

“If you’re gonna gamble, at least gamble with me. You know I’m not going to hurt you. You know you’re safe with me.”

While I loved the storyline behind Captive, Exposed definitely took a different twist. I never felt like I was reading the same basic plot line but featuring different characters – which is what happens quite often in series that I’ve read. In some senses, it really did have the same feel as the first book but in a totally different circumstance. I appreciated being able to see the connection, yet not getting a retelling. I was kept on the edge of my seat, dying to dig further and deeper around every turn.

“It feels like I can finally suck in a lungful of air instead of surviving on only shallow breaths.”

Brighton Walsh is a gifted writer who I enjoy immensely. Every story is unique with characters that burrow into hearts for different reasons. Exposed is a fast-paced quick read that will have readers aching to know the full story between Riley and Evie. I found myself feeling so much in this novel, even though I really didn’t have any expectation to. I’m excited to see what it is that Walsh comes up with next because I will definitely be buying!

Rating

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Exposed 1

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Captive

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Author Interview

  1. How did you come up with the idea for Riley’s story? Did you know it would happen the way it did while you were writing Captive, or was it something that developed afterwards?

My editor, agent and I all plotted together, tossed around different ideas until one resonated with all of us. And nope, I didn’t know any of Riley’s story during Captive. It was all a surprise!

  1. While still a similar theme, it felt so completely different from Ghost’s story in Captive. I loved that aspect! What made you take his and Evie’s romance in a different direction – rather than utilizing a similar scenario to the first book?

We actually tossed around an idea that was similar, but I wanted to veer as far from it as I could, because I didn’t want Exposed to feel like a rehashing of Captive.

  1. Watching the two different sides to Evie was absolutely fascinating, and so unlike your other characters. How fun was it to create a character with two dueling personalities?

It was incredibly challenging. LOL At one point while drafting, I had a notebook with:

TRUTH     |     LIES

written on it, and I had listed all the different aspects of her life. It was so hard to keep track of everything and make sure I got all the details right.

  1. Authors are always asking who their readers’ favorite characters are. If you just HAD to choose – muscle man with tattoos at stake here – did you enjoy writing Riley or Ghost more, and why?

Oh, man, this is tough. Riley is really more of the kind of hero I, personally, go for in books that I read. An alpha hero who doesn’t need to blast his prowess from the rooftops. Plus, he was easier to write. LOL

  1. Where did you get the inspiration for Evie’s story? I really respected that she came from a broken past but did whatever she could to rise above it, especially given my personal background. She felt like a unique, loveable character with qualities that every reader could love and relate to in some way.

Evie’s background was one I really struggled with. Due to the premise of the story, I needed a reason she’d be willing to leave everyone she knew behind and never look back. I went through half a dozen scenarios with my Plot Whisperer, and shot every one of them down. In the end, I went with the only story that was hers.

Exposed 2

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she’s not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy in the Midwest where she lives with her own real life hero and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Tessa Ever After by Brighton Walsh

Title – Tessa Ever After
Author – Brighton Walsh
Series – Reluctant Hearts, #2
Publication Date – May 5, 2015

Synopsis

In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else… Something Jason’s not sure he’s ready for.

Tessa Ever After_2

Bs Review

Brighton Walsh has once again melted my heart with her incredible storytelling and expertly crafted characters. Both Tessa and Jason totally intrigued me when we met them in Caged in Winter, but I couldn’t have imagined how much I’d grow to love them after finally hearing their story. Tessa’s undeniable strength and Jason’s surprising depth had me completely hooked. This was a one sitting read for me as I lost myself in the sweet and steamy of Tessa and Jason’s journey. I absolutely adore Haley and the laughter and sense of wonderment she brought to the story had my heart floating. Brighton Walsh has a clear talent for capturing the emotional challenges and abundant self-doubt that comes hand-in-hand with the new adult genre, allowing readers to connect with her characters and invest themselves fully in their journeys.

“Sometimes love isn’t enough.”
She pauses for a minute, then shakes her head. “It’s everything, Tessa. Just give him a chance…”

Tessa was a breath of fresh air. It isn’t often in a new adult novel to find a single mother, not one with a 4 year old anyways. Tessa’s obligation to grow up quickly at such a young age gave her an inherent strength that I couldn’t help but admire. Her fears in regards to failing Haley and warped perspective of the type of mother she is made her feel entirely genuine. Brighton Walsh developed Tessa perfectly, allowing her to grow from both her triumphs and setbacks, while evolving as a mother and as a woman. Jason, on the other hand, just about steamrolled me. I was unprepared for the extent of his kind heart and selfless actions. He was constant and steady, being there for Tessa and Haley without second thought. He’s also ridiculously sweet and romantic underneath all the swagger and I may have let out a few deep sighs when it came to Jason. Brighton Walsh has taken this character that was easy to like and molded him into someone that is even easier to love.

“She’s always been someone more…someone different, even if there wasn’t anything between us. And this conversation just once again proves exactly what I’ve known all along. That she deserves a hell of a lot better than an asshole like me.”

In true Brighton Walsh fashion, Tessa Ever After was hilarious, sexy, and emotionally vulnerable. Brighton Walsh has opened up her world to readers, even providing a little dose of Cade and Winter in this book which was just icing on the cake. The sexual tension between Tessa and Jason is electric as they fight their feelings, refusing to give in. Both are stubborn with very strong personalities and distinctive voices that refuse to be forgotten. Things between them positively sizzled. Those shared moments of intensity and flirtatious banter were just the beginning of the many methods employed by Brighton Walsh to convey the depth and significance of Tessa and Jason’s connection. Tessa Ever After was a fantastic companion to Caged in Winter and if possible, I’m even more addicted to Brighton Walsh’s writing than before.

Rating
5.png

Tessa Ever After_1

Cs Review

As soon as I finished Caged in Winter, I knew that I would be devouring whatever else I could get my hands on by Brighton Walsh. Then I found out there would be more books in the series with other characters, and I was ecstatic because Walsh is a writer whose characters just burrow into your heart. I’ve been thrilled about Tessa Ever After since the moment I found out about it, and while it was a completely different feel from Caged in Winter, it was just as fabulous and spellbinding!

“She deserves the happily ever after she’s been dreaming about as long as I’ve known her.”

This second book in the series follows the lives of Tessa and Jason, Cade’s sister and best friend, respectively. Tessa was this strong, level-headed mom who thought logically. She was one of those heroines that could use a dose of using her heart instead of her head, which is so rarely seen these days. To me, Jason was this misunderstood, lost soul. He kept trying to do the right thing only to lose another piece of himself.  I can’t put my finger on it, but I’ll just say that Walsh sure knows how to deliver the perfect man in her books! The dynamic between these two was something very special. Even though they never truly acknowledged it, they understood each other on a different, deeper level because of the preconceived notions the world had about them. They were judged based on their situations rather than whom they were as people, and it made them the perfect match for each other.

“All of it – the butterflies and the anticipation and the constant, aching need I feel around him…It was something I didn’t expect, something I didn’t count on, but it’s undeniable.”

Walsh has the ability to create real-life scenarios with such an authentic feel to them. The happenings never feel forced or exaggerated for a dramatic effect. Her characters are presented with realistic issues and have to learn to overcome them. As readers, we’re taken on a journey that we can not only relate to, but we can also develop a strong sense of sympathy for the plights that they are put through. Tessa and Jason weren’t just characters in a book for me; they were friends I wanted to hug in times of sorrow, shake in times of distraught, and laugh in the cute, sappy moments.

“Happy doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. It’s a single star as compared to the whole galaxy.”

Tessa Ever After is the perfect blend of New Adult’s searching for a life path, with a more mature Adult romance feel. I was able to get lost in the pages, and I think that other readers will too! I certainly hope there are more stories to tell for this crew because I am definitely not ready to let them go yet. Brighton Walsh has given me a fix and I don’t think I will ever get enough of the drug that is her writing.

Rating
5.png

Tessa Ever After 1

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Don’t miss the rest of the Reluctant Hearts series:

Caged in Winter (Reluctant Hearts #1)

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Paige in Progress (Caged in Winter #3)

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Our Love Unhinged (Reluctant Hearts #3.5)

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Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

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Tessa Ever After 2

BLOG TOUR – Captive by Brighton Walsh

Captive

Title – Captive
Author – Brighton Walsh
Publication Date – March 24, 2015
Series – Captive, #1

Captive

Synopsis

He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Review

Every once in a while, a reader stumbles across a book and there’s no real rhyme or reason as to why it burrows into your heart; it just simply does. Captive by Brighton Walsh is one of these novels. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the writing is phenomenal, the storyline is captivating, and the characters were ones that I could relate to on quite a deep level.

“I never took her for a fighter, and I’d be willing to bet no one else ever had, either.”

From the outside, Madison’s life looks perfect – she’s rich, a student at Northwestern, has two high-profile parents, etc. On the inside, she’s suffocating with the weight of the world on her shoulders. One night after class, she’s walking and she is kidnapped, and taken to a cabin in the woods by her captor who goes by the name Ghost. From the outside, he is tattooed and hard, not someone to be toyed with. Somehow the two of them come together to form this relationship that I still don’t fully comprehend, yet was rooting for from the beginning. They’re both misunderstood from the world but feel comfortable taking down their walls for the other to conquer. I think that I wanted to see them figure out a way to make their lives work because through pieces of both of them, it was like I was looking in a mirror. Each possessed pieces of my own personal story which brought them to life in my eyes. When they found comfort, I felt relief; when they were sad, I felt tears; when they were heartbroken, I felt pain. Through these very accurate portrayal of emotions, Ghost and Madison were no longer characters in a book, but very real life people whom I had to see have a deserving ending.

“And even though we’d come from two different paths, at the core, we still dealt with the same pain.”

I’ll be honest and say that I was a teeny bit hesitant to pick up Captive because of the whole kidnapping situation. I’m always nervous about the captive falling in love with the captor storyline because there are times when it can just fall completely flat. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I gave this one a chance. Walsh writes the situation impeccably well that it almost doesn’t even feel like a kidnapping. She made Ghost incredibly likeable and the storyline that flows seemed quite effortless and organic to me. I actually loved being taken on this fantastic ride of ups and downs.

“Because if we were both knocked on our asses, who was going to make sure we were standing at the end of this?”

I have read one other novel by Brighton Walsh and it was nothing like Captive. However, that only makes me appreciate her writing even more. She pushed my boundaries a little bit and sucked me into the world she created. Captive is brilliantly written with characters who will burrow underneath your skin and have no intention of leaving. I absolutely LOVED this book and I can’t wait to get Riley’s story, as well as jump on anything else Brighton Walsh puts out!

Rating

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Exposed (Captive #2)

Exposed

Read our review HERE

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Excerpt

His lips parted when his name left mine, his eyes dropping to my mouth, and it felt like he’d sucked the air right out of my lungs. Suddenly we were closer than we were a second ago, his shoulder flush against mine, and I let my eyes flutter closed the moment I saw him lean toward me.

In the back of my mind, my conscience was screaming at me, telling me this was a bad idea, I shouldn’t be doing this—not with him. But my body had other ideas. My body wanted this, and right now, I was letting that part of me lead.

I met him in the middle, the first brush of our lips tentative. Only a whisper of flesh upon flesh, and when I didn’t pull back, he leaned in again, pressing his mouth firmly to mine.

And his kiss . . . his kiss was an unexpected contradiction of the man I’d come to know. The softness of it surprised me, con- sidering the rough edges of him. His lips were tentative, question- ing in their exploration, and I answered every unasked question, moving with him without hesitation. When my tongue licked against the seam of his lips, he groaned, a deep sound resonating from his chest, and then his hands were on me. He cupped my face, pulling me closer to him as he opened his mouth to me, slid his tongue against mine.

It was everything I’d ever imagined and yet nothing I’d ever experienced. He was consuming me, every single one of my senses honing in on him. The scruffy whiskers of his beard were long enough that they didn’t chafe so much as brush softly against me. His hands were rough, the tips of his fingers marred by calluses that ran across my cheeks, down my neck. He smelled like fresh soap and laundry detergent and the scent I’d grown accustomed to that was all him. Every time a groan echoed in his chest, I felt it against my own, and I could barely hold in a reply.

Character Interview

For Ghost:

1. There seemed to be a lot of emotions for everyone leading up to Madison asking you what your name was. What went through your head when you heard the name you hadn’t gone by in so long coming from her lips?

It’ll probably make me sound like a pussy to say this, but honestly…awe. No one—ever—had taken the time to get to know me. Not Ghost. Not the guy who can do something for them. Just me. And all I could think at that time was that I didn’t deserve to hear it from her lips.

2. When did it become apparent to you that Madison was getting under your skin in a completely different way than your previous hostage situations? Was there something she said or did that solidified it for you?

I think it was different from the get-go with her, but there was a definite turning point. I don’t want to give details because it might spoil some, but let’s just say when she showed me how much fire she has in her was when it really clicked.

For Madison:

3. What was the first thing you did FOR YOU with your taste of freedom?

The first thing I did for me is at the end of the book. That was the first time in my life I’d ever chosen myself over everyone else, and it was my first step to freedom. After that, though, choosing the major I wanted to study was the next thing I did.

4. What is your favorite tattoo that Ghost has and why? (Not including the latest one)

This is hard to pick because he has so many…I love the dragon up his arm, the face of it resting on his back like it’s watching over him. And I love the fallen angel that takes up the majority of his chest and stomach. But my favorite is probably the letters that spell L O Y A L T Y across his upper chest, because that’s just him.

5. What was it about Ghost that made you want to take a chance on him? Are you glad that running proved to be unsuccessful?

He let me see parts of him that no one else had ever seen. And he helped me see that my life was worth so much more than what I’d allowed myself to believe.

Author Interview

What is with creating these droolworthy men that I (ahem, readers) can’t get enough of? I just want to become a polygamist for all of them! 😉 How do you find the inspiration to create such different, but still alluring, characters?

*evil laughter* It’s my goal to create a new swoony book boyfriend with every book. My inspiration comes from what I’d want in a book boyfriend. I try different mixes of traits, throw them all together, shake it up and pick a few. Part of figuring out who the character is also comes from the plot and the circumstances. That dictates a lot of who the heroes are.

I feel like we live in a world obsessed with looks; I know I’ve fallen guilty to it. What made you decide to make your heroine curvy and full? It made the story that much more relatable for me, but I feel like readers rarely get that in novels these days.

For Madison to work in my head and to lead the life I needed her to lead to fit with the plot of Captive, I knew she had to be insecure. And, as much as I hate it, women are mostly insecure about their bodies. It made sense that Maddie would be self-conscious about that, and it was a stepping stone to other things I built on. I also wanted to show growth in her character. And growth that wasn’t done through the coercion of a male interest, but with the heroine actually, genuinely growing more comfortable in her own skin, from who she is on the inside to what she looks like on the outside.

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Author Links

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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh

Title – Caged in Winter
Author – Brighton Walsh
Series – Reluctant Hearts, #1
Release Date – November 4, 2014

Synopsis

In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening than commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…

Bs Review

Caged in Winter is everything I fell in love with about the New Adult genre. When I got back into reading for fun after college, NA was just breaking out onto the scene and I loved that there were finally books I could relate to and characters I could connect with. Authors were starting to bridge the gap between YA and Adult and I was hooked. It has been a while since a book from an author I wasn’t already familiar with has grabbed me in the way that Caged in Winter has and I am already obsessing over Brighton Walsh, waiting not-so-patiently for her next book. She truly has a gift for storytelling and her talent as a writer is apparent from the start.

“I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to be the kind of person Cade sees in me.”

When it comes to Cade, what’s not to love? He’s inked, toned, and knows his way around the kitchen. I’m usually a huge sucker for those stereotypical alphas, but Cade swooped in and stole my heart away with his sweetness. The man knows how to turn up the heat one minute and have me gushing over his relationship with his sister and niece the next. Brighton Walsh has created such a fantastic multidimensional character with Cade and I loved learning each and every one of his facets. Winter is a girl after my own heart. The girl is stubborn as hell and totally independent. She’s tough and closed down in response to the things she’s experienced in her past. Underneath her hard exterior, Brighton reveals the insecurities, fears and faults of a young twenty-something trying to find her way in the world. I applaud Brighton Walsh for giving her characters difficult journeys. Neither of them had it easy in life, but while she certainly lets it influence her characters, she doesn’t let it define them.

“The kind of person who’s fearless, who spreads her wings instead of staying frozen on the ground.”

The relationships in this book really made the story. Brighton Walsh has developed a variety of relationships between her characters, each one distinct and vital to the development of both the character and storyline. Cade’s relationships with Tessa, Jason, and Winter are all absolutely revealing of who he is. I loved watching Cade chip away at Winter’s walls, winning her over with his thoughtfulness and attention. He took everything she threw at him with a smile and really proved his intentions, making him undoubtedly swoon-worthy in my book. Everything about this couple had me smiling. Their banter, chemistry, and ability to bring out the best in one another had me addicted and completely invested in their happily ever after. I am also seriously intrigued by the relationship between Jason and Tessa. Brighton introduced their dynamic flawlessly, not giving anything away but leaving me begging for more of those two.

“I want to fly for him.”

The thing I loved most about this story was its emotional honesty. Not a minute of this book felt contrived and every single page read as genuine and raw. The myriad of emotions that accompanies that last year of college is overwhelming. Brighton Walsh expertly captured a time in life dominated by the bittersweet – excitement and fear, independence and the desperate need for approval. I could appreciate the difficultly Winter and Cade had in balancing their dreams with their responsibilities and letting go enough to let someone else in. This story was well-paced, unexpected at times, and just what I needed at others. The moment I finished this book, I wanted to jump back into it. I was definitely enchanted by Caged in Winter and Brighton Walsh, falling in love with the New Adult genre all over again.

Rating
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Cs Review

I can’t put my finger on it, but there was just something about Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh that had me instantly intrigued. I thought that it would end up being just a sweet, tender love story where the hero and heroine come together, toss in some drama, and that would be the end of it. I’m happy to say that what I got was so much more than that simplistic design. It was a love story, but the character development and strength was over the top perfect.

“It took me two months to realize home is a relative term. It’s not a place, not a city or a house.”

Winter is one of the most unwavering, self-sufficient heroines that I have ever come across in a novel. There were times where I almost envied her spirit, purely because of her determination and strength. From an outside perspective, it’s easy to say she was making a huge mistake and being stubborn. However, her character is just written in such a phenomenal way that you can’t help but admire her tenacity. On the other end of the spectrum, we are introduced to Cade. He was just one of those insta-love heroes; kind and thoughtful, protective and passionate, and beyond patient. Not to mention he was a chef, and it provided for such a unique character, as I have not come across a single male chef protagonist in any book I have read. Cade has been through some rough spots in his life, but rather than pushing people away, he tends to bring them closer into his circle. With the drastically different coping mechanisms each use, there is a great potential (and follow through) to see the benefits and the shortcomings of each character. They complemented each other perfectly, even if they weren’t always so sure of it.

“Not an address you can write down, not somewhere you can plant a garden or paint the walls.”

Even though the book didn’t span over a large period of time, readers got to see a fantastic transformation in both Winter and Cade. They each had to grow and become their own people in order to achieve any sort of success – whether in their careers, relationships, or love lives. It was my favorite part of the book to be honest. They were attempting to find a balance between responsibilities versus chasing their own dreams and desires which just felt so authentic to their characters, but also to the situations they were in. Sometimes, I see instances where characters compromise and have to rethink a future, but these two didn’t do that and it really endeared me to them. The book truly epitomizes what the New Adult genre should be.

“It’s a feeling – when you’re complete, accepted, and loved unconditionally.”

Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh is impeccably written with such strong emotions evoked. The language and imagery used really helps the reader to sympathize for the characters and even empathize with them at times. It was a tremendous journey of growth and discovery for Cade and Winter, and I loved being on the ride for it. There was just something about the story and the way it was written that makes you fall into this world and become utterly captivated. Brighton Walsh is a wonderful writer with many talents and I can’t wait to get sucked into whatever it is she writes next!

Rating
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Excerpt

I bend my knees so we’re eye level and tug on her hand until she meets my gaze. “I don’t know what we could have. It might be nothing. But I’ll be honest . . . I haven’t felt like this in a long time, and that’s enough for me to know I want to see where it goes. Can’t we just see where it goes?”

With a deep sigh, she says, “I’m not right for you, Cade.”

“How about you worry about if I’m right for you. Let me decide the other.”

And then before she can stop me, before she can utter another word of opposition, I slide my hand up her arm, over her shoulder, until it’s wrapped around her neck. With my other hand, I swipe a piece of hair back with my fingers, and then lean in, brushing my lips against hers. After only a moment, I pull back just enough for her to be able to tell me to stop. When nothing comes, I close the distance between us once again, taking her bottom lip in between mine. I brush my tongue against it, coaxing her mouth open, and she breathes this sexy little gasp as I slip inside. She tastes like cookies and wine, and I want to fucking devour her.

She grips my shirt with both hands, clutching me to her, and I stop holding back and press every inch of my body against hers, groaning as my cock presses fully against her. The moment a whimper comes from her, I know she feels it. And I can’t muster up any embarrassment, because I want her to feel it. Even with all her brass balls and fuck-everything attitude, something tells me she needs reassurance, so I give it to her. In every stroke of my tongue against hers, every brush of my thumb along her jaw, I show her how much I want her.

When her chest is heaving, her lips parted and swollen and so fucking hot, I trail kisses down her neck, seeking out every inch of skin that’s uncovered. Her head thumps back against the wall, one of her hands gone from gripping fistfuls of my shirt. Instead, she’s holding my head to her, and I don’t want to stop. I want to kiss and lick every inch of her, slip my hands under the material of her sweater, unbutton her jeans, and not stop until I feel her soft wetness against my fingertips.

But the knowledge that she’ll regret it if I don’t stop forces me to slow down.

I pull back, loosening my grip on her and putting an inch of space between us. I kiss the corner of her mouth, her cheek, and then her ear. Against it, I whisper, “Don’t say no.”

There’s a beat of silence. Two. Three. And then she says the sweetest word I’ve ever heard.

“Okay.”

Book Links

Add to Goodreads

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Don’t miss the rest of the Reluctant Hearts series:

Tessa Ever After (Reluctant Hearts #2)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Paige in Progress (Reluctant Hearts #3)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & NKobo | iBooks

Our Love Unhinged (Reluctant Hearts #3.5)

Read our Review HERE
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B & N | KoboiBooks

Author Bio

Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

Author Links

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | PinterestAmazon | Website

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