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Spotlight: In Depth Character Profile: Full Contact by Sidney Halston

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Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Full Contact
Author: Sidney Halston
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
SeriesWorth the Fight #2
Expected Publication: October 28th, 2014 by Loveswept

Sidney Halston returns to steamy Tarpon Springs, Florida, where a hell-raising bad boy prepares to get down and dirty for the woman he loves.

How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?

Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he’s probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.

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Meet the characters of FULL CONTACT

FULL CONTACT is a stand-alone novel, but it does start where AGAINST THE CAGE left off. Jessica Cross is still in the hospital after being brutally assaulted by her boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend), Dennis.  I think readers will find Jessica to be a different kind of heroine. Even though she stayed with Dennis too long, she is not a push-over and Slade Martin, the hero in FULL CONTACT, will soon find out exactly how feisty Jessica can be.

Jessica is in her late twenties and has been bartending at the Pier since moving to Tarpon Springs with Dennis a few years ago. Bartending had not been her plan when she got her Masters degree in Exercise Physiology. Her plan had been to open up a yoga studio, not be the “perfect” politician’s wife to Dennis. After the fight with Dennis left her tattered, she’s decided to start living her life for herself without the distraction of a man. Except, Slade’s relentless perusal doesn’t really play into her new plan. And really, Slade’s not just any man. He’s a badass cage fighter who is not used to hearing the word ‘no’.

Slade Martin is Tarpon Spring’s dirty-mouthed, bad boy, womanizer and the typical oblivious man. Slade’s been a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter for over a decade. However, some recent underground-unsanctioned fights and too many injuries to the head have taken him out of the game he’s loved for so long. He misses fighting but has luckily been preoccupied with the grand re-opening of Worth the Fight Academy, the MMA training gym he is re-launching with partner, Francesca Silva. Opening the Academy isn’t the only thing that has him preoccupied, though. Wholesome, funny, and sweet, Jessica is at the forefront of his mind. Where Slade lacks any filter, Jessica doesn’t curse and is shocked but turned-on by Slade’s dirty-mouth.  Slade’s not used to having to work hard at getting women; they normally hop on the back of his bike and head straight to his bedroom. But, convincing Jessica to give him a chance has him uncharacteristically frustrated and grumpy.

With his long jet-black hair, piercing blue eyes, and mesmerizing tattoos, Jessica may be willing to dive into unknown territory. The problem is: Dennis hasn’t exactly gone away.

Since the series takes place in the small town of Tarpon Springs, Florida, where everyone knows each other and most people grew up together, the characters from the town are important parts of the series. Patsy and Jett are the owner’s of the Pier and Jessica’s employer. Earl and Esther are the owner’s of EE’s Diner. Then, there are the fighters. You met Chrissy and Jack in AGAINST THE CAGE. Chrissy is Slade’s sister and Jack’s his best friend. Chrissy’s a doctor and Jack is a police officer who fights professionally from time to time for sport. The banter between Slade and Jack are some of my favorite scenes in the series.

Tony “Scarface” Marino is the newest fighter to the gym. He’s the Academy’s ticket to success, a professional fighter who has the potential to bring in big bucks as well as notoriety to the Academy—if he wins. Francesca Silva, Slade’s business partner and all around bombshell is the newest addition to the Academy. Her presence makes Jessica uncomfortable – Frances is strong, opinionated, and wants to see the Academy succeed, but she’s also beautiful, flirtatious, and very ‘touchy touchy’. Jamie Lynn, or JL, as she’s affectionately known, is another bartender at the Pier.  The small, tatted-up, Texan with the southern drawl and funny-sayings, quickly becomes great friends with Jessica.

Then there’s Cain and Travis. These are two fighters from Worth the Fight Academy that make cameos in FULL CONTACT and will be constant sub-characters in the series (hopefully having their own novels someday). Travis will easily become the favorite of most readers. He is also a Professional fighter but he is super playful and had no qualms flirting with all the women, especially Chrissy. Even though he really means no harm, his Texan charm sends most women swooning. He has a southern drawl and says whatever comes to mind without much thought.  Cain on the other hand, is a man of few words—or no words. He’s a closed book. When he does speak, it tends to be brash, short, and straight to the point. He is tall, lean and blonde and looks more like a Viking than an MMA fighter. Whereas most of the fighters are all tatted up, this man has no visible tattoos, clean-cut haircut, and is just a mystery to most.

Last but definitely not least, there’s Drogo. The scene-stealer and most readers’ favorite character. Drogo is Jack’s miniature Chihuahua with a temperament of a Pit-bull. He doesn’t like Jack but completely hates Slade.

As the series progresses I’m sure you’ll meet more characters and hopefully you’ll fall in love with Slade and Jessica as much as I have.

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About Sidney

Image from Author Website

Image from Author Website

USA Today Bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It” Nike.

And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote the successful New Adult series, Seeing Red and Seeing Black. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing. Currently on sale is the bestselling contemporary romance, Against the Cage and soon to be released Full Contact, the second of the Worth the Fight series.
Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading…  She’s a reader first and foremost.When she’s not writing or reading her life is complete and utter chaos trying to balance family life with work, and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way., she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red, among four other novels currently in the works, including the sequel to Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing.

Website/Twitter/Facebook

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Review: For Now by Chelsea M Cameron

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Title: For Now
Series: Rules of Love #2
Author: Chelsea M Cameron
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 5 Nov 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Two people. A relationship with no commitment. What could go wrong?
Javier Cruz definitely isn’t relationship material, but that suits Hazel Gellar just fine. She’s not a girlfriend girl and doesn’t plan on ever being one.
But after a mind-blowing, bed-breaking night, she knows once isn’t going to be enough. Fortunately, Javi feels the same way. And it’s not just the sex. Javi is funny and complicated and Hazel loves being around him, even when he drives her nuts.
Will she and Javi make the choice to be together for longer than just right NOW? Or will their hangups about romance be the end?

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REVIEW 

We have already met Hazel and Javier in For Real as Shannon and Jett’s roommates and best friends. the chemistry between the pair is off the charts from the beginning. Being thrown together in social situations due to their friends things are obviously going to boil over with the two of them.

Told form Hazel’s point of view you gain insight into her reluctance to form any sort of relationship with Javi. His reputation does little to assuage Hazel’s doubts, plus I found his natural talent for innuendo did little to redeem his credibility. I would have loved to have seen some pivotal plot points from Javi’s point of view but alas it was not to be :(

Although I found the story a little slow to start and the ensuing relationship a little confusing I loved watching the characters personalities unfold. The deeper understanding of them and the barriers they had in place enabled a deeper connection to them. Both Hazel and Javi are complex characters whose layers were slowly peeled back throughout the narrative. There is so much more to them than first impressions would suggest, especially with Javi.

I really liked Chelsea’s portrayal of dysfunctional families within these stories. Although there may have been a lack of nurturing within their lives, leading to emotional barriers, they can be overcome with the help of tender, loving care. That family isn’t necessarily about the people you are related to by blood. As well as the way fate/destiny plays its part in the fact that everything happens for a reason.

It was fantastic to see the appearance of Jett and Shannon as well as the development of their relationship.

I have to say the best thing was the way in which the ending played out. I ADORED IT. With each passing sentence you could see the future unfold :)

Spotlight plus Give-Away: For Now by Chelsea M Cameron

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BOOK SUMMARY (UNOFFICIAL)

Two people. A one-night stand. What could go wrong?

Javier Cruz definitely isn’t relationship material, but that suits Hazel Gellar just fine. She’s not a relationship girl and doesn’t plan on ever being one.

But after a mind-blowing, panty-ripping, bed-breaking night, she knows once isn’t going to be enough. Fortunately, Javi feels the same way. Soon, what started as just one night turns into a lot of nights, and Hazel doesn’t know what to do.

Will she and Javi make the choice to be together for longer than just right NOW?

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Author Information

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

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Books I’ve Read: The Prelude by KaSonndra Leigh

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Image from Goodreads

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Title: The Prelude
Series: A Musical Interlude #1
Author: KaSonndra Leigh
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

After finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.

Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms…or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.

Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.

Music, passion, betrayal and forbidden love spun together in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

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 You are probably aware that I have a ‘thing’ for books that feature rock stars what you may not be aware of is I like anything with music in. Aside from books my life tends to revolve around music and I have very eclectic tastes :-D

The Prelude not only fed my love of music it immersed me in the world of symphonies, musical genius and costume design alongside the sinister world of crime. Topped off with the stunning setting of Milan.

The characters are magnetic, each with their own baggage weighing them down and preventing them for fully embracing their future. I have to say I am quite envious of just how talented these characters are. The dual narrative adds depth to the events as well as the characters themselves. Although the progression of the relationship was a little unrealistic, in my opinion, that doesn’t mean to say I wasn’t rooting for Erin and Alek all the way through.

Tragedy can alter the course of your life and yet lead you to exactly where you should be and who you are supposed to be with ;)  Surprise plot twists lead to the idea of fate/destiny intertwining peoples lives in unimaginable ways.

The writing is beautifully descriptive bringing to live the stunning imagery while encompassing the senses.

The Prelude brings to live a world most of us can only dream about add to that a sizzling romance and you have a book to feed both your emotions and your imagination.

Spotlight: Identity in The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

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Book Angel Booktopia is delighted to welcome Ryan Graudin today as part of The Walled City blog tour. I’ve been discussing the idea of IDENTITY and DIVERSITY with pupils in library lessons. When I saw The Walled City I knew it would fit beautifully with these themes making the ideas more accessible to the students. Huge thanks to Ryan for taking the time to right such a fantastic post developing those themes.

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I’m not a good person. If people need proof, I’ll show them my scar, tell them my body count.” These are the very first lines that introduce us to Sun Dai Shing, an eighteen year old boy who is trapped in the Hak Nam Walled City, which he describes as “a recipe of humanity’s darkest ingredients—thieves, murderers, addicts—all mashed into six and a half acres of land. A place even the sunlight is too pure to enter.” From the start, Dai tries to tell the reader who to perceive him, though it soon becomes obvious that he’s not as evil as he tries to convince the world he is. He cites many minor incidents from his past—“I pounded through life at volume eleven, leaving a trail of broken things: vases, noses, cars, hearts, brain cells”—and hints at even larger ones.

Jin Ling spends her days and nights in the Walled City hiding her true identity. She lives on the streets and must disguise herself as a boy to stay safe. But as her chapters roll on, we find out that, even as a child, Jin Ling saw herself this way: “Whenever our mother wound my hair back into a bun and sent me to the pond for wash water, I saw a boy’s face staring back at me.” She did all of the boy’s work on the farm and strove to protect her mother and sister from her father’s drunken rages.

For her entire life Mei Yee has been told she was beautiful. Even her name—Mei Yee, refreshing beauty—speaks to this. It’s one of the reasons her father sold her to Longwai’s brothel, and one of the reasons her “client” Ambassador Osamu pays an exorbitant amount of money for her exclusivity. Mei Yee has learned to associate beauty with passivity, and just as her sister Jin Ling used to long to be pretty, Mei Yee longs to have the courage to be strong.

As THE WALLED CITY progresses, each of these characters discovers that their sources of identity, the identities that had been assigned to them by past circumstances, are something that hinder them. In order to survive and thrive, each one of them must push past the definition of who they thought they were. Dai must overcome his idea that he is (as he says in his own words) a “selfish bastard,” Jin Ling is forced to see herself as beautiful and Mei Yee must plunge into the deepest parts of herself to find courage. By the end of the novel, none of these characters are who they thought they were, because they chose to ignore the labels their past put on them.

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 SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS

730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.

18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out

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