Saturday, December 7, 2013

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Back to Reality by Danielle Allen

~ Synopsis ~

Her past: Emanuel Mills was her first love. The guitar playing, adventure seeking, IT whiz was everything she ever wanted.

Her present: Tyree Barker was her last love. The cultured, educated, successful entrepreneur was everything she needed.

But when Sahara Lee’s past and present collided, a series of events occurred that changed her life forever, leaving her future up in the air.

As a college freshman, a tragic accident changed the course of Sahara’s life. Ten years later, just when she started putting her life back together, Sahara’s world was rocked again due to a similar accident.

Heartbroken and guilt ridden, Sahara fell into old, familiar habits before quickly realizing that she wasn’t the same Sahara Lee anymore. Unable to live a lonely, loveless, isolated life anymore, Sahara decided that the way she coped before wasn’t going to work this time around.

Time didn’t heal her wounds, but forgiveness might. 

Purchase Link


  Jenny's Review
I have been anticipating this book since a finished Back to Reality and let me tell you, Danielle didn't disappoint.  When we last left Sahara she had chosen Tyree over Emanuel. As she is about to reconcile officially with Tyree we find out that Tyree has been in a car accident. Not to mention, Emanuel has come to her apartment and declared his love for her and he won't give up on them. What happens is a rollercoaster ride of emotions for Sahara, Tyree and Emanuel that keeps you guessing what will happen next.
Sahara still blames herself for  everything that happens. She still places a lot of blame on herself, which a time could be annoying. I wanted to shake her and scream, "You can't control everything".  There's a lot of misunderstanding between Sahara and Tyree and Sahara and Emanuel, which leads to a lot of back and forth between the two men. At times, while reading the book, I would be rooting for Tyree and then I would find myself rooting for Emanuel. There is a WTF moment with Emanuel that I kind of saw coming, but it still made my jaw drop.
In the end, Sahara does finally choose between Tyree and Emanuel.  One of the great parts in the book is her reconnection with her best friend Emily. Although they have not been close for a number of years, it was great to see Emily support Sahara without judgement.
Danielle Allen is such a great writer. You could literally feel the emotions of  Sahara, Tyree and Emanuel. Her writing has a way that make you become emtionally invested in each character. You want to laugh with them, cry with them, be angry with them. I couldn't put down the book. Such a great book!
About the Author

I am a married event planner and life coach. My awesome friends and family and my amazing husband make my life sweet. I love to have fun and enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with. I love shopping and football with equal fervor. I’m an amateur movie critic (i.e. my husband and I watch and critique a lot of movies for fun). I love to read and I enjoy sharing my love of books with anyone who will listen. I love music. A good lyric with a good melody can paint a vivid picture and invoke such a range of emotions. I have a soft spot for most mediums of creative, artistic expression.

With degrees in psychology, human services, and marriage and family counseling, I have a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As an author, I combine an active imagination and life experiences to create stories that are easily relatable and intentionally intriguing. I want to offer you a peek into someone else’s life and for you to get lost in their story, their trials, their triumphs. My ultimate goal is to create a character or a story that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.

So in a nutshell: I plan. I teach. I read. I write. I watch. I critique. I shop. I play. I love.

To know me is to love me.


Connect with Author


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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Review with Bonus Interview – The Third Son by Elise Marion

I had the pleasure of reading The Third Son last week by Elise Marion.  The Third Son is such an excellent read full of romance, mystery, plot twists and exceptional characters, I made it a point to reach out to the author she agreed to do a mini-interview!

Let’s start with the review and keep reading for an interview with Marion.

The Third Son is about Prince Damien and his romance with the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda.  Damien is the third son of the King and Queen and as such, doesn’t have the responsibility of being groomed to become king.  His rogue-ish ways cease when he meets Esmeralda who makes him want to be a better prince and a better man.   Throughout the book, Damien has to dodge the stigma of falling in love with a gypsy, a scorned mistress who dreamt of becoming princess one day, and the very real assassination attempts to his family.

All the characters in this book felt very real and they all had their own backstory which helped the reader understand their behavior and interactions.  Damien is a rake in the beginning but even then you understand that he does have morals, a conscience and a strong understanding of duty.  The problem being that he never really had any duty as the Third Son.
Esmeralda becomes a breath of fresh air with her honesty and goodness which is a complete contrast to Damien’s current mistress, Davina.  Esmeralda has no ulterior motives, no plans other than being the best dancer she can be and running the tavern left to her by her murdered father.  It’s clear to see why Damien falls for Esmeralda, and it doesn’t feel unbelievable at all that he would be willing to sacrifice everything to be with her.

Aside from the love story, there’s a murderer on the loose who wants revenge on the royal family and it’s during his attempts that the book will polarize the reader.  I personally loved the madness that ensues and I was not disappointed in the least.  As Marion mentions in her interview, characters will die in this book and you will either cry and keep reading as I did, or throw your kindle at the unfairness of it all.  I LOVED the fact that Marion took risks and kept us on our toes.  It was so Red-Wedding-esque. 

Even though the identity of the assassin was not too hard to figure out, I found myself questioning other characters motives and behaviors wondering, “Well he could be the Mask, also.” 
There were so many twists and turns that I was wondering up until the last few pages if these two lovers would ever end up together.  It’s these writing risks that kept me riveted and also made me download the follow-up, The Second Son.

Great love story, believable characters, plot twists and turns, steamy (but not vulgar) love scenes, laughter and tears… I mean, I could go on and on but I'll let my 5-stars speak for themselves.  This book is my first ever 5 star review.  Please read this book.  Flat out – this is everything a romance novel should be and then some, AND it’s still a free download at the time of posting!

After reading The Third Son, I was able to score a quick interview with author Elise Marion.  Please check out her website here for more info on her life and upcoming books.

Interview with Elise Marion:

Tiffany: I noticed that you have several series out right now in addition to the Kings of Cardenas and the Masquerade series. Do you work on several books at once?
Elise - I do. I am the kind of person who can rarely concentrate on one thing at a time. My mind is so full of ideas and sometimes two or three will fight for my attention. So, I tend to work on two or three projects at one time. I find it helps me, when I am stuck on one project, to put it down for a bit and work on one of my others. This way, things are always interesting and fresh. Sometimes, a certain project will take priority, especially when one of my stories hits its climax. Then, the others cease to exist until I've gotten my foremost ideas and thoughts onto the page. It seems weird and random, but it's how I work best and stay creative.

Tiffany: The Third Son had many characters that the reader can connect with. How do decide which character story lines to continue?
Elise: Just as the reader connects with the characters, so do I. The Third Son was not supposed to have a sequel. I'd always intended it to be a standalone book. But then it became time for a certain character to die. I went to write the scene of his death and literally got sick to my stomach. My hands shook and my conscience just wouldn't let me do it. The character had become so important to me and I wanted to explore him more. I knew that if I'd connected with him so much, readers would too and they'd probably never forgive me for killing him. I'm glad that I kept him alive because I was then forced to realize that there were several characters whose stories needed to be told. The world needed to know who they were.

Tiffany: Your books are mostly romance and love stories but they have elements of other genres. Do you have any desire to write other genres like crime or horror?
Elise: One of the things I love most about Romance, is the plethora of sub-genres within it. I love adding elements of paranormal, mystery, thriller, and suspense into my work. As far as other genres, I actually already write Young Adult under another pen name (Alicia Michaels). I also have a strong desire to delve into children's books. As a mom of kids who love to read, I love the idea of writing stories just for them. My first love, though, is romance. There is something about exploring the human connection through love and sensuality that just brings out the best in me. Most of my Young Adult books also incorporate strong elements of romance (just without the spice).

Tiffany: What books do you read on your downtime? Are you reading anything right now?
Elise: I recently discovered Courtney Milan's Regency novels and I love them! I also just finished Game of Thrones and its sequel, A Clash of Kings; I'm a huge fan of the series. I love to read books in all genres and choose my reading according to my mood. Everything from Young Adult to a little Erotica, as well as Fantasy and Thrillers. It's all good in my book. OF course I also love the classics like The Color Purple, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and The Great Gatsby. Those are books I can read again and again.

Tiffany: And finally, you seem like a foodie at heart. What's your favorite dish to make?
Elise: People who read my books know I love to describe food and what people are eating! LOL! I AM a foodie and I love to cook and bake. I don't know if I have a favorite dish to make, mainly because I love foods of all kinds. But I am partial to the soulful flavors of the South. I was raised by a Southern mom who taught me how to cook. I also love Italian; pasta dishes are my favorite sort of comfort food!