Crushed by Lauren Layne is LIVE as of this week

Crushed (Redemption, #2)Crushed by Lauren Layne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book from start to finish! I have not read Broken, but this one worked just fine for me as a standalone.

First off, that prologue…wow! Very short but very effective. It piqued my interest, made me curious about Michael’s story, but beyond that, it made me feel sorry for him and his situation. Granted, as we learn more about Michael, he doesn’t always invite sympathy…

But what–or should I say who–truly won me over was Chloe: a spunky, well-rounded character whose wit and compassion are unparalleled. Often her funny, quick-witted, and self-deprecating nature had me laughing out loud. (And I mean that literally. It happened once when I was reading on the treadmill at the gym, and people looked at me like I was crazy.)

Quite possibly my favorite read of the year thus far, Crushed should not be overlooked!

To purchase the ebook through Amazon, click here.

*Copy generously provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I’m a few days late on this…but INTERIM is LIVE!!!

~A lot can change in the space between devising a plan and carrying it out. That space is called the Interim.~
High school seniors Jeremy Stahl and Regan Walters aren’t friends. Not even close. He’s a picked-on, picked-apart loser outcast. She’s a cool kid running with the popular crowd. It’s unlikely they’d ever speak to one another. Too bad he’s madly in love with her. But what does it matter, anyway? He’s got no time for love. Only revenge.
Meticulously detailed in the pages of his battered red notebook is his master plan: April 14, 9:30 A.M., two guns, eighty rounds of ammo, backup knives, eleven victims. He’s finally ready to answer every single taunt, jeer, and flying fist—unwarranted abuse that’s spanned six years of his lonely life. He’s justified. He’s ready. But he never readied himself for her.
Regan finds his journal. She reads it, and when he discovers her intrusion, he has to switch tactics. She’s a liability now.
Better fix that.
(WARNING: This is a New Adult standalone that contains graphic language and violence, including gun violence. If school shootings are an especially sensitive subject for you, then I urge you to refrain from reading this book.)

His heart plummeted when their eyes met that morning. And then the anger bubbled up in his chest almost immediately. The things she must know! He knew she read it. A girl would have read it. Fucking girls. It was written all over her guilty face, her deer-in-headlights eyes. Her body language. He saw the imperceptible tightening of his words against her chest—her biceps flexing as she secured his notebook to her body. Like she owned it. Like she owned him.

The hell you do, he thought.
Letter to the Reader:
Dear Reader,
Not many authors will discourage you from reading their work. After all, the goal of our stories is to grow our readership, not diminish it. I’m well aware of that, but when I first became inspired with Jeremy’s story, I knew I would have to go about promoting it in an entirely different way—something far removed from my past marketing campaigns. I knew I would have to hide the book, stamp disclaimers all over it, plant seeds of doubt in your minds, decline requests for advanced reviews—in essence, all the things an author SHOULD NOT do when marketing her book. That’s why it took me so long to write the damn thing—over a year of worrying, second-guessing, flip-flopping, arguing. Jeremy sat waiting patiently, and I stared back at him wondering just how much he would destroy my career.
Then I remembered that his story is exactly the type of controversial social issue I enjoy tackling. I knew I had to write it because I could. I could be sensitive to the subject matter without being PC. I could leave my political and moral opinions out of it. I could make it a human story, not a gun story. I could do all these things if I worked very hard—if I was diligent and faithful to my characters and their experiences. Once I realized these things, I stopped fretting and just started writing, careful to keep all the details private and sacred. That’s how writing should be: private and sacred.
Now Jeremy’s story is no longer private, but I hope you will find it sacred. I hope you will throw off your preconceptions and bury your social and political views, your moral judgments. It’s too easy to go into a story like this already angry, especially if you or someone you love has experienced gun violence. I urge you to think long and hard before starting Interim if you are especially sensitive to the topic of school shootings. There are extremely violent, descriptive scenes, and I do not wish for my book to be a trigger for you.
I am well aware of the social debate a book like this may provoke. I did not write it for debate. I did not write it to make a statement about guns, gun control, gun access, Constitutional rights, etc. I am not interested in comparing my story to the horrific school shootings that have taken place in the United States. I have no motive other than to tell a story about an abused boy who felt he deserved justice. What you take away from the novel is entirely up to you.
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. She is the USA Today bestselling author of Going Under. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about it.
She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her twitter feed at @swaldenauthor.
Click on the image to enter the giveaway on Facebook!

Introducing Debut Author Terina Bryan

Fractured book cover

Terina Bryan is someone I know personally…and I want readers out there to know her too! Her first novel, Fractured, recently debuted on Amazon (the link to which can be found by clicking here). Listed as a contemporary romance, Fractured is described on the author’s Facebook page as follows:

Cary Stewart thought she had the perfect life as an auditor, despite recently finding her fiancé in bed with another woman.

Mitch Callahan is an FBI agent posing as a fellow auditor, assigned to protect Cary, which flips her world upside down. Cary finds herself torn between being attracted to Mitch, and hating him for being a man.

After being whisked away to a safe house, Cary learns of Mitch’s true identity and now must swallow her pride to rely on Mitch, and his agents to keep her safe.

A few days before the novel’s release, Terina was kind enough to grant me an interview. What she had to say piqued my interest, so I thought I’d share her words with prospective readers as well.

Q: As I understand it, Fractured will be your debut novel. How long has this particular project been in the works?

I have been working on Fractured for the better part of six years. In the beginning of the development stages, the plot was completely different, but the main characters were always the same. I had an idea for a scene and it went from there. Once I decided in which direction I wanted the story to go, the only issue against me was time.

Q: In a broader sense, when did you start writing? How long have you aspired to be an author?

I started taking writing seriously in high school. I believe my first real story was a fan fiction book about N Sync (insert eye roll here). When I finished that piece, I knew I wanted to be writer, and eventually an author.

Q: Based on the cover, Fractured appears to be the start of a series. Do you have a timeline yet on when you’d like to release future installments?

I’m hoping to release the next book, which will be called Broken, within a year. This book will concentrate on a different couple close to Cary and Mitch.

Q: It seems like a large number of authors are deciding to self-publish in today’s market. What made you choose this route over traditional publishing?

I spent several months last year submitting my work to agents to begin the process of being published the more traditional way. Every single one of them rejected me. Only a handful offered me advice, which I took and made changes. I then made the decision to publish it on my own, through Amazon. Technology is changing constantly and I felt that this was the time to take the bull by horns and make it my own.

Q: Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors out there?

My advice to aspiring writers would be perseverance and stay true to yourself. Carve out a little time each day to research, brainstorm, or even daydream, but always make a little progress every day.

About the author:

Terina BryanA love of creating stories and characters has fascinated Terina Bryan since her youth. Her early works include a book about a dinosaur written at a young age, and a fan fiction piece she wrote as a teen. Terina lives in the Ozarks of Arkansas with her husband, two children, and two pet Betta fish. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found getting caught up on laundry (her favorite chore), reading anything she can get her hands on, or playing with makeup.

Connect with Terina on her Facebook page for exciting updates and other tidbits concerning Fractured…which is definitely going on my to-read list!

What if your family had a big secret . . . a life changing secret. My dad, the bigwig CIA agent, was always on the run, whether he was being chased or doing the chasing. I missed him. Then my mom passed away, and my sister was murdered. I turned my solitude to strength because the alternative was too bleak.

But my luck seemed to turn: I met Tango. And while I want him more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my twenty-two years, danger lurks around every corner and I simply can’t take the chance of it finding me. But his tattoos, his smell, his darkness, and his body— that marine has taken over my every thought. But, what if he too isn’t what I think? A ticking time bomb isn’t going to leave me much time to waver. Even the bravest person can be in need of a miracle.

Before she was gone, my mom warned me to know everyone and trust no one. But what was I supposed to do when I found out I am the one not to be trusted? Turns out, I was always the bait in this conspiracy.

In author Shari J. Ryan’s New Adult novel, TAG, the canyons hold secrets, the waterfalls provide safety, and romance has a pesky way of showing up when you are sweaty and dirty and least expect it.

I’ve been seated among the dozens of other passengers for the past two hours, watching the gate times change a number of times before I see the plane actually arrive. Just as I’m powering my phone down, preparing to board, an awful stench burns my nose from a few inches away. A middle-aged man with greasy black hair and a thick lip-covering mustache who smells exactly like the inside of a port-a-potty has found a reason to sit directly beside me in a row of empty seats. When my eyes unfortunately meet his, he takes the opportunity to speak to me. “Heading to Boston?” he asks. I raise my eyebrows and force a tightlipped smile. I simply follow that with a nod and give him a no shit look. “I heard winter’s coming early this year,” he continues.
“Cool,” I mumble with a sigh. I pull a magazine out of my bag and open it in front of my face, hoping to block my vision of the man’s blackened-stained grin. But it’s only seconds before I’m taken back when his finger sweeps down the bare skin of my collarbone.
“What does that mean?” he asks, pointing to my tattoo.
With a smooth motion, I lay my magazine down onto my lap and place my hand over his, giving him the false notion that I’m a gentle person. I take the opportunity to offer him a slight smile before I twist his forefinger backwards as far as it will go before the expectant snap. “I’m sorry,” I say sweetly. “Did I tell you it was okay to touch me?” I pull down a little harder, and he smiles in response to the pain. But as I hold my hand there, I see the smile begin to fade.
“It’s a free country, chicky,” he sputters as his tongue knocks around between his bare gums.
“Why would you think it’s okay to touch me?” I ask again, keeping my voice calm, yet stern. He licks his lips and looks me up and down, responding with only a look. “Do you go around touching girls half your age because you feel it’s okay?”
He clears his throat and looks around to see who’s watching or listening, but I don’t move my eyes from his. “Why not?” he says, shrugging his bony shoulders. “Besides, you’re definitely asking for it.”
He thinks I’m asking for it? I’m wearing a fucking scoop neck, black long sleeve shirt, jeans, and combat boots. “The only reason it’s okay, is because no one has ever probably told you no. But it occurs to me that after I snap your finger off your hand, you won’t be able to touch people inappropriately anymore, will you?”
He hoots with laughter, dragging in attention he probably shouldn’t want. “You think you could break my finger, little chicklette?”
I pull his finger a little further, and his smile grows. “Ow, stop. You’re hurting me,” he puckers his lips and winks at me.
“Oh, look, it’s your right hand. You a righty?” I turn his hand over and see deep callouses bubbling on his palm. “Yes, you are. So, if I rip this thing off, you wouldn’t miss it, right?” I turn his hand back over and glare into his beady eyes. He’s questioning my words. He’s unsure of my capabilities. And that’s fine. “Sound okay to you? Or are you going to leave and stop touching people?” His smile fades and his eyes widen. I release his hand and offer him a smart-ass smile. “Oh, and the tattoo means death. It’s a Maori Warrior symbol. They used to eat their enemies once they slaughtered them. Cool, huh?”
I see his Adam’s apple struggle to move. He lifts his bag from the ground and nearly trips over his own feet, darting away.
I reopen my magazine to the page I was reading and refocus my attention on an article as I hear a soft chuckle coming from the other side of me. I turn to see who was enjoying the free entertainment and I’m faced with a man who looks to be either a wrestler or in the military—black shaven hair, stiff jaw and bulging muscles on every inch of his arms. His eyes are currently focused on a book, and I suppose he could have been laughing at that, rather than me. But as I question it, his large shamrock green eyes lift and look right at me. A slight grin tugs on the corner of his lips, and he winks so quickly I’m questioning whether it was me who might have blinked. Before I can react, he stands up and walks away.
I swallow hard and refocus my attention on the magazine once more. Stupid attractive man causing a moment of feebleness. I didn’t react, though. He winked at me. I think. And I didn’t make a snide comment or scowl. Weakness.
I let out a few short breaths, regaining my composure. He’s gone. It’s fine.

Shari J. Ryan hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her hubby and two lively little boys. Ryan published the 3-book Schasm Series for Romantic Suspense/Thriller fans. She helped put her great grandmother’s holocaust experience into the modern reader’s bookshelf with the publication of My Kaleidoscope. TAG and Red Nights are written solely for the Romantic Suspense audience.  She is hard at work on Ravel, a standalone coming fall 2015. To learn more, visit her at:

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Click here to check out this blogger’s review of TAG…and happy reading!