Pocket Books Introduces XOXO After Dark! LIVE CHAT WITH NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR KRESLEY COLE

{Sorry about the late notice; I just received this email}

XOXO AFTER DARK IS LIVE!

Newly refashioned site will showcase eBook originals, exclusive author content,

innovative e-commerce options, and much more

LIVE CHAT WITH NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR KRESLEY COLE TODAY AT 2 PM EST

New York, New York (June 5, 2013) – Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, is proud to introduce XOXO After Dark (www.xoxoafterdark.com), a newly refashioned site that builds upon the success of Pocket After Dark, its online community that showcases the best in romance, urban fantasy, and women’s fiction. 

Developed by Simon & Schuster Digital, XOXO After Dark will continue to offer access to exclusive content and provide a venue for members to connect with other readers, editors, and their favorite authors.  From free full-length books to contests, giveaways, author interviews and live chats, dedicated genre fans will find lots to read, share, and talk about.  In addition to news and reviews, XOXO After Dark will also feature hot topics in pop culture that readers are talking about.

“As reader discussion—and discovery—of books moves to the Web, we believe it’s more important than ever to have an inviting, entertaining and informative online presence to highlight our books and support the genre overall,” said Louise Burke, President and Publisher, Pocket Books.

New to XOXO After Dark is dedicated space for Pocket Star eBook Originals, with a rotating carousel for the latest specials, discounts, and updates, and a shop to purchase both eBook originals as well as eBook editions of favorite print authors.  XOXO After Dark has also improved the e-reading  experience  – registered users can now enjoy free reads not just on the site, but even on their smart phone or tablet.  An editor favorite is the “Balls o’ Fire” Heat Meter, which tells readers just how steamy the romance gets. “Our fire-breathing dragon awards each book from one to five fireballs. One ball o’ fire means the book is safe to share with your mom, while five balls o’ fire means it’s time to draw the curtains and open the wine!” said Lauren McKenna, Editorial Director, Pocket Star.

One of the most highly-anticipated features on the site integrates recommendation and e-commerce.  A special book module allows readers to directly purchase the books they read about in blog posts—whether those books are published by Pocket Books or another romance publisher–via Buy buttons that link to major retailers.

XOXO After Dark is supported by Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, but features romance and women’s fiction from all publishers, allowing members access to all of their favorite books.

Pocket Books is an imprint of Simon & Schuster.  Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and India.  For more information, visit our website at http://www.simonandschuster.com.

Giveaway! Win Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller!

Thanks to NY Times best seller author Linda Lael Miller, I have a copy of her latest release, Big Sky Summer, up for grabs.  I really enjoyed Big Sky Summer, and I’m so excited to have this opportunity to share the book with one of you!

About the book:

The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, welcomes you home to Parable, Montana-where love awaits.

With his father’s rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships. But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can’t ignore that his "act now, think later" passion for Casey has had consequences. Two teenage consequences!

Keeping her children’s paternity under wraps has always been part of Casey’s plan to give them normal, uncomplicated lives. Now the best way to hold her family together seems to be to let Walker be a part of it-as her husband of convenience. Or will some secrets-like Casey’s desire to be the rancher’s wife in every way-unravel, with unforeseen results?

To enter for a chance to win, just fill out the widget below.  US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Big Sky Summer by Linda Lael Miller

 

Title: Big Sky Summer

Author: Linda Lael Miller

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, welcomes you home to Parable, Montana—where love awaits.

With his father’s rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships. But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can’t ignore that his "act now, think later" passion for Casey has had consequences. Two teenage consequences!

Keeping her children’s paternity under wraps has always been part of Casey’s plan to give them normal, uncomplicated lives. Now the best way to hold her family together seems to be to let Walker be a part of it—as her husband of convenience. Or will some secrets—like Casey’s desire to be the rancher’s wife in every way—unravel, with unforeseen results?


Review:

I haven’t read a book by Linda Lael Miller in a long while, so when I saw this on Netgalley, I grabbed it.  The premise sounded interesting, and I was curious as to how everything would pan out for rancher protagonist Walker.  He has two teens that don’t know he’s their father. Now that superstar Casey Elder has settled down in town, Walker is going to see a lot more of those kids of his, but he can’t tell them that he’s their dad!  I had a hard time sympathizing with Casey, because she expected him to stay silent about his kids, and because she was denying them all a chance to  be a family.

I loved Walker, even though he’s a go with the flow kind of guy.  He appreciates the simple things in life; a good horse, his land, the beauty surrounding him.  He is lonely and doesn’t easily make connections with others.  His on again off again mess of a relationship with Casey is like a train wreck.  They met  on the rodeo circuit just as Casey’s music career was about to take off, and after she discovers she’s pregnant, she lies and tells him that the baby isn’t his.  She’s worked long and hard to make it to the big time, and she’ not about to become some rancher’s wife. 

After Walker gets her pregnant again (!) she has to fess up.  She insists that Walker’s participation in her strange little family remain a secret, and shame on him, he agrees.  This is the one less than noble decision that he makes, and he spends the rest of the book regretting it with every breath he breathes.  He realizes how much he is hurting both his kids and himself by obeying Casey’s demands, and as he is torn up over it.  He has missed out on watching his kids grow up, and he’s become resentful of Casey for locking him out of so much of their childhoods.  When she settles down in Parable, he begins to see just how much of their lives he has missed out on, and it doesn’t make him happy.

This is the fourth book in the Swoon-Worthy Cowboys series, and other than the first confusing chapter, where we are reintroduced to previous couples in the series, I didn’t have any trouble diving in to this installment.  I did go back and grab the rest of the books because I enjoyed this one so much.  The writing is engaging, and I enjoyed all of the characters, though it took a while to warm up to Casey.  If I have to pick one aspect of the story that didn’t work for me, it’s that Walker is a baby-making machine, and every single time he and Casey hook up, she ended up pregnant.  Even though they used protection.  Somebody needs to sue the condom company for so many quality control failures!

If you are looking for a quick and surprisingly emotional read, Big Sky Summer is a perfect title to pack up in your beach bag.   It even gets some extra brownie points for featuring some many dogs so prominently. 

Check back later today for a chance to win a copy of  Big Sky Summer!

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher