Berkley Romance

The Wicked We Have Done – Guest Post & Review #getWicked @sarahharian @BerkleyRomance #NewRelease #MustRead

Wicked

Guys, I’m totally stoked to share with you today’s blog! 🙂

A guest post from Sarah Harian, author of The Wicked We Have Done ON RELEASE DAY! This book blew me away, literally, like off my chair! She’s a phenomenal talent, and I just cannot wait to see what her career holds for us readers! 🙂

As I was reading this lovely book, I kept wondering hmmm.. .this should have a kick ass playlist.. and LO & BEHOLD! IT does, and I’m getting to share it with you today!  How lucky are we!? But before I do, a little about this book, that you’ll need to pick up, like today. 🙂

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Synopsis:

Darkly suspenseful and completely unexpected, The Wicked We Have Done is a debut author’s thrilling new take on New Adult romance.

Twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

BUY IT!

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

 

My Review:

Grade: A+ (Five STRONG stars)

HOLY COW! This book… yes, it drew me in, and yes, it had a bit of a Hunger Games feel, but seriously! *claps hands* GO SARAH! This book is so interesting and fresh, I am so glad to have gotten the chance to read it! I ❤ NEW IDEAS, and this book is one of them! As I’ve said in other reviews, romance books for me aren’t a grab, but add in a killer plot line and you’ve got me hooked! I love romance as long as I have a story to go along with it, and Sarah has done this. I feel as though the Compass Room was such an interesting idea, testing the morality of an accused killer, somewhat like Divergent’s testing, it really pulled out some wonderful character building as the story went on, and really gave us a new idea for a justice system.

Evalyn has to have her thoughts examined, all while playing a sort of game that will determine if she gets freedom or death. Her, along with other young people, who I must say, the author did a good job pulling quiet a few of them out of the background, and fleshing them out, even if they weren’t the main character, and I love to see that! The author really took a genre and concept that has been flying off the shelves for YA, and crafting into something deeper & stronger for the NA genre, and I’ve got to say, I was impressed.

Some people don’t like seeing books in the same vein as others, but honestly, it’s a theme, and there’s no rule that says author’s can’t play with it. Hunger Games pulled from Battle Royale, and so on and so forth, and I feel like yelling, “DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS THEME,” when I see people complaining.  Sarah does an outstanding job putting her personal creative spin on this genre, and I adored it. The character’s had a really intangible strength to them, in the face of what they were undergoing, and I did think that you really pull the most from characters when you put them in situations like The Compass Room.  She focuses on the story, over the romance, and doesn’t throw in any clichéd love triangle moments. Once you pick this book up, you’ll keep reading… it’s well written, with a lot of thought behind it, and it shines as a debut novel for Sarah Harian! I’m excited to see more from her!

 

Guest Post by Sarah – #GetWicked Playlist! 🙂

(As I run off to add these to my phone, and grab the book again!)

The Wicked We Have Done playlist is compilation of angsty and mostly dark songs. Since I have a very difficult time listening to music with lyrics while writing (my attention span is embarrassingly short), these songs resonated me while I was brainstorming—either in the car on my way to work or walking my dog. Here is my list of creepy, sad, and intense tracks for The Wicked We Have Done:

Spotify Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/sarahharian/playlist/4ybQgUDUGHEqJAynf7BIjU

“Seven Devils” by Florence + The Machine: This song is the ultimate creepy. I bought Florence’s album right when it came out, around the same time I was drafting TWWHD, and this song become instant fodder for me. I love how ghostly and chilling it is. It really parallels the book in a sense that the dark pasts of all of the characters are rebirthing.

“End of Me” by A Day to Remember: This song reflects a lot of the darkness of Evalyn’s past and losing those she cares deeply about. Instead of reflecting the grief of her loss, it reflects the anger she feels behind being abandoned.

“New Tricks” by Great Northern: Eerie and whimsical, this track is reminiscent of the strange horrors the characters face while in the forest of the Compass Room. It also parallels the moment when Evalyn decides to take matters into her own hands.

“Sink” by Brand New: This song is a delicious bundle of angst. It’s ragey and twisted. I feel like it represents the states of mind of all of my characters in the Compass Room, and the lengths they go to help each other when it comes to survival.

“Peace of Mind” by The Jezabels: When I first heard this song, I was in the process of revising a death scene. I cried, obviously. I think this song gives meaning to the little hope that the inmates have when they start making relationships with each other, and the refusal to believe that friends and lovers could die at any point within the prison.

“Come Clarity” by In Flames: I’ve loved this song for a long, long time. To me, it is about reflection, the presence of someone new, and their ability to erase the nightmare of the past.

“Millstone” by Eisley: This song IS Evalyn, particularly the line, “There’s not a moment to relive my time and space/ There’s not a moment to undo anything”. It encompasses her confusion and heartache in both The Wicked We Have Done and the sequel A Vault of Sins.

Don’t you love this?!  Shout out! Tell me if you’ve read the book, or if you love any of these songs!  I promise you, fans of NA Romance, The Hunger Games or even Thrillers, will love this book! I’ve still got it’s hook in me, and I can’t seem to shake it! So I’ll be reading it again! 🙂

 

About The Author:

Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.

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Review & Interview – Tara Sue Me – The Training – @BerkleyRomance @penguinusa

Tara

 

Today we have an interview with Tara Sue Me, author of The Submissive Trilogy, just in time for her newest release, The Training.

 

What got you into the romance genre?

I started reading romance in high school. I had always been a big reader, but up until then I read authors like Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. I was walking around a bookstore one day, looking for something new and happened upon OUTLANDER in the ‘Staff Recommends’ section. It had an interesting premise, so I bought it. I know OUTLANDER isn’t a traditional romance, but after reading it, I was hooked. I don’t think I read anything other than historical romance for years after that.

As far as writing, I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about writing anything other than romance. I think there’s something about a love story that touches all of us. The journey of two people coming together is something we all relate to. To be part of that story, even a fictional one makes me smile.

 

Where did you get the idea for your alpha male, Nathaniel?

I think Nathaniel found me! When I decided to write a contemporary romance, the first chapter of THE SUBMISSIVE played out before me, almost like a movie. Even so, I saw everything from Abby’s point of view, which means for a time, I thought Nathaniel to be cold and distant. He was very persistent, though, in showing me bit and pieces of who he was. In a way, he evolved for me throughout THE SUBMISSIVE.

 

It always seems like it would be hard to write realistic romance novels, do you do research? How to do you make your novels so realistic?

My number one pet peeve in reading a book is when characters act out of character. There have been authors I’ve stopped reading completely because they have a character do something I know they wouldn’t do. As a reader if I’ve invested my time in an author’s work over four books in a five book series, I want that author to respect my intellect enough to know that there are certain things a character won’t EVER do in book five.

When I write, I try to sink down so deep inside my character’s head that it feels like the character is writing the scene. That’s what makes everything appear realistic to the reader.

And yes, I research. I don’t have personal BDSM experience, but when I write about someone who has lived that lifestyle for ten years, I don’t want the reader’s first thought to be, “Are you kidding me with this?”

 

Your novels stand out among the genre, what are some of your thoughts on writing a distinctive romance novel among so many others?

I think a lot of it is writing style. My writing style is very similar to me in an everyday conversation. I like to joke that I can say the same thing as someone else with 40% fewer words. I write the same way and this used to bother me. I’d read another author and think, “Why can’t I write like that?” Now I realize it’s just the way I write and that’s okay. We’re all unique and distinctive, as authors we should let that come through in our writing.

 

You started writing at twelve, did you always want to be a writer, or is there another career that young Tara really wanted to do?

For a long time I wanted to be a doctor. I took all the pre-med classes courses in college and I’d planned out everything. Then I took Organic Chemistry and well, let’s just say I switched majors after that one!

 

Can you tell us one surprising fact about yourself, something we wouldn’t expect?

I can tie a knot in a cherry stem in my mouth in less than ten seconds.

 

Synopsis for The Training:

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It started with a hidden desire.

Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow—especially the women he’s dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book.

Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors—and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul – yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them.

Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before…

 

 About the Author:

American Author Tara Sue Me in Los Angeles

Tara Sue Me lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.  Visit her online at www.tarasueme.com, www.facebook.com/TaraSueMeBooks or www.twitter.com/tarasueme.

 

Review:

Grade: B+

This is the conclusion to The Submissive trilogy. Abby and Nathaniel, are back in this book, and Abby is being trained as Nathaniel’s submissive, but there’s a slight problem. Nathaniel starts to fall for Abby, something he’d never do with one of his previous submissives. Will he be able to handle transitioning to the role of lover, friend, protector, from his previous role as Dom?

Overall, this romance story, falls in the vien of our popular genre defining romances Fifty Shades of Grey and Crossfire series, the man is distance, cold, powerful and just wants sex, the difference in this one in how much we delve into the world of BDSM. This book has a lot more to it then FSOG did, so readers, if you are unsure, understand that this is a completely different lifestyle choice, and this isn’t just a vanilla sex book. The work is well written and researched, and the characters play their roles quite well. The scenes are very described, and stay true to that lifestyle.

The main plot in the book is Abby & Nathaniel’s relationship, and how it’s going to develop, and where it’s going to go. We begin with submissive training, but really we’re just building on their relationship from previous books. It did seem that they reached the end without as many twists and turns as we’re used to in this genre, but I think the characters are written well, and act honestly, and that really reflects on their love for each other, and the reason they are trying for their HEA.

I didn’t read the earlier books before I read this book, but though I’m sure you’ll be thrown right back in with this book, even if you haven’t read the series, the author builds the characters so well, you arent’ at a loss. I suggest reading the whole series though, to get the whole feel for Abby and Natheniel’s relationship. I thought this was a wonderful book, and a change from the heavy hitting names we constantly hear in this genre. Tara Me Sue wrote a wonderful love story, that deals with a different lifestyle, but overall it’s the story of the love of two people, and what it takes to make it to forever!