Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blog Tour, eARC Review, Excerpt: Little Things by Madison Street

Madison Street was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx, where she resided until she was 17 years old. After 9/11, Madison joined the United States Navy to serve her country. 
During the deployments, Madison constantly wrote short stories and she discovered her passion for writing. You will find Madison always on the computer, whether she's on Facebook, designing websites, messing with Photoshop, or writing for her blog.
Besides writing, her second passion is music and dance. Even though she's a terrible singer, she’ll still belt it out in the shower, especially if the song is her jam! She currently resides in Virginia with her husband of 8 years, 2 children, a dog, and a cat. She is so excited to start this amazing journey and is honored to be part of such a compassionate and loving community.

Title: Little Things (Second Chances #1)
Author: Madison Street
Release Date: June 2, 2014
Find on

Everything in Duke Grayson’s life was all he could ever ask for: A loving family, loyal friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and a scholarship to his top choice college. It’s his senior year of high school, and all he needs is to focus on his grades, lacrosse, and keeping his girlfriend happy. That is until Raya walks into his life. From the moment they meet, Duke is drawn to her, not only for her natural beauty and her stunning crystal blue eyes, but because he’s aware there’s more to this girl than just his alluring pull to her. He senses secrecy and fear. 
Throughout the year, their bond grows stronger, and his feelings for her become undeniable. Just when he is about to express his love, tragedy strikes and Raya disappears.
For six years, Duke is tortured by his struggles, as he’s unable to find her and blames himself for failing to protect her. Until the day, she’s found, and he’s given a second chance. Will Duke become her beacon of hope and make her see that it’s the little things that make life worthwhile? Can Raya overcome her fears and fight against the terrors that haunt her? Or will her dark and torturous past be too much for her to battle against? 

*Warning: This book contains some disturbing situations, strong language and sexual content. Suited for 18 years and over.*

I hear a whisper come up from behind me, “So, how’s your first party?” I know that voice anywhere. I turn around to find Duke smiling at me.

“It’s great! I’m having so much fun!”

“I’m glad. You’ve danced with Taylor all night. Usually he doesn’t dance at parties, so that was surprising.”

I glance towards Taylor who’s across the room, talking to Adam. “Oh well. He’s a good dance partner.”

“Wanna bet?” Duke grabs my hand and leads me onto the dance floor just in time for a new song to start. The speakers start to play “Timber” by Pitbull and the crowd goes wild as people begin to flood the dance area. My heart literally stops beating and I swear I can’t even breathe, I’m so freaking nervous. I notice that my hand fits so perfectly in Duke’s hand.

The crowd is so packed together that Duke and I are forced to dance closely; maybe a little too close. As the song starts, he sings the lyrics and we begin to groove to the music.

I laugh out loud and raise my hands above my head and sing along with him. The crowd is compact and everyone’s bodies continuously bump into one another. Duke looks at me and places his hand on my lower back. A shocking jolt of electricity flows through his touch and my eyes widen. He immediately removes his hand from my back and instead keeps his hand by his side. I can still feel the heat flow, where his hand was placed, and I miss it being there. We continue dancing as I give him a reassuring smile. He winks and continues to sing and twirls me around.

I bob my head to the beat and shake my body with every fiber I have. As we dance together, I no longer pay attention to what’s around me. It’s as if Duke and I are the only ones dancing and as I stare at him, I get lost in the wonder of what could be. Someone from behind me pushes me forward and I fall against Duke’s strong and broad chest as he catches me. We stare into each other’s eyes for a brief moment before he breaks the contact and helps me stand on my own.

“You alright?”

I laugh nervously, “Yea sorry. Just crowded, that’s all.” 

The song ends and the crowd begins to clear leaving only a few stragglers. Duke looks at his watch. “It’s getting late. We should get going.”

“Ok. I have to use the restroom first.”

After I use the restroom, Duke finds Melanie among the crowd and we say our goodbyes. Taylor tells me he will call soon and he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. As we pull up to my driveway, Melanie asks, “So, was it a night to remember?” I smile and catch Duke looking at me through the rearview mirror, “Yes, yes it was.”

Review by Ramona
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Stories of second chances always interest me, which is why I decided to try out Madison Street's Little Things. Honestly, I almost gave up on this until I reached a third of the way into the book then I was glad I didn't stop reading. That's where it grabs you, holds on, and doesn't let go all the way up to the end. 

Raya is the new girl and catches everybody's attention, especially that of Duke, the captain of the lacrosse team and one of the more popular boys in high school. There's a problem, though. He's got a girlfriend and Melanie is one of the nicest people she's ever met. So Raya and Duke are firmly relegated to the friendzone, despite the attraction each feels for the other. 

Duke is the closest to a golden boy his school could have. Despite his being a top jock and a smart guy adored by most of the school, he's truly a nice person underneath it all; someone who would go out of his way to help whoever is in need. He senses that there's something wrong with Raya's home life and vows to protect her in any way he can. 

Domestic problems escalate beyond what anyone could guess, and to keep Duke on the straight and narrow, Raya runs away, allowing Duke to live his own life. But despite her setting him free, he never forgets and channels all his learning and skills into finding his girl again. Little does he know she's in real trouble and his never ending search for her could be the only thing that will keep her alive. 

Despite the very slow start, the story held my interest when action followed action followed drama and more action. It reminded me a bit of a popular movie but believe me, this has a storyline all its own. It's not exactly predictable so there's a certain sense of suspense and mystery hanging over you that whole time. 

What I like most is how the problems bring real life crimes to light. White slavery and prostitution are prevalent in every country and the way the victims are brought to submission are horrendous, to say the least. Drug use is just one component here, as is abuse in every way imaginable.  PTSD is another nightmare that not many people care to acknowledge, either. Yet the basics - admission and treatment - would truly help in saving countless lives of people that have undergone traumas their minds cannot comprehend. 

It takes courage to even talk of taboos like this, much more to write about it, which is why I admire Madison Street and Little Things. And obviously, with that kind of ending, there should be another installment or two waiting in the wings, right?

Little Beginnings (Second Chances #1.5) - Find on Goodreads

After you took her from me, everything changed. I knew my life would never be the same, and it wasn't. But just because I was isolated, trapped, and afraid, I never gave up. I kept on fighting. You thought you could control me, but you were wrong. 
There’s one thing that you could never take from me; HOPE. And with that, I overcame the struggles and the despair. I battled against my inner demons and confronted the tortures that surrounded me. And here I am today; free. 
And now, it’s you that’s confined. You cannot escape; you cannot win. There’s no one to help you now. Everyone sees you for what you truly are; a monster. 
I’m not afraid of you anymore. I will start a new life; one that you cannot control. And as I take steps toward a new beginning, I won’t ever look back.

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