Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tension Release Day Launch with Excerpt, Review & Giveaway

Release Launch


The Stella who emerges from the rubble of the bombing in Montana is a woman full of conflict. She knows she should be grateful that she lived when others didn't, but after waking in the hospital as a celebrity, complete with a new moniker, she's bitter and distrustful, questioning everything in her life. She's unsure of her friends, her new boyfriend, and her job. In addition, a face from the past reappears and threatens to take the one good thing in her life.

Stella attempts to deal with the new scrutiny of her life with her usual sense of humor, but she's filled with a new emotion that she tries desperately to hide: HATE. Her recovery is hastened by her determination to find the man who turned her into a walking scar. She's going to kill him; she needs to kill him.

Stella isn't alone. She has her close friends and her dog, Cooper. Will their support be enough to help Stella accomplish her plan, or will this endeavor be her undoing?

This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

My Review 
(July 27)
4 Stars ★★★★
*ARC provided by Author for Honest Review*
I don’t know why my thoughts are all over the place when it comes to this book. Trust me, I am in no way saying it’s bad but let’s just say I finished it on the train ride to NY and had I not been on a train full of people I probably would have thrown a tantrum. So many feelings…. First off, be warned, there is a cliff-hanger and it is beyond unexpected. In fact the author even apologizes for that fact and I can’t honestly say if I want to throttle her more or hug her for the amazinginess of this story.

I need to just insert this randomly in the middle of this review but OH MY GOD!! This cover is absolutely brilliant. I’m not usually one to go crazy over cover art. Most times nowadays the covers rarely even cooaberate with the story but with this one, you can almost say Tension’s cover is the story. It’s actually a real tattoo that Stella has and the story behind that makes up not only who she is but how she reacts to what happens to her.
When the story begins, Stella has been having a shitty time. She definitely wins the award for shittiest day EVER! First her fiancé is killed and not a few y ears later she’s attacked at work and involved in a terrorist bombing. Not a normal day for everyone. After the loss of her fiancé, Stella’s been slowly trying to get her life back. After basically skipping out on a year, numbing her mind and body with booze and meaningless trysts, Stella is finally getting back to normal, or as normal as she can. She has a loving boyfriend named George, her dog Cooper and is hoping to pass the bar exam and finally become a lawyer which has been a dream of hers for a long time. Well, this bombing and attack (where she also gets shot) surely puts a halt in her new normal life. Everything Stella thought she knew is thrown under a bus and Stella has to navigate her new life totally conflicted and filled with an unbearable rage and passion for blood/revenge.

“It seemed like there were two separate people growing out of this injury: the one that wanted everything to be okay and the one full of rage who wanted to rip shit down and tear it apart at the injustice of it all.” – Stella

It took me a bit to get into the story only because the start is a little whacky. It alternates between her and George’s POV’s as well as flashback scenes to before, after and even during the attack. It doesn’t take long to get the gist of things and it’s possible it was only me but I felt a bit flustered as it was starting not knowing if the whole story would play out this way or if I would even like it. But boy was I thrown for a loop because I loved Tension. I may have loved Stella even more.  Stella is one of those characters that makes you reflect on your shitty life and sort of not feel so bad because A. you’ve never been shot, B. you’ve never lost a fiancé to a horrible ATF accident C. you’ve never been involved in a terrorist bombing on the same day you’ve been shot and D. the press does not trespass on your life all because of the previous options. I mean how many people would even say sane after experiencing these things. Even getting released from the hospital is national news worthy event and every normal thing Stella had becomes impossible to keep.
Stella has a hard time, as you can imagine, readjusting to her new life. Her job won’t let her return and they are hazy on the details of when and if she can return. Her parents are hounding her to return home so they can hover over her and make sure she is better when all Stella wants is peace and quiet. The press makes that impossible giving her the moniker ‘FBI Beauty’ which follows her everywhere she goes. It’s bad enough Stella has finally allowed her inner wounds to scab over now she can barely look at herself in the mirror, scarred as she is from the bombing and gunshot. She’s on the outs with her best friend and ex-roommate but even when she wants nothing to do with him, she holds her head high and perseveres.

I really, really loved George. George is Stella’s bar-owner boyfriend who struggles as much as Stella does, maybe even more so because of how helpless he feels. Stella does not make it easy on George, often appearing devoid of emotion and unable to prove to George that she is okay. And George worries about Stella. A lot. Even when George has no choice but to join forces with Stella’s football friend Jesse, the two are able to let bygones be bygones and remain focused on their plan. Together these two were both hilarious and an unstoppable force. (Was almost looking forward to them fighting, that would have been hot!!)
There is a plot twist that occurs fairly early in the book that only adds to Stella’s grief, as if the hellish day she had wasn’t bad enough. But don’t worry it really gives the story life and helps motivate Stella, even if the motivation is more geared by rage and hatred.

“You know that song by Jason Mraz about not giving up? That song is about you. I just know it. You rebuilt me into someone that people can stand. I want to tell you all these things, but then I want to vomit at the cheesiness. I want to tell you with all the problems I have, just having your hand in mine makes everything seem possible. Then I really do vomit.” – Stella

Tension is a phenomenal read that will leave you feeling bloodthirsty and hoping that things can finally go well for Stella and George. Their journey was both entertaining and enjoyable to read. This certainly is not your average hunky dory, cutesy romance. Really, you become more like Stella’s sidekick and can only hope that things will sort themselves out and George, Stella and Cooper can finally return to living a normal life. Sadly, for Stella this never seems to be a possibility and her rollercoaster life is certainly not over. I am not-too patiently awaiting the follow-up to Tension  and cannot wait for these characters to return for more. Thrill fans will eat up Tension   and want to stab someone with the leftover bones at the end. Enjoy the ride and when George demands you see a therapist, just give in and listen!!


She heaved in the toilet for the third time in a row, but it was only bile now.  The noise echoed through the empty bathroom.  Hunching over the bowl, she tried not to grasp the sides with her hands.  Because she was more aware of her body and its reactions to stress, she hadn't eaten or had any coffee this morning, thinking maybe she wouldn’t get sick.  Pushing herself off of the cold tile floor and flushing the toilet, she spit the remaining bile from her mouth into the toilet.  Fighting the urge to wipe the excess saliva on the sleeve of her expensive suit jacket, she pulled a few squares of toilet paper off the roll and patted her mouth.  Pushing the door of the stall open, she examined the image she saw in the mirror. 
What she saw gave her pause and she stopped just shy of the sink to take in her appearance.  Her new outer shell was almost unrecognizable.  She’d recently cut her long black waves into a straight, chin-length bob, currently tousled.  Her weight loss over the past several months made her cheeks look sunken; she’d attempted to hide her sallow skin with makeup, but she still looked just a little bit haunted. The new grey suit she was wearing was wrinkled.  Irritated, she smoothed down the length of the pencil skirt to where it hit just above her knees.  Her soft pink shell underneath was chosen to make her look more fragile.  As if it’s possible to look any more fragile.  Some of her scars were visible above the collar of the shell; all perfecting the image Millie said she needed to show the world. 
Washing her hands quickly, she dried them and pulled out a comb.  Breathe.  She pulled the comb through her hair.   Her stomach rolled again and she dug in her pewter handbag for her medication.  She’d finally gotten around to going to the doctor, who diagnosed her with some sort of stress-induced disorder that causes her to throw up.  No shit, I diagnosed myself years ago.  Throwing the pill in her mouth, she swallowed it dry.  Reaching into another pocket, she pulled out lip gloss and reapplied the pink color to her lips, trying to feel the least bit “normal.” 
She popped a peppermint into her mouth and closed her eyes, counting to ten slowly before she pushed open the door and walked to the bench just outside the courtroom.  As soon as she sat down, the door opened and the U.S. Marshal assigned to the courtroom called her name.  Her heels clicked and echoed against the marble floor.  The courtroom was full, but she had tunnel vision.  She didn’t allow any of her terrified thoughts to enter her brain; she could break down later. In private.
            Making her way to the witness stand, she concentrated on not tripping in the six-inch black pumps she always wore.  They were her lucky heels for court and she needed them more today than any other day.  She took a deep breath, sat down on the stand and took her first glance at the defense table. Her entire body shook with fear at the sight of the man sitting in an ill-fitting suit next to his attorney; she knew the entire case rested on her testimony.  No pressure.  Shoving the fear down inside her, she folded her hands in her lap and stared at them. Calm.
"Ma'am, please state your name for the record."
"Stella Murphy.”

About R.L. Griffin
R.L. resides in the Atlanta area with some cool dudes: her husband, son and two dogs.  She was born and raised in the South.  She attended Georgia Southern University and moved to Washington, D.C. to intern in the United States Senate during the impeachment trial.  Falling in love with the city, she went to law school at American University, Washington College of Law.  By A Thread is R.L.’s second book, but is the first in a series of books.



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