Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst

Searching for Perfect (Searching For #2) by Jennifer Probst

Release Date: April 29, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Goodreads • Amazon

The highly anticipated second novel in the new Searching For series from Jennifer Probst, "one of the most exciting breakout novelists" (USA Today)—a spin-off of the bestselling Marriage to a Billionaire series—featuring a sexy matchmaker, and the rocket scientist who becomes her special project…

The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself…though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

I was very excited when I found out about the continuation of this series. And getting an ARC of it? Even better! There may even have been happy dancing involved... But, that's beside the point. Searching for Perfect follows Kennedy, one of Kate's business partners we were introduced to in Searching for Someday. The Kinnections team is just as fun and charming as they were in the first book. They also seem to be developing a bit of a penchant for falling for clients... But would we really have it any other way?

Our leading lady this time around is Kennedy, Kinnections' no-nonsense, kick-ass social director. With a healthy dose of attitude and a bit of an obsession with aesthetics, she seems like no one can touch her. But, of course, that's not really the case. We got a little glimpse into the tougher parts of her childhood in the first book, but now we find out the details of her warped self-image. The struggles Kennedy has overcome are really quite heartbreaking and scarring, more so than I'd expected. It's not hard to understand her insecurities given the past experiences that come to light, but it doesn't make it any less difficult to witness. At their basis, they're feelings a lot of girls and women have at some point in their life. It meant I couldn't help but feel for her, even when I wanted to shove her in a different direction (hint: towards a certain awkwardly endearing aerospace engineer...).

Oh, Nate. Nate is sweet, sexy, and so awkwardly cute I can't stand it! Nerd boys are kind of a weakness for me, but I think that's my inner-engineer showing. He was certainly a bit of an over-the-top characterization of a nerd, but I couldn't help but to love him! His awkwardness was a little outrageous while still making him adorable, and the devotion he has to finding someone to spend his life with is nothing short of swoon-worthy. You couldn't help but root for him through the progression of his transformation, because this is a guy who totally deserves to get the girl...

Ahem... Anyway...

There were parts of the story that were a little more to the ridiculous or cheesy side, but I was so involved in the rest of the story and the characters that I just laughed and rolled my eyes a little right through it. The rough parts were easy to overlook given how much I enjoyed it overall. I'm sure the fact that I'm a science-focused nerd myself didn't hurt...

The progression of the relationship between Kennedy and Nate is a perfect mixture of sweet and steamy. The chemistry between them is rampant and so much fun, but they also really help each other grow. Each has their hang-ups that need to be overcome, and there are some examples of opposites attracting to round out the sharper edges of each person. They complement each other so well, while also having the important things in common. It's kind of supportive relationship that we all hope to have in the end.

Searching for Perfect was, for me, even better than the first book in the series! A snarky, fun heroine and a smart-sexy, nerdy guy are always a winning formula for me! If you enjoyed Searching for Someday, you should read this next book! If you have yet to check out the Searching For series, I highly recommend it. This is one of my favorite romance series at the moment: a great blend of humor, heat, and, well...romance! Be sure to give it a shot!

About the Author

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain. She is published both erotic and sexy contemporary romance with Entangled, Decadent, Red Sage and TWRP. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story, "A Life Worth Living." Visit her website for more info!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Nash by Jay Crownover

Nash (Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover

Release Date: April 29.2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: ARC for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • BAM • Indie Bound

Will their past determine their future?

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down . . . and now he’s trying to do it again.

Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them —or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.

When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

Nash is the kind of story that has almost universal appeal. There's a wonderful, sweet, and hot romance between two characters that will absolutely get under your skin. There's heartbreak and circumstances that will tug at the heartstrings, even outside of the romantic arc. There are great friends; the kind we all hope to have. And, at the base level, there are characters who are so completely and totally themselves that it's enough to induce envy. It certainly does for me. Nash is also the first of the Marked Men series to feature an outsider of the main groups. And the sweet, spunky, redheaded newcomer certainly doesn't disappoint...

Saint's insecurities are rooted in experiences that most girls have growing up. Granted, it's taken to an extreme level, but that common ground had me invested in her story from the beginning. But besides that she's compassionate, intelligent, kind, hardworking, and a host of other things that serve to make you love her (almost) as much as Nash himself comes to. Seeing her work through all of her insecurities and realize all that she had to offer was all the more satisfying for it.

And, of course, there's Nash himself. I've basically given up on trying to pick my favorite Marked man; they all have something different and wonderful to offer and the hierarchy seems only to depend on whose book I read most recently. With that said, Nash was just so damn yummy. He's, by all initial appearances, a bad boy and that combined with Saint's experience with him in his dumb-ass teen days paints a very different picture than the man you find him to be. In all of the good ways. Yes, he's still tatted and pierced, a little hard and angry, but he has a heart of gold that is guaranteed to make yours melt, just like it does Saint's. I could rave about him for entirely too long, so I'll just leave it there. But trust me, you'll love him.

Besides these two, we get a sweet, fun check in with all of the other characters we've come to love in the series. Rule and Shaw, Rome and Cora, Jet and Ayden, and all of the yet-unmatched employees of the Marked check in, so even at the more subdued portions of Saint and Nash's story, there's plenty going on to hold your interest!

I have absolutely fallen in love with this series! Jay has a way of crafting characters that feel extremely relateable, make you swoon, and have you rooting for them throughout. And trying to pick a favorite of the installments I've read is pointless; every time I read (or reread) on of the stories, it just usurps the top spot. If you haven't checked out the Marked Men series, you're missing out!

Nash is a sexy, heartfelt romance full of memorable, lovable and colorful (both figuratively and literally) characters that are the staple of the Marked Men series. If you're a fan of well-crafted love stories between real, wounded characters—with a healthy dose of tattooed, seeming-bad boy thrown in—you seriously need to pick up Nash! I can't rave enough about it!


About the Author

I’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.

I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Fixed On You by Laurelin Paige

Fixed On You (Fixed #1) by Laurelin Paige

Release Date: June 23, 2013
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 247
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased by Reviewer/Review Copy for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • iTunes

Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.

But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it.

Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

Fixed On You takes what has become a common basis—a girl who becomes involved with a mysterious, controlling billionaire (often with emotional scar)—and gives it a extra little oomph. Because in this story, which capitalizes on a whirlwind, fast-tracked romance, the leading lady has serious issues of her own.

Alayna "Laynie" Withers is a recent MBA-grad who focuses on work and avoids attachment in her relationships for one very important reason—she suffers from a sever obsessive tendency when it comes to romance. Years of counseling later, she's more or less on track in her life. Her sights are set on a managerial position at the nightclub she works at, when the club is bought by a mysterious new owner, who turns out to be business icon Hudson Pierce.

Hudson is rich, arrogant, and aloof—everything you'd expect and love from this type of book. The quintessential alpha male. But he has a dark past when it comes to relationships. He sets his sights on Laynie, but not for a normal relationship. Instead he has a a business proposition for her that threatens to destroy Alyana's tenuous control over her urges. Even though she knows it could end badly, she can't say no to him.

The chemistry between the two of them is intense and will draw you in from the start. Alayna and Hudson are strong, memorable characters, making their journey all the more enthralling. It makes for a fun, enjoyable read that's full of sexy tension. Getting into these characters' minds adds depth to the story that separates it from the romance masses.

For fans of dominant-male romances, Fixed On You is a winner. It manages to separate itself from the pack while also being a real crowd pleaser. It's a ride full of heat, overcoming past demons, and, ultimately, romance.


About the Author

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn't seem to complain, however. When she isn't reading or writing sexy stories, she's probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review: Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner

Release Date: August 24, 2010
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 375
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Goodreads • Amazon

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human. 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. 

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade. 

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. 

 Everything is going to change. 

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. 

Remember. Survive. Run.

If you're thinking, "Oh, she saw the preview for the movie and decided to read the book." You are dead on. Congratulations, you're very astute! Yes, I was in the theatre to see Divergent—pretty good interpretation, by the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But that's neither here nor there. Anyway, saw the preview and my interest was piqued. Mainly because I saw that kid from Love Actually/Game of Thrones (Jojen!), and was like "Hmm...I have a blog. I need a book to read. I want to see this movie. Why not?"

I hope you enjoyed that brief glimpse into my rather mundane psyche.

But overall, I am very glad I saw that preview. Maze Runner was a nice break from the girlie YA novels that I've been reading (that wasn't a dig, I just needed a break).

Here's the lo-down:

Thomas is in a box. He doesn't remember how he got there, where he's from, what he did before finding himself in this box. All he knows is his name.

When the box opens, he is greeted by a mass of teenage boys. And all they do is survive.

If you were a fan of Lord of the Flies, like I was, you will probably enjoy this novel. It's not as dark. But my first instinct was to find the Piggy of the group. He's easy to spot, and you'll love him. He is just so darn adorable. And that's coming from me—the chick with a phobia of children!

But anyway, it has a very similar set up to Golding's iconic novel. A group of boys in an unfamiliar terrain, left to their own devices. Thankfully, however, they don't turn into a throng of demon-children. There is order to their group, and I am eternally relieved.

They divide their pseudo-society into job-castes. Most jobs are safely nestled within the protection of the Glade (the area they live in) but their survival depends upon the Runners. Spoiler alert: a Maze Runner is a... Maze Runner. It's exactly what it sounds like: the Glade is surrounded by an ever-shifting maze, and the Runners are responsible for searching for an escape. And escape is the hope that keeps them sane.

It gives them purpose.

From the moment Thomas arrives, he knows that he has to become a Runner. Which, to the rest of the boys, seems insane. The Maze is crawling with Grievers—amalgams of organic matter and metallic "arms" tipped with wicked blades and needles. And when a Griever stings you, it could mean death but definitely means agony.

But those who are stung are able to remember. Remember flashes of who they were before and what the purpose of the Maze is.

But everything they thought they knew is about to change. Because for the first time ever, a girl is sent to their group. And she is the catalyst.

The game is nearing its end. And in order to survive they need to run.

In short, ladies and gents, this is a page-turner. Once you hit your stride, you won't be able to put it down. And if life interrupts your reading time (the audacity of it!), your mind will never be far from that next page or chapter. It's a quick, compelling read, and I already have the second book queued up!

I would strongly recommend this novel to any SciFi/Dystopian lover!

About the Author

James was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)

In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Cover Reveal: Hard to Hold On To by Laura Kaye

Hard to Hold On To (Hard Ink #2.5) by Laura Kaye

HardToHoldOnTo hires
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Pages: 100
Goodreads • Amazon • Amazon.ca • Amazon UK
B&N • iTunes

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel—and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

A Note from Laura:

Hey guys! I am so excited about Easy’s book that I can hardly wait for August to get here! Easy’s character was a total surprise to me. When I initially plotted out the series, there were four surviving members of the Army Special Forces team and therefore I planned for and sold four book in the series. But then, when I sat down to write Hard As It Gets, all of a sudden the story demanded there were actually five guys, and Edward “Easy” Cantrell was born. And I’m so glad! Because Easy’s character is a totally tortured hero, which I adore writing! So I’m super happy that we added his story and this novella into the series, and I can’t wait for you to learn about Easy in Hard to Hold On To!

Is it August yet???

xo, Laura

Praise for the Hard Ink Series: 

For Hard As You Can:

"TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!"
     ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

"Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!"
     ~ San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:

"Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!"
     ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna."
     ~ Publishers Weekly Review

"Kaye's depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks' KGI and Julia Ann Walker's Black Knight's series."
     ~ Booklist

About the Author

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Release Day Launch + Excerpt Reveal: Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 384
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Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

“This engrossing thriller packs a heady atmospheric punch with plenty of theatrical scares.”
          - Kirkus Reviews

“Armentrout has written another winner. From the first page to the last, she builds both terror and confusion to the point where readers will be hooked and on the edge of their seat. This standalone contains all of Armentrout’s usual trademarks– a strong and determined heroine, witty comments and hot guys–but she adds in an extra layer by ratcheting up the suspense to the highest degree and follows it up with an ending no one will see coming.”
          - RT BOOK REVIEWS 4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK

Excerpt from Don't Look Back

I didn’t recognize the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeds choked the front of the dilapidated home. Windows were boarded up. There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

Walking felt harder than it should be, and I stumbled off the chilly asphalt, wincing as sharp gravel dug into my feet.

My bare feet?

I stopped and looked down. Chipped pink nail polish peeked through the dirt…and blood. Mud caked the legs of my pants, leaving the hems stiff. It made sense, seeing as how I wasn’t wearing any shoes, but the blood…I didn’t understand why there was blood staining the knees of my jeans.

My vision clouded and dulled, as if a gray film had been dropped over my eyes. As I stared at the weathered asphalt under my feet, large and smooth rocks replaced the tiny stones. Something dark and oily seeped over the rocks, slipping through the cracks.

Sucking in a sharp gasp, I blinked and the image was gone.

Hands trembling, I raised them. They were also covered with dirt and scratches. My nails were broken, bloodied. A silver ring wrapped, encased in soil, around my thumb. Air froze in my chest as my gaze crawled over my arms. The sleeves of my sweater were torn, revealing pale flesh covered in bruises and gashes. My legs started to shake as I swayed forward. I tried to remember how this had happened, but my head was empty—a black void where nothing existed.

A car drove by, coasting to a stop a few feet in front of me. Somewhere in the trenches of my subconscious, I recognized the flashing red and blue lights as a source of safety. Elegantly scrawled along the black-and-gray side of the cruiser were the words ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT.

Adams County? A flash of familiarity came and went.

The driver’s door opened, and a deputy stepped out. He said something into the radio on his shoulder before he looked at me.

“Miss?” He started around the cruiser, taking tentative steps. He looked young for a deputy. Barely out of high school and able to carry a gun seemed wrong somehow. Was I in high school? I didn’t know. “We’ve received some calls into dispatch concerning you,” he said gently. “Are you okay?”

I tried to respond, but only a hoarse squeak came out. Clearing my throat, I winced as the motion scratched and pulled. “I…I don’t know.”

“Okay.” The deputy held up his hands as he approached me, as if I were a skittish deer about to bolt. “My name is Deputy Rhode. I’m here to help you. Do you know what you’re doing out here?”

“No.” Knots formed in my belly. I didn’t even know where here was.

His smile strained. “What’s your name?”

My name? Everyone knew their name, but as I stared at the deputy, I couldn’t answer his question. The knots started twisting more. “I don’t…I don’t know what my name is.”

He blinked, and the smile was completely gone. “You don’t remember anything?”

I tried again, concentrating on the empty space between my ears. That was how it felt. And I knew that wasn’t good. My eyes started to tear up.

“Miss, it’s okay. We’ll get you taken care of.” He reached out, lightly taking hold of my arm. “We’ll get this sorted.”

Deputy Rhode led me around the back of his cruiser. I didn’t want to sit behind the Plexiglas, because I knew that wasn’t good. Only bad people sat behind the glass in police cruisers. I wanted to object, but before I could say anything, he settled me into the seat and wrapped a coarse blanket around my shoulders.

Before he locked me in the bad part of the car, he knelt and smiled reassuringly. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

But I knew he was lying, trying to make me feel better. It didn’t work. How could everything be okay when I didn’t know my own name?

About the Author

# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

Release Date: April 7, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 290
Format: eBook
Source: ARC for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon

Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat—and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can't name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state's perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of—until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send—then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again—something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

Bird After Bird is a real take on romance—Wren and Laurie are recovering from tragedies in their past, when they meet and find the encouragement to move on in each other.

Wren is the kind of character we all understand at some point—she's driven to a fault and determined to move away from her start in life. But a letter from her recently-deceased father serves to change all that. Suddenly her priorities aren't so clear-cut and she finds herself reliving the past. Which is how she comes across Laurie.

Laurie is a little bit like the puppies he raises in the best way. He's so kind, honest, and loving that you can't help but swoon. Bad boys are great and all, but Laurie is really and truly the kind of guy that's going to be a rock—constant, upfront, and ever-considerate.

Really, the best word to describe the whole story is sweet. These are two characters who are good people and overall good to each other (with the exception of a period of running-scared-ness). While angst and tension are nice, there's definitely something to be said for two people who are up-front about how they feel about each other and not constantly fighting what they want. Sure, Wren was a little misguided and unwilling to compromise at times, but it was never in the context of her lack of feelings for Laurie. And I really loved that.

Wren's story also really made me want to call my dad, but I'm a sap like that. The glimpse into her relationship with her late father is so heartfelt, honest, and beautiful that it rivaled Wren and Laurie's relationship in terms of my investment in it. The passages from their "bird book" served to ground the story and give it solid continuity throughout, which really helped keep the location changes smooth. And they also seriously brought the daddy/daughter feels.

Bird After Bird is an enjoyable, sweet romance with likable characters that will keep you interested from start to finish!


About the Author

Leslea Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, an avid bird nerd and the happily married mom of four. She has been a professional writer for many years. This is her first romance novel.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Searching For Someday by Jennifer Probst

Searching for Someday (Searching For #1) by Jennifer Probst

Release Date: November 26, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley
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Kate has given up on love—at least for herself. She is both blessed and cursed with the ability to sense a romantic connection between two people—a gift that her family passed down for generations. When Kate launches her own matchmaking company, Kinnection, with her two best friends in a cozy New York town, she has to put aside her own romantic disasters to make her business a success.

But when a furious man stalks into her office and accuses her business of being a scam, Kate is given the ultimate challenge to prove herself. Slade puts himself in her hands and asks Kate to find him love. Enraged at his arrogance but stubbornly eager to prove herself, Kate agrees, dedicating herself to the journey of finding him love...only to find herself falling for him along the way.

Kate Seymour is the smart, successful, virginal owner of a matching company. She dreams of finding her own soul mate while doing her best to find others theirs, with the help of a very special gift: she can sense true romantic connections between others. But even as a hopeless romantic, her hangups prevent her from finding someone she can love and have love her in return. Slade Montgomery seems far from fitting that bill, but when he storms in claiming Kate's company, Kinnections, is a fraud, he'll shake up her comfortable lifestyle in ways she never expected. He's a divorce attorney and player who doesn't believe his love, jaded as he is from seeing the aftermath of way too many failed marriages. Yet, somehow, they can't help but be drawn together...

My favorite part of the two of them together was the banter. They challenged each other and gave each other crap, and it was so much fun to experience! It's funny, engaging, and makes it obvious just how much these two are made for each other. But still, they try to resist. Of course, it's futile, but it makes for a great journey.

The connection between these two felt genuine: the tension, desire, hope, disappointment, and ultimately triumph. The whole story is easy to visualize, full of entertaining and endearing characters. Especially Robert! But I'm a sucker for the puppy dog eyes...

There were a couple of rough points for me though. The first was Kate's power—there is absolutely no explanation for this, other than it runs in the women in her family. The second was the spell book—I honestly don't see its importance in the story. But, in the grand scheme of things, they're such minor points and really didn't have any effect on my ability to enjoy the story.

This is the first of Jennifer Probst's books that I've read, but I loved her style! She mixes in the best elements of romance: steam, sexiness, angst, and emotion with a healthy dose of humor and fun. Her stories (this series especially, it seems) are dynamite for hopeless romantics. The idea that fate will bring you love is prevalent.

Searching for Someday was a great read. I loved the story and these characters, and I would definitely recommend it to romance fans. It's an extremely fun, quick read, with just the right amount of heart to keep you interested till the end! I can't wait to see what's in store for Searching for Perfect, the second book in the series!

About the Author

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain. She is published both erotic and sexy contemporary romance with Entangled, Decadent, Red Sage and TWRP. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story, "A Life Worth Living." Visit her website for more info!

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