Friday, May 30, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Take Two by Laurelin Paige

Take Two (Lights, Camera #1) by Laurelin Paige

Release Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Samhaim Publishing
Pages: 264
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy for Tour
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He’s ready for his close up, but she’s the one calling the shots.

On the night of her graduation from film school, straight-laced Maddie Bauers fell completely out of character for an oh-my-god make-out session with a perfect stranger. Complete with the big O.

Seven years later, that romantic interlude is still fresh in her mind. That stranger is now a rich and famous actor. And she’s one very distracted camera assistant working on his latest production. She might consider another tryst…if he even remembers her.

Micah Preston does indeed remember Maddie. Too bad he’s sworn off Hollywood relationships. He allows himself as much sex as he likes—and oh, he does like—but anything more is asking for trouble. For the woman, not for him. Yet knowing Maddie could want more than a movie-set fling doesn’t stop him from pursuing her like a moth drawn to hot stage lights.

But as the shoot nears its end, it’s decision time. Is it time to call, “Cut!” on their affair, or is there enough material for a sequel?

Warning: Contains a dreamy movie star hero, a focus-pulling heroine, off-the-charts instant chemistry, steamy sex in near-public locations, and a new use for lip gloss.

Most who are familiar with Laurelin Paige know of her Fixed series. While I enjoyed those books as well, Take Two was very different. I'm sure a lot of the Hudson die-hards will be disappointed, but I found Micah to be just as enjoyable. Maybe even more so, in some ways.

The story is very character-driven, something I tend to enjoy in the books I read. Maddie is the kind of strong female character that's extremely enjoyable to read about. Her determination, commitment, and confidence are sure to make you proud of her as a character. Not only was she devoted to her profession, but she also knew what she deserved from a relationship and wasn't willing to accept less than that. Micah was just as stubborn, but in a less endearing way. He struggled greatly to move beyond his relationship hang-ups—which, in his defense, were not completely unfounded—and it got in his and Maddie's way time and time again. But, despite his being their own worst enemy, I couldn't help but fall for the sexy, gentlemanly, caring guy.

The chemistry between Micah and Maddie was intense intense from the start. The 7 year hiatus did nothing to quell that. The story itself was pretty obvious and there wasn't a lot I didn't see coming, but their characters and relationship made up for it.

Take Two was a short, fun read with fun characters and a healthy dose of steam. It's a perfect read for a weekend/vacation heading into summer. Micah and Maddie are sure to keep you entertained!


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.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Finding Serenity by Eden Butler

Finding Serenity (Seeking Serenity #2) by Eden Butler

Release Date: April 6, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 264
Format: eBook
Source: Review Copy for Tour
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Mollie Malone's mom skipped out on her. Her biker dad, always loose and easy with the law, still was able to make her feel loved, and to keep her safe. But thirteen years ago, when his luck finally ran out and he landed in prison, Mollie found herself a new family—a group of friends in the sleepy little college town of Cavanagh, Tennessee, where now they all attend the local university. These girls know about the rotten roots of her family tree but accept her anyway, and the bond between them is so strong and supportive that Mollie is finally able to see past graduation to a future that is bright and secure.

But sometimes the past doesn't stay buried.

Suddenly, inexplicably, there's a shadow behind every step Mollie takes. Someone is lurking in that shadow, threatening not only Mollie, but also the new family she has claimed for herself.

And it isn’t just the past that has Mollie’s life in upheaval. Hunky former Marine Vaughn Winchester—who Mollie really would like to get to know much better—thinks Mollie is just a kid; he's made it clear she wouldn't ever be able to understand the demons haunting him. But if that's what he believes, then why does he keep sticking his nose in her business? And if he thinks she’s such a kid, why does he keep trying to kiss her?

Vaughn’s mind games are frustrating, especially since Mollie knows enough about secrets to be convinced that there's something he isn’t telling her, something he's so far been able to keep hidden. But when that secret is revealed, Mollie is forced into a situation that tests her loyalty and threatens even her closest friendships - just when the shadow of her past returns, and she's going to need them the most.

We met Mollie and Vaughn in Chasing Serenity, the first book in the series. Raised by her outlaw biker father until he was incarcerated, Mollie is independent, tough-as-nails, and fiercely loyal. She met ex-marine Vaughn after taking a spill in the Dash (a race she and her friends ran together) and since then he's run hot and cold, leaving her confused and frustrated. He has a secret, and it's one that will alter the course of both their lives.

Which just makes reviewing this book all the more interesting/frustrating, because that secret is a big deal to plot. But giving it away would ruin the fun! So expect some vagueness.

I loved Mollie. She's fierce, snarky and so much fun. Sometimes she's determined to a fault, but it just serves to make her an incredibly well-rounded character. Getting a better look into how she grew up than what we'd learned in the first book was a real treat. And that, coupled with an outsider's perspective of Declan and Autumn made it so much fun to read.

Vaughn is much more serious and reserved. He's haunted by past demons from his service and trying to get on track, but is still struggling. It just serves to make Mollie an even better match—she understands the painful parts better than anyone, but manages to maintain one hell of a sense of humor! Vaughn certainly needed that a couple of times.

Their relationship was flipped from the first book in a lot of ways, which fit the characters well. Instead of the guy chasing the girl like Declan and Autumn, we have Mollie chasing Vaughn. And it works so well, because she's the free-spirited soul with the screw-em' attitude and he needs to learn how to live with all he's been through. Underlying everything else is a beautiful, classic story of healing and rounding out each other's sharp edges.

I absolutely adored Chasing Serenity, and Finding Serenity did not disappoint as a follow up! There's less yummy-Irish-accent, but Declan makes appearances to fill the void! Overall, Vaughn and Mollie had a great story story and incredible chemistry to keep you interested until the end. Be sure to check it out!


About the Author

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, Chasing Serenity launched October 2013.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

Release Date: May 6, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: ARC for Tour
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Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

Royally Lost is best described in two words: cute and fun. It's the kind of simple Young Adult contemporary that's great for a little sweet escapism. In fact, the release is perfectly timed, because it's the perfect light summer read. There's a decent splash of drama and the innocence (and sometimes frustrations) of young love. And, in the vein of The Princess Diaries or The Prince and Me, and heaping dose of the fairy tales that fill the heads of little girls.

But it's not without its faults. I've seen many reviews that were quick to point that out. There's definitely insta-love. I didn't like it, but I tend to be able to move past it unless its really bad. And this was a nuisance, but it didn't entirely ruin the story by any means. The parents in this story are ridiculous. Controlling, simultaneously aloof and overbearing. Unfortunately, the kids don't help. They're teenagers, and not in the good sense of the word. Luckily, the story is a platform for coming-of-age, so that particular aspect gets a little better. It's also highly Americanized, given that one of the main characters isn't actually American. And, of course, the story is definitely on the unrealistic side. But, you know what? That's half the fun of these kinds of stories. I enjoyed it for exactly that reason.

Even if Becca wasn't having it at the beginning, the trip provided a really fun background for the story. It transports you as you read and really does help Becca and Nikolai grow up. And part of that growing up was them together. Their relationship is an absolutely sweet summer romance, the kind we've all fantasized about at one time or another.

Of course, there is the cheese factor. There were some moments of eye-rolling and cringing, but I still managed to smile through them. They flowed right along with the innocent charm of the entire book.

If you're looking for a short and sweet read to jump-start your vacation or brighten up your weekend, give Royally Lost a shot!


About the Author

Angie Stanton never planned on writing books; she wanted to be a Rockette. However, growing up in rural Wisconsin, with her brothers' 4-H pigs as pets, dance didn't work out. Instead she became an avid daydreamer. After years of perfecting stories in her head, she began to write them down, and the rest is history.

Angie is the author of six books including Royally Lost, Rock and a Hard Place, and Snapshot. She graduated with a Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin, and is a proud double finalist of the National Readers Choice Awards for Love 'em or Leave 'em.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: Girl Lost by Nazarea Andrews

Girl Lost (Neverland Lost #1) by Nazarea Andrews

Release Date: May 1, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: A&A Literary
Format: eARC
Source: ARC for Tour
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Northern was supposed to be a fresh start—a place where people didn’t know who I was or how I had spent years in and out of mental institutes. People didn't know about my parents death or the island no one heard of. But when Peter sits next to me in lit class, I can’t stop the memories, and I don’t want to. He looks too much like the boy from the island, and despite my best intentions, coaxes my secrets from me.

He’s gorgeous, irresistible, a little mad, and completely lost—we are a pair of broken cogs in a world neither of us truly fits into. He is somehow gentle and fierce, heartbreaking in his devotion and savage in his defense.

When Belle, his best friend, shows up, pale and lovely and sick, Peter pulls away from me, a startling withdrawal. It’s a relationship that scares and confuses me. She is at times warm and friendly, and other times is violent and unpredictable.

Peter says that he wants me, but refuses to let himself get close. And there are secrets, surrounding both of us, that border on nightmares. As the memories close in, as Belle gets sicker and more violent, I’m torn between what is true and what I believe, and what this magical boy knows about my mysterious past.

Gwen Barrie is trying to escape her past. At 12 years old, what was supposed to be a simple vacation with her parents ended with them dead and Gwen alone on their boat, drifting at sea for 3 weeks. When she was found, she was full of stories of an island that didn't seem to exist, where she claim to have spent months with a wild boy and his companions.

A boy she continues to see when no one else can.

Time in a mental institution and lots of therapy later, Gwen has accepted that the Boy and his island were nothing but a figment of her own delusions. She's taking control of her life: going away to college, trying to get out from under the thumb of her family and doctors.

Then she meets Peter, who just so happens to look like her boy all-grown-up. Even though she knows that, for her own fragile sanity, it would be best to stay away, Gwen can't help but to be drawn to him.

And suddenly the line between what she knows is and isn't real is getting less clear...

The Peter Pan story line in Girl Lost is immediately apparent. With that said, trying to figure out just how the old story meshes with this new take was a lot of fun. Gwen certainly poses an interesting question about just what happens when you leave Neverland—her struggle with what she sees as her own insanity makes her narrative all the more complex. Navigating through life with the near-suffocation of her well-meaning family coupled with her own self doubt makes it easy to feel as Gwen does—overwhelmed and more than a little lost.

Cue Peter, who serves to only throw her further off. He's certainly not the typical book boy character—Gwen hold's no illusions about his stability and sanity, but she can't help but feel connected to him. As a result, they're more than a little codependent (understatement). And it just makes you want to figure out Peter's origins all the more.

Overall, the story a good flow and kept me interested up until the (abrupt) end. With how sudden the ending is, I feel like there has to be another book after, but I haven't seen anything either way. Regardless, if you're a fun of classic fairy tale re-vamps (especially with a more adult twist), Girl Lost is just what you're looking for!


About the Author

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.

You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Nazarea Andrews is agented, and all inquiries about rights should be directed to Michelle Johsnon of Inklings Literary.

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