Friday, November 30, 2012

Winner of My Only Giveaway!

Congratulations to Becs! 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Also thank you to N.K. Smith for her amazing author post, and The Writers Coffee Shop for inviting us to be part of the blog tour and the ebook prize of My Only
Check back with us for some amazing reviews and details that will be coming soon on a HUGE giveaway! 

If you still want a chance to win a copy of My Only you can visit these blogs that are a part of the tour!

Nov. 30 - Aestas Book Blog 
Dec. 1st - My Secret Romance
Dec. 2nd - Sugar and Spice and Everything Naughy 
Dec. 3rd - Sherri Gomes
Dec. 4th - The Book Asylum
Dec. 5th - Lisa's Book Review
Dec. 6th - Cristina's Book Reviews 

Back To You by Priscilla Glenn (Review #2)

A couple of weeks ago we posted Elizabeth's review of Back To You. Today we want to give you another perspective on the book from Kristen. It's aways nice to get two different opinions on a book to decide if it's for you or not. Enjoy!

3 to 31/2 stars

Back To You is a sweet, well written, slightly angsty, and engaging romance about second chances. The story is told in present day and flashback segments, giving the reader a thoroughly comprehensive and engaging look into Michael and Lauren's current and past relationship. This couple develops a close friendship during their high school years, but it ends badly and they go their separate ways. Fast forward eight years and they are unexpectedly reunited again. This plot isn't particularly original but the execution felt refreshing.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was the flashback segments of the story. I felt the relationship between Michael and Lauren during their high school years had an authentic feel that resonated with me. Although I was somewhat ambivalent about the hero, I found this couple's interactions endearing and captivating.

My problem with the book–other than falling head-over-heels in love with the secondary love interest, Adam–was that Michael, the hero, never fully convinced me that his feelings for the heroine ran deeper than friendship. Although I smiled at the feel-good ending, this couple's romance never fully clicked for me.

As for the heroine, while I found her endearing as a teenager, I had a hard time relating to her as an adult. At times her behavior aggravated me. If I'm being honest with myself, however, that probably had more to do with the fact that I was rooting for Lauren and Adam and not Lauren and Michael (the hero). In addition, Lauren's treatment of Adam before she ended their relationship was less than admirable and made it clear to me that she wasn't good enough for him. Okay...I'm sure it's a little obvious I'm still a bit miffed that Adam didn't get his HEA. Lol.

Overall, I liked this book and have no doubt readers who love charming second-chance-at-romance plotlines will enjoy this story.

*Arc provided by author*

 Want to know more about Priscilla Glenn?



Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Edge Of Never by J.A. Redmerski

4 1/2 to 5 stars

"THE HEART ALWAYS WINS out over the mind. The heart, although reckless and suicidal and a masochist all on its own, always gets its way."

I love this quote from the Edge of Never because it's SO true!

The Edge of Never turned out to be every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I'm still trying to process all my thoughts and feelings about this book but one thing's for sure, I've NEVER enjoyed getting to know two characters more than I did Andrew and Camryn. They owned me from the first page to the last. They're beautifully flawed, real, and immensely lovable. The author captured their essence brilliantly.

I did have a few problems with the story though. Not only did the pacing drag a bit here and there, but I felt somewhat manipulated by the book's climax. That said, I've NEVER enjoy the journey of two characters more. The ending was perfect and just what I needed; and though I finished this book feeling exhausted, I also felt elated. I definitely enjoyed this read.

November 29th edit: Over the past few days I have revisited some of my favorite passages in this book. Wow! I really do love so much about this story that even with those reservations I discussed in my review, I owe this book at least another half star.

 Want to know more about J.A. Redmerski?



Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: My Only by N.K. Smith

We are very excited to be a part of the blog tour featuring N.K. Smith and her amazing book My Only. Check out the book blurb, and get to know the author through her detailed life experiences. See where she drew her inspiration from to write this very telling book about young love, friendship, coming of age and heartache. One lucky person will win and ebook copy of My Only courtesy of N.K. Smith and The Writers Coffee Shop.

My Only

Adam James’s life is far from perfect. A talented drummer from a small suburb of Chicago, he keeps to himself, downplaying his abilities, thinking that he is less than all those around him, including his popular twin brother, Aaron.

When a free-spirited new girl with a troubled past moves in across the street, Adam's eyes are opened to a new world of possibilities. Olivia Cartwright’s philosophies on life give her a deeper understanding of the world. An instant connection between Adam and Olivia draws them closer, but he wonders why anyone would choose him when a better version exists, particularly when Aaron also takes an interest in her.

Will the friendship with Olivia change Adam, or will he continue to close himself off in his own world?

Adam has a choice to make: risk his friendship with Olivia or fight for something more. It seems Adam has a lot to learn about love....and life.

Read Karla's review of My Only

About N.K.

Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is a Technical Writer for a Fortune 100 company. The author of the Old Wounds Series, she is a mother of two who finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep.

An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling stories that speak to the human condition. 

Please welcome: N.K. Smith


Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Only by N.K. Smith

When Olivia disappeared from view, it was like the sun passing behind a cloud. My body was still warmed by her light, but even the slightest dimming of her brilliance left me shivering.

Beautifully written sweet, yet sad story about young love, a first love, family and friendship. Not an easy read at times, but done with care, sensitivity and ultimately leaves the reader with sense of hope.

Two brothers, Adam and Aaron, twins, so different, polar opposite, and vying for the attention of the same girl, Olivia. Outgoing, free-spirited, beautiful lovely Olivia, takes a liking to Adam, only he has no idea how to handle her interest in him. Aaron wants her; Adam has her…almost, but all that changes.

The book is told from Adam’s first person narrative, which added to the authentic feel of the story. What he experiences, you experience, his thoughts become yours, all his emotions, his joy, and his pain is so real, that it nearly brought me to my knees.

This book is not for everyone, and the journey that it takes you on is filled highs and lows. There is sadness, but there is also love, and moments of great joy. The author took a difficult topic and crafted a beautiful story around it. I wouldn’t say I was happy when I turned the final page, but I knew that I had read something very special. I'm still thinking about this book and these characters long after I set the book aside, and that tells me something about the author's writing, and my reasons for a 5 star rating!

 Want to know more about N.K. Smith?




Laura's Big Break by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Laura and Charlie have a past, a past that is slightly complicated with a lot of suppressed feelings and unresolved issues. Charlie took Laura’s virginity and the second after it happened he ran like his pants were on fire. Laura’s best friend is Charlie’s little sister, Maddie, so they can’t exactly avoid each other forever. Charlie is a doctor, working in the military until he rescued a little orphan girl from a building that was under attack. Now he is a hero and Laura needs an interview to get her serious journalist career going. Charlie agrees under the condition that Laura spends a two week cycling vacation with him.

The main part of the story takes place in Holland as we follow Charlie and Laura on their vacation. I’ve been to Holland numerous times and I love it there. I really enjoyed the change in location as most contemporaries take place in the States. It was just nice to have a different background in this story. On their trip, Laura and Charlie discover that their distaste for each other over the years might stem from sexual frustration but until they come to that conclusion they tease each other mercilessly. Both characters are independent and sure of themselves. They do not submit to each other and butt heads quite often. In the end it is not easy for them forget about pride and be vulnerable but there is a very sweet happy ending that will leave you satisfied and with a smile on your face.

The main focus of Laura’s Big Break certainly is on fun and humor. While the romance between Charlie and Laura is there for you to enjoy it is kept in the background and the sex scenes are quite clean and mild. If you want drama, angst or a tragic love story, Laura’s Big Break is not what you’re looking for. If a funny, laugh out loud, cheeky and cute contemporary romance is your thing, then definitely give this a go. The writing is great and you won’t regret it. Janet Elizabeth Henderson has one other book on her backlist that gives us the story of Charlie’s sister Maddie in Mad Love.

Laura’s Big Break is one of those undiscovered gems of which there are a lot of in self-published literature. I greatly enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone who is on the lookout for a romantic comedy.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

 Want to know more about Janet Elizabeth Henderson?



Friday, November 23, 2012

In The Band by Jean Haus

Riley Middleton has given up a percussion scholarship out of state, made the choice to attend the local college while living at home, and pretty much singlehandedly runs the household.  Riley's parents are filing for divorce.  While her father is already engaged to another woman, her mother is an emotional mess.  Missing the beat of the drums, as it has always provided her escape, Riley tries out for a local college band, and makes it.  The lead guitarist, Romeo, acts like a complete jerk and makes it obvious he's trying to get her to quit.  Riley is determined to ignore his rudeness, and the small spark that leaps between them, in order to keep her place in the band.  As she gets to know Romeo, however, his true personality shines through, and she knows that resistance is futile.  With her family life falling apart around her, Romeo is everything good and right in her world.  But, when things worsen at home, and choices have to be made, what will become of their newfound love?

Most people, who know me, know that I am a HUGELY CRAZY fan of rock star/rock band stories.  It's an illness, frankly:)  So, when I read the summary for In The Band, it was a no-brainer that I would read and review it.  I figured, unless there were serious problems, I was going to walk away pretty pleased.  And, I did!  In The Band is fun, easy to read, and there are a few aspects that I really enjoyed about this book.  So, let's start with those. 

Riley is an endearing character from the start.  She loves her mom and, especially, her little sister so very much.  She takes on most of the everyday burdens of running a house and raising an eight-year-old sister after her parents split up.  Riley is also doing her best to keep her mother going while she's in the midst of depression.  I felt deeply for Riley, and thoroughly enjoyed every time she entered her zone and KILLED IT playing drums with the band!

Romeo, after a rocky start, showed himself to be a sincere, serious and wise individual.  Past hurts have allowed him to grow and see life in ways many twenty-one-year-olds might not.  He respects love and commitment, and that was truly a nice thing to see.  Plus, the boy plays just about every instrument AND writes songs.  THAT is hot!

Riley and Romeo, together, have a lovely connection.  They take things slowly, and encounter some hurdles, but, ultimately they fall very much in love.  This is young love at its best.  Toward the very end of In The Band, particularly, there are some great scenes between these two.

To me, what makes this a 4-star book rather than a 5-star is one of the very things I loved about it.  Riley begins to come across as just a little bit too much of a martyr.  Honestly, I admire her for her selflessness, but it made less of a positive impression on me the more she kept on.  It did not add to the story. 

Speaking of the story, I have to mention, my only other issue is the fact that there are some obvious, though not overwhelming, spelling and grammar errors.

In the end, Jean Haus does a great job with In The Band!  If you love a good musician/band book as much as I do, I say give this one a try.  Hopefully we'll see more from this author in the future! 

**A copy was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 Want to know more about Jean Haus?



Splage says: In the Band, the perfect example of traditional young adult romance: sweet innocent love, angst, stupidity due to immaturity, more angst, and lots sexual frustration. What you also get with this story is a hot rocker/boxer as hero who has a strong sense of morals and a nasty attitude when he wanted to give it. There was depth in the plot and some real hardships and choices that Riley, the heroine had to deal with throughout because of her family situation...hence the angst. I enjoyed the book and it had me rooting loudly for Riley to succeed in the male rock and roll world. I can't get enough of these rocker story lines!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rouge by Leigh Talbert Moore

Setting: 1890s New Orleans, cabaret

Hale Ferrer, born and raised in the seedier side of the theater world, longs to escape her circumstances.  She refuses to leave behind Teeny, the young girl she rescued and helped to raise.  Hale, having learned to be practical and think only of survival, has a plan.  Wealthy Parisian businessman, Freddie Lovel, has fallen for Hale, and attends her performances most nights.  She has convinced him that she is a lady with no family, and is merely part of the cabaret due to dire straits.  Hale fully expects Freddie to propose and take her, and Teeny, far away from this life.  Into the midst of Hale's grand plan, walks Beauregard Faire (Beau), a poor stagehand who is immediately taken with the cabaret star, and, during one of their first encounters, saves Hale's life.  Hale soon realizes that her master plan is in jeopardy as she has come to love Beau as well.  Despite real concerns and trepidation, Hale strongly considers choosing love over guaranteed financial safety.  That is, until a terrible chain of events occurs which could, instead, cost her everything.

What Worked For Me:

Technically, the story is very well-written.  There is a lack of grammar and punctuation errors that was very refreshing.  Rouge reads like a sweet, clean, adult historical romance with a few mild suspense elements.  The author's storytelling is, at times, engaging and lovely.  This was especially true in the last half of the story, where the pace picked up and the plot came into focus.  For me, the most enjoyable aspect of Rouge was Hale's history and relationship with Roland, the cabaret's young musical director.  These two had the truest, most tangible, connection in the story.  Even when they were fighting, I absolutely loved the two of them together. 

What Didn't Work For Me:

For me, sadly, the first half of Rouge was quite slow. The pacing felt off to me in some way. It's unfortunate because the author, Leigh Talbert Moore, has very real talent. I also have to say that I felt Hale made a bizarrely quick leap from thoroughly disregarding Beau because he was a mere stagehand to falling in love with him after he rescued her. Though, in my opinion, both Hale and Beau fell in love very quickly and conveniently. It felt too quick and convenient. What was especially disappointing, though, was the lack of passion between Beau and Hale.  I honestly felt only a very tepid connection between the two. I tried to believe in their love.  I *wanted* to believe in their love.

Rouge is book one of a series, and it does not end with a happily-ever-after.  I will say that, thankfully, it does not end mid-scene.  There is a proper stopping point and ending for this portion of the series.  I can tell you I fully expect that there is a happily-ever-after coming in the future:)

**A copy was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**

 Want to know more about Leigh Talbert Moore?