Friday, June 23, 2017

Review & Excerpt: Trusting You & Other Lies - Nicole Williams









USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.

Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years--do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum--the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out--and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?


Review
5 Stars
I love young adult and new adult novels, I don't think there is an age limit on your genre tastes, so I can safely say I am a massive, one-click fan of Sarah Dessen. Nicole Williams' Trusting You & Other Lies is of the same caliber, that is to say, amazing. In recent years I have read far more adult novels, but this new release made me remember why I love YA/NA reads so much. The feelings, the endless possibilities, the lessons we learn at that age that remain relevant even as we age, they are all in this book and then some. Plus, it helps that the cover is stunning, eye catching, and bears the name of Nicole Williams; she's an author guaranteed to give you a good story with fantastic dialogue and riveting prose. 

"I didn't do boy-crazy, I reminded myself. I didn't do weak-kneed and tongue-tied and starry-eyed. I did Miss Independent. I did my won thing. I did guys-were-a-nice-perk-but-not-the-pinnacle. That was my MO."

Phoenix and her parents haven't been in a good place for two years, she knows they're keeping secrets. Forced to spend the summer before her senior year at a family summer camp, Phoenix is anything, but happy. The only saving grace is her brother Harrison, his happiness is more important. She's using the time to work as a counselor and save money to buy a car so she can leave her family and all their problems behind. When she finds out that her trainer is the tough, but warm counselor known as Callum she thinks things might just perk up a little, that she'd even have a friend during the mess. What she doesn't count on is her part in number of camp incidents and their trust slowly dwindling away even as their friendship evolves into something more.

"I didn't really know him at all, but I could already tell Callum wasn't your typical guy. I like that about him. Or i respected that about him, because - I reminded myself- there was nothing I should "like" when it came to Callum."

Trusting You & Other Lies took me back to my summer vacations from school, I was a massive fan of summer camp, but Phoenix's other issues felt like my own. Secrets kept by parents are hard, as a teen you are already a jumble of emotions, but being forced to endure a summer of family bonding, even though there is no bond to work on? Even harder. Phoenix is a tough character, we're only aware of her general unhappiness with her family, her absolute hatred of spending her summer away from her friends, and that she relies on morning runs to get her through everything. Even her take on no boys becomes muddied once she meets Callum. He challenges her, he makes her face his trust issues, though he struggles to face his own. Through first meeting, to first accident, and all the way to the very end, they share this connection that neither is prepared to confess to. I loved Callum, his history, and every single page that he showed up on. He's the boy you wouldn't probably pick first to fall for, but once you do he's everything you ever wanted, even if you didn't know it. He and Phoenix have a rocky friendship, a blossoming young relationship, and a shared lesson in trust, forgiveness, and self-love. Phoenix's family though, their issues require some extensive digging to work through. There's no easy way to be a parent, there's no easy way to be a kid, and Nicole Williams did a stunning job showing just how frustrating it is to be at that middle age where you're still a teen, but on the cusp of adulthood.

"I couldn't look at him. I could barely talk to him. I was just so angry at him and circumstances and...I was just so, so angry."

It's a cute, summer read that tackles relevant topics for teens, but in a way that doesn't take over the story. I loved the activities, the interactions, every single bit of dialogue, and Harry is the cutest child I've ever met in a book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me want to read all of my favorite summer-y YA books again. There's extensive character development and every character, even the most minor one, like her dad, show growth through out the novel. Just as rivers do, Phoenix's family life had roaring rapids to it, but the calm peace could be found along it too. Trusting You & Other Lies is a coming of age story that readers of all ages can pick up and relate to, whether from nostalgia or present experience. It made me want to be a teen again, to experience those butterflies again, and even to learn those hard lessons that make youth something we all look back on.

"When he was kissing me, it was easy to forget that summer would come to an end."


It felt like hardly any time had passed at all before the bike slowed when we made it into Flagstaff. Callum took a sudden turn that led away from the main part of the city, and we weren’t on that road long before it opened up into a parking lot.
My arms tightened around him when I scanned the parking lot. Other than the bike’s headlight, I couldn’t make out any-thing else.

“Okay, we’re stopped now. Think you could ease up your death grip on me before you crush my liver?” He parked the bike and turned off the engine.It was so quiet out here. Scary quiet. 
“Where are we?” I loosened my grip, but I didn’t let go.
He glanced at me over his shoulder. “Don’t you like a surprise?”
“Not when I’m in the middle of some dark parking lot late at night.”
Callum fought a smile. “It’s barely eight. Not quite the witching hour.”
An owl hooted from somewhere in the woods. I jumped. 
“Where the hell are we?”
He stopped fighting his smile. “The Lowell Observatory. Perfectly safe and nonthreatening, I swear.”
“What are we observing?”
Callum waited for my arms to drop at my sides before sliding off the bike. “Pretty much anything you want to up there.” He tipped his head and looked up at the sky.
My head followed. “The stars? That’s what we’re going to be looking at?”
“Stars, moons, planets. Take your pick.” He helped me undo the helmet’s chin strap after I fought with it on my own for a few seconds. 
“This is one of my favorite places.”
“In Arizona?”
“Anywhere,” he answered, pulling a small flashlight from his pocket and turning it on. He pointed it in the direction of a sidewalk and started toward it, making sure I was close beside him.
“How many times have you been here?” I asked.
“I come a few times every summer, more when I was coming here with my family.”
I kept my focus on the light in front of us. With that bright beam, the black didn’t seem so thick around us.“So are you into astronomy?” I asked.
“You could say that.” 
When another owl hooted, I didn’t leap out of my boots. This time I barely flinched. Callum’s presence calmed me. 
“But I didn’t know it the first time I came. I only started getting into astronomy a few years ago.”
“Why did you first start coming here?” We were getting closer to what I guessed was the observatory, but nothing about it screamed tourist attraction.
“It was Ben’s idea, I guess. He knew about the trouble my brother was getting into at home and that I was following in his footsteps. He has this freaky way of looking at a person and knowing what they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. Those first couple of summers at camp he used to be able to take one look at me and know when I was about to do something I’d probably regret.” He paused and shook his head. “I really hated Ben at first.”
“And now you love him.” I nudged him as we approached a doorway.
“And now I respect him. I appreciate what he’s doing and why he does it.” He turned off the flashlight and held open the door for me.
“So your mom would bring you here to look up at the sky and your problems were solved?”
He chuckled softly. “That’s what Ben tried to sell. He said there was nothing like looking up at the universe to make my problems shrivel into nonexistence.”
“Is that doubt I’m detecting in your voice?”
“That’s I- know- better- from- experience in my voice.” Callum waved at a lady sitting behind a counter at the front and led me inside. It was dark in here, too, which made me shift a bit closer to Callum. 
“Ben tried really hard to sell me on the perspective thing, but, I don’t know, looking up at the stars or thinking about the size of the universe didn’t make my issues seem any smaller or less significant. They were still the exact same size when I walked out of this place.”
“Then why did you keep coming back?” I asked as he stopped behind the biggest telescope I’d seen in real life.
“Because it got me out of my head, you know?” he answered immediately. “It got me to focus on something else for a while, and even though I’d leave here with the same problems I walked in with, they felt more manageable. More like I could handle them.”
I hadn’t expected him to open up like that. That was becoming a trend when it came to Callum. One minute he came off as the most closed- off person I’d ever met, and the next he could spill his guts. 
“And then you fell in love with the stars,” I said, watching him as he looked through the telescope, making a few adjustments on the dials.
“And then I did.” 
He made one last adjustment before motioning me to look. Even though it was dark, his eyes were glowing. I’d seen him in his element this summer, but never like this. If this wasn’t passion, I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen it.
“So you’re saying this place has played a totally insignifi-cant role in your life?” I smiled at him as I moved up to the telescope.
“Completely insignificant.” 
He stepped aside to give me room to look.I wound my hair around one shoulder, closed one eye, and leaned over so I could peek through the eyepiece. I could have been looking at a star just as easily as I could have been looking at a planet or a moon. I didn’t feel my problems drifting away from me by the masses, disappearing into the Milky Way, but just like Callum had said, somehow they felt less overwhelming. Less powerful.The longer I stared up there, the stronger I felt down here. 
“I get it,” I whispered after another minute, feeling like the entire universe was staring back at me as I gazed into it.He took a step closer. 
“I knew you would.”

AP  new -about the author.jpg
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.





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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Release Blitz & Review: Pure Hearts - Jeannine Allison

Title: Pure Hearts
Author: Jeannine Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 22, 2017
She gave me her kidney. I gave her my heart...
Nicholas Blake learned a long time ago that nobody does anything for free. He’s felt the pain of lies and manipulations enough times to know that people only look out for themselves, and that all good deeds come with a price. So when he wakes up from a near deadly car accident and finds out a stranger is offering to donate her kidney, he’s immediately suspicious of her intentions.
What he doesn’t expect is Iris Chamberlain, a beautiful woman with a big smile and an even bigger heart, claiming she just wants to help. The more time Nick spends with Iris, the more he starts to believe in what he always thought was impossible: a pure heart.
But betrayal leaves a bitter mark. Will Nick be able to let go of his past and let Iris in? And will Iris be able to show him what it truly means to have a pure heart?
United Indie Book Blog - “This is a beautiful, raw and emotional story.” Bad and Dirty Books - “Pure Hearts has heart, intention but most of all a story to tell. A story I'm grateful I got to experience.” Becca (Goodreads Review) - “This book is perfection. I have nothing to say. Hurry up and read it as soon as it’s released! You don’t want to miss it out.”

5 Stars
 Nicholas Blake is hardened and distrustful, he excepts only the worst, and knows everything comes with a price. After a nearly-fatal car accident, he finds himself in need of a kidney transplant and his spot on the list isn't very high. When a young woman offers her kidney, he knows she has to want something, he just isn't sure what. Iris Chamberlain is beautiful, smart, and kind, but even after spending all their time together he cannot find it in himself to trust her. He cannot see how anyone can be so happy, so good, so pure. When their relationship forms into a friendship and later a romance, their bond is tested by secrets that might break Nick for the last time.

"I choose to see the good in people because too many people see the bad."

Pure Hearts is a sweet read with a bit of an angsty-punch. Jeannine Allison built the story up in layers, introducing us to each character, each person's background, a little at a time. It's a relatable story with a profound, but simple message; see the good in all you can. Main characters Iris and Nick meet by chance, drawn together by Iris' goodwill and natural calling to help. Nick's skepticism would push anyone away, but not Iris, and not his mother that sees something more could be brewing. Their relationship is a slow build, it is anything but love at first sight, but it makes for engaging dialogue, natural progression, and encounters that would make anyone think they had found their soulmate. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle, Iris bringing out the once-buried happiness in Nick's life. Even the secondary characters carry the story forward, with Nick's mom encouraging his growth and Iris' family caring for her in ways she never even realized they did. I felt connected to the characters from the start and found myself cheering right alongside Nick's mom for the good to outweigh Nick's heavy heart.

"Because I was beginning to think that the thing I was going to live for, the thing my heart would beat for, and the thing worth finding...I'd already found. She was standing right in front of me."

I am a massive fan of Jeannine Allison, from her first release to this most recent novel, she writes characters that are honest and inspiring, story lines that are real, and books that break the mold. They're engaging, well-written, and inspiring in ways you wouldn't expect. Pure Hearts made me want to be an Iris, her personality is infection and her outlook on the world is refreshing. It's an emotional story with a sweet ending and a life lesson that we all should remember. It's about trust, love, and forgiveness and I think readers will find themselves in love with it just as I am.

"Anger was the easiest mask to slip on, the most readily available. It was bulletproof-nearly indestructible. Little could penetrate it. Not grief, reason, or love."

Jeannine Allison is an author of contemporary and New Adult romance. After waffling between many degrees in college, she finally graduated with a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University.
She loves writing and reading -- obviously :) -- but when she's not she enjoys playing with her two dogs, obsessing over new makeup, drinking coffee, googling new tattoos, and pretty much anything else that allows her to wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt ;)
She is a big fan of being exactly who you are. Her favorite stories to write are about characters finding and loving who they are.

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Cover Reveal: Lost & Found - Anna B. Doe

Lost & Found (New York Knights, book 1)
by Anna B. Doe 
Genre: NA romance
Cover Design: Emily Wittig, Emily Wittig Designs and Photography
Release Date: July 22nd, 2017

Synopsis:
I don’t know what I want to do with my life. The only thing I am sure of is that this is not what I imagined my life to be. So, instead of staying and trying to figure out what is wrong, I choose to run away. I choose the unknown. I choose the adventure.
My name is Anabel Majer, and I’m lost.

I have it all—well, almost all: family, health, money, fame, career, women, you name it. The only thing I am missing is a Super Bowl ring—or so I thought until the night everything changed. One night, a small Tinkerbell collided with my life, and I am gone.
My name is William Price, and I found her.

She is everything he wanted.
He is everything she needed to stay away from.
What happens if at the end of the journey you lose more than you find?



AUTHOR BIO:
Anna B. Doe is an indie author of the contemporary romance novel Lost & Found, book one in the New York Knights series. She is also a college student at the University of Zadar in Croatia where she is studying education science and Spanish. When she isn’t studying (which is most of the time), she’s reading books, watching TV shows, or traveling the world working as an au pair. She is addicted to coffee and a big lover of dogs. Anna writes what she loves to read, which is romance. She is currently working on the second book in the New York Knights series and the first book of her new YA series.

You can find out more about Anna online:  
Email: annabdoe@gmail.com
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/annabdoeauthor/
Facebook group: https://web.facebook.com/groups/255162421598032/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bookmantic/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16835123.Anna_B_Doe

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Release Blitz & Review: Wrecked - Jeannine Colette




WRECKED by Jeannine Colette
 New Adult Contemporary Romance


Take one sexy bartender. Add a badass cop. A splash of sweet, that's me. One sour, that's him... and serve over ice.

That’s how you’ll get to my current situation.

You know the girl - the one who commands the scene, bottle of liquor in hand, pouring liquid fire into the willing throats of patrons as they let loose at the local bar?

That's me.

I may be known as the town party girl, but in reality I'm this close to my dream of opening my own bar - McConaugheys. Yes, it will be named after the acclaimed actor. What can I say? I’m a sucker for that sexy Texan.

Everything was going as planned until the night I had a few drinks and accepted a ride home from a friend. A misunderstanding leads to an arrest, and now I'm at the mercy of the one man I can’t stand, and trust me, the feeling is definitely mutual.

Adam Reingold is six-feet-tall and built like a stallion -- the man is the epitome of male. He also happens to be the town narc and hates my guts. There’s a story to our past and it's not a pretty one.

So, now, here I am, chained to him for the summer like a hardened criminal, doing whatever he tells me to do. Problem is, I can’t help but look at him when he’s not watching and wonder what our future could be like if things were different.

There are so many reasons why he’s all wrong for me. Even more reasons why I need to stay away from him.


It’s a cocktail of trouble. Best served shaken, not stirred.

Add to Your TBR: http://bit.ly/2qc9VaL

PURCHASE TODAY


Review
5 Stars

Leah wants to prove she's more than the girl who didn't go on to college and stayed in her hometown forever, she wants to go from bartender to bar owner. McConaughey's is her dream, but when a poor decision threatens her dream and her reputation, she bargains with all she has. Adam, the cop that ruins everyone's fun, allows her to work community service building homes alongside him. 100 hours should've been easy, but Leah isn't prepared for the memories and feelings that come back to life after being pushed away years prior. The fun bartender and the strict cop are mixing their lives together, it's a cocktail you'd never want to order, but it just might bring out the best in both of them.

"Like two ends of a magnet, our souls are being drawn toward one another. I am the negative, and he is the positive."

I won't deny it, I picked up Wrecked up for the cover and the blurb that I thought gave away a lot of information. I still think it does (and that it's a little long), but it doesn't give away it all. The blurb doesn't tell you that Jeannine Colette's writing in Wrecked is incredible, that you'll both laugh and try to hold onto some tears, that the plot has so much more to it than first meets the eye. Wrecked reads like a rom-com with a bit more of a punch to it. Main characters Adam and Leah are in a fight against their emotions and their past, one that holds so much more weight to it as the story unfolds. Told in first-person from Leah's POV, readers follow a story that is so relatable; the characters question their self worth, learn how to heal from tragedy, and accept love into their hearts.

"Funny thing about trying to distance yourself from someone when you're in a tight space is, the further you move away from each other, the closer you become."

I tend to read similar story lines over and over, I have a thing for bad boys and good girls, Wrecked definitely doesn't follow the cliche. There's no alpha, jerk male and Leah is not a meek heroine. There's so much more to both Adam and Leah, their love story is one that grows while they each overcome and grow as well. Wrecked has the perfect character development, each situation moving the story forward and making the characters a bit more complex. Driven mostly by dialogue, Leah and Adam revisit their past, right their wrongs, and fix a broken-connection that should never have been severed in the first place. I laughed often, fell in love with tough-but-sweet Adam, and cheered for Leah as she overcame her insecurities. 

"If he's being wrecked by me, then I've been shattered, damaged, destroyed by him."

Wrecked is my first book from Jeannine Colette, thanks to Lauren Runow's suggestion, and it definitely won't be my last. It's a feel good story, but written in such a way that you won't want to put it down. Readers will find themselves invested in Leah's story, feeling all the same emotions as she faces life head on with a few Matthew McConaughey quotes to cheer her on.


The Abandon CollectionCheck out Jeannine Colette's other works!





About Jeannine Colette




Jeannine Colette is the author of the ABANDON COLLECTION – A series of stand-alone novels featuring dynamic heroines who have to abandon their reality in order to discover themselves . . . and love along the way.

A graduate of Wagner College and the New York Film Academy, Jeannine went on to become a Segment Producer for television shows on CBS and NBC. She is now a full-time author who spends her days at Starbucks, writing and listening to way too much Snow Patrol. She lives in New York with her husband, the three tiny people she adores more than life itself, and a rescue pup named Wrigley.

Follow Jeannine Colette

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JeannineColetteBooks/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeannineColett?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Website: https://jeanninecolette.com/
Instagram: @JeannineColette


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Release Blitz: Trusting You and Other Lies - Nicole Williams








USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.

Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years--do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better?
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum--the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out--and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?





AP  new -about the author.jpg

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.



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