Friday, February 9, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: Living Out Loud - Staci Hart

Living Out Loud-Blog tour.jpg

Living Out Loud, an all-new emotional standalone from Staci Hart is available NOW!

Bestselling author Staci Hart brings you another installment of the Austen Series, inspired by the works of Jane Austen, with a heartfelt contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility.
When Annie Daschle arrives in New York City, the only thing she can control is her list.
Not her father’s death or the loss of her home. Not the hole in her heart or the defective valve that’s dictated so much of her life. But she can put pen to paper to make a list of all the ways she can live out loud, just like her dad would have wanted.
See the city from the top of the Empire State Building: Check.
Eat hot dogs on the steps of The Met: Check.
Get a job at Wasted Words: Check.
What wasn’t on her list: Greg Brandon. And just when she thinks she’s figured out where to put him, everything changes. In the span of a few staggering heartbeats, she finds herself her caught in the middle of something she can’t find her way out of, with no clear answers and no rules.
List or no list, she realizes she can’t control anything at all, not even her heart.
Not the decisions it makes, and not the moment it stops.

4.5 Stars

Jane Austen meets contemporary romance in the third novel in the Austen series by Staci Hart. Living Out Loud features middle Daschle sister, Annie, and the perplexing situation she finds herself in when two gentlemen set their sights on her. Set amongst the backdrop of the famous Wasted Words bookstore and bar, Annie begins her adult life in a new city, around new people, and with a list of firsts to complete along the way.

"But, out of nowhere, she would invade my mind like cigarette smoke."

As a girl raised on the beautiful, romantic words of Jane Austen I've always avoided novels that tell the story in a different way. I like the original, I don't think anything compares, but then I read A Thousand Letters and Wasted Words and I found myself drawn in, addicted to the completely original story and characters that Hart has created with just the right amount of retelling thrown in. It's like baking, where too much salt throws everything off, but she's figured out how to blend the two worlds together perfectly. I found myself unable to even compare Living Out Loud to the story I know all too well, too mesmerized by the sweet, unhurried romance unfolding in the pages to worry about it all. It's the sort of novel you escape into, perfect for a rainy day in or laying out in the green grass with the sun shining down. 

"He'd kept my breath, taking it with him. I wondered if I'd ever get it back."

Living Out Louds takes place in one of my favorite cities, New York. The world is different there, it's bright and shiny, especially to newbie Annie Daschle. She has definitely had a rough go of it, but she's by far the sweetest character I have ever read from any author. She has a great personality and a positive outlook we all should envy, so it's no surprise this novel is about giving her a little dose of reality, but also showing her that dreams, fantasies, and fairytales do exist too. She's got the perfect Austen-esque sisters on either side of her, a heart that she won't give up on, andthe desire to follow through on the most innocent of bucket lists. She's got the world at her fingertips and this book is as dreamy as her goals are. There's also handsome admirer, Greg, willing to do anything to show his level of care for Annie. Unaware of how he's doted on her, Annie's heart leads her to Will, a man in shiny armor, though less so of a knight than she'd like. 

"But mostly I just listened to her, watch her. Heard her. Saw her."

Both men have their positive qualities, though I admit I was automatically #teamgreg and spent several pages expressing my frustration at Annie. She's a wonderful character, full of rainbows and sunshine and naivety, though that final quality is something I ultimately found to be a fault that bothered me. It makes for a very interesting book, for one to be so caught up in the fairytale to forget common sense, but in this case I questioned how a book lover couldn't see any of this coming. The setting though, was perfect. I loved revisiting Wasted Words and the book store family readers have come to love. Annie's list was so fantastic and really lent itself to the overall sweet vibe of the story. It also allows for so much character development, showcasing Annie's optimistic outlook as she overcomes tragedy and personal hurdles. 

"And I found myself feeling foolish and blind and without direction."

Living Out Loud is just another example of why Staci Hart is one of my go-to authors. The characters, the plotlines, the dialogue and writing, it's all so stunning and done so well. There's even one particular moment that I could see happening right before my eyes, like a movie screen had pop up to show me just how Staci Hart's words would have played out. I'll probably forever connect yellow peacoats to Annie. I definitely saw just the right amount of Sense & Sensibility in this one and I think Staci Hart did a perfect job of bringing a contemporary new swing to it. 
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About the Author
AuthorPicsStaci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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