Left Drowning cover

Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left Drowning coverTitle: Left Drowning
Author: Jessica Park
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Book description:

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+

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AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER:
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Review:

I need to take a breath before I write this review. (cue 10 second long breath)

WOW WOW WOW is really all I can say about this story! This is the third book I’ve read by Princess Jessica Park and I can truly say that her writing keeps getting better and better. (As if that’s even possible!) This story, and the characters, will stay with me forever. I really mean that. It’s everything you want and love in a novel. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, sarcastic and thought-provoking. Just incredible!

In most stories you have the hero/heroine with a love interest and some background characters that serve as comic relief, but with Left Drowning, every one of those characters (to me) was a main character and vital to the story telling. I was rooting for each one of them and actually anticipated reading about them in the next scene. This wasn’t just a romance, it was a book about realizing the grass is greener on the other side and life does get better.

Blythe suffered a huge and miserable event in her life that she will never get over. She replays those tragic moments in her head and even though it’s been a while, those memories are still fresh. She’s at a point in her life where she needs…something. A wakeup call, a big break, a change…something.  She’s barely hanging on a thread and still trying to cope with the death of her parents. While in her last year of college, she tries to make the best of it while still struggling to socialize. Then, by a random chance, she meets the Shepherd clan and the siblings change her life in more ways than one. Chris, the oldest, helps her survive and endure the pain, but what she doesn’t know is that she is saving him too. He has his own history which has scarred him for life that Blythe can empathize with. Their pasts link them together and help mend their broken hearts so they can both find joy again.

Left Drowning is worth reading over and over. This story DID make me cry, so take this as a warning…or maybe I’m just an emotional reader. ;) However, if you have a heart, you’ll really adore these people and their personalities. You won’t be able to resist falling in love with this epic story! Absolutely brilliant! Bravo Princess! :)

Jessica ParkAbout Jessica Park:

Jessica Park is the author of the young adult novels Flat-Out Love and Relatively Famous; five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park); and the e-shorts Facebooking Rick Springfield and What the Kid Says (Parts 1 & 2).

Jessica grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending four years in the frigid north, including suffering through one memorable Halloween blizzard, Jessica hightailed it back to the east coast. She now lives in (relatively balmy) New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy addictions to Facebook, Rick Springfield, and super-sweet coffee beverages.

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Review: Then, Again by Karen Stivali

Then, AgainTitle: Then, Again
Author: Karen Stivali
Genre: Romance/ Foodie Romance
Grade/Rating: 4 out 5

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to lose it all to find what you really need.

Photographer Kay Turner is dealt a double whammy when she flies home for her grandmother’s funeral to find her boyfriend with another woman. Now with two losses to mourn, she retreats to her newly inherited beach house to clear her head.

Everything at the beach is familiar: the sounds of the ocean, the scent of her grandmother’s perfume—and the irresistible smile of James Margolis. The man Kay spent her adolescence pining for is every bit as charming as she remembers.

James always thought of Kay as “a nice kid”, but he feels something very different for the woman she’s become. Especially when he asks if she’d be willing to part with some of her grandmother’s recipes for his new restaurant—and they wind up sharing much more than culinary secrets.

But as their relationship deepens, Kay finds herself caught between the demands of her dream career as a travel photographer, and a chance for happiness with the one man she’s wanted for a lifetime.

Warning: This foodie romance contains sensual scone baking, a heroine who discovers one bad apple hasn’t spoiled her appetite, and a delicious hero you can’t help but crave. Blend well, serve hot.

My Review:

                Then, Again is a story of love and strength but also finding and then holding on to what matters most in life. 
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Child of Mine

Review: Child of Mine by Judy Mollen Walters

Child of Mine coverTitle: Child of Mine
Author: Judy Mollen Walters
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction
Grade/Rating: 4 out 5

I’m not one who shops based on book covers (it’s usually never paid off in the past) but I will admit that this particular photo did catch my eye and pulled me in enough to read the synopsis.  Now, there is where I found my true tether…even in the short blurb that accompanied it, a nerve of mine was struck and I felt compelled to read it. And my ever-true “gut” told me I’d like it…

In this story we meet Katie.  A bright woman living a good life with the love of a devoted, supportive husband and a promising career where she finds pure joy on a daily basis as a successful midwife.  Part of Katie’s character is that she is adopted and was blessed with a loving adoptive family, which she has never questioned.  Until now.  Although she has never openly sought the answers to her biological identity, she has always wondered about it and through this story those pesky little questions churn quietly in the background as she grows further into her adult life.  It’s that urge for a biological connection that fuels Katie’s desires to have a family of her own. However, the path she must take is not easy and it tests hers and her marriage’s limits.  As a midwife Katie finds that experiencing countless births is bittersweet as she struggles quietly with her own fertility speed bumps and she finds herself even facing pregnancies that are unwanted or disappointingly unplanned.  What started as a career full of joy and wonder begins to turn into a daily reminder of how “unfair” she feels her life has been.  As a reader and mother I felt sorry for her but knew that her vision of her life may not be what her life was meant to be.  My heart ached for her from time to time and I wanted to rush to the end to see if she was ever blessed with the joys of motherhood.

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THANK YOU ERIN NOELLE!!

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As you all may know, I’m a HUGE Erin Noelle fan!! We even celebrated LLLoves Erin Noelle Day here on the site! So, you can imagine my excitement and shock when Erin asked me if she could use part of my review for her best-selling book (and one of my ALL-TIME FAVS),  Metamorphosis!  Yep! I screamed, shrieked, gasped, almost fainted… haha I made this as a HUGE THANK YOU!

Metamorphosis is OUT NOW and available in a shiny, new paperback! :)

Check out the “Book Boyfriend” Series by the fabulous, Erin Noelle and stay tuned for the release of the second installment, Ambrosia, out JUNE 2013!! :) YAY!!!!

Thank you again and AGAIN Erin! :)

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Playlist, Random Facts & Giveaway ~ THE UPSIDE OF LETTING GO by Nacole Stayton

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Title:  The Upside of Letting Go
Author:  Nacole Stayton
Genre:  New Adult
Release Date:  April 20, 2013
Cover Design byBrett Farizio

Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

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Random Facts about Nacole Stayton

  1. I change my hair color with the seasons.
  2. I started writing The Upside of Letting Go on my Android.
  3. I truly believe every best friend duo should consist of a blonde and a brunette, hence the reason behind Haley being dark haired and Lucy being a blonde.
  4. I’m addicted to tattoos and iced coffee.
  5. The Upside of Letting Go takes place in Alabama because my husband loves their football team and shouts “Roll Tide” nonstop!
  6. I am extremely OCD.
  7. I am a horrible driver. I admit it and own it, what can I say?!
  8. I have a passion for helping homeless people. If you see me on the side of the road with someone don’t be alarmed. I just believe people get the shit end of the stick sometimes and need a reminder that not everyone in the world is a stuck up asshole and there are still people who care about others!
  9. I bleed blue. Aka I am a huge Kentucky Wildcat fan!
  10. My favorite kinds of movies are all dance movies. The Step Up series being at the top of the list. Channing Tatum is yummy!

Connect with Nacole  FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER

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Review: THE UPSIDE OF LETTING GO by Nacole Stayton

tulg jacket final

Title:  The Upside of Letting Go
Author:  Nacole Stayton
Genre:  New Adult
Release Date:  April 20, 2013
Cover Design byBrett Farizio

~ Synopsis ~
Haley Martin decides the only way to let go of her lingering nightmares is to literally move on. Taking a leap of faith she finds herself enrolling at a campus hundreds of miles away from home.
She leaves any thoughts of dating again in Jersey, that is until fate crosses her path with a blue-eyed stud named Kyler King. He is notoriously known for being emotionally unattainable, but his façade is only to hide the burdens he bares every day.

As Kyler and Haley’s physical attraction becomes deeper, the secrets of the past threaten to surface. When Haley’s past collides with the present, will her secrets prove too big of an obstacle hindering their happily ever after, or will letting go be the key that locks their bond forever?

~ Review ~

If you liked Thoughtless and The Edge of Never (two of my favorite reads), I have no doubt that you will like this book too!

The Upside of Letting Go is one of those books which truly exceeded my expectations more than I could have ever imagined. The book, deemed New Adult, had a cover photo of a young man pushing young woman on a swing, and it just didn’t draw me in or “intrigue” me. However, since the time this book originally showed up on Goodreads, the cover photo was updated.

After reading the book, I still don’t feel that the cover does the book justice, but I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to read this book. Otherwise, I think, NO, I KNOW, I would have easily overlooked it and would have missed a well-written storyline with relatable and developed characters who took me on one heck of a ride filled with a mix of emotions.

With a duffel bag hung over her shoulder, Haley Martin boarded a Greyhound bus in New Jersey, leaving behind a past filled with heartbreak and misery, in hopes of starting a new life in a new college town over 500 miles away. It is in Alabama where she meets Kyler King, a beautiful young man with a tragic past as well, who has no interest in settling down with anyone.

“I’m standing face to face with the blue-eyed God from the admin office I saw earlier today. Once again I’m speechless. Our eyes lock, and I feel something I haven’t felt in a very long time: lust.”

Haley and Kyler start spending more and more time together since their respective roommates are dating. But they reach a mutual agreement that they are just going to be friends with some occasional benefits. Neither one of them is ready for the honesty and commitment of a relationship nor are they ready to talk about the defining moments in their lives…the moments which are responsible for building the retaining walls that have protected their hearts…the moments which led to Kyler permanently sleeping with the light on. (Oh, and let me tell you, when you read those “benefit” scenes, you won’t be disappointed!)

“I feel his eyes gaze over my towel-covered body in a hungry way that should make me feel violated but only turns me on. In this moment I don’t care about anything else except filling this void in my heart, and with Kyler looking at me like he wants to accomplish the same goal, I know what’s about to happen.”

With an understanding and strong connection due to those defining moments, their friendship blossoms into true love. Sometimes we can’t understand what another person has been through unless we have lived it ourselves. Haley and Kyler have that understanding.

“Two can play this game, and I don’t think he knows he is playing with fire. I’ve gotten pretty good at loving and leaving, so if this is what his cold shoulder is about, then tonight I’d be more than happy to give him a whirl and send him on his merry way. I know I’m supposed to steer clear of him, and Lord knows I do not need a relationship of any kind, but sex is just sex, right? He is gorgeous, and it’s hard not to appreciate beauty when you keep running into it head on.”

Unfortunately, an integral piece of Haley’s past shows up in her present and threatens to change her new life, the new Haley, and the relationship which she and Kyler have fought so hard to hang onto.

And it was at the end of this book that I truly felt that cover did not do the book justice. In my mind (and before I knew who the inspirations were behind the characters), I knew Haley was absolutely beautiful. Although the cover of the book shows a broken girl, a motorcycle, and darkness, there is also so much light in this book.

Yes, drama and some angst take place, which would explain why I literally went through an entire bag of Hershey Kisses with Almonds. At one point, I wanted to stop reading. I didn’t want my bubble to burst. I smiled, I gasped, I cried, and I screamed “what the hell?” on more than one occasion. Yes, I literally had emotional whiplash from the characters as well as the storyline that completely sucked me in and made me feel like these people were my personal friends.

Without a doubt, The Upside of Letting Go was a 5 star read for me, and I am so thankful that this book literally landed in my lap! Great job Nacole Stayton, and I eagerly await your next book with anticipation! You should be very proud of your debut novel.

Nacole StaytonAbout the Author
Nacole Stayton was born and raised Christian “Nacole” Stayton. She is twenty-three years young and currently resides in the Bluegrass state, Kentucky. She spends her days working at the local hospital and nights writing vigorously on her current novel. She has a passion for helping others and wears her University of Kentucky gear proudly. While her husband loves all things outdoors Nacole enjoys the finer things in life like getting pedicures while reading on her Kindle Fire. Her hair color changes with the seasons and she has a weakness for tattoos and iced coffee.

Read our interview with Nacole!

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Starlight by Alexandra Richland RELEASE DATE ~ MAY 1ST

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It’s COMING!! Starlight, the anticipated debut novel by Alexandra Richland is being released Wed, May 1, 2013! :)

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Book Description: October 1952 finds eighteen-year-old Marie Bates relocating from her rainy hometown in the Pacific Northwest to the sun-soaked streets of Los Angeles, California. Marie’s plans for a teaching career take an unexpected turn when she’s asked to take a screen test at a major motion picture studio.

Renamed Elizabeth Sutton by the studio heads, she lands her first role as an extra. On set, Elizabeth spies Aidan Evans, a rebellious, twenty-three-year-old Method actor from New York. Branded as a stuck-up troublemaker by his famous Hollywood peers, Elizabeth suspects a tragic secret lurks behind Aidan’s steely facade.

As their careers hit the fast track and friendship evolves into romance, the expectations of Hollywood stardom threaten to shine a spotlight on Aidan’s dark past before he can make peace with it. Elizabeth must help Aidan confront the painful event that shattered his life and conquer a terrifying truth before it destroys him and their future together.

The first book in the Starlight Trilogy, Starlight is a story of love & redemption set against the backdrop of the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

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ONCE SHE REACHES 200 LIKES ON FB,
Alex will release an exclusive teaser from Starlight! :)