Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn

Title: Loving Dallas (Neon Dreams #2)
Author: Caisey Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky rad to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.

Since turning the last page of Caisey Quinn’s Leaving Amarillo I have been pretty much dying for Loving Dallas. I just had to know where the story would go next and what was going on with Dallas. My patience paid off because Loving Dallas was ABSOLUTELY worth the wait.

Dallas is finally getting what he wants after so many years of chasing his dream. Now he’s ready to make it big in country music. But getting to Nashville, hasn’t been easy. Dallas has had to sacrifice everything, including his band and most of his relationships, in order to get to where he is today. So the last person he expected to find on his tour is Robyn, the girl he left behind in order to chase his music dream. Robyn has put the past behind her and is now a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a big liquor company. She loves her job, but working on the same tour as Dallas, the man who broke her heart, is proving more difficult than she expected. It doesn’t take long before old feelings get stirred up and both Dallas and Robyn start wondering if everything they’ve sacrificed was worth it, if it meant not having each other in their lives.

Oh man. Loving Dallas. When I finished reading Leaving Amarillo earlier this year, I was pretty much dying to read Loving Dallas. But at the same time, I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t particularly like Dallas in the first book. In fact, I pretty much downright disliked him. So reading a book that was all about him and half told from his perspective? Yeah, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go down. But well, that didn’t turn out to be an issue. At all. Once I started reading Loving Dallas, I had a whole lot of trouble putting the book down. I just couldn’t stop reading. The story completely grabbed me. I wanted to find out everything there was to know about Robyn and Dallas, about their history together and what that meant for them now. The romance between those two was so much more than what I thought it was going to be (did I mention I had a few issues with Dallas before starting this book). It doesn’t hurt that seeing people who have a history get together is one of my favourite things to read when it comes to romance, but still. Even if that wasn’t the case, I would have loved Robyn and Dallas’s story. There’s just no way I couldn’t have. And once again, Caisey Quinn totally left me begging for the next book. I finished Loving Dallas and all I could think about was how much I wanted to read Missing Dixie. Like right now.

Any hang ups I had about Dallas Lark went out the window the moment I started reading Loving Dallas. He wasn’t the asshole I had thought him to be after I finished reading Leaving Amarillo. I mean, I suspected he wasn’t, but he didn’t exactly give me much to go on in that first book. But now I’m pretty much all in favour of Dallas. I would be happy to keep reading about him. And falling for him in the process. Because that’s totally what happened to me while reading Loving Dallas (totally an appropriate title, for what was happening to me). Sure, there were some times when I wanted to knock some sense into him because he was making some stupid choices, but at the end of the day, I loved Dallas. Almost as much as Robyn loved him. And Robyn was basically awesome. I loved reading about a girl who was kicking ass in the business world and didn’t take crap from anyone. But at the same time, I could feel her pain. How much she had been hurt by everything that went down with Dallas. So she was hesitant to start something again with him, especially in the middle of a huge music tour. But Dallas and Robyn together were kind of perfect in a totally imperfect way. And that’s really the best kind of romance. 

Needless to say that I loved Caisey Quinn’s Loving Dallas. If you love romance and country music, the Neon Dreams series is one you should get your hands on. It has music, drama, sweetness and romance…basically everything I love all rolled into one. And on that note, here’s Robyn’s description of Dallas. And it’s a pretty damn accurate description of how I felt while reading. 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blog Tour - Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler

Title: Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modelling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls…opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course). Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the on thing she’s always loved…and the person she never imagined she could.

It’s only just recently that I finally read Dahlia Adler’s Behind the Scenes, but as soon as I was finished reading I knew I needed Under the Lights. I was so excited about reading this story and I’m so happy it lived up to everything I built it up to be in my mind.

Josh Chester has a reputation as a Hollywood bad boy and he loves it. But lately, Josh is getting tired of the bad boy lifestyle. Especially when it involves being blackmailed by his own mother to be on a reality TV show. In an effort to get out of it, and to help out his best friend and help his own reputation, Josh takes a guest starring role on Daylight Falls, playing Vanessa Park’s new love interest. But unlike every other female in Hollywood, Vanessa is completely unaffected by Josh, and that only makes him more intent on charming her. For maybe five seconds, Vanessa was interested in Josh. But that was al on time ago. Now, she sees him for who she really is and the last thing she wants is to have to act opposite him on her TV show. She already has enough on her plate with her best friend having moved across the country for college and the feelings she’s been having for Brianna, her publicist’s new intern. There’s never been a single doubt in Vanessa’s mind about wanting to be an actor, but can she still do that while also being with the person she never could have imagined she would want. 

When I read Behind the Scenes a couple months ago, I read it in the span of a day. I got sucked into the story and I didn’t want to stop reading. So guess what happened when I started reading Under the Lights? If you guessed that I read it in a day, you would be right. It’s typically what happens when I read one of Dahlia Adler’s books. So Under the Lights. I was so excited to read it. But at the same time, I was curious as to how a story told in alternating perspectives by characters who aren’t love interests for each other would work. I mean, in my experience, when there’s alternating points of view, those two people tend to end up together. But that wasn’t the case with Josh and Vanessa. Instead, this ended up being a story about their friendship, which I pretty much loved. But outside of the unlikely (and at times very amusing) friendship between those two, this was obviously also about the romance. And that wasn’t a “traditional” romance. Dahlia Adler wrote a romance between two girls that felt completely real, and reading about it and the difficulties that came with it at times broke my heart. But what I loved most of all about the romance between Vanessa and Brianna was that Dahlia Adler wasn’t afraid to go places that you don’t necessarily see in other YA novels, even LGBTQ ones. So many of the scenes between Van and Bri were touching and heartwarming and ultimately that had a lot to do with the two girls themselves.

It didn’t take long at all for me to start rooting for Vanessa and Brianna. I already knew Vanessa from Behind the Scenes, but I didn’t know everything that was going on inside her head. How she was questioning every romantic relationship she’d had in her life because none of them had ever felt the way she was told they were supposed to feel. I could tell how much she was struggling and I wanted so much for her to find that thing she was looking for that she had heard so much about. And that’s where Brianna came in. Brianna knew exactly who she was, and who she wanted. But just like Van, Bri also had her own insecurities and struggles. And the two of them together were fantastic. I’ve said it already, but I was rooting for them right away. And then they broke my heart a few times. And then they put it back together. So I loved them. And then there was Josh. I’m not exactly sure how to put Josh into words. But as horrible of a human being as he could be, I liked him right away (don’t know what that says about me, though). And that’s because I knew that he wasn’t the asshole he let people believe he was. In his own way, he was there for the people he cared about, even if he sometimes didn’t know exactly how to show it. So I loved seeing him come into his own over the course of the book. I loved seeing him figure out who he was and who he wanted to be. And as I mentioned earlier, I loved seeing his friendship with Vanessa develop. A friendship between those two didn’t exactly make sense (he calls her K-drama because she’s Korean-American and an actress—and as offensive as it was, he meant lovingly…for the most part). But both of them needed that friendship in their lives, they just didn’t know it. But I loved it all the same. 

As you might have guessed by now, I absolutely loved Dahlia Adler’s Under the Lights. This was a beautiful story about a friendship between a boy and a girl, and a romance between two girls. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Favorite Quotes!

As part of the tour, I was asked to share some of my favorite quotes from Under the Lights. There were so many quotes that I could share, but here are three of my favorites, one each from Vanessa, Brianna and Josh.


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Monday, June 15, 2015

Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy

Title: Daisy and the Front Man (Backstage Pass #3)
Author: Rebekah L. Purdy
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Indigo
Hell hath no fury like a fangirl scorned…

When Daisy Morris finds out she’s spending the summer with her dad, bodyguard for Seconds to Juliet—the hottest boy band around—she knows it couldn’t be more perfect. Not because she’s a fan. Oh, no. Because ever since front man Trevin Jacobs completely humiliated her by standing her up for homecoming, Daisy is out for a little revenge. Yup, Trevin Jacobs is goin’ down…

When one of his bandmates bets Trevin he can’t make Daisy—the gorgeous but surprisingly ice-cold daughter of their bodyguard—fall in love with him, it’s a bet he can’t resist. Sure, Daisy won’t give him the time of day for reasons he can’t understand, and her dad’s hell-bent against his little girl spending time with a superstar. But the terms are set, and Trevin is determined to make Daisy fall…hard.

But every front man should know never to trust a girl with a pretty face…

Boy bands and romance. Do I really need to say more to explain why I’ve been totally loving the Backstage Pass series? Every book I’ve read in the series I’ve loved and it was no different with Rebekah L. Purdy’s Daisy and the Front Man.

Last fall, Daisy Morris was completely humiliated after her favourite member of Seconds to Juliet, the hottest boy band, stood her up for homecoming. Instead of the best night of her life, all she got was a typed up generic letter and a signed headshot. Now, Daisy is getting ready to spend the summer with her absentee father…who just happens to be Seconds to Juliet’s bodyguard. And Daisy is determined to make Trevin Jacobs pay for what he did. As a member of Seconds to Juliet, Trevin is used to having girls fawning over him everywhere he goes. But his bodyguard’s daughter won’t even give him the time of day. So when one of his bandmates proposes a bet, suggesting that he can’t make Daisy fall involve with him by the end of summer, Trevin steps up to the challenge. But what starts out as a bet and a revenge mission, quickly starts to feel like something that can actually be real.

Boy bands are definitely among my weaknesses. And when you combine them with romance, I’m pretty much powerless. Which is why I’ve totally been loving Entangled Crush’s Backstage Pass series. And there’s also the added fun that each of the books in the series was written by a different author so it keeps things interesting. Which brings me to the latest book in the series, Rebekah L. Purdy’s Daisy and the Front Man. Much like the previous books in this series, Daisy and the Front Man was just fun to read. Whether it was the revenge plot, the bet between the boys or the romance, I was highly entertained the whole time I was reading. All that set against the backdrop of a music tour just makes it that much more fun. But at the same time, one of the things that this whole series, including Daisy and the Front Man, has shown is that there’s often a whole lot more going on behind the scenes than what the public knows. Sure, we can guess that it’s not all good times, but I always find it interesting to read books that show just how much more is going on. And this one definitely did that, showing how much of the characters lives get messed with by all the different people involved in the tour that are trying to get something from them.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Daisy for a good chunk of the book. Every so often, I would hit a point where I would question why she was holding on so much to her grudge against Trevor. I could understand that she was embarrassed in front of everyone in her small town when he didn’t show up to take her to her Homecoming dance. But at the same time, it felt like some of her feelings towards him were a little extreme, even if sometimes I totally understood where she was coming from. So my feelings where Daisy was concerned were in a constant state of change. Until I started really liking her and then it was all good. And that probably had to do with how adorable she and Trevin were together, even if neither of them initially planned on anything real happening between them. And Trevin wasn’t entirely who I expected. I mean, yeah, I expected a certain amount of arrogance considering the guy is in a highly popular boy band, but there was so much more to him than that. I loved seeing his relationship with his family, and I wish I could have seen more of that because those moments were fantastic. But aside from that, I really enjoyed Trevin as a character, and as I’ve already said, him and Daisy were basically prefect for each other.

Rebekah L. Purday’s Daisy and the Front Man was a great addition to the Backstage Pass series. I really enjoyed reading all about the band’s front man and big brother, and I can’t wait to find out more about the two remaining members of the band.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Vacation Time!

As of today, I am officially on a different continent! For the next two weeks, I'm on vacation, doing a bit of travelling around Europe with my awesome friend Jessica (you might know her from Twitter or her blog).

So what does that mean for the blog?

Because I'm apparently somewhat on top of things despite having just come back from BEA just over a week ago, I have some blog posts scheduled to post while I'm away. So you can expect a few reviews but other than that, I'm pretty much disconnecting for the duration of my vacation. I'll probably still pop up on Twitter every so often, but typically it ends up being at weird times because of the time difference between Europe and North America.

I will probably be posting pictures of my trip on Instragram, though. So if you're curious about where I'm going and and what I'm seeing, go follow me there!

I'll be back in July!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Source: Borrowed
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, when when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Sophie Kinsella has been a long-time favourite author of mine despite not writing YA. But then it was announced that she would be writing a YA book, and I got unbelievably excited. And I’m happy to say that Finding Audrey completely lived up to my expectations.

For the past few months, Audrey has been unable to look anyone in the eye, much less leave her house. Her anxiety disorder has completely taken over her life. Audrey wants to get better, she really does, but progress has been particularly slow no matter how hard she tries. But then Audrey meets Linus, her older brother’s best friend, and things start to change. Audrey is able to talk to Linus the way she can’t with anyone else. And the more time she spends with him, the more she starts coming out of her shell, and her recovery speeds up. As her relationship with Linus deepens, Audrey starts to realize that he is not only helping her, but also her whole family. Linus is exactly what they all need.

Back in middle school, I devoured all of Sophie Kinsella’s books. To be completely honest, they might not have been the most appropriate things for me to be reading at the time, but they were available at my school’s library (the library serviced both the middle and high school) and I enjoyed them so I read them. Since then, I’ve continued to be a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that she was going to be writing a YA book. Needless to say, I was all over Finding Audrey from the moment I heard about it. And then my awesome friend Katie got an advance copy from work she let me borrow, and I was beyond excited to read it. When I started reading, I didn’t really know all that much about the story, I had read the synopsis but even then it didn’t really give that much away. But I started reading and quickly got drawn into the story. With Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella tackled anxiety and how it affects not just the person suffering from it, but also everyone around them. But it wasn’t an overly heavy story. Yes, there is a realistic depiction of living with an anxiety disorder, but it also comes with Sophie Kinsella’s trademark humour. 

Audrey was the kind of character I have come to expect from reading Sophie Kinsella’s other books. She has this kind of dark humour and sees everything around her though that lens. Oftentimes she would describe everything that was happening in a very dry way. But that didn’t make the story boring. In fact, it helped Audrey’s anxiety disorder feel even more real. To an extent, there were moments Audrey’s anxiety felt like it was a character separate from Audrey. It was something she was trying as best as she could to deal with it all. And her struggle felt real and genuine. While reading, I could tell that she wanted to be able to move past it all, but she just couldn’t, no matter how hard she tried. But then Linus came in and things got interesting. Linus was adorable. I loved that he just went with Audrey’s disorder, he understood that she struggled and he did what he could to help her. Sometimes that meant pushing her outside of her comfort zone, not always with the best results, but he was there for her and let her be herself in a way that her family didn’t. And speaking of Audrey’s family, I don’t think I’ve laughed quite that much reading in the last few months. They were doing their best deal with everything, but interactions between Audrey’s mother and older brother often took a turn for the ridiculous and I couldn’t help but laugh. 

I really enjoyed Finding Audrey. After years of waiting, it was great to finally be able to read a YA title by Sophie Kinsella. Now I can only hope that she writes more because I would read them in a heartbeat.

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