Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

Title: Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University #1)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Publisher: Dahlia Adler
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Source: ARC from author
Buy the Book: Amazon / Indigo / B&N
Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is a he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks…and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate. 

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped her put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Guys, I love New Adult. This shouldn't be news to anyone if you've been hanging around here for a while, but I thought I would restate that just because I can. The latest in the string of awesome New Adult I've read is Dahlia Adler's Last Will and Testament. I tore through this book and I loved every last page of it.

Though she may have been focused on her future when she was in high school, now that she's in college, Lizzie Brandt has other priorities. Her priorities tend to land more in the having fun category than in the academic achievement category. But that quickly changes when her parents are in a deadly car accident and Lizzie is left to care for her two younger brothers. If she doesn't, they're going to end up in foster care and that's the last thing she wants. That means Lizzie has to clean up her act, fast. And there to help with it all is Connor Lawson, her history TA. A TA who should be completely off limits, if he weren't so great at being there for Lizzie and her brothers. Both of them know that they should fight their attraction for each other. But that's a easier said than done.

Teacher and student relationships are always interesting. And I'm quite ambivalent about them. Sometimes they just don't work. And other times I am rooting for that relationship all the way. Dahlia Adler's Last Will and Testament was definitely the second kind. I was rooting for these characters and for them to be able to be together. And in large part, that's because of the way Dahlia Adler wrote this story. Right from page one, this story hits you in the feels. You've barely had a chance to meet Lizzie, the main character, when she finds out that her parents have been killed. And from there, the emotions keep on coming. And all those emotions made it so I got really invested in this story. A whole lot more invested than I thought I was going to get. And because I got this invested in the story, I really wanted this relationship to work out. Heck, after a while I even stopped thinking about the fact the Connor was Lizzie's TA, making her his student. They were just two people and I wanted their relationship to work out. Because they both needed it so much.

Have I mentioned that I loved Lizzie and Connor? If I haven't, I'm saying it now. They were both great and I wanted the best for both of them. Lizzie definitely get it easy, and I have a lot of respect for her. It's not every eighteen year old who would be willing to become the legal guardian of her two younger brothers. And Lizzie tried to make it work as best as she could...and that meant getting Connor involved. Both in her life and in her brother's life. Even though that second part may not have exactly been intentional. Though I can hardly blame Lizzie, because Connor was pretty damn awesome. There's something to be said for the sexy history nerd. And Connor was all that, and a whole lot more. If I'm being honest though, one of my favourite thing about Connor was his choice of curse words. As a good French Canadian, I smiled anytime he swore and it was in French, because doing so in English didn't have the same effect (and I can totally relate to that).

So. You should all go and read Dahlia Adler's Last Will and Testament, especially if you like to have your heartstrings pulled at. This story will do just that, all the while making you smile and root for this couple. Now I just need to go and get my hands on Dahlia Adler's other books.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blog Tour - The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre + Giveaway

Title: The Shape of My Heart
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo / B&N
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now ti’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken there’s noter that can make it complete. 

After having read the first two books in Ann Aguirre’s 2B trilogy, I couldn’t help but want to read the third one. These books are addicting, and they feature characters that often aren’t seen in other stories. To say I devoured The Shape of My Heart would be an understatement. And of course, I loved every page of it.

Courtney Kaufman believes in the idea of soul mates. And once upon a time she even found hers in her high school best friend. Unfortunately for her, she lost him when she was seventeen. Since then, Courtney hasn’t found anyone she was willing to give her heart to, but that hasn’t stopped her from making a few close friends. Among those friends is Max Cooper, her roommate, and someone who seems to have just as much baggage as he does. Max knows all about how difficult it can be to trust people. He’s been on his own since he was sixteen and has let very few people get close to him. But with Courtney, things are different. He wants to let her in, he wants more than just her friendship. If only he thought he deserved her as much as he needs her. Both Max and Courtney have suffered great heartbreak, and together they might just be able to fix each other’s hearts. 

I feel the need to once again apologize in advance if you get a Backstreet Boys song stuck in your head. Believe me, it’s stuck in my head to (though that might just be because I’ve had it playing the whole time I’ve been writing this review). Moving on. I’m going to be honest, what initially drew me to these books are the Backstreet Boys-related title. But after I read the first one, I was completely hooked because of the story and the characters, the titles were just an added bonus. The Shape of My Heart was just an addicting read. It helped that I knew the characters, and that since the first book I had been looking forward to reading more about Max. He just intrigued me. So knowing this was his story just made me super excited to read it. And let me just say that there were many times when his and Courtney’s story broke my heart, but in a really good way. Because I absolutely loved the romance in this book. It wasn’t rushed, it felt completely natural and Max and Courtney were friends before they were anything else which made it even better. And really, that’s why I loved this story. Because of the people in it.

Max had been pretty prominent in the first book and was referred to quite a bit in the second book, but The Shape of My Heart was all about him. Well, him and Courtney. But you get my point. Whenever I had seen him in the previous two books, I had always wanted more. There just always seemed to be so much to him and I wanted to see what that “so much” was. It turned out to be pretty heartbreaking, but it made me love Max all the more because of it. I just needed him to realize that he deserved to be happy to and to get what he wants for once in his life. And that brings me to Courtney. Much like with Max, I loved Courtney. I’d had very brief glimpses of her in the other two books and I really enjoyed getting to know her better. What I liked the most about Courtney is that she wasn’t the type of heroine I’ve almost come to expect when it comes to New Adult. It was refreshing. And her and Max together were just fantastic. I loved the way their relationship evolved from friendship to something more. It all just felt natural, and I couldn’t picture two people who fit together better than those two.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, I loved Ann Aguirre’s The Shape of My Heart. It was a great conclusion to her 2B trilogy. Though I would be lying if I said I was didn’t want more stories about this group of friends (I don’t know about you guys, but I could definitely do with a story about Angus). Fans of New Adult romance should definitely be checking out this series.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey

Title: Scoring Wilder
Author: R.S. Grey
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Release Date: June 15, 2014
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon
What started out as a joke—seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the orison, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

- A face that makes girls weep — check.
- Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) — check.
- Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull — double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits. Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut form the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible wines, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

Until now, I’ve always avoided reading self-published book, unless it was by an author I knew and had previously read. But every so often, a self-published book will appear on my radar after seeing many other bloggers raving about it. That’s what happened with R.S. Grey’s Scoring Wilder, and I can say that I don’t regret having read this particular self-published book.

Kinsley Bryant is ready to be a part of the ULA women’s soccer team and to prepare for the upcoming Olympic tryouts. After what just happened with her boyfriend, she wants nothing more than to focus on soccer and her new team. But that proves to be difficult when she comes face to face with Liam Wilder, America’s soccer bad-boy and all around hottie. Kinsley figured she can deal with Liam if she only sees him at parties, but when he turns out to be her new coach, things get tricky. Neither one of them can deny their attraction for the other, but they know having a relationship off the field is completely out of the question. But Kinsley is determined to get to know her new coach, on and off the field. And Liam is more than willing to help Kinsley…with soccer and other things.

So here’s the thing. I tend to avoid self-published books. Like, I don’t think I’ve actually really read one before this one. It’s not that I have anything against them per say, but there are so many other traditionally published books out there and some people I know have had bad experiences with them. So all that to say that I tend to be wary of self-published books. But in the past few months, R.S. Grey’s Scoring Wilder kept popping up in my Twitter feed as fellow bloggers were reading it and then raving about it. After having seen so many good reviews of this book, I thought I should give it a try. It is after all a story I would be all over if it had been traditionally published. And I am so glad i got myself a copy of this book, because I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. Once I started reading, I couldn’t seem to put it down. I loved the way this story played out, the role soccer played in it all, and the romance was just the way I like it. And the best part of this story was definitely all the relationships.

I loved Kinsley right from the start. This girl doesn’t let anyone give her crap and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself, as she demonstrates right at the start of the story. But I also loved Kinsley because she was just a girl who was pursuing her goal and happened to fall for someone she wasn’t supposed to along the way. And from the way she describes Liam Wilder, I can’t exactly hold that against her. Because I would have done the very same thing she did if I was spending any given amount of time with Liam. But Liam also wasn’t exactly who I expected. From the initial description I got of him, I figured he would be kind of a jerk and a player. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Liam ended up being sweet and kind, while also being absolutely swoon-worthy. And it should go without saying that I loved Kinsley and Liam together. They just gave me a lot of feelings. But beyond just the romantic relationship, I loved all the friendships in this story, whether between Kinsley and some of her teammates, or between Liam and his own best friend. It was great to see all those relationships play out and come together.

If you’ve been considering giving Scoring Wilder a chance, I would tell you to absolutely go for it. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this story and though I’m still wary of self-published books, R.S. Grey is an author I will definitely be keeping my eye on.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me post a couple of times about word counts and writing. The reason for that is that I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the very first time. I had considered doing it in the past, but when I was still in school, November is pretty much the worst time of the year to decide to write 50,000 words just for fun. This year, though, I decided to just do it and see what happens.

If you're curious about what I'm writing, it's a contemporary YA (anyone actually surprised by this?) about two best friends and their various relationships, romantic or otherwise. If you want more details, go check out my profile on the NaNoWriMo website and add me as a writing buddy. As of right now, I'm having a lot of fun with it and I'm excited to see where my story is going to go.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year or have you done it in the past? What advice do you have for a newbie? Let me know in the comments!

Good luck to everyone participating!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Cover Reveal - Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of taking part in the cover reveal for Dawn Ius's upcoming Anne & Henry. I know I'm really excited about this book, and hopefully you will be too after finding out more!

Title: Anne & Henry
Author: Dawn Ius
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: Fall 2015
A love worth losing your head over

Wild, brazen, mischievous, betwitching

Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

Apart they are bound to destroy themselves. Together, they are bound to destroy each other.

HENRY TUDOR’S LIFE HAS BEEN mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. 

But ever since the death of Henry’s brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing alive as an artist or dating any girl who’s not Tudor-approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash, and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, ANNE & HENRY reimagines the intensity, love and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.

About the Author:
DAWN IUS is a shorty-story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is an active member of the International Thriller Writers association, co-founder and senior editor of Wine Leaves Literary Journal, and the author of nine educational graphic novels published by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she’s geeing out over fairy tales, Jack Bauer, Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. Dawn lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English Mastiff, Roarke.

Connect with Dawn: Facebook / Twitter / Blog / E-mail


Does this sound like something you would be interested in reading? If it does, be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win an advance copy of the book. ARCs won't be ready until at least January, though, so it may take some time for your prize to make its way to you. USA ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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