Monthly Archives:: February 2017

ARC Review: The Hate U Give

February 28, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

ARC Review: The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th 2017
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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five-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Guys, this book is easily the best book that I’ve read so far this year. It’s also the first five star rating that I’ve given this year. The Hate U Give is just a story that you need to read in order to fully understand the greatness of it. There honestly isn’t anything negative to say about it, only very rave and fangirl comments about how amazing it is from start to finish. On page one, it immediately sucks you in until you reach the end. I wasn’t able to put it down once I started reading it. This was such a mesmerizing and beautifully written novel all around filled with memorable and complicated characters. I can’t recommend it to you guys enough, you need to pick this one up!

Starr is seriously my girl. I immediately connected with her right away. She has such a beautiful and relatable personality. Starr is definitely a girl that I want to be best friends with. She’s smart, funny, kind, caring, and passionate. I sympathized with her struggles, the loss of her two best friends, one that happened when she was younger and one that just happened seriously broke my heart. Although I can’t relate to the fact that she lost them both to senseless violence, I also lost a childhood best friend far too young. Anyway, Starr is an extremely passionate person and I absolutely love that about her. She’s not afraid to take a stand for what she believes in. I was so proud of her for not letting her voice be silenced, no matter what the circumstances were.

Even though this book tackles the serious and timely issue of racism and police violence, it’s still surprisingly funny more often than not. A lot of those funny moments come from the hilarious main and supporting characters. Starr honestly has the best family. Her mom, dad, two brothers, Nana, Uncle Carlos, Chris, and DeVante are all fabulous and filled with personality. They might be dysfunctional sometimes, but they are still a great family. I loved how supportive each of them were towards Starr as she goes through this difficult and tragic time in her life. I loved them each so much that I really don’t know which one I liked them best, they all stood out for various reasons.

I don’t believe that Thomas could have tackled these difficult subjects any better than she did. As mentioned earlier, these are unfortunately such timely issues. It surprises me that more people haven’t written YA books on these topics yet, but I’m so happy that Thomas did and I hope that others follow in the future. The shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil is such a tragic event. Although we didn’t get to know him for very long in the book, we learn more and more about his real story that Starr wasn’t totally aware of since they hadn’t been hanging out recently. I believe that it was handled in such a realistic and touching way, similar in some ways to the shootings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and countless other African American teens who were unarmed. It’s such a devastating thing that will never make sense to me, but I thought that Thomas’s take on making sense of it all was perfection.

The Hate U Give is a book that will stick with me for a long time after reading it. The characters, plot, and writing make it such a complicated and beautiful novel. It’s extremely hard to believe that this is only the author’s debut novel. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. This is such a powerful and memorable novel all the way around. There really isn’t much else to say on the topic other than other fangirl ramblings on it. It’s a difficult thing to make me laugh out loud while reading one page, but then cry on the next page. Somehow The Hate U Give was able to do just that and I can’t recommend it enough.

five-stars

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The Hot One Release Day Launch

February 27, 2017 Features 0

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a hot new standalone second chance romance…

THE HOT ONE!

Want a slow burn, sexy-as-sin second chance romance filled with wit, humor and so much heart? Dive in, and get ready to swoon and fan yourself from the heat!

 

TheHotOne - Now Available

A sexy, feel-good romance that makes you feel good all over, THE HOT ONE is a hot, second chance standalone romance and the story of confident, charming and cocky attorney Tyler Nichols who is determined to win back his college sweetheart when he runs into her in NYC eight years later. He’ll do anything to win her heart… including stripping naked for her at her office. Can she move on from the hurt and give love a brand new chance? Find out in this sexy, fun, and sizzling romance full of heart, charm and heat! Told in dual POV, THE HOT ONE is being called over-the-top hot and utterly addictive. Grab your copy of THE HOT ONE and get ready to laugh, swoon, and fan yourself from the heat!

The Hot One is love, laugh-out-loud humor, and lust all wrapped up in the perfect package…PURE PLEASURE!!!” ~ Bookalicious Babes Blog

 

THE HOT ONE - Available Now banner

“Lauren Blakely is the QUEEN of sweet, fun, and steamy reads… Her books are utterly addictive.” ~ Angie’s Dreamy Reads

 

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A sexy new standalone romance from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely…

Ever notice that sometimes a guy will do something really stupid, like let the love of his life slip through his fingers?

Yeah. I’m that guy. But the instant I run into her again I’ve got one goal and one goal only—a second chance. The plan? Go big or go home.

Fine, at first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend’s place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her heart again. But trust me on this count—she always liked me best without any clothes on. And sometimes you’ve got to play to your strengths when you’re fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I’m prepared to fight hard for her. Because sometimes you need a second chance at first love.

He’s the one who got away . . .

The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that at my job, showing off his rock-hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he’s not . . .? I’ve tried like hell to forget him, but maybe I’m cursed to remember the guy I fell madly in love with eight years ago. Lord knows I’m not over him, so what’s the harm in giving him a week to prove he’s changed in the ways that matter?

After all, how do you resist the hot one . . .?

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EXCERPT:

Technically, I didn’t drop my drawers the first time I saw her again. Just my balls.

The ones in my hands. Juggling balls.

Here’s how it went down. Picture a Sunday morning in Central Park. A perfect summer day. The grass was green, the breeze was warm, and I’d just spent the last few hours getting acquainted with turtles and frogs at the children’s zoo because I’m an awesome uncle. And Carly’s one cool seven-year-old.

The kid loves all creatures, but especially the ones that jump and crawl, so I took her to the enchanted forest part of the zoo. When we finished, she tugged on my shirt sleeve, batted her hazel eyes, and asked ever so sweetly for an ice cream cone.

Like I stood a chance at resisting her. C’mon. She’s my cousin’s kid, and clearly she gets her charm from our side of the family.

With her hand in mine, we strolled across the grass near the running path, hunting for the nearest ice cream dealer.

And then Carly did that thing little kids do.

She shrieked for what seemed like absolutely no reason. Next, she pointed to an impossibly tall dude wearing a beret while juggling two Rubik’s Cubes, two orange balls, and a small green beanbag.

“He can do five, Uncle Tyler!” Carly shouted, her eyes going wide.

“Five isn’t too shabby,” I said with a shrug.

She turned to me with a questioning stare. “I’ve never seen you do five.”

“That’s because I haven’t shown you all my tricks yet.”

“Can you really juggle five balls?”

I scoffed. “Please, I can do that with my eyes closed.”

I didn’t put myself through law school juggling for nothing.

Just kidding.

You can’t put yourself through law school juggling anything but insane class schedules and lack of sleep.

Carly arched an eyebrow. So did the juggler, as he kept up the cascade of his quintet. Show-off.

“I want to see. Show me,” Carly urged.

Yeah, Carly’s a chip off the old block. She’s all about challenging me, and I’m all about rising to the challenge.

The stick-thin guy with the beret raised his chin. “Have at it, man.”

With clockwork precision, he let the balls fall out of orbit and into his palm. Next, the Rubik’s Cubes. Then the beanbag. He stepped closer, handed me the objects, and flashed a crooked, put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is grin.

Game on.

Packs of runners jogged along, cyclists wheeled over the black asphalt, and rollerbladers whizzed by on the concrete. With my feet parked hip’s width apart, I stood at the edge of the grass getting a feel for the items, weighing them, and then one, two, three, four, five, I whisked each one up into the air in a high oval arc. Round and round, in a perfect five-ball cascade.

Carly clapped, then demanded more. “Yes, now close your eyes!”

I groaned. What was I thinking? Juggling with eyes closed is fucking hard. But I could pull it off for a couple seconds. My special skill. I obliged my niece’s request, pulling off a few quick blind ovals. Five seconds later, after I’d shown off that particular party trick, I opened my eyes.

And I saw a vision from my past.

A blond beauty, with long legs, a lovely round ass, and a high ponytail swishing back and forth across her shoulders. She ran along the path in tiny orange let-me-peel-them-off-with-my-teeth-pretty-please running shorts. And that face. Dear Lord, the stunning face of an angel. High cheekbones. Deep brown eyes that saw me like no one ever had. Those red lips, shaped like a bow. Fuck me, the things she could do with those lips. The things I taught her to do with that sinful mouth.

Delaney sure as hell knew how to use it, and I don’t just mean in the bedroom. We used to talk about anything and everything when we were together in college. Days with her. Nights with her. Best time of my life. That woman was full of spark. Full of fire. So damn passionate. And look at her now.

Jesus Christ.

It had to be illegal to be that smoking hot.

 

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Tyler Nichols. Oh. My. God. The title is definitely apropos. This man is over the top HOT in oh so many ways. The Hot One is a read-in-one-sitting kind of story.” ~ Naughty Girls and Their Books

 

THE HOT ONE - RDL teaser 1

 

Add it to Goodreads here!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32884586-the-hot-one

 

THE HOT ONE - RDL teaser 2

 

✮✮✮ Celebrate the release of The HOT ONE! Enter to win everything you need to heat up your nights and your days, featuring the Hot Prize Package ($550 value): Red Hot Coach Hobo Handbag ($450), $50 Gift Card to the Restaurant of your choice, $50 Gift Card to Victoria’s Secret to heat things up between the sheets! ✮✮✮

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

 

Author pic - Lauren BlakelyAbout Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy-five times, and she’s sold more than 1.5 million books. In February she’ll release THE HOT ONE, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

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Blog Tour: Royally Matched Review

February 24, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews 0

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Royally-Matched-3D-bookSome men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry Charles Albert Edgar Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to force her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora goes on a much-needed safari holiday—and when the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world’s most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit…and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

 

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THOUGHTS:

Guys, I’m not going to lie, I really loved Royally Matched. I thought it was so clever and witty, filled with memorable characters, a beautiful romance, a unique plot, and royalty. Need I say any more? Though I was intrigued by the royal part of the plot, I didn’t completely love the first book in the story because of all the drama. I picked up this one because I still believe that Emma Chase is a fantastic writer and I loved Henry in the first story. This was a wonderful and enchanting book. This is definitely one that’s going to stay with me for awhile. I recommend this if you’re looking for a romantic comedy that will literally make you laugh out loud. You will also cheer extremely hard for the romance from the start. I can’t recommend it enough!

The story is told through dual POV’s, but since the story mostly revolves around him, I’ll talk about Henry first. There’s honestly so many great things that I could say about this guy. When we saw him in Royally Screwed, he was a hot mess. He was struggling with what he saw while he was fighting for his country. He drinks his pain away and has random one night stands. He’s such a swoony and lovely guy all around, even if he used to be a rather serious manwhore in the past. I didn’t need to worry about Henry, he’s still just as amazing as I was hoping that he’d be. He’s hilarious, smart, and unique. I laughed out loud at so many of the random things that he said. He was such a sweetheart when it came to Sarah. He was patient, understanding, and just an all around decent guy through the way that he treated her with such respect from the beginning. Initially, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole dating show thing, I was afraid that he’d end up sleeping with all the girls or something like that. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out like that at all, he barely even kissed or talked to a lot of the other girls. He was a refreshingly beautiful and honest guy and I loved him from that.

Sarah was a character that I instantly understood. She’s a librarian who prefers books over people. She’s very quiet, and not super social. I immediately connected with her voice as a whole, and I was a huge fan of her spirit. To be honest with you guys, there was literally nothing about her that I didn’t like. She was a well developed, realistic, and relatable character all around. I know that readers are going to love and connect with her just like I did from the very first page. Like good old Henry, Sarah is a character that’s definitely going to stick with me long after reading.

I thought the romance was so lovely and unique. As stated, Henry is the star of this The Bachelor like show where he’s going to pick the next “Queen.” In reality, he’s really just looking to have some fun and have a big distraction from the reality that he’ll one day become King now. Sarah actually isn’t a contestant, it’s her sister who is. She’s just there to keep an eye on her. Plans change for Henry once he meets Sarah, and he honestly becomes a totally different person. It isn’t exactly insta-love or anything, but I loved that instant attraction between them and how hard Henry works to win her over. It takes a little bit to get started, but once it does, it’s incredibly steamy and awesome. I absolutely adored them as a couple.

I thought that Royally Matched was such a well written and magical story. Everything about this one clicked with me in a way that the previous book didn’t. Chase is such a brilliant author and I can’t wait to see what’s up her sleeve regarding the next book in the series. You should obviously read this if you’ve read any of her previous novels, but I still recommend it even if you haven’t. It’s a book you should read if you want to laugh out loud and swoon hardcore.

five-stars

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Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

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The Education of Margot Sanchez Review

February 23, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

The Education of Margot Sanchez ReviewThe Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 21st 2017
Pages: 304
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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two-stars
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.
THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:
Mami, for destroying my social lifePapi, for allowing Junior to become a NeanderthalJunior, for becoming a NeanderthalThis supermarketEveryone else
After “borrowing” her father's credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.
With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one. I began reading it with high hopes, but sadly it didn’t work for me. I do appreciate the diversity that it has, but it wasn’t enough to save the entire book for me. Look, I think that it’s very possible that people will enjoy this book. The writing, plot, and diversity are pretty unique and the story is rather short and fast paced. What I disliked about the book was the lack of character development on behalf of the main character. I also wasn’t a fan of the romance which included a love triangle and little exploration of the love interest. Although I didn’t necessarily like it, it wasn’t the worst book I ever read either.

If I’m being honest, Margot let down big time. She was a spoiled and somewhat entitled girl who felt like she was a lot better than everyone who works at her dad’s store. From the very first page, I found her to be selfish and unlikable. I’m all for unlikable characters because I understand that teens are filled with angst and can often be seen as selfish. However, I had to draw the line with Margot’s actions and general behavior that was difficult to read and sympathize with. She showed very little growth all throughout the novel, until around the last 10%. She showed glimpses of personality, but for the most part, she was someone who did everything she could to deny where she came from and attempt to fit in with her rich white friends. I understand wanting to fit in with your peers, but I still feel like some of the things she did were hard to swallow. Though they might be realistic, they simply weren’t something that I wanted to read about.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, I wasn’t a fan of the romance. They threw in an extremely unnecessary love triangle for reasons that I still don’t understand. I thought that Moises was a decent enough character. I thought he was swoony and fun from the first time we were introduced to him. It was a unique twist that he was a bad boy turned social activist. Much to my disappoint, the author just had to add a love triangle to the story. In a way, I get that Margot was trying to impress her friends, but I just didn’t like how things went down. View Spoiler » So on that note, the romance could have been much much better than it actually was.

In summary, this wasn’t my kind of book. Sure, the plot itself wasn’t half bad and I did enjoy the diversity. What I disliked was the disgusting love triangle and the lacking romance. There was also little to no character development for any of the characters, particularly with Margot. I wasn’t okay with any of her actions, personality, and behavior. It was hard to take, and I honestly wanted to put the book down and walk away more than once. This wasn’t the worst book in the world, but it was still pretty bad. Maybe some people will like it, but if you also have an issue with the specific example that I named, then this probably isn’t your kind of story either.

two-stars

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The Great American Whatever Review

February 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Great American Whatever ReviewThe Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 29th 2016
Pages: 278
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Flying Lessons & Other Stories
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before the car accident that changed everything.
Enter: Geoff, Quinn’s best friend, who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—okay, a hot guy—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually end happily—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.
Tim Federle’s beautiful YA debut is laugh-out-loud sad; a wry, winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories, one unscripted moment at a time.

This is the first full length Tim Federle book that I’ve ever read! I’ve previously read two short stories of his that were published in anthologies, but that’s it. I’m happy that I finally read it, because I’m a big fan of everything that he represents and have followed him on Twitter for some time now. Anyway, this was a nice introduction to him. I’m definitely going to check out his Nate books and whatever he writes next in the future. However, this book simply wasn’t my favorite, which makes me sad. I can’t completely put my finger on what it is, but it was missing something for me. This just didn’t click for me as a whole. I think it was a good book, it just wasn’t great for me. I recommend this if you don’t mind angst and enjoy books that have a snarky/clever protagonist.

Quinn is a pretty interesting main character. I’m always a fan of sarcastic and witty protagonists and Quinn did deliver on this front to an extent. This probably isn’t a fair comparison, but the book in general did remind me a bit of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which is one of my all time favorites. I think that Quinn’s personality didn’t stand out in the way that Simon’s did. Quinn was very sarcastic and hilarious in the beginning, but I think he did lose a little of that as the book continued. I know that some of that is due to the rather serious subject matter, but I think that isn’t enough of an excuse to not still have a strong and memorable personality. He was still interesting, but not my favorite.

So there is a romance in the book, but I honestly don’t feel like it’s super essential to the plot. I liked it and I thought that it was a great example of a summer romance. The boys weren’t a couple that I rooted for necessarily, but I think it was still important for Quinn’s general character development. I wanted to focus more on the things that I liked and disliked. So a positive is that I thought the humor was clever and fun. I also felt like a lot of the secondary characters were well developed and complicated. I thought the stories were interesting and layered. There was one storyline in particular that had a twist to it that I honestly didn’t see coming at all. That was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought the romance was relatable and intriguing. The LGBTQ rep was also awesome. Quinn wasn’t out of the closet yet, but his sexuality still wasn’t a huge part of the plot either, it was just a natural part of it. What I didn’t like is that I was truthfully pretty bored. I wasn’t always entertained for whatever reason. Maybe it was the story that just didn’t totally click, but it didn’t work for me. The pace just seemed rather slow as a whole. Like I mentioned earlier, it seemed to be missing something essential. I thought that the concept was interesting, but the execution wasn’t as great as I was anticipating it to be.

My review might sound rather negative, but I don’t mean it to be! I think that it was a solid novel, just not the best. I’m pretty likely to forget about it sooner rather than later. It wasn’t painful to read or anything, I still believe that Federle is a great author and I want to read more from him. He has such a unique and compelling voice as an author and I’m dying to read more of it. I can’t help but compare it to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and it just didn’t come close to that. I liked the book, but it wasn’t my favorite. I hope that people read it because it’s still an interesting and important book!

three-stars

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Paint The Stars Release Blitz Review

February 21, 2017 Blog Tours, Reviews 0

PAINT THE STARS
Release Date: February 20th, 2017
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kh1iK0
B&N: http://bit.ly/2kDSYA4
iBooks: http://apple.co/2lcOS54
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33404144-paint-the-stars

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Blurb

Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.

For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.

As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.

EXCERPT:

What do you usually do to relax?” I ask him.
“Besides paint?” I nod and he continues, “You really want to know?”
“Nope.” I wink at him and he rolls his eyes.
“Smoke weed.”
“Whew.” I tease him. “I thought it was going to be something bad by the way you were acting. Go get it. Let’s light that shit up.” I’ve never been a huge fan of weed. Not that I dislike it, because it can be fun, but it makes me giggle for a little while and pass out. I typically don’t want to just randomly pass out.
“Okay.” He pushes off the counter, sets his coffee down, and disappears down the hallway. There’s some rustling in the other room. A moment later he’s back with a small loaded pipe in his hand. “You can have green,” he says, offering me the first hit.
Our fingers brush when I take the pipe from his hand. He hesitates for a second, then nods at me as though he wants me to go ahead and put the pipe to my lips. I do. Instead of handing me the lighter, Ezra flicks the flame to life and then holds it over the weed. It crackles and pops and burns as I inhale, the smoke stinging my lungs and my throat. He pulls back, and I set the pipe down, and his eyes are burning me the same way the flame just did with the pot. My stomach flips, and he keeps looking, and holy fuck that was hot for some reason.
He takes the pipe back, still watching. He puts it to his lips, still watching. He takes a hit, still watching. There’s something about the way Ezra looks at you. It’s as though he can see something in you no one else can. Like he looks deeper because it’s easier to look inside of someone else than to look inside himself. It makes me feel like he’s seeing things I didn’t know were there. Like he’s asking questions he can’t find the words to ask and like he’s trying to make sense of all of it himself.
“Here,” he says before he hands the pipe back. I put it to my lips, and we continue on that way, him lighting for me and me passing the pipe back to him until the bowl is dusted. His eyes only briefly dart away from me from time to time, otherwise their searing stare is locked with mine. It’s the most intensely he’s looked at me since I met him.
“Wow,” I tell him. “I almost feel like I need a cigarette even though I don’t smoke them. I don’t know how all this works for you, but on my end, that was kind of hot.”
A laugh bursts out of Ezra’s mouth— it’s infectious and happy, and I realize it might be the most honest one I’ve ever heard from him. It makes me decide right then and there to do whatever it takes to make it happen again and again until it becomes a habit for him. That’s what friends are for, right?

REVIEW:

I thought that this was a fun and fast paced read. Once I started it, I wasn’t able to put it down. Lee and Dawn make an amazing team, and I look forward to reading more from them in the future. This is the second book that I’ve read in this series and I really enjoyed it. It’s not very long at all, and I read it in simply a couple of hours. If you’re looking for a sweet and sexy romance filled with complicated yet memorable characters, look no further than this one. I’m happy that I was able to read it!

Ezra is an awesome character. I thought that his asexuality was explored in an honest and compelling way. I don’t know a ton about the spectrum’s of asexuality so I can’t really speak to how accurate it is. But based on the research that I have done, this does seem pretty close to it. I thought that Ezra was an honest and intriguing guy from page one. I only the read the first book in the series, but I somewhat remember thinking that he was a cool guy who seemed complicated but interesting. I also felt like he was so creative and I loved how he used his art to channel whatever he’s going through. He was unique, and that’s what I enjoyed about him.

Daevonte was a beautiful character in his own right. He’s a young guy, and he enjoys having sex and one night stands. However, he’s still a pretty romantic guy once you get down to it. He’s just not entirely sure what it is that he wants and he has plenty of time to figure it all out. I found him to be charming and fun. He was a little judgemental and hesitant when he learned about Ezra, but I’m pretty sure that most people would be at first. He becomes a great friend to Ezra and it’s interesting to see them get to know each other better.

As I said, the romance between Daevonte and Ezra is rather slow moving since Ezra needs to know somebody before he has sex with them. But they form a sweet and compelling friendship before anything more actually goes down. Once it is developed, it’s extremely hot and awesome. I thought that this was a fabulous relationship. I definitely cheer for them completely. I think that they just worked really well together. They had such different personalities, but at the end of the day, they had more in common than they first anticipated.

I’m glad that I read this book. There’s no way I’m going to stop reading books from this author team. On their own, I think they are memorable and funny authors, but together, they are somehow even better. It’s hard to believe, but it just works. They are able to create two characters that have such different personalities and backgrounds and make us sympathize with them and love them from page one. I recommend this if you’re looking for a story that doesn’t have a ton of drama, it’s just a nice story filled with lovely characters and a hot romance.

four-stars

TEASERS
By Keyanna Butler, The Indie Author’s Apprentice

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Nyrae Dawn

Nyrae Dawn can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Oh, and chocolate. She’s slightly addicted.

She gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh too. She’s a proud romantic, who has a soft spot for flawed characters, who make mistakes, but also have big hearts.

Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.

Nyrae is living her very own happily ever after in California with her gorgeous husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two incredibly awesome kids.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nyrae.dawn
Twitter: http://twitter.com/NyraeDawn

*Nyrae also write Adult Gay Romance as Riley Hart: www.rileyhartwrites.com

Christina Lee:

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristinaLee
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Christina_Lee04
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorchristinalee/

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2017 Love-a-Thon: Sweethearts Candy Messages

February 18, 2017 Features 0

Hey guys! I’m excited to be participating in the Love-a-Thon for the second year in the row. This is a prompt that I’ve never done before, so I’m happy to try it out.

● LOVE WINS: A couple you didn’t think would get together, but against all odds, they did

Olly and Maddy from Everything, Everything.

● I DO: A character you’d marry

Four from Divergent and Jonah from Jellicoe Road.

● DREAM BIG: A character whose dreams you want to come true

Starr from The Hate U Give.

● CRAZY 4 U: A character you’re crazy about

Joe from The Sky is Everywhere.

● TRUE LOVE: Your ultimate OTP

Dexter and Remy from This Lullaby.

● TE AMO: A language you’d want to be wooed in

Spanish or French.

● BFF: A character you want to be your best friend

Willowdean from Dumplin.

● WINK WINK: A character you’d want to wink at you

Daemon from the Lux series.

● SWEET TALK: A character who knows how to sweet talk/flirt

Razor from Walk the Edge.

● BEST DAY: A moment from a book you wish happened to you or your IRL best day

In Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda when they go to the supermarket together.

● OOH LA LA: A character you want to slow dance with

Tucker from The Goal.

● LOVE YOU: The character that gets your undying love

Taylor from Jellicoe Road.

So my list was fun to make! I thought this was a creative prompt. I look forward to seeing what other people were able to come up with.

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2017 Love-a-Thon: Book Spine Poetry

February 18, 2017 Features 2

Hey guys! As you guys know, the Love-a-Thon is happening right now. Up next is one of my favorite challenges, book spine poetry. This was so much to do last year and I’m happy to do it again.

The Museum of Heartbreak /

Every Exquisite Thing /

You Know Me Well

When We Collided /

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You /

P.S. I Like You

Whisper to Me /

Just Listen /

Shuffle Repeat

So here are my answers for the love spine poetry challenge! It was fun to do as usual. I hope that you guys had a good time doing it as well. I look forward to seeing what you came up with.

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2017 Love-a-Thon: Mad Libs

February 18, 2017 Features 2

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Hey guys! I’m excited to be participating in my second Love-a-Thon. The first mini-challenge that we have is to make mad libs but it’s fairy tale edition. I felt like this was a lot of fun to do. I’ve decided to include the code here just so you have the same key that was used right in front of you in case you forget.

1.    LOCATION
2.    CHARACTER (example: assassin)
3.    TYPE OF STORE
4.    BODY PART (plural)
5.    ITEM
6.    ROYALTY (any title you can think of)
7.    REPEAT ITEM FROM #5.
8.    ACTIVE VERB (example: running)
9.    ANOTHER LOCATION
10.    AN EMOTION
11.    MUSICAL INSTRUMENT
12.    PIECE OF FOOD
13.    NUMBER
14.    TYPE OF HOUSE
15.    VOICE ADJECTIVE
16.    DESCRIBE A SOUND (ending with –ing)
17.    ROOM IN A HOUSE
18.    OBJECTS
19.    DESCRIBE AN OUTFIT
20.     INFINITIVE VERB, activity
21.    REPEAT MUSICAL INSTRUMENT from #11
22.    A JOB

Once upon a time, in a far away (1) forest, there lived a smart (2) dragon. She lived alone in a (3) tree stump, where she had grown up with the deceased owner. She had beautiful (4) arms, and she was known for her shiny red (5) earrings, the only thing she had left of its parents.

Alas, the (6) Duchess of the country became jealous and wanted to own these (7) earrings. So, she became a wanted person and had to flee into an unknown forest to find a place to hide. After (8) hopping around for hours, hungry and tired, it stumbled upon a (9) pond. An old lady appeared, offering it shelter from the bitter cold.  She looked at it with (10) pity and said: “I will protect you, but I need your help first. Years ago I lost something precious and I want it back. You need to climb into the sky and get my (11) tuba back. Here is magical (12) bread, throw it into the earth, sprinkle with water and it will sprout a beanstalk. You have (13) three days to return before the stalk withers.”

She followed the instructions given to her, and lo and behold, a beanstalk grew and grew and grew all the way up to the clouds. After an exhausting climb, she saw a huge (14) cabin. She walked to the door and knocked. A (15) obnoxious voice said: ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, who dares to come and enter my house?” She was not afraid and said: “My name is Jamie and I’ve come to collect an item.”

The door made a (15) squeaking sound when it opened and revealed a large (17) bathroom filled with golden (18) eggs.  She stepped inside and walked towards the spiraling staircase, where a figure moved, cloaked in darkness.

“Who are you? Step in to the light, so I can see your face.”
The beast growled angry. “Why did you come here? I just want to be left alone.” Still, the dragon moved and stood in front of it. There were three horns on his head, and hair all over his face and his mouth was filled with large teeth. He wore (19) a sweater.

“What happened to you?” She reached out to touch one of the horns, but the beast flinched. “Many years ago I was cursed by a witch. I have one year left (20) to love so I can break the spell, but I’m not brave enough.”

“If you give me the (21) tuba, I will help you.”

In keeping its promise, the beast and the dragon worked for a few hours and that afternoon, the beast transformed into an ordinary older guy. “I can’t wait to return to my job as (22) a lawyer in the normal world. Can I come with you?” Together they climbed down the beanstalk, carrying the instrument for the old lady. The moment she saw the guy and her beloved instrument, she started to weep.

“My husband, you have returned!” They hugged and looked at it.

“We have to tell you something,” the old lady said. “You are our child. We were separated after the curse, but now we are reunited!” From that day, the three of them lived together in the forest, happily ever after.

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