June 30, 2014

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry: Relaunch Blitz!


Welcome to the Blue Sky Days Relaunch Blitz!

Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry
A Contemporary New Adult novel
A year after graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Emma Ward feels lost. She has spent most of her life trying to please her frigid, miserable mother - studying hard, getting good grades, avoiding the whole teenage rebellion thing - and now she feels she has no identity beyond that. Because she spent so many years working hard and planning every moment of her life, she doesn't have any friends, has never had a boyfriend, and basically doesn't know who she is or what she really wants from life. Working two part-time jobs to save money for college hasn't helped her make decisions about her future, so she decides it's time for a change. She leaves home to live with her free-spirited, slightly eccentric Aunt Daisy in a small town that makes Emma feel like she's stepped back in time.

When Emma meets Nicholas Shaw, everything changes - he's unlike anyone she's ever met before, the kind of man she didn't even know existed in the 21st century. Carefree and spirited like Daisy, Nicholas teaches Emma to appreciate life, the beauty around her, and to just let go and live. Between Daisy and Nicholas, Emma feels like she belongs somewhere for the first time in her life, and realizes that you don't always need a plan - sometimes life steers you where you're meant to be.

Life is wonderful, an endless string of blue sky days, until Nicholas is diagnosed with cancer, and life changes once again for Emma in ways she never thought possible. Now it's time for her to help Nicholas the way he's helped her. Emma will have to use her new-found strength, and discover along the way if love really is enough to get you through.

June 27th is the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death from leukemia. For a long time I’ve wanted to honour him in some way, and I thought having the relaunch of Blue Sky Days, a book that was partly inspired by him, would be the perfect tribute. My dad was a wonderful man—smart, funny, kind, and loyal. He was an amazing father, husband, brother, and friend. Even before he died, I knew I wanted to be a writer, and he would listen to my crazy made-up stories with the patience of a saint.

From the 27th-30th of June, half the proceeds from all sales of Blue Sky Days will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. If you already own a copy, maybe you’d consider buying the book for a friend or family member? Or buying another copy from a different retailer (like Smashwords, which offers the book in every format)?

I greatly appreciate the support of the online reading/writing community for helping me honour my dad.

Thanks to eight incredible sponsors, there's a huge blitz-wide giveaway! There will be three (3) $20 PayPal cash prizes. Three chances to win - not too shabby, huh? This giveaway is open internationally to people aged 18+ who can accept PayPal cash.

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Marie has always been a daydreamer; since early childhood she's had a passion for words and a desire to create imaginary worlds, so it only seemed natural for her to become a writer. She resides in Ontario, Canada, and most days you can find her writing, reading, blogging about writing and reading, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece. She's a hopeless romantic, an unapologetic eavesdropper (occupational hazard), an equally unapologetic squeeing fangirl, and a lover of swoonworthy book and TV characters. For more on Marie and her books please visit http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca. She also loves to chat with fellow book lovers, so feel free to tweet her @SweetMarie83 any time.

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June 27, 2014

Tour Review: Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton

Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 320
Series: Cocktail
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

In this sequel to
Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché?

USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton delivers another delicious, frothy cocktail of a book, shaking up her characters, stirring in laugh-out-loud humor, and serving sizzling romance straight up!
My Thoughts:
First of all I must say that I love how this book is a continuation of Caroline and Simon’s story from Wallbanger. Alice Clayton has done that before in a romance series (the Redhead books), but most authors don't. Rusty Nailed is exactly what you would expect from a sequel to Wallbanger: charming, swoony, and, of course, hilarious.

A great thing about this book is that it’s very much about the romance and about Caroline and Simon growing and changing as a couple, but it’s also about their personal journeys. It’s about Simon facing his past, and about Caroline working towards her future with her job. On the romance side of things, I enjoyed so much that it’s a book about the “next stage” of a romance. In most romances we don’t get to see a committed (and very much in love) couple, so it was really awesome to see these characters trying to figure out what life together means: to see them figure out who they are as an “us”.

I also appreciated how Alice Clayton managed to write a couple going through things without completely tearing them apart or bringing cheating into the mix (at least in the case of the main couple). It would have been so easy to create unnecessary drama and tear Caroline and Simon apart, but that's not what happened here at all. Of course there are issues and some drama, because it wouldn’t be interesting without it, but I thought the book was a fair representation of both a couple's growing pains and their successes.

Overall, this was an amazing second chapter in Simon and Caroline’s story. I highly recommend this book to fans of Wallbanger, and I recommend both titles to adult romance fans who appreciate character depth and wit in their sexy books. I would also be remiss not to mention Clive, who is an absolutely amazing cat character. Seriously, this cat is epic, and his interactions with his humans? Priceless.

The Cover:
Not sure about the pastel, but overall it's okay.


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

June 20, 2014

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Spencer Hill
Pages: 328
Series: Daylight Falls
Review Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally's ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors' publicist arranges for Van and Liam to "date" for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.
My Thoughts:
This may date back to my early teen years of reading fanfic, but I am a sucker for stories involving famous people, especially when they mix famous and non-famous people. Based on this, Behind the Scenes already seems like the perfect book for me. Thankfully this book lives up to its awesome concept. Behind the Scenes is so cute, charming, and swoony. It features moments of angst and major feels of all kinds. It’s basically a perfect Young Adult/New Adult hybrid. You have the friends, family, romance, and drama that make up great contemporary YA title, with the independent characters and the "what's next?" feel of a great NA read.

Maybe it shows how much of a mess I am, but I could totally relate to our main character, Ally, even when (or especially when?) she was a jealous, insecure mess. I just felt her pain and empathized with her situation. I also really appreciated how all the characters were culpable in the book’s drama. Each of them said or did stupid things: it wasn't just one person. The situation presented is a very complicated one, not something that could be solved with one simple conversation (which is one of my biggest pet peeves in books).

Behind the Scenes has so many great aspects to it, but the romance part was definitely my favourite. I loved how Liam and Ally bonded as friends with things in common before they got together. They had the connection with their parents, along with other things. Both of the characters were well developed. Ally had a lot of different layers to her, and many things she was dealing with in the book, and Liam was this super hot, popular celebrity, but his personality was so much different than what you might expect. The two of them had major chemistry, and I loved all their scenes together.

I highly recommend Behind the Scenes to all fans of contemp YA, but especially to those who enjoyed Open Road Summer. The two are very different stories, but they make perfect readalikes, with a plotline in common (working alongside famous best friend, falling for a famous person in said friend's orbit). Overall, this was a fabulous book that I very much enjoyed.

The Cover:
Not my fave.


Purchase Links:
Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

June 18, 2014

Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Series: Welcome to the Point
Review Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Welcome to the Point

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad.
My Thoughts:
There’s something about Jay Crownover’s writing that makes it super addicting and easy to read. I also find that her characters are well fleshed out. Right from the beginning they feel like real people. This was absolutely the case here, even with the very complicated characters and situations.

I'm generally a fan of the good guy character, so it's absolutely crazy that I fell for Bax. I mean, he's not someone I would personally want, but in the context of the book? Oh yeah. As for him and Dovie, they are just awesome together. The reasons why I can like Bax as a character, despite the things he does, is because of how he feels for Race and especially how he feels for Dovie. Those feelings are the good parts of him, showing that he’s not bad deep down and he’s not just a criminal. He’s someone who wanted to get out of the life before, and he sees the injustice in the world he lives in.

On the flip side, Dovie is the quintessential good girl. She's sweet and fairly innocent, despite growing up in a rough situation. I admired her the way Bax grew to: that she was goodness in among all the bad, a light in the dark, etc. It takes someone special to be that way when they've had a difficult life, and Dovie is definitely a special character.

Better When He’s Bad is a gritty story featuring rough characters, but it felt genuine. The setting felt like a real place, with the characters representing a real lifestyle. The book features heart pounding action scenes, as well as the mystery of what happened to Race. There are some twisty parts, which you may or may not guess ahead of time. If you’re looking for a gritty romance featuring an actual bad boy (versus the “he’s a bit of a player with tattoos, so we’ll call him a bad boy” type), be sure to check this one out.

The Cover:
Not my favourite, necessarily, but it matches the tone of the book so well.


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

June 17, 2014

More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 199
Series: Chasing the Dream
Review Source: eARC from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.
My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this book. It contains so much fun, so much swoon, and so much character development. Our main character Maddie is a classically trained pianist. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd who doesn’t see herself as anything special, except that she has a secret talent for playing guitar. Maddie’s love interest is Jared, a tattooed “bad boy” and the lead singer of a band. You might think based on these characters that you’ve read this story before, but you definitely haven’t. Sure, More Than Music fits in with New Adult tropes to an extent, but only in a good way. It offers up exactly what you want from NA in the form of a professionally edited book. Elizabeth Briggs is a very talented author who belongs in bookstores alongside other New Adult rock stars like Tammara Webber and Colleen Hoover.

I found Maddie to be a sympathetic character. She’s sweet and smart, and she has a crush on a guy who she sees as unattainable. Jared definitely comes across as a ladies man at first, but very quickly the reader sees that he’s a lot deeper than that. He’s very much into music in the same way Maddie is, and their connection in this way is instantaneous. In regards to the romance I love sexy scenes in NA when they seem “right”, but so often I find them to be extraneous, just there because it’s expected of the genre. I’d rather read a relatively clean story that’s swoony and slow burn than read a book with tons of sex scenes that feel out of place. I’m happy to say that I found More Than Music to have the perfect balance. The sexy parts were totally fitting to the characters and the story, and it’s a slow burn to get to that point, with Maddie crushing on Jared from the beginning.

The concept of this book (a battle of the bands reality TV competition) is just amazing. I’m not a person who listens to a lot of music and I’ve never seen an episode of “The Voice”, but weirdly enough, give me a book on these topics and I am in love. Elizabeth Briggs executes this concept flawlessly. I loved all the aspects of it: the scenes with the judging panel, the choosing of songs, the rehearsing, the new fans. There were also the internet reactions (both very good and very bad), the producers, the “mean girl” -- all of these elements were so fun and interesting. There was also a fun geekiness to the novel: just enough to keep it true to character, but not too much that it seemed like name dropping. I like that it was a part of the characters, from Jared’s comic book t-shirts to the band name (Villain Complex) and mentions of Hector's graphic novel.

I really loved the character journeys in More Than Music. Both Maddie and Jared really transform throughout the novel. Maddie goes from a scared little girl to a rock goddess. She learns to stand up for herself, to go for what and who she wants. I loved this message of finding your self-worth and not compromising when it really matters. Jared, too, learns about himself. He’s always been so focused on music that he doesn’t necessarily clue in to situations where he should be prioritizing people over his career. He learns that life is about people, relationships, and love, and that music isn’t absolutely everything in life.

Basically: More Than Music is so fun, so swoony, and so smart. It’s my favourite New Adult read from the past while, and I highly recommend it to all NA fans.

The Cover:


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Signed PB from Elizabeth

Find teasers, playlists, and more on Elizabeth's website. You can also read the first chapter!

June 16, 2014

Cover Reveal: Ann Aguirre's New Adult "2B" trilogy

I'm so thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for Ann Aguirre's 2B Trilogy. I've had the pleasure of reading an early copy of I Want It That Way, and it is a fabulous New Adult romance. If you're at all a fan of the category, or are looking for a place to start, I Want It That Way (out on August 26 from Harlequin HQN) is a must read.

Book 2, As Long As You Love Me, is releasing on September 30, and the trilogy concludes with The Shape of My Heart on November 25.

I loved the first book before I saw the covers, and now that I've seen the covers? I'm even more excited for the rest of this series! So here they are, all three covers revealed at once:

I Want It That Way

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned."

—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You
IWITW Full Cover

I WANT IT THAT WAY on Goodreads

As Long As You Love Me

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He’s the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever—until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

"I loved everything about this book… I just have two words: more please!"

New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack on I Want It That Way
ALAYLM Full Cover

The Shape of My Heart

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—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’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….

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 another that can make it complete.

"New Adult storytelling with an elegant and refined voice that is entirely unique in the genre."

New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover on I Want It That Way

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Indiebound | Vroman’s | Book Depository | Powell’s
TSOMH Full Cover

Author Photo
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.


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