Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli


Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli
Series: Outer Banks Tennis Academy #2
Published: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Coliloquy
206 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary NA
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

book1-publicity-front
Read my review of Game. Set. Match.

Grass courts, tennis whites and the fiercest competition in the world. Wimbledon. After two crazy weeks in Paris, the girls of the Outer Banks Tennis Academy are headed to London with just one thing on their minds: winning.

Indiana Gaffney is fresh off a surprise win at the French Open junior tournament. Sponsors are clamoring for her attention, but what she wants more than anything—aside from a wild card to Wimbledon—is to be with Jack Harrison, but international fame and a secret relationship rarely mix well.

When Penny Harrison dreamed of playing at Wimbledon she never imagined agonizing pain shooting through her ankle with every step. With just a month until the tournament and the whole world expecting her to win, she’s determined to play, with or without the support of her coach or the love of her life, Alex Russell.

For the first time ever, no one expects anything from Jasmine Randazzo. After a crushing first-round defeat in the French Open juniors, the tennis world has given up on her, but worse than that, so have her parents, her best friend Teddy and maybe even her coach. With everyone writing her off, can she find it within herself to go after her dreams?

 
I read and loved Game. Set. Match. two years ago and have been waiting (im)patiently ever since for Losing at Love. In my review of the first book, I said that I went into it not expecting to love it. I have no interest in tennis, plus I often find it hard to keep multiple POVs straight, especially when a lot is going on. I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up loving not only the tennis stuff, but also the three main characters, Indy, Penny, and Jasmine. Iacopelli succeeded in capturing my attention from the very beginning, and she did that again in Losing at Love.

It was so great reconnecting with these characters. It felt like meeting up with old friends, and I was eager to see what they were up to. I love that Indy, Penny, and Jasmine have stuff in common beyond tennis - they’re all strong, independent, smart girls - but they also have their own distinct personalities, interests, and goals. Throughout the book, the boundaries of their friendships (and other relationships) were tested, and it was nice to see them go through real life stuff even though their lives are far from most peoples’ idea of normal. I also appreciated that the relationship stuff wasn't always easy. I love the boys in this book as much as I love the girls. There were some steamy, sexy moments that were great, and they were mixed in nicely with the emotional stuff and some cute, funny moments.

I’d love to see this series as a TV series. I can picture it clearly, and I think it would make a great teen drama. It has all the elements of a hit TV show - friendships, romance, humour, sexytimes, competitive characters, action. It’s not often that I can picture a book translated to the TV or movie screen, but I’d watch a TV show about the OBX girls in a heartbeat.

I’m completely hooked on this series. I didn’t want the story to end, because I want to know what will happen next for Indy, Penny, Jasmine, and their sexy love interests. I just hope we don’t have to wait another two years for the next book! ;-)

 
    
Have you read Losing at Love or Game. Set. Match? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Do you like books about sports? Let's talk here or on Twitter!
 http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Losing at Love Release Day Blitz

L@L RDL Banner 2
It's release day for Jennifer Iacopelli's Losing at Love. This is the second book in Jennifer's Outer Banks Tennis Academy series, and I am so excited to be sharing it with you! Check out all the fantastic release day info, and be sure to enter Jennifer's giveaway.


book2-publicity-front 
Grass courts, tennis whites and the fiercest competition in the world. Wimbledon. After two crazy weeks in Paris, the girls of the Outer Banks Tennis Academy are headed to London with just one thing on their minds: winning.

Indiana Gaffney is fresh off a surprise win at the French Open junior tournament. Sponsors are clamoring for her attention, but what she wants more than anything—aside from a wild card to Wimbledon—is to be with Jack Harrison, but international fame and a secret relationship rarely mix well. 

When Penny Harrison dreamed of playing at Wimbledon she never imagined agonizing pain shooting through her ankle with every step. With just a month until the tournament and the whole world expecting her to win, she’s determined to play, with or without the support of her coach or the love of her life, Alex Russell. 

For the first time ever, no one expects anything from Jasmine Randazzo. After a crushing first-round defeat in the French Open juniors, the tennis world has given up on her, but worse than that, so have her parents, her best friend Teddy and maybe even her coach. With everyone writing her off, can she find it within herself to go after her dreams? 


~Exclusive Excerpt~
La Metropolian Hotel 
Paris, France 
Indiana Gaffney gasped, her eyes flying open and locking on the glistening object across the hotel room. It reflected the muted television behind her, the French Open final, the red of the court, blurry in the polished silver. A large, round plate, innocuous to the untrained eye, with the sizeable laser carved logo of Roland Garros at the center, was braced against the mirror hanging on the hotel room wall. The mirror reflected the match clearly, the broad steps and fierce rallies of two men battling it out for the French Open Men’s title. But those men were mere afterthoughts as her eye caught a set of shoulders stretching the material of his t-shirt thin, not a mere image from the television, but broad and warm and real. Strong hands slid down her back, fingers twining into the ends of her long blonde hair, tugging on it gently, drawing her gaze away from the mirror and back to the green eyes of the man in her bed. 
He kissed her soundly, sending shivers down her spine and making her hips rock against his and her legs tighten around his waist. “It’s not gonna disappear if you take your eyes off it,” Jack Harrison muttered into the skin of her neck, nipping at it lightly with his teeth.  
“Feels like it will,” she whispered back, tilting her head to give him better access. Most of her mind was focused on what he was doing with his hands and mouth, but that plate, the one that declared in no uncertain terms that she was the new French Open junior champion, would not be ignored. Not even for the guy who made her heart pound like no one else ever had before, the guy who, up until a few days ago, could barely look at her without his shoulders slumping with guilt. Their age gap hadn’t shrunk in the days full of soft kisses and nights far more intense — though perhaps not as intense as she’d like — but he wasn’t fighting their attraction anymore. She hadn’t chased him, not really, but he’d known she wanted him, almost from the moment they first met. Then he’d found out how old she was and he started treating her like a flashing red SEVENTEEN was stamped across her forehead, every year between them creating an accompanying foot of distance. In the end, the attraction had been too much, even for someone as painfully good as Jack Harrison. 
“Hey, Champ, you in there?” Jack’s voice brought her back, his lips spelling out the words against her shoulder. 
“Champ?” Indy hummed and smiled. “I like the sound of that.” In fact, she liked the sound of it so much she planned on winning again the next chance she got, on the grass courts at Wimbledon. 
“I bet you do. Get used to it, baby,” Jack said, his whole face lighting up as he shifted his weight forward, tilting her back onto the bed. A shriek bubbled up through her throat and the giggles followed as he leaned over her, bracing himself on his elbows and then smothering her laughter with the press of his mouth. As his tongue slid against hers, she turned herself over to it, letting herself revel in the dreams of future victories and the celebrations that would follow. 

Catch up on the series now with Game. Set. Match:
book1-publicity-front

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.09.39 PMJennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave...ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor's degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature quickly followed up by a Master's in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favorite tennis players through the TV. 


~GIVEAWAY~
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes


The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
Series: N/A
Published: February 17th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

The Distance Between Lost and Found is a hard book to peg down. I felt so many different things while reading it. My mental rating of it went up and down throughout, but by the end, it was easy for me to give the book 4 stars. It was told in third person present tense, which I normally don’t like, and it had religious themes, which I tend to avoid. Something about this book made me curious, though, and I’m glad I gave it a chance because I ended up really enjoying it.

Normally, for me, third person present tense feels stilted and impersonal; it’s like reading a play, and it can be hard to get a sense of who the characters really are on a deeper level. With The Distance Between Lost and Found, I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were really well developed, and I felt like I got a good sense of who they were. There was also a surprising amount of character development, especially considering the book took course over such a short period. It felt very authentic to me, probably because of the characters’ circumstances, and I enjoyed watching the characters, especially Hallie, learn and grow. By the end, I felt a deep connection to her, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. I was proud of her, and I wanted the best for her.

The religious themes were handled well. I appreciated that Hallie was honest about her feelings regarding feeling God’s presence, wondering if and why he’d abandoned her, why it seemed like some people were never punished for things, and that maybe not everything could be attributed to God - maybe she should be able to take credit for certain things. Sometimes books with religious themes make me uncomfortable, and some of them have even made me see red (which is why I tend to stay away from them), but when religious themes are handled as well as they were in The Distance Between Lost and Found, I can appreciate and even enjoy them.

The story wasn’t necessary draggy, but there were parts that felt too long. I found myself wishing a few times that they’d just be rescued already, or that Hallie would just spit out her story and stop drawing it out. A lot of times when a character has this huge secret to tell and it takes them forever to spill, it ends up feeling anticlimactic. While I thought it took too long to get the whole story, I was pleased with the story itself - it was appropriately rage-inducing and made me really feel for Hallie and her situation and the unfairness of it. I liked that it brought her closer to Rachel and Jonah, and that by telling her story for the first time, she was able to heal part of herself.

Overall The Distance Between Lost and Found was a very enjoyable read. It was an interesting mix of contemporary and survival story. I loved the characters and feel like Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah will stick with me for a while. 

 

    
Have you read The Distance Between Lost and Found? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like wilderness survival stories? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

 http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: Michael: Path of Angels by Patricia Josephine

Today I'm excited to share the cover of Michael: Path of Angels Book One by my good friend Patricia Josephine (aka Patricia Lynne). I beta read this novella, and it was so. Freaking. Good. Intense, bittersweet, romantic, sexy, plus completely different from anything I've ever read. I can't wait for this story to be out in the world so people can read it. And now that it has a totally kickass cover I'm even more excited! Speaking of that kickass cover, without further ado, here it is! 


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 photo Michael 2.jpg
Add to your Goodreads
There is only one path.
Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role: hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.
But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny: give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.
Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.

~About the Author~

 photo PatriciaLynneAuthorwithbook.jpg
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and this one chose her. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Patricia Josephine writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Follow Patricia on Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Website | Wattpad


 What do you think of the cover?

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: Rebound by Noelle August


Rebound by Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #2
Published: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
288 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary romance
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


Adam Blackwood has it all. At twenty-two, he’s fabulously wealthy, Ryan Gosling-hot and at the top of the heap in the business world. His life is perfect, until a scandal from his past resurfaces and knocks the tech wunderkind down, throwing his company, Boomerang, a hook-up site for millennials, into chaos.
 
Three years ago, Adam married his high school love—and then lost her in a tragic accident. Now, the heartbreak and guilt he’s tried to bury with work and women begins to take over his life.

Alison Quick, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a business tycoon—and the very ex-girlfriend of Boomerang’s former intern, Ethan—has a problem of her own. She’s got one chance to prove to her father that she deserves a place in his empire by grabbing control of Boomerang and taking Adam down.

But as Alison moves in on him, armed with a cadre of lawyers and accountants, she discovers there’s much more to Adam and Boomerang than meets the eye. Will earning her father’s approval come at the price of losing her first real love? It appears so, unless Adam can forgive her for wrecking his life and trying to steal his livelihood. But Alison hopes that old adage is right. Maybe love can conquer all.

Boomerang was one of my favourite books of 2014, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting Rebound since the minute I finished Ethan and Mia’s story. I didn’t know who the second book would feature, but since so many of the side characters piqued my interest, I didn’t really care, I just knew I wanted to read it. Rebound had everything I loved about Boomerang - characters who were well fleshed out, snappy dialogue, a unique storyline, sexytimes, and a swoony romance.

Adam Blackwood is a smart, savvy businessman who knows how to get things done. He’s driven and knows what he wants. He seems to have it all, but instead of being happy and reveling in his success, he’s haunted by memories of his wife and the mistakes he made in the past. He’s closed off to love and won’t let anyone get too close. Alison Quick has a lot to prove to her father, a powerful man who likes to keep up appearances. Her cool exterior hides a young woman who wants love and approval, and who wants to succeed.

Adam and Ali intrigued me from the beginning. It was clear there was more to them than met the eye, and I enjoyed seeing the parts of them they kept hidden from other people. They had great chemistry, and I loved that even when they were slightly wary of each other, they couldn’t help but drop their guards around each other. There was a strong emphasis on Adam and Ali building a foundation for what could turn into something more, and I loved that. They clearly wanted each other, but they didn’t jump right into bed (despite trying to have sex during their first encounter at Halloween, a scene I loved). They got to know each other and had genuine feelings for each other.

Rebound had a great mixture of light and serious moments. It was funny, sweet, and sexy; it made me laugh, and it also tugged on my heartstrings. The secondary characters were fantastic, and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces from Boomerang. I’d love to work at a place like Boomerang, with a boss like Adam who creates such a fun work environment with an emphasis on teamwork. Overall, Rebound was another winner from Noelle August. 

 
 
   
Have you read Boomerang or Rebound? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Do you like forbidden office type romances? Let's talk here or on Twitter!
 
 

Monday, February 9, 2015

New Blog Launching Today ~ The Authorteers!


I've teamed up with three of my good friends - Molli Moran, Lilly Avalon, and Jessica Sankiewicz - to create one awesome author blog! Between the four of us, we've published 14 books ranging from young adult to new adult to women's fiction to erotic romance. We decided to put our powers of awesome together to form an author blog called The Authorteers

Click here to check it out!

Meet the Authors:
Molli is a Southern author who doesn't consider her day complete if she hasn't written. She loves coffee and talking fast, things she attributes to being raised by Gilmore Girls. She's a romantic at heart, and brings that to her books, which are usually about quirky characters chasing after their happily ever after. Although content when reading, she can often be found watching and flailing over Doctor Who, cuddling her various pets, or spending time with friends, family, or her girlfriend. Molli loves Oxford commas, country music, Stefan Salvatore, and scarves.
Marie has the best job in the world—one where she gets to make stuff up for a living and shamelessly eavesdrop on everyone around her. She writes happily ever afters while dreaming about the day she’ll have her own epic love story to tell. Most days you can find her writing, reading, fantasizing about traveling the world, listening to U2, watching copious amounts of TV on DVD, or having grand adventures with her nephews and niece.
Lilly Avalon is the author of the RESIST series as well as other erotic romances. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.
Jessica Sankiewicz is the author of the New Adult novella series, This Night. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Jessica decided when she turned 27 that she would remain 27 forever. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin' names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.

Hang out with The Authorteers!

We created a Facebook group to hang out with our friends and fans. It'll be full of all sorts of things from news on our books to giveaways and posts on the blog to fun, random posts about anything and everything.

Request to join today! 

Giveaway
To celebrate the launch of the blog, The Authorteers are hosting an EPIC giveaway! Here's what you can win:
International (20 WINNERS)
FOUR winners receive 4 e-books--1 book of choice from each author EIGHT winners receive 1 e-book of choice from our backlist (from any author) FOUR winners receive 1 swag pack (one from each author, the one you receive will be randomly selected) FOUR winners receive 1 signed postcard (one from each author, the one you receive will be randomly selected)

US/CAN only (4 WINNERS)
  • Plushie with candy, $15 iTunes gift card, AYTA and OSA swag
  • Angel Island swag (postcards, mini bookmarks, stickers), chocolate, Minnie Mouse memo pad, various stickers
  • Seduced by a Stranger by Lisa Kleypas, candy, book swag (including buttons!)
  • Autumn notebook & bag of chocolates & handmade hemp bracelet & book swag
Giveaway Rules:
1. The only real requirement is to follow The Authorteers blog (via Bloglovin', Feedburner, or another reader of choice). 
2. This contest runs from February 9th to 28th. 
3. Winners will be selected at 12:01 a.m. on March 1st via Rafflecopter random selection.
International:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

US/CAN Only:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
We hope you'll celebrate with us and join us in this fun new endeavor!
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios


I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Series: No
Published: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
400 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

I’ll Meet You There is one of those books that breaks your heart and then stitches it back together again. It makes you feel the gamut of emotions, from sadness to anger to joy to love and everything in between. Demetrios skillfully wove together a story that was both raw and painful, but also full of beauty and hope.

Sky was a great character. She had a very authentic voice and was easy to relate to. Even though I’ve never been in a situation quite like hers, I saw bits of myself in her - I lost my dad when I was young, I know what it’s like to feel stuck in your life, I know what it’s like to struggle financially, although not to the degree she did. She was such a real character, and I found it impossible not to like her. Even when she was being stupid and I wanted to shake her, I couldn’t fault her for it, because she acted like a real teenager, letting her hormones and emotions drive her. It was a pleasure watching her grow and learn through the course of the book.

My heart broke for Josh. I cried during most of his short POV scenes. It’s hard to imagine what people go through during wars, and his memories and his struggle post-war were gut wrenching. He was dealing with so much - the loss of his leg, the loss of friends in the war, plus having to come back to a place he’d found a way to escape from, even if that escape was something that could get him killed. He was a player in his former life, and still appeared to be a player, but he had actually lost a lot of his confidence because of his injury. He wasn’t always easy to like - he could be a jerk, and he didn’t always say or do the right things - but I loved how realistic he was. He was suffering mentally and physically, and that came across so clearly.

Skylar and Josh’s relationship was so sweet. I loved the slow build, watching them become friends and then something more, and I also appreciated the bumps along the way, because, again, it was completely realistic. They seemed so mismatched, but that’s actually what made them perfect for each other. They needed each other, they understood each other, and they made each other better.

I’ll Meet You There was a beautiful story about overcoming adversity, the painful process of growing up, and finding love in unexpected places. The characters and the setting came alive on the pages with crystal clarity. It was emotional and heartbreaking, but it was also sweet, romantic, and made me smile as often as it made me cry. This is one of those books that will take a lot of people outside their comfort zone, but in the best ways possible. If you’re looking for a contemporary that’ll grab your heart and hold on tight, I’ll Meet You There is a must read.

   
Have you read I'll Meet You There? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read any other books where a main character is a war vet? Let's talk here or on Twitter!
http://sweetmarie-83.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html
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