Monday, December 7, 2020

Blog Tour Review, Giveaway, and Q and A: Layla by Colleen Hoover








Title: Layla 

Author: Colleen Hoover

Published By: Montlake (December 8, 2020)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Book Description:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.


When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.


Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.



*Amazon*B&N*


About the Author:


Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including the bestselling women’s fiction novel It Ends with Us and the bestselling psychological thriller Verity. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three years in a row—for Confess (2015), It Ends with Us (2016), and Without Merit (2017). Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Hoover and her family founded the Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service that offers signed novels donated by authors. All profits go to various charities each month to help those in need. Hoover lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

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Q&A:

Q:You have written in many different genres and always keep your fans wanting more. For Layla, you are dipping your toes into a paranormal story that has lots of secrets. How do you describe Layla without giving anything away? #spoilerfreezone 


What is supposed to be a short, romantic getaway for new couple Leeds and Layla turns into an extended vacation full of bizarre occurrences. But no matter how much Layla wants to leave, Leeds is more focused on finding answers for the unexplainable.


Q:The paranormal elements in your story are faint...just a whisper...until they take over. What was it like adding another worldly twist to your writing for the first time?  

It was HARD. Super hard. I love using my imagination, but I also love realistic stories, so I found myself trying to pull back on things I didn’t feel were realistic. But then it got a lot easier when I decided to just make Leeds’s reactions sort of mirror what I would do orsay in those early moments. I put a lot of my own thoughts in Leeds’s character. He finds it hard to explain some of the things that happen, so his reactions are probably what my reactions would be at first. Until there was no room left for doubt, anyway. Then his actions veer very far from what mine would have been.


Q: Love-at-first-sight is such a mundane phrase for what these two share. Their passionate relationship seems to move in fast-forward. What is it about these characters that make their connection so instantaneous?  


I knew where the story was going to go, so I needed their meet-cute to be believable, fun, and I wanted them to be a couple readers would root for. I probably rewrote that first chapter dozens of times,but I focused mainly on their banter. Sometimes we meet people we instantly click with on so many different levels. Leeds and Layla clicked with their sarcasm, their humor, their taste in music. And she read him without even knowing him. To Leeds that was special. I think he felt seen in a world where he’s often overlooked. 


Q: It becomes somewhat of an inside joke between your couple that, before Layla, Leeds’ always wore a look like he was “dying inside.” The truth is that he was deeply unhappy before meeting Layla. How does she change his life? 


Leeds is lonely and holding back on his dreams because of doubts. Leeds sees something different in Layla. She’s carefree, fun and gives him confidence to follow his dreams. In a sense, I think she’s his missing puzzle piece. She fills the parts of him that are empty.  


Q: Before Leeds, Layla doesn’t have a real direction in her life. What does this romance provide to her and why is she so grateful to have found her hero? 


Layla is fresh out of college, living with her parents and unemployed. Leeds’s career gives her focus, and being with him in Tennessee got her out of a place where she probably felt useless and unproductive. 


Q: Can readers expect more paranormal elements in your books moving forward?


I’ll never say never! 


***





I will forever be a fan (a Cohort) because Hoover writes some pretty intense, pretty emotional, pretty dramatic and even sometimes, pretty out there stories and Layla, is so one of the stories. 

A story that take you new places that Hoover has never written in before but she takes you there and like all her stories, it is quite the wild ride.

I absolutely love that she expanded into this genre, which also happens to be one of my favorites. This was so fantastical it was in a strange way, believable. 

I love those stories that raise the whatifs of the world. The ones that take you out of your comfort zone and really make you think about the endless possibilities that might very well exist in this world and bound it all up with one heck of a crazy love story. 

Where almost anything is possible and almost everything happens. A story unlike any other that she has ever written and one that will (like all her stories) stay with you long after it is over. 





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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Blog Tour Review: How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams



Title: How To Fail At Flirting

Author: Denise Williams

Series: Stand Alone

Genre: Rom-Com

Published By: Berkley (December 1, 2020)

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4 Stars!!


Book Description:

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.


When her flailing department lands on the university's chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.


Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.


Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she's finally living again.



*Amazon*B&N*



About the Author:


Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. 
A diversity trainer and co-creator of a women’s empowerment group, she is dedicated to developing flawed, multidimensional characters who struggle with those issues impacting real women. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.
Denise was a 2019 Romance Writers of America ® Golden Heart Finalist and How to Fail at Flirting is her debut novel.


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Every once in a while you come across a romance that is so much more than a romance. One that will take heavy matters and serious topics into account and turn them into one intense but satisfying story. 

Williams has managed to do that in her debut novel and succeeded in doing so brilliantly. 

Riddled with heart pounding moments, both good and bad, How to Fail at Flirting will keep you on your toes and turning the pages. Romance lovers do not want to miss out on this one. 





Monday, November 16, 2020

Blog Tour Review: The Star Crossed Sisters Of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman



Title: The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary
Published By: Berkley (November 17, 2020)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review



Book Description:
A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. 





About the Author:



Lori Nelson Spielman lives in East Lansing, Michigan, with her husband and a very spoiled cat. A former speech pathologist and guidance counselor, she currently works as a homebound teacher for inner-city students. Lori enjoys fitness running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her true passion. She spends her winters cursing the god-awful Michigan winters, and her summers sailing the glorious shores of Lake Michigan. SWEET FORGIVENESS is Lori's second novel. Her first, THE LIFE LIST, was an international bestseller.




I love when a story can sneak right up to you and punch you in the feels and take your breath away. When you aren't expecting much of anything and yet get everything.

Such a beautifully heartbreaking tale told in a back and forth pattern of the then and the now of a family as it has both overcome and succumbed to old prejudices, curses, and struggles from a time and place when women still had very little to say in what their life would be like. A story of three strong women trying to overcome family dynamics, world issues,  heartbreak and most of all, trying to make a way in this very confusing world with nothing but each other. 

This story spoke to me, made me feel and completely enchanted me with its tale. 





Monday, November 9, 2020

Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

 



Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Series: Book One in the These Violent Delights Series

Genre: Historical Fantasy/Retelling

Published By: Margaret K. Elderberry (November 17, 2020)

Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)


Book Description:

Perfect for fans of The Last Magician and Descendant of the Crane, this heart-stopping debut is an imaginative Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a monster in the depths of the Huangpu River.

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.



*Amazon*B&N*




What is there not to love about a modern, yet not modern, retelling of the classic love story to end all love stories?

A tale so very different, it might not be similar at all and yet, so reminiscent of the original that I can't help but think Shakespeare would be proud.

Full of the fantastical, the mystical, the historical and all the awesomeness in between, this truly was so much fun to read, I devoured each page and couldn't get enough. 

I had no idea going into this that it would be a series and I'm so excited after that explosive ending, where this will go next. 

Truly something different, something fun, something dark and yes, something addicting. You are going to love it! 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, October 26, 2020

Review: Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

Title: Chasing Lucky
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published By: Simon Pulse (November 10, 2020)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
My Rating: 4 Stars



Book Description:
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.


Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is… 






I look forward to ever new Jenn Bennett book like a junkie must look forward to their next hit. I crave them, I'm excited for them, and I do a jump of joy when they are finally, finally in my hands! 

This was everything one would expect from one of Bennett's books. It had all the emotions, relatable characters and story line we have come to love from her, all set in a wonderful small town that was hard not to love, prejudices and all. 

I absolutely love how raw and real Bennett's characters are and how very much you come to love and root for them over the course of her stories. Truly another wonderful tale that was every bit as irresistible as it was good. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, October 19, 2020

Review: Trailwalker by J.L. Bryan

 
Title: Trailwalker
Author: J.L. Bryan
Series: Book Thirteen in the Ellie Jordan Ghost Hunter Series
Genre: Paranormal
Published: October 1, 2020
Source: ARC Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)

My Rating: 5 Stars!



Book Description:

The old campground in the mountains has a shrouded history wrapped in legend. Located by the mysterious mounds of a vanished people, it was once a popular summer destination for children, but closed long ago under tragic circumstances.

Josh and Allison Conner have moved out from the city, inspired to create a retreat for children in need, a place to build skills and character. They've brought their own children with them, and now they're hurrying to rebuild and update the old camp in time for their first opening day.

But something lurks in the wilderness around the old summer camp, something that strikes against the Conners' best efforts to revitalize it. They feel watched, then threatened, but after sinking their savings and their hopes into the place, they are unwilling to walk away.

Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan must sort history from legend to determine what haunts the camp and how to fight it, before it inflicts more harm on the well-meaning family attempting to bring life back to the remote abandoned campground.




*Amazon*B&N*



It is no secret I adore this series and even thirteen books in, it just keeps getting better and better.

So without further ado, my top five reasons you need to pick this series up and read it:


1. You will have a spooky good time.

2. The places! I love how even the houses and woods surrounding Bryan's stories seem to come alive and have a life of their own.

3. Ghosts! There is nothing like a great ghost story that will have you turning on the lights and looking behind you constantly.

4. Fabulous writing. It is so easy to get drawn into his stories. He makes everything come to life and pop right off the pages.

5. Realistic, lovable characters. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author. I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Blog Tour Review: Touch of Evil by Cecy Robson










 Title: Touch of Evil 
Author: Cecy Robson
Series: Book Ten in the Weird Girls Series; Book One in the Touch Series
Published: October 13, 2020
Source: ARC provided by the tour host in exchange for an honest review.



Book Description:
The award-winning Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series continues to blow away modern fantasy and adventure fans with heart-stopping action and romance. Centered around four unique and powerful sisters, it’s time for Emme Wird, the youngest sister, to step into the supernatural spotlight.

Emme Wird, the healer and powerful telekinetic in the Wird family, hasn’t had the best of luck with males. While her sisters have found their mates and forever loves, Emme has found males that are better left as lost. Is a decent meal with polite conversation too much to ask for? Yes, it is.

When a pack member that Emme has dinner with is discovered dead and dismembered, it is up to Emme and her werewolf friend, Bren, to solve the murder. But spine-tingling danger and touches with evil have ways of bringing close friends closer.

Could the male that Emme searches for be right in front of her? Or will evil snatch him away from her, just as it did once before?





About the Author:



CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.







I've been a fan of the Wird (Weird) sisters from the very action packed, romance filled, swoon worthy, heart pounding beginning. There really is nothing else quite like this series. 

It takes my breath away and I look forward to each new installment with excitement and anticipation but I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I was even more excited than normal when I learned that finally, finally! the next installment would be all about Bren and Emme.

I've loved smart mouthed, sassy, mysteriously brooding Bren from the very beginning and couldn't wait to learn more about this broken wolf in all his shapes and forms. And Emme? What's not to love about this loving soft spoken favorite Wird sister? 

And while this didn't quite go in the direction I was truly hoping it would, I have no doubts that Cecy will do these two justice in the end and I can't wait to read more to get there!

This series continues to be so much fun, so dynamic, and so very addicting and I can't wait to see Bren and Emme grow with each new page. chapter, and story.