[Steph’s Review]: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

[book-info number=”1″]

I’m shook.

Let me start by saying this: if you haven’t read The Red, or if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, I highly recommend that you re-read it prior to reading this, otherwise you’ll feel compelled to go back to it once you’ve finished this! There are characters (and references to scenes) in The Rose who were featured in The Red, too.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me talk about how much I friggin loved this book.

Greek mythos and Tiffany Reisz books are my kryptonite, so to have both at one time had your girl shooketh.

The Rose was a saucy book filled with laughs, steamy encounters, plot twists, and amazing storytelling that straddles the line of fantasy and reality in a way that makes you wish you could live between the pages. The characters were entertaining and endearing, and I found myself wanting to devour every scene along along the way. The story flowed flawlessly, and I’m fighting the urge to go back and reread it because I loved this book so!
Tiffany Reisz yet again proves that she has a gift of weaving stories together in a way this is captivating, and utterly brilliant. This book was the book I didn’t know I wanted, but I’m sure glad I got.

This is my official first 5-star read of 2019, and I can’t wait for it to come out so that the rest of you can enjoy it, too!

Steph’s Review: Catching Caden by Samantha Christie

I’m here for it.

4.5 Stars!! 

The audio is fantastic, the writing is fantastic, the characters were—you guessed it—FANTASTIC! (I split reading on audio and ebook, so you can’t go wrong with either.)

This book checks all my fave trope boxes:

✔️ friends-to-lovers 
✔️ Sports Romance
✔️ low drama/angst 

Bottom line, this book is perfect for anyone looking for a fluffy and heartwarming romance, which is totally worth adding to a re-read rotation! 

Portia’s Review: Just Add Mistletoe: Christmas in Gingerbread, Colorado by Addison Moore

I just really want to be in love in snow….

Related image

Okay, I’m already in love, I just want to add the magical delight that is snow. Of course, I live in Florida where snow is non existent and probably only seems so magical because I am almost never in it. But still – a girl can dream… 

I have been in an awful book slump for months, this is literally the only book I have finished reading since late October and I was hoping this would get me out of my slump, but alas, no such luck. I was watching my Netflix Christmas movies when this came across my path, and it sounded exactly like what I was in the mood for! This was a cheesy, Hallmark, Netflix holiday movie all wrapped up in an adorable book in less than 300 pages! 

How could you go wrong in an over the top cheesy Christmas romance with names like Mistletoe “Missy” Winters and Graham Holiday who reside in the small town of Gingerbread, Colorado??!! (I have already stated this is cheesy – you aren’t into that please move on, but I believe all Christmas romances are mostly on the cheese side.)

Image result for snow holding hands gif

She is a baker, he is a big shot who moved to New York who is visiting back home when their worlds collide, and then she hatches a plan that lands her exactly opposite of where she wanted to be. He is swoon-worthy, the setting is picturesque (not to mention jealousy inducing for me) and the banter between the two is so freaking adorable. 

It’s been a bit since I posted a review (thanks, book slump!) but this just made me smile so much and was the absolute perfect holiday romance, super short, easy to read, not too much drama, and perfect for Hallmark, Lifetime, and Netflix Christmas movie fest fans… so I had to share! Do you all know of other books like this? I would love to read more, let me know in the comments!! 

Steph’s Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

 

For as long as I can remember, authors Christina Lauren have always made it onto my “highly anticipated” TBR each year. That being said, it doesn’t take much to get me on board with a book that has their names attached to it.

When I heard about their upcoming standalone with the striking cover, and a colorful cast of characters, I just knew I needed to get my hands on it ASAP.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was a wonderfully paced, and well-rounded tale of two college acquaintances-turned-friends, who later become quasi-roomies-turned-matchmakers-turned-lovers. So in other words, I’m here for it.

Are you keeping up? Good. 

Written in dual POV (which I freaking love), we follow Josh and Hazel throughout a series of unfortunate date nights (many of which are double dates for both of them), as they each try to find meaningful(ish) relationships.

What I loved about this was that while both Josh and Hazel had the best of intentions for the other, somehow throughout the course of the train wreck pairings they’re brought closer together as friends, and eventually, lovers.

At the risk of sounding cliché, the connection between Josh and Hazel was so perfect and pure; I found myself cheering for them to finally realize that everything they were looking for could be found in each other. With Hazel’s character being super eccentric and quirky, I found myself completely smitten by the chemistry her and Josh shared.

For lack of a better term: HEART EYES FOREVER.

The progression of their romance felt organic and genuine, and I found that even once the story was done, I still wanted to know ‘where are they now?’!

I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a sweet, fluffy(ish) romance, with pops of humor and some feel-good moments. Also, if you’ve read Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Player book (which is my all-time fave of theirs), you’ll absolutely love Josh and Hazel.

This book was flirty, fun, and blissfully romantic. It checked all my boxes as a romance reader, and left me greedy wanting more!

This is a solid 4 stars!

 

 

ON DUBLIN STREET by Samantha Young: COVER RE-REVEAL + BRADEN CARMICHAEL POV CHAPTER + GIVEAWAY!

THIS POST CONTAINS FANGIRLING, A COVER RE-REVEAL, A NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN BRADEN POV CHAPTER FROM ON DUBLIN STREET, AND A SIGNED + PERSONALIZED INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!

 

Image result for are you ready gif

FIRST THINGS FIRST: ON DUBLIN STREET IS BAE. 

 

If someone were to ask me what is one book I could read every day and never get sick of, my answer would 100 times be ON DUBLIN STREET by Samantha Young.

When I tell you my love for this book (and series) knows no bounds, I would not be lying.

As in, I traveled to Edinburgh (where all of the streets featured in the series titles can be found), and INCEPTION’D MYSELF BY POSING IN A PHOTO WITH MY COPY OF ON DUBLIN STREET, ON THE ACTUAL DUBLIN STREET:


Basically, the best day ever.

Almost six years after it was originally published, the e-book is getting a new cover! 

FEAST THINE EYES ON THIS BABY:

And want to know what else is awesome? Author Samantha Young is sharing the first chapter of ON DUBLIN STREET from Braden’s POV to celebrate!

I. DIE. 

Related image

In case you *gasp* haven’t yet had a chance to read/own ON DUBLIN STREET, check the synopsis, and hit up these retailers below to gets you some:

Synopsis: 

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare …

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well – until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street, where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her . . . down to the very soul.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY | KOBO

 


Peep the Braden chapter below, and scroll the bottom of this post (under my shameless book rec for Samantha’s upcoming book that I’m equally obsessed with) to win a SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED PRINT (MASS MARKET) COPY OF ON DUBLIN STREET (courtesy of the ApollyCon 2019 Virtual Signing Store)

 

On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Chapter 1 – from Braden’s POV:

Sighing, Braden shrugged his shoulders back and looked up at the sky, squinting against the sunlight. Decked out in a three-piece suit on a hot day like this didn’t ease his growing frustration with his plan to sell La Cour. No one knew he was thinking of selling La Cour except Thomas Prendergast, a fellow restaurateur. A successful one. If any of his business associates knew Braden was selling La Cour they’d think he was nuts. The restaurant had a world-class chef and a stellar reputation. And it made money.

In truth, Braden was just stretched too thin and not interested in La Cour. All his concentration and focus was going into making his nightclub Fire a success, developing properties that turned profits, and of course he still had his father’s estate agency to keep up with, as well as a successful Scottish seasonal restaurant he co-owned with the chef, Frazier Allie, down on the Shore.

La Cour as it stood was a nuisance, a nuisance Braden felt obligated to attend to since his father worked so hard to make it the success it was. But his father had always told him that when business became a nuisance rather than a challenge, and was no longer satisfying, it was time to move on to greener pastures.

Thomas was dragging his feet with an answer.

He glanced back at the restaurant. Come on, Thomas, make up your mind, man.

Braden’s phone beeped in his pocket. He pulled it out and glanced at the digital reminder informing him he had a meeting in twenty minutes with one of his managers at Douglas Carmichael & Co, the estate agency his grandfather built up from the ground up to become one of the primary agencies in the Lothians.

Shit. He’d spent longer with Thomas Prendergast than he’d meant to. Scowling, Braden walked toward Bruntsfield Church, his pale blue eyes trained on the road ahead, willing a cab to make an appearance. Only seconds later one turned around the corner and he stepped out onto the curb with his arm raised. To his relief the taxi pulled up to him. He’d make his meeting.

Reaching for the handle on the passenger side, a clean, fruity smell drifted towards him seconds before a warm, small and very feminine hand collided with his.

Braden dipped his head and looked down into the face of a woman, her skin bright from the sunlight, her eyes narrowed to slits as she squinted against the sun behind his head. There was a surprised disgruntlement in her expression. Clearly she assumed this was her black cab. Braden prepared to disabuse her of the notion but stopped. His father taught him that reading people, and by that he meant all the things they didn’t say with their mouths but did with their bodies and eyes, was the key to success in business. Braden read stubbornness in her features he could make out and in the obstinate tension she held in her shoulders. He was in no mood for stubbornness or fighting over a bloody cab after his meeting with Thomas had come to no satisfactory conclusion.

For the sake of expedience Braden asked, “Which way are you headed?”

He heard the words ‘Dublin Street’ and did what he always did: maneuvered things to his liking. “Good.” He pulled the cab door open. “I’m heading in that direction, and since I’m already running late, might I suggest we share the taxi instead of wasting ten minutes deciding who needs it more.” He placed a hand on the small of her back and nudged her into the cab.

Relieved she didn’t stall them, Braden got in after her and immediately gave the cab driver their first destination. His sister, Ellie, lived on Dublin Street in a flat he’d renovated and then gifted to her. Ellie was his half-sister—they shared the same father. She’d never had it particularly easy from their dad. That was putting it politely. Douglas Carmichael was a negligent bastard and despite the fact that he and Braden had finally become friends of a sort before he died, Braden had never forgiven him for his treatment of Ellie. The guilt Douglas should have felt transferred to Braden, and he’d done everything he could to make sure her life was easier, and that she knew he cared. Giving her the flat meant she could concentrate on that PhD she was studying for. Braden might think the PhD impractical, but it made her happy, and in the end that was all that mattered. He also liked having her close to the estate agency which was on Dundas Street. Anytime he was in the area, which was more often than not, he could drop by to see Els. Braden was lucky to call Ellie not only his sister, but one of his closest friends, and it was nice to escape the stress of his business life at least for ten minutes when he stopped by for a coffee with her.

Braden decided he’d get the cab driver to stop at the top of Dublin Street, burl around and come back toward Dundas Street. It would be easier to drop him off first but it was ingrained in him to never let a woman pay for anything, so he’d drop off the unexpected passenger so he could pay the fare.

“Thanks I guess,” the woman answered from his left, the words sardonic. It wasn’t the tone that drew his attention. It was the husky, sexy voice and the American accent.

Glancing in interest at her, Braden almost did a double take. She was attractive. Very. So busy checking her out he asked somewhat stupidly, “You’re an American?”

She turned to him and as soon as their eyes met Braden felt his blood heat with the impact. Jesus fucking Christ. Intelligent, exotic, feline gray eyes appraised him as she tucked a loose strand of dark-blonde hair behind her ear. Her hair was long and pulled back in a pony-tail, giving him an unhindered view of a graceful neck and an arresting face. For some reason he couldn’t look away.

Watching her eyes drop to his body, drinking him in, Braden was intrigued. He was used to women looking at him. He was a big guy and he worked out and he’d had no complaints from women. He wasn’t, however, used to a woman appearing so consternated by the fact that she was checking him out. He raised an eyebrow, curious about her.

“Yeah, I’m American.”

That voice. He shifted in his seat. She really did have the sexiest voice he’d ever heard. He wanted to hear it again. “Just visiting?” Braden murmured.

“Nope.”

“Then you’re a student?”

Whatever she heard in his tone it made her tense. Braden envied her casual, light clothing in this heat and thanked God for throwing her in his path on a day so hot in Scotland it had caused the American to wear those tiny shorts.

True, she wasn’t his usual type. Most of his girlfriends, including his current girlfriend Holly, and his ex-wife Analise, were tall, slender platinum blondes. The American was the opposite of every woman he’d ever dated.

And yet… she was beyond appealing.

She had surprisingly large breasts for such a delicately built woman—big boobs, wee waist, and another surprise were those gorgeous legs of hers. They were shapely and long despite her small stature. Hot blood rushed southwards.

Bloody Nora.

When Braden finally dragged his eyes up to her expressive face he noted the raised eyebrow. He’d been caught eating her up and she did not look impressed. Amused, he grinned at her. Usually this would incur a responding grin. Instead the brat rolled her eyes at him.

“I was a student,” she answered, and Braden’s ears warmed to the purr of her dulcet voice. “I live here. Dual citizenship.”

“You’re part Scottish?”

She gave him a barely-there nod and seemed intent to not look at him. He smiled inwardly, feeling anticipation he hadn’t felt in a while, and definitely not over a woman. It was the anticipation of a challenge. Women came quite easily to him and it certainly made life less difficult. Life was stressful enough in business. But he couldn’t argue with what this strange, inexplicable feeling toward the American.

He’d never felt instant attraction like it.

Braden eyed her and grew even more dangerously hot at the idea of turning that willful glint in her stunning eyes soft with need as he explored every inch of her.

He shifted in his seat again, disappointment settling over him when he belatedly remembered he was seeing someone else. Since he wasn’t the kind of man to ask for another woman’s number while he was in a relationship that meant he’d have to ignore whatever was between him and the American.

Bugger.

The timing was fucked.

He couldn’t have her. Eyeing her mouth, despite knowing that conversation—or anything—was pointless, he found himself asking, “What do you do now that you’ve graduated?”

She shot him a look out of the corner of her eyes and it seemed to hold more than a hint of disdain. “What do you do? I mean, when you’re not manhandling women into cabs?”

It occurred to Braden that a man knew he was really bored with life when he got a kick out of a woman’s condescension. “What do you think I do?”

“I’m thinking lawyer. Answering questions with questions, manhandling…”

“I’m not a lawyer. But you could be. I seemed to recall a question answered with a question. And that,” he gestured to her full mouth, wondering how she’d taste, “That’s a definite smirk.” His voice was thick with want and he knew she heard it in the way her eyes flared as their gazes met.

Yeah, she felt the heat too.

The air in the cab was suddenly heavy with sexual tension. An undeniable, incredible electricity that Braden really fucking wanted to explore.

As awful as it was, he was cursing the existence of Holly, his current girlfriend, to hell in that moment. What he had with Holly wasn’t special. It was just fun. But it was exclusive.

Shit.

The American not only looked away but seemed to deliberately lean her whole body away from him as she stared out at the passing traffic. As he watched her attempt to create a distance between them with silence, his eyes caressed the sharp sweep of her jawline and the smoothness of her olive skin. She had great skin. Skin that told of her age, and it suddenly occurred to him that the American was quite young, probably ages with Ellie. He hadn’t realized at first because she had seemed attractively self-possessed.

Now she seemed uncomfortable… perhaps inexperienced?

It should have put him off.

It didn’t.

Whoever she was, however she was, Braden was intrigued.

He wanted to work her out.

“Are you shy?” He asked trying not to sound like a condescending prick.

She turned to him with a bemused smile. “Excuse me?”

Not shy then. He eyed her carefully. She wasn’t as easy to read as he’d first thought. He liked that. “Are you shy?” he repeated to be polite, already knowing the answer to that question was no. She was something, but it wasn’t shy.

“Why would you think that?”

He decided to see just how self-possessed she really was. “Most women would be taking advantage of my imprisonment in the taxi with them—chew my ear off, shove their phone number in my face…as well as other things.” His eyes instantly lowered to her lush breasts, letting her know he thought they were well worthy of the attention.

Anticipating either a blush or a scowl when he drew his eyes back to her face, Braden was taken aback to find her grinning at him. Fuck. Her smile hit him with more of an impact than her sexy body. She had one helluva sweet smile. “Wow, you really think a lot of yourself.”

He grinned back. “I’m just speaking from experience.”

“Well, I’m not the kind of girl who hands out her number to a guy she just met.”

Even though he couldn’t ask for her number he was immediately disappointed by her answer. He’d begun building an idea of who she was in his head and prudish girl next door was definitely not it. “Ahh,” he looked away. “You’re a no-sex-until-the-third-date, marriage-and-babies kind of woman.” Not exactly his type.

“No, no, and no,” she answered, seeming affronted by the idea. So affronted in fact that he suddenly wondered if the opposite was true. Was he in the presence of that rare creature? A woman afraid of commitment?

“Interesting,” he murmured.

“I’m not giving you my number.”

Unfortunately Braden couldn’t seduce her number out of her. “I didn’t ask for it. And even if I wanted it, I wouldn’t ask for it.” Fucking lie. “I have a girlfriend.” Unfortunately, true. Braden mentally slapped himself across the head for that ungentlemanly thought. Holly was a good girl and deserved better than that.

“Then stop looking at me like that.”

“I have a girlfriend, but I’m not blind. Just because I can’t do anything doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to look.” A crying shame if you asked him. He wanted to look. He wanted to look past the cynical eyes and through the sweet smile and find out which one of them was her. Maybe she was both. Maybe she was neither. He didn’t know. At all. And he wanted to. Jesus—

“Here’s good, thanks.”

What? His fascination with her mystery was suddenly brought to an abrupt halt by her direction to the driver. They weren’t at Dublin Street yet. They still had… Braden looked outside. They were at Queen Street Gardens, only seconds from her destination. And why was he panicking? She was off limits.

The driver pulled up to the curb and she handed him fare and reached for the door.

“Wait,” Braden found himself saying.

She turned to him, her expression impatient. “What?”

Braden sensed he had seconds here. He could either tell her to take her money back and offer to pay for the entire cab fare as he intended. Or he could ask her the one thing that had been itching at him since they met.

“Do you have a name?”

She smiled and Braden automatically found himself smiling with her. “Actually, I have two.”

What?

She jumped out of the cab and despite the loss of her he found myself chuckling at her cool reply.

It was his own fault. He’d asked a smart woman the wrong question.

Just as abruptly as she’d left him, Braden’s amusement fled. He realized he’d probably never see her again. Now that really was a crying shame. His father was right. His intuition was what made him a successful businessman, and his intuition was telling him he’d just let a great opportunity pass him by.

Swallowing his disappointment, Braden directed the cabbie to turnabout and head toward his meeting… in an even worse fucking mood than he’d started out in.

Can I bother you for one more second?

While we’re on the subject of Samantha Young (and broody Scottish heroes), can I pah-leez highly recommend:

A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series. 

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn’t hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava’s ever had. And that’s all it was–until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb’s orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he’s stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart’s in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she’s made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn’t quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her….

GUYS.

I had a chance to read this book when I was on my trip to Phoenix over the summer, and when I tell you it was everything, I mean it was E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

HERE’S MY TOP 5 REASONS YOU NEED TO PREORDER DIS:

  1. IT GAVE ME HARDCORE ON DUBLIN STREET VIBES.
  2. IT FEATURED MY FAVE TROPE: HATE-TO-LOVE (or, enemies to lovers–whichever gets you goin’ lol)
  3. IT HAS A SCOTTISH HERO WITH A FILTHY MOUTH. *drools*
  4. THIS IS A SOLID, WELL-WRITTEN STANDALONE (no cliffy’s, y’all!)
  5. FIGHT OR FLIGHT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY, AND FAN YOURSELF (WHILST READING THE STEAMY BITS).

Basically, FIGHT OR FLIGHT rocked my world in the absolute best way, all while hitting me straight in the feels. (It hurts so good!) I’ve been fighting the urge to re-read it…again

Why wouldn’t you want this?

PREORDER HERE:

AMAZON | B & N | iBOOKS | KOBO | INDIEBOUND | GOOGLE PLAY | BOOKS-A-MILLION


 

[about-author name=”Samantha Young”]

 

 

RULES:

  • This giveaway is open internationally.
  • All winner’s entries will be verified. 
  • Any information provided for entries are for giveaway purposes only, and will remain confidential.
  • The prize will be shipped via the ApollyCon Virtual Signing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Portias-review-perm

I cannot express how grateful I am to have gotten to read this book. This may just have come at the right time in my life – and maybe the right time in many peoples lives. It made me sad, and angry, and curious… I felt weighed down by guilt. That is not normally a feeling a book evokes from me, but in this case, it was right. This book is doing something really interesting too – its including modern popular media.

I know I am not the only person addicted too and riveted by murder and crime podcasts. There is one in particular that always stood above the rest to me, called Up and Vanished. It’s about this kind of average Joe, who sets out to find out what happened to a woman who had been missing for over 10 years, and it’s amazing what he does. As soon as I started reading Sadie, I immediately got those UAV vibes. I could hear it all perfectly in my head. At the time, I had not yet discovered that Macmillan was putting out actual podcast episode leading up to the release of the book. I love this form of mixed media, it really helps add to the chapters that are the podcast transcripts, and it makes the book feel that much more somber, like you are carrying the weight of every person they interview during the course of it. Check out the clip below, and click for full episodes (they are free!)

Okay, now that I’ve raved about how interesting that is, lets get to more important things – the story.

I almost don’t know where to begin. My hear still feels so heavy. That’s great description for this book, heavy. Mattie’s death alone is dripping in sadness. A young girl, gone so quickly, no explanation, in such a devastating way…. just like something ripped from today’s headlines. This lead Sadie down a dangerous path, looking for both vengeance for herself and her sister, and redemption, I think, for herself alone. She knew the world had turned it’s back on her, like so often happens to young people in these situations, so she had to take it into her own hands.

We follow Sadie and the podcast in alternating chapters, the podcast seemingly on the Sadie’s trail, but with months in between. Pieces of a puzzle all slowly creep together, leaving you feeling unsettled and grim. When long buried secrets are brought into the light of day, it’s shocking and heartbreaking.

This book is oozing sadness and loneliness. It’s weeping for childhoods lost in time, lost to monsters. It’s heart aches for children from broken families, where there is no one to be there for you but YOU. The amount of guilt that settled in me after reading this was enough to send me looking for my own answers, to questions I wish I hadn’t asked. After I found  myself down a Google black hole of statistics on missing women and children, on how many were found alive, found dead, had been abused, or never found at all, I felt so guilty and sad that there is nothing I can do. I imagine what they could have gone through, possibly very similar to events in this book. This book forced me to think about what is happening around me, in the most painful way, but in a way that we all need. We need to be aware.

Maybe this book will make you long for answers and want to hold your family closer at night. Maybe you will read this and feel fine, complacent in your safe bubble. But I hope it makes everyone just spend some time thinking about the reality of this book, and all the lives lost to the monsters hiding in plain sight.

 

Top 3 Reasons To Read INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin (Including a GIVEAWAY + author Q&A)

It should come as a shock to none of you that I’m excited for the release of Intercepted by Alexa Martin.

 

In this post, I’m going to give you three good reasons why you should 1-click the heck out of this, and a fun interview with the author, Alexa Martin!

Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win either an ebook or paperback copy of Intercepted once it releases!

Image result for rupauls drag race gif yes

My apologies in advance for the copious RuPaul’s Drag Race gifs. #sorrynotsorry

 


Early Buzz


Berkley Romance and I go together like Netflix & Chill. 

Just about every romance title they’ve released, I’ve loved–and Intercepted is no exception.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that for the last 6 months or so, I’ve been buzzing about Intercepted, and this gorgeous cover:

I had a chance to read it on my trip to Denver last month, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

So much so, that I want to give each of you three top reasons why you need to add this beaut to your TBRs!

 


Top Three Reasons Why You Need To Read

Intercepted by Alexa Martin


 

REASON ONE: It’s Diverse AF.

If you couldn’t tell by the cover, Marlee the heroine of this story, is a WOC!

Image result for rupauls drag race gif yes

Not just a WOC, but biracial woman–which hits home for me. I can not express enough about the importance of representation in books. I love being able to immediately have a connection to the characters in a story I’m reading, and Intercepted had diversity in spades, honey.

Image result for rupauls drag race gif yes

 

REASON TWO: It’s a SPORTS ROMANCE, y’all.

Image result for rupauls drag race gif sports

From the blurb:

Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Yeah, I’m 100% here for this.

All you need to know about Gavin (aside from the fact that he brings the swoon factor in this story) is that he fills out his Football pants really well. Did I mention that Alexa may have dropped Julian Edelman when I asked for visual inspo for Gavin’s character?

As in, this man:

Image result for julian edelman body gif

Image result for julian edelman body gif

#yourewelcome

Basically, I’m going to go reread and put this body in my mind whilst I read about Gavin.

Related image

 

REASON THREE: THE HEROINE IS HILARIOUS.

Seriously.

While reading, there were several moments where I found myself laughing out loud at Marlee’s quirky internal dialogue, and sassiness. I also loved all of the scenes between Marlee and her girl squad, too. Get those gals together with some booze, and it’s a recipe for a good time.

Image result for rupauls drag race gif laugh

 

Basically, Intercepted is definitely worth a read.

I think this is a wonderful debut, and a great start to what seems to be a fun series! (Note: so far this book and the second are standalones! YAY!)

 


If you could use three words to describe Intercepted, what would they be?

Sassy, fun, and sexy

Intercepted is told from Marlee (the heroine’s) POV, whose internal dialogue consisted of snark, sass, and a plethora of hilarious hashtags. Was her character and/or personality based on anyone?

I wish I could say I was as quick with a comeback as Marlee, but I am the person who finally comes up with what to say a month later. I think Marlee is a combination of many of my friends and what I love most about them. I wanted Marlee to be a character where people would read her and think “I wish she was my friend” or “She reminds me so much of my bestie.” And I might be biased, but I’m the luckiest person in the world to have been surrounded by the best people.

Though Intercepted is your debut title to be published, was it the first book you wrote? If so, has the plot stayed the same throughout the stages of this book?

Actually, this INTERCEPTED is a different version of a book I wrote with the same title. My first version of INTERCEPTED took my 3-4 years to write. I was lucky enough to be chosen as a mentee in Pitch Wars where my mentors told me my book was a a bit of a mess. I completely rewrote it. The only things that stayed the same are Marlee and Gavin’s names.

 

I found that Intercepted was a story about Marlee’s journey to independence (and self-discovery), while tackling–pun intended–a second-chance romance with Gavin. Which element did you find easiest to write, and which was the hardest?

I loved writing the beginning scenes of Marlee and Gavin. I think the start of a relationship is always so sweet and fun, the butterflies and the nerves and the overthinking! All of it was so much fun for me to create. The hardest? The black moment. Easy. I didn’t want Gavin to be flawed. I didn’t want a black moment. Hurting my darlings and breaking them down sucked. But, even with that said, I did love writing their HEA, so I guess it was worth the wine-aided struggle it took for me to get to that point.

 

Speaking of Gavin, do you have any visual inspo for his character? (Though I’m here for the description of how well he fills out his uniform pants . . .)

Oh man… have I spent hours on Pinterest and Instagram looking at pictures? Of course, it’s RESEARCH! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) Sports Illustrated also does their body issue and there may have been a picture of Julian Edelman that seemed to stick in my memory for quite a while. Also, my husband played in the NFL for eight seasons and I would be lying if I said the pants weren’t my favorite part of his career.

 

Aside from the romance and character growth, my other favorite thing about Intercepted was Marlee’s squad! How fun was to write the dialogue between Marlee and Naomi?

I’m so happy to hear this! The scenes with Marlee and Naomi were my favorite scenes to write. I think it was so important for Marlee to have those strong female relationships to help ground her in this crazy life she’s living. Those scenes almost played like a movie in my head, I just had to try and get what they were telling me to say on paper and try to do it some justice.

 

Aside from Marlee, were there any characters you connected with while writing Intercepted?

I really loved Brynn. She kind of popped out of nowhere and had such a strong personality from the second I typed her name. My other favorite character is Donnie. I was caught laughing out loud more than once when I would get to his parts and I found myself trying to add him in places just so I could write him again.

 

Did you often draw upon your own personal experiences with being the wife of a professional athlete for this book? If so, were there any scenes/moments featured in the book that were reminiscent of your experience(s)?

I did. This book is definitely not about my life, but I would be lying if I said certain moments and scenarios were directly inspired by the years I spent as an NFL wife. I really was a part of wive’s groups that did charity work. It was not catty at all and the women were wonderful, but the idea of the wives having meetings and planning events is a reality (and I would personally drink margaritas like Marlee, but I can’t speak for everyone). I also still have a surplus of crystals tucked away from the jersey bedazzling I did. But, I think the scene that was the most emotional and real for me was when there was an injury on the field. That happened countless times. Watching the games with my friends and then watching helplessly beside them as their spouse was carted off the field was something I never got used to.

 

I loved that Marlee was not only a WOC, but also a character who was biracial. Combined with that, and the wonderfully colorful cast of secondary characters throughout the story, racial and cultural representation came in spades. In your opinion, how important is it to have a constant visual portrayal of characters of color?

Thank you! Wanting to see a black/biracial character get her HEA was the reason I started writing. When I first got into romance, I didn’t know of any blogs or anything to find book recommendations. I would just go to Target and grab the newest romance or on to the Apple Books app and see what was in the top 100. And don’t get me wrong, I loved the books I read. They are why I’m an avid romance reader and why I write what I write, but I wanted to see a WOC as the main character so bad. To me, I grew up in Denver, CO and I think that anyone who was raised in a big city, not having some diversity in your book is just weird. The world is diverse! And especially in a football romance, you can’t look at any NFL (or college) and find a team that is one color.

 

What is the one thing you enjoy most about being an author?

Is everything to broad of an answer? Because everything. But trying to narrow it down a bit, I guess I’d say it’s finally having an outlet for all of these idea I’ve had running around my head for so long. I’ve always thought of really far fetched scenarios happening to me. I’d tell my friends and they’d think I was a little insane, but now, I know those have been plot bunnies. It’s changed the way I process information and the way that I look at the world. And when the world is a bit of a mess, that is a gift in and of itself.

[about-author]


 

If you still need convincing, keep an eye out for my 4-star review coming closer to release day!

 

Until then, enter the giveaway below! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Portia’s Review: We Regret to Inform You by Ariel Kaplan

Portias-review-perm

We Regret to Inform You is every high achiever or over achievers nightmare.

YA books have been really hit or miss for me lately, but this one caught my eye, and I’m glad it did. At the beginning, I was a little irritated, well… maybe just bored… by Mischa. Which actually makes sense, because she was bored with herself as well. I gave it time and it definitely picked up, though not until after a good bit of self deprecation and woe is me time.

Once the ball was finally rolling, I was excited to see them work through the mystery of what happened to Mischa’s transcripts and applications. The Ophelia’s stole the show whenever they graced the pages. I loved them! Funny, brilliant, and snarky…. I just loved them. It took a while for Nate to grow on me. Speaking of Nate and her other friends, for that matter, I feel like we didn’t really get a good feel for her friendships with these people? Like they all seemed very superficial, no depth or anything really connecting them.

Image result for girl mystery hacking gif

The breaking and entering, hacking, and running ideas and gossip through each other to create webs and narrow down suspects was definitely fun. Sure, it may be far fetched, but this is a fiction book anyway. But the whole scam that was going down seems like something that could legitimately happen – or might even actually be happening somewhere. Like it was pulled from the headlines. At the same time – Mischa could have just told someone, like even her mom – and I bet things could have been easily proven wrong or corrected in a different way. I mean I guess there wouldn’t be this book then, but still… just seems like it could be easily solved if Mischa wasn’t dramatic.

As much as like the way things all ended, and the path she chose to take, I still feel like she was kind of a crappy person for a bit. She bailed on a lot of obligations she had made, and did nothing to make up for that. They were never even brought up again, after she just ditched them, and not even in a nice or responsible way. I get that she was going through something, but what does that kind of behavior say about her? I think in the end I still preferred the Ophelia’s to Mischa.

I am so grateful that I did great in school, but was never put under pressure like this. I enjoyed school, but I feel like this would have killed it for me! But I imagine there are a lot of students right now who could sympathize with the emotions and stress in this book, so it’s definitely relatable for the right crowd!

Portia’s Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Portias-review-perm

If you don’t already suffer from wanderlust (like I do), do you want to know how to get it? Read this book. Do you want to know how to love KA Tucker more than you already do, and if you don’t already, do you need a place to start? Read this book. Do you want to fall in love, in laughter, in sadness, in happily ever after? DO YOU GET MY POINT YET?!!!

This book is so much more than just a contemporary romance novel. The romance is amazing, but there was just so much more in this for me. The lives of all the characters, the environment, the feeling of healing, the breath of fresh air… I feel like my thoughts are just so jumbled, because even though I’m writing this roughly 2 weeks from the time I finished reading it, I just still feel so excited to gush about it, and my love for it is this overflowing fountain… I think I miss it already. Can I do more than 5 stars? Okay. Focus…..

It was such a relief that Calla was likable. Due to the way she was raised and her home life, she had the potential to be so obnoxious. And while she was high maintenance and superficial at times, it wasn’t anything that made me dislike her. She was more reasonable than I anticipated. And funny! OH and JONAH. Freaking SWOON.

Image result for climb him like a tree gif

Hard headed, stubborn, funny, beautiful, caring, manly, strong, life saving, hero Jonah. There are more adjectives for him, I’m sure, but you’ll get sick of me if I keep going. Every time he wasn’t on the page, I missed him. Sigh. I love him. He might be my new fave of Tuckers men. I love the witty back and forth with him and Calla, and the progression of things with them was so much fun. Getting to know all the characters was wonderful! I loved the whole family thing happening in Alaska. It was easy to love them all, they felt like people I want to know, in a place I want to be. I haven’t really read many current, contemporary romance books that made me wish I could live in their world, but this felt like the home I wish I had. Removed from big cities, everyone helping each other day to day, being such an important part of the lives and culture and the wilderness. Fernweh for a fictional place. I adored every second of it.

And I cried. But it felt good, in a way, to cry for this. Like, it felt like relief, like releasing a breath you didn’t realize you had been holding (wow I can’t believe I just got to use that line in real life and it actually felt like the right explanation for what I was feeling!). We never lingered too long on the hard times, just enough to allow you to feel them and then to heal easily. This was emotional on a much deeper level than just romance. Not to mention, the beauty of figuring out who you are and what kind of person you can become – seeing the growth in Calla – filled my heart. Everything about this book filled my heart. Far beyond 5 stars.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. I don’t think I can be more clear. Tucker has been one of my favorite authors for a long time now, so I assumed I would enjoy this, but I didn’t expect it to shoot to the top of my fave Tucker books list. Do yourself a favor and read this book! I’m going to try to stop gushing over this.

NOW, PLEASE FEAST YOUR EYES ON SOME OF MY FAVORITE IMAGES FROM GOOGLE THAT I FOUND WHILE OBSESSING OVER NEEDING TO GO TO ALASKA ASAP:

PRE-ORDER OFFER + GIVEAWAY: THE DARKEST STAR by Jennifer L. Armentrout & CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER by Sarah J. Maas

Hello, it’s me.

You know, the blogger who’s been a bit M.I.A. as of late, while Portia held down the fort here on NoBS. (But for good reason: I’ve been helping run several book events like ApollyCon, The Origin Event, and Readers On The River!)

But enough about me.

Let’s talk book love–more specifically, my JLA book love. In case you live under a rock, Jennifer L. Armentrout has a book coming out October 30th (in the U.S.) that is not only the first book of a new series, but also THE FIRST BOOK IN A LUX SERIES SPINOFF: The Darkest Star! This book follows Luc’s character, who you meet in the Lux series, and features some familiar faces. . . *cough* DAEMON BLACK *COUGH*.

And what’s even more awesome? If you preorder your copy of The Darkest Star via The Bookish Box, you can get a ton of Lux and Origin-themed goodies in addition to a signed/personalized hardcover (U.S. edition) of the book! *confetti bomb*

To see the preorder options (all available international, BTW), go here: https://www.thedarkeststarpreorder.com/.

NOW, LET’S GET TO THE REAL REASON YOU’RE HERE: A FRIGGIN GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs: a SIGNED + PERSONALIZED PAPERBACK ARC of THE DARKEST STAR by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and a SIGNED + PERSONALIZED HARDCOVER copy of CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER by Sarah J. Maas.

 

RULES + DEETS:

  • This giveaway is open internationally.
  • There are a few options that qualify for daily entries, so make sure to make note of that via the rafflecopter below.
  • For the “share this giveaway” option, make sure that you’ve tagged us, or made your post “public” so we are able to verify your entries.
  • ALL WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE VERIFIED.
  • This giveaway ends at 11:59PM ET on Sunday, August 12th.
  • Winner(s) will be notified via email, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway