Monday, April 20, 2015

All That Sparkles Blog Tour: Review & Author Guest Post

All That Sparkles (The Texan Quartet #2)
by: Claire Boston
Release Date: Apr. 23/15 - Couple more days!
Publisher: Momentum
Source: E-ARC received from publisher
Add All That Sparkles to your Goodreads lists here.
Synopsis (and cover image) courtesy of Goodreads:
Imogen Fontaine is living every girl’s dream.

She is a fashion designer for her family’s haute couture label, lives in a mansion, has a great circle of friends and is the apple of her father’s eye. Everything is perfect.

Until the day that Christian, the boy at the center of her childhood heartbreak, walks back into her life.

From there her life starts to unravel, as long-kept secrets are revealed. Imogen learns that her past was built on lies and betrayal, shattering the illusion of her perfect existence. She must seek out the truth if she has any hope of forging a new path for herself and discovering true freedom.

But can she convince Christian that there is a place for him in her new life?

Pre-order your copy: Amazon

My Thoughts:
Sweet, light-hearted romance series!

Imogen is a likeable character, while I can't personally relate to her high-class/fashion upbringing, I did enjoy the fact that she wasn't a spoiled princess, but a down to earth, hard-worker. Although I can definitely relate to her romantic side in building a certain hero figure on a pedestal only to feel let down or to have them fall short. She's spent her life depending on her father in all essential matters (shelter, income, work etc.) but now she's finally ready to branch out on her own. She's striving for her independence. All That Sparkles is told from the dual, third-person-perspectives of Imogen and Chris, but I much preferred reading from Imogen's, in fact, I think Boston gives majority of the narration to her.

That's not to say that I don't like Chris, because I definitely do. I just would have preferred to have a certain air of mystery in what he was thinking in some scenes, which would allow me to question why he chose to behave the way he did. While I thought Chris was a complete jerk at the beginning of the book, I do understand his stand-offishness where Imogen and her family are concerned. Once they got the air cleared between the two of them though, I enjoyed how sweet and kind he was to Imogen, and I definitely liked the fact that he is tall! Haha.

All That Sparkles is the second instalment in the Texan Quartet series but reads as a stand-alone- Boston does a great job of summarizing events of book one so that I never felt lost or confused by the relationships of characters. In fact, I actually would love to read book #1 for pure pleasure- who doesn't love a Rock n' Roll love story?!

Great ending, while a bit predictable, I found it very realistic and a great way to keep in line with Imogen's new found independence!

I recommend this title to readers looking for a sweet romance that's very light on the heat level.

Happy Reading!!!

Author photo & bio taken from Goodreads
About the Author:
Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she'd run out of books to read her mother handed her 'Hot Ice' by Nora Roberts and Claire instantly fell in love with romance novels.

The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and she struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for her creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn't looked back.

When Claire's not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby, but adorable Australian bulldogs.

Connect with Claire: Author website | Goodreads | Twitter

Author Guest Post:

Why I love romance series
I adore romance series. I mean really, what’s not to love? Let me count the ways:
  •      You get to follow your favourite couples for longer
  •      By book 2 you’re familiar with the setting and characters so you get to dive straight in
  •      If all the books are out, you can have a marathon reading session and devour them all at once and not have to think about what to read next
  •      It’s like having your own family

I was first introduced to the concept of romance series reading Nora Roberts. My mum handed me my first Nora at the age of eleven and I’ve been hooked ever since. Two of my early favourites were the Donovan Legacy and The MacGregors series. Being able to stay in that world for that bit longer was a wonderful thing. Since then there have been too many Nora series to count, but they all give me that warm, tingly feeling of being part of the family while reading them.

Given this love, it may surprise you to hear that I didn’t originally intend to make What Goes on Tour part of a series. My only aim was to write down the rock star story that kept going around and around in my head. When I finally finished it, I was reluctant to leave Libby, Adrian and Kate behind. So it made sense to write a sequel. The story I pitched to my publisher seemed perfect and so I got to continue living in the world I had created for that bit longer and All that Sparkles is the result.

But when that was complete, it just didn’t seem fair that George and Piper (two secondary characters) didn’t get a story of their own. They weren’t right for each other, but I knew there was someone out there for each of them. Luckily my publisher was on board and was willing to do The Texan Quartet.

The awful thing is, I’m actually just finishing the edits of book 4, Into The Fire and I’m again finding myself sad to leave everyone behind. Though, now that I think about it, there are characters who were mentioned in All That Sparkles that could be part of a spin-off series – who knows? J What I do know is that I love writing romance series as much as I love reading them.

What’s your favourite romance series?

Special thanks to Momentum for allowing me to participate in this tour!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Team Tynga Reviews

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've done a STS post, so please note that these are titles I've been stacking my shelves with the past couple of months! :) Super excited for all these reads!

Oh and make sure you enter to win a copy of The Revelation of Louisa May (just click the cover photo to the right of the screen ;))

From ECW Press:

2 finished copies of CAUCHEMAR by Alexandra Grigorescu - 1 copy for giveaway, the winner has been announced!

ARCs From Razorbill Canada:

The Wrath of the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

ARCs from Thomas Allen and Sons

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
You, Me and Him by Kris Dinnison
Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos 

ARCs from Raincoast Books:

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castelluci
Lola Carlyle's 12-Step Romance by Danielle Younge-Ullman

ARCs from Scholastic Canada:

All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder 
Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger

ARC from Simon and Schuster Canada:

Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

More ARCs from Simon and Schuster:

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

ARCs from HarlequinTEEN:

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross

And a couple more ARCs from HarlequinTEEN:

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry
Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Thanks so much to ECW Press, Simon and Schuster Canada, Razorbill Canada, Scholastic Canada, Raincoast Books, and HarlequinTEEN!

What are stacking your shelves with this week (or month haha)?

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl

The Revelation of Louisa May
by Michaela MacColl
Release Date: April 14/15. - So close! 
Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Ages 12 and up
Add The Revelation of Louisa May to your to-read list here.
Synopsis (Use of synopsis, pull quote, cover image and author bio from the publisher):

"A tantalizing glimpse of the real Louisa May Alcott's life."—Kirkus Reviews

Can a “Little Woman” keep her family together, solve a murder, and still have time to write?

Louisa May Alcott can’t believe it—her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family and Louisa is to be in charge of the household. How will she find the time to write her stories, much less have any adventures of her own? But before long, Louisa finds herself juggling her temperamental father, a mysterious murder, a fugitive seeking refuge along the Underground Railroad, and blossoming love.
Intertwining fact, fiction, and quotes from Little Women, Michaela MacColl has crafted another spunky heroine whose story will keep readers turning pages until the very end. 

About the author:

Michaela MacColl studied multi-disciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Connecticut. 

Connect with Michaela:
Author WebsiteGoodreads

Giveaway time!!! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents (sorry international readers!)
Chronicle Books is offering, one winner a copy THE REVELATION OF LOUISA MAY!
To enter, fill out the form below.
Good luck to all who enter!

Happy Reading!!!

Special thanks to Chronicle Books for allowing me to host this giveaway!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Push Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

 Today, I'm happy to be one of the review stops on the PUSH Blog Tour!

Push (Push #1) 
by Claire Wallis 
Now Available!!!
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Source: E-book courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours
Genres: New Adult, Romance
This is a new adult romance with mature content for readers 17 and up.
Add Push to your to-read list here. Synopsis:
I feel like I am wrapped in a cyclone. Everything is whirling around me, drawing the air out of my lungs and filling me with the best kind of turmoil. Every time his tongue slides against mine, a prickle in my gut tells me how right we are together. How much I need David. How much I need us.
I hope the cyclone never stops.
Emma Searfoss has spent a lifetime trying to escape her abusive stepfather. It’s why she moved far away from home. It’s why she’s kept no ties with her remaining family. And it’s why she’s got a major rage problem. When her neighbor shows up to fix the kitchen in her new apartment, his enigmatic charm calms the fire in her. David is cool and collected, and he makes Emma feel safe for the first time ever. But David has his own chilling past—his six previous girlfriends have all disappeared without a trace. Emma’s walking a dangerous line, but David’s pull is intoxicating. And impossible to resist…

Purchase your own copy: Amazon | B & N | iTunes Kobo

My Thoughts:
Wow, this book is unlike any other New Adult I've ever read! Warning!!! Not for the faint of heart!

I went through Push with many complex feelings- towards the plot, but especially towards the characters. I actually went through this book considering Emma and David to be anti-heroine and heroes, if only because they're not the conventional couples I'm so used to reading in the New Adult genre.

With the exception of the Prologue and Epilogue, Push is narrated completely from Emma's first-person point-of-view, however, David's six ex-girlfriends each get a snippet of a chapter to tell their story (which I thought was awesome).

But back to our narrator, Emma, she is in no way a delicate flower, no this girl has had a very disturbing and unhealthy upbringing, and as a result, she has put up a lot of invisible walls around herself, letting no one in. She blames her step-father for much of her misfortunes, but I actually thought she was a little to easy-going on her mother's push-over ways, not that I think Michael is a likeable character in any way, but I think her mother should have shouldered a lot of the blame since it was her choice to expose her children to such a man. Although, with this said I did like that Emma had such a soft spot for her mother, because it showcased a lighter-side to her demeanour, made her a bit more vulnerable. We can see from chapter one that Emma is a very anxious character when it comes to trusting people, she constantly questions her actions and the actions (and motivations) of others. She's had rage issues since she was a child, and has a very short fuse.

And no one likes to PUSH her buttons quite like our anti-hero, David. I enjoyed the fact that on the first meeting Emma didn't fall madly in love with David and describe him as an Adonis, not that he's not good-looking. The witty banter between these two felt very real and enjoyed their progression (even if I was a bit surprised by the speed of it haha). I was impressed with David's renovation skills, I mean he built a new kitchen in like three days! - He's giving Jonathan from The Property Brothers a run for his money! haha! My feelings towards David were so conflicted throughout the book, especially after reading each of his ex-girlfriends' chapters. There's definitely a dark side to him, but it seems no one can bring the smile and laughter out of him quite like Emma and vice versa.

To be honest, I'm not sure if these two are perfect for each other or perfectly toxic for each other. I feel like each one needs A LOT of therapy to work out their crippling issues, but at the same time, without sounding too cliche, they compliment each other as well in their acceptance of their imperfections.

The Prologues and epilogues of this book may be my favourite as bad as that might seem (you have to read the book to understand why ;)). But I really love the beginning and ending in the sequence with the chapters narrated with David's ex's, there was a certain continuity between these portions that just flowed so well and it was an added procedural bonus that you just don't read in New Adult much, and I really appreciated that.

But my favourite thing of all is the title PUSH, so perfect for so many reasons, some that I have pointed out in this review and one major reason that I can't explain but if you read the book you will completely understand. Be warned this book does have a cliffhanger but take comfort in the fact that it's sequel, PULL, is now available!!!

If your looking for a darker, unconventional, New Adult read, with a bit of mystery and intense romance, than give Push a read! If your looking for a sweet HEA, this may not be for you.

Happy Reading!!!

About Claire:

Claire Wallis has penned hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles over the last ten years, with science playing the lead role in almost all of them. Though non-fiction writing will forever be her first love, fiction has unexpectedly swooped in, hooked her by the soul, and become her true love. As a result of this coup d’├ętat, Claire’s writing career has made a complete U-turn, and instead of rocks, plants, insects, and microbes, she is now putting human characters in the lead.

Claire’s previous jobs include working at a limestone quarry, hawking vegetables at a farmer’s market, clerking at the dollar store, and convincing new mothers that they need to renew their subscription to that parenting magazine in order for their child to survive. She lives in Pennsylvania with her amazingly awesome husband and son.

Connect with Claire: Author website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway Time!!! To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below!
Good luck to all who enter!!!

Special thanks to Claire and Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this tour!!!