Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SPOTLIGHT REVIEW... What Comes Of Eating Doughnuts With A Boy Who Plays Guitar by Nicole Campbell

Courtney Ross has lived her whole life doing everything by the book. She’s a top student, the captain of the cheer squad at her Scottsdale high school, and a nervous wreck most of the time. For summer vacation before senior year, she finally has her chance just to relax. She will be spending it with her best friend, Vanessa, in her tiny hometown of Gem City, Ohio. Courtney’s hoping for a chance to breathe, and maybe even for some of Vanessa’s carefree nature to rub off on her. What she doesn’t expect is Ethan Fisher. Courtney knows she’s in trouble the minute she sees him holding a guitar at her “Welcome Back” party. Her instincts prove to be correct as she gets to know him, and she finds her head spinning. What will this mean for the girl who always plays by the rules? 

In her first full-length novel, Nicole Campbell delivers a perfect beach read for the older Young Adult crowd. Readers will re-live their first relationships (the good, the bad, and the overwhelming), or imagine the spark of what the future might hold in this story full of the type of intensity only found in young love.

Due to mature themes and mild language, recommended for readers 16+

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

This Book Nerd Says: 

I love a good love story, I think that's pretty much common knowledge for everyone who stops by here regularly. Reading DOUGHNUTS gave me a taste of the kind of story that doesn't always make it on my radar. A true first love kind of story and all the highs and lows that come along with it. 

Before I really get into it let me make it clear that DOUGHNUTS is a Mature YA read. The characters are still in high school on the cusp of their senior year. It's something I reminded myself of a few times as I started the story because it definitely reads as a Young Adult novel. So where does the mature ya aspect kick in? Along with falling in love for the first time, the story includes the development of the relationship and discusses some mature themes HOWEVER, I found that the author did so very discreetly and there is nothing graphic about the story. 

Doughnuts stood out to me for how real it felt. There were times when I was felt the trouble brewing or raised my eyebrows at the strong emotions but then I stopped and thought about it. How would any other seventeen or eighteen year old react when faced with their first love having to face the incredible test of distance? 
Pretty much exactly like Courtney and Ethan. 

Keeping it spoiler free... I really loved how Campbell developed the story, in particular Courtney's character. As much as this is a story of young love, it's also a story of Courtney coming into her own as an emerging adult. That's what made me smile the most at the end of the story. More than anything I enjoyed seeing Courtney say what she needed to say, finding her own voice and her own path. 

The ending definitely wasn't a cliff hanger but rather it was somewhat of an open ending... gives some room for prediction and thought for the reader. 
A sneak peek of the next book in the series revealed that it would give us Ethan's side of the story. 

Overall I'm giving DOUGHNUTS 3.5-.3.75 stars. 
It was a lovely story and maybe just the thing for someone craving something... sweet!

(Also I loved the playlist incorporated with the beginning of each chapter!!! It definitely added something to the tone of the chapter and gave a sort of ambiance to what I was reading.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ARC REVIEW... Once Kissed by Cecy Robson

Once they shared a night of passion. Now a chance encounter forces them back together. In Cecy Robson’s O’Brien Family series debut—perfect for readers of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—two total opposites find that the flames of desire are still smoldering.

Tough-as-steel cop Curran O’Brien is quickly rising through the ranks of the Philadelphia police department. But when his rookie partner is almost killed under his watch, Curran just wants to prove he still has what it takes to walk among Philly’s finest. So he’s pissed to be stuck on a cushy security assignment for the DA’s office . . . until he gets a good look at the sweet, straitlaced intern he’s supposed to protect—but not touch.

Tess Newart recognizes Curran instantly. How could she not? Back in college she tied this former frat boy to the bed with her argyle socks! That sizzling one-night stand was the only indiscretion Tess ever allowed herself. She has survived law school so far, despite being pushed to succeed by her overbearing father. Now that she’s interning on a major case against a ruthless crime boss, she won’t jeopardize her career by giving in to temptation again. She just never expected temptation to look so damn hot in uniform.

Tess knows her father has other plans for her, and they don’t include Curran. But soon she’s falling for him all over again. And when danger emerges, Curran will prove just how good a bad-boy cop can be.

*I received a copy of this book via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review*

This Book Nerd Says

Ah I both LOVE and HATE that I got to read this book as an ARC (like 98% love 2% hate) because 1. It's not released so I can't gasm out over this book with anyone and 2. I have to wait even longer for the second book in the series now. 

After an on the job shooting shakes Curran O'Brien's confidence and conscience he finds himself on security detail. He's told to keep the intern working with his DA brother out of harms way. But when Curran realizes that Contessa the intern is none other than Tess aka the one night stand that blew his mind away back in college. 
Contessa is straitlaced, buttoned up and under the thumb of a father who has her life scripted out for her in every detail. But Tess... Tess is who she really is and she's dying to be seen for real. 
Curran can't resist Tess and Tess loves the person she is free to be with Curran. It isn't long before they find themselves giving in and refusing to give up. 

First let me say, I love Curran. He was downright funny, deeply caring and deliciously alpha when it came to protecting those he cares for. It was easy to fall for him right along side Tess. It was obvious Curran had a lot going on under the easy smile surface and I loved the attention it brought to PTSD issues for those in uniform. 
Tess... there's so much to say but so much I can't. I think it's safe if I say that Tess had an incredibly hard journey throughout this book. I got a chance (as a reader) to look at her situation from three POVs: Hers/an onlooker like Curran/ME. I think Robson did a great job at taking a situation like Tess and making us realize that sometimes it's hard to "just walk away". 
I thoroughly enjoyed Tess's strength, her determination, and her journey to happy.

I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that as I read the beginning of the story I didn't think much of the name O'Brien... I didn't think much of Curran's siblings (beyond how awesome they sounded/were)... UNTIL circumstances lead Curran to meeting with his dear old friend Lety and her beau Brody and I had a bit of a Duh! moment. Now if you aren't familiar with Cecy Robson I'll explain. Robson has a SHATTERED PAST series and in book two there so happens to be a couple named Lety and Brody (!!!) and the last book is about Killian O'Brien (brother of Curran) and his lady love, Sofia. 
I loved this bit. I love "seeing" these old faces and it made me enjoy the new ones even more! Don't worry if you haven't read the SHATTERED PAST books yet because ONCE KISSED absolutely stands perfectly on its own. 

Do I recommend it?
I laughed, I smiled, and held my breath through a few pages here and there. Oh and I fell in love with some new characters. That's the mark of a great read for me. I am adding this one to my favorites list, adding Curran to my book boyfriend list, oh and I'll be stalking the release of the next book in this series. 

I am giving ONCE KISSED... 4 'Not A Good Catholic' Stars!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

PROMO TOUR... Unwritten by Lauren Runow + Giveaway!

We're celebrating the release of Unwritten by Lauren Runow! Check out all the book info, teasers, giveaway, and more!

Title: Unwritten by Lauren Runow
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2015

Purchase Unwritten

Charlie Ashley, or Mr. Ashley as his clients know him, is a high-end male escort who gets paid thousands for whatever services his clients require. He’s lived the last ten years alone, not letting anyone in, enjoying his success and provocative lifestyle.

Allison Hayes has no idea the man she is falling in love with is a male escort. She connects with Charlie through their love of music, playing a taunting game asking herself if she loves him, hates him or if she is going to save him.

After meeting Allison, Charlie enters a world where everything he knows no longer makes sense, leaving him too scared to move forward, yet making it impossible to look back. But can he give up his entire life for love?

Tour Giveaway

About Lauren

Lauren Runow is a lover music and songs that speak to her or make her dance. She is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco and lives in Northern California with her husband and two wild and crazy boys. If she’s not at her local CrossFit, reading or working on the community magazine her husband and her publish together, she’s at the baseball field with her boys or taking them to the skatepark. You can connect with Lauren at Twitter and Facebook.