Review: Everly After

Everly After, Rebecca Paula

Amanda

Published October 21st 2014

Source: e-ARC from Love Between the Sheets Blog Tour

Book Cover - Everly After v4Synopsis:

All truths burn bright and clear. I’m still waiting in the dark.

Everly Monteith has traded her life of glitter, parties, and self-destruction for waitressing at a Parisian café. She’s put the tragedy that sent her across the Atlantic in the past—until her toxic ex shows up and sends her reeling once more. Her fresh start begins slipping away until a smug British war correspondent crashes her party. But falling for Beckett means letting down her guard, something that might pull them both into the dark.

There are beautiful lies in this world, and it takes me being chased through a hallway at a rave to decide this girl is one of them. But even the most beautiful lies aren’t worth chasing.

Twenty-five-year-old Beckett Reid is forced into sabbatical after being kidnapped on assignment in Afghanistan. Back in Paris, he locks himself away to work on a novel, focused on saving his budding journalism career. But when he meets an enigmatic American heiress, his plans are quickly neglected. Everly is the perfect replacement for dangerous war zones, even if she does leave glitter on everything he owns. Reckless and wild, she runs through life making more mistakes than anyone he’s met, but Beckett is determined to fight for her, even if he must face the messy truth that he must fight for himself first.

*This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.*

I’m going to start you off with the messages I sent to my friend Christina while reading this book:

Holy shit this book is intense.

This is so much more than I expected!

I don’t even know what to say. I’m totally on edge and am going to have to finish tonight.

And if I read this book for Beckett to die ** ***** I am going to be supremely pissed!

I even tweeted at Rebecca Paula that she had better not break my heart!

So now almost a week later-my heart is recovered from the stress and I can tell you that I loved this book. Everly After is about two very different kinds of romantic love–love that makes two people bring out the best in each other and those that only bring out the worst in each other.  This story was a battle of who would win out in the end.  Paula did an amazing job of wrapping me up into Beckett and Everly. They felt completely real to me and their emotions were often so raw.   I wanted to reach through and shake them both on occasion (ok mostly Everly), but in the end I think things worked out perfectly.  I felt like I was right there with them-and my goodness-I felt the heat between them coming out of the book!

I don’t read a lot of New Adult (NA).  I expect NA to be fluffier books -romance, some sex and some light drama perhaps.  Just not what I gravitate towards first.  Everly After-not what I expected of NA and I am so glad I was proved wrong.  This was not light and fluffy but it was a book with depth and heart.  If this is her debut, I cannot wait to read what else Rebecca Paula is writing.

Thank you Rebecca Paula for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

Here’s a link to a super fun giveaway including a copy of Everly After

Buy The Book

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1vwJNUy

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1pd6jdQ

KOBO: http://bit.ly/1w3SZ0y

About The Author

RebeccaIt began with a boy who survived a plane crash in the wilderness.

I discovered my love of writing during a fifth grade writing assignment for Hatchet. After that, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Always the hopeless romantic, I write late Victorian and Edwardian historical romances as well as contemporary New Adult romances.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), as well as the New Hampshire chapter (NHRWA) and the New England chapter (NECRWA). I contribute regularly to the Modern Belles of History blog, a site dedicated to writing, reading, and researching 20th century women’s historical fiction.

When I’m not writing, I’m most likely reading or daydreaming about my next travel adventure. I live in New Hampshire with my husband and our cat, Bella.

Website: https://rebecca-paula-esmo.squarespace.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebeccapaulaauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/beckapaula

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8442728.Rebecca_Paula

Review: Make it Right

Make it Right (Bowler University #2), Megan Erickson

Amanda

Published September 9th 2014 by William Morrow Impulse

Ebook 384 pages

Source: Edelweiss

Thank you for joining us on the Make it Right blog tour today! I hope you enjoy Max and Lea’s story as much as I did!

From Goodreads….

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Max Payton lives by two rules:

Size and strength win any fight, and never show weakness.

When a rash of assaults sends Bowler University for a tail spin, Max volunteers to help teach a self-defense class. One of the other instructors is the beautiful pixie-faced girl he keeps butting heads with…and who challenges everything he thought he knew.

Lea Travers avoids guys like Max – cocky jocks who assume she’s fragile because of a disability caused by a childhood accident. She likes to be in control, and something about being with Max makes her feel anything but. But during the moments he lets his guard down, Lea sees a soul as broken inside as she is outside. Trusting him is a whole other problem…

When the assaults ramp up and hit close to home, Lea and Max must learn, before it’s too late, that true strength can come from vulnerability…and giving in to trust is sometimes the only way to make things right.

Oh Max and Lea.  I reviewed Megan Erickson’s Make it Count here and I have to tell you that Make it Right was even more fun.   When we met Max in MiC he was the not-so-great boyfriend of our heroine Kat.  He was meathead and honestly a jerk.  You had to root against him and for Kat and Alec.   I was not really sure how Erickson was going to turn Max into a character who I wanted to see fall in love and win the girl in the end, but she definitely did!

I knew that I was starting to fall for Max when he began searching for recipes to make gourmet cat treats for the stray he took in-who wouldn’t love a guy like that?  We learn how Max learned to build up the walls around his heart and you have to let your heart soften towards him.  And wow- the date he plans when Lea gives him a chance -swoon!  Max may have made some mistakes along the way, but I knew he was going to make it when he went through so much to plan the perfect night for Lea.

Then we have Lea.  Lea is not a fan of Max at the start because she is friends with Kat, but she starts to realize the sparks flying between them are more than just Max being a jerk.  Lea has had a hard path to get to Bowler University and she has walls of her own built up.  Lea may look frail, but she teaches Max that his strength is not the only kind that counts.  The banter between Max and Lea cracked me up and I think this is one of Erickson’s strengths; her characters are just funny together!  I knew this was a book for me when I caught a Dirty Dancing reference early on.

Lea and Max give each other chances when others might not have done so.   They teach each other about vulnerability and forgiveness, as well as when to stand your ground and fight and when to accept help.  I am so glad Erickson gave Max a book to come back from Make it Count and I loved him with Lea.

Also, let me just say-damn-Megan Erickson can write some sexy, sexy scenes.  I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for Bowler University #3 next year!  Give Max and Lea a chance and let me know what you think of this pair!

4 stars !

You can enter a Rafflecopter giveaway to win your own copy of Make it Right!

Purchase:
About Megan:

Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.

She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.

Thank you edelweiss and William Morrow for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hosted by Good Choice Reading Blog Tours

 

Cover Reveal: Everly After by Rebecca Paula

Cover Reveal: Everly After by Rebecca Paula

Amanda

The description of this upcoming NA book has me intrigued and I love the cover! Check out Everly After!

Book Cover - Everly After v4

Synopsis:
All truths burn bright and clear. I’m still waiting in the dark.

Everly Monteith has traded her life of glitter, parties, and self-destruction for waiting tables in busy a Parisian café after college graduation. She’s put the tragedy that sent her across the Atlantic behind her—until her toxic ex shows up and sends her reeling once more. Her delicate grip on a future begins slipping away, before a smug British war correspondent crashes her party and refuses to let her live hiding behind oversized sunglasses. But falling for Beckett means letting down her guard, something that might pull them both into the dark. 

There are beautiful lies in this world, and it takes me being chased through a hallway at a rave to decide this girl is one of them. But even the most beautiful lies aren’t worth chasing.

Twenty-five year-old Beckett Reid is forced into sabbatical after he’s kidnapped while on assignment in Afghanistan. Back in Paris and struggling with PTSD, he locks himself away to work on a novel while recovering and save his budding journalism career. But when he meets an enigmatic American heiress, his plans of laying low are quickly forgotten. He craves the energy and danger of war zones and realizes Everly is the perfect replacement, even if she does leave glitter on everything he owns. Reckless and wild, she runs through life making more mistakes than anyone he’s met, but Beckett is determined to fight for her, even if he must face the messy truth that to do so means fighting for himself first.

*This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.*

 
Who doesn’t want romance under the Eiffel Tower?  You can enter to win Everly After right here
 
About Rebecca :
It began with a boy who survived a plane crash in the wilderness.
I discovered my love of writing during a fifth grade writing assignment for Hatchet. After that, I knew I wanted to be a writer. 
 
Always the hopeless romantic, I write late Victorian and Edwardian historical romances as well as contemporary New Adult romances.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), as well as the New Hampshire chapter (NHRWA) and the New England chapter (NECRWA). I contribute regularly to the Modern Belles of History blog, a site dedicated to writing, reading, and researching 20th century women’s historical fiction. 
When I’m not writing, I’m most likely reading or daydreaming about my next travel adventure. I live in New Hampshire with my husband and our cat, Bella.
 
 

Review: The House of the Four Winds

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1), Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory

Amanda

Published August 5th 2014 by Tor Books

Hardcover, 304 pages

From Goodreads…

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

 This was a fun and really cute read. It had an almost Disney movie feel to it-not a complicated story, sweet romance, light magic and a good happy ever after.  The ruling family of the tiny country of Swansgaard have 12 daughters and one infant son.  Each daughter must choose her own path to support herself when she turns 18.   Princess Clarice is a gifted swordswoman and wants to instruct others, but knows she must first build her reputation beyond the classroom.  Given a royal stipend Clarice transforms herself into Clarence Swann and sets out to find adventure.  I loved Clarice! Loved having a princess who set out to the heroine of her own story.  She has no bad feelings about her brother inheriting the kingdom, as she doesn’t want the responsibility, and off she goes into the sunset.

Clarice realizes to really have that adventure she needs to set sail for far away lands and so she signs on as a passenger on a merchant vessel.  While on-board Clarice/Clarence becomes friends with the ship’s navigator Dominick.  These two “young men” were kindred spirits and Clarice is having a wonderful time at first learning the ways of the sea from her new friend.  Mutiny happens on board and Clarice finds herself helping Dominick to find a safe port for a ship of unintentional pirates in somewhat desperate conditions.  She also finds herself falling in love with her friend just as she cannot confess her real identity.

From this point on is where I would have liked more description.  They’re in a harbor of Pirates! How cool could this be?  I definitely would have liked more of the back story of the House of the Four Winds and the sorceress in charge of it. Unfortunately for me Clarice and Dominick had to sail off from the House of the Four Winds with the story.   I really did like where the book went ultimately though it seemed over too soon-I just would have taken more pirates happily.  I mean

Pirates!

Anyway, I will add that this was not a sexy romance, this was a sweet romance.  No smoldering Johnny Depp I’m afraid.  This book could easily be YA with the PG-13 love affair between Clarice and Dominick.  I’m not complaining-they were adorable! But I was a bit surprised that this was an adult book.   In the end I really did like enjoy the House of the Four Winds and I’m intrigued to see where the series goes with Sister #2.   I think Swansgaard will turn out some really fun women to follow.

3.5 stars!

Thank you Tor Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Landline

Landline, Rainbow Rowell

18081809

Published July 8th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press

308 pages

Source: Publisher

If you haven’t read a Rainbow Rowell book yet, you’re missing out.  Her books seem to resonate so well for me with different stages in my life.  Eleanor & Park was an amazing flashback to the 80’s, a surprisingly emotional book about young love and mixed tapes. I reviewed Attachments here, that book made me reflect on my own email history with my best friend-basically chronicling our 20s over email every day.   And I love the pop culture references Rowell throws in her books; make a Time Lord joke and I’m yours!

In Landline Rowell takes a look at marriage and how easy it is to take one’s spouse for granted.  I loved Georgie and Neal.  Really what a name, Georgie McCool-you have to be amazing with that name.  We meet Georgie just as she’s made a pretty crappy choice-to stay in LA and work on a television show while her husband and girls go to Omaha for Christmas.  Georgie thinks her family will function just fine without her, but can she function without her family?

Georgie can’t handle the thought of going home to her empty house and so visits her mother and stepfather.  Georgie’s younger sister is living at home and she was a highlight of Landline for me. She’s a complete smart-ass and a great foil to Georgie’s wallowing in self-pity.  While at her mother’s Georgie picks up her teenage phone to call Neal and finds herself talking to Neal in the past.

What?  This sounds crazy.  And it was kind of crazy, but Rowell makes it work.  In between calls to Neal we get George’s memories from college and these were great.  Georgie takes a hard look at her life and wonders if she can change things on these phone calls-and whether she should. What does she really want in her life going forward?

I appreciated Landline because really, marriage is work.  It should be work.  I enjoy books that don’t show it all as flowers and dinners out-books that show you real life and real hurts.  Landline felt real– at least until the magic phone came about.

I loved this quote–too true

“Georgie was pretty sure that having kids was the worst thing you could do to a marriage.  Sure you could survive it.  You could survive a giant boulder falling on your head– that didn’t mean it was good for you.”

Will Georgie and Neal survive their children and their marriage?  Landline will make you laugh, make you sigh happily over college romance, and sigh sadly over  the slights that happen during marriage.  I still don’t get quite why this crazy phone worked but it did!

4.5 stars!

Thank you St. Marten’s Press for this Advanced Reader’s Copy!

Review: Here’s Looking At You

Here’s Looking At You, Mhairi McFarlane

Amanda

Published June 3rd 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers

400 pgs

Source: Edelweiss

From Goodreads..

Image

Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Harlequin romance moments.

Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the butt of schoolyard jokes are ones she’d rather forget.

So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?

I really enjoyed McFarlane’s first book You Had Me at Hello, so I was excited to read her next novel.  Anna is the kind of heroine that you immediately are rooting for.  She was horribly bullied at school and the scene we get is heartbreaking.  Now though Anna has come through it and is educated, she has great friends and a great career; and she’s now a knock-out beauty even if she does not quite believe it herself.  James was Anna’s great love in high school and the chief tormentor in her worst experience.  When we meet adult James its kind of nice to see that he hates his job and his beautiful wife has left him.  He deserves it the jerk!

You can’t blame Anna when she meets James again for not coming out and telling him who she is.  You kind of can’t blame Anna for going along with a friendship with James as things progress.  He’s smart and funny and still wonderfully handsome.  But there was part of me that really didn’t want Anna to trust James too far.  Maybe I was the one that couldn’t get past what Anna went through at school?  Anna and James seemed so great together, I was just afraid he was still too good to be true at first.

McFarlane created a completely engaging cast of characters to both root for and against.  They were more than just foils for Anna and James and I felt invested in each of them.  I loved Anna’s friend Daniel absolutely.  This line given while describing a table he served at work had me snorting while reading on the train-always attractive-

    “We’re firmly in the era of the fussy fuck I’m afraid and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Too true!  I really think that’s a term I should be using more.  Aside from Daniel, I enjoyed Anna’s family-especially her sister- and their other friends.  I was enthralled with Anna’s love life and her internet dating.  I was so anxious for her to just have it out with James and get things in the open.  The great reveal of Anna’s identity to James was everything it should have been-honest and emotional and it led to a perfect conclusion for me.

I will definitely be waiting for McFarlane’s next book!

4 stars!

Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss for this advanced read copy in exchange for an honest review!

 

All quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition

 

Review: Then and Always

Then and Always, Dani Atkins

Amanda

Published May 20th 2014 by Ballantine Books

320 Pages

Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads

Image

Rachel’s life is perfect. A handsome boyfriend, great friends and the prospect of starting at university in a few weeks means she’s never been happier. But in a single heartbeat her world falls apart forever.

Five years later, Rachel is still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy that changed everything. Returning to her hometown for the first time in years, she finds herself consumed by thoughts of the life that could have been. But when a sudden fall lands her in hospital, Rachel awakes to discover that the life she had dreamed about just might be real after all.

Unable to trust her own memories, Rachel begins to be drawn further into this new world where the man she lost is alive and well but where she is engaged to be married to someone else…

Then and Always begins at a farewell celebration.  Rachel and her best friends are having a dinner party before they begin to split off to university.  Rachel’s life is pretty perfect right now.  Her boyfriend is gorgeous, her friends are loyal and she’s on her way to become a journalist.  Rachel is trying to take this night all in as she knows that her life is totally about to change.  Then the group sees a car speeding toward the restaurant window; everything changes but not in any way that could have been anticipated.

We flash forward five years and meet an extremely different Rachel.  She’s never recovered from the emotional wounds of the car accident and has significant physical injuries still.  The friendships that were so important haven’t been able to survive the aftermath, with the exception of Rachel’s best friend Sarah.  Rachel returns home for Sarah’s wedding and faces her former friends for the first time in years.  

Rachel blacks out after Sarah’s rehearsal dinner and when she wakes up an entirely different five years have passed.  These five years have been much happier and the future Rachel wakes to is much more promising.  Yet Rachel wants her old life back with its depressing familiarity.  She also wants to know she isn’t completely going crazy.  In this future Rachel has not just Sarah but her dad, a fiance, and her dear friend Jimmy to help her try to find answers.  

This was kind of frustrating because the alternative reality Rachel wakes up to is so perfect–why would she want to change things?  I wanted her to just accept it and go along with things.  Take the great life and just live it girl!  I was so hopeful for her future in this life. Why would you want to be miserable?  I wanted her to have more spunk!  

I wanted to know what made Rachel so incredible that she had this amazing boyfriend, a friend clearly in love with her, and the best friend who can do no wrong.  What about her led her to this perfect life?  I wish we had more history with her.  Rachel’s friends were kind of stock characters- doting male best friend, the cruel beautiful girl, the boyfriend who is too good to be true-and I wished there had been more depth to them.  I think it would have made both scenarios better had they been more fleshed out. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the story overall, I just wanted MORE.  

I read Then and Always in one night because I was so determined to find out what was happening to Rachel.  Was this magic? Was it a delusion?  Would we even get an answer?   I picked up some hints of what Atkins was leading to, but wow that ending was not at all what I expected.  I sat on the couch with tears at the end of this book trying to put it all together in my mind.  This book will make you think about second chances at life in a new way.  I will definitely check out Atkins’ next book to see where she goes from this debut.

3 stars

Thank you Ballentine Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Addendum from Holly: I haven’t read this book, but, reading this review I was immediately reminded of a recent story on This American Life, about a woman who woke up from a coma and had forgotten that she was divorced. This made everything kind of awkward with her ex-husband and her family! If you don’t listen to TAL, you are missing out. Check out Episode 526 for the coma story. And then you’ll have something like 525 more to catch up on…