Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young: Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Order your copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US today!

Blurb:

"I know how to watch my back. I'm the only one that ever has."

India Maxwell hasn't just moved across the country—she's plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It's taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she's living in one of Boston's wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom's fiancĂ© and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister's clique of friends, including Eloise's gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend, Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India's not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school's golden couple, aren't all they seem to be. In fact, everyone's life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what's left are truths that are brutal, beautiful and big enough to change them forever…

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again.


Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Review by Yvette:

When a book's blurb warns you it'll "break your heart–and make it whole again", it's not exaggerating. I have to admit that reading said warning in the blurb of The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young made me a bit wary because I don't do well with angst. At all. I'm a wuss. I freely admit it. Turns out, I was right to be wary because this book obliterated my emotions in a way no other books has before. There were a few times while reading that I clung to the latter half of that warning as my angst-fearing heart crumbled into teeny tiny pieces and those tell-tale tears fell from my eyes. The Impossible Vastness of Us is a heartbreakingly beautiful coming-of-age story, more intense, more poignant, and with more depth than many books with characters twice the age of its protagonist.

After having her life uprooted with a cross-country move, India Maxwell has to start over at a new high school, getting thrust into the shark-infested waters of Boston’s upper crust. Standing by with a life jacket and an affected air of indifference is Eloise, India's stepsister to be, whose clique of popular, overprivileged friends (which includes Eloise’s brooding and mysterious boyfriend, Finn) holds the key to either her success or failure. India’s situation is bleak, but, as we discover, she is no stranger to strife. As she’s proven many times before, Samantha Young has an incredible ability to create engaging characters – characters whose lives are so complex and intriguing that you can't help but be invested in their stories and want to learn more about them. This is exactly what she accomplishes with not just India, but each and every character in the story, who are all equally vital to the narrative.

The Impossible Vastness of Us is many things. It's romantic but it's not just a romance. It's a story about friendship but it's so much more profound than that. It’s messy and complicated but also hopeful. It covers a number of hard-hitting issues that'll make you think and make you feel. Most of all, it'll leave a lasting impression and, as promised, it’ll break your heart and make it whole again.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars


About the Author:

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestselling novel ON DUBLIN STREET. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance and has been sold in twenty six countries.



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Excerpt:

When Hayley arrived I got into the car without a word and we drove home to the apartment in silence. Once inside, Hayley finally spoke.

“I thought we could do takeout tonight.”

We couldn’t afford to do take-out nights all the time. Take-out nights were reserved for birthdays and the last night of school summer vacation. Sometimes even Thanksgiving.

Something was up. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a flight somewhere right about now?”

She shrugged, avoiding my gaze as she wandered into the kitchen.

I followed her, watching as she pulled take-out menus out of our kitchen drawer.

“What do you want? Chinese, Indian, Thai, Lebanese?”

“I want to get this ‘talk’ over with.”

Hayley regarded me, taking in my tension and the hard look in my eyes. Finally she sighed. “This is good news, India. Truly it is.”

“Just say it.”

“Theo proposed. I said yes. And we don’t want to wait. We’re getting married this December.”

My mouth dropped open. “I haven’t even met him.”

She pinched the bridge of her nose at my shout. “And that would be a concern if you were younger. But you’re starting junior year. You’re sixteen. Before we know it, you’ll be going off to college.” She stepped toward me and grabbed my hand. I let her squeeze it. “And, sweetheart, you can go to any college you want now.”

“How?”

“Theo is…well, he’s wealthy. And he’s already made it perfectly clear that he wants the very best for me, and that means the very best for you.”

“Are you trying to buy my acceptance of this whole ridiculous thing? You are aware that this isn’t normal, right?”

Hayley dropped my hand. “Don’t be melodramatic. I just want you to know that yes, or course it will be difficult to leave behind school and your friends here and move to Massachusetts, but the upside is that we’ll never have another financial worry in our lives. Ever.”

Jesus, how wealthy was this guy?

As if she read the question on my face, Hayley smiled dreamily. “He’s an incredibly well-respected attorney from a wealthy family. Boston’s elite.”

“And he’s marrying you?”

“Nice,” she snapped. “Very nice.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.” I shrugged. “I just…I thought those people stuck to their own.”

“Usually. But Theo doesn’t care about that stuff. He just wants to marry the woman he loves.” She waved away my negativity with a shake of her hair over her shoulders. “He married a well-to-do woman, and they had a daughter, Eloise, before she died of cancer a few years ago. He hasn’t been serious about another woman since, until me.”

“Oh my God.” I shook my head in disgust. “You think you’re living in a fairy tale.”

“Don’t talk to me like that.”

“You’re hauling me across the country to move in with some guy I’ve never met!” I heard the hysteria creep into my voice, but couldn’t seem to stop it. “Let’s remember the last guy you chose that I had to live with. Or have you already forgotten?”

Understanding dawned on Hayley’s face. It was shocking that I even had to say it out loud. A good mother would have known exactly why I was taking this so hard. “Oh, sweetheart.” She moved toward me but stopped when I flinched back. “Theo is not like him. Not anything like him. I’m not a stupid kid anymore. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.”

I stared at the floor, trying to will my heart rate to slow. I could barely hear anything over the whooshing of blood in my ears.

I started at Hayley’s touch and looked up. She’d decided to ignore my body language and cross the room to take hold of my arms. She ducked her face to stare into my eyes.

“No one,” she whispered fiercely, “no one will hurt you. I promise.”

Liar.

LIAR.

LIAR!

The scream rang out inside of me but somehow I swallowed it.

This was happening.


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Friday, June 23, 2017

The Knocked Up Plan by Lauren Blakely: Release Blitz w/ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a new and sexy romance…THE KNOCKED UP PLAN! A standalone romance told in dual POV, THE KNOCKED UP PLAN is about all of the fun, hotness, and heartfelt emotions that come when a single woman asks her gorgeous, jaded, sworn-to-be-single-forever good friend to get one particular job done. What happens next when he agrees to provide the bun for her oven are lots of hot sexy times and heartfelt moments.

Now available on all retailers! Get your copy delivered now!

Blurb:

There are three little words most guys don’t want to hear on the first date. Not those…I mean these… “knock me up.”

This single gal has had enough of the games, the BS and the endless chase. I know what I want most, and it’s not true love. It’s a bun in the oven, and I’m not afraid to hit up my sex-on-a-stick co-worker to do the job. Ryder is gorgeous, witty and wild — and he’s also a notorious commitment-phobe. That makes him the perfect candidate to make a deposit in the bank of me.

I won’t fall for him, he won’t fall for me, and there’s no way baby will make three.

Right?

****

There are four words every guy wants to hear on the first date — “your place or mine?”

When my hot-as-sin co-worker makes me a no-strings-attached offer that involves her place, my place, any place — as well as any position — I can’t refuse. After all, my job is like a coach and my latest assignment for the good of mankind is to create a fail-safe, battle-tested, proven guide of what to do or say to get a woman to fall into your bed — I mean, fall for you. So when Nicole says she’s game to work through my list in a hands-on way, I take her up on her deal even with her one BIG condition.

There’s no way I’ll want more from one woman than any position, anywhere, any night? Except . . . what if I do?

Note: Be prepared to swoon and fan yourself from the heat! This full-length standalone contains lots of hot baby-making s-e-x, happy tears, naughty jokes and a hot, swoonworthy hero you will fall madly in love with!






Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Excerpt:

“How does it work?” I ask. “The whole donation process.”

She stabs a carrot slice, chews, and swallows. “Well, there’s this thing guys do when they’re horny. It’s called”—she glances furtively from side to side—“jacking off.”

“I’m well aware of how the protein shake is made. What I mean is, are we talking about one of those little rooms you go into?” I ask, since what man doesn’t have an image of a jerk-off chamber? “With magazines or porn or whatnot?”

“Yes, they schedule the donors for forty-minute sessions in them.”

“I’m more efficient than that, but that’s good to know.” I take another bite and chew. I set down the burger. “So, a nurse or orderly would escort me to a special room, and then I’d need to drop my
drawers and whack off. Into a cup, right?”

“A plastic sample cup. With a top,” she says, and I’m kind of amazed that she’s answering every question like a champ. No blushing, no stammering.

“What do they provide for entertainment? Laptops? Computers? Or is it old school with Playboy?”

“They provide pornographic material in printed form as well as video on a TV screen.”

“Awesome. So I just choke the chicken in a room with a ton of other dudes going at it in their own rooms, too. Hand a cup to the nurse. She seals up the goods. Then, what’s next?”

“They do tests on your swimmers.”

“They’ll pass. Then you come in, maybe the same day, maybe a few days later?”

“Same day. We’d have to time everything to my cycle and when I’m ovulating.”

“Fine, so they undress you, prop you up on an exam table, and stick a turkey baster into you?”

“You paint a lovely picture of the process.”

I hold up a hand, waving her off. “Wait. I’m not done. You’re in nothing but a hospital gown. The doc tells you to put your cute little feet in stirrups, and they stick that baster up inside what I am sure
is an absolutely gorgeous and heavenly home,” I say, because if she can complement my tadpoles, I can say something nice about the paradise between her legs. She mouths a thank you. “After the boys
make the upstream trip, they send you home.” I mime patting her on the rear and then sending her out the door.

“I think you’ve got the basic idea.”

“And after that?”

“That’s all,” she says. “That’s all I’d want you to do. I don’t expect or want any involvement. I’d have all the paperwork drawn up in advance saying there are no legal rights, responsibilities, or expectations of parenting, and no financial commitments required.”

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but that’s the clincher for me—the lack of involvement. If I’m ever going to raise a child, I’m damn well going to do it right. The whole nine yards, two parents, just like my mom and dad raised my brother, my sister, and me.

Nicole isn’t asking me to sign up for daddy duty, though. She doesn’t want me to help with diaper detail or midnight feedings.

She’s a friend asking for the help she needs so she can then do those things on her own.

And helping a friend seems like something I should consider.

Fine, she’s asking for a hell of a lot more than a dude to put together an IKEA TV stand, and those things are beyond Da Vinci Code-level cryptic. I’d like to see Robert Langdon decipher some IKEA assembly instructions. Good luck with that, Harvard symbologist.

I like Nicole. I respect the dickens out of this woman. I want to take her request as seriously as she’s asking it. “Can I have a few days to think about it?” “Of course. Take all the time you need,” she says, then glances at an imaginary watch on her wrist. “It’s only my biological clock ticking.”

About Lauren Blakely:

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat,

heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she'll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

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Review by Yvette:

Top 5 Signs You've Just Finished a Lauren Blakely Book:
  1. You can't stop smiling.
  2. Your cheeks are flushed (because: holy hotness).
  3. You're exhausted from staying up well past 2 am.
  4. You're eagerly scouring the end of the book to confirm certain minor characters will be getting their own book (which they will!).
  5. You have a book hangover in which you're convinced that no other book's ending can make you this deliriously happy and perfectly satisfied (at least until Lauren Blakely's next release...).
A new Lauren Blakely book = a new story and new characters to fall in love with. Plain and simple. After finishing her latest release, The Knocked Up Plan, all I could do was sit with a wide grin on my face, reliving the fan-your-face steamy, oh-so-adorable love story between protagonists, Ryder Lockhart and Nicole Powers. With The Knocked Up Plan, the author takes two single co-workers who are wildly attracted to each other, throws in a raging case of baby fever plus some overwhelmingly potent chemistry, and gives readers a not-so-accidental pregnancy romance, packed with humor, heat, and heart.

Told from the viewpoints of both Nicole and Ryder, The Knocked Up Plan follows the story of two radio hosts, one with a ticking biological clock and the other a self-professed commitment-phobe in need of a career boost. Within the first few pages of the book, I was pretty much in love with Ryder. Nicole’s description of her sex-on-a-stick co-worker is incredibly effusive and left absolutely nothing to the imagination. The guy is a Lauren Blakely hero so his dreaminess didn’t come as a surprise but that did have to be a record for how quickly the author had me drooling over a character I hadn’t even met! What also didn’t come as a surprise? That Ryder was Nicole’s ideal candidate to put a bun in her oven.

The combination of Nicole's knocked up plan and Ryder's ten-date work assignment makes their no-strings-attached arrangement slightly more complicated. What starts as a flirtatious, easygoing rapport, complete with witty, innuendo-laden banter, quickly becomes a wildly passionate, uninhibited affair. Emotions get involved, barriers are lowered, and lust overrides logic. With all the yo-yoing feelings, all I have to say is…thank goodness for dual perspectives. While the protagonists are individually agonizing over their inner struggles, we, the reader, are privy to their every unfiltered thought. It's like being the first to discover a juicy secret and experiencing a whirlwind of emotions – hope, frustration, happiness, anguish – as the secret unfolds.

If you’re looking for a romance that’s sexy, sweet, and entertaining, The Knocked Up Plan is a heartwarming, fun-loving read and I can’t recommend it enough.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars


✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing THE KNOCKED UP PLAN GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Lauren’s Bundle of Joy Special Delivery Giveaway! This bundle is valued at $200 and includes the most delicious cupcakes delivered to your door from Wicked Cupcakes, a $50 gift certificate for luxurious bath products to make your skin baby soft from The Body Shop, and comes wrapped up with a beautiful sterling silver bow bangle bracelet from Pandora ($125 value).