Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blog Tour w/ Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Staying on Top (Whitman University #4) by Lyla Payne


Sam Bradford has it all—he’s the #2 tennis player in the world, plenty of girls want to date him, and he’ll never want for money. At least, that’s what he thought until his accountant stole everything and disappeared. Interpol has no idea where to start, and neither does the American F.B.I., so Sam figures he’ll just have to take care of his body and play a few extra years to make it back.

When Blair Paddington, the accountant’s daughter and a friend of a friend at Whitman, shows up and claims she can help Sam get his money back he’s torn between wanting justice and the very real possibility that Blair is just as big a con man as her father. When she promises not only money, but justice, Sam agrees—but only if he can go along on the search.

The two of them set off on an adventure neither rich kid is prepared for—cheap hostels, the same clothes three days in a row, and nothing but a backpack of possessions—so they can fly under the radar as college lovers on a winter break. In spite of Blair’s shady family, her daring and resourceful personality strike Sam’s interest and he finds himself falling for the one girl he shouldn’t.

When they finally find her father, the truths that come to light not only make Sam question his affection for Blair, but could cost him more than money—if they can’t work together one last time, neither of them may be going home. Ever.

Buy the Whitman University Series on Amazon:


About Lyla Payne:

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked.  In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

Social Media Links:

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Guest Post by Lyla Payne:

Top 3 Books of 2013, 3 I’m Looking Forward to in 2014

This is such a hard question, because WOW so many good books. I had to go to Goodreads and check out what I’ve read this year, and I’m still struggling, but let’s go with these:

1. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. If you haven’t started the Grisha Trilogy, I’m going to have to insist you get on that. One of my favorite YA heroines ever, an evil, tortured, smoking hot, heartbreaking antihero (I refuse to call him a villain) and an entire cast of the most well-drawn characters I’ve ever read.
2. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin. The 3rd in the Game of Thrones series was my favorite so far. Nothing could stop me from babbling about this series. Nothing.
3. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. When I have time to read for nothing but pleasure, I almost always go for contemporary YA, and this book is everything I could ask for out of the genre and more. The kind of true, poignant, fearless book I hope to someday write.

What am I looking forward to in 2014? Well….

1. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. See above, but this is the 3rd (and I believe final) installment in the Grisha Trilogy and I will be carving out the hours to read it on release day.

2. Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans. I adore her books One and Two, and have been dying to read her contemporary romance since I first heard her talking about it. This one is sure to be amazing.
3. Business as Usual by Denise Grover Swank. Have you gotten around to After Math and Redesigned yet? If so, you’ll understand why I’m salivating over the 3rd in the Off the Subject series. If not…what are you waiting for?

As a fan of Lyla Payne’s Whitman University series, I’ve been anticipating the pairing of Sam Bradford and Blair Paddington, who were introduced as minor characters in earlier books. Unlike the other books in the series, Staying on Top strays away from the Whitman University campus, following the road trip trope as Sam and Blair travel the world looking for answers. I've read many books where one character was keeping a secret from another and this story evokes a similar feeling of anxiety. It's inevitable that the secret will be revealed at some point and, until that time, there's a dark cloud hovering over every interaction, putting an expiration date on their newfound relationship.

My favorite part of the book was getting to know Sam better, learning all his little quirks that made him special and endeared me to him. From his portrayal in previous books, I knew Sam was charming and a bit of a player, but I assumed his charm would be of the slick, womanizing, says-all-of-the-right-things variety. Maybe this is the case for the average tennis groupie, but around Blair, a less assured, more laid-back side emerged. Sam’s cheerful persona is contrasted against Blair’s cynical nature, providing a balance where the two meet in the middle.

As much as I loved Sam, I was more cautious towards my judgment of Blair. Knowing what kind of secrets were in Blair's past and present made me wary of her intentions toward Sam and, although I may not have been her biggest fan at the start of the book, her character grew on me. She didn't open up easily, instead making Sam (and me, as a reader) work to get to know her. I liked the fact that despite Blair's ability to conceal her thoughts, Sam was the one person with the ability to unveil them.

What I love about this series is that nothing is ever usually what it seems. Whitman University is a school for wealthy and privileged students, yet there always seems to be a hidden story with each character. Appearances are deceiving, and, it isn't until we delve deeper into their minds that their true characters are revealed. Lyla Payne breaks through the surface of each protagonist, making them more relatable by exposing their hidden desires and vulnerabilities. Each book in the series has disproved any preconceived notions I may have had about the characters and Staying on Top is no exception. 

Rating: 5 Stars

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  1. Since you are new to me as an author I have not read any of your books therefore I have no favorite yet. Thanks for the chance to win.


  2. I've not read any of the Whitman University novels, so I'll just say thank you for the giveaway and hopefully I'll win so I can tell you my hero or heroine after I use the card to buy the books!

  3. I have not read any of the Whitman University series either, however I would like to and will add them to my to be read shelf on Goodreads. Thank you for this giveaway! :)

  4. This is new to me but I would LOVE to check them out & give you my opinion then.
    Thank you for this wonderful giveaway & Merry Christmas!

  5. I haven't had a chance to read these books yet, but I will be adding them to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I haven't had a chance to the honor to read one of your books yet.. sorry to say :( But I hope to soon!!

  7. I haven't read this series yet but I want to

  8. I have not read the series yet but would love to. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  9. They are on my TBR but haven't had the pleasure yet.

  10. I don't know yet, as you are a new-to-me author! I love the sound of this series, and added it to my TBL!