Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Two of Hearts by Christina Lee: Blog Tour Review & Giveaway

A gripping standalone adult contemporary romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love…

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional —not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

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About the Author:

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys.

She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

NA Contemporary Romance ALL OF YOU, out now (Penguin/InterMix). BEFORE YOU BREAK in February and WHISPER TO ME in May, 2014. Repped by Sara Megibow.

Also the creator of Tags-n-Stones (dot com) jewelry.

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Review by Michelle:

As a huge fan of Christina Lee's Between Breaths series, I was over the moon to hear that she was not only branching out from the New Adult genre and venturing into the Contemporary category, but also that Two of Hearts would be the story of two characters that we have become familiar with from that series. Two of Hearts is a completely fresh and interesting storyline based on Dakota and Shane years after we are first introduced to them in Whisper to Me. This compelling story addressing life and the pressures and complications of heritage and tradition is intertwined with a passionate second chance love story rife with love, lust, animosity, and resentment and delivers a beautifully simple yet perfectly complicated story that is so much more than I had bargained for.

Two of Hearts gives more bang for your buck with three distinct aspects to Shane and Dakota's complex reunion. First, these two must deal with and accept the second chance that they are given in order forge a long and lasting relationship. Then there is a bit of mystery and suspense as Shane, now a hunky, U.S. Marshall, steps in to help find the cause of unrest within the community and look into an unresolved crime. Finally, Dakota is forced to examine her place within the Native American community, reaffirm her dedication to her people and heritage, and weigh and balance these things against her own wishes and desires. This struggle in particular is distinct, original, relevant, and intriguing. The three facets together make for an engrossing story that is sure to capture and hold your attention on all levels.

I love a strong heroine and Dakota Nakos is the epitome of strength. Even in the midst of a difficult and painful time she soldiers on for her community, for her mother, for all her hard work and dedication over the years, and to uphold her father's legacy. She is strong willed and determined, dedicated and willing to sacrifice her own personal happiness for these other responsibilities. She is also sweet and a touch vulnerable, independent, yet willing to lean on a loved one when push comes to shove. Dakota isn't a heroine that needs saving, but it is nice to see her being taken care of for a change, not having to go it alone, and allowing herself to be cared for. It takes an equally strong and intuitive man to keep up with such a woman. Sensitive, adoring, open, honest, no-nonsense, with more than a few alpha tendencies, Shane is just what the doctor ordered.

As much as I love New Adult and the Between Breaths series, the departure from the genre was a welcome one as we now see Shane and Dakota as two strong, confident, successful, intelligent professionals who have come into their own and now know exactly who they are and what they want. Over the years both have grown, changed, and matured becoming even better versions of their past selves. This time around each has some experience under their belts. They have experienced time together and have lived lives apart so when there is a decision to be made, they can each be confident and steadfast in their choice. This makes for a refreshing change with little back and forth, little relationship turmoil, and few of the pitfalls of young inexperienced love.

Two of Hearts may be a change in genre but it is still everything we have come to love about a Christina Lee book. The characters are charming and charismatic, the chemistry between the characters ignites with a mere look or touch and is an undeniable presence in each and every interaction, and the story is unique, gripping, and sexy.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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