Tuesday, May 26, 2015

21 Stolen Kisses by Lauren Blakely: Release Day Launch Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


When I first met him I resisted.
Like any forbidden love, I told myself he was a crush, and it would pass.
That was a lie. It never faded.

And I never expected he would fall for me just as hard.

There were so many reasons that should have kept us apart, least of all, the decade that separated us.
Growing up in New York City, I learned early on that love is a double-edged sword.
Love broke up my parents, love took away my friends, and love -- the big, intense, never-been-like-this-before love -- landed me in therapy.
Now I'm heading to college, and it's time to give love a clean slate again. But, can I really start over when he's still in my life?
Because the one man I've always wanted, is also the only guy I absolutely can't have…
And he wants me just as fiercely.

Can I settle for anything less than the love of my life?

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He inhales sharply. The look in his eyes says we’re crossing into the danger zone again. It’s the only place I want to be with him. Because when we’re there, nothing between us feels dangerous. Everything feels right.

“I turn eighteen in a few more weeks,” I say, like my birthday is an open invitation for us to slam back into each other.

He nods. “I know.”

A breeze blow by and rustles his hair. A lock falls out of place. Instinct takes over. I raise my hand to reach for his hair.

But he’s faster. He grasps my wrist, and the second he does, the moment expands. It stretches and unfolds into the thing I will replay tonight and tomorrow and the next day. I stare at his hand clasped around my wrist, flashing back to all the times he held my hand, touched my wrist, and ran his fingers along my arm. I shiver as the memories collide, the past slamming into the present.

I look up from our hands to his eyes. Blazing, full of heat. Full of all that restraint from him that I know so well.

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:

There’s a reason why Lauren Blakely is one of my go-to authors and, after reading her newest release, 21 Stolen Kisses, I’m reminded exactly why this is the case. With each book, Lauren Blakely constantly reinvents herself within the romance genre and 21 Stolen Kisses is yet another refreshingly unique narrative, putting a new spin on a taboo subject. If you're familiar with this author’s books, 21 Stolen Kisses is incomparable to anything she's written thus far, although if I had to describe it, the book is a hybrid of Stars in their Eyes and the No Regrets series, tackling mature issues yet maintaining a certain innocence not typically found in adult romances. Having read all of Lauren Blakely’s books, I can confidently say that 21 Stolen Kisses is one of her most evocative book to date that took me on an emotionally-charged journey via the forbidden romance between protagonists, Kennedy and Noah.

The narrative is told through alternating perspectives yet Kennedy is the true focus of the story. Kennedy is an interesting study in contradictions, impossibly jaded about love after having witnessed the demise of her parents' marriage but also wildly hopeful when it comes to the possibility of her own happily ever after. She’s incredibly young yet she emits this world-weariness more befitting of someone twice her age. It’s therefore fitting that she’s drawn to a man who’s not only older but who can relate to her on a deeper level. Their romance is built on a shared love of Broadway musicals, a quietly powerful kind of chemistry, and an epic collection of kisses that filled the pages with their poetic beauty. From page one and right up to the final chapter, Kennedy and Noah were responsible for all those gut-wrenching, pulse-pounding moments of anticipation and uncertainty that had my emotions yo-yoing alongside those of these characters.

21 Stolen Kisses is such a fascinating book because it's nothing like I thought it would be yet it's everything I have come to expect from a Lauren Blakely novel. You hear the combination of younger girl and older man and might picture something sordid and illicit, and perhaps that's what the story could have been in someone else's hands, yet this book is quite the opposite. This book is an ode to love – a love letter about falling in love and being in love. Kennedy and Noah’s story is achingly sweet, beautifully tragic, and unfailingly romantic, and, even though at times I worried over their intertwined fates, I had faith that everything would happen exactly as it should.

*complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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