August 25, 2013

Deeper by Blue Ashcroft

After the unexpected death of her boyfriend, Rain Wilson makes a vow of celibacy and moves out to California for the summer. A new job at a new pool has her hoping to start fresh where nobody knows about her past. She thinks it'll be easy to lay low and concentrate on her senior lifeguard position until an elusive stranger shares with her a moment of passion at a party before her new job starts. As if that didn't throw her off her game plan, she then finds out that he's her co-supervisor at her new job! Can Rain forget about her momentary slip-up and hold up her vow to never fall in love or will she give in to their unmistakeable connection?

Knight Mcallister has been through a lot himself. His girlfriend committed suicide a few years back. Though he's had quite a few hookups since, he has yet to pull himself out of emotional exile and really feel for another. He hates that he has feelings for Rain and does all he can to fight them every step of the way. 

Do Knight and Rain remain loyal to their late loved ones? Read on to see their relationship flourish into something more than just colleagues as they learn what it means to love and how to help each other heal.

This novel started off fairly surreal with Knight seducing a complete stranger (Rain) in the ocean. Err...yeah, pretty sure that is very unlikely to happen...I think this first scene kind of threw me off for the rest of the book. The whole lifeguarding aspect was pretty cool as it got fairly descriptive in terms of the different types of rescues and what not. 

What really set me off was how stupid Rain's character seems to be. The fact that she foolishly puts herself in situations where she's taken advantage off makes her stupid and not heroic/brave in my books. Maybe that was the point--maybe Rain is supposed to be brave to a fault. Personally, I don't find this attractive...but I'm not Knight. The first situation she got herself into, it was unfortunate...the second time was the third time, it was just getting overplayed and somewhat annoying. It seemed like all that was happening in the book was Rain getting into trouble and Knight swooping in and saving the day (damn, that sounds super cheese). By the end of it, I didn't even really want to read about why she *couldn't* ever love Knight, I just wanted him to walk (yup, I said it...I didn't want a happily ever after here!!) 

Rain's fixation on "not ever falling in love" and Knight's "I'm going to love her no matter what" attitude seemed a bit much at times. The two are very stubborn and butt heads quite often because of this. There is so much of the back-and-forth/he-said-she-said that there wasn't much focus on any other characters. This made the story a bit dry (hah, the entire story practically takes place in the water) but perhaps that was the point--to really just hone in on how two messed up people (each in their own ways) try to save each other and find their own ways to love. 

I found the events in this book a bit repetitive but there were definitely some neat elements at the same time (re: lifeguarding stuff). I am, also, definitely still wondering--can you actually kiss under water (not that I'd every try...)?

Purchase the Kindle edition of Deeper on!

August 23, 2013

Meet Lizzy Charles...(and by 'meet', I really mean check out this interview...)

I'm so excited to be hosting my first interview on this blog for Lizzy Charles' Blog Tour (how many times can I use the term 'blog' in a sentence?)! If you've been following my blog, you may remember that Lizzy Charles is the author of Effortless With You (and if you didn't remember, now you've been told). In short, a great read and an awesome debut novel. Congrats Lizzy (actually, double congrats as I just read that you found out you're having a boy!!)! Happy (belated) Book Birthday to you!! x

Before we get down to the short interview I had with Lizzy, here's a bit about her straight from her publisher, Swoon Romance

When Lizzy Charles isn’t scrambling to raise her two spunky toddlers or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s in a quiet corner writing or snuggled up with a novel and a few squares of dark chocolate. Black tea keeps her constant and she loves guacamole. She married her high school sweet heart, a heart-melting musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels. 

And now, without further ado, my short interview with Lizzy...

hc: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a little about yourself. After a bit of digging, I know that you’re a mother of two (soon three) and a NICU nurse (whoa!). Pretty accomplished, if I do say so myself!
L: Ooh, you did a great job digging! I am all of those, but in reality it’s not as accomplished as it seems. Let’s just say that I’ve had to make a rule of how many hours I’m allowed to go between showers in order to balance everything. But, a little bit more about me? Hmmm. I’m a Minnesotan girl through and through. I married my high school sweetheart. I’m brave enough to sing on stage, when my husband makes me (he’s a musician), but I wouldn’t consider myself a singer. I also dabble in photography, but wouldn’t’ consider myself a photographer. Oh, also, I’m a big foodie. Not that I need fancy food, I just really love to eat!

hc: Going from the nursing profession to the writing profession is a big change. Have you always wanted to be a nurse or have you always wanted to be an author? What spurred you to write a book?
L: I’ve always wanted to be an author. Through elementary school, I was always typing up crazy stories. Choosing to become a nurse was a journey for me that put my passion for writing aside. It took me a few years, until after the birth of my first daughter, for me to be able to combine the two. I started writing EFFORTLESS WITH YOU (EWY) while on maternity leave and have been able to finish it between working part-time as a nurse and full-time parenting. 

hc: What are your inspirations? Where do you get your ideas from? Do you have any momentous occasions during the writing of this novel?
L: I’ve had two momentous occasions! The birth of both of my daughters, which really drives the subplot of my novel. The subplot between Lucy and her mother is a combination of my own fears of losing a relationship with my daughters when they become teenagers and my own hope of fighting for that relationship, no matter what.

hc: What brought you to write a novel that touches on hot topics such as bullying and mental health? You have to admit, there are not a lot of novels out there that even mention these very real issues. Do you have any personal experiences that help you better write about them?
L: Being a NICU nurse, it’s my responsibility to educate mothers about postpartum depression (part of the subplot of EWY). It’s more common than people think but people don’t talk about it. As a result, there is a lot of confusion as to what causes post partum depression. It is NOT the baby that causes the depression. It’s usually extraneous life stressors and triggers, mixed with the cocktail of hormones that the postpartum period throws you into, that can lead you into postpartum depression. There are many levels of postpartum depression, and, can, if left untreated, lead a woman into a new diagnosis of severe depression (which Lucy’s mother experienced) or even psychosis (not explored in EWY).

I incorporated the topic of bullying because it’s out of control. I’m not okay with it. It needs to stop. I wanted to talk to the individuals who aren’t really bullies, but may find themselves in the position of being followers and not realizing what they are doing. I wanted to show them it’s not them, they can grow and be better than that.

hc: Which character do you feel you relate most with and why? Do you have a favourite character?
L: I relate most to Lucy. I was never a “teenage drone” but the oscillation of thoughts and the second guessing of herself stemmed from my own experience. My favorite character is a tie between Justin, who makes me swoon, and Alex, who makes me smile. 

hc: As with many others (those who have read and those who will read), I absolutely love the fun-loving Alex! Will there be an Alex story to follow? Have you thought of/do you have plans to make Effortless With You the first in a series?
L: Hmmm, the thought has crossed my mind. But I have no solid plans yet. And, yeah, Alex is lots of fun! He’d be great main character!

hc: I’m not just tooting your horn when I say I really enjoyed Effortless With You. What’s next? Will you be writing through your pregnancy/maternity leave (if you’re taking any)? 
L: Aww, thank you. That’s so sweet of you. It means so much to me that you enjoyed the novel!

What’s next? Right now, I’m editing my most recent young adult contemporary romance novel before it goes out on submission. I’ll give you some of the ingredients: New York City Girl + Cowboy + Divorce + Fire = WHERE THE SUN BURNS (Title is a work in progress). How’s that for a pitch? (I’m REALLY horrid at pitching!)

hc: Thank you, Lizzy, for taking your time to do this interview—I’m sure they’re all fairly similar and you get bombarded with the same questions over and over again! 
L: These questions were fantastic! I loved answering them. Thank you so much for having me and I’m so happy you enjoyed EFFORTLESS WITH YOU!

There you have it. My first interview!! Hope it was mostly painless for those reading...but, really, what a sweetheart Lizzy is. Can't wait to see if she'll end up writing EWY into a series *fingers crossed* Actually, I can't wait to see what a NYC Girl + Cowboy + Divorce + Fire makes LOL. 

Sounds interesting... But for now, go check out Effortless With You. Now available for Kindle at and for Nook at

You can follow Lizzy Charles on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or through her Blog!

August 21, 2013

Who doesn't love a giveaway?

I know I always love a giveaway. Things are always better when they're FREE!! Anyways...I'm all excited for Lizzy Charles' Effortless With You Blog Tour (check back Friday when she hits my blog!) and what better to ramp up for the big day than with a giveaway!!?

Now go and check out Lizzy's Tour Diary to keep up with what's been happening! I cannot confirm nor deny that delicious brownies and some Minions may be involved...

August 20, 2013

The Cinderella Moment by Jennifer Kloester

Today, I have the pleasure of being part of Jennifer Kloester's Blog Tour for her debut novel The Cinderella Moment! Out and available today on Amazon, I'd like to say congrats and Happy Book Birthday to you, Jennifer! 

Angel Moncoeur ("Cinderella") is the daughter of the housekeeper of a wealthy NYC household. Money has never stood in the way of her ambition to become a successful fashion designer. With the prestigious Teen Couture contest around the corner, she slaves away at her designs only to have them stolen by Clarissa ("the evil step-sister"). The chance for Angel to travel to Paris to right the wrong-doing whilst masquerading as Lily (Angel's best friend) arises and off she goes. Swept up into the world of haute couture and old money, Angel finds herself making a friend, bonding with her bff's estranged grandmama ("the godmother") and, of course, a boy--Nick ("the prince"). We follow Angel in her adventures in the city of love and fashion. Will she be able to expose Clarissa before she's exposed as an imposter?

Jennifer Kloester definitely has all the ingredients for a perfect Cinderella Moment without being too cheesy. As a pseudo-fashionista, I definitely appreciated the couture-infused storyline--and what better setting for the story than Paris? The Cinderella Moment was a very enjoyable read. I'd say it's the classic tale of Cinderella with a modern Gossip Girl twist. There's all the parts of the classic Cinderella tale and there's enough scheming, drama, boys and even polo matches to make Blair and Serena feel right at home!

Purchase the Kindle edition of The Cinderella Moment on!

The Cinderella Moment book blurb straight from her publisher Swoon Romance:

Let the masquerade begin!

Angel Moncoeur has always wanted to be a fashion designer, but without money or connections, it's going to be a challenge. When an opportunity to leave her home in New York and head to Paris appears, Angel grabs it – even if it means masquerading as her best friend Lily. That can't be too hard, can it? But when she falls in love with her very own Prince Charming who thinks she's someone else, Angel embarks on a plan to secure her happily ever after.

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT is a fabulously fun story about high society, mistaken identity, love, betrayal, friendship – and great clothes

A little bit about Jennifer Kloester: Jennifer loves to escape into a good book. She began writing when she was little and grew up in a house full of books. She was living in the jungle in Papua New Guinea (truly!) when she discovered Georgette Heyer's wonderful historical romances. She quickly became addicted and multiple re-reads later still can't pin down her favourite. When not writing, Jennifer does karate and love to hang out with her husband (who she's still trying to get into Regency garb) and their three nomadic children.

You can follow Jennifer Kloester on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or on the web!

August 13, 2013

Knock Love Out by Pella Grace

In Knock Love Out, we get a story one could only dream of. Lilla King is tired of her marriage and life as she knows it. She meets Cash Valentine, a cashier at the grocery store towns away from her home and makes up her mind to have an affair---WHO DOES THAT? Too awesome. So totally something you'd only dream of doing. You know you've thought about it at one point or and steamy affair with that hot guy (or gal) you passed that one time way back when? Okay...maybe it's only me.

Lilla has been taken for granted by her idiot husband for most of her marriage. This makes it that much easier for Cash Valentine to sweep her off her feet. Can it be possible? What can actually become of an affair between the 24-year-old artist who's still finding himself and the older woman who's stuck in a dead-end marriage? Find out in this story that's so sweet you wish it were true!

Purchase the Kindle edition of Knock Love Out on!

The Truth About You & Me by Amanda Grace

What's a girl to do when her life is laid out for her? Fall in love with the wrong person and throw life as you know it into a tizzy, of course! Madelyn Hawkins is (supposedly) a super-smart sixteen-year-old on a special fast-track program through her highschool at the local college. If all goes according to plan, she'll be done her AA degree by the time she's eighteen. On her first day of her college classes, she meets Bennett...thus begins her rapid decent into an obsessive, lovesick, naive and illogical spiral. 

We know from the get-go that the romance is ill-fated. Knowing the basic premise of the book (16 yr old girl and her professor have a love affair), we know that there can be no good ending. What I didn't expect is that there was no really great content, either. The book is written in the form of letters from Madelyn to Bennett. These letters, however, read less like personal letters (intentionally?) and more like a long, in-depth witness statement. Some parts were personal but other parts were much too narrated (in my opinion). 

The story is essentially Madelyn recounting every part of her affair with Bennett. I didn't really get why the first letter was addressed to Bennett but was seemingly written for a bigger audience (rather than for solely Bennett). I get the whole idea that she wrote the first letter with the intention of clearing Bennett's name if he had been arrested but I think that added some confusion. She did write a second letter that was intended for Bennett alone but I think the novel would have fared better had it been written as one whole journal entry (or something along those lines) vs a series of personal letters. 

I felt that as the series of letters went on, Madelyn's character annoyed me more and more. For the smart-as-heck character she's supposed to be, she's pretty dumb. I don't get how a smart girl lacks the logic that the relationship can't go anywhere...period. There's no way around it and there was no way it would have ever worked out--she knew that, yet, let her fantasy go on. Makes no sense. I guess I do agree--"smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.”  I found the book a bit difficult to get through because it just didn't make sense to me. The more I read, the more I found myself going, "but...!!" I suppose, however, a story on a topic like this isn't meant to be like the typical romance novel...but I'll leave you to form your own thoughts on that!

Kindle edition of The Truth About You & Me will be available on September 1, 2013!
(Paperback edition will be available at your local bookstore September 8, 2013)

August 2, 2013

And now for a little bit of good news...

Exciting new things happening around here. Not only is it my LO's 2nd birthday coming up this weekend but I've also gotten word that I'll be joining Lizzy Charles' Blog Tour for her debut YA Contemporary Romance novel, Effortless With You! I was lucky enough to have already reviewed this title (you can see what I thought about it here). 

Here's a little about Effortless With You from Swoon Romance (publisher):

School is out and Lucy is ready for the perfect summer: lazy days at the pool, invitations to the most exclusive parties, and romantic dates with her hot new boyfriend. That is, until she lands in trouble one too many times and her parents issue the ultimate punishment: a summer job. Suddenly, the summer can't end fast enough.

To make matters worse, the job is painting houses with Justin, the most popular, egotistical guy in school. Spending all summer with Justin might be other girls' dreams, but definitely not Lucy's. After all, Justin is cocky, annoying, and a jerk. So what if he's the most beautiful jerk Lucy's ever seen? Or that his grin makes her forget she’s mad at the world? Or that maybe, just maybe, there's more to Justin than Lucy realizes. Only one thing is certain: it won’t be the summer she wanted, but it might be exactly the one she needs.

It was most definitely a great read...I can't wait to get to chat with Lizzy on her blog tour. For now, here's a Teaser & Giveaway to tide you over! 

...and to think I started this blog on a whim as a new hobby! I can't wait...stay tuned :)

August 1, 2013

Effortless With You by Lizzy Charles

Lucinda Zwindler is introduced to us as a poster child for teenage-rebellion. As a victim of bullying, betrayal and the cruel nature of high-school cliques, Lucy has adopted a bad attitude as a protective shell and has developed the knack of making poor choices. Her parents reach their boiling-point, step in and mandate her to a summer job painting houses in hopes to teach her some responsibility and get her back on track.

Justin Marshall is your cocky, stereotypical jock. He’s popular, he’s got the ego the size of his head and he’s got the looks to back it up. Justin embodies everything Lucy hates—he’s a popular, egotistical jerk. Every guy wants to be him and every girl wants to be with him. Every girl, that is, except for Lucy. The story gets interesting when Justin shows up at her front door to take her to her new painting job. Even though the two spend every day together, Lucy can’t seem to figure Justin out. He just frustrates the crap out of her!

Slowly but surely, Lucy gets to know the ins and outs of Justin. The more she learns, the more her image of him changes—for the better! Her annoyance with Justin slowly diminishes and emotions she can’t control continue to grow despite all her efforts to deter them. Will Lucy listen to her head and be able to write those feelings off or will Justin make her see that there are some things in life that doesn’t suck?

What a novel to debut with, Lizzy! I loved the story and definitely had a few late/sleepless nights trying to finish it! It touches on a few very real themes (bullying, mental health and growing up just to name a few) which make the book very relatable. 

I definitely enjoyed watching the summer unfold as one of self-discovery for Lucy. She goes through her ups and downs to amend broken relationships, forge new ones and in doing so, learns a whole lot about herself during her healing process. It’s fun to see Lucy slowly come to the conclusion that everyone else can see from the first chapters!

The characters introduced in this novel leave more stories to tell--*hinthintnudgenudge* I want a story about Alex!!

Purchase the Kindle edition of Effortless With You available on!