No. She’s not getting another moment to talk herself out of this, out of us. She’s been running for way too long. This time it’s for keeps. This time, I’m not letting anything come between us—not my brother, not her mother, not her job and not some convoluted idea she gets in her head that she is not the submissive I need her to be. I’m sick of the bullshit, and this time I want what is mine.
And Sam is mine.
Wrapping my arm around her waist, I pull her body tight against mine and slant my head, slamming my mouth to hers as she gasps in shock. My hand grabs her blonde ponytail, holding her in place. Her tight muscles relax when my tongue rolls over hers as I set out to rediscover the beauty that is Samantha Richards. Her taste is intoxicating, and I find myself wanting to consume her, to lose myself inside of this gorgeous woman whose mind continues to deny the connection between us. In this moment, I want to show her everything I am, everything I can do to her, every possible way I can make her feel. I know I’m losing control, but with Sam, I don’t care.
I press my hips into her, pressing my hard as steel cock against the softness of her stomach. I feel her arms move between us, and I expect her to push me away, but she fists my shirt and pulls me closer, thrusting her hips into me in silent invitation.
She may not be able to admit the words, but she can show me with her body, with her actions—she can no longer deny the spark between us.
I pull my head back slightly, raking my teeth against her bottom lip. I scan her face, looking for any remaining uncertainty. If she said no it would hurt like hell, but I’d let her go. Again. But all I can see are swollen, pink lips and half-cast eyes full of want, and I know in that moment that I have my Sammy back. Even if it’s just for a few moments, a few hours, or maybe the night…if that is all I get with her, then I’ll take it willingly.
If this is the only chance I get with her, I’m going to make it count. I’m going to draw it out and make it last until neither one of us can move; until neither of us can breathe.
“You were saying?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
Hello, my lovelies!
I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of the release day blitz of this AMAZING author’s debut novel, “Spark”. All romance & new adult lovers will enjoy this book, I am sure.
Today, you will find my review and a great giveaway for you all to enter.
Title: Spark (Spark Series #1)
Author: Jennifer Ryder
Release Date: 28th February, 2014
Genre: New Adult Erotic Romance
Not many people know that I, Eevie Lawson, have a problem. An addiction to romance novels. I eat them for breakfast. I hide it the best I can, but I need them to breathe. It’s how I cope.
I’ve had a swag of book boyfriends, but now that I’m free from the responsibility of caring for my three younger brothers, it’s time to find one in the flesh.
In real life, no girl meets their hero on page one, or even at the end of chapter one. I should know.
My journey is real. It’s not perfect, and it sure as hell isn’t easy—but the fight for something worthwhile never is.
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
Once again, I am experiencing quite a book hangover. This romance novel has everything that you could wish for: it is original, fun, sexy, and with angst and drama aplenty.
Meet Genevieve (Eevie): she is a sassy 20-year-old who has just moved out from her parents’ and she is longing to spread her wings a bit. She has never been in a romantic relationship and she is dreaming about finding herself in the kind of romance that she, so far, has only read about. Yes, she is a bookworm, and perhaps a bit naive, but due to family issues she is also very mature beyond her years in some aspects.
The hardships that Eevie has endured in the past have very much been a factor in making her the kind of person she is today, and she will have to endure much more before getting her HEA. Fortunately, she has a great support system in her room mate, Crystal, and her co-worker, Cassie. For a brief time, she also has her friend, Jon, but…well, read the book in order to learn more about him *wink*.
This book follows the ups and downs in Eevie’s life. As you know, I do not like to say too much about the actual storyline in fear of spoiling it for you – particularly with this story because there is simply A LOT going on in it, and, to me, all the drama is actually very important: the experiences that Eevie has all help in letting her find out who she really is. This leads me to classify this romance novel as a coming-of-age story as we immerse ourselves into learning how Eevie finds her strengths and weaknesses.
“Someday. I would find someone I could love, and that same someone could love me. I’d really thought this stuff would be easier. The perfect guy and girl always find each other in my books. When will it be my turn?” (Eevie)
I found Eevie to be an incredibly endearing character. It is seldom I come across a book heroine that I do not find some kind of fault with, but I am thrilled to say that I could connect with Eevie on so many levels. She is a truly strong person, very smart, and even rather funny. Does she make mistakes? Of course she does, she is only 20! And did I cringe because of some of the choices she made? Absolutely! But let us face it: who has not done something in their early adulthood they regret later in life? Her longing to find that special someone, the one who will spark up her life really hit home. Furthermore, the parts that made me simultaneously shake my head, asking “Why do you go and do something like this?!”, and nod my head, thinking, “Yep, been there!”, are actually very realistic, at least in my opinion. Like I stated above, Eevie cannot get free of the drama, but she tries to bury her head in the sand in order to get away from it instead of dealing with it – and, again, I say: who can blame her? So yes, I completely understand many of her actions and reactions.
As for Aidan, Eevie’s perfect match…Well, he is absolutely gorgeous! He is honestly one of the most swoon-worthy book boyfriends I have ever come across – and I have met many of those – so that statement should give you a pretty good clue as to how much I love him. Even though Eevie and Aidan meet early on in the book, it takes quite a while before they form a romantic relationship. Aidan is sweet, a bit naughty, and a pretty funny guy as well. I get the feeling that there is more than meets the eye with this guy, and I am already longing to read the next book in the series, “Spike”.
“That’s one of the many things I love about you, Eevie. You’re resilient, no matter what.” … “…please, baby…I’m here for you, so, let me be the one that’s strong…even if it’s just for today.” (Aidan)
I find it hard to believe that this is Miss Ryder’s first novel: her writing draws you in from page one, the pacing of the story is perfect and she has created a whole set of characters that show great depth and compassion towards others – ones that will make you feel as if you could spend a great night at the pub with them. Also, there is a great balance between the more serious moments and the funny ones. To put it bluntly: I am in awe of this author!
If you are still in doubt about whether or not you should buy this book, let me do a quick roundup of all the reasons why you should:
Will you sigh, cry and laugh while reading Eevie’s story? Yes. Will you see characters that are two-dimensional and that feel real and believable? Yes. Will you feel every single emotion Eevie experiences? Yes. Will you swoon over Aidan and love the touch of naughtiness in him? I really think you will! And if you are still not sure: well, take a chance and try something new.
As you can tell, I truly fell in love with Eevie and this book has now been added to my favourite books shelf – that is, after all, how I can show how highly I value a book, and I know that I will read it many times in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New Adult and erotic romance writer. My debut novel ‘Spark’, part of a four part romantic suspense series will be released on 28 February 2014!
A sexy imagination, a life-long love of books and a sucker for romance, Jennifer Ryder couldn’t stifle her creativity any longer.
Writing steamy adult romance has become her new focus. Living on a rural property in New South Wales, Australia, she enjoys the best of city and country.
Her loving husband is ever willing to provide inspiration, and her two young cherubs, and sheep that don’t see fences as barriers, keep life more than interesting.
Jennifer placed third in the International Stringybark Erotic Short Fiction Award 2013.
Remember to enter the giveaway, everyone!
**Warning** This book is intended for a mature reading audience and contains adult language and themes.
But when a complication from her own past demands attention, she’s forced to decide where their relationship is headed, and everything she thought she knew is questioned.
Kendall Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the contemporary romance novels HARD TO LOVE, RESISTING HER, UNRAVEL ME and MAKE ME YOURS.
She’s a sassy, yet polite Midwestern girl with a deep love of books, and a slight addiction to lipgloss! She lives in Minneapolis with an adorable husband and two naughty puppies, one of which may be part monkey.
Visit her at: http://www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, fun events and giveaways!
Well, technically, this book relased early (it came out yesterday, the 24th February), but since this is the OFFICAL release day: CONGRATS, N. J. Frost!
Today, you will find the YouTube link to the book trailer, the playlist, an excerpt and a fantastic giveaway.
Title: “Death Of A Rock Star” (The Boy In The Band #0.5)
Author: N. J. Frost
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 25th February 2014
“Troubled rock star Jamie Grimes was found dead at his London home earlier today.”
So there you have it. Jamie is dead… and it’s no surprise.
A victim of his addictions – his love of drugs and his love for her.
Sylvie Smith isn’t just any girl.
She was my best friend’s girl.
No, not just his girl, she was his downfall.
She’s the last woman on earth I should want,
but the instant I set eyes on her I know.
She’ll be my downfall too…
Thrown together in the aftermath of Jamie’s death,
Blake and Sylvie’s worlds are set to collide.
Are they a disaster waiting to happen
or an epic love story about to begin?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NJ is an avid reader and obsessive writer, fuelled for the most part by chocolate and coffee.
During her postgraduate studies in English Lit NJ became a contemporary romance junkie and finally found her calling. A twisted romantic at heart, she loves nothing more than losing herself in a good book with lots of passion and angst. She’s always at the mercy of one book boyfriend or another, so creating her own book boyfriends and torturing them has been a wicked dream come true… but she may have lost her heart to her victims in the process.
Although she enjoys the darker side of romance NJ loves a ‘Happy Ever After’ and is eagerly pursuing her own.
THE BOY IN THE BAND, NJ’s full length follow-up to DEATH OF A ROCK STAR is due for release Summer 2014.
BOOK TRAILER LINK
Music has played a huge part in the inspiration for Death of a Rock Star & The Boy in the Band – my playlist is endless, but here are a few highlights…
Arctic Monkeys – Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High
Bastille – Icarus
Biffy Clyro – Biblical
Birdy – (Live Lounge cover of Passenger’s) Let her Go
Chvrches – Recover
Eyes on Film – Waking up Dead
Foals – Inhaler
Foals – Late Night
Foxes – Youth
The Fray – How to Save a Life
Indiana – Don’t You Wanna Mess Around
Interpol – Rest my Chemistry
Interpol – Slow Hands
King of Leon – Closer
The Libertines – Time for Heroes
The Libertines – Don’t Look Back into the Sun
London Grammar – Night Call
Maximo Park – The Night I Lost My Head
Maximo Park – Your Urge
Tom Odell – Hold Me
The Orwells – Dirty Sheets
Rat Attack – Saturday Night Feelin’
You Me at Six & Chiddy – Rescue Me
Enjoy the excerpt, everyone!
In spite of the rain, there’s a crowd milling around outside Jamie’s house and a pool of defiant candles casting their golden light into the dark. It looks like someone has scattered stars on the pavement. This is what bereft fans do. In the absence of their Gods, they erect shrines – on their bedroom walls, on a dead man’s doorstep. Someone is playing his music. It rises into the night sky like a mournful offering, an appeasement to the rock gods. Those gods are so fucking brutal. It seems they always take the best of us far too soon.
As I stand at the furthest edge of this strange spontaneous wake, watching, wondering what the hell Jamie would make of all this, my gaze catches on a girl. Her face is heart-stopping and looks about as haunted as I feel. She’s gazing down at the candles, not really seeing them I suspect, or maybe wondering like me, how the fuck they are staying alight in this slow painful rain. She’s wearing striped pyjama bottoms tucked into huge combat boots that aren’t even fastened and a black biker jacket with an image on the back that is unmistakable. I’d know that jacket anywhere. It’s Jamie’s, which means – she’s her. She’s Jamie’s mystery girl.
My heart is ricocheting around like crazy. With anger and I’m ashamed to admit, with crazy lust. For a moment I regret that my cock decided to behave on the way over here. I wish I’d fucked the nameless model senseless just like I needed. Maybe I wouldn’t be aching now at the sight of my dead friend’s girl. No, not his girl, his fucking downfall – I have to remember that. Seeing her now though, for the first time, I understand. I thought Jamie was crazy for letting a girl get to him like she did. Now I get it. She’s that kind of beautiful. The kind of beautiful you’d die for.
Remember to enter the giveaway before you go!
I hope you are all having a great weekend.
Today, I am part of the blog tour of “Tortured Soul” (Mercy’s Angels #3) by Kirsty Dallas – a dark romance that made me feel a great range of emotions. Besides my review, you will find a tour wide giveaway for you all to enter as well.
Title: “Tortured Soul” (Mercy’s Angels #3)
Author: Kirsty Dallas
Genre: New Adult Dark Romance
Release Date: 22nd February, 2014
Blog Tour Host: Bookslapped
Emily Donovan didn’t know love, she didn’t know gentle and her future wasn’t hers to own. Because HE owned her. There is only so much one soul can take before it is broken beyond repair and she had reached that milestone long ago.
Braiden Montgomery had secrets, secrets that would see a special place in hell reserved just for him. He was trying to make amends, trying to find his own form of redemption when a waif of a girl with jet black hair and pale blue eyes seized his heart.
Emily’s soul had been tortured by men like Braiden, so trusting the dark haired Dom would be one of the most difficult things she would ever do. For a man with skills like Braiden, keeping ‘Em’ safe would be a piece of cake. Bringing her frozen heart back to life might just prove impossible though.
***Third book in the Mercy’s Angels Series. Can be read as a standalone, or in series read order:
Saving Ella – book 1
Fighting Back – book 2
Tortured Soul – book 3***
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
Having just read a couple of great, but lighter romance novels, I needed something slightly darker, and I am happy to say that “Tortured Soul” fulfilled that need.
I was immersed in the story from page one; when we first meet Emily, she is a slave to Jonas Levier, a truly vile and despicable man. I will not call him a “human being” because that is most definitely not the way he behaves. He is sick, twisted, sadistic…Well, I am sure you get my meaning.
Emily has been a slave to Jonas for seven long years, and is actually rather surprised herself for holding on for so long. In the beginning of her captivity, she fought back, of course, but Jonas found a way to break her eventually. She no longer has her own opinions about anything – she does not eat unless allowed by her master, she sleeps when she is told to sleep, and she has no hope whatsoever left in her soul. There was a time when she escaped, but Jonas threatened to kill her sister, Rebecca, if she did not come back to him willingly. Knowing how ruthless this man’s nature is, and that he does not make idle threats, she did what she was told.
Jonas is, however, no longer satisfied with Emily and he has decided to sell her – he relishes her fear of this, but Emily resigns herself to the fate of never becoming free again.
“Someone was in here, but I no longer knew who. The girl inside was broken, damaged beyond repair.” (Emily)
Then enters Braiden Montgomery: he has met Emily before, when she was in hospital after her escape, and has since that day been determined to save her from the clutches of Jonas. A former contract killer, he believes himself to be tainted, soiled and beyond redemption. He now runs a security firm with his cousin, Dillon, and has not seen his family since he removed himself from their “business” years before.
Having succeeded in rescuing Emily, Braiden takes her home to Claremont, the town she wanted to escape as a teenager. To say that Emily cannot adapt would be an understatement: always fearing punishment, she cannot let go of her “slave persona”, and even though it breaks Braiden’s heart seeing her like this, he is not surprised. After all, Emily has been stripped bare, losing herself and her personality in her years of captivity, and she needs extensive help in order to return to society.
From the time Braidem meets Emily, he finds her attractive, and he is repulsed by his lustful thoughts of her. He is a natural dominant, though, and he cannot help being drawn to her submissive nature, so in order to not go too far, Braiden leaves Emily and goes hunting: he wants Jonas’ blood.
Now, as you all know, I do not usually want to give away too many details of the actual storyline in a book, and it is no different with this one.
It should come as no surprise that I have absolutely no first-hand experience with the human trafficking world; having said that, however, I found Emily’s emotions, her loss of self so realistic and believable. I admire her for her strength, her need to keep her sister safe, and her will to survive. I could absolutely understand her confusing feelings towards Braiden, and I had no problems connecting with her. Also, the way we learn about the atrocities Emily went through in her years as a slave made me feel nauseous, and even though I could not put the book down, I almost wanted to take a break from time to time.
And Braiden? Well…wow! Simply…swoon-worthy. He is so gentle with Emily, denying himself to show his true self in order to not hurt her – both mentally and physically – and his feelings of self-loathing are understandable, yet they made me very sad as well. Braiden shows strength, kindness and his attraction to Emily definitely made me smile like a goof: and yes, I also blushed sometimes *wink* Honestly, Braiden now holds a very firm spot on my list of BBF’s.
I could really feel the way these two characters are drawn to each other, and I am not simply referring to the dom/sub pull: no, in different ways, they are both tortured souls who want to find a way out of the dark and into the light, and the way they help one another reaching this goal is very well written.
“I don’t want what other women can give me, Em. I want you, just as you are. Scars, tears, anger, nightmares, fears, I want it all. I need you, Em, and I think you need me, too. I don’t know if now is the right time or not, but I’ll be damned if I can stay away.” (Braiden)
The pacing of the story runs smoothly, and I honestly believe that Miss Dallas excels at showing the reader that although Emily finds freedom, she is not free of her past. No, she has plenty of relapses and suffers from nightmares as well – the traumas Emily suffers from seem to be very realistic, and that is a major factor as to why I give this book such a high rating. Also, the secondary characters provide the reader with some rather funny moments at just the right times – so please do not think that it is all “doom and gloom”.
All in all, I enjoyed this book very much, and I will absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes their romance to be slightly darker than most. Yes, you will cringe and cry while reading this story, but I believe that you will also laugh and sigh happily from time to time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m just a little Aussie girl with a big imagination, so much to write and so little time to do it. When I’m not writing (or reading) I am kept smiling and sane (for the most part) by my 5 year old daughter. She is the light in my world. I have a wonderfully supportive family who keep me completely grounded. Trust me, they will never let any success go to my head!! And I love them for it. I enjoy ice cold ciders, barbeques, music and art. I hate cooking, in fact I think I have major kitchen allergies. My feet rarely grace anything other than flip-flops and even in the middle of a hot Aussie summer, I love my jeans!!! To sum me up in a few words (and you know how hard just a few words is for an author) ~ easy going, laid back, dreamy and passionate.
I hope you all love reading my novels as much as I love writing them.
Be sure to enter the giveaway below before you leave!
Title: “Cover To Covers”
Author: Alexandrea Weis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A man driven by his desires.
Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants. CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.
The woman from his past.
Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.
Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, Tyler Moore is always in charge. But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes. A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler. Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget. Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.
Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets.
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
When I first began reading this book, I was in for a bit of a surprise because it turns out that it is slightly different from what I usually read. Please do not get ahead of yourself and stop reading. Is it a romance novel? Yes. Filled with drama, heartbreak, passion and laughter? Yes. But the difference lies in the fact that the main couple is rather mature, and I am not quite used to that. Nevertheless, I found it to be very refreshing and at no point did it make me not want to keep reading, so please do not let it dissuade you from buying the book.
I will not go into too many details about the storyline, though, as the synopsis says so much about it already, so please allow me to be a bit vague from time to time.
Meet Tyler Moore: suave, hardworking, oil tycoon who has two failed marriages behind him. He has just celebrated his 50th birthday but that certainly does not stop him from acting more like he was still thirty in regards to the opposite sex. He spends a lot of his time in meetings, and engaging in casual sex is all he wants. But when he runs into an old girlfriend – Monique – his clearly defined world is tipped on its axis.
“She had happened so long ago, but he found it funny how advancing age only seemed to make the memories of youth more poignant. It was as if growing older brought into focus the emotions that the impetuosity of youth seemed to blur.” (Tyler)
He reflects on their past, wondering if he was in the wrong twenty years ago, and when he finds out that the heroes she writes about in her romance novels all are based on him, he knows that she is still thinking about him and he wants to try to pick up where they left off.
Monique lives in New Orleans, and she leads a quiet life while writing her books. At first, she is very reluctant to let Tyler back into her life, but she decides to give him a chance eventually. And having a former boyfriend turn up at your doorstep, determined to wear you down – one you still have feelings for – would probably make most of us willing to try again.
I very much enjoyed getting to know Tyler, and the fact that the story is told solely from his point of view had me riveted to the pages. I found Tyler to be a rather arrogant man – and some of the things he said definitely had me shaking my head once or twice – but he is a very likeable character at the same time. Like so many others, he is defined and ruled by his past and the disappearance of his older brother, Peter, when he was just a child, plays a big part in how he has led his life so far. I could not help but care for Tyler and hoping that he would see that in order to move on with Monique, it would be imperative that he changed his ways.
One of the things I admire about Monique is the fact that she does not let Tyler get away with anything. She is brutally honest, strong-willed and independent. She, too, has a failed marriage behind her, but even though it scarred her, making her vulnerable for a while, she found her way back to herself and she chose to not let a man dictate her dreams ever again. That kind of determination deserves a great deal of respect in my opinion. Also, I found her reluctance to start anything with Tyler again quite understandable, given their past and how he made her feel from time to time.
“Showing me isn’t telling me how you feel, Ty. It was always this way before. You would claim to show me how you felt, but never once did you ever say how you felt.” (Monique)
Most of this story takes place in New Orleans, and I confess that I now really want to visit this city one day. Miss Weis knows her city very well, and that definitely comes across in the book. Her writing style reels you in, and her descriptions of both places and people feel so life-like, it is as if you are experiencing everything yourself. That is the sign of a great story-teller in my eyes, and I was actually a bit sad when the story ended. I would also like to stress that the flow of the story is perfect – it never feels rushed or farfetched to me. Everything these characters felt, I felt as well.
Both Tyler and Monique have to learn letting go of the past and give up on the preconceived notions they harbor towards each other. What I feel is one of the most important themes of the story is that you are never too old to go after the things you want, that it is never too late to change if you do not like the direction your life has taken. And I find this to be very uplifting, actually. This is, in my opinion, mostly Tyler’s story: family secrets will be revealed, drama ensues and his fears of losing control will have to come to an end. Trusting in Monique is absolute key, and I confess that I found myself a bit worried if a man of his age was able to acknowledge his past mistakes and learn to compromise.
“…I was terrified of how much I needed you…of how much I love you. I will do whatever it takes to hold on to you. Like I told you before, I would rather fail a thousand times with you than never take the chance.” (Tyler)
To sum up: if you are looking for a great romance that is slightly different from what you are used to, I definitely recommend that you buy this book. Like I said in the beginning of this review, it has everything that you could wish for in a romance novel: heartbreak, laughter, tears, passion…Oh, and an ugly mongrel called Bart *wink*. I will certainly pick up other books the author has written so far, and this book is now on the list of my favourite books of all time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Her first novel, To My Senses, introduced readers to the world of Nicci Beauvoir and garnered numerous awards and rave reviews. Her popular second Nicci Beauvoir novel, Recovery, won the Gold Medal for best romantic suspense from The Reader’s Favorite Book Awards 2011, and was named best Romantic Suspense novel by the Spring 2011 NABE Pinnacle Book Awards. Her fourth novel, Broken Wings, won best Contemporary Romance by the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2012, was a Silver Medal winner in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards for Romance, as well as a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards for Contemporary Romance for 2012. Her last novel, Acadian Waltz received honorable mention at the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards for Best Contemporary Romance and a Gold Medal at the Feather Quill Book Awards Program for Romance. A permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans
Hello, my lovelies!
Happy Monday! *wink* I hope you have all had a great weekend.
Today, I am so honoured to be a part of the book blitz of this amazing debut novel of Layla Hagen – besides my review, you will find an excerpt of the book, a few fun facts about the author and a giveaway.
Title: “Lost In Us”
Author: Layla Hagen
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance
Release Date: 15th February 2014
James is a successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. A man who has amassed a fortune by taking risks. A man who has shunned commitment completely, and still does. He’s the exact opposite of Serena. But sometimes opposites attract. Sometimes they give in to burning passion. Sometimes opposites are perfect for each other.
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
Although this most definitely is a love story, it is also a story about loss, pain, and fear. And let me not forget to add guilt and overcoming it. It is a story about two very different people meeting each other who have the same kind of shadows in their souls, and both are afraid of letting themselves find hope and happiness in life.
The story is told solely from the viewpoint of Serena: she is English, but due to a family tragedy years ago, she lives in America and is close to finishing her degree in economics and computer science at Stanford. She is extremely focused towards reaching her goal, but it is not passion that drives her: it is determination to make sure that her parents will never want for anything. Serena is most certainly not a woman who likes to take any kind of risk in life – the most important thing for her is to be sensible, not reckless. She knows, or think she knows, that being reckless in life can ‘ only bring heartbreak and pain and she refuses to find herself in any kind of situation in life that will bring her to her knees.
Imagine Serena’s surprise when she meets James at a bar the first night she is out clubbing after being dumped by her boyfriend of six years: just by looking at him, she almost immediately learns that James is her exact opposite. He has a certain air about him that draws her to him, and even though she tells herself to stay away from him, she accepts to go out with him the next night.
Thus begins Serena’s affair – if you can even call it that – with James. It would be very unfair of me to go further into the exact storyline because I feel it will ruin the experience for you if I do. But let me say this: Serena and James’ first date? Well, it will definitely impress you. *wink*
But what can I tell you about James? Well, he is such a complex character. Hot one moment, cold the next. Attentive, then distant. Extremely charming when he has to be, yet with a most volatile temper. You would think that these characteristics would make you see him as a bit of a mad-man, but please do not think that is so. His demons – because he certainly has them – play a huge part of who he is and how he leads his life. Did I want to throttle James on occasion? Oh yes, indeed I did! Having said that, though, I completely understand his actions and how he handles certain situations, however wrong he may be. Bit by bit, we learn about James’ past and his guilt and how he refuses to absolve himself of this guilt. I can almost promise you that your heart will ache as you get to know him and his story.
“‘Doesn’t matter when it happened,’, he says softly. ‘The pain never really goes away. You just learn to survive it.’ ” (James)
As for Serena…She is a very driven young woman, and although determined to stay on her fixed path, she really longs to take the plunge: being with James makes her want to try being reckless once in a while. As I already said in my review, she is still suffering from losing her sister, Kate, years before, and I really wanted to give her a hug when I learned how much pain she is in, and how she, like James, cannot seem to let go of her guilt. Or her fears of losing her heart to James.
“It’s here again. The illusion. It takes over my mind, my heart, my everything.” (Serena)
Another thing I really love about the story is the fact that these characters do not simply change their ways immediately upon meeting each other; had that happened, I would not find it realistic because I honestly believe that changing your life does not simply happen overnight. And both Serena and James will have to do some soul searching and learn that letting go of the past and really start living is more than acceptable.
I really want to stress that this is a very emotionally charged book, and that the author manages to have you sitting on the edge of your seat until you reach the very last page, because you really have no idea how the story will end. And I love that! I find it to be quite astonishing that this is a debut novel because Miss Hagen shows true talent with this story: there is depth, heartfelt emotions, believable characters and let us not forget the funny moments as well.
I absolutely love Jess, Serena’s roommate and friend of many years, and Parker, James’ cousin and business partner. These two seem to be getting on each other’s nerves quite a bit and I really hope that the author will give us their story in the near future.
If you are in doubt, I fell in love with Serena and James. They are both real, believable characters, and that is so important to me. And I truly believe that if you love your romance novels to be filled with angst, heartache, laughter and (of course) with a happy ending, I believe you will love this book as well.
Random facts about me and Lost in Us:
James was initially called Liam. . .because I had a crush on Liam Hemsworth. I got over it in the meantime (am now crushing on his brother Chris) 😀
I love chocolate as much as Serena does. Unfortunately I can’t get away with eating as much of it as she does.
I wrote a *certain* steamy scene on a piece of paper—on the back of which I then printed an official letter. Which I sent. Oh, the joy of being a writer J
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough
Here’s the excerpt, everyone!
“Red suits you,” a voice calls behind me. I’m suddenly very grateful for being squeezed in, because my knees seem to have turned to rubber. But my relief only lasts for a few seconds, because the music starts and everyone around me disperses, moving to the dance floor.
I don’t fall. I can’t move, either.
When he finally comes into view, my breath is cut short. There is something about seeing his beautiful blue eyes behind a mask that makes every inch of my skin burn.
So it wasn’t the tequila last night.
“Dance?” He extends his hand.
“I can’t dance.” Out of the corner of my eye I see Sophie watching us, crestfallen.
“That makes two of us,” he says, though unlike me, he doesn’t sound panicked in the slightest. I really can’t dance. Especially not waltz. But he doesn’t lower his hand, and instead of protesting further, I raise my hand and place it in his. As if in slow motion I see him putting his
other arm around my waist, and pulling me so close to him that I feel his every breath against my skin. This doesn’t help the burning sensation. At all.
“You came,” he says and his lips curve into last night’s same conceited smile.
“I make a habit of honoring my invitations,” I say, surprised by how aggressive I sound. I bite my lip and look away, fixing my gaze on the highest point of the glass arch.
“Did you and your friend arrive home safely last night?”
Small talk. Fantastic.
“If safely includes Jess throwing up twice on the way home, then yes.”
“Quite a party girl, your friend,” he says appreciatively.
“What makes you think I’m not one?” I regret the question instantly. Thinking that a former math whiz kid isn’t the most hardcore party girl at Stanford is not an absurd conclusion to draw. But his answer takes me by complete surprise.
“Having a steady boyfriend usually means you spend your free evenings and weekends
“You asked Dani to spy on me?”
“Of course not,” he says with fake affronting. “I just know how to get the info I need from her.”
“What happened to old-fashioned questioning?”
“It’s old-fashioned,” he answers with a smirk. “I like to consider myself modern.”
“Make that lazy and sneaky.” I finally unhitch my gaze from the ceiling and look him in the eyes again. They are so much darker than a few minutes ago.
He tightens his grip on my waist. “Fine. Tell me three things about you.”
I try to put on my most serious look. “I grew up in London and San Francisco, used to play volleyball in a minor league, and want to work in investment banking.” Did he really think I’ll make it easy for him?
“Let me rephrase,” he smirks. “Tell me three things about you I won’t find in your CV. Three dreams.”
The next sentence rolls out of my mouth despite my firm resolution to torment him by not really telling him anything about me. Especially not the weird things.
“I want to taste every single recipe in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, get myself kidnapped by elves and locked up in Rivendell, and attend the midnight release of the next book about the wizarding world that I know Rowling will write. If that last thing fails, I want to learn how to fly on a broom, at the very least.”
He bursts into a cascade of laughter. But it’s not in the slightest mocking or mean. It’s warm and heartfelt.
“Your turn,” I say, in an attempt to stop him, because we are attracting less-than-friendly stares from the couples around us. “Stop laughing like a maniac and tell me three things about yourself. Three fears.”
He laughs for a few more seconds before assuming a solemn face.
“I hate snakes and always keep a light on when I sleep. And I suffer from chronic commitment phobia.”
His words hit me like a whiplash. Amazing how lighthearted and playful he throws them at me.
“So I’ve heard,” I say, trying—and failing—to keep my voice steady.
“I wanted to make sure you know it from me,” he says in a soft voice. Yet for all the softness, it still feels like whiplash.
“That’s very considerate of you.”
Why do his words have this impact on me? Why do they have any impact at all? I guessed a while ago how things are. I wish we weren’t dancing so I could run away. Put as much distance as possible between him and me. My wish is not far from being granted. Though I haven’t listened to many waltzes in my life, I’m sure the orchestra is playing the ending tones right now. I try to distance myself from his intoxicating presence, but his grip on me is firmer than ever.