Thursday, February 26, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid


MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
Hannah hesitates.
What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interruptedand After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.  

FIND TAYLOR ONLINE:

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COVER REVEAL: Untamed by S.C. Stephens


UNTAMED by S.C. Stephens
November 3rd, 2015

Griffin Hancock is tired of being stuck behind Kellan Kyle's spotlight. He's the best, the main event, and everyone should know it. He has Anna, and his beautiful daughter Gibson, and to hell with the rest of them. A new venture presents itself, and Griffin decides this is his chance. When he tells the band about his new side gig, they are less than supportive. Undaunted by their criticism, Griffin decides to take matters into his own hands. Packing up his family, he leaves Seattle behind and returns to L.A. to break out on his own. But success isn't as easy as Griffin thought it would be, and he soon finds that the phrase 'You don't know what you've got until it's gone', is all too true.

About S.C. Stephens
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who enjoys creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she likes spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family.  She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest. 

Connect with S.C. Stephens

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Soon to be at retailers everywhere including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, iTunes, Kobo, and IndieBound too!

Monday, February 23, 2015

REVIEW: Thoughtful (Thoughtless 1.5) by S.C. Stephens

Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens
★★★ 3.5 stars ★★★

Please don't hate me before you read this review….


A new novel in the Thoughtless series from #1 New York Times bestselling author S. C. Stephens! 

Every story has two sides, and in this new book, the epic love story between Kiera and Kellan is shown through his eyes. 

All Kellan Kyle needs is his guitar, and some clean sheets of paper. Growing up in a house that was far from a home, he learned a hard lesson: You're worthless. Now his life is comfortably filled with passionate music, loyal band mates, and fast women...until he meets her. 

Kiera makes him ache for more. Makes him feel for the first time that he'sworth more. But there's one problem - she's his best friend's girl. 

Just when Kellan thought his emotional defenses were rock solid, Kiera's indecisive heart wreaks havoc on his soul, changing him forever. Losing Kiera is not an option.


My Review

One thing that was evident when I started reading Thoughtful is that I don't, or I didn't, understand Kellan Kyle near as well as I thought I did. So far, we have gotten Kellan's explanation (through Kiera's POV) as to why his lifestyle was filled with meaningless sex, music, and more meaningless sex. His past dialogue has enlightened us to why he needed those women, that connection. However, it wasn't until this book that I truly understood it, and that understanding starts from the very first page. It connected me with Kellan in a way that the other books just couldn't.

So, as a long time (pink cover free version long time) fan of this series, reading Thoughtful was a true gift.

The reason I didn't rate it higher is that this book just didn't quite carry the same punch as Thoughtless. However, the impossibility of being able to do that is not the author's fault. We get to see some flashbacks from Kellan's POV and a few scenes from when Kellan wasn't with Kiera, but for the most part, this follows the same storyline and progression of events as Thoughtless. The emotions I felt when first reading this series from Kiera's POV were impossible to duplicate with the same intensity. It was also hard not to skim certain parts that seemed to move a little slower in order to get to one of those more memorable/pivotal scenes, but I'm glad she stayed on point with Thoughtless. If she hadn't, there's a possibility that one of the scenes that I had personally been dying to read might not have been included. I got what I wanted. This makes me happy.

One of my absolute favorite things about this book happens to be one of my not so favorites. What can I say, I'm controversial. In Thoughtful, we are introduced to a totally new Kellan Kyle. His love and infatuation with Kiera is palpable. His sensitivity, full of passion, but I didn't get to see much more than that. Kellan's defense mechanism is protecting his emotions with a thick layer of confidence and flirtiness, and sometimes mixed with a little asshole. I know much of this is a front, but I believe with all of my heart that my our Kellan Kyle shares some of the same characteristics he shows on the surface. When he's on stage, he radiates strength, sexuality, confidence and a lot of testosterone, but we don't see much of that below the surface in Thoughtful. I loved the emotional side of Kellan, but I feel this book lost the, for lack of a better word, manlier (and sometimes playful) side. I loved so much getting to discover a new Kellan, one I didn't really know before, but I missed seeing the one that I thought I already knew.

I don't want anyone to take this review as me saying I didn't enjoy the book. It is a great companion to this series, a series that is so high on my shelf of favorites that I don't even think I can reach it anymore. When you love a book and a author's work as much as I do the this series and S.C. Stephens, more is always a good thing. The scenes this book contains from Kellan's POV are invaluable and even though it may have contained some things I didn't like, imperfections are irrelevant with unconditional love and this series has definitely earned that.

READ ON!



Buy Links: Releases February 24th, 2015
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBook

View all my reviews

Friday, February 20, 2015

PAY IT FORWARD KIDNLE WINNER….I MEAN WINNERS!

Last week, because of the amazing example and generosity of Tina Reber (click here for the story), I set out to pay it forward by giving someone a free Kindle.

The response was overwhelming.

I was truly blown away by so many caring people responding on behalf of some extremely special individuals. The stories and support was heartwarming. I cried my way through most of them, and I don't cry, usually...almost never. 

When I set out to do this, I had thought that one of the nominations would stand out, making my decision easy. I was wrong. Every single nomination was special, and every single person deserved a free Kindle. I really, REALLY wish I could gift one to everybody. In fact, I'm pretty heartbroken that I can't. I tried to win half a billion dollars in the power ball...but I didn't, so I finally decided that the only way I would be able to choose would be to put all of the nominations in a bowl and pick one at random. Since I was so taken aback by all of the nominations and their stories, I decided I just had to pick two winners! So I did. 

I wanted to share the winners' stories with you, and say thank you to the nominators Jen Feinberg and Amber of Up All Night Book Addict for being part of this. Also, thank you to Tina Reber for inspiring this entire giveaway and everyone who sent in a nominations. 

I need to go cry….again.

I am nominating my best friend Michelle Chavers.  Here is why.... She is a single mom.  She does everything on her own and takes everything in stride.  No child support.  No welfare assistance.  She makes $10/hour as a MOA at a small private practice.  With bills and student loans, she always does without.  She saved and saved where she could a couple years ago and broke down and bought her self a Kindle.  Well, she allowed her son to use it ONE day while she was at work.  The one rule, it didn't leave the house.  Well, being a 10 year old... we know that rule wasn't followed.  He took it outside and no sooner dropped it and shattered it.  She has been without a Kindle for a year and without the means to replace it.  It would tickle me to death if she were able to get one!  She is behind on my reading recommendations and I need her to catch up (haha). 

CONGRATULATIONS MICHELLE!! YOUR KINDLE & FREE COPY OF JACKED IS ON THE WAY!!

I'd like to nominate one of my former students, Bailey Raffensperger. She was one of my all time favorites. She's a lover of books and reading and is a phenomenal writer. She hasn't had the easiest of lives. She has a medical condition that I only began to understand after I read Maybe Someday. Her family doesn't have that much, either. She moved across the country to Tulsa in June and we still keep in touch via email and instagram. She even sends me her essays so that I may help edit them. This girl deserves so much better than the hand she's been dealt. I'm a better teacher for having her in my class as a student. Please consider Bailey as the recipient of the Kindle Fire.

CONGRATULATIONS BAILEY! I CAN'T WAIT TO REVIEW ONE OF YOUR BOOKS SOMEDAY! YOUR KINDLE AND COPY OF MAYBE SOMEDAY IS ON THE WAY!



Friday, February 13, 2015

My advice and thoughts on Fifty Shades of Grey…

1) Let me just go ahead and say, I thought it was great!!! Fans of the book will be very pleased!

2) Dakota Johnson portrayed the perfect Anastasia. I was totally against the casting, but I proudly stand corrected!! Well done!

3) If you notice a few lone males scattered throughout your theatre, do NOT glance over during any of the sex scenes. You will regret it. 

4) Stay facing the screen at all times. Do not, I repeat, do NOT make eye contact…..with anybody.

5) Do not purchase any snacks that may require you to lick your fingers during the movie. People will stare.

6) Be prepared to be turned on…..by toast!

7) I've heard that some people are upset that the Georgia hotel bathroom scene was cut. Really?? I mean….really? Can you seriously look me in the eye and say that you wanted to see Jamie Dornan pull a bloody tampon out of Dakota Johnson's vagina in High Definition 4K resolution? Just the thought is giving me toxic shock syndrome.

8) When Christian Grey roughly yanked down his zipper in the red room of pain, like the rest of the theatre, I gasped. However, unlike them, it wasn't because I almost saw his todger. It was because I swear I heard his tiny pubes being wrenched from their tender follicle. Rest in peace little curlies, rest in peace.

9) If I'm going to be completely honest, I did get a little tired of seeing shots of Anastasia's naked breasts, but I'd be completely remiss if I didn't congratulate Dakota Johnson on their impressive symmetry. 

10) Even if I didn't enjoy the movie (which I totally did), it would have been completely worth it just to see the Magic Mike XXL trailer on the big screen.

11) And to those who are saying that Jamie's performance was "stiff"…..I'm pretty sure that's what they call an erection!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What goes around comes around….

Sometimes this world is a brutal place. A cruel place. Everywhere we turn we're crushed by the weight of intolerance, hate, violence, cruelty, and to put it extremely mildly….unnecessary drama. People hide behind their laptops, computer screens, and iPhones. They wear the first amendment like a badge of honor, giving them uninhibited rights of verbal expression. But when did a person's freedom of speech become a weapon? When did it become an excuse? When did being kind become the minority?

It's depressing.

It's disheartening.

I just plain sucks.

But every now and then, somebody reminds me that there is good out there. It may be something small, insignificant, but the heart behind the act shines like a supernova. Sometimes the act is subtle, and sometimes it slaps you right in the face.

Two and a half years ago, Tina Reber slapped me in the face. 

You can read the full story (here), but I'll summarize. A little over two years ago, in a random thread on Facebook, people discovered that I didn't own an eReader (not even a smartphone), I read all my digital copies on my laptop, propped on my knees while lying in bed. I never really thought much about it; it was just the way it had always been. I didn't really know any better. However, my fellow readers, bloggers, and authors were beyond shocked. The thing people most wanted to know was why? Well, at the time I was a full time nursing student, living on an extremely fixed budget. 

Because nursing was a full time commitment, I couldn't work more than 10-15 hours a week. Since it was my second degree, I also didn't qualify for any financial aid. I was having to pay for school 100% out of pocket. No worries though, I had a roof over my head, food in my belly, and even some extra put away for books ;-) I had also saved some money beforehand in order to cover my needs, but that's how I had to live, on needs. Hence the fixed budget.

Here is where the really beautiful part comes in. Within about fifteen minutes of the conversation, I was messaged a receipt from the author of Love Unscripted & Jacked, Tina Reber, saying my kindle fire would be arriving in about three days. 

Even in this very moment (two years later), I am completely blown away by her kindness, generosity, and selflessness. Without hesitation, Tina did something that I will never, ever forget.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well, one of the things that Tina said to me while I was thanking her profusely was, "I'm in a position where I can afford it, and I'm there because of awesome people like you pimping my novel and singing praises. What you have done for me has allowed me to do what I did for you. So Mollie, thank you!" Yes, the woman gives me a kindle fire and then thanks me!! I decided right then and there that when I was in the position to do the same for someone else, I would. 

I finally did graduate and become an RN, and for the past two years I have been working as an ICU nurse. This has finally put me in the position to hopefully do the same for someone else. My passion for reading has not only brightened the world around me, but cultivated friendships I will have for a lifetime. I hope that by paying Tina's act forward, somebody else's world will be just a little bit brighter. 

Kindle Fire HD 6 Giveaway

It's really quite simple, but I need your help! If you you know 

someone who does not own an eReader, but should, all you have to 

do is nominate them by sending an email to 

toughcriticbookreviews@gmail.com

Please include their name and why you think they deserve an 

eReader. Also, please, PLEASE put PAY IT

FORWARD in the subject line or your entry may not be received.

US residents only please.

I will be selecting a winner Friday, February 20th.

All entries must be received by Wednesday, February 18th.

Not only will they receive a new Kindle Fire HD 6

but also a copy of Tina's new book