Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Noise Beneath The Apple by Heather Jacks

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Title: The Noise Beneath the Apple

Author: Heather Jacks

Foreword’s 2013 Book of the Year Award Finalist

Written by Heather Jacks and accompanied by an eleven-track vinyl record featuring the original music of a select number of participants, this 200-page art-style coffee table book measures 12” x 12” and weighs in at a whopping 8lbs. Putting the spotlight on the age-old profession of busking, Jacks also seeks to stem the tide of regulation intended to suffocate creative expression and take performers off the streets.

A limited-edition coffee table book, ‘The Noise Beneath the Apple®’, is a unique and vibrant study of the culture of street performance, its legitimacy in modern times and above all, an intimate look at thirty-five buskers throughout New York City. Released with an eleven-track vinyl record that was mastered by Grammy and Academy Award winning mastering engineer Reuben Cohen, this book is a singular achievement and a one-of-a-kind tribute to the chaotic, beautiful and spirited world of busking.

I am so excited to be featuring this book on the blog today! It is not my normal type of read but it includes one of my favorite things (aside from books!), music! I love visiting big cities for their sites, the food, but most importantly, the people. In the few times that I’ve visited New York City, I’ve come to love just sitting in a single spot and people watching. It takes no more than a few minutes in one spot to find a person (or persons) singing, playing instruments, and giving it their all in these street side performances called busking. It is an amazing thing to see and hear people. The cool thing that Heather has done is created a book with an accompanying record that includes music from these super talented performers!

The rest of this post includes all sorts of fun things about The Noise Beneath the Apple including a giveaway so be sure to check it all out!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the video below, Heather talks all about the book! It is so cool to hear how passionate she is about music, and busking in particular!

WHAT IS BUSKING:

Just in case you aren’t aware of what this profession is, you can watch this really cool video to find out more about it!

 WHERE TO FIND MORE ABOUT THE BOOK:

Website // Facebook // Heather’s Twitter // YouTube

You can purchase it here:

Website // Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heather Jacks

Heather Jacks was raised on an Indian reservation in southeastern Oregon, until age fifteen. Jacks was the first ‘experimental exchange student’ to Australia with an organization called YFU, Youth for Understanding, where she spent 10.5 months in 1982. Once she returned, she received her B.A. from USF and followed that with two years of study at UC Davis. She has worked in the music industry in various capacities, since the eighties; radio, production, A&R, booking and most recently as a music journalist. She was recently named a finalist in the Book of the Year Award in the Performing Arts & Music category, for her multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple®, which was inspired by her love for street music, busking and the people who make it. Heather can be contacted at: heather@heatherjacks.com

GIVEAWAY:

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Blog Tour + Book Review + Book Playlist + Giveaway: Only The Good Die Young by KK Hendin

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Only The Good Die YoungTitle: Only The Good Die Young

Author: KK Hendin

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: I received this e-book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review as part of this blog tour

The first year of college is supposed to be about parties, parties, and getting the hell out of Texas. Instead, Milcah Daniels is spending her eighteenth year in and out of Houston’s hospitals. Her hair is falling out, they’ve cut off her boobs, and if she makes it to nineteen, she’ll consider it a personal miracle.

Breast cancer really has a way of messing with a girl’s social calendar.

When Milcah’s temporarily discharged from the hospital, she’s determined to get a tattoo for every medical procedure she’s had. Her quest leads her to Skin Stories, a new tattoo parlor a block from her apartment. And to it’s infuriatingly sexy artist, Callum Scott.

Callum is everything Milcah wants, and everything she shouldn’t have now. A new relationship when the official prognosis is one to five years is a terrible idea. But Callum doesn’t know about the breast cancer, and Milcah’s not running to tell him.

But when the doctor says things are actually looking positive, her entire life turns upside down. How is she supposed to start living again when she’s finally learned to accept her death?

Where do I even begin with this story? I don’t think I have ever been as torn apart as I was while reading through Milcah’s story. It was one of those stories that had happy moments, heart breaking moments and then moments that hit me so strongly that I had to stop in the middle of a scene to just let it all soak in.

Milcah is by far one of the most realistic and complex characters I have ever read. I would say that my heart went out to her during this story but I sort of have a feeling that would end with me getting a lifetime supply of glares from Milcah. Her story was as tough as she was. I wanted so badly for her to just be alright. For the cancer to be gone, for her boobs to still be there, for her to feel no more fear. But that is not the way life goes and I applaud KK Hendin for not sugar-coating a single second of it. Through the endless doctor appointments, through getting her boobs cut off, through leaving her life behind and trying to start all over by herself, Milcah was a fierce fighter whether she realized it or not. I loved this strength she had about her but at the same time, I also loved her fear. I know that may sound kind of weird but it made her even more real to me. Milcah’s fear of death, of being sick, of loving and living was what a lot of this story was about and it was these little messages that KK wrote so beautifully that had me turning page after page.

While I loved the deeper, heart-felt, thought-provoking moments in this book to absolute pieces, I also loved the fact that the story was enriched with fun, light-hearted moments brought on by Milcah’s sassiness and Callum’s general awesomeness. I loved that through the pain and sickness Milcah was able to hold true to who she was which was this feisty, say-it-how-she-means-it type of girl. But a certain boy makes Milcah second guess everything she believed before. I loved that Callum was this walking, talking, extremely good-looking mass of sweetness, surprise, and compassion. He was there for Milcah, supported her, pushed her beyond her comfort zone, and taught her what it meant to really live. I loved that while he looked like a total bad-ass, he was this super sweet man who would do anything for Milcah.

While I loved just about everything this truly beautiful story had to offer, I couldn’t help but wish that it were longer. I wanted to know more about Milcah, more about her family, and more about her relationship with Callum. To me it felt like it ended way too early but I can certainly see why KK ended it the way she did. It wrapped up nicely but not perfect, on a happy not but not on a for-sure one. In a way, I couldn’t see this story ending differently.

Only The Good Die Young isn’t a story you take lightly. It will break your heart, multiple times actually, it will make you swoon, make you happy, make you cry, and even make you think about life, death, and everything else in between. It isn’t an easy story to read for those reasons but despite how hard it is the brutally, beautifully honest way it is written makes it all worth it in the end.

BOOK PLAYLIST:

KK has put together an awesome playlist to go along with Only The Good Die Young. After reading the book and now listening through the songs, I could so see where they play a part in this story. I hope you all enjoy listening to it!

I spent a lot of time simultaneously attempting to draft this book and g-chatting one of my dear friends, Alex Brown. Somehow, our conversations ended up with us trading songs that made us cry. To get us in the mood of writing sad things, I guess :) Or because we’re both twisted souls. Both of these are entirely possible.

Some songs that were on repeat while I was drafting:

Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Fix You by Coldplay (or this version from the Sing-Off)

Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron & Wine

Let Love In by Goo Goo Dolls

For Good from Wicked (Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel)

Falling Slowly from Once (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)

Leave from Once (Glen Hansard)

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Bright Lights and Cityscapes by Sara Bareilles

Hero by Family of the Year (recommended to me by the lovely Tabitha Martin)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. She’s the author of the NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS and ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.

She spends way too much time on Twitter, where she can be found at @kkhendin, and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com.

Blog // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes and Noble

GIVEAWAY:

Click here to enter the giveaway!

FOLLOW THE TOUR:

Click here for the full tour schedule!

HOSTED BY:

Inkslinger Button

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway: If Only by A.J. Pine

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If Only

Title: If Only

Author: A.J. Pine

Publisher: Entangled

Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It’s been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it’s been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.

Hi there everyone! I am so excited to be featuring A.J. Pine and her book, If Only here on the blog today! It sounds like an incredibly adorable book and I cannot wait to finally read it!

By the sounds of it A.J. has created two swoon-worthy boys I so wouldn’t mind getting lost in Scotland with but for today I have asked A.J. to come up with 10-ish fictional boys she wouldn’t mind getting lost on the glorious Scotland with. I had so much fun reading over her answers because for half of the guys I couldn’t agree more with and for the other half I cannot wait to read about so I too can fantasize about getting lost in Scotland with. I just know you guys will all enjoy this guest post so sit back, relax, and prepare to swoon!

GUEST POST:

Top 10 (ish) Fictional Guys I Wouldn’t Mind Getting Lost in Scotland With

(From adult to YA…pack your bags, boys! We’re going to Scotland!)

Drew Evans from Emma Chase’s Tangled and Bennett Ryan from Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard because who doesn’t love a smart man who is sexy as hell but admits he’s met his match with an equally smart/sexy heroine?

James Walker from Lisa Burstein’s Sneaking Candy because the man can command an espresso machine and the English language. Smart is always sexy.

Levi from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl because he has the “smilingest face” Cath has ever seen, and everything about him is just perfection. Please let me get lost anywhere with Levi!

Cade Winston (a.k.a. Golden Boy) from Cora Carmack’s Faking Itt know I could love another hero from Cora Carmack as much as I did Garrick (Losing It), but Cade is one hell of a sexy good guy of NA.

Matt Watkins from Jessica Park’s Flat-Out Love because he can pull of a t-shirt that reads “Nietzsche Is My Homeboy” and still make me swoon.

Adam Wilde from Gayle Forman’s Where She Went because tortured musician who says stuff like this in both If I Stay and Where She Went. If you read these books, you know the implication of those words, and ANY guy who loves like this is one to get lost in Scotland with.

Akiva from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices because a gorgeous broken angel and a gorgeous broken half angel/half human (nephilim) could use some time away to heal. Sigh.

Jonah Griggs from Melina Marchetta’s On the Jellicoe Road-really I just want to bring this book with me to Scotland because it was life-changing for me.

And finally, a shout out to some not pubbed yet gorgeous men… Gavin Murphy from Lex Martin’s Dearest Clementine (coming April 18) because hot R.A; Alec Stone from Megan Erickson’s Make it Count (coming June 3)because hot nerd with a Danny Zuko pompadour; and Dov Meiri from Natalie Blitt’s The Truth About Leaving because hot soon-to-be Israeli soldier.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.J. Pine

AJ writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend those hearts with a happily ever after…maybe. The first book she wrote was YA, but now she’s two-timing her first love Pine4BWwith NA. She’s always in the middle of reading two to three books, adores online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes), and she still loves vampires, whether it’s Eric Northman or the Salvatore brothers. When she’s not writing, AJ is sneaking off to her day job as a high school English teacher or hanging with her husband and kids in the Chicago burbs.

AJ’s debut NA novel, IF ONLY, releases with Entangled’s Embrace line on March 24!

Representation: Courtney Miller-Callihan at SJGA.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:

1 If Only Swag Pack -An “I love you from here to Scotland” print, Ahava pendent, A pack each of Much Ado about Nothing and A Room With a View confetti, Much Ado about Nothing travel mug and A Room With a View Blu-ray (a $25 Amazon gift card will be substituted if winner is outside the US)

Click here to enter the giveaway!

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Week One:

3/24/2014- Auggie-Talk– Review

3/24/2014- Ticket to Anywhere– Guest Post

3/25/2014- Taking It One Book at a Time– Review

3/25/2014- Curling Up With A Good Book- Excerpt

3/26/2014- Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and Romance– Review

3/26/2014- Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands– Guest Post

3/27/2014- Lovin’ Los Libros– Review

3/27/2014- FicWishes– Guest Post

3/28/2014- Reviews By Molly– Review

3/28/2014- YA Story Teller– Interview

Week Two:

3/31/2014- Allodoxophobia: The Fear of Opinions– Review

3/31/2014- Bibliojunkies– Excerpt

4/1/2014- LeAnn’s Book Reviews– Review

4/1/2014- Step Into Fiction– Excerpt

4/2/2014- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review

4/2/2014- Michelle4Laughs: It’s in the Details– Excerpt

4/3/2014- Books and Swoons– Review

4/3/2014- Creating Serenity– Guest Post

4/4/2014- Kindle and Me– Review

4/4/2014- Burning Impossibly Bright– Guest Post

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway: The Forest’s Heir by Ley Hayley

The Forest's Heir

Title: The Forest’s Heir

Author: Ley Hayley

Seventeen year old Rosalind Rowan was born a princess, the apple of her father’s eye. She loves the thick forests and lush meadows of the Forested Land. She is sometimes selfish and reckless, but she is also kind and loves fearlessly. Rosalind—who is known to everyone but the Queen as Rose—is desperately in love with Gavin Ashford, the dashing and intriguing son of an important lord. She wants nothing more than to marry Gavin and live in a country manor, far away from court. Because once her older sister marries, Rosalind must take up the position of Regent of the Forested Land.

But things aren’t always simple. When Rosalind uncovers abilities she should never have and sickness tears through the kingdom, the ordered world Rosalind thought she knew threatens to crash around her.

I am so excited to have Ley and her book featured here on the blog today! She has come up with a super fun, awesome guest post that I just know you guys are going to love! Take a read, check out where you can find Ley and her book, and by all means, leave a comment letting us know what you think down below! Oh and also, there’s a giveaway you may or may not want to check out *wink, wink*

GUEST POST:

Growing up, my favorite things were fairy tales. I still love them. And I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for a Disney princess. If there’s a new Disney/Pixar movie out with a princess in it, chances are that I’m in line at the cinema to go see it. It isn’t just animated or fictional princesses and princes that I love, though. I’m a big fan of the real life ones too.

When it comes to Disney/Pixar films, my two favorite princesses are Belle and Merida. I loved Belle as a kid because she loved to read. She was odd and never quite fit in, a lot like me. People realized that she was strange and not quite “right,” but they didn’t care. Sure, some of it was because of her beauty, but she was kind. And that mattered to me. When she was locked away by the Beast and kept in the magical castle, I loved how she began to open everyone in the castle up (even stuffy old Cogsworth). I always wanted to be Belle. I used to pretend to be her, carrying around a basket and a book and dressed in a little blue dress.

I haven’t stopped loving Belle, but I love Merida from Brave too.  Merida is a fantastic character! She’s so headstrong and funny. I loved watching her movie and seeing her character at Disney World because she’s just so very unique. Maybe it’s the hair (because I’ve secretly always wanted to have curly red hair). Maybe it’s the accent (because I’ve always wanted to be able to speak with a Scottish accent). All I know is that I adore Merida because of her strength and the way that she grew to realize that her mother loved her, even when they didn’t agree on everything.

As far as real princes and princesses go, I’d have to say my favorite is Edward the Black Prince. He lived in England during the 14th century and fought during the Hundred Years’ War. He was a brave soldier who started going into battle when he was in his early teens. He got his nickname because of the black armor and great black warhorse he used to take into battle with him. He was an amazing military mind and won a lot of decisive battles. And he was also one of the first “modern” British monarchs to marry for love rather than political gain. And that’s just amazingly romantic.

Who wouldn’t be a sucker for strong princesses who are unique and brave and beautiful? Or princes who are brave and romantic? I love history, particularly those parts of history that are riddled with princes and princesses. I could go on forever about the royals that I find fascinating, but I’d probably bore you all to tears! I’ll spare you that, I promise!

I can’t wait for the next princess to come along, the next prince. Who knows, maybe one day my Rose will be on someone’s favorites list.

WHERE TO FIND THE AUTHOR:

Website // Book Blog // Facebook // Twitter

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:

Click here to enter the giveaway

Blog Tour + Book Review + Sneak Peek + Giveaway: He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington

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He Belongs With Me

Title: He Belongs With Me

Author: Sarah Darlington

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Source: I received this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Two girls. One Leo.

Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather’s world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.

But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo… which girl will win his heart?

Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing’s for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.

He Belongs With Me was a book that ended up surprising me. It was funnier than I first expected, sweeter than I could have imagined it being, and the characters had me in a constant state of indecision when it came to picking a favorite.

I appreciated that this book was written in dual points of view. First off, I simply love dual POV’s when they are done right and secondly, this book is about twins so it really allowed me to get to know both Maggie and Clara. They may be twins but they are incredibly different girls with totally different sides of the story. It was actually really fun thinking I knew all about one character and then learned something very different when the POV changed.

At the beginning, I loved Maggie. She is a hard worker, a good daughter, responsible, and always doing the right thing. My heart went out to her because from the very beginning we learned that she’s had her heart-broken by a sucky ex-boyfriend and her twin sister, the one person she is supposed to be closest with. Luckily Maggie has her best friend to confide in. Leo is one of those guys every girl wants for a best friend (or perhaps more!) He is super attractive, yes, but he is also kind, fiercely protective, and always there when you need him. He may have his share of problems, but he seems like a genuinely nice guy…unless your name is Cora.

Cora was a character I told myself I was going to hate. After hearing what she did to Maggie, I couldn’t help but feeling that way towards her. However, things in this book aren’t always as they seem and as the story went on, Cora very quickly became my very favorite. She turned out to be more complex and layered than any other character in the book. She is a little wild and a little crazy yes, but in her own way, she is also thoughtful and almost sort of sweet. She is just a little lost and lonely and a lot misunderstood but I so enjoyed watching her grow and learning more and more about her throughout this book.

Because of her actions towards Maggie, Leo is actually pretty mean to her. But since things in this story are never quite what you think they are, I soon found out Leo’s bitterness towards Cora is just a cover. Like Cora, Leo is a character I enjoyed more and more as the story went on. He definitely seemed like a different person around Maggie than he did Cora and it was a bit hard to get a grasp on the “true” Leo but I can say that at the end of the story, I was really happy with who the real Leo turned out to be.

While I enjoyed a lot about this book there were a few things that I wish were a bit different. I think in this story Cora and Leo really stole the show. Perhaps that’s the way it was supposed to go but I just didn’t find myself loving Maggie and Dean as much. They weren’t as well-rounded as Cora & Leo and their relationship just seemed off to me. I kept hoping there would redeem themselves for me by the end of the book but when I finished reading, my feelings were just so/so on the couple.

I liked that this book was full of surprises! I loved that neither Cora nor Leo was quite what they seemed! The direction this story took, who ended up with who, and the overall happy feeling of the book was unexpected, but unexpected in a good way! It is definitely worth the read if you are looking for a fun, quick romance!

If this book had a song, it would be….

Somebody to Love by Queen

I had fun picking the song for this book! You have four 20-something year olds all trying to find someone to love, all thinking they know who they should love and I guess sometimes it just doesn’t work out how you think it will.

SNEAK PEEK:

“Clara?” His eyes searched my face, screaming with unexpected vulnerability and fear. He seemed genuinely worried about me. “What’s going on? Say something, please. Are you okay?”

I nearly lost my nerve. How easy it would have been to kiss him and fall into his arms all over again? A big piece of me wanted to do just that, but one moment of weakness was all I was going to allow myself for the day. “Am I okay?” I asked him, trying to sound indifferent and not angry. “What’s that annoying code word you and Maggie used to say all the time? The two of you probably thought I was too dumb to crack that little language you created to use against me. Oh yeah, I remember now. Peaches. I’m just totally peaches.”

Standing tall, I reached my arm above his head and slowly poured the remaining contents of my beer on top of him. A shocked breath left his lips, but he didn’t budge and took the beer shower like a man. “Real mature, Clara,” he grunted, glaring a shitload of hate-fire my way as the liquid coated his hair, face, and clothes. Angry as hell and soaking wet was a good look on him.

“That’s for making me care,” I told him, setting my empty glass back down on the table. Then my hand swung hard and made stinging contact with his wet face. “That’s for being a jerk to me since we were kids. And this…” I stood up on my tiptoes, grabbed hold of his handsome, shocked face, and planted one firm kiss on his wet lips. “That’s so you know I’m not fucking around.” I held onto him for another moment. “Prove it to me,” I whispered. “Prove to me you aren’t an ass and I’m all yours.”

Then I pulled away, turned on my heel, and left Leo standing there, soaking wet and stunned.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sarah Darlington

Sarah Darlington is obsessive by nature. When she gets an idea in her mind, it becomes impossible to shake. Take her debut novel, HE BELONGS WITH ME, for example. Before deciding to write New Adult Romance, she wrote three different versions of the same Young Adult Novel where her main characters were teenage superheros from an alternative universe. It never worked.  It drove her crazy. Then she dropped the superhero bit, added some spice, and suddenly everything started to click. She found her niche. And if it hadn’t been for her obsessive nature she never would have learned how to write in the process.

Sarah lives in Virginia, is married to her high school sweetheart, and is currently spending her days chasing around a very active toddler. When she gets a chance to breathe, she writes.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Amazon UK // Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:

Click here to enter the giveaway!

He Belongs With Me Teaser

Blog Tour + Book Review + Giveaway: I See London by Chanel Cleeton

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I See London

Title: I See London (I See London #1)

Author: Chanel Cleeton

Publisher: Harlequin HQN

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Source: I received this book in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

I See London by Chanel Cleeton is a fantastic example of a well-written New Adult book. It had all the parts I like best about NA; the well, new adult characters, a bit of romance, and a whole lot of self discovery. Becoming an adult is a scary thing that includes growing up, making decisions, and making even more mistakes. All of the characters, not just the main character, in this book were facing their newly found adulthood and all in different ways. I loved feeling like I was a part of this group of friends as they embraced the good and the bad parts of growing up while living in London.

The main character, Maggie was enjoyable yes, but what I liked about her was the fact that she was incredibly normal. I don’t mean any of this in a bad way but she wasn’t extraordinary, or at least in the beginning; she was an average girl from an average town in the U.S. She had a few friends from high school but never really fit in there. Her home life was good but her mother left and her father was never around leaving her grandparents to care for her. She went to school, worked hard to get good grades but really that was about it. Whether it was intentional or not, Maggie being this normal, typical girl, made this story totally work for me. Even though there was nothing super duper extra special about her, she still got the chance to travel all the way to London to go to school, she was able to go on these fun, exotic trips, meet people from all over the world, and experience all sorts of awesome things. It made me believe that me or my friend, my sister, or really any other normal girl out there could experience something like Maggie’s story too. I especially loved watching Maggie blossom throughout this book. She starts off so quiet and shy but with the help of her new friends, she soon learns to come out of her shell.

Maggie’s experience was a whirlwind, one I am still trying to wrap my head around. She got to explore London on her free time, she was able to travel to Venice and Paris, she partied in hot new night clubs. and hung out with people from Lebanon, Paris, and Nigeria. To say I was a little jealous of her is a bit of an understatement. I loved this aspect of the story because through Chanel’s writing, I felt like I was right there with her characters. The imagery was beautiful and even though I have never been to these exciting places outside of my dreams, I truly felt like I was there.

I absolutely adored the characters we met throughout the book. All of Maggie’s friends are coming from different walks of life. Fleur is this stuck-up, beautiful rich girl. But the more you get to know her, the more you learn she is really a great friend once she lets you in. Mya is funny and supportive but underneath the brave face, she is struggling through parental issues. And Samir, well where to even begin with him. Maggie says a few times in the book that he is hard to figure out and honestly, that couldn’t be more accurate. On the outside he is this hot, rich player but as him and Maggie slowly get closer, the more you see that there is more to Samir than his sly grin and effortless shrug. Maggie and all of her friends couldn’t be more different from one another but I appreciated and grew to love them

It wouldn’t be a story about a girl figuring herself out in a new, exciting city without a little romance, right? Maggie and Samir have an attraction to one another from their very first meeting but it is an attraction that Maggie tries to fight with all that she has. Despite her best efforts though, Maggie and Samir always seem to find a way to each other time and time again. Samir makes a pass at Maggie, Maggie gets embarrassed and/or angry, she says something sassy to him, he counters back, there may or may not be kissing involved. Rinse, wash, repeat. The banter and back and forth between these two was so much fun and it had me wishing for more of it. While I loved that their relationship was filled with fun moments, there were a lot of hard moments too. They both are fantastic at pushing one another away, they both know how to push buttons, and they both know when to walk away from something truly great. Despite all of this though, I absolutely adored that they didn’t have a picture perfect relationship. It, pretty much like everything else about this book, seemed very real to me.

I See London by Chanel Cleeton was an adventure of a book. The setting was brilliantly written and it made me feel like I was the one taking classes in London and vacationing in places like Paris for spring break. The relationships and friendships that were created between the well-developed characters were very realistic and Chanel wrote it in a way that made me feel like I was part of their little group too. This book was definitely an enjoyable read and I cannot wait to see where the next book takes Maggie, Samir, and all of their friends!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chanel Cleeton

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university.  In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships.  Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever.  But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.

Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.  An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.  Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // iTunes

GIVEAWAY:

Make sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and an I See London inspired necklace!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

HOSTED BY:

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Blog Tour + Book Playlist + Giveaway: Embrace February Titles

Entangled Tour Banner

I am so excited to be bringing you lots of Embrace fun today! In Bloom by Katie Delahanty and Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros are two of the newest releases from the Entangled imprint and they are certainly ones I am super pumped to read! I am going to be sharing all about both books today AND a super special book playlist from Full Measures. There also happens to be an incredible giveaway at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy!

IN BLOOM

In Bloom

Title: In Bloom (The Brightside #1)

Author: Katie Delahanty

Publisher: Entangled Embrace

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me.

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it’s all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Delahanty

Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic-crisis-induced career shift from lingerie designer to e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

FULL MEASURES

Full Measures

Title: Full Measures

Author: Rebecca Yarros

Publisher: Entangled Embrace

Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

BOOK PLAYLIST:

Rebecca has put together and awesome book playlist/mini guest post for all of you today! Sit back, take a listen, and bask in the musical awesomeness!

I’m so excited to share the playlist for IN BLOOM! Back when In Bloom was being told in blog format I tried to include music as often as possible to showcase bands I loved and the music that was inspiring the story. In the final novel all of Berkeley & the Brightside’s lyrics are taken from songs by the Remainers (to listen to the music in the story check them out on iTunes!), but the original playlist was:

1. “Gonna Get Over You” by Sara Bareilles

” And I’m not the girl that I intend to be, I dare you darling, just you wait and see, But this time not for you but just for me, And I say, Ooh, how’m I gonna get over you? I’ll be alright, just not tonight…”

2. “Come Back Home” by Two Door Cinema Club

“So now you’re on your own….won’t you come back home…..to see you’re not that kind… and find the strength to find another way.”

3. “Rich Girl” performed by The Bird and the Bee

“So far gone, on your own, but you can get along if you try to be strong, but you’ll never be strong…Oh you’re a rich girl, and you’ve gone too far, but you know it doesn’t matter anyway, Cause there’s too much to give, cause you’d rather live for the thrill of it all…”

4. “When You Need Me” by The Remainers

“You’ve got to give me a break, I’ve got my own smile to fake, Got enough on my plate, Without the lines you want to feed me”

5. “Fader” by The Temper Trap

“And the sweet, sweet sun’s comin’ down, Hard, the sun’s comin’ down, Hard, it burns the bones, So hold a hand for cover, Hold a hand for cover, Hold a hand for cover from harm…”

6. “House” by The Remainers

“I don’t know how else to tell you, there ain’t no other way ‘round, only one road I’ll be driving down, If you want you can come, I don’t know if you’ll have much fun, but at least you’ll get yourself out of the house.”

7. “Delta Boy Blues” by Badly Drawn Boy

(instrumental)

8. “Impossible” by Anberlin

“You make my teeth clinch and my hands shake, do you ever see what you do to me? You’re wearing me out, just wearing me out…”

9. “How” by Maroon 5

“I’m asking for your help, I am going through hell, afraid nothing can save me but the sound of your voice, you cut out all the noise, and now that I can see mistakes so clearly now, I’d kill if I could take you back…”

10. “If You Go” by Javier Dunn

“I said goodbye to your face, knowing I could never really feel that way… If you go, please don’t write, please don’t call ‘cause your voice will make me cry, nothing good in this goodbye, so let me go on without you…”

11. “Not So California” by Dawn McCoy & Chris Richards

“All of these dreams beneath the stars—I guess they never needed us—Maybe we’re not so California, after all”

12. “Houdini” by Foster the People

“Got shackles on my wings on tight, Beggin’ makin compromise, Fast enough it’s hard to hide, Sometimes I want to disappear”

13. “Magic” by B.O.B feat. Rivers Cuomo

“I’ve got the magic in me

Everytime I touch that track it turns into gold

Everybody knows I’ve got the magic in me…”

14. “Only the Young” by Brandon Flowers

“Look back in silence

The cradle of your whole life

There in the distance

Losing its greatest pride

Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred, why?

Tonight, baby, you can start again

Laughing in the open air

Have yourself another dream

Tonight, baby, we can start again”

15. “Skip the Charades” by The Cold War Kids

“Drinks after dinner—your friends will get you to unwind—let’s skip the charades—can’t we just speak plain? You’re seeing right through me anyway…”

16. “Howlin For You” by The Black Keys

“I must admit, I can’t explain, any of these thoughts racing through my brain, it’s true, but baby I’m howlin’ for you…”

17. “Puzzle Pieces” by Saint Motel

“(I gotta say) Honestly, when you look at me, it’s like a gun goes off, deep inside of me. I can hardly move, I can barely breathe, near your features.”

18. “Under Cover of Darkness” by The Strokes

“Get dressed, jump out of bed, you do it best, are you OK?—I’ve been all around this town, everyone’s singing the same song for ten years—I’ll wait for you, will you wait for me too?…so long my friend”

19. “Tighter” by Fitz and the Tantrums

“Cause I was blind, I let you drift away. I didn’t give you enough to stay, so you made up my mind, and you walked away. And why didn’t I, hold you tighter and tighter, when I could do no wrong…”

20. “Holding Out” by The Remainers

“No one knows you like I know you now, No one needs you like I need you now, and no one loves you like I love you now…but I’m holding out…”

21. “Don’t Say Oh Well” by Grouplove

“So do you got that sweet devotion?  Oh, will you follow your heart’s plan?…’Aint it enough to find the truth, the pain again then say oh well, don’t say oh well, don’t say oh well…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rebecca Yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

WHERE TO FIND THE BOOK:

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble

GIVEAWAY:

From Katie Delahanty, author of In Bloom:

One gift basket with the following in it (US and Canada only):

$75 gift certificate to www.InBloomIntimates.com

$25 Amazon gift card

The Remainers Formal Fridays CD

Pink Champagne Cupcake Bath Bomb from www.soapybliss.com

Peach & Coconut Milk Push Up Lotion Pop from www.soapybliss.com

Berry Buttercream Soy Candle from www.JaquaBathandBody.com

Sees milk chocolate foil hearts

Autographed copies of STARSTRUCK and LOVE ME from author Rachel Shukert

Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N

From Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures

US and Canada only- A Kindle e-reader

Plus, $25 international gift certificate to either Amazon or B&N

Click here to enter the giveaway!

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