ARC Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams

Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 30th 2015
Purchase: Ebook
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend…

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…

First thoughts upon finished this book: Awwww!!!!! *goofy smile*

Let me tell you, I had been eagerly looking forward to Sincerely, Carter. First, it’s a friends-to-lovers romance, which I’m a total SUCKER for. And second, it’s Whitney Gracia Williams! I really enjoyed her Reasonable Doubt series so I had high expectations about Sincerely, Carter… and I utterly adored it! I literally couldn’t stop smiling for most of the book. It’s a heartwarming, sweet, humorous friends-to-lovers romance that fans of the trope are sure to enjoy. I was addicted to Ari and Carter’s story!

“Some people come into your life for a reason, some a season, and some a lifetime.”

Whitney completely NAILED the friendship between Carter and Ari. They’ve been best friends since they were in fourth grade and they’ve been attached at the hip ever since. They’ve been through everything together and they know each other so well. I could just feel the strength of that bond of friendship between them. Everyone they know always questions whether or not they’re actually “just friends”, but Ari and Carter have honestly never thought about each other in a non-platonic way. But when Ari and Carter begin a new chapter of their lives after graduating college – Carter is off to law school and Ari is going to a culinary arts school – things start to change between them…

I turned to my left to look at Ari again, hoping that the past few minutes were a mistake–that I was in the middle of a strange daydream. That there was no way I could be this attracted to her right now–no way I could want to tell her to pull over so I could taste her lips. Both sets of them.
Holy fucking shit….

I love that it completely baffles both Ari and Carter that they feel an intense attraction towards one another. One minute they think of each other as platonic best friends, and the next… they can’t stop thinking about the other person. What they’re like naked. In bed. God, I couldn’t stop smiling and giggling at how much they realized they wanted each other. Lines are crossed and hearts are on the line and they soon come to realize that the best thing that ever happened to them has been standing next to them all along.

“I’ve loved you since fourth grade. Since fourth fucking grade. … I just didn’t know it. You’ve been there for every moment of my life and I’ve been there for yours, too. I do love you, I am in love with you, and I also know you better than you know yourself.”

I absolutely loved the banter between Carter and Ari. They send each other texts and emails that are so freaking adorable. And the flashbacks of their younger years together adds such great depth and humor to the story. The author did a fantastic job balancing the sweetness of their friendship and the sexiness of their newfound desire for each other. My only complaint is that I felt it was too abrupt when Carter and Ari started getting together. It felt a bit rushed – their friendship I connected with from the start, but the love between them took a little more time to feel. Still, this was a fantastic friends-to-lovers romance that put me in such a great mood while reading. I definitely recommend it!

4 hearts!

4-hearts

lacey

Excerpt Reveal: Two of Hearts by Christina Lee

Two of Hearts excerpt reveal

Two of Hearts by Christina Lee

There You Stand by Christina Lee
Series: Standalone
Release Date: May 5th 2015
Add to Goodreads

A gripping standalone adult contemporary romance about finding yourself while taking a second chance at your first love…

Dakota Nakos was always the resilient, strong-willed achiever. But when her father dies and she’s entrusted with the family’s casino, she feels vulnerable, scared, and more than a little emotional –not exactly the best time to see an old lover she’s never really gotten over.

Dakota once meant the world to Shane Garrity. Then suddenly he left town to train as a U.S. Marshal, and their love for each other crashed into a memory. Now he’s come home for her father’s funeral, and one look at the girl he left behind stirs up both memories and regrets, and reignites a fire he feared he’d lost forever.

Dakota may be the same driven girl she always was, but she’s also changed in ways neither could have anticipated. She’s not just a young woman searching for own identity in the Native American community in which she was raised, but one questioning her new life outside her father’s shadow. Above all she wonders if Shane can push past her weakened defenses to rekindle what they once had, or whether the intense blaze between them will ultimately reduce her heart to ashes.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Amazon UK • Barnes & Noble

Now here’s an excerpt from Two of Hearts! <3

excerpt

“Still so damn gorgeous,” he said, and his mouth was on me again, his fingers reaching up and pulling my hair out of its tie. As it fell and hit my shoulders, his throat rumbled with desire. I pushed his shirt up and over his neck and gasped at the muscles I saw.

But that was short-lived because he was kissing me so hard, with such profound need, that all I could do was run my hands along his shoulders and the smooth ridges of his back. I couldn’t believe how ripped he’d gotten. He had always been toned, but now, good God, he was beautiful.

His mouth was on my neck, at my collarbone, on my breasts and he groaned into my skin murmuring my name as he went. I was overcome with emotion and longing, wetness pooling between my legs. It was like a dream that he was here, that he was kissing me again. I never wanted it to end.

He lifted me and turned, moving deeper into the room. The back of my knees hit the chaise longue, the same one he’d sat in countless times over the years. One night we had even secretly made out in it, the summer we’d hidden our attraction. I could scarcely sit there without remembering how it felt to have his tongue in my mouth. But the reality was so much better.

He stood and began unbuttoning his pants, his gaze roving all over me, his eyes glittering pinpoints of hunger. My breath faltered just watching him and I couldn’t hold back any longer. I leaned forward and began touching and kissing every inch of his skin that I could reach.

He squatted down in front of me and hooked his hands beneath my knees, hauling me toward him so that the crux of my thighs was at eye level. His palm glided over the damp center of my underwear and my legs begin to tremble. “Your smell turns me on.”

I moaned as he corkscrewed two of his fingers into the soft middle panel, locating my entrance. “Oh God.”

I was a panting, quaking mess and all he’d done was touch me over my panties.

about the author

Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys.

She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK, WHISPER TO ME and PROMISE ME THIS available now. Book five in the series, THERE YOU STAND, coming in April, 2015.

Also, her Adult Contemporary Romance, TWO OF HEARTS is releasing on May 5th, 2015.

Twitter • Facebook • Website • Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Chaos by Jamie Shaw

Chaos by Jamie Shaw

Chaos by Jamie Shaw
Series: Mayhem #3 (full reading order below)
Release Date: July 21st 2015
Add to Goodreads

From the moment she saw Shawn Scarlett perform at a school talent show, Kit Larson has loved two things: the guitar, and the gorgeous, green-eyed boy who inspired her to play. But one careless night in high school shatters her hope of ever being more than a notch on his bedpost.

Six years, two bands, and one mostly-mended heart later, Kit’s about to make her rock star dreams a reality as the new guitarist for Shawn’s band, The Last Ones to Know. He may not remember their reckless night together, but Kit has never forgotten… and she’s determined to make him eat his heart out.

The release of their new album means a month cooped up on a tour bus, sleeping inches away from the ridiculously sexy musician she’s never quite gotten over. And as Kit gets to know the real Shawn—not Shawn Scarlett, the rock god, the player—their attraction becomes too hot to resist. But the past is paved with secrets, and when they finally surface, Kit could lose everything: the band, the music, her dreams… and Shawn.

Preorder:
Amazon • iTunesBarnes & Noble • Google Play

Reading Order: Mayhem series

Mayhem by Jamie Shaw Riot by Jamie Shaw Chaos by Jamie Shaw

#1 ~ Mayhem: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Riot: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chaos: EbookGoodreads (July 21, 2015)

about the author

Born and raised in South Central Pennsylvania, JAMIE SHAW earned her M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University before realizing that the creative side of writing was her calling. An incurable night-owl, she spends late hours crafting novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men. She’s a loyal drinker of white chocolate mochas, a fierce defender of emo music, and a passionate enthusiast of all things romance. She loves interacting with readers and always aims to add new names to their book-boyfriend lists.

Jamie’s debut New Adult MAYHEM series, published by Avon Impulse/HarperCollins, debuted in early 2015.

Jamie is represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads

Special Announcement from Cora Carmack

HERE’S THE SCOOP!
Fans of Cora Carmack’s Rusk University, we have a SUPER exciting announcement:

All Closed Off announcement

ALL CLOSED OFF, Book 4 in the Rusk University Series, is coming!!!
Check out this message from Cora!

*WARNING: This letter contains spoilers for All Broke Down. If you haven’t yet read that book, read at your own peril. SECOND WARNING: this letter talks about fictional characters as if they are real people. Sorry I’m not sorry. THIRD WARNING: The letter below broaches a serious topic that could be a trigger for some people*

Hello beloved readers!

The first person who read one of my Rusk University books was my older sister. I gave her All Lined Up when I finished, and her first question was “Are Ryan and Stella going to be together?”

At the time, I told her no. I had plans for both of them that included their own storylines. I thought they were too much alike. They’d make great friends. They might even hook-up, but in the end… I couldn’t envision anything serious for them. So I actually rewrote some of their scenes trying to make that aspect of their connection more obvious. And still, when All Lined Up released, amidst the chatter about sweet Carson and sassy Dallas, I had people asking if Stella and Ryan were next. I denied it again (and again and again).

But sometimes in writing, the stars align and a character will become bigger and more real than you could have possibly imagined. It’s a wonderful experience, but in Stella’s case it was also incredibly heartbreaking. While I was writing All Broke Down, the news was inundated with information about the Steubenville rape trial and other tragedies and injustices like it. Tragedies where women have been violated first by an attacker, then by judgmental and hateful people, and finally by a justice system that repeatedly fails survivors of sexual assault. Having grown up in Texas, where too often football stars are treated like gods and can get away with just about anything, it hit particularly close to home. And since All Broke Down featured a passionate activist heroine, I felt compelled to reference this chronic dark underbelly of elite sports.

I can remember vividly sitting on my couch, brainstorming how I would incorporate such an event into the book. I had thought the assault would happen to an unknown character, and maybe I would focus on the way it divided the team and the school and the town. But like I said… Sometimes a character will become bigger and more human than I anticipated. And it sounds crazy, but in my mind, I felt Stella push her way forward and say, “Mine. This is my story.” I immediately began to cry. Sob, really. Because I loved her as a character. She was hilarious and strong and didn’t take crap from anyone. She was everything I always hope to be. And I didn’t want her to go through that. Even as I cried, my brain began to tell me that it made sense. Stella was vibrant and enjoyed a wild party. She was not afraid of her sexuality, and she had no problem with casual sex. She was the kind of girl that probably had a reputation. The kind of girl who could be heinously and violently taken advantage of, and people would STILL blame her. Because she was in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothes, behaving in the wrong way. But just because it COULD happen to her, didn’t mean I wanted it to. But once again, Stella was there in my head saying, “Someone needs to tell this story. And I’m strong enough to do it. Let me.” And when Stella chose her story, she also chose the man I’d been adamant wasn’t right for her. Because as it turns out… Those two characters who I thought were too alike aren’t so alike anymore. And Stella needs Ryan to help her hold on to that vibrant and strong girl she was before.

So I let go of all the plans I had for her, and allowed her to tell me her story, which is about more than just sexual assault. It’s about the aftermath. Depression. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Injustice. Victim-blaming. Slut-shaming. It’s about the way that kind of event can change everything– how you relate to people, how you think, how you dream, how you love. It’s about the way the rest of the world moves on to the next big tragedy, and you’re still left holding the broken pieces of who you used to be, with no idea how to put them together again or even if you want to. It will be the most difficult story I ever tell. And the most important. Because it’s a story that belongs not just to Stella, but to millions of people around the world. It’s a story that belongs to a new person every 107 seconds*. And that’s just in the United States. Think about that for a moment. 107 seconds. Stella’s story won’t be any easier to read than it will be to write. But I hope you’ll help me drag this story into the light.

So now I’ll step off my soapbox and just tell you about the book…

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.

Vulnerable.

ALL CLOSED OFF will be releasing sometime in early 2016. I don’t have a date yet for several reasons. The first and most important, is that I want to do this story justice. And as such, I have no intentions of rushing the process. Secondly, I’ll be returning to indie publishing for the remainder of the Rusk series. As you can probably tell, this story means a great deal to me. And by having the ultimate control over everything from timing to editing to price, I’ll be able to ensure that I’m able to create exactly the story I envision. Unfortunately, that means you won’t be seeing the paperback of ALL CLOSED OFF on the shelves in most stores. Nor is it currently available for pre-order. But I hope you’ll add the book on goodreads, follow me on social media, and/or join my newsletter. I promise to shout it all over the place when I have a set release date or pre-order links.

Thank you for listening as I told you the evolution of Stella’s story. When it’s finished, I hope you will feel as passionately about it as I do.

All my best,
Cora Carmack

*Statistic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network)

And an opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s…

Stella’s experience is only one story of many. She was with someone she trusted when it happened, and the only memories she has are pieced together from her own blurred recollections and the things people have told her.  Not everyone’s experience with sexual assault is the same. Each person reacts, copes, and overcomes differently. And while this book is about one specific character’s journey, I would like to tell as many sides of this story as possible. As Stella grapples with her thoughts and emotions she’ll be searching for advice, for comfort, for a place where people understand her and can identify with what she’s experiencing. There will be room for truth within the fiction, and if you’d like that truth to be yours, this is your chance.

If you have a story like Stella’s, and you want your voice to be heard….

If there’s something you wish more people understood about what you’ve gone through….

If there’s something you’d like to tell people struggling with a story like yours…

I’d like to give you the opportunity to add your voice to Stella’s. Use the hashtag #WhenItHappened and let your voice be heard on your own by posting on your own social media, or if you’d rather I share your words fill out this google document and tell me your story. You can fill out this form anonymously or not. I’d like to begin this discussion now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But my hope is to include as many stories as possible within the book itself.

So many have stories of #WhenItHappened. Your voice and your story deserve to be heard. I’m listening.

#WhenItHappened Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/4VRjWgZYSW

Reading Order: Rusk University series

All Lined Up by Cora Carmack All Broke Down by Cora Carmack All Played Out by Cora Carmack

#1 ~ All Lined Up: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ All Broke Down: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ All Played Out: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (May 12, 2015)
#4 ~ All Closed Off: Goodreads (2016)

about the author

Cora Carmack

Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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ARC Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Purchase: Ebook
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

The Mistake is another complete WIN from Elle Kennedy!! I had such high expectations for this book after reading and adoring The Deal. I wasn’t sure if I would love Logan as much as I loved Garrett, but I do! I absolutely LOVED Logan in The Mistake – he’s laugh-out-loud hilarious, so adorable, and even though he makes mistakes with Grace, he owns up to them. I was hooked onto Logan and Grace’s story from the very start and I never wanted this book to end! If you’re a fan of The Deal, you DON’T want to miss The Mistake!

If you’ve read The Deal, then you know that Logan has a crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, Hannah. Logan is ashamed of feeling this way, but he can’t help feeling jealous of the love his best friend has found. And since he would never do anything to betray Garrett’s trust, Logan drinks and sleeps with girls to numb his misery. Not even the prospect of graduation makes him happy because he knows that when college is over, he won’t be able to do what he loves most anymore: play hockey. But meeting beautiful, sweet, innocent Grace and spending time with her seems to make him forget about Hannah and post-graduation. With each sexy encounter, the chemistry between them grows until Grace is all Logan can think about.

“What are you doing?” I whisper.
“Well, you were looking at me like you wanted me to kiss you.” His blue eyes become heavy-lidded. “So I was thinking I might do that.”

Freshman Grace Ivers never expected star hockey player John Logan to ever give her the time of day, but when she spends more time with him, she sees that there’s so much more to Logan than just a playboy hockey star. She has an insane attraction for him, but underneath that, she grows to care for him. So she’s humiliated and hurt by Logan when he messes things up between them. Freshman year doesn’t exactly end well for Grace, but sophomore Grace has changed and she has no time for stupid, sexy Logan, even when he tries to fix the mistake he made with her.

I absolutely LOVED Grace!! She’s awkward and hilarious with her nervous ramblings, a little sassy, definitely smart, but so down-to-earth and relatable. She’s the type of heroine I would love to be friends with. I loved how no-nonsense she was after Logan ended up hurting her, and how SHE wouldn’t give HIM the time of day. She’s really the perfect match for Logan. But Logan, my lovable, hot, clueless Logan, is truly genuine about getting back into Grace’s life and into her heart. And hot damn, Logan is seriously sexy as hell, with enough sweetness in him to make him the most swoon-worthy hero. He has a lot to make up for with Grace – and he completely stole my heart with the way he went about it. Here is one sweet and sexy alpha hockey star determined to win the heart of the girl he’s falling in love with… how can you not love him!?

“I need you. I can’t stand the thought of being without you.” He releases a shaky breath. “You’re the last person I think about before I go to sleep, and the first person I think about when I open my eyes in the morning. You’re it for me, baby.”

God, I LOVED this book!! Well-written, hilarious, heartwarming, so freaking sweet… Logan and Grace’s story was an absolute delight to read. The Mistake has so many light-hearted moments, especially when all the hockey boys are together, and at the same time there’s also a depth and seriousness with Grace and Logan that makes this book all the more meaningful. Elle Kennedy truly has a gift with the way she’s able to bring all these characters to life. Even as Grace and Logan fall in love, it’s also a journey of self-discovery for both of them. I never wanted their story to end.

The Off-Campus series is quickly becoming a top favorite series of mine. This is new adult at its finest! I really hope Elle Kennedy writes more books in this series, and that Dean is next!

5 hearts!

5-hearts

lacey

Reading Order: Off-Campus series

The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

#1 ~ The Deal: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Mistake: Ebook • Goodreads