Category Archives: Contemporary Romance

{Book Blast} Addicted to You by Colina Brennan [NA Contemporary Romance]

When twenty-one-year-old Leah Carter’s latest one night stand burglarizes her apartment, her roommate forces her to attend therapy for sex addicts. Leah insists she isn’t a sex addict; she just doesn’t do relationships. After all, sooner or later, everyone lets you down.
At first, the group sessions are little more than an education on how to be promiscuous. Until she meets the newest addict—blue eyes, killer body, and a smile that tempts relapse.
Psychology student Will McLean is posing as a fellow addict while researching a case study on unusual addictions. But the more he learns about Leah, the more certain he is that his desire to break through her walls and unearth her secrets has nothing to do with his assignment.
As the uncertainties spike alongside the sexual tension, the only thing Leah knows for sure is that falling in love would be disastrous. Too bad love might be one addiction she can’t kick.

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Colina Brennan is a new adult writer with a love for the fantastical and the romantic. When she isn’t writing, she’s attached at the hip to her kids or chasing her dog or daydreaming about what she wants to write next.

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Cover Reveal {25} Pinned Up

PINNED UP by C. Michelle
NA Contemporary Romance
Coming soon!

Readers in search of something fresh in the adult contemporary romance department will celebrate the arrival of C. Michelle’s vibrant debut novel, Pinned Up. Full of snappy dialogue, edgy humor, and a lot of heart, this fun look into the world of a modern-day pin-up model is one interesting journey. Are you ready to embark on a wild ride?
Twenty-five-year-old Nina Moretti lives a double life of sorts. She’s a victim advocate during the day and as a side gig, lives out her 1940s fetish as a pin-up model. This arrangement suits her well, as does never having a steady boyfriend. Trust is an issue that was ruined for Nina at a young age and has yet to be recovered. While she may not “do” serious relationships, she has found fulfillment in her work and hanging out with her best friend, Kade—the greatest sidekick any woman could possibly want. All is well in Nina’s hectic, but satisfying life…
That is, until she meets Josh, a stunningly handsome man who has a notorious reputation as a ladies’ man. Living in San Francisco, California, Nina has met her fair share of eligible bachelors. But there is something different about Josh, something that compels her to try and get to know him better. For his part, Josh has always been reluctant to commit to any woman, largely as a way to spite his well-meaning, but rather overbearing mother. Nina, however, sparks his interest in a way that no other woman has before. What are two people, both scared of commitment, supposed to do?
Readers will feel an array of emotions as Nina and Josh do the unthinkable—embark on a relationship together. As they navigate the pitfalls of romantic entanglement, both come to realize that their pasts are intertwined in ways that they could never imagine. Perhaps they have more in common than just their fear of relationships.

A heartfelt novel depicting modern love with a refreshing twist, Pinned Up is a must-read.

Reveal hosted by…

COVER REVEAL {24} Dear Cassie PLUS Contest!!!!

DEAR CASSIE
AUTHOR: Lisa Burstein
SERIES: Companion Novel to Pretty Amy
PUBLICATION INFORMATION: March 2013 by Entangled Teen
EDITION: Paperback, 352 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
ADD TO GOODREADS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?
You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.
You’d be wrong.
There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent there. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.
What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?
But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t – he can’t – the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.
And yet I can’t help but wonder … what if?
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

We kept walking on the lake trail, the bullfrogs croaking. There was also a humming in my ears from the nicotine.
 It could only be from the nicotine. It had nothing to do with being outside, at night, alone with Ben. It had nothing to do with Ben coming to the cabin and taking me instead of Nez and it definitely had nothing to do with the stars above us shining like they were the sky’s tiara. 
I stopped on the trail and looked up, taking them in, when all of a sudden bright colored lights exploded in the sky—fireworks, one after another, on top of each other, huge kaleidoscopes of light, like sparkling rainbow spiders.
“How did you know?” I asked, my voice going softer, like if I talked too loudly they would stop. It was so beautiful, after weeks of so much ugly. 
Ben turned to look at me, the colored lights in the sky turning his skin pink, blue, green. “I’m magic.” He shrugged.
I geared up to tell him to fuck off, because that was some corny-ass shit, but then I realized that he really kind of was. In that moment he was able to actually make me forget being me.
 “I would try to kiss you,” he said, “but I’m afraid you’d kick me in the balls.”
“I probably would.” I laughed, the sky filling with noisy color like paint launching from a giant popcorn popper. “But like I said, it wouldn’t be about you.”
“I guess I’ll have to figure out how to make it about me,” he said, taking off his boots and socks and standing. “Come on.”
“There is no way I am getting near that water again,” I said.
“I’ll make sure nothing happens to you,” he said, holding his hand out to help me up.
            I looked at his palm, open, waiting, just wanting to hold mine. For once, I didn’t think about anything except that there was a cute, sweet, smart-ass boy standing in front of me with his hand out.
I pulled off my boots and socks and took it.  
We stood at the lakeshore, our hands still clasped, the water licking our feet, fireworks decorating the sky.
I turned to him. He was looking up, his mouth open in wonder like he was trying to swallow the moment.
It was definitely one worth keeping.
WHERE TO PRE-ORDER/BUY


CONTEST INFO: Lisa is hosting an EPIC CONTEST to celebrate Dear Cassie’s cover reveal. So what do you have to do? Lisa wants you guys to share diary entries of your favorite fictional characters. That’s right, choose ANY character from books, TV, movies, a cereal box and write 500-750 word diary entry from their point of view. Top 5 will b e chosen and then the masses can vote on their favorite. The favorite will be published in the final version of Dear Cassie. Yep! You read that right, published with the author’s name! Tha additional four will win $20 book buying gift cards. TO ENTER: Send your entries to prettyamystories@yahoo.com by JANUARY 1st with the top 5 voting to begin January 7th and the winner chosen January 14th!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at East Washington University. She lives in Portland, OR with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Dear Cassie is her second novel.
Where to find Lisa Online: 

Happy reading!


Retro Review {3} Review {20} Lola and the Boy Next Door

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR
AUTHOR: Stephanie Perkins
SERIES: Companion Novel to Anna and the French Kiss | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After (Publication: May 7th 2013)
PUBLISHED: September 29th 2011
ACQUIRED: Borrowed | Library | Need to Own
EDITION: Hardcover, 338 pages
CATEGORIES: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
RATING:  5.00/5.00  |  GOODREADS RATING: 4.06/5.00
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

MY THOUGHTS: I absolutely ADORED this book! Every character in it was just amazing and so individualistic and quirky! I wish they would all come to life and be my friends, I’d never be bored again!
Lola is truly inspirational. She is fantastic, and so comfortable with herself and who she is and what she wants in life. Lola proves that you can have a crazy family, batty friends, and frenemies for neighbors and still come out on top. Lola talks to the moon for advice and wears wigs and crazy outfits and truly embraces her individuality.
Cricket is the boy-next-door/science nerd. I have a thing for nerds, so let the crushing begin!!! He’s the ultimate swoon-worthy heartthrob. He’s so sweet and gentle, and loves to help out those he loves – including Lola. He’s willing to do anything for anyone.
The relationships between Lola and her parents is different from any other book I’ve read. Her birth mother, Norah, was a teen mom and Lola doesn’t have a good relationship with her. However, her relationship with her parents, Nathan and Andy is great. They are cute and help show a good balance between two males in a relationship and raising a teenage daughter.
The story starts out with Lola dating bad-boy Max, who’s 22 to Lola’s 17. He is the rock-star, tattooed, alcohol consuming, pot smoking bad boy who does try to appease Lola’s dads, but ultimately it just doesn’t work out. 
And then our beloved Anna and Etienne St. Clair make their appearances. But… I didn’t like them in this book! I know, what the heck, right? Because I LOVED Anna and the French Kiss. Absolutely adored it!!! But they just annoyed me in this book.
As far as the writing style goes, Perkins melts my heart, she truly does! Her writing is FANTASTIC. It never feels forced or out of touch, and it is very quickly paced and engaging. I can’t think of any parts where I really wasn’t into the book, and couldn’t find any scenes that the writing failed at. She handles scenes with grace and force, and it’s so easy to picture myself back in my seventeen-year-old shoes! Perkins writing portrays real life scenarios, and she handles them perfectly. Her characterizations make you feel like you live in Lola’s world, like you know all of these characters personally, and her visualizations are wonderful as well.
The thing with Perkins as well, is that she will give her characters their “happily ever after” but you better believe that they are going to work for it!! After all the crud that Lola dealt with throughout the book, she lived, she learned, and she got the prince in the end. It wraps up neatly and perfectly, as is Perkins style.
My final thoughts are these: I want to go back and be seventeen again, and be Lola for a day! Really, I do! Perkins has created this amazing character in Lola. Someone who falls down but picks herself right back up, brushes herself off, and continues on conquering the world in her costumed-fabulous way! Lola inspires you to follow your heart and dreams and to be whoever you want to be, because the real you is perfect just the way you are!

Favorite Quotes:

“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.”

“Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.” I smile. “You don’t think I’m perfect?” “No. You’re delightfully screwy and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”

“And if I’m the stars, Cricket Bell is the entire galaxy.”

“And I hold my head high toward my big entrance, hand in hand with the boy who gave me the moon and the stars.”

“And it didn’t matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.”

SIMILAR READS: Past Perfect by Leila Sales | Shut Out by Kody Keplinger | Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally | Saving June by Hannah Harrington | Amplified by Tara Kelly
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hi there, I’m Steph and I wrote Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. They have funny bits and kissing, so you should totally read them. If you’re into that sort of thing. The final companion is called Isla and the Happily Ever After, and it will release in 2013. I have two additional YA Novels that will also be published by Dutton – a teen slasher in 2014 and a yet-to-be-named project in 2015. I often miss blog comments made on Goodreads, so if you want to make sure that I recieve your message, please click over to my actual blog and leave it there, thanks! For more ways to reach me, go Here. (taken from Goodreads)

Happy Reading,

Review {14} My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
By: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: Standalone
Publication Information: June 14th 2012 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Acquisition: Borrowed/Library | Edition: Hardcover,
Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.00/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.15/5.00
‘Sum-it-up Review’: “An epic story of first love and  heartbreak, mixed with ample amounts of finding yourself and friendship fall outs  and finding your place in your family and the world.”
What the Back of the Book Says: The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them… until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
My Thoughts: This is the exact type of book that keeps me interested in contemporary romance. I do not read a lot of them, but when I do, they have to be incredible. My Life Next Door is incredible, and so much more! I easily connected to Samantha Reed, the main character, even though I think I connected to Jase Garrett and his menagerie of family members a little more. I absolutely HATED Samantha’s mother, Grace, and her campaign manager-slash-boyfriend, Clay Tucker. Not only is Grace incredibly stuffy, materialistic, and way too concerned with appearances, but as events unfold later in the story, she becomes in my mind, a monster. With the help of Clay, who seems to lack any morals or concern for humankind. They are the type of people who will manipulate a situation – even when they are in the wrong – to benefit no one but themselves. Yeah, they’re scum! 
What’s wonderful about Fitzpatrick’s writing, is that while Samantha remains the main character, each of the secondary characters go through their own transformations without the book losing focus or feeling lost. The topics that Fitzpatrick manages to cover – from Tim’s drug and alcohol dependency, to Nan’s cheating scandal, to Samantha’s mother’s run for the state Senate seat, each scenario is fully explored and deeply delved into. 
The world-building is wonderful as well. You feel like you’ve literally left your own town and got dropped right in the middle of Stony Bay, Connecticut. Like you’ve eaten breakfast at Breakfast Ahoy! Like you’ve spent an afternoon at the B&T or had ice cream at Doane’s. Fitzpatrick’s won me over with every aspect that I deem important in a work of fiction, and plan to read pretty much anything she’ll be writing in the future.
There is nothing more amazing than a main character who begins as one person, goed through a transformation throughout the novel and emerges as a newer, better version of the person we met on page one. Samantha was lovable from the start, but put her through the hell she experiences with her mother, her new and consuming relationship with Jase, and her failing friendship with Nan, and the book ends with a strong, self-reliant, self-dependent girl who can take anything that is thrown at her with grace and ease. 
Final Thoughts: A book that starts out light and slowly heads into dark territory, My Life Next Door has everything that anyone can appreciate, no matter what your usual preferred genre. A must-read for anyone, regardless of age!
If You Liked This, Read This: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller | The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt | Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson | Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry | A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
About the Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut, attended Concord Academy and Yale. She flourished in a family of bookworms where everyone always had their nose in a book. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary romance, My Life Next Door, was published in June 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material. She is represented by the amazing Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Review {8} Over You by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Title: Over You By: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus Published: August 21, 2012 by HarperTeen Edition: Hardcover, 304 pages Obtained: Library Rating: 4 Stars - Highly Recommend My Thoughts: My only other adventure with this set of authors was when I devoured my Barnes and Noble clearance edition of The Nanny Diaries. I was fully and happily submerged in the lives of Nanny and the X’s, and so when I saw that the duo was releasing a YA Contemporary-Romance, I snatched it up the second my eyes fell on the copy at my local library. The thing about YA is that every author handles the topics differently. By which topics I mean drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll language. I look at YA as having different levels of age appropriate material. Most authors like to hover somewhere happily in the middle, where they can gently brush over the topics, implying what we all are thinking, but not getting into any nitty gritty dirty Fifty Shades type of deets. With more twenty-somethings (and beyond, considering I’ll be hitting the big 3-0 next year with absolutely no intentions of giving up my guilty pleasure) indulging in the world of YA Fiction, it comes as no surprise that sometimes we are looking for a bit more grit in our books. It’s great that Over You is able to fully immerse its characters into these relationships that are not the fluffy, let’s hold hands and skip down the street and kiss - but no tongues - when we are feeling frisky! Nope, we get great, well rounded characters here with Max, Zach, Ben, Bridget, Taylor, and Phoebe.  Max, on the end side of a nasty breakup with society boy Hugo Tillman finds herself asking the age old question, “How do girls get over a break up cleanly and quickly?” Well Max’s answer is… Ex, Inc. a 3-person business run out of Max’s stepfathers garden apartment where Max calls home. Their mission? Help girls get over their recent exes and see them through their “Moment”, when they showcase all they’ve learned and let their exes know what a dumbass they were for leaving the girl.  But of course, while helping other girls get over the guy, Max finds herself falling for one… Ben Cooper, the son of the owner of Cooper Baby - the company that Max’s mom orders all of her baby furniture from (since Mom is expecting a baby with stepdad). I was pleasantly surprised with each page turn. The writing was the only aspect of the novel that I would say was both good but had moments where it was halting and didn’t necessarily flow well together. I would not say that it held back from the enjoyment of the novel, however; and I found pleasure with each new chapter - fully engaging in the story unfolding before me.  So who should read this book? Fans of McLaughlin & Kraus, fans of Sex and the City or The Carrie Diaries, Gossip Girl, or anyone who loves NYC and stories set in the Big Apple and seeing how the “other half” lives. XoXo, Lala

Title: Over You
By: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Published: August 21, 2012 by HarperTeen
Edition: Hardcover, 304 pages
Obtained: Library
Rating: 4 Stars – Highly Recommend
My Thoughts: My only other adventure with this set of authors was when I devoured my Barnes and Noble clearance edition of The Nanny Diaries. I was fully and happily submerged in the lives of Nanny and the X’s, and so when I saw that the duo was releasing a YA Contemporary-Romance, I snatched it up the second my eyes fell on the copy at my local library.
The thing about YA is that every author handles the topics differently. By which topics I mean drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll language. I look at YA as having different levels of age appropriate material. Most authors like to hover somewhere happily in the middle, where they can gently brush over the topics, implying what we all are thinking, but not getting into any nitty gritty dirtyFifty Shades type of deets. With more twenty-somethings (and beyond, considering I’ll be hitting the big 3-0 next year with absolutely no intentions of giving up my guilty pleasure) indulging in the world of YA Fiction, it comes as no surprise that sometimes we are looking for a bit more grit in our books. It’s great that Over You is able to fully immerse its characters into these relationships that are not the fluffy, let’s hold hands and skip down the street and kiss – but no tongues – when we are feeling frisky! Nope, we get great, well rounded characters here with Max, Zach, Ben, Bridget, Taylor, and Phoebe. 
Max, on the end side of a nasty breakup with society boy Hugo Tillman finds herself asking the age old question, “How do girls get over a break up cleanly and quickly?” Well Max’s answer is… Ex, Inc. a 3-person business run out of Max’s stepfathers garden apartment where Max calls home. Their mission? Help girls get over their recent exes and see them through their “Moment”, when they showcase all they’ve learned and let their exes know what a dumbass they were for leaving the girl. 
But of course, while helping other girls get over the guy, Max finds herself falling for one… Ben Cooper, the son of the owner of Cooper Baby – the company that Max’s mom orders all of her baby furniture from (since Mom is expecting a baby with stepdad).
I was pleasantly surprised with each page turn. The writing was the only aspect of the novel that I would say was both good but had moments where it was halting and didn’t necessarily flow well together. I would not say that it held back from the enjoyment of the novel, however; and I found pleasure with each new chapter – fully engaging in the story unfolding before me. 
So who should read this book? Fans of McLaughlin & Kraus, fans of Sex and the City or The Carrie Diaries, Gossip Girl, or anyone who loves NYC and stories set in the Big Apple and seeing how the “other half” lives.
(This review was originally posted on my Tumblr. See the review Here.)

Review {7} Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits
By: Katie McGarry
Published: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Obtained: Library – But I’m definitely buying this one!
Rating: 5 Stars
Categories: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Five Star Rating.
ADD TO GOODREADS

What the Back of the Book Says: No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

My Thoughts: I am not the contemporary-romance type, so I was majorly surprised when I realized how much I loved this book. And while there is definitely romance, there is so much more to this novel than I ever expected. It’s hard to even summarize Echo and Noah’s characters because they are so multi-dimensional and just probably two people who’s story I’d love to see in a movie. This book could easily become a movie.

What I love about this book is that the character’s are all so real. I mean, they have different backgrounds and different struggles, but they sympathize because they share the same feelings and emotions. When both feel at their lowest and most depressed and feel that they are fighting their toughest battles, they find each other. The relationship between Echo and Noah is unlike most young-adult book relationships. They don’t fall instantly in love. They do admit to an attraction, but they don’t just jump in and fall in love. They slowly build their love on trust, and friendship. They build the type of relationship that can last the distance.

Echo is not only fighting a battle within herself, but with the fact that something happened to her, at the hands of her mother, and she cannot remember anything. No one will tell her what really happened either. She is living at home with her father and step-mother (who used to be her babysitter until her parents divorced) and dealing with the death of her brother Aires and the birth of her soon-to-be step-brother. She’s lost most of her friends at school since she’s become very self conscious since the accident, which left nasty scars up her arms. Everyone assumes she cut herself and attempted suicide. They all want her to be “Normal” again, and try forcing Echo back with her ex-boyfriend Luke. Things are starting to get back to normal – somewhat – but things come to blows when Luke and Noah get into a fist fight – and Echo ends up getting knocked down.

Noah is dealing with the death of his parents and the subsequent placement of his little brothers’ in foster care. Noah’s been deemed “emotionally unstable” since he punched his first foster father for hitting his own son, and his brothers’ foster parents are trying very hard to keep him from seeing Jacob and Tyler. Noah’s determined to graduate high school and get his own apartment and work full time so that he can get custody of his brothers. Noah’s currently living with foster parents Shirley and Dale, their niece Beth, and another foster kid, Isaiah.  Noah considers them his brother and sister.

Once Noah and Echo meet and start dating, they begin to support each other, and help get each other through tons of really tough things. They both are devoted to one another, and having someone that you can truly love and trust by their side regardless of whats going on is really endearing. I really believe their story was one of my favorite to read about ever.

For anyone who’s ever struggled in life – regardless of what it was with; friends, family, etc – this book is one you can easily find something to relate to and will find yourself unable to put the book down, craving more and more and more. I think the ending was perfect and I am pretty sure that I would read absolutely anything that McGarry writes. Her writing is amazing and wonderful and she is incredible with writing her characters and the situations that she puts them in.

My final words are that you HAVE to read this book. HAVE TO.

Happy Reading,