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Spotlight plus Give-Away: My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

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Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.

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MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE is a special digital only, fan requested addition to the series!

It’s also told in DUAL POV. Woohoo!

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Read the first chapter… HERE

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GET YOUR COPY TODAY

Amazon/B&N/iTunes

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To celebrate the release author Rachel Harris is hosting a giveaway!

US – A Signed RARE paperback copy of MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE & SWAG PACK
INT – An eBook copy of MY NOT SO SUPER SWEET LIFE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT RACHEL HARRIS
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Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her Rachel Harrisbooks…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and losing herself in story. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Website † Facebook † Twitter † GoodReads † Tumblr † Instagram

Classics Carnival: Review: Longbourn by Jo Baker

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 15 Aug 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to trudge through muddy fields.

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and bleeding. Domestic life below stairs, ruled tenderly and forcefully by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman smelling of the sea, and bearing secrets.

For in Georgian England, there is a world the young ladies in the drawing room will never know, a world of poverty, love, and brutal war.

REVIEW BY BETH

As someone who has never read Pride and Prejudice I am perhaps not the best reviewer of this novel but it did allow me to take it as it was, rather than as a retelling of the story around which is it worked. I read Longbourn as a fascinating historical novel looking at the lives of those living ‘downstairs’ in a 19th century home.

There is a definite Downton Abbey feel to this novel, despite the time periods being different, there’s a clear sense that the novel may not exist were it not for the fascination with ‘behind the scenes’ at present. Despite this Baker’s writing style and depth of characterisation kept me reading and wanting to know more.

The novel is slightly longer than it needed to be to keep me interested but it remained well paced and even during the flashback sections I felt compelled to read on. It keeps the basis of the original Pride and Prejudice as a skeleton but tells us the servant’s side.

I’ve always been more interesting in the ‘real’ people throughout history. The workers and the underclasses I suppose and therefore this novel appealed to me much more than Pride and Prejudice ever did. The drudgery of the washroom is much more interesting than any of the pretty dresses at the parties in the novel’s predecessor – to me anyway!

Sarah’s character is genuine and believable and it’s wonderful how Baker crafts a story that shows, for all the drama going on in the home, there was plenty going on downstairs too! Watching how the serving classes manoeuvre their lives around their masters is a sight to behold and I found it insightful to the end.

I’ve heard many Austen fans are not quite so positive about the novel but I suppose with nothing invested in Pride & Prejudice I saw this novel simply for what it was – an interesting and well characterised look at servant living in early 19th century England.

Review: Swings and Roundabouts – Bethany Ruth Anderson

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Title: Swings and Roundabouts
Author: Bethany Ruth Anderson
Publisher: Bamboccioni Books
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Boy meets Girl. Manic Depressive meets Body Dysmorphic. Not your average love story. No help needed. Nothing to rely on – no drugs, no counsellors, no therapy. Just Sarah and Matt. Sarah and Matt; two people who meet at a party and fall in love; two people suffering with mental illness entering into a relationship, trying to contend not only with themselves, but also with each other. One in four people in the UK experience poor mental health at some point in the course of a year, and one in six experiences mental illness at any given time. Swings and Roundabouts is an honest account of how mental illness affects people’s lives and their relationships.

REVIEW BY BETH

To all intents and purposes Sarah and Matt couldn’t be more normal and considering how society is made up they are normal but then they’re not in the same breath. Their mental health issues set them apart from society and initially from each other, particularly in Sarah’s case.

Mental illness is at the heart of this novel but doesn’t define it, which is why Anderson creates such a compelling read. Both Matt and Sarah are rounded characters throughout, illness or no illness but it’s hard not to relate to them and imagine them as real. All of Sarah’s thoughts are really insightful and so exactly how many teens (including probably my teenage self) would think at some point. She avoids her friend Naomi because she knows Naomi will want to veg out on the sofa and heads for thin, ‘safe’ Lisa who is much easier to be around without the threat of food.

I found Sarah easier to relate to than Matt, perhaps because body dysmorphia as she suffers is easier to relate to than manic depression (shouldn’t that be bipolar disorder anyway?). Anderson also tells us Sarah’s story in the first person, drawing us closer to her whilst Matt is kept more distantly kept in third person – perhaps showing the extent to which he is sadly gripped by his illness. It’s a clever technical move and really works for the novel as a whole.

The novel takes some time to get going and has a real feel of a debut, with the writer trying to find her voice as well as create those for her characters. I’m not sure she achieves all the goals completely but this doesn’t detract from the piece she’s trying to create completely. Swings and Roundabouts is about love, sex, your first proper romance and discovering yourself through that process. It has the additional depth of both Sarah and Matt’s mental illnesses which are ever present underlying the actions of each character in some way.

A strong subject matter with some truly believable characters. It feels like a debut however and there are elements of the novel which possibly need a re-edit or reworking to combat this. I wouldn’t let that put you off though.

Tantalising Trailers: Grim Anthology

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Title: Grim
Author: Various
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 25 Feb 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads

Inspired by classic fairy tales, but with a dark and sinister twist, Grim contains short stories from some of the best voices in young adult literature today.

  

A brilliant addition to the Fractured Fairy-tale Reading theme

Review: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe

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Title: Marked by Hades
Series: Bound by Hades #2
Author: Reese Monroe
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: 14 April 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

One choice away from eternity…

For 911 years, Gatekeeper companion Justin Bradford has denied the possibility of being mated to only one woman. He enjoys them all too much to settle down. So when he feels his mate’s Ahavah mark surface, his first instinct is to ignore it. But when he sees the leather-clad beauty in need of his help that’s easier said than done…

Yvonne wakes up naked on a cold park bench in a small town with no memory of who—or what—she is. All she knows is the gentle man who woke her was turned to dust when she touched him. And now the strange mark that appeared on her shoulder throbs in the presence of the raven-haired man now offering to help her…

As Justin and Yvonne navigate the mystery of her past, their bond grows, but the secrets they discover and the sacrifices that must be made could be enough to rip them apart for eternity.

REVIEW 

Continuing the action from Forged by Fate this time it’s Justin’s turn to take center stage. Theo’s brother and companion to his Gatekeeper, Justin has always shunned his destiny to take a mate. He doesn’t want the intensity of emotion he has seen from Theo and Sadie, leaving him out of control and vulnerable. That is until Yvonne.

I adore the whole soul-mate principle and Reese Monroe executes it brilliantly creating the perfect match for the male characters. The mates balance and complete them – utter swoon-fest here. Although there are a number of unforeseen twist where Yvonne is concerned, the revelations are spaced through the narrative adding to the back-story as well as the relationship. As you would expect from having a designated soul-mate chosen specifically for you by a higher power, the relationship is fast and intense. I completely and utterly love the way in which the male characters cherish the female characters. Doesn’t every girl want to be loved like that.

I originally picked up this series thinking it centered around Greek Mythology, with the word Hades in the title I am sure you would make that assumption as well. However, this series is an epic battle of good versus evil inter-twined with an equally epic romance throw in a heavy dose of fate/destiny versus freewill and you have a compelling story-line. Marked by Hades is a fast paced, action packed swoon-fest with plenty of twists to keep you on your toes.