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Found in Us by Layla Hagen, Book Blitz

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Book & Author Details:
Found in Us by Layla Hagen
(Lost #2)
Publication date: July 24th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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Synopsis:

**This can be read as a STANDALONE. The second book in the Lost series tells Jessica and Parker’s story.**

All Jessica wants -as a college graduate — is to be a good girl. She landed the job of her dreams at a museum and is trying to eliminate temptations. No more short skirts (when she can help it). No wild parties. And no men.

She particularly excels at that last thing. . .

Until her path crosses Parker’s. Again. Jessica remembers the last time their paths crossed very well. She was left with a seriously bruised ego. She knows it would be best to avoid him altogether. But the charming Brit makes it hard for her to elude his electrifying pull. He is as irresistible as he is captivating.

And enigmatic.

Because underneath the sleek Armani suit and the sweet British accent that makes her crave his touch, Parker isn’t the perfect gentleman everyone thinks he is.

He’s exactly what Jessica doesn’t want, but desperately needs.
A bad, bad boy.

LaylaPic
AUTHOR BIO
My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough
Author Links:

Excerpt  (Attention! Extreme hotness alert)

“I can’t make up my mind,” Parker says.Stylish guy trying to pick up a young woman

“About what?”

“About what I want to do with you.”

I gulp. “Don’t I get a say in this?”

He snaps his head up, chuckling. “Not really.”

“That’s not frustrating at all, you know? What are you thinking right now?”

He tugs his lower lip with his teeth. “You really want to know?”

“Yeah, I really want to know.”

He shifts his weight on the edge of the seat, and when he leans forward this time, I don’t back off. “I’m thinking I would very much like to see you come,” he says into my ear. My mind doesn’t register the full impact of his words right away. But my body does. “Anything against that, Jessica?” he whispers, his hand trailing up and down my inner thigh.

“N-no,” I say in a low voice. So low that I hope he hasn’t heard me. But he has. There’s no other explanation as to why his hand has already found its way under my dress.

“Turn around and spread your legs,” he commands.

“Parker,” I mumble, “not here . . .”

“No one can see us, and Dani won’t come back soon. Turn around.”

Despite knowing I shouldn’t, I turn around. My body no longer seems to listen to any commands of mine. I lean my back against his chest, my head resting on his shoulder, my forehead touching the base of his neck. I look into the room, trying to gauge what those in the boxes opposite us can see. But I can barely see anything in the back row of the boxes directly in front of us. There’s no reason to believe anyone could see us from there. Anyone looking from above won’t have a clear view of the back row either.

“Spread your legs,” he repeats, his tone more authoritative than before. It sends another wave of heat through me. Burying myself in his neck, I open up for him. He doesn’t touch me right away. He takes his time, trailing his fingers on the inside of my thigh, inciting a deep hunger in my core that grows with each inch of my skin he touches until I drop any pretense of shame and beg him, “Parker . . .”

When his fingers touch my intimate spot over my panties, I stiffen against him.

“You’re soaked,” he says, and I take immense pleasure in the slight tremble in his voice. Then his fingers start rubbing me slowly, and I dig my own fingers in the cushion of the chair as a spasm wracks through me.

This man will make me come.

Here, surrounded by people and plush velvet-covered seats.

silhouette of bridge and pair of lovers on city background

Review: Broken

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Broken
Broken by Lauren Layne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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An angsty modern day Beauty and the Beast where both are “completely shattered souls.” And while one is trying to put the pieces back together, the other has lost all hope. Can “two spoiled, damaged disasters” be fixed?

I briefly met Olivia in the prequel Isnt’ She Lovely. Other than her name, I knew the very basic about her and from that I wasn’t sure I wanted to know more. She seemed like a spoiled superficial rich brat with little substance. But appearances can be deceiving and the more I read about her the more I liked her.

Dropping out of NYU to basically hide from her transgression against her now ex-boyfriend Ethan and her best friend Michael, she moves to help care for a wounded veteran who she knows nothing about. Thinking she’ll be looking out for an older man, she gets the shock of her life when she meets Paul, “a guy who’s one part beautiful mystery and one part unpredictable beast.”

Wanting to atone for actions, she sticks to her assigned role as caretaker for Paul, even when he was downright mean. But she shows that his brooding, tormented and surly attitude won’t deter her and if anything she’s even more determined to break his emotional barriers and try to bring him back to a semblance of normal.

I found myself aching for and with Paul and at the same time wanting to smother him. His scars aren’t just superficial. He’s angry at everything and everyone. He carries an underserving guilt and is resigned to live out his life alone. Unloved and uncared for and making sure of it with his immensely horrid attitude. Especially towards Olivia.

“It’s just so romantic. The beautiful angel swooping in to save the surly dickwad who’s quite possibly a murderous recluse.”

But I was surprised with Olivia because she’s brave enough to see through his mask giving us glimpses of what’s underneath, bold enough to acknowledge their attraction, and then strong and confident enough to know that you can only help those who want it.

“I’m never going to understand what you’ve been through, Paul, or how you feel, but I do understand that the only person in control of it is you.”

“So those are my options. I can live in the light without you, or stay here in the dark with you.”

From my previous two Lauren reads, I was expecting a lighthearted book with great dynamics between the characters. This felt like something she needed to write. The dynamics were there, but what I got was a more touching, heartfelt story of two people who found redemption, love and happiness.

I loved the fact that I could have read through it in one sitting. It had me that absorbed in their amusing banter, angst and sexy hot mess.

I’ll be waiting for the next book in the series, but in the meantime I’ll looking for other Lauren Layne books.

* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review from Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Review: Isn’t She Lovely

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Isn't She Lovely
Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 preppy meets goth stars

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Lauren Layne gives a fresh sound to an aged song with its amusingly antagonistic characters and fast pace.

There’s a reason why we’ve seen many versions of Pygmalion over the years in literature and movies. His story is legendary, classic and entertaining. And Isn’t She Lovely is no different.

Ethan, an ultra traditional college guy choses Stephanie, “this cranky little midget” to dress up and pose as his girlfriend to face his friends, family and ex-girlfriend. But getting the “dark gremlin” to be “a soft, blonde sweetheart” forces their two completely different and incompatible worlds to work together. Making them realize that superficially they may not fit, but underneath the stereotypes they were good for each other.

Their barbs and jabs over their very clichéd personas were dead on and funny.

“Does that surly mood come with the goth outfit? … Or do you have to buy it separately?”

Even the way he refers to her in his own mind is cute and hilarious.

“I resign myself to apologizing to the miniature gothic monster.”

Their simmering attraction grows along with their friendship which ran parallel to their confusion and conflict, because against all odds they found they could share even their secrets. And when forced to face reality and their fears they must choose between an “indie-angst, or romantic-comedy” ending.

Lauren proves that sometimes, even when you know what the destination is, the adventure is in how you get there.

This story is YA skirting on PG-13. Stephanie and Ethan come closer to She’s All That than Pretty Woman in the rating scale. You may call it sappy, but fell in love with the character’s dynamic and the writing style wrapped up in this popular theme.

* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review from Netgalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Review: MacKenzie Fire by Elle Casey

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MacKenzie Fire
MacKenzie Fire by Elle Casey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 “The heroine kills the book stars” 

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Shine not Burn was an awesome read. I loved every word on that book and I actually liked Candice, our heroine, when we meet her as Andie’s friend. After reading this sequel… not so much.

This book has high ratings which is awesome! I can see lots of people praising the book and found Candice hilarious and totally respect that. She is funny, there is no doubt, but I found her to be over the top. For me, her funniness was borderline bimbo; it took a leap from bubbly personality to airhead/stupid in no time. Want to know why? Just read along:

Right on the first chapter: “The air outside looks blue” (air with color??) “I attribute that to the coldness. Cold equals blue, warm equals orange. That’s why the sky in Florida always looks orange. It’s a meteorological fact; you can look it up. I’m thinking on the equator, everything is probably more red. (more red?? It’s redder.. right??)

Her incessant googling. Saying google is your friend is funny. Thinking you have to google everything to verify authenticity is just annoying. Then she keeps saying she is an internet MD. I found it ridiculous.

She is constantly worried about her appearance. I never understood why she had to buy a gun and the stupidity surrounding the ordeal. She’s worried about “animals”…

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“Do they sell guns here?” She snorts. “Is the Pope Catholic?” “How about winter running shoes?” “No. You’re getting boots.” “Fine.” I cross my arms, trying to picture how I’m going to arm myself for outdoor Ian stalking activities while also protecting myself from these man-eating beasts. A gun is probably a good idea. Plus some sort of shoe I can sprint over the snow in. “What are you scheming up over there?” Andie asks, shooting me glances as we bounce over the rough road that leads to the highway. “Nothing. No scheming. Just thinking about buying a gun.” She laughs. “You’re not buying a gun. Don’t be ridiculous.” I say nothing because she’s not the boss of me and I am too going to buy a gun. A girl’s got to protect herself, right?

I could write down a lot more but, fortunately I kind of lost my highlights on kindle…

The one that just made me want to strangle her was this one:

<

“I loved the idea of making googly eyes at her for the thirty minutes it’ll take to get back to the ranch. I need her to memorize my face before I leave so when I call her on the phone she’ll know who’s talking.”

Yes! Because a week old baby is going to remember you and talk on the phone with you…. DUMBASS.

And don’t get me started on the banter between her and Ian. Some of it was funny, and you could feel the sexual tension between them! But most of the time, during the first half of the book they just acted like teenagers. Their fights were ridiculous. Also, the way she acted around the baby animals was just… aghh…. Sorry, Candice just got on my nerves!

Oh and the whole, -I want to help Andie because she has no friends on this town-… really? Was Candice twelve?

Things get slightly better afterwards, Ian was hot and sweet and I loved him. Maybe that is why I actually gave the book 3 star: just becasue of him. There was a lot of cheese and sweetness, and I loved how they manage to find a life together and that is what mattered in the end.

I am not giving up on this author, definitely not. I just hope we get better heroines later on.

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Review: Dair

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Dair

Dair by R.K. Lilley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Buy links to all three books in the series and reviews below

A scorchingly sensual and gripping mystery, wrapped up in a wild and captivating serial. I think R.K.’s preferred setting while writing romance is super nova hot.

In this last part of Iris and Dair’s story, we finally get the answers to all our questions. It was interesting to see how farfetched I let my imagination go conjuring theories with each little clue. How reading from only Dair’s point of view, being as ill-informed as he was made me crave to find the truth in the half-lies he was given. Did you come close to guessing?

But as much as this serial kept me intrigued with the enigma of Iris, it was mostly about their relationship. How it evolved from primal passion to a love that transcended all logic. Iris was an awesome heroine, she was wild, intelligent and fearless; wise beyond her age, therefore the perfect match for Alasdair. (she’s going to the top 10 heroines in my little black book)

“How could you be in love with a person you didn’t really know? Someone that had fed you nothing but lies? Someone you knew with certainty you couldn’t trust?”

Iris had left. Again. But this time she also left Dair a letter that had him in a mournful state. Not just because he didn’t know where she was or if she would come back, but because he wasn’t even sure if she was alive and safe. He was hopeful and unable to move on though. Because he knows it wasn’t just the visceral hunger, it was a deeper connection he knew he would fight for despite everything that was stacked against them.
dair

Hostage or hustler, sinner or saint, whatever she was or wasn’t, whether she lied to my face or taunted me with hints of the truth, all of this seemed always to defer to the more pertinent fact at hand.
She was mine.
Inconceivably.
Undeniably.
Mine.
It was that devastating and that simple.

Iris’ story starts to clear up piece by fascinating piece, while at the same time Dair, at times slowly at times skillfully pushed by Iris, comes to terms with that fact he irrevocably loves her. Their story has many obstacles but it is ultimately worth it. You’ll see when you read the epilogue. Which if I were forced to complain about something, it would be that I was left wanting more.

Just from the amazing cover you can tell this story is vibrant and wild. It’s “equal parts tenderness and hunger. Love and base desire. Relief and frustration.”

I also need to point out I thoroughly enjoyed Turner and his unabashed personality. He was funny and a good friend to Dair. Heath was also a very interesting character. The book includes a sneak peak of his story which I didn’t want to read because I know I’ll get hooked but it’s certainly going on my want-to-read shelf… after reading that title… I can’t wait!

For now, Dair and Iris’s tale is finished, so for those who aren’t fans of cliffhangers you can enjoy it fully.

The Wild Side by R.K. Lilley
Reading Order

     
The Wild Side Our Review | Buy on Amazon
Iris Our Review | Buy on Amazon
Dair Our Review | Buy on Amazon

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Six of Hearts Release Day Blast

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EXCERPT, REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: SIX OF HEARTS BY L.H. COSWAY

Six of Hearts Cover

Title: Six of Hearts
Author: L.H. Cosway
Release Date: July 28, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
ARC Received From: Author

Blurb

Step right up and meet Jay Fields: Illusionist. Mentalist. Trickster.

I think in triangles. You think in straight lines.

I show you a table and make you believe it’s a chair.

Smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, misdirection. I trick and deceive.

But most of all, I put on a good show.

The world thinks I killed a man, but I didn’t. Bear with me. It’s all a part of the plan.

Revenge is what I want. I want it for me and I want it for her.
I want it for all six of us.

She doesn’t remember me, but she’s the reason for everything. She’ll be my prize at the end of all this – if I can hold onto my willpower, that is. Maybe I’ll slip up a little, have a taste, just a small one.

So go ahead and pick a card. Come inside and see the show. Look at my hands, look so closely that you can’t see what’s happening while you’re so focused on looking. I’ll be destroying your world from right here in the spotlight.

You’ll never see me coming until it’s too late.

I’ve only got one heart, and after I’ve pulled off my grand deception I’ll hand it right to her.

So, sit back, relax, and let my girl tell you our story. You’re in for one hell of a ride.

Buy it Here: Amazon

Add it to your Goodreads shelf

Excerpt

Six-of-hearts-6Making my way down the narrow staircase that leads out of the building and onto the street, I bump into a tall man with golden-brown hair. I wouldn’t normally notice a man’s hair so specifically, but this guy has some serious style going on. It’s cut tight at the sides and left long on the top, kind of like a sexy villain in a movie set in the 1920s. I stare up at him, wide-eyed. He’s wearing a very nice navy suit with a leather satchel bag slung over his shoulder. Even though it was the first thing I noticed, his hair pales in comparison to the wonder that is his face. I don’t think I’ve ever been up close to such a handsome example of the male species in my life.

Why can’t men like this write to me online? I ponder dejectedly.

Because men like this don’t even know the meaning of the term “socially awkward,” my brain answers.

My five-foot-something stares up at his six-foot-whatever, and I think to myself, what’s a prize like you doing in a dive like this? Actually, now that I’m looking at him, he does seem vaguely familiar, but I can’t put my finger on where I’ve seen him before.

Probably on the pages of a fashion magazine, if his looks are anything to go by.

If it hasn’t already been deduced from the fact that I can’t even find a date using the romantic connection slut that is the Internet, then I’ll spell it out. I’m useless with men, and I’m talking all men. Even the nice approachable fellows. And I’m not looking at a nice approachable fellow right now. I’m looking at a “chew you up and spit you out” tiger.

Since the entrance to the building is so narrow, we have to skirt around each other. I give him a hesitant smile and a shrug. His eyes sparkle with some kind of hidden knowledge as he lets me pass, like beautiful people know the meaning of the universe and are amused by us ordinary folks who have to bumble along in the dark.

I’m just about to step out the door when the tiger starts to speak. “I’m looking for Brandon Solicitors. Do you know if I have the right place?”

I step back inside.

He sounds like Mark Wahlberg when he’s letting his Southie roots all hang out. His deep American accent makes me want to close my eyes and savour the sound. But I don’t do that – because I’m not a complete psycho.

“Yeah, this is the place. I work here, actually. I’m the secretary slash receptionist slash general dogsbody. It’s my dad’s firm,” I reply. Too much information, Matilda. Too. Much. Information.

The tiger smiles, making him better-looking, if that’s even possible. And thankfully, he doesn’t comment on my fluster. “I have an appointment with Hugh Brandon at nine. I’m Jay,” he says, and takes a step closer to hold his hand out to me. My back hits the wall, his tall frame dwarfing mine. I don’t think he realises just how narrow this space is, and now I can smell his cologne. Wow, it’s not often that I get close enough to a man to smell him. And Jay Fields smells indecently good.

“Ah, right. Jay Fields. Yeah, I have you pencilled in. You can go on upstairs, and Dad will take care of you,” I reply, shaking his hand and letting go quickly so that he doesn’t notice my sweatacular palms. “I’ve got an errand to run.”

He stares at me for a long moment, like his eyes are trying to take in my every feature, but that can’t be right. When he finally responds, it’s a simple, “I won’t keep you, then, Matilda.”

God. Why does the way he says “keep you” in that deep voice have to make my heart flutter? It’s been literally thirty seconds, and I’m already well on my way to developing a crush. He makes some keen eye contact with me, then turns and continues up the stairs to the office. I’m already on the street when I realise I hadn’t offered my name, and yet he knew it.

TJrEVIEW

Mesmerizingly brilliant! It’ll engage you from the start and entertain you until the very end. It’s original, magical and riveting, tragic and heartwarming, fun and sexy. L.H. Cosway’s topics and writing style practically leap out and off the page.

This story centers on a boy whose innocence was fractured by abuse and then completely stolen by violence but grows up to be a man with hope, justice and vengeance within his grasp, albeit in a very misdirecting kind of way. It’s also about romance and wanting to recapture a lost childhood through happy surprises and astonishing illusions.

“Deep down he’s just a big kid who thrives on mischievous pranks and coming up with elaborate ways to surprise people”

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write this review without giving much or anything away. I feel like I’ve given out too much already.

By the book’s provocative blurb we know Jay has an end game for love and revenge. But all is not what it seems and how this plan came about will be slowly revealed and only until the end will we be able to put all the puzzle pieces in place. But from now until then L.H. Cosway creates a wonderful tale that will amaze you with the way she describes each trick, endear you to the loveable characters and keep you spellbound with the plot’s intrigue.

Jay is a self-assured trickster that oozes sexiness, he’s charming, charismatic and caring. With the shows he gives we know he’s this amazing performer but mostly he’s an incredible thinker. A student of behavioral science, he is patient, cunning, methodic and determined, you know the ending will be awesome.

“The biggest surprise, though, is still to come… I like to think of it as Jay’s prestige. His big finish.”

Even with her self-doubts and social awkwardness, Matilda is this smart, snarky and amusing woman, both outside and inside.

“What? I said my inner dialogue was a bitch”

She’s a “hopeless romantic” who wants to find “epic love” but is constantly afraid of taking chances so even though there’s an instant and intense attraction between her and Jay, she puts it off treating him as a friend which enables Matilda to be herself around him, which is frequently hilarious.

“I think you could probably say, ‘I’ll be Burger King and you be McDonalds. I’ll have it my way and you’ll be lovin’ it,’ and you’d probably still score.” ~ Matilda to Jay

I loved their banter. The way they tease each other is fun, flirty and witty. The instant chemistry that only builds in anticipation was torturous. They seem to be like two magnets aligned at the wrong ends, sometimes touching but not being able to come together until correctly aligned. And when they do it’s achingly sweet and swoony.

“I want to romance you, Watson.”

As the story drew closer to the end, I felt myself wanting to read slower, loving it so much and just not wanting to let it go. I wanted to keep living with the magic.

Be a kid again and believe in the fantastical. Life is more fun with a little smoke and mirrors.”

Her contemporary romances are precisely that: new and ingenious. I can’t wait to read L.H. Cosway’s next book. But from now until then, I’ll re-read this one. I urge you to get it. You won’t be disappointed.

 

About the Author:

L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

Find her here: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Mailing List

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Review: Hope Over Fear

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Hope Over Fear
Hope Over Fear by J.A. Derouen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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A wonderful debut novel. It gave me sugar and spice and everything nice kind of feelings. It was also at times sad and I even got exasperated, but it mostly made me smile with its lightheartedness, sweet and sexy swoonyness.

Sara ended her relationship with her best friend and boyfriend Mason. But in doing so, she felt badly and underserving. When she learns that Mason can forgive her, has found happiness and is moving on, she feels she’s “finally ready to move forward.”

“I’m a work in progress”

Even though I felt the story’s progression was on the leisurely side, it was never confusing with the flash from the past chapters which gave the plot a broader background. The story incorporated a very diverse and close-knit group of friends, who did wonderfully as supporting characters by adding humor and wisdom.

I seriously fell for the male lead. He had just the right amount of confidence and seduction

“Invite me in.” There’s no question. He’s not asking. It’s a gentle command.

And at the same time a goodness and vulnerability that made him perfect for Sara. She felt free to express herself and find her inner voice with him.

“My soul feels lighter at the mere sight of him. Complicated feels simple. Unlikely feels inevitable. Only he makes me feel this way – like I can climb whatever mountain life puts in our path.”

Hope Over Fear is a nice change of pace for me. Even when I didn’t identify with the protagonist, the narrative was such that I definitely empathized with her and I gladly accompanied her on a journey to a place of joy and happiness while going through pain, heartache and epiphanies along with her old and new friends and of course Mr. Makes my soul feel lighter himself.

“Fall into me, Sara. Because God knows I’ve fallen into you.”

This is the first book in the series Over and can be read as a standalone. But since this is a series, I wonder who will be next? And if there will be a connection within the group? I know I’ll enjoy reading about whoever J.A. chooses to be next.

* I was given an ARC of this book for an honest review by the author. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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