Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre - Release Day and Review

The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3)

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete

Read more of Chapter one on Ann Aguirre's Blog

If my life was a romantic comedy, I wouldn’t be the star.
I’d be the witty, wise-cracking friend, telling the Reese Witherspoon character to follow her heart, and I’d be played by America Ferrera, Hollywood’s idea of an ugly duckling. But not conforming to societal beauty standards didn’t cause me any angst; I wasn’t harboring a secret desire to take off my glasses and flip my hair, so my secret love interest would realize I was beautiful all along. In my view, my looks supplied simplicity. Anyone who got with me wanted the real me, no question. Romance ranked dead last on my to-do list at the moment, however.
“You’re too picky,” Max said.
He was curled up on my bedroom floor, skimming emails on his tablet. With her boyfriend’s help, our soon-to-be-ex-roommate Nadia was currently carting the last of her early belongings downstairs, and the other half of my room was conspicuously empty. I scowled and threw a common cold plushie at his head. He batted it away with impressive reflexes, still scrolling. Since he’d posted flyers around campus, along with his email, Max was handling first contact on the apartment.
“Swap with me. You and Angus can share the master bedroom and then you can put whoever you want next door.”
As expected, he passed with an as-if gesture. “We’ll keep looking. How about this one? ‘Hey, my name is Kara. I’m a physical education major, I work part-time at Kelvin’s, and I’m a sophomore. I saw your flyer, and I’d love to meet you guys. My apartment fell through when the landlord sold the place out from under us and now I’m scrambling.’ She seems fine. All the words are even spelled correctly.”
I pretended to mull it over. “Basic language skills are important to me. Put her on the call-back list.”
“You make it sound like we’re casting a movie.”
“This is way more critical,” I reminded him. “This person will be living in my room, potentially watching me sleep.”
“I wish you’d let me help,” Nadia said, coming in to grab the last of her boxes.
Ty, her tall, ginger boyfriend, plucked a carton from her arms. His kid was running around the living room, bothering Angus, who didn’t seem to mind. I waved at both of them but didn’t get up. Truthfully, I was more than a little verklempt over her leaving, even if she was only going downstairs. In the six months since I’d moved in, we’d become good friends. When I moved in, I took over Lauren’s half of the room; she had been Nadia’s best friend from high school, so it wouldn’t have been surprising if Nadia had resented me. Instead she did her best to make me feel at home. And it wasn’t like she hadn’t given us notice. I just didn’t act on it because I secretly hoped their cohabitation wouldn’t pan out, like maybe she’d realize what a huge step it was to take on someone else’s kid.
“It’s fine,” I said. “I’m the one who procrastinated.”
Max nodded. “If I hadn’t made flyers, Kaufman here would still be waiting for the perfect roommate to drop out of the sky.”
“It could work. A skydiving roomie would be pretty sweet.”
Ty grinned. “I’d be worried about the rent.”
“The man makes a good point.” Max waved as they left, taking the rest of her worldly belongings. “Here’s another possible. ‘Saw your ad. About me: Carmen, drama major, junior. I have no annoying habits and an aversion to being homeless. Email me back!’”
“How am I supposed to choose—”
“She attached a picture.” Max handed me the tablet. “I’m inclined to say yes.”
When I saw it, I knew why. Carmen had long silky black hair, golden skin, big brown eyes, and an amazing body. While I’d definitely bang her, I didn’t want her living in my room. The possibility for problems boggled the mind.
Shaking my head, I passed the Ipad back. “No way.”
“Why not? She’s perfect!”
“She sent a wet T-shirt contest photo, dude. To random strangers. Does that speak highly of her common sense?”
He sighed. “Not really.”
“I don’t want to come home to someone shooting amateur porn in my room.”
“Are you sure? I’m positive that would look great on a resume.”
“You’re such a weirdo.”
“Guilty.” Max glanced toward the doorway, where Angus had propping himself like a fashion model.

Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.

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 Jen's Review Myrating: 5 of 5 stars

I recieved this book from Netgalley for a review - I'll post my review closer to the release date :)

I really loved this story! I thought Courtney would be a bitch after she moved in - Nadia didn't seem well connected with her, and all that - but Courtney was really different than I thought she'd be.

Max was pretty predictable though - I really like him - he had a screwed up past but worked hard to make something of himself. He's an all around good guy - and the friendship he and Courtney have is one that will last forever, even without being together.

Courtney learns that life isn't always as easy as it seems - even though she's never had to work for anything, she knows how strong Max is for everything he's overcome - but when she finally finds herself having to sacrifice her pride, or getting her life in order in a not so easy way, she looks at all Max has accomplished and wants nothing more than to make him proud.

Really cute story - I am sad to see the end of this Trigology - I loved all 3 stories :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

SIDESWIPED Blog Tour with Lia Riley - Review and Giveaway

Sideswiped (Off the Map, #2)
Sideswiped (book 2) 

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . .

Talia passes out hard from the travel and epic reunion sex. I’m too amped for sleep, so I lie in the dark and trace her spine. Can you love someone too much? No point being afraid, might as well jump in it with both feet. I press my mouth to her neck and she undulates, responsive even from her dreams. If miracles were real, I’d swear we were designed to fit together.
I loop my arm around her waist and hold fast, until our breathing syncs. I’m drifting off when she jerks—hard—once, twice. Her body recoils as she unleashes a lung-tearing scream.
“Talia, wake up. Come on, sweetheart, talk to me.” I clamber over her, hunching protectively. “Open your eyes. It’s Bran. I’ve got you. I’m not letting go.” I keep talking while she flays my chest like she’s drowning under ice, desperate to find a break in the surface.
“Can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I…where am…oh God. Bran.”
“I’m right here.” I cradle her while she draws another unsteady gasp. Her hair plasters her forehead in sweaty wisps.
“Give me a minute. I’ll be fine.” She pushes herself to a half-sit and sways with disorientation. “This…this happens sometimes…panic attacks or night terrors…whatever. They seem to come when I drop my guard. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the meds. Those pills make me feel like a toxic waste dump.”
“Have you been bad this summer?” The muscles in my neck cord. It shreds my guts to see her hurting. I’d do anything, any fucking thing, to carry her pain. I don’t fully understand the inner workings of OCD but she’s explained that for her, the condition comes in waves. Everything will be rolling along fine, more or less, and then bang—a giant squid grips her brain. She fights hard for recovery, a warrior even when she believes she’s nothing but a coward.
“No, not really.” She grinds her eyes with the backs of her hands. “I kinda danced around the edge of the rabbit hole a few times but never fell inside.”
My muscles release some tension. “Try to go back to sleep. You need the rest. Don’t worry, I’ll keep watch, okay?”
“I’m sorry to be such a psych job. It’s totally shaming.”
Her chin tips down. “Can you talk to me for a little while? Get me out of my fuckball head?”
“Hey now, I got mad love for that head, Captain.” I kiss her brow, acting chill even though I’m scared. How can I get her to settle? Then it hits me. “I want to take you surfing again.”
“Mmmm, that’d be nice.”
“Picture yourself out there, in the water, on a board, under the shooting stars.”
“With sharks eyeballing me from the depths?”
“Nah, they’re all busy hunting sea lions or some bloody mischief. This is you, the sea, and the sky. A set rolls in. You can’t make out the wave. The board lifts and you feel the momentum building. There’s fear deep in your belly, sensible, because you can’t see what’s coming or where you’re going. You fight the self-protective instincts, give yourself over, and the next thing you know—you’re having the ride of your life.”
“Thank you.” She flips in my arms so we’re belly to belly. “I mean it. That was beautiful, really, really beautiful. I’m so excited to be here, for right now—to live in the moment. But it’s like I have this…this weird mental stutter. My thoughts keep skipping over the same annoying question like a scratch on vinyl: What will we do?” Tears spill from the corners of her eyes, course silently toward her chin. “My visa.”
Talia’s been granted a three-month student visa to complete her senior thesis in history. In all its benevolent generosity, the Australian government expanded her time in the country by an extra month.
Four months—the sum of our allotted time.
“They’ll make me leave.”
“Don’t believe everything you think.” I wipe her damp cheeks.
“Can you tattoo that on my forehead?”
Maybe it’s my imagination, but the brass alarm clock on the dresser clicks louder.
Another second gone.
Another second gone.
“I’m not losing you to some shithouse immigration policy, Captain. We will be all right in the end.” I’ve no idea how the hell I’m going to solve this drama but I will figure it out. “We have to hope, otherwise we’re sunk.”
She jerks with surprised laughter.
She hiccups and covers her mouth with her hand, shoulders shaking. It takes me a second to realize she’s giggling.
“I’m funny to you right now?” This girl drives me every sort of crazy.
“I’m not laughing at you.” She works her lips together and unsuccessfully smothers the smile. “It’s—”
“Forget it.” I instinctively stiffen.
“Bran the Optimist.” She grabs my wrists, lifts my palms to her face, and plants a kiss in the center of each one. “I like this side of you.”
“Never mind. I was being dumb.”
“You were awesome.” She pecks the tip of my nose. “And for the record, I love your stupid face.”
I give her a begrudging kiss back. “I love yours too.”
Love isn’t enough of a word.
I wasted almost an entire year of my life implementing a scorched earth policy, not caring who I left burned and broken in my path.
Talia was my oasis. My salvation.
“Don’t give the visa a second thought.” I nestle her against me, rubbing her lower back in easy circles. “I’ll sort this out, I swear to you.”
Even if I don’t have the first fucking clue.

Lia Riley
Lia Riley
About the author:
Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn't mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Jen's Review

After reading the first book - I received an email asking if I would read the 2nd book for an honest review -

I enjoyed reading book one - I thought it had a great ending and I was ok with the book being over -

But now at book two - things get a little more complicated
Tulia moves to Australia to be with Bran - they live together, but Tulia only has a few months before her Visa expires and she has to move back to the states - She can't get a job in Australia, so what's she going to do?

Bran doesn't care what they do, as long as they're together - he's giving up his own dreams to work overseas and help out in the world, but he'd give up anything and everything as long as he has Tulia with him.

The only problem is, Tulia isn't happy either - not knowing what she's going to do, and defiantly not happy with where her life is going - but she also see's Bran and knows he's not happy sitting behind a desk either.

When she meets Karma, Bran's friend, he tells her how it is -

Now Tulia is faced with the possibilities that she can have Bran and her Peace Corps job, while Bran has her and his Over Seas job that will make everyone happy.

But Bran doesn't do long distance relationships - he's had too much experience with that and none of it was good.

Tulia pushes for the future she knows they both want, but while she's at it, she's pushing away the one thing that Bran doesn't want to lose.

The choice is hard and scary - but is their love really strong enough to last while living so far away in the world?

The story breaks my heart, but mends it together with hope -
I'm anxious to read book 3 and see how things work out :)

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Sideswiped (Off the Map, #2)