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Review & Giveaway: Secondhand Heart by Kristen Strassel

Title: Secondhand Heart

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 10/7/14

Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.

Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar. When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.

Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?

Review

Before I get into the actual review, I’d like to say, the model and actual cover of this book is amazing!  The female model is so beautiful and she fits just perfectly for this book.  Heck, the title is perfectly suited as well!  So bravo whoever designed the art and such to grab our attention.  it definitely worked!  The cover was the entire reason I joined the review tour of this book!

As for the characters, I want to first lay claim to Cam.  Seriously.  He’s mine.  No one else get him.  He’s my current book boyfriend.  I don’t even LIKE country music, but even I have to admit some male country artists are seriously hot.  Ahem, I’m a little off topic here.  It’s not just that he’s a country artist.  It’s the way he was written in Secondhand Heart.  I absolutely fell in love with him in this novel and I nearly cried when it was over because that meant, no more Cam!  OMG!

As for Daisy, I did like her but I wasn’t as emotional invested in her as I was in Cam.  However, the fact she meshed so well with Cam and the chemistry between them that you could actually feel made up for that, I think.  The romance and heat between the main characters was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their growing relationship.

The overall story was also nicely done.  It kept me entertained and hooked as any good story does.  There were a few parts that were a tad awkward, but overall, also nicely done.  NA isn’t my normal genre (and if I do read it, it’s usually paranormal romance based) but I do enjoy it and I can happily say this novel is worth the read.  Seriously.  (Yes, seriously is my word today).  Pick it up, NA readers!  You won’t regret it.

4 stars!

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Giveaway

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About Kristen Strassel
 

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Release Day Blast & Giveaway: Secondhand Heart by Kristen Strassel

We’re celebrating the release of Secondhand Heart by Kristen Strassel! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!
Title: Secondhand Heart
Author: Kristen Strassel
Age: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 10/7/14

Goodreads

Amazon

Blurb:
Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.
Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar.
When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.
Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?
EXCERPT

Cam came out on stage to the hoots and hollers of the crowd, of course, the loudest from the table of old broads. He motioned with his hands for everyone to shut the fuck up. “Thanks for coming out tonight.” His eyes scanned the crowd, but then locked on mine. I sat up straighter, the memory of how he looked at me last night when there was no audience burning me everywhere his mark lingered on my body. “Tell your friends, let’s support local music and make this a thing.”

Another roar of the crowd before the lights darkened just enough for Cam to jog off the stage, and a scruffy duo with blazers and harmonicas took his place. He pulled out the chair next to mine and put his head down on the table. I could hear the gasp rise out of the audience, even over the acoustic guitars from the stage.

I raked my fingers through his hair, then pulled his head up playfully.

“I’m dying,” Cam said when he looked up at me.

“Yeah, me too.” The waitress delivered a fresh beer. By the time I got to the bottom of it, I was going to feel like I was having an out of body experience. “But I love every minute of it.”

Crooked smile. Dead. “Me too.” His hand landed on my thigh, caressing my skin and working his way upward. Wait until he realized I was wearing a skirt. “I had a great time last night, Daisy.”

My skin was on fire, and I just looked at him with a dopey smile on my face. If I even tried to say anything, I’d just giggle like an idiot. So I just fixed his hair from where I messed it up before.

“I was wondering,” he looked down, tracing the outline of his drink coaster, shy. It was adorable. “If you actually wanted to see the bedroom tonight.”

“Tonight?” So this was an actual thing? He didn’t think last night was some mistake? Oh my god. Talk about jumping off of a cliff into shark infested waters.

He looked up at me, eyes sparkling. “Why not?”

He posed an excellent question. Although I could think of a million reasons why not, right now it was all just blah, blah, blah in my brain. Fear and excitement numbed my body, I felt like I was floating in the middle of the bar room.

“Okay,” I said, and he visibly relaxed. Holy shit, was he nervous about asking me to stay? This was not the position I ever expected to be in. “But I can’t stay all night.”

His jaw dropped. “Why?”

“Because I ran smack into my dad this morning. Horrifying.”

He closed his eyes and groaned. “Yeah, that’s so bad. You’re going to have to move out.”

What was he saying? Don’t read too much into this, Daisy. He wasn’t saying anything. He was just pointing out what I already knew, what my mother was so delicately hinting at earlier today. Time to move on. “Tell me about it.”

Anyway, I was just the rebound chick. I knew that.

We didn’t even make it out of his truck this time. I don’t know what it said about his neighborhood that no one called the police. We thrashed around on that tiny backseat, holding nothing back, even as cars came in and out of the lot. Hands sliding down steamed up glass, Titantic style. Loud, aggressive, and just the thing I needed to remind me why I was alive.



About Kristen Strassel

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Release Day Blast: Apolonia


We would love for you to join us in celebrating the release of   APOLONIA by New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jamie McGuire!
TitleAPOLONIA
Author: Jamie McGuire
Age: NA
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Publisher: Jamie McGuire LLC (October 6, 2014)
Cover Design: Okay Creations, Sarah Hansen
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Blurb:

“They killed me, but I survived.”

Three years after Rory Riordan foiled her own murder, she still trusts no one. Not Dr. Z, the eccentric college professor who has taken her under his wing, not Benji, the endearing, attractive classmate who insists on following her around, and certainly not Cy, the beautifully dark and mysterious boy who sits on the first row in Dr. Z’s Astrobiology class and asks far too many questions.

When Rory witnesses Cy being abducted by soldiers in the middle of the night, she finds herself submersed in a world that holds even more secrets than she could imagine–even darker secrets than her own.

From #1 New York Times Bestseller Jamie McGuire, experience the perfect combination of her bestselling books Providence & Beautiful Disaster. This New Adult Sci-Fi Romance is an action-packed, whiplash-inducing roller coaster ride. Page after page, this unpredictable, dark and sexy nail biter will keep readers guessing until the very end!

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EXCERPT

“Welcome!” Dr. Z began. “I am Dr. A. Byron Zorba, and you’ve
arrived at Geobiology and Astrobiology . . . uh . . . with lab. That’s a
separate class. Uh . . . later,” he added. “You should also be enrolled in the
lab, separately from lecture. If not, see administration. So! Here, and in the
partnering lab, you will study organic matter from microbes, rocks, and environmental
samples. In lab, you’ll extract and, more importantly, interpret these samples.
Beyond that, we will reconstruct ancient environments to understand how life
evolved within the samples.”

“Yeesh,” Benji whispered.

“It’s really not that bad. Don’t be a baby,” I said, keeping my
voice low as the professor went over the rules and syllabi.

“I’m still running in the mornings,” Benji said. “You should come
with me sometime.”

“I don’t run.”

“It’s good for you. You should try it.”

“I’m not getting up at the crack of dawn to run until I stop
freezing. That’s not healthy. It’s stupid.”

Benji just smiled, clearly amused.

“Excuse me, professor,” Cyrus said, holding his pen in the air.
“Whom shall I contact . . .?”

I blocked out the rest of his question. The trace of a British
accent in his voice and his perfect grammar would have never piqued my
attention before, but on that day it was annoying and snooty.

Not only was Cyrus tall, dark, and handsome but, as class
progressed, he also proved to be Dr. Z’s most adept and eager student.

“That would be Dr. Rosen,” Dr. Z said. “May I ask . . . from
where do you hail?”

“Excuse me?” Cyrus responded.

“I was curious to know if you happen to be Egyptian?” the
professor asked.

I don’t know what expression was on Cyrus’s face, but he must
have smiled, because Dr. Z clapped his hands once, and a wide grin made his
already full cheeks puff out.

Dr. Z patted Cy’s shoulder and shook his finger a few times.
“We’ll have much to talk about. See me after class.”

“Oh, Christ, get a room,” I snarled under my breath.

The professor’s hobby was trying his hardest to be an Egyptian
scholar. I thought maybe Cyrus’s origin was the reason for Dr. Z’s fascination,
but that didn’t turn out to be it at all. Cyrus never answered the questions
that Dr. Z presented to the class, but he asked at least a dozen of his own. He
was curious, and I couldn’t deny that his questions were a work of art.

Dr. Z answered a few questions before lecturing for just ten
minutes, giving us a reading assignment, and then waving us away, twenty
minutes earlier than expected.

Everyone looked around, unsure what to do until I began packing
my things. That started a chain reaction, and noise filled the room as students
crammed their laptops into their bags and moved to leave.

After our dismissal, Cyrus stood next to Dr. Z’s podium, and they
spoke in low voices with a lot of nodding and a few smiles. Oh, hell no. I
stood up, grabbed my bag, and walked down the steps, standing in the space next
to Cyrus.

“Cyrus has just returned from a summer in Mali,” Dr. Z said,
smiling.

“Oh?” I said, with cold eyes. “You have family there?”

“No,” Cyrus said flatly. He didn’t offer further explanation, so
I stared at him until he became uncomfortable and looked away. That was my very
favorite thing to do to everyone.

“Cyrus is researching the Dogon tribe. Very interesting,” Dr. Z
said. “He’s the third member of our team.”

“What?” I said the word louder than I’d meant and high enough to
be embarrassing.

Cyrus nodded once to us both, and then he was gone.

“Are you replacing me?” I asked, my heart pounding. My assistant
job was connected to my scholarship. If Cyrus stole it from me, I could be in
real danger of losing that money. It was too late to find a student position
that wasn’t already taken.

“Of course not. You saw the data I sent. You’ll never have time
for anything else if I don’t add someone to the team.”

“I can do it,” I said, only feeling a tiny bit relieved. “You
know I don’t go home for the holidays. I don’t mind working weekends.”

Dr. Z smiled. “Rory, I know you don’t mind working weekends, but
you should.”

He walked out of the classroom, leaving me among his weird
sculptures and artifacts. None of it made sense. Dr. Z had always been careful.
I couldn’t imagine he would invite someone he didn’t trust into his precious
laboratory. Something about Cyrus felt off, but he didn’t seem dangerous or
untrustworthy. If the professor had been considering Cyrus as just a third team
member, he would have mentioned it before today. The only explanation for my
exclusion from this news was that he was planning to replace me. What’s more, hastily
inviting a new student into his lab wasn’t just uncharacteristic; it was
troubling.

My eyes were all over the place, looking at a different inanimate
object with every thought. I couldn’t lose my position as Dr. Zorba’s
assistant. Everything was riding on it.

The room grew darker, bringing my attention to the large windows.
The clouds outside were gray. At this time of year, the weather was more likely
to bring in a cold front than a storm. The wind began to blow the few leaves
that had just started to fall from the huge oak trees. I pulled one of several
tubes of lip balm from my jacket pocket and ran it over my lips. I loved winter
up until the night I died. Now it just seemed ominous.

Clenching my teeth with determination, I lifted my bag and swung it over my
shoulder. I refused to lose my assistant position with Dr. Z. Cyrus could take
his thought-provoking, eloquently worded questions and shove them up his ass.

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GIVEAWAY:
3 Prints, 5 APOLONIA ebooks
 
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About the Author:

Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with international bestseller, Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written apocalyptic thriller Red Hill, a novella titled A Beautiful Wedding, and the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy.

Jamie lives on a ranch just outside Enid, OK with husband Jeff and their three children. They share their 30 acres with cattle, six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.

Find Jamie at http://www.jamiemcguire.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!