Archives

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!

Purchase Links

SHH Teaser 1

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Blog Tour & Review: For Everly by Raine Thomas

Synopsis:

**This is a New Adult novel recommended for ages 16+.

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life, not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Buy Links:

Amazon * Amazon UK * B&N * iBooks * Kobo 

ForEverlyIG2

Excerpt:

“I know you’re not seeking any romantic connections right now, Everly,” Wyatt interrupted, giving Cole a quelling look. “We’re here in a strictly professional capacity.”

Now she looked more at ease. “I see. Are you seeking a consultation over Cole’s rotator cuff injury?”

Cole stiffened. He glared at Wyatt.

“I haven’t told her a thing,” Wyatt said with raised palms.

“You didn’t have to say anything,” she said with a shrug, leaning back against Rowan’s desk. Her keen gaze met Cole’s. “I noticed that you favored your left hand throughout your meal, using it to drink, eat, and bring your napkin to your mouth, but you’re a right-handed pitcher. And just now, when you moved to clear space on the couch, you stopped breathing and swallowed hard when you moved your right arm, telling me you’re hiding pain and have a reduced range of motion.”

His mouth opened over her observations. He looked again at Wyatt. His brother gave him a look that said, See?

“But how do you know it’s a rotator cuff injury?” Cole asked. Could other people see what she did? If so, he was so screwed.

“That, I’ll admit, was an educated guess based on your age and profession,” she answered. “I’ve only observed your symptoms and haven’t done any scans or tests to confirm. You’ll want to rule out bursitis, tendonitis, adhesive capsulitis, and other possible causes of your shoulder pain, of course.”

Despite what he’d seen this evening and his brother’s assurances, Cole was surprised by Everly’s quick assessment. She looked like she should be out club-hopping, not spouting medical jargon with such an intent expression on her face.

He also realized, since she knew his profession, that she had known who he was the moment she saw him. So why hadn’t she mentioned that before now? Maybe she wasn’t a fan.

“We’ve had scans done,” Wyatt said. “X-rays, an MRI, the whole load.”

He moved over to the desk. Everly stepped to the side as Wyatt reached over to retrieve the large manila envelope resting there. She hit Cole’s leg and nearly toppled onto his lap. Out of instinct, he reached out to help her maintain her balance. His hands ended up on her nicely shaped rear end.

She sprang away like a gazelle fleeing a lion. When she turned to look at him, he realized her cheeks were nearly as red as her hair. Her reaction went a long way toward putting him back on an even keel.

“I don’t bite,” he said with a grin. “Come and have a seat.”

He patted the cushion beside him. She looked at it warily, then moved her gaze to him. He patted the cushion again. Her lips moved on a whispered comment of some kind as she stepped around his legs and sat down. It was a small victory, but he felt better.

When he turned to look at her, he caught her scent, a unique fragrance that reminded him of whipped vanilla cream and frosted wildberries. She met his gaze. The combination of her nearness, her scent, and the cautious look in her lovely eyes had his whole body reacting.

Oh, this was such a bad idea.

ForEverlyIG3Review

If you’re looking for a sweet New Adult Contemporary romance, this is definitely the novel for you!  I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  It was effortlessly entertaining, and even with the darker aspects, you still felt the overall sweetness of the story.  That is both a pro and a con, however.  Sometimes one needs those deeper aspects to fully connect with the main characters of a story and I felt that was the case here.

Cole, despite his drunken beginning, was a nice guy.  He was the perfectly nice baseball player with looks, attitude, and awesome athleticism.  Everly was smart, sweet, and almost perfectly naive.  She was definitely good at what she did, and you can’t help but like her, but I think I might have connected with her a tad more if she had had some sort of flaw there.  Outside of grief in her past, she’s practically perfect.  Cole was also almost too nice to be real.  You like him, but like with Everly, I’m not sure there is a real deep connection.

However, the story keeps you guessing, and entertained, as the small bits of information that gets doled out was done expertly and with just the right amount of mystery that you can’t help but love this story.  The overall plot and setting of the story was very well done.  The author obviously knew her baseball!  (At least it seemed like it to me, and I don’t know squat about baseball!)  So awesome storytelling.

The overall romance was heated but unfortunately not as heated as I felt it was hinted at.  I don’t mean it should have been full out erotica, but it seemed like it should have been steamier.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it being more ‘clean’ than I expected, exactly.  It just seemed to fit a more YA title than NA.  But there was definitely some great sparks between Cole and Everly.

Overall, I have the characters, whom I liked very much; the story which was very, very well-done, the chemistry between the characters, and the connection with the reader, which was also good.  However, I felt it could have been a tad bit better in connecting with us readers, or making us feel everything the characters did.  This story was a very sweet romance and well worth snatching up and reading, especially if you want a sweet romance with a very HEA to read.  I mean there IS a reason I keep using sweet in this review!

4 stars!

 
Author Bio:
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
 
Author Links:

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.