Review: The Accidental Kiss

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The Accidental Kiss

Author: Nicole Simone
Series: The Kiss series, #1
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Nicole Simone
Publication Date: August 12th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 279
Source: InkSlinger PR
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Synopsis (Goodreads):

They were like fire and ice.

But he was everything she didn’t know she needed.

Marked by tragedy, Sky Noel leaves Los Angeles with her mom to start anew in Castor, a small town in Louisiana. It was supposed to be Sky’s chance to have a normal life but she soon finds out normal isn’t written in her DNA.

When a mysterious boy named Daemon shakes up Sky’s fragile hold on reality, she is thrust into a world where zombies and voodoo not only exist in the pages of a novel. They are hidden in the darkest corners where danger lurks and death awaits. With a price on her head, Sky has to put her trust in the boy with the ocean blue eyes but is Daemon everything she was warned against and more?

Tricked into selling his soul, Daemon lives out his existence at the mercy of the voodoo priest. That is until one fateful night when his path is forever changed.

Desperate to atone for his sins, Daemon brings it upon himself to protect Sky at any cost. However, a secret hidden in his past could rip away the very person who makes him feel human again.

 

Opening Lines

The stark white hallways smelled like cleaning fluid as I navigated my way through the throngs of students. I glanced down at the piece of white paper with the number 301 written on it and looked back up. Down right panic coursed through my veins when I realized the lockers didn’t have numbers on them; only weird symbols that looked as if they belonged in a geometry book. I was totally screwed. ”

Excerpt From: Nicole Simone. “The Accidental Kiss.” iBooks.

The Good

…she soon finds out normal isn’t written in her DNA.”

Oh Sky, I kind of giggled at how far from normal her life really is! The second I saw the cover for The Accidental Kiss I just knew I had to read it. I mean have you seen that cover? Go ahead; scroll back up at look at it. Hot right?! I love the pose of the characters, and the smoking background and skulls are a perfect touch for this paranormal book. I honestly had my fingers tripled crossed hoping I would make it onto the tour, and it was my Waiting on Wednesday pick on my other blog. This book sounded amazing and I knew there would be a lot of people signing up. Thank you InkSlinger PR!!

I devoured this book as soon as I received the ARC, I read it so fast that a couple of days later I had to re-read it. I did some research and found out that Nicole has been working on this story for 5 years, this just goes to prove that handwork really pays off! I loved this book so much. I don’t read a lot of Paranormal books because I’m a picky individual but this one is making it onto my paranormal favourites list! The world building was executed perfectly, which is something a lot of authors struggle with in the fantasy and paranormal genre. There is a unique and interesting combination of zombies (omg, yes) and magic/voodoo that really works out well in this story.

Now let’s talk about the characters, they are just PERFECT! Sky is an all around great character, she can handle her own and does a really good job at adapting to her new lifestyle, plus I loved her attitude. Now Daemon…can I have him? Please?! If I was to ever come across a real life Daemon I would jump him in a heartbeat! The chemistry between them is great, and the sexual tension. OMG! I had the biggest grin on my face while reading certain parts of this! And the little one liners Daemon would give had me laughing so hard. Daemon and Sky were seriously a perfect combination that really complemented each other. The only thing I didn’t like, and it’s really minor, was the ending! For me it came too soon and now I’m impatiently waiting for book two! I’ll be stalking Nicole’s Goodreads page & Website to try until I find a release date :).

Lasting Impression

Overall, The Accidental Kiss did not disappoint me! I cannot wait to continue with this series, seriously I just can’t wait. I also plan on reading more by Nicole Simone, I really love her writing style. I’ll be re-reading this again later this month, yes I loved it THAT much!

4.5 stars

Giveaway!

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About the Author

Nicole Simone works in digital media by day and at night, pen’s character driven romance novels that will make your mama blush. She lives in Los Angeles, C.A with her fat bulldog named Humphrey.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Review: Playing With Matches

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Playing With Matches

Author: Suri Rosen
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Romance
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 255
Source: ECW Press
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks
Chapters | Kobo | Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads):

A cross between Jane Austen’s Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker!

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt-but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One.

Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her secret life catch up with her?

In this debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.

 

**I received an advanced copy from ECW Press in exchange for an honest review**

Opening Lines

Here’s some advice if you plan on taking the Number 7 down Bathurst Street at 7:36 a.m. Do not sit downwind from the woman eating the industrial-grade tuna fish. And if The Groomer is on the bus, get ready to duck at the first sign of the nail clippers.”

The Good

If I could sum up Playing With Matches using only one word it would be Cute with a capital C!! Seriously, I think my face still hurts from smiling so much awhile reading this!

First off I just have to talk about the cover and my physical copy of this book. I was sent a PDF version until Playing with Matches was ready to be mailed out; when I opened the PDF I was so surprised by the cover design. I love the choice of colors and font used. I remember looking at it thinking how soft it looks! And when it came in the mail and I basically fell in love with it. The cover, the back of it, the font used, colour choices, the text style and the little arrows were all just beautiful touches to make this book look fantastic! And the spine! Let me just say that this book looks amazing on my bookshelf. I mean, if you still want to go and buy the ebook version, sure knock yourself out! But you’ll be missing out on one BEAUTIFUL book!

Raina Resnick is the main character and narrator throughout Playing With Matches, and I have to say that her character brought this story to life! I loved her character development throughout the book, it made her into a realistic character that people can relate to. I admit I was on the fence on if I would really like Raina’s character at the start of the book, but you quickly grow to love her. One thing that really bothered me was Raina’s family. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD YOU BLAME HER?! Ben was clearly a loser who didn’t understand that no family is perfect. My heart broke for Raina,  she was really just trying to make everyone else happy. Who hasn’t been in a similar situation of trying to make others happy?!

Now Suri Rosen…debut novel? Lies I tell you, LIES!! I’m only kidding. But Suri Rosen if you happen to actually read this I would like you to know that I am in awe of you. The writing style was perfect, everything just had a great flow. I have to say the biggest (and best) thing that I didn’t see coming was the fact that Suri Rosen didn’t focus on giving Raina a love interest. This made Playing With Matches refreshing and unique compared to all the young adult books that do focus on love interest. Suri Rosen proved that there is more to a character than falling in love, and that’s an important message!

Lasting Impression

Overall, Playing With Matches was such a cute read and I loved it to pieces!! A unique and refreshing read that has made its way onto my favourites list. A huge congratulations goes out to Suri Rosen, what a fantastic debut novel! I look forward to reading more of her work. Did I love it? YES. Should you read it? HECK YES!!!

5 stars

 

Giveaway!

Open internationally.

One (1) paperback copy of Playing With Matches!

Playing With Matches

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Review: Melt

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Melt

Author: Selene Castrovilla
Series: N/A
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Last Syllable Books
Expected Publication Date: November 6th, 2014
Format: PDF
Pages: 315
Source: Jen Halligan PR

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It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul. 

Melt is a brutal love story, set against the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family’s secret – about to be unleashed.

Told in dual first person, Joey’s words are scattered on the page – reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason – until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?

Melt is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance.

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Have you ever read something dark? So dark that it leaves you feeling numb. You sit there after, your brain still trying to process everything you just read. That was me once I finished reading Melt. I’ve never read anything by Ellen Hopkins, and I’ve never read anything dark. If there’s a book that I’ve read that’s classified as dark, it shouldn’t be. Selena Castrovilla’s Melt is the true definition of a book that is both dark and deep.

All those years building and all it took was for a puddle to bring it down.

Melt is told through two different perspectives from Dorothy and Joey. I liked Joey’s perspective the most because I felt like with every word he painted a vivid picture that will forever be etched into my mind. The writing style took a couple of chapters to get use to, but I liked having the dual perspectives; it allowed you to really grasp what took place.

We didn’t speak, and yet we were communicating. Getting to know each other, without words. When you think about it, words don’t count for much anyway. It’s the intentions behind them that count.

Selene managed to perfectly capture such a devastating and realistic topic and carry it through with a solid plot and deep characters. She kept my heart thumping one I got to the last couple of chapters. At one point I panicked wondering how the book would come to an end. Would I be able to prepare myself? Nope. The ending was power and I re-read about 3 times.

Overall, Melt is the kind of book that you won’t be able to shake; it’ll haunt you. I recommended this book to everyone! As long as people don’t take this as a Wizard of Oz retelling there is nothing to be disappointed about. I’m highly looking forward to what the final layout will be once this hits stores in November.

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4 Stars


 

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* One (1) winner will receive a signed ARC of MELT and $25 Amazon/B&N gift card (US/CA only).

* Three (3) winners will receive an ebook copy of Melt (International).

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***

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Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April 2013. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website www.SeleneCastrovilla.com for book excerpts and more information!

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Review: Ex-Factor/Unbreakable

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Ex-Factor

Author: Elisa Dane
Series: Diamond Girls, #1
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: April 14th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 207
Source: YA
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

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Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl.

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it.

But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died.

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

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When I first read the synopsis for this book I just knew I had to read it. Being a retired competitive cheerleader (yes, we consider it retiring) I just couldn’t pass up the possibility of reading this book!

There is a huge lack of respect for cheerleaders, and when you argue your case on it being a SPORT people just laugh. I would like to see those people go through what I did for 7 years. Hardcore conditioning, tumble across sprung and non-sprung floor, tumbling with a concussion, sprain ankle, or a non fully recovered hairline fracture in their lower back, practice anywhere from 6 – 12 hours a week, jump with your toes pointed and those jumps better be pretty, tuck out of a triple toe touch, be able to lift a girl and I don’t mean just lift. Can you hold a girl above your head? Rewind her, tick tock, and continue to hold her while she pulls her stretch, scorpion and scale and double down? Sounds intense doesn’t it? Because it is!

I enjoyed seeing this perspective on the cheerleading world! Even if you’re not a cheerleader, you can’t ignore the true elements it shows of being part of a family. Elisa made me want to pull out my cheer shoes and find a local cheer gym. But it’s not just because of the cheerleading why I loved this book; Ex-Factor manages to touch on some seriously deep and important concepts. She brings you everything a YA contemporary novel should have, no fluff and you can’t help but read it all in one sitting as you watched Nev deal with losing and parent and having to endure a fresh start in a new town, but most of all she brings successful self-discovery for Nev.

Overall, Ex-Factor is a strong YA contemporary read that I just couldn’t put down. I can’t wait to start Unbreakable!

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4 Stars


Unbreakable

Author: Elisa Dane
Series: Diamond Girls, #2
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: June 10th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 225
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

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Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer’s elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie’s the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that’s the illusion she’s aiming for.

But Livvie’s seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate.

For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach.

But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he’s found someone he can finally trust.

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After reading Ex-Factor I couldn’t wait to jump back into the world of the Diamond Girls! Unbreakable focuses on Livvie, who is Nev’s cousin but don’t worry Nev still makes an appearance in this book! While this is the 2nd book in the Diamond Girls series it can also be read as a standalone.

I have to say though; I loved this book more than Ex-Factor. In Unbreakable we get the real scoop on Livvie’s life, the life that everyone thinks is perfect but it’s far from. My heart broke for Livvie, she’s such a sweet individual and the harm she endures makes you want to just give her a tight hug and never let go! But Reid Tate beats us to it, the hot bad boy next door. I loved the dynamics of their relationship and how it naturally ran its course to evolve! There wasn’t any insta-love, Reid helps Livvie and his support for her just makes your heart melt!

Overall, Unbreakable is another fantastic YA contemporary by Elisa that has the perfect romance with true elements of personal struggle and search trust and love from someone. These are both two YA Contemporary reads that you won’t want to miss out on! I can’t wait to read whatever Elisa Dane has in stores next!!

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5 stars


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* a ebook copy of Ex-Factor & $10 Amazon Gift Card!

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I’m a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!

I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it’s my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you’ll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

PUBLISHER LINKS

http://www.myswoonromance.com

@swoonromance

Facebook.com/SwoonRomance

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Review: Then and Always

**I received an advanced copy of Then and Always from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review and participation in their blog tour.**

 Thank you to Elizabeth Cameron from Penguin Canada!


Then and Always

Author: Dani Atkins
Series: N/A
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication Date: May 20th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 320
Source: Penguin Canada / Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Chapters | Kobo

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Absorbing, surprising, and heart-rending, Dani Atkins’s debut novel follows a young woman who, after an accident, gets a second chance at life … just not the one she remembers.

Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at a top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart. Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth.

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What if?

What if is a simple question with a not so simple (endless) list of possibilities.

Everyone has that moment in their life, or maybe even a few, where you sit there thinking “what if?” What if I did this differently? How much would my life and/or perspective have changed? The answer? We’ll never really know. That is unless you’re Rachel Wiltshire.

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When I started Then and Always I truthfully did not know what to expect. You read the synopsis and you understand what the back-story is, but there is no way to prepare yourself for what you’re truly about to experience while reading this.

Then and Always should have been a comfy read for me, and what that means is I should have dressed in comfy clothes; an added bonus would be a pair of fluffy slippers (if only I had a pair), a cup of tea to my left, my cat sleeping to my right, and a box of Kleenex directly in my lap. And if I was really lucky, a tub of ice cream in the freeze and a box of Ferrero Rochers just waiting to be devoured. 

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Instead? I read 87% of this hunched over my laptop, eyes scanning from left to right. If I had a physical copy you would hear nothing but me vigorously flipping the pages waiting to find out what would happen next. From the minute you finish the first chapter YOU ARE HOOKED. Dani knows how to do more than just write a novel, she knows how to captivate you and leave you wanting more but taking away a beautiful and truthful life lesson. She had my emotions trapped on a roller coaster throughout this whole novel; I was basically sitting on the edge of my seat trying to predict what the end result would be. You can try to prepare yourself for the tears that will fall, but you can’t prepare yourself for all the emotions, THE FEELS!

Dani Atkins uses first-person narration through Rachel to tell the story and I couldn’t imagine it being conveyed any other way. Can I also just say that first-person narrative is something you don’t come across often; or when you do it’s not done probably, but she executes this beautifully.

Overall, I’m going to go ahead and boldly say that Then and Always is THE book of the summer. Dani Atkins deserves a huge amount of recognition and praise for this book. I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that she’s a first time author! This is a book you won’t want to miss out on, and an author to keep your eye out for.
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I give this 5 beautiful fluttering butterflies!!!
5 stars

Again, I would like to send a HUGE thank you to Elizabeth Cameron from Penguin Canada for allowing me to take part of this blog tour!

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Book Review: Of Happiness

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Of Happiness

Author: Olivia Luck
Series: In Pursuit, #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Olivia Luck
Publication Date: May 20th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 326
Source: Love Between the Sheets Promotions
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“Now that I have you, I’m never letting you go.”

Edith Neff relocated to Chicago to capture her own piece of happiness. Now bombarded with more change than she knows how to manage, Eddie struggles to pick of the pieces of her torn heart and decimated friendship.

Standing in the middle of a sidewalk while her (ex?) boyfriend Harris Grant pleads for forgiveness, Eddie’s at a loss what to do next. So when her estranged father provides a lifeline – she has no option than to take his offer.

But Harris won’t let Eddie go without a fight. He’ll use whatever tactics necessary to win back his girl. While Eddie and Harris find their way back together, darkness lurks, unwilling to relent on destroying their relationship. Permanently.

Note: Of Happiness is the sequel to In Pursuit. Content intended for readers 18+.

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“Quick! Pull out your lip gloss,” Sean instructs as he drops into the open seat next to me.

“What?” I laugh.

He tugs my purse out of my lap and begins rifling through with frantic fingers. When he finds the berry-colored stick, he instructs me to part my lips.

“What’s going on?” I mutter through my frozen facial expression. My eyes dart to Luke, who wrings his hands in his seat next to my dad.

“Ponytail doesn’t have enough volume,” Sean says to himself as stretches behind me to tighten the elastic on my hair. Then he reaches forward and musses the fine strands around my face, giving a more messy appearance than I’m used to. “I guess your outfit will do.” I look down at my cuffed boyfriend jeans, gray muted leopard tank, and navy blue cardigan. The anxiety I had sort of forgotten about reestablishes itself firmly as a boulder in my gut.

“Luke,” I say gravely. “Tell me.”

“He insisted,” he says softly.  “I’m sorry, I should have asked you first—”

An inexplicable shiver rolls through my shoulders. The low murmur of my friends and the other patrons at Rusty’s falls away.  

Harris.

He’s the only person who elicits this type of bodily response. I remain rigid and unmoving except for my sweaty palms which I place on my thighs.

“Luke, my man! How are you?” A strong hand slaps Luke’s shoulder.

“Matt, hey.” His worried expression eases into a cheerful one when he shakes hands with a man wearing a large, black boot cast. Next to Matt is the beautiful, caramel-haired woman, Jane, who was with Harris in his convertible.

And then it’s him.

Harris’ masculine scent surrounds me. He braces his arms on the back of my chair, overwhelming me with his physical presence. I’m swirling in a sea of Harris, unable to resist his pull. He dips closer and then his lips brush oh so gently against my flushed cheek. The intimate contact sends my heart into overdrive.

“Hello, Edith,” he murmurs against my skin before pulling away.

I nearly swoon against the wood chair. Damn. 

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Of Happiness picks up right where In Pursuit left off, with many readers wonder what will happen next for Eddie & Harris? Will they get their happy ever after? Would Eddie even take him back? And when will someone put Claire in her place?! There were so many questions running through my head when I started Of Happiness and Olivia managed to answer every single one of them! When it sadly came to an end there wasn’t a single part of me that felt certain plot twists were left unresolved, yep, she’s THAT good!

This was an epic conclusion to Harris and Eddie. Ms. Luck truly takes you through the roller-costar of emotions throughout this book. We experience Eddie trying to mend her broken heart and put all the pieces back together, but we also get to see how determined Harris is to get her back and he’ll let nothing get in the way of the woman he loves. But of course, Claire is still in the picture, so we know that Harris and Eddie’s road to happiness won’t be an easy one. But how much can Eddie take? How much is too much? You really need to pick up this book to find out ;).

4.5 stars


 photo cf886107-e7e2-4e70-b8b2-49a04a64d5bc_zpsff8e7035.png(1)   20.00 Amazon Gift Card
(2)   E-books In Pursuit
(2)   E-books Of Happiness

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Olivia Luck lives in the middle of America with her loving husband and her obsession with writing. She wrote her first romance novel at age eight. When she’s not reading, editing, or writing, you can find her in the kitchen learning to cook. Olivia loves to travel and spend time with her family.
Get in touch with Olivia, she adores emails: olivialuckauthor@gmail.com
And if you’re on social media, you can find her there too:

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