Posted in Book Tours, Emma Hart, New Adult, Romance

BOOK TOUR: The Love Game (#1)- Emma Hart

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HELLLLLLLO!

Today is my stop on Emma Hart’s The Love Game book tour and I shall be giving you my review of this amazingly brilliant book.

If you click on the banner, it will take you to the GoodReads page of The Love Game for you to add to your TBR list 😉

So without further ado, here is my review 🙂

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17341522Synopsis

His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.

Her challenge? Play the player.

Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he’s everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn’t she say no? She doesn’t know either.

Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her – and he’d do anything to have her, hence why he’s agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it’s the only way he’ll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there’s more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined – and he can’t help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn’t just a walking erection – he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don’t exactly hurt. That means trouble – but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren’t so alike anymore.

And maybe, just maybe, they’re exactly what each other needs.

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My Review

The Love Game is about Braden and Maddie. They have only been in university for a couple of weeks, but Braden already has a reputation for leading girls on, sleeping with them then dumping them straight after. But it doesn’t stop them coming back for more.

He’s everything Maddie hates.

So one night at the guy’s frat house party, and after watching girls ogle at Braden, the girls challenge Maddie to stop the playboy antics and make Braden fall in love with her in a month. Sleep with him then dump him. Getting a taste of his own medicine. She reluctantly agrees.

Over the other side of the room, Braden is watching Maddie and he’s wanted her in his bed for weeks. His friends also challenge him to make her fall in love with him in a month, and sleep with her then dump her. He also agrees.

What neither of them anticipated was that the more time they spend together, the more they share with each other, the more the rules of the game are being blurred from just being a game to win, to falling in love with one another.

But what happens when it’s all out in the open? They both played the game, they both hurt one another but can they get past that and be together once more…for real this time though?

The first page. THE very first page and I knew that I couldn’t put The Love Game down. The first book I read of Emma Hart’s was Never Forget and when I read the synopsis for this one of Goodreads, well, I just had to get this book in my life asap. Receiving an Advanced Copy to review as part of the book tour, I gobbled it up in less than 24 hours. Seriously, that is how hooked I was because I needed to know how it ended. If it did, indeed, end badly or happily. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book based on a story like this. Where a girl plays the player to get him to fall in love, have sex than dump him and a boy plays to get her to fall in love, have sex then dump her. They pretty much are playing the same game, but they are both are oblivious to it.  I loved this concept and desperately needed to finish the book as soon as I started it.

Emma’s writing style is flawless. The Love Game had me captivated from the first page. It was of pure brilliance and I was feeling all sorts of emotions throughout the book. Happiness, sadness, anger. It had me laughing, crying, shaking my kindle at the pair of them, wanting them to stop with the games and confess. Confess the game they were playing, confess how they both ended up falling for one another. Books that evoke such emotion, in my eyes, are the best kind.

Maddie is a great character. She moved to California from Brooklyn for school. That and to try and start afresh from the pain in her past. But no matter where you go, the past has a way of following you in some way. She was such a strong person, determined not to let Braden get to her, to hump and dump him, hurt him, like he has done with so many people. She truly hated everything he stood for as he reminded her of her brother. But throughout the book, you find out that although shes a strong character, she is also vulnerable, still in pain over the distress of her past and the present, in the form of her brother’s presence. I really liked the fact that although she was playing Braden, she seemed to trust him enough to tell him about her past and her fears. I felt that was so brave of her to do that.

Over the course of the book, she blossoms. She blossoms from someone who was mildly timid, not wanting to get drunk or swear, as it reminded her of her past, to someone who was out-going, who tried not to let her past define her. She grew more confident in herself and the game/her feelings to realizing that Braden isn’t like her brother at all. They are nothing alike and being scared of that fact was nothing but a blip because Braden was always there for her, through everything that happened. Throughout her pain, her feelings were pure. And the game just made her realize that she needed to let someone love her; let someone into her life and trust them.

Braden had me going in round-a-bouts. We first meet him, he’s flirty, cocky, the playboy of the university and he wants Maddie in his bed badly. When he wants something badly, he always gets it. At times I hated what he was doing. He was very clear with his feelings over the game but then I thought about how I liked Maddie but she was doing the exact same thing to him. Hypercritical? Yes, but I made myself believe she was doing it to stop him sleeping around and he was only doing it for a shag. Then at other times I completely loved him. He was realizing just how hard playing this game was. It truly was a dilemma but one I bloody loved reading.

It really was a bad and forth love/hate with Braden but he showed the true Braden. That there is more to him that his status. He’s caring, protective, funny and will do anything for his friends. I wanted to hate him near the end, but I just couldn’t. He wore his heartbreak on his sleeve and I just needed everything to be okay, for him to stop the moping around and win back the love of his life. Although the game started off as a game, it truly was a face for both of them because everything they did with one another, that was pure.

I love, love, love dual POVS. Especially in this book and what it is all about. Playing a game. It was brilliant to get into both Maddie and Braden’s heads and see exactly how they were both playing each other and completely oblivious to one another’s games. How they both thought they had one another wrapped round their fingers. But I also liked how you went through a journey with both characters in the POV. Following them down a path of realizing this wasn’t a game anymore and their feelings for one another were changing but they had to keep the feelings inside and keep up an appearance for their friends. I thoroughly enjoyed their journeys into the unknown, into wanting more from each other than what they initially thought they wanted.

I pretty much fell in love from the word ‘get go’ with Kay, Lila and Megan. HOLY CRAP, these girls are amazing. The lines they come out with, ohhh, they had me in stitches, so much so, I was highlighting every single line I loved from them. They are funny, sarcastic, and supportive and their closeness was lovely to see. To watch they be there for one another, especially Maddie when family and Braden problems arise. They are the kind of friends that I would love to have (and I do, to some extent). They are pure brilliance.

I’m going to share a few lines that I LOVED and had me laughing so hard:

Lila: “Knock knock on your cock”
Kay: “Lurking outside girls’ dorms isn’t a good look for you.” And “You have a stalker down here” (About Braden)
Megan: “The way to Braden’s heart is through his dick.”

That is all you are getting, because seriously, you have to find and read these lines by yourself. They were just a little teaser as to what you’ll expect from these girls!

The love Game from me gets 5 stars. I was like a fish getting caught in the waters. I fell for this book hook, line and sinker. It’s a journey of love, game playing, heartbreak, trust and growing up. You see each character grow up in their own way; you see how love conquers all even when you don’t want it to and that the two people who just wanted to play one another, are really the two people who are meant to be together.

I DEFINITELY recommend The Love Game.

Posted in Family, Jamie McGuire, New Adult, Romance

Beautiful Disaster (#1)- Jamie McGuire

11505797Synopsis

INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

5/5 stars

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My Review

Abby Abernathy moves away to college with her best friend America to Eastern University. Wanting to distance herself from her past and everything to do with it, she arrives at college a ‘good girl.’ But when she encounters the univerisity’s walking one-night stander, Travis Maddox, her new beginning far away from her past is now being challenged.

Enter Travis Maddox. Your typical bad boy, covered in tattoos, hoards of girls throwing themselves at him and the ultimate winner in the floating fight ring. He is everything Abby used to know and everything she wants and needs to stay away from. But when his charms are resisted by Abby, he’s suddenly drawn to her and challenges her to a bet. If he loses, he has to stop whoring around for a month and if Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time.

But neither of them realized is that when the month is up, it’s changed both of them.

I read Beautiful Disaster many, many months ago. Long before I set up my book review blog. With Walking Disaster around the corner, and having the privilege to read it, thanks to NetGalley, I read this alongside Walking Disaster as there were certain scenes I had forgotten about. But now I have read it again, I think it’s time Beautiful Disaster graced my blog and had its own review, in courtesy of being such an AMAZING book and so Abby and Travis can go side by side on my blog when my Walking Disaster review goes up tomorrow.

Abby moved as far away as she could to start her life again. She wanted to leave the past in the past and tell no one her secrets, apart from America, of course, who has been her best friend since they were little and been there every step of the way. Wanting to just concentrate on university and not get mixed up with anything that will remind her of her past life, its then that she meets Travis ‘MadDog’ Maddox who ultimately switches her life upside down. She resists his charms, because she had been through this before. But then Travis can’t stay away, so the more time they spend together, the more feelings are starting to change. Making a bet, Abby loses and has to stay with Travis for a month. Easy, she can do that, but then everything from dating, to gossip and rumours being spread about her and Travis is tipping her and with Travis’s hot and cold tempers confusing her, can she make it through the month?

I really liked Abby. She just wanted to disappear from her past and start afresh. A place where no one knew who she was and the type of person she was. She tried to be the ‘good girl’ but throughout the book, you see her spark. The old her is slowly reappearing and you see her spunk, her attack back. But you also see the vulnerable side to her. The side she doesn’t want to show but with Travis and her feelings, she can’t help it. She tries for so long to keep them under wraps, not wanting to be dragged back into what she came to get away from, but it was too damn hard in the end to stay away. I could see her reasoning for not wanting to be with Travis, even though she blatantly wanted him like he wanted her. She wasn’t a doormat to the relationship, she spoke out and stood up for herself, even knowing that being with him probably wasn’t the best idea as the relationship was so turbulent and she even left him for a couple of weeks, but no matter what happened, they always came back together.

Travis is known throughout the university as being a ladies’ man. He bags them then dumps them. That’s just how he is. But every single girl wants to try and tame him, not getting far enough to do so. He’s never wanted to be with a girl long enough to include feelings but then Abby comes along and after one meeting after his fight, he sees something in her that kind of reminds him, of him. She had this innocent look but he could see through her. See that she had been hurt before. Knowing she is different from the girls he sleeps with, he wants to get to know her. So making a bet one night at his fight, Abby loses and moves in with Travis for a month. Never being in love, this month proves to Travis how much he can’t and doesn’t want to be without Abby. She is the first girl to ever make him feel that way and it makes him fight for her – even if he sometimes pushes her too far by his tempers and possessiveness as they aren’t going out…yet.

There are so many obstacles and issues standing between Abby and Travis. Abby acts like she doesn’t want Travis but deep down she does, she just doesn’t and can’t get involved with him. It was a real up and down rollercoaster with these two that at times I wanted to strangle them because they needed to get their shit together and just confess that they loved each other than going around in circles and starting back at the beginning once again.

But when they do get together, it’s still a rollercoaster of a ride. They have high and lows, break-ups, scream and shouts, and tears and I just wanted to throw them into a room, make them talk it all out and get them back together.

Their relationship as Shepley puts it: “When you’re happy, its love and peace and butterflies. When you’re pissed, you rake the whole fucking world down with you!” Yes, this is basically what it was. But, when they get all the jealousy and insecurities out of the way at the end, then yes, their love – even throughout everything that happened in the book – can withstand anything that is thrown their way and the ending was perfect for those two.

It started with a bet and finishes with one.

Many people don’t like this book because of Travis and his temper and possessiveness. The way he flies of the handle in some scenes, trashing the apartment, throwing punches at people who disrespect Abby. Okay, so most of the temper was due to his and Abby’s relationship but he would of NEVER hit Abby and although lashing out probably wasn’t the best way to act, remember he grew up with 4 brothers who, of course, you’re going to play fight and fight when you get angry at each other. (You’ll understand his temper and issues in Walking Disaster so much more better because it’s Travis’s POV). I’m not condoning his actions, but since reading W.D, I can’t see why he’s angry and jealous and insecure in B.D.

But deep down, Travis, to me, has so much love to give, he just needed to find and fight for the right one. The one being Abby. He is a jerk and jealous and protective but to me, I think it’s because she was the one who turned him upside down. The one who unlocked all these unusual and scary feelings within him that he had no idea how to handle it because he was a ‘screw them and leave them’ kinda guy for years but then Abby appears and throws him for account. Although it takes him a long time to control his emotions, you really does love Abby and them having a happily ever after was exactly what both of them deserved after the journey they had gone on to get to that point.

They both truly are a beautiful disaster together and I can’t see them being with anyone else apart from one another. It was a long journey to get where they got to, but in the end, no matter what they both said to one another throughout the book, no matter how much time they spent apart, they always came back together, like a magnet. People say us young ‘un’s don’t know real love…but this love? This hot, possessive, consuming, powerful love they have for one another? You can’t say that teenagers/young adults don’t know love, because it doesn’t matter how old you are, love hits everyone, and it certainly did for Abby and Travis.

If you still haven’t read Beautiful Disaster, I suggest you go and buy it/download it and then pre-order Walking Disaster because once you fall for Travis in B.D, you will definitely want to know his side of the story in Walking Disaster!

Posted in Music, Romance

Perfect Partners – Stephanie Cage

17251838Synopsis

“What’s he doing back in London after all this time?”

Eight years ago, Lisa Darby’s dancing partner and first love, Redmond Carrington, left London for a fun summer on the cruise ships – and never came back. Lisa’s grown up a bit since then, and she’d like to think she’s prepared for anything, but when Red comes back from America with a proposal for her, she’s not sure she’s ready for what he’s suggesting.

A TV studio is filming a knockout competition of six of the world’s best couples – each of them partners both on and off the dance floor. Redmond wants Lisa to pose as his girlfriend so that they can compete. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for an aspiring professional dancer, and the spectacular prize money would help save Lisa’s beloved dance studio, which is in need of major renovation. Scooping the prize is going to take the performance of a lifetime from Lisa and Redmond, but with the sizzling tension between them, they might just pull it off.

It turns out that putting on an act for the cameras is the least of Lisa’s worries. As time goes on and she rediscovers her feelings for Redmond, she’s left questioning what’s really behind his offer, and where their partnership is heading this time.

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My Review

It’s been eight years since Redmond walked out of Lisa’s life to work on a cruise ship for the summer. Eight years since he left and never looked back. Until now.

Redmond has spent the past eight years in America dancing. Lisa has tried to forget about him but being her dance partner and the guy who stole her heart at eighteen, it comes to a shock that he’s now back in London for a few weeks. He wants them both to compete in TV dancing show called Couples to win money to keep open and refurbish their old dancing school. Only thing is that they need to be an actual couple and so Lisa agrees to pretend, for the sake of saving the dance school.

It turns out that even after all those years apart, the chemistry is still as obvious as it was when they were teenagers and it was like they were never apart. Faking it in front of the cameras isn’t the hard part. The hard part is all the feelings resurfacing for Redmond which leaves her questioning his actions between the two of them and what he really wants out of this competition and them after so long.

Stephanie Cage emailed me last night asking if I would like to review Perfect Partners. Reading the synopsis and staring at the book cover instantly grabbed my attention and because I love dancing shows, I just had to email back and accept her offer of receiving a review copy. I was drawn in from the start. Instantly intrigued from the first page, as the opening line is “What’s he doing back in London after all this time?” Yes, I wanted to know why he was back too, so I knew I had to click through the pages, to find out the reason Redmond was back after so many years away.

Stephanie’s writing flowed with ease, from page to page. It was like I was hypnotized and I would not stop turning the pages, wanting to try and figure out myself why Redmond was back, if Lisa’s paranoia was something that was true, if they would win the contest. Perfect Partners really does hold your attention and before you know it, you would have finished without a second thought of the time passing you by.

The imagery Stephanie portrayed with all the descriptions of the dances had my mind playing out the sequences that Lisa and Red were doing, imagining all the costumes and make-up that Lisa had to wear too. It truly was a great way to imagine all the glitz and glamour of the dancing world and the chemistry that poured off Lisa and Red in my head during both the dances and outside the TV show.

Perfect Partners start with Lisa asking Elaine – the owner of the dance school – why Redmond was back in London and why he wanted her to dance with him in the TV competition. She agrees, after some deliberation and finds out that Redmond is downstairs, waiting for her. Pushing away her nerves, she goes to meet him and even after eight years, it was like all those years just merged into one.

I loved the fact Redmond and Lisa could just easily get back into how they were years ago. Remembering the old dance routines, keeping up with one another and pushing their boundaries with more daring moves. It was great that they could just flow back to the old times. Saying that, I did feel sorry for Lisa at the beginning. Although she and Red were nothing more than dance partners in their teenage years, she was burnt by him when he left and after a couple of postcards he just stopped all contact. For him to come back after all those years and not say anything about his going when they first saw each other again, made me so angry at him. But then I felt angry at Lisa too. She could have scowled him the moment she saw him about why he never came back, why he never stayed in touch. I would be fuming at him thinking he could just come back and make me enter a competition with him without so much as a ‘sorry’.

But throughout the book, you DO find out why Red didn’t return and why he didn’t keep in touch. It tore my heart that they both processed strong feelings for one another but Red was scared about them. But now he was back, he wanted to make it up to Lisa; to prove he won’t leave again.

You go through a journey of dance and emotions with both Red and Lisa. You see how much they fit together, how easy it was to fall back into being dance partners and friends once again. Especially with old feelings resurfacing for Red, from Lisa. It really was a love/hate with Red. At times I felt his feelings for Lisa were pure. That he really did want to be with her and he really did mean what he said but then when Lisa began doubting it, I did too. She planted these doubts in my head too with what she was over thinking.

I think that came from her independence though. She had spent so long being independent and for Red to come back and tell his feelings for her, it’s enough to turn your world a bit topsy turvy as you now have someone who wants to do things for you. I did admire her for not wanting anyone to do anything for her, because it proved she was a strong woman but Red let her be independent but would do anything for her, if she asked him too.

At the end, it all comes to light about why Redmond was back and why he wanted to do the TV show. I have to say, the amount of phone calls he got throughout the book and the trip back to America made me a bit suspicious about him. I really thought he had a kid back in America but thank god I was mistaken. I loved what he did and the reason for it.

He really did redeem himself though, and although he should have told her at the beginning what the calls were about, I could see why he didn’t too. But then everyone seemed to know apart from Lisa but I could see why he wouldn’t tell her because he’d been away and not spoken to her for so long that he just needed to know if she still felt the same way as he did.

I do love Red though. He did take me a while to warm up to, but after, I just wanted to be his dance partner. He’s all muscular and has such a passion for dancing. You can see the passion burning from within him, but other than dancing, his other passion is Lisa. There are hints throughout the book that the feeling is mutual, even though they haven’t said anything to each other, but Lisa is oblivious to it, until Redmond tells her his feelings. He’s not a man that speaks a lot, but reading his speeches, I was hooked on him. He was there for Lisa throughout everything that happened in the weeks they spent together and they were such the perfect couple, regardless of Lisa’s doubts that she planted in her mind. He didn’t do anything to make her distrust his feelings. Not really.

The scene I loved was the last one actually. I know what sounds really bad, but trust me, the book is amazing! But I just loved when Lisa’s was really upset and Red seemed panicked over it, wondering why she ran off and what was wrong. He told her everything and completely put her mind at ease that nothing about this was a publicity thing; that he kept everything a secret from her because he wanted to make sure she would talk to him. It was a great scene and you really felt and were shown the powerful feelings Red had for Lisa and that he would do anything for her, even if she thought dance was number one and she was number two, which at that present moment in time wasn’t true, as they had both missed the results of the winners, deeming her more important, especially after his confession.

Perfect Partners definitely has a Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars feel to it. I’ve been a fan of SCD for years and I knew I had to read it. It took me back to imagining the couples dancing together, the chemistry, the dance routines and dances and rooting for my favourite couple to win. Which of course, was Redmond and Lisa! You totally have to root for them!

Stephanie Cage has written a great book in Perfect Partners and if you are looking for a read which includes dancing, old and new feelings, a hunky man in the name of Redmond, perfect imagery and a journey throughout the show and their personal life, then definitely download this book tomorrow (Monday 25th Feb). You won’t be disappointed at all!

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Partners-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BFD2F9A
US: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Partners-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BFD2F9A