Thursday, 13 March 2014

Blog Tour: Excerpt & Giveaway: Flawed Perfection

Title: Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed #1)
Author: Cassandra Giovanni
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 7th March 2014
Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Signed Paperback

Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player--he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.

River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She's been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she's stuck right in the middle of the brother's dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn't even know she's the ultimate prize.

Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girl's hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, nobody thought Adam loved anyone but himself.

Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself--or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all...

I nodded my head and watched as Adam's hand lingered on the neck of the Ibanez™ before he picked it back up and slipped the strap over his shoulder.
    I sat on the edge of the bed as he began to play without an amplifier.
    The noise was tinny without the electric part hooked up but that didn't matter.  Adam's fingers moved effortlessly from fret to fret as he strummed the guitar.  His headed nodded ever so slightly to the beat and his bare foot tapped the floor as he closed his eyes and a smile formed on his lips.
    I stood and placed my hands around his neck, yet he continued to play, nod his head and tap his foot with his eyes closed.  The only change was on his lips as they crept into the seductive grin.
    I leaned into him, letting my hands comb through the hair on the back of his head as my breath washed over his lips.
    Still nothing.  The guitar continued to hum with his talent.
    I let my lips hover over his, then let them wander over the soft skin of his neck and up the stubble of his chin.  The beat remained smooth, undisturbed as the strings squealed and he deepened the riff.
    I paused as my lips reached his again, lingering at the corner of his mouth where the cold metal of his lip ring teased me just as much as his fingers on the guitar.
    I let my mouth run over the metal until it caught in my teeth and I sucked it in.
    Finally, his body reacted tensing as he groaned - but his playing didn't cease, didn't change.  He still resisted, hand strumming a tease over the strings next to the skin of my belly.
    His mouth responded to mine as I let the ring and his lip slowly slip away from me.  That was it - the guitar spun to his back and he yanked my hips to his own.
    "I need you to play me like that guitar," I gasped as his hand tilted my head and his tongue ran over my trembling neck.
    His other hand drifted down my torso.
    "Good, because I wasn't done with my song," he growled into my ear.
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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Review: 'Til Death

Title: 'Til Death (Fractured Souls #1)
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Released: 4th March 2014
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Selena Fallon has visions of the future.  She's not sure why, and sometimes it makes it hard for her to have an entirely normal life, but it's something she can deal with.  The fact that her best friends and grandparents know also helps.  Except when she has a vision of her death - and it's not a particularly nice one at that - things start to get out of control.  Dillan Sloan is the new boy at school and, not only do they not get along, but weird electricity zaps through them every time they happen to touch.  Missing dogs and undead creatures compound the situation, until Selena discovers that she is part of the Illumenari, the secret society that Dillan also belongs to.  What she also discovers is that she is a target.  So far her visions have never failed to come true, but she has no intention of going down without a fight.

Although by no means her first novel, this is my first experience of Kate Evangelista's work, and I have to say she left a very good impression.  With a solid writing style that improved over the course of the book, and fresh ideas that were also well-executed, this wasn't a difficult one to like.  Realising that we have both the view of Selena and Dillan made me happy, but what I also liked was that the selection of supernatural creatures presented here was pleasantly different, even within the context of the usual secret society types.  Certainly as far as Selena goes, we have not seen everything.  And while a couple of things were predictable, a couple were not, and it is these things that have the most impact on the overall story.  I thought one surprise in particular could have been smoothed over, but there was nothing that truly hindered my enjoyment.  Evangelista almost takes her time, letting you get comfortable with the novel and the pacing, until it really kicks off towards the end and all manner of things fly at you and hit you in the face.

As far as heroines go, Selena falls happily somewhere in the middle.  While I doubt we could label her as badass, she can hold her own; she forces herself to keep it together and, if need be, fight.  She comes across as real, and as such I was able to relate to her.  Of course there were the usual secrets surrounding her, some obvious to me as a reader and some not, but none of it prevented me from feeling sympathy for her.  Nor has it stopped.  Dramatic irony being what it is, I'm impatient for that moment later in the series when she finally knows what I do.  Dillan, too, has his own emotional battles to overcome, and there is a change in him in terms of his approach towards these which was good to see.  I appreciated the different dynamics between him and Selena, and I also liked the established partner relationship he had with Sebastian.  It wasn't quite what I was expecting when I first met him, but it's definitely something that adds to the book.

Overall, then, I was left quite happy with this one.  (Actually, I was also left in disbelief and had to quickly search for the sequel's release date, only to stare in more disbelief, but you get my point.)  As an author new to me Kate Evangelista has made her mark and I will certainly have to go back.