Tour Stop ~ ‘The Reason I Stay’ by Patty Maximini.

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The Reason I Stay by Patty Maximini
Publication date: September 10th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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 SYNOPSIS

Jack Daniels is the cure to all evils.

Sex should be casual and, preferably, anonymous.

Giving a damn is for nurses, philanthropists and suicide hotlines.

My name is Mathew Rogers and those are the values I built my adult life around. They are also the reason I had to forsake everything I loved in Seattle and embark on a solitary road trip across the country, with no direction other than searching for the next small town, the next girl, and the closest liquor store.

Boredom, frustration and a series of unfortunate decisions led me to the rickety-ass town of Jolene, Alabama—a town I wanted to leave behind from the moment I passed the welcome sign. But it was there where I met her. The girl who made me question everything I’ve always believed in, and the only one who has ever had the power to break my heart.

Her name is Lexie.

She’s beautiful, and I’m pretty sure she hates me.

And for once in my life, I give enough of a damn that I keep finding a reason to stay.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Reason I Stay’ by Patty Maximini ~ 5 Stars!

‘The Reason I Stay’ is the perfect feel-good romance for anyone who has grown up or still lives in a small town. Patty Maximini perfectly set the scene for this heartwarming book so that I felt so comfortable and at home in the small town of Jolene, that I was invested in the story even before we got to know the characters better, as they already felt like my neighbours.

Lexie was the perfect heroine, and she was just one of those characters that you root for from the start. I loved her kindness, her compassion and her protective nature to those close to her. The perfect mix of her hope to see the best in everyone and her spunkiness when she is being unfairly treated made her a well rounded and developed character that readers will easily relate to.

Lexie’s love for her home-town shone through Maximini’s words and I really adored having a heroine who was a home-girl and not escaping her past as is very common in this genre.

Now Matt was a pretty unique hero and having to warm to him from the beginning made me love him more later on in the book. I really like seeing characters change through love but it was particularly amazing to see in Matt’s case. To see him want to change and become a better person who feels guilt and feels the need to apologise and make up for his past was really emotional to read, and I loved how in the end he didn’t change for Lexie, he changed for himself. I loved seeing how the small town life affected Matt and helped him develop as a person he felt proud of.

His and Lexie’s relationship was so beautiful to read, and I loved the pacing of it, where we see the progress of their relationship for almost a year before the trigger and peak of the story.

Patty Maximini has a real talent with words and has created a heart-warming story of love, atonement and forgiveness that was stunning from start to finish,

5 stars!

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~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ B&N ~

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Patty
Patty Maximini

Hopeless dreamer, tattoo enthusiast, Disney addict and hoarder of nail polishes and vegan recipes. Patty lives with her husband, her crazy cat, two dogs and elderly bunny in a house frequently visited by wild birds and chipmunks.

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Book Review ~ ‘Slammed’ by Colleen Hoover.

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Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Slammed #1
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover UK

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SYNOPSIS

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

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Book Review ~ ‘Slammed’ by Colleen Hoover ~ 5+ Stars!

Well WOW. This book is quite simply perfection! I’d heard rave reviews about this book from nearly everybody in the New Adult Contemporary circle, so I was really excited to finally get around to reading it. The only thing that annoys me is that I didn’t read it earlier! Why, oh why did I wait so long to read this fantastic book?

Guilty as charged, I have to admit I have a soft spot for teacher/student romance storylines. They have such potential to be passionate, romantic, emotional, heartbreaking and inspiring, especially as there is so much that a teacher can do to help a student develop, both intellectually and emotionally. I was really intrigued to see how Colleen Hoover approached this issue, and I have to say all my expectations were blown away at how she approached this storyline with such tenderness and skill, whilst also managing to keep the storyline realistic, fun and romantic.

Colleen Hoover has an incredible writing style, and it wasn’t until I turned the final page that I realised I had devoured this book in one sitting. I was so captivated by her stunning storytelling, her believable and relatable characters, and the trials that the lovely Will and Layken had to go through. As well as the teacher/student romance aspects in this book, Colleen Hoover also brings in many issues that face people in everyday life, and she weaved the whole beautiful and heartbreaking story together with a strong sense of the importance of family and love in time of hardship.

The slamming scenes were absolutely fantastic. I’d never heard of Slamming before I read this book, but as soon as I read those scenes I was desperate to go to a Slamming club myself. The poetry in this book was magical and I was drawn into the powerful messages that those Slamming were trying to share, and the incredible power that words can have.

This was such a unique and exciting read and written in such a beautiful and heartfelt way that this book couldn’t be anything less than 5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by Simon & Schuster UK, in exchange for an honest review*

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Reader Note: Cover Design varies depending on location and publisher,

Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover US 2nd Edition Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover UK

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Series

Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover 1 Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover 2 Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat
(Slammed #2)

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This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover UK This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

This Girl
(Slammed #3)

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Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover 1

Hopeless
(Hopeless #1)

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Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover 1 Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover

Losing Hope
(Hopeless #2)

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Finding Cinderella

Finding Cinderella
(Hopeless #2.5)

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Standalones

Maybe Someday Maybe Someday 1

Maybe Someday

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Ugly Love 1 Ugly Love

Ugly Love

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Collen

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Book Review ~ ‘Journeys Into Darkness’ Edited by Trevor Denyer.

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Journeys Into Darkness ed. by Trevor Denyer
Genres: Anthology, Short Stories, Horror, Dark Fantasy, Sci-fi, Slip-Stream.

Journeys Into Darkness

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SYNOPSIS

Remember the magazine? Remember the quality. Now the first Midnight Street Anthology is here. Journeys Into Darkness is a collection of stories from some of the best in the business. There are favourites from the magazine, fantastic reprints AND new stories.

Dedicated to the Late, Great JOEL LANE, the book features one of his outstanding and provocative stories, never before published in the UK, and appearing only once in the USA.

Also included is Trevor Denyer’s exclusive and revealing Midnight Street interview with Joel. Also: Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Stephen Gallagher, Simon Clark, Nina Allan, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Paul Finch, Allen Ashley, Gary Couzens, Ralph Robert Moore, Maynard Sims, Elliot Smith.

Edited by Trevor Denyer. Cover illustration by Nicole Day

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Book Review ~ ‘Journeys Into Darkness’ Edited by Trevor Denyer ~ 5 Stars!

If you are looking for an unnerving, spooky and chill inducing set of stories just in time for Halloween, then The ‘Journeys Into Darkness’ anthology is a definite must for you. Dedicated to the late Joel Lane, this anthology is the first to be released from the Midnight Street Imprint, and contains an incredible collection of horror, dark fantasy, sci-fi and slip-stream stories by a group of very talented authors.

Every story in this book adds another thrilling dimension to the collection. No two stories are the same, yet every one manages to bring out the tingles on your skin as you chance a quick look behind you, and a moment of decision of whether or not to turn your light out when you go to sleep. I feel these are the signs of a really well-written dark story, and this collection is full of them.

Ramsey Campbell’s ‘Again’ started the collection off to a thrilling start, with the sights he witnesses inside a mysterious bungalow will leave even those with nerves of steel feeling unnerved, whilst ‘Traffic’ by Elliott Smith plays with a dark sci-fi element that seems eerily realistic of a car filled future. Gary Couzens adds an element of dark humour to his story ‘After the Party’, with some brilliantly portrayed characters and a dark tale of a suspicious death. ‘Dead Man’s Handle’ by Stephen Gallagher was another brilliantly told piece, which brings the added horror of the deadly antics of humans, as opposed to fantastical creatures.

I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Straub’s Experimental piece ‘Lapland, or Film Noir’ and was intrigued at how well this worked within the collection. ‘The Return of the Pikart Posse’ by Rosanne Rabinowitz was a beautiful addition to the collection and I adored the beautiful prose that was woven within Evelyn’s story. Simon Clark’s ‘Amen’ made me shiver and showed an incredible talent of creating a story and well-developed character in such a short word count. The emotion behind ‘I Hear His Footsteps Drawing Near’ by Maynard Sims was just breathtaking and I really felt for the characters left behind after their father and husband’s death.

As with any anthology there are a few stories that really stood out to me as a reader, possibly due to the way that the story drew me in. In particular Nina Allan’s two part story ‘En Saga’ was so profound with the switch in generation and the ghostly similarities between the mother and daughter’s misfortunes. ‘Creeping Blue’ by Allan Ashley added a eerie psychological tone to his story and I loved the way that we were given an insight into the character’s mind and the reasons behind his fear of infection. I loved the character development in ‘No Such Thing As Sin’ by Paul Finch, and I really connected with both Dominic and Simone, and really felt Simone’s pain and fear as well as Dominic’s worry for her sanity. And finally ‘Ralph Robert Moore’s ‘When They Come For You, They’ll Look Normal’ was an incredible, heart-pounding read. The way that he paced this story, making the threat become more and more fearful throughout was brilliantly done, and I loved the ways that the threat began to turn the family members against each other.

This was an action-packed, thrilling anthology which I recommend to those who love anthologies, and are looking for a collection with a little something different.

5 Stars!

*Review Copy kindly provided by the editor in exchange for an honest review*

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Cover Reveal ~ ‘Hurricane Butterfly’ by MeChelle Vermeulen.

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Hurricane Butterfly by MeChelle Vermeulen
Publication date: December 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Hurricane Butterfly (1)
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SYNOPSIS

Twenty-year-old Sophie Blake, is trying her best to get her life back after a horrific dog attack ten months ago. However, this proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. With the help of her best friend Ben Slone, it seems as if she’s making progress, but the truth is that she can feel herself sinking deeper into a black hole…until a tall dark stranger comes knocking, looking for Ben.

Joshua Roxwell has been drowning his demons with Whiskey and woman in an attempt to deal with his guilt after the tragic death of his sister. When he finds an envelope addressed to Ben Slone, written by his sister before her death, he decides to track him down. Instead of resolving their differences, he meets the one girl who silences his demons…but redemption comes at a price.

This is a story of heartache, friendship and love, with a wicked twist…

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Frost’ by Kate Avery Ellison.

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Frost by Kate Avery Ellison
(The Frost Chronicles #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Frost

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SYNOPSIS

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone.

After monsters kill her parents, Lia must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

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He came out of nowhere, hitting me hard from one side and knocking me over. We rolled together across the floor and he came out on top, his hands on either side of my head, holding my wrists down against the stones. His burning eyes bored into mine.

I couldn’t seem to find my breath. The whole world slowed down, and I realized with perfect clarity that he might kill me.

“Don’t scream,” he hissed.

I shook my head.

“How far is the village?” He whispered it, the words harsh and raspy in the air between us. I could see his mind working behind his eyes—was he calculating how long it would take him to try to struggle away on his own, how long before they found my lifeless body?

I was neither brave nor stupid. I told him what he wanted to know. “The village is less than a mile.”

He grimaced, and I realized he must be half-mad with the pain. Maybe if I moved suddenly, I could throw him off and get to the door…

He must have sensed my plan, for he pressed down harder on my wrists, keeping me pinned. “And the gate?”

“What gate? You mean the village gate?”

He didn’t explain. “The mountains, then.”

“The farm sits in its shadow,” I gasped. His hands were cutting off my circulation. “But killing me does nothing to help you. You are too weak to get far, and the Watchers fill the woods.”

His eyebrows drew together sharply, and he coughed. He was weakening—I could see it. “Kill you?”

His grip on my wrists slackened. I saw my chance, and I took advantage of it.

I slammed my elbow into his face. The Farther cried out, falling sideways like a puppet with its strings cut. I scrambled up for the door and yanked it open.

“Stop—wait—”

I turned. He was crumpled on the ground, his limbs shaking. I could see that he had no strength left.

“I’m sorry if I hurt you,” he gasped. “I just needed answers.”

I lingered, not running but not relaxing, either. “You would kill me for information, then?”

He pressed a hand against his side and wheezed a bewildered laugh. “I’m not a murderer of farm girls. Not even those who plan to harm me.”

“Harm you?” My words were sharp. “I’m sticking my neck out for you. I’m putting my family in danger for you. I’m sheltering and feeding you—and for what? It’s you who just tried to harm me.”

“I just needed information about my location,” he said, wincing at my words. He struggled up into a kneeling position and raised his dazzling blue eyes to mine. Blood colored his lip red. “I won’t try anything again, I promise, even though I know you want me dead.”

It was my turn to laugh, breathlessly. “You make no sense.” I grabbed the herbs from my pocket and brandished them at him. “I came to bring you these for your wound. I’m not going to kill you. I just want you gone before you can cause any more trouble.”

His expression turned inside out—the planes of his face softened in surprise, and his eyes widened slightly. But then they slitted shut, and I could tell he didn’t believe me. “You’re lying.”

“Why would I lie?” I snapped. “If I wanted to kill you, I’d have done it by now. I could have simply left you in the snow, or refused to clean your wounds, or refused to feed you.”

He was silent, considering this. Some of the wild terror on his face eased at the logic of what I’d said. “Why haven’t you? Left me to die, I mean?”

I didn’t answer that, because I didn’t know how to put my reasons into words. I didn’t even quite know what the reasons were.

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What book are you reading now?

Requiem, by Lauren Oliver. Fantastic book. Every word she writes is poetry.

Do you read a lot?

Yes! Although lately I’ve been reading more nonfiction. I try to read voraciously and widely, though—it’s important to stay exposed to lots of genres and styles as a writer.

Where do you like to write?

I usually write at my local public library, or a coffee shop near my house. I like to lose myself in the noise and atmosphere of quiet hustle and bustle—it keeps me focused and somehow filters out my own mental distractions. When I’m at home, I tend to procrastinate with Youtube or Netflix too much.

What is your writing process like?

I usually start with an outline, or something that you might call an outline if you squinted at it just right. I hate outlining, but it’s a useful way to organize preliminary thoughts and make sure you have a clear direction for the story. Then I sort of ignore the outline and just start writing. I almost always write in order from start to finish, but it depends on the book. If there’s a scene I’m itching to write and I see it all perfectly in my head, I might skip ahead and get it down on paper. When I’m done with the first draft, my editor and my beta reader get their hands on it, give me feedback, and then I revise. Rise and repeat. Most of the writing process comes down to revision and editing.

What was it like to write Frost?

When I write, I get immersed in the world of the story. Frost is set in a cold, dangerous place, so I lived in this mindset of chilly, grimness. When I’d finished the series, I started work on a new series set in about as different a place as I could imagine—warm and tropical. That became my Secrets of Itlantis series.

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Kate

Kate Avery Ellison

I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I’m not writing, I’m usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he’s eating.

Learn more about my writing and books at my blog find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page, and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores.

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Book Review ~ ‘Third Time Lucky’ by Pippa Croft.

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Third Time Lucky by Pippa Croft
Oxford Blue #3
Genres: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Third Time Lucky (Oxford Blue #3) by Pippa Croft

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SYNOPSIS

The love story continues – Third Time Lucky is the third book in Pippa Croft’s compelling Oxford Blue romance series.

Fans of E L James, Tammara Webber and Samantha Young won’t be able to get enough of Pippa Croft’s Oxford Blue romance series. Lauren and Alexander’s journey begins in The First Time We Met, and follows on in the brilliant sequel, The Second Time I Saw You, which are both available as Penguin ebooks.

Pippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA’s New Writers’ award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.

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Book Review ~ ‘Third Time Lucky’ by Pippa Croft ~ 5 Stars!

I am a self-confessed Alexander Hunt addict, so needless to say the cliffhanger at the end of ‘The Second Time I Saw You’ very nearly killed me. As soon as ‘Third Time Lucky’ appeared on my Kindle, it was immediately devoured, and I was once again swept along by Lauren and Alexander’s turbulent relationship.

Pippa Croft has an amazing ability at setting the scene in her books. It didn’t take any time at all for me to get used to being back in Lauren’s mind frame, and her fear, pain, heartbreak and hope all hit me straight away and had me feeling from the events of Book 2 and desperate to see whether her and Alexander can salvage their relationship.

What I’ve always liked about this series is the way that Pippa Croft portrays Alexander and Lauren’s relationship as fun and passionate but seeped with uncertainty and refusal to think about the future it could take. It is so wonderful to see a very truthful portrayal of how young people think about the future, and Lauren is the perfect example of a young girl who doesn’t want to be pulled back from making her own career and future,

The secondary characters were as well rounded and brilliantly portrayed as in the first two books, and the feelings that I had for some of these characters, particularly Scott and Valentina is part of what made me so invested in this series. They felt real to me, therefore their threat felt real. It’s not enough to just dislike them because of their intrusion into the main characters lives, but to feel worried by the threat that they pose to the main characters. This is something that I often feel is lacking in the development of secondary characters in contemporary stories.

This series is one that will stay with me for a long time. Between the beautiful descriptions of Oxford University, the heart-pounding romance between Lauren and Alexander, and the curse-the-witch-that-is-Valentina moments, this series is one not to be missed.

5 Stars!

*Review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Pippa Croft

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Tour Stop ~ ‘Made in Nashville’ by Mandy Baggot.

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Made in Nashville by Mandy Baggot
Published by: Harper Impulse
Publication date: February 6th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

 MadeinNashville

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SYNOPSIS

An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It’s been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville’s brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it?

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He’s wild, he’s sexy and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind?

Honor’s record label sign the ex-boyfriend that dumped her and suddenly going back to her old life is harder than she thought. Can she get a new contract? Will she get to perform at the Marlon Festival? Or will Dan Steele destroy everything?

When a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it’s no longer just about the music. Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want? And who is really behind the anonymous gifts she keeps getting sent?

Join the country scene to find out!

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Book Review ~ ‘Made in Nashville’ by Mandy Baggot ~ 5 Stars!

‘Made in Nashville’ was such a breath of fresh air! I always love reading stories about people who are multi-dimensional and show real depth of character and emotional growth and ‘Made in Nashville’ had all of this.

Honor was the perfect heroine for this novel, and I loved how normal she was portrayed. We always see celebrities saying that they are normal people, so it was wonderful to see Mandy Baggot bring that out in Honor. I loved the psychological elements that were weaved beautifully throughout Honor’s story and to see her road to recovery and the huge fight she had to make against the fear that had her hiding from the world for so long.

Enter Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall *swoon*. I’m not all that clued up on country music or the current artists in this genre, but oh my, just reading about Jared Marshall singing made me go straight to YouTube and look up some country music. That is something that shows just how good Mandy Baggot wrote this story that I felt a part of the music scene and just had to listen aIong.

I absolutely adored Jed in this story, and it was his utter devotion to Honor and to helping her move on from her past that had me rooting for him from the word go. I loved seeing the transition he made throughout this novel as well, and to see him open up to loving after having been let down in the past. The relationship that he and Honor developed was one of the most beautiful I have witnessed in contemporary fiction, with the pacing being perfect for them, not too fast and not too slow. I felt happy that they were moving at the right speed for them, and that Jed was such a gentleman that he didn’t allow his physical feelings for Honor to make him move too quickly with her. I was swooning throughout, and planning on making Jed Marshall posters for my wall (Self-confessed Jed fangirl!).

What I really liked about this novel, and what really stood out to me, was the lack of unnecessary drama. I’m all for a bit of drama and angst because I love the emotions it evokes in me, but with Made in Nashville, I really liked seeing Honor and Jed just be themselves without hiding their true natures of feelings and having petty arguments and splitting apart over them. This made the drama that did open up between them so much more emotional because of its realistic nature and had me on the edge of my seat in waiting to see whether they could move past it.

This was my first book by Mandy Baggot, and I knew straight away that it would definitely not be my last. Her talent with words, story and character development, pacing and the sheer emotion that seeps through the page is something that is so rare in contemporary fiction, and I can’t wait to see where she takes me next.

5 Stars!

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Mandy

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an award-winning romantic fiction author, writing hot heroes and emotional reads.

Represented by Kate Nash of the Kate Nash Literary Agency she is also a contributor to writing blogs, magazines and short story anthologies and regularly takes part in fiction festivals and literary events.

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, Corfu, shoes and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor.

Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two daughters and cats, Kravitz and Springsteen.

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