Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Release Day & Review: To The Stars by Molly McAdams

To The Stars - Release Week Banner

We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Molly McAdams’ TO THE STARS! TO THE STARS is a contemporary romance novel being published on February 9th by HarperCollins’ William Morrow Impulse imprint and is the second novel in Molly’s Thatch Series.

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In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.
She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

 Setting my cup on the table in front of me, I searched through my purse for my iPad, and smiled to myself when I checked to find there was still a charge on it. I set an alarm on it to know when to leave in case I was able to escape my reality for a little while, grabbed my coffee, and gently sat back in the chair as I tried to get into the book I’d been reading last week on my Kindle app. I had more than enough time to read during the days, that wasn’t the problem. It was whether I could push away my real life enough to let myself enjoy the fairytale that determined if I ever read.
More often than not, I ended up staring blankly at my iPad long after it had shut itself off from lack of use as I thought about whatever was going on with Collin, or my own fairytale I’d given up.
Like now, I realized, when I noticed my screen was black again. I didn’t even know how long I’d been sitting there just staring at it. I took a deep breath in, preparing for a silent sigh out.
My breath caught in my throat when a body next to me blocked the sun, and a deep, fluid voice asked, “Why would anyone waste their time only loving someone to the moon…”
when they could love them to the stars?
He didn’t finish, and I didn’t say the words out loud. But everything stopped around me for heavy seconds. The rise and fall of my chest halted, I no longer heard the background noise, music, and voices in the coffee shop … all time seemed to stand still as I sat there trying to assess whether I was dreaming or not.
Harlow Evans,” he said softly, and I let out a shuddering breath as everything came filtering back in. “The last person I thought I’d see when I woke up this morning was the girl I’ve been waiting seven years for.”
My head snapped to the left, and my soul ached when I looked at Knox Alexander for the first time in four and a half years. Time had changed him in amazing ways—and at the same time, nothing about him was different at all. Those dark eyes began to lock on mine, and I quickly looked away from them. I didn’t want to see what they would tell me, I didn’t want to know what they would find.

 This is my first Molly McAdams novel and confess I was emotionally exhausted after reading To The Stars. Harlow and Knox's story is mesmerizing, tragic, yet breathtakingly beautiful despite the angst. Told from alternating POV in both the present (2010) and past (2008), I anticipated the reading to be jarring for myself, but refreshingly it wasn't.

The young protagonists meet at a party and are instantly attracted to each other. Approaching his eighteenth birthday, Knox Alexander presumes that Harlow Evans is the twin to the girl hanging out with his friends; a similar age, only to find out she's only fifteen years old. Unperturbed, they decide to continue seeing each other, against the wishes of those closest to them, with a promise that they'll belong to each other when Harlow turns eighteen too…

I want to love you to the stars.”

Misunderstandings, poor communication and some interference lead Harlow to head in an entirely different direction once she comes of age.

What happens next is disturbing. Tragic. Horrific.

Collin Doherty is a monster. A cruel manipulator. An abuser. A once vibrant young woman turns into a shell of her former self...scared for her life and for those closest to her.

The author really digs deep to convey the utterly destructive relationship between Harlow and Collin. It is heartbreaking and incredibly uncomfortable to read. The abuse scenes feel realistic, which for me made them very tough to read. Yet to understand and empathise with Harlow, you need to understand her thought process, which Ms McAdams has managed to achieve. It is emotionally exhausting. Yet there is hope. Knox. He's not perfect and has also made mistakes. Still his love for Harlow is as strong as ever and believable. What a guy! The supporting characters are also integral to the plot. It is interesting to observe how their perceptions of both Harlow and Knox as circumstances change and shocking truths are unfurled.

To The Stars is a poignant story that will stay with you for a long while. It is thought provoking. It's intense. It's one of the best books I've read. Ms McAdams you have a new fan.

5 stars

***Arc generously received courtesy of publisher William Morrow via Edelweiss***

And don’t miss the first book in the Thatch Series…


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Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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Release Day: Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

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Laurel Falls #1
Zoe Dawson
Releasing on February 9, 2016

If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series!
Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He’s couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

Rafferty Hamilton had been running as fast as she could, but now, figuratively and literally, she was going nowhere just as fast.
Spinning her wheels, even in beautiful Montana, was still spinning her wheels.
She was on the side of the road, still waiting for the tow truck after her new car stopped working and she’d been forced to coast to the shoulder, an acrid odor coming from the dashboard.
She’d been tooling along, thinking how she would be checking the divorced box from now on. No longer Mrs. Sean Duncan. For a year she’d gotten used to no more guaranteed dates at parties and shindigs, the opera, or the theater. No more museum jaunts or gallery openings. Now there was free time after work, meals eaten alone, and an empty side of the bed where she’d once snuggled up to her charming and popular husband.
Popular with the ladies.
The smack of betrayal—the wrenching pain that had dulled over the year adding punch, nonetheless—blindsided her, and tears welled.
The lying, cheating, shove-his-dick-into-any-woman-who-was-willing pig.
She sniffed. Okay, that made her feel so much better.
The beginning of the end had gone something like this.
You cheated on me.”
I need something more.”
She liked to think he whined like a petulant child. “Something more? What is missing, Sean?”
He’d stepped up to her then. “You. You’re missing. You don’t need me, Rafferty. That’s the bottom line. I might have an easy time with women, but I married you. You’re always so careful, holding back. Always doing some deal for your dad. You’re his closer, his hit woman. I’m not really sure where I fit into your life.”
And that translates to infidelity instead of communication.”
He laughed harshly and looked away. “It translates into you not being present. We’re supposed to do this together, not live separate lives. I needed more. I went and found it.”
Flinging your dick all over Manhattan is my fault. Typical.”
That confrontation conversation had happened almost a year ago. The papers were now signed. She was no longer connected to Sean.
Sean had accused her of being absent in both heart and home. She did travel a lot, and those trips had increased over the year since he’d moved out of their penthouse. She hadn’t kept the place after that.
She had gone over it in her head so many times since she’d separated from him, wondering how everything had gone wrong. How he could have so callously betrayed her.
She groaned over the soft notes of violins and French horns. Classical music played on her dashboard receiver in the sleek, new British sports car she’d bought on a whim when she’d left New York City five days ago on this impromptu, crazy road trip out west. No radio and the risk of a love song to remind her that she was no longer married.
Was there a reason she hadn’t opened up to him? A reason she traveled more?
These thoughts had consumed her as she’d whizzed down the highway. A small sign let her know she had been getting close to Laurel Falls. The name sounded pretty, probably one of those idyllic, little gems tucked away with its hominess and wholesomeness spilling over the edges of pretty tree-lined streets and apple-pie hospitality.
Before she’d left the roadside motel, she’d put the top down on the snazzy blue sports car, tying her long blond hair into a tight ponytail, leaving her long bangs to blow around her forehead. When there hadn’t been livestock trucks trundling along, the air had been brisk and smelled amazing.
In the wide-open spaces of Montana, the wind always seemed to be blowing—even sitting on the side of the road, her hair was never still. A clear backdrop of postcard-perfect mountains rising up around her, snow still on their towering peaks even in the middle of October when the temperature was a brisk forty-nine degrees. She couldn’t have seen those from the air.
Now, almost to her destination of Sanderson, Montana, she’d decided that she was out of breath from running.

Zoe Dawson had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer, and with determination, persistence, and a little luck that wish came true. Her other passions include traveling the world,
owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.

Release Day Spotlight: Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

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Ellie Cahill
Releasing on February 9, 2016

 Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.

Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

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I pushed my fingers through my hair. My heart was full of a feeling I’d had waiting for my grandmother to come out of her hip replacement surgery three years ago. Which was ridiculous considering my phone could be replaced for a few hundred dollars. I could replace both of ours with a few phone calls and a swipe of my American Express.
I’m really sorry,” I repeated.
Unless you did this on purpose, you can stop apologizing. We just have to deal with this.”
Right.” I bit my lip.
Who are you?” he asked.
My nerves jangled with familiar anxiety. But he had my phone. There was nothing I could do about it if he decided to play detective. Oh god, I’d worked so hard at keeping it clean. Had I missed anything? Anything that he could use? Finally, I said, “Clementine.”
Clementine?” he repeated with a tone of total disbelief. It was a typical reaction.
I’m Justin. I’d say nice to meet you, but . . .”
Yeah. Well, thanks for being cool about this, Justin.”
No problem. Do you mind if I give your number to a few people?”
It took me a moment to process what he meant. He still needed a phone, and for now, mine was all he had.
No, that’s fine. Go ahead. I don’t really think I’ll be getting many calls. Everyone knows I’m out of town.”
You can give my number to people if you need to.”
Same to you.”
Okay . . .” He faded, seeming uncertain. “I guess I’ll just . . . get in touch with you if you get any messages.”
Um . . . I guess . . . I’ll talk to you later then.”
I disconnected, finding my brother staring at me. “Was he upset?” he asked.
Yeah, but at least he wasn’t a dick about it.”
Why don’t you just have them both replaced? Tell him to go pick up a new phone at the nearest store.”
I thought of that, but maybe he doesn’t have the cash to drop on a new one.”
So pay for it.”
People are weird about stuff like that. Besides, do you really think I should point out the fact that he has the personal phone numbers of some of the wealthiest people in the country? We have no clue who this guy is.”
He made a face, but he knew I was right.
This was so so bad. My grandparents were going to kill me. “Oh my god, Honor, you have to call Grandma right away!”
He didn’t even hesitate, just reached for his phone and dialed. He knew how it was. If she didn’t hear that we were safe and sound very soon, she was going to start calling me. And the last thing the poor schmuck whose day I’d already ruined needed was to have Miriam Schulman-Daly hitting redial until she got a response.
Don’t tell her a stranger has it! Tell her I left it at home!” I added to Honor in a rush, tugging on his arm to make sure he was paying attention.
He waved me off, but I thought I could trust him to give me this small bit of cover. While I waited for Honor to explain the situation, the phone buzzed with a new text message from my line.
Sorry if I was a jerk on the phone. I’m frustrated.
I replied, You weren’t. No apology necessary.
We’re stuck with each other for now. An apology is definitely necessary.
I’m the one who should be giving it. My stupid brother grabbed the wrong phone.
All right, so we’re mutually sorry and we can blame your brother, agreed?
I smiled. Who was this guy?

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.