Friday, 8 April 2016

New Release and Review: Undecided by Julianna Keyes

By: Julianna Keyes
Releasing April 4, 2016

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

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 “Want to see a movie?” Crosbie asks as we drive closer.
I squint at the list of shows. It’s an enormous multiplex and the parking lot is packed. He inches past the front so we can see what’s playing.
“Kill Glory 3 is out? I thought it wasn’t coming until December.”
Crosbie laughs uncomfortably when I name the latest installment of the popular horror franchise. “What else is playing?”
I look at him. “You don’t like scary movies?”
He purses his lips. “I like them fine.”
My jaw drops. “You’re afraid.”
“Am not.”
“Maybe Toy Story 6 is playing.”
“The Toy Story franchise is classic.”
“Okay, fine.” I crane my neck to try to see some more names. “There’s Tanker Race 2, Soda Shoppe Gals, Operation—I think that’s based on the board game—and that documentary about seals. Anything you’re dying to see?”
He finds parking at the end of a row and unbuckles his seatbelt. “Lady’s choice.”
“Kill Glory 3.”
“Never mind, you can’t choose.”
“Have you seen the first two? They’re excellent. It’s about this death angel named Glory who keeps returning to earth to try to get revenge—”
“I saw five minutes of the first one, and that was enough.”
“So…Soda Shoppe Gals?”
He tips his head to peer out the windshield at the start times. We’ve got half an hour until the next showings. “We can see Kill Glory 3,” he says reluctantly, reaching over to tug me in by the collar. “But let’s make out for a bit first.”
“Make out?” I feign offense. “You haven’t even bought me popcorn.”
“Can I just give you the ten dollars?”
We’re laughing when our lips meet, teeth bumping until we get serious. Crosbie displays none of the urgency I’m feeling, kissing me leisurely, exploring, learning. Again, it’s a surprise. He’s got one hand curled against my neck while the other rests against the back of the seat. If I’d ever given any thought to making out in a car with Crosbie Lucas, I’d have pictured him sticking his hand up my shirt—or down my pants—in the first thirty seconds. But that doesn’t appear to be the plan for tonight, and I quash the tiny part of me that’s disappointed and tell myself to just enjoy the moment. I’ve actually never done this before. I had zero boyfriends in high school, and I don’t think any of the guys I kissed last year even had a car. At least, I never bothered to learn enough about them to find out if they did.
Teenagers walk by and holler “Get a room!” breaking us apart. We’re both breathing hard, the windows only starting to steam up, advertising our activities without actually obscuring them.
“Hi,” Crosbie says.
I can’t help but smile. “Hi.”

I don't pick up many new adult novels but the blurb piqued my interest sufficiently to want to read Undecided. I love discovering new writers and Ms. Keyes is a new author to me.

Nora Kincaid spent the whole summer working, studying and doing community service thanks to her rather wild freshman year in college. She's unfortunately lost half her scholarship and needs to improve her grades. Long gone are the party clothes and now cardigans are part of image overhaul as she attempts to turn her life around. Only she soon realises how boring life has become. Before the new college year begins, she has to find somewhere to live. After exchanging numerous emails with "Matthew", she goes to view the apartment, only the person who opens the door isn't "Matthew" at all!

Crosbie Lucas is the ultimate party animal and details of his sexual conquests are literally plastered all over the walls of the Student Union bathrooms. He's used to seeing scantily clad young women so he's blind-sided when his best friend Kellan's new room-mate is wearing a frumpy cardigan. Seeing Nora triggers unexpected reactions...lust, but the second one has him rethinking his whole attitude to his student life behaviour. 

Undecided starts off somewhat slowly, but as we are introduced to Nora Kincaid, Kellan McVey and Crosbie Lucas, numerous titbits of their past years escapades come to light. I really appreciated not knowing where the plot was heading, keeping up the intrigue and me turning the pages as I anticipated what was going to happen. It's very easy to think that the plot is developing into a love triangle, but that didn't materialise. An unexpected plot twist surprised me and was refreshingly honest and well done.

To sum up, Undecided is a fun book, laugh out loud funny standalone novel, with some hilarious exchanges between the protagonists. The storyline is amusing until the secrets are revealed, but then it went somewhat flat, prompting me to lose interest and struggle to read to the end. Overall, I feel confident that those more familiar with the genre will find this book highly entertaining.

***arc received via Tasty Book Tours***

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.
In addition to Undecided, she is the author of four contemporary romances: Just Once, the story of a world weary socialite and a stubborn ranch foreman; Going the Distance, a love story set in China between a kindergarten ESL teacher and a former army interrogator; Time Served, the tale of an ambitious young lawyer whose perfect world is jeopardized when she reunites with her ex-con ex-boyfriend; and In Her Defense, in which a ruthless young lawyer realizes there’s more to life than being the best…right?
For more details on these and any upcoming books, 
visit her online at, or 
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New Release Spotlight: Heart Like Mine by Maggie McGinnis

Heart Like Mine
Echo Lake #2
By: Maggie McGinnis
Releasing April 5, 2016
St. Martin’s Press

Heart Like Mine

Echo lake Series

Delaney Blair loves her job at Echo Lake's Mercy Hospital, where she's developed a reputation for being smart, fair, and driven. When she's assigned to cut funding, she has to temporarily relocate her office, put on borrowed scrubs, and go toe-to-toe with Dr. Joshua Mackenzie, the interim head of the pediatrics department. His killer smile and rock-star body are distractions Delaney could do without, but she's determined to stay focused while she brings his budget into line.

It's not working.

Beloved by his colleagues and patients alike, Josh is too busy caring for sick kids to talk numbers with the sexy, stiletto-clad Delaney. Every time they talk business, tensions run high…but so does a powerful attraction neither of them can ignore. When an emergency brings Mercy to its knees, Delaney and Josh must work together to save lives. But can they also find a way into each other's hearts?

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 “You’re just going to have to go down there, Delaney.” Megan propped a hip on Delaney’s desk two days later. Delaney envied her assistant’s long skirt, gypsy earrings, and long, loose cotton blouse. In college, she’d have topped it off with a head scarf and combat boots, but for the workplace, she’d gone with her standard-issue leather sandals.
Delaney looked down at her own outfit and wondered when she’d turned into a toned-down version of her country club mother. Her neatly ironed blouse was set off by a perfectly matched skirt and jacket, and as she fingered the pearls at her throat, she sighed. Then she let her eyes coast down her calves, down to the Jimmy Choos she’d bought just last month. It was her splurge, her bow to girliness and inappropriate spending, and damn, she loved these shoes.
She really did need to ditch the pearls, though.
I can’t just go down there, Megan.” Delaney felt a tingle at the base of her neck, just thinking of walking onto the pediatric floor. No, she definitely couldn’t go down there.
Well, he’s obviously not coming to you.”
How can he just ignore my messages like this? It’s downright rude.”
Or he’s downright busy. Have you seen the bed count on pediatrics this week?”
No.” Delaney cringed. It wasn’t the kind of thing she kept track of on a daily basis.
There is always the possibility that he’s not intentionally ignoring you. Just saying.”
I’ll check.” Delaney clicked into the system that listed current inpatient numbers. When she got to the pediatric floor, her eyes widened. “Holy—”
Exactly.” Megan raised her eyebrows.
We don’t even have that many pediatric beds.”
I know. They had to move a couple of the teenagers up to adult floors to make space.”
Delaney clicked back through the past month, and the patient counts went up and down a little bit, but not much.
I’m just saying—this could be why Dr. Mackenzie hasn’t called back.” Megan leaned close to Delaney and plucked open her top button. “Which means you, third floor, this afternoon. He’s clearly isn’t coming to you.”
Delaney felt the chills creep down her spine. She had never actually been on Mercy’s pediatric floor—had never been on any pediatric floor—not since Parker had died.
Delaney? You okay?” Megan’s brow creased as she studied Delaney’s face. “You are six shades of white, girl. Does talking to non-executive-suite people make you this scared?”
No.” Delaney’s voice came out in a whisper.
Oh.” Megan’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, God. I’m sorry.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”
Delaney nodded slowly. “It’s okay. It’s been—a long time since he died. Not like you would think of it.”
But I should have. I’m really sorry.” Megan tried to look into her eyes, but Delaney’s felt all shifty. “Do you want me to go with you?”
No, Meg. I don’t want to go at all.”
I know. He’s not coming to me.” She took a deep breath, blowing it out slowly. Maybe it wouldn’t be horrible. Maybe she wouldn’t melt into a panic-puddle at the elevator doors. Maybe she wouldn’t see Parker everywhere she looked.
Maybe pigs flew.

USA Today bestselling author Maggie McGinnis is a Golden Heart Finalist who lives in New England, vastly outnumbered by both children and cats. She writes sweet romances set in Montana and Vermont, and feels extremely fortunate that through her books, she gets to fall in love every single day. She's a sucker for romantic comedies, popcorn, and the perfect green pen, and if she wasn't an author, she'd totally be rocking a Nashville club in her pink cowgirl boots. It's probably good that she embraced the author thing, because her singing skills are better suited to the shower, and really? Pink cowgirl boots?

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