Tuesday, November 29, 2016

{Release Blitz} A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole






To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.
I opened the window beside me and stared at the illuminated entrance. I swallowed hard and placed my empty glass on the bar. Metal groaned, breaking through the twilight, as the massive black wrought-iron gates began to open. The limo slowly pulled onto the property’s lane, and I drank in the thick forest that shielded the estate. I inhaled the freshness of the lush green trees. The unpolluted sky was thick with stars—not a single cloud in sight.
A few minutes later, the thick woods cleared, and I gasped. Acres and acres of gold and green vineyards covered the landscape. The scents of plump grapes and damp soil permeated the warm air. I closed my eyes. It reminded me of being a child. It brought me back to the days before I was taken to New York. I could still feel the heat of the Emilia-Romagna sun on my face, the deep smell of olives, grapes and flowers drifting in the breeze as I ran around our Parma estate.
I smiled a nostalgic smile and allowed my eyes to drift open again. I rested my arms on the window and leaned my chin on them as the limo drove on. There were several small villas peppered over the landscape, their lights twinkling in the distance. They must have been the winemakers’ residences. It was not only the Bella Collina merlot that was made on this land; other reds were too—particularly the Chianti from the region’s finest Sangiovese grapes. The Bella Collina olive oil was also up there with the best. But nothing compared to the famed merlot.
The limo turned right, and my breath caught in my throat. I lifted my head and stared disbelievingly at the property ahead. Bella Collina was a veritable Palace of Versailles tucked away in the Umbrian wilderness.
“Mio Dio,” I whispered as I took in the imposing stone structure, the sweeping steps and the vast number of windows set in the building’s walls. Large pillars of red-veined marble flanked the entrance. Cypress trees framed the estate as if it were the shining star of a fine Renaissance painting. Sculptures of famed Savona monarchs of old stood proudly on the manicured lawns, and strategically placed lighting illuminated the sheer perfection of every piece of topiary.
As a child, I had been to the Palazzo Savona in Florence. It was widely regarded to be one of the finest estates in all of Italy, if not western Europe. But this . . . this . . . there were no words. It was perfectly placed, as if it had always been there. As if it had grown naturally from the Umbrian earth just as sure as the vines and woods that kept this architectural treasure hidden from view.
Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.









Monday, November 28, 2016

{Book Review} A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole



A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole
Published: November 29th, 2016
Series: Standalone
Source: Received by Ardent Prose in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
{Goodreads}{Amazon}

To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.

{Review}
This was my first Tillie Cole book and I have to say, all the hype surrounding this author is absolutely legitimate!  I have been introduced to some amazing authors this year and Tillie Cole is among the top of that list.  Her ability to craft a story that both broke my heart and then mended it back together has defiantly made her an author I want to read more from.  This book was the epitome of epic romance and I loved every second of it. 

Cole’s writing is what I loved most about this book.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I don’t think that I have ever highlighted so many passages from one book. The setting of this book almost made me feel as though it was a historical romance.  I loved the aspects of Italian culture that was embedded within the story.  The lines that were written in Italian, the setting of the vineyards and the old customs that the present holds so precious made this book feel romantic. 

The setting of this story was very detailed and fleshed out, which helped to established the motives of the characters, but I have to admit, it did drag the story a bit.  However, the detail is what really made this story something unique.  It created a perfect picture of what the vineyard looked like and the process of making wine.  I think that some readers might complain that it was boring or slow paced, but without this detail, I don’t think I would have fallen so in love with these characters and my emotions would not have been attached to them so much.

These characters were a breath of fresh air.  I don’t think that I have ever read a book with a character like Achille.  He was sensitive, vulnerable and very sheltered from the outside world.  He lived and breathed for making his world famous wine, but he was also very lonely.  When Caresa stumbles upon Achille’s cottage, they both sought in each other the company they both yearned for.  They bonded over their love of wine, becoming quick friends, but then something much more.  I loved how strong Caresa’s character was.  She was very loyal to her family, which made her struggle with her feelings for Achille.  She had to decide if sacrificing her arranged marriage and possibly her family’s business was worth her own happiness. 

Although Achille’s and Caresa’s characters were very well developed, I wish that some other characters were more detailed.  Zeno, the man Caresa was arranged to marry, had a pivotal role within the story, but not much was revealed about his character.  He had so much potential and a lot was hinted about him, but it never felt like his character was developed as much as he should have been.  I think that it could have been another factor that pulled at my heartstrings, but by the end, I did not feel much for the well-being of Zeno.

The romance in this book felt epic.  The connection between Achille and Caresa was so genuine and sincere.  I loved how once they told each other how they felt, that they never stopped.  This book gave me a rollercoaster of emotions.  Once minute I was smiling ear to ear and then next I was teary eyed.  I absolutely loved the idea of split-aparts and that it was woven throughout the story.  This would have to be one of the best forbidden romances that I have ever read.  

I do have to mention that this book would be great for readers who enjoy romance books, but do not enjoy books with a lot of mature content.  This book does not have swearing (at least that I can remember) and the sexual content is very tame compared to most.  I actually enjoyed that aspect of this book because some books almost feel as if the characters are porn stars, where this one felt as if these characters were a normal couple in love.  The scenes gave enough to add to the story, but did not happen often and were not in excruciating detail.  I thought they were perfect for the story being told.

One of my biggest complaints about this book would be the predictability.  I knew where this story was going and it did wrap up a little too nicely.  I almost would have liked if it would have had a bittersweet ending because it would have been more realistic.  All the puzzle pieces fell into place too perfectly when just pages before, the situation felt hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong, I love happy endings as much as the next reader, but sometimes, romances that don’t end perfectly are the most beautiful.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book!  I do own several books by Tillie Cole and am defiantly going to be picking them up next month.  I would recommend this to readers who enjoy romance books, but like something a bit more subtle when it comes to the mature content.  This story was absolutely beautiful, breathtaking and gave me all the feels.  Plus the cover is absolutely stunning!


{Rating}


“Something had happened in the universe the day we had met.  There was a cosmic shift, some destined alteration to the very fabric of who we were.  The sun and the moon had aligned and cast us into one another’s hearts, never to be torn apart.”



“We are made of the same soul but not of the same life.  I knew that we were one of the lost causes my father told me about.  Not the all-consuming, not those whose circumstances don’t align.  The unfortunates that in an alternate universe would be the happiest of hearts but are forever broken and lost in this.”

Also check out some of Coles’s other books below.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

{Book Review} Where I Belong by J. Daniels



Where I Belong by J. Daniels
Published: June 27th, 2014
Series: Alabama Summer #1
Source: Won from Facebook
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 227
{Goodreads}{Amazon}

When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there's only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?

{Review}
It’s official…I am a J. Daniels addict!  It started with Four Letter Word and progressed further with Hit the Spot, but after I read Where I Belong, it just pushed me over the edge.  It only took me reading the first few pages to fall head over heels for this book.  It started out with a bang and then never let go.  Her ability to write addicting plots, relatable characters and amazing romance will definitely have me reading anything I can get my hands on by her!

J. Daniels writing was great!  It captivated me from the beginning and never let go.  This is the kind of writing that I look for in contemporary romances.  The words flowed effortlessly, allowing me to immerse myself completely within the story.  Addicting is a great way to categorize this book.  If I had free time, I was reading this book and when I wasn’t, I was wishing that I could. 

Just like I stated in my reviews of Four Letter Word and Hit the Spot, Daniels has the ability to write amazing dialogue.  I never really thought about how important dialogue is, but the more I read, the more I realize that it can make or break a book.  It can disrupt the flow of a book, distinguish the connection between the reader and characters and hinder character development.  But Daniel’s dialogue is some of the best that I have ever read. 

I do have to say that the plot of this story is predictable, but that did not bother me.  There were a few occurrences that did surprise me, but I would say that overall the plot is nothing entirely unique.  It is a hate to love romance, which is now becoming one of my favorite kinds of books.  It was full of angst and witty banter between the two main characters, Mia and Ben.  I found myself smiling at the antics they both pulled while they were trying to sort out their feelings.  I thought it was cute and heart-warming, but it was full of clich├ęs.  However, in the end, I really did love this book.

One of the reasons I love J. Daniels is her ability to make be fall in love with her characters.  They are all so dynamic and well-rounded, even the side characters.  I loved Mia!  She was relatable, sweet and down-to-Earth.  And Ben was amazing!  He was charming, loyal and a little rough around the edges.  He was very protective of Mia and sometimes came off too strong, but in the end, I was really rooting for him to win over Mia’s heart.  I also adored all the side characters and can’t wait to get my hands on All I Want so I can read Luke’s and Tessa’s story!

I enjoyed the romance in this book, but I did have some problems with it at times.  In fact, I am kind of surprised how fast I fell in love with this book considering it has one of the tropes that I absolutely hate…insta-love!   Ben instantly falls in love with Mia and in the beginning comes off too strong.  After getting past the beginning, he settles down some, but that might be an issue for some readers.  This book is also on the more mature side of romance.  It starts with a bang and then accelerates from there.  I would have preferred less steamy romance, but because the connection between Mia and Ben was well established, it didn’t bother me too much.  But just a warning to readers, this book contains a lot of mature content.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I would highly recommend checking out J. Daniel’s books because so far, I have enjoyed all that I have read from her.  I plan on continuing on with this series and reading anything else that Daniel’s writes in the future!


{Rating}

“The boy I once wished never existed was now the man I wanted to spend every second with.”

Also check out some of J. Daniels's other books below.

{Book Review} The Fall Up by Aly Martinez



The Fall Up by Aly Martinez
Published: October 20th, 2015 by Createspace
Series: The Fall Up #1
Source: Bought
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 262
{Goodreads}

I wanted to jump.
He made me fall.

As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.

Until he found me.

Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.

But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.

Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?

Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.

{Review}
This book was purely a cover buy, but after the first chapter, I knew that it was so much more.  I really enjoyed this book.  I was surprised that it held so much depth with being as short as it is.  Mental illness awareness is gaining popularity and I am glad that this book portrays mental illness well and shares an impactful message.  I am really interested in checking out some more of Aly Martinez’s other books to see if I enjoy them as much…or more than this one!

I thought the writing was good, but average.  It seems in romance books, it is really popular to mention character’s eye colors multiple times throughout a book…and this one did the same.  It is actually surprising how many different ways there is to describe the same color.  It did get on my nerves a little, but I have seen it in numerous books before.  I also struggled with the humor in this book.  I knew that certain parts were supposed to be found cute and funny, but I never really thought they were.  However, the pacing is good and I never found myself getting bored reading.

I think were this book really stands out was the great character development.  I really liked Levee as the main protagonist.  I thought that her character was really relatable and I could imagine her character being someone real.  I also really enjoyed how her mental illness was portrayed as something to not be ashamed of and that needs to be treated by professionals.  My favorite character was defiantly Sam Rivers!  He was amazingly handsome, sweet, kind, understanding, loyal and supportive.  I could not get enough of him.  I liked that he had a troubled past, but did not let that define who he was. 

The romance in this book was really good.  I did find that the beginning of the relationship was too rushed and felt less genuine.  I really like when a book establishes a good base for a relationship so that the feelings are more impactful.  I really loved the small, sweet gestures that Sam did for Levee.  I would have to say that this book is about a medium on the maturity scale.  It does have some detailed sexual situations that might not be right for beginners in the NA genre, but it also not erotica either. 

Overall, I thought this book was great for being a NA romance book.  It was fun, emotional, deep and beautiful.  I would recommend this book to readers who have read and enjoyed NA before.

{Rating}



“There was probably a herd of her fans that could beat me in a game of trivia about the woman I had every intention of marrying one day.
            I was okay with that.  I knew all the important things.
            I had to ask how she liked her eggs and what clique she’d belonged to in high school, but I knew how to make her laugh with a stupid joke and how to make her cheeks pink with a simple touch.
            I knew her heart.
            And I knew it belonged to me.” 95%

Also check out Martinez’s other books below.



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