Blog Tour: Awaken (Spiral of Bliss #3) by Nina Lane~ Brittany and Bianca's Reviews, Teaser & Giveaway
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review**
Oh, how I've loved this series! I have followed Dean's and Olivia's love story from the very beginning, and they will forever live in my heart as one of my favorite literary couples ever. This book, as with the rest in this series, is full of romance and passion, and the love between these two characters will bring you to your knees. One thing I absolutely loved about this series from the start, was that we got to experience life after the happily-ever-after. This author portrays married life-- the ups, the downs, the struggles, and triumphs, in a very authentic and genuine way. I feel like I've come full circle with this couple. I've laughed with them, cried with them, and rooted for them the entire way. To see their journey end is bittersweet, but Awaken was a lovely conclusion and it definitely did their romance justice.
"My husband and I will always be two people living one life of perfect imperfection"
As I said, I love that this series focuses on the very real problems that people, and marriages face. And these characters deal with them all in a very authentic way. They're imperfect, they have flaws, they make mistakes. But they love each other unconditionally, and are both 100% invested in their marriage and in each other. You can't ask for much more than that. In this beautiful conclusion, Liv and Dean are faced with some reoccurring issues, as well as some new problems. They have to deal with Dean being away for work, trouble with his job, and a blast from Olivia's past-- all of which threaten the happiness of our favorite couple. On top of all of this, Liv decides to do some much needed soul searching, and tries no to rely on Dean quite so much.
For Dean, who is comfortable in the role of Liv's "knight in shining armor," this is a struggle. He always puts Liv's well-being and safety above all else, and, being so far away, feels like he isn't able to protect her as much as they both need him to.
"...Still scares me sometimes. How much I love her. All this stuff about her needing me, relying on me, depending on me… when I’m the one who can’t take his next breath without her."
Liv and Dean's relationship is, again, put to the test, but they're determined to pull through stronger than ever. The roles that each play in their marriage are re-defined, and Olivia, especially, really flourishes and comes into her own. Of course, everything would be even better if they could shut out the world an exist only in their own little Liv and Dean bubble.
“Somehow, always, everything is okay when it’s just the two of us alone together.”
The love that these two characters share is something that will stick with me forever. It's beautiful and enviable, and just makes you warm all over. They are an excellent example of what a marriage should be. Yes, they make mistakes. Yes, they struggle, because love and marriage isn't easy. But they are so committed to each other and their life together, that you can't help but cheer them on. Nina Lane has written a truly wonderful couple and love story, and I'm sad to say goodbye. Separately, as well as together, these characters are some of my favorites. I've said before that Dean (aka Professor Hottie) is the perfect mixture of protective, charming, geeky and sexy. *sigh* I will miss you Dean West.
"You're the only woman I want to look at, beauty." His deep, affectionate voice warms me to my toes. "The only woman I can see."
Olivia has always been a complex and very relatable character for me, but she really blew me away in this last book. I was so proud of her, how she stood up for herself, how she strived to do better, to be better. She really made something of herself this time around and it was admirable. She's the same compassionate, sweet character as she's always been, but she finds a strength within herself that was love overdue.
"Pie love you, professor," I whisper. "Have faith in me, okay?"
I originally rated this one 4 stars instead of 5, because there were times when the story read a bit slow for me. The writing is flawless, as with the rest of the books in this series, but I couldn't help but feel that there was something missing, a certain spark. However, after writing this review and reflecting back on this novel, I have to bump it back up to a 5. This really was a wonderful read, especially if you're as invested in this series and these two amazing characters as I was. I definitely recommend this entire series. Run and grab it now, do not miss out on this epic love story!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
As someone that has followed this series from beginning to end, I must say this is one of my favorite romance stories EVER. We are taken upon a journey between two beautiful individuals as they live their life as man and wife. Their all consuming, passionate love captured my heart the moment I started reading. Their epic conclusion to their story is bittersweet. While Dean and Liv may stay with me forever, I was so happy the way their story ended.
"You and me, professor," I whisper.
"You and me, beauty."
Knowing that this was the end of Liv and Dean's journey, I took my time with this one. I held on to every word, every sentence of their story. The writing? Beautiful. Flawless. Breathtaking. You do not read this story, you simply LIVE it. It continues the issues that Dean and Liv faced in the first two books, but on a much deeper level. How much can this couple have thrown at them? Despite it all, they have each other and that is what matters the most.
"...my beautiful wife. Wanting her is like breathing. Needing her is in my blood. And loving her will always be the beat of my heart."
Do you hear my heart beating? Yes, it's for Dean West. He is the epitome of romance. He loves Liv with such a need and such a conviction that gives you all the FEELS. His love knows no boundaries. His wife, Liv is everything to him. Despite his right and wrongs, he does everything with her in mind. Their intense love and chemistry is beyond words. While their need for each other is highly erotic, it is also passionte and romantic. These raw emotions added to the story in that the love they share is undeniably beautiful.
I cannot recommend this intense and passionate story enough! While I gave the conclusion a four, the entire series gets a 5+++ from me. Yes, off the charts. The only thing that I wanted to see more in this story was perhaps something less predictable. I also wanted more time with Dean.This journey with Liv and Dean has been nothing short of amazing. This ever after story is deep, all-consuming, and beautiful. Love is limitless. Love is powerful. Love never fails.
USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances and spicy erotica. Originally from California, she loves traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Nina also spent many years in graduate school studying art history and library sciences.
Although she would go back for another degree if she could because she's that much of a bookworm, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. Nina's novel The Erotic Dark hit #1 on Amazon's Erotica Bestseller list, and Allure is a USA Today Bestseller.
Connect with the Nina:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Blog Tour: Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3) by Samantha Young ~ Author Interview, Ava's Review and Giveaway!
Hi Sam, thank you for stopping by Biblio Belles today!
First of all, congratulations on the release of Before Jamaica Lane! This is your 18th book release, are you a dab hand at them now or is each book release as nerve-racking as your first?
Thank you so much! And yes, I’ve got the butterflies! Apparently, that’s never going away. If I’m being honest I hope the jitters continue for every release, because that means I’m still excited about book releases. I don’t see me ever losing that.
We thought it was a great touch to add the name of the real location of Jamaica Lane at the beginning of the book, as you know your fans and we really do go looking for the landmarks. Can you believe people travel all over to spot signs in books that you have written?
No! It’s wonderful! The first time it happened, a reader tweeted me a picture of her standing beside the Dublin Street sign in Edinburgh and it just blew me away. It’s so amazing that readers want to stand on the streets the characters of this series live on and take in a piece of the story in such a tangible way. It really means a lot to me when they go to such an effort to share that with me.
If your readers can take away one thing from reading Before Jamaica Lane, what would you hope it to be?
That if there’s something in their lives they’re not happy with, some change they’ve always wanted to make, the time is now to do it. You should be able to stand in front of a mirror and like all that you see, inside and out, and if you don’t, then make the change. That’s what Liv and Nate’s story is about and I hope it resonates with the readers.
Word on the street (according to Dana) is that Nate is *gasp* hotter than Braden?! What is your opinion on this?
LOL! I love that. According to my readers Braden is hard to beat. He seems to win every single time in my male character polls. However… I’d say Nate is just as hot as Braden. He’s straight-talking, he’s got a dirty mouth on him, and he’s the best friend you’ll ever have. I can’t wait to see what readers think of him.
Did you ever believe when writing On Dublin street that it would turn into a series?
Not at all. On Dublin Street was a step out of my comfort zone. My first contemporary romance and my first adult novel rolled into one. It was intended as a stand alone because I wasn’t sure how I’d be received as an adult contemporary romance writer.
Do you have a favourite couple from the Edinburgh gang?
Oh, that’s really difficult for me because I love them all for such different reasons. When I’m writing their stories, they’re always my favourite couple in that moment. For instance I’m writing Hannah and Marco’s story now and so they’re at the forefront of my brain and my emotions. However, I think I’ll always have a special fondness for Joss and Braden because they’re the reason I’ve started this fantastic adventure.
We have a specific question from our Belle Derna, and that is why is Braden so hot??
Ha! I’m not sure. I think he’s hot to readers for different reasons. Perhaps it’s his mix of alpha hero and good-natured charm. He’s a hero that, although used to taking charge, is not intimidated by a strong woman and has no intention of crushing her independence. Sometimes a hero can be too possessive, and sometimes too laid-back. I think Braden is balanced in that respect, and once you add in his dirty mouth and devotion… ;-)
The readers always ask for more Braden and Joss, and you certainly treated us to a great novella, will there be any more from them? Do you have any plans after Fall from India Place?
I love that readers care so much about them that they want more, but unfortunately I don’t have any plans to return to Braden and Joss’s story. Readers can always catch up with them in the continuing series as secondary characters, but the essence of their story has been told now in On Dublin Street and Castle Hill, and returning to them would be a case of piling unnecessary angst on them, and I don’t think I can put them through any more. I think they deserve they’re happily ever after :-)
What do your friends and family make of Samantha Young, NYT bestselling author? Or are you still the same Sam to them?
I’m definitely still the same Sam to them. Of course they’re massively proud and incredibly supportive, but I haven’t changed one iota and so neither have they.
Now you know our Scottish Belle Ava is prone to stalking you ;-) what signing events will you be appearing at this year?
Lol! I love Ava! The only event I have scheduled so far is The Romance Author Event in Edinburgh in July. I will be scheduling more Scottish signings this year, however, and I have a few announcements still to make regarding signings.
Thanks so much for answering our questions today!
Thanks so much for having me!
"No one," I whispered, my lips trembling with emotion, "has ever made me feel like the person I've always wanted to be until you."
I must confess that I read Before Jamaica Lane all in one sitting and I didn't put this book down until 5:30 am in the morning. I simply couldn't! I stupidly thought I could take a sneak peek and from page one I was hooked. Samantha Young reels you in. I know I am guaranteed great writing, amazing characters and brilliant story telling with a book by this author and Before Jamaica Lane was no exception. I experienced tears, laughter, frustration and downright joy while reading this book. It's not just a story, it's an experience and one that I truly loved!
We met Olivia and Nate in Down London Road. Olivia moved over from the states with her dad who was a father figure to Jo and Nate was Cam's friend. Olivia is starting fresh in Scotland. She works in the university library and although it seems she has it all; good job, loving father, her own flat and a new extended family of sorts, there is a part of Liv's life that is incomplete. Her self esteem and self belief are non existent. Liv can't even looking at a guy without quivering with shyness let a lone talk to one and this is something she wants to fix. Liv is a real girl, and one of my favourite female characters yet. She is curvy and just wants to feel sexy and confident in her own skin.
Liv feels like a huge chunk of her personality is missing so she drunkenly suggests to Nate, whom she has formed a great friendship with, to teach her how to seduce and be more sexually confident and experienced. Of course these lessons cover the physical side as well. Nate is a player and doesn't hide it. One night stands are his speciality, even though he is playing with fire when accepting Liv's proposal, he is helpless to stop it and soon they go from being best friends to best friends with benefits thrown in. And can I just say, Liv is one lucky lady as Nate is a sexy man with a dirty mouth on him ;-)
"If you were just some woman in a bar, I'd pick you out from all the others, take you home, and fuck you so hard you wouldn't be able to walk straight in the morning."
"Promise me. Tell me you won't run." He bit my ear, the nip almost painful. "Tell me you won't run from me ever. And then beg me to fuck you."
This book is no exception to the others in the heat factor, it was downright HAWTT! Samantha Young writes great sexy times. Before Jamaica Lane was a passionate story but at the same time Liv and Nate's relationship was built on a great friendship and I loved that Nate gave Liv the confidence she needed. The scene where he undresses Liv in front of the mirror and points out how beautiful she is, has to be one of the hottest and sensual scenes I've read. I loved it!
"Shock rooted me to the floor. It wasn't just the very cool things he was saying; it was the rush of tingles that shivered through me as he caressed my butt and moved his hand upward, sliding it under my T-shirt, and around my waist to caress my stomach."
I loved witnessing Olivia's journey over the course of the book, slowly but surely she became more comfortable in her own skin and she finally got to be the person she always wanted to be.
"It was possible that men, actual men, not adolescent boys and young college boys, might find me attractive-might actually be ok with a woman who was a little overweight, had curves and an ass on her. And here I'd thought Sir Mix-A-Lot wrote "I Like Big Butts' just because it was catchy."
"She told me she admired me. With Jo, I liked myself so much more than I usually did. She was the only mirror I liked looking into."
I loved the fact Before Jamaica Lane was not only about Liv's own personal journey of confidence and inner peace but Samantha Young entwined poor Nate's broken soul into it as well. Nate deflected love and avoided connections out of a obligation to his childhood love. Nate couldn't differentiate between what he thought he should feel and what he wanted to feel. Nate was so young when tragedy stuck and it was only when Liv manage to penetrate his armour that he realised he could run no more. Honestly, this part of the storyline made me love Nate and Liv more! I was rooting for them to be together every step of the way!
As always it was wonderful to read about the couples we have grown to love. Joss, Braden, Ellie, Adam, Jo and Cam were all back. They have solidified into a great group of friends. And we got to witness parts of their stories along side Nate and Livs and the othre books entwine together. Of course Joss and Braden will forever be my number one couple but I loved this story so much, Nate and Liv have secured the second spot for sure!
Another character that played a huge role in the story was Liv's mum, although no longer with her, Liv's mum was still very much present in her life. After losing her mum at a young age, Liv felt a flurry of emotions; overwhelming grief, despair and loss mixed with resentment and guilt. Even though Liv would never change being there for her mum every step of the way, she feared she might have resented her for robbing Liv of an 'average adolescence' but through her journey Liv was able to make peace with her mum and in turn she realised it was all meant to happen the way it did. Sporadic thoughts from Liv's mum would pop into the story and it really was heart warming, I loved the affectionate nick name for Liv and thought in some way her mum would be following Liv's journey if she could. "I'm so happy for you, Soda Pop."
Of course, something's gotta give and Liv could no longer read between the blurred lines. She was in a secret relationship with Nate, it went beyond 'practice now' and hearts were involved. "I was angry because what he'd just said was utterly beautiful. Looking at him caused a dart of pleasure to hit me in the chest. My blood heated, my fingers curling into little fists. He was making me fall for him. That wasn't supposed to be part of the deal." There was a point in the story when I didn't understand Liv's actions, seemingly Nate came to his senses and confessed what she was longing to hear, yet Liv was wanting more. I really wanted to shake her and say 'Girl, are you crazy!' but the more Liv shared her feelings I knew she was right. Words are easy to say, with Nate still very much stuck in his past, Liv needed actions, not words. And can I just say the results were swoon worthy and down right womb clenching!
"I deserved to be loved. All or nothing."
"But I do need you to know that I'm going to fight for you. I'm not making the mistake of walking away from you again. The only man in your future is me, Liv. The only kids in your future are mine."
Before Jamaica Lane is another fantastic story from Samantha Young. I adore her writing and story telling. I now feel like the Edinburgh gang are old acquaintances and I want to jump into their world at any chance I get. The stage is set for Hannah and Marco's story next and it will be interesting to see Hannah take centre stage. After reading the sweet, sweet epilogue I do wonder if a story for Cole will ever arise. All I know is, I just need more! I want to read about these characters until both them and I are grey haired!
If you are a fan of the series, you will absolutely fall in love with Liv and Nate and if you are new to it all then I say don't even hesitate and jump in today!
"It just meant squashing the fluttering in my stomach whenever I gazed at Nate. And by squashing, I meant I'd have to crush those little fuckers into nonexistence."
"Thank you," I managed to force out. For making me feel beautiful."
"It rushed out in a burst of geek. "It's size is a little problematic because despite my tendency to ramble, my mouth is pretty small and it won't all fit in and I have a gag reflex that might be a problem so I don't know how-" "Liv-" Nate was choking on laughter. Take a deep breath."
"Heaven. Hell" I panted, my fingers raking the wall. "Who cares as long as I ride there on an orgasm."
"I shrugged, acquiescing to the truth. "Fine. But we're trying to cram years of experience into a few weeks here." Nate grinned and suddenly grabbed my ankles, pulling me down the couch before crawling over me. "I know, it's so exhausting he teased. "I'm utterly sick of it."
"But I know it's time to move forward, it's time to start living in the after. You're that for me, Liv. You're the love of my life."
"You make me feel beautiful, Nate. All the way through. No one else has ever given me that. No one." "I'm glad," he murmured against my mouth. "Not just because you deserve to feel that way . . . but because it makes you mine."
"This is not where I expected to be." "Me neither," I whispered. "But I'm so fucking glad that someone out there thought this is where I deserved to be."
Purchase and Pre-order the full series.
New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young is a 27 year old book addict who graduated from the University of Edinburgh. She lives in Scotland. Connect with her online:
**I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review**
After reading (and loving) the first book in this series, Sempre, I was beyond excited to get my hands on Sempre: Redemption. And I have to say I loved this one almost as much as the first! Although I expected some drama and trouble, I was hoping to get a lot more of Haven and Carmine as a happy couple, and enjoying life a bit after all of the struggles and hardships they faced in the previous book... and that's definitely not what we get for most of this novel. This one had me bawling my eyes out in record time and I had a lump in my throat through almost the entire book. This continuation of Sempre is emotional, heartbreaking, and completely captivating-- such a page-turner for me.
Even though I had hoped for more of a happily ever after-- or even a tiny bit of one--- I loved that we got to see what life was like for Haven and Carmine after Haven gained her "freedom." This book was quite a role-reversal for the two main characters. In the first book, Haven is the one who can't make her own decisions and is forced to live her life a certain way, under other people's control... But now Carmine's life is no longer his own. Carmine makes the tough decision to let Haven go, so that she's free to truly enjoy her newfound freedom and live her life the way she wants. Although he goes about it in the wrong way-- again, taking a decision away from her instead of letting her decide for herself-- the love he shows for her is very heartwarming. He wants her to know true freedom, even if he has to sacrifice his own happiness to do so. We see a very different side of Carmine in this book. He's depressed, self-destructive, but determined to do right by Haven, even if it means he has to suffer.
Haven is such a strong character and one that is very easy to become attached to. She's strong, she's sweet and endearing, and she really steps up to the plate (eventually) and takes control of her life. After what's she's been through, that's incredible. Seeing these two characters attempt to live without each other for a time, struggling to endure their new lives while their heart is with the other-- surviving, but not living-- was heartbreaking.
Redemption-- the perfect word to describe the premise of this novel. We see many characters trying to right their wrongs and make amends. Corrado is a huge part of this story and I loved learning more about his life and what makes him tick. He really surprised me and I definitely grew to love him. In true Darhower fashion, there are tons of twists and turns, lots of surprises, and nail-biting action. I was anxious the entire time I read, waiting for the other shoe to drop-- because you KNOW something's coming, you just don't know when! Sempre: Redemption is a novel about pain, personal growth, heartache, and perseverance, finished perfectly with a lovely epilogue. I absolutely recommend this one!
Carmine sat in his usual chair in the library, casually strumming his guitar. A sliver of light filtered in from the large window, illuminating his somber expression in the darkness. She called his name but he remained still, continuing to pluck at the strings almost as if he hadn’t heard her. She took a step toward him and was about to say his name again when he let out a long, deep sigh. “I had a dream.”
“Another nightmare?” she asked, walking over to him. He glanced up at her as his fingers stilled, the music stopping, but Haven barely noticed. She couldn’t focus on anything but the green eyes boring into her. Once so alive
with passion, she saw nothing but deep sadness marring the bright color.
Carmine set the guitar aside and moved his legs to make room, motioning for her to join him. She climbed into his lap and he wrapped his arms around her.
“Not a nightmare this time,” he said. “It was a good dream.”
“What was it about?”
“You,” he said quietly. “You made a painting—some abstract shit, I don’t know—but it was so good they hung it in a museum and raved about how talented you were. It was like you were the next fucking Picasso, tesoro.”
She laughed. “I don’t even know how to paint, Carmine.”
“You could learn,” he said. “Would you want to?”
“Maybe, but I don’t know how good I’d be.”
“Oh, you’d be good,” he said confidently. “You shouldn’t doubt yourself. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
“Except for play the piano,” she said playfully. “Or the guitar.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, for the sake of everyone’s ears, we ought to leave music to me, but the rest is all you. You can probably do all of that, you know. Draw, paint, sculpt shit into weird shapes and tell people it’s something it doesn’t look anything like. That takes talent.”
She smiled. “And you think I have that kind of talent?”
“Of course,” he said. “There’s gonna be no stopping you once you get started.”
“Thank you,” she whispered, a swell of emotion surging through her at his words. “It means a lot that you believe in
“I’d be an idiot not to,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
JM Darhower is the author of countless stories and poems, most of which only she has ever read. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep
passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn't writing (or fangirling about books) she's usually ranting about those things.
Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can usually always find her there.
Connect with JM:
Website / Facebook / Twitter