The Rule Book SALE

Hey everyone!!

Just want to pop in and say that The Rule Book was selected as a Kindle Daily Deal and is on sale today only for 99 cents! Go pick that puppy up before it shoots back up to $3.99!

Click here to purchase

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, here is a little info🙂

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Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide

1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side.
4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.

 

Hope you all enjoy!

 

Pitch Wars Time!

Hi everyone!!

If you’re viewing this post, you’ve probably written a book. I’m sending you virtual spirit fingers because GO YOU!!

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What is Pitch Wars? Here’s a post from Brenda, the mastermind of this whole operation.

And if you’re interested in this contest, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you want help querying/catching an agent’s eye.  AWESOME. Happy to have you here.🙂

So, at this point, you’re probably scrolling through mentor bios and checking the Pitch Wars hashtag…or obsessively checking your Twitter feed (what? Just me?) and wondering “who is this Jennifer Blackwood chick?” Okay, maybe you’re not, but humor me for a few mins, mmmkay?

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A little about me: I’m a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. I’m probably best known for  THE RULE BOOK, but I also have 3 other books under my belt. I am represented by the fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan from Handspun Literary. Here’s my query that snagged her attention. My day job consists of corralling teenagers..erm…I mean, teaching language arts. In the past, I’ve also interned at a couple publishers (including Entangled) which means I have a good sense of what editors are looking for.

Why I chose to be a mentor: I’ve been waiting for months now to get back into the Pitch Wars ring and help potential mentees. Last year, I had to drop out because of a death in the family, but I’M BACK. I really love this contest. It is everything I wish I’d had when I first started out–someone to take me under their wing. Someone to tell me “JEN, STOP REFRESHING YOUR EMAIL EVERY 2.4 SECONDS.” Really, stop doing that. It’s horrible for your sanity. So, this is my chance to pay it forward. To help someone who needs that extra little push or guidance while trying to break into this tough industry. And if I can help even one person, then that’s what this is all about. If I pick you as my mentee, my support doesn’t end after the contest. I’m here for the long haul, so, sorry, you’re stuck with me.

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My editing style: I will most likely do two passes of the project (possibly three). If you are going to work with me, I am not one to sugarcoat things, and I will always be honest with you. With that said, I offer constructive feedback and will never tear you or your writing down. Oftentimes, I pose questions to make you think about your book, about certain scenes, characterization, etc. I don’t like to outright tell you to “take this out”– unless your character says they hate DQ Blizzards, because that’s a deal breaker– because you are the person who needs to make those decisions. I will always point out what I think isn’t working or could possibly be tweaked to make it better. I urge all writers to listen to their gut when it comes to feedback. When I was first starting out, I took any and every suggestion I got in regards to my manuscript. Want to know what happened? My manuscript suffered because of it. With that said, I do expect my potential mentee to come into this with an open mind and be willing to dig deep to make your manuscript better. I’ve been in the business for a few years and have read A LOT in my genre. I can pretty easily spot what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s what edits will look like:

First pass: overall plot, characterization, making sure every scene moves plot forward

Second pass: fine tuning overall book, making sure everything is consistent, correcting any blatant grammar issues

Be prepared to work hard. I will make you work for this, but promise your manuscript will be 198543958439068 (this is a scientifically calculated number, I assure you) times better because of it.

My strengths: editing (I have a Master’s in English), query writing, humor, voice, characterization, spotting plot issues/inconsistencies, pointing out places to show vs. tell.

Hobbies: reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, hiking, dancing, silently correcting grammar, singing in the car, and eating..probably my  favorite past time of all

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Favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Hart of Dixie, Supernatural, Suits

Favorite YA authors: Sarah Dessen, Miranda Kenneally, Jennifer Echols, Stephanie Perkins, Katie McGarry, Julie Buxbaum, Becky Albertalli, Sarah J. Maas

Favorite NA authors: Elle Kennedy, Kristen Callihan, Lia Riley, AJ Pine, Chanel Cleeton, Melissa West, Cindi Madsen, Lisa Desrochers

Now on to the good stuff.

MY WISH LIST! 

YA: -I am only taking contemporary. Although I love to read YA fantasy (and will gush to no end about A Court of Thorns and Roses), paranormal, dystopian, etc. I do not feel like I’d be the best candidate to help you with your manuscript.

  • Romance- I love, love, love YA romance. Anything that makes me swoon, laugh, stay up way past my bedtime is right up my alley. Books I’ve recently loved: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, In Real Life by Jessica Love, A Court of Mist and Fury (I said I don’t want fantasy, but if you have a Feyre/Rhys type relationship SEND IT TO ME RIGHT NOW). Although I’m not opposed to emotionally heavy topics, I love the fluff. Give me the fluff.

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  • Sports- I love books about sports, especially if it has an interesting twist like females kicking ass in a male dominated sport (Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, anyone?)
  • Mystery- I am DYING to read a book similar to Veronica Mars. I have a soft spot for witty/snarky characters, especially when the hero and heroine have a love/hate relationship. If you have something that, please send my way.
  • Diversity- Some of my favorite books include Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Openly Straight, and One Man Guy. Is your book like any of these? SEND THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW. I need this in my life.
  • Manuscripts in special format. Anything that includes cute things like emails, notes, poems, memos, etc.
  • Shakespeare retellings. I’d LOVE to read a book in vein of She’s the Man (yes, the movie with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, because UNF)
  • Boarding school books or secret societies. I loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. If you have something with shenanigans at boarding school or secret societies, I am your woman.
  • A study abroad novel. Something along the lines of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Kristen Rae’s Wish You Were Italian, Lia Riley’s Upside Down, and AJ Pine’s If Only. I asked for this last year, and no one sent me one. So I’m putting a shout out for it again!! If you have something like this, send it my way. I will die of happiness.
  • Friendship books. I love complicated friendships. Send them to me. Seriously.
  • Magical Realism

What I’d like to see in general:

  • humorous writing/characters
  • clear conflict that your characters have to overcome/ clear motivations and goals
  • something that will make me smile. As said before, I LOVE the fluff
  • Rory/Lorelai type relationship
  • Strong heroines
  • Nice guys, ones who treat women with respect.
  • Smart, purposeful prose that will keep me flipping the page.

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NA: For New Adult, I am only taking romance. The above wishlist for YA can also apply to NA as well. I am really enjoying older NA (characters out of college, out in the real world  working their first jobs). If the book is set in college, there needs to be a hook that is fresh.

Tropes I love:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Older brother’s best friend
  • Second chance love
  • Fake relationships

Not on my wish list:

  • Paranormal
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Thrillers
  • Anything involving rape or dubious consent
  • Teen Pregnancy
  • Slut Shaming
  • Anything extremely sad (moments of sadness are fine, but if your book makes me cry 90% of the book, I’m not your gal)

And that’s it. Even if you feel your MS doesn’t fit this perfectly, if you think you have something that I’d love, send it to me! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

You’re a badass for putting yourself out there, and keep doing you❀

If you’re doing the scavenger hunt, here is my letter😉letter_letra_R

and here’s a little *cough cough* hint…but you didn’t hear it from me!!

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And here are the other fabulous mentors:

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Are You Ready to Break the Rules?

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Well, everyone, the day has finally arrived!
THE RULE BOOK is now available and ready to hop onto your e-reader.

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Warning. This book may contain the following:

  • sexy CEOs with penchant for rule making
  • heroines who have a knack for breaking rules
  • a carnivorous elevator
  • a cashmere-eating Great Dane
  • awwwwwwwkward moments
  • that’s what she said jokes
  • Gilmore Girls references (#teamjess)
  • a towel scene that would make your mama blush
  • a heaping dose of swoons

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BLURB:

Starr Media Second-Assistant Survival Guide

1. Don’t call your hot boss the antichrist to his face.
2. Don’t stare at hot boss’s, um, package or his full sleeve of tattoos. (No. Really. Stop!)
3. Don’t get on the malicious first assistant’s bad side.
4. Don’t forget to memorize the 300-page employee manual.
5. If you value your cashmere, steer clear of boss’s dog.
6. Boss’s dimples are lust-inducing. Do. Not. Give. In.
7. “The elevator ate your clothes” is not a valid excuse for showing up to important meetings half dressed.
8. Don’t break seven of the rules within the first week of employment if you, ya know, are in dire need of money to support your sick mom.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the boss. See rule eight about sick mom.
10. Never forget the rules.

 

So what do you say? Ready to break all the rules? I mean, really, with a hot, tatted CEO with a chin like that, who wouldn’t be willing to break a few?

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1V6KSzo
B&N: http://bit.ly/1SjOAF9
iBooks: http://apple.co/1T9qkTg
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1qK2yE6

****There is also a special $50 Amazon Gift Card giveaway on my Facebook page Monday (5/9) morning! Get in on that before time runs out🙂 *****

 

Fashion young businessman black suit casual tie on gray background

teaser TRB 3 weeks before releaseTRB teaser 2TRB teaser 9

 

 

Yay!! It’s Pitch Wars Time!

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Hello talented people interested in Pitch Wars! First off, congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely finished a book and are preparing to travel down the crazy road of publishing. Give yourself a pat on the back, because that is one incredible feat, my friend.

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For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jennifer Blackwood. I’m represented by the fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburger Associates. This is my second year I’m participating as a mentor in the amazing contest Brenda Drake has organized! Click here for more information about Pitch Wars. Interested in becoming my mentee? Here are a few facts about me:

I’m a language arts teacher by day and an author by night.

I write Contemporary Romance and NA Contemporary Romance. My first two books, Unethical and Foolproof, are out with Entangled Embrace. I have four books coming out in 2016 (2 Brazen and 2 more NA Romances) plus one novella.

I have years of experience as a CP and beta reader for multiple authors and focus on big picture, as well as small details.

Last year, I was an editorial intern for Entangled. I read submissions for the Embrace and Teen line, so I’ve had experience on the other side of publishing and have a good feel for what publishers are looking for in terms of quality and content.

What to expect if you’re my mentee:

-A lot of hard work. I’m putting in a lot of work by reading you manuscript and critiquing/making suggestions to make your book shine. Expect a lot of one-on-one attention, lots of emails, and a mentor (me) who will stick with you until you find an agent. Depending on the state of the manuscript, there may be a lot of changes that need to be made. I want someone who is willing to put in the effort to make their manuscript shine.

-A positive attitude. A good attitude goes a long way in this business. Since I’ll be working closely with my mentee for a few months, I’d like to be paired with someone who I know I’ll get along with. You can get a good sense of my personalty on Twitter. So let’s interact and get to know each other! And if you have a love for Supernatural, DQ Blizzards, or anything salted caramel, I think we’ll get along just fine.

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-An open mind. I like to give feedback. Sometimes this feedback requires you to tweak parts of your manuscript (or take entire sections out). I’ll be looking at your overall plot structure, characterization, and also smaller issues, such as grammar. I’m here to help you get your book into great shape before it’s put in front of editors, so please keep an open mind about any critiques.

Okay, now for the good stuff! This year I am mentoring YA and NA entries.

My wish list: YA: -I am only taking contemporary. Although I love to read YA fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, etc. I do not feel like I’d be the best candidate to help you with your manuscript.

-Romance- I love, love, love YA romance. Anything that makes me swoon, laugh, stay up way past my bedtime is right up my alley. Some YA romance writers I love: Katie McGarry, Sarah Dessen, Miranda Kenneally, Stephanie Perkins.

-Sports- I love books about sports, especially if it has an interesting twist like females kicking ass in a male dominated sport (Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, anyone?)

-Mystery- I am DYING to read a book similar to Veronica Mars. I have a soft spot for witty/snarky characters, especially when the hero and heroine have a love/hate relationship. If you have something that, please send my way.

-Diversity- Some of my favorite books this year have been Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Openly Straight, and One Man Guy. Is your book like any of these? SEND THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW. I need this in my life.

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What I’d like to see in general: -Parents who are seen as caring and invested in kid’s well-being (I’m tired of seeing parents painted as “the bad guy”). I’d LOVE to see a Rory/Lorelai type relationship.

-Strong heroines that are worried about more than image/social status and appearance. -Nice guys, ones who treat women with respect.

-Smart, purposeful prose that will keep me flipping the page.

NA: For New Adult, I am only taking romance. The above wishlist for YA can also apply to NA as well. I am really enjoying older NA (characters out of college, out in the real world  working their first jobs). If the book is set in college, there needs to be a hook that is fresh.

I AM DYING FOR A STUDY ABROAD NOVEL. Something along the lines of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Kristen Rae’s Wish You Were Italian, Lia Riley’s Upside Down, and AJ Pine’s If Only. I asked for this last year, and no one sent me one. So I’m putting a shout out for it again!! If you have something like this, send it my way. I will die of happiness.

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Tropes I love:

*Enemies to lovers

*Older brother’s best friend

*Second chance love

*Fake relationships

Not on my wish list:

Paranormal

Science Fiction

Fantasy

Thrillers

Anything involving rape (I can’t handle the subject, and you want someone who will be able to help you out with your MS)

Teen Pregnancy

Slut Shaming

Anything extremely sad (moments of sadness are fine, but if your book makes me cry 90% of the book, I’m not your gal)

And that concludes my wish list for Pitch Wars! I can’t wait to get my hands on your submissions! tumblr_inline_nruliz2vss1rymiaj_500

Go check out the other awesome mentors on the blog hop!

1. Kes Trester (co- mentoring with Jennifer Hawkins) 36. Nikki Roberti 71. Kara Seal
2. Mindy McGinnis (co- mentoring with Kate Karyus Quinn) 37. Emmie Mears 72. Lee Gjertsen Malone
3. N.K. Traver 38. Lori Goldstein (co- mentoring with Chelsea Bobulski) 73. Katie Bucklein
4. Kristin B. Wright 39. Jennifer Hawkins (co- mentoring with Kes Trester) 74. Kevin A Springer
5. Laura Heffernan 40. Elizabeth Briggs 75. Brianna Shrum
6. Mary Ann Marlowe 41. Ron Walters (co- mentoring with Meredith McCardle) 76. Kate Karyus Quinn (co- mentoring with Mindy McGinnis)
7. Joy McCullough- Carranza 42. Fiona McLaren (co- mentoring with Dionne McCulloch) 77. Kim Graff
8. Lisa Lewis- Tyre 43. S.M. Johnston (co- mentoring with Stacey Nash) 78. Emily Martin
9. Jenni L. Walsh (co- mentoring with Trisha Leaver) 44. Max Wirestone 79. Trisha Leaver (co- mentoring with Jenni Walsh)
10. Sarah Glenn Marsh 45. Jaye Robin Brown 80. Kim Long
11. Julie C. Dao 46. Molly Lee 81. Catherine Scully
12. Kellye Garrett 47. Rachel Lynn Solomon 82. Stacey Trombley
13. K.T. Hanna 48. J.C. Nelson 83. Stephanie Scott (co- mentoring with Valerie Cole)
14. Jessie Devine 49. Holly Faur 84. Valerie Cole (co- mentoring with Stephanie Scott)
15. Rosalyn Eves 50. Sonia Hartl 85. Lizzy Charles
16. Jami Nord 51. Natasha Raulerson 86. Dannie Morin (co- mentoring with Alexandra Alessandri)
17. Samantha Joyce 52. Marty Mayberry 87. Kate Foster
18. Helene Dunbar 53. J.C. Davis 88. Elly Takaki
19. Jenna Lehne 54. Rebecca Wells 89. Julie Sondra Decker
20. Linsey Miller 55. Michelle Hauck 90. Lady Lioness
21. Jessica Vitalis 56. Tabitha Martin 91. Susan Gray Foster (co- mentoring with Mó nica Bustamante Wagner_
22. Stacey Graham 57. Rebecca Petruck 92. Kelly Calabrese
23. Dan Koboldt 58. Sarah Henning 93. Sarah Nicolas
24. Brighton Walsh 59. Alex White 94. Kelly Siskind
25. Kate Brauning 60. Jeanmarie Anaya 95. Roselle Kaes
26. Lisa Maxwell 61. Laura Salter 96. Mó nica Bustamante Wagner (co- mentoring with Susan Gray Foster)
27. Wendy Spinale 62. Wade White 97. Renée Ahdieh (co- mentoring with Traci Chee)
28. Sarah Cannon 63. Brooks Benjamin 98. Traci Chee (co- mentoring with RenĂƒïżœĂ‚Â©e Ahdieh)
29. L.L. McKinney 64. Margarita Montimore 99. Janet B. Taylor
30. Juliana Brandt 65. Megan Grimit 100. Jessie Humphries (co- mentoring with Mara Rae)
31. Scarlett Cole 66. Charlie Holmberg 101. Lynnette Labelle
32. Hayley Stone 67. Diana Gallager 102. Erica M. Chapman
33. Jennifer Blackwood 68. Stefanie Wass 103. Summer Spence
34. Kendra Young 69. Tamara Mataya 104. Marieke Nijkamp
35. S.P. McConnell 70. Rebecca Sky 105. Meredith McCardle (co- mentoring with Ron Walters)

Linky Widget expiration: 65 minutes ago.

Taylor Swift Book Tag!

The amazing Maf from Maf’s Crazy Book Life tagged me in this super fun Taylor Swift book tag. The objective is to answer with book titles that are on my bookshelf. Here are my answers!!

QUESTIONS:

1. Red: Pick a book with a RED cover.

KM

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry.

2. The Best Day : Pick a book that makes you feel nostalgic. 

HP

That would definitely have to be Harry Potter. It brings me back to my childhood—the first books that really got me into reading.

3. Love Story : Pick a book with forbidden love.

Twilightbook

Hmm I don’t have a lot of these on my shelf, so I am going to have to go with Twilight.

4. I Knew You Were Trouble: Pick a book with a bad character you couldn’t help but love

.JE

 

I don’t particularly seek out books with bad boys, so I will just answer with a character I really love lol. Grayson from Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

5. Innocent: Pick a book that someone ruined the ending for.

MJ

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

6. Everything Has Changed: Pick a character from a book who goes through extensive character development.

AF

Anna from Anna and the French Kiss🙂

7. You Belong With Me: Pick your most anticipated book release.

T

I am SUPER EXCITED for Kristen Callihan’s next book, The Friend Zone. Also, I know this book is already out, but I am eagerly awaiting Tangled by Emma Chase from the library!

8. Forever and Always: Pick your favorite book couple.

UD

Bran and Talia from Lia Riley’s Off the Map series. I am #TeamBran FOREVER  

9. Come Back, Be Here: Pick the book you would least like to lend out, for fear of missing it too much.

OR

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. I LUUUUUURVED this book so hard!

Bonus question *insert awkward dance*

10. Teardrops On My Guitar: Pick a book that made you cry a lot.

EP

As a rule, I purposely don’t pick books that will make me cry, but I really loved Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. And yes, it made me cry. A lot. 

11. Shake It Off : Pick a book that you love so much, you just shake off the haters.

DH

I don’t really think there are many haters, but I absolutely loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

 

And that’s a wrap! I tag anyone who wants to do this!🙂

SIDESWIPED by LIA RILEY!!! IT’S HERE!

I am so excited to host Lia’s book on my blog. This is BY FAR my favorite book in the series. Something about a second book in a trilogy that is super special. If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, GO, HURRY! IT’S AMAZING. Here is a little about the book:

Title: Sideswiped

Author: Lia Riley

Series: Off the Map #2

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Publication: October 7th, 2014

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Purchase
Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
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And here is my review!!
My favorite book of Riley’s so far. Second books in the series are always my favorite. It’s where shit gets real. It’s where the characters realize…well, heck, we’ve professed our love, so now what? And Riley answers that question perfectly. Love (the best kind) is messy. Real people screw up. And these characters are so real, they practically bitch-slapped me in the face while reading.

Book two has Talia and Bran living together in a quaint little cottage (one that I so badly covet). They are working through making their relationship work while finishing up their studies. Talia’s OCD starts to spiral and Bran is faced with some hard decisions in regards to his dream job. These two are put through the ringer in this book and their relationship is pushed to the brink.

I really loved how Talia handled the whole situation with going for your dream AND being with the person you love, something that I think a lot of twenty-somethings think is not possible. I saw this a lot with my friends in college–they’d give up studying abroad just to make sure that they wouldn’t lose the guy they loved. It was refreshing to have a strong heroine that wanted to make her relationship work, but also didn’t want to compromise her (or Bran’s) dream. She gives Bran a swift kick in the ass when he needs it the most and it makes them stronger because of it.

I love this couple so hard and can’t wait to see them get their happily ever after they deserve.

 
About Lia
 

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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Giveaway

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Upside Down by Lia Riley: New Release and Giveaway

I am so excited to have my very good friend and CP, Lia Riley, on my blog! Today we’ll talk about dream casting. She’s given me a glimpse at her ultimate dream cast.  WARNING: Hot guys ahead!! Enter at your own risk. There is also a kickass excerpt at the bottom, so check it out!

Here is Lia’s cast:

Bran

hero inspiration

Talia

Talia inspiration  Emma Watson

Jazza

Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Jazza

Bee (Talia’s mom)

Secondary character :: UPSIDE DOWN Bee, Talia's mom

Scott (Talia’s dad)

Secondary character :: UPSIDE DOWN Scott, Talia's Dad

Marti

Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Marti

Beth

Secondary character inspiration :: UPSIDE DOWN Beth.

Sunny

sunny

Bella

Secondary character inspiration :: Upside Down Bella

Tanner

hero insp

Adie

Adie Inspiration

 

I absolutely love Lia’s choice for dream cast. And Bran? Totally swooning right now. Someone get me a fan. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this book, GO DO IT NOW! It is a summer must-read. Well, really a must-read of any season.

HERE IS MY REVIEW OF UPSIDE DOWN:

Okay, first off let me start by saying that if you only read one NA contemporary romance this year, it needs to be this one. This is a spectacular debut by Lia Riley.

The main character, Talia, is running away from her problems. Her sister died in a car accident—one that happened when she was rushing home to check if Talia had left her hair straightener on. Talia (and her mother) blames her sister’s death on Talia’s OCD tendencies. With Talia’s life going to shit, she decides she needs a break from her life in California and chooses to study abroad in Australia. Lia does such a good job portraying a girl who is dealing with OCD. Talia’s discomfort rolled off the page, and I really felt for her. Her struggle with wanting to be normal, but her compulsion to do her rituals was heart-breaking and eye-opening. GOD DAMNIT, TALIA, I WANT TO GIVE YOU A HUG!

Anyways

Fast forward to her new life in Australia. Talia is on her way to meet up with a guy who is a total wanker (never heard that term til this book and am now going to use it to describe every dirtbag I meet!) Right in front of the bar is where we meet Bran for the first time. The way Talia meets Bran is quite possibly the funniest “how we met” story ever. I won’t spoil it, but it involved a Kuala suit. And I snorted. In public.

Bran is a very complex hero that kept me guessing the whole time. Not giving any spoilers, he has been through a hell of a lot with his ex-girlfriend, and the last thing he wants is to have a relationship. But the way Talia and Bran are drawn together is absolutely magnetic. The sex scenes were very steamy and well done.

What I really loved about this story was that it wasn’t cookie cutter. These characters were truly flawed, but I loved them for that. Their problems were real and relatable. Also, the secondary characters, such as her friend Marti, who was HILARIOUS and I wanted to be her friend, also added so much to the story.
This book made me run through the gamut of emotions. I laughed, cried, snorted, and wanted to punch Bran (the hero) in the nads (and also swoon majorly for him).

Lia’s writing is so rich, and the characters are so complex, they literally pop off the page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, cry, and beautifully-crafted story.

 

 

Title: Upside Down

Author: Lia Riley

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Series: Off the Map #1

Publication: August 5th, 2014 by Grand Central

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

 

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About Lia
 

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.

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