GAME OF LOVE Blog Tour! My Review

Game of Love Review Tour

I’m so excited to be a blog host for my friend Ara Grigorian’s debut novel, GAME OF LOVE! I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, and can honestly say that you don’t want to miss this awesome NA contemporary sports romance!
GAME OF LOVE officially comes out on May 4 through Curiosity Quills Press.

GOL Cover

Summary

Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam.

After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.

Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love…at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.

As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within…even lovers and even friends. In the Game of Love, winner takes all.

Order GAME OF LOVE on Amazon!

My Review

This book. I loved this book. I went into it having no idea what to expect. I have generally held the opinion that I am not a fan of sports books, or books told in third person; Ara Grigorian has proven me wrong.

Gemma Lennon has spent her whole life playing tennis, with the hopes of someday winning the Grand Slam. Andre Reyes is a genius who graduated college at 14 and now works in a prestigious firm, essentially as a high-powered consultant. They are both career-driven individuals, who were essentially thrust into these roles as children as never given the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships.

When the two meet completely by chance, they can’t deny the striking chemistry between them. Despite the obvious obstacles in their way – living on separate continents, Gemma’s paparazzi stalkers desperate to latch onto any minute detail of her personal life, Andre’s upcoming career commitment that will take him away for months, and Gemma’s distrust of others due to past relationships – they can’t seem to forget each other.

One thing that immediately drew me to this book was that the woman was the star athlete, and Gemma kicks some major butt on the tennis court. This book had moments that made me laugh out loud, and moments that wrenched my heart. I loved the two main characters – who were both so interesting and well-developed – and found myself eagerly turning pages to see what would happen. There are several twists in this book as well, that will keep the reader guessing. Don’t let the sports-romance genre fool you; while this book has a sweet love story at its core, and an awesome tennis star main character, neither aspect felt overwhelming to me. It’s a beautifully written page turner, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, including people who shy away from sports romance.

Ara is a masterful storyteller, and I can’t wait for his future books!

FIVE STARS!

About the Author

Ara Grigorian

Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…

He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).

But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.

Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.

Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Cover Reveal! DELAYED PENALTY by Sophia Henry!

I'm SO excited to be able to share the gorgeous cover for Sophia Henry's upcoming hockey romance, DELAYED PENALTY (A Pilots Hockey Novel), coming September 1 from Random House Flirt!

Here's a little about the book:

She closed her heart long ago. He just wants to open her mind. For fans of Toni Aleo and Sawyer Bennett, the debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.
 
Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player. Until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.
 
Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.
 
After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.

About the Author:

Sophia Henry Author Pic

Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

Find Sophia online!

 

Now here is the gorgeous cover for DELAYED PENALTY!

Delayed Penalty_Henry2

Enter to win a $25 Amazon GC and a Pilots Hockey/Sophia Henry Prize Pack!!
I can't wait for this book - and you won't want to miss it!

New Adult Scavenger Hunt Teams!

I’m excited to participate in the New Adult Scavenger Hunt this year. My dystopian romance Missing Pieces is part of Team Blue!

Need an incentive to play? The winner will receive TEN print books by hunting on each site for the secret number. Just visit each participating author’s post during the time of the hunt (each website will lead to the next!) and add up the numbers you find on each site!

NewASH Banner 3
We have less than two weeks until the first ever New Adult Scavenger Hunt begins! It goes from Thursday, April 23 at 12pm EST until Sunday, April 26 at 12pm EST.

Here are the NewASH teams:

TEAM RED

TEAM BLUE

I hope you all are as excited as I am!

Cover Reveal!!! LETTING GO by Jessica Ruddick!

I’m so excited to be able to share the GORGEOUS cover for my friend Jessica Ruddick’s upcoming debut novel, LETTING GO, which comes out on May 26 through Entangled Embrace!

Here’s a little about the book:

 

How long do you hold on?

Cori Elliott likes order. Her schedule, her social life…even her GPA is perfect. Then she finds out her high school boyfriend’s death wasn’t an accident—it was suicide. The devastating revelation is enough to fracture her perfectly structured life, sending Cori in a downward spiral of self-doubt and impulsive decisions.

And right into the arms of Luke Evans.

But Cori’s life isn’t perfect anymore. In fact, it’s all coming apart. The only way she can save herself is to let go of everything—including the girl she used to be. Even if it means losing the one guy who might just be perfect for her in the process…

Add to Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23302058-letting-go?from_search=true

About the Author:

Jessica cropped

Jessica Ruddick is a 2014 Golden Heart finalist for her new adult novel, Letting Go, which was inspired by her own college experiences. She lives in Virginia and is married to her college sweetheart—their first date was a fraternity toga party (and nothing inspires love like a toga, right?). When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or her hands on a keyboard, she can be found wrangling her two rambunctious sons, taming two rowdy but lovable rescue dogs, and battling the herd of dust bunnies that has taken up residence in her home. To learn more about Jessica, please visit her website at www.jessicaruddick.com.

 

Author Links:

 

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

So now without further ado, here is the beautiful cover for LETTING GO!

LettingGo_1600

You don’t want to miss this one, coming next month!!

-Meredith

My (Unpopular) Opinion on the “Clean Reader” App

If you’re active in the writing or publishing community, you’ve probably heard of the new app called “Clean Reader.” If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a new app for e-readers and phones that has the power to censor the profanity out of your e-books.

Once you install the app, you can set it to either “off,” “clean,” “cleaner,” or “squeaky clean,” and this setting will determine which words are blanked out of your e-book. Where the author had written the F-word on the page, a white box will appear covering it. The “squeaky clean” version will even censor words like “breast” and “damn” (and can also change “damn” to “darn”). Words aren’t deleted, they are simply covered based on what settings the reader prefers.

Most of the response from the writing community toward this app that I have seen has been negative. I’ve seen Clean Reader compared to government censorship, and even book burning.

I’ll give some background information on me and my writing. In my novel MISSING PIECES, the F-word appears 73 times. I find using profanity in my writing helps my characters and situations sound more realistic. Each time I drop an F-bomb (or any other swear words, which are also prevalent in my writing), they are not there by accident or for the sake of adding swear words. I choose and place each one as carefully as I place any of my words. To me, my characters are human beings; human beings are not perfect, and human beings swear. I believe profanity has the power to convey emotions in characters, and also to enhance character development.

I am certainly not in favor of censorship. I do not want to read altered versions of books. If someone told me I was not allowed to read a book with profanity, or if I went to the bookstore and purchased a book only to discover the “bad words” had been whited out, I would be rightfully infuriated. When I read a book, I want to read it exactly as the author intended it to be read. When I someday have teenagers, I plan to let them read what they want. I am not going to be one of those parents who has to read through every YA book to check for mature content before allowing my 13 year old to read it. And let’s be real; teens have all heard those words already anyway.

HOWEVER, I do not have a big problem with Clean Reader.

Turn on the TV around 8pm and watch a prime time movie. Chances are, words deemed profane from the original movie have been blocked out from your basic cable programs and movies.

Turn on the radio and listen to a popular song. Chances are, words have been changed or deleted in order to be aired on public radio. Censorship like that occurs in our culture every day.

If I go to iTunes to purchase the aforementioned song, chances are I will have two options: “clean” or “explicit.” I can choose whether I want to buy the version of the song with profanity, or the version of the song without it. Music is art. I love music. I have tremendous respect for the writers and performers who work to create and make music everyday.

So why is that different from writing a book? Unlike the fact that we have options to purchase “clean” music, or watch the censored version of movies on prime time TV, we do not have the same options when it comes to buying books.

Personally, I will always choose the uncensored version. I want to experience a work of art – whether it is a book, or a song, or a movie – the way it was intended by its creator. I believe that any altered or censored version will never have the same impact as the original version. But that is also my opinion and my decision.

Sometimes it’s easy to tell when a book will be full of profanity; sometimes it isn’t. If you’re offended by certain words, you don’t necessarily know they will be there before buying a book. When you choose what movie to watch, you have a rating: “PG-13: some strong language.” You can go into it knowing 100% what to expect, and if you’re offended by “some strong language,” you can make the informed choice not to see that particular movie. Books don’t come with the same warnings.

As a social worker, I worked with a client with PTSD who had come out of a severely abusive relationship. A certain bad word, which her abuser called her regularly (hint: it began with a C), was a trigger to her. For her own mental health, she purposely avoided watching shows and movies which she suspected would contain that word. It’s easy to dismiss people who do not like reading profanity as “prudes” when we don’t have to walk in their shoes.

It’s easy to say as authors that we don’t want our work censored. I completely get that. But I do believe in giving readers the option to enjoy our work in a manner that makes the book more enjoyable for them. Many people read to escape, not to feel uncomfortable. If Clean Reader is the difference between someone reading my 73-F-bomb book and enjoying it, or stopping halfway through because they are offended, then I would rather the former. I don’t think some scenes will have the same impact without profanity, but really, are you going to lose sleep at night because that song on the radio had the B-word bleeped out? It’s the same song.

No one is forced to download the app, or use it. It’s a matter of personal choice. I don’t have a big problem with it.