Review: The House by Christina Lauren

Sinister and suspenseful with scenes that will surely make you shiver.
A perfectly creeptastic, haunted house read for October!

4stars

Synopsis

Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

My Review

Monster House meets Poltergeist in Christina Lauren’s suspenseful, new YA thriller. You’ll not want to read this one alone, in the dark, as the sounds of your own house creak and groan around you. Suspense escalates steadily in this tale of horror, as House becomes determined to crush the blossoming relationship of two young lovers.

When Delilah returns home from an East coast boarding school, the town of Morton is the same as it always was. Her family was the same as they had always been… indifferent at best. But when she again sees her old crush, Gavin Timothy, her heart surges to life. In his usual black tee, with his dark, shadowed eyes and an intangible mysterious edge, he was more irresistible than before.

“He was Delilah’s form of kryptonite.”

Gavin was largely a loner who lived in a patchwork type house that no one ever visited. Too many rumors, too many secrets, too much mystery swirled around him.

“Kids used to say the house was haunted, but it never looked that way to Delilah. It was stunning, thriving, like something out of an old story, or an ancient black-and-white movie. “

Delilah Blue was anything but typical herself. Her obsession with the macabre secretly defined her. She was unfailingly direct, curious and fearless. Gavin couldn’t help but be drawn to her.

“She was like a firecracker standing too close to a match: all potential energy, still wrapped up so neatly. He wanted to watch her explode. Hell, he was the watch. He wanted to make her explode.”

As their friendship slowly progresses into something more, Gavin realizes he must reveal the secrets of his life. He must tell her about House.

He could barely remember his mother, nor did he know what became of her, so House had nurtured him, fed him, raised him. House was a living, breathing thing that pulsed around him and provided everything he could ever need.

Then came Delilah.

“House had protected him through winter storms and lonely days. It had fed him and clothed him and been everything he’d always needed it to be. Until Delilah.”

Once Delilah enters Gavin’s life, House becomes possessive. Gavin belonged to it and no one else. And even as things violently escalate for Delilah, Gavin must see the truth behind House’s deadly intentions… even if it was the only family he’d ever known.

And when things finally become clear, after blood is shed, a plan is put into place, but would it be too late? Delilah and Gavin realize that House is much more powerful than they thought with more secrets than they imagined.

”The thing is, I’m yours. I don’t belong to anyone but you. I’m scared that you’ll never be mine the same way.”

Overall, the story was sinister and creepy, especially as tension intensifies with scenes that made me shiver. This is a great read to devour in October!

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Exclusive Guest Post + Giveaway: Beautiful Beloved by Christina Lauren

BEAUTIFUL BELOVED BANNER

Max Stella fans, it’s time to jump back in to life with Max and Sara! Beautiful Beloved is out today and I’m so excited to share a guest post from our favorite duo, Christina Lauren. Plus, make sure to enter to win one of two ebook copies!

Beautiful Beloved: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes ✦

Synopsis

Beautiful BelovedThe seventh work in the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling series that started with the Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, and Beautiful Player novels. Featuring all the Beautiful characters…plus one tiny new addition to the group.

In Beautiful Stranger, finance whiz Sara Dillon met the irresistibly sexy Brit, Max Stella, at a New York City club. Through the series we’ve watched them learn to balance commitment with their less than private brand of playfulness. In Beautiful Beloved, Max and Sara take it to the next step. But the question is: Will they be able to find a balance between the wild sexcapades they aren’t ready to retire, and the demands of parenthood that come along with their new Beautiful bundle of joy? Parenthood: it’s not for the weak of heart.

Guest Post

When we decided to write Beautiful Beloved, we thought it would be a short little novella about adorable and shirtless Daddy! Max! holding an equally adorable naked baby. Simple right? There would muscles and sweet-talking, and we’d all have heart eyes when Max talked to his little girl. We’d throw in some sexy times and a few new parent mishaps and BOOM, a fun Max & Sara adventure. Better still, the reader would get to meet Niall, Max’s younger brother and the star of the next Beautiful novel, Beautiful Secret.

But once we actually started writing, we realized we couldn’t really write about becoming New Parents without discussing all the realities that new parents deal with. We wanted it to feel authentic, and show the intimacy that can come out of those chaotic first few months.

For most of us, it’s more than getting back into our favorite jeans or hoping the baby sleeps through the night. It’s about adjusting to a body that doesn’t always feel like it belongs entirely to us, one that looks and feels different—and is capable of doing new and amazing things. It’s about finding a balance between being wife and mother, learning how to juggle going back to work with wanting to be SuperMom and somehow doing it all while completely sleep deprived.

And what about our sweet, devoted Max? Suddenly alone time is limited, sex that used to be frantic and spontaneous and loud, is being dictated by a tiny ten pound baby. Sometimes it seems like tiny babies only need their Mamas. What to do?

As we wrote, Beautiful Beloved became something more tender. It still has its zany moments, and—trust us—it definitely has the sexiness we know readers expect. But in the pages are also versions of Max and Sara that are more vulnerable, more open, more connected.

We’ve never really had a number in mind when we think of the Beautiful series, and have maintained that as long as we have a great couple in mind and a solid story, we would love to write it. So as Max and Sara and their little Annabel’s story began to unfold, we realized it was the perfect opportunity to introduce Max’s sweet, shy and swoonworthy younger brother, Niall. We don’t want to give away how he saves the day . . . but we’ll give you this little glimpse and see if you can figure it out.

*****

A small sound emanated from the baby monitor on the end table, and I stood, explaining that I’d go get the baby up from her nap.

I could hear the men talking while I changed Anna’s diaper, hear the clink of their beer bottles and laughter, and I smiled down at my daughter.

“Ready to go meet your uncle?” I whispered, and she cooed, smiling up at me and kicking her little sock- covered feet. I gathered her up and we made our way into the living room, and both men stopped. Max looked like the proudest daddy in the world, but Niall looked completely in awe.

“She’s breathtaking,” Niall said, setting his bottle on the table and standing to meet me. “She’s absolutely bloody gorgeous, Sara. Well done.”

“She’s a beauty, yeah?” Max crossed the room to take her from me, kissing me on the forehead before sitting next to his brother.

“Mum must be over the moon,” Niall said, running a finger along the edge of the blanket.

“You’ve no idea,” Max said. “I’ll be at her flat not five minutes before she’s nicked her from me.”

My heart swelled as I watched them together, and I took a few steps back and into the kitchen, leaving them alone while they caught up.

***** 

Reading Order and Links

Beautiful Beloved is out today. Beautiful Secret is out April 14th.

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Exclusive Interview + Signed Giveaway: Christina Lauren and Anna Todd

INTERVIEW

Recently, I had the chance to spend some time gabbing with Christina Hobbs, Lauren Billings and Anna Todd, who were doing a signing in Austin, Texas. I loved spending time with them, it was so much fun as we spent most of our time laughing. We talked Finn and Hardin and upcoming projects and so I’m thrilled to be able to share both a written and fun video interview with you. Plus, make sure you scroll down below and enter the signed giveaway!

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Interview

anna toddLet’s start off with Anna Todd! Last time we talked you were gearing up to release After, the first book of the self-titled series. Now, you just recently released After We Collided. Give us a quick run-down of what to expect with the novel.

After We Collided starts right where After leaves off, except this time we get to see Hardin’s POV.  There is just as much drama and back and forth between the two of them in this novel and it ends with another surprise 🙂 

You have a tremendous fan base on Wattpad who have fallen in love with these characters and their story. What has been their reception on this expanded, new edition? Have many of them read it all over again?

My readers love it! They love getting expanded and new scenes. It’s really fun for them to relive the story again with Hardin and Tessa. They rushed out to the store to get After and After We Collided! 

after cover Dec-30 after we fell cover after ever happy cover

You recently shared the gorgeous cover of the fourth book, After Ever Happy. Originally, there were three books, but the final book was split in two… is that right? Give us the scoop! What can you tell us about this installment? Will we see some new material? 

Yes, that’s right! The third book was the longest, (Yes, even longer than the first two) so we decided to split it into two books instead of cutting too much content. Also, I am reworking the ending so there will be plenty of new material! ☺

Ok, so now let’s talk fans, fans and more fans. You’ve amassed a huge following on social media, but are now being welcomed by a whole new set of readers in the new adult and contemporary romance side. What has that experience been like?

It’s been really, really great. I love my original readers and appreciate them so much but it’s always nice to welcome new readers as well. 

christina laurenAnd of course, you’ve had amazing peers like the talented duo of Christina Lauren, which is way cool! So let’s move on and talk to the girls all about their super sexy, sizzling latest release, Dirty Rowdy Thing! That boy Finn… wooowwwzers!!!! He is a little bit naughty, a little bit bad boy and a whole lot sexy. What can you tell us about Finn?

Thank you for having us! Finn is definitely different from anyone we’ve written before, and he was so much fun. There’s a line in Dirty Rowdy Thing that sums him up quite nicely: “I mean, sweet Jesus, the man works with his hands, sweats when he works, fucks like it’s his vocation and was raised by a father who expects, above anything else, that his sons are capable fishermen.”

What is it about Harlow that is alluring to a guy like Finn? Describe their dynamic. I was fascinated myself by it!

Harlow and Finn’s dynamic is a lot like Chloe and Bennett. Bennett would grow bored with anyone who couldn’t stand up to him, or beat him at his own game. Likewise, Finn needed someone who was strong enough to handle him, and in his case he also needs someone loving enough to coax him out of his shell. Finn is proud, and trust is very important. It took someone loving and patient enough—though she absolutely wouldn’t describe herself as patient—to get him to open up. 

And when we think about it, Harlow might very well be the Bennett in this scenario because she is a LOT to take—loud, funny, sweet, opinionated, strong—and needed someone who could handle her as well. 

$2.00 Nov-04

So this is the second book in the Wild Seasons series and one of the things I’ve loved about both books—Sweet Filthy Boy and Dirty Rowdy Thing—is that there is so much humor in them. The novels are incredibly sexy and seductive with some gripping emotional moments, but I think the humor that’s woven in gives the stories a realness and an edge that make them stick with you. Was that always the intent, or did it happen more organically?

We do our best to make every book funny so THANK YOU! We heard someone describe our books as smutty sitcoms, and we don’t think it’s possible to love that description more. We’re silly and ridiculous and we love that our personalities shine through in the stories we tell. We all love books that make us think and feel, but we also love books that let us laugh or blush or even just disappear for a slip of time. If we give our readers an escape from the real world—even if it’s only for a few hours—we feel like we’ve done our job. 

And speaking of balancing acts… emotion, sexy times, wit, action… do you both like to tackle a little bit of everything, or does one of you tend to write more emotional scenes while the other writes sexier scenes, for example? How does this duo function??? What’s the secret?!

We each have things we’re better at, but for the most part everything is split pretty much down the middle. We outline in person—usually in the car or while waiting in line at Disneyland—and divide by POV, chapter, or even scene. Christina really loves world building and setting a scene, while Lo is great at those emotional and heart-wrenching moments. We can each do both, but if there’s something we think the other will do well, we’ll assign it to that person. Then we write our particular chapters/sections, and switch when we’re done. By the time it’s compiled it’s sometimes hard to remember who wrote what. 

Just one teeny-tiny glimpse. Give us something on Dark Wild Night!!! I mean Lola and Oliver! I can only imagine…

Lola and Oliver are two characters who, from the outside, have their lives entirely together. Both are climbing the ranks in the comic industry—either with a new, hot comic book store (Oliver) or as a comic writer-illustrator (Lola). They’ve had their heads buried in work and when things cool down, are able to start to look around them and at the building tension between them. But just because someone seems like they have it all together on the professional side doesn’t mean that they can navigate relationships quite so easily.

These two were the couple that we’ve been excited to write since we first came up with this series. We’ve loved every single couple, but there’s something about how long we’ve made Oliver wait—in book years, before it was his turn with Lola—that made it really fun to write. And it’s also a more emotionally complex story in some ways because the mistakes they each make are genuine, human errors.

Okay, so let’s do some fun rapid-fire questions.

Favorite song of the moment.

  • Anna: Taylor Swift, Blank Space
  • Christina: No Control, One Direction
  • Lauren: The live version of Jane Says by Janes Addiction I saw on Friday night

Last awesome movie you watched.

  • Anna: The Fault in our Stars
  • Christina: Mockingjay!
  • Lauren: Mockinjay! (We saw it together, heh)

Last kickass book you read.

If I wasn’t writing, I’d be a…

  • Anna: Someone in the makeup world!
  • Christina: Working with teens
  • Lauren: A research scientist

If I could be a character in any book, I’d be…

  • Anna: Tessa Gray from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  • Christina: This is so hard! Most of the things that make for a great book would make for a terrrrrrible life. Can I cheat and say I want to be Cinderella or something?
  • Lauren: Pippa Marbury in Sarah Maclean’s One Good Earl Deserves a Lover

Last time you fangirled was…

  • Anna: At the AMAs!!!
  • Christina: We met Susan Ee at YALLFest a few weeks ago and I was pretty embarrassing
  • Lauren: Meeting bestselling authors Sarah J Maas and Alexandra Bracken, or tweeting with Sarah Maclean about how much I love her books.

Thanks so much you guys!!!

The Authors

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Review: Dirty Rowdy Thing (#2, Wild Seasons) by Christina Lauren

My Thoughts

Super sexy, sizzling and totally fun to read.
This dynamic duo delivers again!

4halfstars

Synopsis

Nov-04

Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other…which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours.

He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants.

She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra.

Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.

 

My Review

The talented writing duo Christina Lauren delivers another super sexy, stirring page turner in this second installment in the Wild Seasons series.  The story comes alive through irresistible banter, crackling sexual tension, infectious humor and an endearing group dynamic. I loved how deliciously hot this book was while still being emotionally anchored. Humor, heat, feelings, angst—it all combined perfectly to impart the addictive, volatile, super-charged story of Harlow and Finn.

“Finn Roberts, the notorious ex-husband-of-twelve-drunken-hours-in-Vegas,who was good with hands, lips, and body, and who made me come so many times he told me he thought I passed out.
Finn Roberts, who turned out to be an asshole, too.”

Finn and Harlow were married. In Vegas. For twelve raucous hours. Amidst a drunken debacle they got to know each other… intimately.

It was the best twelve hours of their lives.

After annulling their marriage and officially becoming ex-spouses, Harlow can’t get the rugged, controlling Finn out of her mind, especially as thoughts of them between the sheets pervade her every thought. Shortly upon their return, she shows up to his doorstep for a surprise visit, but after a whole day of incredible sex, Finn turns out to be an ass and Harlow severs ties. That is… until she sees him again… one post-coital morning at her local Starbucks.

Sexy, muscled, tanned Finn Roberts. Wholly unsettling and gorgeous Finn Roberts.

Harlow is so taken aback to see him, especially after he tells her he’ll be there for awhile. They are both strong-willed, take-charge individuals and they constantly bicker and banter about everything. I absolutely loved Harlow. She is such a sharp-witted girl, smart, self-assured and loyal to the core. But a recent family situation weighs heavily on her mind, and falling into Finn’s arms as an escape suddenly sounds like the exact thing she needs. Harlow and Finn fall into their old pattern of “fighting and fucking” as they call it, but the more time they spend together and as their own personal issues plague their thoughts, the dividing line between just sex and a whole lot more, blurs.

“I’m not sure if being with Finn is an escape, or a new dangerous obsession.”

Both of them struggle with their own issues and day by day, moment by moment, they relax into the people they truly are, vulnerable and real and perfect for the other. Their antagonistic dynamic is so them, it so works for who they are and what they need, and it just adds more fuel to that delicious, irresistible, palpable, on-fire chemistry.

“He could only do rowdy because he felt what I felt: that whip-crack unleashing that comes when you meet the person who frees you.”

As truths are revealed and reality threatens to destroy their temporary bubble of bliss, they must both decide whether they are willing to put in the work of understanding each other, of fully submitting to what a relationship means and of figuring out how to merge two futures that seem so far apart from the other.

I am really loving this new series by Christina Lauren. They have this ability to pull you in to their stories… to get you completely addicted to their deliciously sexy tales. I love that there’s always humor, that the writing is solid and that the characters seem so vivid to me. If you were a fan of the first book, you’ll love it. And if you’re just diving in for the first time, you’ll love it too.

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

Each book can be read as a standalone and features interconnected characters.

sweet filthy boy sweet filthy boy

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