Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jeanie Grey's At First Blush ⋨Review, Interview & Giveaway⋩

Title: At First Blush
Author: Jeanie Grey
Series: Nick & Serran Series (Book 1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 8 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook (May) & Print (June/July)

“There was no such thing as a soulmate. As for the intense connection…well, it must have been her imagination. There was no man who would instinctively understand her, no man who could read her mind. No man who could turn her on with just a look or a word, no man whose touch would override her reason and turn her into the embodiment of passion. And the sooner she let go of that fantasy completely, the sooner she could approach romantic relationships with a clear head and appreciate what she had instead of pining over everything she imagined she was missing.” 
SERRAN WINTERS is determined to let the fantasy of Nick Enfield go. So why does she find herself asking him to dinner while on tour with her latest romance novel? Perhaps it's because she feels safe in disguise as her pseudonym, Jane Garfield. Besides, it's only a couple of hours...until a hurricane leaves her stranded at his house for three days. 
Despite NICK ENFIELD’s deep hurt and growing bitterness since his divorce, something about the romance author entrances him from the first moment he sees her. But when he discovers she’s married, he’s determined to resist the intense attraction between them in spite of her mixed signals. If only his body’s reaction to her weren’t making it so hard to keep her marital status in mind. 
At First Blush is a story about fantasy versus reality in love and romance, the nature of attraction and connection, and the reasons we choose to fight or follow our impulses.

Book Links

At First Blush was a great romance. Serran is a romance author who has been in love with Nick since she was 10 years old. Always believing he was her Soul Mate. Now she is trying to exercise him from her mind and heart by writing about him in her latest book. Back in her home town she never expected him to walk into the book store she is having a signing let alone want a signed copy of HIS book!! She didn't recognize him at first and he didn't recognize her at all with her author disguise. These two don't seem to know how to act towards each other. Granted Nick thinks she is married because of her author bio and she is facing her lifetime fantasy.

She wants to keep him in the dark about who she really is, get the book back and she wants to try to keep it in her pants, but lust filled thoughts on trying not to cuckolding Serran's husband come to a screeching halt when Serran informs him she really isn't married. Let the games begin! One trying to keep hidden the other wanting to uncover as much as possible.

I thought this was  a great light hearted romance with a few laughs and a bit of heat. I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good book to get lost in for a while.
**My rating system is different from Amazon, see right for rating chart. This is a 4✰ on Amazon


She’d been right all along; she should never have allowed him to touch her. This went beyond imagination. Beyond fantasy. Beyond anything she’d dreamed possible.
She’d kissed plenty of men in her adult life. Even a couple of women. It was usually a pleasurable experience, sometimes even arousing. But she’d had no idea that a mere kiss could set her whole body on fire and blow all coherent thought from her mind like leaves scattering before a strong wind. She’d never imagined that she had hidden within her an animalistic desire like the one that urged her to grasp his hair or grind her hips. She felt like she was floating and yet her body was heavy with desire too.
 How was she supposed to come back from this? How could she ever bear another man’s kiss, knowing that this…this magic was possible? She was spoiled for life.
But then he pulled back for a moment. “Jane,” he said, and it snapped her out of it immediately. She stiffened in his arms and tried to step away, but he held her firmly against him. His solid chest against her yielding one, the heat in his eyes, and the intense awareness of how perfectly their bodies fit together threatened to steal her thoughts away again, and the self-preserving part of her clawed at her to get out now while she still held onto a thread of her sanity.
“Please,” she said, her voice a whisper of desperation. “Please let me go.”
For a moment she thought he wouldn’t. But then he relaxed his arms a fraction, and the expression in his eyes changed. She sensed how hard it was for him to make his fingers unclench from around her waist and take half a step back. As soon as he did, she felt colder and had to resist the urge to follow him, to press her body against him and lose herself in his kiss once more.
Clenching her hands at her sides, Serran managed, “I— I need to go. Now. I need to go back to the hotel.”
Nick’s gaze was burning into her, but then her words seemed to register and his expression changed to one of surprise. “What? But…you can’t go.” His voice was soft, persuasive. He said it as though it were a fact rather than his wish.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, steeling herself against his charm. “No, I have to go. I can’t stay here with you. Please understand—”
“No, I mean you can’t go,” he said, and something in his tone made her pause.
She opened her eyes and looked straight at him.
“Listen,” he said.
She waited for him to go on, but he didn’t. Then she realized he meant listen as in, she was supposed to be listening for some other sound.
That’s when she heard the wind howling around the front porch of the house and realized it was raining hard. She turned her head to look out the window, but it was too dark outside to see.
“Because it’s raining?” she said, her brow furrowing now.
“It’s not just rain, it’s a hurricane.” 

How do you decide on your cover?

Liz Anderson, my friend and fabulous cover designer, read the beta draft of the book to get a sense of what it was about and the tone of it. Then she spent hours sifting through stock images, picked 10-12 she thought might work, and sent me some mock-ups. With the input of some friends and family, I chose the two I liked best and she put them together for me. I chose one to be the ebook cover (available now) and one to be the print version cover (coming in June).

Do your main characters have a real life inspiration?

Yes. Nick is loosely based on my first real-life crush, and Serran is very loosely based on me. Jean, Serran’s best friend, was inspired by two of my closest friends. Of course, although the seed of each character came from real-life inspiration, the characters in their final forms are completely fictional.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

My next project is to revisit my suspenseful vampire romance trilogy, the Lilly Frank trilogy. I’m going to write some short stories in that world, package them with the original three books, and offer a Lilly Frank omnibus in July 2015.
My next novel, though, is a historical pirate romance, tentatively titled The Pirate Queen. My main character, Captain Harlequin Glorybower, is a Caribbean pirate in the year 1717 who has chosen piracy in part because she wants to be free from the societal constraints placed on women in that era and in part because she sees it as a kind of defense of—or at least payback for—the indigenous people and African slaves who are the victims of the British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese merchants and governments. When she and her ship’s crew rescue Captain Eduard Sharpe from his sinking merchant ship, her plan is to keep his ship's cargo and sell him into slavery. After several failed attempts to escape, Sharpe decides that the only way out of his predicament is to seduce Captain Quin, but the longer he stays aboard her ship, the more he begins to see that neither women nor pirates are as evil as he once believed. The book has been super fun to work on so far, and despite the fact that it’ll be research-intensive, I hope to have The Pirate Queen ready for publication in early 2016.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I can’t say “never” because I think it’s part of my job as a writer to face the things that disturb or frighten me and drag them out into the light. I will say that I currently have no interest in writing a graphic rape scene. I know friends and family members who have been raped, and it’s a subject I would approach with the utmost sensitivity and caution.

Do you have a movie you love to watch over and over? Which one scares you so much you can't sleep?

Yes! My favorite movie of all time is the same as Serran’s: Labyrinth starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. I’ve seen it a sick number of in, probably over a hundred. It’s one of the few coming-of-age movies for young women that I know of, and every time I watch it I notice something new. Plus, David Bowie! What Serran says about him in At First Blush is 100% true.
As for scary movies, I try to avoid them because I’m easily freaked out.

How much research do you usually do for a book? What is your biggest research gathering tool?

I had to do some research for At First Blush about Nick’s contracting business, remodeling Victorian homes, the kind of painting Nick does, how Nick might prepare for an important date, and oral sex from a male perspective. I used a variety of sources, including Wikipedia, a couple of artists’ websites, YouTube videos, Nicole Curtis’s show Rehab Addict, family members, and friends.

Do you read your reviews? Do you ever respond to them if you do? And if you do read them do you take anything away from the readers praise and criticism?

I do read the reviews of my books, and I used to thank people on Goodreads or their blogs for writing them, regardless of whether the review was negative or positive. But I’ve been reading various authors’ opinions about whether this is appropriate, and I think I agree with the authors who say that reviews are for other readers, not for the author, and therefore the author should just stay out of it. That said, I do think an author can learn a lot from reading her reviews: if several people say the same thing, whether that thing is positive or negative, it’s an opportunity to learn about her audience and what they want/expect from a story.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

When you put a lot of yourself into something—time, energy, emotion, memories, etc.—it kind of becomes an extension of you, and then it’s hard to hear anything negative about it because it’s hard not to take that criticism personally. But instead of getting hung up on the fact that someone doesn’t like something I’ve written, I try to keep in mind that my job is to tell the stories that come to me as best as I can and to learn from each experience.
On the other hand, the best compliment I’ve ever received is that the reader really got what I was doing and related to it on a deep, human level. To be seen like that through my work and to have what I’ve written matter to someone other than me is a precious and powerful gift.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It’s been an absolute pleasure! :)

Author Information

Jeanie Grey writes sophisticated, steamy, unconventional romance and erotica for readers who like to think. A person of relatively simple pleasures, her list of favorite things in life includes dark chocolate, foreign films, Lady Grey tea, men wearing sweaters, and curling up in bed all day with a delicious romance novel. Jeanie is the author of the Lilly Frank trilogy and Crouch and Other Short Stories. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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