Review: Act Like You Love Me by Cindi Madsen

 

Title:  Act Like You Love Me

Author: Cindi Madsen

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

What would you do for a second chance with your first crush?
Brynn McAdams isn’t the awkward drama geek she was in high school—she’s grown up and confident, or at least she likes to think so. But when her old crush, the impossibly handsome and impossibly unattainable Sawyer Raines, comes back to town to direct her community play, Brynn finds herself determined to be someone other than the girl he doesn’t even recognize. Good thing she’s an excellent actress.  
After his bad breakup in NYC, the last thing Sawyer wants is to get involved with another actress. But the glamorous and beautiful Brynn draws him in, even though as her director, he knows she’s off-limits. There’s just something about the woman that feels…familiar. Like home.  
As Brynn’s lies start to snowball, she struggles to stop acting and come clean. But what if Sawyer is already falling for the fake Brynn, not the Brynn she truly is?


Review:

Once again, my favorite trope called to me and prompted me to read Act Like You Love Me.  This is actually a tough book for me to rate, because there is a lot about it to like.  I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and, yes, as I already mentioned, the second chance at love trope.  What knocked it down a few pegs?  Not enough physical contact, and that’s the bottom line.  This is a sweet, gentle story about finally embracing who you are, and accepting all of the oddities that make you unique.  After reading so many Brazen titles in the last few weeks, this one fell flat in the chemistry department, and the sexual tension earned only a low rating on the thermometer.  While it’s nice to have the protagonists engage in conversation before ripping their clothes off, the lack of pay-off was disappointing.  Sawyer is the most restrained male I’ve met in romance in a long time, and while I appreciate that he’s a gentleman, I like a little more rough and tumble (or at least a good wrestle on the couch) type of guy.

Brynn is a character I was immediately drawn to.  She was a nerd in school, uncomfortable with herself and awkward, and the target of jokes from her peers.  She has fought long and hard to move beyond her dork persona, and is finally happy with her life and herself.  She works at the family fishing and bait shop, acts in local stage productions, and finally feels comfortable in her own skin.  Sure, she’s still a bit of an oddball, and her unrestrained passion for plays and literature has chased off every guy she’s dated, but big whoop!  She’ll eventually meet the man of her dreams.  She hopes.

Into town strolls Sawyer, the guy she had a crush on in high school.  He is helping out his aunt by agreeing to direct the play that Brynn is acting in.  It’s a nightmare come true for her.  He first sees her while she’s struggling to change her shirt in her car, giving him a flash of skin and bra.  How embarrassing!  It’s like high school all over again.  She’s still trying to get over the most embarrassing moment of her life, when she had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in front of the entire school!  More grating, though, is that Sawyer doesn’t even recognize her.  She had a crush on him forever, and he doesn’t even remember her! Talk about a major blow to her ego.  He doesn’t even remember her asking him to the prom!  Jerk!

Sawyer is dealing with two major issues.  First, he is still reeling from his father’s illness and eventual death when he was in high school.  Second, he is still trying to recover from a bad breakup with an actress in NY, and when he sees Brynn, all he can think is that she’s a carbon copy of his ex; self-absorbed, only interested in herself.  He makes so many false assumptions about her that I really wanted to slap him.  He is so self-righteous, he knows that he has to be right.  I guess he is carrying around so much emotional baggage that he can’t see around all of those weighty issues.

When Brynn follows some questionable dating advice from her brother, things get even more out of hand.  Instead of just being herself, she puts her acting skills to work and pretends to be someone else.  Someone less..overwhelming, I guess the word would be.  Then, before she realizes what’s happening, she is spinning so many half truths and outright falsehoods that she doesn’t know how to come clean with Sawyer.  She knows that she’s misjudged him and that she’s falling for him, but she doesn’t know how to explain the misperceptions that she’s allowed to continue and hasn’t bothered to correct because at first she just wanted him gone.  Oops!  There is this sense of dread through most of the book, because you know that Sawyer isn’t going to take it well when he learns that he’s been deceived, whether intentionally or not.

This is a quick read with both angst and humor, and the only thing holding it back for me was the lack of spice.  The heat level is non-existent, even for a Bliss book.  As stated previously, I just prefer a jalapeño or a habanero  to a mild green chili pepper, both in my cooking and in my reading.   Your mileage will vary.

Grade:  B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Character Interview–Sierra Fox from Yolanda Sfetsos’ On Pins and Needles

Please welcome a special guest today! Through the magic of the interwebz, Sierra Fox, plucky protagonist of Yolanda Sfetsos’ On Pins and Needles, has dropped in the virtual offices for a chat.  On Pins and Needles is Sierra Fox’s latest adventure, so make sure to snap up A Patch of Darkness and Split at the Seams if you haven’t already read them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sierra Fox] Always curious, gifted and cursed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Sierra Fox?

[Sierra Fox] A typical day in my life includes not getting enough sleep, staying up way too late, dealing with a variety of troublesome spooks, practicing spells and incantations, trying to spend as much time alone with Papan as I can, making sure my sister doesn’t get into the same kind of trouble I manage to attract, annoying Oren, and trying to outrun the Obscurus freaks.

You know, just trying to stay alive.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Jason?

[Sierra Fox] Sexy. Kind. Loyal. Did I mention sexy? ;)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about him?

[Sierra Fox] His overprotectiveness when it comes to his wolf side. I wish he’d stop worrying about his wolf hurting me, he never will!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Sierra Fox] I wouldn’t have let myself get swept up in the schoolgirl crush I had on Mace Clamber. Getting physically and personally involved with him years ago put me on a path that’s led to one troubled incident after another.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Sierra Fox] Definitely can’t leave home without my trusty silver dagger.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t avoiding a premature death at the hands of demon-obsessed freaks?

[Sierra Fox] I enjoy spook catching, spending time with friends, learning new spells from Oren, hanging out with my favourite werewolf, getting to know my sister, and writing as much as I can in my grimoire. I really do try to stay away from trouble, but seem to attract it no matter what.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Sierra Fox] Normal. Happy. Working. Papan. Family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Sierra Fox] Thanks for having me.

AUTHOR BIO:

Wife. Mother. Writer. Bibliophile. Dreamer. Animal lover. Intrigued by the supernatural. Horror freak. Zombie enthusiast. Movie & music fan. Slave to her muse.

Yolanda lives in Sydney, Australia with her awesome husband, lovely daughter, and cheeky cat.

MY LINKS:

Website: http://www.yolandasfetsos.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/yolandasfetsos

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/yolandasfetsos

BOOK BLURB:

All it takes is one freak to turn everything into a demonic ritual.

Sierra Fox, Book 3

Sierra Fox’s relationship with sexy werewolf Jason Papan is going great, but it doesn’t take a psychic to tell her someone’s out to get her. As usual, though, there’s too much else going on to worry about just another assassination attempt.

In addition to the demon-possessed freaks that still want her, a whole new bucket of trouble has been dumped in her path. The half-sister Sierra never knew she had isn’t a typical teenager. Willow comes with supernatural baggage that grows heavier every time someone close to her dies. And the load gets bigger every time the police find the body of another young girl.

Now Sierra’s not only dealing with the target on her own back, but the one that a power-hungry woman has painted on her poltergeist-magnet sister. As she finds herself drawn into the thick of a murder investigation, Sierra must face her deepest fears and embrace the darkest of her powers to overcome the looming threat. Or the prediction of her death might just come true.

Warning: Spook catching: never gets any easier, neither does trying to avoid being killed by a shadowy organization. Always expect the unexpected—dangerous vampires, poltergeists and demon-obsessed freaks. At least the werewolf is pleasurably safe.

ON PINS AND NEEDLES will be available from Samhain Publishing on June 18.

EXCERPT:

“Thank you.” Willow flashed a pretty smile and headed for the door. She stopped just outside, turned and said, “I’m really glad I found you. I’ve always wanted a sister and you’re even better than I imagined.”

I smiled back and felt a warm glow inside. She might come with a few otherworldly problems, but who didn’t have some kind of baggage nowadays? “I’ll see you tomorrow, Willow.”

She strolled out the door and I turned back to my office.

After picking up the folders and stacking them where they belonged, I decided there was no way I would get any work done now. Besides, it was almost time to meet Papan in the city.

I shut the window, put on my mostly-dry jacket and made sure my dagger was still secured between sock and boot. I loaded up with keys, wallet, and phone before heading for the door, wishing Oren would hurry up and teach me the incantation to make my pockets deeper than they really were.

After closing the door behind me, I made sure it was locked before rushing for the stairs. I might have walked into my office in a morose mood, but I was now filled with a sense of hopeful energy.

I’d helped poltergeists before without being able to see them. I could handle this for my sister.

Wow, it feels good to say sister.

As soon as I stepped out of the building, I smacked right into someone. When strong arms wrapped tightly around my midsection, I struggled to squirm out of the vice-like grip.

Oh crap, not again!

Purchase links:

Interview with Cindi Madsen, Author of Act Like You Love Me and Giveaway!

Please welcome Cindi Masden back to the virtual offices!  Cindi’s here to chat about her latest release, Act Like You Love Me.  After, you can enter for a chance to win one of several awesome prizes!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Cindi Madsen]  Perky, fueled by MountainDew author

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Act Like You Love Me?

[Cindi Madsen] Former drama geek Brynn McAdams isn’t looking to be a Hollywood movie star, just have fun playing someone else from time to time, on the side of running the family bait and tackle shop with her brother. But when her high school crush takes over the play—the one who rejected her all those years ago and clearly doesn’t even recognize her—she pretends to be someone else. Sawyer’s only looking to be in town a little while, but he’s captivated by the lead actress, even though he knows going for her would be a bad idea. The closer they get, the more trouble they’re both in.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Cindi Madsen] When I decided to turn Falling for Her Fiancé into a series, I wanted something that’d fit the fun mood of that book, but also be its own unique story. Several years ago I had a blip in my mind of an actress who was annoyed at her director and a backstage kiss she couldn’t quite deny had something to it. From there I started putting together other pieces of the plot puzzle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Brynn?

[Cindi Madsen] Passionate

Unconventional

Caring

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Sawyer had a theme song, what would it be?

[Cindi Madsen] Harbor Lights by a Silent Film, with New York by Snow Patrol coming in a close second.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Brynn is never without.

[Cindi Madsen] An arsenal of literature and play quotes to throw out at random. And a spare shirt. Just in case (This makes more sense once you read the book ;))

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Sawyer’s bathroom?

[Cindi Madsen] Girly stuff- curling irons, perfume, etc. A fuzzy toilet cover. A dirty sink.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Brynn’s greatest regret?

[Cindi Madsen] That she wasn’t stronger in high school.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What were your biggest distractions when working on Act Like You Love Me?

[Cindi Madsen] My TBR pile is filled with so many good books that I wanted to take a break to read them, but I had to hurry, so I just had to ignore everything. Including cleaning my house, which was distracting when I tripped on stuff. Lol

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your must haves when working on a deadline?

[Cindi Madsen] Mountain Dew, M&Ms, and my music

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Cindi Madsen] Right after I finished this book, I rewarded myself with I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. It was the funny book I needed to unwind with, so it holds a special place in my heart. One Week Boyfriend was the last book that I could not put down.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Cindi Madsen] Find new music, go to concerts, dance, play with my kids, go to movies

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

Http://cindimadsen.com

info@cindimadsen.com

https://twitter.com/CindiMadsen (I’m on there a LOT! Come find me ?)

https://www.facebook.com/CindiMadsenBooks

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1029223.Cindi_Madsen

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

Cindi is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, a cute fish figurine, 2 e-copies of Falling for her Fiancé, 2 e-copies of All the Broken Pieces and 1 e-copy of Act Like You Love Me.

The fish figurine and gift card giveaway is US only but e-book giveaways are international.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She is the author of YA novelsAll the Broken Pieces and Demons of the Sun, bestselling short romance Falling for Her Fiancé and the women’s fiction novel Cinderella Screwed Me Over.

ACT LIKE YOU LOVE ME official Blurb:

All’s fair in acting and amore…

Brynn McAdams isn’t the awkward drama geek she was in high school—she’s grown up and confident, or at least she likes to think so. But when her old crush, the impossibly handsome and impossibly unattainable Sawyer Raines, comes back to town to direct her community play, Brynn finds herself determined to be someone other than the girl he doesn’t even recognize. Good thing she’s an excellent actress.

After his bad breakup in NYC, the last thing Sawyer wants is to get involved with another actress. But the glamorous and beautiful Brynn draws him in, even though as her director, he knows she’s off-limits. There’s just something about the woman that feels…familiar. Like home.

As Brynn’s lies start to snowball, she struggles to stop acting and come clean. But what if Sawyer is already falling for the fake Brynn, not the Brynn she truly is?

ACT LIKE YOU LOVE ME buy links:

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17884619-act-like-you-love-me

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1115250847

FALLING FOR HER FIANCE Links:

Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17209607-falling-for-her-fiance

Kobo:http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Falling-For-Her-Fiance/book-dUf017DfWkmD_D7bJA3_8g/page1.html

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/falling-for-her-fiance/id603611409

Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/falling-for-her-fiance-cindi-madsen/1114137785

Additional links to Cindi’s pages:

Twitter:https://twitter.com/CindiMadsen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cindi.madsen

Website:http://cindimadsen.com/

Interview with Anne Cleeland, Author of Tainted Angel and Giveaway!

Please welcome Anne Cleeland to the virtual offices this morning! Anne is here to talk about Tainted Angel, and after, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of your own!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Anne Cleeland] Mild-mannered lawyer and mother of four writes stories about ordinary people swept up in extraordinary events. Also likes chocolate.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Tainted Angel?

[Anne Cleeland] The heroine is an agent for the Crown, but her spymaster suspects she is “tainted”—a double agent working for Napoleon. Her love interest has his own dark secrets—unless his affection is feigned and he is actually setting a trap to reveal her own treason. There are twists and double-crosses as the attraction between the two spies becomes more powerful than their mutual distrust—and England’s future hangs in the balance.

[Manga Maniac Café]  How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Anne Cleeland] The story is a Regency version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I loved that movie.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What three words best describe Vidia?

[Anne Cleeland] Beautiful, vulnerable, steely.

[Manga Maniac Café]  If Lucien had a theme song, what would it be?

[Anne Cleeland] Let’s go with a James Bond theme, and say “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

[Manga Maniac Café]  Name one thing Vidia is never without.

[Anne Cleeland] The dagger she keeps in her garter. She learned a hard lesson, once.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What three things will you never find in Lucien’s pocket?

[Anne Cleeland] A miniature portrait of his late wife, his signet ring, or state secrets. He learned a hard lesson once, too.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What are your greatest creative influences?

[Anne Cleeland] Gosh, I wish I was that deep! Mainly I just sit down with a laptop and try to keep up with the characters as they run around and say things. I love action movies and adventure stories, so I suppose that has been my greatest creative influence. There’s nothing like a book or a movie that starts out with a slightly ominous scene, and then allows things to get worse from there.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What three things do you need in order to write?

[Anne Cleeland] A laptop, a spiral notebook and a diet Dr. Pepper! It doesn’t matter where I am or what’s going on in the background; I’m lucky that way.

[Manga Maniac Café]  What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Anne Cleeland] My good friend Laura Drake writes a great cowboy story—The Sweet Spot just came out.

[Manga Maniac Café]  If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Anne Cleeland] Brace yourself; I loved Tarzan of the Apes and then I read everything Edgar Rice Burroughs ever wrote. Did I mention I love adventure stories?

[Manga Maniac Café]  What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Anne Cleeland] I do a lot of lurking in blogs like this one. What did we do with ourselves before blogs? Or Goodreads? I could lurk around Goodreads all day.

[Manga Maniac Café]  How can readers connect with you?

[Anne Cleeland] I hope they do, I’d love to hear from them! My website is Annecleeland.com, and I have a Facebook page and a Goodreads page. For your readers who are mystery fans, I have a contemporary mystery series starting in August with Murder in Thrall. Then the second historical will come out in November—Daughter of the God-King. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

Giveaway Time!!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of Tainted Angel, fill out the widget below.  US addresses only, please.

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Purchase links:

About the book:

A deadly game of deception

A notorious beauty with a shadowy past

In the time of Napoleon, Vidia Swanson appears to live a gilded life of ease and luxury. Beneath this façade, however, she works for the Home Office as an ‘angel,’ coaxing secrets from powerful men who may or may not be traitors to the Crown. In the course of her latest assignment, matters take an alarming turn when she realizes that her spymaster suspects that she is the one who is tainted–a double agent working for the enemy.

Lucien Carstairs is a fellow agent with his own dark secrets–unless he is setting an elaborate trap to reveal her own supposed treason. Backed into a corner, she can only hope to stay one step ahead of the hangman in a race to stop the next war before it destroys them–and destroys England.

Tainted Angel offers up a compelling game of cat and mouse in which no one can be trusted–and anyone can be tainted.