Wednesday, January 21, 2015

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: A SECOND CHANCE AT PARIS BY COLE McCADE

A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade

One week in Paris. One chance with her childhood crush. And one lie that could ruin it all.

Before she was Dr. Celeste London, Astrophysicist, she was Mary Celeste Haverford: dork, loser, the geek formerly known as Hairy Mary. But she’d left all that behind—and left Ion Blackwell behind, nothing but an unrequited crush and the memory of a high school field trip, a night in Paris, and the words Celeste had never had the courage to say. She’d never expected to see him again…until a surprise encounter on a Parisian riverboat tour brings him back into her life, and gives her the opportunity to start over as someone new. Someone Ion doesn’t recognize, transformed from a social outcast into a polished, professional woman that Ion doesn’t realize is the girl he’s been longing for since childhood, the ideal he’s dreamed of his entire life.

Suddenly this vivacious (if charmingly awkward) “new” woman is teaching him that real love is better than any dream—but Celeste is hiding more than her identity. Hiding something that makes it hard to trust her increasingly erratic behavior, and her frequent secretive phone calls. When the truth comes out, the deception could shatter them both…unless they can give each other a second chance, and take a risk on love.







OUR REVIEW: 


Shel: About a year ago, I was scrolling through twitter and noticed that Cole McCade kept popping up in my friends' conversations and I was curious; I went over to his twitter to take a look at what was going on and found myself instantly intrigued by this snarky, funny, growly writer. Between his food porn, his sexually charged  and playful banter, his mysteriousness, his kindness, and the writing he shared, I knew I'd have to follow him and try to be brave enough to jump in on the shenanigans. From those early days and side conversations, I was lucky enough to share in the initial reads for A Second Chance at Paris and I'm so excited that his book is now available for all of you to read. Court: Agreed. I am a bandwagon girl when it suits me, and it suited me. Haha. 

Shel: I'm sure if you've read the other reviews for this novel and read the synopsis (above) the last thing you want is a recap...instead I'll give you all of the reasons why I loved his book:

Shel: 1. Celeste. I liked that Cole made her smart and passionate about her work; I LOVE that he made her a scientist and kinda nerdy. As with any fictional character, she's flawed and makes some craptastic decisions but I also love her strength and determination. For instance, when the shit hits the fan she doesn't put her life on hold--she picks up the pieces and moves on and continues to fight for her dream (all the while kicking herself for what happens with Ion but she doesn't let her missing him stop her). She's not a hard ass, though, she's got this lovely softness..a certain vulnerability to her that I find so endearing. Court: Celeste definitely has that quality that can endear her to us quickly. She is a beautiful and smart woman, but has a tendency to be crippled by her insecurities. She's had a soft spot for a boy she loved in high school, and we pick up with her when she goes back to Paris for a conference for her work.

Shel: 2. Ion. Ion is an arrogant ass.. though not in a way that's off-putting; he's confident and smooth and interesting. I love that Cole made him a writer of young girls' books (I hope Cole decides to write these one day--young girls need books like the Violet books) who strongly advocates for how he wants girls and women depicted in fiction (and ideally treated with respect in the world). I also love how Ion pursues Cel and gives her a week of adventure and love in Paris--there's this one part at Versailles that is so romantic and vividly written that I felt like I was there. Court: Ah, here is where we must diverge. I found Ion sometimes off-putting. I can't exactly put my finger on why...but he was so rash, and irritating with how he handled some things...and maybe it's because he behaves like someone I know in that (like with Drake) you must be available for him, but he isn't always for you? Maybe. I don't know. But I do agree with Shel in that I liked his viewpoints on his character Violet, and how strong and important he made her to inspire and shape young girls lives. That was good. 

***Drake! I almost forgot Drake. How could I do that? Drake stole the show for me. I love that he took zero shit from Ion and he gave Ion shit and that at the end of the day, he was a true friend to Drake; always looking out for him. Drake needs a book, Cole.***

Shel: 3. The writing. I've always described Cole's writing as lush; it's rounded out with detail and imagery..it's really rich; I felt like I was reading in technicolor, for lack of a better way to describe it. Additionally, I think Cole is one of the best writers of dialogue I've come across, ever. He has the perfect balance of banter and exposition and snark and wit. And as far as the overall narrative pace, I know some will feel he uses too many words or discusses science too much or there's too much of this or not enough of that and maybe that's so? It didn't bother me at all. Court: Agh, You know me well. I had a hard time with the science. I enjoyed it....because I love Chemistry...but I can't help but feel that this might be a hindrance to some because of how much of the content that it involves. I thought their narrative was brisk and well written, but some of the other detailed passages made me think of the line "pretty prose." It didn't move for me, and I let myself get distracted. 

Shel: 4. The romance. I think (maybe I'm misquoting and if I am, I apologize) Cole's said something to the effect that it has a Lifetime channel feel to it. I'm not quite sure if that's how I'd describe it but I'd say it's low angst..there's a sweetness to it..and there's sex but it's not over the top, it feels right for what this book is--a second chance to for these two to get it right. Court: I liked that there was low angst, because I felt like there was plenty enough awaiting us when Ion found out "the secret" so I felt that was a good thing for me. I think I wanted a little more over the top sex.

Shel: 5. The note at the end. I love that Cole shared this insight about his father and I absolutely LOVE how invested Cel is in the care of her father. Court: My eyes got tingly/burning/no I will not cry tonight...yeah...at a certain scene with her father. Those are the parts that I loved the most, because her relationship with him...and dedication to taking care of him were beautiful. The note...whew. Sads.

Shel: 6. Zero Day Exploit--what a lovely *bonus* to throw in for all of his readers. First he gave it away (free) on his blog and then he added it to this book. I really enjoyed it--Cole made Evan a little soft and Zero a little hard (once again throwing those silly m/f stereotypes out of the window) and their push and pull was entertaining and, even though it was a quick, fun read, I enjoyed some of the insights Evan and Zero had about life and relationships and success. Adding ZDE as a bonus feature was perfect because both works advocate for giving people opportunities to show that they are more than the sum of their mistakes and sometimes can be worthy of a second (or many) chance to be a part of your life. A lesson I still find myself learning.

Shel: As the months move forward and Cole continues to write the next novels in this series and books for a variety of other projects, I know I'll be watching and waiting to see what comes next; I'm sure you will too. Until then, follow him on social media and jump into the conversation; I know he'll be happy to see you there. 

Court: While I can't say I can jump from the roof with this one, I did enjoy large parts of it. I know some things must come at certain times, and my reaction of them will be different. Right now...sickness, stress, work sucking the soul right out of my body...are not making me glow with joy or happiness, and the will they or won't they of this maybe-happily-ever-after suffered for it. Check it out. 




Only 99c during release week! 





Excerpt:

With a smile, Celeste leaned on the rail. She’d been a silly girl, heart on her sleeve, but she kind of missed that. Falling in love was never the same—never as light, as sweet, as guileless, the emotion not as raw or real when it became about work schedules and who paid for dinner and whether it was too soon to have sex. Mundane things took the romance out of it, when at sixteen it had been about wishing for that one perfect, breathless, magical kiss with that special someone who didn’t even know she was alive.
Now she just had a half-dozen ex-special someones who said she was an amazing friend, but a lousy girlfriend.
Her eyes stung. She should be standing here with…someone. People did that; they fell in love and took romantic trips to Paris, and cuddled on dreamy moonlit boat tours. But even then she’d have been worrying over her presentation for tomorrow, wondering if Ophelia gave their father his meds, pondering wind speed for Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in Jupiter’s Red Spot, picking out constellations…and never quite here with the imaginary boyfriend.
She really wasn’t cut out for relationships.
She lifted her gaze to the sky and picked out Venus. It hurt, when she smiled. “Guess I wasted a wish,” she whispered. “Do I get a do-over?”
The soft scuff of a sole against the deck warned when someone approached. She straightened, rubbed her eyes, and pulled her hoodie tighter around herself. Last thing she wanted was to ruin some happy couple’s romantic Parisian night when they stumbled on a single woman on the verge of a nostalgic crying jag. They’d probably think she was pulling a Rose, about to fling herself dramatically over the rail of the mini-Titanic.
The footsteps stopped at her side, barely a foot away. She caught a sense of height, masculine body heat, a quietly commanding presence. A low voice rolled over her, husky baritone like whiskey and silk.
Belle nuit, n’est-ce pas?” he asked, softly accented inflections agonizingly familiar. Celeste looked up, her heart tumbling to the very bottom of her chest and constricting painfully tight.
Fathomless blue eyes looked over the water, set in an elegantly sculpted face: ten years older, more weathered, tanned complexion darkened by the shadow of stubble—but so distinctive she’d know him anywhere. She clutched the railing with fingers almost numb to the cool metal, blood draining to leave them rubbery. She knew him. She knew him, but there was no way it could be him. It was impossible. It was incredible. It was absolutely unbelievable, and she had to be hallucinating.
It was Ion Blackwell.



Winter In Paris giveaway:





Author bio
Cole McCade is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant, and his nights writing romance novels in between fending off Tybalt, his geriatric cat. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:

Twitter: @ColeMcCade
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/cole.mccade
Website & Blog: http://www.colemccade.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432536.Cole_McCade
Tumblr: http://colemccade.tumblr.com/

You can also get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mccadesmarauders/







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