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Blog Tour: Playing With Her Heart by Lauren Blakely {Review, Author Interview+Giveaway!}

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Playing With Her Heart (Caught Up in Us #3)
   by: Lauren Blakely

Publication Date: Aug. 18, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by InkSlingerPR and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 300 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N| Apple| Amazon UK
My Rating: 5/5 stars

When you’re acting the role of a lifetime, how can you know if love is real—or all just a part of the show?

Twenty-three year old rising theatre star Jill McCormick has built a life out of pretending. Pretending she’s happy, pretending her long-distance crushes add up to something real, pretending she’s not haunted by the dark secret that shattered her world six years ago.

Cast in her first Broadway show, she desperately needs to keep her façade intact, but that’s before she comes face to face with her devastating new boss…Hot-shot director Davis Milo knows the first rule of directing: never fall for your leading lady. Captivated by Jill’s raw talent, he fights his feelings, but watching Jill on-stage with another man is more than his jealous streak can take. Keeping things professional isn’t an option. He wants all of her.

Soon the ingénue and her director are staying late in the empty theatre, their private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. Caught up between fiction and reality, Jill struggles to find the truth in all their staged kisses. But how can she be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play? And when two people spend their lives pretending, what happens after the final curtain falls?

My Review:
Sigh. Lauren has done it again! She has created a cast of incredibly sexy characters that have such strong sexual tension and chemistry it makes you want to scream! But this time- our male lead isn't just a regular male: he is 100% ALPHA! Excuse me, while I let my raging hormones chill out for a minute before launching into this review.... I won't even lie. I'm addicted to Lauren's books. They are smart, sexy, fun, and oh so delicious. I really loved the level of depth Lauren added to this novel. It really made you root even harder for Jill and Davis to get the happy ending they both deserved.
Jill is such a sweet character. I really loved reading about her. She is a budding actress who is trying to score her first part on Broadway. I personally really connected to Jill because I myself wanted to be an actress on Broadway. I lived for the theater so I could really feel how passionate she was about it, the thrill of being on stage, of being someone completely different. Acting was also a release, an outlet for Jill. It was there for her when she felt no one else could be and it was able to help ease the pain and guilt she felt for something that happened from when she was a teenager. I hate that she is still punishing herself over something she really had no control over and that she still let the pain of her past control her.
She saw Patrick Carlson for the first time while he was doing Guys and Dolls and after meeting him briefly and exchanging kind words with him- he really became a hero in her 17 year old eyes. When Jill earns her first role in Crash the Moon, a musical directed by the great Davis Milo, only to find out Patrick has also been cast she is ecstatic. Jill is sweet and almost a bit naïve. She believes she is in love with Patrick- and hopes to make him see the woman she is. However, Jill never counted on Davis Milo becoming such a big part of her life....
Oh, Davis. What can I say?! He made me swoon so many times! He is a powerhouse director who knows what he wants. And he wants Jill to be his lead. However, bureaucracy wins out and he is forced to cast her as part of his chorus, but not without casting her as the famous Alexis Carbone's understudy first. I like that Davis is powerful- he does not back down from a challenge, yet after having his heart broken by an actress in the past- he has sworn off dating and getting involved with them. As attracted as he is to Jill, he knows he can't go down that road again.  However, he can't help but be attracted to her- she's sweet, sexy, funny, and he genuinely enjoys being in her company.
Their relationship is a tricky one. Both go back and forth trying to deny their feelings for one another, but holy gods above- they have such passion when they're together. Jill is still caught up with her 17 year old self believing she is in love with Patrick, when really it's just a fantasy of a 17 year old girl who needed something to cling to in order to keep from drowning. What she experiences with Davis is on a completely different level- he makes her feel things she only ever read about her in books and really makes her come alive with the intensity of his words and actions.
Watching them both discover how much they need each other is beautiful, sexy, and endearing all at the same time. Jill has to let the pain of her past fall away and allow herself forgiveness before she can truly move on and give her heart to Davis. Davis is determined to remain by her side and support her- he really does become the pillar of strength that she needs to lean on in order to pull herself through.
If you're in the mood for a sexy, sweet, oh-so-steamy read- Lauren is your go-to girl. Every. time.
Book Trailer:
~Author Interview with Lauren Blakely~
Hey Lauren! I'm super excited to have you on the blog today! I can't wait for everyone to read Playing With Her Heart!
1. How would you describe Playing With Her Heart in 10 words or less?
Emotional, hot, sexy, swoony, dirty-talking alpha male, read it now!
2. What was your favorite scene to write in the book?
All of them! But if I had to choose, it was the restaurant scene. :)
3. Which character was probably your favorite to write?
Oh, this is so hard! I do so love Jill and her emotional journey in this story, and the way she can't resist the intense chemistry with her director, Davis. But, then there's Davis... And he's just my favorite guy. I loved writing him, his emotions, his intensity, his dialogue, and most of all, the dirty-sexy things he says to Jill about all the ways he wants to have her.
4. If you could cast Davis and Jill, who would you see them as?
Steve Boyd (my cover model) is so ingrained in my head now as Davis, given all the pics of him that have circulated. So I definitely "see" him as the physical embodiment of my hero. BUT, Steve isn't an actor, so can we do a mash-up of Steve Boyd and Alexander Skarsgard? Because I think he can capture the dangerous sexy character of Davis incredibly well. As for Jill, I see her as Dianna Agron- she has that young, beautiful blond look, but also so much depth as an actress. Or Jennifer Lawrence. Because, well, she's Jennifer Lawrence!
5. Why write about Broadway? Do you have a background in theater? Or do you just have a love of musicals?
Ah, want to hear all about my vanquished hopes and dreams? Here goes. I spent about nine months when I was twenty-one auditioning for shows in New York City when I lived there. I LOVE theater madly, and thought I wanted to be an actress. Then I remembered a few vital points- I can't sing, I can't dance, and I can't act. So I focused on writing and I have immensely enjoyed being an audience member at many musicals over the years. When I lived in New York in my early twenties I went to the theater 3-4 nights a week. So yes, I love Broadway fiercely, and I often listen to musicals while writing.
6. What song do you think best describes Davis and Jill's relationship?
Madness by Muse. It's kind of their theme song, especially because of the lines "I have finally realized... I need to love" and "come and rescue me." But wait! There's also Falling Slowly, because of these lines: "Falling slowly, eyes that know me- and I can't go back" As for Jill, I think "Bruised Not Broken" by Joss Stone is her theme song.
7. I don't know if it's just me, but I had no idea Jill and Chris (from Trophy Husband) would be brother and sister! Technically Trophy Husband isn't a part of the Caught Up in Us series, correct? Did you know from the beginning you wanted that book and this one to share a connection?
YES! I had originally planned on releasing the three related books in order, but I knew Playing With Her Heart would take more time. I've talked about Trophy Husband on my blog and how it's a massive revision to a novel I wrote five years ago. So, given the time I needed to write Playing With Her Heart, I decided in March to revise Trophy Husband and release it first, but to make the hero in that book related to the characters in the next book. Brother and sister made logical sense and gave a tighter connection between the two. Plus, you may recall that Chris drops a hint in Trophy Husband about Jill and Davis when he tells McKenna that her sister's director is "making her crazy". This scene is mirrored back in Playing With Her Heart when Jill send Chris the text that leads him to believe this. Also, the epilogue of Trophy Husband is show in Jill's POV in Playing With Her Heart. So, these were all intentional so that Trophy Husband could share a strong bond with the other books set in New York.
8. What are some of your favorite NA (or other) reads that you've read lately?
I loved Unafraid by Melody Grace, which releases August 27th! I also loved All of You by Christina Lee, which releases September 17th! And I have to confess I finally read 50 Shades of Grey and enjoyed it quite a bit!
9. What's up next for you? Have you mainly been working on Tricked and Treated?
Tricked and Treated is all ready to go and features my scorchingly hot firefighter and it's part of the Lovers Unmasked anthology, (http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-Unmasked-Entangled-Brazen-ebook/dp/B00EBRGIHM/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376285281&sr=1-4), and I've also been working on edits for THE BREAKUP ALBUM, which releases in October. (http://www.amazon.com/Break-Album-Entangled-Edge-ebook/dp/B00EGJ334Q/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376285281&sr=1-5) That book has a connection to Playing With Her Heart because Jane Black, the heroine in The Breakup Album, has a vital cameo in Playing With Her Heart. (She's also mentioned in Trophy Husband!) The Breakup Album is set in NY, it shares some common themes with the Caught Up in Us books- romance, sexiness, emotion and finding love after heartbreak.
10. And finally- if you yourself could play any role on Broadway- what would it be?
EVITA!!!! I would chew the scenery and go all out singing Don't Cry For Me Argentina!!! Evita is such an iconic, diva role and it doesn't get any bigger than that for belting out songs and owning a show!
Thanks for chatting with me today Lauren! As always, I can't wait to read your next book!
About Lauren Blakely:
Lauren Blakely is an unabashed fan of clever jokes, toast, and good guys in novels. Like the heroine in CAUGHT UP IN US, she thinks life should be filled with movie kisses and coffee drinks. Lauren lives in California with her husband and children, and spends her days writing both true stories and make-believe ones.
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  1. Awesome review & Interview! I loved this book and agree that it is her best yet. I adore Lauren and I loved Davis, for sure the best male character so far in her books.

    1. Thanks girl! I agree! He is my favorite so far! Though I adored Chris and Reeve!

  2. Great review girl! So glad you liked it(: This is on my to read list for sure!!
    Happy reading


    1. Yay! You'll really like it Jackie! It's super cute!

  3. Hi Jessica!

    Ahh-mazing post! I loved everything about it! :)) And the interview was bomb -- JLaw all the way for all the things. That is all!

    1. Thanks Momo! :D I agree with you about JLaw- she is a total rockstar! :D

  4. "Sigh. Lauren has done it again! She has created a cast of incredibly sexy characters that have such strong sexual tension and chemistry it makes you want to scream!" <----SOLD!!!! I have been hearing so many amazing things about this book and author and I can't wait to see what all the hype is about. I love the sound of Davis...you know me...I need my alpha male fix EVERYDAY! The emotions, characters and romance all sound amazing. I can't wait to read this! Glad you enjoyed this Jessica! Great review!

    lol ;p I love her Broadway role! AND I LOVE MUSE!!!! Perfect song to describe their relationship (I haven't even met them yet!) Thanks for the great interview! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

    1. :D Hahaha- you will LOVE Davis then! He is SO alpha! But in a good way! I loved reading Lauren's interview answers! And I love Muse toooooo!!!!!!

  5. I haven't read any of Blakely's books, but I've heard really good things. This seems like a sweet and steamy love story with great characters.
    Great review, sweetie!

    1. Oh, Andrea. You will LOVE Lauren's books! You must read one soon!!!!! :D


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