Monday, September 23, 2013

Back to Life Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt, Author Interview and Giveaway


Sahara Lee has spent the last ten years living with the guilt of a tragic accident and its aftermath. That night irrevocably changed the outgoing, fun-loving college freshman into an introverted, workaholic with no social life. Sahara isolates herself from everyone and everything that reminds her of home in an effort to forget what happened. Using art as a substitute for love, Sahara throws herself into music and art as a way to feel something other than the guilt that haunts her. She accepts her lonely existence as penance for the role she played in the accident. That is, until she meets Tyree Barker, the good looking entrepreneur with baggage of his own.

Blindsided by a legal loophole, Sahara is suddenly forced to confront the past she’s been running from. Juggling the guilty feelings of her past and the unexpected feelings of her present, Sahara’s future becomes complicated as she heads down a path of forgiveness, love, and heartbreak…and not in that particular order.

Back to Life reminds you that living and existing are two completely different ways to go through life. Grief will break you but guilt, guilt will destroy you. And once that happens, what can bring you back to life?

Jenny's Review:

Sahara have a lot of baggage. She is affected by an accident that happened 10 years ago that still haunts her.  Because of her past, she has kept everyone at a distance. She has alienated her family, her best friend Emily and her first love Emmanuel, who happens to be Emily's brother, thinking that she is the cause of all of their pain. 

In comes Tyree, a game changer. At first glance, their attraction is instantaneous and their relationship progresses quickly. However, Sahara's past keeps her from moving past her guilt that she feels from the accident and at times, makes her shutdown, which frustrates Tyree, but he is willing to stand by her, waitng for to be ready to open up to him.

When Sahara have the opportunity to confront her past and the accident that has changed her life, she has to deal with Tyree and his connection that what happened to her 10 years ago, her first love, who is determined to win her back and also trying to come to terms with what happened on that tragic day. 

When I started this book, I was immediately hooked. The roller coaster of emotions that was felt throughout almost gave a whiplash. There are time that you can feels Sahara's pain. It felt that you were going through it with her. You could feel when she finally opens herself up to Tyree. You laugh, cry and get angry with her. Music played an important role throughout the novel. Which I loved. Danielle use of  music at some climatic points within the book,  I could here it, while I was reading the book and heightened the emotions that I was feeling while reading. And made me love the book even more. The novel does end in a cliffhanger, which usually annoys me to no end, but I'm not ready to leave this story and I'm anxiously waiting for the next book.

When I l found out that Back to Life was Danielle's first novel, I was surprised. Her writing and her ability to allow her reader to connect with the characters is amazing. Back to Life is one of top favorite of the year.  I can't wait to see what she has in store for us in her future works.

 *ARC was provided by author in exchange for honest review*

Back to Life Excerpt:

As he pulled off his tie, he licked his lips seductively. Putting on ‘Whenever Wherever Whatever,’ he quickly undressed, uncrossed my legs, and crawled between them. His naked body felt so hot against mine. He kissed me before he moaned against my mouth, “I was trying to wait for your birthday baby girl. You made it so hard for me. All of those nights with you lying next to me braless, wearing those short shorts.” His eyes dropped to my lips and then my breasts and then back to my eyes. He kissed me again, sliding his hand down the side of my body.

Ty sat back on his knees and pulled my wet panties down my legs. He tossed them off the side of the bed before he leaned up and removed my bra, tossing that as well. He ran his hands down my belly, resting them on my hips. Taking my right leg, he put it on his shoulder and kissed my ankle. I shut my eyes and felt the sensation of him kissing down my leg, past my knee, and up my thighs. He moved to the left leg and kissed his way up. When he got to my knee, I was surprised by his thumb as it entered me. “God, you’re wet,” he groaned against my ankle. Removing his thumb slowly, he trailed it over my sensitive sex before reentering it inside me.

I moaned and rotated my hips against his hand. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more than I want him in this moment, I acknowledged as I opened my eyes. He intensely watched me with lust filled interest as he replaced his thumb with two of his fingers and found my g-spot. The familiar pull caused me to moan and close my eyes again. The hunger and longing I’d felt for this man culminated into that moment.

“Sahara, tell me what you want for your birthday,” Ty asked quietly through gritted teeth.

“I want you,” I panted. My voice trailed off in a raspy breath as I felt his tongue replace his fingers.
His fingers returned when his mouth found my sensitive bundle of nerves and he toyed with it. Kissing his way up my body, he found my hard nipples and sucked them with the same wet suction and gentle strength. No man has ever made me this hot before. Not even…, I couldn’t even finish the thought because Ty’s expertise maneuvered over my body in a way that eliminated thoughts of any other man.

When he reached my lips and kissed me, I couldn’t control myself. I wrapped my legs around his waist and rotated my hips into him. This is how a man is supposed to make you feel, I thought as I reached between us and started stroking him. He whispered my name and I took that as an opportunity.

I rolled us over so that I was in control. I kissed him on his lips making a direct beeline down his muscular chest and his rippled abs. I hovered over him and lightly scraped my teeth over the tip, watching it twitch. Giving it a slow, sensual kiss, I took him in my mouth. Wrapping my hands around the base, I licked him up and down applying pressure and suction. My slurping mouth wasn’t drowned out by ‘Whenever Wherever Whatever’ on repeat in the background.

Ty wrapped his hand in my hair and guided my mouth to take him down further. Ty made the sexiest noise I’ve never heard in my life from the back of his throat. I continued to work him up and down until he couldn’t take it anymore and tried to pull me off of him. I craved the sound of his desire for me. I knew I wanted to feel him inside me and that I should stop, but the sound of his moaning spurred me on. Bringing pleasure to the man I love was the ultimate pleasure.

“Sahara, you’re about to make me cum,” he growled as his hips jerked, pushing him deeper down my throat. “Baby girl…” he moaned under his breath as I slowly pulled off of him, releasing him from my mouth. “That was…,” he let out a deep breath slowly before he finished, “amazing.”

Author Interview: 
 What inspired you to write Back to Life?
For years, I’ve had the fleeting idea to write my ideas down and turn it into a novel. But I never made any real moves to do it. So when I created my 30 by 30 list, I made a point to put writing a novel on the list. It was one of my goals to be finished before I turned thirty! Mission accomplished!

Music played a significant role throughout the book, was that planned when you wrote to book? How did you decide what songs to use at each particular moment?
Music has always been a big part of my life so I knew I was going to incorporate it heavily in Back to Life. Music will always be a major factor in everything I write; however, it may not be as explicit as it was in Back to Life (and will be in Back to Reality). All the songs I used were songs I love. When the images of what was happening in the book were coming to me, I imagined what song would play in the background if it were a movie. I chose from the songs that were on my personal playlist and I fell in love with "Sahara’s Playlist."

You are currently working on the second book to Back to Life, can you tell us a little about what we should expect?
I’m about 1/3 of the way done with Back to Reality (Back to Life #2). So I can tell you three definite things about it:
  •      It picks up where Back to Life left off. You find out what happened within the first couple of chapters.
  •      Sahara gets something that she needs very early on.
  •      Expect to be surprised by at least once

What is your writing process like? Do you have any special things you do while writing?
My process is really free flowing. I don’t like to plan too much. I don’t write out an outline or anything. I just start typing and just let the story develop. Most of the time, when a story is heading in a particular direction, I listen to music that fits that moment. When I’m not writing, I’m listening to the playlist and just feeling the story out through music.

When you aren't working a your book, what do you like to do in your spare time.
My spare time consists of reading, watching movies, dining out, traveling, and performing karaoke (and if you heard me sing, you’d know I’m using the word ‘performing’ loosely). Whether it is my husband and I having a date night or my best friends and I having a girls-night-out, I’m always down for a good time!

If you can, name three of your all time favorite books and authors.
Three Favorite Books…Just three? You’re killing me! This is very difficult because I love to read and there are so many books that are so good for so many different reasons! My favorite book of all time is a non-fiction book, but I’m going to stick with fiction for the purposes of this list.
  •   Sula by Toni Morrison
  •   Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
  •   Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
All three of these novels completely challenge you as a reader. And I absolutely LOVE that!

About the Author: 

I am a married event planner and life coach. My awesome friends and family and my amazing husband make my life sweet. I love to have fun and enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with. I love shopping and football with equal fervor. I’m an amateur movie critic (i.e. my husband and I watch and critique a lot of movies for fun). I love to read and I enjoy sharing my love of books with anyone who will listen. I love music. A good lyric with a good melody can paint a vivid picture and invoke such a range of emotions. I have a soft spot for most mediums of creative, artistic expression.
With degrees in psychology, human services, and marriage and family counseling, I have a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As an author, I combine an active imagination and life experiences to create stories that are easily relatable and intentionally intriguing. I want to offer you a peek into someone else’s life and for you to get lost in their story, their trials, their triumphs. My ultimate goal is to create a character or a story that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.
So in a nutshell: I plan. I teach. I read. I write. I watch. I critique. I shop. I play. I love.
To know me is to love me.

Connect with the Author:

Tour Giveaway:
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