Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Dazed, by Kim Karr




Dazed is a Connections Series Novella but it not necessary to read Connected and Torn prior to reading this. Also it has a beginning, a middle, and an end!



Synopsis
Jagger Kennedy never went looking for fame, he just fell into it. After scoring a major modeling contract, his clean-cut good looks and charm catapulted his career. But when his actress girlfriend breaks his heart, he moves to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He’s not looking for love—he just needs to make a change.

Aerie Daniels is a woman in control … until she meets Jagger. Her surprising connection with him leaves her dazed and it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt. But just when she lets her walls fall, she makes a startling discovery about Jagger that breaks her fragile heart into a million pieces.
To keep from losing the woman who’s changing his world, Jagger is willing to give up anything—including his career. But even that might not be enough to regain Aerie’s shattered trust…


Excerpt
Aerie Daniels
There’s something deliciously perverse about staring through the clear glass. All of
my senses engage as I wait in line—the fragrance that fills the air as the fire crackles
beneath the foil wrapped treats wafts under my nose, the beauty in each and every small
package as they line the shelves with tiny dots and colored sprinkles mesmerizes me, the
sound made as the silver sheet is peeled back to reveal the magnificence it holds
captivates me, and the anticipation of the taste makes my mouth water. Ummm… just
thinking of the first bite into the moist brown exterior with its bittersweet Belgian
chocolate complimenting the flavor of the Madagascar bourbon vanilla that oozes from
its inside has me trembling. The black and white cupcake—it’s simply perfection.
Amidst the skyscrapers in Los Angeles’ South Park neighborhood, Sprinkles is a
gem tucked away for those of us who seek out a small piece of heaven. I don’t come here
often, but when I do it’s for that one special treat. The menu describes it as, “Yin and
Yang.” An ancient proverb that says, “Complementary opposites, such as light and dark,
day and night, and masculine and feminine, seemingly may exist as contrary forces, but
are actually interconnected.” Simply put, it says one gives rise to the other and it’s true—
opposites attract. Without the vanilla inside, one could not possibly crave the chocolate
outside—looking at the two parts united has me drooling.
“You know what they say about staring through the glass,” a deep husky voice says
from behind me.
His words tingle my skin and my gaze snaps up. “Excuse me?” I stop short, in a
daze, not even sure what he just said I was so lost in my thoughts.
He chuckles. “You know what they say about staring through the glass,” he repeats. My eyes blink and come into focus on the upward tilt of his full lips. Then my eyes
move to his smooth pale skin flecked with a light stubble, his nose seemingly sculpted
even with a slight imperfection in its slope, large eyes with the most unusual gray color
swirling from within, and chocolate brown colored hair framing his face in pieces—I’m
not sure if he has just rolled out of bed or if product molds it just so. Either way, he is
utterly beautiful.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Just be careful so you don’t fall in like Alice.” He smiles, displaying his bright
white teeth.
“Again, I’m sorry but I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I notice his eyes
sweep over me and my heart starts pounding.
“Through the Looking Glass,” he responds in a dangerously husky voice.
This time when he speaks I catch an accent, ever so slight but extremely sexy.
It reminds me of how Robert De Nero talks, just not as loud or fast. I continue to stare,
unable to respond. I notice that his physique is long and lean. He’s dressed in worn jeans
that fit him perfectly. His orange laced hiking boots scream I don’t conform. A pair of
tortoiseshell sunglasses hang from the V of his gray sweater, which clings to his body
perfectly. And an outdoor vest tops the outfit. It throws me off. It makes him look more
like an Abercrombie model than a James Dean type. It’s a navy blue down and quilted
one with a silver zipper. I don’t know why, but something about his outfit, about this
man, captivates me.
“Number 98,” calls the girl from behind the counter.
He steps closer. His warm breath whispers across my neck. “Through the Looking
Glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. When Alice gets too close to the glass, she
falls in and starts on a crazy journey,” he tells me as his arm waves in the air with a green
ticket on display. Stepping closer, his gaze cuts from mine to the glass case as he hands
his number to the clerk whose wearing a cute brown apron with the word Sprinkles
scripted across it.
“Can I have a dozen of the black and white cupcakes?” he asks. Suddenly alarmed, my eyes dart to the case as I watch the single remaining row of
beautifully crafted cupcakes diminish until there are none left. My irritation flares as I
glance at my number—97.
The beautiful stranger hands the clerk his credit card and waits to sign the slip.
“I was number 97, my number was before yours,” I say as he’s handed the bag that
holds his treasure.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Here let me get the sales clerk’s attention so you don’t have to take
another number,” he says.
I want to stomp my feet. I want to scream. I don’t want her attention. I don’t want
another number. I want the cupcakes that he stole from me.
“Miss,” he calls draping his perfectly fit body over the case. She looks his way and
with a charming grin he says, “Can you help this lovely lady? She missed her number
being called.”
“Of course, I’m so sorry. How can I help you?” the girl asks averting her eyes from
the man who looks like he should be on the cover of GQ magazine, over to me.
He smiles at me with a face that belongs on a billboard. “Don’t fall in.”
I swear he’s goading me. But then he tips his chin and a sexy, smoldering grin passes
over his lips and I’m not so sure anymore. He turns to look at me one more time before
he exits, and excitement flushes over my face. I nod a slight cursory acknowledgement,
then he disappears and disappointment washes over me—he’s gone. Crap. The cupcakes
are also gone. Double crap. And now I’m left wondering if he saw me staring at that
flavor? Did he distract me on purpose so he could purchase them first? Urrr…I’m so
angry right now I consider walking out, but when the clerk asks me what I’d like I settle
for the Vanilla Milk Chocolate cakes—they are the mirror reflection of the black and
whites, with vanilla cake and chocolate frosting, but they are not nearly as good.





Review
4.5 out of 5 stars

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I am a huge fan of The Connections series and could not wait to dive into this novella.  I thought it was the perfect blend of emotions and loved every minute of being inside Aerie's head.  Of course I was already a fan of her character, in the two previous books she was such a strong yet comforting best friend to Dahlia.  I loved how she always seemed to know exactly what she needed, when to push and when to support.  Dazed open my eyes up even wider to what a wonderful character Aerie really is and now I'm an even bigger fan.

As it turns out Aerie has a Type A personality.  She likes control, structure and organization.  From keeping to a strict routine in work as well as exercise to always ordering the same dishes at her favorite restaurants to keeping her closet divided in half based off work vs. fun clothes.  Honestly, it's like she's a girl after my own heart!  On the flip side though she hasn't ever experienced true love or really even passion for that matter.  She's never felt sparks, or butterflies or really even emotions in general with the men she's dated.

Then one day, one chance encounter at a cupcake shop leaves her world turned upside down...

Jagger, River's cousin, has moved to LA in hopes to not only heal from his heartache over the woman he was in love with cheating on him and but he is also hoping to score the lead in an upcoming movie based off of the life of Aerie's uncle.  I imagine he was completely unprepared when on a chance encounter Aerie literally falls into the rabbit hole of his life.

Kim Karr is such an excellent writer, in allowing this story to be told strictly from Aerie's POV it was like I was falling in love with Jagger right along with her.  He was so sweet towards Aerie, and while she is the one who has always pushed Dahlia outside her comfort zones it was so nice to see Jagger do the same for her.  He really opened her eyes up to the world around her, gently forcing her to not just go through the motions of life, but instead to actually live it.  There's no doubt in my mind Aerie was perfectly happy on her own, but Jagger brings out a side of her no one has ever seen before.  He brings out a sense of happiness, peacefulness and fullness that she hasn't ever experienced.  It was really beautiful to read through her transformation, and even when things got rough, Aerie never lost sight of who she was at her core, she didn't change for Jagger, she just embraced more of herself when she was with him.  I really appreciated and respected that about her character.

This is an excellent addition to The Connections series.  It was beautifully written and while it was short I still found it to be full of passion and just the right amount of drama!  I'm so glad Aerie got her own story and that like Dahlia she too got a HEA.


About Author Kim Karr
I live in Florida with my husband and four kids. I've always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, I wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. I went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise my family. I currently work part-time with my husband and full-time embracing one of my biggest passions—writing. 

I wear a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of the family. However, I always find time to read. One of my favorite family outings use to be taking my kids to the bookstore or the library. Today, my oldest child is in college and my twins are juniors so they no longer go with me on these outings. And although I don't need to go to the actual store anymore because I have the greatest device ever invented—a Kindle, I still do. There's nothing like a paperback. So now my four year old and I make dates out of going to the bookstore--it's time I love and cherish.

I like to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. I love to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart. <3



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