Thursday, July 7, 2016

RELEASE BLITZ - Virtually Impossible by Lauren Stewart

Title: Virtually Impossible
Series: Once & Forever #2
Author: Lauren Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Fairytales aren’t real…but love is.
Sara has a kick-ass life—loyal friends, a house in San Francisco, and an amazing job as a virtual assistant. It's perfect…except that Sara doesn’t actually exist. She’s just a borrowed name that Andi Clark hides behind. Using a fake identity lets Andi stay safely shielded behind the screen of her computer and concealed from the real world. With her history, pretending to be someone she’s not is the only way Andi can make up for the mistakes of her past. Not exactly ideal, but hey, no one’s life is perfect.
Hayden Bennett’s life is pretty damn perfect. He’s married to a beautiful woman, lives in a luxury apartment, and is prepped to take over the multi-million dollar company his father built. Perfect...except that his wife is madly in love with someone else, his career is meaningless, and he’s forgotten how to live, let alone be happy. But when Hayden hires a new virtual assistant named Sara, her sharp wit and intelligence leaves him wanting something more. Something real. Something incredible.
Two people need to wake up to understand how perfect they are...for each other. If they can't, any chance either of them have of finding a happily ever after will be virtually impossible.
This highly-anticipated sequel to DARKER WATER is a standalone contemporary romance inspired by Sleeping Beauty. VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE is Hayden and Andi's story, and this is how their fairytale begins: 
Once upon a time there was a woman who made the mistake of trusting the wrong man. And that mistake led to another. And another and another, each more damaging than the last. But the woman was as ignorant of her mistakes as she was of the damage they caused. Until she was punished for them. 
Around the same time, but in a totally separate part of the city, lived a noble man and his beautiful wife. Though their castle was the envy of all, its empty halls echoed of loneliness and regret. For the man had lived his entire life asleep, and both of them remained silent of who they truly were and what they truly wanted. And then one day, the woman entered the man's life and forced him to awaken...

Today’s torture was ‘spinning’. Seriously, who comes up with this shit? Twenty-five sweaty women pay good money to ride fake bikes while horrible music blares and a man in tight spandex shorts yells at us for being lazy. And we do this by choice? Even worse, we actually had to sign up in advance for this crap, just to get a spot.
“Do you want to press charges?” Emilia asked about a mile in. At least, I’m assuming we’ve gone a mile. I wouldn’t be sweating this much otherwise, right?
“What are you talking about?” I yelled back. Thankfully—and I use the word in the most ironic way—we’d gotten to the class early enough to snag two bikes next to each other. But even so, screaming was necessary.
“Hayden Bennett.”
“Hayden?” My guess is that she waited until now so that I’d have no more oxygen flow to my brain and wouldn’t be able to understand what she was talking about. Well, boy was she wrong—I wouldn’t have known what she was talking about five minutes ago. Did that mean we could stop now?
“I’m not sure how we’ll do it without your name coming up, Andi. But if you want to press changes, I’ll support you.”
“You have no idea how confused I am right now.” And I couldn’t blame a runner’s high because we’re biking to nowhere. Plus, I don’t actually know what a runner’s high feels like. It’s supposed to make this easier, isn’t it? And not so excruciating? “Why would I press charges against anyone, let alone Hayden?”
“Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be physical, Andi. It can be verbal too.”
I stopped spinning and waited for her to follow. Because obviously, I wasn’t the one with impeded oxygen flow. “He didn’t sexually harass me physically or verbally, Emilia. Why would you think that?”
The instructor yelled at me, his voice the only sound more piercing than the music. “Don’t stop now! We got a long way to go!”
He was kidding, right? We weren’t going anywhere. But, evident by the amount of glares I saw in the room, everyone else seemed to think I was holding back our journey or something, so I started pedaling again.
Emilia wiped her hair from her face. “First, you tell me to reassign him because you thought you might have crossed a line—which I totally didn’t believe, by the way and why I tried so hard and so successfully to talk you out of it.” She puffed out a few breaths as if she were in labor. No irony there. “But if my advice pushed you into something harassment-ish, I’ll never forgive myself.”
“There’s only one thing you should never forgive yourself for, and that’s making me do this class. But you didn’t miss anything where Hayden is concerned. Or was concerned. Promise.” I crossed my heart, holding it an extra moment to make sure it wouldn’t explode. I swear someone told me exercise was supposed to be healthy. Liars.
“I figured, but I had to ask.” Her non-pause made me wonder about the honesty of our relationship. But before I could call her on it, she started talking again. Well, huffing and puffing and talking again. “Especially after he called and practically begged me to convince you to work for him again. For more money, too.”
“He begged you? Are you sure you’re not getting him mixed up with one of the other men who can’t live without me?” At least that’s what I tried to say—my wheezing probably made some of the words incomprehensible. “I don’t think Hayden has needed to beg for anything in his entire life.”

Amy 4.5stars

Andi and Hayden....I quite enjoyed their story. Andi is hired as Hayden's Virtual Assistant, but due to past circumstances, can't use her real name and goes by Sara, who is a friend a co-worker. Andi is hiding from life behind a computer screen, paying for a crime that she didn't commit, but feels immense guilt over. Hayden is a workaholic, spending very little time at home. We get the sense that Hayden's marriage isn't all it's supposed to be, and we get the reasons why as the book goes along. If you're worried about this being a "cheating" situation, don't; it's really not written that way, but I can't really give details without spoiling part of the plot line. Hayden and Andi communicate mostly via a chat function on their computers, although they eventually progress towards phone calls and texts. Hayden and Andi are good counterpoints to each other....she helps him to see that he's been missing so much in his life, and really awakens him to wanting more out of his life.....and maybe realizing she's allowed to have more than she's let herself have over the past few years.

I like that these stories are based off of fairy tales, but with modern twists. And even though this book is brand new, I'm already excited to read the next.

Shanda 4 stars

First off how could you not love Hayden? He is so kind, selfless, forgiving, and so incredibly deserving of being loved. To outsiders Hayden has the perfect life; a good job, beautiful wife, and a happy marriage. But the reality is much more sad and depressing and now Hayden is starting to realize how lonely he is. He has been living in a beautiful picture but he has been going through life asleep. My heart absolutely broke for Hayden and all he had endured and the lonely life he is currently living.

Andi is living in her own cage and doesn’t deserve to keep paying for her mistakes. She is living her life behind a computer screen as a virtual assistant. Andi has been banned from working with technology due to an error in judgement on her part that got her in trouble with the law. But she is determined to make amends to the people she has hurt so she continues to work so she can pay restitution. Andi was a very sweet and funny heroine and I personally thought she was way too hard on herself. I adored that she brought Hayden to life and this helped both of them break free from the chains they were in.

I really enjoyed the side relationships and how they played out. If you are worried about cheating, don’t be, this is resolved and I personally really liked the outcome. It was good to catch up a bit with Carson and Laney from Darker Water and I hope we get a bit more of them in the future. I did feel the connection between Hayden and Andi suffered a bit due their circumstances. While I still think Darker Water is my favorite in the series so far; I really did enjoy Virtually Impossible and I can’t wait for the next book. I think using the fairytales is a fantastic element to the story and with Virtually Impossible the theme tied in beautifully.

Lauren Stewart grew up reading Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, James Clavell, Piers Anthony, and Agatha Christie, which explains why she can't seem to stick to one genre at a time. She loves emoticons and hates when people speak in the third person, so...
I got to the more romantic stuff pretty late, but romance was what changed me from an obsessed reader into an obsessed reader AND writer. I think my writing style comes from a mash-up of my early favorites and my new ones, women like JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, and Janet Evanovich. Wow, how much would you pay to be invited to that dinner party?
I want to make people think, cry, and giggle, not necessarily all at the same time (although it's great when it happens). In every one of my books, you'll find elements of other genres - fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's literature, all with a touch of humor and a lot of sarcasm.
Because what doesn't kill us should make us laugh.


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