New Release + 5 Star Review: In The Wake Of Wanting by Lori L. Otto

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In The Wake Of Wanting

By Lori L. Otto

Buy: Amazon

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Synopsis

Even before the second semester of his sophomore year at Columbia began, Trey Holland knew his life would be completely different by the end of it. He had yet to meet the pretty–yet flustered–freshman who he’d be mentoring on the school paper. He had yet to discover the despicable secrets his new best friend was hiding.

All Trey knew at the time was that the relationship with his high school sweetheart was nearing its end.

In those days before the spring semester began, life for Trey was simple. School was a place to learn. His fraternity was a community of like-minded brothers. Life was full of well-intentioned people. Complications were tiny bumps in the road, easily smoothed over, leaving no trace behind.

In a matter of weeks, Trey is thrust into a jaded reality brought on by choices he makes and by the vile actions of those around him. It won’t take long for him to look back and see the wreckage left in the wake of wanting.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Portions of this book deal with the sensitive subject of rape and sexual abuse. While the incidents are not ‘experienced’ first hand, they are retold in hindsight by characters. The descriptions of the events are brief, and while they are not graphic, they may be considered disturbing to some.

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5Star

Robin’s Review

For years now, I’ve been reading fiction from a variety of genres, and Lori Otto has become one of my very favorite authors. She writes about family and friendship. Loyalty and love. Sometimes she writes about topics which are relevant to current events. Her newest novel, In the Wake of Wanting, embodies all of these characteristics and so much more.

Before I begin my review In the Wake of Wanting, it would be remiss of me to not share Otto’s author note:

“Portions of this book deal with the sensitive subject of rape and sexual abuse. While the incidents are not ‘experienced’ first hand, they are retold in hindsight by characters. The descriptions of the events are brief, and while they are not graphic, they may be considered disturbing to some.”

If you are sensitive to these subjects, please take Otto’s author note into consideration before you decide to read In the Wake of Wanting. Now onto the good stuff!

Raised as the son of New York City royalty, Trey Holland is a product of his upbringing. He’s polite. Giving. Kind. Loyal. Someone who puts others before him. Now a sophomore at Columbia University, Trey has recently noticed that his feelings for Zaina Mishra are changing. Trey feels suffocated – feels like his future has already been mapped out. He’s beginning to think his 4-year relationship with his high school sweetheart has run its course.

When Coley Fitzsimmons walks into Trey’s journalism class at Columbia University, he’s filled with awe and wonder. Not only is she beautiful, but Coley has been assigned as Trey’s journalism partner for the school newspaper, and she knows EXACTLY who he is. But Coley also catches the eye of Trey’s best friend, Asher Knoxland, the President of The Columbia Daily Witness. It’s a sticky situation for Trey to be in…..and one that will test his values.

In the Wake of Wanting has everything that I love to see in this genre! Although classified as a new adult novel, In the Wake of Wanting shows elements of romantic suspense. This is such a sweet love story – probably THE best Otto has ever written. Emotions that the characters are feeling just bleed off of the page. Otto gave me bouts of anxiety. I felt anger. Hurt. Fear. Complete shock. I was disturbed at times – so much so that I had a sick feeling. I felt sadness. Joy. And I even had butterflies in my stomach.

Trey and Coley are outstanding characters. Both primary characters are just so easy to love – and I fell in love with them! Their romance? Sweet and sexy. Otto had me from the moment Trey first set his eyes on beautiful Coley. In my opinion, Lori Otto writes best from a male point of view, and In the Wake of Wanting is narrated from Trey’s first-person perspective. Character dialogue is probably the greatest strength of this story because it beautifully conveys the emotions that I spoke of earlier.

Those who follow Lori Otto will already be familiar with Trey’s background, but I feel Otto did a pretty good job of sharing pertinent information about Trey and the Holland family with readers who might be interested in reading this as a standalone novel. To sum things up, In the Wake of Wanting is timely, educational and powerful. It’s a story of survival and fighting back. And it’s one of the sweetest love stories that I’ve read in a long time. You definitely won’t want to miss reading this 5-star novel – In the Wake of Wanting is one my 2016 favorites!

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Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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5 Star Review + 2016 Favorite: Love Will by Lori L. Otto

Love Will
 
By Lori L. Otto
085d5-goodreads
Synopsis:

The brilliant mind of 24-year-old Will Rosser never rests. Literally. Scientifically-inclined and musically-gifted, he thinks in equations, hears songs in colors, dreams in geometric shapes and is forever trying to solve the world’s unsolvable problems. Whether he’s trying to escape his unpleasant childhood or forget the mistakes he perpetuates with women he barely knows, he rarely finds a moment’s peace.

When his best friend, Damon, invites him to go on tour as his lead guitarist, Will decides it’s a chance to get away from his bad habits in New York and to make some changes in his life. He’ll have to walk away from a career few people are suited for, but he knows in his heart he’ll return to his work as an astrophysicist once he gets his life on track.

There are parents to forgive or forget, and for Will, they’re decisions he won’t take lightly. He strives to make his siblings proud; to no longer have them make excuses for him. He has to consider his personal life. The only time he ever allowed himself to love a girl, she broke his heart, the pieces splintering around him as he flew across country from Utah to New York when he was just a teenager.

Most of all, though, Will wants peace of mind–something he’s never had–and he knows the only way to get that is to face his painful past.

For Will, a tour across the States allows him to reconstruct the man he’s known he’s capable of being. He comes face-to-face with his own demons, making choices along the way that threaten some relationships and strengthen others. He meets Shea, a woman that challenges him, and a spark ignites on a blustery, winter night.

Just as Will thinks he’s safe to fall in love again, he’s reminded that his past will always be his past, and no matter how distant, it will follow him wherever he goes. When that past threatens his future, Will’s sleepless nights return, and the woman he has fallen for has to decide where in his life she belongs.

Willpower
 Excerpt

On my way back to the hotel, I see Damon eating alone in a burger joint. “Mind if I join you?”

“Not at all. If you haven’t eaten, you should get the Baby Bella. Oh, my God.”

“That’s what you’re eating?” He nods. A waitress arrives within seconds, and I point to his burger to show her it’s what I want. “And a Coke, please.” I catch myself watching her as she walks away. I can’t deny that she’s attractive. In hopes of getting my mind off her, I glance around at the other patrons. “Is it me, or does this place make you want to grow a full beard and become a mountain man?”

“Definitely.”

“These river trips and shit? We need to come back and do that sometime.”

“When the beards come in,” he says with a mouthful of food.

“Of course.”

“Where’s everyone else?”

“I’m sure Ben’s gettin’ some action from his girl online…”

“That was a given, man.”

“Tavo’s playing pool at this cowboy bar. It has saddles for barstools. I’m not shittin’ you.”

“Pool, huh? Could I make some money?”

“You gonna go hustle? Some scrawny city boy in that place? Mountain men, Will. We just talked about that.”

“They don’t scare me. And whatever, I’m not scrawny.” I puff out my chest just to make my point… but I’m not.

“Compared to Wooly Mammoth over there, and his sidekick, Big Bad John?” He nods to two guys in plaid flannel shirts walking down the street as if they’ve just dismounted a couple of bulls. “Pretty sure they had an axe to grind with you before you even walked in just because of your damned Yankees cap.”

“Fuck you and fuck your Mets.” He laughs at me as the waitress sets down a soda for me.

“You’re not scrawny,” she says softly to me, poking her head in between us.

“See? Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She flutters her lashes at me, smiling.

Damon’s staring at me when my eyes meet his. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why were you looking at her like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you wanted to mount her and grind your axe into her…”

“Oh, shut the fuck up. I was not.” He raises his brows. “Jesus Christ, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the hormones don’t just stop flowing when you meet a woman you like.”

“A hundred bucks says she gives you her number… and you’ve got your own room here for one more night. This has ethical dilemma written all over it.”

“It does not! And I’m not taking that bet. I’m saving my money.”

He chuckles. “You know she’s giving you her digits.”

“Probably…” I can’t help it if I know the signs. “I’m not gonna keep them… or call her. Why don’t you ask her out?”

“Not my type. She has no meat on her bones whatsoever. I have to have something to hold on to.”

“You’re saying if she came on to you, you’d turn her down?” I ask him point blank.

He thinks for just a split second. “No.”

“Dipshit. Hey, you didn’t mention Peron… what’s he up to?”

“He was in the fitness center.”

“No, I said Peron.” He nods. “Peron’s working out?”

“Treadmill.”

“I might have a running buddy?” I ask, over-dramatically.

“You might…”

“Here’s your burger.” Our waitress takes a seat on the empty stool next to Damon.

“You’re Damon Littlefield, aren’t you?”

I grin as I take a bite of my food, now wishing I’d taken the bet. It would have been a quicker and easier way to make money than a round of pool. Nah, I like a little bit of a challenge.

“I hear you like to have a little fun,” she flirts.

“Yeah,” he admits to her.

“Into three-ways?”

He clears his throat before answering. “My favorite of all the ways.”

“So stupid,” I whisper under my breath, earning an elbow in my side.

“What about him?” she asks, nodding at me. I shake my head politely.

“Not Will’s favorite thing…”

“But… would he?”

“I think he might want to know who the third party was.”

“No,” I say, trying to be polite.

“Oh, it’d be you,” she says to Damon.

“Wait, what?” he asks.

She has my attention, too. “Sorry?” I’m biting my lip, stifling a laugh if she’s suggesting what I think she’s suggesting.

“I wanted to see if you two wanted to have a three-way with me.”

“Oh, God, no,” Damon says even before the laughter escapes my lips. “No, see… it’s not like that with us. No. We’ve known each other for too long.”

“Eight years. And neither of us are, uh… curious at all, in that aspect. Sorry. I’ve already seen more of Damon than I ever want to.”

“You wouldn’t have to do anything with each other… just, you know… watch… and maybe touch.”

“Oh, we know…” I say. We’ve seen porn, thank you very much. “I have to pass. Damon, you’re a handsome guy, but, uh…”

“You’re an ugly son-of-a-bitch,” he tells me. “Fuck that.”

We both start laughing as our waitress gets up, clearly embarrassed. “Look, I’m flattered,” I tell her. “We–we–are flattered. It’s just not something we’re into.”

She nods, smiles, and returns to us. “Well, I get off at nine, if either one of you are interested in a little solo action…”

“I’ll be here at five after,” Damon says quickly. “And if you have a girl friend you want to bring…”

“For him?” she asks, nodding to me.

“For him, or for us…” he says.

I glare at him, then start shaking my head vehemently. “Not for me. That’s all you guys. Or maybe Tavo. Or Peron. Or anyone other than me.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she says. “I’m Ralli, by the way.”

“Cute name,” Damon says. “Suits you.”

“I might need one of these alcoholic shakes to get this image out of my head,” I joke with him.

“Might I suggest the Mudslide?” he asks. “Dark chocolate oozing with sweet, vanilla custard.”

“Awww, fuck,” I say, throwing down my burger on my plate. “You’re the absolute worst.” He can’t stop laughing, and eventually I join in with him, now thinking about how ludicrous her invitation was. When I can talk, I finally pose a question to him. “Do we look like we swing both ways?”

“Compared to…” He gestures to the abundance of mountain men around us.

“Yeah, we’re not coming back until we get the facial hair thing figured out.”

“You better start now.”

“Mine grows fast!” I argue, feeling the stubble on my chin.

“Your mustache takes awhile, though. The beard’s good, but there’s something weird about part of your upper lip.”

“It’s a scar, you idiot. It’s never gonna grow right.” I drag my finger over the line on my lip that I can barely even feel anymore.

“I guess we can’t come back.”

“I don’t think mountain men will take points off for a scar. Girls even like it. You just have to be perfectly coiffed. Can’t have a single imperfection… spend more on beauty products than any woman I know.”

“But feel my skin.” He picks up my hand.

“No!” I pull my hand back into my body, chuckling again. “We do look like we swing both ways. It’s your fault, too.”

He puts his arm across my shoulders and plants a kiss on my cheek.

“We’re so getting beat up as soon as we walk out of this place…” I mutter.

“We’re both too pretty.”

“I’m not shaving anymore,” I vow. “So, Ralli, huh?” I ask him, starting to eat again.

Teaser

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SBJ2016Favorite

5Star+

Robin’s Review

If you are familiar with my reviews, then you might already be aware of how much I adore author Lori Otto’s work.  She has a gift for developing characters that are both gifted and flawed. Characters who need to experience life before they can fulfill their potential.  Characters who need to fail before they can succeed.  It sounds a bit like real life to me, and that’s just it.  Although Otto writes contemporary fiction, the success and failures her characters experience lends them credibility, making her stories feel realistic. Will Rosser is perhaps my favorite of Otto’s characters to date.  He comes from humble beginnings, this lovable, brilliant man, but Will has character flaws that he must overcome to truly shine.

At the age of 24, Will Rosser is the picture of success. He’s the youngest person to ever graduate from NYU with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics. While he has a successful career as an astrophysicist, Will also writes song lyrics and plays guitar for the Damon Littlefield band. His mind NEVER stops – relentlessly working on equations, calculations, theorems and solving problems – which means he has trouble sleeping. When he does sleep, he wakes up feeling drained. Will had his heart broken at the age of 16, so he’s not interested in a relationship, but sex seems to quiet his mind. The only other way he finds rest is through music, so Will decides to take a break from his career to go on tour with the band.

On a cold, snowy night, Will meets Shea. Will quickly understands Shea is different from all of the women who have come before. She’s not a band groupie. In fact, she doesn’t even recognize him, which means she’s not out to impress Will because of who he is. And Shea is just what he needs. Someone to talk to. Somebody who will listen. A person to laugh with. Someone who makes Will long for something he doesn’t have. A woman who will make Will reconsider his thoughts about love. I just love the dynamic between these two characters. The honesty. The trust, where maybe there shouldn’t be. After all, Will is a guitarist for a popular rock bank, and he’s not known for his stellar reputation with women.

Will is one of the more interesting contemporary characters that I have ever read about. He’s incredibly intelligent, a science and math prodigy, but Will struggles with a mind that doesn’t have an off switch. He has good values and a big heart, but Will struggles with several issues, and what I love about this book is that we see him gain perspective about his shortcomings. Will’s story is about self-discovery, absolving himself from guilt and gaining closure in several areas of his life.

Although Love Will can be read as a standalone novel, it is also a spinoff novel of the Love Like We Do duology. Lori Otto has also written a prequel novella to Love Will that’s titled Crossroads, where readers are able to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that carved Will into such an interesting, complex character. Having read both the duology and the prequel novella, I found it extremely satisfying to read Love Will because of Will’s development as a character. I should also mention that one of the greatest features of Love Will is the song lyrics – songs Will has written for the band. These lyrics fit in well with the plot and add another enjoyable element to the story.

If you are new to Lori Otto’s writing, Love Will is an excellent choice to introduce yourself to her work.  Otto gives readers a nice recap of Will’s background early in the story, so don’t fret too much if you haven’t read Crossroads. Please be aware Love Will is different than anything Lori Otto has ever written. It falls strictly in the new adult category. There is more sex and offensive language than her fans have come to expect, but her brilliance at writing unique characters and an entertaining story are a strong as ever. In my opinion, Love Will is one of the best books written by Lori Otto to date, and I am pleased to give this novel a 5-star rating and add it to my list of 2016 favorites!

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24820644

Crossroads

A Post Choisie Series Novella

By Lori L. Otto

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Synopsis

Will Rosser is smart.
Will Rosser is creative.
Will Rosser is driven.

Will Rosser is no Jon Scott.

This novella is a tie-in to the Choisie series. CROSSROADS takes place the summer after Livvy’s first year of College. This should be read after completing the Choisie series.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

__________________________________________________

Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Cover

Early Release: Love Will by Lori L. Otto

Love Will
 
By Lori L. Otto
085d5-goodreads
Synopsis:

The brilliant mind of 24-year-old Will Rosser never rests. Literally. Scientifically-inclined and musically-gifted, he thinks in equations, hears songs in colors, dreams in geometric shapes and is forever trying to solve the world’s unsolvable problems. Whether he’s trying to escape his unpleasant childhood or forget the mistakes he perpetuates with women he barely knows, he rarely finds a moment’s peace.

When his best friend, Damon, invites him to go on tour as his lead guitarist, Will decides it’s a chance to get away from his bad habits in New York and to make some changes in his life. He’ll have to walk away from a career few people are suited for, but he knows in his heart he’ll return to his work as an astrophysicist once he gets his life on track.

There are parents to forgive or forget, and for Will, they’re decisions he won’t take lightly. He strives to make his siblings proud; to no longer have them make excuses for him. He has to consider his personal life. The only time he ever allowed himself to love a girl, she broke his heart, the pieces splintering around him as he flew across country from Utah to New York when he was just a teenager.

Most of all, though, Will wants peace of mind–something he’s never had–and he knows the only way to get that is to face his painful past.

For Will, a tour across the States allows him to reconstruct the man he’s known he’s capable of being. He comes face-to-face with his own demons, making choices along the way that threaten some relationships and strengthen others. He meets Shea, a woman that challenges him, and a spark ignites on a blustery, winter night.

Just as Will thinks he’s safe to fall in love again, he’s reminded that his past will always be his past, and no matter how distant, it will follow him wherever he goes. When that past threatens his future, Will’s sleepless nights return, and the woman he has fallen for has to decide where in his life she belongs.

Willpower
 Excerpt

On my way back to the hotel, I see Damon eating alone in a burger joint. “Mind if I join you?”

“Not at all. If you haven’t eaten, you should get the Baby Bella. Oh, my God.”

“That’s what you’re eating?” He nods. A waitress arrives within seconds, and I point to his burger to show her it’s what I want. “And a Coke, please.” I catch myself watching her as she walks away. I can’t deny that she’s attractive. In hopes of getting my mind off her, I glance around at the other patrons. “Is it me, or does this place make you want to grow a full beard and become a mountain man?”

“Definitely.”

“These river trips and shit? We need to come back and do that sometime.”

“When the beards come in,” he says with a mouthful of food.

“Of course.”

“Where’s everyone else?”

“I’m sure Ben’s gettin’ some action from his girl online…”

“That was a given, man.”

“Tavo’s playing pool at this cowboy bar. It has saddles for barstools. I’m not shittin’ you.”

“Pool, huh? Could I make some money?”

“You gonna go hustle? Some scrawny city boy in that place? Mountain men, Will. We just talked about that.”

“They don’t scare me. And whatever, I’m not scrawny.” I puff out my chest just to make my point… but I’m not.

“Compared to Wooly Mammoth over there, and his sidekick, Big Bad John?” He nods to two guys in plaid flannel shirts walking down the street as if they’ve just dismounted a couple of bulls. “Pretty sure they had an axe to grind with you before you even walked in just because of your damned Yankees cap.”

“Fuck you and fuck your Mets.” He laughs at me as the waitress sets down a soda for me.

“You’re not scrawny,” she says softly to me, poking her head in between us.

“See? Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She flutters her lashes at me, smiling.

Damon’s staring at me when my eyes meet his. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why were you looking at her like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you wanted to mount her and grind your axe into her…”

“Oh, shut the fuck up. I was not.” He raises his brows. “Jesus Christ, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the hormones don’t just stop flowing when you meet a woman you like.”

“A hundred bucks says she gives you her number… and you’ve got your own room here for one more night. This has ethical dilemma written all over it.”

“It does not! And I’m not taking that bet. I’m saving my money.”

He chuckles. “You know she’s giving you her digits.”

“Probably…” I can’t help it if I know the signs. “I’m not gonna keep them… or call her. Why don’t you ask her out?”

“Not my type. She has no meat on her bones whatsoever. I have to have something to hold on to.”

“You’re saying if she came on to you, you’d turn her down?” I ask him point blank.

He thinks for just a split second. “No.”

“Dipshit. Hey, you didn’t mention Peron… what’s he up to?”

“He was in the fitness center.”

“No, I said Peron.” He nods. “Peron’s working out?”

“Treadmill.”

“I might have a running buddy?” I ask, over-dramatically.

“You might…”

“Here’s your burger.” Our waitress takes a seat on the empty stool next to Damon.

“You’re Damon Littlefield, aren’t you?”

I grin as I take a bite of my food, now wishing I’d taken the bet. It would have been a quicker and easier way to make money than a round of pool. Nah, I like a little bit of a challenge.

“I hear you like to have a little fun,” she flirts.

“Yeah,” he admits to her.

“Into three-ways?”

He clears his throat before answering. “My favorite of all the ways.”

“So stupid,” I whisper under my breath, earning an elbow in my side.

“What about him?” she asks, nodding at me. I shake my head politely.

“Not Will’s favorite thing…”

“But… would he?”

“I think he might want to know who the third party was.”

“No,” I say, trying to be polite.

“Oh, it’d be you,” she says to Damon.

“Wait, what?” he asks.

She has my attention, too. “Sorry?” I’m biting my lip, stifling a laugh if she’s suggesting what I think she’s suggesting.

“I wanted to see if you two wanted to have a three-way with me.”

“Oh, God, no,” Damon says even before the laughter escapes my lips. “No, see… it’s not like that with us. No. We’ve known each other for too long.”

“Eight years. And neither of us are, uh… curious at all, in that aspect. Sorry. I’ve already seen more of Damon than I ever want to.”

“You wouldn’t have to do anything with each other… just, you know… watch… and maybe touch.”

“Oh, we know…” I say. We’ve seen porn, thank you very much. “I have to pass. Damon, you’re a handsome guy, but, uh…”

“You’re an ugly son-of-a-bitch,” he tells me. “Fuck that.”

We both start laughing as our waitress gets up, clearly embarrassed. “Look, I’m flattered,” I tell her. “We–we–are flattered. It’s just not something we’re into.”

She nods, smiles, and returns to us. “Well, I get off at nine, if either one of you are interested in a little solo action…”

“I’ll be here at five after,” Damon says quickly. “And if you have a girl friend you want to bring…”

“For him?” she asks, nodding to me.

“For him, or for us…” he says.

I glare at him, then start shaking my head vehemently. “Not for me. That’s all you guys. Or maybe Tavo. Or Peron. Or anyone other than me.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she says. “I’m Ralli, by the way.”

“Cute name,” Damon says. “Suits you.”

“I might need one of these alcoholic shakes to get this image out of my head,” I joke with him.

“Might I suggest the Mudslide?” he asks. “Dark chocolate oozing with sweet, vanilla custard.”

“Awww, fuck,” I say, throwing down my burger on my plate. “You’re the absolute worst.” He can’t stop laughing, and eventually I join in with him, now thinking about how ludicrous her invitation was. When I can talk, I finally pose a question to him. “Do we look like we swing both ways?”

“Compared to…” He gestures to the abundance of mountain men around us.

“Yeah, we’re not coming back until we get the facial hair thing figured out.”

“You better start now.”

“Mine grows fast!” I argue, feeling the stubble on my chin.

“Your mustache takes awhile, though. The beard’s good, but there’s something weird about part of your upper lip.”

“It’s a scar, you idiot. It’s never gonna grow right.” I drag my finger over the line on my lip that I can barely even feel anymore.

“I guess we can’t come back.”

“I don’t think mountain men will take points off for a scar. Girls even like it. You just have to be perfectly coiffed. Can’t have a single imperfection… spend more on beauty products than any woman I know.”

“But feel my skin.” He picks up my hand.

“No!” I pull my hand back into my body, chuckling again. “We do look like we swing both ways. It’s your fault, too.”

He puts his arm across my shoulders and plants a kiss on my cheek.

“We’re so getting beat up as soon as we walk out of this place…” I mutter.

“We’re both too pretty.”

“I’m not shaving anymore,” I vow. “So, Ralli, huh?” I ask him, starting to eat again.

Teaser

___________________________________________________

24820644

Crossroads

A Post Choisie Series Novella

By Lori L. Otto

d8082-add-to-goodreads-button3

Synopsis

Will Rosser is smart.
Will Rosser is creative.
Will Rosser is driven.

Will Rosser is no Jon Scott.

This novella is a tie-in to the Choisie series. CROSSROADS takes place the summer after Livvy’s first year of College. This should be read after completing the Choisie series.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

__________________________________________________

Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Cover

Cover Reveal: Love Will by Lori L. Otto

Love Will
By Lori L. Otto
Release Date: Late April 2016
085d5-goodreads
Synopsis:

The brilliant mind of 24-year-old Will Rosser never rests. Literally. Scientifically-inclined and musically-gifted, he thinks in equations, hears songs in colors, dreams in geometric shapes and is forever trying to solve the world’s unsolvable problems. Whether he’s trying to escape his unpleasant childhood or forget the mistakes he perpetuates with women he barely knows, he rarely finds a moment’s peace.

When his best friend, Damon, invites him to go on tour as his lead guitarist, Will decides it’s a chance to get away from his bad habits in New York and to make some changes in his life. He’ll have to walk away from a career few people are suited for, but he knows in his heart he’ll return to his work as an astrophysicist once he gets his life on track.

There are parents to forgive or forget, and for Will, they’re decisions he won’t take lightly. He strives to make his siblings proud; to no longer have them make excuses for him. He has to consider his personal life. The only time he ever allowed himself to love a girl, she broke his heart, the pieces splintering around him as he flew across country from Utah to New York when he was just a teenager.

Most of all, though, Will wants peace of mind–something he’s never had–and he knows the only way to get that is to face his painful past.

For Will, a tour across the States allows him to reconstruct the man he’s known he’s capable of being. He comes face-to-face with his own demons, making choices along the way that threaten some relationships and strengthen others. He meets Shea, a woman that challenges him, and a spark ignites on a blustery, winter night.

Just as Will thinks he’s safe to fall in love again, he’s reminded that his past will always be his past, and no matter how distant, it will follow him wherever he goes. When that past threatens his future, Will’s sleepless nights return, and the woman he has fallen for has to decide where in his life she belongs.

 Excerpt

On my way back to the hotel, I see Damon eating alone in a burger joint. “Mind if I join you?”

“Not at all. If you haven’t eaten, you should get the Baby Bella. Oh, my God.”

“That’s what you’re eating?” He nods. A waitress arrives within seconds, and I point to his burger to show her it’s what I want. “And a Coke, please.” I catch myself watching her as she walks away. I can’t deny that she’s attractive. In hopes of getting my mind off her, I glance around at the other patrons. “Is it me, or does this place make you want to grow a full beard and become a mountain man?”

“Definitely.”

“These river trips and shit? We need to come back and do that sometime.”

“When the beards come in,” he says with a mouthful of food.

“Of course.”

“Where’s everyone else?”

“I’m sure Ben’s gettin’ some action from his girl online…”

“That was a given, man.”

“Tavo’s playing pool at this cowboy bar. It has saddles for barstools. I’m not shittin’ you.”

“Pool, huh? Could I make some money?”

“You gonna go hustle? Some scrawny city boy in that place? Mountain men, Will. We just talked about that.”

“They don’t scare me. And whatever, I’m not scrawny.” I puff out my chest just to make my point… but I’m not.

“Compared to Wooly Mammoth over there, and his sidekick, Big Bad John?” He nods to two guys in plaid flannel shirts walking down the street as if they’ve just dismounted a couple of bulls. “Pretty sure they had an axe to grind with you before you even walked in just because of your damned Yankees cap.”

“Fuck you and fuck your Mets.” He laughs at me as the waitress sets down a soda for me.

“You’re not scrawny,” she says softly to me, poking her head in between us.

“See? Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She flutters her lashes at me, smiling.

Damon’s staring at me when my eyes meet his. “What?”

“Nothing.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why were you looking at her like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you wanted to mount her and grind your axe into her…”

“Oh, shut the fuck up. I was not.” He raises his brows. “Jesus Christ, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the hormones don’t just stop flowing when you meet a woman you like.”

“A hundred bucks says she gives you her number… and you’ve got your own room here for one more night. This has ethical dilemma written all over it.”

“It does not! And I’m not taking that bet. I’m saving my money.”

He chuckles. “You know she’s giving you her digits.”

“Probably…” I can’t help it if I know the signs. “I’m not gonna keep them… or call her. Why don’t you ask her out?”

“Not my type. She has no meat on her bones whatsoever. I have to have something to hold on to.”

“You’re saying if she came on to you, you’d turn her down?” I ask him point blank.

He thinks for just a split second. “No.”

“Dipshit. Hey, you didn’t mention Peron… what’s he up to?”

“He was in the fitness center.”

“No, I said Peron.” He nods. “Peron’s working out?”

“Treadmill.”

“I might have a running buddy?” I ask, over-dramatically.

“You might…”

“Here’s your burger.” Our waitress takes a seat on the empty stool next to Damon.

“You’re Damon Littlefield, aren’t you?”

I grin as I take a bite of my food, now wishing I’d taken the bet. It would have been a quicker and easier way to make money than a round of pool. Nah, I like a little bit of a challenge.

“I hear you like to have a little fun,” she flirts.

“Yeah,” he admits to her.

“Into three-ways?”

He clears his throat before answering. “My favorite of all the ways.”

“So stupid,” I whisper under my breath, earning an elbow in my side.

“What about him?” she asks, nodding at me. I shake my head politely.

“Not Will’s favorite thing…”

“But… would he?”

“I think he might want to know who the third party was.”

“No,” I say, trying to be polite.

“Oh, it’d be you,” she says to Damon.

“Wait, what?” he asks.

She has my attention, too. “Sorry?” I’m biting my lip, stifling a laugh if she’s suggesting what I think she’s suggesting.

“I wanted to see if you two wanted to have a three-way with me.”

“Oh, God, no,” Damon says even before the laughter escapes my lips. “No, see… it’s not like that with us. No. We’ve known each other for too long.”

“Eight years. And neither of us are, uh… curious at all, in that aspect. Sorry. I’ve already seen more of Damon than I ever want to.”

“You wouldn’t have to do anything with each other… just, you know… watch… and maybe touch.”

“Oh, we know…” I say. We’ve seen porn, thank you very much. “I have to pass. Damon, you’re a handsome guy, but, uh…”

“You’re an ugly son-of-a-bitch,” he tells me. “Fuck that.”

We both start laughing as our waitress gets up, clearly embarrassed. “Look, I’m flattered,” I tell her. “We–we–are flattered. It’s just not something we’re into.”

She nods, smiles, and returns to us. “Well, I get off at nine, if either one of you are interested in a little solo action…”

“I’ll be here at five after,” Damon says quickly. “And if you have a girl friend you want to bring…”

“For him?” she asks, nodding to me.

“For him, or for us…” he says.

I glare at him, then start shaking my head vehemently. “Not for me. That’s all you guys. Or maybe Tavo. Or Peron. Or anyone other than me.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” she says. “I’m Ralli, by the way.”

“Cute name,” Damon says. “Suits you.”

“I might need one of these alcoholic shakes to get this image out of my head,” I joke with him.

“Might I suggest the Mudslide?” he asks. “Dark chocolate oozing with sweet, vanilla custard.”

“Awww, fuck,” I say, throwing down my burger on my plate. “You’re the absolute worst.” He can’t stop laughing, and eventually I join in with him, now thinking about how ludicrous her invitation was. When I can talk, I finally pose a question to him. “Do we look like we swing both ways?”

“Compared to…” He gestures to the abundance of mountain men around us.

“Yeah, we’re not coming back until we get the facial hair thing figured out.”

“You better start now.”

“Mine grows fast!” I argue, feeling the stubble on my chin.

“Your mustache takes awhile, though. The beard’s good, but there’s something weird about part of your upper lip.”

“It’s a scar, you idiot. It’s never gonna grow right.” I drag my finger over the line on my lip that I can barely even feel anymore.

“I guess we can’t come back.”

“I don’t think mountain men will take points off for a scar. Girls even like it. You just have to be perfectly coiffed. Can’t have a single imperfection… spend more on beauty products than any woman I know.”

“But feel my skin.” He picks up my hand.

“No!” I pull my hand back into my body, chuckling again. “We do look like we swing both ways. It’s your fault, too.”

He puts his arm across my shoulders and plants a kiss on my cheek.

“We’re so getting beat up as soon as we walk out of this place…” I mutter.

“We’re both too pretty.”

“I’m not shaving anymore,” I vow. “So, Ralli, huh?” I ask him, starting to eat again.

Teaser

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Crossroads

A Post Choisie Series Novella

By Lori L. Otto

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Synopsis

Will Rosser is smart.
Will Rosser is creative.
Will Rosser is driven.

Will Rosser is no Jon Scott.

This novella is a tie-in to the Choisie series. CROSSROADS takes place the summer after Livvy’s first year of College. This should be read after completing the Choisie series.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

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Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Cover

Cover Reveal: Love Like We Do by Lori L. Otto

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COVER REVEAL

Title: Love Like We Do – Side A

Author: Lori L. Otto

Cover reveal date: July 21, 2015

Release date: not set yet.

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Cover designed by DCPdesigns

BLURB

The odds were stacked against Max Rosser when he was born sixteen years ago. A month before his birth, his father was put in jail for breaking parole, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. His single mother was an alcoholic, struggling to keep her job and her home. Already, she could barely take care of eight-year-old Will and twelve-year-old Jon.

Max’s older brothers hid their mother’s disease from him as best as they could, and they made sure Max had everything he needed to be a normal, well-adjusted kid, despite the fact that they lived at or below the poverty line for much of his childhood. When his oldest brother became engaged to Livvy Holland, the daughter of the richest man in the state, Max befriended her little brother, Trey, and the two remained best friends even though their home lives couldn’t be more different.

Through Trey, Max made more friends, including star athlete Callen McNare. Over the years, the boys played team sports, went on group dates, and worked summer jobs together. They became close; closer than anyone would have guessed. Before a real relationship could even begin, Max and Callen were forced apart when their secret was discovered.

In LOVE LIKE WE DO – SIDE A, family and friends reevaluate their associations with the boys. Callen’s parents are in denial. Trey feels betrayed by his two closest buddies and wonders how their friendship will change. Jon struggles to keep his family together, despite his mother’s devout beliefs and his brother Will’s immoral ways. Interactions with the people around them could bring enlightenment and understanding, or they could keep Max and Callen apart while doing irreparable damage to their families.

* This is Trey and Jon’s side of the story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

loriotto

After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

5 Star Review : Crossroads by Lori L. Otto – A Post Choisie Novella

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Crossroads

A Post Choisie Series Novella

By Lori L. Otto

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Synopsis

Will Rosser is smart.
Will Rosser is creative.
Will Rosser is driven.

Will Rosser is no Jon Scott.

This novella is a tie-in to the Choisie series. CROSSROADS takes place the summer after Livvy’s first year of College. This should be read after completing the Choisie series.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

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5Star

Robin’s Review

*** If you have not read the Choisie series, this review may contain mild spoilers.

Lori Otto recently set a goal for herself. She wanted to write and publish a short story about Will Rosser in just two weeks. It’s a goal she not only met, but even surpassed! Crossroads is a 22,000-word post-Choisie series novella about the older of Jon Scott’s two half-brothers. Many of the characters you already know and love from the Choisie series star in this mature young adult novella because it ties in with the series.

For those who have not already read Lori Otto’s Choisie series, I’ll share some background information about Will and his family. Will has an older half-brother named Jon Scott and a younger brother named Max. Their single mother is an alcoholic. Because the three brothers don’t have a father figure in their life, Jon took on the role as man of the house. Jon has made an effort to be available for his brothers over the years and, more recently, in between college classes and his internship. Jon attended baseball games and provided advice for his siblings. He encouraged them to watch over their mother and to study hard so they will be successful in life. As Jon grew older, he groomed Will to take over his role as the man of the house.

After their mother was arrested, she was forced to face her alcoholism. She moved their family from Manhattan to Utah so they could all be together while she was able to get the help she needed. Will lived in Utah for a year and a half, including his entire sophomore year of high school. At the end of the school year, Will had to leave his best friend and his first love behind to move back to Manhattan with his family.

In Crossroads, we learn that Will has planned a weekend trip to Utah over the summer break to visit his girlfriend, Laila and his best friend, Landry. It’s a trip he has planned so that he can say goodbye to Laila. Will is at a crossroads in his life. He is very much in love with Laila, but he knows he needs to say goodbye. Will and Laila both understand this visit will be the end of their relationship, and, although Will doesn’t realize it, his life will be changed in more ways than one.

Although Will’s character does play more of a role in Dear Jon, he really doesn’t get a lot of page time in the rest of the Choisie series. What I enjoyed the most about Crossroads is getting to know Will as a character and seeing his character develop throughout the novella. Crossroads is not a long story, but readers will definitely see him experience some changes in his life. Like his brother Jon, I just fell in love with his character. Will is smart. He loves physics. He has an extreme passion for music. Not only does he love music, but we are able to see the beginnings of something special. Will just might be a musical prodigy.

I don’t think it is absolutely necessary for someone to have read the Choisie series before reading this novella. If you have not read any novels by Lori Otto, Crossroads might be a great introduction to her writing. I found Crossroads intriguing, and I absolutely want to read more about Will Rosser! In my opinion, Crossroads is a solid 5-star novella!

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Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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Happy Release + Review: Livvy by Lori L. Otto- Choicie Series- Book 4

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Livvy

The Choisie Series – Book 4

By Lori L. Otto

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Synopsis

In her first year of college at Yale, challenging courses and new friends provide a much-needed distraction for Livvy Holland. Beyond the tears–for the most part– she won’t allow the lingering anger she harbors toward her ex-boyfriend to consume her.

Even after taking steps to conceal her identity, Livvy is still very recognizable and popular among her new classmates. She takes advantage of her situation and accepts dates with multiple guys, trying to piece together an image of ‘her type of guy’ that differs from all the good qualities Jon Scott once possessed.

An unexpected letter arrives on Livvy’s 18th birthday, shifting her focus and forcing her to reevaluate all the relationships in her life. She now knows the identity of her biological father, and struggles to make sense of the news alone. Fortunately, she won’t have to.

Just as Livvy’s life begins to normalize, one of her professors provides her with the creative opportunity of a lifetime. Trusting in the bonds she’s made with everyone she loves, she believes she can have everything she wants and makes the decision that allows her to be true to herself.

She was chosen for a reason. Chosen to be a gifted artist that–with a few strokes of a paintbrush–could touch people emotionally; profoundly. Chosen by her parents so they had a place to share their boundless love and devotion. Chosen by her friend so he could return the encouragement, inspiration and affection she’d shown him for so many years.

Livvy Holland will never again take her position in life for granted. She wears the name with humility and respect. She is Choisie.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

6 star

Robin’s Review

Gratifying. Satisfying. I don’t think I could have dreamed of a better ending for Livvy Holland’s story. Livvy is like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. It was perfect in all aspects. And when I sit back and think about it, I realize the entire series was crafted to perfection by author Lori Otto.

The Choisie series is unusual in that it begins with the young adult novel, Contessa, transitions to mature young adult with Olivia and Dear Jon, and then leaps into the new adult genre with Livvy. It’s a spinoff of the Emi Lost & Found series – a coming of age story about Olivia Sophia Holland, the adopted daughter of Jackson Holland and his wife, Emi. Although family relationships are important to this story, the Choisie series is truly about Livvy growing up and falling in love.

Throughout the Choisie series, Livvy experiences ups and downs in her relationship with her parents, especially with her father. Livvy is bright, artistic, and a dreamer. Her father wants to hold on to his little princess. His Contessa. Livvy is extremely willful. She wants to spread her wings, think for herself, and be more independent. Jacks is a protective father. He wants some semblance of control over her decisions. But at the age of sixteen, Livvy is falling deeply in love with Jon Scott. She wants to make adult decisions. She wants to be in an adult relationship with Jon. Do you remember what it felt like to fall in love?

I have remained steadfast in my support of the Choisie series because I absolutely adore Lori Otto’s writing. But it’s more than her impeccable writing style. It’s her gift of developing believable characters and capturing the interest of readers who become fully invested in the story. It’s her ability to write beautiful and fulfilling endings for her characters. Characters are fully developed over the course of the series. Relationships are mended. Differences are resolved. Hopes are fulfilled, but you should expect to be surprised. Does Livvy get her happily ever after with Jon? I’m not going to spoil it. Experience Livvy for yourself. Discover why this novel and series are counted among my all-time favorites! Congratulations to author Lori Otto on this superb 6-star novel!Ha

The Choisie Series

Contessa – Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Olivia – Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Dear Jon – Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Livvy – Coming Dec 9, 2014 – Amazon | iTunes

Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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ARC Review: Dear Jon by Lori L. Otto- Choisie Series- Book 3

Dear Jon

Dear Jon

Choisie Series- Book 3

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By Lori L. Otto

Synopsis

A summer with his family in Utah is all Jon Scott needs to pull himself together. It’s time to focus on his mom’s sobriety and the continuing education of his two younger brothers, Will and Max. For once, things seem to be on track with that part of his life. For the first time, he sees real hope for his family.

This family time is a much-needed distraction from the relationship he walked away from in Manhattan. Livvy Holland, the girl he’s loved since they were children, has let him down for the last time. He doesn’t want to waste his time dwelling on the fight they had, or the shocking incident that happened the next day, after her graduation. It’s something he’ll never forget, or forgive.

Things never go as Jon plans, though. Despite her actions and a distance of two thousand miles, Livvy has every intention of keeping Jon’s attention throughout the summer with a series of 30 letters: three a week for every week he’s gone. He doesn’t have to read them; there are times when he simply doesn’t want to. He has plenty of things keeping him busy: a job that requires long hours, family friends that come over for parties, brothers that ask too many questions, and a girl that’s very unlike anyone Jon’s dated before.

But there’s something about Livvy Holland that keeps drawing him back to her. Reading the letters will either break the ties, or eventually reunite them. His brain wants one thing; his heart wants another.

By the end of the summer, Jon will return to Manhattan. He’s come to terms with his past. He has a bright future. Back at Columbia, though, he must accept choices Livvy has made without him that will change his present plans.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / ITunes

The Choisie Series

Contessa – Book 1

 

ContessaBook one of the YA/New Adult Choisie series by the author of Emi Lost & Found! 

When she was four, a generous couple welcomed orphan Olivia Sophia into their lives. As she grew up, her parents made good decisions for her, raising “Livvy” to be an intelligent and creative young girl. Now sixteen, three people influence many of her choices: her first love, her second father, and a third man who speaks to her through his artwork. 

Livvy’s father is practical and steadfast; even-tempered and quietly observant. She’s an artist who acts on her emotions and thrives on attention. Unhappy with their differences– and misunderstanding her father’s methods– Livvy chooses to focus on the similarities she shares with an enigmatic painter from her mother’s past. Her overactive imagination leads her down an obsessive path– one that only stands to hurt everyone around her. 

The distraction of a new boyfriend has the potential to end her search and reunite her family, but his involvement in her life could be just as devastating, taking Livvy away from her father for good. 

Mature YA for limited sensual content.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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When devastating news brings an abrupt end to a romantic rendezvous, Livvy Holland struggles to accept the death of one of her closest mentors. Livvy’s artwork has always been an expression of her emotions, and avoiding the pain she feels from her recent loss makes painting seem impossible. Her inspiration gone, she devotes her attention to the future she’s planning with Jon Scott. 

Blissfully happy in her own denial, all of Livvy’s free time has been given to the boy she’s always loved. Facing grown up decisions, she finds it hard to live up to her parents’ expectations of her as a daughter and an artist. Under her father’s constant scrutiny and persistent surveillance from curious paparazzi, Livvy finds it difficult to maintain the adult relationship she’s begun with Jon. 

The changes in Livvy are evident to those closest to her, and a few that were once her allies begin to interfere with her personal life. This newfound attention – along with distractions that take Jon’s attention elsewhere – cause Livvy to question all the choices she’s made: what college she’ll attend, what man she should be with, and what she thought was her life’s purpose. 

Livvy faces her greatest challenge when Jon’s unanticipated plans derail her own. Overwhelmed, confused, and longing to satisfy her own wants and needs, Livvy must endure more heartache before finding herself. 

This book is intended for mature teens and adults.

Buy: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

6 Star Read

Robin’s Review

“****If you have not read Olivia or the synopsis for Dear Jon, this review will contain spoilers.****

“While Olivia was in the process of being written and published, I was intrigued to discover Lori Otto had plans to add an additional novel to her Choisie series titled Dear Jon. After reading Olivia – after reading Jon Scott had walked away from his relationship with Olivia Holland – I was immediately eager beyond words to read the coming novel to be written from Jon’s point of view. Two short months later, I am eager to share with readers that Dear Jon was absolutely worth the wait! I am overjoyed by these emotions, thoughts and feelings dancing around in my head! I hope I am able to write a review which will properly convey my thoughts and feelings, a review that is worthy of Dear Jon.

Before discussing the content of this novel, I should mention Dear Jon has a different format from previous novels written by Lori Otto. It consists of a prologue and thirty-one chapters, with each chapter representing a letter written to Jon by Livvy Holland. Each letter begins with the same four words. Each letter ends with the same three-word sentence. And each of the thirty-one letters has its own theme. We are able to enjoy the experience of Jon reading Olivia’s letters, and we know his thoughts, feelings and emotions as he reads each of them! With respect to time, the events of Dear Jon take place over the summer months following Olivia’s high school graduation. Jon spends the summer in Utah with his Aunt Patty, mother and two brothers, Will and Max. While enjoying some quality family time, Jon also gets a much needed break from his relationship with Olivia. But he has plenty of time to reflect on the content of the letters being mailed from Manhattan.

The outpouring of love and emotion Livvy has written in each letter to Jon breaks my heart, while also filling me full of hope. In each letter, Livvy reflects on moments of importance shared between the two them – decisions about their relationship, struggles dealing with family, moments full of love and happiness, and even the low points of their relationship. She shares her private thoughts and feelings with Jon about each of these past experiences, and how they relate to what she is presently feeling. Livvy takes an honest look at her life. She opens up about her own faults, how she wants to change, how she is changing. With each letter, Jon is able to notice a palpable change in Olivia. She is maturing and becoming more selfless. She understands how her actions have affected those that she loves. She continues to mature as an individual, while her doubt about any reconciliation with Jon continues to grow. This made me feel so sad, but in the overall process, Olivia Holland does grow up. She takes responsibility for her actions, becomes more confident in her individuality, and accepts that she may have to move on from her hope for a future with Jon.

For the most part, I was delighted for Jon throughout this novel. Spending the summer in Utah was the very best decision he could have made for himself. He recognizes that he needs quality time with both brothers. Long ago, Jon accepted the responsibility as a role model and father figure to them both. He knows he will not be around for them when he returns to Manhattan for his fall semester at Columbia. Jon discusses some very relevant topics with Will, and impresses upon him the importance of being a positive role model for Max. Jon encourages Will to participate in school, sports and social events for his younger brother. He emphasizes the importance of keeping a watchful eye on their mother, a recovering alcoholic, and to encourage her stay focused on her recovery. Jon gains valuable experience with his summer job, as he assists building new homes. Jon also meets Audrey, and she becomes a very important part of his life. Jon Scott is one of the very best characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Although forced to grow up at a very young age, he stays focused on school and goals, hoping to provide a positive future for his brothers and himself.

Dear Jon was everything I had hoped it would be, but it was so much more! Knowing how heartbroken Olivia was after Jon walked away from their relationship, I was thrilled with the opportunity to read each letter she addressed to Jon. I was captivated by his emotions, thoughts and feelings as he read what was spilling from her heart. Jon was such a pleasant surprise! Jon feels so much, and he loves hard. Olivia and Jon fell in love at such a young age, and we all know it is very hard for first love to last. Lori Otto has a special talent for writing stories that feel authentic. I learned early on that you can never know what future to expect for her characters. Her outcomes are not predictable. Olivia and Jon have grown so much as individuals. Their character growth feels realistic. They have each faced hardships, even though they come from completely different backgrounds. My love for Olivia Holland and Jon Scott has grown exponentially since I first read Contessa. I have no idea what the future may hold for this young couple, but I am excited to find out! I am giving a rare 6-star review to Lori Otto for Dear Jon!

Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

Dear Jon

Review: Olivia by Lori L. Otto -Choisie Series- Book 2

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Olivia

Choisie Series- Book 2

By Lori L. Otto

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Synopsis

When devastating news brings an abrupt end to a romantic rendezvous, Livvy Holland struggles to accept the death of one of her closest mentors. Livvy’s artwork has always been an expression of her emotions, and avoiding the pain she feels from her recent loss makes painting seem impossible. Her inspiration gone, she devotes her attention to the future she’s planning with Jon Scott. 

Blissfully happy in her own denial, all of Livvy’s free time has been given to the boy she’s always loved. Facing grown up decisions, she finds it hard to live up to her parents’ expectations of her as a daughter and an artist. Under her father’s constant scrutiny and persistent surveillance from curious paparazzi, Livvy finds it difficult to maintain the adult relationship she’s begun with Jon. 

The changes in Livvy are evident to those closest to her, and a few that were once her allies begin to interfere with her personal life. This newfound attention – along with distractions that take Jon’s attention elsewhere – cause Livvy to question all the choices she’s made: what college she’ll attend, what man she should be with, and what she thought was her life’s purpose. 

Livvy faces her greatest challenge when Jon’s unanticipated plans derail her own. Overwhelmed, confused, and longing to satisfy her own wants and needs, Livvy must endure more heartache before finding herself. 

This book is intended for mature teens and adults.

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5 Star Read

Robin’s Review

Lori Otto is best known for her Emi Lost & Found series – a series about the life of Emi Hennigan, including a prequel and three of the most beloved and heartbreaking novels that I have ever read. If you have not yet read the Emi Lost & Found series, I highly recommend it! Be sure to read Not Today, But Someday, Lost & Found, Time Stands Still and Never Look Back – in that order – before beginning the spin-off Choisie series.

Lori Otto introduces her readers to a charming young lady named Olivia Sophia Holland in the Emi Lost & Found series. The novels of the Choisie series center on the life of Olivia Holland. They are titled Contessa, Olivia and Livvy. I would like to express my appreciation to Lori Otto for the opportunity to review an advanced reader copy of the second novel of her series – Olivia – in exchange for my honest review.

Olivia Holland is a sixteen year-old high school senior at the beginning of Olivia, having skipped a year ahead in high school. We are told that her Granna (Donna) passed away while Olivia was out of the country. Olivia was commissioned to paint a portrait of Donna prior to her death. The portrait was to hang next to the portrait Olivia had already painted of Donna’s son, Nate. Donna was always a positive force for Olivia. She was her teacher and mentor, encouraging Olivia to discover her creativity and to grow as an artist. Olivia knows that she disappointed her Granna because she had not finished her portrait prior to her death. She feels incredible grief and guilt, which results in her loss of direction and incentive to paint. Olivia also does not want to move on to other projects until she has finished Donna’s portrait. She loses sight of many things that are important to her – her artwork, education and the relationship she has with her father and family.

Olivia’s artwork has always defined a part of who she is. Without her art, she becomes absorbed in her relationship with Jon. He becomes the primary focus of her spare time. At the beginning of the novel, Jon is eighteen and beginning his freshman year of college at Columbia. He has his own struggles in Olivia. His mother and brothers are extremely important to him. Jon has accepted a role as a father-figure to his brothers because they have no father in the picture. Jon attends college classes and attempts to maintain his grades, while also hoping to give his brothers some stability at home. Their mother is an alcoholic. When she loses custody of his younger brothers, the boys are eventually placed in the custody of their aunt in Utah.

Olivia and Jon have grown up together. They have a very tangible love for each other, but they are both very young. Jon gave Olivia a promise ring in Contessa – they are both extremely young to be involved in the type of emotional and physical relationship they have found themselves in. At times, Olivia can be bratty and self-destructive, whereas, I felt that Jon had matured quite a bit in this novel. Although Jon obviously loves Olivia, his primary focus is on his family and studies. He is willing to sacrifice his teenage freedom to provide for his brothers. Jon realizes that Olivia is still very self-centered and not mature enough to handle the serious type of relationship that they have. I believe he understands that Olivia needs to experience life and grow as an individual before they can make a serious commitment to each other.

I found the character growth in this novel to be brilliantly written. It makes perfect sense that Jon would be more responsible and self-sacrificing; not only is he older, but he has experienced a harder life. Olivia has always had what she needed. She has wonderful parents, but they have micromanaged her life to protect her from the press, paparazzi and people that would take advantage of their family wealth. It is very obvious that Olivia has some growing up to do. I want to commend Lori Otto for writing the perfect ending to Olivia. I have no doubt that great things are ahead for Jon and Olivia in the final novel in the series, Livvy. Five outstanding stars for Lori Otto’s Olivia!

Choise Series:

Contessa – Book 1

 

ContessaBook one of the YA/New Adult Choisie series by the author of Emi Lost & Found! 

When she was four, a generous couple welcomed orphan Olivia Sophia into their lives. As she grew up, her parents made good decisions for her, raising “Livvy” to be an intelligent and creative young girl. Now sixteen, three people influence many of her choices: her first love, her second father, and a third man who speaks to her through his artwork. 

Livvy’s father is practical and steadfast; even-tempered and quietly observant. She’s an artist who acts on her emotions and thrives on attention. Unhappy with their differences– and misunderstanding her father’s methods– Livvy chooses to focus on the similarities she shares with an enigmatic painter from her mother’s past. Her overactive imagination leads her down an obsessive path– one that only stands to hurt everyone around her. 

The distraction of a new boyfriend has the potential to end her search and reunite her family, but his involvement in her life could be just as devastating, taking Livvy away from her father for good. 

Mature YA for limited sensual content.

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Author Bio:

lori l. ottoAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.

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