Friday, July 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Playing With Fire (Guarded Hearts #1) by Ashley Piscitelli

Welcome to our stop on the Playing With Fire blog tour.  We've got teasers, an interview with Ashley and a giveaway for you - enjoy!

Release Date: July 15, 2013
Author:   Ashley Piscitelli
Title:   Playing With Fire (Guarded Hearts #1)
Genre:   Romance

Madison Stevens has had a shitty life, her mother died at the age of four and her father has always blamed her for it.  She went through the foster system and is now attending college.  Her boyfriend Chris is not willing to share Madison with anyone, not even her friends.

Her first day at college she meets Carter James, who makes her want everything she never thought she could have.  She knows that she should ignore her feelings for Carter, but it's not as easy as it sounds.

As Carter and Madison begin to fall in love, they face many obstacles.  Their biggest one is Chris who is not going to let her go easily.

Playing with Fire will be the first book in a three book series.  It is about the obstacles that stand in your way on the path to love.  It tests the characters strength and commitment to each other on every level from old boyfriends/girlfriends, to insecurities, and throws a little violence and scheming into the mix.

"Chris was like fire.  It was pretty to look at but if you got too close you got burnt, and if it wasn't controlled it would destroy everything in its path.  Doing what I was about to do with Carter was dangerous, but what can I say I never had parents to warn me not to play with fire."


“Listen, I know I was an asshole and I’m sorry. It just drives me crazy that you’re with him, Maddy. I can see that your not happy. Where is that girl I met the first day that had that great smile? You never smile when you’re with him and that’s a damn shame because you have a beautiful smile.”

I saw the blush creeping up her face and, before I knew what I was doing, I went over to her and kissed her. Her lips were just as soft as I imagined they would be. She gasped and I took advantage, slipping my tongue into her mouth. I could tell she wasn’t experienced, but it didn’t matter. This was the best kiss I had ever had in my life. She pulled away suddenly, grabbed her jacket, and ran for the door. I caught up to her. ”Maddy, please stay.”

“Carter, I can’t do this. I’m with someone else!”

“I know you are and I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.” Yes, I do. I’m falling for her.

So Ashley, thank you so much for heading over the Into the Night Reviews and spending some time with us. 

What was your inspiration for Playing With Fire?
Truthfully, I had kept having a dream about these two people. It was actually the scene where Maddy goes to Carter’s house in the middle of the night. After about the fourth night I wrote it down and just kept going with it.

What was the biggest frustration (or biggest achievement) when writing Playing With Fire?
I think the biggest achievement was the fact that I only started this book in April and was done by the end of May. I couldn’t believe how fast it all went and how easily it came once I started. I think the biggest frustration would be when I would think of a scene and then forget it before I ever got to write it down. One time I was in the shower and thought up a really great one liner, by the time I got out and went to write it down it was gone.

We hear stories about authors having to have certain things to be able to write effectively – what are your “must have’s” when you’re writing?
I think my only must have is that I can’t have my kids around. They think it’s really cool that I am writing a book, but now they want to read it. I told them when they turn 18 they can, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to peek at what I’m doing.

How did you know that Playing With Fire would be part of a series?  And can you give us any hints about what to expect in book 2?
I didn’t intend for it to be a series at first, it was just going to be a stand-alone book about Maddy and Carter. However once I started writing scenes with Carter’s friends and family I had all these new ideas popping into my head. I planned out the other two books while I was still writing Playing With Fire so I could incorporate their storylines into it. I hate when you are reading a series and a storyline comes out of nowhere like it was an afterthought. 

Book 2 will be about Jason and Nicole’s story. It will pick up where Playing With Fire left off, since I know everyone who read it is dying to know what happens. We will get mostly Jason and Nicole’s POVS, however we may get some from Maddy and Carter. I used to get annoyed with series that forget all about the previous characters, your readers fall in love with them so they need to be present. Jason and Nicole are both firecrackers and when they get together there will definitely be sparks.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Funny, generous, and driven. I love to have fun and laugh, my friends are amazing and many of my characters are based on them. I love to help people and I would do anything for someone I love. Driven is probably the most true for me right now. I’m currently finishing up my degree in Education, raising my son and stepdaughter, taking care of my other children (my husband and two dogs), and trying to work in some time with friends to help me keep my sanity.

What/Who is current favorite book/author?
My favourite author right now is Abbi Glines. I absolutely love all of her books, and I will admit to an intense Rush Crush! I love how much she cares about her fans too and I think that is so important.

And what would be your ultimate guilty pleasure?
My ultimate guilty pleasure is desert and reading, preferably when they are done together. Many authors say that they cannot read a book while writing theirs, however I feel like it helps me. Sometimes I need a break and to let my mind rest and reading has always been my way to do that.

Okay – so just to get a little bit more insight to you – pick one of the following:

Paperback or e-book? E-book, my Kindle is so packed with books right now.
White, Milk or Dark chocolate? Dark chocolate, the best part is I’m the only one in the house that likes it.
White or Red wine? Hmmmm, I am really not that big on wine, except for Arbor Mist. I love the fruity blends and in that I will drink either their white or red.
Sleeping in or Staying up late? I wish I could say sleeping in but I wake up before eight everyday, it’s like my internal clock hates me. While I was writing the book it was a lot of staying up late.
Summer or Winter? Winter, I absolutely hate the humidity and I’d much rather throw on a blanket and cuddle on the couch.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, I do have a Twitter but I am just learning the ropes on it.

Ashley it’s been fantastic chatting with you, all the best with the blog tour for Playing With Fire.

I need to start by saying be prepared for a massive cliffhanger!  I'm generally not a fan of them, and I could tell as I was nearing the end of the book that it was going to be an 'unfinished' story, but I wasn't quite prepared for the enormity of the cliffhanger.  I'm not sure what the authors plans are in terms of the timing for the release of book two, but hopefully she won't keep people waiting too long.

Playing with Fire was a quick read that had enough in it to keep me focussed to the end.  It took only a couple of hours to finish and I enjoyed the story.  I think the editing let this one down a little bit and, for me, this impacted on the quality of the story.  While I always try and look past typo's or wrong word use (eg your instead of you're) they distract me enough that I am not completely engaged in my reading in the way I prefer to be.

That aside, there is lots to like in Playing with Fire - Carter James particularly!  Hot, sensitive (seriously the guy watched The Notebook and a number of other chick flicks and even shed a tear or two!!) and focussed on giving Maddy anything and everything.  It was a little bit of insta love from Carter's perspective - but the reticence from Maddy made the relationship believable.  And she had a lot to be reticent about - particularly her psychopath boyfriend Chris.  He is one intense dude and there are scenes involving him that some people will find quite disturbing.

Maddy is quite a damaged girl.  She's had a very rough life and never had anyone just love and accept her.  While she generally keeps her distance from people she had found herself in a relationship with Chris at highschool.  He continued the trend of treating her badly and Maddy simply thought it was what she deserved.  That is until she meets Carter and he starts to get under her skin.

There are good chunks of the story focussed on Maddy and Carter and the development of their relationship.  I couldn't help but wonder when Chris was going to show up again and I think the author had the balance of his participation in the story quite right.  You would almost start to believe he was gone completely and then something would happen and you'd realise he really is completely crazy and Carter's obsession with keeping Maddy safe was warranted.

There are a couple of side stories that peaked my interest and I these are setting up elements for the two other books in this three book series.  In particular, Jason and Nicole's story is one that I'd like to know more about.  And then there is the mystery of Spencer - I really do wonder what he is getting himself into!! 

Overall Playing With Fire was an enjoyable read.  Not one that is likely to hit my re-read list, but certainly entertaining enough that I would read the other books in the series when they are available.

3 out of 5 stars

My name is Ashley Piscitelli and I love reading and at times finish a book in just a day. I love reading romance books! I feel like being able to lose yourself in a book in one of the more exciting aspects. The books I love to read and write will be ones that make you feel for the characters. You should have an opinion on every character in a book. Whether you love them, hate them, or think they are up to something. I live in Philadelphia Pennsylvania with my husband, two kids, and two dogs. On top of starting a writing career I am a full time student, and a full time mom. I love spending time with my kids, although I have to hide the computer from them when I am writing! I love being active and being able to do any activity outdoors. I have always thought as an author the most important critic is your reader, so I would love to hear from you. If you read the book and loved it or hated it, tell me. As long as it is in a constructive way I will always answer and interact with you. I want fans to feel free to tell me what they want for the characters in the story and what they want to see happen.