Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blog Tour: Tension (By A Thread #2) by R.L. Griffin {Review + Author Interview + Giveaway}

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance/Suspense
 Publication Date: June 26th 2013
Author: R.L. Griffin
Series: By A Thread #2
Format: Paperback
Source: Provided by author for tour

The Stella who emerges from the rubble of the bombing in Montana is a woman full of conflict. She knows she should be grateful that she lived when others didn't, but after waking in the hospital as a celebrity, complete with a new moniker, she's bitter and distrustful, questioning everything in her life. She's unsure of her friends, her new boyfriend, and her job. In addition, a face from the past reappears and threatens to take the one good thing in her life. Stella attempts to deal with the new scrutiny of her life with her usual sense of humor, but she's filled with a new emotion that she tries desperately to hide: HATE. Her recovery is hastened by her determination to find the man who turned her into a walking scar. She's going to kill him; she needs to kill him. Stella isn't alone. She has her close friends and her dog, Cooper. Will their support be enough to help Stella accomplish her plan, or will this endeavor be her undoing? This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

My Take:
At the end of the first book By A Thread we are left with 213,646,563,546 questions as to what happened to Stella in Montana, what really happened to Jamie and Will George be able to piece her back together and salvage their already tumultuous relationship. The answers can be found in Tension...

The theme for this series seems to be how much shit can I put ONE character through before she cracks. Poor Stella has been through the ringer after losing her beloved fiance in the first book and now surviving an explosion at her FBI field office in Montana and getting shot she wakes up in the hospital a virtual celebrity. Being the only survivor of the supposed terrorist attack she has become an overnight sensation in the media and upon her release back into the world is constantly followed and hounded by camera crews, paparazzi and reporters all looking to cash in on her celebrity status. The only people she can trust are her friends and family. Stella tries to get back to the way things were before the explosion but her injuries have left her more broken than she was. Having to do physical therapy to gain back her mobility she uses her anger at her attacker to fuel her recovery. 

I have to say that in By a Thread I thought Stella was a raging bitch. She was cold, distant and standoffish but I understood where she was coming from after losing the love of her life. I loved her so much more in this book because she became an even more fiercely tough and determined woman. Not that I didn't love her in BAT but she was more likable in this one if that makes sense. I understood her motives a lot better this time around and seeing that she didn't fall apart when she so easily could have was something I found inspiring. I love it when characters don't quit when things go to shit for them. The majority of the book Stella is followed constantly by the papz and that aspect of the story was something I didn't understand until closer to the end when she is drugged and kidnapped. It was not only an exciting moment in the story but an "Oh yeah, OK I get it now" moment. I was worried that with all she was dealing with that she would try to push George away again but I was pleasantly surprised by her demeanor.

George. When I first met him I was instantly suspicious of him. I questioned everything he said and did and his motives for wanting to be with Stella to begin with. I quickly found out he was just a decent guy with amazing staying power. He proved himself absolutely worthy in Tension and stood by Stella throughout EVERYTHING. When she needed a shoulder to lean on he was there. When she needed to be held and loved, he was there. When any other guy would have walked away George walked into the flames. George was the bright spot for me in this book and his deep affection and adoration for Stella was amazing. Having to watch the woman you love suffer so much has to be difficult but not knowing what to do to help her broke my heart for him. He knows she is dealing with some heavy issues emotionally and tries to help but ends up getting dragged into the middle of her quest to find who attacked her. After he broke up with Stella in book 1 she hooked up with Jesse, a famous football player and that relationship caused some strain between Stella and George in this book. He was a little jealous about her continued friendship with Jesse and I was worried it would ultimately break them up but Stella and George proved be to be even stronger. George surprised me at one point, putting away his feelings towards Jesse and actually worked with him to find Stella when she was taken. It was funny to see George and Jesse actually form a kind of friendship out of that experience.

The supporting cast of Millie, Patrick and Billy, Stella's closest friends, bring more depth to story and balance out her crazy life. With Millie and Patrick dating Stella isn't as close with Millie anymore because if it. Her relationship with Patrick is strained because she found out he knew what happened to Jamie and as her best friend didn't tell her. Stella spends the majority of the book angry with him until they clear the air and he secretly helps her locate the man responsible for her attack. Billy is just added hilarity between his Frito pie affection (which I find solidarity with) and his video game addiction there was never a dull moment when he was involved. 

Overall Tension was an even bigger win for me than By A Thread. Stella was tough and determined and although she was scarred and nearly broken, managed to pick up the pieces of her life and mold it into something manageable. She finally got a haircut, so that was a total win. The love between her and George just got better and better and despite the fact that she withheld information from him and had a former lover as a friend remained just as strong and unbreakable. This was one of those books where you have to pay close attention to what's going on or you will be lost. There was so much going on in this story I didn't even  cover half of the craziness this author takes you on. I will say that the ending threw me for a loop as we are left  hanging when Stella gets a surprise that will leave you with a serious case of bubble guts, possibly explosive diarrhea. I'm just sayin'. If you like intense stories with fierce females and love that overcomes all obstacles and has more twists and turns than a mountain passage, then you should bump up By A Thread and Tension on your TBR list!

It seemed like there were two separate people growing out of this injury: the one that wanted everything to be okay and the one full of rage who wanted to rip shit down and tear it apart at the injustice of it all. ~ Stella Page 29

The problem with loving someone and exposing your heart and soul to them is that sometimes they won't do the same; they won't open themselves up for the same pain that comes from love. Love only works when the other person loves you back. ~ George Page 201


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Author Interview:

1) What was your inspiration for the story in both By a Thread and Tension?

No "inspiration."  I will tell you that I went to law school in DC and lived with two guys.  They would love it if they were compared to Patrick and Billy, but no they were not the inspiration to those characters.  I had this story that kept tickling my brain and I was fighting it.  I work fulltime and have a kid, no time for writing.  Then I let one really small scene out and it was like the floodgates opened. The scene was from BaT where Stella is drowning her sorrows and George calls Patrick to come get her.  All these characters have filled my mind and made me lose sleep since.

2) In Tension we see Stella settle a little bit more with George and in her life as she reclaims it. Did you always intend for this to happen or was it something you decided last minute?

I write organically, so I have no idea what going to happen until I write it.  Seriously. 

3) How many stories in this series do you intend to write?

Seamless is the conclusion of Stella's story.  Heart in Wire is Patrick's story and it will cover many years and a year after Seamless ends.  Other than that I have no plans to write anything else with these characters. However, I also planned for this series to just be two books.  I'm just saying, you never know. 

4) Was being a writer always something you wanted to do or did you have other aspirations?

I always loved writing and knew that I couldn't do it and pay my bills. I wanted to be a special agent for the FBI when I went to law school, but then after September 11 all the positions were frozen. 

5) Are the characters in your books loosely based on anyone in your personal life? 

Not even loosely based on anyone.  They all have characteristics of people that I either know or have met because I feel like that is how I can write them so clearly, that particular emotion or mannerism. 

6) What was your favorite part to write in Tension?

There is a scene where Stella sees her scars for the first time.  I LOVE THAT scene.  Also, there is another scene that I don't want to say, but it involves soap and a boat. 

7) What are some of your favorite books/Authors? 

I love Tarryn Fisher, I think her Love me with lies series is brilliant. Tara Sivec can write anything...I'm in awe of her.  The Chocolate lovers series was so funny I almost peed myself. I will read any book by John Green, the Fault in our Stars gutted me and I loved it. 

8) Is there any book you are ashamed to have read?

No, I think you shouldn't be ashamed to read anything.  I read everything and I think it expands my knowledge base, even a book I read based on a bloggers recommendation that made me blush and cringe from page one. 

9) Has there ever been someone you just couldn't stand who you wrote into one of your stories only to kill them off later?

This question had me laughing and then I realized I did do that in Under Glass. I hope she doesn't read it. 

10) What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the future?

Under Glass is a new adult book that was published in 2004 and is getting a little facelift and being re-released in October.  Seamless is the last book in the Stella story. Heart in Wire is Patrick's story.  I'm hoping that all the characters are as exhausted as I am and I don't get any more inspiration for awhile. 

I live in the Atlanta area and I'm surrounded by awesome dudes: my husband, son and two dogs. I went to law school at American University, Washington College of Law, but only after I fell in love with D.C. I worked in the Senate during the impeachment trial and wanted to stay. After law school I worked for a bit in the area, then moved to Atlanta. If you ask anyone who knows me they know I love reading and read all sorts of books. Any free time I have I'm either reading, writing or drinking with friends.


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  1. Wow wonderful review, glad you enjoyed it. And great interview.

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    new follower via twitter

  2. Awesome interview. I have really been curious about the book - the cover is unique and a little creepy, and that is what caught my eye.

  3. You have me sooooo curious about this series. And that wicked cover! Awesome review and interview, babe.

  4. I'm glad you love this. The covers creep me out a bit though.


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