Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blog Tour: Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas - Interview, Giveaway, Review


Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas.  The tour is hosted by InkSlinger Blog Tours.  You can find the tour scheduled here.  Today's stop features an interview with Alessandra Thomas, a giveaway, which you can enter below, and my review.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Picture Perfect 
by Alessandra Thomas
Published:  March 26, 2013
Goodreads
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble

Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two. 

When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes. 

When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.

Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.

But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground. 

Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.

(This book contains sex and adult language.)



Interview with Alessandra Thomas Author of Picture Perfect


Hi Alessandra, thank you so much for stopping by today.  It is great to have you.
Hi Ellen! Thank you so much for having me! I loooove this blog, I have to admit, I feel like Kind of a Big Deal! 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Just a little. ;) I’ve had an obsession with New Adult Romance ever since I picked up Pride and Prejudice when I was twelve years old. I think it’s one of the most exciting times to write about, that stage in between figuring out who you are and tackling Real Life in all its glory.

I love ice cream and reality television, stilettoes, my iPhone, and the sweet guy who’s brave enough to put up with me on a day to day basis.

Where did you get your idea for Picture Perfect?
The very beginning of the idea was way back in 2009, when Glamour magazine ran an article about appreciating your body, and included a small picture in the corner of an almost-nude model. The exceptional thing about this model was not just that she was only wearing a g-string, or that she was plus sized, but that her body wasn’t artfully arranged to make her look flawless – it was a very real moment. And part of that real moment was some very real belly flab and stretch marks. Check it out: (Here’s the link if you’re having trouble: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2009/08/on-the-cl-the-picture-ou-cant.html)

I wondered what nude modeling would do for a lot of less-than-perfect girls’ body images. When I decided to write a New Adult novel, it was a natural hook to explore and build a plot and characters around.

Is the story based on your own experience and/or people you know, or is it purely fictional?  
The story itself isn’t based on me or anyone I know – no one I’ve spoken to  has ever nude modeled, met a sexy guy in the class, and fallen into a steamy relationship with him. (Shame,  isn’t it?)

On some level, this story is about me – Due to some seriously freaky medical stuff, I’ve grown from a size four to a size fourteen in the past ten years, and I don’t see the weight going anywhere any time soon. Learning to live with a body that doesn’t feel like mine has been a challenge. Closer to Cat’s character, I did know a girl in college that modeled in high school, and at six feet tall and a size two, was a perfect candidate. But in college, she started to round out some more (because that’s what happens to women at that age, not because she was living unhealthily.) She ended up at a size eight, and as you can imagine, she looked gorgeous. But she struggled with accepting that, a lot.

On a meta-level, this story is about every single woman I know, since I’ve never met a woman who felt one hundred percent comfortable in her own skin. We live in a culture where we’re taught that there’s a pretty narrow standard for “beauty,” and – surprise, surprise – most of us don’t fit within it. If you’re a woman and you’ve ever wrinkled your nose at your own reflection, pinched at your belly fat and wanted to cry, thought about getting plastic surgery, or worked out and dieted like a crazy person just to lose a few pounds, this book is about you.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think that different readers will get different messages from the book, but I think that the basic theme is that the key to being beautiful is feeling comfortable in your own skin. Others can help you with that, but ultimately, it’s all on you.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think it was getting to the heart of Cat’s character and having her be honest about her struggles without alienating readers. It’s a tough balance, because Cat’s a size twelve, which a lot of people – myself included – would kill to be. So the challenge was to put the reader so far into Cat’s  head and Cat’s struggles that she totally empathized.

Can you tell us three things about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
My favorite genre of books, TV, and movies is science fiction.
I desperately want to move to Arizona. I have seasonal affective disorder and the sunshine out there is just so sexy.
My type is tall, thin (but cut!) geeky guys. Nothing I can do about it.

What is your favorite scene or quote from Picture Perfect?

Well aside from the steamy and mushy scenes, I have to say that I have a serious soft spot for Cat’s interactions with her best friend, Joey. I still giggle over the scene where they’re making fun of Cat’s ex-friend-with-benefits and look around the house for tiny things to compare his *ahem* manhood to.

What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on a story called SUBJECT TO CHANGE, which is about Cat’s best friend, Joey. She’s always followed all the rules in life, and dreamed of being a doctor. When her father’s dying wish is that she become a doctor, and creates a trust fund for her premed tuition, that’s the only path she can take. But then, it becomes increasingly clear to her that she’s just not cut out for premed.  What’s worse is that the Professor for the business gen-ed she has to take paired her with Hawk - a tattooed, strung out loser for the huge class project. Even her easy classes won’t be easy.

When they have their first project meeting, though, Joey learns that Hawk isn’t everything he seems. He gives her a ride home in the pouring rain, and with one sexy kiss, shows her that what she always wanted may not be what she’ll always want.  It turns out that Hawk’s much more that a strung out delinquent. He’s comfortable playing by his own rules, but can he teach Joey to make even one decision for herself?

(And, yes, both Cat and Nate will have cameos. I promise.)

This or That:

E-books or print copies? E-BOOKS TIMES A MILLION. Just the fact that my whole library is always with me satisfies my latent pack-rat sensibility.

Facebook or Twitter? Twitter. Twitter, forever and always.

Coffee, tea, or Coke? Coffee in the morning, Coke Zero in the afternoon.

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark! It’s dairy free so I tell myself it’s healthier. Plus now it comes in M&M form!

Theater or DVD? DVD. I don’t like to leave my house unless absolutely necessary.

Beach or Mountains? Mountains. Because I can hide more easily.

Thanks so much for being here Alessandra. It was great talking with you. I am really looking forward to reading Joey's story next.

My Review: Picture Perfect is such a fantastic book. You have all the elements needed for a great New Adult Contemporary Romance - super hot guy, beautiful girl, great story line, and some really steamy sexy scenes, but Alessandra Thomas takes you so much deeper than just another great romance, into a story regarding an issue that the majority of women deal with in one way or another, our body image, being overweight, feeling unattractive, and how to overcome that and learn to love yourself the way you are. Granted, that is sometimes a lot easier said than done, but taking the journey along with Cat in Picture Perfect really gives you a better perspective on what that entails, enabling you to see and experience things from Cat's point of view, but also to gain perspective from Nate, the super hot boyfriend, and from her best friend Joey, who I just loved. The story line itself is entertaining and well executed, and captured my attention right away.  

I loved getting to know Cat and my heart broke with her and rejoiced with her as she walked through her experiences in a journey which begins with her hating herself because she thinks she is fat, and then seeing her come out on the other side a better person as a result of all she endured. I really loved Nate to. He has his own secrets though, which kind of throw a kink in things, but you still can't help but love this guy, and the chemistry between Cat and Nate is off the charts hot. I love the way he is so understanding and patient with her when their relationship turns "physical," and I loved the romance between them. It was bittersweet seeing how Cat's friends, her ex-boyfriend, and her sorority sisters reacted to the way Cat had changed since her accident, some positive and some negative, and I wanted to slap that ex of hers.

Picture Perfect is a wonderful contemporary romance with a great message, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend this novel for women of all shapes and sizes who love a good read.

Two of my favorite quotes:

His palms covered my midsection, and he looked down hungrily as they moved to my sides, gripping them. "And this is where the frame ends. Absolutely gorgeous." His lips brushed down my breastbone. "This is what a woman looks like. This is what made the masters so hungry to paint. They all knew better than the dumb-ass fashion magazines, Cat. Trust me. It's amazing how so many curves can all come together into something so absolutely visually perfect."

The thing is, 
As much as your words hurt my heart, I needed to see what an asshole you were
To realize that I was 
Who I was
Worthy
Strong
Deserving
Without you.
I am real. I am beautiful.

Author Bio:
Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since she's
not, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and
girls falling in love and really living life for the first time. When she's not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.
Links:  

Website |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Facebook 



a Rafflecopter giveaway






21 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved this book. Great messages all the way around. I am part of the blog tour this month as well and I am so glad I signed up, this really is a book that any lover of this genre needs to read.

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    1. I can't wait to read you review. It is such an excellent book.

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  2. Oh man, did I ever love this book! I loved that the real message is self-acceptance, instead of the approval of others. Self-acceptance is one of the most important gift anyone can give themselves. Great review, Ellen.

    Okay, I realized Aless was pretty awesome from the get-go. But after her interview, I am so freaking fan-girling over her!

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    1. She rocks doesn't she and the book is sooo good.

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  3. I have this for review and can't wait to read it!!!

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  4. I am looking forward to reading because its a story I can relate to. Great interview!!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I think this is one that I need to pick up, it sounds like it would be a really good read and one that I could really relate to. Wonderful interview and review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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    1. It really is. I definitely recommend it.

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  6. Oh wow, this sounds like the kind of book that definitely deserves a place on my TBR list. I could do with some acceptance reinforcement.

    This is the first I've heard of it, so thank you for introducing me!

    ~ Lindie

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    1. It is such a good book. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I really need this book in my life. I just have this feeling that I would love it. Health issues have also caused me to be a little bigger than I would like. I was anorexic in high school, so I've always struggled with my body image. I want to read this so bad!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

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    1. I think you will really like it. It is great.

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  8. What a great post and review! I'd want to read this because the book sounds like it has a wonderful message about body image. Thanks so much for sharing and for the giveaway!

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    1. It really is. I think you will enjoy it.

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  9. This sounds like SUCH a great book! I love that it's so much more than just a romance and has real life stuff that most of us actually go through. I'm glad to have heard about this, on my WL it goes!

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    1. It's great Candace. I really loved it.

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  10. I have always been up and down with weight, it sounds like a really interesting read and could find myself relating too! thank you for the giveaway xx

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    1. I have the same problem, more up than down in the last few years. It is a really wonderful book.

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  11. Loooooooooooved this interview!!! Great questions and I'm calling dibs on Alessandra for the Coke Zero comment! Thank you for this amazing post! So. Much. Win.

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Thanks for your comments. I love hearing from you!

Entangled Teen Weekly


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