Tuesday, April 2, 2013

{BLOG TOUR} PICTURE PERFECT by ALESSANDRA THOMAS

Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the Picture Perfect Blog Tour! The tour is being hosted by InkSlinger Blog Tours. My stop includes a review, guest post, and giveaway.

 
Picture PerfectCategory/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: self-published
Publication Date: 3/26/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 307
Source: Received from the author for review.
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.)

I love stories about empowerment, self-acceptance, and love.  Picture Perfect gave me all that and more.

I, like many many of you, can identify with a character who struggles with weight and self-image. And for that reason, I was instantly hooked on Picture Perfect. Cat is a model who, after an injury that left her unable to move freely for months, has gained a lot of weight. It's easy to be in denial when you wear yoga pants all day (my "uniform" of coice) and can't really see what's happening, but the denial stops when you realize you've gained sixty pounds and your clothes no longer fit. For Cat, this leaves two choices: beat yourself up and seclude yourself to help ease the shame spiral; or pull yourself up, face your fears, move on.

Cat is talked into doing a nude modeling session. To which I say, "Better you than me, Sister! You rock." I loved that Cat took a chance on the power modeling would give her, and I felt for her when she was scared and hurt. But this also leads her to Nate. Nate, he's a good guy. I loved his quiet, gentle, yet forceful nature. I loved that he brought fun, adventure, and love to Cat's life. He teaches her to appreciate aspects of life she'd always denied herself. I loved his acceptance. No, not acceptance, his absolute adoration for Cat and her body. He didn't love her despite her "flaws", he doesn't even see Cat's extra weight as flaws at all. Score one for the good guys.

At the heart of Picture Perfect, though, it is not exactly a love story between a girl and a guy. It is the love story between a girl and herself. For as much as Nate's love and assurances make Cat feel great, and he did absolutely help her, the bigger picture her is Cat's own journey towards acceptance. This is powerful stuff, and I couldn't help but fall in love with the stronger, more loving Cat.

Whether you can identify with the characters or not, everyone has had doubts about some aspect of their identity. Picture Perfect was a beautiful look at one woman's story, and I feel it will resonate with any reader.


Favorite Quote:

  "I feel like my whole body is just some prison for a person who looks different, who feels different. I keep trying to shake it, but sometimes...I can't forget who I used to be."  ~eARC, 41%


  Nate had helped me realize that I wasn't most attractive when I looked like everyone else--I was most attractive when I looked like myself. When I acted like myself instead of worrying about what everyone else thought of how I looked. ~eARC, 93%

 
GUEST POST 


The story behind Picture Perfect:


- I’ve had a LOT of weight fluctuation, and I’ve totally been in that experience of not feeling like myself in the body I’m in, or feeling great one day and horrible the next. Body image can be a brutal beast, and I kind of wanted to see what it would look like for a girl to be navigating a new body and a new relationship at the same time.


- The story’s set in Philly because I like setting stories in real places. I’m a huge fan of Google maps – I like to see the places I’m writing about. And I think it’s cool that there’s a whole set of readers who will recognize landmarks like 30th Street Station, Reading Terminal Market, and Drexel and Temple Universities. (Incidentally, if any readers attend one of those Universities, shout at me – I’ll send you a couple free copies to randomly drop or pass around. ;))

- The physical description of Cat’s character is based on Lizzie Miller, a plus sized model who became famous for her spread in Glamour magazine back in 2009, where she posed (almost) nude. The shot published by the magazine showed an obviously flabby belly and stretch marks, and garnered a huge positive response. That article, and the picture that goes with it, is one of the biggest inspirations for Picture Perfect.
Lizzie is one of the most radiant and beautiful women I’ve ever seen. Check it out:



- The experience of Cat’s character is based on someone I know in real life. She’s six feet tall and modeled in high school, and when she got to college, rounded out just a bit (as women tend to do, it’s part of normal development.) She used to be a size two and grew to a size eight, and to her, that was a huge, awful change. It took her awhile to deal with it. Even though I know some people will hate Cat for complaining about her size twelve, to her, it’s a big change.

- I did a lot of research on the injury side. I talked to one friend who is a pharmacist about the rehab required for that surgery to repair a shattered tibia and the drugs involved, and what they would do to your body. I also talked to a friend who is super-athletic about the challenges of various sports for a girl like Cat – together, we decided she and Nate’s first date would be rock climbing, because it would make her feel strong while still giving her lots of opportunity to be embarrassed about her ass being pinched by the harness straps – right above Nate’s head.

- As soon as I saw the cover, I was madly in love. My designer got it down perfectly – this book is about literal and figurative nakedness, about forcing yourself to take a good, hard, look at who you are, even if it’s less than perfect (which it is – no one is perfect.) A cover filled with a naked midsection, the most vulnerable part of our bodies to injury, was both sexy and symbolic.


Thank you so much for having me, Andrea! This has been so much fun. <3
 
 
Thank you to Alessandra for this great and informative post. I love that picture.
 
 
Purchase Picture Perfect at:


GIVEAWAY
 
 
 
About the author

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.

Connect with Alessandra at:
Twitter  |  Facebook
 
 
 
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30 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read this!! Thank you for the giveaway.. I'm someone who was diagnosed with a lung disease 2 years ago, I've been on high dose steroid therapy since.. I've put on 80+ pounds and I am in no means the same looking woman I was at 27.. Learning to accept a new body and new circumstances is very very hard to do.. Physically and Mentally!! I just know I'm gonna relate to this book :-) I'm glad someone finally "went there"

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    Replies
    1. I don't typically comment a lot here, but I wanted to say Hi, Becky.

      I came up with an autoimmune disorder when I was 27, and had to go on steroids,too. But only for five months. It plays havoc with your body & that is sooo frustrating. I had to remind myself that I was lucky, and grateful, to be alive.

      I wish you so much luck with your treatment.

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  2. I have only read 1 other review of this so far and I bought the Kindle version right away. So glad to see another positive review because this really does sound great and like a book that so many of us can relate to.

    I had no idea who the book was based on, but it's great that it was based on a plus size model!

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  3. I love stories like this. Acceptance of oneself is probably one of the hardest things we face in life. I really like the author's inspiration for the story, too. Thanks for sharing; I probably wouldn't have discovered this one on my own!

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  4. Wonderful review Andrea. I loved this book to and identified with CAT in so many ways. I just loved the relationship between her and Nate to. Enjoyed the guest post!

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  5. What a fantastic premise! It's so sad that when women look in the mirror, all we see is our flaws. I do it too...

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  6. I skimmed your review because this one is on my list to read soon. Can't wait! I loved the guest post. That model IS gorgeous.

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  7. I enjoy all kinds of books that explore the human condition. Learning to accept ourselves for what we are is something most of us need. At least, I know that I could benefit from that.

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  8. That Lizzie woman is gorgeous! She kind of reminds me of Carmen Kass - an Estonian supermodel. She was a Victorian Secret's Angel for quite a few years. Anyway, Lizzie looks stunning. As for your review, I hadn't heard of this book before and thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. I love these kind of stories, too! The ones where one conquers their mind as the villain and just all these powerful messages - I like it. Nate seems like a great guy and I adore that he didn't see her as a scale number but a beautiful human being instead. I'll definitely put this book on my radar :)

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  9. Ive been battling with an eating disorder since I was 7. I have sought help but like with any additcion it comes back time to time. It really helps to read about others who love their body and are comfortable and are healthy! You would be surprised how little you can find w/ stories like that. :) So yes I def want to read this! I also remember when that pic first came out in a magazine, I really loved it!
    Samantha D

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  10. Very good review. I'd love to read this one. Awesome guest post as well and thanks for the giveaway!

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  11. Loved this review! And the guest post makes me wish I was a lez because I think I'm in love with the author! Thanks for another great review!! So happy you loved this book too!

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  12. I like the idea of a not perfect girl still having a relationship that's sexy and meaningful. Looks good.

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  13. Excellent review and guest post! I really love what this book is about and i can't wait to read it.
    thanks for sharing!

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  14. Wonderful review! Definately on my TBR! Loved the photo of the model the book was goin after. The message alone may be what many need!,,

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  15. I love the guest post, and I agree the model is very beautiful, and I think it was awesome that she posed almost nude for the magazine!! I think it's important to be comfortable with yourself no matter what. We are all beautiful and no one should make us think otherwise, especially ourselves. This book sounds really wonderful and like something I would enjoy. Great review too hon!!

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  16. What an interesting idea! I like that the focus is on Cat's growth, rather than how the wonderful prince charming comes to love the heroine in spite of her less than perfect body (can you tell I'm not a fan of that genre?). Thanks as well for sharing the gorgeous picture; it's always nice to see that beauty comes in different shapes.

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  17. I think this is a must read and is a book that everyone should read. I know I suffer from body image issues since I had my kids and gained a lot of weight. This sounds like a very powerful book!

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  18. Oh gosh, Andrea! This is definitely something I want to read. I've always had body image issues (I know I'm not alone ;) but I'd really like to find a way to rid myself of them. No, nude modeling isn't something I'm willing to try. :) But I, like countless women, would like to love what I see in the mirror. Thanks for sharing this one.

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  19. This sounds like a must read! It is so important to be comfortable in your own body and I am sure it is something most women struggle with, myself included. I will definitely be picking this book up. Fabulous review and I adored the guest post!

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  20. This sounds like a great read, and I know so many people will relate to this story. Everyone battles with their body from time to time and having the strength to see past flaws is a fantastic, strength inducing positive story.

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  21. Yes, I would like to read this book.

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  22. I'd want to read it simply because it is relateable!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

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  23. I really like that it's based on a plus-sized model, description-wise, since I am also a plus-sized woman.

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  24. This looks amazing. I have always been what I consider heavy, but then I broke my back and all exercise stopped. I'm RIDICULOUSLY overweight now and I find myself completely shut off from relationships. I can't let anyone love me until I love myself. Maybe this book will teach me something.

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  25. Picture Perfect looks like a fantastic book. Thank you so much for the chance to win. Go +Women!

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  26. This sounds like a book that everyone should read and could possibly learn something from. Great review, Andrea and I love the guest post.

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  27. This is my reality right now, and it just seems like the book that I should read right now to make me feel a little less self conscious about myself.

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  28. I can't wait to read this book as this is an issue that so many deal with (myself included).

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