Review: Back to December by Danielle Allen

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Life made me resilient.
Love made me vulnerable.
Marriage made me… Emily Diaz.

When I married the man of my dreams, I assumed it was forever.

So when circumstances called for me to leave the man I loved, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

But betrayal changes everything.
And everything happens for a reason.

Being in love with myself enough to walk away brought me back to life.
Being in love with my life again brought me back to reality.
Being in love with someone else, well, that brought me back to December.

 

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Emily…Em…Auntie Em…Whatever name she is going by, the main character in Back to December is a woman that we currently are, we once were, or she reflects one of our girlfriends. I honestly have never felt this personally connected to a character since Ben from Arsen which I read back in 2014. Emily is a broken woman due to an unfortunate string of events but the main reason is being betrayed by her husband.

Emily starts on a journey to see who she really is as a woman without a husband. The agony, pain, and the feeling of being defeated is beautifully and perfectly written by Allen. And, to be completely transparent, I make that statement because I could have easily switched out a few of the details as far as the husband’s profession and his choice of words and Back to December could be a part of my life story. There is something exceptionally special about a book that truly touches your spirit and this book does just that.

“You said you don’t know about marriage, but do you have it in you to love again?”

Emily meets a colorful cast of characters during her journey of finding self. And, the question posed above is one that made me sit and reflect on how I would even answer that. Love in itself is hard, but love after divorce is even harder. We get a row seat into how Emily navigates life as she goes through a divorce and shortly thereafter. Ms. Allen has a tremendous gift in being able to perfectly illustrate with words what it means to allow yourself time to hurt/mourn, bounce back, to allow others in again, and most importantly, how to fall completely in love with yourself after someone tried their best to break you!!!

I don’t do this often, but I highly recommend Back to December. This could totally be because of selfish reasons because I am pretty sure that I am not the only woman in the world that has been through and/or will share an experience similar to Emily’s. This was my first time reading a book by Danielle Allen, but it definitely won’t be my last!

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Buy Back to December here!

TAUT by J.A. Huss Review & Giveaway

TAUT: The Ford Book by JA Huss
(Rook and Ronin Spin-off)
Published January 20, 2014
Contemporary, Erotic Romance, New-ish Adult

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TAUT IS A STANDALONE NOVEL – you do NOT have to read any of the Rook and Ronin books first.

Ford Aston is known for many things. Being an emotionless, messed up bastard, a freakishly smart social outcast, and a cold, domineering master who keeps “pets” instead of girlfriends.

And after Rook broke his heart, he plans to keep it that way.

Ashleigh is known for nothing, and that’s exactly what she’s got going for her. She’s broke, stranded in the mountains with a three month old baby, and Ford Aston is screwing with her head.

Big. Time.

And she plans to mess with his right back.

It’s a coy game at first, filled with flirting, and innuendo–but Ford soon realizes something is not quite right with Ashleigh. In fact, something is seriously, seriously wrong and the closer they get to their final destination, the closer Ford gets to the truth.

One night of devastation, self-loathing, and emptiness turns into the best thing that ever happened to Ford Aston. But one day of in-your-face reality threatens Ashleigh’s whole existence.

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Since A LOT of people have been asking here is the scoop on how this book fits in with my Rook & Ronin series:

Ford first appears in Rook and Ronin #2, Manic. He has a bigger role in Panic, R&R #3, and then he has a novella, called SLACK. This TAUT book is only FORD. It’s not really part of the R&R series, as that plot has all been sidelined for this one romance book.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18807831-taut

I have loved every single book in the Rook and Ronin series, and Taut was no exception. It is a standalone and all about Ford. Poor ol’ Ford! He is in love with his friend’s girlfriend and he decides to leave instead of watch them be together. But, Ford’s issues go much deeper than an unrequited love.

Ford is one of the most flawed characters I have read about recently in a book. On the surface, he seems shallow and sick. J.A. once again has wrote a flawless book and made me empathize with the main character. And, I dare to say that there’s a part of me that likes Ford even more than Ronin! Excellent!!!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of TAUT in exchange for an honest review.


J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.

Author Links:

Signed copies of: TRAGIC, MANIC, PANIC, SLACK, and TAUT by JA Huss. PLUS a custom made sterling silver “Ford’s Favortie Pet” necklace and signed swag pack. (Open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Spotlight: The Hardest Part by Heather London

The Hardest Part by Heather London
Publication date: January 5th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Emily Anderson and Reed Alexander are living with pasts they cannot escape.

Emily moved to New York City seeking a fresh start, intending to focus on her career and to keep a low profile.

Reed returns home to New York City after two years, haunted by the same things that pushed him away years ago.

When Reed and Emily meet, their connection is undeniable, but Emily keeps her feelings hidden. Falling in love is the last thing on her mind and she knows the danger it may bring not only to her, but to Reed as well. Reed isn’t as reluctant, but he knows that the demons he’s fighting could destroy Emily.

The harder they try to resist one another, the deeper they fall in love, and the more complicated their lives become.

In the end, they realize that truly loving someone may mean letting them go… and that’s the hardest part.

“Here, take this. We don’t have much time.” Mike’s frantic voice was loud in my ear. Still dazed, I glanced up at him and saw he was holding an envelope out for me to take. My eyes stared at the envelope, but I couldn’t make myself reach out for it.
“Emily.” Mike’s voice was soft but firm. “I know this is a lot to take in, but I need you to concentrate. Take the envelope.” He enunciated the last few words slowly, carefully.
My hands shook as I reached out for it. “I’m not sure I can do this, Mike.” I finally found my voice. “This is crazy. I—I don’t know where to go.” Once I had the envelope in my grasp, it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds.
“You can do this. This life you’ve been living, this isn’t a life for you. Anywhere is better than here.”
I felt the darkness closing in around me. I could feel my throat getting tighter. My breaths were short and quick. If I didn’t calm myself down, I was going to have a full-fledged panic attack. My mind was still trying to process what was happening.
The person I trusted most in the world had woken me up in the middle of the night, just thirty minutes ago, telling me to get dressed and be quiet. I didn’t question Mike then. I didn’t question him when he led me out of the penthouse suite, or when we he led me down the hall to the back stairwell and came out at the back of the casino. I still didn’t question him when I saw his car parked at the end of the dark alley, or when we pulled away from the building without an explanation of any kind. It wasn’t until we pulled onto the highway and the bright lights of the Vegas strip were behind us that I finally asked what was going on.
“You’re getting out of here, Emily. You’re going to get as far away from here as possible,” he’d told me.
It was only then that it hit me. He was helping me escape. He was helping me get away from Jake. I was too stunned to say anything then, and I was too afraid to say anything now.
“Emily, are you listening to me? We don’t have much time.” Mike’s voice was louder now, more demanding. I blinked away my thoughts and looked up at him. He stood a good foot and a half taller than me, his gray hair receding almost to the point of baldness. He was old enough to be my father, and truth be told, he was the closest thing I’d ever had to one.
As I stood here now, I felt like a scared little girl—not sure what to do, looking up at him for the answers.
“The bus should take you to the main station downtown. From there, you choose where to go. You choose how to live your life.” He frowned and then his face twisted into something else entirely—tortured and sad. He and I both knew this was probably the last time we’d ever see each other.
“There’s a passport, social security card, and twenty thousand dollars in the envelope. It should be enough for you to get on your feet and start a new life, one far away from here.” His voice cracked on the last couple words. He cleared his throat, trying to cover up his weakness.
“I don’t want his money, Mike.” I shoved the envelope back out to him to take. I didn’t want any part of him near me.
“It’s my money, Emily. Money that I’ve earned and saved. It’s mine and I want you to have it.”
“It’s still a part of him.” I shook my head. “And I can’t take your money.”
“All those years I looked away. Let him treat you like nothing. All those times I should have helped you. I’ll never forgive myself for letting him hurt you for so long.” He closed his eyes and paused for a moment, his lips forming into a hard, tight line. “Take it. I need you to take it.”

Purchase:

Heather London is a young adult author who loves to write stories full of fantasy, romance, and science fiction. She is a lover of only the finest of coffee and premium craft beer, but will settle for anything chocolate, regardless of its quality. Heather lives with her husband in Dallas, TX where she is currently working hard on her next project.

Author Links:

http://heatherlondon.com/

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