Fire and Ice is at the half way mark and there are some great stops for you all today:
I am excited to welcome back indie author Heather Hildenbrand. Heather is a regular visitor here on Rainy Day Ramblings, because I think she is fantastic and I always enjoy supporting talented indie authors. For those of you who are meeting Heather for the first time, she is a multi-genre gal. Heather writes the terrific YA paranormal series called Dirty Blood. It is all about werewolves. Heather also writes the Imitation dystopian series. Just this past Fall, Heather decided to try her hand in the NA genre. Heather is here today to share her NA title: A Risk Worth Taking This is a nice tale about two individuals who have lost their belief in love, and they must decide whether to risk heartbreak and hurt by entering in a relationship. I appreciated that this was a romance without the heavy drama and angst. It was beautifully written and sweet. Before we get to all that, though, let me take a minute and reintroduce Heather Hildenbrand:
Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, Imitation and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I'm pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry - and fussing at my kids. I'm a multi-tasker. For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit me on my website, twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I love hearing from readers! Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I'd grab is my DVR player!
Here is Heather with her behind the scenes story for the inspiration of her book:
Book Boyfriend: A Risk Worth Taking
We’re talking all about book boyfriends and A Risk Worth Taking had a sweetheart-hottie of a boyfriend in Ford O’Neal! We have to know—what inspired his character?? Anything “real life” about him?
Hmm. Yeah, about that, so a LOT about Ford O’Neal is “real life.”
I’m going to tell you a secret. A Risk Worth Taking was sort of based on a true story.
In 2013, I began dating Dylan. He’s in the Navy, and I knew when we started the relationship that he was set to transfer to a new duty station in the next 18months or so. But I fell HARD and so did he and it was sort of a “Seize the moment” kind of speech that led to us realizing HAPPINESS now is still worth SADNESS later because you really aren’t guaranteed later. And why choose to walk away from something when you really CAN’T predict the future?? I’m a “GO FOR IT” kinda girl anyway.
So we decided to go for it, all the while KNOWING this thing had an expiration date on it.
The relationship was AMAZING. Like nothing I’d ever experienced. We had fun, we grew close, we learned new things about ourselves. He lights me up in a way I can’t shine on my own. I mean, I know I’m awesome. I “own” my awesome. But he makes the awesome so shiny it’s blinding if you know what I mean.
By month TWO, I was in love with him.
And he was in love with me.
But still. Leaving.
He’s got “big dreams to experience life in faraway places” and “even love can’t hold me back.” And said stuff like, “I never want to settle down. It’ll just keep me from my dreams.”
But he loves me. As much as he CAN love me while still putting an expiration date on this package.
And I went with it because—Seize the day, remember? He makes me happy.
Then summer rolls around and he’s got orders—to GUAM. (Who the heck goes to Guam? It was so random and FREAKING FAR!)
And then his orders get bumped up and he’s not leaving in Spring of 2014—he’s leaving in November of 2013. TWO MONTHS AWAY.
Much like A Risk Worth Taking, I promised myself over and over I wouldn’t ask him to stay. That’s a whole lifetime full of regret waiting to happen. And I LOVED him enough to just want him to be happy. Wherever that was. So, amid MUCH tears (real life is actually way more dramatic than fiction in this case), And of course CAVING and asking him to stay anyway—he told me NO. (No choice. Navy orders, remember?)
And we broke up.
That’s my devastated face.
Not only did I not have my boyfriend, I didn’t have my best friend. (How did it feel? Read RISK!)
And we still tried to talk but it was awkward and sad and full of “I miss yous” that didn’t matter because they COULDN’T matter. Ugh. It was a mess.
I told myself to move on. Forced myself to do “moving on” things like go out with my friends and throw myself into work, yadda yadda yadda.
And then Christmas EVE 2013—we were talking and I was sad and telling him how I was moving on, essentially giving up—and he stopped me and said some things. He’d thought it over. He’d lain awake at night. He’d walked around depressed.
Well, I CAN”T TELL YOU WHAT HE SAID OR DECIDED! You have to read the book!
Fun facts I CAN tell you: Dylan’s grandma’s last name—O’Neal. Dylan’s middle name—Crawford—As in, FORD.
Another fun fact: Risk came out in October. I didn’t get my true ending ‘til December. BUT my REAL LIFE ending was quoted almost word for word from the book. Crazy-cool!
P.S. If you want to read what comes next in this REAL LIFE story, you should check out my blog post about where I’m headed in 10 days.
Heather and Dylan Motorcycle Trip 2013
Thanks, Heather for sharing your story! It is so sweet and it makes us all believe in love and happy endings! Best of luck on your adventure to Guam! I hope there aren't giant slugs there. Now Heather never visit Rainy Day Ramblings empty handed. Today as part of the Fire and Ice Tour, Heather is offering a chance to win an ebook copy of A Risk Worth Taking To enter fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
A Risk Worth Taking by Heather Hildenbrand
When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.
Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.
Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.
Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.
Four Stars: A tale of risk and a reminder to live life to the fullest.
Summer assesses the pile of boxes. As she unpacks, Summer shoves aside the bitter anger she carries toward her mother. How could her mother after all these years just walk out on her father and the farm? Summer has returned home to help her father with the book keeping. This wasn't where she planned on ending up after graduating college, right back where she started. Still she intends to make the best of it. Summer is happy to be home after all, but she refuses to see or speak to her mother. At dinner, Summer is introduced to a new farm hand, Ford. There are instant sparks of attraction, but Summer learns that Ford won't be staying. He is an intern on the farm for six months, and then he will be moving on. Besides, why would Summer want to take a chance at falling in love when the relationship she admired and kept on a pedestal was a sham? Love isn't worth the risk or is it?
What I Liked:
I appreciated that this was a New Adult book with likable characters who are going through a few struggles but nothing that is overly dramatic. This was a realistic and pleasant romance that reminds you that some things are worth the risk. If you are like me and a bit burned out on all the over dramatic, angst ridden NA books, this is one you can pick up and enjoy as it isn't heavy on emotion. It is the perfect mix of romance, sizzle and realistic problems.
I loved the underlying theme of taking a risk for love. Let's face it, falling in love is scary and we are likely to end up with a broken heart or two before finding the one, and we may get discouraged and want to give up. This book is a reminder that some risks are worth taking, and even though we may be terrified at the thought of falling in love and enduring loss or heartbreak, aren't the benefits worth the risk? Life is too short to waste time, seize your chance at happiness and don't worry about the what ifs... if it is meant to be it will be, right? Ms. Hildenbrand does an excellent job at reminding us of these important truths.
I enjoyed watching Summer's journey. She comes home rattled and hurt after her parents' split. She breaks it off with her current boyfriend because her belief in love is shattered. When Ford walks into the room, there are instant sparks of attraction, but she denies them. Why fall in love again and get hurt, especially if he is just going to leave? As time goes on, Summer and Ford become friends and then something more, until they both decide to take a chance and date even though they know it is short term. What follows is a beautiful friendship that turns into a heated romance. Will they get their happily ever after? Is love worth the fight and the risk? Summer soon finds out. I liked that the romance is packed with heat, but it moves slowly.
I adored the secondary characters from Summer's quiet, kind father, to the Greek housekeeper and most of all the charming, good natured Casey, Summer's best friend and surrogate brother. I thought the secondary characters rounded out the cast, and they all felt like comfortable old friends.
I liked that this book has a few bumps in the road, but it isn't overly dramatic. There are plenty of fun moments that lead up to a perfectly sweet and wonderful ending that I am sure readers will savor. I especially loved learning the real life inspiration behind the story, it made the read so much more impactful.
Finally, I loved the quotes and snippets that were included at the beginning of every chapter. I thought they were wonderful!
And The Not So Much:
One of the big conflicts in the book follows the break up of Summer's parents. At first, there is a great deal of mystery surrounding the divorce. I was itching to know why they ended it so I could better understand Summer's hurt. When the answers are finally divulged, I was left wanting to know a bit more. I would have loved to know a more about what the marriage was like and how they decided to end it. Furthermore, I was disappointed in the father's take on everything. He is tight lipped for the most part and when he does finally open up, he doesn't provide much insight. I wanted to know more from his angle.
Ford though he was sexy and charming didn't have the same appeal to me as Casey. I thought Casey was adorable and so full of life. While I appreciated that the romance didn't involve Casey, I was disappointed that he didn't have a bigger role, mostly because I thought his scenes were always entertaining. I loved, though that this book didn't stray into a love triangle and that Summer maintains a strict friendship with Casey.
There is a big, funny scene involving a rematch of Casey and Summer's childhood creek race. Something happens when they run the first race and there was discussion of a rematch, and then the story line disappears. I wanted to see the rematch and learn who the winner was. Why didn't they run the race again?
I was most pleased with the first sex scene. It had plenty of heat and sizzle, and I thought just the right amount of detail before the door closed and the lover's were left to the imagination. I was cheering, thinking yes! Then it went downhill after that as there were several more sex scenes that were explicit in detail and way steamy. I much preferred the first sex scenes to the subsequent bare it all spare no details scenes, but I am a less is more type reader when it comes to sex scenes.
I struggled with Ford's reasons for leaving the farm. I just didn't think his rationalization was strong enough or that the reason was compelling enough to make him leave. I was very disappointed in his selfishness. A minor sticking point for me.
A Risk Worth Taking is a passionate and beautifully written New Adult book that is light on angst and drama, but with plenty of sizzle and romance. This is a book that reminds us that even though love is a risk, some things in life are worth taking a chance on. Pick this up when you are in the mood for a realistic, well written romance that reminds you that love is worth it.
"Don't cry over the past, it's gone. Don't stress over the future, it hasn't arrived. Live in the present, and make it beautiful." Author Unknown.
"Parents are just people who get put on a pedestal. We expect more from them because they mean so much to us. But they're only human."
"Perception is about making people see what you want, not what really is."
"Magic seems like something you'd have to experience to believe."
"If all you had was this moment, would you still live in it?"
"You should never settle. Life's too short. Do things that make you happy."
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss
"I'd decided months ago to love freely. And that meant not throwing away a single chance at happiness. Even if there was no guarantee it would last. Even if it scared me."
"Dreams changed. You to change with them or risk losing it all."
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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See you back tomorrow with Cambria Hebert!