by Mia Hoddell
Upper YA/NA Contemporary Romance
November 16th 2015
Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil.
For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.
That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?
Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.
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What reviewers are saying:
"From the dedication at the beginning up to the end this was both a thought provoking and an emotional read for me and I loved it!" - Sandra @ JeanzBookReadNReview
"This story tugged at my heartstrings, played on my every emotion. It was a beautifully written story of how an introverted young girl blossoms into a beautiful young woman." - Keren Hughes, Author of Nothing Like The First Time
"A heartbreaking read that sometimes had me close to tears." - Susan @ Ladies Living in Bookland
"Heartbreaking. Powerful. Real ... I literally lived the pages, not read them ... It's so well and beautifully written, it is more than just another YA novel." - Cristina @ Crazy Beautiful
you doing?” I manage to get out around my laughs. She tenses at my words and
then tilts her head back to fix me with a glare, her eyes blazing with
sleeping in the bath like I said I would. Why, what did you think I was doing?
Teaching myself to swim?”
know what you’re doing. I think that’s obvious. What I meant was why are you doing this?” I step into the
room and move in front of her so she doesn’t have to crane her neck to see me.
not sleeping in here, Stripes.”
cross my arms. There’s no way I’m going back to bed and allowing her to sleep
in a bath. The only problem is that it’s hard to maintain a frustrated
expression when everything about the situation is so damn funny. “Be back in a
mumbles something that sounds like “I’m not going anywhere” to my back as I
rush out of the bathroom. Rummaging in my drawer, I find what I’m looking for
then I’m back in the room with Neve in seconds.
she can react, I have a camera in front of me.
I tease, only it causes her glower to darken. Three lines appear on her
forehead as her face screws up.
Get out of the bath and I might let you.”
not getting out. I told you I’m sleeping here.”
all the drama? We’ve slept in the same bed for ages now. It’s not a big deal.”
She rolls over, showing me her back, and ignores me. “Stripes, get out of the
she thinks I’m going to give up that easy, she’s got another surprise coming.
She should know by now that I don’t give up and people don’t say no to me. I
put the camera on the counter by the sink, needing both of my hands.
so as not to reveal my intentions, I lean over the bath and line up my hands.
With one swift motion, I grip her tightly, heaving her out of the tub and
throwing her over my shoulder as she screams, “Put me down, Blake!”
told you, you’re not sleeping in a bath. Now shut up and stop hitting my back.”
My light and jovial words only serve to make her flail around even more. I
manage to pin her legs, but I’m powerless to do anything to stop her hands pounding
against my back. It’s not enough to hurt, that’s not her intention, but the
squirming is becoming increasingly frustrating.
I reach the bed, I drag her back over my shoulder and dump her on the mattress.
She bounces, not able to hide the laughter on her face while she stares at me
and hiccups. This is how I like to see her, carefree and happy. It’s rare
nowadays that I catch a glimpse of Neve when she’s truly happy, but in this
moment there isn’t a strained muscle in her body. It’s natural, and I can’t
stop myself from watching her. I’m still amazed that I’m the one who can bring
out her joy and it baffles me that she’s allowed herself to be mine.
remain gazing at each other with ridiculous grins for a minute. When I’m sure
she isn’t going to run, I move around to my of the bed side. Her head follows
me, and when I go to climb in beside her, she rolls over. She throws her arms
and legs out wide, taking up the entire mattress.
“You’re in the bath then.” She points at
the door with the hand furthest away from me, a devilish twinkle in her eyes.
It takes me a while to respond. The sight of her body stretched out in her
skimpy pyjamas makes my throat dry, and I have to consciously remind myself to
swallow. My gaze focuses on her pale skin, which is exposed by her shirt riding
up and the top of her shorts lowering as a result of her actions.
don’t think so.” My voice comes out more breathless than I expect as I watch
her spread out in front of me.
you’re not sleeping in here with me.”
bed, my rules.” I place one knee on the mattress and climb on. My arms support
most of my weight so my body is directly above hers. “So, I can either sleep on
the left … or on top of you.” My voice drops into a murmur and she gulps, her
lips parting as I hover over her. “Take your pick, Stripes.”
About the Author
#1 Amazon bestselling author Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.
Mia has written over ten titles including her Seasons of Change series, the Chequered Flag series, the Elemental Killers series, and her standalone novels False Finder and Not Enough.
Her favourite genres are contemporary romance or romantic suspense, and with an ever growing list of ideas she is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them. She also designs book covers on her website M Designs
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This is my first Hoddell read and I have to say that I really enjoyed her writing style. Her characters, especially Blake really warmed my heart and felt life like to me. I never questioned their motives or actions and it was a lot of fun getting to know them and to like them.
And while this story was emotional and I did enjoy it, the believability factor, for me, was never there. I don't know if that is because like the main character, I too, tend to be more of an introvert and have never, never, encountered the type of problems and harassment that she did in this story, or whether, I don't know, something about it just didn't work for me, but because of it, I had a really hard time connecting with Neve sometimes.
I adored her emails to herself though and those were the parts of the story that really grabbed me. Because regardless of the realistic factor or not, this book was full of wonderful, uplifting messages that had me slightly teary eyed at times and kept me reading on. And Blake, he stole the show. He really was the most amazing friend to her (and his family as well!) in this story and I loved him immediately and he too, made it worth reading.
Overall, this wasn't a bad read at all and like I mentioned, it really was well written and the messages about being yourself and not letting anyone change who you are or validate you as a person, were really beautiful and well done and because of that and the fact that I had to know how it ended, I'm giving this four stars because truly, any author that can make you want to finish a story even if you aren't connecting to it, deserves to have her work praised.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*