New Contemporary Romance About Breaking Up And Finding Yourself
COVER REVEAL & PREORDER
Lindsay Detwiler's 'Still Us' releases May 19th. Preorder now for #halfprice!
From the first time they locked eyes, Lila Morrow and Luke Bowman had a special spark. Their first kiss sealed their fairy-tale romance… until everything fell apart.
Luke’s life began when he met Lila—and in many ways, it ended when she left him. Drowning in regrets, Luke is determined to give Lila the space to be happy. The sexy, singing roofer quickly realizes, however, he really shouldn’t have let her go.
After their breakup, Lila moves back in with her family. The twenty-nine-year-old veterinarian’s transition to a life without Luke isn’t as easy as she expected. With the help of her wild Grandma Claire and her high-heel-loving sister, Maren, she starts to play the field… but she isn’t sure she’ll ever stop loving the curly-haired man from her early twenties.
Luke and Lila’s love story ended, and their individual boxes have been packed. But as they explore the single life and the dating world, both discover sometimes the love you leave behind is exactly what you need to be happy.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ojq8J7
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ogSJyY
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2GCpopg
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2sMtR6P
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Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was intrigued by the premise of Sleeping Beauties before I ever picked it up. The idea of all of the women falling asleep and getting a sickness from which they could not awake was super interesting to me. From page one, this book truly did the plot justice.
This book is not really horror, despite the King name. I found it to be more psychological/suspense/fantasy. I really enjoyed the writing style, which was poetic at points. The description and character development is out of this world. There are so many characters in this book, but I didn't feel confused. The development is so good that I was able to keep all of the characters distinct in my mind.
I enjoyed seeing so many characters' perspectives in this book. It keeps it engaging because there are so many sub-plots happening at once. I found the premise to be interesting. I was constantly looking at the deeper meaning of the book. If you're looking, I really think the book has a lot to offer in terms of gender roles, life's meaning, and the power of secrets. I like that there is so much depth to a very different, engaging story.
The book has a very apocalyptic feel. I also felt like it had similarities with The Handmaid's Tale, which is one of my favorite books. I like the commentary on gender roles and felt that this book did a job at illuminating interesting talking points without being over-the-top or "preaching."
My only dislike came near the end of the book. I had a hard time getting through the last 100 pages because I felt like the book really slowed down. The book was exciting up through about page 600. For me, it slacked off at that point and lost my interest. I felt like the ending was way too long and lost its intensity.
I also would have liked a deeper ending. It felt like a little bit of a letdown.
This book is certainly a time investment due to its length. However, if you're looking for a very different read that deals with gender roles in an apocalyptic background, grab this book.
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The Powerful Netflix Romance You Need To See Now: 'Irreplaceable You'
Tissues. You will need lots and lots of tissues.
Let me preface by saying I'm not usually one to cry at movies (EXCEPTION: Marley & Me. That one killed me). But Irreplaceable You made me tear up, made me weepy, and made me so emotional. It's a true tear-jerker movie with beauty, emotion, and a whole lot of feels.
It is a tragic romance about the devastating effects of cancer. I know what you're thinking--because I thought it too--there are so many movies out there already about this topic. Fault in Our Stars, and A Walk to Remember, for example--how could anything beat those?
Nonetheless, Irreplaceable You does a good job at creating its own feel and story line. For one, the protagonists are in their early 30s and planning their wedding. The age of the protagonists alone created a new set of problems, emotions, and a different dynamic.
Abby, who is diagnosed with cancer, worries about what will happen to Sam once she dies. Will he be able to find joy again? Will he be able to find someone to share his life with again? Thus, she decides to spend her final months preparing for her death by scoping out the dating scene for Sam. Her hope is that she can find a replacement for herself so she can die at peace, knowing he'll be happy.
I know it sounds like an odd premise... and it made me a little uncomfortable at first. However, Abby's quirky personality was able to shine even during the most depressing moments. There are small moments that break up the depressing, heavy scenes and even made me laugh. Furthermore, Abby's sense of dark humor throughout the movie allowed the tension to ease at points and allowed me to appreciate her character even more.
The story is a tad cliche at points and is pretty predictable. However, I felt like the point wasn't to have some over-the-top plot or unexpected twist. The point was to capture the emotions of this tragedy while also showcasing the depth of a love story. The movie did just that and ripped my heart out in the process.
I think the fact that Abby and Sam were childhood sweethearts added a layer of depth to the story as well. They didn't meet during her diagnosis or shortly before or after. They had already lived so much of their love story and were looking forward to decades more when cancer ripped that from them. Their shared history makes it all that more difficult to accept, for the characters and the audience.
I liked that their history came through in their interactions. The memories conveyed, their roots, and their catch phrases made them feel so real as a couple.
At times, I did wish I could see more of Sam's character. I felt like he wasn't as open in the movie as Abby. Of course, she is the main focus, which could be why I felt like that. Still, I wish I could've seen more of his struggles with the diagnosis and the situation. Sometimes, it felt like he wasn't emotionally moved by what was happening like he should've been. I also don't know that the movie accurately depicted the true devastation, emotionally and physically, of cancer. The movie skipped over a lot of the heavy issues Abby would have been dealing with. I think this could have made it richer and more realistic.
I will say that this movie is very heavy, especially with the ending. It really makes you think about so much. Most of all, it made me think about time and how time with my husband is really the most important thing.
If you're looking for a romantic drama with all the feels, check out Irreplaceable You on Netflix... but be sure you have some waterproof mascara and some comfort foods ready to go.
Have you watched this yet? What did you think? Comment below and let me know if you have any other Netflix recommendations!
Time is the Most Important Thing in Your Relationship
I almost said “no.”
The laundry was piling up and dishes were stacked like a Jenga tower in the sink. The vacuum needed run, and we had a ton of errands we should’ve accomplished to get through the week without drowning in adult responsibility. Bills to pay, groceries to buy and organize, nooks and crannies to dust, closets to organize—we had so many things we could’ve been accomplishing on that Sunday. There were so many thing that seemed vitally important.
Because of those mountains of responsibilities, I almost said “no.” But looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t let the rational me take over. I’m so glad I said “yes” when my husband decided on a whim to use a vacation day, stay home from work, and take me to see The Greatest Showman. He convinced me to put down the chore lists, to put aside all of the tasks that seemed so important in the moment, and to just spend time with him.
The typical me would’ve argued about saving vacation days, about getting things done, and about not having the time to waste at a movie.
But for 2018, I’ve vowed to myself to spend less time worrying and to spend more time appreciating those around me. I’ve vowed to reorganize my priorities and to take some moments for myself.
So I said “yes,” shoving aside the unfolded basket of laundry and moving the area rug over the dirt on the living room floor. I cleared everything off my to-do list, unaccomplished, and spent the day with my husband.
It was a simple day, really. We lounged on the couch before going to see the movie—which is absolutely stunning, by the way. We laughed and talked, really talked. We put aside technology for a while and just spent time with each other, hand in hand.
He didn’t whisk me away to some exotic locale. We didn’t have a flashy, overtly romantic day. To an outsider, the day probably seems like a waste of a vacation day.
At the end of it, though, it was my favorite day, a day I know we’ll remember for years to come because we took time out of this insanely hectic race called adult life to do what was most important—spend time together. And, to me at least, that isn’t a waste of a day at all.
Time is Finite, So Spend it Wisely
How do we quantify the value of a relationship?
Money? Sex? Loyalty? The number of “I love yous?”
In the past few months, I’ve learned that those things are important, certainly, but that there’s something else even more important: Time together.
My husband’s schedule changed a few months ago, which has limited our time. Work schedules, responsibilities, and daily living has pulled us apart against our choosing. It’s sucked in a lot of ways, but it’s also taught me an important lesson: It’s time that really defines a relationship.
Not just the amount of time spent together but the quality... and how much you want to spend time together.
In the past few months, we’ve learned that time spent together is what matters most. At the end of the day, folded laundry and neatly organized pantries don’t make a relationship great. Grand, expensive gestures and overtly romantic gestures don’t solidify the foundation of a marriage.
It’s time spent together, no matter what you’re doing. We’ve come to realize all those days of sitting on the sofa together watching Netflix or eating grilled cheese sandwiches or just being together are the moments that really matter. They’re the moments that have solidified who we are together and made us strong. And, with our time together cut down, we’ve come to realize how much joy being together brings us... and how much we miss it.
No matter what our situation, we are all working under a finite amount of time. Schedule changes, growing families, changing family dynamics, tragedies—all of these things can change the amount of time we have in the blink of an eye.
Thus, no matter who we are or what our relationship situation is, we must learn to make the most of our moments together and do what we have to do to find the time to spend together.
We must value our time with our loved one and make it a priority so we can solidify our relationship and find true joy.
I’ve thankful that for us, the schedule change will hopefully be temporary. I’m thankful our time hasn’t been cut short from a bigger, more harrowing circumstance. Still, it’s taught me to never take time with my husband for granted and to appreciate every minute, every hour, every day. It’s taught me to prioritize the time we have together because it’s what truly matters.
So today, put down the laundry if you have to. Cross of a few less-important things from your to-do list. Let your spouse take that vacation day, or cancel that appointment that doesn’t really matter. Find a few minutes, a few hours, a few days to spend together doing what matters most—appreciating each other, loving each other, and finding joy in the simple moments.
Lindsay Detwiler is a contemporary romance author with Hot Tree Publishing. To learn more about her novels that celebrate sweet, genuine love stories, join her VIP Fan Club above.
5 Stars for Lou Clark's Return in Still Me
Still Me by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Louisa Clark is back... and she is, true to the title, still the fun-loving, quirky, bumble bee tights wearing girl we all fell in love with in Me Before You.
I was ecstatic to see this series continue because in honesty, I wasn't pleased with the ending of After You. In Me Before You, Louisa won me over with her witty charm, penchant for saying crazy things, and her lovable family. I wanted to be best friends with her, and I was rooting for her success.
Then, of course, Me Before You gutted my soul. If you haven't read Me Before You yet...do. And grab your tissues.
I understand why After You needed to be what it was. Still, I was left utterly disappointed. Louisa Clark was flat in After You. I missed her humor and charm. I missed her zest for life.
Still Me proves that even after horrific loss, you can find yourself again. Lou is able to reconnect with the girl she was with Will Traynor. She's able to find her exuberance for life and her passion. However, after all she's been through, she is a little different. How could she not be? In this story, Lou has to reconcile the girl she was before Will and the woman she wants to be now.
I loved the premise of this book. Lou moving to New York City was exciting and vibrant. I loved watching her explore and figure herself out. I also love the problems she encountered living with an extremely wealthy family. I thought it was imaginative and gave me a glimpse at a very different lifestyle than Lou's and my own.
Jojo Moyes did a great job at showing Lou's indecisiveness at this stage of life, something so many twentysomethings can relate to. Lou doesn't have it all figured out, and that gave me hope for myself. I liked watching her figure out who she is and what she wants.
I also enjoyed the romantic elements in the book. I thought Jojo Moyes presented a realistic problem for Lou and carried it through. I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending, which made me happy.
I am so thankful Jojo Moyes wrote this book and didn't leave Lou where she was at the end of After You. All in all, I thought this was an amazing addition to the series and helped get Lou back to a resemblance of the girl we fell in love with in Me Before You.
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How was your day?
It's such a basic question, one so many of us toss around countless times a day. We ask our mailman, the barista at the coffee shop, or the random person we pass at work. It's a question that seems to carry so little weight.
However, these days, that question carries a lot of weight in my relationship because, in many ways, it's been a chance for my husband and me to stay connected.
For the past few months, we've endured vastly differing work schedules that only afford us a limited amount of time together a week. I won't lie--it's been crazy hard.
I know there are so many other couples out there dealing with worse schedules: traveling jobs, military positions, and other circumstances probably keep other couples apart more than we are. Still, he's my absolute best friend, and the plain truth is: I miss all of our time together.
I miss our random, Monday trips to Target. I miss our hour rants about our days right when I would get home. I miss our dinners together and our Lunchables on nights we didn't feel like cooking. I miss the constant companionship, the simple moments, the shared laughs.
I miss him.
Over the past few months, though, we've learned that to make love work, you have to choose to invest in it.
Even though we don't have a lot of time together, the simple fact is we make time. He gets up at the crack of dawn with me to see me off to work, and I stay up super late to talk to him when he gets home. We both are running on "E" in many ways, our sleep schedules totally dysfunctional and lacking. But we do it, not because we're okay without our eight hours (we both are super grouchy without sleep), but because our time together is more important than a few extra hours.
Sacrifice. It's something we've learned over the past few months.
And we also stay in touch through texting. We make a point to send each other messages, to chat when we get a free moment.
And, every single day, I get this text: How are you?
It's a simple phrase, just a few words, but it's really become symbolic of who we are.
He's not around for my day now. He's not here for me to vent or to share in the joys with. Still, even when he's not here, he still wants to know how my day was.
He still takes the time to check in, to find out what's going on in my life, even if it has to be reduced to the words on a phone screen.
These past few months have sucked in a lot of ways, but they've also reinforced the fact that keeping love alive is a choice--and it's not always about grand gestures. Keeping love alive is about simple moments, small gestures of sacrifice that go a long way.
It's about choosing to find any and every way possible to stay connected. It's about showing care for the other person even when you can't physically be there.
Most of all, it's about truly wanting to know how the other person is and caring enough to ask.
How do you keep love alive throughout the drudgery of the work week? Have you ever dealt with different schedules? How did you keep the connection going?
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Sweet Love Prize Pack Up For Grabs
I love Valentine's Day.
Not the commercialized, Hallmark-y version. Not because I think it's the only day of the year you should celebrate your loved ones.
In truth, I love it for this simple reason: I love pink and sparkles....and the stores are filled with pink and sparkles.
Okay, so that is the main reason I love the holiday. An excuse to make adorable pink cookies (that, let's be real, are usually burnt and gross, but it's the thought, right?) and a reason to buy glitter... since I was a little girl, it's been right up my alley.
However, as I get older, I've come to realize that Valentine's Day IS important, even though it gets a lot of negative publicity.
Over the years, my husband and I have been through quite a few different versions of Valentine's Day. We've done the traditional roses/candy/cards Valentine's Day. We've done the going out to eat for a candlelit dinner celebration. Our first year of marriage, we did the "we're on a majorly tight budget" and spent only $5 on each other while cooking at home. We've done the "we've-been-married-a-while-now-let's-get-massages-instead" Valentine's Day. We've done the Netflix and pizza celebration.
We've changed our celebration for the day of love as we've changed, and I have good memories from all of them.
However, I've come to learn this over the years: Married or single, the beauty of Valentine's Day is simply the belief in the value of love.
I agree that the holiday has been over-commercialized, like so many things. Still, I think the power of the holiday is in the fact that we as a society still value love.
Love is something we often overlook in life. We get so busy making money, working on our careers, and just trying to keep up with life. We often forget to celebrate the most beautiful, most complex emotion around us.
And I'm not talking beautiful on the outside. As you know, I believe that it's the imperfect kind of love, the sometimes ugly-crying, messy versions that are the most beautiful.
But love is something that heightens our human experience, whether it be romantic love or any other type.
So this Valentine's Day, whether you're a proponent or an opponent of the holiday, I hope you'll take a minute to think about those you love in your life. I hope you'll take a moment to remember that the importance of the holiday is to take a moment and celebrate the emotion in all its forms in your own life.
I hope you remember that Valentine's Day isn't about how much money you spend or putting on a big show one day a year. It's about remembering all year long how powerful love can be... and how it can bring a richer, fuller experience to our lives.
Happy Valentine's Day, however you celebrate,
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Three years into my romance writing journey, I've learned that writing your truth is the most important thing
I write my truth.
In the beginning, I didn't plan on being a published author. I wrote Voice of innocence partially to prove to myself I could write a book and partially because Emma and Corbin's story wouldn't stop haunting me. Still, from the beginning, this writing journey hasn't been about writing what will sell or what people want to hear.
It's about telling the story that's inside. It's about telling the journey of the characters who often take on a life of their own. It's about writing my truth.
As I grow as I writer, I'm coming to learn that just like in life, not everyone will love everything about you or your work. Some books just aren't for everyone, and that's okay. It's what I love about literature, and it's part of the beauty of it. We all read literature in different ways. Some books connect with us. Some don't.
So, as I continue writing stories, I continue to write my truth. My characters sometimes do things that bother readers. They are sometimes indecisive, they make mistakes, they get confused. They are sometimes vulnerable, naive, and blinded by love.
My stories are sweet, but they've got their spice. Some might be bothered by the lack of sex in my books. Some might be bothered by my tendency to curse... because in my experience, women curse. A lot sometimes. It makes my characters feel real to me.
At the end of the day, I hope you connect with my stories. I want my readers to find themselves in my books. I pride myself on making readers connect emotionally with my stories, with my characters, and with their journeys to love. The proudest moments in my career are when a reviewer or reader says, "I really connected with that character." It's the best feeling in the world.
However, I also don't write with marketing in mind. I write the story I feel, the story inside. I write the words that strike me, that move me. I write about the love stories and plots and situations that haunt me.
I write my truth, just like I try to live it.
At the end of the day, as a writer, I think that's the best lesson we can learn... write your truth. Write your passion.
And, if you're fortunate, your truth will speak to someone else.
Isn't that the true magic of writing?
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