Release date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Nicole Williams
Age Group: Mature Young Adult/New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.
After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.
Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.
Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl—happily-right-now is a stretch—so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.
When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
4.5 “Willow Springs” Kisses
Even as an optimist, I still can’t help the giddy and thrilling emotions I get when I open up a book and 100% let the emotions swallow me whole while the characters envelop me and take me on a ride. I loved this book from the first paragraph to the last and I know how much of an impact it had on me because now that it’s over, I’m unable to let go! I can’t help it but that is the true sign of a great book for me, one that pulls those feelings out of me that I can’t shake it from my head – I honestly feel like a crazy person, but I want that.
Rowen Sterling is a lot of things. You can label her ‘a goth, an emo, a druggie, a loser…a freak’ . She’s an outcast, a black sheep…and yet she’s so much more. She’s jaded, almost past the point of hope and even her own mother can barely stand to be around her. Her last ditch effort…an attempt to do the one thing that will bring her life joy, going to her #1 college choice to pursue her art major dreams. There is one thing that stands between her and her future. Three months ‘smack in the middle of Hickville, USA.’
‘I was a city girl who’d never been around anything four-legged other than dogs or cats. I believed wide open spaces and starry nights were overrated and only idealized so the country music industry could stay afloat. I thought rural was synonymous with hell. I was the lucky girl who’d be spending my entire summer up to my knees in “rural.” I wasn’t sure how I’d do it, and I sure as hell didn’t want to do it, but I had to. Three months in hell was worth four years of art school. My life had never been easy, so I knew I could handle whatever waited for me at Willow Springs. A long time ago, I’d learned I was good at “handling” life. I didn’t excel at it, and I certainly didn’t thrive at it, but I could handle life and everything it had thrown at me. My secret? I’d simply accepted that life was pain.’
Jesse Walker is the first person she meets off the bus…and the first thing I fell in love with…his ass. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more well described ass in a book, and while it may not sound like a compliment, trust me it is. There is not a picture in the world that will do his butt in those jeans as much justice as the picture in my head. He’s a ranch hand…a 19 year old blonde god sent to knock Rowen on her ass…mission accomplished. OOOOMG did I swoon over Jesse. I need a better word for swoon, he’s just ah-maz-ing.
‘Hello, fine, fine ass. How I’d missed you.’
So once Rowen figures out that fighting her attraction and feelings for the man who is everything she thought she never wanted but is turning out to be more perfect for her than words, things are great. Fabulous. I’m in my happy place and loving every minute of it. There’s enough angst to keep me anxious, but I cannot stress enough the swoon factor that Jesse Walker brings to table is off the charts phenomenal. Love that boy. Alright, so this is where the ‘dirty book whore’ takes over. Let me just tell you…I love kissing scenes as much as the next girl…but seriously. Their kissing scene….W.O.W. One of the best I’ve read. Just wow. Loved it….and I promise you, all they did was kiss.
‘As much as I wanted to deny the way I felt about Jesse, I couldn’t ignore it. My feelings for him were instinctual, as automatic as blinking my eyes. Jesse Walker had worked his way inside of my impenetrable walls, and I didn’t know how to shove him out. I wasn’t sure how he’d gotten there in the first place. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted him out. So much confusion over some guy. I’d officially become my worst nightmare.’
They’ve both got issues monumental enough to break them but both dealt with them in different ways Rowen wears her issues like a blanket wrapped around her like a suit of armor to protect her from others, preferring the label of freak or other names than to deal with the harsh pain of the truth. While Jesse took the more positive road, he’s the ‘golden child’ but once the truth is revealed, you understand his path to happiness wasn’t necessarily as smooth as you may think. While I wasn’t necessarily surprised when the truth’s were revealed, there were a lot of aspects and things that played out that I didn’t see coming. While some books can get a little predictable I never once felt this story went with predictable. I was surprised multiple times and really had no idea what was going to happen next and I loved that.
“I’ve never been so excited for sometime.”
Rowen Rowen Rowen…love her name by the way…of course I loved her. She’s so dark and damaged but is the classic example of how the right boy can break down all those walls in mere seconds. She’s her own worst enemy. She’s a runner. Better to avoid the truth than talk about it or deal with it. There were times when I wanted to shake her, but they were few and far between because watching her go through and process everything while sometimes heartbreaking, sad, frustrating, etc., it was still a beautiful process to watch unfold.
“I don’t know who I am, Lily. I’m just really good at pretending.”
I’m 100% hooked on all things Nicole Williams. Her writing absolutely blew me away. It was engrossing, from page to page, I couldn’t put it down. The story gripped me, it was a relatively new twist on a story that I hadn’t read before and something I wasn’t expecting? It was funny! Like laugh out loud funny. It was witty and sarcastic…loved that. The characters were insanely well developed, I felt they were so authentic, I mean even down to the secondary characters like Jesse’s family or the douche bag Garth, they were all very genuine, real characters in my head.
‘He bent his face into the curve of my neck. “We don’t deserve anything Rowen. We don’t deserve punishment, we don’t deserve happiness, life owes us nothing. Realize that.” His voice wasn’t gentle anymore; it was as strong as I’d ever heard it. “So we have to take what we want because life sure as shit isn’t going to freely hand it over.” He kissed the skin just above my collar bone. “And I want you.”’
I know I never want my books to end. I’m sure not many people do. I know I have attachment issues and can’t let go, whatever – I do not feel like Rowen and Jesse’s story is over. That ending was left W.I.D.E. open. Slap a ‘The End’ on it all you want…that was not an ending. And while it was HEA-ish…I need more resolution in my head. So…my resolution for the time being….pout until I know I’ll get more Rowen and Jesse 🙂 Yes…I’m aware that I sound like a 5 year old and I’m okay with that.
Nicole has a fabulous giveaway going on – up for grabs is:
(1) Print copy of Lost and Found – Open International
(1) Leather cuff bracelet with metal inscription “Love is organized chaos” – Open International
(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card – Open to countries that can use Amazon
See? Amazing prizes right? Click here to enter Rafflecopter giveaway or click the logo
I’m a wife, a mom, a writer. I started writing because I loved it and I’m still writing because I love it. I write young adult because I still believe in true love, kindred spirits, and happy endings. Here’s to staying young at heart *raises champagne glass* . . . care to join me?