Friday, 30 August 2013

Book Review and Giveaway starring: WHERE I END AND YOU BEGIN by Andra Brynn


In Japan, they say there’s a red thread of fate that binds people who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. It may tangle, it may knot, it may stretch or fray, but it will never break. It is a future as indelible as the past.

I hope that isn't true. I pity anyone destined to meet me.


For Bianca Ray, the past is always catching up, one way or another. Now in her third semester at college, it's doing it again. Too much drinking has led to plummeting grades and rising absences, putting her scholarships in peril. When she makes it clear that she needs help—all over the floor of her history class—she’s given one last chance to shape up: seek therapy and bring her grades up by the end of the semester, or she’s out.

Enter Catholic seminarian Daniel McGuire. The last thing Bianca wants is an aspiring priest to counsel her on how to live her life, but the handsome graduate student is different from the holy rollers she fled from at home. Gentle and unobtrusive, he helps her pick up the pieces and find a new way to live: not running from the past, but facing it head on. 

But opening up her heart to release the pain means that something else can come in. As Bianca and Daniel grow closer, their relationship moves onto dangerous ground and the fragile courage Bianca has built up threatens to fail her. Can she exorcise the ghosts of her past, or will they catch hold and drag her down where not even Daniel can reach her?

***Copy kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review***

“And just like that I’m falling and it all comes crashing back in like the bursting windows of a sinking ship and I’m drowning in the terror and the helplessness, the cold, and the despair, and I’m on my knees and I can’t breathe, and I’ll never get past it, it will always come back, I will never escape, never escape never escape, never never never never never never never fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK

Wow. I don’t even know how useful this review is going to be because, well, my mind is…completely blown. I’m shocked. Speechless. Why-did-I-not-read-this-earlier going through my head so this may be more of an emotional vent than review. This isn’t the typical NA book I usually read, and quite honestly, I forgot my ultimate book boyfriends when I read this book. My three T’s (Travis, Trent, and T.J.) were whooshed out of my mind; heck, I even forgot about effin Will Cooper!!! There was only Bianca and Daniel, Daniel and Bianca, and their all-out consuming story that made me reevaluate all of my preconceived notions I had about this book.

“The strength of emotion unresolved in life can tie a ghost to this world, just as surely as a violent death will. An emotion so uncontrollable that it takes on a life of its own. They haunt the places they died, tied to this world, and everyone who touches them is infected with the disease of their feelings.”

“Ghosts who mourn. Ghosts who hate. Ghosts who covet, ghosts who desire. Envy, greed, lust, unrequited love. Resentment. Loneliness. Sometimes it seems that just about any feeling at all could turn you into a ghost.”

Let’s just get one thing straight. I hate ghosts. The idea is just preposterous. They’re not even real, for goodness sake. If I don’t hate them, I make fun of them. You can probably imagine my reaction when the very first page smacked me with a ghost story. Yeah. Except…I was intrigued. Hesitant, yes, but wanting to know more because of the way Andra weaved it into the story. To see what made this Bianca chick tick. And then, HOLY HELL!!! Let’s just say I will NEVER see ghosts the same way again nor will I make fun of them. Andra has this special writing style that just sucks you in like a hurricane. It had a mix of Colleen Hoover and J.M. Darhower, but her voice is completely fresh, unique, incredibly attention-grabbing, and her own. It’s just…really hard to explain. Either way, it takes A LOT for me to read about ghosts when I effin hate them, erm, used to hate, so that says something about Andra’s writing. 

“I am everyone’s bad example, the horrible warning that they can avoid if they’re good enough, strong enough, believe in God, give money to hobos, pet kittens. I mean, I must have donesomething. And I have. I’ve drunk a shit ton of alcohol. But they never think, Where did it start? They never think,Would I do it too, if I knew the same things?

Bianca (let’s just go with this name) Ray is a college scholarship student who suffers from extreme depression and alcohol abuse. She drowns out her sorrows with drinking and sleeping around with guys, and though this type of heroine is quite common in books, her pain stemmed from a completely different aspect that I’ve never read about before. For one, I could never put my finger down on exactly what she was running from. Was it her mother? Parental abuse? Father issues? Some kind of traumatic event? Turns out it was a combination of all of the above. And I didn’t even realize it until she actually blurted the truth out to Daniel. Just when I thought I was done with the ghost talk, then BAM!! I was just amazed at how shocked I was. The pieces all started to fit together and the truth, the real truth, slammed into me so hard my heart flew up to my throat. 

“Just imagine dying, especially after a violent death. The pain’s been arcing through you, burning away your rational thought, fear clawing your sanity to shreds, and then…bliss. Peace. No more pain. No more worries. No more money troubles, or broken hearts. No more painful memories. All of that gone.”

“You have escaped the bonds of your body, slipped free of its vagaries and lusts and hurts and needs. Then you open your ethereal eyes, and everything is exactly the same.”

Oh no, you’d think. Not this shit again.

Can you imagine that pain, that anguish? To think that you finally are released from all your worries, all sorrows, only to open your eyes to see it in front of you, taunting you? God, Bianca…I am not ashamed to say that I cried lots for her. Big, fat, ugly tears. With snot. 

“Daniel is really hot, but to me it’s sort of overshadowed by his personality, which is…almost odd, because if there’s anything Daniel seems like, it’s gentle. He’s gentle in spirit. He’s not hard like me, not full of nails and bile. He’s just sweet, and kind, and a good person.”

That is actually a perfect description of Daniel. Oh, and he’s a priest-in-training. That was in the blurb, but silly me didn’t read that so I was pleasantly surprised when Daniel admitted his soon-to-be occupation. I actually giggled, no hooted, with laughter alongside Bianca because, well, it’s just so darn funny. Talk about opposites attracting each other! Daniel is such a refreshing character to read about and I had this strange notion to protect him, to shield him from all the badness in the world. Not sure how I’m going to fit his name into ultimate book boyfriend hall with my three T’s but I’ll work that out.

One more thing!! I couldn’t just leave this review without mentioning humor!! For such a somber tale, the little snippets of funniness really brightened my day. I just LOVE the banter between Bianca and Daniel and holy schmolies, only Andra could make the seven deadly sins into something hilarious. Is there anything this woman can’t do??!!

“You just drank the sauce?”
“Why not? I paid for it. It tastes good. I’m not going to let it go to waste. That’s…I’m sure that’s some kind of sin.”
“Yeah, but drinking it was gluttony.”
“Wrath. I’m feeling wrath right now.”
“I had the impulse to slap you silly, but I was too lazy to do it.”
“You’d slap this sweet face?”
“You really are full of pride.” 

*Sigh* I really didn’t want this book to end, and though the ending left me secure and satisfied, I sincerely hope that Andra writes a sequel, or companion novel to follow this one. I’ll even settle for an extra chapter!!! Or a Daniel POV scene? This book, hands down, definitely made my list of best books of 2013. 

***5+++++ PHENOMENAL STARS!!!!!*** 

Side note: I was listening to Heartbreaker-Abbi Glines when reading most of this book. It’s weird, listening to one author’s book song for another book, but I thought the song really captured the tone and mood of this book! 

Now for the giveaway!! Enter below for 2 ebook copies of Where I End and You Begin by Andra Brynn. Giveaway starts at midnight 8/31.

Good luck!