Friday, 5 December 2014

** BLOG TOUR ** REVIEW ** GIVEAWAY ** All I Want (Alabama Summer #2) by J. Daniels includes ** REVIEW ** of Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1)

Author: J. Daniels
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Title: All I Want (Alabama Summer #2)
This is a standalone with interconnected characters. It is recommended to read Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1) as Luke and Tessa's relationship is introduced in book 1.

Luke Evans is a heartbreaker.

I didn’t want to give mine to him. Not when he kept me out.

He gave me enough, just enough to make me fall in love with him. I say this to convince myself. But I know the truth.

I would’ve fallen in love with him at a distance.

Handing my heart over to Luke was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was naive when I wished for more, when I hoped he wanted the same things I did.

I try to hate him. I try to forget him.

But it’s not that easy.

Love is a ruthless bitch, and I’m her latest victim.

Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.

When she sets her sights on you, she doesn’t just consume your heart, she goes for your soul.

What we had was perfect, real, and all I would ever want.

But she destroyed it.

She destroyed us.

I try to hate her. I try to forget her.

But it’s not that easy.

Love is for people who have hope, and I have none.

This is a joint Where I Belong and All I Want review

Particular authors just have that writing style that talks to us. That we "get".

You know a book is good, really good when it invokes emotions. Whether you laugh out loud, are ready to throw it against the wall in anger or have tears streaming down your face, a book that is written well so that there are no other thoughts going on in your head and all you can focus on is the characters and the emotions that are created by the words on the page before you - that, to me is how I know that a book is good, really good.  Where I Belong and subsequently, All I Want did that for me. I had moments where I laughed out loud, moments where I wanted to throw my iPad in frustration and there were moments where I had tears streaming down my face as my heart was breaking over the choices a character made.

I had never read a book by Ms Daniels previously, but many had recommended her Sweet Addictions series. So when I was given the opportunity to read this series I jumped, and what a way to break my J. Daniels virginity.

Where I Belong and All I Want are standalones that contain interconnected characters.  Both books also contain well written alternating POVs - none of this re-telling of the previous chapter crap or the same voice painted with the other characters name (that just annoys me). I thoroughly enjoyed having both sides.

The first book, Where I Belong, focuses on the relationship between Mia Corelli and her best friends older brother, Benjamin. Mia returns to Alabama to spend the summer with her best friend, Tessa whom she has stayed in close contact with even though she moved to Georgia 9 years prior. Mia was a fat awkward kid and of course after growing up and into her skin, shed away the awkwardness and baby fat (yes, a little cheesy and predictable but it works).

I'm not the same girl that left Ruxton nine years ago. That girl has been gone for a long time. The braces came off first, followed by the weight and the glasses was exchanged for contacts. My hair is no longer a wild mess of curls now that I've learnt how to manage it.

Benjamin was the typical bullying older brother, who after all this time Mia still despised. However, 9 years can change a person. Ben is a police officer by day (oh, a man in uniform. Be still my beating heart!) and the most gorgeous attentive daddy by night (it can't get any better! Oh wait, it does) to the most adorable little dude, Nolan.

"What's your name?"
"Pwincess Mia," he corrects me with a crooked grin. "Daddy said that you might need to be kissed to wake you up."

I absolutely loved the change in Ben from the asshole teenage boy to the responsible caring man he became. He's sexy, sweet and had this dirty mouth that was just HAWT! Mia was great too. Of course you are going to have the internal battle of trying to forgive and forget the teenage tormentor of your past and recognise the person they had become, so Kudos to Ms Daniels, as for me it had the right amount to angst because in these types of situations, the too-ing and fro-ing can annoy the crap out of me.

 "You've got me, baby. This is where I belong."

The second book in the series, All I Want expands on the relationship between Tessa and her brother's best friend and partner, Luke Evans. This is one of those jilted lovers type stories and even though this book is a standalone, I definitely recommend reading the first book of the series to get a greater understanding of Luke and Tessa.

Luke and Tessa have a hot and heavy chemistry that never cools off, but when Tessa finds out that Luke isn't interested in settling down and having a family, and that he will always keep himself emotionally closed off to her, what else is a girl to do? Settle for someone that may never say I love you back? Someone that doesn't share the same desires and long term goals as you?

 I tried to convince myself, and anyone that asked, that I didn't need more than what he was giving me. Which, looking back, wasn't much. He was private about most stuff, except his body. That he didn't mind sharing.
Tessa is brash, bold, sassy, sarcastic, and yes I would go as far as calling her a bitch! - all those things you want in a strong heroine, but under that hard exterior is a soft vulnerable woman, just wanting to be loved and to share that love in return. Luke has a lot of baggage and feels that it's not something he should share. It's his and his problem alone and therefore doesn't open up emotionally to others. He understands that he will never be able to  give Tessa what she wants, but after 12 long months, they both can't stop having each other plague their daily thoughts. Therefore we begin the I hate you/ I want you tug of war.

It's possible to hate someone, to look at them and wish you weren't aware of their every move, and to want them more than you've ever wanted anything in your life.

This is a lot more gritty than the previous book, with both characters strong and dominant, trying to outdo the other, yet they fit together perfectly. There were times that I just wanted to belt them over their heads and just yell and scream at their actions,  and there were times I was utterly heartbroken yet understanding of the choices that were made. For me, this just proves what a fantastic story teller Ms Daniels is. I mean seriously, I ended up loving a bitch and an asshole? Who does that? ;)

**I received a copy of the book for an honest review**


Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1)  


All I Want (Alabama Summer #2)

J. Daniels was born and raised in Maryland.

After putting her kids to bed, she escapes into her cheeky world where some of her characters kiss, and some of them do a lot more than kiss.

She is an avid reader and enjoys everything from unconventional romance to fantasy novels.

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