Friday 18 March 2016

Collared by Nicole Williams Blog Tour ~ #bookreview #excerpt

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Buy the Book



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When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.   

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I feel something swirl at my ankle, then it grabs me. I’m sucked under instantly as the undercurrent slams me to the ocean bottom and tumbles me around. It’s happened before, so I don’t panic. I know that once it’s done with me, it will let me go. Once it’s twirled me around a few times, it will leave me alone.
I can feel it starting to lose momentum when two arms brace around me and break me free. When we pop through the surface, Torrin spins me around, terror drawing up his expression.
“Are you okay?” He holds me with one hand, inspecting me with the other like he’s going to find an elbow or organ missing.
I’m totally wet. I feel ocean water draining out of my ears and nose. My hair feels like a cyclone just had its way with it, and I know my skin’s red and blotchy from the sand exfoliation treatment I just received free of charge.
I laugh. This is what alive feels like. I remember.
It’s adrenaline pulsing so hard in my veins they feel about to burst. It’s feelings that twist my stomach into knots. It’s feeling so cold my body goes numb and so attracted to someone my body feels the opposite of numb.
This is it. Living. I can almost feel the blood warm in my veins as it starts to run again.
“Why are you laughing?” Torrin’s face flashes with relief when he sees I’m okay, but he doesn’t let go of me.
On the beach, my parents slowly make their way back to the beach blankets once they’ve seen I’m okay.
“That was fun.” I rub my stomach because it hurts. From the laughter. I’d forgotten stomachs could hurt from laughing.
“Fun? Not my idea of fun.”
I wipe the water from my face and find just as much sand pasted to it. “What’s your idea of fun then?”
Torrin’s still shaking his head when he suddenly shouts, “This!”
He pulls me under the water with him. He lets me go right away, but I don’t want him to. I don’t want him to ever let go.
           I splash him when he resurfaces a few feet away. “Did you just dunk me?”
           He splashes back. “I just did.”
           “You’ve heard of payback, right?” I move a little closer, ignoring the way I can feel my parents watching us from the beach.
           “I’ve heard of it. Not really a big fan though.”
           When I lunge at him and try to knock him under, he’s clearly bracing for it because all I do is smash into him. My wet body against his, our arms tangled together, our faces too close to not be aware of where each other’s mouths are . . .
           “What’s this payback thing again?” He’s practically gloating, so I come at it from a different angle.
           My eyes drop to his mouth and stay there until his lips part from his breaths coming faster. When my hand curves against the side of his face, sweeping down the line of his jaw, I feel his chest moving hard against mine. His arms tangle tighter behind me because I’m slipping through them. When that doesn’t work, he hoists me higher, and his arms form a net beneath my backside.
           I need to clear my head before I can’t remember what I’m doing.
           My eyes lift to his and hold there. When he blinks, a drop of water rolls off his eyelashes. My hand slides lower until my thumb is touching the corner of his mouth.
           “Torrin?” I whisper, my mouth lowering.
           “Yeah?” His voice is rough, coming from low in his throat.
           I move my mouth just outside his ear. “This . . . is . . .”—I burst free of his hold and slide his legs out from beneath him with my foot—“payback!”
           He goes down with a surprised shout and an explosive splash. I’m laughing again, and so is he when he pops his head above the water.
“Well played, Childs.”
           “Thank you very much,” I say with a bow, hoping he can’t see right through me the way I feel he can sometimes.
If he does, he’ll know. He’ll know I would have rather kissed him. I would rather still be kissing him. He’ll know that while I’m content to put most of the past behind me, there’s one part I want to pack and bring with me to the future.
           I think he might see it though, because I think I might see it in him too.
The sun catches his eyes just right when he looks at me. “You always had a way of taking the ground right out from beneath me.”

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Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.

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Source: eARC for Honest Review from Author and Ardent Prose
Genre: Adult Romance

My Collared Review . . . 

First, it has been FOREVER since I read a Nicole Williams book and I am so excited I got a chance to review this book, as it was fabulous.  It's also a book that sits in your soul and wakes something up that we have to listen to.  It has been a long time since I had a book that made me highlight a ton of quotes to show the emphasis of the greatness of a book.  As well as a book that makes me keep re-thinking about it constantly and talking about it to others.  It's not a typical romance story but a very poignant and beautiful tragic story.

" 'Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.' "

Jade Childs and Torrin Costigan were childhood nemeses turn best friends turn teenage lovers.  Then one tragic event happens and shifts the worlds of everyone involved.

After a beautiful promise of forever, Jade's abducted and lost to the world for TEN years.  Now ten years later Torrin never gave up on her, which finally helped to bring Jade home.  Unfortunately a lot can happen in ten years.  Everyone is moving forward yet still stuck, but for Jade she's now a girl stuck in a woman's body.  She never forgot her love for Torrin but this abduction broke everything about her, and now she has to find a way to survive and move forward from this tragedy.

"You can't go back to that same life, but that doesn't mean you can't make a new one that's just as good."

The chain might be invisible and a little bit longer, but I'm still bound to it.

Gah! This story broke my heart as Jade waded through the shrapnel of her life.  If it weren't for Torrin I don't know how she would have survived.    This story had so many twists and turns on the road of recovery.  It's not conventional and that's what makes it so powerful.

"The woman I wanted to spend my life with was gone.  I wasn't in the mood to find a backup."

We are all chained in ways which makes this story a great metaphor for life.  What happens once the chains are removed?  What do we choose to do?  Do we move forward?  Do we become a victim of our circumstances?  Or do we power through and survive by moving forward?

 For Jade, the physical collar may have represented no freedom but so many aspects of life can mean the same things.  When someone takes our choice away.  When we choose to accept and give up instead of react or change.

"Just do it then.  Go ahead.  You wouldn't be the first person to take away my freedom."

How do you move on from something like this?  It wouldn't be easy for sure.  Since I have never lived anything even remotely near to this situation I can't completely relate or know how I would react.  But I think Nicole did a fantastic job with this story and the after math of the abduction.

"Earl Rae kept you chained for ten years.  He took a decade.  How much longer are you going to let him keep you chained away from doing the things you want to do and being with the the people you want to be with?"

It's not just hard on the survivor, its also hard on the whole family.   Do you talk about?  Do you ignore it?  Do you get mad or angry?  Do you take it out on the survivor not knowing how to react?  Do you over compensate with love and gifts?  For Jade and her family they're all walking on land mines trying to find the right way in dealing with the aftermath.

"He'd broken me though.  My will, my spirit, my soul, whatever  you call it.  All of it.  He broke it."
What do you do when the only thing holding you together is the one person you can't have? 

 Torrin and Jade's love and friendship was so strong and beautiful, yet their reality was raw and profound.

Because you're my tether.  The one who can pull me back from the dark places and lead me forward into the bright places again.  Because you keep me connected to the person I used to be but stay at my side as I navigate the world this new person's landed in. 

My heart hurt for these two .

"Go be you.  And I'll try to figure out who I am while you're doing that."

What's right?  What's wrong?  What do we give up for the matter of love?

That kind of love, friendship, whatever you want to call it, is worth crossing lines for. 

This story had the right ending even though I wanted something different, but I'm huge Disney ending type of girl, so when it doesn't happen that way it always saddens me a bit.  However, this book needed to end this way.  That being said it doesn't mean I wouldn't be opposed to a novella or something where we get to finally see a whole Jade and her well deserved ending.

He failed better until he got it right.

This is a book that needs to be completely experienced which makes it tough to review as I don't want to give away too much lessening the reading experience.  It was tragic and beautiful.  It was unexpected and raw.  It was heartbreaking and profound.

5 This book needs to be read thumbs up!

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