The first New Adult spin-off novel in the bestselling YA Something More series by Danielle Pearl!
Something More, #1
On Sale: October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $4.99 USD
She wanted to start again. To be someone—anyone—different. . .
Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh’s first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.
It wasn’t long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who’d do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker’s brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure . . .
*ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review*
So…I read this book today. And even though I finished this book in one sitting, one long sitting where I didn’t want to get up for a drink or for the bathroom because I was mesmerized by these fictional people I wanted to hug and scream at and hug again… Yeah, you get where I’m going with this, right? I read this book, and not only was this book well-written, with deeply characterized story people who broke my heart over and over and over again, but it was freaking riveting. Like eyes glued to the Kindle and all outside sounds drowned completely out riveting. And I wasn’t expecting it. At all.
If you’re a reading addict like me, you read a lot of books. All the time. And while some of them are so good you find yourself smiling and sighing and laughing out loud, if you’re lucky, other times the books leave you a little disappointed, a little confused, or wondering what the heck you were thinking when you chose to read it in the first place.
Then there’s books like In Ruins. That grip your emotions so hard you feel like your insides are being put through an electric blender on high speed because you are so invested in the story and the characters and you weren’t at all prepared for the affect it would have on you. Yeah, that’s me with this book today. I so wasn’t prepared. And I’m glad I wasn’t prepared because this book was so darn good. So darn good.
I always talk about books that completely do me in, and this one did. It didn’t make me cry, which in some places was a very near thing, but man, it made me think. About how deep our past really resonates, and how deep our traumas and our childhood issues truly go. About how many false lies we tell ourselves, actually believe to the very depths of our beings, and how those lies, those beliefs can really mess with our head and make us stop fighting for things we want because we don’t think we deserve to have them.
All those lies. All those false beliefs. All those missed opportunities. Missed chances.
It’s books like this that make me grateful I’m a reader. That make me grateful I learned how to read. That make me grateful I can sit at home and want to be completely emotionally drained because of something someone wrote, something someone put their heart and their soul into, that completely resonates with a stranger somewhere else.
I’m an angst girl. I want my heart to be torn to shreds by a book. I want an author to make me care about her characters. I want to recognize a human truth in a story and understand that this is a story that needs to be told because it is real. That the feelings of the characters are real feelings people feel in this world and they don’t deal with them because they don’t know how to deal with them. It’s the reason I fell in love with psychology as a kid, and the reason I still love it today.
So, when I say I read a book today and it ruined me. What I mean is…this book broke my heart and I loved it. I loved that I felt pained for Carleigh and heartbroken for Tucker. I loved that the author of this book was so skilled at what she does that she completely and totally ruined me for the rest of the day. Because In Ruins was a phenomenal story, and had even more phenomenal characters. And I really loved that this was my first book by Danielle Pearl and that it completely slayed me.
Carleigh Stanger has spent her whole life ashamed of her parents, of her family’s values. So ashamed she kept the truth about all of it from the people closest to her, and the high school boyfriend she loved. It was a decision that cost her dearly, and just when she thinks college will bring the freedom to live her life without the weight of her past, she discovers her past has followed her to college. In the form of ex-boyfriend, Tucker Green. The man who has every reason in the world to now hate her.
Tucker is everything Carleigh wanted but knows she doesn’t deserve, and she hurt him beyond forgiveness. But hate and love share a very thin line and nothing they feel for one another is simple, or as in the past as they’d like to make it.
Tucker and Carleigh are just breathtaking together, and their story is extremely compelling to read because of how deep their feelings—the hurt, betrayal, love, fear, and doubts—truly go. This story stayed with me, long after I reached the end on my Kindle. The characters were so well-written, so deeply characterized, that I was mesmerized by them and by their story.
In Ruins is a brilliantly raw, achingly heartfelt, and touchingly realistic New Adult read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
So, so good.
One for the Keeper Shelf!
5 “Phenomenal” Stars
From In Ruins by Danielle Pearl:
I linger half in a dream, wondering why I feel as if I’m waking up inside my past. My fingers automatically reach to the base of my throat for the white gold crown charm Tucker gave me before graduation last year, a reminder that I would always be his princess. But always didn’t last, and my fingers come up empty as I recall tearing off the necklace and stuffing it unceremoniously into my bathroom drawer minutes after he broke my heart.
The subtle scent of fresh spring soap, aftershave, and the faint musk of last night’s sweat ambushes my senses. My eyes flutter open to find dawn breaking in through the window shades. It’s still early enough that I doubt anyone else will be awake for a while, but I know that whether it’s minutes or an hour, once Tucker’s eyes open, it won’t be long before I’m asked to leave.
It takes no more than another second or two to register the pattern of his breathing, too lively to indicate sleep, and I stiffen above him. I swallow anxiously and reluctantly look up.
He’s watching me, gaze impassive, but his arms don’t move. His fingertips dance, feather-light along the small of my back, and I wonder if it’s what woke me. I clear my throat, though I have no idea what to say in this moment. But Tucker speaks first.
“This can’t happen again. You know that, right?”
I nod. Because I do know. We’ll never be friends if we blur the lines with this. Not just the sex. Not even mostly the sex. But this. This intimacy. This is what could break us. Break me.
In an instant, the haze of last night’s lust begins to lift, and anxiety settles in its place. Because I doubt I could survive his breaking my heart a second time, and that’s precisely what I’m setting myself up for. I’ve laid my own trap, and I need to free myself before it’s too late.
“We shouldn’t be laying in bed like this,” I tell him.
His smile is wistful. “I know.”
But he makes no move to disentangle himself from me. Instead, he does the opposite, his hand leisurely roving up the avenue of my spine, as if it’s going for a Sunday drive.
I shrug it from my body and sit up, startling him. “Stop doing that,” I snap.
“Touching you?” His brow furrows.
“No! Yes. Touching me, and agreeing with me but continuing this… this affection anyway.”
“Sorry,” he murmurs half-heartedly.
“No you’re not.”
He frowns as I yank the sheet out from under the bedspread and drape it around myself.
“Maybe it was wrong of me,” I admit. “Coming here last night. Maybe I was stupid to believe we could just hook up and walk away. Or that I could. But Tucker, if you wanted to fuck me, then why couldn’t you just fuck me?” My words drown in regret. “You can’t say these things—about my eyes, how you think about me… You can’t stare at me the way you do, or call me Princess. It isn’t fair.”
“No, Tuck. You know how I feel about you. And you said it yourself. When you love someone more than your own life, you don’t let them go for anything.” I stare at him meaningfully. “Anything.”
Tucker shakes his head, eyes lined with exasperation. “Carl, I tried to talk to you about that last night—”
“No, Tuck. I get it now,” I assure him. “And maybe I always should have known. But you must have, right? Or at least you do now.”
“Know what?” His brow furrows deeply, vaguely bewildered.
I glare at him, trying to determine if he’s undermining my intelligence or if I’m somehow not making sense. But I know him better than that, and as easy it would be to vilify him right now, I can’t lie to myself. “Maybe you really did believe it at the time,” I admit. “That you loved me back.”
“Or maybe you really did love me. Just not enough, you know?” I don’t bother fighting the tears. He’s seen them plenty of times now anyway, and if there’s ever been a time to let them flow, it’s now.
And Tuck stops his attempts to explain. He blinks at me, stunned silent, and I suspect he’s finally grasping the weight of his own words. And I realize that even though he’s the one who said them, it’s only now that he’s really understanding their implications. The truth is obvious and cruel, and with it I can stop wondering. I can stop analyzing his words and guessing at their meaning. Because now I know.
Eventually Tucker sighs, raking his fingers through his hair as he searches for words to placate me. But I don’t want his guilt, and I definitely don’t want his pity.
I avert my gaze and it lands on his overnight bag, three feet to my right. I force in a deep breath and shove my hand inside it, pulling out the first piece of clothing I can grab, grateful to discover it’s a t-shirt—fitted for him, but oversized for me. I hastily slip it on.
I look back at him, feeling utterly defeated. “You let me go.”
We both know now what that says about his love, but this isn’t about blame—this is about acceptance. It’s about moving forward. “So let me go,” I beg him, and then hurry out the door.
Enter the Giveaway
Up for Grabs: Ten (10) trade paperback copies of IN RUINS by Danielle Pearl
THE SOMETHING MORE SERIES
IN RUINS, #1
IN PIECES, #2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danielle Pearl is the bestselling author of the Something More series. She lives in New Jersey with her three delicious children and ever-supportive husband, who—luckily—doesn’t mind sharing her with an array of fictional men. She did a brief stint at Boston University and worked in marketing before publishing her debut novel, Normal. She writes mature Young Adult and New Adult contemporary romance. Danielle enjoys coffee, wine, and cupcakes, and not in moderation.