Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Yet by Laura Ward Review

Hey folks! I sincerely apologize for the ridiculous past couple of weeks! I am so far behind on reviews, but fear not, they ARE coming! I have a special review for you guys today from a debut author who really rocked my socks off. Today on the chopping block? Not Yet by Mrs. Laura Ward! Here's some info about the book and the author before we get to my thoughts!

Emma Harris is learning that life is just a series of lessons.

Lesson #1: Nothing goes the way you plan.
Lesson #2: You can’t trust men. Especially not the pretty ones.
Lesson #3: Turns out, appearances are almost always deceiving.

Emma thinks she has life all figured out, and what she knows isn’t good. For years, she’s put her big sister, who was born with Down syndrome, first. Now Emma’s ready to start her own life, but fate has other plans. To do the right thing for the sister she loves, Emma’s dreams will just have to wait.

She doesn’t plan on meeting Landon — a rich, flirtatious jock, who never has to wait for anything. Not for attention, not for money, and certainly not for girls. Meeting Emma marks the first time in his life that he’s had to fight for something. And Landon doesn't know how to lose.

Emma has no interest in wasting her summer with a superficial guy like Landon. But very soon she realizes she is wrong about him. The question is, can she trust him? Or will he let her down like every other guy in her life? But most importantly, can Emma trust herself enough to live the life she's always dreamed of?

Life has a way of sneaking in the most important lessons when you aren't looking. And once the heart gets involved, that's when the real learning begins.


Laura Ward

Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels. 

Find Laura Ward

 Get Your Copy Now! 
(On sale for only $0.99 through 10/1)


My Thoughts:

I was contacted by Mrs. Laura Ward this past Friday about possibly reviewing her book. She was sent in my direction by a few other amazing authors who I LOVE, Mrs. Christine Manzari and Miss Cora Carmack! After reading all about Not Yet, I was intrigued. I was intrigued, but a little on the fence. I keep telling myself I am DONE with romance, that I never want to read another romance novel, ever! And then... Bam. An absolutely amazing one lands in my lap. Doggone you Laura Ward, you've made me a believer. Okay, let me start from the top:

Young love, summertime, family drama: all of my favorite things. NOT. You would think I'd have rolled my eyes after starting this one. Generally I would have, but something about this read struck me as different. I don't know what, specifically, it was, but by the time I finished this read I was broken. This book broke me. I seriously have nothing but praises for this read. It isn't often that I read a novel by a debut author and think: "Holy Hell, Ethan... This is one author to watch!" Let me tell you folks, Laura Ward is THE author to watch. Such talent. 

*Before I go any farther, let me just say one thing. This novel has a HUGE twist that results in the novel taking a trip down the path to a trope I NEVER read. One that I didn't think could be written in a respectable way. Then again, I'd never met Laura Ward. I do have to say that the publicity and synopsis of this novel do an AMAZING job of not letting the big twist slip. My biggest advice to readers is that you KEEP reading. TRUST me. You will NOT regret it!

At it's core, Not Yet is a New Adult romance. There was love, there was angst, there was passion, and there was steam. I will say, however, that the steamy scenes were few and far between. Mrs. Ward made it a point to build such a beautiful relationship between her characters and their development, that it wasn't until close to the end of the novel (during a sex scene) that I realized: "wait, where was all the sex?" Exactly. Any of my occasional readers know that I have a hard time reviewing books with steamy content because they always seem either: 1) Forced 2) Uncomfortable 3) COMPLETELY unrealistic or, my favorite 4) Fake. (In the words of the late, great Edna Krabapple, "She's faking it.") As a reader and HUGE supporter of the New Adult genre, I have had to read a LOT of romance reads that have fallen into those four categories. Thankfully, Not Yet was nowhere close to that! The relationships were real, emotional, and left me at a loss for words on more than one occasion. 

I have to say that my absolute favorite part of Not Yet was the layout of the novel. Instead of chapters, Ward laid out this story in the form of "Life Lessons". Each chapter begins as "Lesson 1, Lesson 2, etc" and at the end of each chapter there is a neat clipart displaying the "Life Lesson" learned from that chapter. These life lessons are hilarious and, oftentimes, very good lessons. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Life Lesson: Sometimes it's the wait... the not yets of life that are the very best reason of all to learn.
  • Life Lesson: Be brave. Be strong. Persevere. 
  • Life Lesson: There are times in life when people cause you to think you have lost it all. That it will never get better. That you will never recover. These are the times when the only thing to do is pick your head up, look those assholes right in the eye, and fucking finish strong
I have to say that last one is probably my favorite!

The setting of Not Yet really helped to clench the story for me. Set in small town Indiana, this story was one I could, very easily, relate to. The small gossipy town, the drama filled high school, everything about this setting spoke to me. I won't say too much to avoid any spoilers, but I don't think the backdrop setting for this story could have been any better. Such a powerful story projected on such an unforgiving landscape. Yes, it was awesome. Settings like this always make the novel for me!

Can I go on a personal tirade for a moment here and say that I am pretty sure Laura Ward was channeling me when she wrote this novel? For starters, our MC Emma just graduated with a degree and has moved back to her hometown where she can't find a job and realizes that post-college life isn't what she expected. Uh... get out of my head Laura Ward. Second, she is passionate about history and decides to get her Masters in History... Uh.... again, creepy. And third, and most crazy, a very pivotal scene in out novel takes place in Springfield, Missouri.... I graduated from college in Springfield, MO AND just moved back to Southwest Missouri last weekend. This book had WAY too many parallels to my own life for me to not enjoy it. Also, just as a side note, Mrs. Ward. The Hilton in Springfield doesn't have a view of downtown, nor does it have 17 stories. The only reason I know this is because I loved on the 19th floor of the second tallest building in Springfield for a year. LOL. Not that I'm one of those creepy "OMG I'VE BEEN THERE!" kind of fans or anything... :P *steps off soapbox*

The characters in Not Yet were written in such a unique way. They were so real and raw that I was able to empathize with every since emotion they felt. That was such an incredible feeling. This all goes back to how "real" I felt the story was. I really liked that. Now I will say the book has a bit of a scandalous undertone to it, but funny enough, I never got that vibe. I never felt "wrong" from reading the plot. It all felt so acceptable and real. Why? Because the characters were so much more than words on a page. Our female MC, Emma, is strong, intelligent, and one of the most caring and compassionate characters I have read. Landon, our male MC, starts out as "the guy to fix", but in the end actually become an entirely different character. The character development between these two characters was one of the highlights for me. Speaking of the characters brings me to probably the most important points I want to discuss pertaining to Not Yet.

Not Yet is an extremely unique in one, very important, aspect: the inclusion of multiple characters with intellectual disabilities. Yes Mrs. Ward, I just learned this new terminology from you! Woohoo! This book has a handful of main character who are living with forms of mental illnesses including Down syndrome and Autism. I have never read a book that featured numerous characters with mental disabilities. At first I was worried it would make for an uncomfortable read, but in the end it completely changed my views on those with special needs. I will be honest and say that I haven't had a great deal of experience with these types of individuals, but thanks to Laura Ward I have a whole new respect for those living with these disabilities. I am not even afraid to admit that I teared up more than once during scenes involving these very special characters. Not Yet wasn't just about love or romance, it was about accepting others and learning to see the true beauty in life. I am so thankful fro authors like Laura Ward who are unafraid to push the boundaries of literature and write on such a sensitive topic. Thank you Mrs. Laura Ward for being brave enough to tell their story. Cheers to you, Mrs. Ward!

I will honestly say that I don't even have a number scale that accurately gauges my feelings for Not Yet, while I'm not saying it was my favorite read of all time, I am saying that this story was extremely special and I will carry its' many, many messages and lesson with me for a long time to come. All-in-all I am giving Not Yet by Laura Ward a perfect 5-star review. I cannot wait to see what comes next in the world of Laura Ward, but I can tell you with certainty that this fan will be in line to get his copy!

Thank you all so much for stopping by to check out my thoughts on Not Yet by Laura Ward! Special thanks to Mrs. Ward for supplying me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Have you read Not Yet? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments! Until next time, Happy Reading!!

Before you go, have you heard all about the Halloween Author Invasion party I am hosting? Click the graphic below to be taken to the event page! The last week of October the page will be taken over by 20+ of the biggest names in the paranormal book world! I cannot wait for all the fun we are going to have! Be sure to check out the event by clicking below! HUGE giveaways, fun games, and a spooktacular time you wont want to miss!


No comments:

Post a Comment