Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Welcome To My Stop On The Blog Tour For When We Collide by A L Jackson

Hi Everyone *waves* Welcome to my stop on the When We Collide Blog Tour. 
Stay tuned for an excerpt from the book, my review and a Guest Post from AL Jackson on why book covers are so important. 

Author: A L Jackson 
Publication Date: November 2nd 2012
Source: eARC provided by RABT for participating in the tour.

"From the bestselling author of Pulled and Take This Regret comes a gripping new tale of loss and love.
In a moment that will change his life forever, William comes face to face with the girl who, with one look, captured his heart. He is unable to ignore the buried desires and the hope for the future they’d once believed they’d have. 
Now William is ready to fight to take back what had been stolen from him six years before.
But he never imagined what that fight might cost him.  
A.L. Jackson gives you an intimate look into the lives of a family bound by an unseen connection in this romantic thriller with a supernatural twist."

Just before ten, I slipped out the back door. Impatience quickened my steps—quickened my pulse. I couldn’t wait to see her.
Mom and Lara had cornered me a couple of hours before, ambushed me with questions about my eye, demanding answers there was no way in hell I was going to give. I’d made up some convoluted story that was barely believable about some guys I’d never seen before at the next town jumping me when Blake and I had stopped for gas. Only after I’d convinced my mom and Lara that I was fine and I’d spent the next two hours listening to them chat over hot tea was I able to escape. I imagined the late hour was my only salvation.
Besides, I figured this town had enough gossips that either of them could have just asked and they’d find the answers to their questions. As it was, I was wondering why they hadn’t already heard. I guessed since the only ones who had been there last night were Blake and his small group of friends and that fucking coward Troy, no one had uttered a word. A part of me wanted the whole damned town to know what Troy had done, even if it meant I would bear the consequences of it, while the other part of me wanted to protect Maggie from any more shame.
I tried to push those thoughts aside, told myself, it’s over…it doesn’t matter. Maggie was mine. Now I just had to figure out how to get her out of that house so she’d be completely safe.
Maggie was already there when I emerged at the outskirts of our refuge. Her head snapped up when she heard me approach, that smile lighting her face when our eyes met. There was no hesitation as I rushed to her. I sank to the ground and pulled her into my arms.
“Hi,” I mumbled between our frantic kisses.
Maggie gasped then giggled against my mouth when I spun her and pressed her into the cool grasses.
“Hi,” she said, grinning when I finally pulled away to let her up for air. The moonlight seeped through the ceiling of leaves and illuminated the joy on her face. That joy faded when she focused on the mark above my eye. She reached out and ran her fingers over it.
I grabbed her hand and brought her fingers to my lips before she could say anything.
“It was worth it, Maggie…you’re worth it. I need you to believe that.” I’d do it a million times over if what happened last night had set her free.
I watched as disbelief and uncertainty twisted her face, and she closed her eyes and seemed to struggle against her past before she nodded her head as if maybe she understood.
Her eyes fluttered open. “I love you, William.”
“Do you know how long I have been dying to hear you say that?” I almost teased as I settled myself between her legs and hugged her closer. I felt the heavy breath ease itself from her lungs and her spirit sink into mine as she relaxed beneath me. She smiled at me, her eyes wide and awakened. I loved the way she looked right then, like the girl I’d fallen in love with over the last three months, although now exposed and without the barriers she’d erected between us.
“I think I’ve known it for a long time,” she finally said, her fingers playing with the hair at the nape of my neck. “I don’t really know why I felt like I couldn’t admit it.” Maggie wet her lips, glanced into the distance before bringing her attention back to me. “I’m scared of this, of finally having something I’ve wanted so badly, but I’m more scared of losing it.”
I squeezed her, a gentle encouragement. She was never going to lose me.
“I’m not a normal girl, William.” When she said it, her eyes burned into mine, as if warning me, giving me an out.
I brushed the bangs from her face. “You think I don’t know you, Maggie?”
Yeah, I knew she was broken, knew no matter where she ended up in life, her past would always be there to haunt her, knew she had so much to overcome. But I also knew, underneath it all, she was strong. I saw it in her eyes and felt it in her spirit. I knew she was kind and good, knew she was beautiful. And I knew I was never going to stop loving her.
“I fell in love with you.”
A tremor of a smile tugged at one side of her mouth. “I guess that’s the part I really don’t understand.”
“Maggie,” I said as a whisper as I leaned down to kiss her. I pulled back. “You deserve to be happy.” And I’d do whatever it took to be sure she was.
Cupping my cheek, she ran her thumb beneath my eye. 
“You make me happy.”I didn’t even try to contain the smile that spread over my face.

My Review:

I Hereby Award This Book 5 Wings! 

You know how it is when you read a book and then are just no words to describe it? You think there are, but then you realise that whatever you say will just be complete babble. Well, this is one of those books. I finished reading it last night and felt like I had reverted to talking baby language, because compared to what I had just read. nothing I said was above Ugh and Gah. I couldn't have written my review if I had wanted to. If I had, you wouldn't be reading coherent sentences. 
I haven't yet read another of AL Jackson's books. I do have Pulled and Take This Regret for review, but haven't got to them yet. So this means that I didn't know what to expect going in. People told me things like 'once you start reading you'll be sucked in and unable to escape' - I wasn't sure I believed them until a couple of days ago when I picked this book up. However, I picked it up and was at 46% before I knew it. At that point, I had to put it down for the night. But the next day I picked it up and finshed off the last 54% before I knew what was happening. So I guess my friends had been right.
By the time I got to the last chapter, I was terrified that this book was coming to an end and I really didn't want it to. In fact, I didn't just want, I needed this book to be longer. There was so much more I wanted to happen. Or so I thought. 
When I actually read the end, I cried so hard that it was impossible to see through the barrage of tears. I kept wiping my eyes, but then new tears would take their place. Why? Well that's for you to find out for yourself.  But there are some things I can tell you...

The story of When We Collide is told from two different points of view. On one had, we have Maggie Krieger - a young woman who's been suffering abuse since childhood. The things her father did to her and then she traded being hurt by her father for being hurt by the hand of the man who was supposed to love her, Troy. 
Then there's William Marsch, a young man who had his family around him when he was growing up and they were nothing but good to him - but, he left them all to make a new life for himself. He ended up marrying Kristina, but has come to realise just how little she means to him. He realises he's married her out of necessity. It was necessary to try and drown out the misery of what he left behind 6 years ago when he left home.
It wasn't just his family's lives that were torn apart by his leaving that day, for none other than William suffered the worst. Or did they?

It all started when William and Maggie met all those years earlier. He knew she was going out with Troy, but he couldn't keep his mind from wandering to thoughts of 'what if?' - William wanted Maggie, but Troy treated her like a possession and there was no way he was going to let her go. 
Maggie wanted to escape Troy, but there was nothing she could do. It's almost like he kept her hostage. He certainly kept her as a punch bag - that much is for sure. When Troy was angry, he took it out on Maggie. It seemed like the smallest of things set him off. She was powerless to stop him and powerless to escape. Until she met William... 
The two of them would sneak out and lie in the grass under a blanket of stars. There they would lie and talk. They were friends. But deep down, they both knew they wanted so much more from each other. It's just that neither of them knew how. 
The chapters in this story vary between Maggie and Will, but they also vary between past and present day. It's great to dive in and find out why they are both leading the lives they do. How one choice back then affected them for the next 6 years. 
After all, if that one choice had been made differently, who's to say they wouldn't be living out completely different lives together instead of both of them being with people they don't want to be.

When a family funeral brings Will home for the first time since that fateful day, he thinks he's prepared for what will happen next. Little does he know how wrong he is. 

He catches sight of Maggie on the day of the funeral. She comes to the house with a little boy trailing her every move. It's when he sees that little boy's face that he is sent reeling and made to wonder if it's possible... is he his son? Surely not, else Maggie would have told him, right?!

As we find out more about what happened back then, we realise Maggie really wasn't in a good place. She left home to be with Troy, but Troy was an abusive, sick, twisted S.O.B and he hurt her both physically and mentally.
When we see Maggie and Troy's current relationship, we realise nothing has changed. The only thing that's different is now they have a 6 year old son, Johnathon. But even in light of the fact that he is a father, Troy is no less handy with his fists.
Maggie has tried to carve out a life for her and Johnathon, something that Troy can't take from them. But it seems as though his one mission in life is to see her miserable. 

Will is home and decides that he can't go back to Kristina, he never really loved her. She was like a band-aid to put over the wound that Maggie caused in his heart. Kristina is cut-throat and enjoys putting Will down. They work together and she believes that he will do what she tells him when she tells him. So no-one is more surprised than her when he stands up for himself and says he's going home for the funeral and no-one can stop him.

Now that he's back, he's thrust back in time to the days when Maggie was his. Even if it was secret little meetings behind Troy's back, for those few hours she was his. Will can't handle how he feels. He knows deep in his heart that his love for Maggie is still as strong as ever and though he knows he can't have her, he would still rather she got away from under Troy's command. 

What ensues from here is the most amazing story I have read in a long time. It pulled at my every emotion, my every heart string. I really connected with Maggie; both because of the way her character was written and because I too have suffered similar situations in my life. Both at the hands of an abusive father and an abusive ex. Thankfully I managed to break free - but when I read what Maggie went through, it was like I was sucked backwards in time. I could feel her pain, every punch and kick as though it were to my own body. 

AL Jackson really brought this story to life. So much so that there was a point I felt like I couldn't continue reading. She had unwittingly touched on a raw nerve and if it wasn't for the fact I agreed to be on the blog tour, I might have walked away from the book there and then. But, I wanted to know Maggie's ending. Whilst I got my own happy ending with my partner and my son, I wasn't sure that that was what was in the cards for Maggie and Will. 

I won't ruin the ending for you, suffice to say, have a box of tissues ready - trust me, you will need them.

AL Jackson has shot straight onto my list of all time favourite authors. You may ask how that's possible when I've only read one of her books, but the answer to that question lies within the book itself. Pick it up and I defy you not to absolutely LOVE it.
I felt an immediate connection to Maggie through a shared past of sorts. As for Will, I felt a connection to him because he wanted to save Maggie from the darkness that was encompassing her. He knew everything that she has suffered at the hands of her father and Troy and he still loved her, fought for her and wanted her to be his. I guess when you go through what Maggie did, you don't think you deserve to be loved. But Will loved her unconditionally. After all, that's what love is about. You don't place conditions on it and say I will only love you if you conform. 

This book will stay in my mind, my heart and even my soul for a long time now. Now that I've read it, there is no going back and not knowing what heartbreak lives within it's pages. I won't lie to you and say that when you read it you'll find your typical love story, the kind where there's a few ups and downs but basically the couple end up together. This book has more ups and downs than the worlds biggest roller coaster. Right when you are at the precipice, you are thrown into the unknown. 
This is one of the most remarkable love stories I have read, if only for the simple fact that Amy was not scared to write something a little more unconventional for her characters. The fact is, her characters are more than 2 dimensional and stuck in the book. No, these are people that you feel jump out of the pages. You find yourself imagining what it would be like to be Maggie and after everything and all the years apart, have Will still love you as much as, if not more than, he ever did. Or you find yourself imagining you are Will and having your heart torn out while it's still beating, only to discover that all was not as it seemed that night. 

I am really trying not to give too much away, I just want you to go and pick up a copy of this book.
I intend to go and email Amy and see if I can purchase a signed copy because this is a book I MUST have in my collection - I know I have it on my Kindle Fire, but I really need to own it in paperback.
There are very few books that have made me feel the way I do about When We Collide. I am so grateful to Amy for introducing me to these characters and even though she put them through a lot of turmoil, I don't think the story would have been the same if she had changed a single one of those heartbreaking events. 

Author Bio:
A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves. 

Guest Post From Amy: 

Why Covers are so Important?

Hey All! I’m A. L. Jackson, author of Pulled and Take This Regret. I just wanted to thank Insomnia of Books for allowing me to share with all of you today, and on such a cool topic, Why Book Covers are so Important.

 So let’s be honest…how many of you have purchased a book based on the cover alone? I have!  Most of us are very visual creatures, our attention caught by the beautiful, the unique, and at times, the incredibly strange. We’re drawn to color and style, sharp lines, and bold words.

But what does that mean for covers?  They say you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention on the internet, and when 80% of books today are sold on Amazon and with the massive number of titles that are listed there, it’s now more important than ever for covers to catch a potential reader’s eye.  

There are a few key elements every book cover should have. The first and foremost is it should be pleasing to the eye—something that makes someone browsing titles stop and think, Wow, that’s an amazing cover. This is the point where your cover has done its job in making someone take a closer look at the book itself. The cover should also tell the potential reader something about the story inside, the design consistent with the genre of the book, although it should be unique enough that it stands out from the crowd. It should also give the reader a hint at the amazing story they will find inside.

Covers are so important because it’s the first thing someone sees—the main thing that will tell a potential reader to move or to take a closer look.

So what is it about a cover that draws your attention?

 *Interjects with own answer*

I am a self-confessed cover-magpie. Most of my readers will know this already. But for those of you who are new to following me, I'll explain what I mean.
The term cover-magpie is probably pretty self explanatory, but what it means to me is that my attention is drawn by the shiny pretty things. When it comes to a book cover, I like to think I have quite good taste. It's very true what Amy said about only having a few seconds to attract someone's attention. That's true for me especially because I can look at a cover and either have insta-lust, insta-love or even insta-hate. 
I know I probably sound quite shallow but I will only buy a book that I like the cover of. The only exception to that rule is if it's a book I've had recommended by a friend because it's so awesome and then I'll download it on my tablet to read on my Kindle App, but I won't buy the actual book because it wouldn't look pretty on my shelf. 
My bookshelf at home is groaning at near maximum capacity but if I see a pretty book and it's got a good blurb, I buy it anyway and add it to the already full-to-bursting shelves!
Plus, a little known fact about me, I have been known to make impulse purchases of books based on the cover alone; I've not read the blurb and nor do I care, it's just pretty. Told you I was shallow ;)

Thank you everyone who came by today for my stop on the tour. Listed below are the other stops on the tour. You can still catch the posts even though they were earlier on in the month. I like to support my fellow blogger where possible, so I hope you will join me.

Thank you to RABT who provided the copy of this book for me to participate in the tour; and thank you to Amy who wrote When We Collide. 

November 5 - Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
November 6 - Wonderland Reviews - Review/Interview
November 7 - Taking it One Page at a Time - Review/Guest Post
November 8 - Books For Me - Review
November 9 - Black Lilies are Deadly - Review/Guest Post
November 10 - Lovely Reads - Review/Interview
November 10 - Reading with ABC - Review/Guest Post
November 12 - Kaisy Daisy's Blog - Review
November 12 - Deea's Book Reviews - Review
November 14 - A Date With a Book - Review/Interview
November 14 - Waiting on Sunday to Drown - Review
November 15 - Lov Liv Life Reviews - Review/Guest Post
November 16 - My Life Through a Book - Review/Interview 
November 16 - Hooked in a Book - Review/Guest Post
November 17 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review/Guest Post
November 19 - World of Mine - Review/Guest Post
November 21 - For the Love of Film and Novels - Review/Interview
November 23 - My Cozie Corner - Review
November 23 - Up All Night Reviews - Review/Guest Post
November 24 - Reader Girls - Review/Guest Post
November 25 - Simple Books - Review/Interview
November 26 - Book Nerd - Review/Guest Post
November 27 - Some Like it Paranormal - Review/Interview
November 28 - Gothic Angel Book Reviews - Review/Guest Post
November 29 - Beth Art From the Heart - Review/Guest Post
November 30 - S.I.K. Book Reviews - Review/Guest Post

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