Tuesday, 30 December 2014

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: After Us by Amber Hart || Review, Giveaway & Excerpt!!

Hello lovelies!! This is going to be my last post in 2014 and I can honestly say this is the best way to end the year on 'Winter Reads'.
Today I am going to be reviewing 'After Us' by Amber Hart. If you don't already know, I adore her and her writing to a whole other level. It's borderline sociopathic(?) how much I am smitten to her books. 
This is the sequel to 'Before You' and is the second in the series. Check out my review for 'Before You' here! (Amber Hart loved it!!)
I advise you NOT to read this book if you haven't read the first one. Unlike other- usually standalone- novels that include the main characters as secondary in the sequel and the secondary characters as primary (someone help me out here..is there a name for novels like these?),  this is not at all like that. There's a huge, evil twist at the end of Before You that unravelled to not be that and the events from Book 1 play a large role in this one. So heed my warning!
IDK if that made sense so the bottom line is to not think of this as a standalone! Sorry for any confusion or weirdness with this red message- I am confusing and weird. LOL. 

Let's begin!
Goodreads summary:
Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.

Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Plagued by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.

Javier has scars of his own. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin, Diego. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.

Two broken souls could make each other whole again—or be shattered forever.

Our time will come. And we'll be ready.

Add it on Goodreads here.

I recieved this ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.

GENRE: Romance, Young Adult (YA), Contemporary
AUTHOR: Amber Hart
SOURCE: ARC (eARC), kindle, NetGalley, InkSlingerPR

RELEASE DATE: December 30th 2014

About Amber Hart
Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. 

Connect with Amber Hart

Firstly, kudos to Ms Hart for it seems that both of the books from this series have been released in one year! Woah! #superauthor
Unsurprisingly, this book was phenomenal
Like with my Before You review, I'm going to share the dedication because it is beautiful!
To the girls who wear their scars
proudly, quietly or loudly

Okay, okay, let's begin with the review.
Honestly, from reading about Melissa was Faith's POV in Before You, I didn't think she had much more to offer. Don't get me wrong- she was/is- the best BFF in a book ever. Hell, maybe even in real life, too. However, clearly I'm not a good judge of character because Melissa's story was spectacular and I like her ×100000 more. 

The novel is in dual POV- Javier's and Melissa's and is written beautifully. The cover is TDF- it's so mysterious and compelling. LOVE IT. 
The novel was full of twists and turns and darkness and light and love and hate and it was everything. 
I also loved that we didn't immediately find out what was the cause of Melissa's scars until almost the middle- Hart didn't just jump in it.
Speaking of not jumping in, I loved the slow yet real progression of love between Melissa and Javier. 
It's one of the best books involving inter-racial relationships and involving real situations. The cultural and racial differences come off in such a professional yet natural manner.

So the plot is that, as we slightly guessed from Before You, there was a tiny spark forming between Javier (Diego's cousin) and Melissa (Faith's best friend). Granted, it was a bit cliche for them to fall for each other, but the last chapter-with them altogether- is so fun! For those oblivious, Melissa kissed Javier at the beach when they were helping Diego and Faith rekindle their momentarily blown out spark. That kiss plays a huggeee role in this book so bear that in mind.

Javier is facing his difficulties, what with moving from Cuba to the USA and...the events from the last book. *Trying with all my might not to spoil anything* He seeks revenge for..the events from Book1 and does so by joining the gang, MS-13. 
Melissa, contrary to what I initially believed, has her own demons too. She's got scars that make her insecure but she's still a really strong, independent female protagonist
Ooohhh and for those wondering: Yes, Faith and Diego do come into this novel! I honestly love it when that happens coz it's like a mash up and it's soooo great. Ahhh.

They meet again at the beach- where Melissa works (in the bar of a hotel on the beach) and where Javier is staying for his brother's birthday. Javier initially-although unintentionally, it seems- offends Melissa by inviting her to his room to talk about Faith. Not cool
Rule #101 Guys, never lead a girl on ESPECIALLY when you want info on her BFF. 

Long story short, they end up together !!!! but still face obstacles storms (that was a reference to the beach ;)). I really enjoyed this novel as it involved what began as a summer fling, if you will, progressing into something way, way deeper. For all you romantics, there are some very steamy scenes which were bliss! They were fun to read...but also reminded me of how lonely I am -__-

We also got to have a deeper look into their lives i.e. their families. 
For example...

*11 kids and I only remember five of them! Ack! I honestly thought I had it. -_-


Although I kind of enjoyed Before You a bit more, I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone with a heart. 

Melissa~ Melissa was an amazing female protagonist! She was strong and independent and brave. Her and Javier make a brilliant couple.
Javier~ Javier! I developed a huge crush on him!! 
He's hot, protective and quite naΓ―ve in one particular part. But boys will be boys. I loved seeing him with his family (especially his two youngest brothers!) and with Melissa.
SWOON WORTHY MOMENT: When Melissa was angry at Javier and he pretended to fix her car just to spend time with her! (It only needed a battery)
Bonus!!  Javi takes Melissa to a zoo for their first date! A zoo!! 
Bonus bonus!! HE CALLS MELISSA MAMI. Not even cool- I melted many times. Like Olaf. 
Melissa's family~ So Melissa's mother- a nurse- seems laidback and nice although we only come across her a few times (her sisters are in the novel more frequently than her mum). The oldest is Megan who is bossy, fancy, uptight and not very fond of Javier. We heard of Monica- and came across her- in Before You- she invited Faith and Melissa to the clubs. One thing I wasn't sure of was why Monica and Melissa weren't accounted for for Faith's addiction.
Moving on, then there's sweet, sweet May. I loved her sooo much she was captain of the Jaissa/Melier (comment below telling me your ship name for Javier and Melissa!) and was nice and had a thing for Melissa's boss, Brock! 
Brock~ Brock and May were joint captains of the ship. He was sweet and protective and like the big brother Melissa never had. 
Javier's family~ This family consists of a whopping thirteen people! There's the mama and papa and three hermanas/hijas (daughters) and eight hermanos/hijos sons). MY SPANISH IS GETTING BETTER!! Ok, so Javier's mother doesn't allow her sons to have any GFs that aren't Latina and Maria, the oldest daughter who is fifteen (And who's novel is next!) sides with her mum. We've got the twins who are fun and funny. And the rest have their own character traits that make up the Reyes familia. 
There's a few more characters but read the novel to meet them!

My favourite quotes 
I'll try not to go OTT
  • ''It hurts to look at the ocean, glittery and reflecting light, a million liquid jewels on display.''
  • ''Javier slips his sunglasses back on, a cover to shield his soul.''
  • ''Welcome the pain because it's all that I know now.''
  • ''A beacon of light in a sea of dark.''
  • ''But then I realize that we are not permanent. None of us. And life doesn't owe us anything''.
  • ''I'm drinking water because Melissa won't serve me alcohol.'' I don't know why, but I LOL-ed
  • ''I never forgot the water,'' I blurt. I shouldn't have admitted that. Javier grins. ''I know.''
  • ''My demons for yours.''
  • [About the stars} ''Mesmerized by how they shine so brightly despite the darkness around them. I dysfunctionally love the stars. Check out my Twitter bio 
  • ''Right now what I want is to get out of this house. And forever end these tears.''
  • ''No one has ever said my name like Javier says my name. It's darkness with a hint of light.''
With great difficulty, I'm gonna stop the quotes (the excerpt's next!). Did you love the quotes? Well those were only in the first 48% of the book! 

★ ★ ★ ★ 4 stars

* Prepare to swoon and drown in the ocean of feels. 

''What I want is for you to want me like I want you!''
I clamp a hand to my mouth. Regret slaps me in the face. Javier pulls my hand away. His stare takes in all of me. My eyes, My lips. I'm embarrassed by what I said. I'm embarrassed by my ridiculous heart, which thumps loudly, echoing his every touch.
''You want me, mami?''
Yes. In the deepest parts of my bones, yes. 
''Answer me.'' His voice is demanding.
''No,'' I say, stubborn.
A grin crawls across his face.
''I owe you an apology,'' he says. ''I couldn't talk to you earlier. Wanted to. But I couldn't. You understand?''
''Not at all.''
Javier's warmth reminds me of the water. Of wanting to jump in. I'd do anything to cool off.
''If I explain it to you, will you remember in the morning?''
''Probably not,'' I answer honestly. ''But then again, you're hard to forget.''

And if you want more of that, here's some links to buy it!

Links for AFTER US


a Rafflecopter giveaway  
Check out the prizes of the giveaway here         
Comment below, share and I hope you enjoyed my review and the giveaway and teaser!

☻ Are you planning on buying this book? (There's only one correct answer)
☻ Is Melissa and Javier your new book OTP? 
☻ Will Javier's mum ever come around?
☻ Who else is itching to know if May and Brock got together?

This Release Day Blitz was provided by:
Huge thanks to InkSlingerPR and NetGalley for allowing me to be part of the Release Day Blitz for After Us and for trusting me with an Advanced Readers Copy of it. Thanks to Tara Gonzalez for being awesome and providing me with what I needed. Also, thank you a million times to Amber Hart for creating this beautiful world and allowing me to get lost in it <3

Bye!! Thanks for reading- Like my Facebook page and/or follow me on Twitter? 
References for images used:
The rest we sent to me
Untitled Document