Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Fear of Falling by S.L. Jennings

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Author Disclaimer: Abuse is real- verbal, emotional, physical and sexual. It takes place all around us; it doesn’t discriminate against race or gender, wealth or poverty. It affects us all- those of us who’ve had to live through it, or watch it happen, even those of us who’ve only heard about it. We are all affected. We are all forever changed.

This is not a story for the faint of heart; this is the story of one woman’s very real struggle through a world against her, the people who hurt her, her real life demons and the people who showed her that every gray sky, no matter how dark, has a sun waiting to break through.

I can’t remember the last time I felt completely safe. Security seemed more like a luxury to me, reserved for those who were fortunate enough to have picture perfect childhoods. For those who didn’t bear the ugly scars that keep me bound in constant, debilitating fear. I’ve run from that fear my entire life. But when I met him, for once, I couldn’t run anymore.

He scared the hell out of me in a way that excited every fiber of my being. It wasn’t the tattoos or the piercings. It wasn’t the warmth that seemed to radiate from his frame and blanket me whenever he was near. It was just…him. The scary beautiful man that threatened to alter 23 years of routine and rituals, and make me face my crippling fear.

My name is Kami and I am constantly afraid. And the thing that scares me the most is the very thing I want.

“Don’t worry,” he smiled, pulling me into the hard warmth of his chest. “I’ve got you. I’ll always catch you when you fall.”

And just like that, Blaine had staked his claim on the untouched part of me that no living soul had ever moved. He had captured every fear, every reservation, and crushed them in the palm of his inked hand.

***Inspired by true events***

Leary says:

Fear of Falling is hands down one of the best stories I have read this year. This story deals with abuse and how it affects the abused for years in the future. It is an extremely real thing that haunts so many people in so many different ways.

“Funny thing about life is that it never turns out the way you want it to. It’s never fair. It’s harsh and brutal. It kicks you when you’re down. It makes you wish you could give up and part with it just to have a semblance of peace.”

Kami is a woman in her early twenties that has 252 fears, each written out on stars kept in a jar that she counts out almost daily. These fears keep such a strong hold on how Kami deals with her everyday life. She believes that she in unlovable and unable to love. She has been able to keep herself at a distance from serious relationship by breaking things off at the first sign of the man wanting more. No one besides her two best friends has been able to break through her barriers, until him.

Blaine, just his name makes my heart skip a beat. Their first interaction you can feel the immediate intense connection.

“My name sounded different on his tongue, almost dirty. The delicious kind of dirty.”

As Kami has conditioned herself over the years she won’t allow herself to get close and feel anything for anyone other than her two best friends, Dom and Angel.

“Then he did something that had me yanking my purse open, throwing down a twenty, and high-tailing it out of there in 3.5 seconds.”

Kami is so determined to not let love in that she decides to face her newest fear, fear #253, Blaine.Everyone has skeletons in their closets and things that torture their souls but Blaine is determined to escape his demons and take down Kamis in the process. Will Blaine be able to succeed in this endeavor?

“It’s good to see you again, roadrunner.”

Just reading the scenes between Blaine and Kami had me fanning myself. There is such an electric charge between these two and Blaine has such a way with words. It is nearly impossible to not fall for Blaine.

“You don’t have to be afraid of falling. Just close your eyes, let go, and know that I’ll always be here with arms outstretched, ready to catch you.”

We get such a strong story of learning about the pasts of not only Blaine and Kami but also her best friends; her family. This isn’t a story of all hurt and pain and finding your way to the other side. We get amazing and loving interactions between people that are so close and so dependent on each other but are also so hilarious. Kami, Angel, and Dom capture your hearts immediately.

“This was us: A modern day, dysfunctional Three’s Company.”

This is an absolutely amazing read. What I love most about reading is falling absolutely in love with an author through a series and then months later reading a completely different type of book by the same author. I LOVE it when an author has a range of writing ability. I fell in love with S.L. Jennings through the Dark Light series and seriously didn’t think I could enjoy her stories any more but I felt, I seriously felt this story in my bones. I loved every character and every interaction. I highly recommend it.

4.5 stars
Jennifer says:

I was given an ARC from the author for an honest review. I've said it before and I'll say it again, S.L. Jennings is a damn freckin genius! I am a huge fan of hers from the Dark Light Series which is a PNR. I am not normally a huge fan of PNR but after reading that series, I was hooked! So when she announced she had a non PRN book I was beyond ecstatic! This book is simply AMAZING, I don’t know if amazing is even the right word for it… I cannot express in words how much this book affected me. But I'll try... 

What got me first is that it’s based on true events. To know this going into it made me a little nervous. To know that this actually happened broke my heart into a million pieces. The book starts off with Kami and bestie Angel in a bar. How the book started I thought… oh wow… I didn’t know this would have some girl on girl action… Not my cup of tea but alright… I love Ms Jennings so I’ll keep reading.. I do have to say this little part is full of hotness and had me wondering, should I kiss a girl??? Lol… ok so back to the story. When Kami looks eyes with the hottie bartender Blaine, she is instantly drawn to him. This throws her off as you see, she is damaged. How damaged? So damaged that she keeps a jar of origami stars that reminds her of her fears and counts them regularly to remind her. She’s been hurt in the worse way by people that are supposed to protect her but instead they left her scarred for life. She’s convinced herself she is not able to love, to receive, or give as she will just hurt them in the end. So she accepted that she will never be in a loving relationship outside of her best friends. Speaking of best friends, Kami has the best two friends anyone can ask for, Dom and Angel. They are the modern day Three’s company and I loved their banter and how they were so protective of each other. Dom is the self-proclaimed man whore that will have a one night stand with any female, he’s gorgeous as can be but like Kami, has his own demons he deals with. Then there is Angel, the rocker rebel who has been shut out by her rich family due to her lifestyle choices. They are all broken but together, they are able to get through it. 

Blaine Jacobs himself has not had the perfect life. His mother committed suicide when he was 13 so he knows about pain and suffering. Even though he’s full of tattoos, there is something about him that is irresistible. Even though he has the bad boy image, he has a heart that will make you swoon and wish all guys with tats could be Blaine! When he spots Kami he knows there is something different about her. He sees something in her eyes that makes him what to keep her safe and protect her from her demons. When she is persistent that she is unlovable, he stops at nothing to try to prove her wrong. 

This is a beautiful story that at times is heartbreaking and gut wrenching. Its ugly at times and makes your heart break into a million pieces. It deals with abuse and the effects it has on someone long after the physical scars have healed. Just when you think Blaine and Kami are able to work past her demons, Blaine does something that changes everything and reminds Kami of why she not able to be loved. Will Blaine be able to get through to Kami to show her the beauty of love and not be afraid to fall, or when her past makes a surprise visit, will it be the end? Literally… the end of it all for Kami? You will need to read the book to find out… 

Here are some of my favorite lines... all from Blaine... of course.
"I know you said you don't make love, but I want you. I need you. So. Bad. Shit... Kami... I need to fuck the fearout of you."

"I'm not other guys. I don't need protection from you, Kami. I want every part of you. Even the parts you think are too painful or ugly to share. I want it all. I want all of you."

"I silentely vowed to make life beautiful for her again. To erase the ugliness that her father had left behind years ago. To restore her faith in humanity and make her believe in happily-ever-afters. To be her happyily-ever-after."

"When you know, you know. And you don't fight it. You don't deny the inevitable. You free fall because you know there's someone to catch you on the other side."
I would give more than 5 stars for this book if it was available! 

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Military wife, mother of 3 boys, and author of The Dark Light Series & Fear of Falling (Summer 2013)

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