Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: 5 Star Review for Now or Never by Jamie Canosa

I was given a copy of Now or Never as an ARC from the lovely Jamie Canosa, and below you will find my review. First off, let me start by saying that you have to read Fight or Flight. If you have, great. If you haven’t, you might want to. 

I read Fight or Flight months ago, and upon finding out that there would be a sequel, I found myself counting down the days until I could see what would happen next with Jay and Em. Because of that, I had extremely high expectations for Now or Never.

Let me be the first to say that Jamie has far exceeded those expectations. Jay and Em met on the streets, homeless runaways trying to keep themselves safe from their haunted pasts. They are immediately drawn to each other and they fall in love (I’m skipping all the really juicy details because I seriously want you to read Fight or Flight and see how amazingly both stories fit together).

How I felt when I finished reading Now or Never. 
NON picks up where FOF ended. Jay and Em are living together, trying to make ends meet, and nothing is much different than when they lived on the streets except for the fact that they’ve got somewhere to call home and at least a little bit of money to keep themselves afloat. It is beautifully written, suspenseful, and led me on an emotional roller coaster that I never wanted to get off of. 

There is so much that I can say about this book, and I honestly don’t want to give anything away. I told myself before I started reading that I would read it with an open mind and try to be impartial about it, even though I was sure I was in love with Jay, and didn’t want my love for him to cloud my judgment (verdict: I’m still very much in love with him). Putting my infatuation with him aside, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this book.

Here's an excerpt: 

"I left knowing what he was. What did I think? He would just stop? I-I didn't even warn anyone." A sob broke free as she buried her face in her hands.

"Shh." Jay slid across the vinyl bench and pulled her into his arms. She went willingly, for which he was undeniably grateful. "You didn't cause this. You didn't cause any of this, Em. You did what you had to do. You escaped. You survived. That's nothing to be ashamed of."

"But I knew she lived next door. I didn't even--"

"No. I didn't think of it either. My first, last, and only thought was and always will be you, Em."

That scene alone gave me chills. 

You know those books where the couple starts off in this honeymoon phase and then shit gets rocky toward the climax?

Now or Never's gorgeous cover! 
NON isn’t that kind of book. Jay and Em are damaged, and heartbreakingly so. The book starts off with Jay having a nightmare, and seriously, the ugly crying started there. I was immediately taken back to the day I read FOF (yes, it was so good, I read it all in a day) and I was in math class, my hand yearning to turn on my Kindle and keep reading. That’s exactly what happened with FOF. I had an exam to take, and all throughout the exam, all I could think about is “What the HELL is going to happen next?” Yes, it’s THAT brilliant.

It ultimately broke my heart that even though things are slightly better, both Jay and Em have some serious shit that they need to work through. They love each other deeply, more deeply than anyone can fathom (*cough* Mason *cough*. Okay, sorry, I actually do like Mason). What’s more, is that although Em is far from a damsel in distress (she’s damaged, but Em is not weak, not by a longshot), all that Jay wants to do is protect her. Not protection in that overbearing fatherly way, but protection in the way that he would do anything to keep from hurting her, or watch her get hurt (Mason is on the receiving end of that anything, ha ha).

Honestly, the only thing that bothered me was the fact that even though Jay and Em love each other, even though they would do anything to protect each other, they can’t see themselves as the wonderfully beautiful human beings that they are, and that is devastating.

What I loved the most though was the extreme difference between FOF and NON. In the first, Jay and Em are virtually on their own (even though there’s an appearance from Al, who I luuurve—Buy Al’s story, Sink or Swim, here) and they have no one that they can trust. In the latter, however, Jay and Em find actual friendship. Mason cares about Em (perhaps more than he should, hence him being on the receiving end of Jay’s anything, which was incredibly hot, by the way). He’s nearly as protective of her as Jay is—however, he’s missing the piece of the puzzle as to why—which is pretty awesome in my book. And then there’s Ashlyn. Oh, man, do I LOVE Ashlyn! She is spunky and awesome and hilarious, and even though she’s big on gossip, she really just wants to be Em’s friend and support her, no strings attached—which is something that Em desperately needs. And even though Jay was being a total asshat for a while—still love you, Jay—Ashlyn wants to be his friend as well. Neither of them has ever had a friend like that, but I think everyone needs a friend like that.

I don’t normally give 5 star reviews. I’m really picky about who I give that 5th star to. And even though I’m in love with Jay, I did my best to be totally and completely impartial, and I am positive that Now or Never is deserving of my 5th star.

Here’s why:
-Jay. I seriously don’t need to say anymore.

-I got irritated with my family members because they were making too much noise while I was trying to read. I legit had to turn up the volume and put my headphones in and drown them out.

-I ugly cried like nobody’s business. I stopped eating my dinner, pushed away from the table, and honestly had my hand to my mouth the entire last few chapters, trying to stifle my sobs as rivers upon rivers of ugly tears streamed down my face. It takes a lot to get that type of reaction out of me, so kudos, Jamie.

-When I realized I was about to get to the end, I almost wanted to stop reading. I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted it to keep going forever and ever until Jay and Em got married and had babies and oh my god it just can’t be over is there another installment coming Jamie because I need another installment my heart couldn’t take it if this was the end so if there’s more to this story please tell me when its coming so I can count down the days. (Yeah, it’s that fucking brilliant).

-I loved Ashlyn and Mason (happy they’re getting their own book, by the way). I honestly believe that the best parts of anyone’s story are the people that they share it with. Ashlyn and Mason were central to this story and honestly, Jay and Em needed them more than they realize.

-Em is a total badass. She thinks she’s weak, she thinks she’s a useless coward (seriously, I kind of want to slap her every time she even thinks this phrase. Like, no, Em. You’re not a useless coward), but she’s not. She’s strong and beautiful and brave and I totally admire her. She’s bent, but she’s not broken. Far from it, my friends.

-I wanted to throw my phone. I seriously contemplated throwing my phone multiple times because this book angered me, then I realized that if I did, it might break, and I wouldn’t be able to keep reading.

-I ugly fucking cried. I cry all the time, over everything. But rarely do I ugly cry. On my list of books I’ve ugly cried reading: My Sister’s Keeper, The Guardian, The Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, The Fault in Our Stars. You see the pattern here? All ah-mazing books. Now or Never is now on that list.

-Jay. Yes I’m repeating this. He’s enough to make me read this again, which I probably will later on today.

So as I end this incredibly long review about how much I loved Now or Never, I’ll leave you all with a few of my most memorable quotes:

-“It is not okay. I know your limits, Em. I understand them. I respect them. And I pushed you too far.” –Jay (seriously, Jay is perfect).

-“Careful. I wouldn’t want to infect you.”
Jay scowled down at her. “When it comes to you, I’m already a goner.”

-“I come bearing pizza. If you don’t let me in, Ash will kick you out.” (Mason)
“It’s true!” Ashlyn’s voice carried from down the hall. “Pizza is the magic word around here. Let the man in.”

-“Maybe simpler isn’t the right word, either. But things were…clearer. I knew exactly where we stood. It was you and me against the world, Jay. And despite those horribly bad odds, we kept coming out on top. Together. We accomplished so much together.” –Em.

-“I’d never had someone waiting for me to come home before. Not ever. That’s when I realized that is what you’d made this place. You’d taken this dank, dilapidated hole in the wall unfit for human occupancy and turned it into a home. My home. Simply because you were there.” –Jay.

-“Slaved over it, huh?” Em eyed the takeout bags in the trash and couldn’t stop the small smile from curving her lips.
“Yeah, well, I drove, and ordered, and lugged it all back here.”-Ash

-She wasn’t a useless coward. Not anymore. She was beautiful. And strong. And brave, dammit. That’s what Jay saw in her. And that was what she needed to see in herself.

-“I’m not weak, either, you son of a bitch.” –Jay.

-“We see each other as whole, and remind each other that those good things are there—inside us—even if we can’t see them ourselves.” –Em.

Now or Never was nothing short of amazing. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who will listen.

Buy Now or Never on Amazon

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