PAPERBACK RELEASE: Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski + A Special Treat

One of my favourite books, the emotionally evocative Song of the Fireflies, is finally available in paperbackThis is a story of hope. Devotion. Sacrifice. And love in one of its purest and most unwavering forms. Flawlessly and compellingly written, I lived every page, every emotion, every unconventional facet of this truly epic romance. While it is a spin-off novel from The Edge of Never series, it can be read as a standalone. Scroll down as I have an excerpt for you and another little surprise… ♥

My 5-Star Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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The truth will set them free…

Brayelle Bates has always been a force of nature. Even as a child, Bray’s wild and carefree spirit intimidated everyone around her. The only person who’s ever truly understood her is her best friend, Elias Kline. Though every fiber of her being wants to stay with Elias forever, Bray can’t bear the thought of him discovering her agonizing history. She’s done everything she can to keep him at arm’s length, including moving away. But their undying bond was too strong a pull to deny, and Bray couldn’t survive without him. Now she’s back home with Elias, and things have never felt more right-until one fateful night changes everything.

Elias vowed never to be separated from Bray again. So when she decides to flee in a desperate attempt to escape her destiny, Elias knows he must go with her. As the two try to make the most of their circumstance, taking up with a reckless group of new friends, Elias soon realizes there’s a darkness driving Bray he can’t ignore. Now in order to save her, he’ll have to convince Bray to accept the consequences of their reality–even if it means losing her.

excerpt

Bray and I spent the whole night in the field chasing the fireflies and laying on the grass, staring up at the stars. She told me all about her sister, Rian, and how she was a snob and was always mean to Bray. I told her about my parents, because I didn’t have any brothers or sisters. She said I was lucky. We talked forever, it seemed. We may have been young, but we connected deeply on that night. I knew we would be great friends, even better friends than Mitchell and I had been, and I had known him since first grade, when he had tried to con me out of my peach cup at lunch.

And before the night was over, we made a pact with each other that would later prove to see us through some very troubled times.

“Promise we’ll always be best friends,” Bray said, lying next to me. “No matter what. Even if you grow up ugly and I grow up mean.”

I laughed. “You’re already mean!”

She elbowed me.

“And you’re already ugly,” she said with a blush in her cheeks.

I gave in, though really I needed no convincing. “OK, I promise.”

We gazed back up at the stars; her fingers were interlaced and her hands rested on her belly.

I had no idea what I was getting into with Brayelle Bates. I didn’t know about such things when I was nine. I didn’t know. But I would never regret a moment with her. Never.

Bray and I were found early the following morning, fast asleep in the grass. We were awoken by three cops; Mr. Parson, who owned the land; and my frantic mother, who thought I had been kidnapped from my room, stuffed in a suitcase, and thrown on the side of a highway somewhere.

“Elias! Oh dear God, I thought you were gone!” She scooped me into her arms and squeezed me so tight I thought my eyeballs were going to burst out of the sockets. She pulled away, kissed me on the forehead, embarrassing the crap out of me, and then squeezed me again.

Bray’s mom and dad were there, too.

“Have you been out here all night with him?” Bray’s dad asked with a sharp edge in his voice.

My mom immediately went into defensive mode. She stood up the rest of the way with me and wrapped one arm around the front of me, pressing my head against her stomach.

“That daughter of yours,” my mom said, and already I was flinching before she finished, “she has a mouth on her. My son would never have snuck out unless he was influenced.”

Oh geez…

I sighed and threw my head back against her.

“Mom, I—”

“Are you blaming this on my daughter?” Bray’s mother said, stepping up front and center.

“As a matter of fact, I am,” my mom said boldly.

Bray started to shrink behind her dad and every second that passed I felt even worse about her being blamed.

Before this got too out of hand, I broke away from my mom’s arms. “Dammit, Mom—!” Her eyes grew wide and fierce, and I stopped midsentence.

“Watch your mouth, Elias!” Then she looked at Bray’s mom again and added,

“See, Elias never uses language like that.”

“Stop it! Please! I snuck out on my own, so leave Bray out of it!”

I hated shouting. I hated that I had to put my mom in her place like that, but I spoke what I felt in my heart, and that was something my mom always taught me to do. Take up for the bullied, Elias. Never stand back and watch someone take advantage of someone else, Elias. Always do and say what you know in your heart to be right, no matter what, Elias.

I hoped she would remember those things when we were back at home.

My mom sighed deeply and I watched the anger deflate with her breath. “I apologize,” she said to Bray’s parents. “Really, I am sorry. I was just so scared something had happened to him.”

Bray’s mom nodded, accepting my mom’s apology with sincerity. “I understand. I’m sorry, too. I’m just glad they’re safe.”

Bray’s dad said nothing. I got the feeling he wasn’t as forgiving as her mom had been.

I was grounded for the rest of the summer for that stunt I pulled. And yes, I met the fly swatter that day, after which I vowed never to sneak out of the house again. But whenever it came to Bray, from that time up until we graduated high school, I did sneak out. A lot. But I never got caught again after that first time.

I know you must be wondering why after so many years of being best friends, attending the same school, working together at the local Dairy Queen, even often sharing a bed, why we never became something more to each other.

Well, the truth is that we did.

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The Edge of Never – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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The Edge of Never: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The Edge of Always: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Song of the Fireflies: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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And today I also have a very special treat for you: the stunning cover and a little sneak peek from Jessica’s upcoming standalone New Adult novel, The Moment of Letting Go!!!!

Expected release date: 14 April 2015

themomentoflettinggo

Sienna Murphy finally lands her dream job. It’s everything she’s ever wanted…or so she thought.

When she’s sent on a business trip to Hawaii, she meets Luke Everett, a guy who makes her want to forget all her responsibilities and give in to the promise of all the happiness they could have together.

As their passion grows, Luke makes Sienna start to question whether the carefully constructed life she leads is really as perfect as it seems.

excerpt

He kisses me passionately for three brief seconds, his hands gripping the sides of my face, and we’re both breathless when he says, “I wanted to tell you about Landon. I wanted to tell you a lot of things, but I knew you had to go home and none of it would’ve mattered.”

I touch his lips with two of my fingers. “You can tell me whenever you’re ready. I’m here to listen, and I’m not going anywhere. There’s nothing you can say to scare me away. I won’t leave again unless it’s what you want. I still have four days left of my vacation and I want to spend them with you.”

“I want you to stay.”

“Then I’m staying.”

“What about after that?”

“We’ll figure it out.”

He gazes into my eyes, searching for something, I could never know what, but I think he finds it because his lips smash against mine and he kisses me hungrily. I feel my body being lifted into the air, my legs wrapped around his waist, and the air in the room hitting me as he carries me quickly through it, never breaking the kiss. In seconds I feel the comfort of his bed beneath my back and his lumpy pillows I missed so much, around my head.

We strip off each other’s clothes clumsily and Luke is on top of me before I can even catch my breath. But I don’t need my breath when I have his, and his kiss is deep and forceful and it alone makes my body dizzy with need.

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The Author

jredmerski_croppedJ.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.

She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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BOOK REVIEW: Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski

songofthefireflies

The truth will set them free…

Brayelle Bates has always been a force of nature. Even as a child, Bray’s wild and carefree spirit intimidated everyone around her. The only person who’s ever truly understood her is her best friend, Elias Kline. Though every fiber of her being wants to stay with Elias forever, Bray can’t bear the thought of him discovering her agonizing history. She’s done everything she can to keep him at arm’s length, including moving away. But their undying bond was too strong a pull to deny, and Bray couldn’t survive without him. Now she’s back home with Elias, and things have never felt more right-until one fateful night changes everything.

Elias vowed never to be separated from Bray again. So when she decides to flee in a desperate attempt to escape her destiny, Elias knows he must go with her. As the two try to make the most of their circumstance, taking up with a reckless group of new friends, Elias soon realizes there’s a darkness driving Bray he can’t ignore. Now in order to save her, he’ll have to convince Bray to accept the consequences of their reality–even if it means losing her.

review

“… love isn’t always roses and rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. It’s equally cruel and painful and the world’s worst villain.”

I genuinely believe that our lives, our past and present experiences determine our enjoyment of most of the stories we read, each book gently touching our memories like the keys of a piano, and merging them into the grand symphony of its storyline. But each reader’s life will compose a different melody, each book thus finding a ‘different home’ in every one of its readers. While this particular story, as outstanding as it is, might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I don’t think there has ever been another book that has hit so close to home for me and made me understand the characters as well as this one. This is not just a truly stunning love story, albeit somewhat untraditional, but it is also an extremely vivid account of a woman’s silent battle with mental illness and its dire effects on the only emotional bond she has managed to form and sustain in her life. I found myself stopping several times throughout this book, taking long moments to reflect on the memories from my own lifetime that were being recalled, making this story a heart-wrenchingly evocative experience for me cover to cover.

“What I want is to be with you. That’s what I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

Bray and Elias have been best friends since they were young, their every happy childhood memory being a shared one. Over time, their deep love for each other has blurred every friendship line that has ever existed between them, their gradual transition from friends to lovers later on in life being natural and inevitable. But while their connection has always remained strong, Bray’s reluctance to embrace the new nature of their relationship eventually tears them apart and takes their lives in different directions, breaking both their hearts in the process.

“… if you were ever going to scare me away or make me think badly of you, would I have made you the center of my world for seventeen years?”

Four years later, Bray returns to the only home she has ever known, to the only man she has ever loved, but the girl that returns is not the same girl that left four years before, an inner turmoil constantly haunting her like a fog that never lifts. It has taken them seventeen years to become the couple they were destined to become from the moment they met as kids, but it takes one fated mistake, one huge lapse in judgement to change their lives forever and for them to find themselves on the run. With no destination in mind or set plan to follow, they drift aimlessly from place to place, trying to escape the consequences of their actions by embracing care-free happiness, only to find more trouble along the way.

“I’m not going to lose you. It’s you and me, it always has been. It always will be.”

While the majority of this story is comprised of their life on the road and the many experiences that test every aspect of their relationship and their resolve to keep running, the focal point of this story from beginning to end is the deep connection between these two characters. By hearing both their voices, we become intimately acquainted with their every thought, every fear, every hope. We see how unhealthily co-dependent they slowly become as we are given the very unique opportunity of witnessing the effects of Bray’s psychological disorder on both of them individually, as well as a couple.

“I can love a lot of people… But I could never love anyone the way I love you.”

Bray is a heroine whose every imperfection and vulnerability made me love her even more. Having lived all her young life with this secret and very taboo inner struggle, internalizing rather than asking for help, she has retreated psychologically from the world and the people around her, except from Elias. Bray has always felt free to be herself with him, even though she has kept the darkness that lives inside her hidden even from him, afraid it would drive him away from her, just as it had done with every other person who was meant to love her unconditionally. This book explores the fine line between being someone’s lifeline and being their enabler, the difference between helping someone heal and being their crutch in life.

“I love you, Bray… I love you more than you will ever know.”
“How is that?”
“Because I would do anything for you… You just don’t realize yet what ‘anything’ truly means.”
“I love you, too, Elias. More than you could possibly ever know.”
“How is that?”
“Because I’d never ask you to prove your ‘anything’.”

If you have ever been touched by the dark tentacles of a person’s mental illness, regardless of its severity, if you have ever watched a loved one struggle with the debilitating effects of a condition they are ashamed of and have no control over, their desperation to be or feel ‘normal’, then you will see the beauty of this story in all its glory. This is a story of hope. Devotion. Sacrifice. And love in one of its purest and most unwavering forms. Flawlessly and compellingly written, this is a story that made me live every page, every emotion, every unconventional facet of this truly epic romance.

“There’s nothing you could do or say to make me leave you.”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
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The Edge of Never – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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The Edge of NeverMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The Edge of AlwaysMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Song of the Fireflies (spin-off): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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The Author

jredmerski_croppedJ.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.

She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

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Camryn Bennett has never been happier. Five months after meeting on a Greyhound bus, she and her soul mate Andrew Parrish are engaged-and a wedding isn’t the only special event in their future. Nervous but excited, Camryn can’t wait to begin the rest of her life with Andrew, a man she knows in her heart will love her always. They have so much to look forward to-until tragedy blindsides them.

Andrew doesn’t understand how this could happen to them. He’s trying to move on, and thought Camryn was doing the same. But when Andrew discovers Camryn is secretly harboring a mountain of pain and attempting to numb it in damaging ways, there is nothing he won’t do to bring her back to life. Determined to prove that their love can survive anything, Andrew decides to take Camryn on a new journey filled with hope and passion. If only he can convince her to come along for the ride…

review

“… there comes a time in a person’s life when you have to face something so horrible that you feel like you’ll never be the same person again. It’s like something dark swoops down from somewhere above and steals every shred of happiness you have ever felt and all you can do is watch it, feel it go, knowing that no matter what you do in your life that you’ll never be able to get it back.”

It is not everyday that you get that perfect love story that makes you smile every time you recall it, but Camryn and Andrew’s beautiful romance is one such modern fairy tale that will never stop making me smile. And theirs was a happy ending that I truly hoped to see more of. In this sequel to the much beloved The Edge of Never, we get to watch our fearless kindred spirits find their place in the world, forge their own path to happiness and never take a single moment of it for granted.

After facing their pasts and finding a common direction in life, Camryn and Andrew are more in love than ever and on their way to becoming parents. Pregnancy is not something they planned or hoped for so soon in their young relationship, but they have embraced it wholeheartedly and adjusted their plans for the future to accommodate their impending parenthood. Nevertheless, as ecstatically happy as they are about it, there is still a small part of them unable to settle down in the one place and accept the monotony and predictability of the life before them. They suppress those doubts, prioritise over them in light of the little bundle of love they have created and cannot wait to meet, but those thoughts are always there, making them secretly wonder whether they have indeed found the bliss they were so desperately seeking.

When tragedy knocks at their door and shatters all their plans, the only thing keeping them afloat is the relentless love and support they so unconditionally give to one another. But while Andrew manages to recover from their loss by accepting life as it comes, for Camryn this is the last painful drop that makes the cup run over, bringing back too many unresolved feelings of pent-up hurt, fear and disillusionment with life. Unable to confront her own pain, she runs away from it, finding solace in numbness.

“You’re the world to me,” I whisper onto her lips. “I hope you never forget that.”
“I’ll never forget… But if I ever do, for whatever reason, I hope you’ll always find a way to remind me.”

Determined to save her from herself and not allow her fear to taint their happiness, Andrew takes their future into his own hands – another road trip, another voyage of self-discovery, but this time hoping to find the life that fits them best in the big world around them. Through a gently paced storyline, we watch them grow stronger individually as well as a couple, their love becoming an unshakeable constant driving them forward. We watch them reconcile their past and their future like pieces in a puzzle, each piece fitting them and only them perfectly, and cherishing every precious one of them.

“We met on the road; we grew to know and to love each other on the road. It’s where we were meant to be for however long, and it’s what we’re going to do until it becomes clear that we were meant to do something else.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this next step in their life journey, it may have not grabbed me as fiercely as the previous one, but it reflected these characters just perfectly. I found the writing style slightly less engaging, partly due to the pace, but also due to a high level of detail in the most random of scenes, but it still made me turn those pages, hungry for more of their story, desperate to see them find their happy ending. Or their own path to it. This is an incredibly emotional tale of learning to live one’s life honestly and by being true to oneself, rather than to what others might expect of us. Happiness is a fleeting and rare gift and Camryn and Andrew find it by never letting life pass them by.

“We truly lived our lives the way we wanted to live them, not the way the world expected us to live.”

4stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
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The Edge of Never – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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EdgeofAlways_322x500
songofthefireflies
The Edge of Never: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
The Edge of Always: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
Song of the Fireflies: Amazon US (4 Feb 2014)
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The Author

jredmerski_croppedJ.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.

She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

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Camryn Bennett has never been happier. Five months after meeting on a Greyhound bus, she and her soul mate Andrew Parrish are engaged-and a wedding isn’t the only special event in their future. Nervous but excited, Camryn can’t wait to begin the rest of her life with Andrew, a man she knows in her heart will love her always. They have so much to look forward to-until tragedy blindsides them.

Andrew doesn’t understand how this could happen to them. He’s trying to move on, and thought Camryn was doing the same. But when Andrew discovers Camryn is secretly harboring a mountain of pain and attempting to numb it in damaging ways, there is nothing he won’t do to bring her back to life. Determined to prove that their love can survive anything, Andrew decides to take Camryn on a new journey filled with hope and passion. If only he can convince her to come along for the ride…

excerpt

Camryn still loves the newer stuff and the Civil Wars more than anything and so that’s usually what we play.

Tonight will be no different.

I love watching her perform them next to me up on stage because she becomes so vibrant and playful and sexy as hell. Not that she isn’t all of those things already, but it’s like another more daring and flirty side of her comes out when she’s singing. And she doesn’t just sing—she puts on a show. I think it’s that little actress she’s always had buried somewhere in herself. She told me she performed in plays at school, and I can definitely see she has the knack for it.

But singing alongside me also seems to make her happy, and that’s why tonight is so important.

“I’m so nervous,” Camryn says next to my ear, having to speak loudly over the music.

I make a pffft sound with my lips. “Oh, please. Since when do you get nervous anymore? We’ve done this dozens of times.”

“I know, but I’m singing in front of your brother this time.”

“He can’t sing for shit, so his opinion is hardly valid.”

She smiles. “Well, I’m not nervous to the point that I don’t want to do it. I guess it’s actually kind of exciting.”

“That’s my girl,” I say and lean in to kiss her lips.

“Those two girls,” Camryn yells to me without looking in their direction, “front table to your left, they’re having sex with you in their heads right now, I swear to God.”

I laugh lightly and shake my head. We’d started picking people in the crowd to sing to lately.

“And that guy standing next to the woman in the purple shirt,” I say, nodding subtly in his direction, “has had your thighs wrapped around his head since you walked on this stage.”

“So it’ll be them tonight then, huh?” she asks.

I nod and say, “Uh-huh.”

“Make sure you give it to them good, baby,” she says, grinning wickedly at me.

“Oh, I will,” I say with the same amount of wicked on my face.

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
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The Edge of Never – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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EdgeofAlways_322x500
The Edge of Never: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
The Edge of Always: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
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The Author

jredmerski_croppedJ.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.

She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win an Emergency Travel Pack and signed paperback copies of The Edge of Never and The Edge of Always, please enter below. This contest is administered by Grand Central Publishing and it is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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COVER REVEAL & EXCERPT: The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski

Andrew Parrish. One more time… Andrew Parrish. OK, with that out of the way, I am so honoured to be part of a very special event bringing you not only the cool new cover of a book I am dying to read, but also a never-seen-before excerpt. While The Edge of Never was from Camryn’s point of view, this time we get to hear Andrew’s voice and it is going to be SPECTACULARRRRR!!! Book junkies, I give you the cover of and excerpt from The Edge of Always

Expected release date: 5 November 2013

EdgeofAlways_COVER

The Excerpt

Camryn shrieks and I start laughing as we dash away from the cows and toward the car.

“Awww, shiiiit!” I yell when I step in a huge pile of it.

Camryn cackles with laughter and we both practically stumble the rest of the way through the field, me trying to scrape the shit off the bottom of my shoe while running at the same time and Camryn’s flip-flops getting caught on the ground trying to keep up with her feet.

“I can’t believe that just happened!” Camryn laughs as we finally make it back to the car. She arches her body over forward and props her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.

I’m out of breath, too, but I still relentlessly scrape the bottom of my shoe on the asphalt. “Dammit!” I say, rubbing my foot back and forth.

Camryn jumps up on the hood of the car, letting her legs hang over the front. “Can we finally say that we did it?” she asks with laughter in her voice.

I stand still finally and catch my breath. I look at her, at how beautiful and bright that smile of hers is and I say, “Yeah, babe, I think we can safely mark it off our list.”

“Good!” she says.

Then she points behind me. “Do it on the grass,” she says with one side of her mouth pinched into a hard line. “You’re just spreading it around doing it like that.”

I hop over into the grass and start rubbing my foot back and forth again. “Since when did you become an expert on shit?”

“Better watch your mouth,” she warns, getting into the driver’s seat.

“What are you going to do?” I taunt her.

She starts the Chevelle and revs the engine a few times pressing on the gas. There’s a cruel gleam in her eyes. She props her left arm across the top of the open window and next thing I know she’s driving slowly past me.

I give her the warning eye, but her grin just gets bigger.

“I know you won’t leave me here!” I shout as she goes past me.

Surely she wouldn’t….

She gets farther away and at first I call her bluff and just stand here, watching her get smaller and smaller…

Finally, I take off running after the car.

The Story

He was taking the long road. She was taking the road to nowhere. It just so happened that they led to the same place…

Five months ago, Camryn and Andrew, both dealing with personal hardships, met on a Greyhound bus. They fell in love and proved that when two people are meant to be together, fate will find a way to make it happen.

Now, in the highly anticipated sequel to The Edge of Never, Camryn and Andrew are pursuing their love for music and living life to the fullest as they always swore to do. But when tragedy befalls them, their relationship is put to the ultimate test.

As Camryn tries to numb her pain, Andrew makes a bold decision: To get their life back on track, they’ll set out on another cross-country road trip. Together they find excitement, passion, adventure – and challenges they never could have anticipated.

Sexy. Daring. Dangerous. The Edge of Always takes you on a ride you won’t forget .

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Pre-order book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks
The Author

jredmerski_croppedJ.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Edge of Never lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese.

She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Connect with Jessica: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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~ This event was organised by AToMR Tours ~
Other books in the series or related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

theedgeofneverTwenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

review

“I will do anything for you, Camryn Bennett. I don’t care what it is, I don’t care… anything you ever ask me to do and I would do it. No exceptions.”

Two young hearts, two lost souls, two halves of the same whole whose chance encounter sets them on a journey of self-discovery and falling in love – happiness and a sense of belonging to someone being the destination they’ve both been longing for.

Camryn is a young girl who feels trapped in her own life, afraid to be herself, afraid to express what she wants, unable to deal with the pain from her past.  This cripples her, makes her desperate to feel any deeper emotions again, leading her to question her own sanity and ability to love. Needing to break away from everything currently weighing her down, one day she simply buys a bus ticket and takes off, with no clear destination in mind, only wanting to distance herself from her life and everyone in it.

Andrew has his own demons that have put him on that same bus. He is unable to face them or process them in his mind. While Camryn runs away from her life, Andrew puts his on hold, the bus trip becoming for both of them an analogy for procrastination and escape from reality.

From the moment they meet, they sense a kinship of ideas and purpose, slowly discovering that they share the same guiding convictions, the same thoughts about life in general, and the same frustrations regarding the world around them.

“… dwelling and planning is bullshit,” he says. “You dwell on the past, you can’t move forward. Spend too much time planning for the future and you just push yourself backwards, or you stay stagnant in the same place all your life.” His eyes lock on mine. “Live in the moment,” he says as if making a serious point, “where everything is just right, take your time and limit your bad memories and you’ll get wherever it is you’re going a lot faster and with less bumps in the road along the way.”

Their friendship is built slowly, brick by brick, one small layer of trust after another.  Nothing is rushed, making their growing connection well-paced and carefully developed. We watch them fall in love step by step and we fall in love with them. Andrew helps Camryn open up and finally voice her wishes and desires. He shows her how to live life unafraid of being herself, gently lowering her walls and emotionally reconnecting with the world around her again. He makes her feel accepted.

“I don’t know what I want or how I feel or how I should feel and I don’t think I ever really have.”

Camryn is Andrew’s trigger for wanting more out of life. He recognises a kindred spirit in her but he also recognises in her a woman that could irrevocably capture his heart. She makes him want to seize every single moment in life and never waste another one. Camryn slowly becomes the vision of all the hopes and dreams that Andrew’s ever had. He falls for her wholeheartedly but he never rushes her into returning those feelings – he patiently gives her all the time and space that she needs to become aware of and embrace her growing feelings for him.

“If you were to let me f*ck you, you would have to let me own you.”

By creating their little ‘cocoon’ of mutual dependency and support, they are able to spread their wings and taste life in all its cornucopia of flavours. The sexual tension between them is ever-present but it does not rule their connection. When they give in to their desires, it is much more than a joining of the flesh – they completely surrender to each other, fuse their souls together and become one. That climax in the story is timed with perfection, and not given gratuitously to the reader at the wrong time. And then after getting us used to a slow-paced progression of events, we are given the mother of all endings, the final pinnacle in the story to slap us back to reality and leave us all choked up, gasping and wanting more.

This is a story about falling in love body and soul and never wanting to let go, but even more than that, this is a story about finding a direction in life and someone to share that direction with. Andrew and Camryn’s meeting on that bus feels a lot more like destiny written in the stars between two hearts who are made to be together, than simply a chance encounter between two stray souls. Their connection is unquestionable, intense, moving. By reading their beautiful tale, I felt so much, I hoped for so much, and I was left with so much. This book should be on everyone’s reading list – it will elate you in such unexpected ways, leaving you grateful to be alive and more than a little hopeful that there might be an Andrew Parrish out there for every single one of us.

“Please…,” I whisper, “don’t let me go….”

5stars

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Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
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