Thursday, November 13, 2014

review || FIGHTING THE FALL { blog tour }

I first heard of J.B. Salsbury through the many interactions she has with Claudia Connor and Cristin Harber. They all gushed and raved over one another, all speaking extremely high of their fellow author, who also happened to be a true friend. They are one another's Beta readers, idea-bouncer-off-ers, personal cheerleaders, and I. Just. LOVE it. There isn't competition between these ladies; they are all extremely talented in their craft and don't fear the others being cruel. 

When I was given the opportunity to sign up for the FIGHTING THE FALL blog tour, I jumped on it. As an extremely broke lady trying to make ends meet in this crazy expensive world, getting ARCs has been quite the blessing -- and has allowed me to read new authors that may have otherwise sat on my 'Sample' list for months and months on end. If I can't find a book on the 'Free' list on Amazon or my Nook list, it's typically an accident if I buy it (err... such as UNCIVILIZED), or it's a very deliberate decision: a pound of chicken, or a book? 

...and considering I eat chicken nearly every day, a pound is a pretty important part of my narrow grocery budget.

That said, I've wanted to read one of Jamie's books... I just hadn't had the opportunity yet. 

When I received the email that I was going to be able to participate in this tour, and that Jamie so graciously allowed all the participants a copy of the ARC, I was ecstatic to say the least. Finally, I could get a true glimpse into her writing style that Cristin and Claudia gush over.

Now, I was a bit taken a back by...

...wait for it...

... ...that it was in first person. This is different from Claudia and Cristin. Why I figured it would be in third person is beyond me, but I'm learning to really enjoy first person told stories again and think that it might actually be the ticket to starting my own writing again.

Now, this was a book that I read inside out. Literally. 

I read the epilogue, true to Mignon fashion... I read the first chapter. Read the epilogue... Read from the beginning where I'd left off. Needed to know how old Eve really was, so did a search and read a little bit from there. Was confused about Cam's secret, so did a search and read a bit about that. Went back to where I'd left off at the beginning and read a good 50% of the book. Went back to the epilogue... Wanted to read the 'falling out' (that every romance book has), so went there and read. Went back to where I'd left off...

Some may say that means I'm not invested in the book. But oh, quite the contrary my friend. It just means that I'm not good at waiting and hate surprises, and just need to know EVERYTHING and do ANYTHING I can to get my hands on the info (I'm also that person who finds full synopsis's of movies and read through it when I have questions while watching a movie) (I'm also that person who has issues with her life, simply because she doesn't know what her epilogue will read). Additionally, it means that by the time I've finished truly reading the book, front-to-back, I've actually read the book, for all intents and purposes, three or four or more times. 

...and I'm sure, without a doubt, this is a book I will read, page one to 'the end', again and again. And I'll find a way to pick up the rest of the series, too. (Which, edit here, I picked up for 99 cents on sale through Amazon!).

Fighting the Fall by JB Salsbury

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent (11/4/2014)
Series: Fighting, book 4
Genre: Sport Romance
Source: NetGalley
Buy It For Your Kindle | Amazon | iTunes | Kobo || Goodreads
My Rating: ★1/2
The toughest fighters aren’t created in the octagon but are born of necessity. When life delivers blow after punishing blow, you fight back or get destroyed. 

Eve Dawson has had her fill of bad luck. A string of unhealthy relationships has left her angry, bitter, and frustrated. She’s given up on being happy and settles for content. Swearing off men, she repels advances and makes herself a challenge to even the most persistent suitors. After all, how much can the fragile human heart take? But life isn’t finished with her, and when things can’t possibly get worse . . . they do. 

Stay on your feet. 

It’s Cameron Kyle’s motto, but with his fighting career ripped from his grasp, a child he wasn’t strong enough to save, and a marriage that even the brawn of a heavyweight couldn’t hold together, it’s getting harder and harder to stay upright. He takes on the position of CEO of the UFL, intent on hiding his biggest weakness in order to forge a path that leads him back into the octagon. 

When an old rival mysteriously gets wind of Cameron’s plan to fight again, he comes out of retirement to settle old debts, but secrets, lies, and betrayal threaten to deliver the death-blow. The distraction of a sass-mouthed girl seventeen years his junior is the last thing he needs until a tragic accident shatters the firm foundation of his resolve and he realizes just how far he’s fallen. 

Will they risk it all and fight to be together? 

Or does defeat lie within the fall?

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Connect with JB Salsbury || Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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So, aside from my inability (my issues, nothing to do with the writing) to read the book in it's correct page order, and the fact that I was a bit unsure of it's first-person-antics... I really liked this book.

The development and inside look to Cam was great. He goes through two of a man's biggest fears -- his inability to protect, and his inability to perform (....not that way..... minds in gutters, geez). One life change spiraled into the next, and he spends the next 14 years beating himself up over it.

I do feel that D'lilah should have taken a bit of blame in all of this, instead she's just a weepy woman who chooses alcohol, and because Cam loved her once and beats himself up over the changes in their lives, he allows her to pull him into her circle of sadness.

I love that Eve knows what she wants and goes for it, even when Cameron frantically back-pedals, windmill arms and all. When Cam's secrets finally come out, she doesn't judge him as Cam expects her to -- he judges himself, why wouldn't she and everyone else who learns his secret?

I do, however, wish that Eve were more... grown. She acts older than her age in many instances, but there were times she acted younger -- much more like a twenty-one year old male than female. Granted, not every twenty-one year old female acts the same way, so she's probably more on track than I give her credit for (just because I was way too old for my age at that time, doesn't mean everyone else is). My only gripe with this fact is simply that Cam is older and when she acts older, I have no qualms with the age gap; but when she acts younger, it's almost more like a father-daughter relationship and that just bothers me.

But the best part of the story... The. Best. Part... Maybe it makes me a bit sadistic, but I love when big, strong men crumble apart. And there's some serious crumbling in this book. Yes, Cam crumbles from the get-go, but in the heat of the story, when Eve and Raven... Mm. Yeah. I won't say. But there's some serious man-crumbling.

Heart clenches and tears in the eyes were pretty prevalent in this read, so Jamie, you did good. You have now made it, firmly, into my need-to-read column. Now, to decide who's book to begin with... :D

- - -

Oh! And because Jamie's super awesome, she allowed some 'interview' questions with the blog tour participants. Due to the nature of how I "met" her, of course my first question has something to do with Cristin. Also, because I love the relationship this circle of writers has, my other question had to do with that.

  • As a super Titan fan, as I'm sure you are as well, I know that you've helped Cristin push through some pretty difficult scenes. For your Fighting books, what was the most difficult scene for yourself that you weren't so sure you should go through with?
TEAM TITAN! Hoorah! Cristin has been an amazing critique partner. I can’t tell you how many times we stayed up late brainstorming ideas and working out plot holes in our stories. I honestly would be lost without her. 
In this current book, she helped me a lot with the prologue. I had two written and couldn’t decide which one I should use. One was a lot more emotional than the other, and not in a positive way. I worried that it would be too much for readers. In Rex’s book there was a particular scene when he’s in the shower alone that I was literally shaking after I wrote. I thought for sure the readers would hate it and went to Cristin with that too. In both situations she told me that I have to stay true to the story the characters give me. That if I get in there and bend the story to my will I won’t be doing my characters or the story justice. She also said that these deep, dark, sad parts were pieces of who these guys are and that the reader wants to know them. I kept both emotional scenes and I’m so glad I did. 
I think it’s good to have that one person in your life who reminds you to write for you. The moment an author starts trying to tailor his/her books to his/her readers is the moment they should just close the laptop and get a different job. The fact is, everyone is so different, and no two people are going to love a book for the exact same reasons.  
Cristin is great at reminding me that I need to stay true to me and my characters. So that’s what I do. 
  • As someone who wants to share her writing but is a bit timid to do so (friends and family don't really count)... how did you go about your friendships with the authors you love and trust, the ones you go to for help, critiquing, and beta reading?
I reached out to a few of my favorite authors when I started writing and only ONE got back to me. The FABULOUS Elizabeth Reyes. No joke, she answered all my questions without knowing me at all. Out of five or six, she was the only one. I literally owe my writing career to that woman. She pointed me to a website called Critique Circle. It’s a fabulous site where you upload a chapter from your book and it’s presented to hundreds of other authors to critique. I ran Flight through CC chapter by chapter and learned so much from some of the most amazing writers. In return for their advice, I critiqued their work too and eventually we started forming a little crew. So now I have five critique partners who’ve been there with me since chapter 1, rough draft, of Flight that back then was called “Modern Warrior”. These girls crit and beta for me, and because they’ve been with me now through four books they are really the only ones who can be 100% honest with me. They “get” me and know when I can write better and I love that they push me to be the best I can be. 

Thank you, Jamie!! I look forward to EVERY OTHER book you've written and have swirling in that mind of yours..!

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