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Monday, April 7, 2014

How To Say Goodbye by Amber Lin (Review & Giveaway)

Title: How To Say Goodbye
Series: Standalone
Author: Amber Lin
Published: April 7, 2014
Format: ebook received for review

Amy has a secret: no one’s ever held her hand. She doesn’t even know how to hug. Everyone thinks she’s smart, but straight A's are way easier than making friends. Then she meets Dane, a golden-haired surfer whose easy charm and hot touch teach her what she longs to know.

Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He’s been on the streets since he was fourteen. A drifter. Homeless. Then he meets Amy. Smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her.

Except that means facing down his past—and that past might very well swallow them both.

Part of putting herself out there was falling.

I've read Amber Lin before, and I've loved the book I read.  So going into How To Say Goodbye, I was eager to see how this book would be handled since it was a completely different type of book than the other I had read. (Which was called Giving It Up, if you are interested!) Amber Lin knocked it out of the park with this book, and definitely secured a place on my auto-buy list.

This book starts with Amy. Amy has had a very lonely life.  Her father died, and her mother has moved back to Japan.  She is quiet and reserved, and doesn't really have any friends.  In fact, when it comes out that she's never been hugged or held hands with someone, you don't think "Oh yeah, right" but rather, you feel bad for her - and want to know her more.  I really liked Amy.  She was a strong woman, long before she even realized she was strong.  One day, while on her way home she sees a young man building a sand castle, and his name is Dane.

She already knew the most important things about him.  He was kind, talented, and generous.  She had stumbled onto the treasure and now worried over how to draw the map. 

Dane is wildly interesting.  You get to know both characters quite well, but I was drawn to Dane just as much as Amy was.  He was quite an enigma, with his seemingly carefree attitude and surfer-sexy good looks.  But still waters run deep, and there is so much more than meets the eye, when you meet Dane.  But just as much as Amy is attracted to him, he is attracted to her, and they are both finding reasons to be near each other.

Parts of this book felt a bit desolate and sad - and they were.  I mean, you have Amy, who is kind of like a shadow of a person.  She's there, but she's not really.  And you have Dane, who seems larger than life, but has a heart full of secrets.  But the story is definitely touching.  The characters were flawed and beautiful, both of them haunted and sometimes trapped by their past.  They were able to find joy and even love with each other.  At times that felt tenuous, and I wasn't sure if it was going to happen all the way through to the end of the book. I  mean, it is called How To Say Goodbye.  I was definitely scared that Amber Lin was going to leave me a blubbering mess by the time it was done.  There was a good portion of the book I think I held my breath through.  Would they or wouldn't they?  Did she?  Is he going to?  The questions were plaguing me, and I couldn't put the book down.

Amber Lin definitely writes a good story here.  It's not a typical romance.  And when I say baggage, these characters have it in spades.  But they are just so dynamic and multi-dimensional, I couldn't help but keep reading into the wee hours of the night. If you are looking for a different type of book, I definitely say to put this one on your list- it's definitely a five star read for me!

Amber Lin writes edgy romance with damaged hearts, redemptive love, and a steamy ever after. Her debut novel, Giving It Up, received The Romance Review’s Top Pick, Night Owl Top Pick, and 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars, calling it “truly extraordinary.” Since then, she has gone on to write erotic, contemporary, and historical romances. She has been published by Loose Id, Carina Press, and Entangled.

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