Did you hear that strange noise that shattered the skies last Monday? It was a strange combination between a squee, yip, OMG and ayeee! I didn’t mean to broadcast globally but I finished All For This and the conclusion of my reading journey combined with the knowledge that I would no longer be buying cases of TUMS for the anxiety regarding Hannah’s fickle heart was enough to celebrate.
Bless you, Lexi Ryan, for such a fabulous last book to close off an incredible series! I take back all the snarky nixing you off my Christmas list and now beg to ask that you add me to see your Amazon wishlists. Can I please buy you a pony?
I will begin this review by making the promise that I will not spoil the book for anyone. I often reveal things about final books in reviews without shame but this series is heavy on the who?, what?, where?, why?, and is that your hand or mine? and I am not going to be the one to ruin it for anyone. I am a big loather-er-er of cliffhangers and I had to suffer through them am going to make you hate all the what-comes-nexts? just as I had to. That said… I still have a job to do.
There was a lot of room for error in this last book and I am really impressed with how Lexi pulled off the end of this series. What or rather, who, I want to focus on is the main character Hannah. In order for the story to work Hannah has to have a lot of self discovery outside of the mystery of what is missing in her memory–which is the humdinger of the three books. I am going to be honest and say that Hannah-Banana is one of my least favorite heroines going because for most of the story she is lost without a penis to guide her. Personally, I have found that if you follow penises they lead you to only three places: sports bars, couches, and vaginas. Two of those places are okay to visit for very short periods of time and the third place better be home. I’d rather be on my own or leading others (penises included) and it drives me to madness when I see a woman in real life or fiction who has no identity without a man. And Hannah Banana literally has wishy washy, no identity, penis chaser, personality disorder. That is a thing in the newest DSM-5.
What I love about All For This is that EVERYONE and their brother, sister, mother and father is in this book. It is great to see that Lexi brought all these pieces, people, situations and what-ifs? together to show readers the different dynamics of all the people and players involved so we get the big picture of what happened in the final days before Hannah’s accident. Not only does this widescreen image help Hannah figure out what happened, it helps the reader realize how much depth exists in all the relationships. For once you get the back, backstory of both Meredith, and Vivian. We learn the importance of Max to Meredith and how Claire would be fitting into a life with Max and Hannah and Meredith. We see how easy it is for Vivian and Nate to rely on one another and fill one another’s needs after so many years of working together to care for Collin. How Hannah being the mother of Nate’s children affects not only how he lives his life, but how Vivian lives her’s as well. Outside all of that, readers also get to see how Hannah’s mother and sisters are coming to terms with her pretending to be with Max when she was with Nate, her countless lies, and the interpersonal relationships within the family that need to be approached in new ways in order to be healthier and happier for everyone.
This is a GREAT series. GREAT! GREAT! GRRRREAT! I will read it again and you should read Lost In Me now if you haven’t already! Muah, Lexi, amazekittens, sister! Thanks for being so awesome. I hope to read something new from you soon. I will look for buyers for one of my organs in the meantime in case I can’t get the ARC when it’s ready. =)
THE EXCERPT BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS, DUH!
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All For This Excerpt:
“How are you holding up? Did it go okay with Nate last night?”
She stiffens at his name. “He asked me to move to LA.”
Of course he did. “And what did you say?”
She blinks at me. “I’m not leaving New Hope. This is my home.”
“He wanted more than for you to move to LA.” I take a step closer. I need to touch her. I wonder if she knows she’s pulling away from me, if she can feel it like I can. It’s as if we’re connected by a thousand little threads like those in a woven rug and they’ve been breaking one at a time since the moment Nate came back into town. With every breath, I feel another thread snap. “He wanted you.”
She shrugs. “I’m already taken.”
I draw in a deep breath. She lifts her hand to my face and skims her fingers along my jaw.
I groan softly and slide my hand into her hair as I lower my mouth to hers. She’s soft and sweet, and I need more of her.
Taking a fistful of her skirt, I yank her dress up around her waist and find the cotton of her panties. She gasps, and I rub her through the fabric as her fingers curl into my back. My lips find her neck and the skin in the sensitive juncture of neck and shoulder.
“Max,” she says. But it’s not the normal breathy, needy whispering of my name. The word is a warning. A yield sign. “Max.”
My hand stills and I pull back to look into her eyes. I’m blindsided by the apology I see there. “Let’s move in together.”
“What?” She blinks at me. If she’s thinking I have the world’s worst timing with important proposals, she’s not wrong.
“We could rent out our apartments and use the money to rent a little place together. Someplace without those stairs that scare the living shit out of me every time I think of you climbing them. Someplace we can make our own.” I take her hand and squeeze. “You didn’t want to move in together last spring because you knew your mom would flip if you lived with a guy before marriage, but we’re not trying to maintain appearances anymore, are we?” She looks at the floor, and I tilt her chin back up so her eyes meet mine. “I could give two shits about appearances. I want to wake up with you in my arms, Hanna. I want to know I’m going to be right there when you need me, every time you need me. You and Claire are all that matter in my world. I want everything that matters to be what I come home to every night.”
“I’m sorry.” She steps back. “I just can’t. I’m too confused right now.”
My lungs burn as I fill them—it hurts to breathe in a world where Hanna isn’t mine.
“I know it’s not fair. And I want a future with you, but…”
“But you can’t stop thinking about him.”
“I can’t move in with you right now,” she says softly. “That wouldn’t be fair to either of us. It’s not that simple.”
“You keep saying that.”
I swallow back the rest of what I want to say right along with my anger, frustration, and the betrayal I’ve never allowed myself to feel. While I was waiting for her to take my ring, she was with another man, and I was never allowed to be angry because that man died and she needed to grieve.
I drag a hand through my hair and look at the ceiling. “Was it that simple when you made love to him?”
“Can we not do this?”
Torment is etched across her face, and I can’t stand to know I’m the one who put it there. I pull her against my chest.
“I won’t rush you, but remember something for me,” I whisper into her hair. “You put on my ring.”
Lexi Ryan’s Web Tracks:
Lexi Ryan on All The Things Inbetween:
Book It – In News Today: Here and Now, Lexi Ryan Gives Sneak Peak of All For This
Makin’ The Love Monday – Fall To You by Lexi Ryan
Weekend Pick Me Up – Lost In Me by Lexi Ryan
Book It – In News Today: Lexi Ryan Brings You Here and Now Cover Reveal
Book It – In News Today: Lexi Ryan’s Lost In Me Sneak Peek!
Lexi Ryan’s Books:
Lost In Me Synopsis:
The last thing I remember is having drinks at Brady’s and trying to avoid eye-contact with my life-long crush—the gorgeous, unattainable Maximilian Hallowell. They tell me that was a year ago, but I have no memories of anything since then. What I do have is this ring on my finger that Max says he gave me, and this much-thinner body I’ve dreamed of most of my life. Aside from a case of retrograde amnesia, everything seems almost…perfect.
But the deeper I immerse myself into this new world of mine—planning a wedding to a man I don’t remember dating, attempting to run a business I don’t remember starting—the clearer it becomes that nothing is as it seems. Do I have the life I’ve always wanted or is it a facade propped up by secrets I don’t even know I have?
I need answers before I marry Max, and the only person who seems to have them is the angry, tatted, sexy-as-sin rocker Nate Crane. And Nate wants me for himself.
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Lost in Me Excerpt:
“You don’t understand what this is like. Not remembering? I’m planning a wedding to this man I’ve wanted most of my life. Don’t I owe it to him—don’t I owe it to myself—to have the truth out there before we promise until death do us part?”
Even in the moonlight, I can see the pain in his eyes.
“I just need answers.” I lift my chin and move toward the back wall of the house, toward him. Immediately, I regret the decision because his lips curve into a wicked smile and he closes what distance is left between us. “I need the truth,” I whisper weakly.
“The truth? Is that what you really want, angel?” His deep voice dances over my skin like a caress. A little tender. A lot wicked.
I can’t reply. I’m too busy holding my breath. Too deep of an inhale might brush my breasts against his chest, and I’m afraid to touch him. Afraid of what it might make me feel.
As if he can read my mind, he takes another step closer, and when I step to the side to turn away, I’m against the wall and his body is against mine, his hot breath at my ear.
“Do you want to know what it was like between us?” he whispers.
I realize my mistake when a groan rumbles from his chest. “Should I start with how wet you were every time I touched you? Or maybe how you begged me that first night?”
“Have you been telling yourself some wicked rocker seduced you? That I tricked you into my bed? Sorry. You asked for the truth. You begged. Right there outside the club, you begged me until I ripped your panties off and you were too busy biting my neck to talk anymore. Is that what you’re hoping to remember? How you wanted me so badly you let me finger you out in the open, against that building where anyone could have seen?”
My breathing is uneven, my cheeks hot. When I press into his chest to put some distance between us, my traitorous hands curl into his shirt instead.
He makes a low growling sound at the back of his throat. His teeth nip at my earlobe. Lightning cracks in the sky behind him. “You might have forgotten me, but you still like dirty talk, don’t you? And maybe if I made you come now, you’d still scream my name. Because you always screamed my name, Hanna. Never his.”
I gasp. “You are horrible.”
“What are you really upset about? That you wanted me? Or that even as you stand here wearing his ring, you’re secretly hoping I’ll tell you about it. Secretly wishing you could remember all the details.”
Fall To You Synopsis:
Torn between two men…
When I woke up after the accident, I couldn’t remember anything from the last year—including my relationship with Max Hallowell or anything about Nate Crane. Now my memories are returning, but instead of answering my questions, they’re leaving me with more.
The man who broke my heart and wants to be my future…
Max is all I ever wanted, and now he wants to marry me. He’ll do everything he can to fill my life with love, family, and security. I need those things now more than ever. But can I trust him?
The man who stole my heart and wants to let me go…
Nate never made me promises, and I never asked him to. I’d been on the rebound, looking for a distraction, and he made me feel beautiful and wanted when I needed to feel those things most. He says he has to let me go, but what if I can’t let go of him?
With every revelation and every passing day, I feel more like Alice down the rabbit hole. I’m falling. Who will catch me?
Fall to You is the second book in the Here and Now series. It is not a stand-alone and is intended to be read following Lost in Me. Hanna’s story concludes in book three, All for This.
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Fall To You Excerpt:
He pushes one dress strap off my shoulder and tugs on the fabric until one lace-covered breast is exposed.
He groans softly. “Your bra matches your panties.”
“What happened to those?”
With a boyish grin, he produces them from the pocket of his jeans. I take them and hold them up. They’re ruined. Torn at both hips. And I’m not the slightest bit upset about it.
I prop my hands on my hips in a pretend pout. “Now what am I going to put on after our shower?”
“If I have my way? Not a damn thing.”
Dropping his head, he puts his mouth to my breast and sucks me through the lace. The sensation is too much—the wet heat of his tongue, the rough texture of the lace, the painful pleasure of his rough mouth. I cry out, and the sound echoes against the walls.
Before I realize what he’s doing with his hands, my dress falls away, puddling at my ankles and leaving me standing there in nothing but my bra and my strappy heels. He slowly drags his mouth from my breast, and my nipple puckers harder in the cool air as Nate steps back to take me in.
This is the part I hate. Men’s assessing eyes on all my imperfections—the stretch marks at my breasts, the extra fat around my stomach, the cellulite on my ass and at the tops of my thighs. There’s nothing sexy about any of these parts of me. And there’s nothing that turns me off more than the disappointment in men’s eyes when they get me naked. It wasn’t like that with Max. But then again, I’ve never let him see me naked—not entirely. And by the time he saw me semi-nude, he was already in love with me.
Or you thought he was.
I focus on Nate and will myself to stop thinking about Max. I won’t let my broken heart ruin this night. This isn’t about love or men who make you feel whole. This is about sex and pleasure and—
Nate lifts his eyes back to mine, and what I see there brings my overactive brain to a screeching halt. Not disappointment. No. The heat in his eyes is undeniable. And it’s for me.
“You couldn’t be more perfect, Hanna.”
I look down, confused. Has someone else’s body magically replaced mine, because…? It’s true that I’ve toned up a bit in these last months while working out with Max, lost maybe ten pounds, but I still don’t have anything near the bodies my sisters have. I’m still the size-sixteen embarrassment I’ve been since adolescence.
Nate tilts my chin up with his thumb. He cocks his head as he studies me. “You really don’t know, do you? Our conversation earlier wasn’t just an act. You have no idea how gorgeous you are.”
I want to shrug it off, but he’s looking at me so intently, I know he expects an answer. “I’ve never been with a guy who was…into big girls.”
He grunts. “Is that what you think this is? Some sort of fetish?”
I shrug and drop my gaze to his throat.
“Hanna, I’m not ‘into big girls,’ as you put it. I like women. Beautiful women. Women who have curves.” He steps forward and twists the front clasp on my bra until it releases. The straps slide off my shoulders, and the bra falls to the floor. “I like breasts,” he murmurs, cupping mine in his hands and brushing his thumbs over my nipples.
I shudder at his touch, that knot of pleasure tightening between my legs.
He steps closer, and my breasts press against his chest. He slides his hands around my back and down until they’re cupping my butt. “And I’m not ashamed to say, I’m a bit of an ass man.” He squeezes. “Fabulous to look at and something to fill my hands when I’m fucking you from behind.”
My breath catches at the image. Fucking me from behind. No doubt he wouldn’t be talking to me like that if he had any idea how inexperienced I am.
The sight of him dropping to his knees cuts me off. “And this.” He presses his mouth against the curve of my belly. “I’ve been with women who have flat stomachs and women who are soft here. Beauty comes in different shapes, colors, and sizes. There’s no cookie cutter for sexy.”
At the gentle pressure on the inside of my thighs, I widen my stance instinctively, bracing myself on the counter as the most intimate part of me is exposed to him. I shudder as he takes two fingers and traces some invisible line from just below my pubic bone to my center.
“This,” he murmurs. He lifts his gaze to mine and touches his fingers to his lips for a moment. “How turned on you get when I touch you? When I talk to you? It’s is the sexiest fucking thing in world.”
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