Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review Only: Calling California by J.P. Grider

Cali Parker is poor. She has a lot on her plate - her father is dying, she's working to help pay the rent, and she's two-years behind in college.

Griffin Brooks is rich. He has not a care in the world - he's acing his engineering courses, his hobby is restoring his fifty-thousand dollar classic car, and he has a different girl on his arm every week.

When Cali sees Griffin on her first day of class, she's immediately smitten and thinks she's found the perfect guy. When Griffin sees Cali at the bank, he immediately forgets the blonde he was with that morning. Then they meet, and their worlds collide.

Cali doesn't belong in Griffin’s world, and he doesn't understand hers. But just when Griffin convinces Cali that their two different worlds can blend, a secret is revealed that tears them apart.

Is their love strong enough to bring them back together, or will their worlds drift further apart?

Great book. Great premise. Great ending. As I was nearing the end and a resolution didn't seem to be coming, I thought that Calling California was going to end as a dreaded cliffhanger, but luckily it was not! The story is told from the points of view of the two main characters, Calista (Cali) and Griffin.
Cali is poor. Always has been. Some Christmases she didn't even get a present from Santa. Her parents worked hard to keep a roof over her head and they were too proud to ever take a handout from anyone. They would rather work 80 hours a week than ask or take any help from someone. She lives in a world where all of her clothes and many of her possessions come from a second hand store and buying a perfume  or lotion is frivolous.
Griffin is a rich boy. He never wanted for anything and if he did, he would get it just by asking his parents. But he is humble about the money. He doesn't rub it into anyone's face or brag about it. He doesn't act or dress like a guy with money. He is just Griffin.
After two hours pass by, I realize how pathetic I am waiting on a girl I just met. Never in my whole twenty-one years have I ever done this. But I can't help it. There's just something about her. I could easily say it's her beautiful dark gray eyes, or thick, curly, nearly black hair. It could be easy to say it's her ample breasts or long-as-hell sexy legs. Or that beautiful, sensual, genuine smile of hers. But it's more than that. Something from deep inside her is calling out to me. It's almost as if I can hear her soul. And it's telling me she's perfect for me. - Griffin
Cali's dad is dying and life just genuinely sucks for her. She doesn't know a life without struggle. For the last two years, she has been working full time at a bank to save up enough to start going to college. Her mom works two jobs just to attempt to  keep food on the table because Cali's father is too sick to work. Her entire life is a mess and she is having a hard time dealing with it all.
I'm sorry, Daddy, that you're sick. I'm sorry, Daddy, that I avoid you. I'm sorry, Daddy, that I don't know how to talk to you anymore. Or how to accept this. Or even how to deal with it. I'm so sorry, Daddy, that I can't stop you from dying. - Cali
Cali has trust issues and is not sure if she should let Griffin in. She feels inferior because of his wealth and doesn't want to own anyone anything. She doesn't understand his world and doesn't think that she is good enough for him.
"You have all this...this pride and determination and...and self-respect. That comes from a lifetime of learning to survive and learning that though life isn't fair, it's worth living. You're beautiful, Calista. Your soul...there's beauty in your soul, and it shines in your eyes. In everything you touch. And...and... And Calista...I want to be more like you. More beautiful..." - Griffin
This book takes a turn that I didn't see coming. I had a holy shit moment when the ball dropped! Cali and Griffin grew up so much, and they learned so much about themselves and the world  around them. They are both so selfless and giving. There love is a beautiful love. A forever love.
I'm not sure where his heartbeat starts and where mine ends. But it doesn't matter. Because within moments, they are beating together. Rhythmically. In sync. Harmonizing while our tongues envelop each other's. And though this is just a kiss, it's not only a kiss. It's a declaration. Our declaration. Announcing the love that we so deeply feel for one another.  - Cali
5 stars

But this.
This is different.
Griffin's kiss makes me feel....
And finally floating above water.
Instead of drowning in it.

Calling California was a great read.  I would give it a solid 4 stars!  I love a college romance stories and this one definitely fit that bill.  It is told in dual POV's of Griffin and Cali.  It does have an HEA -- No cliffy! Woohoo!  This is the first book I have read from this author and I have to say I will be keeping my eye out for more of her work.  I have to say it really did touch my heart in places and make me have an Oh Shit moment too!

Cali is a girl who doesn't come from money, she doesn't ask for much and she certainly doesn't take handouts.  Her parents worked hard all their lives to support her and make sure she had the necessities.  There were even times when she didn't receive Christmas presents because it wasn't a necessity.  She is determined to get through college but unfortunately has to work full time to help take care of the household because her father is terminally ill and can't help anymore.  When she meets Griffin her whole world turns upside down.  She doesn't know how to take him at first, and she doesn't realize that she has met him before but only when he was a little boy.  Griffin is the opposite of Cali in every way, he comes from the rich side of life and even though he doesn't flaunt it he still gets everything he wants, that includes Cali.  He realizes that he knows her from when they were children but he doesn't want to reveal this to Cali because if she knows he is rich then she will want nothing to do with him.  But will this be the only secret between them?  Or is there more that neither one of them know and it will blow up in their faces?  Can Cali realize that even though Griffin has money doesn't mean she can't be with him?  Or is the Oh Shit moment way to much for her or Griffin to handle?

Pick up this book I promise you won't be disappointed!  I certainly hope we get more from this author there were plenty of side characters that I would love to see how there lives play out.  Thanks again for a great story and for the delicious Griffin who doesn't need another book boyfriend to drool and swoon over!

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book:

After two hours pass by I realize I am waiting on a girl I just met.  Never in my whole twenty-one years have I ever done this.  But I can't help it.  There's just something about her.  I could easily say it's her beautiful dark grey eyes, or thick, curly, nearly black hair.  It could be easy to say it's her ample breast or long-as-hell sexy legs.  Or that beautiful, sensual, genuine smile or hers.  But it's more than that.  Something from deep inside her is calling out to me.  It's almost as if I can hear her soul.  And it's telling me she's perfect for me.

I lie.  I really would rather it be she and I, but seeing her expression, I don't want her to think I want to rush into anything.  Though with Cali, I don't think I'd mind rushing into a full blown relationship with her.  Being with Cali is like nothing I'd experienced before.  She's timid and scare, but behind the little girl who'd been knocked down one too many times, there is a fighter.  I'll just have to prove to here that I'm worth the fight.  Because it's going to take a lot more than her prejudice against the wealthy to keep me away.

My own eyes close, but not before reveling in the fact that I just made love for the first time.  A virgin I was not, but my sexual experience before Griffin was emotionally indifferent- no passion, no desire, not even real physical fondness for each other.  But with Griffin... my entire world has changed.  I found a place where I belong.  My father's illness aside, I am now happy and content.  Griffin is the piece of me that was missing all these years.  And though it has only been a mere week since I have known him, I feel myself falling deeply in love with him.  

J.P. Grider is a Young Adult and New Adult author. She is the author of six novels. Her young adult series The Honor Trilogy consists of A Touch of Honor, A Man of Honor, and A Heart of Honor, while her first two novels - Unplugged (A Portrait of a Rock Star) and Maybe This Life - are standalone adult contemporary novels. Her most recent release is the new adult romance Calling California, which is the first in her Hunter Hill University series. The next book in the series – Mending Mick – will be released in October, 2014. All the books in the Hunter Hill University series will be standalone books and can be read in any order.