Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review Tour: What If by Bayli Lane

For some people falling in love was a happy, glowing experience. For Briar Kelly and Arrow Donovan it was more like getting hit by a freight train.

Caring for one another was never an easy feat. They constantly fought to hold their feelings inside, not wanting to jeopardize their friendship. Then, Arrow left for the Marines, and everything changed. Briar was shattered. Arrow was hurt.

While Briar told herself she’d never let another man affect her in such a way, Arrow still remained in the forefront of her mind. For Arrow, his memories of Briar kept him alive in both of his near death experiences. When Arrow’s demons threatened to drag him under, Briar was there, pulling him from the darkness.

"What ifs" keep piling up while resentment and redemption battles continue; will Briar and Arrow be able to find their happily ever after, or will this be one war that Arrow can't win?

There are no what if’s for me… Huge 5 star read for me!

I was so giddy to read another novel by Bayli Lane!   Her debut novel Becoming More knocked the socks off of me so when I saw What If in the works, I was salivating until the day I was able to read it!  Just that title alone I was like… awh man…. This one is going to be a doozy!  Just those two little words “What If” bring so much uncertainty to my mind.  Everybody has what if’s in their lives that make you think, what if this would have happened, or what if I did this instead.  But when it comes to Arrow and Briar, it seems like their entire life was one what if after another!!!!!!!  I never rooted so much for a couple to make things right and it just seemed like at every turn, fate had other things in store from them.  It’s a heartbreaking love story that will pull at your emotions and probably have you yelling a few times at your ereader!  Ms. Lane has a way of just immersing you into the story making you feel like you are part of these characters lives.   It’s frustrating, it’s heartbreaking, there lots of angst but I loved every second of it!  This is a complete story told in both main characters POV.

What If is the story of Arrow and Briar and how many what if’s they have over a span of decades!  Yes decades!  In high school, Briar was content in being the best friend to Arrow as it was better than not having him in her life at all.  Even though it may have been painful to see him with her best friend Darcy.  As young adults, misunderstandings or maybe fate step in.  Arrow joins the military and rekindles a relationship with the girl he lost his virginity to.    Briar realizes that looks happy and doesn’t want to interfere with his relationship with Lacey.  She knows their past history together and makes a decision to let Arrow go and move on.  Gawh…. So heartbreaking!!!!!!!! 

“I would never let another person have a kind of hold on me that Arrow did.  I would never allow another human being to embed themselves into my soul because healing a broken heart was hard enough… healing the soul was impossible.  How can you heal something that no longer belongs to you?” –Briar

“I’d try like hell to never let anyone know how ruined I felt knowing Briar would no longer be a part of my life.  But the scars she left inside of me would forever exist, not for anyone else to see, but for me to feel.” –Arrow

Both of them move on, both of them marry other people and go through the motions of life apart.  But when Arrow does a tour of Afghanistan and is terribly injured things go from bad to worse.  For years, Briar has been able to block out thoughts of Arrow but finding out his was injured brings those old wounds in her heart to the surface.  For Arrow, he finds solace in drugs and alcohol.  Spiraling out of control, he realizes the thing he must do to go home. 

What happens when he comes face to face with Briar again?  Is it too late for them to find a chance at love?  Has too much time passed?  Can those old feelings stay down and buried or will they erupt?  Arrow and Briar’s story is not an easy road, so many obstacles are in their way can they make it through stronger or will it be just too much?  All will be answered when you check out What If… 

“The cuts in my heart felt deeper than ever before, raw.  That’s what happens when you finally give yourself to someone fully, finally thinking that your lives were going to tangle into one.”- Briar

Sometimes the massive earthquake of your past was so harmful that you could still feel the aftershocks years later.  
Arrow was my earthquake, my natural disaster.

What If was a good romance story that will deal you a stack of what if moments.  I have to say there may have been to many for my taste but in all this was a well written story and no cliff hanger!  I would give this story a 4 star.  It is told in dual POV's of Briar and Arrow.  I have to say I did really enjoy these characters because it wasn't just about them being together it had much more depth than that.  It definitely was not a quick romance, it progressed over time, even though like I said above maybe too many moments where I was like really not again, almost like dammit they missed another chance can't they open there eyes and see what they are missing.  But I have to thank the author for giving it more than a quickie I love you romance.  I am a fan so I will follow Bayli Lane and hope she brings more stories for us.. and soon!

Briar and Arrow met as teenagers and right away became best friends.  They always had a pull towards each other but they didn't want to loose what they had with there friendship.  As time passes on they form relationships with others but in the back of both of there minds they know they have feelings for each other but neither act upon it or tell each other about it.  So the What If's start and the obstacles they both create in there lives just keeps pulling them farther apart.  Your question through out the book is gonna be will these 2 ever get together?  What finally will be the straw that broke the camels back?  Or have they both found love in others and it is just too late for them and they will always just think 
What If?

This book will twist your brain and make you think of why oh why?
But I like a book with a little challenge..thanks Bayli Lane for a great story!

Here are some of my favorite lines/quotes from the book

  The biggest difference I noticed in our relationship though; I loved him more now that I did in the past.  It's like after I woke up from our car ride and looked at Arrow... I don't know... I was looking at the person who was supposed to be there every time I woke up and every time I went to sleep.  I didn't even bother shoving those feelings away because I didn't have anywhere to push them.  My entire body was already full with love and regret.

Most of the time I tried to pretend he didn't exist unless Darcy came to me with more information.  However, hearing this news only brought those feelings I had tried to bury deep down back to the surface.  I didn't want to love Arrow because loving Arrow and losing him in this way would break me.

There are multiple ways someone can break you.  If you felt attraction or love for the particular person, there were even more ways for them to have that control.  You were inadvertently giving that someone the knife and widening your arms, gesturing to your heart, and saying, "It's yours. Do with it what you want:  break it, shatter it, hold it, caress it, handle it with tenderness, but please, please love it."

I stood like a peeping Tom, except I wasn't trying to catch a glimpse of a naked woman in her privacy.  I was trying to decide whether or not I was looking at the same girl I fell in love with all those years ago.

There are multiple ways someone can break you. If you felt affection or love for that particular person, there were even more ways for them to have that control. You were inadvertently giving that someone the knife and widening your arms, gesturing to your heart, and saying, “It’s yours. Do with it what you want: break it, shatter it, hold it, caress it, handle it with tenderness, but please, please love it.”

This book is amazing. A-MAZ-ING. It made me feel. It made my chest hurt. It made me cry and it made me weep from all of the pain. In your adult life, there will be a time when you look back into your younger life, at something that happened to you or an opportunity missed or a decision that you made or was made for you, and think, "That was it. That was the moment that the course of my life changed. That was my fork in the road of my life that took me in a different direction.... I wonder how different my life could be, if only I had done this one little thing differently." I know mine, and it still breaks my heart. I would do anything to have that time back to change the outcome because it's impact changed who I was supposed to be. 

The characters Briar and Arrow are not perfect. They both made mistakes. There were words not spoken, feelings not shared or acted upon, fears not revealed. 

I wanted to kiss her, to taste the ruby of her lips, to know that she felt the same way for me as I had for her since day one. But that wasn’t an option. She didn’t love me in that way.

Briar and Arrow meet at a party when they are 14 years old and become very fast friends. Arrow knew that there was something special about Briar and felt that if he acted on his feelings, her would just end up ruining it so he makes the decision to just be her friend because he would rather have her as a friend than not have her at all, but that ends up being the biggest mistake of his life. 

Darcy and I started dating that night. It shoved me deeper into Briar’s life. We were forced into seeing each other nearly every day since she was Darcy’s best friend. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about spending time with Briar because I wanted to be with Briar as much as possible. But being around Briar when I was supposed to only be thinking about Darcy in the ways I was thinking of Briar was really damn hard.
Looking back later, I’d realize the mistake wasn’t acting on my feelings for Briar; it was not acting on them.

They were in love with each other and both continued to refuse to act on their feelings. After Arrow leaves for the military there is a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings that damages their friendship, their hearts and their lives that results in unhappiness for both of them. 

I wiped my face and made a silent promise to stop living in the past and to start living in the present. I would never let another person have the kind of hold on me that Arrow did. I would never allow another human being to embed themselves into my soul because healing a broken heart was hard enough… healing the soul was impossible. How can you heal something that no longer belongs to you?

This book is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It was heartbreaking and beautiful. I loved the way it was written in both Briar and Arrow's POVs. It starts out when they are young teenagers and ends when they are adults. It was a beautiful ending and I know that this story will stay with me for a while.

I am rating it with 5 seriously huge stars and it has been added to my favorites list and my top 14 of 2014 list!

Bayli Lane didn’t realize how much she loved creating a world from nothing until college. She went to Marian University where she majored in Communications but in her spare time wrote and read. Her love for reading is what really brought out her desire to create her own novel. After starting loads of stories and not finishing them, she finally decided it was time to put her passion to work. Bayli lives with her husband, Tim, in Indiana where she is probably sitting with a large cup of coffee and her computer working on her next book.