Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: Take Heart by Lauren Michelle Smith

Twenty-two-year-old Amelia Foster just can’t seem to catch a break. After surviving the sudden death of her father, she’s forced to drop out of college in order to support her alcoholic mother. Dealing with years of non-stop verbal abuse and strife, Mia decides she’s finally had enough. She packs her bags and moves to Austin, Texas—leaving the remnants of her old life behind. On her first night there, she unexpectedly meets Chase.

Chase Williams plays a carpenter by day and a bartender by night. With his supreme confidence, unapologetic sarcasm, and undeterred motivation, he will stop at nothing to get what he wants—including Mia. Attracting women has never been a problem before, but getting Mia to come around, well, that’s something else entirely. Instead of spending all of his energies charming her, he must do damage control so he can secure a first date. When she ultimately succumbs, sparks fly, and an intensely passionate relationship ensues.

As Mia tries to move forward with her new life, she finds that escaping her past isn’t as easy as she thought. Will the love from a reformed womanizer make her stronger? Or will the demons of her not-so-distant past tear everything apart?

Take Heart by Lauren Michelle Smith is a story that will tug on your heartstrings repeatedly while reading; making you sad, making you happy and even making you laugh.  Take Heart was a 3.5 star read for me and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who enjoys a love story that has a little bit of drama and doesn't end with the entire story being gift wrapped and perfect.

After taking care of her alcoholic mother for as long as she can remember, Mia finally decides that it is time to be selfish and she picks up and moves to Texas from Indiana to be with her best friend Raven & Eric.  Starting over in a new place is exactly what she seems to need and the support that she has from Raven and Eric is just what her heart yearns for after the lack of love that she gets from her verbally and sometimes physically abusive mother.  Just when she is trying to settle in and get adjusted to Texas, she meets the totally sexy and handsome Chase during a party at Eric's place.  Chase, known as a ladies man who is extremely close to his family, especially his sister Meg, has no desires to settle down with one woman; until he sees Mia across the room.  Using all of his man-whore charms, he convinces her to go on a date with him and in exchange he will return her sunglasses.  Unsure if she should start dating so soon, since she can't remember the last time she had a date, Mia finally agrees to go out with Chase and as they say the rest is history.

Chase begins to slowly change his ways and become a one-woman man and Mia slowly opens up to him about her life in Indiana.  They become closer and closer solidifying their relationship on so many levels, until Mia gets a call from home that rocks her to the core and forces her to leave Texas to deal with it.  Chase, now ever the supporting boyfriend, goes with her, and is shocked by what he sees when they get to her old house.  The way that Mia used to live with her mother surprises him, even though she has told him on several occasions that she didn't have the same childhood that he seemed to have.  While dealing with her mother being arrested and her house being broken into, Mia is slightly ashamed and hopes that Chase doesn't want to walk away because of this new facet of her past that he has been exposed to.  After Chase convinces her that he is not leaving her side and is there to support her in anyway he can; Mia gets the shock her of life and spirals into a depression so deep that she cuts herself off from everyone she cares about including Chase.

When she finally is able to accept and start dealing with the tragedy that she stumbled upon, she worries that she was so afraid of losing Chase that she pushed him to far and he will never return to her.  It is only after he sends her a Christmas gift, handmade and beautiful, with a note that will have you reaching for a tissue if you didn't need up until this point.  And the ending was completely perfect and so indicative of their relationship with each other throughout the entire book.  I really hope that there is another book, maybe about Eric and Raven...I would LOVE to read that as well!

"She fight hard, loves harder, and truly tries to make the most of everything she has."

(This was advanced review copy and it will be released through Story Merchant Books at the end of September)

Author of Take Heart. I was born and raised in Iowa, but I currently live in Austin, Texas. I graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Psychology. I'm an avid book reader who also enjoys writing during my spare time. My goal is to give people stories that they can relate to and characters they will fall madly in love with. Like most people, I also enjoy a good beer and a good vacation. Take Heart is my very first novel, and I hope to write many more in the future.