Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 15, 2013)
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Kelsey Summers was on a one way trip to self destruction. After losing it, faking it, she was attempting to find it--happiness-- in all the wrong places. She's entered a dark place within her soul that she may never be able to crawl out of. That's when he walked into her life. A guy who seems to see what she tries to hide from everyone behind her ever present party girl smile. A guy who makes her see that what she is doing will never gain her what she's looking for. A guy who will show her how to face her demons and want more. A guy who will make her realize "the best parts of life are the things we can't plan. And it's a lot harder to find happiness if you're only searching in one place. Sometimes, you just have to throw away the map. Admit that you don't know where you're going and stop pressuring yourself to figure it out. Besides...a map is a life someone else already lived. It's more fun to make your own."
Kelsey's about to discover that home isn't always a physical place, but where you're the happiest. For home truly is where the heart is.
I read this book while my mom was residing in the ICU after heart surgery. She remained there till just this past week, over a month after her surgery. Cora Carmack's book offered me a nice escape from the worries and fear that I might lose my mom as her health seemed to be spiraling down hill. Perhaps that is why I could relate to Kelsey. There are situations in life that affect a person deeply and give one a sense that things are out of one's hands, and out of our control, leaving us to feel vulnerable and defenseless. Emotions, when bottled up for an extended length of time, have a tendency to make us act irrationally and lash out as we try to find a way to curb the pain and memories. If a person doesn't cry, scream or find some means and/or support to constructively deal with one's feelings, they have a tendency to do things that are reckless and self destructive. Kelsey is well on her way to doing something that could pull her down lower than she's ever gone before--to a place she may never be able to find her way back from.
Jackson Hunt knows where Kelsey is coming from, but he keeps his emotions and secrets close. He sees a little something of himself in Kelsey, and by helping her, he also helps himself. While the two may have different circumstances, he sees that self destructive nature for what it truly is--a cry for help--and it stirs something in him he thought was dead.
Overall, I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. I love the way Carmack eloquently makes her characters come to life and burst off the pages by blending her trademark brand of humor and drama with a good dose of reality. She creates characters that are imperfect/broken, thereby, perfecting their humanity and capturing the raw emotions on her paperback canvas. I adore the way she ties her descriptions with her character's emotions giving us insight into their mindset without having to blatantly spell it out. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this book gets STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.