Monday, February 22, 2016

RoomHate by Penelope Ward Blog Tour

From New York Times Bestselling Author, Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?

Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.

When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.

The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.

The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.

I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.

The worst part? He didn’t come alone.

I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.

The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.

Author's note – RoomHate is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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His eyes darted to the side, and he noticed me standing there. We just stared at each other. It was ironic, but the only times I could ever feel the remnants of our old connection were in fleeting moments of silent eye contact. Sometimes moments of silence spoke the loudest.

I left him alone again, making my way back down the hall and into the restaurant to tend to the customers I’d been ignoring.

Things really started to get busy. Without Jade working tonight, we were short-staffed, and I was having a hard time keeping up with the orders. Sandy’s had indoor and outdoor seating. Normally, I would only be working one section, but tonight I was going back and forth between the two.

It was nice out, so I knew they would have Justin performing outside. I kept glancing over to the small stage to see if he was there. It was past eight, and he hadn’t made an appearance yet.

Sometime close to eight-thirty, I was in the middle of serving a large party of ten when I first heard it: the chilling sound of a soulful voice that was not familiar in the least. He gave no introduction. No warning. He just started to sing out the first few words, followed by the strum of his guitar. The song that Justin had chosen to start with was a cover of Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers.

The entire room soon quieted down, and all eyes were on the stunning blond male specimen with the spotlight shining down on him. Despite the fact that I was carrying a large round tray of dirty dishes, I couldn’t move. The vibration of his thick, smoky singing voice had completely paralyzed me, penetrating my body and soul.

Aside from the lone teardrop that fell the night he lost it on me during steak dinner, I hadn’t shed any more tears—until now. It was all too much. Hearing how different his voice sounded, how he’d trained it over the years, was a wake-up call as to how much I had missed. All of the hours of practice that must have gone into honing that beautiful voice, and I wasn’t there for any of it. The guilt, the emotions, the reality of a decade gone…everything started to pummel me at once. Not to mention the song—about a girl leaving. It probably had nothing to do with me, but in my mind, it sure as hell felt like it did.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I picked this one up on a whim. I was going through Amazon one-clicking (just like any other day) and this one was recommended to me after purchasing something else. The blurb had potential, the cover looked good, so I clicked. I just spent the last couple hours in Ms. Ward's world. I didn't get up, I didn't get a drink, thankfully the kids have a snow day and were sleeping in. I was pulled in and not released until that epilogue was over.

I loved the premise behind it. Did I see the end coming? I am an avid reader, so yes that ending really wasn't a surprise, but I enjoyed the ride getting there though. Why wasn't this a five star for me? The angst that was within the story was something that could have been fixed and done with after one conversation. Instead it lingered throughout the entire book. Not my favorite kind of angst.

Amelia's grandmother passes and leaves her half of the beach house. The other half is left to her childhood best friend, Justin. Amelia hasn't seen Justin in years. Something happened in their teens that Justin had knowledge of but kept from Amelia trying to protect her. She saw it as a betrayal and moved away to live with her dad, leaving Justin behind. Can they make sharing a beach house work? Will he even agree to be in the same room as her? Can Justin hold back the hate he's developed for Amelia?

This was a super quick read. Once you pick it up, you won't set it down until you finish.

This was an awesome book. There was just the right amount of everything for me. A little hate, a little tension, a little drama, oh yeah and lots of sexual tension. You could feel the chemistry between Justin and Amelia from the very start and it just kept getting hotter and hotter. This book gave me the feels, I laughed, I cried and I felt every emotion the characters felt. Great book!

Characters: Well written
Sex: Oh yeah!
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: No
Genre: Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

3.5 stars
RoomHate is receiving that rare half star rating from me because it was better than “GOOD” but didn’t quite hit my “I REALLY liked it” meter to receive the full four stars. The main reason being that it took far too long for me to connect with the story or the characters. Truth be told, I really didn’t have any emotional response until mid-way through when Bea performed her mic check – that scene had me laughing my butt off. Prior to that, I just wasn’t connecting to any of the characters. I liked Amelia and I felt badly for her situation, but Justin just came off as an a-hole instead of the wounded party in the beginning. While there was some angst and sexual tension, I didn’t feel the level of angst and tension I was expecting based on the blurb or the title. Well, except for Amelia’s foray into voyeurism because that was freaking hot!

I enjoyed the way in which Ward used flashbacks and memories to show us the kind of relationship that Justin and Amelia had as kids and ultimately the “betrayal” that tore them apart. However, I felt as though it was a little too drawn out and by the time the incident was revealed, I was surprised that that was what caused Amelia to sever ties with Justin. I realize she said she was a hormonal teenage who overreacted and while I can clearly see why she wanted the distance from her mother, I just didn’t get her reaction to Justin’s involvement – and, like Amelia, I was a painfully shy introvert at that age but I still couldn’t put myself in her shoes on that one.

Despite all that, I found the second half of the book far more enjoyable as the actual second-chance romance angle played out. The chemistry between Amelia and Justin is undeniable and when they finally go there, it was scorching. But it’s the little things that Justin does in taking care of Amelia and Bea that won me over in the end. Once Justin got over being a tool and he let out the kind, caring, and protective boy that Amelia knew, I couldn’t help but like him. I loved watching Justin take on the role of daddy without realizing it and it broke my heart to see him so upset when he had to travel for five months, not knowing if he was going to return at the end of that time because he hadn’t made peace with being a father-figure, not believing that his parents gave him the tools he needed to be good at it. There were definitely some moments toward the end that had me grabbing the tissues – out of fear, sadness, and happiness. Ward does a good job of bringing the story together at the end and I found myself reading as fast as I could to find out how everything was going to turn out. It’s because the author finally hooked me in and made me laugh and cry in the second half of the book that I have to give RoomHate more than three stars, but because the angst was a bit lacking in the beginning I just can’t give it the full four stars. RoomHate was an enjoyable read and I recommend checking it out for yourself.

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family-friendly career. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism and a 9-year-old boy. Penelope and her family reside in Rhode Island.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of RoomHate by Penelope Ward to read and review for this tour. Review copy was purchased by the blog for Angie; Shannan & Angela reviewed their personal copies of the book.

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