“Anything I can do to help you?” “Just be you, Everleigh. That’s all I need.”
The good: Solid plot and story line; likable characters and admirable comadre between them; clever use of quotations by famous persons integrated into the beginning of each chapter that foreshadow each event.
The bad: Nothing constructive that I can embellish on.
Everleigh Carsen: Medium blonde hair, oval face, blue-green eyes, and full lips. Student at Hensley University; Business major. Mother is deceased and father is non-existent. Best friends with Samantha “Sam” Whitney and practically fostered by Sam’s family as their adopted daughter. Is very sarcastic, whitty, and loves her coffee:
* “He (Hunter) had never made coffee for me before—this had disaster potential. It took two years living with Sam before I had her properly trained.” -LOL!!
&& falls in love with Hunter.
Hunter Charles: Mid twenties, 6’2”; Shaggy ebony hair and aquamarine eyes; has one tattoo. Instructor for self-defense classes at Hensley University and also a student. Holds varying degrees in different martial arts. Family owns a chain of martial arts schools. Is also sarcastic and whitty like Everleigh but tends to pawn her at her own game/jokes. Has a secret that is unbeknownst to Everleigh and cannot commit to a romantic relationship with her (even though he is highly attracted to her) for unknown reasons.
Wow!! I really liked this story!! Such a great book debut by Genna Rulon!!
The story itself was interesting and always kept me guessing on who was behind the violent acts. Several times I thought it was this one person but by the middle of it I started suspecting another and I ended up being right!
Hunter was also a puzzle that I tried to solve but was stunned when I learned the truth behind him. He always kept disappearing and leaving and made me wonder why he would never cross the "friends" line with Everleigh when you could tell he clearly wanted more.
As for his relationship with Everleigh, I absolutely loved their playful banter and trying to one up one another. Was so funny! Normally I complain about characters not having chemistry with one another but they definitely had so I was happy.
I also liked how the author starts them off as friends and throughout the main course of the book it shows them developing into a romantic and serious relationship. Normally, a lot of books skip this process and have them falling madly in love with each other in a jiffy but this one established a strong connection between them before they grew to that point.
SO, MY VERDICT:
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
I swear, by the time I had finished this book I had laughed, chuckled, gasped, and even teared up at one point. Everleigh was a definite hoot and Hunter was definitely swoon worthy.
I cracked up big time in the beginning when Everleigh thought that Hunter was gay and decided to befriend him so that he could be her and Sam's Third Musketeer! LOL!
“What man can quote a scene from the 1939 film classic? That does not happen in real life, hell, it doesn’t even happen in books. I halted hastily in the middle of the parking lot. Of course—it was obvious as a hooker at a debutant ball—Hunter. Was. Gay. It explained his extraordinary looks, for no straight man looks that good—it’s God’s joke at women’s expense. It explained his dislike of women, at least this woman. It explained his willingness to sit and listen to emotive music and contemplate the lyrical significance. Most importantly, it was the only plausible explanation for him quoting Rhett Butler, the dashing yet scandalous civil war hero from the gold standard of chick-flicks.”
"You know what this means don't you? He is going to be our third musketeer!"
And as for Hunter... well, he really moved me and made me melt when he revealed the meaning behind his tattoo and FINALLY confessed his feelings to Everleigh. Those of you wondering what is up with the Kanji symbol on the cover, that is the Japanese character for "Eien" which means Forever or Eternity. Being half-Japanese myself and being fluent in the language this was a nice touch. I totally 'awwed' in envy when Hunter explains why he got it and the whole significance behind it.
“Do you remember my tattoo? I had it inked at the end of March. Do you remember what it means”
-“Forever. You said it was the Japanese word for forever, eternal.”-How cute!!
-“Exactly. Forever.” He put his hand over his heart and repeated himself, separating the words, “For—Ever.” “I already knew, for me there is only you. No matter what happened between us in the future, it would only ever be you. I was made for you—only for you.”
I am now curious and super anxious regarding the next book in the series, “Pieces of You,” which is Everleigh’s bestie, Sam’s, story. She went through a gruesome and traumatic ordeal so I’m curious to see if romantic pursuer Griffin (whom I already ♥) can pick up the pieces and make her whole again.
GAH, I NEED THAT BOOK LIKE NOW!!
Until then, I will revert back to an Everleigh quote which makes reference back to the Musketeer's gimmick BUT ONLY this time she's annoyed with Hunter's hot and cold attitude towards her:
"On the other hand, Hunter had lost my esteem. I was officially revoking his Musketeer status, he would have to turn in his feathered hat and rapier. He could take his bipolar disposition elsewhere, because I was all stocked up on crazy."
-Random quote I know but I still found it hilarious and entertaining! If you don't then you have to read it in the book context because IT IS snicker worthy. ;)
-Overall : 9
-Plot : 8.5
-Writing : 8.5
-Characters : 8.5
-Cover : 8
Where to get your copy!:
Interview with Genna Rulon!
1) How did you come up with the idea for this book? What inspired you to write it?
I am an avid reader and have always dreamed of writing a book, but I never new how to sit down and write one. I should mention that I have always imagined conversations in my head, playing out possible scenarios to life’s ‘what ifs.’ One day a conversation (in my head…no I don’t hear voices—I may be crazy, but not like that) came to me between Everleigh and Hunter from a pivotal moment during the story. I sat down at my computer and typed a few paragraphs to capture the dialogue before I began to question ‘how did they get to this point?’ and ‘what happens afterward?’ That little conversation in my mind was the spark that finally inspired me to sit down and construct the plot that would become Only For You.
2) If you could create an internal music playlist for your story, what songs would you use and why?
Oh my gosh…there are so many. Here are just a few and my reasons.
My obvious choices are the songs used in the book: “Sweet As Hole” by Sara Barielles (from Ev to Hunter), “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga (from Ev to Hunter) and “Open Arms” by Journey (from Hunter to Ev). I won’t describe the specifics for those three songs since they are closely tied to the plot of the book and I strive to be spoiler free.
I think Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s “Complicated” could be Everleigh’s letter to Hunter throughout the book. If you read the words of the song, there is nothing more I need to say J
During their big confrontation, Travis Tritt’s “Anymore” was also playing in my head. There is a line about not being able to hide the pain in his eyes that particularly spoke of Everleigh’s struggle with trying to keep Hunter as a friend despite her love for him.
I also thought of Sara Bareilles “Gravity” many times while writing the book. There are people we meet who we drawn to, whether we want to be or not, and it is like gravity, unseen but indisputable.
I have two happy songs that always make me bop and dance along and just put me in a good mood when preparing to write fun banter, “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.
3) In Only For You, heinous crimes are being committed to the women of Hensley University. The female students have now taken to undertaking self-defense classes to better to defend themselves. Have you ever taken self-defense classes before?
I have taken one Krav Maga self-defense class, which I loved. I have two young sons that make attending class on a regular basis a challenge, but I intend to continue studying the discipline when they are a bit older. My eldest son has been studying Krav Maga and martial arts for the past year, so I am familiar with many of the terms and maneuvers from watching his sessions several times per week.
4) I’ve read a couple of reviews comparing your book to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster and Colleen Hoover’s Slammed. How do you feel about that?
FREAKING THRILLED! I can’t imagine a higher compliment to receive. I adored both Beautiful Disaster and The Slammed series. Although Only For You follows a different storyline, I can see where people would draw comparisons; both BD and Slammed are incredibly emotive and the reader experiences the emotions and angst right along with the characters. This type of reader reaction was one of my goals while writing. I love to feel the characters feelings as if they were my own when I am reading—I wanted to provide that for anyone who would read my stories.
There are actually several authors, many of who are indie, which inspired me to finally take the plunge and turn my dream into an attempt. Their courage in writing amazing stories was my kick in the butt, so to speak. I made sure to mention a number of them in Only For You’ s acknowledgement section because I was so grateful. They will probably never read it, but I know it’s there J
5) If you could choose, who would you cast as Everleigh? Hunter? And also Sam, Griffin, and even Robbie? Furthermore, would you be willing to provide pics?
I am not sure about a dream cast, as that would require me to consider acting abilities and such details way beyond my scope of knowledge, but I can give you visuals. It was tough to find pictures that match the images in my mind, because the character’s, while fictional, are vividly real in my head. I want to qualify my answer by saying I am going on the aesthetics in these specific pictures.
Everleigh Carsen is very much the girl next door. She is very pretty, but not over-the-top sexy or seductive. The would stand out in a crowd, but not necessarily be the most traditionally beautiful woman in the room.
It’s Ev’s mouthy sarcasm that always guarantees she is noticed regardless of who else is nearby. Her quick wit is her trademark and she has earned her reputation for sassy and fun.
Ev is a ‘tell it like it is’ girl.
Hunter is the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. He can make a woman stop dead in her tracks and take notice. Let me tell you, his abs (in my mind)… TO. DIE. FOR. More than just gorgeous, he is intelligent, funny, honest, and disciplined.
If I had to chose one word to describe Hunter it would be honorable. That is the underlining character trait that influences his choices and actions throughout the story.
Sam is the girl everyone wants as a best friend. She is hysterical, open (perhaps too open at times), loving, generous, determined, and real. Despite the fact that she is comfortable in who she is we see quick glimpse of her moments of self-doubt .
Where Everleigh is all bite and fight, Sam is more empathetic beneath her humor. The looks for the good in those around her and is trusting. In may ways she is more insightful than Ev because she doesn’t let her assumptions blind her to the truth.
Griffin is the man I want my boys to grow up to be (well, maybe one can grow up to be a Hunter and the other a Griffin, LOL). Griff is strong, caring, fierce, and intelligent. He was/is one of my favorite characters to write because you never know what is going on in his mind, unless he chooses to tell you, which he does…sometimes. He isn’t manipulative, but he will orchestrate an opportunity to support his friends when they need him. His humor is the most subtle of the group, but it is there mixed in with his sage advice.
FYI, Griffin is by far the hardest for me to find a picture for; this was the closest I came, but it’s still the least right.
Robbie is…well, I’ll let you read about Robbie and make your own judgments, but this is a very good representation of what he looks like in my imagination.
All of the characters go through a lot in their lives and relationships. Is there anything you would like readers to take back from them or from reading your story?
Ooooo, that is a good question. Yes, I had a little life lesson in mind for each character as I wrote, so here you go:
Everleigh: Responsibility. One of the defining aspects of adulthood is responsibility. Ev’s story is about her journey as a new adult fully into adulthood. She must learn to take responsibility for her own actions and words, as well as those she loves. She also must take responsibility for her own happiness by communicating her wants and needs, setting boundaries, letting go of what is not right for her, and embracing her chance at happiness.
Hunter: Honor. Doing the right thing is often the hardest choice one must make. Sacrificing your own wants to make honorable decisions can come at a high price, but in the end, we are defined by our actions and choices when right isn’t easy.
Sam: Life isn’t fair. Sam learns the hardest lessons in this book and is still learning how to process and deal with these tough realities. Being a good person does not prevent bad things from happening. Being a good friend does not prevent betrayal. Making the right decisions does not guarantee a favorable outcome. Loving fully does not ensure equal love in return. These are difficult truths we all have to face, though we rarely want to. The question remains, now that Sam has learned these lessons, how will it shape and define the person she becomes.
Griffin: Patience and consistency! With ourselves, with others, with circumstances beyond our control…life is an exercise in patience. At times it may feel that those around us are getting what we so desperately want, and we must choose to support and share in their joy (or in Griffin’s case, be an integral part in facilitating that joy) or become bitter and jaded. It takes patience to wait for your turn or the right time to have your own dreams fulfilled.
7) Are there any particular quotes or moments that you’re fond of that occur in the book? And if you have, would you mind elaborating as to why they mean something to you?
Oh my gosh, so many. Here are a few non-spoiler quotes I love.
A weird one: “Random? Hmmm…I was missing my deciduous upper lateral incisors. Both of them.”
If you haven’t read the book you are scratching your head wondering what the heck. I know. But, for anyone who is wondering where I can’t up with that weird little factoid…this was the case with my eldest son, so you can consider it a shout out to him.
A funny one: “I was a fool, alone and angry, preparing to do what every fool did at such times—I was going to a bar to drink myself smart.”
I think most of has been in this position once or twice in life.
A life lesson: “You can tell a lot about a person by those they associate with. In order to be a man you have to be willing to stand up for yourself and those you love. We are defined by the choices we make and must live with what they say about us.”
I think this quote summarizes the book and the series well. It is one of my favorites and it expresses the way I try to live my life.
8) I noticed that Hunter had the Japanese kanji symbol of eternity tattooed on his chest. As you’ve explained the meaning behind it and why Hunter had put it there, is there any reason why you incorporated it into your book? As well as, are you by chance, a fan of Japanese or Asian culture?
I am a fan of all culture! I love to travel and experience different traditions and ways of life. I even majored in Sociology (and Psychology) in college. I am fascinated by the internal and external forces that create who we are as people.
The kanji symbol felt authentic to me. Hunter has trained in martial arts for years and he studied abroad in Japan, which would give him familiarity with kanji and Japanese culture. Furthermore, Hunter isn’t overt, he is more restrained, and I couldn’t picture him getting an obvious tattoo. He is the type of man who would only commit to the permanency of ink after careful consideration, and the significance of said ink would only need to be obvious to him. He’s not showy.
9) Do you have any advice for aspiring or beginning writers? What do you look for or think what makes a good story?
For those who are aspiring, just do it. Sit down and write your story—if you don’t have all the answers or plot points figured out, write anyway. You can’t be a writer until you conquer your fear of being judged and actually write. I didn’t tell my husband, family, or friends I was writing a book until I was almost finished because I didn’t want to answer the questions if I failed.
I think the biggest challenge, after sitting down and writing a book, is what to do with said book when it is completed. I cannot offer any sage advice to those going the traditional publishing route, as I didn’t follow that path, but for the indie authors I would recommend you invest in having the book professionally edited and then have all of your well-read friends and family read it to catch what the editors may have missed.
For an indie author, you need to devote as much energy to gaining exposure for your book as you did writing it. Analyze successful indie books and try and determine what they did to promote their book. Send review requests to top blogs—be prepared for polite declines, it’s not you or your story (hopefully), the reviewers are just very, very busy and are often scheduled 3-6 months in advance.
This is hard work and very time consuming, but if you love writing and getting to know an incredible community of people then it will be enjoyable and exciting.
10) And lastly, do you have anything you can or would like to share with your readers with regards as to what to expect next in the series? We know that next up will be Sam and Griffin’s story, Pieces For You. We can see that there is a bird on the cover for this upcoming title. Is it a phoenix? And if so, then can readers interpret it as it meaning rebirth or renewal for our heroine(s)?
My goal for the For You series is to focus on a different character’s journey and her “finding love” in each book. Don’t worry, your favorite characters from previous books will still be there and you’ll get to catch up with what is going on in their lives. I am firmly resolved that each book will be able to stand alone as it’s own story. There will be no cliffhanger endings in the series.
The cover for Only For You featured a butterfly, which symbolized Everleigh’s journey and personal growth throughout the story. By the end of the first book Ev emerges as an adult, accepting the lessons she has learned and ready to move forward without regrets. The vines and flowers there the various paths presented with each obstacle she encountered and choice she made.
The cover for Pieces For You is a representation of a phoenix escaping the fire. I have always loved the concept and imagery of the phoenix and, to me, it epitomizes Sam’s journey. Pieces For You will explore what remains when she rises from the ashes and her renewal or rebirth after her tragedy.
Ultimately, both the butterfly and the phoenix are creatures of flight, so I think it would be fair to say that both of our book friends will never be the type of women to stay trapped on the ground. They are fighters and will overcome, but the journey to resume flight will be full of tests and suprises.
I was first introduced to your book while I was browsing the new ebook releases on Amazon and your book caught my eye. For days I was practically eye-raping it before I decided to contact and request a review copy and man am I glad I did!! I absolutely loved Only For You! <3
Thank you so much. You are too sweet! I am thrilled you requested a copy and that you enjoy the book. Messages like this is what makes all the hard (and sometimes monotonous work) worth every second!
I am beyond excited to get it into your hands. I am going to enter my “batcave” tomorrow to dive back into writing the story so it will be in your hands as an ARC in November.
! (You’re the best!) *Sorry, I couldn’t resist using some Japanese on you! LOL*
I LOVE THIS!!!! Absolutely love it! Thank you so much for this little extra thought. It made my day!
Next up for Genna!!:
Pieces For You
Release date: December 17, 2013
"The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies,
and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise.”
-Miguel de Cervantes
Samantha Whitney survived an unimaginable tragedy only to discover she had been betrayed by the man she loved. With the help of her best friend, she found a safe haven to physically recover and begin the process of healing emotionally.
Sam expected her homecoming to be tumultuous; she thought she was prepared to deal with the ramifications of her assault, but nothing could have prepared her the battle she faced.
As she reestablishes a life that no longer feels familiar, she finds unwavering support in a familiar face. Despite every effort to distance herself, Griffin manages to take two steps forward for every step she retreats.
When unexplainable accidents plague Sam, she is forced to turn to Griffin.