Review & Giveaway: What’s Left of Me by Amanda Maxlyn

Posted December 22, 2013 by bookstobreathe in Book Review, Giveaway / 0 Comments

Review & Giveaway: What’s Left of Me by Amanda MaxlynTitle: What's Left of Me
Author: Amanda Maxlyn
Published by Bandit Publishing
Release Date December 13, 2013
Genres: New Adult Romance
Pages: 329
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase From: Amazon US
Purchase From: Barnes & Noble
five-stars
Life works in mysterious ways.

Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.

I refuse to cry.

And I refuse to give in.

A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants. Me.

He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.

But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.

What if it changes everything?

Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.

Love found me when I was twenty-one.

My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.

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 Excerpt:

I’m grateful when I reach the door to the ladies room that there isn’t anyone around. I reach for the handle when I hear from behind me, “Not going to use the men’s room again?” I know that sexy voice. It’s the same one as earlier this evening in this same area.

With my heart picking up pace, I turn around smiling sweetly, “No, I’m going to sit down and pee this time.” My smile spreads a little wider and I say a silent thanks to sweet baby Jesus for letting me find my voice this time.

He doesn’t respond. He just steps closer to me with the corner of his lips spreading upward.

I don’t breathe.

I can’t breathe. Not when he is this close.

God he smells amazing. Like a mixture of spice and mint. Maybe a hint of beer too. It’s the type of scent that would awaken a primal desire within any female, and good God do I feel awakened.

“You ran off before I could thank you for the dance earlier.” No, thank you. His voice is a faint whisper and his face is now so close that our noses are almost touching. I glance down at his very attractive red lips just as the corners of his mouth move up into the most beautiful smile.Shit. He knows I’m looking at his lips.

I’m transfixed by him. In this very moment, I would do whatever he said or answer to any name he called; even if it was one of those fluffy names like baby or princess. All I can think about is the desire flowing through my body for those lips to be on mine. I would take him in this hallway. There I said it. Or, did I think it?

Do something.

Anything!

I look back at his lips.

I lick my own.

I can’t think about anything but wanting to feel his lips against mine. All thoughts go out the window of me not being able to pick up a man at a bar. I don’t care, but I will say any cheesy pick up line if it means I get to go home with him.

I know he’s watching me. He has to be thinking about my lips too because just then his tongue comes out licking his own. I try to think of something else to do, but nothing comes to mind. I feel him close the distance between us. He puts a finger under my chin for the second time tonight lifting my face so I’m looking right into his eyes. Without taking his eyes off mine he speaks in a quiet, low, raspy whisper, “I’m going to kiss you now.”

Without waiting for my permission, his lips crash down against mine. He takes my top lip into his mouth tugging ever so gently. I let out a soft moan as his tongue lightly traces my lips- tasting me. I can smell the fresh mint and beer off his breath and all I can think about is tasting it. I grab his neck brining him closer -opening my mouth- inviting him in. He groans as I wrap my arms around his neck running my hands through his hair.

Shit, if I die tomorrow, I can die a happy woman knowing this was my last kiss.

His tongue enters my mouth and I meet it with my own. He reaches down to lift me up and I let him. I wrap my legs around his waist just as he slams my back against the wall in the corner of the hallway. There’s a rush of pain that shoots down my legs causing me to cry out. He must take that as a cry of pleasure because he kisses me harder.

I feel my dress rise all the way to my waist exposing myself for anyone that walks by. My head falls back against the wall and he immediately starts kissing down my chin to my neck, then up to my earlobe bringing it into his mouth biting down. “Do you want to get out of here?” He whispers so softly into my ear I almost don’t think I hear him correctly. When he asks me again I just nod in agreement. Afraid if I were to say anything it wouldn’t be yes, and I really want it to be yes.

Setting me down, he runs his hands over my dress laying it back into place, then grabs my hand and starts speed walking away heading towards the red exit sign.

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My Review:

I don’t recognize the woman looking back at me.

                She’s not me.

                She’s a stranger.

I’ve been struggling for a few days to write this review, for how does one convey on proverbial paper how truly breathtaking this life-affirming novel is?  How do you put into words the way it made you feel, how your body literally lived and breathed with every emotional turn it took? How do you express the way your heart could both burst with love and hope and be thrown on the ground and stomped to death, all in one breath? Yes, it was simply THAT amazing! Debut author Amanda Maxlyn climbed a mountain and shouted to the world that she had arrived and was here to stay!

I forget about yesterday.

I don’t think about tomorrow.

I’m just Aundrea.

I’m free.

This is the story of a young woman, body broken and ripped to shreds from the most dreaded word in the entire English language; cancer. Cancer has made Aundrea a shell of the girl she used to be. It has torn away any sense of normalcy she had. It has robbed her parents blind, both emotionally and financially. It has made her uncertain of the future or if she will even have one. Yet somehow, through ALL of this, Aundrea is still one of the STRONGEST characters I have ever read. The depth that resides in this girl’s soul is staggering. You feel her pain, both emotional as well as physical, into your bones. Only one other set of books has ever made my physically feel it the way this book did. When I read all three books in Rebecca Donovan’s Breathing series back-to-back, I had an actual PHYSICAL response to them. My body ached and a pit grew in my stomach so deep, I didn’t know if I would ever find my way out. How I felt reading those books, well, that feeling returned in full swing with What’s Left of Me. This book was like a love child of John Green and Rebecca Donovan and if you read no other book in the near future, you should read this one. There is an honesty, a raw truth, that Amanda portrays through Aundrea that will connect with any walk of life and transcends genres.

I put everything I feel into that kiss. The way he makes me feel. How he has changed me and he doesn’t even know. I was meant to meet Parker.

He brings out the best in me.

He brings out the life in me.

I am just going to go ahead and get it out there. Parker has taken up residence in my heart, the likes of which I don’t think I will EVER be putting up another vacancy sign. This man, he was just the ENTIRE package. He wasn’t afraid to share his emotions or his desire for Aundrea. He was everything she needed and never knew was in the realm of possibility. He came into her life at a time when she needed something like him the most. The chemistry between them literally FLEW off the pages. This was no insta-love but rather one soul recognizing its counterpart. They say that when you meet THE one, you just know deep within your core, and this was conveyed so breathtakingly beautiful throughout the entire book. It was believable and plausible. It was heartbreakingly real. Everyone should have a Parker in their life. Someone who cherishes them. Someone who desires them achingly. Someone who would walk through the fiery pits of Hell to save them.

Love is handing yourself over to someone. It’s being able to trust them by giving full access to your everything. Even if that means allowing them to break your heart.

In the best way possible, reading, no DEVOURING, this book was effortless. Amanda writes with such prestigious clarity that you can’t help but be engrossed in the story and characters. You are drawn in from the first sentence and reside in their world long after the final word has been read. Speaking of final words, that epilogue…… I will not say anything as to spoil it for anyone else. Let’s just say that I wanted to strangle-hug her, and I say that with love. Honestly, at 95%, I shut my Kindle and FB messaged my friend stating that I was temporarily boycotting it. She talked me off the edge and I, after an hour or so, went back to finish. Man, am I glad I ever did. Good or bad, and with a lot of uncertainty, I think it ended perfectly. But you know what, that’s what life is filled with; uncertainty. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. That was proven true again and again throughout this book. To rate with five stars is just simply NOT enough to properly award the literary genius that Amanda Maxlyn has shared with us. So for only the third time this year, I am awarding it my ‘so nice I rated it twice’ rating of TEN stars. If ever a book deserved it, this would be it. I don’t know what the future holds for her books, but I know I will be first in line!

“You don’t have to say anything, Aundrea. I get it. You’re scared, but just because you can’t see your future, doesn’t mean I can’t. I see it clear because I can see mine.”

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 Giveaway

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About Amanda Maxlyn

I am the mother of two little boys, married to the love of my life, and living in one of the smallest towns in Minnesota. When I’m not chasing or cleaning up after my boys (yes, all three), I can be found writing or snuggled up with my kindle, a glass of wine, and spending time with my fictional friends and family.

So, what did you think? :-)