Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blog Tour - Guest Post, Review & Giveaway - True L̶o̶v̶e̶ Story by Willow Aster

I am so excited to have Willow Aster on our blog today. I had been waiting for her book, True L̶o̶v̶e̶ Story, from the moment I read the first chapter printed at the end of Tarryn Fisher's Dirty Red.  Having read this book, I can now say - Get ready, y'all! This is serious!  Willow Aster is on the scene with some work that you definitely don't want to miss! I love, love, love this book, and I hope you'll enjoy it, too. 

Keep reading for a short guest post from Willow, a fan girl review of True L̶o̶v̶e̶ Story, and a giveaway!

                                      Cursive Fonts
by Willow Aster

Love triangles can be difficult to write because to be convincing, you need to make each character appealing and likable. While it's easy, at first, to develop the characters and make the attractions evident between each party, the difficulty comes later...when a choice has to be made.

The easy way out can be to make that third party gross and despicable—and sometimes, that's the absolute right choice! But a more compelling story can be found at times, when all the characters involved are actually decent and lovable.

In True Love Story, there are several 'third parties' and some of them are wonderful and some are not. And to be honest, sometimes it wouldn't matter how you wrote a love triangle—there is only one solid choice to be had. Like real life, it's a matter of the heart and what IT feels, rather than what other better matches might be out there.

However, there are also times when unexpected chemistry comes through on paper and even if you start out thinking you know who a character should be with at the end—the characters tend to develop a mind of their own. I mostly love it when this happens...unless I completely disagree with who my characters choose :)

 Sparrow Fisher is transforming. No longer dressed up in antiquated clothes and ideals, she is finally trying on her freedom.  Before she moves to New York City, she meets Ian Sterling, a musician Sparrow has dreamed about since she first saw him. The attraction is instant, but their relationship isn't so simple.  Over a five year span, Sparrow and Ian run into each other in unusual places, and each time, Sparrow has to decide if she can trust him, if he feels the same for her, and finally, if love is really enough.

Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher:  Self Published
Pages:  216
Genre:  New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Purchase at: Amazon 

**ARC provided by author for an honest review**

It isn't very often that I read a book like True Love Story.  This is an epic love story, spanning years following the evolution of its two main characters.  Willow Aster seamlessly weaves this story together, through first love, love at first sight, heartbreak and angst.  This isn't just a love story, though.  It's a story about growing up, finding redemption and trusting in true love.  And ladies - get ready to swoon!

Sparrow is a preacher's daughter.  At 18, she is preparing to leave her home in California to attend school at NYU.  She's seriously dating a handsome young man, Michael, slated to work with her father in his church.  Sparrow is tall and leggy, naive and beautiful.  She doesn't have much of an ego - she has spent her teenage years wearing baggy clothing to meet the approval of her mother.  While attending dinner with her parents, Sparrow meets a musician named Ian.  Ian is gorgeous, magnetic and charming.  The attraction is instantaneous for both Sparrow and Ian.  Thus begins the epic story of love, betrayal and redemption.

In that gesture, I feel my childhood slip off of me like an old, worn-out cloak that has been barely hanging by a single thread.  I know that something has shifted in me.  It's primal.  I want this man.

Ian plays in a band, writes songs and is on the fast track to recording his own music.  He has a history of having a lot of women at his disposal.  We learn fairly early on that Ian is close to 10 years older than Sparrow, making him the more experienced of the two in more ways than one.  Ian comes from a bit of a troubled past, although we are not privy to most of it.  There is a vulnerability about him that keeps him from committing fully to Sparrow although she is the only woman he wants.

"I want to be who you think I am."  "I want you to be who you are."  I grab his face and look at him, studying his eyes and trying to get inside his brain.  I wish I could pop into his head and swirl around in there for days and days.  There's so much behind the surface, I know he's trying to let me in, but it still feels as if layers and layers flap a mound of thoughts and feelings.  Ian Sterling is one deep puppy.

Sparrow and Ian begin a relationship once she moves to New York.  They go for many months without seeing one another due to Ian's touring schedule.  When he is in town, the only person he wants to see is Sparrow.   Sparrow goes about her business, trying to make friends, concentrating on her dream to become a writer and graduating from school. Ian and Sparrow steal moments with one another, when they are in the same town.  When Ian is away, he barely texts or calls her, and makes one huge mistake when he invites her to join him at an out-of-town show.  Sparrow eventually has enough, puts her foot down and demands more from Ian.  Although neither of them commit to being monogamous, it is evident that they love one another deeply.

"You make me want to try.  I almost feel like I could do it when I'm with you."

Sparrow and Ian spend a lot of time together over the next couple of years.  She flies to see him when he's on tour, and he visits her in New York every chance he gets.  During one visit home, Ian cements his feelings towards Sparrow.  Ian had my heart pounding.  Of course, this happiness doesn't last long.  What would be the point of a story like this without the heartbreak and the angst?  Soon Sparrow learns a secret that Ian has been keeping.  It changes her whole life.  Although Ian does a lot of things that I do not approve of, one thing you can say about him is that when asked a question, he always answers honestly.  Although he has lied by omission, he never once lied to Sparrow's face about his past.  However, this secret just cut way too deep.  

Sparrow spirals downward, as does Ian.  Although Ian made some very bad decisions, I never once questioned his love for Sparrow.   To me, Sparrow was the light in his darkness.  No matter how low Ian got, no matter how terrible of a person he thought he was, Sparrow was a beacon of hope for him.  This is evident in the chapter entitled "Letters."  This chapter broke my heart.  There are other reasons as to why I still supported Ian in this story, but I can't discuss them without spoilers.  

"If you could feel my sorrow and my shame.  Know how I hate the things I have done - my sins, my failures, my weaknesses.  How I despise them.  How I loathe the memory of them and how I wish they could be wiped away.  Know the frustration of a man who has been so close to living out his highest ideals and yet fallen so short...Know the fear of a boy who could never quite trust another human being with his life."

Sparrow and Ian are apart for a long time. While this is painful, it serves as the time both of these characters needed to grow into the  people they are by the end of this book.  Sparrow, completely crushed by Ian's secret, hits rock bottom.  She doesn't trust anyone any longer.  She loses her idealistic nature and learns how the world will disappoint her.  While sad and depressing, this is where Sparrow learns to trust herself.  She needed to do this or she would have never shown any character growth.  Ian is also experiences a sea change.  Sparrow has forced him to change his life and grow up.

I look out and see the lights of the city and think about how I'd give anything to get lost in Ian's words.  It's a powerful feeling, to know this magnetic, dangerous, quirky, beautiful, sexy ... man wants me.  Agony is almost worth it if I could just be with him.

The only small problem I had with this book, and why I knocked half a star off, is that the ending of this book seemed way too fast.  There is a lot of build up surrounding Sparrow and Ian's relationship, the secret that tears them and their lives apart.  I would have liked more time at the end to see more of Ian and Sparrow in detail.  It was all a bit quick for me, how this book ended, although I can say that I loved the ending Aster wrote.  I also think that even though I love Ian, it would be beneficial to see some things more from his point of view.  We only know what Sparrow tells us in this story.  I think there's a big story behind Ian that would help to explain his behavior.

Willow Aster is an author to watch.  Her writing is beautiful and descriptive, and her story telling dragged me in and refused to let me go.  The characters she wrote were flawed and realistic, both showing major character growth by the end.  If this is any clue as to what we can expect from Aster in the future, then we are in for quite a treat.  

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Braine TS said...

This sounds like a real gem, a lot of bloggers love this story.

Jamie said...

If you like angsty goodness, this book is for you :)

Tina Kohrman said...

This sounds like it would be a great read. Thanks for sharing this.

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