Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: Not Yet by Laura Ward

Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: 7/29/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 273
Source: Author
Rating: 5 stars

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Emma Harris is learning that life is just a series of lessons.

Lesson #1: Nothing goes the way you plan.

Lesson #2: You can’t trust men. Especially not the pretty ones.

Lesson #3: Turns out, appearances are almost always deceiving.

Emma thinks she has life all figured out, and what she knows isn’t good. For years, she’s put her big sister, who was born with Down syndrome, first. Now Emma’s ready to start her own life, but fate has other plans. To do the right thing for the sister she loves, Emma’s dreams will just have to wait.

She doesn’t plan on meeting Landon — a rich, flirtatious jock, who never has to wait for anything. Not for attention, not for money, and certainly not for girls. Meeting Emma marks the first time in his life that he’s had to fight for something. And Landon doesn't know how to lose.

Emma has no interest in wasting her summer with a superficial guy like Landon. But very soon she realizes she is wrong about him. The question is, can she trust him? Or will he let her down like every other guy in her life? But most importantly, can Emma trust herself enough to live the life she's always dreamed of?

Life has a way of sneaking in the most important lessons when you aren't looking. And once the heart gets involved, that's when the real learning begins.

My Review
So, Not Yet is the book that broke my reading semi-slump! Over the past month, I've lacked my usual enthusiasm and have been a tough critic. Despite the glowing reviews it's receive, I didn't anticipate Not Yet to be THE book, which likely made that reward all the sweeter.
Here are the reasons I loved Not Yet

- Emma's big on life lessons. At pivotal moments throughout the story, we get her "Lessons", as well as Landon's "Lessons Learned", which acted as a balance. Knowing these tidbits were coming filled me with anticipation as I read. Some of the lessons made me smile, and one made the tears pour down my cheeks.

 - Landon Washington pretty much charges into Emma's life, and I adored that. He wasn't overbearing or creepy, but simply intrigued and politely persistent. He was virtually impossible not to like, and with his willingness to listen and be Emma's friend, she's forced to start dropping the walls she's fortified her entire life and let him in. Wise beyond his years, Landon is all about the gestures showing his affection. And wow, such character growth from this guy!
- The romance in Not Yet was fantastic! Here, we have a young woman who's lived her entire life selflessly, looking out for her sister, helping her mother. Landon comes bouncing into her life and -though she's absolutely not looking for love with a guy like Landon - Emma falls anyway. I loved seeing a good guy fall in love with a good girl. Landon was a smart and sensitive and treated Emma so well, and that was refreshing. Theirs is a BIG story, spanning time and circumstances that took me by surprise. When the love story forces its way into my heart, and makes me fall right along with the characters, that is an absolute win!

 - Besides the romance, Not Yet has a big theme, in that it focuses heavily on people with disabilities. You have Emma's sister Evie, who's a twenty-something with Down's Syndrome, as well as several more characters with various disabilities. Ward didn't make these characters fillers, or as a simply a way to forward the plot, they are important to the story, with wants and issues of their own. Evie wanted the same things other women her age, including Emma, wants: independence, value, love. And then there was Trevor, an autistic boy whom Landon and Emma taught to swim, creating a powerful bond in the meantime. Through Emma's tender, respectful interactions with these two, she enlightens Landon. And when Trevor reaches out, Ohmygosh, the tears were steaming down my face, and I think my breath hitched. And another moment with Amy, a student. Have some tissues handy, guys. 

- Not Yet contains a huge twist that I did not see coming. This is a trope that I normally avoid at all costs, so I'm definitely happy I didn't know, or would've missed out on a good story. I actually can't believe it wasn't spoiled for me, but man, am I glad. But anyway, this twist takes Not Yet from a sweet but fairly typical love story, and gave it believable angst, gave it a new heightened layer of emotion. The handling and resolution of the twist was perfect.
-The Epilogues. Yes, epilogues! Not to be missed.
It's so amazing that Not Yet is Laura Ward's debut novel. She has a natural talent for telling a meaningful story filled with romance, meaningful themes, rich characters, and prose that is just so good. I personally cannot wait to see what she brings readers next.
Favorite Quotes 

  I wanted to tell him more. How good he felt, how much I wanted him to follow me home and kiss me...touch me...hold me. I wanted him to know how big a deal it was to me that he asked questions and wanted to get to know me. But I didn't. That would be opening up too much, too soon. I needed to protect myself better than that.
  Instead of opening my mouth and letting my emotions pour out, I held out my hand and he grasped it tightly in his. We grinned at one another like a couple of goofy kids before we raced to our cars in the pouring rain.

  "I love you. I absolutely fucking love you. So, I will honor your request and not touch you this year. But never bet against me, baby. I play hard and I play to win, and I promise you come [spoiler] - I will be focused on nothing but winning you."
  I pressed my forehead to hers before I pulled away. "'s just not yet for us."

Laura  WardLaura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. Is this the book you were talking about the other day on my blog? The one where it changed things for you? If you answered YES to these questions (very infomercial) then this is worth the try.

    You know I'm on a slump too so anything that can get us through one is a treasure!

  2. This sounds like such a lovely story, Andrea! I'm totally wondering what that twist was! I'm wondering if it has anything to do the with subject both you and like to avoid for personal reasons. Hmm... Wonderful review! :)

  3. Oh nice. I love to see self-pubs that end up being this good.

  4. This looks like a standalone I could very much enjoy, and the epilogues sound like something promising and really not to miss!
    Thanks for reviewing, Andrea!

  5. Gah! The big twist is freaking me out….I must know! lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  6. Love it! Self pubs seem to be such a hit or miss nowadays, but it's nice to know that this one seems to be promising. Great review, I loved reading your thoughts. :)

  7. Andrea, thank you for such a wonderful review. You made my day!

  8. Yay! I'm so glad you got a book to break you out of your funk. And Not Yet sounds absolutely fantastic! SO guess what? I'm off to one-click. ;)


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