Review Blitz: Better by Carey Heywood +Excerpt & Giveaway



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Synopsis

Aubrey is embarking on a bucket-list trip around the world, the last wish of her Aunt Ally. It was supposed to be the trip Ally would have taken when she got better. Now, it’s just a chance for Aubrey to say good-bye.
Adam escapes in his solo trips overseas, working just enough to fund the next one. When the opportunity to circle the globe falls in his lap, he can’t refuse. The only catch is that he won’t be traveling alone this time.
Unable to hide from each other, Adam’s overprotective nature thwarts Aubrey’s desire to find her own way. Can they move past initial assumptions to find something better?
Excerpt


“What are you doing in here?" I stammer.

He’s on his knees by the bed, reaching under. "This bed is a trundle. There's no way I'm sleeping on that sofa."

"But I'm sleeping in here," I argue.

I watch as he pulls the trundle out. It's smaller, maybe twin sized.
"Yes, and I'm sleeping here." He makes a wide sweep with his hands over the smaller bed.
I remember how awkward it felt, sleeping so near him the night before. At least the trundle is low to the ground. My mouth drops as he depresses a lever and raises it to the same height as my bed, and the way it's made, we'll be face to face with maybe an inch separating his bed from mine.
I gulp.

He turns to look at me. "Um, I was going to get changed."

"Oh, don’t mind me."

"Out," I order him.

His eyes travel lazily down me, and I shiver. His mouth twitches before he turns to leave, closing the door behind him. I hurry over to it and lock it, sagging against it. I had been looking forward to a night away from him. I quickly change, unlock the “door, and climb into bed. I hear the door open and shuffle further under the covers.

When I wake the next morning, I'm facing him. Wiping sleep from my eyes, I watch him. He's shirtless, his sheet draping low across his hips. I lick my lips, mesmerized by the rise and fall of his chest. I quietly slip out of bed and out of the room, taking my clothes for the day with me. I need distance. I can't stay in that room any longer. It smells like him, a mixture of Irish Spring, his cologne, and something just him.

I shower and get dressed. I'm in the kitchen, rummaging through the cabinets for something to snack on when he walks out. He's still shirtless. Why can't he put on a shirt?

"Hungry?" he asks, scratching the back of his head.

"A bit," I admit.

"Give me a minute. I saw a bakery close by."

"Okay."

He walks back into the room and shuts the door. A couple minutes later, he walks back out, now in jeans and a vintage looking M*A*S*H t-shirt.

"Nice shirt."

He laughs. "It was my dad's."

"You're wearing hand me downs," I joke.

"Just trying to live the green life."

I don’t give him the satisfaction of a chuckle even though that was funny as I follow him out of the flat.

"What about Abe?"

"He can get his own breakfast," he says, grabbing a set of keys that are hanging on a hook by the door. I give him a look.

"Don't worry. I'll bring him something back." He holds the door open for me. I tuck my hair behind my ear and hurry down the stairs. I wait for him at the bottom, not sure which direction to go. He comes up beside me, tilting his head to the right. We turn together and walk.

"I saw you."

"Excuse me?" I stop.”

He's now a step ahead of me. He looks back at me.

"I saw you watching me this morning."

"I wasn’t," I stammer, looking away.

"If you say so," he says as he continues to walk.

I follow him but stay a step behind on purpose. I can't believe he saw me.


My Review:

When an author writes a story, they're sharing a piece of themselves with the reader. When an author shares the real-life inspiration for a story as precious as this one, there are no words. This beautiful story was touching and though it had some sad moments, for me it was a story of hope and overcoming a dark event in life. Cancer is something that unfortunately many, if not all of us, can relate to. Everyone has seen a loved one go through it or perhaps even themselves have had to fight against that retched illness.

So for that, I simply want to thank Carey Heywood for gracing us with this powerfully, inspirational story.

"I have forgotten what normal is. I do not know how to live anymore in a world where Ally isn't fighting."
Aubrey's recent loss of her aunt Ally has brought her to her knees. She is lost without her best friend. Even in death, Ally manages to surprise Aubrey with a mission for her. Aubrey must follow the Better Board that they created and travel the world. As a 24 year old, Aubrey has never lived on her own or experienced life. Her aunt wishes for her to find herself on this trip and open her eyes to the beauty of the world.

Immediately from the start, I was captured by the emotions and characters of this story. There were gut-wrenching moments; moments that felt really close to home. As Aubrey grieved for the loss of her aunt, I reminisced about the moments I shared with those I lost to cancer. I was deeply moved by the pain and grief that Aubrey suffered. I felt the closeness between her and her aunt Ally. I understood how much that amazing woman meant to her.

While my heart was weighed down with sadness at the beginning of the book, each new location relieved some of it. As Aubrey discovered herself and found beauty in the mission she was on, I too was able to put things into perspective. By the end of the book, I was left feeling light and positive.

The author's descriptions of all of the places Aubrey traveled to were so on point. I felt like I was right alongside Aubrey and Adam on the trip. Thank you Carey for taking me to countries I've never been to before.

The romance in this book was done perfectly. It was subtly beautiful. Adam and Aubrey's moments together were tasteful and significant but didn't take away from the rest of the story.

This is one book that I will forever recommend to every single person I know.



*An eARC of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.



My Rating: 5 kisses
About the Author

Carey Heywood is a self-published New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with six books out and many more to come.

She was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. Ever the mild-mannered citizen, Carey spends her days working in the world of finance, and at night, she retreats into the lives of her fictional characters.

Supporting her all the way are her husband, three sometimes-adorable children, and their nine-pound attack Yorkie.

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