What happens when people open their hearts?"
"They get better.
- Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
What happens when people open their hearts?"
"They get better.
- Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
**Note: This review is marked as a spoiler because this book is the second novel in the All For the Game series
Synopsis: The Foxes are a fractured mess, but their latest disaster might be the miracle they've always needed to come together as a team. The one person standing in their way is Andrew, and the only one who can break through his personal barriers is Neil.
Except Andrew doesn't give up anything for free and Neil is terrible at trusting anyone but himself. The two don't have much time to come to terms with their situation before outside forces start tearing them apart. Riko is intent on destroying Neil's fragile new life, and the Foxes have just become collateral damage.
Neil's days are numbered, but he's learning the hard way to go down fighting for what he believes in, and Neil believes in Andrew even if Andrew won't believe in himself.
Star Rating: 4/5
My Thoughts: I liked the first book. I found it enjoyable and it kept me entertained the whole way through. I loved this second book. It kept me hooked so much, I couldn’t stop thinking about this and I just wanted to keep reading it and reading it to find out what would happen next.
I liked getting to see more of the characters from the first book, and of getting to learn more about them. We got more backstory on some of them, and I really enjoyed getting to see them fleshed out. I also just really like Neil as a main character.
The ending…it kept me turning pages just as fast as I could. I really can’t wait to jump into the third book and see how this all wraps up.
"I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you. I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you"
Daylight (Lover), Taylor Swift
“Ah! who is happy? Happiness! a word that like false fire, from marsh effluvia born, misleads the wanderer”
Beachy Head, by Charlotte Smith
Sail is a first-year student on board the Globetrotter, and a quick favorite in the eyes of the Cogwheel Trio. Despite being the youngest of the group, she is a talented airship pilot and fond of an adventure. Unfortunately, she lets her own fears and insecurities get the best of her, and she hides even small things from her friends, unsure of what they’ll think. The Steam War releases December 31st! Go to the link in our bio to sign up for our newsletter, and have the chance to win a FREE copy!
★ Are you voting in the Goodreads Choice Awards this year? I am disappointed that they removed the write-in option … BUT my pick for the Young Adult Fantasy category would have been the same no matter what. One of my favorite reads this year has been @xiranjayzhao’s Iron Widow. I love this book with my whole heart and can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s incredible, and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend! I am featuring @illumicrate’s edition of Iron Widow that was included in the October box! edition features stenciled edges, art on the reverse of the dust jacket by @jhocaaa, foiling on the hardcover featuring a quote from the book, plus it included a signed book plate and digital signature. The monthly pin is inspired by Iron Widow and was designed by @stacey.mcevoy.caunt! ★ HASHTAGS // #illumicrate #illumicrateoct21 #ironwidow #xiranjayzhao #yabooks #bookstagram #scifibooks #bookseverywhere #booknerd #bookishlife #bookaholic #bookhoarder #bookworm #booklover #bookstagrammer #booklove #bookcommunity #bookobsessed #bookaddict #booksbooksbooks #bookishflatlay #bookishpin #goodreads #goodreadschoiceawards https://www.instagram.com/p/CW_h8Y1PMxm/?utm_medium=tumblr
If you do, which ones do you re-read the most? If you don’t, why not?
“there will be time to murder and create, and time for all the words and days of hands that lift and drop a question on your plate; time for you and time for me, and time yet for a hundred indecisions and for a hundred visions and revisions”
The Long Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T. S. Eliot
De ontem 🙃 Levante e brilhe!!! Bom dia... Seja Luz sempre! #bomdia #quartafeira #beautiful #love #leiturasdaBea #pensamentosdaBea #pensamentospositivos #superandooslimites #opoderdaspalvras #amoler #books #bookaholic #leitoracompulsiva #instabook #incentivoaleitura #levanteebrilhe #viciadaemlivros #loucurasaudável #geek #nerd #caféelivros #mudançaspositivas #porummundosempreconceitos #namaste #autoconhecimento #happy #instagood #2021 https://www.instagram.com/p/CW-YqJaLjUV/?utm_medium=tumblr
Yesterday, I have started to dead A Court of Thorns and Roses; so far, I have read only the first few pages but I can already tell that I am going to be another brick in Sarah J. Maas's wall.
🔥🔥SALE ALERT - US & CA ONLY🔥🔥 JOCK ROW, JOCK RULE & JOCK ROAD by @saraneyauthor is ONLY $1.99 for a limited time! #1ClickHere Jock Row US https://amzn.to/3D5Ectd CA https://amzn.to/3xO7NGH Jock Rule US https://amzn.to/2ZGJX38 CA https://amzn.to/3rFlZB1 Jock Road US https://amzn.to/2ZE6ZaT CA https://amzn.to/3Ec6mo3 Read an Excerpt from Jock Romeo releasing December 9th: “Do you suppose I’ll see you around?” His shoulders shrug. “I’m not a fan of parties, and as it is, I still have to drive home.” Oh. Duh—no wonder he hasn’t been drinking. He has to drive. Fifteen minutes I think he said it was? Yuck. “This was fun though. Thank you for keeping me company.” “I wasn’t keeping you company, you were keeping me company.” That makes me smile. “Here.” Impulsively I hold the bracelet out to him. “This is for good luck this year.” He hesitates in the dim light before his hand reaches out to take it from me. Slides it onto his own wrist. He won’t know until he steps into the light that it’s hot pink and lime green, but it’s the thought that counts anyway, isn’t it? “Thanks.” “Does it fit?” Roman smiles. “It fits.” “Well.” I take a few steps down. “Guess I’ll see you around.” “Good luck on Monday,” he tells me. “Good luck.” Pre-Order Jock Romeo Here: https://authorsaraney.com/books/jock-romeo/ #sale #jockhardseries #instabook #needtoreaditnow #bookaholic #booknerdigan #readmoreromance #readyourheartout #booksofinstagram #wildfiremareketingsolutions https://www.instagram.com/p/CW98BFlrzqH/?utm_medium=tumblr
🔥🔥SURPRISE COVER REVEAL🔥🔥 MARRIED TO THE ROCKSTAR by @hovlandwrites is coming April 29! #PreOrderHere Amazon https://amzn.to/2ZBBCgY Apple https://apple.co/3I6xE1m Nook https://bit.ly/3EbEKiA Kobo https://bit.ly/32N0FPx Jeremy Dillion—a.k.a. Knox—has no intention of succumbing to wedded bliss. Gag, no. His parents divorced when he was young and the only stability in his life comes from his bandmates. But now they’re finding their own forever sweethearts, and Knox is feeling the heat of being a lone wolf in a group effort. Still, an actual relationship? No. Ick. Irina Carmichael is ready for her big break. The problem is no one takes a second look at her, since she doesn’t fit into the general mold created for Hollywood starlets. Her hips are too big, her nose is too sharp, and her lips are too wide. But she’s so ready to step out of the background and into the spotlight. When Knox gets trashed in the tabloids, his publicist pitches the idea of an image-saving marriage to Irina. Irina figures the publicity can't hurt and accepts—until the offers for major roles start pouring in, and she doesn’t need the arrangement. Unfortunately, Knox has broken the first rule of marrying an actress for publicity: don’t fall in love. But can he handle a real relationship? And is she ready to stop pretending? #comingsoon #needtoreaditnow #rockstarromance #readmoreromance #bookaholic #booknerdigan #bookstagrammer #instbooks #wildfiremarketingsolutions https://www.instagram.com/p/CW9tGnMF9MG/?utm_medium=tumblr
CHAPTER TWO (photography by Sir Frogsworth)
My course was finished, then, and I was selling short stories to a local magazine. I’d bought a car, “big enough to move my things to somewhere rather this town,” I told Mark by the phone.
I hadn’t heard from Beatrice for months by the time. “It happens. She moved. She’s living her life, I can’t blame her for not having time to catch up with me,” I told myself. “Summer is right here. She’s coming back.”
Only she didn’t come back. Not that I knew, at least. I ran into her mother on the market one day and she told me, “Bea has so much going on, Luke. She’s so good. Her life is just how she always wanted. I wish someday you’ll know that, too, sweetheart.”
The next thing I remember is me calling Beatrice a day or two later. Only after mulling over what Mrs. Bloom had said and my own thoughts for the past months. I felt betrayed for some reason. I knew we were basic friends who happened to fall in love, and Beatrice was free to do what the hell she wanted – I wasn’t even jealous – but sill, I wanted her to care about me as much as I cared about her. Or care at all.
“Hello?” Bea answered the phone.
“Hey, Bea. Hi. Um… How you’re doing? We haven’t talked in a while. I just wanted to check on what you’ve been up to.”
“Er, Luke,” I said after a second wondering whether she was joking or not. I concluded she wasn’t when a moment went by and she didn’t say, “I’m joking! Hey, Luke!”
“Luke! Hi! Sorry, I had an accident a few weeks back and lost my cellphone in a pool. Can you believe it?” She asked between chuckles. “And all my contacts were lost, too.”
Does my voice sounds any different?, I wondered. We knew each other since freshman year, for crying out loud!
“Oh. That sucks. So– “I stopped mid-sentence for I heard a voice calling out for Beatrice on the other side of the line. A man’s voice. I didn’t fathom what the guy asked, but Bea replied, “Jesus, it’s just a friend. Why do you have to be like that every time I talk to someone that isn’t you?”
“Not someone. Some guy. Do you think I’m stupid, Beatrice?” The guy was edgy.
“So now you’re the only guy I’m supposed to talk with?”
“I never said that!”
I was fidgeting the corner of my notebook’s sheet as I listened to the conversation getting louder. Was that guy her boyfriend? Was that the reason she stopped talking to me? Had I been replaced by a jealous monster?
“Do you want me to call another time?” I barged into the arguing when it was becoming pathetic for me. I was pathetic.
But Beatrice hadn’t the phone on her ear, anymore, I deduced. The discussion just went on like I hadn’t said a thing. I waited another second and hung up when all the words they exchanged were at yelling volume.
What was that?
I felt like garbage for some time, naturally. But at least I wrote a nice piece for the magazine about a girl trapped in a toxic relationship, whose boyfriend prevented her to become the next Broadway star. I received a dozen letters praising my story. I started a blog on Tumblr after this to post all the stories I’d ever written, and I collected some real fans as the time passed. I guess we can make lemonade when life gives us sour-as-hell lemons.
You must be asking whether I called Beatrice another time. Well, I didn’t for a while, and I felt like Superman. I punched a wall to the ground with my bare hands, and it stung not even a bit. In that case, I’d pretended that Beatrice didn’t exist and just go on living my life. It stung, though. I missed her, anyway – because I was pathetic – and it killed me the fact that I’d called the girl I loved for ages just to hear that she was okay and ended up hearing her yelling at her boyfriend, the boyfriend I was oblivious to the existence.
It was the end of the Summer when I tried to reach Beatrice again. I called her one day, but she didn’t answer. So, I texted her the next morning. And the night of the following day, since she didn’t reply to the first message. She didn’t reply to the second, either.
So, Fall had arrived once more. College’s vacations had come and gone, and Beatrice hadn’t been around. Soon, it would be her mother’s birthday, therefore, she could be here. Should I be waiting for her, though? I kept asking myself that. The answer was clear: no. Yet, I wanted to see her. A part of me – a little one, I must confess – wished she just came and broke my heart at once, so I’d get over her just as quickly. Closure, they call it.
Yes, I called again. She picked it up, this time. However, I’d have preferred she hadn’t.
“Luke?” She said, nonchalant.
“Hey, Bea. I’m calling to know if you’re coming home for your mom’s birthday. Because if you are, then we could meet, and talk. Just talk, you know,” I added, minding her boyfriend.
“I don’t know, Luke. How’s that any of your business, anyway? Don’t you have a life?”
“I– “Don’t, I supposed, the voice of reason in my head completed.
I’d been taken aback. Why was she talking like that? Who was I to her? I’d barely processed her words when she hung up saying:
“Stop calling me, okay?”
Okay. It was about time, anyway, I thought.
And like I’d wished, I was broken-hearted. Careful what you wish for. It may hurt you badly. I spent days in bed – not literally, but it could’ve been. At first, I cried. Then I hated myself for acting like Beatrice’s puppy. What was so special about her, anyway? She was beautiful, so what? From what I know, the Devil can be a mesmerizing woman. Beatrice was just a girl that played me. She played me because I let her. But I guess that’s love, after all. Giving yourself to someone, entirely, and It’s up to the person what she’s doing with you.
Beatrice showed me that love can be beautiful, but it’s also volatile and flammable. Even though my love for her was unconditional and imperishable.
The story isn’t ending here, not yet. Believe it or not…
It can always get worse. Never forget these words.
As I expected, Beatrice did go home for her mother’s birthday. The thing is, I only found it out weeks later when my mom got home saying she’d met Mrs. Bloom downtown. My mom told me that and clearly pitted me. “My poor son who’s been turned out at the high school crush he never get over, and she doesn’t even want to see him.” I bet she thought something of that sort.
Weeks came around and went around. Thanksgiving was on the following week. The Fall was at its apex. The ground was burning in shades of red and orange, people were swiping the leaves to create heaps, and the weather was getting ready to become a snow globe. I had an amazing weekend with Mark, who managed to be back from college a week before the holiday.
“I’ve been reading your blog, man. It’s great. You nail it every time,” Mark praised while we had some beers on his parents’ porch. “My mom is also a fan. She’s only signing that magazine to read what you write. When will you write that novel that’ll make you famous?”
“Thanks, man. I appreciate it. I already have some ideas to put together in a book,” I answered, referring to the book I’d be finishing the next year.
“Let us know. We’ll be at your door for some autographs. Don’t you think about moving? Somewhere… that isn’t here,” he chuckled. “I only ask this because I felt like I’ve stepped out of a box. It’s good to be home, but this town isn’t enough, you know. Out there, we can be whoever we want. The best version of ourselves, as they say.”
“I do. Just not right now. I know who I want to be out there. But if I leave today, I’ll be the same person under a different roof. It’s not my time, yet.”
Sunday, we returned to the same topics of conversation, but we were drinking at my parents’ porch instead. We started dreaming about our futures. Big houses, big bank accounts, and having the dream job. I couldn’t wait.
On this same night, after Mark had left, my phone rang.
“Hello?” I said hesitantly, fearing the name in the ID caller was a hallucination.
You can guess who was calling me.
“Luke. Hi,” Beatrice said between sobs. “Can we talk?”
“Yes, sure.” The puppy was back in a snap of fingers. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. Everything’s fine,” she sniffled. Clearly, everything wasn’t fine. “I just wanted to hear your voice. I’ve been thinking about our last conversation. I treated you horribly and I feel so bad. I’m really sorry, Luke. Things were… complicated, you know.”
Were? As in you’re not dating that bastard anymore?
“Yeah, yeah. Don’t mention it. If you’re okay now, that’s all that matters.”
“You’re always the best. I’ll be home this week, for Thanksgiving. Do you think we can meet up?”
Are you kidding me?!
“Of course! I’d love that.”
And that was how Beatrice pulled me back into her arms as I’d always belonged there. As though she needed me as much as I needed her. As though she’d let me play her as she’d played me.
She was there on Thanksgiving and the first thing she did was to knock on my door. We hugged the same way we used to do whenever Beatrice felt like being just with me – after we’d gone to a party where she decided we were too young to be dating officially. She hugged me, welcoming me back. Back from the place where she cast me out to. And like me, I accepted that hug like it was a gift.
Beatrice apologized a hundred times for the way she treated me and assured me I was the one she should’ve ever cared about. Of course, I bought every word. Wouldn’t you if the love of her life was the one saying the same things to you?
“You never let me go. You know I belong with you, don’t you? I missed you more than I realized, Luke,” she said, wrapped in my arms.
“You’ll always be expected here. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
Apart from the feast night, Beatrice and I spent the weekend together, most of which swinging on the old bench in front of her house, kicking the leaves as we went back and forth. She nestled her head on my shoulder, and I rested mine on hers. We talked – she told me what was going on in Philly and this time, she asked me about my works. She hadn’t known about my blog until that weekend but promised me she’d read it and share it with everyone she knew.
I never told her that the story about the girl in the abusive relationship was about her. I didn’t want her to think I was judging her for her choices. Who was I to judge one’s shitty choices, right? By the way, I believe Beatrice thought I didn’t know a thing about her ex-boyfriend, for she never mentioned the subject or one that could lead the conversation to it.
I let it that way until the day we had a major fight. The last day of our Fall.
That Sunday after Thanksgiving that Beatrice went back to Philly was just like the day she moved. We embraced each other for a long moment on my porch, we kissed with meaning, and promised to never disappear. That promise was easy for me to fulfill. I was always there, in the house I grew up in, in the town that was so small that couldn’t support the dream was struggling to accomplish.
But Beatrice was going back to her life. The big life she chose away from our little hometown. How much the school love meant in a life like that?
Well, I was led to actually believe we were official now. Beatrice called almost every day on my lunch break – “It’s like we’re having lunch together” – and on the days she couldn’t call, we texted. We laughed. We enjoy the time we spent ‘together’. It was the Fall of Senior Year all over again. I loved her, and Beatrice was convinced she loved me too. It was perfect. It was the way I dreamed it should be.
And Fall went on. Week after week, Beatrice loved me. Day after day, the leaves fell. It was getting colder, but I was too busy fantasizing with Beatrice to notice it. And there was winter break, out of nowhere. And Beatrice was there, as well.
The Beatrice that loved me arrived town, but the Beatrice that was too much for an old love left.
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