Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Tour and Review: Shame, by Rachel Van Dyken

Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.
I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can't change your soul.
A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.
When guys kissed me--I felt only pain.
When they touched me--Nothing but fear.
Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world.
But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn't fool enough to think I'd ever get it.
Until he walked into my life.
I wasn't prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie--I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.
But I was powerless to stop myself from falling.
And he was powerless to catch me.
Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I'm stronger than I knew. I'm stronger than you think.
You think you know my story, but you don't....after all everyone has Shame in their lives-- and I'm no longer afraid to show you mine.

“Just hold still!” I yelled, holding up my phone while Gabe gave me the finger. I grimaced and dropped the camera away from my face. “Nice, thanks for that.”
“I’m a giver.” He smirked.
Saylor, his wife, smacked him on the arm and rolled her eyes.
I scrunched up my face when he leaned in and took Saylor’s mouth with his, kissing her senseless in the local Starbucks like they were doing a romance scene in a movie. I coughed.
They didn’t pull apart.
So I took a picture.
I earned another finger, but Gabe still didn’t dislodge from his wife.
“Whoa!” Wes’s voice sounded from behind me. “They been at it long?”
“Are all newlyweds disgusting?” I voiced aloud.
Wes moved around the table with his wife, Kiersten, and gave me a goofy shrug. I wanted to roll my eyes, but Wes was too nice and hot. Let’s not forget the hot part. Both he and Gabe were like walking poster boys for GQ. Both blond, now that Gabe had decided to dye his hair back to his original color. It was like staring at two really bright superstars.
Hating them was like hating the Easter bunny. Try all you want, but you’ll eat every piece of chocolate in the basket, just you wait.
“So, classes?” Kiersten leaned forward. “I heard you got stuck with that hot new psych prof.”
Wes growled low in his throat.
“Down boy.” I braced my hands on the table and laughed. “Besides he’s not that hot.”
“A girl passed out.” Kiersten’s eyebrows shot up. “Like in class.”
“Dehydration?” I shrugged, taking a sip of coffee.
“Or…” She leaned forward. “…the rumors are true.”
“Rumors…” Gabe backed away from Saylor, his lips swollen. “…are always based on truth.”
“So you really did do a naked dance in your underwear last week after getting drunk downtown at Pike Place Market?” I tilted my head and waited while Gabe rolled his eyes and popped his knuckles. “Exactly.”
He opened his mouth.
I took a picture.
With a grimace, he snatched my phone away from me. “Never thought I’d have to tell you to lay off the pictures, Miss Paparazzi.”
I slumped in my seat. “It’s for an assignment with that hot professor.”
“Aha!” Kiersten jabbed her finger at me. “I knew it.”
I pinned her with a look. “Sarcasm, friend, sarcasm.”
“Boys get girls pregnant,” Gabe offered, while Wes choked on the coffee he’d just stolen out of my hand.
Serves him right!
“Don’t date them.”
“You’re going to be a great dad.” I smiled sweetly. “What? You’re just going to lock your girls in their rooms and go—” I mimicked his voice. “—uh, you see boy parts are bad, they make girls have lots of babies, like rabbits, and you know how rabbits make dad nervous and—”
“Hilarious,” Gabe’s eyes narrowed. “And please don’t talk about kids yet…”
Saylor laughed quietly next to him then squeezed his arm.
My heart dropped.
A very long time ago, I’d wanted to be that for Gabe, then Taylor happened and well… I shuddered, blocking out the painful memories, the things I’d done, the things he’d done, the things we’d done.
“You okay?” Wes asked, his voice soft. He was way too perceptive for my taste. If I’d wanted to share, he’d be the guy I’d talk to, but I was a vault. Sharing meant admitting my guilt, and admitting meant I’d probably go insane just like he had.
“Yeah…” I straightened in my seat. “…I just don’t want to fail my class, and I need to write down nonverbal cues and take at least one picture. And pretty sure I need to ace this first assignment on account that I was late to my prof’s class, and I got in trouble.”
“He spank you?” Gabe’s eyes mocked across his coffee.
“Yes, Gabe,” I said calmly. “Because that’s how they punish bad students here at UW — with a yardstick and a smile.”
“I wish.” He whistled. “What I wouldn’t give to have Saylor—”
I plugged my ears.
He threw his head back and laughed while Saylor turned bright red and put her hand over his mouth to shush him.
“So…” Wes ignored Gabe as was his usual and leaned across the table. “…why don’t you take pictures of people here in the coffee shop? I mean, ask permission, but most people here are super interesting, right? Studying? Stressed out? Tired?” He pointed to a guy in the corner. “He looks like he’s running on five cups of coffee and one hour of sleep. Go ask, take the picture, make some notes, project done.”
“You make it sound so easy,” I grumbled.
He grinned. “I’m Wes Michels.”
I hung my head lower and grimaced.
“Phone.” He held out his hand and stood.
Within minutes, not only had he snapped two pictures for me but had taken notes on two pre-med students who had stayed up all night cramming for what they’d assumed would be a pop quiz, only to find out that they’d been in the wrong class on the wrong day.
“And that’s why I'm not pre-med.” Gabe shuddered.
“Really?” Kiersten asked. “I thought it was because big words scared you?”
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. What now?” He nodded. “Keep talking, Kiersten, or keep walking.”
“Spell it.” She smirked.
“So this professor…” Gabe changed the subject. “If he tries anything, use the Mace or the rape whistle.”
“Right.” I nodded. “I’ll be sure to do that. In class. With a hundred other students. When he looks at me cross-eyed.”
“Good,” he huffed.
“I was kidding.”
Saylor patted Gabe’s shoulder. “Gotta let the baby birds out of the nest someday, Gabe.”

4.5 out of 5 stars

Shame is the 3rd book in the Ruin series and this time around it's all about Lisa.  From the very beginning she has been with us as the roommate/best friend of Kiersten and the "cousin" of Gabe and to be honest I've always loved her character.  She provided the perfect balance to the other character's lives.  Being strong, supportive, sensitive, helping those she loves find happiness and in a sense providing some comic relief/sunshine to the craziness of everyone around her.  From the outside it seemed as though her life was pretty normal, some could argue perfect, but of course that's just the surface, that's what she wants everyone to see, but Lisa's life is far from perfect and her confidence is a carefully constructed facade.  Shame takes us beyond the surface, deep into not only her life, but also her insecurities and fear.

Shame has a different feel to it than the books about Wes and Gabe.  Lisa's story had an element of suspense and mystery which added to the overall intensity of the book and in my opinion the result was pure perfection!  I literally could not put this book down once I started.

Rachel Van Dyken expertly weaves Lisa's back story into the present day, slowly giving us pieces to the mystery surrounding Lisa's reasons for following Gabe to college.  She's running, and she's been running and she's starting to wonder if she will ever be able to break free from her haunting demons and find her own HEA.  She knows she has problems, she wants to fall in love, she wants to be with a guy without it making her sick, and just when she's found the first person she can literally stand to touch her, one she craves, not only is he off limits but little does she know he has all the power needed to absolutely crush her life.    

Speaking of said boy, let's talk about Tristan.  He was one of those characters I initially had a hard time figuring out.  Was he going to be good, or would he go dark?  Were his intentions pure?  I loved watching him struggle with his body's reaction to Lisa vs. his desire to seek the truth and vengeance.  When Lisa isn't at all like the person he imagined she would be it completely sends him spinning, and when this happens is when we finally see his own walls crumbling and we are left with this sensitive, strong, caring man, who has finally truly become himself all because he fell in love with the right person.  It's funny because while not being truthful about who he is while with Lisa it actually gives him the freedom to be his true self!  But will his love for Lisa be enough to to help pull her out of the darkness?

This book is hands down a must read.  Even if you haven't read any of the other books in this series, I believe you can still read this one and enjoy it as much as die hard fans of the series, such as myself!  As always Rachel Van Dyken has given us this beautiful piece of artwork with beauty, pain, love and the added elements mystery and suspense which will keep you on the edge of your seats until you get to the end!

About Author Rachel Van Dyken
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at

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