Tuesday, 17 November 2015

BLOG TOUR INCL. REVIEW & MUCH MORE! - NOT ENOUGH BY MIA HODDELL

Title: Not Enough
Author: Mia Hoddell
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Real Life Issues
Release Date: 16th November 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil.

For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.

That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?

Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.


PURCHASE LINKS


EXCERPT
 “What are you doing?” I manage to get out around my laughs. She tenses at my words and then tilts her head back to fix me with a glare, her eyes blazing with irritation.
“I’m sleeping in the bath like I said I would. Why, what did you think I was doing? Teaching myself to swim?”
“I know what you’re doing. I think that’s obvious. What I meant was why are you doing this?” I step into the room and move in front of her so she doesn’t have to crane her neck to see me.
“You know why.”
“You’re not sleeping in here, Stripes.”
“Watch me.”
I cross my arms. There’s no way I’m going back to bed and allowing her to sleep in a bath. The only problem is that it’s hard to maintain a frustrated expression when everything about the situation is so damn funny. “Be back in a second.”
She mumbles something that sounds like “I’m not going anywhere” to my back as I rush out of the bathroom. Rummaging in my drawer, I find what I’m looking for then I’m back in the room with Neve in seconds.
Before she can react, I have a camera in front of me.
“Smile,” I tease, only it causes her glower to darken. Three lines appear on her forehead as her face screws up.
“Delete that now.”
“Nope. Get out of the bath and I might let you.”
“I’m not getting out. I told you I’m sleeping here.”
“Why all the drama? We’ve slept in the same bed for ages now. It’s not a big deal.” She rolls over, showing me her back, and ignores me. “Stripes, get out of the bath.”
“Night, Blake.”
If she thinks I’m going to give up that easy, she’s got another surprise coming. She should know by now that I don’t give up and people don’t say no to me. I put the camera on the counter by the sink, needing both of my hands.
Carefully, so as not to reveal my intentions, I lean over the bath and line up my hands. With one swift motion, I grip her tightly, heaving her out of the tub and throwing her over my shoulder as she screams, “Put me down, Blake!”
“I told you, you’re not sleeping in a bath. Now shut up and stop hitting my back.” My light and jovial words only serve to make her flail around even more. I manage to pin her legs, but I’m powerless to do anything to stop her hands pounding against my back. It’s not enough to hurt, that’s not her intention, but the squirming is becoming increasingly frustrating.
When I reach the bed, I drag her back over my shoulder and dump her on the mattress. She bounces, not able to hide the laughter on her face while she stares at me and hiccups. This is how I like to see her, carefree and happy. It’s rare nowadays that I catch a glimpse of Neve when she’s truly happy, but in this moment there isn’t a strained muscle in her body. It’s natural, and I can’t stop myself from watching her. I’m still amazed that I’m the one who can bring out her joy and it baffles me that she’s allowed herself to be mine.
We remain gazing at each other with ridiculous grins for a minute. When I’m sure she isn’t going to run, I move around to my of the bed side. Her head follows me, and when I go to climb in beside her, she rolls over. She throws her arms and legs out wide, taking up the entire mattress.
You’re in the bath then.” She points at the door with the hand furthest away from me, a devilish twinkle in her eyes. It takes me a while to respond. The sight of her body stretched out in her skimpy pyjamas makes my throat dry, and I have to consciously remind myself to swallow. My gaze focuses on her pale skin, which is exposed by her shirt riding up and the top of her shorts lowering as a result of her actions.
“I don’t think so.” My voice comes out more breathless than I expect as I watch her spread out in front of me.
“Well, you’re not sleeping in here with me.”
“My bed, my rules.” I place one knee on the mattress and climb on. My arms support most of my weight so my body is directly above hers. “So, I can either sleep on the left … or on top of you.” My voice drops into a murmur and she gulps, her lips parting as I hover over her. “Take your pick, Stripes.” 

TEASERS






MY REVIEW

Title: Not Enough
Author: Mia Hoddell
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Real Life Issues
Release Date: 16th November 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil.

For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.

That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?

Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.


PURCHASE LINKS

INITIAL THOUGHTS
After receiving the request from Mia Hoddell to read her book and reading the blurb for this book I immediately felt the urge to read the book and learn about Neve's story. Having not read any of Mia's other titles I wasn't sure what to expect but was looking forward to finding out.

MY REVIEW
I received a free e-arc directly from the author in exchange for my honest review. The cover features a female (I'd say Neve) sitting on the floor, scrunched up knees up, head down on them, hiding and shrinking away from something or someone? The cover certainly draws you in, you want to comfort the female on the cover, to find out what's wrong and hep her fix the problem. So would the cover make me pick this one up from a bookstore shelf? I think the answer has to be yes, as I know the cover would attract my attention and tug my curiosity so I'd pick the book up to learn more.
Now to do the main body of my review, I'll be totally honest this is the third time I've tried to write this section of my review. I'm really finding it difficult to write, I want to tell you so much about this book and it's characters that I don't know where to start! I also do not wish to reveal the whole plot either, which is very difficult because I could seriously ramble on and on for ages about this book. It's not easy to choose just what to tell you about and what to eave out whist at the same time explaining how captivating this book really was.
So here goes, again, the central character in this book are Neve Colvin, and Blake Reynolds. Neve Colvin is a quiet, reserved, private sort of person, who takes time to "warm up" to people and I'd say she feels like an outcast in her own family. Neve's mother is a vociferous, opinionated woman, probably described as the "life and soul of the party" and her family are louder, very outgoing, partying types. The extrovert nature of Neve's family emphasizes the fact she is not exactly like them. Neve's mother and family regularly voice there their opinion that she needs to socialise more, to go out more etc be more like "normal" women her age! Neve has finished school and lost contact with the majority of her friends, only keeping track of them via Facebook and the photographs of the places and parties they attend and do not ask her to. Blake Reynolds is the only true, loyal friend who doesn't try and tell her she should change, and simply accepts her the way she is. Blake knows everything about Neve. . . .well there is just one thing. . .  a secret that is so dark, Neve doesn't dare tell Blake. If he knew. . . well if he knew maybe even he would abandon her. 
Blake Reynolds is a kind hearted, patient, good looking guy. He love's to make Neve smile, and regularly calls her stripes, the nickname he gave her when they were at school together. Blake knows the private Neve that she prefers to keep hidden from most. He know how much her mother can truly upset Neve with her critical words and selfish actions. Blake is the one that picks up the broken pieces and carefully glues her back together to be ready for the next battle in an ever raging war with her mothers opinions on how her daughter should be. Consequently Neve's mother isn't overly keen on Blake as he always seems to manage to come to Neve's rescue and be a support to her when she most needs him.
It's whilst catching up over a milkshake that Blake having his own place asks Neve if she would be interested in moving in, making a story up about his latest lodger. Blake is aware that Neve's mothers criticism is becoming more and more difficult for Neve to tolerate. Blake actually presents the offer to Neve in a way which will make Neve think she is doing him a favour too. Neve kind of laughs the invite off, but Blake insists the offer is there should she ever want to leave her disparaging mother behind. Before the friends can say anymore on the subject a female "friend" of Neve's called Cece (who is also overly generous with her critical opinions and remarks) barrels into the conversation, and railroads Neve into going out that evening with her to a club, even though it's clearly the last place Neve wants to go.
It is whilst Neve is on the night out with Cece, that an incident pushes Neve into finay making a large change in her life. The incident occurs when Neve and Cece are at the club together. Cece ends up more or less dumping Neve to go enjoy herself dancing. Neve is left at the mercy of two rather aggressive drunks. Thankfully Neve has her phone and texts Blake to ask him to come pick her up, but will he see the text as he is out on a date himself? and if he see's the text will he get to the club in time?. The incident really shakes up Neve, however her ordeal isn't over because when she arrives home to what should be her safe haven, her mother is in a mood and starts ranting at Neve telling her what a disappointment she is and how she isn't normal, she should socialise more, she should want to go out more. This is the final straw for Neve, and in the heat of the moment, ends up packing some clothes and belongings and taking up Blake on the offer of a room at his place. It's only once she arrives at Blake's place that she finds out that there is no room to stay in, she see's through Blake's made up story about the guy, called Robbie is still renting the room. So where can Neve stay? Blake eventually comes up with the idea of them sharing his room and bed. He say's after all it would be no different than when they shared a room when she stayed over at his parents house when they were kids. Though initially embarrassed at sharing his bed, Neve agree's and it becomes a regular arrangement.
So I think I've given you the basic's of the plot, though I could ramble on much more about this book. I love the character's of Neve and Blake and their unconditional friendship they share.  I felt that I could really relate to Neve and her problems and insecurities. I think Blake will be going on plenty of Book Boyfriend lists too! I also became fond of Robbie, Blake's housemate, who actually becomes another source of support for Neve.
I knew I was going to fall in love with this book when I read the dedication at the very beginning of the book, "For anyone who has ever been told that they're too quiet, too shy or just not good enough".  To say I identified with this dedication, and then went on to empathise with Neve as a character is an understatement, in fact I remember feeling out of place at social gatherings, being told I was too introverted all the way through school and having family members tell me I should go out more etc etc. I found the book to be an emotionally charged read, I really felt Neve's annoyance at being told to be more "normal" and her frustration at not being able to explain to her mother how the insults and criticism was badly affecting her. 
One of my favourite parts in the book is when Blake takes Neve to his parents for Christmas. Blake is so sneaky and knows how Neve's mind works so keeps certain aspects of the visit home secret until the very last moment. I loved the whole bow on top of Neve's head incident. Though you go into some dark places with Neve there are also some lighter, fun moments in the book too.
So did I enjoy the book? I thoroughly enjoyed it, I found it to be a both captivating and addictive read!  Would I recommend the book? Definitely! I wouldn't have said I am normally a big fan of the contemporary/romance genre but this book has opened my eyes wider to perhaps encourage me to try more titles from this genre. Would I want to read a book two, about these characters? If there was to be another book in the series, I would certainly want to read about and catch up with these characters. Having said that I think how the book ended suggests this is more of a standalone title.
Would I want to read more titles by Mia Hoddell after reading this book? I think I will most likely read more titles by this author. I enjoyed how she kept me engaged and interested all the way through the book.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Amazing thought provoking emotional read. I certainly identified with Neve. I'd definitely love to have my very own Blake!



AUTHOR INTERVIEW

So after reading and falling in love with this book and it's great character's I had so many questions I wanted to ask Mia. I could have gone on forever but managed to limit myself to the following seven questions. . . .I hope at least some of these will ask the questions you want to know the answers to.

 How long did it take you to write Not Enough, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I wrote the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo in 2014. It was an idea I’d had in the back of my mind for a few months and the timings just happened to line up since I had no other projects in the works. It took me around 3 weeks to complete the first draft, and I finished edits in February 2015.

Where did you get your idea’s/inspiration for Not Enough from?
The initial idea for Not Enough came from an amalgamation of things that have happened to me over the years because I’m an introvert. All my life people have commented on my personality, and after speaking to many people in the book world I found a lot of people experienced the same kind of comments (being too quiet, not social enough, not fitting in with people’s views etc.). Therefore, I decided to write a book from that angle, dealing with how comments like those can affect a person.
I wanted to write a book introverts could relate to. There is a widespread opinion that introverts aren’t good enough as they are and should change to be more out-going. I wanted to challenge that view because being true to yourself rather than changing to please others is something I strongly believe in.

How did you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for Not Enough? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I’ve wanted to write a book about personality conflicts for a while. The idea of writing a book about introverts and extroverts has always intrigued me, and so has the theme of not feeling good enough as who you are. From there the title Not Enough came to me and I built the book around those themes.
The cover was created by me since I design book covers on a separate website, M Designs. It came about after three weeks of searching for the perfect image. When I found the one that’s on the cover I knew it was the one and from there it was just a matter of having fun with colours, fonts, and concepts. I added the puzzle pieces because Neve constantly feels like she has pieces missing or has to be pieced back together.

Do you have a favourite character from Not  Enough? and why are they your favourite?
I wouldn’t say I have a favourite since I like them all for different reasons. I can relate to Neve the most, though. She is the hardest character I’ve ever had to write emotionally so I’m always going to feel close to her. Conversely, I like Blake because of how he treats Neve. He accepts her, and I think everyone needs a Blake.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Like I said previously, the initial idea for Not Enough was generated by a combination of things that have happened to me over the years, and experiences others have told me about. There’s always an element of reality in every book I write—no matter how small—since I draw on life for inspiration.

Are there any plans to make Not Enough part of a series?
The short, easy answer is: I have no immediate plans, but I am open to the idea.
For those of you who want a longer answer: I created Not Enough with the intention of it being a standalone. However, I have a few ideas for more books that would either follow a secondary character or turn the book into a duet. Nothing is definite yet, and whether I write those will depend on the reaction Not Enough gets. So if you read Not Enough and would like a sequel, you’ll have to let me know with a tweet, Facebook message, or a review.  

Is there anything you would like to tell us about what is coming next in your writing, Such as another series to watch out for?
Back in September I signed my third contract with Limitless Publishing LLC for a new romance series called Chequered Flag. The books will be interconnected standalones that follow a group of racing drivers as they fight for love and the first book, Chameleon Soul, is releasing February 2nd 2016. I have also nearly finished the first draft of the second book.
As well as that, on December 1st, I have a short story included in a mafia anthology titled Men of Mayhem. This is a prequel to another full-length novel I will be working on next year that will be a dark contemporary romance. It could be read as a standalone story, though.

Where can readers follow you?
Goodreads author page: http://goodreads.com/miahoddell

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