Review: Beautiful Oblivion (#1, Maddox Brothers) by Jamie McGuire

My Thoughts

Make room Travis Maddox, irresistible bad boy Trent captures our heart in this addictive story full of wit, sexiness and romance.

4halfstars

Synopsis

beautiful oblivion coverFiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

My Review

“Have you ever wanted something that you knew you shouldn’t have? That it was wrong on every level, but you knew you needed it?”

I was immediately transported back to the first time I read Beautiful Disaster. This book brings back that addictive, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat experience… the tumultuous kind with amazing highs and explosive lows, the kind that gets your heart pounding, your smile widening, and the pages quickly devoured. The captivating banter, the bad boy, the fiery girl with a whole lot of attitude and the clear, palpable chemistry between them… yes, this book had all of that and more. Add to this proven mix the intensifying allure and suspense of an unexposed secret, and you’ve got a winning formula. Fans of Travis Maddox will revel in all the badboyness Trent exudes all on his own, and in addition, delight in happiness with glimpses into Abby and Travis’ well-adored story unfolding in the background. Trent and Cami’s tale, however, is largely different. It’s a friend-to-lovers drama about taking chances, gut feelings, chemistry, commitment and the soul-mate kind of falling in love during the volatile college years. It’s an emotional, angsty and witty journey, as these two people find their way in the world, their place among family, and the rightness of each other along the way.

“Watching him since grade school, I promised myself that I would never be a notch on his headboard.”

Cami has known Trent most of her life. Everyone knew the Maddox brothers then and now… knew they were trouble. And Cami was no stranger to trouble. Her family dynamic was rife with it and between her job, school and family drama, the last thing she needed was Trent Maddox, but Trent had other plans when he approached her one night, touting an irresistibly sexy smirk on his face.

“I was pretty damn smart. Smart enough to have kept my distance from Trenton all these years. I’d seen him flirt, seduce, and evade since we were kids. There was absolutely no trick Trenton Maddox could play that I wouldn’t be ready for.”

From the beginning, I was smiling so big, enjoying the banter between our two passionate protagonists. The only girl in a family of boys, Cami grew up to be bold, direct and feisty,  ready to dish it out every time Trent delivered a cool, confident line that would make most girls’ knees wobble. And it’s Cami’s fiestiness that draws in Trent. He’s suddenly determined to go after her despite the very real fact that she has a boyfriend.

“I was just thinking now was as good a time as any to acknowledge that you’re perfect and it wouldn’t suck if you feel madly in love with me anytime soon.”
I have a boyfriend,” I reminded him.
… “Speed bump.”

Cami’s boyfriend, TJ, is never around and their relationship stretches an even loose definition of a long-distance relationship. There’s a secret there… a suspenseful thread woven throughout the entire story and it’s the key to really understanding Cami’s resistance to Trent, because the more time they spent together, the more she realizes how effortless and easy it is to be with him.

“Nothing made sense anymore: why we were still together, why I was spending so much time with Trenton, or why I stayed in a barely there relationship when I had someone who liked me–and who I liked–tow feet away, just waiting for a green light.”

By reputation alone, one might think Trent is a carefree, surface deep guy with an endless bevy of girls, but although Trent is undoubtedly no stranger to the ladies, it’s his humor, heart and fierce loyalty that begin to win Cami over. Trent is there for her, making her the center of his world, giving her love and attention amidst laughs that begin to infuse life and color into her day-to-day, monotonous living. And the more she gets to know him, the more she realizes Trent has always been there, watching her from afar, taking in her beauty and appreciating her just the way she is.

“All I ever wanted to do was make you smile. And then you were mine, and I could never get it right.”
“I’ve had a lifetime of wrong. You’re the only thing that’s right.”

Trent is not as much of a tortured soul as Travis is, but he too, struggled to make his relationship work, and I think that was truly on Cami… her hesitance to let go of a boyfriend who was absent in every way that counted, was sometimes frustrating, but Trent’s relentless efforts at showing Cami how they were meant to be would eventually wane her reluctance.

This is a story about finding a love that works, finding someone that gets you and is ready and willing to give you what you need in the way that you need it the most. It’s that first love defined by a turbulent rage of emotions, where bad choices are made and hearts get irrevocably broken. Jamie is excellent at building up that angst and there was certainly a lot of it between Cami and Trent, and even between other supporting characters in their story. There were, however, a couple story lines that dealt with some pretty heavy issues that I wanted closure on to feel the full effect of the happy ever after at the story’s end and hopefully subsequent novels will address those elements. Nonetheless, the enjoyability, effervescence and addictive quality of the novel made the overall experience overwhelmingly positive. Plus, Jamie delivers a final twist that answers all the unanswered questions, piecing everything together in the most shocking and delightful way.

New readers and old fans alike will enjoy this coming-of-age story full of sexiness, wit and heart. It’s the perfect summer read to devour!

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Connect with Jamie

Tessa-BaileyJamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.Her most recent novel, Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

She has also written bestselling contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster, and the Providence series.Jamie now lives in Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.

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Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

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In less than a month, we finally get to devour the first book in the Maddox Brothers series, Beautiful Oblivion, by Jamie McGuire. And let me tell you, you are going to LOVE Trent Maddox!!! I know some of you have probably read the first chapter excerpt in Happenstance, but if you can’t wait until then, I’ve got a treat for you! Atria Books is sponsoring an excerpt chain and giveaway to give you an extra special sneak peek at Trent and Cami’s story! Each day will bring an excerpt in the morning and an excerpt in the afternoon. I have today’s morning excerpt below! Make sure to follow along this week and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Synopsis

beautiful oblivion coverThe Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

In the first installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

Excerpt

His persistence was as admirable as it was annoying. I knew who Trenton was, of course. We were in the same graduating class at Eakins High. I had watched him grow from a dirty, snot­nosed kid who ate red pencils and glue, into the tall, tattooed, excessively charming man he was now. From the second he got his driver’s license, he had made his way through high school classmates and Eastern State coeds, and I swore I’d never be one of them. Not that he’d ever tried. Until now. I didn’t want to be flattered, but it was hard not to be after being one of the few females Trenton and Travis Maddox had never attempted to sleep with. I guess this proved that I couldn’t be completely unfortunate-looking. T.J. was magazine-quality beautiful, and now Trenton was texting. I wasn’t sure what was different about me between high school and college that had caught Trenton’s attention, but I knew what was different for him.

Less than two years before, Trenton’s life changed. He was riding in the passenger seat of Mackenzie Davis’s Jeep Liberty on their way out to a spring break bonfire party. The Jeep was barely recognizable when it was hauled back into town on a flat­bed trailer the next day, just like Trenton when he returned to Eastern. Swallowed by the guilt of Mackenzie’s death, Trenton couldn’t concentrate in class, and by mid-April, he’d decided to move back in with his father and drop all of his classes. Travis had mentioned bits and pieces about his brother on slow nights at the Red, but I hadn’t heard much more about Trenton.

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Reading Orders and Links

Beautiful Series

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Maddox Brothers Series

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About Jamie

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Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.

Her 2012 novel, Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written bestselling contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster, and the Providence series. Her latest books include Red Hill, A Beautiful Wedding and Happenstance.

Jamie now lives on a ranch just outside Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.

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Review: Happenstance (#1, Happenstance) by Jamie McGuire

My Thoughts

A softer, sweeter side of Jamie McGuire.
It’s fate, love and life converging in a touching tale that lingers long after you’re done.

4stars

Synopsis

happenstance#1 New York Times Bestseller Jamie McGuire returns to self-publishing with this page-turning YA account of Erin Easter, one of three Erins in the small senior class of rural Blackwell High School who not only share a first name, but also their birthday. Erin Easter, raised by a neglectful single mom, keeps to herself and admires Weston Gates from afar. The other Erins, Erin A. and Erin M. are the darlings of the community: daughters of the two wealthiest families in town, best friends, cheerleaders, and everything Erin Easter isn’t–and they never let her forget it. Erin A. has even claimed Weston since the 8th grade.

Weston is a well-liked star athlete, and the son of two prominent attorneys. He struggles daily with the pressures of living up to his family name and secretly empathizes with Erin Easter’s feeling that she belongs somewhere else; in a different life. Not until he begins sneaking nights out with Erin does he gain the courage to buck expectations and acknowledge his feelings … both for his future, and for her.

But when a shocking tragedy rocks the tiny town, Erin’s life is turned upside down in the best way possible. But when the truth is revealed and everything Erin thinks she wanted falls into her lap, life only becomes more complicated.

My Review

“It was like I left the day before as one person, and came back as someone else.”

This was a story that was both sweet and sad, heartbreaking and hopeful. I loved that Jamie returned to self-publishing with this touching YA story that carried a powerful message. A story about three girls who shared so much in common yet led lives that began to diverge the day they were born. Lives that would fatefully converge and change in a moment. I loved how the story pivoted around this notion that everything can change by chance. How the many singular, seemingly insignificant events and choices can forever alter your life and the lives of others.

Erin Easter was born on the same day as Erin Alderman and Erin Masterson. And although Erin Alderman (“Alder”) and Erin Masterson (“Sonny”) left the hospital to live in beautiful homes with wealthy parents, Erin Easter began a life with a single mother who was often too drunk to notice or care for her. The three girls were close at first, but one day everything changed, morphing from friends to the juxtaposed roles of bullies and the bullied. Every day Alder and Sonny taunted Erin, throwing the misery of her own life in her face. Erin kept to herself, biding the time before she could leave it all behind. She couldn’t wait for college when she would break free from everything that held her down.

“It was these quiet moments… that I savored the most — but I wouldn’t miss them. I wouldn’t miss anything about Blackwell.”

There was a boy, however, with warm green eyes that she wouldn’t be able to forget. He was a star athlete. Part the popular kids who ruled the school. He was Alder’s boyfriend. And he was suddenly changing his ways. Weston Gates was being nice. To her. She had crushed on him for so long, but she undeniably knew her place in their fragile school hierarchy.

“I’d been trying not to stare at those eyes since grade school.”

But Weston begins to stick up for her just weeks ahead of graduation and suddenly nothing seems so clear. Things are not as they should be and she’s torn between the opportunity to revel in the feeling of something nice and longed for versus keeping her distance as graduation nears. The more she talks to Weston, the more she begins to know him in a way she never expected. Although raised in a wealthy family by caring parents, he’s feeling trapped between their expectations and his own dreams. Erin understands the feeling of wanting to do something else… to live another life.

“I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life. And I feel like… I feel like you’re the only person in the world that doesn’t expect me to.”

And just as things fall into a new normal, it all shatters when a tragedy changes everything. Erin’s life blurs into the undefined. As the dust settles and a shocking truth is revealed, her life seems to finally be looking up …

“It’s just too much good luck all at once for someone who hasn’t had any.”

This is very much a YA story full of sweet and warmth and introspection. Erin is at the threshold of a whole new life, but I have that calm-before-the-storm feeling… that deceptive quiet before everything changes again and real emotions are processed in the face of new realities. Jamie McGuire certainly proves she can deliver a captivating story whether it’s new adult, young adult, paranormal or post-apocalyptic fiction. And I certainly can’t wait to see how the story continues to change shape. There are 3 novellas planned in the series.

“It was like a dream, one that I would inevitably wake up from soon. Something was going to come along and take it all away, because things like this didn’t happen to me.”

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About Jamie

1012783_168319016673249_179864109_nJamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.Her most recent novel, Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

She has also written bestselling contemporary romance Beautiful Disaster, and the Providence series.Jamie now lives in Enid, OK with her three children and husband Jeff, who is a real, live cowboy. They share their 30 acres with six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.

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Review: A Beautiful Wedding (#2.5, Beautiful) by Jamie McGuire

My Thoughts

Moving, witty, sweet and so very Abby and Travis.
It’s the perfect missing piece to a story I’ve loved so much.

5stars

Synopsis

beautiful weddingYou know that Abby Abernathy unexpectedly became Mrs. Maddox. But what do you really know?

Why did Abby pop the question?
What secrets were shared before the ceremony?
Where did they spend their wedding night?
Who else knew about it . . . and didn’t tell?

Everything about Abby and Travis’s elopement was top-secret . . . until now. Fans of Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster will get all of their questions answered in this whirlwind tale of the wedding day (and night!)—and as with all good stories, this one will definitely have been worth the wait.

My Review

“The whole thing might play out to be a completely wonderful, beautiful disaster, but I want that if it’s with you.”

Perhaps it’s that I feel a unique affinity towards these characters I met so long ago. Perhaps it’s that Beautiful Disaster was one of the first books to introduce me to the indie community with which I fell so deeply in love. Or perhaps it’s that this story has just permanently stuck with me for whatever reason, its characters exceedingly alive, the love story unforgettable… a bad boy with the softest, biggest heart that fell in love with an unlikely girl who against all odds, ended up together and happy. This book felt special and had me grinning throughout. It gave me the closure that I honestly didn’t realize I needed. It was witty, sweet, touching, memorable and so very Abby and Travis.

“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you.”

Their courtship was practically defined by drama, but despite it all, Abby and Travis worked. They were right for each other. They balanced each other out. It was undeniable volatility and a fierce desire for normality equating to a less than typical, but oh-so-right perfect. So when the fire at Keaton Hall literally set their hard-earned and seemingly secure future ablaze, Abby panicked. She wasn’t ready to lose Travis.

“This was going to work. We would get married, Travis would have an alibi, and everything would be okay.
Oh, hell.
Damn. Shit. Fuck.
I was getting married.”

Abby was determined to protect Travis and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they loved each other, but could a speedy marriage save the day? Could it deflect the blame from falling on Travis? So when Abby proposes to Travis, he is instantly afloat… deliriously happy. He pushes down the blame he feels for his role in the fire as he tries to simply be happy… be exactly what Abby needs him to be.

“A Maddox boy will take you all the way to the edge, but if you go with him, he’ll follow you anywhere.”

One night in Vegas. A quick marriage.  A forever decided upon in seconds. This was going to happen. But as they embarked on 24 hours of unforgettable, Abby’s so-sure demeanor begins to fracture as doubt permeates her thoughts. Travis, forever attune to Abby, begins to pick up on the fact that something isn’t quite right.

“What if my plan doesn’t work? What if he goes to prison and this was all for nothing? What if they didn’t so much as sniff in Travis’s direction, and this was all pointless? I no longer had the excuse that I had gotten married, before I was even legal to drink, because I was saving him. Did I need an excuse if I loved him? Why did anyone get married? For love? We had that in spades. I was so sure of everything in the beginning. I used to be sure about a lot of things. I didn’t feel sure now. About anything.”

The circumstances of their wedding were less than ideal, and I won’t divulge the details, but what happens is emotional and as I mentioned above, so undeniably them. Their nuptials were special despite the situation with moments that were piercingly heartfelt, funny and so very touching.

“Pigeon, you are now Mrs. Travis Maddox. I’ve never been this happy in my life.”

But this novella’s story doesn’t end there. We see what happens when they get home and what happens a year later. The release of this novella… the final missing piece in Travis and Abby’s story is bittersweet. I’ve loved these characters and I loved this story and I’m sure you will too. Although the books is short at just 160 pages, it’s filled with the kind of moments that leave you smiling and warm-hearted from beginning to end.

ABW

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

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