05 August 2014

Before You by Amber Hart - Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway

Before You revised

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.
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 Before You proves that indeed, there is beauty in diversity. They were way different, in looks, in way of life and in culture, but when you look up close into their lives, find out their secrets, you’ll realize that there was more similar to them than what you can ever imagine.

Faith Watters is hiding behind a mask. Outside, she might appear perfect: she’s dating the captain from the football team, she is captain of the dance team, she has great set of friends, and she is one of the popular kids. Perfect life, right? Only if this was reality. Because if you ask her, all of this is a sham. She did something wrong in the past, and this is her way of making it up to her father and to her step mother. To become perfect, to become boring.

Only that her best friend, Melissa (bless her soul), wouldn’t let her. She loved her too much to suffer from her past mistakes. She wanted her best friend to live and enjoy her life while she was young.

Then here comes the sinful, sexy, arrogant and dangerous Cuban, Diego Alvarez. He came to America with his father to start a new life. He hated the fact, but going home wasn’t an option for him. He was just eighteen but his body is covered with tattoos and scars, each bears a memory, and a reminder of who he was back then. He can’t fit in his new school, and he couldn’t care less. He just needs to stay invisible to maintain his peaceful life, and his past wouldn’t bother him. Because once his past might catch up to him, he might not make it out live.

He will ruin her. So no matter how drawn Faith is to him, she stopped herself, and focused on what other people might say. She tries to think about her reputation. But Diego wouldn’t stop until he cracked the walls she built around him. But being together, no matter how right, has some consequences. Some not good, some dangerous, and some can be deadly. Would their attraction, their emotions, and their love be enough for them to get through all of it?

They were different, their cultures varied, their past both tarnished and their future unsure – but them together makes it all worth it.  I loved watching their characters developed, how they overcome their past, how they came clean, and finally how they realize that they were in deep – only it would be snatched  away that easily…

IT IS NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. It was so much more. I didn’t see all those twist coming my way. I thought they could be in danger, but I didn’t realize the magnitude of danger until I was on that page, and they were running for their lives. And Amber, you almost broke me there. I was ready to resign my fate, ready to have that bittersweet ending right there, only to be caught off guard by another surprise (yep, it was like another one of those WTF moments). Not to mention, the glimpse from the next book at the end part, had me craving for it – knowing it will be Melissa’s turn! Yay.

•Complimentary Copy was given in exchange for an honest review.•

“Hi, I’m Faith Watters.”

Those are the first words I speak to the new Cuban guy in the front office. He grimaces. He’ll be a tough one. I can handle it, though. He’s not the first.

I can’t help but notice that he looks a lot like a model from the neck up—eyes the color of oak, strong bone structure. Everywhere else, he looks a lot like a criminal. Chiseled, scarred body … I wonder for a second about the meaning behind the tattoos scratched into his arms.

One thing’s clear. He’s dangerous.

And he’s beautiful.

“I’ll show you to your classes,” I announce.

I’m one of the peer helpers at our school. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it counts as a class. Basically I spend the first two days with new students, introducing them around and answering their questions. Some parents with kids new to the school voluntarily sign their students up, but it’s only mandatory for the international students, of which we have a lot. Mostly Latinos.

This Cuban guy towers over me. I’m five six. Not tall. Not short. Just average. Average is good.

This guy’s not average. Not even a little bit. He must be over six feet.

I glance up at him, kind of like I do when I’m searching for the moon in a sea of darkness.

“Looks like you have math first. I’ll walk you there,” I offer.

“No thanks, chica. I can handle it.”

“It’s no problem,” I say, leading the way.

He tries to snatch his schedule from my hands, but I move too fast.

“Why don’t we start with your name?” I suggest.

I already know his name. Plus some. Diego Alvarez. Eighteen years old. Moved from Cuba two weeks ago. Only child. No previous school records. I read it in his bio. I want to hear him say it.

“You got some kinda control issues or somethin’?” he asks harshly, voice slightly accented.

“You got some kind of social issues or somethin’?” I fire back, holding my stance. I won’t let him intimidate me, though I’ll admit, he’s hot. Too bad he has a nasty attitude.

The side of his lip twitches. “No. I just don’t mix with your type,” he answers.

“My type?”

“That’s what I said.”

“You don’t even know my type.” No one does. Well, except Melissa.

He chuckles humorlessly. “Sure I do. Head cheerleader? Date the football player? Daddy’s little girl who gets everything she wants?” He leans closer to whisper. “Probably a virgin.”

My cheeks burn hot. “I’m not a cheerleader,” I say through clamped teeth.

“Whatever,” he says. “Are you gonna give me my schedule or not?”

“Not,” I answer. “But you can feel free to follow me to your first class.”

He steps in front of me, intimately close. “Listen, chica, nobody tells me what to do.”

I shrug. “Fine, suit yourself. It’s your life. But if you want to attend this school, it’s mandatory for me to show you to your classes for two days.”

His eyes narrow. “Who says I want to attend this school?”

I take the last step toward him, closing the gap between us. When we were little, Melissa and I used to collect glass bottles. Whenever we accumulated twenty, we’d break them on the concrete. When the glass shattered, the slivered pieces made a breathtaking prism of light.

I cut myself on the glass by accident once. It was painful, but worth it. The beauty was worth it. It’s funny how the bottle was never as beautiful as when it was broken.

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. She lives outside Washington, DC with her family and English Bulldog. 

CONNECT WITH AMBER HART:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest Goodreads  

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