Tuesday 25 April 2017

Release Day Blitz & Review ~ 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

We're celebrating the release of 180 SECONDS by Jessica Park!

Title: 180 SECONDS
Age: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Skyscape
Release date: April 25, 2017

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Book Description:

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”

Jessica Park, for me, is synonymous with reads that have relatable characters that have their quirks and stories that deal with real life. Jessica Park’s character connection is always on point and so her stories always deliver the emotional reads that I crave and boy does 180 Seconds on ALL counts. This is an author whose writing style is one I clicked with from the beginning, articulate, thought provoking, comical when needed and always written from the heart. With every word you can feel and see this authors blood, sweat and tears. You can tell that her books have taken time, nothing is rushed, plot lines expanded perfectly and characters with incredible depth brought to life with ease. 180 Seconds is another one of those reads where I was captivated from the very start and held emotional hostage until the very end. Her books don’t come along very often, but when they do…they make their presence felt in every single way.

“…you’ve been through a lot, and if you ask me, it is okay that you’ve been in a shitty place. Just because that’s where you’ve been doesn’t mean you have to stay there if you don’t want to.”

I love, love, love, when a title means something and I cannot stress enough how much I love this title. This title encapsulates everything about this book and I don’t want to say much more because you need to feel that connection for yourself, but it was just so damn perfect. That moment when everything falls into place only elevates your excitement for what is to come. That was me, and Jessica Park and her characters took me along for the ride and yet another ride I will not forget.

Allison was a character that I could relate to in the way that she had anxiety issues and wanted to be a nobody. Allison preferred her own company and only had one friend that she had met in the foster care system, Steffi. It took a lot for Allison to trust, having been shunted from foster home to foster home her faith in humanity left a lot to be desired and it seemed her knight in shining armour may have come a little too late to undo the damage of her childhood. But, underneath her unapproachable exterior was a woman longing for a connection, a connection to someone, someone to understand her for who she is and not what her past dictates. Allison craved honesty, integrity, love and friendship but was just too shy to find it or take it.

“I don’t want to live in the past. Neither do you. We’re not going back there. It’s over. We are not goddamn statistics. We will never be. We are the exception, and we are exceptional. Got it?”

Esben was a social media celebrity whose blog on life was a means of showing the world that mankind can still have heart, not all people are mean and cruel, good does still happen and that the power of social media can bring people from all walks of life together for the greater good. Social media is often at the forefront of bullying and destruction, where cyber bullies make their presence ever felt and the unscrupulous prey on unwitting victims. Jessica Park though brings the opposite side to light, the uplifting side, the community spirit and the empowerment that social media can bring, although the haters are always gonna hate and even Esben isn’t immune to that.

Esben was a man with a pure heart, he believed in and saw the good in everybody and his relationship with his sister was swoon worthy in itself. Esben was not your typical NA hero, he was just a normal guy, a regular college student albeit a social media celebrity. It was during one of his social media experiments that he crosses paths with Allison and from this moment one of the best love stories got their beginning.

“I know you’re fragile. I get that…You’re also tougher than you think. You’re fighting right now, and fighters aren’t weak. But you don’t have to fight alone.”

This was so much more than a love story though, this was Allison’s journey from solitude. With every page, you could see life slowly breathed back into her, this was her emotional journey where she embraced those that cared and moved on from those that didn’t. This was a journey where Allison finally began to believe in herself, trust those around her and love those that she surrounded herself with.

“I love you, Allison. It happened when I wasn’t looking for it, when I didn’t know I needed it. But I fell in love with you so quickly and so smoothly. So without question.”

Simon is Allison’s adoptive father who found her when she was sixteen. From the minute Simon saw Allison’s picture and bio he knew that she belonged to him and was still trying to make Allison accept him. Simon’s perseverance and love for Allison was heart-warming and my love for this guy holds no bounds. Simon is one of my favourite characters and the extra heart and soul he brings to this book was truly phenomenal.

Steffi was a perfect best friend, in tune with Allison on all fronts and had been through the system with her. Steffi was a lot more confident and sure of herself and yet emotionally even more scarred than Allison but hid it well. This friendship is one that only comes along once in a lifetime and should always be treasured.

“Steffi? You’re not a dud. You never were. You are more perfect than any parents could handle. That’s all.”

Every character had purpose and brought something to the story overall, nothing superfluous and every word delivered with compassion and heart. This was Jessica Park at her best and for me brought back the magic of Flat Out Love while enveloping the heart and soul of Left Drowning. 180 Seconds was the perfect Park recipe and one that I devoured word by word. This will definitely be one of my favourite reads of 2017 and once again Jessica Park delivered.

About the Author:

Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.

Please visit her at jessicapark.me and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark and Twitter @JessicaPark24

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