Friday, August 2, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Nothing But This by Natasha Anders

Publication Date: July 30th 2019 by Montlake Romance
Pages: 391
Source: Publisher/Kindle Unlimited Audio Book
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the book:

It’s always been complicated between Libby Lawson and Greyson Chapman—and married life isn’t any simpler. But when Libby gets pregnant, she at last sees a bright future ahead. There’s just one problem: Greyson says he’s sterile. 
Furious, Greyson abandons the young family. Equally furious and deeply hurt, Libby cuts all ties with him. After all these years, it seems their relationship has finally expired. But love is resilient and endures even when you don’t want it to. Greyson still longs for Libby, and though Libby’s heartbroken by Greyson’s lack of trust, she holds out hope for a complete, happy family. 
And so they embark on the journey back to each other, wary of all the obstacles between them. It’s been a long road already—one strewed with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings. Will they keep looking to the past, or will they look to each other and walk hand in hand toward a broad new horizon?

My Thoughts:
I’m going to keep my review short because I think Natasha’s guest post below gets to the nitty gritty of Nothing But This and does it well. 

I will say that I absolutely LOVED this story and couldn’t put it down once I started reading! A marriage in crisis, as long as it’s not too angsty, is one of my favorite troupes.  Greyson screws up spectacularly, and at first the whole f-up seems to be his fault, but as I read on, I discovered not everything was as simple as it appeared.  I loved digging in, learning all the complex layers that made up Greyson and Libby; how their past led up to Greyson’s assumptions, and their parting.  It brought out all the feels, and I found myself tearing up while reading several times.  Greyson was definitely the supreme idiot in the beginning, but I grew to love him. 

This is labeled “book 2” in the Broken Pieces series, but I didn’t read the first book, More Than Anything, which is focused on a separate couple, Greyson’s brother, Harris and Libby’s best friend, Tina.  IMO it wasn’t necessary to read it to enjoy Nothing But This.  As a side note, Harris and Tina also sort things out in this installment, and I was happy getting bits of their story thrown in here, too.  This is the first time I’ve read a story by Natasha Anders, but it won’t be the last!

4.5 Suns

Guest Post: A Marriage Destroyed with Natasha Anders

Hi there, my name is Natasha Anders and I’m excited to talk to you about the second book in my Broken Pieces series, Nothing But This.

My long-time readers will know that I’m a fan of second chance romances and absolutely love a good marriage in trouble trope. The story of Greyson and Libby falls firmly within the latter category.

It’s not easy to write a marriage in crisis novel. By the time we’re introduced to the characters, they already have a relationship history behind them that readers have yet to discover. We enter this particular story at the lowest point of their relationship. The birth of a child should be a happy occasion but something is clearly wrong here; Libby’s husband isn’t there and she believes he hates her and her baby. And when Greyson eventually makes his way onto the page, her belief is confirmed.

No marriage can survive the things Greyson says at the beginning of this book and finding a way back from that low point is nearly impossible. I know that my readers are going to loathe him at the start. My heroine despises him and his own family is angry with him. I have to find a way to redeem him that will make everybody happy. And, harder still, I have to find a way to make the readers forgive him and, ideally, start to root for him.

It’s a challenge that I absolutely adore. I love hearing from readers who have that “wait a second, when did I stop hating him?” moment. I want his redemption arc to be so seamless that readers can’t pinpoint exactly when they started forgiving him. This is easier said than done and Greyson needs to do a lot of groveling and apologizing to even get a foot in the door. I like to look at what he’s doing and saying and put myself in the heroine’s and the reader’s position. Is this enoughHave I forgiven him yet? Even if the answer is yes, I try to push it just a little further because “enough” is never good enough and there will always be someone out there who wants him to suffer just that tiny bit more. It sounds sadistic, but I do like to put my characters (male and female) through the wringer. They need to earn that happy ending.

But the story needs to be balanced and while my hero is terribly flawed and at times insecure and vulnerable, his heroine needs to show a similar amount of character growth and self-recognition. She needs to find an inner strength and confidence that she lacks at the start of the novel. Striking the exact right balance and making their journey toward redemption and a satisfactory and well-earned happily ever after is what makes writing a second chance romance so hard.

One of the things I hope readers take away from this book is that a situation isn’t always as cut and dried as it seems on the surface. Greyson comes across as one hundred percent villain at the start of this book. But he’s insecure and incredibly lonely. This story is about a man breaking out of his self-imposed isolation and finding a place, not only in his wife’s heart and life, but also within a welcoming and accepting society. It is also the story of a woman learning to embrace and accept the flaws within herself and others.

I loved writing this book. I started with only one scene constantly playing out in my head; the hospital scene where Greyson unequivocally rejects his wife and his child. That’s all I had at the beginning and building this story around that one moment, was often frustrating but at the same time so incredibly satisfying. I loved discovering Libby and Greyson’s strengths and weaknesses and often found that some of those weaknesses echoed my own. It was a vulnerable space within which to find myself but it was also a rewarding step on my personal journey toward self-realization and recognition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to step into my not always sane mind. I do hope you enjoy reading Nothing But This as much as I loved writing it.

About the author:
Natasha Anders was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She spent the last nine years working as an assistant English teacher in Niigata, Japan, where she became a legendary karaoke diva. Natasha is currently living in Cape Town with her temperamental and opinionated budgie, Sir Oliver Spencer, who has kindly deigned to share his apartment with her. Please feel free to contact her (or Oliver) on Twitter @satyne1.

Connect with Natasha:

A $25 Amazon Gift Card & Digital Copy of Nothing But This! 

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  1. I love complex characters with many layers, and stories that give me the feels to the point of tearing up. This sounds like a very touching story Rachel. Wonderful Review!

    Also, great guest post! It has to be difficult writing a character you know readers will despise, and then having to find a way to redeem him and make readers root for him!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

  2. This sounds so lovely! I don't think I've ever read a marriage in crisis book. I do have Love Her or Lose Her from Tessa Bailey and can't wait to start it!
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    1. I think they're like the ultimate second chance type of romance. I'll have to check out Tessa Bailey's book. :)

  3. THIS is seriously everything a second chance romance should be!! Love this book!

  4. I always like a second chance romance

  5. Oh, I love the sound of this one! So emotional and (potentially) so realistic. I love when a couple finds their way back to one another.

  6. This trope always puts the reader through the wringer and this sounds like a good one. Great review!