Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Twenty-One (Emerald Cove #2) by Lauren K. McKellar - ARC Review


I look both ways before I cross the road. I knot my laces twice. Boring? Sure. But it’s also settled. Stable. Safe.
And I like safe.

Because broken bones may be hard to heal, but broken hearts are even harder. And when the man I loved and lost reappears in my life, I won't fall for his charms again ... will I?

Joel Henley just might be my biggest risk yet.

My name is Ellie Mayfield. And this is my undoing.


Purchase Links:
Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: November 2015.

Ellie Mayfield acts like she's got life all figured out, she has a job that doesn't completely suck, she has friends, she has a mother and sister that while being high maintenance she loves dearly, Ellie is the epitome of the play it safe kind of girl, she doesn't take risks, she doesn't push herself outside of her comfort zone, she's stuck in a rut of her own making. The one boy she ever truly opened herself up to was Joel Henley, and he left her without a second thought, she thought what they shared was the forever kind of connection but when he left he never looked back and she was left playing the role of the dutiful daughter, the protective and caring sister, the good friend.

When Joel Henley strolls back into Ellie's life she's shocked, here in front of her is the boy who once lit up her world, he's back and he's looking at her like he always did, and she has two choices she can keep playing it safe, she can keep playing the role she's become accustomed to or she can take a chance on the boy she once loved, on the man who could truly change her life.

There's so much more going on here than just a second chance romance, The Twenty-One is part coming of age, part romance, the hero of this story is very much Ellie, as she figures out who she is, what she wants, and who she wants to be. There's a reverence to McKellar's words, a wistfulness to her prose, and elegance in everything she does that lures you in, and captures your attention, her words wrapping around your heart and soothing your soul, preparing you for the inevitable moment that she will punch you right in the feels. It's impossible for McKellar not to take you in a journey, not to challenge you, not to push you to the limit where you experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, there's a line in a Lifehouse song, where the singer croons "how can I stand here with you , and not be moved by you?"  that sums up every feeling and emotional thought I have when reading McKellar's work, because for me, it's a natural as breathing, it's impossible to read her stories and not be moved by them, she begs the reader to take a journey with her, to strip themselves bare, to live within the pages with her, it's a passionate plea from author to reader that I can't help but heed every time I dive into the worlds she creates.

The Twenty-One is simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, it's solemn and joyous, it's real and raw, there's a fragility to Ellie that scares her, but a strength and courage that Joel see's, The Twenty-One has a beautiful message about taking the reins, about being the author in your own life, about appreciating what you have, and not taking this life for granted. McKellar reminded me of the beauty that is all around us, if we are willing to take a chance to let both love and life in.

About Lauren K. McKellar:

Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013, and her Crazy in Love series, YA/NA Contemporary crossovers, are self-published and available now.

As well as being a magazine editor for a national audited publication on pet care, Lauren works as a freelance editor for independent and traditionally published authors, and was a Runner Up Editor of the Year in the Publishers Australia awards in 2013.

Lauren is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is obsessed with words--she likes the way they work.

She lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with her husband and their two super-cute puppies. Most of the time, all three are well-behaved.

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