Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: After the Rain and When it Rains by Lisa De Jong

A novella follow-up to When It Rains.

The last few years have been my best and my worst. Now I’m learning to move on after my greatest heartbreak of all.

I’m in college with the guy I’ve loved since I was just a kid, but when two people have the history we do, there are always obstacles to overcome. They say love conquers all, and it's time to find out how true that really is.

There’s life after the heartbreak and pain, but will it be what I've always dreamed of?

4.5 Fantastic Stars 
Review by Jen Hagen

Beau and Kate took the long road to be where they are today. The journey began when Kate was beat down, brought back to life when Asher arrived only to have him taken away from her, and again she had to fight her way up.  In the process she discovered her strength and perseverance to guide her into the arms of Beau.


Beau has loved Kate for as long as he can remember.  There has never been anybody else to enter his heart like she did, and he was crushed when she pushed him away.  He considers himself very fortunate to be able to call Kate his girlfriend and to move forward in their lives.  The story begins with the day that Kate came knocking on Beau’s door and proclaims that she is there for him.


I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been waiting to have her in my arms. I’ve been waiting to have her beautiful green eyes look at me like I look at her. I’ve been waiting for this girl to be mine.


But they wouldn’t have gotten to where they are today without the help of Asher.  You will still cry tears as Asher’s presence is felt throughout the book.  His napkin notes are still present, and the prologue is a letter that Asher wrote.  I was crying on the first page.


We’re here now because of him.


As beautiful as Asher and Kate were together, I was always hoping that she would end up with Beau.  Some may feel she’s settling for Beau, but Kate explains it very well to Beau about the set of events that led her to him.  I am the hopeless romantic and believe every word she says.


“I don’t think it was ever possible for Asher to be my forever. That’s not the map that was laid out for either of us … I honestly believe he was meant to lead me back to you.”


We are introduced to a couple of new secondary characters that will be receiving their own book in 2014. Emery’s story is one I am looking forward to reading as we are definitely left with a giant hole in her story.


Kate is stronger because of Asher.  Kate is loved intensely by Beau.  Kate has loved, lost and loved again.  Kate now knows not to take anything for granted and she fights hard to remain strong, and she is grabbing onto her happiness because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  For somebody who used to hate the rain, she now loves it.


Life’s most beautiful moments come after the rain.

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it's more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can't.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn't care who I used to be, he's simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…


5 Fabulous Stars

Review by Jen Hagen

Kate is 19 years old and for the last 2 years has just been going through the motions of getting through the day. She had dreams of going to college to be a lawyer, but an event that occurred 2 years ago has taken all her cares and dreams away. Since Kate was 5 years old her best friend has been the boy next door, Beau, and she saw her future with Beau…until the night it rained.

I was going to marry Beau Bennett someday but nothing ever happened between us. I was too scared to make the first move, and he was too busy chasing the pretty girls at school. I used to hope that maybe someday he’d see me like I saw him, but when he finally did, it was too late. I’m not the same girl anymore. I’ll never be her again.

Kate has never told anyone what happened that night. Beau knows that Kate has changed in the last 2 years, but he can never get her to tell him why. Beau is getting ready to leave for college 5 hours away. Beau and Kate had always thought they would be going to college together, but instead it’s Beau packing up ready to chase his dreams while Kate stays behind working at the same diner that her single mother works at. On the day before Beau is scheduled to leave for college, he takes a chance and opens to Kate about his feelings for her.

“I’ve tried for years to get you out of my head because you were supposed to be my best friend, but I can’t do it, Kate. I want you to give me a chance.”

Kate is shocked. She doesn’t understand how anybody could love her now, especially after what has happened. She doesn’t want to ruin Beau’s life by bringing him down with her, so she lets the dream of them having a future together go away along with everything else she has dreamed of.

He placed his heart in my hands and I crushed it.

Kate is trying to adjust to her life without having her best friend beside her. No matter what she does she can never escape what happened. After she began withdrawing from everything and everyone, people she used to call friends began to taunt and tease her. They don’t know the event that changed her life forever, but they still like to belittle her for no reason other than to make Kate feel worse about herself. Kate hates the rain. It leaves her feeling empty and reminds her of the night that her life changed forever.

Asher has just arrived in town and is living with his dad. Just by stopping in the diner for a milkshake and fries, Asher can sense the sadness and emptiness that surrounds Kate and wants to help her smile again. He is 23 years old and stories abound as to why he has suddenly appeared.

“Up until last year, my life was all about drinking and having a good time. This past year, I’ve been trying to figure out where my life’s actually going.”

Asher makes it his mission to bring Kate back to life. He takes her out of her comfort zone but yet offers her the strength and reassurance that she can face her fears and come out standing stronger because he will be by her side the entire time. He knows that she is holding something back and that she isn’t willing to tell him what it is, but that doesn’t deter him from trying to find out.

“I want to know you. I want to know what it is that made you cry, but more than that, I want to know what I have to do to make you happy again.”

While Beau is off at college still waiting for Kate to allow him into her heart, Kate’s heart is slowly opening up to Asher. Kate is pulling away from Beau and avoiding his phone calls. Beau wants to come home to see her, but she wants him to experience life without being tied down to her. Kate allows Asher to bring her to being a new person, not expecting her to be the girl that she used to be. Kate feels that Beau is trying to get the old Kate back to who she was before that night. She’ll never be that person again. My heart ached for Beau as he witnessed first hand that Kate had allowed Asher into her life, the place that Beau had desperately wanted and unsuccessfully tried to infiltrate.

“You’ll always be the first boy I ever loved. I won’t forget that. Ever.” Big, ugly tears slide down my cheeks.

He slowly turns, giving me a glimpse of his bloodshot eyes. “Up until a few minutes ago, I thought you’d be my last.”

Kate still has her secret and she knows that Asher has a secret also that he is holding back. They both know the other is hiding something. And when the truth comes out?? Asher continues to be there to make certain that Kate can see the sun and not always hate the rain. Now Kate will have the opportunity to show the strength that she has gained from being with Asher.

“When it rains, Kate. Remember me.”

Beau still continues to be a strong presence in Kate’s life even though we don’t see too much of him. When you have grown up together and shared 15 years of memories, it’s hard to let the other slip through the crack in your heart. Beau still hurts from not being the one to occupy Kate’s heart. Every time Beau spoke, I could feel the pain in his words and his heart contracting from the pain.

Kate thinks she’s damaged because of what happened to her two years ago. She has been living under a veil of sadness, but at the conclusion of the book she realizes that she is a lucky person. She has experienced both true love and finding her soul mate.

…there’s a difference between soul mates and true love. Looking at the surface, they are similar, but when I dug deep down inside, I found they were different.

I found my soul mate...

I found my true love…

Is one type of love better than the other? I don’t know, but I’m lucky enough to have found them both.

This is a beautiful story that will have you crying from the first page and crying harder with every page turn, but when you finally reach the end the emotional pain will have been worth it. Kate has suffered, but the beauty is that her suffering has made her a stronger person. You will never be able to look at a paper napkin again without getting tears in your eyes. 


Nook When It Rains  

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