Monday, November 18, 2013

Blog Tour: Better by S. Walden

Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.

For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her parents and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.

Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he must share his secret with Cadence. And he hopes his revelation won't tear them apart. He hopes it will draw them closer, and make their love better.

4.5 Star review by Jen Hagen

Cadence and her math teacher’s taboo romance concludes in this novel.  Their story began in “Good.”

They waited, holed up in the apartment.  Sitting.  Pacing.  Watching the door for Cadence’s dad.  They both knew he was coming.

But remember, Cadence is holding the cards in her hand.  She has the better hand of the two and she isn’t afraid to play it.   She doesn’t want to be forced to lay it out, but she is given no choice when her dad threatens Mark.  And so begins the new life of Cadence…she is no longer supported by her parents but is now on her own.  Mark is ready, willing, and prepared to take care of her.  They struggle with finding ways to financially continue both their educations, but Mark will do anything he can to make certain that Cadence will go to college even if it means putting his doctorate education on hold.  Mark seems to be the perfect boyfriend, but don’t forget that he has a past we know nothing about.

We knew that Mark was keeping a secret and the first half of this book feels like it’s leading up to the angst of finding out what the complete story is.  Prior to the full breakdown of events, we are shown little glimpses of Mark’s past through his memories and nightmares.  Mark struggles with telling Cadence the truth, but also realizes that if the truth comes out when he isn’t prepared the end result will be heartbreaking.

It was getting worse – the slip-ups.  Too easy when she lived with him, had become so intimately connected to his life, his world.  He was becoming too relaxed, and he simply wasn’t ready to go there yet.

Cadence begins college and has made a couple new friends.  She still misses her old friends but they turned their backs on her when she needed them the most.  Cadence wonders if she’s missing out on the full college experience by living with her boyfriend.  Cadence continues to be very spiritual and seeks guidance from scripture.  Mark tries to do the best he can with his deciphering of passages of knowledge from a previous religion course.   Even though Mark claims to be a non-Christian, he still supports Candace in her quest for knowledge and redemption.

But there was a part of him that missed his own conversations, his own meditations with a God he used to love. 

Something really, really bad must have happened to Mark in order for him to give up his beliefs.  And when the truth is forced to come out, the words turn ugly and their world is far from serene.  From this point on Cadence is on a path of self destruction.  She is hiding her pain and feeling numb beneath the effects of alcohol.  The second half of the book deals with how Candace chooses to react to words that stung her to her core. 

“You’ve let anger and bitterness twist your heart, Cadence.  It’s made you an ugly person.  You’ve gone so far backwards that I fear I’ll have to teach you how to walk again.”   

Throughout all of this, Mark stands beside her…or in better terms he stands off to the side and lets her do what she thinks she needs to do.  I loved Mark and how patient he was with Cadence.  I really wanted to pop her a good one and tell her to buck up, but he’s a much better person than I am.  He knew she needed this time to get things out of her system.  It wasn’t easy for him to watch her spiral downward and to distance herself from him, but he bided his time until he knew she had hit the bottom and had nowhere else to go but up.

“Forgive me,” he cried.

There is a happy ending to the story and in a rare twist, we are given an epilogue that is unique but oh so heartwarming.  It gives us all hope that love never fades over time.  Epilogues are the final chapter in a journey and leaves us with one final glance into their lives, and sometimes that finality will stay with you and you will forever remember an epilogue that made you believe in a true happily ever after.

“Did you hear me, Cadence?” he asked softly.  “I’m gonna love you forever.” 
“Oh I heard you,” she replied.  “And you better.”

S. Walden
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.

She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.

Twitter: @swaldenauthor
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  1. Hey Jen,

    Thanks so much for your review of Better. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! And thank you, ladies, for participating in my blog tour.

    xo Summer

  2. I'm nervous and excited to see how it ends.

  3. Thanks for the post and your thoughts on this book, I enjoyed reading them. I am very excited for this release!

  4. I haven't read Good yet, it's on my kindle just haven't had the chance to read it but i'm looking forward to reading both

  5. I have been anxiously waiting for this book :)

  6. Taboo relationships aren't really things I like to read about but s. Walden is such a fantastic writer that you can't help but want to read more about the characters she's written, irregardless of who they are and their choices.

  7. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway. :)


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