Today is The Book Lovers stop on the These Things about Us book tour. I’ll be giving you my review and a deleted scene 😉
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Antonia is leaving the last shards of her life in Tucson behind to find her mother and start over. Turns out that’s easier said than done. London is a pretty big city, a hundred bucks don’t get you far and you can’t just make your past disappear.
When sweet and caring uni student Wesley gets her a job and a room in his father’s pub, Tony is unprepared for his older brother Trace who despises her at first sight. She’s unprepared for someone whose secrets might be darker than her own.
Following a path of breadcrumbs and tangling up in Trace’s past, Tony slips back into a world she thought she’d escaped the day her father went to prison.
5 /5 stars
When Laura emailed me and asked me if I would like to read her book These Things About Us and be a part of her tour, well once I had read the synopsis, I said yes. A girl looking for her mum and wanting to forget her past life, a caring guy who takes her under his wing and a broken man who despises her from first sight. What isn’t there to love?
For a debut, Laura really sucks you into the story. From the synopsis, nothing is revealed and so throughout the book you keep thinking about Tony’s past life, what her secrets are, what Trace’s secrets are, why he doesn’t like her, why he’s intrigued by her. Because there are so many questions you are drumming up throughout each page, you just keep flicking through the pages, needing to find the answer to your questions.
There are also a few shocking revelations along the way too – which of course I am not going to spoil for you but I didn’t expect any of them to happen. Especially with Wes. I’m probably blind but I did not catch on.
I started this book on a lazy Sunday afternoon and had finished it on the Monday evening (damn work getting in the way). It’s a quick read, but only because you will be reading at lightning speed. You will be sucked into the story, into the drama, into the secrets and as I’ve mentioned, the synopsis reveals hardly anything and you will not want to put the book down. Nope, not at all.
I love books like this, the ones where you just don’t want to sleep or eat, and Laura really made this happen with me. Although work did get in the way, I was reading it through lunch and on the way home and then just lounged on the sofa reading it. Yupp that is how much I was infatuated by her book.
“You look at me like that with your big eyes and I think of ripping those clothes off your body.”
Trace is broken. He sleeps around to get so exhausted he falls asleep, he blows hot and cold and he has a temper, but on the other side he’s caring, he does have a heart and music is a big part of him. His past is something that although he wants to forget, he can’t and then along comes Tony and everything is brought up once again, hence why he doesn’t want to be near her and acts like a complete and utter douchebag when they are in the same proximity. But to me, there was just something about him that I liked. Despite his douchebaggyness, I was drawn to him. I really liked him and I knew underneath everything he was actually a sweet and caring guy, he just had a bad past that made him act out.
He does blow hot and cold with Tony but you can see that he does like her, even if he doesn’t or won’t admit it to himself or to her. I know many of you will probably dislike him at first, but I actually didn’t. Is that weird? I really did like him from the start. His cocky demure, his tattoos, especially the spider on his neck, his musicality and then his sweet side. The side that I suppose no one has seen for quite a long time. But there is just something about Tony, or should I say Kitty that just brings it out in him.
When the secret is out, ohhh I just wanted to jump into my kindle and hug the shit out of Trace. You understand why he didn’t like Tony at the start but then why he let himself get to know her and fall for her and then at the end, my heart broke. I’m not going to spoil it but dear god, there NEEDS to be a book two. I need to know what will happen with Tony and Trace. Like right now!
Tony is a strong girl. She’s had to be with the father she has but her past is one that she wants to forget and change. From being a party girl, who slept around and had a bucket loads of cash to flying over to London to find her mother with a backpack full of clothes and hardly any money. She’s doing her best to stay afloat. She’s spunky and courageous and wants to put her past behind her and change her lifestyle and her style up. She doesn’t want anyone to know about her past – it’s off limits. She can stick up for herself, she can give as good as she gets but deep inside shes also vulnerable. She’s in London to find her mother and despite the fact she now knows Wes, shes still alone in her search, in walking around London. You really do feel for her, from the way Trace acts towards her, to wanting and needing to find her mother. All she wants is her mother, as any teenage girl would.
I really enjoyed that although she didn’t want to go back to how she was, and with Trace she was scared she was going to, admitting it out loud really was the first step and she thought being with trace would make her take steps backward yet it didn’t. She was stronger and more aware than anyone and Trace was there every step, convincing her that she would never return to the person she used to be. I was really proud of her throughout the whole book, even when sad events at the end took place.
Enter Wes, who is her new BFF and takes her under his wing so she had a job and somewhere to stay whilst she searches for her mother. Thing is, Wes is Trace’s brother and Trace is not happy at all. Wes is charming and funny and the sweetest guy around. He’s put up with shit from Trace and now that Tony has entered his life, I think he feels freer, that is has someone he can tell his secret too, as hes scared of telling his dad and Trace. Despite the fact he knows Trace’s secret and he warns Tony away, he still looks out for her. There was a time where I was like “just leave Tony and Trace along Wes” but then
I loved the chemistry between Trace and Tony. It actually is instant, even Trace acted like a dick towards her at first, they both have this hot and cold relationship, towards one another but Trace does care for Tony, in his weird way. Although he didn’t like her, he was always there for her, and Tony just couldn’t help wanting him even though he was a knobhead at times. They really were suppose to just gyrate towards one another, they couldn’t stay away and getting past the rocky start it was easy for them to be together, to spend time together and be there for one another. It broke my heart at the end but what Trace does, you can truly see that Tony is the one for him, that he will always be there for her.
I will fangirl over Laura and this book so much. I will fangirl and love Trace too. Even though I’m not allowed him because he is Tony’s, a girl can dream about an imaginary character cant she? I’m too greedy for more of Tony and Trace’s story so much so, that after this review, there is a deleted scene. Yes, I am a greedy little girl but I will always want more, so you bloody better buy this book and join me in pestering Laura for her to write book two pretty damn fast.
NOW GO and BUY IT! And then come back after and read the deleted scene.
“Where are the chairs?” I asked as we stepped into the circular room. The only light came from the fluorescent tubes on the ceiling, but that was about all there was in the room besides a couple of speakers. Judging by the empty grey walls and the stone floor, this was where you brought people to be shot, not to enjoy a theater play. “Where’s the stage? Is this some kind of joke? Because it’s not funny.” I wrapped my arms around myself and looked back at the chatting people walking in behind us.
“Relax, Kitty.” Trace cupped his hands around my shoulders and guided me across the room where we turned to face the center. “This is going to be fun, I promise.”
I nodded. I was probably overreacting. Dad’s call had put me on edge. His threats still rung in my ears and this was the kind of middle of nowhere where nobody heard you scream.
“Okay.” Swallowing, I reached up to my shoulders and grabbed one of his hands for support. He wove his fingers through mine and squeezed them lightly. I barely had time to enjoy the little sparks his touch sent through my skin into the merit of my bones because the iron door thudded shut, sealing us in with three dozen strangers. And then the lights went out. I jumped back, right into his chest, and his hand fell from my shoulder to my waist. Squeezing my eyes shut, I grasped his hand harder.
Nobody was hurting me here. Nobody was going to take me away. This was theater. Dad wasn’t here.
“Ssh, it’s okay. Look at the walls,” Trace whispered close to my ear and wrapped his arm around my middle, pulling me into the crook of his body, close and safe.
The walls. I could do that. After a long, deep breath I managed to open my eyes to the strangest mural I’d ever seen, and my fears washed away. Bright colors were shining from the walls, green, purple, red, mixed into a wide scenery. I turned in Trace’s embrace, trying to get a view of the whole room without leaving my safe spot. Someone had painted a fluorescent rain forest on the walls. It wasn’t just trees and grass and bushes, though, there were animals.
Hard to spot between the leaves and branches, but there were snakes and monkeys, bugs and a tiger. It was a piece of glow-in-the-dark art.
“This is amazing,” I whispered.
“Thank you,” Trace replied.
I swiveled around again, but the mural’s light wasn’t enough to get a good look at his face. I doubted he thanked me for looking at the paintings – he thanked me for complimenting the art. His art? It had to be. It would explain his absence from work last week. But I thought he’d stopped drawing.
A pang of guilt went off in my stomach when I drew my eyes back to the detailed painting. I should seriously spend more time on getting to know him. Maybe he secretly was a theater geek.
“Sssh.” His finger on my lips silenced me just in time for my attention to fall on a dancer. He/She/It was dancing in the middle of the room and the only way I could trace the movements was by the glowing skeleton painted onto his clothes. His face was painted as well, as one of those Mexican skulls. Mostly white, but parts were red others remained black and unpainted. From somewhere in the audience, another skeleton appeared. Both of them danced individually through the room, one of them almost bumped into us, but Trace maneuvered us a step aside as if he knew the choreography by heart. Eventually both skeletons ended up in the center of the room and stilled in their movements as they noticed each other. It was mesmerizing to watch them take each other in. They compared their hands, their feet, the ribs where their hearts would be if they had any. As if they’d never seen one of their own kind before. The first skeleton took the second one by the hand, and violin and piano sounds poured down the walls and echoed through the room.
Whatever had happened before, it couldn’t have been dancing. When the two connected, that was dancing. Their bodies were in total synch. Each movement fit. They fit
perfectly into each other. Eventually more and more skeletons appeared, whisking them apart but the initial two kept coming back to each other.
I didn’t quite understand the ending, though. A giant tiger appeared, probably carried by at least two people and it sort of ate all skeletons – they all disappeared into the belly of the tiger – until only one skeleton remained, pirouetting in the center of the room. It was the one who had appeared first. The tiger left, the lights flickered on, and the blonde girl kept twirling around and around even as the door was opened. Even as people filtered out of the room.
I held Trace back until the very end, but the girl kept spinning, and eventually we had to leave, too. There was something unnerving about her constant pirouettes and the fact that they shut her in. She probably stopped dancing the second the door closed behind us, but I couldn’t be sure.
While the rest of the audience left the building, Trace and I waited for Vince in the front room. “You know, I was expecting Shakespeare. Not… this.”
“Hmm.” A grin was obviously tugging at the corners of his mouth, but he tried – and failed – to contain it, as his hand tangled with mine again. “Vince doesn’t do traditional.”
Vince wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about. “Did you paint all that?”
“What if I did?” His thumb flicked against mine and I couldn’t help the impression that he was challenging me.
“Nothing. It’s just… stunning. You told me you didn’t draw anymore but the painting was totally amazing.” I flicked my thumb back at his and smiled up at him. “You’re not ashamed of it, are you?”
“Can we talk about something else? Anything?” Trace sighed and stepped closer, hooking his finger into one of my belt loops and pulling me towards him. I came willingly, allowing our mids to connect, but bending back just enough to keep my eyes trained on him.
Concentrating on forming words became difficult as he slipped that finger from the belt loop into the waist of the jeans, sliding it along my hip bone. I fought down the sigh
climbing up my lungs and wrapped my hands around his arms instead. “I’m not letting you distract me, Trace. Why do you want to talk about something else?”
He bent down, spilling kisses on my cheek. I let my eyes flutter close at the sweet touch. For a moment, I was okay with being distracted as his scent filled my nose and his stubble rubbed against my skin so perfectly. But then his lips brushed my ear and he whispered, “Because what I do isn’t stunning. Or amazing. You look at me like I’m… I don’t know. Like I’m worth a lot more than I really am. Like I’m a better person than I really am. I want to be that man you see, but I’m not. So we need to change the topic, because otherwise it’s inevitable that I’m eventually going to disappoint you.”
“You won’t,” I replied but mentally added I hope. Because I still wasn’t convinced that I’d survive this thing between us. I was at the theater not a club, we weren’t having wild bathroom sex and we weren’t snorting white lines – but that didn’t mean that Trace couldn’t shatter me to pieces if he wanted to.
“You don’t sound convinced.” Trace gave a husky laugh that vibrated through his chest but that I knew wasn’t real.
“I’m convinced that you’re just as talented as I think. I’m convinced your music and your art are as amazing as I think. I’m not convinced that at the end of the road, there won’t be disappointment.” I tilted my head and pressed my lips against his jaw. The simple fact that I thought I could spend the rest of my life kissing him like that proved my theory. “I think you have the power to ruin me.”About the author, Laura Beege:Laura likes to call herself an international girl. She grew up in an Asian/European family in Germany, spent some time as an exchange student in France, moved to England after graduation and eventually landed back in Germany, where she’s currently working on her degree in Theater & Film. No matter where she will be next year (Manhattan?) or the years after that (Italy?), she intends to keep on writing.She loves hearing from readers!