Friday, October 4, 2013

Be My Downfall by Lyla Payne ~ Character Interview & Tour Stop/Giveaway

Complete tour here

Source:  Received an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Toby Wright has always prided himself on being one of the most normal guys at Whitman University. He loves his parents, has a great job lined up after graduation, and with the exception of attempting to cross the unbalanced Sebastian Blair sophomore year, has kept his nose pretty clean.

But the rich never have empty closets, and memories long stashed away come spilling free when notorious party girl Kennedy Gilbert almost dies in his dorm room.

Nobody really knows how Kennedy manages to stay in good standing at Whitman–she never goes to class, doesn’t pretend to care about her future, and as far as people can tell, is never sober. This isn’t her first meeting with a stomach pump, but it is the first time she’s woken up to Toby’s concerned brown eyes. Despite the fact that she prefers life without friends, he gets under her skin with his insistence on playing her guardian angel.

No one knows better than Toby that people can only be saved if they want to be, but the realization that she has no one else draws him back into the shadows of Kennedy’s life–and eventually into her bed. But she long ago came to terms with a truth that Toby refuses to accept: she doesn’t want to be rescued, she only wants to forget.

Unwilling to give up on her, Toby’s dragged under by this broken girl and her dark, twisted Whitman University he never guessed existed. If he struggles to the surface, he’ll abandon someone he loves for the second time in his life. If he doesn’t, it won’t be long until they both drown.

 My Thoughts:

4 stars - Take a chance on this one - it's worth it.

I'm having a hard time putting this one into words.  It has this real, emotional, and tough side to it.  The problems these two face are hard.  Usually these kinds of books rip me up and have me in tears bawling as I try to focus on the words.  Not so this time but not because the problems aren't real or not getting to me.  I think it's because of Toby.  I think it's because he's focused on healing.  The book is from his POV and he wants to be whole.  He wants Kennedy, strawberry, to be whole and happy.  She's not in a place to be that way.  He knows she has to want it, believe it can happen but he tries anyway.  I love that.  That idea of not walking away when it's hard but it's worth it really appeals to me.  So, I just didn't want to put this one down.  I just wanted to read till the very last word.  I wanted, needed, to know if they could heal, could be whole.

Nothing is easy but it's very real.  Strawberry (sorry, I can't really think of her as Kennedy) doesn't just realize she loves him and then find the strength to fix things.  No.  It's ugly and painful.  Real.  My heart ached for Toby.  Being in his head made it all the harder to witness.  He loves her, truly.  No instant love that's all attraction but love that took some time to develop.  Love that was resisted because he knew it would tare him apart.  Love that reached into his soul and consumed him.

Strawberry.  I love the way the author makes her feel numb to the reader.  I love how that is lessened as she spends time with Toby almost as if she is becoming real, brought back to life again.  I loved how that was the barometer of how she was doing.  My heart broke for her.  And, oh how my mama claws came out for that thing that calls itself her grandmother!  (This COULD be because I am a new Grandmother and her behavior is so repulsive to me).  Her choices made me sad but I love Strawberry.

This is a powerful read.  More depth than the average New Adult book, I could have read it straight through if my silly job hadn't got in the way.  Take a chance on this one - it's worth it.

About the author:

I've long had a love of stories. A few years ago I decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. When the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title) arrived, I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I'm hooked. In my spare time, I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

Character Interview

Welcome Kennedy!  Thanks for joining me today.  Can I grab you something to drink?

KENNEDY: Just water, please.

So you attend a private school?  What’s up with that?

KENNEDY: Well, money isn’t an issue, for one thing. For another, my mom and dad both attended private schools (Tulane and Duke, respectively), so it always seemed like a natural choice. I like Whitman. The kids here aren’t judgemental.

If you could wake up one day in a movie or a book, would you want to?  And what movie or book would you choose to wake up in?

KENNEDY: I don’t think I’d like that at all. I love movies, so I’m tempted to say I’d love to wake up in some awesome thirties or forties film with Spencer Tracey or Humphrey Bogart, but with my luck I’d end up dead in the first five minutes. So, no thanks.

Been wondering if you have a besty – any best friends for you?

KENNEDY: Toby’s the best friend I’ve had a in a long, long time. I’m working on friendships with other girls – getting back into a groove with Ruby, getting closer with Blair, my roommate, and her friend Audra. It’s not quite as easy as riding a bike – letting people close again.

Tell me about the first time you met Toby Wright.  What was that like?

KENNEDY: It scared the shit out of me, to be honest. He was different. He brought out some kind of instinct to trust, to relax, to just be myself that I’d forgotten I’d ever had.

Can you describe Toby in 5 words?

KENNEDY: Determined. Sweet. Competent. Sexy. Hopeful.

Toby seems pretty determined when it comes to you.  Do you want him to give up on you or do you hope he never does?

KENNEDY: That’s a hard question. There were days when I would have told you that I wanted him to give up, but that would have been my mouth talking and not my heart. Regardless, I can say that I might not even be alive right now if he had.

Describe your perfect day.  Who would be there?  Where would you go?  What would you do?

KENNEDY: I’d be alone with Toby, or maybe with his parents, who I love. Skiing is kind of our thing, and I’m starting to love Switzerland as much as he does. It’s kind of part of us, in a strange way, and when I picture us somewhere we’re happy, it’s usually there.

Tell us something about you that we don’t learn from the book.

KENNEDY: I declared a major! Linguistics. It’s funny, because Toby has no interest in living in Washington or following his dad’s path, but I really think I’d like to work for the UN or FBI or something as a translator after school.

Tell us something about Toby that we don’t learn from the book.

KENNEDY: He’s really messy, for one thing. He also blushes every time he talks to Miriam, his dad’s press secretary. And he still searches for his brother. He’ll never give up.

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

KENNEDY: I don’t think so. I’m not much of a talker. J


M&M or skittles?

KENNEDY: Skittles

Burger or steak?


Mountains or ocean?

KENNEDY: Mountains

Day or night?

KENNEDY: I would have said night a few months ago, but now day. You wouldn’t believe how good Toby looks in the sunshine.

Book or movie?


Brown or blue eyes?

KENNEDY: You’re trying to trick me with this one, and the next one! Brown. Like Toby’s.

Blond or brown hair?

KENNEDY: Brown again!

Thanks for hanging out with me today!  You rock.

KENNEDY: Thanks for having me! I hope you enjoy our story.


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  1. My favorite character is Emilie Swanson. She's one touch chick. She's able to take the pain Quinn dishes out and look past it to the guy she loves and she sticks by him. I want to be her friend!

  2. Hmm...sounds good, but im trying to figure out what's going on. Guess I need to read it and see for myself.

  3. Great review and character interview. I like the cover and description. It sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. I think this was the best in the series. Toby is a great guy. Glad you liked this one too.

  5. I hated/loved this book. Kennedy killed me!!! Loved your review