Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sloppy Seconds #4: Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) by Tammara Webber

Welcome to Sloppy Seconds which is monthly feature hosted by myself and Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives. Sloppy Seconds is a feature in which Teresa and I buddy re-read some of our very favorite books and then post our thoughts and feels. So sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine, and re-live some great reads with us!

Title:  Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)
Author:  Tammara Webber
Publisher:  Penguin
Published:  November 6, 2012
Amazon B&N

Rescued by a stranger. Haunted by a secret Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.


**spoilers ahead**

Teresa Mary Rose
So Easy was amazing.... the way I see it we can approach this discussion two ways… we can begin with our Lucas love or we can start with the more serious aspects and work up to Lucas. What do you think?

Michele Belle
Let me think.

Teresa Mary Rose
Hahaha okay then.... Lucas it is! I don't even know where to start with him! He just embodies everything amazing and wonderful and *swoons*

Michele Belle
I love him, completely and irrevocably.  He's so much more than eye candy. Lucas has many layers, and I love every one of them.

Teresa Mary Rose
Yes! Lucas is the book boyfriend all other book boyfriends wish they could be! He is just such a genuinely good guy, unlike a lot of other guys out there in New Adult and he is so special because of that.

Michele Belle
He really is unique.  I haven't read another book where the male MC is such a fierce protector of women.  He is also the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover.  At first glance, he might appear to be a man you should be afraid of... but Lucas is the guy who is going to save you from the guy you should actually fear.  And not just save you... he will make sure you learn how to save yourself.

Teresa Mary Rose
See- you just put into words exactly what I wanted to say about Lucas! He isn't a crutch for Jacqueline, he is there to support her and help her learn to take care of herself. He will do anything for her but he also wants her to be strong in her own right. He recognizes that she doesn't need a man to save her, but he wants to be part of her life. It's beautiful.

Michele Belle
So true!  And he is beautiful... where it counts -- on the inside (but I ain't gonna lie... that outside is mighty fine!)  And let's talk about that word 'saving' again.  Lucas indeed does save Jacqueline from something horrible that, if not for him, would have become something devastating.  But the best part?  Jacqueline saves him back... not from an actual attack, but from the demons that chase him and refuse to let him go.  It's beautiful.  I love that the author wrote these characters the way she did.  They are so real and so easy to adore.

Teresa Mary Rose
Ohhhhh yes! His outside is just as beautiful as his insides! 

Those two found each other when they most needed to. Jacqueline needed him more immediately in that moment, but Lucas needed her to help him open up again. He didn't realize what he was missing until he found her. I loved that both of them had such a big impact on each other. You are so right! Those two are just so easy to love. 

Since we mentioned Jacqueline's attack, I have to mention something. That first chapter is absolutely horrifying. I forgot how difficult it was to read and how it seriously scares the crap out of me. It is gut wrenching!

Michele Belle
And his fear of what he felt for her... it broke my heart.  Lucas was so scarred by his past; and as terrible as I feel that Jacqueline was put in such a horrific position, I am so thankful that it brought the two of them together.  She needed him, but he needed her even more.  

I'm so glad you brought that up.  That first chapter hurts my soul every time I read it.  It's terrifying, it is dark, and it is realistic.  I think that it is incredibly eye-opening, and I commend the author for bringing this difficult topic to light.  The first chapter will scare you, but Jacqueline's story will empower you; and I would love to place a copy of this book in every woman's hands.  

Readers had a lot of different reactions to how Jacqueline handled her assault, but I think it's important to stress that no two women are alike.  I don't think anyone can say what they would do in that exact situation unless they were actually faced with it.  Jacqueline's decision came with consequences that really impact the rest of the book; and again, I have to applaud Ms. Webber for the realism of the story and especially for how much knowledge can be gained from what Jacqueline went through.  

What were your feelings on Jacqueline's decision to not inform the police of her attack that night?

Teresa Mary Rose
I know exactly what you mean. It is horrible what happened to her, but something good did come out of it. Lucas needed her so much. He needed someone to help him face his past and get through it. 

That first chapter kills me. I completely agree! I remember making my sister read Easy before she went off to college. I just thought it was so important that she read it because it realistically tackles the topic. It is also eye opening for women, because unfortunately some people still do not realize that your attacker is not always going to be a creepy guy in the night. 

I thought Jacqueline handled it in a way that fit her personality. Yes it did have repercussions, but that it what made it realistic. Everyone is going to react differently and nobody has a right to judge unless they have been in the same situation. This is going to bring me to another point we can circle back to, but women have got to stop tearing each other down with situations like this and stand behind each other. This brings me to the meeting with the sorority but again, we can come back to it.

Honestly, I understood why she made that decision. As an outsider reading it my initial reaction was "What? You need to go to the police". But in reality, it would have done nothing. It was a he said she said situation because thankfully Lucas stopped it from getting too far. I really doubt that the school would have treated the situation seriously because there was no real proof and unfortunately I have seen situations exactly like this play out in real life where it hurts the victim more than the attacker. I wanted her to go to the police and get justice, but at the same time I understood that it would have destroyed her reputation and not just that; what would have happened if nothing happened to her attacker in the end. I wish it was a world where she could have gone to the police and have had faith that the situation would have been taken care of.

Michele Belle
I absolutely love that you had your sister read Easy before she left for college -- I think that was a brilliant idea and you are an amazing sister.  My daughter was too young to read this book the first time I read it, but it really gave me a wonderful opening when I approached this topic with her.  She was so open to talking about what happened to Jacqueline and especially to the two of us taking self-defense classes.  

YES!  One of my favorite aspects of the story is that the "bad guy" is in fact a good-looking, popular, and well-liked college guy.  It's part of why some women are so caught off-guard -- most attackers are very unsuspecting.  And in this instance, the hero of the story was a pierced, tattooed 'bad-boy.'  I love how the typical stereotypes are so shattered in this book.  

And that describes my feelings in a nutshell.  Once you get a good handle on the campus politics and the way things work... I just don't see how anyone could fault her for handling it the way she did -- the way, as you mention, that was right for her.  And how she chose to handle it is definitely addressed later in the story. 

Thank you so much for mentioning that fact. That's something else that truly saddens me. Whether it is the lack of support from the other young women in this book or the bashing of Jacqueline's decision from some readers -- women really need to have each other's backs in a situation like this.  As Erin says in the book: "Sisters in solidarity and all that shit!" 

Speaking of Erin... good gravy, I loved that girl!  When we were first introduced to Erin, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about her as a friend.  You and I recently did a discussion on another book where the best friend of the MC had us bringing out the soapboxes and full-on ranting!  Erin proved to be a very worthy friend, and she absolutely stole my heart by how astute she was to what Jacqueline was feeling and how much she supported her friend.

Teresa Mary Rose
Easy is the perfect read for broaching a not so fun topic to discuss. I love that it gave you and you daughter an opportunity to discuss something so important. I think self defense classes would be amazing, I looked into them around me after reading Easy as well, but unfortunately none of the times worked with my work schedule. 

Oh Wifey, I love us! Even before we knew each other our brains were working the same! I loved how she took down those stereotypes as well! There is nothing typical about any of these characters and I adore that. When I finished re-reading I went back to re-read my original review (I get curious if my thoughts are the same the second time around) and I found this line "She took those stereotypes and smacked them in the face for being so stupid." I wanted to bring that line back here again because that is exactly what Tammara does to stereotypes with Easy

I knew you would agree with me on this! I could not stand the lack of support from the other girls. Every time I read that scene with the sorority meeting I see red. Those girls enrage me! Some of the crap they spew is horrendous and I clap every single time the president gets up and puts each and every one of them in their place. Why do we immediately want to discount the girl? NOTHING ever gives anyone any right to do anything to you that you do not want. 

I am so glad you brought up Erin! I adored that girl. I was like you in the beginning, a bit unsure of her, but she proved herself. I wasn't a fan of her whole Operation Bad Boy thing, but she was a great friend for Jacqueline and such a support.

Now since we ranted about the girls.... I also couldn't stand when the fraternity tried to make the situation disappear. How dare they!

Michele Belle
Hopefully you can find a great weekend class one day -- they are so empowering!

Haha!  Me, too!  Oh, I love that line!  Couldn't agree more!  I could gush about Tammara all day.  I love that lady!

That meeting.  I was an emotional wreck reading that.  I was so filled with anger at some of those girls -- and when the president shared her story?  I am not ashamed to admit that I bawled like a baby.  I will never understand why some people want to shame a victim -- as if they haven't been through enough.  There is another very important point made in the story.  When excuses are being made for Buck, it is mentioned that his consumption of alcohol could be to blame.  I love this line:  "Alcohol removes inhibitions.  It doesn't trigger criminal violence where there was none before."

And we can't talk about the fraternity without bringing up the ass known as Kennedy.  Get him, Wifey.

Teresa Mary Rose
Wifey... I wanted to smack some people... I really did. I cried during that scene too, from frustration, anger, and because my heart broke for three of the women sitting in that room and having to listen to that nonsense. There are no excuses for Buck... none... none what so ever. That line is perfect! I love it too. 

I love how you just sicked me on Kennedy... I will gladly attack his sorry ass. I. HATE. KENNEDY. Even before his "drop the case" nonsense. He was just a pompous jerk face. He treated Jacqueline horribly and then he wanted her to come back to him when he was done having his fun?!?! What the hell! I hate guys like Kennedy. He is so entitled and just ugh! If I were Jacqueline I would have kicked him in the groin Erin style.

Michele Belle
I hear ya.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  To live through such a traumatic experience and then feel you have to defend yourself against your peers?  And when I think about how many real-life women have experienced this?  It's sickening.

Hahaha -- I'm just skipping along beside you singing 'someone's gonna get it!'  Kennedy is a prime example of someone who learned a valuable lesson on 'the grass being greener on the other side.'  How noble of him to cut her loose BEFORE he explored those greener pastures. What. An. Ass.  Then when he realized what a great woman he threw away, he was so confident he could easily win her back.  Yes, I would love to see Erin use the "lawnmower" on him!!  

I want to mention another favorite character of mine:  Professor Heller.  I absolutely love that man.  Everything he did for Lucas and for Jacqueline.  I want every institution everywhere to have someone like him.

Teresa Mary Rose
It really makes me nauseous thinking about women who deal with this in real life.

Haha... you know just how to get me all riled up! Seriously though. He was so confident that he was doing the right thing and being a good guy when he broke things off. You know what though? I kinda wish Jacqueline had given him a shot. She should have let him crawl on his knees begging and pleading and then told him no. It would have been amusing to watch that. Then we could let Erin lawnmower him! 

OMG I am glad you brought him up! I almost forgot! I adore him. He is an amazing person! I have been hit right in the feels, I love him!

Michele Belle
Agreed!  Yes, I knew you'd come up with the perfect punishment for Mr. Kennedy.  LOL 

He's the best -- his whole family.  I am so grateful for them and incredibly happy Lucas has them.  

Well, we've talked about our favorite characters, our most hated characters, the incredibly inspiring message of the story, and our love for Lucas.  Let's talk about the STEAM.  This book contains some of the most romantic, butterfly-inducing, heart-swooning lines!  The things Lucas says and the way he says them  --  it's no wonder Easy gave me such an incredible book hangover.  I had an extremely difficult time moving on to another book because I just couldn't start living in a world without Lucas. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Oh my heart the steam! This book was the perfect amount of steamy! And you know what makes it great? The fact that it is not over the top or raunchy! It is authentic and hot but not gratuitous! Lucas, I swear, he always knows just what to say. Their first kiss makes me reach for the smelling salts every single time! I don't want to even discuss a world without Lucas in it, makes me sad.

Michele Belle
Such a great point!  Oh, that kiss.  This would be me every time I was near Lucas:

Teresa Mary Rose
*snorts* That picture is perfection!

Are we ready to share some quotes?

Michele Belle
Absolutely!  I warn you... I have quite a few: 

 “I had never noticed Lucas before that night.  It was as though he didn’t exist, and then suddenly, he was everywhere.”

“The way he kissed me felt like a brand.  Like he was tattooing himself under my skin.”

“Love is not the absence of logic but logic examined and recalculated heated and curved to fit inside the contours of the heart.”

“'Not. Your. Fault.' I nodded again, holding onto his words like they were redemption.”

“'The night we met -- I'm not like that guy.' His jaw was rigid.  'I know tha-' He placed a finger over my lips, his expression softening. 'So I don't want you to feel pressured. Or overpowered. But I do, absolutely, want to kiss you right now. Badly.'"

“I breathed him in, closing my mouth tight and inhaling the scent of him through my nose. I felt sheltered by him. Safe.”

“'Choosing to be with you isn't a difficult decision, Jacqueline... It's easy. Incredibly easy.'”

“I’m so proud of you.  I want you to tell me about it, when you can… and when I can stand to hear it.  I’m still too angry right now.”

“Wearing his ghost smile, he watched her.  One more woman, empowered.  One more given the ability to defend herself against attack.  One more who might not meet his mother’s fate.”

“His eyes returned to the pad, turned to the second drawing.  ‘Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this?’”

“If someone had asked, How does this compare to kissing Kennedy?  I would have answered, ‘Who?’”

Teresa Mary Rose
*falls over* love them! *waves from the ground*

"I noticed you the first week." His voice was soft. "Not just because of how pretty you are, though of course, that played into it." I smiled, watching our feet as we matched our steps. "It was the way you lean onto your elbows when you're listening in class, when something catches your interest. And when you laugh, it's never to get attention, it's just- laughter. The way you obsessively tuck your hair behind your ear on the left side, but let the right side fall down like a screen. And when you're bored, you tap your foot soundlessly and move your fingers on the desktop like you're playing an instrument. I wanted to sketch you."

"Katie pinned her with a look. "Did Buck do what you said he did?" Mindi's eyes filled with tears, and when she nodded, they spilled down her cheeks. "Then what the hell is there to be confused about?" Everyone sat in stunned silence for a moment, until the girl who'd pronounced Lucas a total hottie exclaimed, "Are you saying she should press charges?" "Absolutely." Gasps sounded around the table, and I was so dumbfounded I couldn't move. "But this will look so bad for-." "You know what looks bad?" Katie cut off her VP. "A bunch of women who don't support each other when a guy pulls some shit like this. I'm sick of it. Less than an hour ago, I told DJ where he could stick his goddamned fraternal reputation.""

Michele Belle
Oh, Wifey... I love those -- especially the first one -- you just got me right in my feels!! 

And I think we should mention to those who have stuck with reading this long and gushy discussion (thank you!) that we've had the enormous pleasure of reading Breakable, and hold on to your heart because that book is absolute perfection.  It is NOT just a companion novel to Easy told in Lucas's POV.  It is so much more.  Yes, we do get Lucas's perspective on what transpired during Easy, but we also get Lucas's 'before' story... everything that leads up to his meeting Jacqueline.  It is a story not to be missed.  I didn't think it was possible to love him more... but I do. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Yes! I want to second what you just said! Breakable truly completes the story that began in Easy and gives you more than you could ever even think to ask for. I completely fell for Lucas all over again!

Oh Wifey, this was such a wonderful discussion and thank you for putting up with my ranting! This book pushes all my buttons!

Michele Belle
It was!  Thank YOU for reliving one of my all-time favorite books with me and letting me gush and squee to you in the multiple texts, emails, and even in this discussion.  This is such a special book, and I'm so happy we could feature it today.

Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1) Breakable (Contours of the Heart, #2)

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