Title: Back To Life
Author: Danielle Allen
Publication Date: July 2013
ARC provided by the author
Sahara Lee has spent the last ten years living with the guilt of a tragic accident and its aftermath. That night irrevocably changed the outgoing, fun-loving college freshman into an introverted, workaholic with no social life. Sahara isolates herself from everyone and everything that reminds her of home in an effort to forget what happened. Using art as a substitute for love, Sahara throws herself into music and art as a way to feel something other than the guilt that haunts her. She accepts her lonely existence as penance for the role she played in the accident. That is, until she meets Tyree Barker, the good looking entrepreneur with baggage of his own.
Blindsided by a legal loophole, Sahara is suddenly forced to confront the past she’s been running from. Juggling the guilty feelings of her past and the unexpected feelings of her present, Sahara’s future becomes complicated as she heads down a path of forgiveness, love, and heartbreak…and not in that particular order.
Back to Life reminds you that living and existing are two completely different ways to go through life. Grief will break you but guilt, guilt will destroy you. And once that happens, what can bring you back to life?
I put my ear to the door and strained to hear the front door close. Not able to hear anything, I waited a few more minutes. I splashed water on my face and willed myself to calm down. I opened the door and peeked down the hall. I didn’t see or hear anyone so I looked for the room with my stuff in it.
Closing the door behind me, I flipped on the light switch and looked around the guest bedroom. A wooden four poster full size bed with a pretty floral comforter complimented the wooden dresser and TV stand. I lifted my luggage onto the brown ottoman beside the bed so I could put away my clothing. The room was small, but clean. I searched for my pink sweatpants that I packed to lounge in. Finding them, I threw them on the bed. I was in the midst of finding my white T-shirt when the door flew open unexpectedly, banging against the wall.
I screamed and spun around. He charged toward me and grabbed my face. Crashing his lips against mine, he kissed me with enough passion to take my breath away. Butterflies spread across my belly as his full lips overpowered my own. Impulsively, I moaned and when my mouth opened, his tongue grazed mine sending shivers up and down my spine. Before I registered what was happening, it was over. He took a step back and his eyes flashed with the same intensity as that fleeting kiss. We stood staring at one another for a moment.
Oh my God, I thought with wide eyed shock. I was winded and my skin tingled with desire. I felt flushed and I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but the buzz of my phone shattered the moment before I could formulate an intelligent thought. As if awakening from a dream, we both started talking at the same time.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he announced as he started to back out of the room.
“Where did that come from?” I inquired as I picked up my phone without looking at it.
We both stopped, contemplating the other’s remark. Our eyes never left one another.
The story started a bit off for me but greatly improved when I finished the first 5 chapters. The plot was good. It was a bit intense. The characters have contrasting personalities.
The story starts off with Sahara persuading her bestfriend, Emily, to attend a party to celebrate the successful examination she just finished that day. They got pretty wasted during the party so she called Emmanuel to drive them. At the intersection near their dormitory, an irresponsible driver, bumped into the right side of the car, and Emmanuel’s car in turn collided into the police patrol car which are in front of them. Emily broke her legs killing her chance of dancing ballet. Emmanuel broke his arm and leg sweeping his chance of playing basketball professionally as well. The patrol car that crashed into them contained Sahara’s dad and another police officer. The two died on the spot.
Ten years later…
Sahara Lee is still stuck in the past. She fled her town after the accident but she hasn’t recovered ever since. Nightmares visit her every night. She’s lucky if she can sleep 4 hours straight without nightmares. It has been difficult. She lives alone and the only thing that gives her satisfaction is her performance at work. She has learned to numb herself from any pain and no one has broken down her wall.
Well, not until Tyree Barker…
Tyree Barker us a businessman and inherited his grandfather’s properties. He moved to the building where Sahara is also living. His grandfather just died and he wanted to start anew. He managed to wedge himself towards Sahara’s heart. He has a good heart and this made Sahara trust him more. She shared her past to him and in return he helped her deal with it. H was there when she has nightmares and when she thinks she can’t take it anymore. He gave her a reason to believe in hope and happiness. He freed her from her past but he hasn’t shared one important part of his past to her that might ruin what they have.
Everything’s been good until news about Chris Cole brings every bitter memory back. Cole, who was the drunken teenager that caused the accident, is up for parole and he has a good chance of being granted one. To prevent this, Sahara has to testify and for her to do so means going back to the hometown she fled 10 years ago. Is she ready to visit her past? What would happen if she sees Emmanuel?
Emmanuel Mills was her first love. She’d been crushing on him for as long as she remembered not knowing that he also feels the same. Manny plans on confessing to her after he finishes his finals but then circumstances came along and when he woke up from his coma, she’s already gone.
This is where the confusion begins, and this is also the part where Sahara becomes annoying. Yes, it may be confusing to choose between the two but she shouldn’t play with the emotions of the two men. I think I anticipated her choice in the end. It was expected considering what she went through. But will there be a happily ever after? What if faith has a funny way of showing that they were really not meant for each other? That would really suck, right?
The ending left me befuddled. From what I’ve read, I smell a book coming soon. So please just release it already because it’s certainly left me hanging!
I am a married event planner and life coach. My awesome friends and family and my amazing husband make my life sweet. I love to have fun and enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with. I love shopping and football with equal fervor. I’m an amateur movie critic (i.e. my husband and I watch and critique a lot of movies for fun). I love to read and I enjoy sharing my love of books with anyone who will listen. I love music. A good lyric with a good melody can paint a vivid picture and invoke such a range of emotions. I have a soft spot for most mediums of creative, artistic expression.
With degrees in psychology, human services, and marriage and family counseling, I have a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As an author, I combine an active imagination and life experiences to create stories that are easily relatable and intentionally intriguing. I want to offer you a peek into someone else’s life and for you to get lost in their story, their trials, their triumphs. My ultimate goal is to create a character or a story that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.
So in a nutshell: I plan. I teach. I read. I write. I watch. I critique. I shop. I play. I love.
To know me is to love me.
Labels: Blog Tour, Book Review, Danielle Allen