Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Blitz: Love Notes by Heather Gunter

Welcome to the Book Blitz for our very own Heather Gunter's Love Notes!!
Now is the perfect time to pick up this sweet story - not only is it on sale, but Heartstrings, book two in the Love Notes series has also just been released.
So why not read Charlie and Maverick's story now and then you can follow up with
Tori and Will's story.

 Title:  Love Notes
Author:  Heather Gunter
Released:  April 30, 2013
Age Group: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

How do you cope when the people you care for hurt you the most? When the way you feel on the outside, smothers you on the inside. And when you are left to face your demons alone, will you learn that only you have the power to overcome them?

Charlie has never had it easy. Between the constant moving and the incessant fat comments and jokes from her father, her self-worth is nonexistent. Her reflection in the mirror shows her nothing but a plain Jane. Music is the only thing that keeps her sanity in check.

Charlie catches the eye of the town star quarterback, Maverick. With her curves, her brunette hair, and the voice of an angel, Maverick has never met anyone like her. Everything that is different about Charlie just makes Maverick like her more. Unfortunately, Charlie doesn’t see it herself.
Proving it to her may deem harder than he thinks, especially when tragedy strikes and tears them apart.

Now standing on her own two feet she may finally learn exactly who she is, what’s she’s capable of and how very un plain Jane she really is.

Love Notes is a beautiful YA debut from Into the Night Reviews very own Heather Gunter. 

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to read an ARC prior to release for this review.  In Love Notes Gunter very successfully tackles the challenging subject of self esteem and the impact others have on how we see ourselves.

Charlie has spent her whole life hearing about her short falls.  Her weight, her looks, her everything – in the eyes of her father, she just doesn’t measure up.  Due to her dad's job, Charlie and her family move every few years.  For Charlie, frequently being the 'new girl' at school is hard work, particularly with her lack of confidence, so she tends to try and fly under the radar.  With all the moving around Charlie hasn’t had the opportunity to develop lasting friendships and reap the benefits that come with them, nor does she realise that her experiences at home at not 'normal'.  With next to no self esteem, and counting down the days of her senior year in high school at yet another new school, the last thing Charlie expects is to catch the eye of the football team captain.

Maverick is not your typical ‘jock’.  Unlike many he’s not into meaningless flings with the girls that throw themselves at him.  He’s focussed on his football, maintaining his grades and moving on to college with his football scholarship.  On the first day of school he literally runs into Charlie, knocking her flat on her backside.  And immediately his interest is piqued.

Love Notes takes us on a development journey of friendships, relationships, self esteem and much more.  Charlie has to come to grips with the fact that her self perception is challenged by others and is perhaps not what it should be. Maverick has to consider his love of football, his dream to play in college and its place in his future.  And both of them have to work out if they can be there for each other as they do this.

Told from both Charlie and Maverick's points of view we get to see both characters perceptions and understand their perspectives.  I am a big fan of this style as it gives great insight into the experiences of both characters and for me, allows the reader to develop a stronger connection with them both, as opposed to only one.  The relationship between the two evolves beautifully as Maverick slowly nurtures some confidence into Charlie’s battered self esteem.  But just as things are starting to look up, tragedy strikes and threatens not only the relationship but Charlie’s already limited sense of self worth.

Gunter has created some absolutely delightful characters in Love Notes – Maverick is everything a girl could hope for in a boyfriend.  Tori, Charlie’s new found BFF is to die for.  Her wit and sass are perfect and she manages to cajole Charlie out of her shell very effectively, all the while harbouring a secret of her own.  Will, Maverick’s best friend is also fabulous – calling Maverick on his crap when he least expects it - precisely what you want from someone who’s known you all your life.

In Charlie I think Gunter has accurately created a girl who has had a life time of put downs – she has a good balance of insecurity and yet hope.  The impact of such consistent criticism from one of the two people you look to for unconditional love cannot be underestimated and I think the strength of character Charlie shows is worthy of great admiration.  I loved how the changes in Charlie were progressive, this made her character so realistic and believable.  I was particularly impressed with Charlie towards the end of the book – there were a couple of scenes that required great courage and she stepped up really well.

Love Notes is a touching YA story about developing a sense of self worth that I just loved.  Despite a lifetime of negative messages, and with the help of her new found friends, Charlie shows that nothing is insurmountable.  A beautiful first effort from Gunter.  It's a relatively quick read, perfect to settle down with on an afternoon when you don't want to think too hard about what you're reading, but rather relax and just get lost in a sweet love story.  Gunter finishes the book with a teaser for Heart Strings, book two in the series which tells Tori’s story and I am definitely looking forward to it. And for those of you that don't like cliffhangers, don’t be concerned ;)

4.5 out 5 stars

Heather is a devoted mother of three gorgeous boys.  She balances spending as much time with them as possible with writing, updating her Into the Night Reviews book blog and her day job.  Her love of animals sees her home in Canton, GA bursting with numerous dogs and ferrets.

Heather campaigns passionately for anti-bullying initiatives and has a strong conviction to reduce peoples suffering at the hands of bullies.

A talented singer, who once dreamed of pursuing a career in that field, she has put that goal aside in exchange for her writing.  A self proclaimed geek, whatever spare time she has is spent curled on the couch reading and listening to music.

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