Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Reveiw: 500 Days by Jessica Miller

500 Days
By Jessica Miller
Published April 14th, 2014
Pages 528

Reviewed by: Sandra Long

This book catches your attention from the title alone and keeps us hanging for several chapters before we learn the meaning of this intriguing title and what it has to do with our characters. This is a fairly long novel with a large cast of characters but most of them are related to, or in some way connected to, our two leading characters. These are Casper and Alexis, or Alex as she prefers to be called.

Casper is a rich kid, son of divorced parents with a dad that continues to gift him with new and younger step-moms and half siblings. We see and hear very little from his mother but the on-going hostility between him and his dad keep the dad as a principal character in our storyline. Casper is a disappointment to his dad because he wanted Casper to follow in his footsteps as an outstanding attorney, and maybe even a prosecutor like his dad. After three years of college Casper changed his major from pre-law to undecided. He loves music, writing it, playing it and singing it, and has his ownboy band that is very popular at the local club scene. His two best friends are his band mates and though he has a room in his fraternity house, he actually lives in a rented house with these two friends, Colton and Greyson. Everyone who hangs out at the clubs know these guys, especially Casper. He is devastatingly handsome and loves to get drunk and have sex—that is his reputation—and seldom with the same girl twice. He never takes them home with him. He either goes to their place or takes them to the frat house and either way they are gone by morning. He dresses and leaves their place after theygo to sleep and at the frat house he either passes them off to another guy or calls a cab to take them home. When morning comes he does not want to even see who he was with the night before. But something changed last New Year’s Eve at a party he attended. He hooked up with a girl whose name or address he does not know. All he knows is that it was the best night of sex he ever had and he cannot stop thinking about it or dreaming about it and the beautiful green eyes and ivy tattoo she had around her body. He called it poison ivy and that was what she was to him because since her no girl has been able to satisfy him.

Alex background has some similarity with Casper’s—he most notable being absent parents. The question we are left wondering for much of the book is why her oldest brother, who was only 18 at the time, had to assume custody and responsibility for raising her and her other 3 brothers. Two brothers are older than Alex, one is her twin and the youngest is graduating high school so the oldest, with his parental duty done, has joined the Marines and is being sent to Iraq. She and her brothers are very close and into their mix we find her brothers’ best friend. Colby, who was supposed to be like another brother 
to her but took her virginity and gave her the ivy tattoo her clothing conceals most of the time. If her brothers knew the truth about Colby there would be hell to pay. Probably the other most important person in Alex life is her cousin Declan, who has also been her best friend for their entire life and they currently attend the same college as Casper, work as bartenders at one of the clubs where his band frequently plays and the two girls share an apartment and expenses. They are not wealthy and really need the jobs as the pay is good and the tips are better. The bar owner and the bouncers are protective of the girls and Alex has proven several times that the martial arts she was taught by her brothers 
makes her pretty well able to take care of herself in most circumstances. But, she still does not wanther brothers to know where she works as they are very protective of each other and she knows they would not approve. The bartenders and waitresses at this bar wear costumes and lots of heavy make-up so she has never been recognized. One thing she has in common with Casper but neither know about is she also had an incredible New Year’s Eve hook up with a guy but was so drunk she doesn’t even know his name. She remembers his smell, his taste and the amazing sex that she still dreams about and has 
left her feeling every man she has been with since are all a bunch of losers who cannot compare to her dream lover.

This author tells us the story from the perspective of these two main characters—Alex and Casper, usually alternating chapters. A few authors use this technique and it works very well for me as the reader because we know what is going on inside the heads of both characters rather than one as is usual. It helps us follow the storyline much better and it also gets us more involved in the storyline as we want to tell these bozos what to do and not do. We become not just the reader, but a part of the story. But a part that no one listens to so we keep turning the page to see when they are going to wise up and 
listen to us. This is a very effective writing technique.

Alex troubled past has left her with her own set of problems and issues she needs to deal with but instead she tries to hide from them. She is extremely aggressive and unfriendly with most people, especially men. She has no respect for Casper as she has watched him get drunk and leave the bar too many times with too many whores. He likes Declan a lot in a sisterly kind of way and never tries to come on to her or to Alex as he has seen her almost castrate or knock out men who crossed the line into her personal space. The costumes and make-up hide everything but their eyes and lips and once Casper gets 
a good look at Alex eyes and lips, he feels a spark he cannot identify but it will not leave him alone.

Declan and Colton, Casper’s best friend and bandmate, start to really like each other but shyness or something keeps them from hooking up. Alex is encouraging Declan and Casper is encouraging Colton and finally the two agree to go on a date but only a double. Casper and Alex both hate blind dates but both agree just to help out their friend, never dreaming they would be a couple on this date. It is a night filled with slings and arrows going right and left. They appear to hate each other and yet when they touch, each feels the electricity. As readers we know this is love but they can’t or won’t see it and their 
love/hate relationship continues for much of the book. They are repeatedly thrown together because of the budding relationship between Declan and Colton so they agree to a truce. One night they get really drunk and end up having sex—great sex—but both continue to deny any emotional feelings for each other and yet have other nights of earth shattering sex. And there is the tattoo—or did he imagine it because he was drunk ?

As the storyline progresses we learn more about each family, learn what happened to both sets of parents, watch the characters face family dramas, deal with death, at least two major plots and several minor plots. When we finally learn the meaning of the 500 days the storyline begins to come together for us and then we see how the two families had a past connection we never suspected in the first part of the book. It is a lengthy book but worth every minute it takes to read it.

If you enjoy reading a really good book that will literally keep you up all night trying to finish it to see how their story ends, then this is the book for you. It has sex, romance, death, dysfunctional families, happy family times, college life, party life, almost everything a book could contain. And it is so well written that you feel a part of the story, you feel their pain, you rejoice in their happiness, you worry over their problems and you can’t sleep for wondering what was on that next page when you turned out the light.

Casper Covington had his music, women, and pretty much anything he wanted at his disposal. But the one thing that plagued his thoughts constantly was the one thing he couldn't have. The girl he met six months ago. A drunken one night stand that he couldn't get out of his head. The only thing he remembered from that night was her green eyes and the ivy tattoo that stretched the length of her body. In his attempts to put an end to the tortuous dreams of the mysterious girl, Casper’s attention is caught by the new bartender. There’s just something so familiar about her that his need to get to know her becomes more troublesome than he expected.

Alexis Radcliff was raised by her four brothers making her as tough as nails on the outside but on the inside she wanted what every girl did – someone to love her, faults and all. She would be damned if she admitted that out loud and made a point to show she could use men just as easily as they used women. But when a sexy musician starts to show interest in Alex she has a hard time convincing herself to stay away. Alex knows everyone has secrets but hers are ones she doesn't want to share. But when she can no longer fight her feelings, her dark past slowly starts to unravel. 

Can true love conquer all? Or are past ghosts a haunting premonition of what lies ahead?

I live in a fantasy world and have an over active imagination. But the best part about that is I never stop creating new characters and new stories to share. I love writing and expressing myself in a way that everyone else can enjoy as well. I work in the salon most days, but when i'm not doing hair, I'm writing or reading.

Website  //  Twitter  //  Facebook  //  Goodreads  //  Amazon