Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review: Without You Here by Carter Ashby

Author: Carter Ashby
After fighting with her boyfriend, Ettie’s only goal is to drown her sorrows in some Jack Daniels. But when she walks into a country tavern, her attention is immediately redirected to the sexy, older man at the bar. He looks lonely, and sad, and absolutely mouth-watering. Ettie can’t wait to put a smile on his face.

For the first time in two years, Wyatt finds himself jolted out of his grief—and by a spunky, vivacious young woman who somehow sees right into his soul. What follows is a passionate weekend full of more life, laughter, and pure joy than he experienced in twenty years of marriage.

Wyatt thought one weekend was all he had to give, yet in the days that follow, he can’t help dreaming up a future with Ettie. And then a chance meeting shatters his hopes, leaving him more lost than ever. Now Ettie must decide whether to walk away, or to fight for the love she knows they both deserve.

Without You Here is the sexy, heartwarming story of overcoming grief, embracing love, and learning to live in the moment.

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4 Stars

This was my first book by Carter Ashby. I found her through another author, who I absolutely love, and she was bragging about her, so I was very excited to give her books a try! When I saw who her muse was for Wade….I could not stop drooling!! It made reading this story *SO* enjoyable!! Seriously….how does Josh Holloway NOT fit into the character of Wade?? You will have to read this to find out how perfect he is, but I’m telling you…..HOT!

I must say, this book started out with a giggle. After stopping by the bar after her fight with her boyfriend, Ettie runs into Wade at the local ‘hole in the wall’ bar out in the middle of nowhere. 

“Like the thatch-roofed taverns in Disney princess movies where the men were all gruff and wild looking until you started singing a song and they suddenly became lovable bears. That’s what I figured I’d find in this bar.”

Her way of thinking cracked me up. It was so…..different? So innocent and carefree. But, Ettie's innocence was also scary at first. I was a little worried for her and how brazen she was to walk into a bar and pick up some guy, but I also needed to understand some people work outside the boundaries some consider ‘normal’ and her understanding of life was honestly a breath of fresh air. She was alive and bubbly, so happy!! She had a disarming and trusting personality that many people could learn something from. She was just so different and quirky and I loved seeing things through her eyes. This chance meeting happened to work for Ettie and Wade, and it was rewarding beyond measure, especially because of who Wade turned out to be. Wade was a lovable man that needed a woman’s touch to ‘wake up’ and come alive, and Ettie was that person. 


Ettie is unlike any character I have ever “met”. She is finally getting out from a very sheltered life and that can honestly be the only excuse for how she acted. Her character was so full of life and so very lovable….but she acted younger than her age in some circumstances, but more mature beyond her years in others. I had a hard time relating to her on some scenes, but in others, her inexperience made that scene so perfect….and it read like an honest ‘first love’ should read….if that makes any sense. I had to remind myself that she was, quite frankly, living life for the first time ever, and these were honest ‘reactions’ given the way she was raised. It made me slow down and enjoy the story as it was happening and to really read this with fresh eyes.

“A first experience is a first experience, whether you’re a child or an adult. “

Wade was a man that was not living his own life. For the past few years, he went through his life with a routine that was not his own….all because of a promise he made and he swore to uphold. Wade just wasn't living his life, he was merely surviving. He was missing out on what was happening around him because he was so consumed in his grief. But after meeting Ettie, he found that she was such a wild hair, but full of life and light. She breathed life into his existence, and eventually he found himself willing to slowly make the changes that his life needed. He was making plans and looking forward to doing new things. He was breathing again and actually living his life…not just going through the motions. 

Unfortunately, a serious setback happens that makes everyone question things….a big revelation rocks Ettie's world and worse, pushes Wade away. It was a complicated situation that truly pushed the boundaries on the new relationship between these two people. The circumstances of how they met were not that different from a normal chance meeting, but it was an opportunity that was meant to happen. I truly believe in fate….if it was meant to be, it would happen. Ettie was that to Wade….they met at the right time to make everything fall into place. 

The love felt between Wade and Ettie was one that allowed these two people to come out of their shells, but to also learn the true meaning of living. 

“If you don’t live, then there’s nothing to remember.”

I really enjoyed this book and the innocent love that brought an honest man to his knees and broke him out of his rut in life, but also breathed life into his world and made him understand that love has a way of finding you whether you are ready for it or not. What works for one person, doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't work for another and that couldn't have been more true. We could all learn something from the Ettie’s and the Wade’s of the world. This book was a great story of innocence and first love….with experience.


Carter Ashby

Carter Ashby is the author of small-town, contemporary romance novels. Check out her Pinterest board here for teasers for Without You Here. 

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