Saturday, December 6, 2014

Blog Tour, eARC Review: Anyone But Him by Cassie Graham

Cassie Graham is the author of Unable to Resist. She also hates talking about herself. It makes her nervous and somewhat sweaty. So, she’s going to make this short.
While writing is her true passion, her family is even more important. Her ultimate happy place is sitting in her house with her husband and daughter while writing stories about lovers who are meant to be together. She’d live in that world forever if she could.

Title: Anyone But Him
Author: Cassie Graham
Release Date: Nov 25, 2014
Find on Goodreads

Whitley Hayes is an ordinary girl with a gypsy heart. College is the only constant in her life. She’s made a lot of mistakes and she intends on keeping them in the past. 
Move on and forget. 
That’s her motto. 
Jennings Cohen is no ordinary man—not at all. He would have never imagined his life would turn into such a spectacle. The tabloids exploit him, fans stalk him and the paparazzi are relentless. It’s not always fun being Jennings. 
It doesn’t help that he has a secret. One that comes at a price he’s not sure he can pay.
Relationships get complicated and hearts shatter.
It’s not easy living a lie, but it’s easier than telling the truth.

I journey past the carved-by-hand eight-person table, and walk to the master bedroom. The white, canopy bed sits in the middle of the room. The barely see-through sheets that hang on the sides move and dance in the breeze. Whit walks quietly behind me, and I turn to look at her. Eyes wide, she takes in everything the house has to offer. Setting her soda down, she walks to the queen size bed and plops down. 

“Would it be completely inappropriate if I jumped on the bed?” she prompts, looking reluctant. 

I give a good belly laugh, and spread out my hands. “I’d be offended if you didn’t.” 

She shoots up, takes her sandals off and, in one swift hop, she lands on the bed. Bending at the knees she bounces. I sit down in a white armchair across the room and watch her as she lets loose. This is another one of those moments that is so rare, that I feel the intense want to capture this moment forever. She jumps with glee, squeaking with happiness with each bounce. Every time her feet come off of the bed, her arms go into the air. Her long blonde hair bobs with each movement, and she pushes it out of her face, just like the way she did it that day I ran into her at the beach. 

“Jump with me, Jennings.” 

Any macho doucheface would tell her to keep jumping and have fun. That he would sit in the chair and watch. But, I want to keep her smile fully intact for as long as possible. So, I take off my slip-on, stitched loafers and approach the bed.

Review by Ramona
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Anyone But Him is, on the surface, a fun, light novel about an ordinary woman and a famous man who fall in love. Yes, Cassie Graham has written an extremely common fantasy that people from about aged 10 have but with an edge. After all, when we say that so-and-so is the love of our lives and imagine them as our significant other, are we aware of all the baggage being rich and famous could bring?

Whitley seems to be a normal girl with an abnormally famous best friend. She's used to hiding in plain sight and not getting noticed; in fact she likes it that way. It seems, to her, the less she is noticed, the less she needs to commit to a real relationship and a serious boyfriend. All of it works until her cab is hijacked by a very unusual man. 

There's few people more recognized than Jennings. The current Hollywood hottie is plagued by paparazzi and fans everyday and everywhere. The chance meeting with Whitley affects him like no other, her casual attention to him piquing his interest more than anyone else. But can Whitley also be as casual and accepting with Jennings's secret life?  

Fame isn't as hyped up as it seems. With the loss of privacy comes the loss of truth and any semblance of reality. Media portrays people however they (or the celebrity spin doctor, or worse, a rabid fan) sees fit. Innocent actions are twisted beyond recognition simply to mold the public's perception as to what a public figure should be. Life turns into a fiasco with celebrities doing more and more to keep their private life private, which only works some of the time. The desperation is almost palpable. 

Living in such a bubble isn't for the light-hearted, which is why it isn't a wonder that not many celeb relationships last a long period of time. It takes a large amount of guts to stomach the public's thirst 24/7 for any little part of you. Why, for example, would you be crucified for eating a hot dog on the streets or conversely, for feeding your kids a healthy diet? And is a new haircut really worth national headlines? Ehrm. That's why, for me, this story has so much that is real. 

I just found part of it a bit unbelievable, though, even for a fantasy romance. How could he know where to send the notes for her so easily? How does he track where she is? Does he have a bug on her phone? Or a tail? I could believe the secret life, but unless he's part of Mission Impossible, those particular scenes would be extremely hard to pull off. 

Cassie Graham scored with Anyone But Him - big time. While it's sometimes like a certain hit college movie series where frat house life is described, this novel has a life of its own. Whitley and Jennings become so real it almost makes you want to google them and see if they truly exist. Or who they're based on if you're thinking right. Which is why there's a large amount of truth to it on how celebrities are forced to live their lives right now, because we've made them pay inconceivable amounts to keep their lives their own. 

- If you notice the cover, it has a lot of clues to what you’ll find in the story. Not only are there stars and rain, which are HUGE key points, but also if you look closely, you’ll see a person behind the couple taking a picture. A paparazzi. 

- The idea for Anyone But Him came to me in the shower as I was listening to one of my favorite bands, MKTO. The main singer is an actor and a singer and the idea just sort of blew up from there.

- Jennings was originally named Bradley, but I saw one of my ‘likers’ last name was Jennings and had to have it. Bradley is still in the book as Jennings’ best friend.

- Holli is loosely based off of a friend I have. She’s a spunky girl from Texas with a cute twang that I love. Holli helped me a lot when writing my first book and I promised her I’d write a character into my story using her name.

- My husband and I have always had a fascination with stargazing, so I felt it was appropriate to incorporate it into the book.

- When my husband was away with the Military, we would have moon dates. He would promise me he’d go outside and look at the moon and tell me he loved me. I promised to do the same. We moon dated for six months before he came home. 

- The ending was partly planned and partly unexpected. While I always promise a happily ever after, I’ve left it open ended so I can give you more of a story.

- Chapter Ten was made specifically for one of my beta readers, Ashlei. We talked and joked about Whitley and Jennings date and I decided to give it life.

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