In the span of seven days, Annabel Lee will lose her heart.
Kennedy Harrison, as reckless with life as Annabel is obsessed with order, never could commit to anything—not to a person, not to a job, not to a path. But he’s got a history with Annabel, and for once Kennedy doesn’t want to run. Determined to spend time with her before she leaves for college, Kennedy dares her to join him on a road trip to a music festival.
And neither of them could ever say no to a dare.
But Annabel’s got a plan. She’ll complete seven dares in seven days—if Kennedy applies for one writing internship per dare. Because Kennedy needs to be pushed just as much as she does.
What follows is a dizzying week of music, shady hotels, comical dares, and a passion neither one knew existed. But when it ends, Annabel and Kennedy will realize the biggest dare of all might just be falling for each other.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
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Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart
By Tiffany Truitt, Stacy Abrams, Alexa May
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Tiffany Truitt
All rights reserved.
It feels good out the kind of cool that makes your skin tingle with anticipation that odd in-between place neither cold nor hot comfortable peaceful and exhilarating all at once something hard to define contradictory in its very nature breathe you have to remember to breathe why is it that when you focus on breathing it becomes so difficult to do it should come to you naturally your body does it all the time without you coaching it yet there will come a point when you will forget how to do the one thing that's essential to your survival don't think about all that right now breathe just breathe damn it run faster harder don't stop keep going always moving I wish I could never stop
And then the escape I found lost in my inner thoughts during my morning run crumbles. The only moment I claim for myself is gone. The echo of the car horn shatters my protective shell of asphalt and sweat. My peace utterly destroyed by an imbecile.
I glare at Kennedy Harrison. The boy who once dared me twenty bucks to eat five worms, then ran to tattle to my grandmother the moment I let my guard down, half a damn worm dangling out of my mouth. Of course, there were a lot of dares back then, and that one was hardly the worst, but it was the first time my partner in crime ratted me out. It wasn't the crappiest thing he did to me that year, but something about spoiling the sanctity of the sacred dare still left a bitter taste in my mouth. And I once ate worms, so I know what bitter tastes like.
The Brutus wannabe drives by to some unknown location — some mysterious boy/almost-man adventure that I have no desire to know about. I imagine it involves extensive daydreams about breasts. Size. Feel. Lumpy. Not lumpy. More or less than a handful. Symmetrical. Lopsided. You would be surprised how long and in how many ways boys can talk about boobs.
I like to think Kennedy has more depth, especially since he just turned twenty, but no amount of wishing can stop the millions of years of evolution that have led to the modern man-boy mutants that surround me. Besides, I don't know grown-up Kennedy. I can only go off the rumors, and those would make the editors of romance novels blush.
Kennedy honks his horn again, clearly not satisfied with my halfhearted acknowledgment of his existence, so I flip him the bird. It's the closest to good morning that I can manage. I'll no doubt get properly berated and mocked for it in the photography class I share with him at the local community college.
I wait until Kennedy's car turns the corner before I bend over and put my hands on my knees, coughing, damn near hyperventilating, trying to force myself to breathe. I overdid it today, but I always do. Yet I don't stop; I never stop. I force my trembling legs to move, keep going.
I have things to do.
What should be a five-minute walk to my house takes ten. My side cramps up, but I make it, gritting my teeth when I spot my front yard. Lord knows what my neighbors think of us. My twin siblings, three-year-old spawns of Hades sent to earth to one day claim world domination, have planted their country's flags in our yard, forever claiming it as their space. Evidence of their colonization? Three deflated beach balls. Two overturned big wheels. A slew of mutilated and limbless Barbie dolls. Who needs to welcome visitors with the Stars and Stripes when the props from Toy Story 2 will do the job for you?
I can't help but roll my eyes and internally question my parents' sanity — a key part of my daily routine. The minute I open the front door, the attack begins. A small demon-child slams into my legs. I nearly fall back on my butt as the greedy little monster's arms wrap around my beanpole stilts. But as much as I complain, I can't help but smile down at the grubby little face that peers up at me. Rosy-cheeked. Red hair. Bright green eyes staring back at me with complete and utter trust.
"What shall we feast on this morning?" I ask, ruffling Quinn's hair.
"Hmmm ... marshmallows!" I narrow my eyes, and Quinn goes back to thinking. Clearly I am not going to allow a three-year-old to eat marshmallows for breakfast. I'm not even sure they would fall into a food group. "Candy?" he asks, his voice hitching painfully cute at the end.
I sigh. "Lucky Charms it is," I reply, feeling like it's a pretty good compromise. The lords of Sumter Manor have me wrapped around their fingers. Besides, their sugar rush won't hit till I'm safely in my car on the way to work. It will be someone else's problem.
Quinn grins, releases my legs, and runs into the kitchen without a second glance back at me. Obviously, his love for sugar outweighs his affection for his older sister, but I'd kill an entire herd of Mormons on bikes for a good cup of coffee, so I can't judge.
"Quinn, where's Finn?" I ask as I go to work making his breakfast of champions. That's right. Quinn and Finn. The worst names my parents could have ever picked. Part of me is sure they were high when they chose the rhyming monikers, or perhaps they did it to get under Grandma's skin. They picked the names before she got sick. Back when she had enough fire to give Grendel the green-eyed monster a run for her money.
"With Grandma," Quinn replies, tearing me away from my memories of happier, less complicated times.
My hand stills, dumping almost the entire box of cereal into the bowl. Quinn uses his catlike reflexes to grab it, greedily devouring the contents before I can regain my composure. Sans milk, no less. My eyes dart to Quinn to assess the situation, but he's in marshmallow heaven, so I figure I can leave him without a major tragedy befalling him. Marshmallows are the boobs of the toddler boy's world. Heck, they're how I got Kennedy to do half the dares I proposed to him back in the early days.
I once dared Kennedy to yank down Melinda Daniels's pants during gym class. Not my proudest feminist moment, some might argue, but I was a real opportunist when it came to revenge, so she was going to get it one way or the other. She had been the meanest, nastiest girl on the playground. She once made John Tillery cry so hard after getting nearly everyone in our class to call him Lardo Farto that he didn't come back to school for a whole week.
She had to be stopped.
My plan was that while Melinda was doing the rope climb, I would distract our teacher with a fake stomachache (I was the better actor, after all), and Kennedy would pants her. He was so nervous, I thought he was going to pee his pants. I had to offer him five bags of marshmallows as incentive. He had a sweet tooth that made Quinn and Finn look like health freaks.
Kennedy and I ate every last one of those marshmallows in lunch detention.
With a sigh, I shake off thoughts of Kennedy. He ruined my run; he doesn't get to hijack my morning as well. I spin around from the kitchen counter and beeline it down the hallway. I'm halfway to Grandma's room when Finn comes bolting my way, nearly knocking me down in the process. My brothers are trying to take out my knees. Seriously. They must stay up late at night planning. There are charts. Timelines. Multiple viewings of the 30 for 30 on Tonya Harding.
I detangle myself, crouching down so I'm eye level with Spawn Number 2. "What did I tell you about bothering ..." I smell it before I feel it. The color drains from my cheeks, and I fight the urge to gag. "Finn" — I shudder — "did you piss yourself?"
"Bad word! Bad word! Bad word!" Finn screams at me, pointing in my face. He would have done splendidly during the Salem witch trials. I open my mouth to ask him again, but he cuts me off. "Cursey Word Jar!"
The damn Cursey Word Jar.
Affectionately named by my parents — the same people who decided to call twin boys Finn and Quinn, mind you — the Cursey Word Jar sees more profits in this house than a peddler selling water in the desert. I clench my jaw and stalk to the kitchen, knowing full well I won't get a word out until Finn sees me put a dollar in. I grab my purse from the hallway table, retrieve a dollar, and place it into the nearly full jar. Considering my parents use the money from the jar to pay me sweatshop wages for babysitting, I let a few more curse words slip out in the process. I figure, assessing the world's economy, it's better than opening a savings account. Much safer than a bank. Quinn stares at me wide-eyed, his face covered in marshmallow powder.
"I want marshmallows, too," Finn whines from behind me.
I slam my hand against the counter. "No, sir! Not until you change." My pathetic stance of authority results in a code red tantrum complete with tears and snot. Soon he will do his best impression of a fish out of water, throwing himself on the floor and wailing around. Another unfortunate part of my morning routine. "This is so not my job," I mutter, leaving the wonder twins to fend for themselves, marching upstairs to my parents' room.
I raise my hand to bang and pound till they get out of bed when I hear the sounds of seventies rock slithering from underneath the door. I groan. Ever since the birth of Thing One and Thing Two, my parents have taken to spending a lot of time in their room. Together. Doing things I don't want to think about. Things no young adult should have to know their parents do. Ever.
I trudge back downstairs, mentally preparing myself for battle. But all of my resolve to be the villain to their superhero team dissolves when I note the way their whole faces brighten when they see me. I sigh, and all of the tension rushes from my body. I pull up a stool to the table, snatch a marshmallow from Quinn's bowl, throw it in the air, and catch it in my mouth. Quinn and Finn giggle and applaud.
And I can't help but smile.
* * *
After feeding them, fighting them, and flinging them into the carpool minivan that takes them to preschool, I have ten minutes to shower and get ready for work. Ten minutes because there is someone else I have to check on.
After I throw on some jeans and my Smithsonian T-shirt from my last visit to DC, I manage to get my unruly, wet red hair into what resembles a bun. I grab a multicolored scarf that I managed to find at the thrift store and throw it around my neck. I'm not modest enough to deny that the look works for me. Style in disorder. Sense in opposing forces. I don't bother to waste time putting on makeup. There isn't enough concealer in the world to hide the freckles that cover the bridge of my nose like constellations in the night sky.
I take the stairs two steps at a time. I hear my parents rummaging around the kitchen. Mom's giggling at some joke Dad's telling. Gone are the uptight lawyers of my childhood, replaced by hippie public defenders who believe in making each and every moment count. I can't hate them for embracing that life philosophy even though it is entirely different from mine. Besides, how many kids can say for certain that their parents truly love each other? They went through hell and back after the accident. It was a miracle they got through it at all. And still together, at that. Most marriages don't survive that kind of tragedy.
I shake my head and move down the hall to my grandma's room. When I try to open her door, it's locked. I knock gently. "Grandma? We talked about this. You can't lock the door."
I can hear her judgment and disapproval through the closed door. It's the loudest silence I've ever heard. She's seventy years old, and we treat her like a child. Worse, we treat her like a teenager. One of the bad ones — bad in a she could get her own show on MTV type of way. No locked doors. Curfews. Drug tests. This woman once ran this town, and now she's ... I don't hesitate to pull a bobby pin from my hair. It takes less than a minute for me to successfully use it to pick the lock. There isn't anything you can't learn to do on the internet.
I push the door open, but I immediately meet resistance. "One second, Annabel Lee. Can't a woman have any privacy?" It's a question, but it clearly comes across as a demand. I place my foot between the partially open door and frame, making sure Grandma doesn't slam it shut the minute I let my guard down. I haven't been able to let my guard down since the worms. I'll have to thank Kennedy for that one day. Besides, she's done it before. One of the perks of living with a cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs ailing grandmother — two smashed toes. But damn if my reflexes aren't getting quicker.
I wait as I hear my grandma scurry around the room. Drawers open and shut without rhyme or reason. A chair screeches painfully against the wooden floor. I can faintly hear the shuffling of papers.
I'm going to be late. I hate being late. I knock again. "Grandma, I just want to say good-bye before heading to work."
"You want time to make out with that boy in that death trap of a car, Annabel Lee. That's what you want," she sasses back from inside her fortress of solitude.
"Hardly," I mutter. Jason and I aren't exactly the make-out-in-the-car type of couple. At least not lately. The dull pain in my chest that I woke up with returns. I sigh and lean against the wall. One of the many problems I tried to outrun this morning.
Grandma's getting worse. More secretive. Grumpier. And when she is out and about, all she does is stare at me. Like I'm the lab rat and she's the crazy scientist.
I count to ten before knocking again.
"You go on, sweetie. I'll make sure she comes out and eats," my mom's voice promises from behind me. I twist my body, foot still between the door and frame, to face her and raise an eyebrow. Mom rolls her eyes. Almost as good as I do. It's how I'm sure we're related. "I managed to get you breakfast every day. Didn't I?"
Before I can open my mouth to remind her of the midlife crises both of my parents seem to be suffering from, the sound of wet, ragged coughs fills in the spaces between our words. I don't hesitate in pushing the door open.
Rushing into the room, I find Grandma doubled over coughing spit and blood onto the wood floor of the house her great-great-grandparents built. She reaches up a skeleton-thin arm and tries to shoo us away. There's nothing she hates more than someone seeing her in a moment of weakness. She's survived Vietnam, the Cold War, the War on Terror, so she can beat a little thing like cancer.
Or so she's told me a million times.
Mom enters the room carrying a glass of water. I manage, despite her gargled and breathy protests, to get Grandma into bed. I grab the glass of water from Mom's hand and practically force it down her throat. Grandma smacks at my hands several times, but I ignore it. Mom cowers in the background. She's never been able to stand up to her mom.
Once Grandma has finished the glass, she cusses me out in every language she knows. Italian. Portuguese. French. Latin. German. Especially German.
"You owe about a thousand dollars to the Cursey Word Jar for that rant," I joke lamely, pulling a blanket over her frail body.
"You know when I die, you'll have to start worrying about yourself. Start looking at your own life. See all that's missing from it. Decipher all the cracks. Won't that be scary," she grumbles as her eyelids begin to droop.
It doesn't matter that my mom insists I go to work. I stay with Grandma till she passes out. It's not until I get to the car that I realize my hands are shaking.CHAPTER 2
I might have just signed my own death warrant. Like any second, a rather robust man with a suit of chain mail that was made for a much, much, much smaller man will appear, bend my ass over a rotting piece of wood, and attempt to cut my head off with an ax duller than C-SPAN. And he'll keep hacking and hacking away, even when he knows he has a perfectly sharpened blade back in the castle ...'cause, you know, he's pissed about the super-small balls-pinching garb.
What was I thinking honking my horn at Annabel Lee Sumter?
There were a lot of things I could have done this morning. Read the newspaper. Stopped for breakfast. Hooked up with Olivia ... again. Worked on one of the countless writings my editor keeps bugging me for. But the one thing I shouldn't have done was honk my horn at Annabel Lee.
Excerpted from Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart by Tiffany Truitt, Stacy Abrams, Alexa May. Copyright © 2016 Tiffany Truitt. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So i read this all in one afternoon. I could not put it down, wondering what the next dare would be and when. Hands down the best book I've read this year.
With a tagline like "Seven Dares. Seven Days. And the road trip of a lifetime." how could I truly resist Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart? The answer: I couldn't. I love books involving road trips (Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Two Way Street, Right of Way, etc.) and to throw in dares on top of that, I was in contemporary book heaven! As it turns out, I flat out LOVED Tiffany Truitt's Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart. Basically, this book is a contemporary romance fan's ideal book. Containing steamy romance, stubborn and feisty main characters, and a road trip that seriously made me want to pack my bags and head to the nearest music festival, Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart had me hooked from the first word until the very last. I loved a lot about this book; however, the aspect I loved the most was the chemistry between Annabel and Kennedy. From the moment they first interact on page, you simply can't deny that there's a connection there - a strong one at that. Kennedy is the risk taker, the one who isn't afraid to risk being annoying to get what he utterly wants: Annabel's friendship. Annabel is serious and rather steadfast, devoting her energy to her family and her boyfriend. However, there still is a part of her under the surface that is feisty and stubborn. I really enjoyed watching Annabel inspire Kennedy to put his future first, to realize that he can be talented and successful and Kennedy inspire Annabel to take a risk again, to not be afraid to live. Seeing how much they cared about the other's wellbeing made their relationship much more realistic and believable. Also, the little sparring matches that occasionally occurred because of rising tensions became one of my favorite parts of the book as well - the fights always tended to be much more comical than serious, thankfully! The plot of this book followed the typical romance novel pattern, but I loved it nonetheless. The dares and music festival really managed to spice up the typical romance tale and make it unique. I felt that the dares were not only well timed but also worked in with the overall story quite well. As for the music festival, Tiffany's descriptions of the event as well as the road trip leading up to it always made me feel like I was right there with the characters. I especially enjoyed how she intertwined popular musical acts into it. Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart is simply amazing - so great in fact that I'm having such a hard time writing this review in a way that every sentence doesn't start with "I loved..." So to sum it up...if you love contemporary romance...or a good road trip book filled with romance and dares...give this book a chance. I truly think you'll enjoy it, love it even! All I know is I can't wait to read more by Tiffany! Grade: A+
My first book by this author but definitely not my last! There was a lot to like about Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart. It's a best-friends-to-no-longer-friends-to-lovers story. There's dares and double-dog dares, an awesome road trip, twin toddler terrors, and a grandma who swears in many languages. The main character's name comes from the poem, and her older brother gave it to her because it was his favorite--how cute is that? A children's book and a dare brought Kennedy and Annabel Lee together back in third grade, and the adult Kennedy now lives above the shop of the third grade teacher who inadvertently (or was it?) brought the two of them together. So much cuteness. Actually, the timeline of their relationship totally reminded me of Harry and Sally's in When Harry Met Sally: Harry: We became friends. Sally: We were friends for a long time. Harry: And then we weren't. Sally: And then we fell in love. That. Just, you know, subtract a dozen years or so from the main characters' ages and put the road trip at the opposite end of things... Annabel and Kennedy engage in some truly funny and clever banter, and I liked how even though they'd been apart for so long (ten years) they each are still able pick up on the things that make the other one special; important aspects of them that they are not even aware of themselves. The way in which Ms. Truitt used their dares to help them to break free of their (mostly self-imposed) limitations was great. I loved how their shared past gave them so much to build their future on, and the way in which Kennedy's writing brings them together in the end. (Especially the epilogue! So. Darn. Adorable!) And LOL to Gran's use of a political flyer to get her message to Annabel. Perfect! ;) There was a lot to like about this book, and its interesting characters, overall fun quirkiness, and awesome epilogue more than made up for a slowish start and quickish reconciliation. Here's hoping Ms. Truiit's first new adult book won't be her last! Rating: 4 stars / A- I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
It is a decade since life changed dramatically for Annabel Lee. That was when she was involved in an accident in which her beloved older brother was killed and she was seriously burned. It is also when she lost her best friend, Kennedy Harrison, who disappeared from her, leaving her heart broken. Life became like a jigsaw, all broken up and with crucial pieces missing. Now he's in the same photography class with her and suddenly starts talking to her again. They used to dare each other, provoking each other out of their comfort zone, ensuring they lived life to the full. Since the accident, Annabel Lee has been OCD about planning and order, a rule keeper whilst Kennedy is her antithesis, a rule breaker and risk taker. As the two reconnect, the dares restart and so much more, do they stand a chance of rebuilding the jigsaw to create a new picture of life together? This story explores rekindling childhood friendships torn apart by trauma and fear. It is about facing up and taking life by the horns, being prepared to take a chance on new opportunities whilst being willing to fail, knowing that things don't always work out but that when they do, they are so worth it! The story takes the characters through the whole gamut of emotions on a roller coaster ride towards their potential HEA. Told from alternating points of view, it is easy to empathise with the characters and keep hoping that things will work out for them. It is an angst filled new adult read that I enjoyed reading and think others will, too. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Moving and sensitive Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart by Tiffany Truitt was a genuine and well written book. A Young Adult work, this story maintained a youthful feel yet was able to show that while its characters were traversing new life territory they were in fact adults. With more than its share of problematic subject matter and events Ms. Truitt kept the story focused and expressed beautifully the mending of a meaningful friendship as it moved to the next stage of its development. Exploration, confrontation and cleansing of past hurts bring the hero and heroine to a powerful reunion. Humor and sadness trade off as the audience is taken on dates that are not dates, road trips and significant personal discoveries to find the ultimate prize, a wonderful story! *I received this ARC in exchange for an honest reviews.*
“Temporarily, I forget about everything before this moment. The reasons I shouldn’t be talking to this boy. It’s the first honest conversation I’ve had in forever.” Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart follows the story of Kennedy and Annabel. Kennedy and Annabel were best friends for as long as they could remember…that is until Annabel is involved in a life changing accident. Her accident and brush with death, shakes him to his core and causes him to make a terrible decision. It will be ten years before Kennedy will be brave enough to face Annabel again and set the record straight….Annabel doesn’t know what to think when Kennedy tries to re-enter her life. The loss of their friendship, destroyed her and she has a big wall around her heart. However, little by little, Kennedy worms his way back into her life. What started off as a dare, will quickly blur the lines of friendship and the underlying passion between Kennedy and Annabel will come to a boil. Only time will tell what fate has in store for these two lovers… Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I loved the cover and was intrigued by the synopsis. I thought the story was well paced and was a quick read. I liked the characters and as always, I’m a sucker for friends to lovers/second chance romances. I liked the idea of the story and thought that there was some good steam and swoon worthy moments. However, I did have one major issue with this story and it was the way the characters were written. While I liked them, I felt like they were written a lot younger than they really were. At times, I would forget that they were college aged/on their way to college. I would find myself thinking “How old are they again?” or “I thought they weren’t in high school.”–It felt at times like I was reading a YA book instead of a NA one. I read a lot of NA and Contemporary Romance novels, so I truly think that there is a lot of potential there, it just didn’t come across the right way. Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart is a quick and easy read. It’s a cute friends to lovers/ second chance romance. I am rounding this book up to three stars because even though this book wasn’t a hit for me, I think that the author has a ton of potential in this genre and I would be open to reading more from her in the future.
A very enjoyable NA read from a new to me author. The overall premise of the story was excellent and I really loved the MC's Annabel Lee and Kennedy. The writing was good but there were times when I didn't think the story flowed as well as it could have. Annabel Lee and Kennedy were childhood friends until a horrible accident changed everything. As a 10 year old boy Kennedy had already lost so much losing Annabel Lee wasn't something he could face so they spend the next eight years estranged. Now she's about to leave for college and Kennedy can't bear for her to leave with the way things are. So they make a deal. One roadtrip, seven dares, and a wild music festival to say goodbye. If they can that is! An excellent read and definitely one I would recommend.
"Fate doesn't care about plans. What's meant to be will always find a way." Kennedy and Annabel grew up together and they were best friends. Annabel was involved in an accident where she lost a loved one. When Kennedy saw her after the accident, he was frightened of losing her, therefore he ran. Everyone who was close to him has left. Ten years later and Kennedy works in constructions and writes for a music blog. Being a stranger in a small town puts him at a disadvantage. His background is frowned upon and because everybody thinks he is no good, he just cruises along. Let them talk, taking notice of their back biting will only make him miserable. He has earned himself a reputation with the ladies amongst other things. Annabel has taken a year out from college but she attends phototography classes. Everything in her life is planned. Jason is her steady boyfriend. He is always there and he is safe. This fits in nicely with her plans. Kennedy attends the same photography class as Annabel and he is now ready to have his friend back. Finding a way to get Annabel to trust him after ten long years is not going to be easy. When they finally start talking to each other, they realise how much they miss each other and their dares. Kennedy comes up with the perfect solution. Convince Annabel to go on a road trip with him to attend a concert. Of course, this has to involve some dares and the fun begins. The connection between them hasn't waned and Annabel finds herself having fun whilst trying to stick to her plans. During that trip, they realise that there is more to their friendship but they are complete opposites to each other. Kennedy doesn't believe he has any talents whereas Annabel has her future planned. When they decide to take their relationship to the next level, something else happens, upsetting the progress they have made. The story is beautifully written. I like the way Annabel and Kennedy own up to their flaws and help each other in the process. Their interactions are intoxicating even when they argue. Jason is very understanding. As for Grams, she is a real darling and is also a force to be reckoned with. The way Kennedy and Annabel support and encourage each other is wonderful. This novel is well paced and has a bit of everything. Love, loss, grief, fun, laughter, understanding, acceptance and compromise. It's also very well balanced. The epilogue wraps everything up nicely. I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.