All The Ways You Saved Me by Jamie Howard
Series: Love Unplugged #1
Also in this series: The Way Back to Us (Love Unplugged #3)
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.
Law school? Check.
Camera-ready smile? Check.
A dull and boring existence? Double check.
But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend's unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.
It's while she's checking off her first item on the list--buy coffee for a stranger--that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he's a complication Bianca doesn't need but desperately wants.
With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she's buried under what's expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she's willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.
Bianca is a senator’s daughter and has always done what her parent’s wanted her to do. They don’t really love her and she knows this but she keeps trying in the hopes that one day they’ll look at her and realize all they’ve missed by constantly ignoring her.
She’s just graduated from law school in New York and plans on returning to her home in Texas so that she can take the bar and then take a position at the firm where her father used to be a partner. Except something tragic happens to her friend and Bianca decides that finishing the list that her friend made. The list was made because her friend stated that they were going to be so busy with work and school that they needed to take every opportunity to cram awesomeness into their lives. She stated, “It the little moment’s that make life amazing, you know?” Staying in New York for 6 more months won’t really make any difference in the long run so she goes for it. Her parent cut her off – of course, since she’s not doing what they want her to do – so she gets a job at a pub as a waitress to make ends meet. Her apartment is already paid for so she just needs money for bills and food. In the course of completing her friends list she buys the person behind her a cup of coffee (on the list). The guy is a little leery of accepting the coffee (it’s NY after all) but eventually does. When Bianca is at that café sometime later the same guy approaches her and they end up becoming friends.
Ian is a bit standoffish and she’s not really sure what to make of him. They only ever get together on Thursdays but they have a great time together completing things on Bianca’s list. They agree that whatever they have is just casual as she’ll be leaving eventually but the more time they spend together Bianca finds herself falling in love with Ian. The problem is, she just doesn’t know that much about him except to say that he’s a musician. She’s sure that something has happened in his past but she’s not sure she’ll be ever able to compete with whatever it is as it seems to take up his whole life – even when he’s with her. Bianca’s not sure she can she get past whatever it is and get to the real Ian.
This was a bit of a new adult book as both of the characters were trying to find themselves – even if they weren’t in the 18-22 age range. Bianca is bucking her parents rules for the first time and the more time she spends out in the “real” world she finds that maybe she doesn’t have to follow everything they say after all. Would it be easier financially? Yes, but what’s the payoff? There isn’t one. Ian is such a mystery to her but he can be so open and when he is it’s like the sun has come out in her world. It’s such a great feeling but he eventually goes back to the closed-off man he is.
Ian’s story slowly unfolds for us. We get his story that starts seven years prior and works its way to the present throughout the book. It’s wonderful and heart-wrenching at the same time but frankly I wish we would have gotten to the conclusion faster so that he and Bianca could have spent more time together as a couple. Yes, they’re a couple in the book but it’s different.
Because of Ian’s back story it’s definitely more of a darker romance but I still found it to be a good book. If you’re looking for a light and airy book this is not it but if you like emotional reads then this is the one for you.
Rating: 4 out of 5