Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Excerpt & Review: ALL FOR LOVE by @AnnSwann


Liz falls in love with Quinn the moment they meet in college.  He professes to love her, too.  She begins to think about the future, but his past rips them apart.  What Liz does next impacts the rest of their lives, but she feels it is the only way… she does it all for love.


We were drinking iced tea at our favorite sidewalk café when the plastics plant exploded.

One moment Ronnie was checking my left hand to see if my wedding ring was still there, and the next thing I knew she was crawling across the blistered sidewalk in slow motion, reaching out for me.

Ronnie and I have been friends since college. She and Carol were my dorm mates. The best friends I’ve ever had. But college was a long time ago.

“How long do you think it takes to fall out of love?” I had just asked.

Stalling for time, Ronnie gazed about The Sidewalk Café. The strong breeze should’ve been cool, but it was dry and hot. Instead of our usual twelve inches of rain for the year, we’d received just less than two. The drought in our area of West Texas had been catastrophic; a simple spark from a piece of machinery could start a wildfire that might burn for days or even weeks. The weather channel delighted in telling us we were smack dab in the middle of the worst dry spell since the nineteen fifties.

In a way, it was fitting. I seemed to be smack dab in the middle of a drought myself. My nest felt as empty as the prairie, and my husband, who could’ve been the spark to light my world, was also brittle and dry. In fact, he was so dry he was practically nonexistent, like the prairie grass hiding in the earth, waiting for moisture.

Ronnie swished a fly away from her drink. “What’s going on, Lizzie?”

I hesitated. She was so good at taking the wind out of my sails. In fact, I’d swear she was using “wait time” on me, a technique we had learned in our education classes at the university about a hundred years ago.

Shrugging nonchalantly, I forged ahead. I really wanted her input. I still valued it every bit as much as when we were nineteen. “I think he’s screwing around again.” I sipped my tea. Mine was sweet, hers was not. She was usually the sensible one—at least when she wasn’t toasted on Mexican red.

She smoothed the shiny fall of hair off her face. It was still the fresh, reddish color of a blood orange.

“Are you sure?” she asked. “Or is it just suspicion?” She swirled her tea, giving me a moment to answer. The amber liquid climbed the inside of her glass like a tiny tsunami. She reached across the table to touch my hand. We weren’t very demonstrative anymore, not like when we were in school. I don’t know why, but I suspected it was my fault. A hug upon meeting was the extent of our physical relationship. Sometimes one of us would hug the other when we parted—it all depended upon our emotional altitude at the moment. But this time she wasn’t being demonstrative by clasping my hand, she was simply checking to see if my wedding ring was still in place. She turned my hand over and pushed it flat down on the table.

Where to Buy
Publisher - 5 Prince Books 

Ann Swann lives in West Texas with her handsome hubby and three rescue pets.  All For Love is Ann’s first romance novel.  She is the author of the Young Adult books: The Phantom Series.  Book One is The Phantom Pilot, Book Two is The Phantom Student, and she is hard at work on Book Three, The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge.  Ann has also published short fiction in the anthologies Timeless (paranormal love stories) and Campfire Tales (spooky stories for the young at heart).

Public contact information of Author 
Twitter: @ann_swann

My review of ALL FOR LOVE:

Impossible to put down

I started and finished this book in less than a day.  It was impossible to put down.  This book isn’t a fairytale romance, with a prince or even a necessarily “happily-ever-after”(although, the ending was great); this book is about real-life romance, one in which people get hurt, deeply hurt, and need to decide whether that person is still the one for them.

Swann had a way of pulling me from the start.  I was curious why a woman would stay with a husband she suspected of cheating on her.  What kind of person does this?  I wanted to know this woman’s story.

The entire book is told through the point of view of Liz, the main character, and let me assure you the narrative never gets boring.   Liz takes many trips down memory lane, but it never comes across as layered or boring back story—far from it actually.  Swann tempts you with a recollection sometimes, and then leaves you hanging there to return to the present.  You can’t wait to get back and finish off Liz’s memory.  Also, as a note here, I was never once lost or confused by a transition in timeline.  Swann did an excellent job of that.

ALL FOR LOVE is a story that deals with grief, the living with it, and the moving beyond it.  As is the saying goes, “It’s at the end of one’s life” that one looks inward to reflect on their life course to up until that point.  In this case, it’s the end of a loved one’s life that has Liz thinking back over her life with a man who stole her heart and broke it many times.

At points in her life, Liz realizes she needs to learn how to “just BE”, but this mindset (as in real life) is quickly lost amongst changing times and circumstance.  There are morals in the story that could apply to any of us, which is probably another reason I enjoyed it so much.  It was realistic and believable. 

There were times I celebrated with Liz and times I wanted to yell at her for the things she was doing.  That, again, is another demonstration of a skilled author—she created visceral reactions.

Swann’s writing is poetic at times, and draws beautiful word pictures, such as: “The moonlight was seductive.  It lay across the water like a transparent veil across a woman’s hair.”

With an ending that more than satisfied, I would recommend ALL FOR LOVE to any who want a modern-day love story.