Friday, January 1, 2016

4 Star Book Review | My Heart Is Yours by Amanda Leigh

by Amanda Leigh
Published: June 10th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | IndieBound | The Book Depository
Samantha Marie Ramsden has three brothers. Craig, John and Matt. When tragedy strikes their family, Craig takes on the task of becoming his siblings legal guardian. It’s hard enough being someone’s guardian, but when you’ve only recently entered adulthood yourself it’s almost impossible to know where to draw the line between sibling and ‘parent’.

This is made even harder on him when Sam starts to get close to a long time friend, Jason. It looks like their friendship could turn into something more. An idea that Craig has never been too happy with. Spanning six years, My Heart is Yours explores family, friendship, love and much more. As well as asking the question: Would you defy family for love?

In My Heart is Yours, Samantha has had to deal with the loss of two sets of parents, but she's always had the support of her overprotective brothers and their best friends. When she falls in love with Jason, one of their childhood friends, it causes tension between Sam and her oldest brother Craig, who doesn't approve of the pairing. With the help and support of John, Matt, Shawn and Chris, Sam and Jason find the strength to fight for their love. My Heart is Yours is a story of pain and loss, family and friendship, and ultimately love and happiness.

Even though in the beginning of the book we learn the horrible and tragic things this group of young people have suffered, the most overwhelming thing in this book is the love that they have for each other. If I had to sum up in one word what this book was about, it would be LOVE. Love in the midst of tragedy, love in the midst of hardship, love in the midst of adversity, love with family, love with friends, and love within love. My Heart is Yours, spans six years, shows us the strength that love can bring to you, even in the hardest times of your life. It's a truly beautiful story.

Sam is a truly admirable character. She has seen a lot of tragedy in her life, losing two sets of parents in horrible ways. But through all of this, Sam has remained strong. Even though she suffers from horrific nightmares and painful migraines, she doesn't let that stop her from living life and loving deeply. But she has been left with the fear of losing anyone else she loves. Of their three friends, Shawn, Chris, and Jason, Sam has always been the closest to Jason, them being the same age and both being the shy kids they were. So its understandable that the love they have for each other would grow to more than the love between best friends.

Jason suffered a similar childhood to Sam's so they understand each other on a level that the others can't and form a really strong bond. Everyone around them had noticed the feelings they had for each other before they did, which Craig was never happy about, and the level of anticipation that they all had for Sam and Jason to finally realize and get together was both funny and cute. And then there's the fact that Sam and Jason are both shy people, so whenever they were teased about their relationship they would both blush, which was so adorable. Seriously, Sam and Jason are the cutest couple ever.

I really loved Sam's close relationship with her brother John. She loves all three of her brothers, but she was always the closest to John. He is very understanding and he's always there for Sam, no matter what. He supports her relationship with Jason 100 percent and was even looking forward to them being together. Though Craig is protective of Sam in a more parental way, being her legal guardian, John seems to be even more protective of her than any of them. He's always the first there for her, the first one by her side, and the first ready to kick the butt of anyone who hurts her. Who could ask for a better big brother? I absolutely loved John.

As I said before, Amanda Leigh has written a beautiful story and I couldn't help but love the characters. There were just a couple formatting and editing issues I had. The story spans six years and is written in three parts: Part One is from ages 16-18, Part Two is from ages 18-20, and Part Three is from ages 20-21. Then the epilogue takes place twenty years into the future. The entire story takes place in the 1960's, which was interesting, although I didn't really get an overall feel for the time except for a few places where it talked about historical events of that time. Also, I'm used to reading books that are written in first person which I prefer, so reading My Heart is Yours in third person made it a bit difficult for me to tell from who's point of view to story was currently being told from. Some POV transitions were very clear, but there were some that left me guessing. But even with these couple issues, I absolutely loved this book and if Amanda Leigh ever decides to come back to these characters and write another story, I am so there.


Five and a half year old Samantha slept in her white threadbare sheets. Tonight the wind was coming through particularly strong from the cracks in the wooden boards on her window. Her small body shivered.

The door creaked open and her mother entered. Sam had the same blonde hair as her mother. Her eyes were her own though. Changing from blue, to grey, to blue-grey, to green or any combination of these colors seemingly simultaneously. Sandra’s hand approached her daughter’s shoulder and she shook her roughly awake. The clock on the wall read three o’ clock in the morning. Sam rubbed her eyes. “Come on!” Her mother said as she looked over her shoulder. “Get out of bed, now!” She grabbed a hammer from the toolbox they kept in Sam’s room, went to the boarded up window and started tearing the boards to the floor. Wood splintered through the air. “Go on.” She gestured to the window. “Get out. Go.”

Sam hesitated for half a second then climbed through. She knew she couldn’t ask questions. She got into trouble when she asked questions.

Sandra wiggled through the window; she cursed aloud as the glass cut her shoulder.

“Don’t try to run away from me!” The hoarse shout came from behind them. Sam’s father. Sam knew what it meant when he was like this.

Sandra pushed Sam into the car, ran to the other side and jumped in. “Mommy.” Sam said as they went speeding past houses. “What’s wrong?”

“If you must know, your father’s more drunk than usual. He has a gun and he says he’s gonna kill us. Satisfied?” Sam’s eyes widened as she looked in the rearview mirror. There was a car right on their tail. Sam stretched in the front seat to see who it was; she recognized the face of her father. “Mommy!” She yelled. Her mother ignored her. “The only reason I’m taking you with me is cuz as a single parent with no job I might get some money from the government.” “Mommy!” She yelled again. “Otherwise I’d just let him kill you.” The car stopped, jolted forward and stopped again. “Damn it. We’re out of gas.” Sam’s mom muttered. Sirens wailed in the background.

Beside them, Sam heard the screech of tires. Blonde hair hit Sam’s face as she turned her head toward the noise. In the car beside them her father scooted across the front seats; his eyes wild with rage. A flash of black came from behind him. Sandra frantically tried to get the car started. Too late. An arm shot out around her neck; holding her fast. Her husband held the shiny black gun to her head and before Sam could scream from the sound, the trigger boomed and her mother’s body slumped over on the steering wheel. Deep red blood gushed out of her head forming a pool on the floor.

Before Sam climbed out of the car window, her father’s eyes met hers. There was nothing there. No sorrow, no fear, no pain, no love. Nothing.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | TSU | Tumblr | YouTube

Amanda Leigh graduated with a BA in English and Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. During college, she worked on the literary magazine and loved every minute of it. She adores cats and has one named Sawyer - named after one of her favorite characters in Lost. Amanda enjoys reading, writing avidly in a journal, writing poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking, listening to music, singing, swimming and art - particularly photography. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her. ​


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