Ghostedby J.M. Darhower Published 23 Aug 2017
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A new second chance romance standalone from USA Today bestselling author J.M. Darhower.
He's a troubled young actor, Hollywood's newest heartthrob, struggling with fame as the star of the latest superhero franchise. Through scandal after scandal, addiction on top of addiction, a flurry of paparazzi hunt him as he fights to conquer his demons.
She's a single mother, assistant manager at a grocery store, existing in monotony with her five-year-old daughter. Every day when she goes to work, lurid tabloids surround her, the face of a notorious bad boy haunting her from their covers.
A man and a woman, living vastly different lives, but that wasn't always the case. Once, they were just a boy and a girl who bonded over comic books and fell in love unexpectedly.
When Kennedy Garfield met Jonathan Cunningham back in high school, she knew he had all the makings of a tragic hero. With stars in his eyes, and her heart on her sleeve, the pair ran away together to follow their dreams.
But dreams, sometimes, turn into nightmares.
Now, years later, the only thing they share is a daughter—one who has no idea her father plays her favorite superhero. But Jonathan is desperate to make amends, and at the top of his list is the woman who gave up everything for him and the little girl he hasn't yet met.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️! Ghosted (stand-alone). Side-tracked by the ghosts of fame, fortune & scandal can two high-school sweethearts find the way back to each other?
“He’s destined to do bigger things, and staying would be selfish, so as much as he wishes he could be with her forever, he has to let her go, because that’s what love means.”
Ghosted (stand-alone) is a second chance romance between movie star and Hollywood heartthrob Jonathan Elliot Cunningham aka Johnny Cunning and assistant store manager and single mother Kennedy Reagan Garfield.
They thought they were each other’s everything.
From high school sweethearts to struggling Hollywood wannabees to two exes no longer on speaking terms with a child caught in the middle. What tore them apart? And now seven years later… the long road back together…
Seven words to describe Jonathan Elliot Cunningham aka Johnny Cunning: Charismatic, remorseful, determined, flawed, lonely, reflective and trusting.
Seven words to describe Kennedy Reagan Garfield: Focused, heard-headed, nurturing, broken, lonely, responsible and strong.
Ghosted, told from dual POVs in first and second person, is an engaging with butterflies-in-your-belly moments and at times heart-breaking tale about love, loss, sacrifice and the healing power of love and forgiveness. A second chance at love, life, happiness and family.
Sexual tension: ★★★★1/2
Sex scenes: ★★★★
Story ending: ★★★★1/2
OVERALL RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Angst: | HIGH FOCUS |
Darkness: | MEDIUM FOCUS |
Humor: | MEDIUM FOCUS |
Kink: | LOW FOCUS |
Romance: | HIGH FOCUS |
Sex frequency: | MEDIUM FOCUS |
Suspense: | MEDIUM FOCUS |
This was a nice read. Not as...angsty as I thought it might be (which is a plus/minus depending on what you're in the mood for), and very sweet.
Full review later, maybe.
CURRENTLY ON SALE!!! https://amzn.to/2nIUUe1
I know I say this with every books of hers, but really, this book was so fantastic! Perfection. Emotional and heartbreaking but SOOO sweet at the same time.
Ghosted tells the story of Jonathan Cunningham (aka Johnny Cunning) and Kennedy Garfield. They meet at the prestigious high school they're both enrolled in. Kennedy just wants to get good grades and make something of herself. Johnny couldn't care less about academics. He's a gifted actor with stars in his eyes and dreams of leaving his life behind to act.
They meet. They flirt. They fall in love. They both leave school to move to Hollywood to chase Johnny's dream of becoming an actor. But somewhere along the way, Johnathan lets the pressure and Hollywood life ruin the one good relationship he has and Kennedy fears she's loosing herself too.
"You don’t know this, but that woman? Even as she smiles, she’s utterly terrified. Your love is more than enough for her, but she feels pieces of it slipping away. Something inside of her is disintegrating. Her dream. She’s losing it. She came here with you, not quite realizing what you were going through. You felt invisible, and you were desperate for an audience, but where does that leave your love? Because the more people who see you, it seems, the less you see her."
He drinks. He does drugs. Kennedy leaves. And she's pregnant.
Years go by, and after becoming a HUGE star and FINALLY getting clean, Johnny wants to be back in Kennedy's life and meet the daughter he's never even seen. Kennedy is of course reluctant and still angry, but little by little she lets Johnathan back in her life and their daughter's, Maddie.
"I’m playing with fire, like I don’t remember how much it hurts to get burned, but from here, where I’m standing, all I can seem to feel is the warmth."
I nod, looking down at my hands. “I wasn’t accusing you of cheating. I just wanted to know how long it took you to move on.”
“Oh, well, that’s an easy one,” he says. “It hasn’t happened.”
Besides the beautiful, perfectly done, slow burn rekindling of Johnathan and Kennedy's love:
“I hate you. That’s it. There’s nothing else to say. I hate everything about you. Your voice, your face… I hate it. Why aren’t you going away?”
“Because I can’t,” I tell her, “and I’m pretty sure you don’t really want me to.”
She scoffs. “You’re upset,” I say, “but you’re lying to yourself if you think you want me gone.”
“I’m not.” As soon as that last word leaves my lips, she’s on me, slamming into me, her lips pressing against mine. She’s kissing me, and I’m so fucking stunned that it takes me a moment to react, a moment to consider kissing her back. She moans and wraps her arms around my neck, clinging to me damn near aggressively as she kicks the door closed.
..the relationship Johnathan builds with his daughter was such a freaking treat to read. Maddie honestly stole the show. Every. single. time. they had a scene together I had tears in my eyes. And anytime this child opened her mouth, I was either laughing or clutching at my heart.
“Next time,” she says, just like that, no question about it.
“Next time,” I say.
“And soda, too,” she says.
“No soda,” Kennedy chimes in.
Madison glances at her mother before leaning even closer, damn near right up on me, whisper-shouting, “Soda.”
“I’m not so sure your mom will like that,” I say.
“It’s okay,” Madison says. “She tells Grandpa no soda, too, but he lets me have it.”
“That’s because you emotionally blackmail him,” Kennedy says.
“Nuh-uh!” Madison says, looking at her mother. “I don’t blackmail him!”
Kennedy scoffs. “How do you know? You don’t even know what that means.”
“So?” Madison says. “I don’t mail him nothing!”
How freaking cute is this kid??
There's SOOOOO many more quotes I'd love to share, but I really highlighted almost this entire book and I'll just give everything away. And I don't want to spoil JM's beautiful words.
But ok ok, just one more:
“What could be lonelier than always being by yourself?
Worse is loving someone who disappears and never knowing if they’ll come back. Because how do you move on if you’re not even sure they’re gone? The answer is—you don’t. When you spend most of your life chasing ghosts, eventually, you become one.”
GOD, that ^ is just brilliant. But I wouldn't expect anything less from this author. She also has this amazing ability to tie up endings in such a perfect way you're never left wanting (Well. I'm lying. I'm always wanting more books from her. I want her to do nothing but sit in a closed room and write 24 hours a day so when I finish a book of hers I have a new one to read immediately after. But that's besides the point.)
I'm pretty sure by now people know of my obsession with JM's work. If anyone asks me for recommendations, her books are usually the first ones I say. And this book will be no different. HIGHLY recommended for ANYONE who enjoys romance and second chances.
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“You’re the queen. I’m just a commoner.”
Oh my God, this book was just perfect! This is hands down second chance romance at its best. Definitely, an instant favorite and definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Once I started this one I couldn’t stop, this was ALL THE FEELS! All of them, it was beautiful, it was raw, it was angsty, it was funny, it was romantic, it was sexy. All the things! Wow, JM Darhower truly hit this one out the park. I’m completely in love.
“It takes everything out of me, because endings are hard. Endings are fucking impossible... especially endings that remind me of a girl I'm trying damn hard not to think about.”
So, you’ve read the blurb. He’s a Hollywood superstar, she’s works in a supermarket. He’s a mess, she’s sad and bitter. They have this amazing history together. They also have a daughter. A daughter that doesn’t know her father because honestly, he’s been a fuck up for a while, he’s lost himself in a world of drugs and alcohol and the heroine made the decision of raising her daughter alone. At the point the story picks up, he is clean and sober and making amends, getting a second chance to slowly find his way back home.
“I need you to leave.” You look at me, stunned. “I need you to go and not come back until you get better,” I say. “I’m asking you… no, I’m begging you… don’t come back here like this again. She’s going to need a father, a real one, someone who can love her more than everything. There’s no place here for an addict. So, please… leave, Jonathan.”
“Jonathan always was a dreamer, walking around with stars in his eyes. Seeing that light dim as the drugs took over was one of the worst feelings in the world. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I tried and failed every single time. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it all, it’s that we have to be our own heroes. No guy in a costume is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves.”
The two main characters are seriously amazing. Kennedy is smart, sassy and so strong. She’s one remarkable woman. And Jonathan, oh Jonathan, so desperate for love and so desperate for redemption and forgiveness. It’s impossible not to like him. And it’s impossible not to feel their love, their chemistry and not to root for them to end up together.
“I’m sorry for the way I hurt you,” he says. “Sorry for everything I did that led us to this point. And I get it, you know, if you hate me. Wouldn’t blame you at all. But I just need to tell you… I need you to know… that even when I was completely fucked up, I never once stopped loving you.”
“Match made in heaven.” “Or hell. Depends on who you ask.” “You,” he says. “I’m asking you.” “I’d say a bit of both, then. We were fire and gasoline. We burned hot for a long time.”
Let me tell you something. I live for second chance romances. It’s without a doubt in my top tropes. And one of the things that make a second chance great is how you tell that back story. How you convey to the reader that love that these characters use to have for each other in the past. And in this book, this was executed perfectly. The way the author intertwined the present with the past is perfection, and one of my favorite things about this book. It was like little snippets, like little diary entries written in second person and strategically placed that just hooked you to the story so much more. Seamless. Perfection.
“And you don’t know this, but that girl? The one left outside of that school alone? She’s sitting there writing about you. You have all the makings of a modern-day tragic hero, and she’s never felt so compelled to explore somebody’s story before… even if that’s kind of creepy, ugh.”
“And you don’t know this, but that girl? She realizes, as your car speeds away, that she’s desperately falling in love with you. Her body’s sore, and her chest aches, her heart pounding wildly. She hasn’t had a moment of sleep, but that matters not a bit. She’s sky-high, and nothing can bring her down from this euphoria—not even when a nosy neighbor tells her father all about the blue Porsche that spent the night parked in the driveway. Not even when he notices the love bites around her neck from your frantic lips. Not even when he threatens to take your manhood and tells her she’s grounded for the rest of her life. Because the night that girl just spent with you? Worth it.”
“You don’t know this, but that girl? As she stands there, staring at you, seeing the light in your eyes and feeling so much love in her heart, she would’ve done anything you asked. Anything. She would’ve climbed any mountain and dug any hole. She would’ve lied, cheated, and stolen. That girl would’ve promised you forever. As long as you love her, for as long as you care, she’s yours. So walking to the park with you and climbing in that Porsche? Easiest decision she’s ever made.”
Like I said, this story is perfect. So unlike anything else I’ve read. The author also does an amazing job at exposing the not so glamorous side of Hollywood. The parties, the exploitation, the drugs, the influences from other people.
“He was the dreamer. The doer. The believer. When he wasn’t high, when he wasn’t drunk, when he wasn’t so utterly screwed up, I saw something in him, something I see when I look at Maddie. The two of them, they have the same soul, they live with the same heart. And that scares the daylights out of me.”
This book is super angsty, it just has to be given the backstory and the subject matter.
“You don’t know this, but that woman? Even as she smiles, she’s utterly terrified. Your love is more than enough for her, but she feels pieces of it slipping away. Something inside of her is disintegrating. Her dream. She’s losing it. She came here with you, not quite realizing what you were going through. You felt invisible, and you were desperate for an audience, but where does that leave your love? Because the more people who see you, it seems, the less you see her. And she can’t even tell her story now, not the way she wants, because her voice has been stolen and no one will ever get the chance to read her words.”
“You’re the caterpillar that went into the cocoon and emerged a glorious butterfly, but I’m the reminder that butterflies don’t stick around long, a few weeks at most before they’re gone.”
“Your dream has become my nightmare, and I’m begging you to let me wake up.”
But it’s also super romantic. These two main characters have such an amazing chemistry and you can tell they’re just destined to be with each other.
“I just wanted to know how long it took you to move on.”
“Oh, well, that’s an easy one,” he says. “It hasn’t happened.”
“You love me?” “More than anything,” you say. “More than drama club and dress rehearsals and Julius Caesar. More than annoying the shit out of Hastings. More than the goddamn park down the road. Hell, even more than I loved punching my father. I didn’t stick around here so long for any of that. I stayed for you. And if me loving you is enough—” “It is,” she says. “So come along,” you say. “Run away with me, baby.”
He turns to me as he says, “Thank you, K.”
“What are you thanking me for?”
“Giving me a second chance,” he says. “And a third, and a forth, and a fifth…”
“And a twentieth.”
He laughs lightly. “And a twentieth.”
“I don’t want to keep hurting you,” he whispers. “I never wanted to hurt you.”
“I know.” I push him back on the bed just enough to crawl onto his lap. My hands frame his face as I make him look at me. “I know, Jonathan. You've always wanted to make me feel good.”
“Because I love you,” he says.
“More than whiskey?” I ask.
“More than whiskey,” he agrees.
“More than cocaine.” “More than models-slash-actresses?”
“I don’t even like them most days. But I love you. I swear to fuck, I’ve loved you since before my eighteenth birthday when we sat on your father’s couch and watched me play dead on television.”
“My favorite thing you’ve ever done,” I whisper, kissing him. “You still owe me that autograph, dead kid on Law & Order.”
Oh, and let’s not forget Maddie, their daughter. She was so beautiful and such an amazing character. Experiencing Jonathan’s connection with her, both through his eyes and Kennedy’s was amazing.
“I mourn the years they lost, the time that was wasted, the love that maybe just wasn’t quite enough to overcome his demons sooner. Every smile they share today is the product of years of tears, of years of fighting and struggling and hoping and mourning but never, ever, ever quitting or giving up, because we’re here. And maybe it won’t last, I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow something will happen and the tears will come back, but I’m grateful for the moment, knowing he loves her more than anything.”
I don’t know what else to say. I want to say so much and yet I want to say nothing. I want you to read this one and experience it the way I did. I was searching for epic and absolutely found it in this one. I wholeheartedly recommend this one. It’s perfection in my eyes!
“Never make someone else the main character in your own story.”
**An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
“love doesn’t know titles.”
This book annihilated me. It hit hard, it hit perfect and it didn't stop hitting until the last word. Some stories allow their words to come alive and build the perfect fabrication around you. Very rarely do you come across a story that allows its words to make you come alive instead.
Jonathan and Kennedy's story is one that is not for the brave of heart, but it will result in making your heart brave. I loved this book to with every fibre, and am so honored that I let it annihilate me. I will very glady sit and glue myself together again, because it was worth it. It was so worth it
Chickens and Breads
I fell in love with each of these characters so much it hurts. They came off the page, each with their individual identity - flaws and vital characteristics. The realism strung through in this book was immaculate. I would just like to state now, if you haven't already realized - this whole review will me gushing and raving and overall just loving this book. This isn't a review in all honesty. This is a cry for help.
“ I didn’t stick around here so long for any of that. I stayed for you. And if me loving you is enough—”
“It is,” she says.”
I would bring this book to every single Tuesday show and tell, and I would do it with a big ass grin on my face. My heart is full, my eyes are stinging and I probably should finish writing this review tomorrow - but I cannot go a day more without yelling about this fucking book, man.
If you are even thinking, hell - if you even looked at this book. Read it. I shit you not, you will not regret it. I'm going to go ahead and just say even if you haven't looked at this book - you should read it.
“I do it, and I do it well, pouring my soul into every moment. It's nearing the end of the story, even though we're still at the beginning of filming. It takes everything out of me, because endings are hard. Endings are fucking impossible... especially endings that remind me of a girl I'm trying damn hard not to think about.”
Here's a confession: I did not like Sempre. It was a mediocre read for me. I loved the writing though and so I gave it a decent 3 star review. It was a good comfort zone to get into while reading it.
J. M Darhowers writing is soft. It is the soft that make's your heart ache and your stomach flip. It's the type of soft that only certain weathers can evoke in you, or even certain places. Because that's how fucking good it is.
“Because I’ve wanted you since I was seventeen years old. Saying that is like promising forever. I need a real answer.”
He’s quiet for a moment, resting his head on top of mine before he asks, “What’s wrong with forever?”
“Nothing,” I say, “as long as you mean it.”
“Would you believe me if I promised it?”
“Yes,” I whisper. “That’s why I need you not to.”
Here's another confession: There are a total of 234 highlights and notes on my kindle just for this novel alone.
I am so glad I did not go into this book with the mindset that it was going to be another mediocre read for me, but in a way it doesn't matter, because even if I did - It would have justified itself.
I cried you guys. I am not talking a couple tears or a couple quiet sniffles.
There was nothing pretty about the state I was in while reading this.
Jonathan and Kennedy fucked me up. I love their love.
I thought I was a mess after the first few chapters, boyyyy did I speak too soon.
“I didn’t say you weren’t fine. I said you looked lost, not that you didn’t know your way.”
“The notebook holds a piece of my heart, a piece of my soul, the piece I gave to him long ago.
“You’re being an idiot,” Meghan says, popping up in the doorway behind me.
I laugh to myself. “I know.”
I felt the pain. Felt it because this story had a lot of aspects in it that I could connect with a few parts of my life. Be it from Kennedy, Jonathan, The father or even Jack!
I felt the love. Felt it because this story couldn't stop itself from being one that was overflowing with it. It is so much more than just a romance. Going into a league that very few novels go into, I felt the love because I not only experienced it through the characters - but I conjured up some of my own for the little things.
I felt the laughter. Felt it because this story was funny as fuck. 'Nuff said.
I felt the bittersweetness. Felt it because this story can be described that way in one word - bittersweet. It dealed with more issues than I thought it would and once I waltzed my way through it, I realized that bittersweet feelings usually coat some of the most memorable stories in our life.
“Sorry for everything I did that led us to this point. And I get it, you know, if you hate me. Wouldn’t blame you at all. But I just need to tell you… I need you to know… that even when I was completely fucked up, I never once stopped loving you."
THIS. FUCKING. GIFT.
SHE WAS MY EVERYTHING. I AM INDEBTED TO A SIX YEAR OLD FOR REMINDING ME HOW PERFECT IT IS TO BE JUST YOURSELF.
Let me just get you started on a few moments, where Maddie stole the show. I closed the kindle multiple times and just saw there smiling like a complete idiot because of this child.
“Hesitantly, I knock, hearing a flurry of footsteps inside before the door yanks open, the little ball of energy in front of me, grinning.
“Madison Jacqueline!” Kennedy shouts, popping up in my line of sight. “What did I say about answering the door like that?”
“Oh.” Her eyes widen, and before I can say a word, she swings the door shut, slamming it in my face. I stand here for a moment before the door cracks open again, her head peeking out as she whispers, “You gots to knock.”
As soon as it shuts again, I tap on the door.
“Who’s there?” she yells.
“I’ll be Breezeo and Barbie can be Maryanne for you,” she says, sitting down on the floor and patting the wood beside her.
“Wait, shouldn’t I be Breezeo?”
“You’re him all the time, so it’s my turn now.”
Well, can’t argue with that logic.”
3) And After Maddie draws on her dad's cast and both of the loving parents are just having a moment...
“Yeah, well, real world, remember? You had to know it wouldn’t last.”
“Yeah,” he mumbles, though he doesn’t seem to like that fact, his attention now on the drawings covering his cast. He traces the colorful lines with his fingertips.”
Overall, I would just like to say that this book is not as plot dense as most new adults are with twists and shocks and story arcs across characters. It's perfect with it's simplicity. It's simplicity is what makes it such a complex story in a manner because we are left there with such intricately damaged and loving characters and we see them solve what they need to.
It was a wonderful journey - one that I would wish a lot more people find out about and read. This is one hell of a book and I don't think it will ever leave my system. <3
Note: This review has been sprinkled with all the chickens and breads, all the kale and if you look past the food, you might just see a piece of Alex's heart somewhere.
‘GHOSTED:’ Is a standalone second chance romance novel by J.M. Darhower, spoken in 'Dual Perspectives' In this we meet Kennedy Garfield & Jonathan Cunningham. Their story isn't pretty, but it's their story..And it's a story that must be told.
A second chance romance about a boy who loved a girl, who turns into a man that loves a woman.
I don’t know what it was about this book but as soon as I opened up that first page, and started reading I was hooked, this author just has a way with words, a unique storyline that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until you’ve inhaled that very last page. God the feels that came rushing at me, the love I felt consumed me, normally I’m not really a fan of second chance romances because you kind of know the layout of the story, past they break up, then they make up end of story, but this was done in such an outstanding way like pieces of a puzzle we’d be given pieces of their past that we’d make sense of to complete their future.
There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said about this book!! What I loved most about it was the simplicity of it, the realness of it, you could see every scene in this book unfold in real life, nothing was over dramatised. So very life like.
If you've not read this book it comes with a highly recommend stamp from yours truly!! Take the plunge, one click you won't regret it, fall in love with these characters just like I did.