Monday, September 30, 2013

Blog Tour Review: Be My Downfall by Lyla Payne

Be My Downfall
Whitman University #3
Author: Lyla Payne
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: September 20, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Toby Wright has always prided himself on being one of the most normal guys at Whitman University. He loves his parents, has a great job lined up after graduation, and with the exception of attempting to cross the unbalanced Sebastian Blair sophomore year, has kept his nose pretty clean.

But the rich never have empty closets, and memories long stashed away come spilling free when notorious party girl Kennedy Gilbert almost dies in his dorm room.

Nobody really knows how Kennedy manages to stay in good standing at Whitman–she never goes to class, doesn’t pretend to care about her future, and as far as people can tell, is never sober. This isn’t her first meeting with a stomach pump, but it is the first time she’s woken up to Toby’s concerned brown eyes. Despite the fact that she prefers life without friends, he gets under her skin with his insistence on playing her guardian angel.

No one knows better than Toby that people can only be saved if they want to be, but the realization that she has no one else draws him back into the shadows of Kennedy’s life–and eventually into her bed. But she long ago came to terms with a truth that Toby refuses to accept: she doesn’t want to be rescued, she only wants to forget.

Unwilling to give up on her, Toby’s dragged under by this broken girl and her dark, twisted Whitman University he never guessed existed. If he struggles to the surface, he’ll abandon someone he loves for the second time in his life. If he doesn’t, it won’t be long until they both drown.


This is my first Whitman University read, even though it is the third book and I can’t believe I haven’t read the other two. It was a deep and inspiring story of love, loss and healing. Both characters have suffered great tragedy and handled their situation in very different ways. While Toby is an over-achiever and Kennedy is the exact opposite, they have one thing in common; neither of them really feels anything until they meet each other.

Toby is sweet, smart, and a really good guy. He’s a bit of an introvert but it’s mostly because he is the son of a senator and he has to live his life on the straight and narrow. He has suffered a loss that has profoundly affected him but must suffer in silence because of his father’s position. This has caused him to feel this emptiness inside that can’t really be filled. He has casual sexual encounters but never holds a relationship because he feels nothing for any woman he meets. He has a passion for film and writing but he studies business to appease his father and decides to go into the business side even though it’s not what he wants. I think Toby is a bit of a people pleaser and he doesn’t always do what he wants but what others want for him.

Kennedy is messed up. I mean this girl has some serious issues and considering the loss she suffered, it’s easy to see why. However, I think she is way too hard on herself. She doesn’t feel like she deserves to be alive and she relishes in pain and suffering because it makes her feel something and reminds her that she is alive. She has no reason to feel guilt but she does and it propels her into a mess of alcohol and rough, punishing sex. I felt so sad for her because she really doesn’t deserve the life she’s living and it was rough to see her live her life the way she was.

Both Toby and Kennedy are just going through the motions of life but never really living or feeling any real emotions. When they meet, there is this instant connection that neither one of them expects. Toby knows he shouldn’t get involved with Kennedy and he tells himself this many times but something propels him to her. Both Toby and Kennedy feel something magical with each other and they really start to build this beautiful relationship and Kennedy finally opens up to Toby and it seems he is making real progress. I was so mad at Kennedy for running when things got real and my heart hurt for Toby because he was really falling for her and letting her go was really hard for him. However, he was always there for her and the way he protected her, even from afar was amazing.

I felt like this book had a really heavy feeling to it but it wasn’t depressing at all. I really felt for both Kennedy and Toby and found them perfect for each other because they seemed to be exactly what each other needed. Kennedy needed someone who really, truly cared to show her that she deserved to be happy and she had a life worth living. Toby needed someone to care for and show him that he didn’t need to be perfect, he just needed to be him. Kennedy motivated him to find himself and be who he really wanted to be. Despite the turmoil of their relationship and the way Kennedy pushed Toby away, I had faith that she would find her way back to him and he could help her reclaim her life and happiness again.

~IPOD Picks~
“Look After You” by The Fray
“Broken” by Lifehouse


*An eARC was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and unbiased.*


  1. Great review girl! I am definitely interested in this one eventually- but it does sound like the usual NA clich├ęs, so I may wait a bit before I get to it. Kennedy and Toby sound like good, solid characters though, and the senator's son aspect sounds intriguing!

  2. Thanks! It isn't too cliche but definitely another typical NA. I'm really interested in reading the first 2, eventually, someday :-)


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