Thursday, October 3, 2013

ARC Review + Dream Cast: Only for You by Genna Rulon

Only For You
Author: Genna Rulon
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“In its purest form love is self-sacrificing, eternal, selfless, enduring, truthful, forgiving and indulgent. It also feels an awful lot like a kick to the stomach when you try to fight it!” 

All Everleigh Carsen wanted to do was complete her final semester at Hensley University and begin the life she carefully planned. 

When a wave of violent crime seizes campus, Everleigh is persuaded to attend a school sponsored self-defense seminar by her best friend, where she meets volunteer instructor, Hunter Charles. After Everleigh’s biting sarcasm induces Hunter to eject her from class, a tempestuous relationship is born. 

Everleigh is determined to forget the striking man, but fate—that fickle shrew—continuously intervenes. Unable to escape him, she declares Hunter an enemy combatant. The only complication…Hunter is resolutely pursuing vindication…by any means necessary. Verbal warfare ensues, and despite Everleigh’s ingenious efforts, in Hunter, she has finally found her equal.

Only For You is a compelling tale of friendship, desire, and redemption—brimming with intelligent characters, witty dialogue, unexpected twists, profound sorrow, unfettered hope, and love’s unassailable perseverance.

• This story is appropriate for readers 18+
• Only For You is the first book in the For You series by Genna Rulon. Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone novel.

When Genna emailed me and asked if I would review Only for You, I was instantly intrigued by the synopsis. I definitely liked the sound of this contemporary novel and Genna is super sweet. To be honest, I read a lot of books that I love but not many that I truly want to savor and am disappointed when it’s over. Only for You was definitely a book to savor.


I was drawn into Only for You right from the prologue and I didn’t want to put it down until the end, and even then I just wasn’t ready to let go. It has such a perfect mix of romance, humor and suspense and was balanced so well that I was immersed from beginning to end.

Everleigh was awesome and she is absolutely one of my favorite female MC’s of the year. She is strong, smart and witty. She has been through a lot in her life but she’s always looking on the positive side and she really has a way with sarcasm and wit that gave me a sisterly kinship feeling to her character. I loved her loyalty to her friends and I liked the fact that even though she is a strong, confident woman, she still has insecurities and vulnerabilities that make her real. One of those vulnerabilities is Hunter.

“He regained the upper hand in our verbal sparring while I was making my escape. He was too quick, too unruffled. This was getting out of control, in other words—it was getting fun.”

Hunter is everything you could possibily want in a man. However, you have to crack his tough exterior to see the amazing guy inside. He is just as witty as Everleigh and can banter with the best of them but he’s also an intense guy and he takes his job very seriously. I loved how protective he became over Everleigh and how good of a friend he was to her. He is sexy, smart, kind and caring. I’m totally swooning over him right now.

“It was cruel. How could he be even more enticing than before.”

I freaking loved the interactions between Ev and Hunter. She’s witty and she knows it so when Hunter matches her jab for jab, she is instantly intrigued by him. Their very first interaction wasn’t exactly friendly so her desire to get to know him and befriend him is a bit of a surprise to her but as they grow closer, she sees all the amazing qualities in Hunter. He becomes her best friend and an essential part of her day to day life. Her initial misconception about Hunter was funny and interesting and I laughed at how she carried on with him based on that. I was waiting for her to realize her mistake and I loved the way things turned when she did. It was almost as if she was living in denial of her feelings and when she opened her eyes for the first time, it all became so clear. I loved that realization because I was rooting for them from the beginning. Hunter, however, if much better at fighting his attraction to Everleigh and even though he has a few weak moments, he is ultimately steadfast in his determination to only be friends. My heart broke for Ev when she laid it all out on the line and Hunter wouldn’t budge despite his obvious feelings for her. I truly wasn’t sure what would happen between them in the end.

“Plato said, “Love is a serious mental disease.” Damn that guy was smart.”

While Hunter and Everleigh were the meat and bones of this story, there were also some really great secondary characters as well. Sam is Ev’s best friend and I loved her. She is an amazing friend and she has always been there to support and love Everleigh. Ev wouldn’t be the person she is without Sam. Griffin is a really awesome guy too. He has Ev and Sam’s back and he watches out for them. He is also really smart and insightful and he becomes a great confidante for Ev, always giving her some great advice. Robbie is Sam’s boyfriend and he is a good guy but he definitely lacks the qualities that Hunter and Griffin possess and his inadequacies definitely come to light.

I was so impressed that this is a debut novel for Genna and was blown away by how well written the book was, how well the plot flowed together and how balanced the mystery, romance and humor was. While the building relationship between Hunter and Everleigh was the forefront of this novel, the mystery surrounding the attacks on students at Hensley was well incorporated. While I didn’t flat out predict the culprit of the attacks, I definitely wasn’t surprised to find out who it was. However, the attacks weren’t the primary focus of the plot so that didn’t bother me. I was more surprised by Hunter’s revelations at the end. I am over the moon for this book and I can’t wait for the second book in the series. 

~IPOD Picks~
“Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift/Ed Sheeran
 “Safe & Sound” by Capital Cities
“Forever & Always” by Parachute


~Genna’s Dream Cast~

People have been asking me left and right if I have a dream cast for Only For You.  I am not sure about a dream cast, as that would require me to consider acting abilities and such details way beyond my scope of knowledge, but I can give you visuals—who doesn’t love visuals? 

It was tough to find pictures that match the images in my mind, because the character’s, while fictional, are vividly real in my head.  I am going on the aesthetics in these specific pictures, because the same people in different photographs may not fit the picture in my head at all.

 About Everleigh Carsen:
Ev is very much the girl next door.  She is very pretty, but not over-the-top sexy or seductive.  She would stand out in a crowd, but not necessarily be the most traditionally beautiful woman in the room.  It’s Ev’s mouthy sarcasm that always guarantees she is noticed regardless of who else is nearby.  Her  quick wit is her trademark and she has earned her reputation for sassy and fun.  Ev is a ‘tell it like it is’ girl.

Everleigh’s life lesson in Only For You:
Responsibility.  One of the defining aspects of adulthood is responsibility.  Ev’s story is about her journey as a new adult fully into adulthood.  She must learn to take responsibility for her own actions and words, as well as those she loves.  She also must take responsibility for her own happiness by communicating her wants and needs, setting boundaries, letting go of what is not right for her, and embracing her chance at happiness.

About Hunter Charles:
Hunter is the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome.  He can make a woman stop dead in her tracks and take notice.  Let me tell you, his abs (in my mind)… TO. DIE. FOR.  More than just gorgeous, he is intelligent, funny, honest, and disciplined.  If I had to chose one word to describe Hunter it would be honorable.  That is the underlining character trait that influences his choices and actions throughout the story.

Hunter’s life lesson in Only For You:
Honor. Doing the right thing is often the hardest choice one must make.  Sacrificing your own wants to make honorable decisions can come at a high price, but in the end, we are defined by our actions and choices when right isn’t easy.

About Samantha Whitney:
Sam is the girl everyone wants as a best friend.  She is hysterical, open (perhaps too open at times), loving, generous, determined, and real.  Despite the fact that she is comfortable in who she is we see quick glimpse of self-doubt . Where Everleigh is all bite and fight, Sam is more empathetic beneath her humor.  The looks for the good in those around her and is trusting.  In may ways she is more insightful than Ev because she doesn’t let her assumptions blind her to the truth.

Sam’s life lesson in Only For You:
Life isn’t fair.  Sam learns the hardest lessons in this book and is still learning how to process and deal with these tough realities.  Being a good person does not prevent bad things from happening.  Being a good friend does not prevent betrayal.  Making the right decisions does not guarantee a favorable outcome.  Loving fully does not ensure equal love in return.  These are difficult truths we all have to face, though we rarely want to.  The question remains, now that Sam has learned these lessons, how will it shape and define the person she becomes.

About Griffin Evensen:
Griff is the man I want my boys to grow up to be (well, maybe one can grow up to be a Hunter and the other a Griffin, LOL).  Griff is strong, caring, fierce, and intelligent.  He was/is one of my favorite characters to write because you never know what is going on in his mind, unless he chooses to tell you, which he does…sometimes.  He isn’t manipulative, but he will orchestrate an opportunity to support his friends when they need him.  His humor is the most subtle of the group, but it is there mixed in with his sage advice.
FYI, Griffin is by far the hardest for me to find a picture for; this was the closest I came, but it’s still the least right.

      Griiffin’s life lesson in Only For You:
Patience and consistency!  With ourselves, with others, with circumstances beyond our control…life is an exercise in patience.  At times it may feel that those around us are getting what we so desperately want, and we must choose to support and share in their joy (or in Griffin’s case, be an integral part in facilitating that joy)  or become bitter and jaded.  It takes patience to wait for your turn or the right time to have your own dreams fulfilled.

About Robbie:
Robbie is…well, I’ll let you read about Robbie and make your own judgments, but this is a very good representation of what he looks like in my imagination.

About Genna:
Genna Rulon is an up-and-coming contemporary romance author.  Her debut novel Only For You will be released on September 24, 2013.   Her sophomore novel Pieces For You will be follow on December 17, 2013.
During her 15 years in the corporate world, Genna, inspired by her love of reading, fantasized about penning her own stories.  Encouraged by her favorite authors, many of whom are indie writers and self-published, she committed to pursue her aspirations of writing her own novels.
Genna was raised on Long Island in New York, where she still resides, surrounded by the most amazing family and friends.  Married to a wonderful man who patiently tolerates her ramblings about whichever book she is currently working on, even feigning interest relatively convincingly!  Genna is blessed with two little boys who do their best to thwart mommy's writing time with their hilarious antics and charming extrapolations. Her favorite Starbucks drink is the Salted Caramel Mocha!

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*An eBook copy was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*


  1. Wow, this sounds like some intense read. I'll definitely check it out. Great review! I love the in-text quotes.

    Johanna @ Challenging Reads

  2. That is a fantastic picture of Ian. =) I'm about halfway through this right now -loving it so far!

  3. I want this booooooooook!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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