September 19, 2013

Blog Tour : Back to Life by Danielle Allen


Sahara Lee has spent the last ten years living with the guilt of a tragic accident and its aftermath. That night irrevocably changed the outgoing, fun-loving college freshman into an introverted, workaholic with no social life. Sahara isolates herself from everyone and everything that reminds her of home in an effort to forget what happened. Using art as a substitute for love, Sahara throws herself into music and art as a way to feel something other than the guilt that haunts her. She accepts her lonely existence as penance for the role she played in the accident. That is, until she meets Tyree Barker, the good looking entrepreneur with baggage of his own.

Blindsided by a legal loophole, Sahara is suddenly forced to confront the past she’s been running from. Juggling the guilty feelings of her past and the unexpected feelings of her present, Sahara’s future becomes complicated as she heads down a path of forgiveness, love, and heartbreak…and not in that particular order.

Back to Life reminds you that living and existing are two completely different ways to go through life. Grief will break you but guilt, guilt will destroy you. And once that happens, what can bring you back to life?

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Well this book will throw you through the ringer and back again. I would re-summarize the book, but the synopsis does a very good job doing that for me, thank you Danielle :)

Man, where do I begin? First of all, no one should go that long living with all of that guilt that she's dealing with post-"traumatic event".

Well, Sahara lives a very dormant and busy life, she does what she can to stay engaged in her work, music (especially her playlist), to keep what's haunting her at bay. It's completely heartbreaking to see someone do this to herself, she is punishing herself. And no one should ever go through that kind of pain and nor should they punish themselves for something they didn't do.

Thankfully, beautiful Tyree comes into her life and of course, lives pretty damn close to her; wakes up her life again. Sahara has suppressed a lot of things for nearly 10 years, and he slowly coax it out of her. And he helps her get through the guilt, it will definitely take time for her, but little by little, we start to see the light shine through.

Their relationship is rather amazing, I love them together so much. Ty is such a thoughtful and caring man and Danielle did such a great job showing that through her words. As much as my heart constantly broke for Sahara, I loved seeing her happy side, when it came out.

I'll let you in on a little something, Sahara isn't the only one with some baggage. Don't mind me, I'm a little slow to figure things out, but man, you'll be in for a treat ... (and it's not a good one). Advice to all you couples out there : " Be honest and always communicate with one another. There's no such thing as an inopportune moment to say something. "

As for the supporting characters, I love her best friend, Emily! She is definition of what a best friend should be. Even though Sahara kept her out for all of those years, Emily never game up and always stayed in touch. And we get to see more of Emily towards the end of the book.

And then there's Emmanuel, Emily's brother & Sahara's first love, AND I'm not his biggest fan. Case closed.

So, I gave this book a 4.5 because I'm not a fan of cliffhanger endings ... I know that's a poor reason, but hey, that's the only reason for the 4.5. Everything else was flawless, I love this book! And I'm so excited for her next one, Back to Reality, which comes out next month. I just have to know what happens.

Danielle, you're an amazing writer and I can't wait to read more of your work ... and I'll constantly be in touch via facebook ;)



I put my ear to the door and strained to hear the front door close. Not able to hear anything, I waited a few more minutes. I splashed water on my face and willed myself to calm down. I opened the door and peeked down the hall. I didn’t see or hear anyone so I looked for the room with my stuff in it.

Closing the door behind me, I flipped on the light switch and looked around the guest bedroom. A wooden four poster full size bed with a pretty floral comforter complimented the wooden dresser and TV stand. I lifted my luggage onto the brown ottoman beside the bed so I could put away my clothing. The room was small, but clean. I searched for my pink sweatpants that I packed to lounge in. Finding them, I threw them on the bed. I was in the midst of finding my white T-shirt when the door flew open unexpectedly, banging against the wall.

I screamed and spun around. He charged toward me and grabbed my face. Crashing his lips against mine, he kissed me with enough passion to take my breath away. Butterflies spread across my belly as his full lips overpowered my own. Impulsively, I moaned and when my mouth opened, his tongue grazed mine sending shivers up and down my spine. Before I registered what was happening, it was over. He took a step back and his eyes flashed with the same intensity as that fleeting kiss. We stood staring at one another for a moment.

Oh my God, I thought with wide eyed shock. I was winded and my skin tingled with desire. I felt flushed and I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but the buzz of my phone shattered the moment before I could formulate an intelligent thought. As if awakening from a dream, we both started talking at the same time.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” he announced as he started to back out of the room.

“Where did that come from?” I inquired as I picked up my phone without looking at it.

We both stopped, contemplating the other’s remark. Our eyes never left one another.

About the Author

I am a married event planner and life coach. My awesome friends and family and my amazing husband make my life sweet. I love to have fun and enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with. I love shopping and football with equal fervor. I’m an amateur movie critic (i.e. my husband and I watch and critique a lot of movies for fun). I love to read and I enjoy sharing my love of books with anyone who will listen. I love music. A good lyric with a good melody can paint a vivid picture and invoke such a range of emotions. I have a soft spot for most mediums of creative, artistic expression. With degrees in psychology, human services, and marriage and family counseling, I have a unique perspective on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As an author, I combine an active imagination and life experiences to create stories that are easily relatable and intentionally intriguing. I want to offer you a peek into someone else’s life and for you to get lost in their story, their trials, their triumphs. My ultimate goal is to create a character or a story that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.
So in a nutshell: I plan. I teach. I read. I write. I watch. I critique. I shop. I play. I love.
To know me is to love me.

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