Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Release Day Launch: GOOD by S. Walden {Review + Excerpt + Giveaway}

I am excited to be taking part in the release day event for GOOD by S. Walden. Below I share my review for the book and you can also find an excerpt PLUS don't forget about the Giveaway! Thank you for stopping by! -Hootie

Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication Date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Penny Press 
Series: Too Good #1
Pages: 371
Format: Kindle/ARC
Source: Provided by author for tour

Cadence Miller is a good girl. She just happens to make one terrible mistake her junior year in high school which costs her ten months in juvenile detention. Now a senior, she’s lost everything: her best friend, the trust of her parents, driving privileges, Internet access. It’s a lonely existence.But there is one bright spot: Mark Connelly, her very cute, very off-limits 28-year-old calculus teacher. She falls hard for him—a ridiculous schoolgirl crush headed nowhere. She can’t help it. He’s the only good thing at Crestview High. She doesn’t expect him to reciprocate her feelings. How inappropriate, right? But he does. And he shows her. And that’s when her life goes from bad to good.

My Take:
I have always been intrigued by student/teacher relationships, ever since Mary Kaye what's her face and that Asian kid hooked up. I always wondered what has to be going on in the mind and heart of the student to be attracted to someone so much older. GOOD was everything I hoped it would be and so much more and provided valuable insight into this type of situation.

First I have to say that the author did a wonderful job pacing out the development of the relationship between student Cadence Miller and her math teacher Mark Connelly. They met while Cadence was serving her juvenile detention sentence picking up trash on the highway. When she walked into his classroom on the first day of school her senior year the attraction started. I loved how it wasn't a "Just add water" type of relationship with Mark and Cadence. Mark did everything he could to resist getting involved with Cadence because he knew he could lose everything and since Cadence had a problem being bullied because of her problems with the law he didn't want to add anything extra to her list of problems. 

Cadence was young but also more mentally mature than most of her peers and that was the ultimate attraction for Mark. She knew she made a mistake getting in trouble with the wrong people and worked hard to be Good and prove herself to be trustworthy to her parents. Her parents were devout Christians and expected her to earn back their trust. I felt I could identify with Cadence because she starts to question her beliefs and the motives behind her actions involving them. Just one slip up on her part and her church turned their backs on her and judged her to be a bad person. I've had my own bad experiences with church people and knew exactly what Cadence was going through during her torment. Her relationship with Mark was exactly what she needed because she felt like she had nobody who cared or understood and I was happy she finally felt some happiness. Of course she had her moments where her age showed from time to time, especially when she faces a bout of jealousy over Mark and another teacher having an innocent conversation. Despite all that though she understood what was at stake, not only for herself but for Mark as well. I think she showed great maturity by understanding and respecting the situation.

Mark's character was so well done. He was gentle, caring and patient with Cadence. I was nervous about liking him at first because I didn't know his true intentions but watching as their love progressed throughout the story he really proved himself. He didn't rush Cadence into anything physical and took great care of her when things finally got to that level. I loved watching him care for her and make sure she took care of herself and his genuine worry about her well being stole my heart. He had his moments where he would let his authority go to his head and ended up pissing me off when he let his anger at a fight he had with Cadence spill over into the classroom. What I loved most about both characters was how it didn't take them long to talk things out and reconcile. I loved watching Mark guide Cadence along in their relationship and how he understood what she needed when she couldn't vocalize her desires. Their chemistry was amazing and wasn't creepy at all to me. I expected to feel a little weird about their sexual chemistry but I fell so hard for them that it wasn't even a factor and thank God for that because they had some REALLY intense and steamy scenes. They complimented each other so well in this story. Cadence brought out his playful side and Mark helped her see things from an adult perspective.

There were several supporting characters that added both humor and drama to the plot. Avery became one of my favorite secondary characters in all the books I have read. She was snarky and hilarious. She becomes Cadence's ally when they both use each other as a cover to spend time with their men. I could see SO MUCH of myself in Avery's character. Her quick wit and sarcastic personality made me laugh several times and I loved watching their businesslike relationship blossom into a real friendship. Gracie, Cadences' once best friend was one of those characters who have no redeeming qualities. Not only did she turn her back on her friend when she made a mistake but she does something cold hearted out of anger that causes problems for Mark and Cadence. I wouldn't mind seeing Gracie get run over in the next book. The surprise character of the book for me was Fanny, a sweet older lady Cadence meets while on a youth project for her church. Fanny became a valuable confidant for Cadence and helped her understand the ways of the world and love. Her stories were funny and endearing and I loved how blunt she was about everything. I think she was exactly what Cadence needed during this crucial time in her life. 

The relationship between Mark and Cadence wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. They have issues to work out and by the time I got to the end of the book they faced down a major obstacle I can't wait to see the conclusion of in the second installment. GOOD was in a word....well.. GOOD! I absolutely loved this book, the characters and the excitement I felt while reading it made this a memorable reading experience for me. Walden has a way of sucking you into her stories that you forget everything around you which is why she has become one of my go to authors for good stories. This wasn't a short book by any means but I was so into it I couldn't put it down until I was finished. This is one of those books I could definitely read again and again. If you love stories about unconventional couples who fight all odds to be together, with characters who have fabulous chemistry and hilarious moments in between then you should read GOOD immediately.

I locked eyes with him. His were a steely blue. Almost completely gray, actually. Smoky, sensual irises that could teach me everything I needed to know about math and love and beauty and sex. And how the world was created. And how gravity works. And how chemicals react. ARC/Kindle 4%

“I find you utterly fascinating, Cadence. I want to learn everything about you and how your brain works and what you like to read and learn and all the stuff that makes you so very female.” ARC/Kindle 54%

“How are you so wise at eighteen?” I asked. I meant to be a little teasing, but she answered seriously. “I read a lot of Cosmo and erotica,” Avery replied. “And the Bible. I read that, too.” “Don’t be disrespectful,” I said. “I’m not,” Avery huffed. “I do read the Bible, you little cunt. I just finished Galatians last night.” ARC/Kindle 65%

{Click the banner to follow the tour}

As soon as I heard the music start, I knew it was time to go in. I placed the rest of the programs on a nearby table and tentatively walked inside the sanctuary. I slipped into our usual row and tried my hardest not to look at Mr. Connelly. But it was impossible, and when I did glimpse him, I saw a tiny smile playing on his lips. What was that? I rolled my eyes and directed my attention to the large screen on stage that highlighted the words to the current song.
Ours was your typical big ass non-denominational church complete with Starbucks-toting attendees, a church band that liked to play U2 hits before the service, and a pastor who always wore jeans. He did more teaching than preaching, which I liked very much, never having been the type of girl who enjoys being yelled at or sweated on.

The church was more an auditorium than a classic sanctuary, and there were no pews. Just rows and rows of cushioned chairs. No hymnals. No cross up front. No pulpit. None of the traditional “churchy” things. We rarely took communion. And many people dressed inappropriately, at least according to my mom. She went livid the first time she saw a teenage girl walk in wearing sweatpants with the word “Juicy” plastered on her butt.
After the offering was collected, Pastor Tom took the stage and began his lesson. Mr. Connelly didn’t have a Bible, and while the verses were displayed on the screen up front, I shared with him. Another clich├ęd habit: when you see someone without a Bible, you share yours. I shouldn’t have, though, because when he leaned into me to get a better look at the page, I smelled his cologne. And it made me feel something I wasn’t supposed to feel inside a sanctuary. Or auditorium. Holy auditorium. Whatever.

“So it’s really about weighing options: what I can do versus what I should do,” Pastor Tom continued. “We have the will to choose. That’s how God designed us. Free will. Everything’s permissible. Go on and do it. But understand the consequences first.”
I inhaled deeply, almost tasting the cologne on my tongue, and wanted to rest my head on Mr. Connelly’s shoulder.

“Let’s read this verse again,” Pastor Tom said. “Paul says, ‘Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive’. So yeah, you can do whatever you want, right? Sure. But why would you do something that would ultimately harm you? What you really need to ask yourself before you engage in anything is, ‘Does this glorify God or me?’”
Mr. Connelly has nice lips.
“And why don’t we take it completely out of the “Christian” context for a minute,” the pastor went on.

I wonder what it would be like to kiss them.
“Whether you believe in God or not, whether you’re a Christ-follower or not, Paul’s words resonate with all of us. Ask yourself this: I’m permitted to do whatever I want, but how will it affect my life, my health, my relationships, my friendships, my community? Because whether you’re a Christian or not, those things matter. And unless you’re completely self-destructive, you want to live a healthy life. You want to have healthy relationships. You want what’s best for your community.”

What am I thinking? I can’t kiss my math teacher!
“So, in essence, that’s living ‘beneficial’,” Pastor Tom explained.
But maybe I could kiss him. Just a little.
You think that’s a good idea, Cadence? I heard my conscience ask. I mean, have you not been paying attention to the lesson for the last thirty minutes?

What lesson?
The lesson about not doing things you shouldn’t be doing. Like your math teacher, for one. Pay attention! my conscience cried.
I shook my head and huffed.
I was only fantasizing, I argued.
And that’s where the trouble begins.
Whatever, I replied.

At the end of the lesson, we sang one more song. I didn’t sing any of the songs in the beginning of the service because I was too nervous being so close to Mr. Connelly. But I couldn’t resist the closing song, and sang along with the crowd, forgetting for a moment that Mr. Connelly was standing beside me until he mentioned my singing after church.
“You have a really pretty voice, Cadence,” he said.
“Thank you,” I replied, eyes glued to the floor.
“If there was a choir, you ought to be in it,” he went on.
“No choir here. This is a contemporary church,” I said, grinning.
“I gathered as much. And I suppose ‘contemporary’ defines a place of worship that, in no way, resembles a traditional church?” he asked.

“You got it,” I replied.
“It’s very sneaky,” he said.
I laughed. “Sneaky?”
“Oh yes. You make it look this attractive, and who can resist?” he asked.

I instinctively smoothed my hair. I knew he was referring to our church service, but the way he looked at me suggested he was really talking about me. It was that same look. The one from Highway 28.

Promo Sale
Three days only on Amazon! S. Walden is dropping the price of Going Under to only .99¢ on Amazon to help celebrate the release of Good during the Release Day Blitz from August 27 - 29!

Grand Prize: SIGNED paperback of Good by S. Walden & $25 Amazon Giftcard
3 Winners: FREE eBook copy of Good by S. Walden

S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it. She loves her fans and loves to hear from them. Email her at swaldenauthor@hotmail.com and follow her blog at http://swaldenauthor.blogspot.com where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.


{To celebrate Release Day GOOD is only 99 cents!!}


  1. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Good and let me tell you it was INCREDIBLE.

  2. Ok, well I bought this one yesterday. I really liked the quotes and what you said about the book. Looking forward to it!

  3. You totally sold me w/the screen caps you've posted. Good sounds hilarious and I bought it, despite my heavy reservations on student/teacher relationships. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Dang! You have to like this one and I cannot read it! Just can't do the teacher/student thing being a teacher.


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