Something Like Normal by Monica James
Series: Something Like Normal #1
Published by Limitless Publishing
Published on May 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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Mia Lee has a secret…
A secret she’s kept hidden since she was eight years old, however, Mia will no longer allow that secret to define her.
An irrevocable decision has left Mia Lee a fugitive and on the run—a circumstance that should leave her weak and scared, yet Mia has never felt so alive.
Under the pseudonym of Paige Cassidy, Mia is ready to live the life she’s never had, and she’s determined not to allow her tainted past dictate her promising future.
Paige is on a Greyhound bus heading from L.A. to South Boston, Virginia, to start a new life. A life that includes finding her mother, who abandoned her at age three. But what she finds, is four people, who will change her life forever.
Yet no one can outrun their past…
Especially one filled with bitter memories, which refuse to remain hidden.
Well, here’s to new beginnings.
‘Cause the past fucking sucked.
Mia has never had a normal life. Being raised completely by her drug-addicted father, she was pulled into his dark world at a very young age. By eight years old she was doing her father’s dirty work to support his habit. Now nineteen, she’s had enough and it’s led her to do something that makes her a fugitive on the run. With pretty much nothing to her name, she hops on a bus heading as far away from her old life as possible.
“I’m Paige. Paige Cassidy,” I reply.
The pseudonym rolls off my tongue easily.
But that’s who I am now.
Mia Lee was a victim.
But Paige Cassidy is a survivor.
Landing in small town, Virginia, Paige (Mia) soon makes some unlikely friends. Hank, “Grandpa,” gives her a place to stay and some work at his motel. She meets Tabitha and Tristan at the local diner, then there’s Quinn. This is where things get even more interesting… Quinn is a bit of a mystery to Paige for some time in the book. He shows up at the most random times and they have these intense moments.
I don’t say that lightly, this book has quite a few of those moments, you know, the ones that give you chills and make you stop reading afterward for a second and just say, “Whoa.” It’s not all about sex or pick up lines either, some of them took me by surprise by how deep they were. Don’t get me wrong though; there is some MAJOR SEXUAL TENSION! It was seriously the sweetest torture, exactly what I love about romance. Thank god for no insta-love and hopping straight into the sack!
“We both have secrets, things we both wish we could take back, but can’t. And that’s okay, because when I’m with you, those secrets don’t rule me, they don’t define me…”
I loved every moment of Paige learning to have friends and people who cared about her and vice versa. It’s one of my favorite misfit made families I’ve ever read about. It was like she was a baby deer learning to walk for the first time, completely naïve to how friendship works. She has had it so rough and her past is very dark but in so many ways she owns it. I just loved Paige/Mia. She was a refreshing heroine, not all whiney about her past or trying to hide it from the reader. We know the whole time what she’s done and exactly how she feels about it and that was so nice to see. Just brutally honest and raw.
This is the first time in my entire life I have felt something other than… well, nothing.
The suspense and mystery was balanced really well, we know a lot of what’s happening yet there so much we don’t know at the time that sneaks up on you. The last 20% or so had me completely glued to my kindle, madly flipping the pages to see what would happen. I was shocked more than once and had to pick my jaw up off the floor at one point. The ending is killer. It hurt, it was exciting, it was shocking, and I think it was exactly how it had to be. Some leading up to the ending did feel slightly rushed, but as far as where it ended all together, it was fitting for the story.
Overall, this was such a pleasant surprise. What started as a completely random, impulse read turned into a book I haven’t stopped thinking about since I finished it weeks ago. The writing was strong and everything felt very thought out, flowing really smoothly. I fell in love with the characters and was hooked the entire time. All I can say is, October better come quick because I NEED the next book!
Keep scrolling for an interview with Monica and a giveaway!!
It feels effortless. And it feels right.
We stay hugging for a few moments, and as I nestle closer to his chest, surrounded by his smell, I know that I’m in trouble. I have feelings for someone who is going to be really, really hard to say goodbye to when the time comes. But when did this happen? When was the exact moment my world got tipped on its axis, and shaken up beyond repair?
I should have stopped it, but who am I to stand in the way of something that was inevitable?
The sound of Quinn’s heart beating steadily against my ear is comforting, and if I close my eyes really tight, I can pretend that I’m just a normal girl, being wrapped up in the arms of her normal…boyfriend? But make believe is for dreamers, and I’m a realist. I will enjoy the here and now because I don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Q: How is Something Like Normal different than your previous novels?
Something like Normal was a very challenging novel for me to write. There is a lot of backstory, and to have my readers empathise with my main character, Mia, I had to ensure I told her story in a way that was short, concise, and explained why she did what she did, and not bore everyone in the process. I wanted the story to be more of an Adult Contemporary genre, as opposed to New Adult, which my first series, The I Surrender Trilogy was. This story is quite gritty, and a little dark, but that’s how I envisioned the story being told, and I tried to stay true to my plot and characters. This story is not a traditional love story, and overall, I see the main love story as my main character learning to love herself after hating herself for the majority of her life.
Q: What was your inspiration for this book? Is any of it taken from real life?
The inspiration evolved from a simple idea I had about a girl running away from a sordid past, and wanting to change who she was. She wanted to find her ‘normal’ in a not so normal world. And to do that, she inadvertently found her normal with a bunch of ‘misfits.’ I wanted to express that normalcy is over-rated LOL and that normal or not, whatever makes you happy, is what matters the most.
The actual storyline itself is all fiction, however, the concepts of wanting to belong, insecurities, naïveté, first experiences, they were written with personal experiences in mind, as we all can relate to these emotions.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene or one that was the easiest/hardest to write?
This is a great question. The easiest for me to write was Mia and Quinn bickering. They were talking to me, and I couldn’t write fast enough! There honestly wasn’t anything that I found difficult. This story flowed from beginning to end. However, there were some scenes where I cried LOL you know which, I am sure ;)
My favourite, I guess that would be when Mia falls into Quinn’s room. That scene was so vivid, I felt like I was Mia for a moment!
Q: There is some MAJOR unresolved sexual tension going on in this book. It’s like the best kind of torture… lol Did you always plan it that way? And is that the kind of romance/tension you look for when you read? (I LOVE IT!)
I LOVE IT too! I think there is nothing sexier than having a couple hating and loving one another in the same breath. Mia and Quinn, they are very complex, stubborn characters, and it made sense their relationship would follow the same path. I always saw Quinn being the cocky, over-confident smart ass, guarding secrets just as horrid as Mia. So it was inevitable that they loved/hated each other, as they, as Quinn says, ‘Are cut from the same cloth.’ There is more to come in book 2!! And yes, I love that tension when I read. It’s the best kind of torture ;)
Q: Can you give us any details about what we can expect from the rest of the series?
Of course. There are 4 books in this series, and book 2 is about Mia’s past catching up to her, and I am not talking about just her dad! She has a lot of skeletons in her closet, and let’s just say, one of those skeletons are out for payback. It also sees Mia and Quinn’s relationship grow, and Mia trying to be a normal 19 year old, whilst dealing with issues a typical 19 year old doesn’t usually have to deal with. The rest of the books unravel more about Mia’s past, and her journey of finding her, ‘normal.’
Q: What is your writing routine, are you a big planner or do you just see where the story takes you?
Honestly, I just see where the story takes me. Everything ALWAYS changes, and what I think may work in my head, ends up changing on paper. Most times, I surprise myself with the stuff I come up with :) I blame coffee and sleep deprivation LOL
Any hidden talents?
I can sleep through anything!
30 Seconds to Mars
Beauty and the Beast
Anything by Dr. Seuss
One thing you can’t live without?
Top things on your bucket list?
Travel, and pat all the Chihuahua’s from, ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua.’
Thanks for chatting with me, Monica! <3