Thursday, March 1, 2018

"Things You Can’t Take" by Erin Lockwood

Things You Can’t Take
by Erin Lockwood

Things You Can’t Take by Erin Lockwood

Things You Can’t Take by Erin Lockwood is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on Angles: Part 1 and my blog post on All of the Rogers.

How far would you go for your best friend?
Abigail and Kessia shared a childhood bond that couldn't be broken. Challenged, yes - but never broken.
Born into Hollywood lineage, Kessia understood the risks and pressures of celebrity life and willingly dedicated hers to serving and protecting her best friend’s rise to stardom. But when Abigail learns of Kessia’s own behind-the-scenes battles with a predator, her sense of friendship drives her down a path that blurs the lines between loyalty and revenge at all costs.

We’re belting out a song from Abigail’s playlist when Barry pulls into the studio lot.
“Okay, turn it down!” Abigail shouts over the music.
“No, keep it up!” I yell. “I love this song.”
Barry, of course, listens to Abigail.
“I can’t,” she starts to yell but realizes she’s shouting when the music has been turned off. “I can’t let them hear me singing a promiscuous song. It’s irresponsible. I’m a role model,” she says softer. “Child actors have a higher rate of getting into trouble instead of moving onto bigger careers as adults.”
I roll my eyes a little. “We’re just having fun,” I mumble to myself. “It’s just a song.”
I throw my badge lanyard over my head before getting out of the car. Abigail hoists her Louis Vuitton purse over her shoulder, and we walk into the studio. It looks like a big airplane hangar.
“I’m gonna miss this,” Abigail says to me.
I hook my arm through hers. “I know, but we have Paris to look forward to.”
She smiles and perks up. We say hello to people as we walk by, making our way to her dressing room.
As soon as the door closes behind us, there’s a knock.
“Come in!” Abigail shouts.
“How’s my favorite star?” Pete Hallman’s head pops out from behind the door.
With my back to him, I make a face as if I were gonna throw up. He pushes the door all the way open and steps in, closing it behind him. I feel as if the air has been sucked out of the room.
At least Abigail is here. I panic inside whenever I’m alone with him. I always try to find an excuse to leave as soon as possible.
Abigail moves to him and reaches her arms out to hug him. “Hi, Pete. How are you?”
“I’m very well, thanks,” he says to her. Then, he looks my way. “How about you, Kessia? Where’s my love?” He puts his arms out and expects me to touch him.
I’ve never told Abigail the extent of how uncomfortable he makes me because I can tell she doesn’t feel the same way. It’s also partly because of how I was raised. My mom insists that producers, and directors are like gods and goddesses. I always have to use my absolute best manners.
Abigail and I have known Pete since we were seven when Abigail joined the cast of Heart of the Family, playing the youngest daughter. Now, she’ll be filming the final episodes in Paris soon.
“Of course. Hi, Pete,” I say to him and move closer to hug him.
When his arms wrap around me, he lets his fingers fall under the top of my jean shorts, touching my bare skin on my backside. His hand almost goes so far down that he could cup my butt cheek with his palm, but he stops and pulls his hand out before Abigail notices anything.
Pete stands up and backs away, as if nothing ever happened. It makes me feel crazy for thinking that something did happen.
His hand touched my butt.
I just wish someone could see what he does so that I don’t have to be the one who says something.
It’s not just Abigail. Nobody ever seems to notice. If they did, they might not say anything anyway since he’s the studio’s most successful and awarded producer. “Walking Gold,” is what Entertainment Weekly once referred to him as. “Unstoppable,” was in another publication.
I step back, giving myself even more distance from Pete, and pretend to organize Abigail’s vanity.
“So, Pete, what’s up?” Abigail asks.
He leans back on his heels and rubs his round belly. “I thought I’d pop in and watch the final studio taping. We might have a project for you.”
Abigail looks surprised. “Really? That would be great. I’ll have Tammy call you.”
Pete’s eyes dart to me before looking at Abigail again.
“All right. You go get ’em, kid.” He puts his arm around Abigail and taps her lower back. He takes a step toward me and does the same thing, except his hand lands a little lower.
Too low.
When he leaves the room, I feel like I can finally take a breath again.
“This is great news,” Abigail says to herself, grabbing her phone. “Hey”—she excitedly looks up at me—“did I ever tell you that Pete—”
“You should probably call Tammy,” I quickly interrupt her. I do not want to hear anything about Pete.
“Right,” she says, putting the phone to her ear, calling her agent.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“It's a timely novel, given all that is happening with #metoo and the Women's March 2018; so many of my conversations with moms swirl around what it means to raise our daughters with awareness, and how we can best keep them safe. While it's difficult to describe this as an "easy read" given the topic, I was caught up in the storyline and characters, and found that I finished reading the book all too quickly. Probably the most meaningful novel from Erin Lockwood yet!!” ~ Sara Banchard
“I strongly recommend reading this book as it can be very enlightening both with regards to sexual predators hiding their behavior just enough to not get caught and as a reminder that help is always available if we just know to look for it and aren’t afraid to ask for help.” ~ Katinka
“I hope with all my heart y’all read this book. It is worth reading. I honestly can’t tell y’all how much I loved it. It’ll steal a piece of your heart and hopefully it changes you and makes you want to create more awareness.” ~ Diana Laura (The Bookish Sisters)
“Last night I purchased this novel at Erin’s book signing, and within 24 hours I was done! It’s almost like I NEEDED it to be done (content) yet I was NOT wanting it to be over (so into it I couldn’t put it down). I’m so proud of Erin’s 4th book and the tough topic it dug into. Her passion and energy was felt through each page and this is worth the emotion it evokes in the reader. Well done Erin Lockwood.” ~ Jilayne Smith

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
The book begins when Kessia and Abigail meet as six-year-olds on the set of a television commercial, where they gain each other’s trust and quickly become best friends. While Abigail loves acting, Kessia hates it. So, it’s no surprise when Kessia eventually quits acting and becomes Abigail’s assistant. We follow these two girls over the next two decades, through their highs and lows, their triumphs and tragedies.
The story is told alternately from the points-of-view of Kessia and Abigail. Unfortunately, their voices are so similar that I often forgot who was narrating. I’m not a fan of the writing style: the sentences are short and choppy, there is an overabundance of awkwardly used verb qualifiers, the main characters spend too much time pondering and not enough time doing, and the writing is lacking in emotion.
On top of that, the plot is predictable, repetitive, and full of clich├ęs; the characters’ actions are hard to believe; and the author uses her narrative as a thinly veiled excuse to lecture us on sexual assault. Too bad she doesn’t lecture us on the use of guns.
Despite all of the above, this is a very timely story, which can be used to open up a dialogue with vulnerable teens about sexual assault committed by a person of power. It also conveys a nice message about being brave and speaking out, and it gives us the hope that even terrible events can result in happy endings.
There is a handy list of resources for victims of sexual assault at the end of the book.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual assault (not graphic).

About the Author
Erin Lockwood
Erin Lockwood grew up in Castro Valley, California and attended the University of Oregon, where she graduated in 2003 with a degree in journalism. From there she moved to Denver and spent the next seven years searching for the love of her life and building the family of her dreams.
It wasn’t long until, with children starting preschool and more time on her hands, Erin refocused on her career, beginning with a successful entry into the world of residential real estate as a Realtor. Free time was spent reading book after book (and binge-watching the subsequent films) in the New Adult genre. Feeling hopelessly in love with her husband, she wrote him a short story leading up to their fifth wedding anniversary. That’s when she discovered her tireless passion to share her experience of falling in love through fictional characters. That story evolved into the first novel in the Angles trilogy.
Erin still lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Phil, and their three children.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.