Review and Excerpt: Holden's Regrets by Diane Zparkki

Holden's Regrets
HOLDEN'S REGRETS
Diane Zparkki
Series: Branson's Kind of Love Book 2
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 25, 2018
Second chance love with secrets to be revealed
Ever since they were kids, Shannon has been in love with her best friend's old brother, Holden. She once hoped that Holden would come to his senses and accept that they are meant to be together.
Holden, on the other hand, only ever saw Shannon as his kid sister's best friend, and a royal pain with her crush. That was, until one night in college when his sister and Shannon visited him. That was when Holden saw Shannon for the beautiful, vibrate young woman she had grown into.
When he returned home from college, he planned to declare his feelings to her; to tell her that he realized what he had been denying all these years and to give them a chance. However, he was too late. Shannon had finally taken the hint and moved on, dating another man, one she agreed to marry. The only place left for Holden was in the friend zone.
In a turn of fate, circumstances change and Shannon feels like she has no choice but to leave town with a secret of her own. Holden, meanwhile, will do anything to mend their friendship and hopefully build it into something more.
Will Holden be able to handle the surprises that are coming his way and continue to love Shannon the way he really wants to? Can Shannon trust the man who drove her out of her home and hurt her yet again?
"This was a great read and although I shouldn't have liked Holden to begin with but I did because I felt his pain and understood he was lost in the sorrow of his bad decisions. He had to hit rock bottom before he could make things right. It made it real for me."
- Anne Citro, Goodreads Reviewer
"This book has a lot of twists. Some you may see coming, but not all. Zparkki did well in keeping a lot under wraps so things will blow up in your face in the end."
- Kristin Campbell, Goodreads Reviewer

Review

Diane Zparkki did it again. She created an absolute tearjerker that had me blinking fast several times, if not outright wiping my cheeks. Holden's Regrets is not a typical romance, because for one, it's almost 50% into the story before our hero and heroine meet each other again, although of course they did share a past that haunted them to the present day. For another, we start off the book seeing our hero in an alcohol-fueled dump, which is not the usual case for a romance. As in, he wouldn't even have been in the running for the title of "romance book hero of the year". But what's good about it is that we see his growth, we see how he changed and why he decided to have this change. A third reason is well, the romantic development is not center stage of the story. It's maybe about 30% of the story, and this includes scenes from their past. Although, Holden did hold up his part in the groveling department and that was a great epilogue, so I'm inclined to be forgiving.

The story was well-written and told in a smooth manner, with few highs and lows. There were some suspenseful moments, but those were toward the end of the story. I do love the surprising revelations though--those I didn't see coming. If you're looking for a read that would give you all the feels, pick this one up.

Rating: 5 stars

Excerpt

The tables had turned at the Branson family dinners. For years the focus had been on Sydney, worrying about her state of mind and the stalker no one could catch. Now the spotlight had turned to me.

My family would never pry into my life, but the heaviness around the dinner table was thick. I remembered how Sydney would escape these dinners by quickly eating her food then moving into the kitchen to help Mom with the cleanup. I chose to have a different approach to the family’s loud silence. I simply sat quietly with an asshole attitude written all over my face, daring them to bring up any subject that would piss me off. I welcomed the fight.

Why didn’t I just stop coming?

“Sydney, your cell is ringing,” Mom called from across the kitchen.

Sydney jumped up and skidded across the kitchen floor to get her phone out of her bag. “Hello?”

Our meal continued as normal until we heard Sydney shouting Shannon’s name in surprise. Then all eyes went to her.

We watched her moving around the room with one hand holding her phone to her ear, while she covered her other ear to block out the noise, which there wasn’t any because everyone else was frozen in place, trying to listen. Meanwhile, I chose to ignore the whole thing, reaching for the roasted chicken marinated in buttermilk, crusted in cornflakes, and baked to a perfect golden crisp.

The only reason I knew those ingredients was because it was my favorite meal that Mom made. I had noticed most of our family dinners recently had consisted of my favorite meals.

Everyone’s eyes went between Sydney and me as I made my plate. They were most likely shocked that I wasn’t acknowledging the phone call. Why would I? She had moved on, not looking back. A courtesy call was all it was, and at the request of Liz.

“Are you not curious about what Shannon has to say?” Mom whispered, not to disturb everyone else who was eavesdropping.

My dad watched me as I answered, shocking my mom with my response.

“Nope. Don’t care.” With no emotion, I dug into my chicken as though it was my last meal.

Sydney swiped her phone to end the call and put it back in her bag before returning to the table with a confused look on her face.

Everyone was waiting to hear what Shannon had said.

“That was Shannon,” Sydney said as she sat down next to Jaxon, her face unreadable.

I knew what I was feeling, though, and it was not happiness.

“What did she say?” Jaxon asked as though he didn’t know a thing, putting his arm around her chair and trying to give the illusion that he was honestly engrossed in what she had to say.

“She really didn’t say anything. Just that she’s fine and not to worry. She wouldn’t tell me where she was, though.”

That wasn’t sitting well with Sydney, nor the rest of the family. My parents had a ton of questions that they started firing off. Of course Liz, Logan, and Jaxon said nothing, allowing my parents to ask. They just sat there quietly with no expressions on their faces, probably afraid it would give them away.

“I just don’t get it, Mom. Why would she leave like that? Why would she lie about going to school? I feel bad. Shannon blames herself for everything that happened to me.”

“I don’t think Shannon is thinking that,” Liz quickly spoke up. “She’s probably worried that, if she was around, it would be a reminder to you of the trouble Danny caused you, and that it would take you longer to heal and get back on your feet.”

“But that’s crazy. She’s a victim as much as I am. We all are, really. We all trusted him.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Shannon is no victim. She has always looked out for herself. Thought only of herself and continues to. She used all of us. She ran when things got hot, just like her folks. Don’t waste your time worrying about that tramp. She has moved on to the next sucker.”

“Holden!” Mom scolded me, but she had no idea what I had seen the previous weekend.

Book Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from June 4 - 16, 2018.
Join us and visit each tour stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more! To check the latest tour schedule, visit the Holden's Regrets Book Page at Book Unleashed.
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About Diane Zparkki

Diane Zparkki
I was born and raised in the greater Toronto area and raised my own family in the suburbs of the city. I'm a busy working mom with writing being my second full time job. With my husband, we have raised three great kids. Who constantly keep me on my toes and laughing. I enjoy planning themed parties and traveling with my family creating memories. Thrill seeking of some sort is always on the menu which I usually drags my family along with me. Going to the movies is always a good night out or curling up with a book and a steaming cup of tea. I have been known to do some Netflix binge watching.
I was never a big reader or writer in my youth-Coles Notes were my best friend throughout college. My enthusiasm for reading came later in life when I joined a book club. I enjoyed reading those initial books that got me hooked into the literary world, but I wanted raw, simple, and happily ever after with a bit of get down and dirty. That was when my love for Alpha bad boys on a Harley was set in motion.
After becoming an avid reader, my mind started to create my first story, and I needed to get it out.
Fixing Sydney and Holden's Regrets are the first two of Branson's Kind of Love Trilogy. I hope you enjoy Sydney and Holden's stories with Logan's coming in the near future.
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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