Sunday, 10 November 2013

Destiny Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Destiny by Cindy Ray Hale! Thank you to Lola at Lola's Blog Tours for organizing this :)
Don't forget to check out the rest of the stops here.

Title: Destiny (Destiny #1)
Author: Cindy Ray Hale
Release date: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 206
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Purchase links: Amazon | Smashwords

Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster's son at her Baptist high school. When they're cast together in the school's production of Les Misérables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage.

As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend.

But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.

Destiny is a unique and refreshing debut from Cindy Ray Hale. I've really never read anything like it before. It's sweet with serious and religious undertones, and I think that was done really well. I don't know whether the second book will be a sequel or companion, but either way I'm looking forward to it!

Destiny is a Mormon who goes to a Baptist high school. People may think this weird, but she wasn't always Mormon. Her family switched over a few years ago, but since then she's been pretty much an outcast, with only one friend. Her brother Michael, on the other hand, seems to be doing fine. When a new girl, Hannah, befriends Destiny, she finds out that Hannah is in fact the cousin of her long-time crush, Isaac. When he begins paying attention to her, Destiny is astonished, but they soon become friends while practicing for the musical together. Isaac starts to fall for Destiny, which is all she ever dreamed of, but their religious differences cause more problems than they had imagined.

I'm not Christian, and I have pretty much no knowledge of Christianity, so Mormonism was totally new to me. I was intrigued by it, and even searched it up after reading the book, to see why it clashes so much with Baptist beliefs. Honestly, I find it weird that there's so much hostility shown. I mean, they're all Christian, right? They all believe in the same God. I would've thought that meant they should get along. But the rivalry between the two beliefs seem almost similar to Islam and Hinduism, which I do know about. The characters seemed to go a little overboard in their antagonism, and I thought that was a bit too dramatic.

I quite liked Destiny's character, since she's easy to sympathize with, being the underdog. She's really sweet, and seems timid at first but she has a great inner strength. She stands firm in what she believes, and rarely wavers from it. I liked that she doesn't feel the need to defend her beliefs to everyone - she prefers to rise above that.

Isaac I'm a little conflicted about. I really didn't like him in the beginning. He just went along with whatever his dad said, believing that Mormons will go to hell, etc. etc. And his intentions in the beginning show his initial pettiness. Sure, he changed a lot, but I can't believe he turns completely over a new leaf. Nevertheless, I admire the character development in him. He grows a lot over the course of the novel, and the Isaac we see at the end is almost unrecognizable from the one we are introduced to. It's clear that he really begins to care about Destiny, and their budding romance was quite adorable.

I really liked that even though this is romance, the secondary characters didn't take a backseat. They were really prominent, in fact. Destiny's brother Michael is one character I love, and so is their friend Preston and Destiny's friend Hannah. They definitely made the novel more interesting, and the little rivalry between Isaac and Preston was amusing. Plus, there's this awesome paintball game which was definitely my favourite part of the book!

I'm glad I've watched Les Misérables, because if I hadn't I would be pretty confused. I found it really cool how Destiny, Isaac and Aspen actually embodied the characters in the musical. And the other characters seemed to fit their roles, too, which I realized after it was mentioned in the novel.

Overall, this was a good read, and I'll be sure to pick up the next one. This book ended at a good note, so I'm thinking the next will be a companion? I'd recommend Destiny to contemporary lovers, and also if you're a Les Mis fan or if you're interested in religion, particularly Christianity.

*Thank you to Lola at Lola's Blog Tours for providing me with an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5


We neared my hammock spot, and Isaac stopped and peered at it through the remaining light that filtered through the orange leaves. “Wow, this is beautiful,” he said.

“This is my favorite place to come when I need to think,” I said quietly.

“It’s very peaceful,” Isaac said. “I can see why you like it.” He scrutinized me, his facial muscles fighting to find the appropriate expression. Confusion, worry…interest? Each battled for control of his features. “It must be really hard for you and your family, being the only Mormons at a school full of Baptists.”

I blinked in surprise. I hadn’t expected sympathy from the headmaster’s son. I imagined Dr. Robinson had been filling his mind with lies about Mormons since he was a small boy—especially after our family converted. There was a lot of anti-Mormon talk going around during that time, and Dr. Robinson hadn’t been the only person educating the congregation on what he thought we believed. Mormons hadn’t been the only ones being spoken against either. I’d heard plenty against Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“I’m surprised you even care,” I whispered.

“My dad may speak against your church, but I don’t necessarily feel the same way. The more he tries to convince me there’s something wrong with you, the more I want to learn about what you believe.”
I was stunned. These were the last words I’d ever expected to hear coming from Isaac’s lips in a million years. “I—I don’t know what to say.”

His eyes traveled across my face like he wanted to remember every feature, mud and all. “You know,” he whispered as he reached a hand up and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, “Even covered in mud, sticks, and dirt, you are still absolutely breathtaking.” I couldn’t move. I needed to tell him to stop, that this wasn’t right, but I was frozen, immobile.

His voice grew serious. “I have a confession. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you ever since our practice. Your voice…I felt so connected to you.” His eyes were intense. “I’ve hardly been able to sleep.”

We stood face-to-face as I stared up into his warm brown eyes. My heart was beating so fast I was sure it was going to explode. How many times had I hoped for this moment? I never in a million years had imagined such words would come out of Isaac’s mouth. His perfect, beautiful mouth. This was unreal, beyond my wildest daydreams. It was so hard to fight the desire to be with him. All my most unreachable dreams were suddenly, so unbelievably, about to come true. But they were forbidden. The right thing to do would be to pull away, turn from him, run back to the house. My head screamed at me to flee, but my heart begged me to stay.

I stared at him, memorizing his every feature. His dark hair, a little messy from crawling through the trees. The strong, clean lines of his jaw. His brown eyes that regarded me like I was something to be treasured. His perfectly smooth lips. Even the little smudge of dirt under his left cheekbone.
Especially the smudge of dirt.

“Why are you so perfect?” I whispered. I shouldn’t be encouraging him. I should be turning to leave. Walk away, Destiny. Now!

Isaac’s eyes softened like pools of melted chocolate. He leaned close. Too close. What if he was just playing with my heart? The lingering scent of his cologne mixed with pine enveloped me. My desire for him battled against my weakened resolve to keep the values I’d been taught. I’d promised myself a hundred times I’d only date good Mormon boys. When I’d watched Isaac from afar all those years, I’d thought it was harmless fun. I never thought I’d be in this situation.
Isaac reached up and slid the rubber band from my hair, allowing my hair to fall loosely around my shoulders.

“Beautiful,” he whispered. He traced a line down my jaw with his thumb. I raised my eyes to his. They were so dark, so full of promise, so forbidden. I wanted him to kiss me so badly my body trembled with anticipation. I lowered my gaze to his lips and decided in that moment to stop fighting. It was no use. I couldn’t do it anymore.

As though my focus on his mouth had encouraged him, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine, softly at first, and then with such fervor, such passion. I responded immediately, kissing him back as though my life depended on it. It was more potent, more perfect than any of my dreams. They didn’t even come close. His hands wrapped around the back of my neck, his fingers in my hair. He slid his arms down my back and wrapped them around my waist. We kissed until my knees went weak and I could hardly stand.

I pulled away, gasping for breath, but Isaac pushed me against the trunk of a giant oak tree and leaned in for more. He kissed me hungrily, like a starving man, desperate and wild.

About the author:

Wife. Mother. Writer. Cindy Ray Hale lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, she’s an avid reader and a social media junkie. She starts her morning by writing with a freshly-blended berry spinach smoothie next to her. She’s obsessed with Les Misérables, playing the piano, and stalking up-and-coming musicians on YouTube. Destiny is her first book and will be available for purchase November 2013.

Find Cindy on:


There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Destiny. Here is what you can win:

- A Destiny swag pack including a signed copy of Destiny, a Destiny keychain, a t-shirt that says "I heart Destiny," a Destiny bookmark
- a $25 Amazon Gift Card
- Camp Boyfriend swag pack (pictured below)

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I agree with you on most points, I was really surprised about the hostility too and I enjoyed learning more about the mormons and baptists. Thanks for being part of the blog tour!


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