Friday 22 November 2013

Blog Tour - Better by S Walden


Book Title: Better (#2 Too Good Series)
Author: S. Walden
Release Date: November 17, 2013

Their relationship has been exposed, and now their lives are changed forever.

For Cadence Miller, the fast track to adulthood proves intimidating and frustrating. She’s a little girl lost—abandoned by her family and uncertain of her future. She doesn’t think she “fits” anywhere. She’s eighteen. She wants to be older. And the result is both comical and heartbreaking.

Mark Connelly will do anything to provide Cadence a stable, loving home—to be her protector. But he’s just as broken and lost, and his heart won’t let go of his past so easily. He knows he should share his secret with Cadence. He should trust that she’ll understand. But what if she doesn’t? What if their love doesn’t grow stronger?

What if it doesn’t get better?

***4.5~5 Too Good stars***

After reading Good, many questions are left up in the air: Did Cadence make a mistake in choosing Mark? Was their love real? Or was this merely a teenage crush and infatuation gone wrong? Could their love survive? And the most important questions to be answered: Is Mark good or a pedophile? Did he truly love Cadence? What happened in Mark's past?

Fear not, all these burning questions are finally answered in Better, the second and final instalment of the Too Good series. First and foremost, did I like Good? Yes, I liked it . There is something about a forbidden romance between student and teacher that has always peaked my interest. Did I like Mark in Good? Hmm... In all honesty, I was on the fence with him. I will not lie and sugar coat it. I will admit there were times I liked him and really, really wanted to trust him but I questioned his true intentions and motives with Cadence. Towards the end of Good I was bordering on leaning on the idea that maybe Mark is a pedophile like he was hiding something or had ulterior motives for wanting to date a younger girl. Did I want Cadence and Mark to end up together? Well, I wasn't sure. One reason, Cadence was so young. I wanted her to have a chance to grow up, find herself, and experience life. But in the back of my mind, I was still wondering maybe she was destined to be with Mark.

Well after Good, my mind was a jumbled mess of what if's and I was left with lots of questions. And I can thank S. Walden for that. In Better, all my doubts were finally put to a rest. I finally got to know the real Mark. Like the title states, readers get a better understanding of Mark, Cadence and their relationship. I just want to thank S.Walden for taking a chance on writing a controversial book knowing readers will either love it or hate it. Well rest assured, I LOVED  it. Better was the perfect conclusion to this beautiful love story of Cadence and Mark.
Better picks off where it last left off in Good. Mark and Cadence are finally living together and adjusting to this new phase of their relationship. The ever present factor of the 10 year age difference and maturity levels plays an important role as Mark and Cadence adjust and weaves through the many bumps in their journey as an official couple.

Cadence, now 18 and recent high school graduate is officially living with Mark after her father disowned her. Her mother takes sides with her father since he is the head of the household and basically treats Cadence as an outcast. Her uber conservative and religious parents thinks she is living in sin. Without the support of her parents, Cadence finds support in her friends, her brother and of course, Mark. They became her new family.

Mark lost his job as a high school teacher but he was able to find a new teaching job at a local college. His dream of getting his Master Degree is put on hold since he now has to step up to take care of Cadence. Without the financial support of Cadence parents, Mark knows he wants her to go to college and get her degree so she can fulfil her dreams opening up her own flower shop.
Questions of Mark’s past and the skeleton in his closet are finally revealed and my heart ached for Mark and understood why he kept them from Cadence. It was painful to witness Mark struggle from these memories and nightmares. When Cadence discovers his secrets and the confirmation from Mark, their relationship reaches a breaking point of TRUST. Hurtful words were exchanged and their relationship begins to crumble under pressure. Can Cadence accept his past? Can she really forgive Mark for the unkind and hurtful words he said?

Keep in mind Cadence is 18, so she wants to be like any normal college freshman. She wants to experience the “real college life”: going to parties, living in the dorm, making new friends, and of course having a relationship with her parents. I totally understand where Cadence was coming from about wanting to experience her college life but the way she went about it frustrates me. She starts off by experimenting with alcohol, going to parties, and staying out late or just not coming home which really worries Mark. So when Mark’s secrets were finally revealed, Cadence suddenly becomes reckless with her excessive drinking, partying and staying out all night. Basically, she went on a downward spiral of self-destruction and drank to the point where she just wanted to feel numb. As painful it was to witness Cadence’ destructive ways, it really reiterates the point that she is still young and immature, and that she’s still figuring out life and finding her way into adulthood.
While Cadence went through her revenge/rebellion period, I totally admired Mark. While most men would have walked away, Mark was there. He patiently waited and picked her up when she was at her lowest point. He showered her with love and force Cadence to wake up from her numb state. Mark’s unconditional love was the heart of the book for me. He allowed Cadence to embrace her youth and learn on her own. He didn't act like a father figure but instead he simply was the man who promised to love, adore, cherish, and protect Cadence. My doubts about whether Mark was good were finally answered. He is indeed a good guy. He was one of those men who took care of his responsibilities. He made sure Cadence was cared for and so it was not hard to fall for him. He was gentle, sweet, funny, understanding, loyal, sexy, smart, faithful and romantic.

The beloved secondary characters we fell in love with in Good are back and play an instrumental role in Better. I love Avery. She was one of those friends you would want to have in your life. She is sassy, funny, witty, and blunt. She will not sugar coat her opinions and will tell you how she feels. I love that she was there for Cadence and was a shoulder to lean on. Asides from Fanny, I’m happy that Cadence was able to get the support and love from Mark’s mother also. Lastly, Cadence brother, Oliver was her rock. He was there to help Cadence get out her funk. My heart ached for Oliver as he struggled with his faith and the choices he made. Overall, these secondary characters from Dylan, Avery, Fanny, Oliver, and Mark’s mother became Cadence and Mark’s family. Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who love you no matter what.

My Thoughts:
I loved the fact that S.Walden didn’t do the typical trilogy series but instead packed and answered all our questions of Mark and Cadence in Better. I found this book to be truly honest and sweet. It showcased flawed, imperfect, uncut, and real characters who are struggling to find a balance in their complicated yet loving relationship. I love love the epilogue. It was fantastic and beautifully well done and sealed the deal for me. It made me fall in love with Cadence and Mark all over again.  

I applaud S. Walden for writing such a controversial series and pushing the boundaries of readers. The Too Good series really puts its readers on a rollercoaster of emotions. This series had everything from angst, drama, romance, humor and lots of OMG moments. I think Miss Walden did a fantastic job in balancing and incorporating all the aspects of the complicated life Cadence and Mark will have to face and eventually overcome. This series will open up your mind and take a chance on the unknown possibilities of what is truly right and wrong. Is there really a wrong answer? Or a right one? Does the age difference really matter? Well, as for the age difference, it didn’t bother me since I am product of parents who have a 13 year age gap difference. I love a book that will make you think and feel and Miss Walden was able to do that. Books that make you think and feel are the ones that I will remember and hands down, this is one series I will remember. So I highly recommend everyone to pick up and read this series. Its not your typical love story but what is. At the end of the day,  I think this quote sums it up best:

LOVE isn't always perfect. It isn't a fairytale or a storybook. And it doesn't always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on & never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without. Love is work, but most of all, LOVE is realizing that every hour, every minute, every second was WORTH it because YOU DID IT TOGETHER.” -Unknown

~ Review by Michelle




Mark sat in his car staring through the windshield. Any minute now, Cadence, dressed in graduation robe and cap, would round the corner with her brother and Fanny. All he wanted was to see her smile.
He knew her parents didn’t show up. They made their intentions clear three nights ago when Cadence called home to speak to her mother. After she hung up, she told Mark she didn’t care that they refused to attend, but he awoke later that night to the sounds of her soft cries. She was curled up lying close to the edge of the bed, far away from him. He reached out to touch her, then stopped. Something told him not to, that it’d be disastrous if he tried to comfort her. So he left her alone. The next morning she was bright and cheery and as fake as he’d ever seen her.
He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Please smile. Please smile. Please smile.”
He thought back to the first time he saw her really smile. She grinned at him on the side of Highway 28, but it wasn’t until she sat on a metal bench in the bus parking lot on the first day of school that he saw a real smile. She giggled about the names she’d been calling him, revealing pretty teeth with one imperfection. She had a calcium deposit on her eye tooth. Yeah, he’d noticed. And he recalled feeling like a total creep for liking it so much.

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 and follow her blog at where you can get up-to-date information on her current projects.




#1 Good (Too Good Series)  


  1. Michelle,

    Thank you for such a thoughtful, thorough review of Better. I'm so glad you enjoyed this series. Thank you for helping me spread the word about it by participating in my tour.

    xo Summer

  2. I have the first book on my kindle, but I haven't read either first...I'm scared b/c of the taboo subject matter! LOL I will pick read it soon though.

  3. I loved the first book. Can't wait to read Better

  4. I'm very excited to hear the conclusion. A story is only as good as it's ending.

  5. Thank you for the chance to win