Thursday, February 21, 2019

Release Blitz & Review: What He Never Knew - Kandi Steiner

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What He Never Knew, a standalone teacher/student romance in the What He Doesn't Know series by bestselling author Kandi Steiner is live!
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I never learn my lesson.
And I always want what I can’t have.
When Sarah Henderson walks into my life, I tell myself she’s off limits. She’s my student, sixteen years younger than me, and my boss’s niece. It doesn’t matter that I see the same pain reflected in her eyes that I have in my own, or that the dead organ better known as my heart kicks to life when she’s around.
I’ve been here before, and I know how this ends.
It’s been two years since I fell for the last woman I knew I couldn’t have, the one with the ring on her finger that I chose to ignore.
Two years of trying to overcome that heartache when Sarah slides into my life.
Another woman I can’t have. Another woman I can’t stop myself from wanting.
I never learn my lesson, but with a constant reminder of how that last forbidden love burned, I think I’ve finally learned this one.
This time, I won’t chase what’s off limits.
This time, I’m staying away.
And I’ll keep telling myself that until I believe it.
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5 Stars
Reese Walker is a piano genius that shied away from the spotlight and embraced a quieter life teaching piano to youths. He knows a star when he sees one and he doesn't see it in Sarah, the quiet, angry niece of his boss. Sarah Henderson is ready to stop hiding and wants to love the piano again, but it sparks fear in her still, even after being away from her old university for some time. Reese is her one chance to make her dreams happen again and she's ready to fight. When Reese sees that fight in Sarah he recognizes a bit of himself and as he helps her turn her emotions into notes he feels emotion stir in him again, kick starting his heart again after it had been trampled over. They both believe it's wrong, they know everyone else will too, but the feelings they have, the hope they share, it just might be their chance to know happiness again. 

"Reese was an entire universe, and the piano was a mere telescope we tried to see him through."

There are books that make you warm and fuzzy inside, there are books that make you angry, and there are books that make you sob in sadness, or in this case, in solidarity. What He Never Knew is one of those reads that quickly became very personal for me, my connection with it may not be the same as it is for everyone else, and I ultimately loved it due to that personal connection. It's very easy to gloss over the ugly, to allow romance to clean up the mess, or to tackle difficult subjects in a way that isn't sensitive at all. I can name on just two hands the books I've read that have tackled the incident in this novel well and What He Never Knew by Kandi Steiner has just been added to that list. 

Sarah's situation isn't unique, but Kandi's sensitivity to it is. Sarah is at first despondent, she is defensive and angry, and she has given up the things she loves. She's left university, ashamed and afraid of the incident that occurred. She's left it all behind and now, after hiding, has moved to Pennsylvania to try to train on the piano again. What He Never Knew is her butterfly moment captured on pages, it's her opening up, embracing the beautiful parts of life again, and learning that the tragedies don't have to hold us down. She learns to love music again, to open up, and to trust. Reese Walker, who I loved so very much from the What He Doesn't Know duet, is her piano teacher and while he is significantly older than her he sees that she is wise beyond her years. He sees a darkness in her that he sees in himself, he too finds someone to trust with the things that have weighed him down. He shows her how to harness that pain and while he watches the piano make her shine again he begins to fall.

"He searched my gaze like I was a puzzle with all the right pieces shoved in all the wrong places, and I'd never felt more pegged down in my entire life."

Kandi Steiner is always one of my favorites, she can write angst and love in such a way that you feel it too, but in my opinion this is her at her very best. This story is told in a descriptive, lyrical way, moving much like the piano Sarah plays. It's a story of loss and tragedy, of forgiveness and hope, and of love and strength. I really appreciated the character development in this book, especially with Reese recognizing his poor behavior and Sarah realizing that her initial choice to hide isn't the right choice at all. While it is incredibly heavy, it features the promise of love, a feeling we all know how to cling to. Reese and Sarah, though unconventional, heal one another and no one can deny that their broken pieces fit together perfectly. They bring out the best in one another and even when things are hard they each push themselves to overcome it. 

"'For the record,' he finally said. 'I am in your corner.'"

If you are not afraid of an emotional read, get this one in your hands right away. I do recommend reading the duet first, but this book is equally brilliant as a standalone. Fans of Reese will be so happy he finally got the HEA he deserved, but fans of the romance genre in general will be over the moon about the gorgeous, realistic story Kandi Steiner has gifted us.
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About Kandi:
Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.
An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.
When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.
Connect with Kandi:
Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future:

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