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Past Heaven

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Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.

Liz Atwater’s happily ever after was torn from her the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and raise her three young sons alone.

Reynolds Carter’s picture perfect Hollywood life ended the moment the paparazzi got hold of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. As he watches his life unfold in the tabloids, he comes to a crossroads in his career and his purpose.

When Reynolds takes on the challenge of a new project, his world collides with that of Liz. Neither of them expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love.

But life is never simple.

Faced with complications from family, friends, and colleagues, Liz and Reynolds are left to decide whether two people from such different worlds can find happiness together.

Can they get past the pain, fear, and guilt and risk their hearts to love again?

Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.

334 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 26, 2014

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About the author

Laura Ward

10 books620 followers
Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not picking up toy trucks, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels. Her debut novel, NOT YET, is a Top 100 Amazon Bestseller.

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5 stars
303 (38%)
4 stars
298 (38%)
3 stars
123 (15%)
2 stars
32 (4%)
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23 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 156 reviews
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
Want to read
August 4, 2016
This new standalone has quite a unique story!

When the heroine’s husband is murdered, her life falls apart. He was father to their children and the man she loved more than anything. He’d also dedicated his life’s work to a worthy cause. The hero is a famous Hollywood actor who decides to make a movie about her husband story’s, which is how his life collides with hers…
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
February 6, 2015
3.5 stars.

I liked this one. Hot movie star and stay at home mom?? Yeah, its fiction. Probably doesn't happen on a regular basis out in the Hollywood hills but we can pretend it does.

Liz is devastated after the death of her husband. Enter stage right, Reynolds. He wants to write a screenplay about her husband.

Not every love story has a happy ending ...

They have their ups and downs. Reynolds is usually with young bimbos. Liz feels that she is too old for him.

"FUCK! Motherfucking hell."

You’re no longer alone.
We’ve found a space to name our own.
There aint no need to fret or fuss.
We’ve got all the strength we need in the shape of us.

And I know you’ve had it tough.
Your road’s been bumpy and rough.
But say goodbye to a world that you once knew.
I have every faith in me and you.

Hold my hand.
Hold my heart.
Let go your fear.
Darling I will always be here.

I never felt quite so at home.
Your sweet caress is the best I’ve known.
Now that I’ve proved to you that I’m worthy of your trust.
Let us build a world in the shape of us
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,693 reviews126 followers
March 23, 2015
4.5 stars

I seriously loved this book! I had wanted to read this, so when it was on sale for $0.99 I had to snag it. I'm so glad I did because it was such a refreshing read. The main MCs are both older, so they've lived their life and don't need the petty bullshit that comes with NA situations. The story flowed so well, and the plot really worked. So definitely read this if you want a movie star read without all the drama.
Profile Image for Tamara.
270 reviews38 followers
February 3, 2015
Now available!
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Click here to watch the BOOK TRAILER!

What are your first thoughts when your phone rings in the middle of the night? You fear the worst, right?

When Cindy gets woken abruptly by such a phone call, she has no idea the devastation she’s about to witness. The husband of her best friend has been brutally murdered.

"Her voice cracked at the end, and she sobbed. Body-wracking, breath-stealing, soul-shattering sobs. Yet, her cries were silent."

Liz Atwater’s life changes dramatically the moment her husband dies in her arms. Her body is broken, her soul is shattered, and her life is forever changed. It will never be as how it once was. But what do you do when there are still 3 little boys to take care off?

Reynolds Carter is the Hollywood hunk everyone silently dreams off. You know? The one you want to share more than a cup of coffee with ;) Wavy hair, broad chest, tanned skin, creamy blue eyes, some muscled arms you want to hold on to,…

His life, completely different than the one Liz is living, hasn’t been easy either. He’s had his fair share of hook-ups, even for the sake of “business”. But even if the bed is as warm as it can be, it turns stone-cold the moment you find out you’ve been betrayed and lied to.

To take a break from all that fake business and to get away from the life he’s always known, he goes back to his parents. Finding the inspiration he was desperately looking for, will change his life forever.

When Liz comes running back home from one of her daily runs, she never expected to see her #1 Hollywood crush standing in her driveway.

"Dear Lord in heaven. Reynolds Carter? People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive? My jaw went slack, and I forced my mouth closed. I was in the presence of a god."

Together they embark on a journey of new beginnings in their lives. While the partnership starts off in a friendly, business-like way, they have no idea they have more in common than they realize. Both broken, both hurt, albeit in different ways and in completely different circumstances, they find that connection.

"Death. Betrayal. Violence. We shared these experiences, in different ways, yet still very much the same. We were more alike than not, and now I knew why. Once you've been crushed by the fragility of life, you learned to fight for what matters."

But what do you do when Hollywood comes knocking on your door? Claiming you can have no such relationship? Are their feelings for each other strong enough to survive the distance, the gossip and the lies? Is Reynolds strong enough to give not only his heart to Liz, but also to her 3 boys? Is Liz’s heart strong enough to risk it being broken again? Or was everything just a set-up to re-launch Reynolds’ career?

"The idea is that once you really love someone, and I mean the kind of love that fills you up from head to toe, it never leaves you. A love like that surrounds you, always. Time, distance, and even death can't end it. That love is Past Heaven."

I loved these characters and their story! Both Liz and her boys, Reynolds, and Cindy, Liz' best friend. Cindy was the uplifting and supporting character. The stuff she said had me laughing out loud numerous times. And I loved the way she treated Reynolds!
Liz is such a warm person, full of love. And Reynolds, well, he only proves that it doesn't matter if you're rich, famous or the sexiest man alive. The only thing that matters is the heart, and the love it is able to give.


Teaser 1

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Profile Image for Nancy's Romance Reads.
261 reviews438 followers
February 1, 2015


I'm elated to have read this book. It was packed with all the elements that make a true romance story feel real, touching, inspiring, and just glorious. I loved how from the beginning it made me ugly-cry as I instantly connected with the plot and by the end, the whole story had made me so happy that I felt the effect in my swelling heart.♥

“Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.”

Past Heaven is not your typical second chance romance, this story captures heartbreak at its worst when it's most painful because love is not only lost but lost forever by death. That's the story of Elizabeth (Liz) Atwater, a mother of three beautiful boys and the wife of a very inspiring man who dies suddenly leaving her hopeless, broken, and hollow inside. My heart broke in a million pieces for Liz, her sorrows felt so real to me that it was impossible not to connect with her so much. Just imagine; she finds the love of her life, builds a beautiful life with him, and then all that happiness is gone in the blink of an eye. How do you recover from something like that? How do you see a future? But mostly, how could you imagine there being a second chance at love? Well, those are questions this story answers slowly and beautifully when a year later Liz meets Reynolds Carter and finds out that they have more in common than she ever imagined and that hope is never completely lost at last.

“Death. Betrayal. Violence. We shared these experiences, in different ways, yet still very much the same. We were more alike than not, and now I knew why. Once you've been crushed by the fragility of life, you learned to fight for what matters.”

Reynolds is a charismatic Hollywood Star who has it all: fame, money, status, and a hot girlfriend he's starting to get serious with. Everything seems to be in order in his life. Well, that quickly changes when he discovers some hard truths; his girlfriend has cheated on him and that glamorous Hollywood life of his no longer feels as fulfilling and real as he has hoped for this point in his career. So in the midst of disappointments and realizations, Reynolds finds himself eager to work on something real and meaningful, something that brings back that hope he lost to the betrayal and also to escape the frivolous and fake world of Hollywood. That's when destiny crosses his path with Liz and her story not only inspires him to his core but brings him hope and a kind of happiness he never thought existed.

“My life was changing before my eyes and I had never felt happier. Here. With these kids and this woman.”

As soon as these two characters meet and start working together on a project about Liz's late husband they connect and soon begin to get curious about each other. The attraction between them is evident but it's also mixed with so much uncertainty due to their painful pasts. Liz really amazed me throughout this whole story, she was such a strong and loving mother, daughter, friend, and wife. She just had the biggest heart for everybody even after all she'd been through and the pain she was still dealing with. But surprisingly to her, it only takes Reynolds' presence to start diminishes that pain, help her heal her broken heart, and eventually fight for her second chance.

“The darkness starts to fade when you’re here. The hurt in my chest has been so strong, it made noise. It was like I couldn’t hear through the roar of the pain. Just sitting here with you, like this…the ache is less, and it’s quiet.”

This book was just beautiful. The melancholy throughout the story was so touching and that combined with the anticipation for things to happen between Liz and Reynolds was incredible. It made their moments that much special to me and exciting because their love was not easy to conquer. But things slowly fall into place and I loved how Liz and Reynolds help each other heal, how they overcome the tough obstacles in their way, and how they ultimately fall in love. Their journey is heartbreaking, sweet, touching, and totally heartwarming from beginning to end. And how I LOVED Reynolds! This man was an incredible hero; so patient, understanding, protective, and a true gentleman with Liz and the boys that he captivated me to no end. He was just the perfect man for Liz in every possible way. *sigh*

“One day, you’ll be ready for me. When you are, have no doubt I’ll be waiting for you.”

Something else that made this book so captivating was how the other characters in the story had such an effect on my emotions. Really, there were moments with Liz's boys, her best friend, and the family that moved me so much that had me tear-up. I found those moments to be very special to the story as they made all connections between the characters feel so genuine and the story that much more heartwarming and I just loved that.

I'm always looking for romance stories that touch my heart and Past Heaven absolutely did. Liz and Reynolds' story was simply a gorgeous and heartfelt story about how heartbreaking situations can change a person's life completely yet also bring back hope and the most precious and unexpected kind of love.♥ I recommend this book to everybody! It will make you feel many intense emotions but the one that will prevail through everything will be love, love for these amazing characters and love for this beautiful story.

“Not every love story has a happy ending, but the great ones, no matter how they end, change your life. Love is the only thing more powerful in this world than death. Love transcends. And in the end, all any of us can hope for, is a love that is past heaven.”

Purchase: Amazon US * Amazon UK


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Happy reading! ;)

Profile Image for Donna ~ The Romance Cover.
2,758 reviews314 followers
February 9, 2015
Past Heaven by Laura Ward
4 stars!!

“You know all about life surprising you with the stuff nightmares are made of, but sometimes life surprises you in the best possible way.”

Sometimes you just need a cute, feel good book and this book ticked those boxes for me. Even though the beginning is a tough read this is literally just bringing some perspective into the place where Liz Atwater finds herself at the present time. Once the introductions to the characters are made this book takes on a whole new lease of happy, uplifting life.

“…and now you’re suffering from post-traumatic flirt syndrome. You’ll get over it.”

You know that if the phone rings in the middle of the night, it is never, ever good and this is what happens to Liz’s BBF, Cindy. She is stunned to hear that her best friend’s husband has just been brutally murdered and her friend needs her more than ever. Cindy was an amazing, bright, bubbly, gregarious character and every woman needs a BBF like her. Her wit and banter had me in hysterics and she was a vital character to the flow and balance of this book.

Liz thought her life had ended when her husband was killed; she held him dying in her arms and could do nothing about it. Despite the overwhelming grief she is currently dealing with she has to be strong for her three sons, they are dependent on her now, and she has to be strong for them. Liz’s husband ran a charity and devoted his life to bringing it to the forefront, raising the necessary funds and trying to make life better for a lot of people that didn’t have a voice. Sometimes though, that shouting attracts unwarranted attention and can be misunderstood, as was the case in what led to the demise of Mr Atwater.

“Her voice cracked at the end, and she sobbed. Body-wracking, breath-stealing, soul-shattering sobs. Yet, her cries were silent.”

Reynolds Carter is Mr Hollywood, he is the “it” actor and has an “it” girlfriend on his arm, only now he has not hit the headlines because of one of his latest blockbusters, but for the fact that his girlfriend has been cheating on him with an a lot younger him co-star. His confidence having taken a knock and having to re-evaluate his life he escapes Hollywood to go to the only place where he can get unbiased, genuine advice…his parents.

Reynolds wants to do something with his life, he wants to do something worthwhile for a change and after a heart to heart with his parents he decides he wants to write a film rather than star in it. Something real and meaningful rather than just a film en-trend. After watching the news and seeing the story of Liz’s husband, Reynolds knows that this is the feel good story that he needs to get his teeth into. He empathises with the charity and wants to help spread the word and if he can do that through film, more the better. Now to approach Liz Atwater…

There is your introduction but now you will have to read the rest for yourself as these two embark on a professional relationship that opens eyes for both of them. Having both had their share of heartache and bad times these two quickly form a friendship that you can tell will last a lifetime. These two bounced off each other and to see their relationship develop was beautiful. For Liz, it was initially therapeutic, it made her face up to the life that she was or wasn’t living anymore since her husband’s death. Reynolds opened her eyes to see that her kids need a happy mum, her demeanour reflects onto the kids and the kids take their vibes from her.

“One day, you’ll be ready for me. When you are, have no doubt I’ll be waiting for you.”

To see how openly Reynolds took those kids under his wing was breath-taking and swoon worthy. He knew that this family came as a package deal and he went above and beyond to try and help those kids and if that doesn’t make your panties melt, I don’t know what will.

There are ups and downs as with any new romance and especially as these two come from opposite ends of the spectrum, but for these two it is all a learning curve. There are a lot of insecurities to be dealt with and teething problems but these two have fight and determination despite others trying to keep them apart for the sake of box office ratings and future movie deals.

This is a story of grief, learning to live and love again, finding yourself, making yourself a better person but most of all knowing that loving and being loved is the biggest and most precious gift you can ever give or receive. You never know when your day is up so live life to the fullest. The underlying message throughout this book is inspiring, to see how these become a family unit was emotional to read, but those kids were just so darn cute. How they accepted Reynolds and how that acceptance was reciprocated had me in tears but it is one story I won’t forget in a hurry.

“The idea is that once you really love someone, and I mean the kind of love that fills you up from head to toe, it lever leaves you. A love like that surrounds you, always. Time, distance, and even death can’t end it. That love is past heaven.”

Profile Image for Rachel.
637 reviews38 followers
April 3, 2015
Overall rating: 4 "Past Heaven" stars!

Love triangle:
Sex with om/ow:
Ex drama:


My review:

I have to agree with Mallory here, but for an actor/famous person romance, this was pretty low on the drama.

The book starts off with despair - we get a recap of the night that changed Liz's life forever. The night her husband and best friend for decades is murdered right in front of her. The night she becomes a single mom of three small boys. Ugh It was literally heartbreaking!

After that, the story moves on 9 months later. Liz is putting the pieces of her life back together at the same time, Reynold's life is changing in another state. His younger, girlfriend of 2 years who he shared a home was, informs him that she cheated on him. He immediately knows he wants to get away from Hollywood for awhile and moves back home. From there he sees a special on TV about Liz's deceased husband Jack and he becomes inspired to write a screenplay based on his life. Reynolds has no idea that when he goes to visit Liz, he will get the shock of his life by how attracted he is to her and what a nice person she is. How she has pulled her life together after such a loss and raised three wonderful boys.

Writing this screenplay together, not only causes them to become great friends, but they both fall in love with each other. Liz does push Reynolds away a lot, but it's understandable with her grief still being fresh. Reynolds is very patient though and knows what he wants. He gives her all of the time that she needs to decide to move on with him.

Reynold's ex, Kylie, does show up a few times to cause issues between the hero and heroine, but any "doubts" are worked out very quickly. Here is an example of a conversation with Kylie -

"You have no idea who that woman is." I took a step closer to Kylie, my voice raw, and her eyes widened. "She's a thousand times more desirable than you. It's fucking hilarious to me that you don't get that." I pointed toward her and she stepped backwards. "You're nothing like her. You don't deserve to be near her. Now get your motherfucking ass out o my sight before I lose it." - That was a scene after Kylie shows up at Liz's house. By this point, he had been working with the heroine at her house on the screenplay for weeks.

Reynolds is an awesome hero! :)

He skimmed his fingertips along my jaw, his voice low and husky, "I'm falling in love with you."

"Don't let go, okay? Just for a while, don't let go," I mumbled into Reynolds' chest, and his body shuddered.
"I never want to let go." He whispered into my hair

"Yes, just friends, that's all. Nothing going on here. You're just my friend, Elizabeth, who smells-" He inhaled the soft skin on my neck right behind my ear, and I shivered. "-so fucked good I want to lick her.

Not every love story has a happy ending,
but the great ones, no matter how they end, change your life,
Love is the only thing more powerful in this world than death.
Love transcends. And in the end, all of any of us can hope for, is a love that is past heaven.
Profile Image for Alona.
672 reviews12 followers
February 17, 2015
DNF at 55%.
It was nice to begin with, very emotional and promising start, then, unfortunately, it got a bit boring and predictable.
I wanted a sad/healing-comfort sort of book, but it wasn't, for me.
I tried to get invested, but when it didn't happen at 55%, I gave up.

The writing is actually not bad at all, but the story line is something I might have enjoyed a few years back, when I was a novice to the romantic genre.
Profile Image for Anne OK.
3,485 reviews445 followers
February 6, 2015
After reading and loving Laura Ward’s first book, Not Yet, I felt this would be a sure bet. Oh how right I was!

A story of two loves – one that ended with a heart broken into pieces; the other one putting the pieces back together and mending the broken heart. Even though a new love can’t heal all wounds, it still exists to restore beauty in hearts and bring happiness back into lives. A beautiful love story – both compelling and emotional of two opposites who share loss and broken hearts. The author writes a story with all those “feels” that fill your heart to capacity. The story moved me to tears, and then turned around and made me laugh.

The characters were both just turning 40 years of age. What a wonderful and refreshing change from another YA story. Don't get me wrong -- I love those romances, too. But Reynolds and Elizabeth brought years of experience and maturity into their relationship which started off slowly with a working relationship and friendship, both of which demanded trust being established.

Told from both main characters POVs, with just a short start and finish POV from Liz's best friend. This book covered so many emotions and feelings exposing the many needs and desires, along with the hesitance and doubts. A reader couldn't ask for more depth or character building. Laura Ward writes well and gives readers a full package for an overall complete and enthralling read.

I would highly recommend Past Heaven to one and all.
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,292 reviews341 followers
February 25, 2015
5 very emotional stars.

What do I write about this book?

-That I cried buckets and I'm out of tissues? Check.

-That I loved the 180° turn Reynolds did from superficial hollywood hotshot actor to driven, moved and dedicated man with a cause? Check.

-That I absolutely adored Liz kids and melted for the youngest one? Check.

-That I raged with Liz at the unfairness of life and admired her immense strength to still go on for her kids? Check.

-That I totally was guilt tripped with her in her growing affection for Reynolds? Check.

-That I was so jealous she had such a protective, crazy and supporting best friend? Check.

-That I wanted to slap that b**** Kylie? Check.

-That I love stories were the heroes are day-to-day men and women, dedicated to others, courageous in every aspects of their life and fighting to make a better world? Check.

-That once more my Goodread friend was right about this book? Check.

And it even has HEA.

My warning though: don't read it in a public place or on public transportation.
Why? Because with teary eyes, running nose and a flushed face you'll either get lots of place around you, which could definitely be a perk mind you(people tend to avoid sick people)or attract commiserating people fussing over you(they'll think you're grieving or have a heartbrake and some of them can be clingy) or gather suspicion (people will think you're crazy and you'll be forced to hide in a small corner for the rest of your trip).

So, what are you waiting for? Get set and read!
Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews443 followers
January 22, 2015
This book was different for me, so I will be doing my review a bit different than you are used to from me...

Dear Laura,
Thank you for making me believe in true love again. I have been married for eight years and love my husband fiercely. However, I have seen my friends marry and divorce, or be widowed, so many times it made me wonder if I was the exception to the rule of love.

Reynolds and Liz have been through so much it is a wonder how they can open their hearts up to anything else. Between the two of them, I almost think Reynolds had it worse… Having an ex cheat and still be in the picture to harass you constantly, all while being in the public eye… No, thank you. Not that I would want to lose a spouse either. I can’t even imagine being a single mother.

You also made me believe that there is a reason for everything. Sometimes we are so consumed with our own lives, our own what ifs, and our own tragedy, that we forget that God may have a bigger plan for us.

So, thank you. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the powerful message. Thank you for the love you let flow off the pages. You have touched my heart in a way another book has not for a long time. ~ Devlynn, 5 stars


What a sweet, charming story of second chance love! Past Heaven is the second book I have read by Laura Ward and I loved it! She definitely has a fan right here!

The beginning of the story was hard to read. It gutted me! Liz witnesses her husband’s murder, when all he was trying to do was end an unfair injustice. Jack worked his entire life to stop people with disabilities being institutionalized. Being a teacher of students with special needs, this one really hit home with me.
When a sexy, Hollywood star wants to write the story of Jack’s life after finding out some surprising news about his own life, Liz welcomes the opportunity. She hopes that it will allow her to find closure about Jack as well as show people how important the task he dedicated his life to was. However, she didn’t plan on being able to open her heart and love again.

“The power of love is both inescapable and infinite.”

This story was sooo good! I couldn’t put it down. It was funny, sad, heartwarming, and steamy. Cindy, Liz’s best friend, was my favorite part of the story. She was absolutely hilarious; a true friend that everyone hopes to have.

“Well it was the big four-O, right? A girl needs a good O when she turns forty.”

And Reynolds was oh so perfect – handsome, rich, patient, kind, and willing to wait for the woman he loved. The ending was perfect as well! ~ Tiffany, 4 stars


When I started reading Past Heaven story I thought, “Oh, I know how it's going to play out”, yet I was totally surprised instead. Throughout the story I loved how Reynolds never once made it seem like he was there to erase any history Elizabeth and Jack had together but instead encouraged her to always remember him, because he was a great part in her life and had given her three of the most beautiful gifts ever. He's also made it clear that he will not give up in pursuing her, she will be his.

A beautiful story of loss, love, second chances and forgiveness. Favorite Quote: "It's my privilege to love her." ~ Kara, 4 1/2 Breathtaking Stars
Profile Image for Veronika.
356 reviews104 followers
February 7, 2015

I hate the feeling when while reading a book the story gets lost somewhere and it becomes flat and kind of boring. This is exactly what happened in this book.

The book started out good, I got to know the characters, but around the 40-50% mark I felt like the story somehow had burnt out. Like there was nothing more that I wanted for the characters to achieve. Like I doubted anything exciting could happen. The story felt empty and boring.

I'm not a fan of the books where the majority contains back and forth between "I love you" and " we cannot be together". After a while the romance just gets forced that way.

I'm sad I didn't like the book more.

** 2 stars **

Profile Image for Shay.
1,267 reviews40 followers
January 30, 2015
I just finished Past Heaven and I loved it. What a beautiful and pleasant read. This is a first for me for this author and I am just so glad that I made this purchase! This story is all about opening yourself back up when you have experienced a tragedy. Liz and Jack were married, in love, and she was helping him with his focus on making a better world for people with disabilities. He is murdered but a guy that didnt want that change. 9 months later and she still isnt better. She is trying to survive for her boys, Griffin, Grayson and Hayden. Not we have Reynolds. 40 year old Hollywood Hearthrob at the top of his game when he finds out that Kylie his girlfriend cheats on him. He is fed up with this whole lifestyle and goes back home. He finds a better purpose when seeing Jacks story on the news and he wants to tell Jack's story. This is close to Reynolds heart too. He meets with Liz and tries to convince her to share their story. What they both don't expect is to end up having feelings for one another. She feels guilty and thinks it is to soon. Reyn understands and gives her the space that she needs. He feels something for her he never thought possible and will wait for her. Dont forget Kylie, she makes her feelings known causing a problem for them. You just have to read and see to find out how this story will end.

I really just loved this story. I was hooked on the beginning and I didnt want to put this down. It was beautifully written and gives us so much insight with people that have disabilities. You cannot help but fall in love with this story and all the characters. Their emotions just got to me. I felt what they felt. I so was hoping for a happy ending, they have so many obstacles to overcome but love just conquers all, thats for sure.

I would definitely recommend this to my girls!

Story 5
Sex 4
Overall 5
Profile Image for Teri Chason.
22 reviews
January 19, 2015
I was thrilled to be given an advance copy of Past Heaven by Laura Ward. After reading (and loving!) her debut novel, Not Yet, I knew that I was in for a real treat with this latest novel.

Liz Atwater's life turns upside down in a chilling moment, and it seems that happiness will be gone forever. When super hot Reynolds Carter turns up to ask for Liz's help on his newest project, she agrees because it will show the world what a wonderful man her beloved Jack was.

What happens next is one heck of a gorgeous story. Beautifully and thoughtfully written, Past Heaven takes the reader on an emotional journey through love, loss, sorrow, and surprising new beginnings. Woven into the tapestry of the story Ward once again includes story lines of characters with developmental and intellectual disabilities. These characters take this book to a new level, adding humor, warmth, and a lot of heart.

I'd easily give Past Heaven 10 stars if I could! It's a must-read from an amazing new author. I'm on the edge of my seat to see what she comes up with next!

Profile Image for Irene.
204 reviews23 followers
February 21, 2015
If you enjoyed the Tina Reber Love Unscripted series you will really want to read this book.
" A love that surrounds you always, time, distance and even death can't end it. That Love is Past Heaven."
From Cindy's point of view at the beginning you are informed of a terrible event that transpires in her B/F Elizabeth's life.
You are then taken through the story from dual points of view by Elizabeth and the very famous gorgeous actor Reynolds who comes into Liz's life after the tragic death of her husband Jack. Liz is a mother of three wonderful boys, Griffin, Graysen and Hayden. You will absolutely love those boys.
Honestly I shed a few tears throughout this story not because of the sad moments but because of the beautifully told emotional parts especially the relationship between the boys and Reynolds. I can't recommend this book enough, one of my favourites so far this year.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,084 reviews36 followers
March 12, 2015
This review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland

Past Heaven was my one book club read for this month and man it was not very good. I normally try to stay away from books where someone dies and the other person moves on quickly because I don't like that storyline. I don't like people moving on in less than a year after their partners death. It just seems...it just upsets me to read. I don't like it. So already I knew this was going to be a tricky read for me.

Unfortunately even if Liz would have waited longer, would have met Reynolds after an appropriate time when she has already started healing from the loss of her husband, I still would not have enjoyed this story. The first half of the book was me rolling my eyes so hard every two seconds. It was just everything happened instantly, everything was so coincidental, everything worked out perfectly and was just sunshine and roses. It just didn't work or feel real at all. That and it was contradictory. Not a good read. There was no depth to the story and so it just felt off.

Liz's husband Jack was this super amazing guy who worked to help shut down state run institutions for people with disabilities. He was murdered for doing just that and Liz is not over that. She has her three boys to look after and they are her life now. She still is in deep mourning for her husband and not ready to move on at all.

Reynolds is a big Hollywood star, but he is getting tired of how everything is fake in Hollywood. After his girlfriend cheated on him (she is a nightmare) he goes back home to stay with his parents for a bit and figure out what he wants to do now. Well here is where some super major eye rolling happens. He is going on to his parents about how they are perfect so they sit him down and tell him they aren't. After all they had a girl and she has a disability and they gave her up to the care of the state. She died shortly thereafter from abuse at the state run facility and they just feel horrible. The writing here is really not that good. Actually the writing throughout the book is not that good, but anyways. The way the parents tell this story is just so bad. The dialogue just doesn't seem real at all. Then immediately after that Reynolds sees a news story than mentions Jack and the work he was doing and how he was murdered. Reynolds immediately knows he needs to make a movie of Jack's life. He just needs to do it. Why? I am not sure. It didn't seem like he really connected to the story of his sister or even had time to process it. She only comes up like once more in the entire books so...it was just like here is this opportunity to build this character and show how he is connected to Jack and his work and whatnot, but it just was flat. It was like the whole side story of trying to help get people with intellectual or physical disabilities into better places, showing that they are real people like you and me, trying to help them live normal lives was just a side note to the story. For the amount of depth the author gave to the issue you could have inserted any issue into the story and it would have worked. It just was not handled in a way that made me care about any of it even though realistically I do. Not good.

So Reynolds and Liz start working together to write the screenplay of Jack's life. It was bad. Day one working together Liz is barely holding it together. She doesn't really notice Reynolds as some hot guy or anything and is just still not over Jack. Day two is a complete one eighty and she is all fan girl OMG! He is so hot! It was a mess. It was just like wait what? What is going on? How do you go from being so distraught to not even thinking about your husband in less than 24 hours? Everything happened instantly and everything changed instantly or contradicted itself every two seconds. Like Liz says at one time that she never noticed if other guys were attractive or not when she was married. She is not like some women who go gaga over hot guy. That is just not appropriate behavior for a mom and wife. Then shortly after that she is saying how Reynolds is her biggest celebrity crush and oh my goodness he is so hot! Well wait a minute. Did you notice guys or not? If you have a celebrity crush than you did so why were you going on about how you would never notice guys when you were married? It made no sense. This happened all the time. Someone would say or do one thing, then pretty much right afterwards would say or do the opposite. It drove me crazy.

My other issue with the story? Liz. I hated her. She is sooooo insecure and self deprecating. She is just so unattractive no one would even want to be with her. Cry me a flippin river. You have super hot Reynolds after you and you are just boo hoo me he couldn't really like me. And this is not just something that happened when the hot movie star showed up, which I could more easily understand. Nope, she was always this way. She was this way with her husband. She is not good enough for him, attractive enough to be seen with Jack, blah blah blah. I hate that. The way it was written made me just want to yell at her to just stop already. Stop with the poor me, I am so unattractive no one will ever want me bs. The way it was written I just could not handle it.

So yeah this was not the book for me. The second half was better than the first, not as many eye rolls, but it still wasn't good. The whole thing with Reynolds and Liz was just not for me.
Profile Image for Theresa Alberts.
838 reviews6 followers
January 17, 2015
"I wasn't running away, I was running to temper the misery, to be strong in the face of fear, and to be the person I needed to be."

Past Heaven by Laura Ward is the second amazing novel from this new author and I cannot wait to see what else she publishes! I thought that I wouldn't love another one of her books as much as I loved Not Yet but Past Heaven surpassed all of my expectations and then some! This book was 5+++ Hollywood Stars and I highly, highly recommend that you read this amazing story filled with heartbreak, love lost but found again and the idea that in the face of a tragedy that rocks your very foundation to the core, you can find the will to move on with your life in the most unlikely of circumstances.

"No matter the social status or physical beauty, when someone fell in love-a soul to a soul love-no greater fear existed than the loss of that love."

Liz loved her husband and her three boys with everything that she had in her, but her life as she knew it was torn from her in what seemed like a moment when her husband was shot and killed right in front of her. Unable to continue actually living her life without Jack by her side, Liz began existing; showing affection only to her three boys for whom she remained stoic and strong; while recoiling from any sympathy or compassion that others tried to afford her. It was when move star Reynolds Carter came into her life with an idea that would shape both of their futures for the better, the only thing on Liz's mind was to keep Jack's legacy alive for his children, never once to she expect that she would find the passion of true love again.

"We're human. We make mistakes. They key is to not make the same ones over and over again. If something goes wrong, you change course. Why don't you think about changing your course? What could it hurt?"

Reynolds Carter was a movie star that everyone adored and admired from afar. After his live-in young actress girlfriend confessed to having sex with her co-star on a movie; he began to re-evaluate his life and what fame really meant to him. Realizing that there are few people in Hollywood that have morals or that were true friends, he sought solace at his childhood home where his parents tried to comfort him and show him that there was more to life than making trivial movies. After reveal information about their past and seeing a new report about Liz's late husbands work regarding institutions, he flew to Baltimore to try and convince her to allow him to write a screen play about her late-husbands life's work. Apprehensive about allowing such a project but in need of a job to support her family, Liz agrees to work with Reynolds on this project as long as she had full veto power over any and all content. An agreement that formed a friendship that transcended anything either of them could have imagines.

"Today is both the beginning and ending of our journey. The wait is over and I want you every day in the future."

As both Liz and Reynolds began to have feelings for each other, they each fought against it for entirely different reasons, Liz because she thought it was too soon after Jack had been ripped from their lives, and Reynolds because he was burned by a woman who he thought he loved and would eventually marry. The reasons holding them back slowly begin to disintegrate as they become close friends and an important part of each other lives. Reynolds has an admiration for everything that Liz has done with raising her 3 boys despite the sorrow and grief that she still feels and Liz becomes enamored with the man beyond the movie actor persona that the world gets to see.

This book is full of laughs, from all three boys who at times have the funniest things spew from their adorable mouths to the most heartwarming and tear jerking actions and who can forget the never ending non-filter babble of her best friend Cindy who will fight like a ninja to protect her friend from any further heartbreak no matter what the reason or cause. I laughed, I cried and I hoped while reading this book that Liz and Reynolds would find the future that they both yearned for and completely deserved so that they could leave the heartache of the past behind. I will say again that this book was utterly amazing, I cannot find enough words to describe how much I absolutely loved it and I know you will too!
Profile Image for Shelly Wygant.
1,252 reviews17 followers
January 19, 2015
Have your kleenex handy when you start this book. You will cry tears of heartbreak and then tears of happiness and joy.

It starts off right away with a great tragedy of Liz's husband being murdered. Her life is shattered but she must go on for her 3 boys. The story describes Jack's murder but them jumps ahead a few months. Liz looks like she has picked up all the pieces of her lift but in fact she is still struggling with Jack's death.

Reynolds Carter is a famous actor who has just went through a bad breakup. He realizes quickly that he does not have any true friends in Hollywood and retreats to his mother and fathers home. While there he thinks about how he wants to do something meaningful with his life. He sees a story about Jack Atwater and decides that he wants to write a screenplay about his life and the cause he was fighting for. He approaches Liz about this and she agrees to help him write the screenplay.

This story takes you on a journey of how two people who are broken and unhappy discover that they can live theirs life and deserve to be happy. Liz discovers that after taking care of her family she deserves to let herself grieve and get over feeling guilty for Jack's death. Reynolds discovers that he does not miss the fame and fortune of Hollywood. The things he is missing in his life are not what he believed he would ever have or ever want.

The journey takes on a path that discovers friendship, family values and true love. This story is so eloquently written. It makes you believe in true love. It is a family that survives heartbreak and learns their is a future. As they move on into the future they do not have to forget the ones in the past. This book will wrap itself around your heart and make you sad, happy, and hopeful.

"Not every love story has a happy ending,
but the great ones, no matter how they end,
change your life.
Love is the only thing more powerful in this world than death.
Love transcends. And in the end, all of us can
hope for, is a love that is past heaven."

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and reviewed for Stories and Swag Blog.
Profile Image for Judy Krebs.
3 reviews
January 29, 2015
I loved every second of this book. Laura Ward has a unique way of writing that captures your heart and interest through every word in this book. She has the gift of making you cry and smile in the same moment and making you feel that you are truly living the story with her. I love the way she incorporates the handicapped in her story and educating her audience about the special needs society. I love the way she makes you fall in love with her characters and makes you feel as if you know them or can relate to them. I love her style !!! This is my Favorite. Book. Ever.
Profile Image for Katie(babs).
1,810 reviews539 followers
February 23, 2015
Past Heaven by Laura Ward has a nice women’s fiction feel to it, but also has a great romance in the mix. The heroine is a widow with three young boys who lost her beloved husband to a shooting. Right off the bat I was impressed because the deceased husband isn’t vilified to make the heroine’s second time at love a much better and the “real” thing.

Liz is on the cusp of forty (or middle-aged as the tabloids mention in this story once she dates the hot shot forty-year-old actor, who isn’t considered middle-aged) and a widow with three boys. She lost her husband Jack, she adored during a charity event by a crazed man who blamed her husband for closing a hospital that houses physically and mentally handicapped individuals. Reynolds, one of the best actors in Hollywood enters her life after he hears about the great things her husband did. He wants to make a movie about Liz and her husband. Reynolds is more known for his blockbuster, action movies. When the big time actress he’s dating, and who he wanted to marry, ends up cheating on him with a younger up and coming actor, he has a big change regarding his career. He wants to go indie.

Liz isn’t sure what to make of Reynolds, but he comes across as a very nice guy who wants to do right by Jack and his legacy. They will work on the screenplay together in order to make it as authentic as possible. Reynolds ends up working with Liz at her house. He gets to know her and her boys and takes a big interest in their lives. Over the course of a few months, Liz and Reynolds have become more than working partners. The attraction is there between them, but Liz is still dedicated to Jack. Reynolds doesn’t want to ruin a good thing. He thinks of Liz as a friend now, and if he has to keep his feelings a secret, he’ll do that. But slowly these two are falling for one another, and after a kiss or two, they can’t deny they want more. But how can the middle-aged, average looking widow compete with Reynold’s celebrity lifestyle, the cruel paparazzi and his former witchy flame who will ruin Liz as revenge?

Past Heaven is a tender romance where the main couple get to know one another slowly before they jump into a passionate affair. This is the type of book that would be a great TV movie because it has a very uplifting message. The romance tropes are still here, but aren’t too glaring, other than Reynolds one-dimensional ex-girlfriend. It has this courtship feel to it with Liz and Reynolds, and their opinions and actions are very real to life.

The ending is very pat and a bit too saccharine with a fairy tale ending, but it’s what everything a HEA should entail. Past Heaven was a reading treat.
Profile Image for Aira.
330 reviews66 followers
January 30, 2015
This book gave me a "Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor" feel. Which was great because I LOVE that book.

Liz just lost her husband Jack. She was left to take care of their three lovely sons.Liz is absolutely devastated because she just lost her best friend and the love of her life. She's trying to be strong for her children; and she's worrying about how she needed to work soon to take care of her children. Before Jack died, she was a stay at home mom. She was always there for her children, so Liz worried about having to work and not being home all the time anymore for her children.

Liz's friend Cindy was such a big help in her life. Cindy was always there for Liz, and she was just the epitome of a true friend.

Reynolds just found out that his girlfriend cheated on him. He went back home and stayed with his parents to escape the fakeness of hollywood. He was just sick and tired of it all. He learned something from his parents that caused him to be inspired and to seek out Liz.

They work on a project together. The project being them working to write a screenplay together about the life of Jack. We learn that Jack was a very loving husband, father, and just an all around phenomenal guy. I ached for Liz and I cried with her.

Liz and Reynolds needed that project to heal each other and to inspire each other. Their story was just wonderful. I really felt the love and respect that they had for each other.

While Reynolds was falling in love with Liz, he was also falling in love with each of her sons. Liz's sons were so cute! I loved them. Reynolds really tried with them, and he made them feel like they mattered and they were loved.

"The idea is that once you really love someone, and I mean the kind of love that fills you up from head to toe, it never leaves you. A love like that surrounds you, always. Time, distance, and even death can't end it. That love is Past Heaven."

“The power of love is both inescapable and infinite.”

Profile Image for Kindle Crack Book Reviews Cheri .
1,209 reviews1,033 followers
January 27, 2015
Title: Past Heaven
Author: Laura Ward
Series: Standalone
Release Date: January 26, 2015
Rating: 4.50 stars
Spoiler-free review

Reynolds Carter is a 40-year-old hot Hollywood a-list actor who finds out his starlet girlfriend cheated on him. He is sick and tired of his fast, fake and empty Hollywood existence. After doing some soul searching, Reynolds decides to write a screen play about health care do-gooder Jack Atwater. Liz Atwater is a widower and a typical suburban mom. It’s only been a year since Jack was murdered and Liz is still in mourning, but she’s wildly attracted to Reynolds. Reynolds doesn’t like kids (Liz has three) and usually dates hot models and actresses. Reynolds and Liz’ undeniable chemistry could light up the Hollywood sign. Can they find love or will former ghosts of the past stop them from finding their own heaven?

Past Heaven is a nice celebrity/normal girl story. It did take me a little while to get into this book while learning Jack’s story. Past Heaven isn’t a smutastic read…but had the right amount of heat. Reynolds is wayyyy too perfect... like crazy perfect. Liz was great, relatable and very real. The Hollywood sticky-sweet ending went down as I anticipated. Great book.

This review appears on www.kindlecrack.net, www.facebook.com/kindlecrack, Goodreads, Amazon, Pinterest, TSU, Google+ and Twitter. A review copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

4.50. Love Reyn
Profile Image for Beth.
231 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2015
4.5 STARS!!!!

I love this book SO HARD!!!! Everything about it!

It starts off with such a powerful prologue that had me in tears! It takes a lot to get me in tears, but this story just hit all my spots! The prologue and the Epilogue are just beautiful.

It had everything you could want from a Romance story. It has a hot older (which I loved that he is older, since I am 34 :)) Hollywood actor, a hot widow, who is also a mom to three adorable boys. The storyline was brilliant and I loved every single thing about it. Well, that's not true, I could have done without the caddy bitchiness of Reynolds Ex girlfriend, but I guess there had to be drama thrown in there. But really it didn't need the added drama from her, the story itself had me feeling enough.

Most of all I love Reynolds. At first he comes off like the cocky Hollywood actor that he is, but really it's not him at all. He's lost and just trying to find his way. The thing I loved most about him was he never tried to take the place of Liz's husband or the boy's father. He was always respectful and protective of the love she had with Jack. He was so respectful of the feeling of her kids and that made me love him even more.

Over all, you can't go wrong with this book! It had absolutely everything I love in a book. Just read it!!
July 31, 2016
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Cover: 3/5 (OKAY COVER)
Writings: 4/5 (GOOD STORY)
Hotness: 4/5 (HAD JUST ENOUGH)
Profile Image for Carolyn.
908 reviews
July 10, 2017
Breathtakingly And Tragically Beautiful

Breathtakingly tragic- Liz and her 3 boys find themselves alone. A horrific tragedy has taken beloved husband, father and humanitarian Jack Atwater away. How do you move on with life, live, recover, move on?

Hollywood movie star Reynolds Carter has actually been dumped, cheated on and became the target of all paparazzi. Deciding to take a breather from Hollywood and its drama, Reynolds heads home to his family to find himself. When secrets lead to a new work project, Reynolds is led to do a film on humanitarian Jack Atwater and his family. Finding Jack's widow, Liz, and their three sons irresistible, charming, and loving, Reynolds starts to fall for the entire gang. But they are all broken by the loss of the patriarch of their home. Can they love him? Will other forces keep them apart?

This story has it all. It was a great read. A book you don't want you stop reading when you pick it up. From the very tragic beginning told by friend Cindi, the reader is brought in to the story and its emotion.
Profile Image for Laura Hanson.
6 reviews
February 17, 2015
Five "Interesting" Stars...

If you don't read any other love story this year, you should read this one. Past Heaven is a true story, a realistic fairy tale, about second chances and finding one's self again after loss. The author weaves humor, fantasy, tragedy, family, friendship, and romance into a beautiful tale that sticks with you for days. Her easy writing style creates a page-turner, gripping your heart.

I loved Liz. Liz is me. Liz is you. Liz could be any dedicated wife and mother whose life is turned upside down in a heartbeat. The secondary characters will also grab your heart.

I love ANY story where things work together for good, and I am impressed at how skillfully Laura wove in characters with disabilities. I won't miss any of Laura Ward's future books. She's one to watch for.

Profile Image for J.
2,941 reviews38 followers
October 1, 2016
DNF at 12%. I didn't like either of the two main characters and I just couldn't make myself go on. I like Laura Ward and this book is highly rated by others so its probably just me.
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