Monday, September 22, 2014

Adult Review: In Your Dreams, Blue Heron #4 by Kristan Higgins

          In Your Dreams, Blue Heron #4 by Kristan Higgins 
Release Date: September 30, 2014 
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: NetGalley via Publisher 
Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancĂ©'s wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero.

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him…
Sometimes, for a book to truly click with the reader, it takes a re-reading to find that relationship. Initially, I was ready to give this a low rating. There was something missing from this book that I hadn’t found in the other three books in this series. But after a few weeks, I re-read this book and I couldn’t help but like it far more the second time around. In Your Dreams is different then the other three books and I’ve realized why I didn’t love it the first time around.

When I initially read this book, I was so disappointed with the romance and the sexitimes because there didn’t seem to be enough of it. I wasn’t in love with Jack and Emmaline (I did like Jack and Emmaline as separate people, however) so I couldn’t care if they got together or not. But what I came to realize about In Your Dreams is that this is as much Jack’s story as it is Emmaline’s. In the last three books, all of the male leads had issues they had to overcome but with Jack, there were more then one misgivings he had to deal with. Jack himself had to change and grow as much as Emmaline did and while I didn’t see—or appreciate—this at first, I did the second time around. As much as the other characters helped each other, Jack and Emmaline had an understanding. They talked to each other; they told each other their problems and allowed the other to help.

Emmaline and Jack were both such similar yet such different characters. Emmaline’s shy and reserved and hasn’t lived in Manningsport her whole life. Jack is the nice giy everyone loves and knows; he’s very much a people person. When her ex-fiance sends a wedding card, Emmaline feels as though she has to go but doesn’t want to face her fears. Jack, as Emmaline’s date, is going to California to escape his problems. While neither wants to share what’s going on, they trust in each other and open up. They put their contrasting personalities aside and work to help each other. Their character growth, something I didn’t notice the first time around, was astounding.

Jack and Emmaline, unlike the other characters, were vulnerable from the beginning of this story so it was a reverse idea: we saw two vulnerable characters trust and believe in each other whereas the other characters were strong but grew to open up with others. There is just something about the way Kristin Higgins tells a story, both in terms of her writing and story telling ability, that makes me fall in love with her characters.

Overall, I didn’t love this book but I liked it far more the second time than the first time. I was able to step away from the other three stories in this series and see this new story for what it truly was. I ended up loving Jack and Emmaline and more then any couple, I wanted them to be together. Yes, this wasn’t my favorite book but my favorite couple. It happens.  
I liked this book. I would have loved this this book but it's missing a few things. I would re-read this book if I wanted something good to read. I would recommend it to some people but with reservations. 

I liked this book a lot more the second time around and there's just something about this story...Maybe it's that both characters help each other with their issues and actually talk it through or maybe because they're such different characters who prove that opposites do attract. Either way, read this book. 
Cover Comments: 
WHAT A CUTE PUPPY. I WANT THE PUPPY. CAN I HAVE THE PUPPY?! Okay, the cover is all cheesy and stuff but guys THE PUPPY. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NA Review: As Long as You Love Me, 2B Trilogy #2 by Ann Aguirre

Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin 
Source: Publisher via Netgalley 
Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons - missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there's the reason Lauren can't admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend's older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He's the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever - until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
I liked the first book in this trilogy, I Want it That Way, but As Long as You Love Me was more of a rollercoaster ride for me and the end result was not pretty. I can’t quite pin what exactly about this relationship I didn’t like but something about Lauren and Rob bothered me. The writing wasn’t the most spectacular and the explicit sex scenes were once again present but something about their relationship bothered me the most.

I want to preface anything I say by pointing out that Lauren had feelings for Rob when she was a young girl and when she moves back home and sees him, the feelings are re-awakened. But Rob is dating a girl named Avery and therefore off limits to Lauren. The two begin getting close simply as friends but their physical attraction is still there. Lauren often wonders about Rob but keeps her hands off. I liked that they got to know who they were now as adults and I could see their relationship blossom. That is until I got to the point where Rob is single and they have sex for the first time. I came to this quote and I was instantly put off
“Before Rob, I’d used condoms, but I’d wanted him for so long that I hated the thought of stopping for latex.” (location 1907 of 3799, 50%)

Yes, Lauren is on the pill but it still irked me that they would take this chance. The pill does not always work. I know people (both married and not) who have had sex while on the pill and got pregnant. I get that Lauren’s in love with Rob and has waited a long time for him but using a condom seemed like a smart decision. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world but was the first thing I highlighted in this book.

Then we get to this gem:
“You don’t even have to touch me, baby. Before I broke up with Avery, you had me ready pretty much every single day.” (Location 1961 of 3799, 52%).
This made me so mad that I put the book (or my Kindle) down. I don’t condone cheating at all and this, regardless of what you might think, seemed like emotional cheating to me. Rob’s excuse for not breaking up with Avery at this point was that he didn’t want her to hear it over the phone but thinking about being with another woman over a course of about a week or two (can’t remember exactly) is a better idea. What?! And if that wasn’t enough, there was this interaction, during the same scene,
“‘So you were waiting for her to come home to do it in person?’ Rob nodded. ‘By then, I didn’t even care when she got back because all I could think about was seeing you again.’” (Location 1969 of 3799, 52%)
So not only did Rob think about another woman in a sexual way while he was still in a relationship, he didn’t even care about when his girlfriend came back…and I’m supposed to like this guy?

But I did. I did like Rob and after that moment, he got better. Or so I thought. Lauren did not have a car so she had been borrowing Rob’s for the good part of the begging of the novel. Later on, when she has saved up enough money to buy a car of her own, she does. She brings Rob’s truck back to him and shows his her new car. Rob loses it:
“I mean, you didn’t talk to me or ask me to inspect the car before you bought it. That’s the one thing I know about—fixing things. I can’t do a lot for you as a boyfriend, and it makes me feel like a worthless sack of shit when you cut me out” (Location 2274 of 3799, 60%).
This was frustrating to me on various levels: a) Lauren is an adult who can make adult decisions. She went with her mom and looked over other vehicles before choosing one, b) Why does Rob need to get upset over this? He is not her father and he doesn’t own her and c) Lauren’s supposed to show Rob all aspects of her life so he can feel validated? In my opinion, Lauren did nothing wrong to get this reaction out of him. This is simply a small portion of the big speech he gives her and I was instantly put off.

Besides the fact that I knew Rob and Lauren were going to break up and then make up, I wasn’t surprised when it happened. Rob, though, acted very much out of character but at this point in the book, I couldn’t have cared less. Overall, I wasn’t in love with this novel. While some aspects were great, the majority of it bothered me. Lauren was hands down the best part about this novel and Rob was the worst. I know a lot of other people loved these books but they weren’t for me.  
Cover Comments: 
Again, what a boring cover. I like the color scheme but really, it's like so many of the other new adult books out there.