I think Colleen Hoover is slowly becoming one of my favorite authors. This is the third book by her that I have read, and I've enjoyed each one.
This s...moreI think Colleen Hoover is slowly becoming one of my favorite authors. This is the third book by her that I have read, and I've enjoyed each one.
This story picks up where Slammed ended, but is told from Will's POV rather than that of Lake. Now that Will is no longer her teacher, you would think things would be easy for both of them. You would be wrong. Now they're dealing with Will's ex wanting to get back in his life, Will's childhood best friend needing a place to stay, getting a college education, raising their trouble-making younger brothers, and all the drama and secrets that those things seem to entail for them.
I enjoyed the book, but I felt like it could have been a little stronger. It was cute and funny and heart-breaking, but it was also a bit flat during some parts of the story. I still feel like it is absolutely worth reading and I have a feeling that people who enjoyed other books by Hoover, or by authors within the New Adult spectrum, would really like this book.(less)
This book was wonderful and horrible at the same time. It was horrifying to read the bullying that the main character described as she counted down to...moreThis book was wonderful and horrible at the same time. It was horrifying to read the bullying that the main character described as she counted down to the day she planned to end her life, but it was also very introspective--for the character, as well as the reader. She describes the assaults and the "teasing" and "taunting" that she had gone through her entire life, but I think that by describing it and writing it out, she managed to also deal with it--or at least start to, because by the end of the book, she seemed more hopeful.
It ends in a very open-ended way, so you don't know if Daelyn went through with the suicide or not. I guess that however you interpret it ends up saying more about you than it does about the book. In a way, I think that the book may encourage the reader to deal with past traumas, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is easily triggered. This book should have a big old "trigger warning" on the cover because it deals with a lot of touchy subjects. (less)
This book was just a bit worse than the second book and a good bit worse than the first. After the high quality of the first story, I was disappointed...moreThis book was just a bit worse than the second book and a good bit worse than the first. After the high quality of the first story, I was disappointed with the way this one unfolded. I think that it could have been better, but it was still better than a lot of young adult/new adult books out there.
Unlike the previous two, where Emma was dealing with abusive family members, this book takes place two years after Emma made the move to California to go to Stanford, which had caused her to leave Evan behind. She's very fragile at the beginning of the story, and gets more and more fragile through much of it. In fact, to go as far as to describe her as being broken wouldn't be too far from the truth.
Evan thinks that Emma left him at the end of the previous story to be with Jonathan and has felt like Emma betrayed him. He doesn't realize that she left both guys that night. He also doesn't realize that Emma is now barely living her life at all and is, surprise surprise, a drinker now. After being a teetotaller for the past two books, Emma now gets completely drunk and takes part in increasingly riskier behaviors while drunk. She's also about as emotionally messed up as her mother had been, but hers seems to be temporary, whereas her mom's was definitely permanent. (view spoiler)[Rachel committed suicide and blames Emma. (hide spoiler)] Eventually, with the help of Evan, Emma starts to learn how to thrive in her life. And both learn how to forgive.
This book was a little choppier/rougher than what I was used to with the other books. I still enjoyed it. I just felt like it should have been better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I didn't know what to expect before I read this novel. It wasn't one that I had really heard about prior to starting it. I was glad that I went in wit...moreI didn't know what to expect before I read this novel. It wasn't one that I had really heard about prior to starting it. I was glad that I went in with such an open-mind because I have a feeling that if I had let others' opinions of it influence me, then I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much.
Actually, I don't know that enjoy is the right word. This book mainly deals with the abusive home-life of the main character, Emma Thomas. And when it deals with it, it does so in a very graphic fashion. The physical blows are described in full. The emotional abuse is also very vivid. If you are triggered by this sort of thing, you might want to avoid the book or just proceed with caution.
Rebecca Donovan does an excellent job with the subject matter, though, which is amazing to me. Many writers cannot write abusive situations that are actually believable. Donovan obviously doesn't have that issue with this story. Of course, she also writes about Emma going through this abuse while going to high school and falling in love, so the story isn't just about the abuse. The reader is able to see the way the abuse impacts every decision that Emma makes from what she does when she isn't at home to the clothes that she wears to the people that she wants to be up-front about the abuse with.
I would really recommend this book to just about anyone who likes young/new adult books and who don't have an issue with reading about books that deal with abusive situations.(less)
This book is a continuation of the Breathing series. It was not as good as the first book in the series, but it was still a really interesting and enj...moreThis book is a continuation of the Breathing series. It was not as good as the first book in the series, but it was still a really interesting and enjoyable read. The previous book left off with Emma's aunt trying to kill her. In the first few pages of this book, you find out that Emma did survive, her aunt did go to jail, and that she has been dealing with the fall-out from everyone discovering that she lived in a deadly situation. And though she has been living in a safe situation with her best friend in the whole world, Emma makes the shocking decision to move in with her mother--the same one that she couldn't even stand to talk to in the last book.
Emma and her mom, who says Emma must call her Rachel not mom, have a few good days together. Then somehow Emma's mom goes off-the-wagon after realizing how much Emma reminds her of Emma's deceased father. Emma's mom's real personality comes out throughout the book. She is more than just an occasionally sloshed character: she's a full-fledged alcoholic who neglects and emotionally abuses her daughter, who develops unhealthy attachments to one of the younger men that she dates, who owes money to a drug dealer, and who manipulates anyone she is around. If you want to get psychoanalytical about her, she is a textbook case of borderline personality disorder. The more intoxicated she is, the meaner she can be. And she can be just as vicious with her words as Carol was with her fists. Rachel is enabled by almost all of her friends, and has been for years. Rachel is jealous of any love or attention that Emma receives, especially when the attention comes from Rachel's boyfriend. (This apparently reminds Rachel of how Emma's father doted on Emma, but didn't love her.)
Emma eventually realizes that she is in a toxic situation with her mother, but she doesn't seem to understand that the same could be said for her unhealthy attachment to Jonathan--the mom's boyfriend. Actually, it's his attachment to her that is much more disturbing. I don't see how anyone could see his character as anything less than creepy. And Emma's ability to tell him anything, but unwillingness to talk to Evan about her home life is really sad, especially when you realize that he is dealing with what happened the night that she was almost killed by her aunt on his own, too.
This book made me more uncomfortable than the previous book, which is why I couldn't give it five stars instead of four. There are some parts of the story that I felt could have been left out and others that I wish had been more developed. It was still a really good book, though.(less)
Sometimes, despite my better judgment, I give a series or a writer a chance. I did that with these books, and I enjoyed the first book. The second boo...moreSometimes, despite my better judgment, I give a series or a writer a chance. I did that with these books, and I enjoyed the first book. The second book was not so lucky. It was still better than a lot of books out there, but it still had some serious issues that I found a bit less bearable this time around.
The grammatical errors were obviously evident in this book as well. Actually, they seemed more apparent in this one, which made the quality of this book feel even more diminished. I wish that the book had been better edited. Maybe if it had been, I would have had a more positive outlook on this book. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have.
Wilder chose another pair of broken people. Actually, in some ways, this pair seemed more broken than Colton and Nell. Maybe that was due to the fact that not only did they go through the loss of Kyle, followed by the “breakdown” of Nell, and then the miscarriage that she suffered, they went through their own personal dramas. There was so much drama going on in this book that I felt like I was watching an episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager or One Tree Hill. I know that life can be dramatic, but this was excessive.
While Becca and Jason were pretty likable, I didn't like all the drama-llamaing. They were not realistic at all. Yes, some parents can be overbearing. Yes, some can be abusive. Yes, some can be either of these things because they had another child who was out of control or because they are disappointed with their own perceived personal failures, but it is just too much to have a girl, who stutters and has overbearing, overprotective parents who are so overbearing and overprotective because her older brother was a pain in the ass due to his bipolar disorder that he refuses to take medication for and uses drugs to medicate with, fall in love with a boy, who just so happens to be the best player of his football position not just in the state but nationwide throughout high school and college and who is so good because his father beats the crap out of him no matter what but gets away with it because he happens to be an uber-powerful chief of police in some podunk town in Michigan. Was that sentence too much for anyone to follow? Well, maybe that's a good thing because that gives you a good idea what the story is like. It gets even more dramatic as it goes along, and just like the previous book, the ending seems to come out of nowhere.
This book had the same issue of having the chapters that were way too long and that were tiring to read. Actually because this book seemed even more dramatic, those chapters seemed even more tiring to read. Unfortunately, that made me dread reading the book. Anytime that I dread reading a book, even if the content should be something I appreciate or want to appreciate, you can bet that I will not be feeling very warm and fuzzy to the book. That being said, it should not be surprising that I felt like this book was not enjoyable and I actually felt like the quality of this story was more punitive to the reader than anything else. The only thing I felt, other than the whole tired thing, after I finished reading this book, was that Wilder needs to get some professional help because the way that she treats these characters is completely sadistic. I worry about any future fictional characters that she might write about because it is clear that she enjoys to torture her fictional creations, which tortures her readers...and as masochistic as some of us might be, I would hope that most people are not that masochistic.
I cannot see myself recommending this book to anyone. If you enjoyed the first novel in the series, then I can't promise you will like this one. I certainly didn't. I'm going to be generous and give this book two stars instead of one. (less)
This was a pretty good book. That being said, there was nothing truly remarkable about it. Yes, it made me cry, but given the subject matter, that was...moreThis was a pretty good book. That being said, there was nothing truly remarkable about it. Yes, it made me cry, but given the subject matter, that was sort of a given. If it hadn't made me cry, I probably would have worried.
It isn't bad or poorly written. It's very easy to read, so the problem isn't that it's hard to follow. It's also pretty realistic. The problem is that in order for me to think of a book as being truly great, it needs to grab me. It needs to make something deep in me shift in some way. This didn't. It had nothing truly extraordinary about it.
I wanted to love it. I really did, but it just wasn't that great. To me, when a book doesn't really inspire you in some way or leave you feeling like something about your world has been changed, then I end up feeling like I've wasted my time. (less)
Okay, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I had read some of the more negative reviews of it, and didn't expect it to be any good, but I gave it...moreOkay, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I had read some of the more negative reviews of it, and didn't expect it to be any good, but I gave it a shot and found it to be rather enjoyable. Of course, it isn't perfect, but I was still rather impressed by it.
The tone of the story was rather dark. It was easy for the reader to feel the level of heartbreak that was described within the story. Wilder did a good job portraying just how heartbroken Nell was after Kyle's death. She managed to get across just how dark and painful and desperate these characters were, but also how they were still, after all of their sadness, able to hope that things could get better.
There were things that I wasn't very enthusiastic about or impressed by in this story. (I can be difficult to please, I know.) Anyway, there's this pet peeve that I have that I didn't really realize that I had until I read this novel. The pet peeve? Authors who write chapters that are longer than fifty pages. Maybe it's because I'm American and have watched so much television that it has caused my brain to not be able to handle that kind of strain or maybe it's the untreated ADD. I don't know what causes it, but my poor little messed up American brain just cannot handle fifty page chapters. I get why she had them go on that long, since the story is separated by time period, but it just felt like too much. Chapters and breaks in general don't just exist to separate different scenes, they also exist to give the reader a break and to help keep them “fresh” so that they will enjoy the story more. Without breaks, the reader can grow tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed by the story. With such a dark story, it was not only tiring not to have more frequent breaks, it also left me feeling a bit raw from all of the emotion.
Now, another issue that I had was Colton's gang background and urban/street dialect. It felt forced. It didn't seem natural at all. I think I know why she used those things to further the story, but I felt like Wilder didn't understand that sort of background or dialect enough to use it properly. It made the scenes where it was brought up seem very amateurish and possibly offensive to people who might be more familiar with gangs or growing up in an urban setting. It seemed to play to some stereotypes that many suburban whites have about cities.
Then there was the issue of Colton's father's career. He is a politician. He lives most of the time in Washington because of his career. He would not have kicked his learning disabled son out of his house and given up on him, no matter how much he might have truly disliked his son. Why? Well, if he did that, then he would expect his career to be over by the end of the day. He would be expecting a journalist to drop by his house the second that journalist heard anything about Mr. Calloway having an estranged son. Actually, he or she would talk to Colton first, then either try to get his father's side of the story or just go to press with whatever Colton said. His behavior is how the political game can be easily lost.
There is also the issue of the way that Nell's struggles with alcohol abuse and self-injury were written. As a person who is very familiar with cutting, the simple easy way that Nell seemed to stop cutting is not at all realistic. There are very few people who just stop harming themselves one day and don't start back. Self-injury is a more complex problem than that, and I get really annoyed when writers who have no experience with it write it in such an unrealistic way.
The book was very good for what it was: an independently published novel written and edited by non-professionals. The dialogue was remarkable for this kind of book, which is part of why, despite my annoyance at some of the issues, I rated it as a four. The ability to portray such angst is another reason. I believe that Jasinda Wilder may have studied at the Joss Whedon Academy for Killing All of Your Hopes and Dreams based on how many times I cried over how the two main characters were relentlessly tortured. The Joss Whedon part is a compliment. The relentless torture is a warning to anyone who goes into this thinking that it is a happy story. It's not. It's hopeful, but not happy. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and actually looked forward to the second book in the series after I finished. (less)
I really enjoyed The Submissive, but this book wasn't quite as good. I know some folks enjoy it more, but it was like a lot of the stories where the s...moreI really enjoyed The Submissive, but this book wasn't quite as good. I know some folks enjoy it more, but it was like a lot of the stories where the same basic story from a previous book gets told from a different perspective. It's a bit stale. There were times that I enjoyed this book more, i.e. when he's describing what he's feeling or interacting with characters in scenes that didn't appear in the first book. Overall, though, I felt a bit let down by this story.
This book did make me cry more than its predecessor and was more emotional than I expected. I wish that I had read it before The Submissive because I think that if I had, this would have been my favorite of the two. I just have to hope that when The Training comes out that it will be more appealing, since it won't be something that I have read before.(less)
I've seen some really negative reviews of this book, but I don't really understand why. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it is really good. It is definitel...moreI've seen some really negative reviews of this book, but I don't really understand why. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it is really good. It is definitely worthy of more than one or two stars.
The characters are complex. The background of what Avery is going through is fully developed. It is easy to empathize with most of the characters, with the exception of Avery's mom.
The worst part of the whole book for me was that the writer seemed to not understand that rape doesn't take away a person's virginity. I know a lot of people are uninformed about that, but sexual assault, abuse, and rape do not make a person a non-virgin. They are acts of abuse and power that just happen to be done in a sexual manner. They are ways of objectifying a victim. Being raped is no more of a way to lose one's virginity than being drowned is of making a person a fish. And it seemed that different types of assaults were labelled as being better or worse than others, i.e. that Avery's rape would have been morally different if it had been via a different method. That was rather alarming. Being violated and abused is different for every single person.
Other than that, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. It had an unusual setup, and but it was pretty good. I hope the next book in this series is an improvement, but I'll probably enjoy it even if it stays at the same level.(less)
For the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (so...moreFor the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (so far) in the Bloodlines series. I really enjoy the series and Mead's writing, but this book just didn't make me feel the same kind of rush that the previous 3 books did. That doesn't mean that I won't end up loving the last two books, especially considering that in the Vampire Academy series, my least favorite book was the fourth book. Maybe I just have a problem with that part of the arc in stories? Anyway, I digress.
The story was intriguing and it was definitely filled with drama, which was in keeping with the past stories. Unfortunately, it didn't have the same level of wit that I had come to expect. It was rather dry when it came to that, and the drama that happened was a lot more predictable than it should have been. The whole series has sort of been building to what happened in this book, so it didn't end up really shocking me or anything.
I can say, without a doubt, that I absolutely hate Zoe and think that both she and Sydney's father are extremely most despicable characters. I know that Zoe is motivated by jealousy and was raised by a bigot, so her motives might not completely be her own, but she was given a chance to grow and change and she didn't, which makes her actions that much more abhorrent. I already knew I didn't like Sydney's father before this book, with his previous love of a rapist and his somewhat subtle emotional abuse of his daughters, but this book made me realize what a schmuck the dude really is. I hope that Sydney's mom gets custody of Zoe, if for no other reason than I know it would make Zoe and Jared so horribly miserable.
I'm glad that Adrian was finally coming to terms with the fact that he had been living an extremely self-destructive life. I hope that he can learn how to use spirit while being on medication at some point because he really deserves to have some sort of normal life. I'm sure that his decisions to go on the medicine and, later, to go back off it will be dealt with more in the fifth or sixth book...or at least, I hope that that's the case. I think that the way his lack of faith in himself was portrayed was extremely poignant. A lot of times when writers choose to write about a mentally ill character, they don't completely "get" what having a mental illness is like, but Mead did an excellent job in portraying what it was like for him. Kudos for that.
There seemed to be too many characters in the story. I know that all of the VA and Bloodlines stories have featured multitudes of characters, but there were so many in this book that it felt like some weren't getting the level of attention that they deserved. Hopefully that won't be an issue in the next two books.
Overall, even with the stuff that I didn't like about this book, I found it entertaining, easy to get into, and easy to read. I think it is definitely worth reading and I'm glad to see at least one paranormal romance series writer getting it right. (Some of the fails that have befallen other writers in the genre had made me start to lose hope.) I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance stories, especially within the young adult age group.(less)