3 stars -- I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
Honestly, I could even go lower to 2.5 stars with this book, but I'm trying to shake off the negativity. This book just wasn't a match for me, and practically right from the start. I can honestly say that I didn't feel any emotion at Starling's death (the little sister from the blurb, not a spoiler). And right there that's not a great sign. I mean, if I'm not tapping into an author's writing enough to feel emotion from a murder of a loved one, then it's probably not a good match. But I hate DNFing ARCs without giving it a fair shake, so I kept going. And quite frankly it didn't pick up for me until around the time Cole appeared in the story and we got his POV. And not because he was necessarily book boyfriend material for me personally, but I thought he was a sweet and genuine person, and there was a bit more intriguing stuff coming into play with more gifted individuals.
So, basically, Nova was a dud for me. On the surface we're told she's going through a lot, and sometimes I definitely felt her despair, but just not as I'd hoped I would I guess. I didn't really appreciate her habit of talking to herself, but that's a Lenore taste thing, not necessarily a bad thing in general. And on a side note, her friendship with Amber confused me. I know she supposedly wasn't as close to her but still liked her and whatnot, but she could be a bit superior in her own head with so much of the high school stuff.
My biggest problem with this story is that it constantly had me furrowing my brow in confusion and disbelief. I do NOT understand the choices that the characters made. I was constantly thinking "Seriously? No one's going to call the police, you're just going to leave?" "Seriously? They have a major encounter with the bad guy, and they just easily run away and then it's like a date and they don't even really look at the news or anything to find out what happened?" Sorry, I'm trying to be somewhat vague so as not to give spoilers, but the sequence of events in the plot just baffled me.
And the PARENTS!!! Yet another story where they exist on the peripheral and just do not come into play basically ever. Her father is a freaking lawyer, and she never updates him on her activities, or asks him how things are going on his end? Cole and Pen's father seems to be in the know on all things gifted, but we NEVER meet him? I mean, I sort of get it, but it was too frustrating to me.
And crap, I've started getting ranty, so I'm going to stop. Because that's so unfair. Basically this one just didn't have enough good stuff sucking me in to want to continue with the series. It was definitely not a match to my reading personality. I will say that I'm glad I continued on and didn't DNF b/c we did get some good stuff (particularly in Cole's POV), and I enjoyed the sweet romance, even if it was a bit slow for my taste. I just wish that someone was there to answer all my questions. :P...more
3.5 stars -- I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
Up to the end this was a solid 4 star book for me. Fantastic rom-com with likeable characters and great chemistry. I was sucked in from their first awkward encounter. It might have even been more than 4 stars if they had had more encounters earlier in the book. It felt like two separate stories for a while and as this is a romance, I was kind of chomping at the bit to see them interacting in any way, shape, or form. But once they did get together they were pretty great together. It was definitely one of those books that followed a lot of romance cliches, but being a romance lover that stuff doesn't tend to bother me too much. And there were plenty of scenes that had me just grinning away!
And then the ending happened, and I just found I wasn't satisfied. I felt like it was rushed, a bit too much of a stretch (even for a rom-com lover such as myself), and I lost the magic somehow. So that was a little disappointing. I think I'll still round up to 4, because the rest of the book was solid, but yeah...
Great supporting cast -- loved seeing Megan again, she is such a hoot. I've only read book 1 in the Wedding Pact series, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse at some of those characters again. And Matt and Tyler presumably get their own stories in this spin off series, so I'm looking forward to checking out their stories as well.
All in all a solid read only marred by an ending that didn't quite do it for me....more
4 stars -- I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
FINN!!!! I've been so looking forward to this story, even though I was leery of the b*tchy Layla. And this book definitely did not disappoint! Finn was every bit the sweetheart that I knew he was from the previous two books (most especially The Playmaker) and Layla of course had a lot more going on than met the eye.
I appreciated that Finn was consistent with the little bits that we had learned about him in the previous books -- laid back, calm, peacekeeping, thoughtful, and sweet. It was nice to see a bit more of what else was going on with him, looking to his future and seeing how he was going to miss his friends and such. I almost wish we could have delved a bit more into his character and what was going on with him, but there really was so much going on in the Layla storyline that I think it would have felt like too much then. I guess I just love Finn so much that I wanted more more more of him. Can you blame me?? And it wasn't like he was perfect -- he did judge Layla initially, he just generally reserved his judgement more than others did. I did love that you got to see his family life and that he had such a wonderful support system at home. It really spoke to how he became the man that he was. His Mom was definitely a standout secondary character in this book.
Layla's story was definitely heartbreaking. If you thought you hated Derek before this, just wait. Layla's kind of a complicated character, b/c Ms. Ford has to balance what we know of her previously with making her a likeable character. And she mostly succeeds. Sometimes I was a bit disbelieving of her internal thoughts, but that could be just my cynical self. Like I wish there was more internal conflict over how she treats other people (like Tori), the little bit we did get kind of felt thrown in. I wanted to know how she saw her friends (Roxy and Michelle), or see an honest to god change in her demeanor as she was faced with how she treated other people. But that didn't really happen. In the end, it would have made the story really jam packed as well, but I just felt like there were opportunities missed...so I'm a bit torn on her. The parts of her we see with her drinking and wanting to escape felt very authentic though. And my heart broke for the situations she found herself in. I hope we find out more about what happened at that party in the final book though, b/c I feel like there's so much of the story still missing there.
What stood out to me in this book was the strong connection that forms between Finn and Layla while she's sick. I really felt that all the way to my bones. My heart seriously just broke at the things she reveals to Finn during those weak moments (about how she sees herself), and that's where I think the story really shines. I still felt the love was a bit fast, but I was willing to accept that the connection was definitely there and strong. You could really feel how much they had grown to understand one another and care for one another. Because I was so sucked into their new connection, I was kind of disappointed when the next chapter would start and a week would have gone by. A part of me felt like I missed out on an opportunity to see more of them together, but I think I'm just greedy.
And while this was an interracial romance, it really didn't play a major part in the storyline (minus a comment from Derek that felt thrown in). I loved how normal it was.
The climax of the story had all the feels and had me on the edge of my seat. I'm definitely looking forward to the final book in the series, even if I will be sad to see these characters go. Ms. Ford does a great job of representing a lot of different YA stories and characters and the struggles they go through....more