Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman


Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
Book Two of the Blackhearts series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

What I Liked:

Over a year ago, I read Blackhearts and enjoyed the story, but hated the ending. At the time, no sequel had been contracted. This weighed somewhat on my rating of the book. Months later, a sequel was announced (just one). Who wasn't excited?! I think this was a good sequel, and probably as good as the first book, for most readers. But I personally wasn't feeling it, didn't love it, and that's how the three-star rating is showing up again. I fully admit the fact that most readers will probably love this book. I didn't. I didn't hate it either though.

Blackhearts left us with a terrible, horrible ending. This book picks up nearly where its predecessor left off (give or take a few days, maybe weeks? I can't remember). Anne is on a ship to Nassau, but she has made friends with Cara and Coyle, who offer to let her stay with their uncle at Nassau. Anne and the rest of the ship arrive safely in Nassau, and she begins to work for Alastair in his tavern. Teach is on another ship, bound for Nassau as well. But when Teach arrives, he is arrested by Governor Webb and given a merciless decision: find the pirate Easton, or hang. The politics of Nassau are filthy and corrupt, and there is nothing that Teach and Anne can do about it, except flee. Teach sets out to find Easton, with Anne stowed away. But they will discover what they feared about Governor Webb, Lord Pelham, and other men of power at Nassau. 

I adored Teach in this book. His character development is subtle and something you don't actively notice, but from the start of this book to the finish, you can see how much he has grown. He is less of a lovesick boy and more of a hardened, fierce, loyal man. He assumes a captain's role of more than one ship, and it suits him. I liked seeing him become even more of a leader, and a smart one at that. He never thinks of himself alone, always of his crew, and Anne, and Anne's loved ones. 

Anne, meh. I didn't really care for her in this book. I'll talk about her in the next section. But, meh.

There is a much more adventurous tone in this book, especially since much of the book is set at sea of near a ship. I liked this change of pace, because the story moved a little faster. I was still bored (which I'll talk about later), but at least the story seemed more lively than in Blackhearts. Not that Blackhearts was super boring, but I like the more pirate-y feel to this book. 

Some of the secondary characters are awesome! Teach's best friend John is a wonderful friend and good first mate. Reva, a sly and cunning pirate, is so kickbutt and admirable. Alastair, Cara, Coyle, and Beth (Alastair's lady) are supporting and loyal people who are so good to Anne (too good to be true?). Even Easton was a character I grew to like! Though we don't really meet him until the end.

No love triangle, though there are some things that annoyed me about the romance (see below). Teach and Anne's relationship is really strong, and nothing comes between them or their feelings for each other. It's the author that likes to play games with the romance (again, see below). 

In general, this was a good sequel. Don't necessarily be fooled by the rating - I can definitely appreciate how well-written and satisfying this sequel was. Just... not for me, maybe? I have a feeling of meh in my head.

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't really care for Anne, in this book. I didn't hate her but I also wasn't really rooting for her. She doesn't really think things through and is always shoving herself into places and businesses and things that she doesn't belong in. I hate how she was constantly trying to justify herself and her presence when she really needed to just not. Look, I get that all the authors are trying to make all the female characters more "kickbutt" and fierce. But on Anne, it seemed fake and forced. I was rolling my eyes at Anne during the entire book. She needed to take a seat and stay put. I'm not really an advocate for "sit back and let the men do the work" but Anne isn't the smartest girl so... given how she just rolls right into trouble, I wouldn't let her get into business she doesn't belong in. Especially when she tries to act like she's a perfect shot and she can fight, after "learning" how to shoot a pistol for like, two days? Girl, please. Take a seat.

But of course, everything magically works out for her when she does join a battle or enters a fray. Because of course. *cue eye-rolling* I can't stand that type of fake female protagonist.

Moving on. The romance. Yes, Teach/Anne are a solid pair. But the author threw in Coyle, who loves Anne (Anne cares for him as a brother, don't get too upset). This was... unnecessary? Annoying? Irrelevant? WHY was it necessary to the plot, other than to send Teach's blood pressure up, and mine? What purpose did having Coyle love Anne serve? Why couldn't they be platonic friends? (Well, Anne certainly thought they were.)

And then there are all of the lewd comments that some of the male sailors/pirates made around Anne when she was discovered on Teach's ship. This, I found more believable, but really? What, is this girl Helen of Troy? Does she have sort of magical essence that makes all men attracted to her? Literally every other attractive male sailor/pirate? Again, nothing came out of this, the romance is all Teach/Anne, there are no feelings or kisses or anything except between Teach and Anne. But it's so unnecessary! 

And let's be real - this kind of thing is annoying on so many levels. How about the author drop a hot, attractive female in Teach's direction, and let that female throw herself at Teach. He's an attractive guy, and a captain. Nothing love-triangle-y, but something annoying and irritating, like Coyle, and those male pirates. Is that going to happen? NO! Because that would literally be the end of the world and we can't upset Anne (or the female protagonist in general)! Could authors just not

Again, no love triangle. It's just the author being irritating. She's probably trying to show how much Teach cares about Anne by how jealous and possessive he gets. Hey Castroman, how about you go the other way around now, huh? Parade some hot ladies in front of Teach, let's see Anne's jealousy, let her get possessive and fight for/over her man. *cue eye roll*

I was bored for the beginning of this book. I admit, I did a good amount of skimming and fast-paced reading. The tone of this book is much more adventurous than that of Blackhearts, but I was feeling kind of meh about this story. It's good! I was bored though. It could have been my mood.

Would I Recommend It:

Yeah, I'd recommend this book, because it is a good sequel and a well-written book. But also no, I don't recommend this book, because there is no contracted book three, and the ending of this book kind of demands a book three. No ridiculous cliffhanger (i.e. like Blackhearts), but the ending is so unresolved and wide open, in a more general direction (not just talking about Teach and Anne anymore). So maybe don't bother with this one until you know for sure that there will be a book three? Because, at this time (March 26th, 2017), there is no third book contracted. 

Rating:

3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. This was a very quick read for me, and while I was bored and sometimes irritated, I'm glad I gave this book a chance. Don't be fooled by my rating and the dislikes section - it's a good book overall. Maybe I'm getting too caught up in the details (I probably am). I personally felt a little meh about this book and I can't quite pinpoint why, but it could very well be my current mood!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#222)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, March 19th to Saturday, March 25th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



Thank you, Disney and BHM! This is a pretty neat package - the books involve approaching graduations, and I'll be graduating in May! From university though (not high school). =)


From NetGalley:



Thank you, Entangled! I adore Beck's books, and I'm very excited about this new one.


From Edelweiss:

    


Thank you, HMH and Avon! I loved the previous books in all of these series, so I'm looking forward to reading these new books.


Goodness, the last Saturday of March. Can you believe it? Two more months of classes and then I'm finished! I go back to uni on Sunday. It's been a very relaxing and lazy spring break.

Don't forget about my 1,000,000 pageviews giveaways! I've got three happening now. =)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer


Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

What I Liked:

I've read all six of Kemmerer's previous novels (and some of the novellas too), and for the most part, I enjoyed all of what I read. Kemmerer has a way of writing broken teens who are trying to find their way. But I think Kemmerer is at her best, with this book. This, to me, is her best work. This book split me open and made my heart hurt - in the best of ways. I wouldn't say that I get emotional over books, but this one made me feel some feels. 

This is Juliet Young's and Declan Murphy's stories, which becomes one story. Juliet's mother died in a hit-and-run car crash, and she has been grieving ever since. Juliet used to write letters to her mom since her mother was often overseas, as a photographer in war zones and such. And so Juliet continues to write letters to her mom, but leaves them at the grave site. Declan Murphy has community service, which involves mowing and lawn of the cemetery. He finds one of the letters at a grave site, reads it, and writes back. An exchange of letters occurs, and then it becomes emails. Juliet and Declan have no idea that they are reaching out to each other and helping each other through their grief and pain. But in real life, Juliet misjudges Declan, and Declan misjudges Juliet. Both are not the other's biggest fans; but when one finds out that the other is the letter writer, will it matter?

I sat down with this book with the intention of reading only half of the book, and saving the other half for the next day. I started reading really late into the night (after 9 PM) and had no intention of finishing. But hours went by, my family went to bed, and I didn't even notice. I was so engrossed in this book, and I couldn't stop reading, and the next thing I know, I've finished it. It was that wonderful, and heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. 

Usually when there is a YA book with dual, first-person POVs, I adore one of them, and feel so-so about the other (I don't have this problem with adult books, which is a relief). With this book, I liked both characters a lot. I think I liked Declan more, and I really connected him more (for some reason - it's not like I have a stepparent or a father in prison or a shred of the problems he has). 

Declan is so misjudged, and by everyone. Everyone labels him as a thug and a criminal, and when someone says something bad about him, no one comes to his defense. If he is anywhere near a bad situation, it gets blamed on him. He and his stepfather practically hate each other, and his mother is so passive and doesn't even talk to him. His sister is dead, his father is in jail, and he has to work off ninety hours of community service for one very bad decision. But... Declan isn't a bad guy. He has an attitude and he doesn't hide his anger, but he isn't a terrible person. He has a strong sense of morals and he is very intelligent, But again, misjudged. Even - and especially - by our heroine, Juliet.

Juliet is overwhelmed with grief. Her mother's death is still fresh, and even the thought of getting rid of her mother's cameras makes Juliet break down in tears, or panic. Juliet hasn't had an easy year, but she isn't alone. She misjudges Declan badly, and slowly, she starts to realize that. Juliet is a good girl, though at first she is a little judgmental (towards Declan). In general she isn't... but to him, she was. She was to the point where she was afraid of him, which I thought was silly. 

To me, it's a testament to Kemmerer's talent as a writer, how she can characterize these two teens so well, and bring about those fears and angers and pain so well, such that the reader is incredibly aware of them. There wasn't a chapter that went by that I didn't distinctly feel Declan's fury and his hurt, or Juliet's panic and grief. Such good writing, in terms of the development of these two characters.

The letter-writing aspect of the story was so wonderful. At first it was odd - Juliet was furious to find out that someone wrote on her private letter to her dead mother. But then the letter-writing turned into something more meaningful and necessary. Both characters had a lot of pain and hurt to work through, and the anonymous letter-writing really helped. Imagine being able to lay out your big problems, your little problems, your crappy day, to someone who knows exactly nothing about you. Someone who knows nothing, and yet everything. Letter-writing isn't new in YA (P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum...), but it's a concept that I adore so much.

This is YA contemporary with a lot of "tough issues" explored. Declan's relationship with his stepfather, with his mother, Juliet's relationship with her father, Declan's crime and his community service, his anger, Juliet's grief, Juliet's judgment of Declan... there is a lot to unload and handle, in this book. The most meaningful (or one of them) was Kemmerer's message about misjudging people - someone like Declan will get blamed and beat down because people already expect him to be a bad person, a thug and a criminal, but that isn't fair and it isn't right.

There is romance and it's both there and it's not. Letter-writing Declan and letter-writing Juliet definitely fall for each other through letters - their connection is very powerful. In-person Declan and in-person Juliet have more of a slow-burn, hate-to-love romance. They bicker and fight nearly every time they see each other, and they constantly snipe at each other and misjudge each other. But their relationship changes a lot. There is a lot of chemistry between them, but it's often off the page. I liked the romance, despite the "physical" side of the romance not really being there.

There were a lot of wonderful secondary characters in this book! Rev, Declan's best friend, who has a heartbreaking past but a positive outlook on life. He is an amazing friend and I loved their bromance. He's one of my favorites, and I can't wait to read his story next. Rowan, Juliet's best friend, who is so supportive and such a good best friend. Then there is "Melonhead" (his name is Frank), who is Declan's community service supervisor. He actually plays a huge and very positive role in Declan's life, and I'm glad he is in the story. Same with Rev's parents. Positive role models - not like Declan's mother and stepfather. Ugh, to both of them. 

The ending is perfect! Things work out well for Declan in many areas of his life. It's not like all of his problems are fixed overnight, but he takes a lot of baby steps in the right direction. Same with Juliet. And of course, same for the two of them, in terms of togetherness. Although, I have to say, we need an epilogue, or a loooooot of cameo appearances in Rev's book. There is a distinct lack of physical swoon that needs to be made up for, in Rev's book!

What I Did Not Like:

The only thing I wanted more of was the thing I just mentioned - more physical swoon. I shared a snippet of this book on my latest Swoon Thursday post, and notice how it isn't a kissy swoon! Yeah, there could have been more kissy scenes. A lot more.

Would I Recommend It:

YA contemporary fan or not (I'm not one), I recommend this book. It is such a meaningful and thought-provoking book. Also, I can't remember the last time I got that swept up in a story, to the point where I unintentionally finish it or stay up really late without being aware. (I stay up late reading books all the time but it's always intentional). There are a lot of tough topics explored in this book, but it's not overwhelmingly heavy. This is an excellent story that is powerful beyond it being a YA contemporary story about two teens who meet in more than one way.

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded up to 5 stars (a rare 5 stars from me!). I am incredibly excited to read Rev's book next year! So far I'm seven for seven with Kemmerer's books and I have yet to be really disappointed. While I certainly do recommend her Elemental series, I recommend this book even more so! 


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Swoon Thursday (#217): Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is from Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer!


He turns to face me, and before I'm ready for it, he moves close. Very close. So close that his cheek is against my cheek, and one hand is against my neck. If I take a deep breath, I'll be pressed up against him. His breath tickles my ear, his stubble brushing my jaw.

"Is this okay?" he says softly.

"Okay? This is about three thousand times better than my idea with the phones."

He laughs, and our chests do touch. One of his hands finds my waist. We could be dancing instead of sharing secrets. I have the sudden urge to wrap my arms around him.

- eARC, page 386



I don't remember the last time a book utterly consumed me like this one did. I planned on reading this one over two days, but instead, I found myself completely immersed in the story and unable to stop reading, and suddenly it's well past midnight and I've finished the book. It was wonderful! This is a non-kissy swoony scene and one of my favorites of the book. =)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

1,000,000 Pageviews Giveaway!

Happy Wednesday! In addition to my usual Waiting on Wednesday post (below this one!), I've got a thing to celebrate! 

I've been remiss! An entire month has passed since I announced that my blog passed 1,000,000 pageviews. Yup, you read that correctly. 1,000,000 pageviews! ONE MILLION!


I wanted to do something special for the milestone, and I do apologize for posting about it so late. The Eater of Books! is now well past 1,000,000 pageviews so, ah, I'm sorry!

Thank you all so much for your support! These 1,000,000+ pageviews couldn't have all come from me! Some days I wonder though - maybe it's just me visiting my own blog? But no, it's all you guys. Thank you for everything! Especially these last few months; I'm still incredibly behind and I will definitely catch up soon (maybe by the end of spring break, which is this week?). A downside of publishing blog posts every day (and sometimes more than twice a day) is that I'm always going to have posts to catch up on (in terms of comments). But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't love it. I appreciate every pageviews, every comment, every visitor. Hugs to all of you - you make my life brighter every day. =)

And I promised a giveaway! Well, I have three of them. You ready?


Giveaway #1:

Head to my Twitter to enter this prize pack! Note that this is a prize pack of both ARCs and paperback copies. Some are old, some are new!


Giveaway #2:


Win five hardcovers of diverse YA books! Winner has 48 hours to respond. Titles are below. Open internationally. Giveaway rules apply.


(Note: if you win this prize pack, and indicate that you like adult romance, I may be able to sneak some adult romance novels in your box! It looks like there will be room in the box when I ship the books. I'm specifying extra adult books because they are small in length/width. So, extra books for those who like adult in addition to YA! Just saying!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #3:


Win twelve adult romance novels! A mix of finished paperbacks and ARCs.  Winner has 48 hours to respond. Titles are below. Open internationally. Giveaway rules apply.


Thank you for your support! And if you don't win one of these prize packs, don't fret! There is plenty more where those come from. I'm going to be moving soon, and I need to make a looooot of books disappear (especially ARCs). :D

Waiting on Wednesday (#221): A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
Book Two of the Kingdom on Fire series
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?

In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.




I'm looking forward to reading this sequel! Hopefully it doesn't succumb to Sequel Slump.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: His Custody by Tamsen Parker


His Custody by Tamsen Parker
Publisher: Intermix (Berkley)
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

He needs to be a better man for her sake, but she makes him want to be so bad...

Keyne O’Connell leads a charmed life. She has a caring family and a terrific boyfriend. Her senior year is about to begin, and her future looks bright. But one dark summer night robs her of everyone she loves, thrusting her into the care of her boyfriend’s intimidating, much older brother.

Dark and brooding, Jasper Andersson is not a good man. His business dealings are barely legal. He’s a womanizer and a casual drug user. He has no interest in becoming Keyne’s guardian, although given her limited options, he doesn’t have much of a choice. He knows he must protect her at whatever the cost.

But living in close quarters soon stirs up feelings inside them both that are far from platonic. Keyne needs a firm hand to keep her in line, but what she desires could lead Jasper into trouble...

What I Liked:

I'm going to begin my review by saying that I really enjoyed this book... until the last fifty pages of the book. Yes, I'm giving the book three stars, despite loving the book (again, until the last fifty pages or so). I'm so disappointed in the last part of the book because it had been so good (for me), until that point. Please be warned - this review will have spoilers (especially in the "What I Did Not Like" section). 

I've never read a book by Tamsen Parker, and I don't think I've read a true "guardian/ward" book. I wanted to try one and test my boundaries, and I really enjoyed this book - minus the last fifty pages. I picked this book up on a whim, and while I wish I could say I was glad that I did, I really can't.

Life comes to a halt when Keyne's family - her parents her boyfriend Gavin, and his parents - are killed in an accident while they were on a cruise. She has known Gavin since birth, since their parents were best friends. Which means that she has also known Gavin's older brother Jasper since she was born. Jasper fights for custody of her, knowing that while she has blood family, he is her only real family. He doesn't know anything about being a parent or raising a teenager, but he isn't going to let Keyne go. Living together was never going to be easy, but it gets even harder when the pair recognize their fierce attraction to each other, and how deeply they've fallen for each other.

I loved both of these characters from the start, but especially Jasper. He is fourteen years older than Keyne (thirty-one at the start of the book), a successful and rich businessman with a very kinky dominant side, and a very pleasure-filled life. When his parents, Keyne's parents, and his little brother are killed, he has no time to process his grief. Keyne's grief is overwhelming and very present, and Jasper wants to be there for her before anything else. I love how Jasper puts Keyne first in everything, and takes care of her, from start to finish.

Keyne is incredibly broken after the five deaths, and for months. She doesn't process the grief well. It's good that Jasper is so caring and understanding because Keyne becomes a zombie for a few months, before she begins to be alive again. I liked Keyne and her fragility, but I also liked her quiet, budding strength. She leans on Jasper and learns to live again because of him.

Okay, you probably wondering - he is thirty-one and she is seventeen and HOW is this a romance novel? I assure you, nothing sexual happens between them until she's eighteen. In fact, about half of the book is spent over months (maybe eight months? I can't remember), in which they live together and heal together, but they ignore their attraction as best they can. Nothing happens until she turns eighteen. But even before then, it wasn't really weird. Nothing about the situation struck me as weird.

And even then, Jasper is careful to always give her an out. He gives her so many options, and makes sure that she knows that she is safe with him and can stop him at any time. He is gentle with her in that regard... but nothing about the romance is gentle. He is kinky and a true dominant, and she discovers that she likes some kinky aspects of sex that she didn't fully understand. The two of them together are tough, passionate, and fiery, and a lot of the scenes with them in the second half of the book are scorching hot. There are BDSM-type scenes in this book, though nothing super super erotic or hardcore. 

But the last fifty pages... the ending really threw a damp towel over the inferno. I'm very sad about the last fifty pages. There IS a happily-ever-after ending, don't worry. It's how we get there that makes me sad and angry. Read on for spoilers and my dislikes.

What I Did Not Like:

I'm going to be blunt - the last fifty pages made me angry, and disappointed. This is the part of the story in which Keyne goes to college. She goes to Yale, about an hour away. But Jasper, being the noble guy that he is, tells her that she should go and meet boys and have sex and do whatever, even though he also tells her that he loves her and will wait for her, and she clearly tells him that she loves him and only wants him.

You can probably see where this is going.

I'm 100% confident that Keyne didn't have vaginal sex (i.e. penetration) with anyone. But she did get a boyfriend in the first few months at college, and she lets him touch her and do stuff to her, and she does stuff to him. Again, no penetration, but... none of this sat well with me. How can you claim to love someone and be devoted to them, but also go "exploring" with someone else? Jasper was furious about that, but sad nothing, because he wanted her to be happy. Also, we as readers know that Keyne (probably) didn't have sex with that boy, but Jasper never knew that. And of course, I could be wrong, and Keyne most definitely could have had sex with the boy at some point. A lot of time passes. 

Look, I'm all about choices and empowerment and whatnot. This really bothers me though, because Keyne loves Jasper, and she always claims she wants to make him happy and doesn't want to hurt him. But in a lot of ways, her "exploration" in college (four years, by the way) makes me feel like she did all of that to spite him for giving her this choice. Which is f***ed up, if you ask me. I get it, he told her to go and live life and have sex with whomever, but that does not mean she had to - especially since she really didn't want to. She didn't even like that boy! She recited her homework and schedule while he put his hands on her. Do you see my frustration?

Friends, while (penetration) sex is regarded as intimate and personal in most instances, I think the "other stuff" that people do is also really intimate and personal... and the fact that Keyne allowed herself to do those things with and to other people, when in fact she only wanted one man, really bothered me. Especially since Jasper was over there with his very celibate self, not letting anyone touch him. 

Yup, those last fifty pages though.

Would I Recommend It:

I really don't recommend this book and kind of wish I hadn't read it. Which is a shame, because I loved it, up until Keyne goes to college (which is in those dreaded last fifty pages I keep mentioning). I'm so annoyed and also very disappointed and sad. This could have easily been a new favorite romance novel of mine, had the climax/ending not marred it so much for me. So, no, I don't recommend it. 

That being said, I'm sure most readers will love this book. I'm very strange and strict when it comes to my tastes in romance, in that I'm usually on the conservative side (i.e. two people in the romance - no love triangles or outside partners or menages or orgies, etc.). And arguably, Keyne had one boyfriend (Tyler) and she may not have even had sex with him, and anyway this whole thing may not be a big deal to others. But it's a loyalty/cheating thing to me, and it's a big deal to me.

Rating:

2 stars. This hurts for me to dish out this rating for such a wonderful book that I loved until the climax/ending. I was loving this book, and flying through the heartbreak and the slow-burn romance and the sexy, sexy times! But the last fifty pages really ruined the story for me, and I can't look at this book this same. I might even delete it from my Kindle, because I can't stand to look at it anymore. I think I got too invested and then I got too hurt by this book!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!