Review: After We Fell (After, #3), by Anna Todd

After We Fell (After #3)After We Fell by Anna Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like the first two books in the series, ‘After We Fell’ was completely consuming. Although the back and forth drama between Hardin and Tessa gets to be very irritating, I can’t seem to turn away from it. It’s like I’m stuck in an abusive relationship with this couple. I know it isn’t healthy. I know I should remove myself from the situation…but I just can’t do it. After all, maybe they’ll change.

Picking up where ‘After We Collided’ left off, Tessa’s father has reappeared in her life. Only, her father is not the man that she remembered from her childhood. He is homeless and has some serious addiction issues.

While Tessa wants to give her father a chance, Hardin cautions her against it. Hardin is an ass all of the time, but I really thought that he took it to a whole new level when her father was introduced. I couldn’t believe how incredibly insensitive and cruel he was. Even though he was absolutely correct to be concerned, he responded in a manner that showed absolutely no regard for Tessa’s feelings. I couldn’t believe some of the things he said about her father to her. Of course, like always, Tessa gets over it like it was hardly a blip on her radar.

More than the first two books, Hardin’s own issues with addiction were very apparent. Interestingly, the author seemed to avoid addressing this issue head on. I kept waiting for some sort of intervention, but it never really happened. I guess there was already enough drama in this story without tackling Hardin’s drinking problem.

This book also features plenty of fighting, breaking up and making up between Hardin and Tessa. If you expected Hardin and Tessa to settle down and start acting like a mature, committed couple, prepare to be disappointed. ‘After We Fell’ is full of the same angst-filled cycle of jealousy, acting out and game playing that were in previous books. Betrayals are around every corner and there is no shortage of drama.

From disastrous family vacations, to secrets, there is plenty of deceit to go around. Zed is back on scene again, playing a big role in the tension between Hardin and Tessa. Of course, he is only involved because Tessa pulled him in again. Meanwhile, there are more revelations about Tessa’s “friends”. I swear, they never learn their lessons!

Like the first two books, this book ends with a huge upset. If I ever thought that I would have the strength to quit this dysfunctional couple, the ending sucked me right back in. I absolutely had to see where the next book would lead.

I love to hate, and hate to love, this series! It is like watching a bad train wreck in slow motion. You know it’s going to be a disaster, but you just can’t turn away.

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Review: Avoiding Temptation (Avoiding, #3), by K. A. Linde

Avoiding Temptation (Avoiding, #3)Avoiding Temptation by K.A. Linde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final book in the ‘Avoiding’ series, ‘Avoiding Temptation’ provides the answers to all of the questions that I had. At last, I can put my frustrations to rest. Finally, I know how things work out for Lexi.

I don’t want to spoil this series for anyone, so I won’t say exactly who Lexi ends up with…or if she ends up with anyone at all. However, I will say that if you’re a fan of angst that this is one of the most angst-filled series that I’ve ever encountered. I could not believe the massive amounts of drama that played out over the course of this series.

This book certainly lived up to the reputation of earlier books in the series in that regard. There was never a dull moment. I couldn’t get enough of this salacious soap opera. This series is such a guilty pleasure. I know I should be appalled by the characters’ actions…but I just can’t stop reading!

As glad as I was to finally know how things worked out for Lexi and her string of male admirers, I was sad to see this series come to a close. I loved every minute of this series. It is probably one that I will re-read in the future, because I just can’t get enough of these characters.

I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, so I’ll just say that this is one series that you want to read. If you like forbidden love stories with a TON of angst, look no further. This is the series you’ve been looking for!

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Review: Author Anonymous: A True Story, by E. K. Blair

Author Anonymous: A True StoryAuthor Anonymous: A True Story by E.K. Blair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I definitely had a love/hate relationship with this one. I listened to the Audible version of this book and I was immediately pulled into this story. This is a book that is raw and painful, forcing you to confront emotions that you’d rather tuck away and pretend didn’t exist. Life isn’t always perfect…and the grass isn’t always greener. If nothing else, this book will make you FEEL.

This is the story of Tori, a wife, mother and successful romance author. From the outside looking in, her life is “picture perfect”. She has two beautiful daughters and a seemingly perfect husband.

However, things are far from perfect. Tori has obtained just about everything that she thought she wanted. Only, now she’s not so sure that she still wants the same things that she wanted years ago. She’s disillusioned with her life. Her marriage is past the honeymoon stage and she finds herself questioning if she settled down too early. She longs for the passion and excitement that is now missing from her comfortable, stable marriage.

After hearing about a fetish website, Tori decides to check it out for “research” purposes. Soon she begins messaging with a man, Alec that she meets on the site. He is the polar opposite of her reliable husband, Landon. Alec is wild, promiscuous and uninhibited. He is new and represents everything that Tori thinks is missing in her “boring” marriage.

Before long, e-mails become text messages. Then Tori is having intimate, secret telephone conversations with Alec. Eventually, they progress to live chats and in-person encounters.

However, their entire relationship is built on lies. Tori has not been honest with Alec. He thinks that she is single and without children. As she tries to juggle her lies, Tori’s life begins to unravel.

As I was listening to this story, there were so many times where I wanted to shake some sense into Tori. Reading this story was painful because you could see the disaster looming on the horizon, but were powerless to do anything other than listen as it played out and deal with the fallout of Tori’s selfish actions.

More than anything, I felt so conflicted. E. K. Blair did a marvelous job of making you love Tori and relate to her frustrations, even as you despised her self-centered choices and actions. It is real easy to be judgmental and say that Tori was a horrible person. In many ways, she was. However, she was also just a flawed human that gave in to her desires and temptations. Like most readers, I didn’t agree with many of the choices that she made, but I couldn’t hate her.

By the end of the book, I still felt every bit as conflicted as I was at the mid-point. I love that this book made me question things. In fact, I still wasn’t sure how I wanted things to work out at the end and I still had a ton of unanswered questions about the true nature of Alec and Tori’s relationship. There was a lot that was left open for interpretation, which is equal parts fascinating and frustrating.

If you’re looking for a unicorns and rainbows type of story where everything is wrapped up nicely with a bow, this is not that story. This is a story that will make you furious, frustrated, devastated and emotionally distraught. It is incredibly painful, like so many of the best stories are.

If you choose to read this book, I would say to keep an open-mind. It will be absolutely necessary to enjoy this book. This is the type of story where it is easy to pass judgment and “check-out”, feeling like you’re taking the moral high-road by hating Tori. If you can keep an open-mind it is a fantastic, emotional story. While I didn’t agree with Tori’s actions, I did appreciate the beauty and heartbreak of her story.

I love nothing more than a story that elicits raw emotions. This book definitely delivered on that account. For me, it was an excellent choice. The narration was fantastic as well.

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Review: The Divorce, by Nicole Strycharz

The Divorce (The Relationship Quo Series Book 1)The Divorce by Nicole Strycharz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first saw reviews start to pop up on friends’ pages for this book, I knew I had to check it out. I had no idea that I’d love it as much as I did. This book was like a drug for me. I could not put it down until I had finished it.

Jenzy and Chris met in college and were instantly attracted to each other. Their chemistry was amazing. I loved the spontaneous, animal-attraction that these two had going on…at least, when Chris wasn’t screwing it up.

Fast forward several years and all of the spark in Chris and Jenzy’s marriage has been snuffed out. They’ve been married for seven years and for the last two Chris has treated Jenzy deplorably. My heart broke for her with each instance of his callous disregard.

When Jenzy has finally reached her breaking point, she tells Chris that she’s leaving him. She’s done. Put a fork in it. Believe me, it was long overdue by the time she reached her limit. I was cheering her on big time.

Faced with losing his wife, Chris is forced to face how badly he screwed things up. There is no doubt that he definitely screwed things up royally either. As blind as he was to his wife, he didn’t see this coming. The guy was truly clueless.

While Chris is determined to win his wife over again, Jenzy is determined to move on. She’s formed a friendship with another man and wants a clean break from Chris so that they can both move on with their lives. After all, he didn’t want her around anyway.

I loved this story! At first, I hated Chris. However, as flashbacks of their past were provided, I began to see more of the guy that Jenzy fell in love with. Even though he messed up everything, I felt bad for Chris and I wanted to see him win Jenzy back.

For the most part, this book is one big “grovel-fest”. I love, love, love a groveling hero! Chris had it coming…but he had the good sense to realize that it was on him and boy, did he ever have to work for it! I was in heaven!

From start to finish, I loved this book! If it hadn’t been for some pretty frequent grammatical errors, which proved to be distracting, I would have given this book 5 stars. It was that fantastic for me. Of course, all of my friends know that I love a her that gets taken down a few pegs after they’ve wronged the heroine. So, it probably isn’t any big surprise that a book devoted to the hero’s groveling would be a huge hit with me. Loved it!

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