Mini Reviews: Forbidden Romance, Second Chances & New Beginnings

BEFORE I EVER MET YOU by KARINA HALLE

★★

34621496“I could be good for you. Let me be good for you.”

Before I Ever Met You is the second contemporary romance I’ve read by Karina Halle and after having read two dark romances by her this year, I was in definite need of some fluff to balance out the dark. However, while this story may be fluffy and sweet, the romance was a bit of a let down for me and unfortunately left me feeling unsatisfied.

Before I Ever Met You starts off with a bang after William McAlister’s marriage of fifteen years comes to an end when he discovers that his wife is pregnant…by another man. No longer able to work in such close proximity with his wife, he returns back home in hopes of gaining some sense of normalcy and move on from his divorce. Jackie Phillips has made her fair shares of mistakes and she ready to leave her past behind for a fresh start as she returns home and takes up a new job as William McAlister’s new assistant. Sparks fly between the pair and they will have to decide whether or not they are willing to cross the lines of professionalism for one more shot at a happily ever after.

Before I Met You is a forbidden office romance with age-gap and while I was never a fan of age-gap romances before, I’ve become quite fond of them this year and it was one of the reason why I decided to pick this book up. I really loved the beginning of this book because Karina Halle just hits us with the dramatics right from the first page and I was totally entertained by all of it. But as the story went on, boredom started to set in as the plot became predictable and things kind of went downhill from there.

I liked both Will and Jackie but I didn’t like the development of the romance because it felt like “lust-at-first-sight”. I really wished that this was more of a slow-burn and that things didn’t fall into place so easily for these two. Also, not to nit-pick, but some of the dialogue was cheesy as hell and I was not feeling the sexy times in this book. Before I Ever Met You started off on a good note, but soon fell short to a predictable story line with a quick-and-easy resolution that left me feeling underwhelmed.

TORTURED by NICOLE WILLIAMS

★★★★

34451499

“I never asked to be the world’s hero. All I ever wanted was to be yours.”

Before starting Tortured, I was warned that I would need a box of tissues and maybe a bottle of Whiskey at my side to help me make it through this book and I wondered what the hell I was about to get myself into. I immediately thought about one of Williams’ previous novels, Collared, and how that book left me in tears and prepared to have my heart ripped out yet again as I started William’s newest release. (dramatics)

High school sweethearts Brecken Connolly and Camryn Gardner have been inseparable since they were young. But Brecken is about to ship out for a twelve-month deployment, making promises to return to Camryn as a hero only to be taken captive and killed on live television. Six years later, Brecken is found very much alive and returns home to find the love of his life has moved on. Not willing to give up on their love just yet, Brecken is determined to win Camryn’s heart back, even if it means risking his life yet again to save the one he loves.

Tortured is a second-chance military romance that had me on edge with the turn of every page. Let me just say that this book may be triggering to some readers as it deals with domestic abuse and some of the scenes are quite graphic and hard to read. The first half this book is truly heartbreaking as these two characters are put through hell. Brecken is being viewed as a hero, but he doesn’t feel like one because he wasn’t able to save his team. Camryn is trying to keep her life from falling apart for the sake of her son. It’s just all very intense and emotionally exhausting. But while the first half of the book gripped me, the story started to lose its momentum in the second half and I just wished that intensity from the first half of the book had lasted throughout because it would’ve made for a much more telling story.

Brecken and Camryn are two strong characters who both lived through traumatic experiences, only to be stronger at the end. While there were some things Camryn did that I didn’t agree with, she was just trying her best to keep her son safe, even if that meant sacrificing her own safety. The plot twist in this book was crazy and I didn’t see it coming. I was shook af! I swear Williams be gutting me with some of her plot twists and I teared up at the end because of it. Tortured is a dark and intense second-chance romance that may not be for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it to fans of Williams’ previous novels.

REVELRY by KANDI STEINER

Revelry by Kandi Steiner“I want to live—not just exist—because of you.”

If I can be totally honest for a minute, I would say that I had very low expectations when I picked up Kandi Steiner’s latest release. After A Love Letter to Whiskey left me frustrated and wanting to pull my hair out, I was worried that Revelry would be a repeat of that incident and I was not looking forward yet another broken eReader. Luckily, Revelry ended up being a pleasant surprise and showed me that sometimes first impressions can be misleading.

Newly divorced with no sense of direction, Wren Ballard decides to rent a cabin for the summer in hopes of gaining some sense of self and to find inspiration. Anderson Black is a man in mourning and can’t seem to move on from the past. Neither one was prepared for the other and what this summer would bring, but they find themselves on a journey as they help one another to heal old wounds and slowly start to fall in love. But as the summer comes to an end, Wren and Anderson will have to decide whether this spark was only meant to last for the season or longer.

Revelry is a small town romance about confronting demons from the past and starting over. While ALLTW frustrated the hell out of me, there is no denying that Kandi Steiner’s writing is beautiful and I couldn’t help but be sucked into this story about two characters who needed to save themselves from themselves. I loved the small town setting and adored the secondary characters. This book makes me want to move to the Pacific North West so bad! The secondary characters made this story for me. Momma Von is the best and I couldn’t get enough of her meddling ways.

While I liked both Wren and Anderson, I found Wren to be more relatable. She’s at a point in her life where she’s not sure what her next step is going to be and she’s kind of stuck. She too is also in a sense of mourning as she tries to move on from her ex-husband and find herself again. Anderson makes a great parallel for Wren because he is also in mourning and is stuck in life and doesn’t know how to move forward from the past. I very much enjoyed seeing these two fall for one another and the angst slowly killed me. I may have shed a tear or two towards the end because of all the emotions. It was so good! Revelry is captivating slow-burning romance and I’m so glad I decided to give Kandi Steiner a second-chance. I eagerly await her next release and I hope it is just as beautiful as this book.

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5 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Forbidden Romance, Second Chances & New Beginnings

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