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.

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Collared by Nicole Williams

“When people look at me, most of them see a victim. But I’m a survivor.”- Jade, Collared

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Title: Collared
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Self-published

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Synopsis via Goodreads: When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.

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I read Williams’ Crash series during the summer of last year and enjoyed it for the most part. It was a bit juvenile, but entertaining nonetheless and I have been wanting to pick up more books written by her. When I saw the cover for Collared, I knew this was the book for me and it turns out I was right! This book exceeded all my expectations and I couldn’t put it down. Let’s get on with this review!

“The only way to have a future is to murder the past. To cut its throat, let it bleed out, and bury it in an unmarked grave.”

Ten years ago, Jade Childs was abducted from outside of her own home with no clues left behind. A crime that shook a town, that broke a family. Everyone had started to lose hope that Jade would ever be found. Everyone except Torrin Costigan, her high school sweetheart who was determined to bring Jade home.

Now ten years later, Jade has been found. But she’s no longer the happy-go-lucky girl she once used to be. Ten years in captivity has broken her and Jade knows if she wants out of her nightmare, she going to have to fight for it, even if it means having to let go of the man she once loved.

“I’m okay. I can deal with whatever comes my way. I’m strong.”

HOLY HELL THIS BOOK WAS GOOD! I couldn’t even believe that this was written by Willams. She stepped-up it up for this book and it has become my NEW FAVORITE by her. This book was BRUTAL! Right from the beginning, I was already falling apart. This book has one of the best PLOT TWISTS I have ever read. I wish I could say more, but then I would be ruining the whole book. I will say though that the plot twist definitely changes the overall feeling of the book. I went in expecting a romance, but instead this book was so much more. It was about healing and overcoming fears after a traumatic event. It broke my heart.

I absolutely LOVED how much of a role family and community played in this book. Jade’s return has everyone on edge and no one knows how to go about picking up the pieces. Not only was Jade struggling, but so were her parents because they didn’t want to lose her again. The people of the community and the media made me RAGE! Everyone just wanted to hear a damn story, never stopping to think about Jade and everything she’s going through.

“I’d sacrifice this life and every life I have coming for you.”

Jade Childs. My heart broke for her. One act of kindness led her to being taken from everything she has ever known. Watching her work through her fears and overcome the nightmare was rough, but the worst parts would have to be the flashbacks. She knew there was no chance of things going back to normal and starting over and watching her come to terms with that was moving.

But the BEST PART, MY FAVORITE PART, has to be Torrin and Jade’s relationship. Torrin Costigan, and man with a big heart, so willing to help those in need. He never gave up on finding Jade. He never lost hope. This damn plot twist makes it impossible for them to be together. I’m telling you, YOU WILL NOT GUESS THIS. It’s so unexpected, I dropped my eReader when I read that part.

 reaction will smith hitch

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

The ending will may rub some the wrong way, but I actually loved the way this book ended. It wasn’t in your typical cliché manner and it was natural and realistic. It left the possibility for more and it gave me feelings of hope. This has to be Williams’ BEST BOOK to date! She has outdone herself with this novel and I honestly don’t know how she will top this one!

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