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First I need to say that you do not have to read the prequel novella to this book, but it's free, so why not?
So, I read Rebecca Berto's first full novel (Drowning in You) earlier in the year and I had some issues with it, but this one completely convinced me.
I knew she was a good writer - there's this almost lyrical quality about the way she expresses herself, but in Pulling Me Under it takes a whole new level.
It's so well crafted - there are twists and turns at every corner, and I absolutely loved and felt for Katie and everything she's been through. Her pain from losing Paul omg... it broke me. I understood her and I just wanted her to get better :( it was heartbreaking.
I found myself really invested in the story. At times I wanted to scream at Katie's questionable choices, or just to wake up already and see what she's missing right in front of her - Ella, her mother who seemed to really be trying to make amends, and of course, Liam.
The book is not really so much a romance, but there is romance in the background and it's slow building (just the way I like it) and sweet. Liam is definitely swoon-worthy.
Now, writing. I could gush, but I won't. She creates realistic, well-developed characters that really feel like you actually know them by the end of the story.
The big twist - I had my suspicions, but I thought it was really smart and well done.
My only complaint - the ending felt sort of rushed.
Ah, for those wondering - no graphic sex scenes but I'd put a trigger warning for this one (rape and drug and alcohol abuse).
So, beautifully written, intense and heartbreaking story with characters you will fall in love with and root for until the very end. What's not to recommend there? Can't wait for Rebecca Berto's next book :).
Let me start off by saying that Reid Knox is an awesome name for a hero.
Reid is everything the blurb says, broody, temperamental. I often found myself really frustrated with him, but then he'd do something swoon worthy and I loved him, but then AGAIN he effed up...
Summer... I liked Summer. Her mother's been feeding her hate for her dad and brother ever since she could remember, and you could tell how reluctant she was with them, especially Jack. I was so glad she was strong enough to let that go and just be happy with her family.
These two are... well. Let's say there's a lot of back and forth, which is usually not my thing, but I didn't think it was over the top. All the drama sort of made sense, for which I'm thankful.
I really liked that Summer realized what she has with Reid is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and held onto it when a lesser woman would have walked off. I can't help it, I like it when my characters are smart enough not to let their pride screw up their lives.
The twist in the story - I didn't figure it out. The author's writing has improved A LOT (I just love it when I see that <3) since her first book - I've been following her work and every time it gets better and better.
Now. RYAN. I love me some Ryan. Can I just say that the friendships and sibling dynamics she writes are always so awesome? The Summer/Ryan duo had me cracking up, you could tell it was the best of platonic m/f friendships ever. He's her pole! Lolololol.
Ryan and Reid OMG! Loved them. There's one scene that had me lol twice (cause I read the book twice).
Xander and Summer. I wish I had a brother like Xander, really. He's so protective of her while at the same time being an annoying brother.
And I want a Dash and Tag book. AND SILAS. I want a Silas book. Please. Silas.
For those who like to know these things, there are a couple of graphic sex scenes in the book.
Overall, I loved this book once I got into it. The beginning was a bit rushed for me, but after 20% or so, I found I couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend. Can't wait for Ryan book, what with that shocker in the end and all.
This is a full story with a proper ending - no cliffhanger. The books in the series will be about different characters.
So, I'll admit, I thought this was one of those books that will never happen.
And I didn't even realize how much I was looking forward to it until I saw the release date three days ago and then spent the next two in anticipation of buying it.
And India Lee does it again. Everything I loved in the first book is back in full force in this one (yes, including the womanizing douchelord aka Liam Brody who is not so womanizing nor is he a douchelord.)
Liam is actually whipped. W H I P P E D. Sure, he has his philandering past and he's pretty unapologetic about it, but gosh I loved him HARD! He was so perfect, so uncomplicated, so IDK, just - well, a hero that didn't actually worry me which is surprising. He just wants to be with Amanda, no matter what. And when everything happened, he still just wanted to be with her.
Amanda is still the lovable, sweet girl from the first book, though it was fun seeing her in this new role.
And of course, PEEP hits the fan straight away, because there's Casey and this is the Hollywood (but really New York) scene where every one of their moves are being watched, so why the hell not?
I kinda liked how the story was the other way around this book. Liam and Amanda were so damn cute together it was sugary and honey sweet. Liam stole every scene he was in - one complaint I had about the first book was that he wasn't nearly enough in it. You get to know him pretty well here as well as why he turned out the way he did and I felt for him.
The writing is still engaging and witty, loved all the snippets from the gossip mags and portals (though I think my favorite were all the comments which really rang genuine).
Connor, that JERK. I really hoped he'd come around but UGH.
Also why do I have a feeling he'll be getting a book?
Oh, Ian! I loved this new Ian. He's different, but lol, the same Ian.
Okay, I guess I can't say anymore without spoiling everything.
There are a couple of mildly graphic sex scenes, for those who care. Honestly, I didn't think they were over the top, just right. Definitely didn't make the book about sex.
Anyways, Dirt totally made my day (night, cause I stayed up reading it, lol).
If you haven't read this series, but are looking for something light and entertaining they're definitely that as well as very well written so I more than recommend them.
Sigh, Liamanda. Loved it.
SIGH. I LOVED THIS BOOK.
Pepper Winters has amazing story-telling skills.
The change Tess undergoes as a character from this... naive, slightly desperate girl to a very strong female character in the end was amazing to see. I STRUGGLED WITH TESS. In the beginning. So it should say something that by the end I was giving her a fictional high-five girl power kpow! With every blow she takes, she just comes out stronger and better, and trust me, she takes a lot of blows. It was awesome.
I can't tell you about Q, because the unraveling of his character was done so well I don't want to say ANYTHING about him, just so you get to experience him.
But I will tell you how his character made me feel.
One second he's human, next he turns into a monster. My mind was spinning and I FREAKING LOVED IT. I loved Q so much!
I loved that the author doesn't make excuses for him, it is what it is. Take it or leave it.
If you're reading the book for the sweet love despite the odds just step away cause this is not it. The connection these two share is dark and twisted and sick but it works. It's co-dependency on a whole another level. They're good apart but together they're explosive. And it made sense and I understood it.
If I had to, I'd say this book was 50SoG done right, but it feels like I'm downplaying it cause it's so much more.
Also, I'm not a shadey books fan.
If you can handle the abuse and just how graphic it is, it's so worth it. I'm just gonna write out that this book comes with trigger warning for good reason. Yes, there's rape. Yes, it's brutal.
I don't even have to say there are graphic sex scenes.
OH! Totally forgot to mention the epilogue! FREAKING LOVED IT. LOVED LOVED LOVED.
Overall, TESS DELIVERS. Pepper Winters totally delivers and I'm so glad I got to read this book cause I was bursting at the seams waiting for it. I'm really excited for uh... To see what else she comes up with. AMAYZIN.
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!! Although, it's more of a 4.5 than a 5 for the simple fact that it could have been cut short by a LOT, but whatever. I LOVED IT.
It's got a lot going on for it.
A swoon worthy hero - Yep. ETHAN IS PRETTY MUCH AWESOME PERSONIFIED. He's protective, but not overbearing and controlling. He's alpha just enough to make him sexy but not creepy. He's not a womanizing douchelord (and we all know how much I love a hero I don't have to worry about). He's so honest and straight-forward with feelings that I never for a second doubted him.
And, according to our heroine, good in bed. Like a sex god, or something. Not kidding.
You know what, I say he alone is reason enough to read this book! But to make things better, the book also has
A pretty damn awesome heroine - Alex is spunky, sharp wit, and can probably take better care of herself than anyone else can take care of her. I liked that she never played the dumb, weak heroine, and whenever something major happened, like her realizing she grew too attached to the kids, or her feelings for Ethan, she ended up facing those things and dealing with them. I liked that when the time came, she let Ethan take care of her. I loved how protective she was of him, almost as much as he was of her.
Do you know how I felt? I felt these two were completely even in this relationship, kind of the way it should be, eh.
OMG the frickin sexual tension was killing me. The whole time I thought, it better be worth it in the end! (It was). They have such amazing chemistry, these two. It's not insta love! They get to know each other, they become really close, they fall in love. It's a natural, slow-building type of romance that makes you want to savor every word because it's that good.
The sheer determination these two put into fighting for each other... it was awesome. I knew they were in love.
I'm pretty stoked about this book because one, it was something different in a sea of same-old-same-old NA, but also because I was never, for a second frustrated with these characters and their decisions. There's drama, there's action, there's steam, and it's all handled in a way that didn't piss me off.
And it was also an original story, you know.
I loved all the side characters, the author gave them all personalities and I felt like I knew them by the end just as much as Alex did.
The writing is engaging, funny, had me LOL quite a few times, great dialogue. But sadly, it was just a little too much. I think mostly I skimmed the fighting and training scenes? It's ten thousand plus kindle freaking locations - this book. Took me forever to read it, even if I was very very interested in what happens.
There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, I thought they were done very well.
Overall? Yeah, if you're looking for something different I'd definitely recommend this book! It does deal with the story that's a bit - out there. I don't think there are actually houses for pick-pocketing kids to improve their skills and then use them for good or whatever. But you know, it's all fiction. It was a great, entertaining (and hot!) read. I'm kind of hoping for an August/Spencer story? Yeah. Definitely recommend it.
Just to clarify, this is a 4.5 rounded up.
The Darkest Part was good! I loved the story of second-chance romance for Sam and Holden and how they got over everything keeping them apart and back to each other.
The story is heartbreaking but in all of it, it keeps sort of an upbeat tone to it. I really liked that. You could feel both Sam and Holden's loss and how much they both suffer because someone so dear was taken away from them, but through all of it, it didn't make me wanna slit my wrists. It kind of gave me hope, more than anything, that these two people can help each other out.
Now I'll admit, I had doubts. Reading the blurb it gave me a familiar vibe... a book I really really didn't like. Funny enough, it's why I have this book a chance. That and, well, I love road trip books (they can be a hit and miss, but I still always enjoy them).
I loved Sam, I loved Holden. I especially loved Holden! Cause he was this broody tortured artist and he's not a bad boy per se. I found his character to be really interesting. He's equal part sweet and alpha and just... an overall nice guy with troublesome past.
The two brothers and Sam have a complicated history, a lot of secrets buried and I was dying to know this big dark secret. It crossed my mind, hey. I even told my friend I had that theory. But I think the author did a good job of keeping it shush until the very end.
I have a special place for books that make me feel for dead characters - I distance myself from them immediately because I don't like to get attached. So when I feel a dead character is very much an active part of the story, and get attached to them like I did with Tyler. I loved it. I was really sad that he was dead, and I was mourning him along with Sam.
What I really liked is that she never downplays the relationship she had with him. Despite her past with Holden (and present), despite everything she finds out about him, she never thinks how her relationship with Tyler was any less than it was.
I loved that so much.
Wow, this review turned really long.
Okay, I loved the writing, loved the characters, the biker girls (lol) and I think, what struck me most about this book is that was realistic in a way... Sam did act crazy and Holden never found lame excuses for it. He saw it for what it is.
There are a couple of graphic scenes of sexual nature in the book, for those who like to know these things.
So, why the half star off? I thought the ending was a bit...rushed and over the top. The whole mystery about Tyler's death, I felt like it wasn't that... wow. You know.
I'm gonna wrap this up, lol. I thought it was a good road trip book. And Holden was awesome, I loved the romance. I do recommend this book if you're looking for a good second-chance romance book.
I loved James.
The book was good in pacing and James was, as I expected, swoon worthy :). He's my fav...
The story has something new to offer with every new page, which I loved - Sasha's secret, James's secret, the revelations (and something I didn't expect AT ALL).
I'm glad the drama didn't drag - they deal with it and get over it like any sane people would.
There are a couple of mildly graphic sex scenes - but for the most part it's fade-to-black. I think it suits the story.
I know there will be a spinoff series with Morning Alliance characters - can't wait to read those! I might be crushing on Sax, JUST A LEETLE BIT.