One was a disappointment, and the other was pretty good. The common factor? They were all romantic reads! (And rather cheap via Amazon Kindle).
TL;DR: The hero’s a fool and didn’t redeem himself in any way; heroine had great character development though.
From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J.Lynn, comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…
Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.
She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.
Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the past sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.
2.5 -> 2 stars
I’ve been avoiding this series a bit, just because the first book was extremely boring and predictable. There’s something about Jennifer L Armentrout’s writing that I enjoy reading mindlessly, but we don’t click enough for me to love them. It’s probably the fact that be it New Adult or Young Adult, nothing I get out of her writing is new. Anyways, while Fire in You had the best character development I’ve seen so far, I was kind of disappointed by the romance. I think the main thing was the hero, Brock, who came off as distant even through the dialogue. What he did was pretty unforgivable, and none of his actions particularly redeemed him in any way. I love second chance stories, which this one was supposed to be (which is why I picked it up) but man, after all of Jillian’s inner growth, I still think she settled for less.
Basically what happens is that Jillian has always love Brock since childhood, but he tried not to love her like that since they were supposed to have a sibling relationship (which is a flimsy excuse but okay). At one point he even talks about how she was his mentor’s daughter, and how that would be wrong… But when they do get together, her whole family is supportive? I don’t see why that is a valid excuse. Not only that, he comes out as totally heartless in some areas, especially dealing with his ex-fiance. Every time he does one of those teasing grins or amused chuckles by how much the heroine has changed, I wanted to punch him. Yeah, no thanks to you. A lot of what he did for the heroine had no reason other than guilt pretty much… And while he did pursue her, I thought it definitely did not make up for how he ignored her in the past. And his reasoning for why that happened? Something along the lines of “I don’t know…” NO okay that is not how you redeem a hero. If you’re going to try to get this guy to understand all the pain the heroine has gone through, do it through more meaningful actions and dialogue rather than sex scenes. I couldn’t even enjoy them (smh) because Brock disappointed me so much. It was rather nice, however, to see Jillian’s growth from an introvert to someone with hidden fire in her to stand up for herself. My only regret is that she couldn’t have done more on that front with Brock.
“Because from the moment I decided to take the job at the Lima Academy, I’d been changing. Even before that. The process had been slow and painful at times, but the realization that I wanted to live differently, wanted to take more risks and experience life, had started before Brock reappeared. His presence had aided in the process, but it hadn’t been him.
It had been me.”
I’m sure J. Lynn/Armentrout’s fans will love this one. But her books honestly offer me mindless reads for an hour or two of escape from reality. Unfortunately, this one had me completely unsatisfied with that ridiculous denouement/resolution. No, you don’t throw in the L-word and make it all better. I felt as if Brock never redeemed himself and despite all of Jillian’s growth, she shouldn’t have settled for less. goDDAMN IT FREAKING BROCK DOESN’T DESERVE HER. Ugh. These stars are for character growth. Shake my head at the romance.
TL;DR: A+ points for diverse factors, and overall a very sweet and spicy love story.
JB Salsbury is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has captivated readers around the world. Her unforgettable new novel is a story of romance and suspense, with a twist no one will see coming . . .
What do you do when you wake up with no memory of what you did last night?
Lucas spent the first half of his life protecting himself from others, but now his own mind is his biggest enemy. He doesn’t know what happens when the blackouts overtake him, but he can recall the feelings–the rage, the confusion, the fear. Thankfully the quiet life he’s found in Payson, Arizona has kept the darkness at bay. Until his boss’s estranged daughter shows up in town, asking questions she shouldn’t and sparking a desire Lucas can’t control. Getting close to Shyann is the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but when his blackouts return, unleashing the truth he’s battled so long to hide, he may just lose her forever . . .
3.5 -> 3 stars
This book came to be a surprise for me, and a delightful one at that. It wasn’t perfect by all means, but I really like the way the author tied everything together and the exploration of dissociative identity disorder, which the hero has in the story – but only within the bounds of the relationship. I thought that there were other things she could have touched upon to give a more accurate portrayal of this disorder, but all in all the romance was particularly sweet as we see Shyann fall in love with both personalities of Lucas.
Basically what happens is that Shyann is pretty estranged with her father but goes to work under him after her career as a reporter falls through. So she’s back in her country town after spending some years as a city girl, and she’s bound to see some growth and change as she mends her relationship with her father. She meets this guy named Lucas who is working for her father as well and develops an interest in his soft-spoken and passive ways. He’s quiet, almost innocent, and just when she wants to take their relationship a step farther… he totally changes on her. Then we get to meet Gage, his split personality, who comes out as a way to shield the softer side of Lucas. He’s rough, aggressive, and basically the total opposite, personality-wise, of Lucas. We find out that Lucas/Gage has had a traumatic past, which may catch up to him during his time in this small town of Arizona. All the while, Shyann is trying to get both Lucas and Gage to trust her and tries to build a relationship off of that. I do like her tenacity and the attraction between her and both personalities is very easy to see. I’m not too much of a fan of Gage because he does some pretty crappy things to Shyann while trying to push her away (and hide his feelings), but I do like the addition of his personality. I felt as if dealing with his disorder was a bit unrealistic, though. I get that the power of love will go through some things, and the epilogue is especially satisfying. But I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see Lucas going into therapy or at least seeking it as a way to help cope or start treatments. I mean, yes, having a strong girlfriend will help out mentally but I also believe that therapy may help in other ways, in regards to coping for both him and the couple as a whole. It’s a very rose-tinted view of the disorder and felt more like romanticizing it – and Lucas – as a “damaged hero” than fully exploring the facets of the disorder. Even so, I do think the author did a pretty good job in wrapping it off within the bounds of Shyann and Lucas’s romantic relationship.
“‘I know things won’t always be easy, but I don’t want to change you. I love the way you are, everything about the way you are and you’re who I want.You’ve never given yourself the freedom to just be. You don’t have to hide who you are anymore, Lucas. Ever again. Especially not from me.’”
Both sweet at times, and spicy with steamy scenes, Split immediately grabs your attention with the blurb and you can’t help but stay and read through it all. It’s not perfect by any means, but the heroine’s spunk and the obstacles that get torn down in the couple’s relationship was very satisfying to read about. There’s a great, in-depth exploration of both characters that just made their romance even sweeter to read.