by Rebecca Yarros
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Three knocks can change everything…
"She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead."
Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.
Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.
Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.
The muscle in his jaw flexed. “I haven’t lost the one thing I love, Ember. You’re still standing in front of me, and I’m fighting like hell.”
The problem with me is that I have found so many books that I love and adore that I’m always chasing the next high. When you’ve had the best, you want to continue to FIND the best….and this story, while both cute and smoldering hot, a contradiction I would love to embrace every day of the week, was frankly not the best. It was a cute, fun, sexy in-between read (in-between meaning that I need a light book after a fantasy before picking up yet another fantasy) that helped me to smile, laugh, and get through the ‘oh I had a bad reading weekend’ blues. But sticking a band-aid over the wound isn’t healing anything-only prolonging the inevitable: It may have only been a week since I read something absolutely epic and breathtaking, but the last two books being three stars and below slices my soul to pieces and I feel like I’m on the verge of a very depressing slump. Admittedly, it doesn’t help that the book I’m reading now is no better. Where oh where has my spot-on bookdar gone??
“Josh Walker. Right. I used to have a picture of you taped on my closet door from when you guys won state.” Shit. Why did I say that? His eyebrows raised in surprise, and I mentally added or still do, but whatever.
I find it necessary to also state that my lovely friend, Jennifer, is forever sending me these wonderful books that make my heart beat faster and my mood lift higher (when I’m not raging about certain things-more on that later). It’s her ultimate goal to send me books that are wonderful for that horrid in-between that often plagues me with question marks and uncertainty until I can get my next fix-And in this, she succeeded. Thank you, lovely!
That having been said…..there was a lot about this book that just annoyed the fuck out of me. For instance: The naivety of our main character. I actually could barely stand her, let alone tolerate her back and forth with Josh. Yes, I love this kind of tension but…more often than not, it’s a plot device to create unnecessary drama, thus making this a three star or below when it easily could have been a 4 star. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves stems from a main character’s lack of clarity with the leading male, and in this story it was no exception. The main character wouldn’t commit…and shenanigans ensued. I HATE these shenanigans, and if you know me, you know precisely what shenanigans were participated or eluded to, and I fucking loathe it. So, that was minus a star, just for making me feel that icky-fake, real, or lead to believe. I give no shits-I won’t tolerate that if it isn’t handled properly.
And not even to mention that she should have known her loser boyfriend was acting different-I mean, I get it, and it wasn’t my MAIN problem, but it definitely made my cheese-dar go off (I have a lot of radars, aren’t I talented
and cynical as fuck?). I HATE cheese, as well, for those of you just tuning in, and this kind of cheese throughout the story is okay and wasn’t totally overabundant, but it was there, nonetheless.
“We’re taking it slow until you say so, because I can’t bear to hear a ‘no’ from you. But here’s your only warning: I’m going to chase the fuck out of you.”
Which leads me to this: The only thing I liked and enjoyed about the story was Josh. And this is another thing I just hate saying…I hate saying a book is only as good as its male lead. I know a lot of you are rolling your eyes and saying that all I do is obsess about male leads-and you wouldn’t be incorrect. I LIVE for my male leads and they are the ultimate fix on a horrid day. I love them. I live them. I breathe them in. THEY KEEP ME SANE. But no one can deny that I am always honest in regards to the actual book, and if the actual book sucks?? That boy can’t save it…and that’s just how it is.
He turned around so I was against his chest. “I have half a mind to tell you no more kisses until I get a date.”
“Oh?” I stepped back so Gus wouldn’t get the wrong…ahem, right…idea.
“Yeah, but you see, that’s my flaw, December Howard.” He helped me into the Jeep and reached across to buckle me in. He slid back, stopping to whisper in my ear. “I have no self-control when it comes to you.”
So, with all that being said, I also must point out that Josh even made me mad a few times. And, even though this is not true and I’ll get a lot of ‘nuh uh that’s not true!’s, I must say this felt an awful lot like insta-love/lust. Now, I don’t mind insta-lust, and even here I didn’t mind this case of insta-whatever, but it still bordered on my very fragile tolerance of what’s acceptable. Josh was a great, loyal, and sexy guy-He made my lady parts go into over-drive and his insistence of wanting our main girl (seriously, I can’t even remember her name…) to do what she needed to do and to take all the time in the world to make things good for herself all while he’s merely a shoulder to lean on was admirable and made my heart very happy. But…again…shenanigans. Immaturity is fine in a male lead to a point, and he really was super sweet, grown-up, and into her at a fault (She isn’t that great, sorry) he still fucked up to the point that it made my blood boil. And I can’t even tell you if I’m really angry or not because, pet peeve (see above), it was never handled or addressed further. And no, that measly explanation at the end did not cover all bases throughout the book so meh.
I adored Josh, I really did, but this book was merely a distraction for me (like Josh??). It was fun. It was flirty. It had heart-stopping moments that took my breath away. I even got butterflies that threatened to overtake me…but that simply doesn’t overshadow the cheese, the main character, and the bull shit drama that made me see red. Red is my favorite color, by the way….just not this kind. Onto the next shit storm. Ugh. Too-da-loo!!!
Ugh. I hate this book…but I ALSO LOVE IT. God damn it, Joshua Walker-Oh, what you do to my lady parts.
When life gets you down….
I love you, darling Jennifer &hearts