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BOOK REVIEW: Finding Him (Covet #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Finding Him (Covet #2) by Rachel Van DykenFinding Him (Covet #2)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A novel about a shattered family, broken hearts, and healing love by Rachel Van Dyken, the number one New York Times bestselling author of Stealing Her.

Coming out of a coma was one hell of a wake-up call. While I was in the dark, my estranged twin brother, Bridge, had replaced me in the company I owned and swept up my fiancée in the takeover. With my ruthless reputation, can I blame them for falling in love? I have to look long and hard at where I’ve been and where I’m headed. Alone time? The universe has other plans.

Our family’s secluded Vermont cabin comes with a gorgeous—if at first, unwelcoming—surprise. She’s renter Keaton Westbrook, a social media superstar struggling with her own private grief. As a winter storm bears down, we’ve found something to keep us warm—an intimacy neither of us expected and both of us need.

After we say goodbye, what happens then? Keaton and I are longing to reconcile with our painful pasts. I can’t bear to do it without her. Is it too much to ask of fate to give us a second chance at life and love?

Review:

“You’re the annoying twin, aren’t you?”
I narrowed my eyes at the back of her head. “Actually, I’m the charming one.”
She looked over her shoulder. “Hmm, can’t see it.”

Finding Him was beautifully emotional and one of my favorite books this year!  By that first chapter, I already had tears in my eyes.  Twice.  And as the story unfolded, I had tears for a past love story, tears for brothers and of course tears for Julian and Keaton.  But there was also so much to smile and swoon about.  This book was sexy, funny and had the best banter.  So if you’re a fan of romance, a tortured hero and the most beautiful happily ever after, definitely add this one to your list.  I can’t recommend it enough!

“You’re going to get drunk while I take care of our basic human needs?”
“Think of it this way . . .”He smirked. “If you don’t build a fire, we’re going to have to get naked and share body heat, and I highly doubt that would be your first choice, since you’re already so fucking frigid.”
I almost picked up the knife.
I almost threw it at his perfect face.
Instead, I took the high road, flipped him off, and went in search of my coat.

Julian and Keaton got off on the wrong foot, and then some.  Julian was forced to get away from life and find some peace after waking up from a coma, losing his fiancée to his twin brother, and having his mother pass away.  Keaton wanted to write her past love story, but away from all of the lime light.  Neither of them expected to find someone else at that cabin.   And neither of them wanted to be the one to leave.  So what unfolded was an emotional roller coaster that had me completely addicted.

Because my heart might as well have been buried in that casket next to my mom’s. God knows that’s how my soul felt, like the dirt was trying to pull me under, trying to bury me along with my mother.
I was just as dead as she was.
And I had to wonder if maybe, maybe the world was better off without Julian Tennyson fully existing in it.

Julian fascinated me in Stealing Her, and as we got to know him in this story, I loved him even more than Bridge.  His thoughts bled from the pages, since he was consumed by the pain of his past.  His decisions, actions and who he was haunted him at every waking moment.  Yes he had done horrific things, but at the same time it felt like he had been so easily cast aside.  His whole world changed in the blink of an eye.  So of course he was an asshole to those around him.  Especially when we saw how little he thought of himself.  He broke my heart again and again.  So tortured doesn’t even begin to describe Julian.  Yet, he could be so thoughtful and considerate.  Well, when he wanted to be lol.

I would always need a weapon and armor.
Because Julian Tennyson up close was lethal.
And Julian Tennyson thinking about me, holding me in his arms, felt too good.
I shivered again.

And while Julian was battling his own demons, Keaton was there.  She was sassy and I loved how she had no problem standing up to him. She would go toe to toe with him and wouldn’t back down!  They definitely didn’t like each other in the beginning, and they had no qualms letting the other know it.  It was awkward and funny, and I loved how the messed with each other.  The “test” had me laughing so hard I was gasping for air! 

“Just because you type the end to one story doesn’t mean you don’t get to start another,” he said wisely as he stood and made his way back to the stove.

Yet at the same time, Keaton had her own personal struggles.  Her parents were celebrities and she was a social media sensation.  Keaton fell in love with a normal guy who sadly ended up passing away from cancer.  And she was writing their love story for a book.  So while there was lightness within Keaton, she was still drowning in her own pain too.  Just like Julian.

We were polar opposites. The media painted me like a saint. And Julian Tennyson? Hell’s number -one sinner.
I wasn’t stupid enough to believe it was just mind-blowing sex.
It wasn’t.
Not with Julian.
It felt raw, aggressive, violent in the way it crashed over me every time he touched me.

Finding Him truly had it all.  There was love, friendship, redemption, forgiveness and it was emotional every step of the way.  There was also sexual tension, steamy moments and scenes that had me laughing so hard. And the journey Julian and Keaton faced, after leaving the cabin, had me even more obsessed with what would happen next.  Finding Him had everything I always look for in a romance novel.  It was uplifting while also gutting.  If made me laugh, smile, cry and best of all, I fell madly in love.  This story will always hold a special place in my heart and I hope you’ll discover Finding Him too!

BOOK REVIEW: Stealing Her (Covet #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Stealing Her (Covet #1) by Rachel Van DykenStealing Her (Covet #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

My estranged twin brother, Julian, was always the wonder boy—and was groomed to become CEO of our ruthless father’s corporation. My mother and me? Left behind. Now, years after tearing our family apart, my father dares to ask me for a favor? Pretend to be Julian while he fights to survive a tragic accident. It can save the company. Nobody will be the wiser. It’ll be our secret.

I can play Dad’s favorite. I’ll do it for Julian. And for my mother, who’ll want for nothing.

But this double life comes with a beauty of a hitch: my very real feelings for Julian’s fiancée, Isobel. Not only am I betraying Julian, I’m deceiving a woman I love. She doesn’t suspect a thing. As lies compound, lines are crossed and loyalties tested, all I can ask myself is…What have I done?

Because sooner or later something’s got to give. There’s no way I’m giving up Isobel. But once the truth is exposed, it might not be my choice at all.

Review:

It felt so foreign, his skin. My eyes traced down his insanely built body.
And in my soul, I knew there was something I was missing.

Stealing Her was a passionate story about love, betrayal, hope and sacrifice.  Like all of Rachel Van Dyken’s books, I was swept away from that first page.  The prologue was in the past and set the stage perfectly.  We saw the family dynamics that shocked me and instantly made me feel sympathy and compassion towards Bridge.  From there we got taken on a ride that was emotional, morally grey, and completely twisted.

I’d traded heaven for hell.
For them.
And I would do it every damn time. – Bridge

I liked Bridge right away. He was strong, tenacious and loved deeply.  My heart broke for him as I learned about his mom’s medical condition and watched all of the sacrifices he made for her.  She was his life.  His heart.  Bridge was such a generous man that was good to the core.  But with medical bills and caring for his mom becoming overwhelming at times, Bridge made a deal with the devil.  His estranged father.  If he played the part of his twin brother, who he hadn’t seen since he was a child, his mom would be taken care of.  So he accepted the deal, while his brother was in a coma.

I made a vow to her, even though she didn’t know it. I would give her the best few weeks of her life, days that would be filled with smiles, not control.
And then do the cruelest thing a man could do.
Turn her back over to the real Julian the minute he woke up.

We alternated between Bridge and Isobel, who was his twin brother’s fiance.  I liked Isobel but it pained me to see how she was being mentally abused by Julian Tennyson, Bridge’s twin. He cheated, lied and treated her like something he could easily discard. By the time she was finally finding her voice and standing up for herself, Julian was in a horrific accident.

I was being incredibly creepy.
She wasn’t mine to stare at or to want.
And yet a tiny voice in my head said she was.
That she was more mine than she was his.
Because at least when I looked at her, I saw her.

When Bridge and Isobel met, I didn’t know what to expect.  He was pretending to be Julian, so I thought she should know right away.  Right?  But her and Julian had fallen apart in the previous months, they were strangers to each other.  So the fact that Isobel noticed differences with “Julian” just made her realize how distant they had actually grown.  It played out beautifully, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Because the truth always seems to come out.

“I swear to you that the man standing here, in front of you, will never cheat on you. Ever.”
I looked up into his eyes, for the first time noticing that his lashes looked slightly longer. My body screamed it was right, my mind told me that I was hallucinating, because people’s eyelashes didn’t just change, did they?

I loved watching Bridge fumble his way into acting like Julian.  Especially when it came to Isobel.  But I was always nervous because when they were together, they felt right yet also forbidden.  There was an instant connection and spark between them and I knew that if they were truly together, they would be magnificent.  But Isobel was with Julian.  And if he woke up from his coma, the facade would end.  At times it felt like I was rooting for the wrong brother, hoping that Bridge would win Isobel over.  But when is love ever rational?

She turned around and made her way into the living room, she didn’t see the face I made after she called me by his name.
Or the helpless feeling in my soul when I realized that I was making headway for a man who hated me, and I was falling for a woman who was and would always be his.

The story flew by quickly and I loved how I didn’t even see some events coming.  One of them was dark and I just stared at the page in disbelief.  Another made me gasp.  And while there wasn’t a ton of side characters, two were the perfect villains.  The twin’s dad was wicked, smart, ruthless and had no heart.  He was a deadly combination.  And his new wife Marla was someone who I wanted to disappear.  Forever.  Thankfully the twin’s mom was a bright light of kindness, love and patience.  I loved her.

I’d always thought I was a good person— solid, loyal, dependable.
And now?
I felt like an unapologetic thief.
I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

When you want a forbidden love story that has depth and emotions leaping from the pages, definitely pick up Stealing Her!  This book was extremely emotional and deep. It wasn’t like Rachel Van Dyken’s other books where I found myself constantly laughing and smiling.  There was a heaviness to this story that was not lightened by laughter.  It worked out perfectly for me, since I had just finished a cute and fluffy book.  So yes of course I recommend this book!

PS Here’s a quote I loved so, so, so much!

My jaw dropped. “Are you telling me you read romance novels?”
“No.” He pointed his finger at me and laughed. “I’m telling you I skip to the good parts, do the necessary strategizing in my head, you know, like wondering if you could actually do that sort of thing at that angle, and then I store it in my head for future use. That’s not reading, sweetheart, that’s fucking research.”

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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