BOOK REVIEW: Rival (Fall Away #2) by Penelope Douglas

BOOK REVIEW: Rival (Fall Away #2) by Penelope DouglasRival (Fall Away #2)
by Penelope Douglas
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


From the New Adult sensation and New York Times bestselling author of Until You

Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

*So my quotes are dead. They died. I wrote this review a month ago and have no clue where my quotes went. So…that sucks. But the review must go on :P*

It goes without saying that I basically read what I have time for and, frankly, crave this year. I don’t have extra energy to drudge through a massive fantasy (even though I so dearly miss them) or even to delve into my YA sci-fi….it’s just one of those things, guys. I love my daughter, but boy does she zap all that extra time away!

That being said, my favorite books this year have been YA/NA contemporaries…with a flair for the dramatic (if you can’t tell). It seems crazy to me, but my absolute favorite read this year has been, without a doubt, Punk 57. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but in some ways, this book just always sticks in my mind.

When I’m trying to pick out a book, it’s always ’I really want something JUST like Punk 57, where can I find one?’….and the desperate search continues/ensues. And the only logical answer that I can find has been staring me in the face the whole time: No one does Penelope Douglas like…well…Penelope Douglas.

You can’t keep looking for sad imitations when what you seek is HOT, dirty hate-to-love foreplay and giving as good as you get until you finally get together. Only Penelope Douglas has mastered this, for me, and I should have realized it sooner.

I had read Bully FOREVER ago and LOVED it. But I’m not the type to jump into another character’s story after being with another couple. It’s just not my thing. I don’t know why, but that’s just me. So I had bought this book FOREVER ago and just couldn’t bring myself to open it up. And then recently I was going through all my unread books on my iPad and saw this sitting at the very bottom-I could have hit myself over the head. This book was EXACTLY what I needed, even if I didn’t know it. It doesn’t help that Penelope Douglas makes me border that fine line of ‘crossing the line of what I deem acceptable’ in romance.

I won’t lie-this woman is kind of sick, if you think about it. I love her, don’t get me wrong, but this woman be twisted. The things these couples go through before they get together is depraved and just plain…wrong…but it’s just…..oh my god it’s so good. I HATE drama in any other books or series. I hate contrived situations that make no sense. I HATE adding cheese when there doesn’t need to be any…but between Penelope Douglas and Linda Kage, I am putty in their dirty minded little hands. I. Can’t. Get. ENOUGH.

As it were, I found that this book overdid it quite a bit-Stretched the story-line beyond thin. That’s most likely why my rating is lower. Actually, no, there’s A LOT more to it than that, and my reasoning really bothers me, but I’ll do that in a spoiler below. But then…..there’s the hate to love aspect. And I’m just a sucker for that. For two people who love each other but fight to the bitter end to deny it until they fall madly all over each other in love. And then I revert back to my issues: Why did she keep running away? Give me a fucking break, dude. You love him…so STAY THERE. This just plain grated on my already fragile nerves with this story. Let’s just get to my BIGGEST problem with this story and why it never could have gotten above a 3:(view spoiler) Makes me sick, it’s not up for discussion, and my opinion of the story lessened IMMENSELY after this sordid plot development. Bitch, Bye.

BUT-aside from all this? I LOVED the romance. I LOVED the sexual tension. I LOOOOVED how possessive he was of her and how Madoc reacted to other guys. I LOVED all this…I just wish I didn’t have to wade through all the bullshit to see it. I also loved Jared and Tate’s relationship in the background-with time, I loved the integrated stories and how it brought me back to the old days when I read this book. Waiting this long to read this story helped me to really fall hard for characters I had long forgotten about, and it was like taking in a breath of fresh air. Though….I must say, even though I adored Bully, I really don’t think it’s a very healthy relationship Jared and Tate share. Eh, but its fiction-I’ll just try and keep the Jareds (both book and real boy) of the world FAR away from my little nugget (Even though her mother does so love a bad boy now and again).

AH AND AND AND-The end. C’mon Douglas. Really? REALLLYYYYY? C’mon. lol. (view spoiler). I’m just sayin’. Cute? Yes. Absolutely. Cheesy? OH YEAH. Necessary? I think not.

Yeah, I rated this a three (But, at the end of the day, I was down and sad…and I just needed a Madoc. Sue me) and had more problems with it than not…but there’s just something so alluring about an extremely addictive hate-to-love romance. And when I say hate???? It’s legit hate, y’all.


BOOK REVIEW – Bully (Fall Away #1) by Penelope Douglas

BOOK REVIEW – Bully (Fall Away #1) by Penelope DouglasBully (Fall Away #1)
by Penelope Douglas
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

*4.5 Stars….Maybe…Still not sure*

Taking a long breath, my eyes narrowed at him. “You’ve already made me cry countless times.” I raised my middle finger to him slowly, and asked, “Do you know what this is?” I took my middle finger and patted the corner of my eye with it. “It’s me, wiping away the last tear you’ll ever get.”

I’m extremely conflicted right now. I don’t quite know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I read. Or is it exactly as I had imagined? I just don’t know. On the one hand, it was a very addicting story that had me itching to read it when I wasn’t able to. On the other hand, the ‘bullying’ wasn’t quite what I was thinking….It’s all just so confusing lol.

We can be confused about what is good for us but not what we truly want.

Tate and Jared were best friends for years before high school. They did everything together, until the summer before their freshman year when Jared had to leave…he came back and was never the same. He ignored her, avoided her, and relentlessly bullied her in front of others. Tate didn’t understand where her best friend and confidant went, and it essentially caused her to curl up in a ball and just take it.

While Jared mercilessly taunted and humiliated her, I found it unrealistic that Tate would take it as she did. I can’t say I know what it’s like to be bullied per se, but what I CAN identify with is that if I saw this going on, I don’t know that I wouldn’t approach an authoritative figure-call me a narc, but I would hate to see an innocent girl go through what she did while I stood back and watched. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of nasty girls attempt to do their worst, but nothing to the extent of what I witnessed in this story. I think my biggest point is: while I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I didn’t get it and I didn’t find it believable. Why, because of one summer, does Jared feel the need to take it all out on Tate? What happened that could have caused such inexcusable and alarming actions towards a supposed best friend? I just couldn’t see how that would form such a ‘hatred’ towards someone he had considered himself close to-it didn’t make sense.

Jared indulged in my misery like it was candy. He fed me to the wolves time and again, reveling in the unhappiness he caused. Jared, my friend, was completely gone, leaving a cold monster in his place.

It IS, however, the most realistic ‘bullying’ story I’ve read to date, and ALSO, it was very low in the cheese factor, which shocked me. There really wasn’t any cheesy dialogue, and I can appreciate that. The bullying in most books tends to be catty and extremely unrealistic, which always turns me off. But in Bully, I enjoyed the dialogue and even Jared’s ferocious looks and dialect toward Tate. The whole time I read, I was like, ‘okay, sooooo she’s just going to end up forgiving him? How will that work? It’s going to be handled poorly, I just know it.’ But in all reality, the way Tate handled herself was not horrible and even believable, to an extent. Sure, she grew a backbone while away in France (essentially overnight in book standards), but when it came to the tough stuff, getting to the nitty gritty on why Jared became such an asshole, she didn’t just bend over and let him have it-she had residual and lasting feelings for him, sure, from the past, but she wasn’t just willing to forget everything he had done, and I respect that greatly.

My other fear was that I wouldn’t get why Jared all of a sudden cared again and how they could seamlessly become a couple at the end of it all. See? I had a lot of doubts. But the way everything transpired was okay with me and I ended up loving it. When things did start to turn around, I fell in love with Jared and I loved Tate’s crass attitude towards everyone and everything. It was refreshing to see her losing the ‘poor me’ act and attempting to move on with her life. What started as a question mark about the story turned into a certainty and I started to fall for the not-so-unexpected relationship and root for what they once lost.

”I want to touch you.” His words were against my lips now. “I want to feel what’s mine. What’s always been mine.”

A great story with a lot of fun as well as some tough topics, I think Bully is an extremely enjoyable read. I feel like I only voiced my concerns in this review, but what I attempted to do was show what I doubted I would like and express how much I really and truly did enjoy it. There WERE some unbelievable aspects, as I mentioned before, but the overall story was so enjoyable I didn’t much care. While it took me a while to finally decide to read this story, I’m glad I did. I will most likely read the story from his POV, and maybe then I will get an even better look at why Jared acted the way he did.

Yesterday lasts forever. Tomorrow comes never. Until you.

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