I love reading more than just about anything else and can't wait to share my views with you.
This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
****THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS****
Ben Covington is sure he'll never love again. Circumstances beyond his control took him away from her and by the time he returned, she'd moved on. He's just living to work until Bell Wilde floats back into his life. He's attraction to her reignites instantly. He never forgot their college fling and now he is determined to get another shot with her. Bell is determined to never give him that shot. Their history is more complicated than he knows and she can't bear to share it with him. But the attraction is undeniable and soon she is giving in and hoping for the best. Can these two work things out? Or are they as doomed to fail as Bell believes?
I have been avoiding this review, like the plague. I have nothing positive to say and I hate that. I was over the moon when I was approved for this. Kim's Connections series has been on my TBR shelf for a long time and I have heard great things about it. The description of this makes it clear that it is a spin-off series, leading me to believe that reading the other novels first was not a requirement. I honestly don't know if I'm glad I didn't read them first or not. Had I read the books in this series first, I would have been less than excited to start this novel. What reading the others books first would have told me was that this novel is about cheaters. Ben and Bell has a one night stand in college <b>while Ben was still with this supposed love of his life.</b> That would have had me avoiding reading the novel itself. However, due to my lack of series knowledge, all of the characters in this were overwhelming. I had a very difficult time keeping up with who was who and who was related to whom and the various other connections between characters.
My biggest problem was that these two were selfish. If Ben had loved his fiance as much as he claimed to, then he would have never cheated. Bell would have thrown herself at him and he would have nicely rejected her and case closed and this book would never had needed to be written. But he didn't. He slept with her. Now, many years later, when he's love is now married to Bell's brother, everyone has managed to get over it. The cheated fiancee is even okay with the new developing relationship between these two and I just found that unbelievable. If my husband ever cheats on me, I highly doubt that even a decade later I'd be okay with it enough to wish him well on his next relationship with the cheating skank. That may just be me because I'm not the forgive and forget type, but still.
I hated these characters. I couldn't connect with them on any level and since my number one thing is characters, that made it very difficult for me to enjoy this from the start. Beyond the fact that their relationship started as an affair, I found that I hated Bell. The whole pregnancy thing blew me away, especially considering her "efforts" to tell Ben consisted of all of 4 missed phone calls. The man impregnated you! I'm a big believer in Dad rights and he needs a choice in all of this. I cannot imagine the devastation of knowing someone had your child and gave it up for adoption without even a phone call. I get why you did it, you would have made a terrible fucking parent, but seriously, you could have sent an email in the very least. Ben's quickness to get over the pregnancy scandal was also unbelievable to me. I'm sorry, that's not something you get over quickly and the fact that they are pregnant again at the end. X_X You two don't need to procreate, seriously. We don't need more of you in the fictional world.
I'm also incredibly sick of the "pretty people" books. I have read enough novels about how insanely gorgeous she is or how dead sexy he is to last me quite a while. I like a hot guy as much as the next girl, but how about something new? How about someone who isn't conventionally beautiful? Or someone who's beauty isn't an obvious thing? How about inner beauty? It's a shocking concept, I know, but sometimes I just want these things to be a bit more real. Perfect abs and a flat tummy are great fantasies, but it makes me feel extremely inadequate. I'm sorry, I have a job and a blog and a husband and I do not have hours to slave away at the gym to find conventional beauty and the perfect weight. Mini-tirade over.
Beyond the fact that I hated the characters and the amazing pretty people issue, I had other problems. I realize that this is a digital ARC, so it's not perfected and there may be some changes made, but in the edition I read, the whole thing felt very choppy. The writing didn't flow well at all. They two characters jump from topic to topic with little or no transition. And Ben makes a point to continually comment on Bell's quirkiness. Here's a hint: if a character is quirky, let that speak for it's self. Telling me 25 times that Bell<s>a</s> is an oddball when she's acting completely normal doesn't make her quirky. And the plot was predictable. I realize that it's a romance novel and it's not supposed to win an award for best twist, but all the mini-twists are obvious from the start. The initial pregnancy is pretty transparent and so it the fact that she's pregnant by the end. Before she even realizes it, I wanted to bash her in the head with my kindle for being so dense.
I can't express how disappointed I am by this novel. I had such high expectations and they were not held up. I still want to read the other books in this series because from the reviews and comments on this book, it's the abnormality, not the norm, but I'm definitely not as excited as I was. This novel was shallow and predictable and just fell completely flat for me. I actually didn't want these two to end up together because I knew they'd procreate and even in the fictional world, I didn't want that. Maybe I missed something or maybe I'm too difficult to please, but this novel was just not for me.
****Thank you to NAL Paperbacks for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****