by Janet Nissenson
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
They say you never forget your first love...
Lauren McKinnon has always prided herself on never backing down from a challenge, living life to its fullest, and refusing to be ruled by her emotions. She is the quintessential wild child who became a bold, fearless woman, she doesn’t believe in regrets or second chances, and thinks that true love only happens in fairy tales. Except for the time it happened to her one magical summer. But unlike fairy tales, in real life love can also be cruel, and after having her heart broken Lauren has vowed to never allow herself to be vulnerable again.
Ben Rafferty has always been a loner, never truly belonging anywhere or to anyone, until the summer he visits Big Sur and meets the girl he immediately recognizes as his soulmate. But Lauren’s star shines far too brightly, and to stay with her means the real possibility of dimming that brilliant light. The decision to leave her behind will be the most difficult of his life, and for years later he’s left to wonder what would have happened if he’d stayed.
When their paths inevitably cross again, Lauren’s pride and refusal to forgive continues to keep them apart, as does the new woman in Ben’s life. As truths are eventually revealed, and emotions can no longer be denied, will Lauren and Ben finally find their way back to each other, or will they be destined to forever remain apart?
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Can this author do any wrong? Once again she brilliantly weaves a raw, touching, and heartfelt story about two beautiful souls that never truly got over their first love.
Lauren McKinnon. She is a tough girl. Beautiful and bold, she never backs down to anything. She knows what she wants and is in charge of every aspect of her life. Until Ben Rafferty comes barreling in, arriving on her door step. Literally. She has taken to this man. Something about him intrigues her. She sees something deeper than this lonely man. And for Ben? He’s a man with no home or place to call his. But he finds solace and peace in Lauren. A light he never knew he needed in his dark world. These two strangers become lovers. And like all love stories, there’s a beginning...and an end. Ben sacrifices his feelings and walks away from the best thing that has ever happened to him. He left his heart with Lauren and he has every intention on letting her keep it.
When the past comes crashing down for Lauren and Ben, they realize that their wounds were never healed. Their hearts, never mended. After six years, you still feel that sizzle between them. The electricity between these two are off the charts. Their underlying desire and passion for each other is still very alive. But things have changed. Ben and Lauren are not in any position to give into temptation. One of them is already promised to someone else. Too bad they didn’t realize that you only belong to the one you selflessly give your heart to.
“Don’t you realize, Blue Eyes, that you were my dream?”
The romance in Sensational is deep and passionate. There is no insta love between Ben and Lauren. Their tangible connection will have your heart beating. Their declarations of love are magical in not only the words, but the emotions felt in the writing. Oh Ben, you kind hearted beautiful soul. My heart felt the inner struggle that Ben and Lauren endured. While Lauren still feels that fire for Ben, she is still left scarred from the past. Her heart is still shattered to pieces. No man has ever been brave enough to put those pieces back together. But her soul already knew that only Ben could be the one to make her feel whole.
I want to commend the author for truly writing a strong and beautiful heroine. There are so many times where I read a story and the heroine is portrayed as meek or timid. Or love simply changes the heroine. This is not the case for Lauren. She is fierce yet has the biggest heart you have ever read about. Despite her broken heart, she strives to be an amazing person that makes the best of her circumstances. I found Lauren to be awe inspiring, fun, and refreshing. I believe we need more women like her in the literary world.
There is so much depth to the author’s writing. She never ceases to amaze me. She meticulously chooses each word to add to her stories. Her writing is the answer to a reader’s dream as she effortlessly allows you be become embedded within the pages. Until you are lost in the story. Lost in the characters and their lives. She pours her heart and soul into her characters and this is felt in their development. Her characters are in no way one dimensional. They are multi layered and all exhibit a realness factor about them that makes it easy to truly relatable.
“It’s like an electrical storm every time the two of you are in the same room.”
Sensational is a breathtaking romance. Their story is captivating and I could not put this one down. While Ben and Lauren suffered from the heartache of all those years ago, they come to realize that love heals. Love endures. And their love certainly did.
Serendipity (Book, #1):
All You Need is Love (Book, #1.5):
Splendor (Book, #2)
Shattered (Book, #3)
Sensational (Book, #4)