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)
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Angela Del Carlo is merely living. She is a shadow of her former self. No longer the person she was at work and with her friends. She fell for hot, self-absorbed, womanizer, Nick Manning. Her love for him crushed her. Her sprit. Non-existent. She was left shattered after their arrangement was no longer working for him. You watch a beautiful woman become a shell of her former self. You feel for her. Yet you understand her pull towards to this man. His heart has walls but you could feel her penetrating those walls every time they were together.
We meet Angela in the previous books in this series. If you have not read them, this book can definitely be read as a standalone. We know that Angela was hurt. Badly. But we don’t understand the depth of her broken heart until her story. Their story.The author flawlessly moves between past and present as we are immersed in the lives of the characters where you watch a woman break and get put back together by the same person that shattered her into pieces.
Shattered is a love story about two flawed human beings. Two damaged souls. It is a REAL love story. A journey. For love is not rainbows and flowers. And this story effortlessly shows how even a devastating journey to love can be worth it. That our past may try to shape us, but with love, anything is possible. So why do you want to read a story about a woman’s broken heart and the man who did it? Because there is such TRUTH in this story. Angela and Nick? They’re people. And people are capable of mistakes. We mess up. But broken people? They hurt. They mess up too. Sometimes more. How can you truly love someone when you never felt love yourself? But you can. And they did. Love saves.
Shattered is a bit different than the other books in this series, but nonetheless it is brilliant and you may question your own thoughts and ideas of love. Love is not something in a pretty box, with a big pink bow. That is not Nick and Angela’s story. Their story has many layers. I love that the author never sugarcoated anything in their story. Their love is raw, genuine, intense, and overwhelming.
As usual, the writing of this story is flawless in it’s delivery. Effortless in the way the author allows you to fall for her imperfect characters. While the author herself mentions that this is not like the others in the series, I commend her from being different. It shows her versatility in writing a story. She understands that love and romance is not one dimensional. If only author authors considered that in their writing. Shattered is darker, yet more emotional, but still sexy as her other reads. If you have never read anything by this author you are missing out. I look forward to the next book in this series.
Angela had known little affection in her twenty six years, her childhood one of loneliness and emotional neglect despite growing up in a seemingly stable household with two parents and two older sisters. The few sexual partners she’d had during college had all been fleeting, casual encounters, all during a time in her life when she’d been angry, rebellious, and totally incapable of managing anything remotely resembling a relationship.
And then had come the time in her life she merely referred to as “the year” – though in actuality it had only been eleven months and five days. It had been the only time in her life when she’d felt truly alive, truly fulfilled, even though there had also been countless days during the same year when she’d felt helpless and out of control. And since then, she’d spent every day trying to claw her way out of the depths of hell that she’d fallen into when the ill-fated affair had ended so horribly.
But now, for the first time in years, she was beginning to find hope. That fleeting sensation of something that she’d felt earlier today during her run had been hovering on the outskirts of her emotions for a little while now, and she wasn’t sure whether to embrace it fully and welcome it in, or shove it brutally aside so she could continue to wallow in her sorrow.