*I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review
I heard great things about this book from a few people, so of course I had to read it!
Luke Harper is a high school English teacher and in a friends-with-benefits "relationship" with Holly, his ex-girlfriend. When he meets April, he's instantly attracted to her. They connect over their mutual love for literature and the fact that she is married does not stop him. I was not very fond of Luke. Throughout the whole book I just wanted him to man-up, put his big-boy pants on and make a decision about what he wanted or just do something! He sometimes went into long drawn-out explanations about certain things, in the middle of talking about something else, so by the time he finished, I had completely forgotten what he was talking about in the first place.
I did not like April. From the get-go, I felt like there was more to her than met the eye. I found her manipulative and a bitch. When her true colors came out, I just wanted to slap her! I felt like every little thing she did was all planned out. She definitely knew what she was going to do and when from the beginning. I liked Holly. She's been there for Luke, not only as a lover, but also as a friend. I could tell she cared for him. I wish I had more time to get to know her, her past and also her "relationship" with Luke. We really just got told about her almost at the end of the book.
I really liked the flashbacks. We got to see what was going on with him and one of the hardest times of his life. I really connected with him during that time. I've heard that this book is a standalone, but I felt that with that ending, a lot of questions were left unanswered so I'm hoping that's false and the author writes a sequel.
If you looking a book with a love triangle and some drama, I recommend you pick this book up.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
I had heard many great things about Thou Shalt Not so of course I had to check it out. Written from the male POV by a man himself, I heard we were in for a treat.
Luke is a teacher in his early thirties, he's had a life of heartbreak in his younger years so he is perfectly content having a friends with benefits relationship with Holly. That is until a new substitute teacher arrives. Luke has no idea why he is instantly hankering after April and even when he finds out that she is married with kids, this still doesn't deter him.
I didn't really take to Luke and by the end I had almost given up on him. I get that he was a young guy wanting to take risks and of course April was a shiny, new forbidden plaything but my heart went out to poor, dependable Holly who was waiting in the wings just hoping he would come to his senses and realise she was the one for him all along.
I struggled to feel the connection between Luke and his lady loves, with Holly he only let her in so far and even when the truth came out I didn't believe his declaration, it was more of a 'yeah you'll do' situation. I felt reading from Luke's POV that I couldn't fall for him, his 'voice' sounded monotone and the only time I really felt anything was when he had flashbacks to his heartbreak and the business with his friend Robin. It was during these periods I felt Luke was showing some emotion. With that being said, some of his neurotic monologue was entertaining. Luke wasn't an Alpha male or a billionaire, he was a bit nerdy and that worked for him.
"I replayed everything. It really was pathetic. I'm not generally a creepy-ass flirt who targets married women. But, apparently now I wink, so who the hell knows what's happening."
I did struggle when reading the text message paragraphs, there was nothing to differentiate between Luke's thoughts and his actual text conversation, so I found myself having to reread the passage a few times. I'm not sure if it stayed like this for the finished version of the book but even italicised text would have helped here.
I'm not sure if this book is intended to be a standalone with an open ending or there will be in fact a sequel. The last chapter leaves you with more questions than answers, I was also left wondering about the strange little side plot with a student thrown in at the end. So maybe there will be more, who knows?
Thou Shalt Not wasn't as fast paced and engrossing as I had been expecting. If you are a fan of love triangles and don't mind adultery then this is up your street. The twists and turns will keep you guessing until the end!
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Where to begin with this review? Thou Shalt Not was very different than other books that I've read that feature the male POV. He is definitely no alpha. But, then again we have so many of those.
Luke Harper is an english teacher at a private high school. He has suffered heartbreak in the past, and as you read further your heart goes out to him. He doesn't really do relationships. He has a friends with benefits, Holly. They apparently have great sex, but there is no other connection so they found it less complicated to be FWB. Things change when he meet a substitute teacher, April. Oh and she's married. With kids. You immediately feel the connection between them. But, what about Holly right? You have no idea!
While I am a huge sucker for love triangles, this was the first time where I was torn. Holly and April. I liked them at first for very different reasons. As April and Luke get to know each other over time, their attraction intensifies. April's husband is a total jerk, so her seeking out another man's attention didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was the twist in the story! I did not see that coming. This story definitely keeps the reader guessing.
What I liked was that I didn't expect their to be emotional parts. I really connected to those parts as I felt the writing was strong and I easily related to the characters. I didn't expect a story of love, loss, and hope. Luke, Holly, and April were looking for all the same things, but in different places. Everything came full circle.
But the end? There's more right? There is no way this is a standalone. I found the writing of the story to be paced nicely. If you are looking for your not so average hero, then this is for you.
I stood up too and walked over to her side. She was looking down into the water.
"You know, if I knew you better I would probably push you in," she said very nonchalantly, as if letting me know the water temperature.
"If I knew you better, I would probably beat you to it," I replied.
She turned to me, her eyes full of mischievous energy.
Her hands quickly went up and grabbed my shoulders, and mine instinctively grabbed her waist. I could feel her grip tighten when I touched her, and her eyes widened.
"If I go in, you are going in with me," I said, shuffling my feet closer to the edge.
Her hands moved along my shoulders and her feet edged closer to mine.
"I'm a grown woman," she said. "Threats involving water don't scare me."
Her bottom lip curled up under her teeth as she smiled, repeating what I had said earlier. Or mocking me, perhaps.
I tightened my grip on her hips and flinched, pretending I was about to throw her in. She gasped slightly, hands grabbing my shoulders tightly again. Her hips arched forward and she leaned up on her toes as if in reflex.
"I thought you weren't scared," I said, pulling her closer to me. "People usually don't gasp when they are ready for what's about to happen."
She was less than a foot from me, her face getting much closer to mine.
"It depends on what's happening," she said, looking up into my eyes.
I wasn't thinking about throwing her into the water anymore. Everything within me wanted to pull her tightly in and kiss her right there, in front of the pool in the house her husband bought with all the millions of dollars he had made throughout his career. Kiss her on the spot where he probably threw numerous parties. Kiss her on the lips I wished were mine, and not his.
The look in her eyes told me she wanted the same. At least I thought they did. I hadn't been in a position where I felt like this for someone in a long time. Thankfully, my hands were around her waist or I surely would have been able to feel them get clammy, nervous, like a high school kid on his first date with the prom queen he never thought he could get.
She is calculating, remember? I thought to myself. If she hadn't wanted it to get to this point she never would have asked you over to her house. She wants this as much as you do.
I wasn't sure which shoulder angel was feeding me that line but whoever it was, I knew they were right.
My hands pulled her closer until her feet were between mine; our legs and waists touching.
"You have really strong shoulders," she said. Her voice was soft and she tilted her head up toward mine when she spoke.
Do it, I told myself. Kiss her.
My heart was racing, and I could hear the beating in my ears. My hands moved up her body and found her neck. My fingers laced in her hair behind her head and I pulled her up.
JJ Rossum traveled the world as a child, and called many places "home". Currently, home is Portland, Oregon, where he is at work on other novels that were hatched while people watching during many airport layovers.
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