on 2 August 2013
With a much darker tone and dramatic story, I spent my whole time reading it on complete edge as I never knew what was going to happen next for Jesse and Rowen.
Picking up a few months after book one left off, Rowen and Jesse have settled in to a routine of the long distance relationship, both travelling back and fourth to see each other every few weeks. The pair clearly love each other more than ever, however, they soon learn that sometimes love isn't enough as circumstances and painful pasts start to get in the way of their happy future.
I found Rowen to be completely different in this book than in the last one, but in a good way. Especially in the beginning when reading her POV it feels like a cloud has been lifted as she is so much more optimistic and happy than she ever was in book one. She loves and trusts Jesse more than anything, and knows that she can't live without him, and because of that, like him, is managing to deal with the distance between them. However, Rowen always has it in the back of her mind that her happiness could be snatched away from her just as quickly as it came to her, and in this instance, rightly so...
As the story progresses and Rowen and Jesse drift further and further apart Rowen has to make some difficult decisions about her future as she finds herself having to chose between Jesse and her career as an artist!
It was great getting Jesse's POV for this book. I loved finding out how his mind worked, and especially towards the beginning I could completely see how he kept up his optimism with life as he never seemed to let anything bother him. When it came to Rowen he was the complete opposite of domineering which was incredibly refreshing, he trusted her more than anything and was happy for her to do the things she wanted...even if it wasn't what he wanted. He never tried to control her or tell her what to do, but only stand back and support her with everything, like the amazing boyfriend that he was.
"Win or lose, we're in it together. Right?"
Leaning his forehead into mine, Jesse's eyes went soft. "Win, lose, on top of the world, or at rock bottom...I'm with you, Rowen Sterling. To the very end."
Saying that, Jesse tackled some serious demons in this book towards the second half and it ultimately became the main theme of the story. Although on the outside he tries to maintain his facade of the old happy, carefree Jesse, on the inside he is tearing himself apart with thoughts of his past which are leaking in to his present, making him look at life and the things in it differently. This was a completely new side to Jesse, and one that I desperately wanted to go away so that I could have the old one back. The characters in this book are so impressionable that when one of them are hurting or something is wrong, you `feel' it, and you want their pain to go away. So for someone like Jesse who is normally so happy go lucky, to be hurting so badly, I desperately wanted his pain to be taken away and for things to be better for him as he really deserved it after everything he had been through in his past.
The relationship between Rowen and Jesse is much more intense in this book than in LOST AND FOUND, whereas in the first one I always knew that everything would work out and they would end up together, in this one I spent the whole time wondering if, and hoping that they wouldn't, break up. This story showed two completely different sides of there relationships, with the first half showing them as a happy couple, who although are in a long distance relationship, they are making it work and are always thankful for the little time that they do get to spend together, and the second half showing a very different side. As the book progresses you start to feel them slip away from each other more and more and it was completely heartbreaking. The angst was off the charts as it became clear that sometimes love wasn't enough as obligations and emotional barriers seriously got in the way of them being together, making them both question everything!
What bound us together couldn't be seen or put into words. It was invisible. No word had been created for it. Fate, destiny, true love, soul mates were glorified, commercial terms that fell flat. I ascribed few words to what we shared, but one word I could, one word I felt the moment his fingers laced through mine, and that was...eternal.
Bitch, evil, trollop, fake, Barbie, boyfriend stealer...oh and did I say bitch. Well none of these words even begin to describe how I felt about the new character in this story, Josie's cousin, Jolene. Working at the Walkers ranch for a few months, she spends most of her time in this book trying to get her claws in to Jesse, and it drove me CRAZY! Seriously, from the way I felt, you would think Jesse Walker was real...oh I wish...because in those moments where Jolene would touch Jesse, or make a flirty remark or try to push herself closer to him, I felt like Rowen! I wanted to pee around Jesse and mark my territory so that bitch couldn't get to him...oh sorry, I'm forgetting he's not real again...
Although this book is about Jesse and Rowen's relationship, it was much more about Jesse and his need to face his past. I was so emotional reading his parts of the story, as my heart broke for him as he faced a never ending torment over his deep rooted secrets, which caused complete destruction to him as a character.
This story is filled to the brim with drama, to the point where I spent the whole book with uncertainty as to what Jesse and Rowen's next obstacle will be. The tone is much darker and bleaker than in book one and because of that, for me was very endearing as it opened up a whole new side to the story! This is by far one of my all time favourite series, and I found that with this book, just like the last one, I struggled to put it down as I found myself so rooted in to the story. I can't wait to read Garth's story when it is released, as in this book he does well to redeem himself and open up a little as a nice guy...a little...