ARC Review: After the Woods-Kim Savage

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Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

review3.5/5 Stars

+++I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Farrar, Straus and Giroux

***Contains triggers: abuse, violence, abduction, assault

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re interested in recovery after trauma
  • You enjoy mysteries that are complex and thought-provoking
  • You like puzzles

PROS:

  • After the Woods examines trauma at the roots and asks questions. Looking at the girl that got away and the one who sacrificed herself for her best friend, Kim Savage peers into the recovery process post-abduction. Everyone deals with trauma differently. 
  • After the Woods also looks at the damaging effects of emotional abuse. The scenes between Liv and her mother are disquieting and heartbreaking, that someone could treat their daughter as if they were imperfect and never one deign to compliment her. Every time Liv’s face fell or she replied with a sarcastic comment, it struck a chord. 
  • The flashbacks to the abduction are terrifying and sickening. The foreboding will set you on edge. Even though you know she makes it out of that situation, what actually happened during the time is a bit of a mystery. As the clues come out, the anxiety increases to a dangerous level. 
  • Julia is a selfless person. She puts her friendship with Liv up on a pedestal, refusing to believe anything but the strength of their bond. All others are second to Liv. Best friends for life and then some. Julia needs to learn how to cope. She’s sarcastic, brash, and haunted by the events in the woods. She clings to statistics and facts as a way to understand her abduction. The odds are low but they comfort her. Julia is fascinating. Seeing the way her mind works, how she analyzes and keeps meticulous lists helped me better understand the many ways people deal with trauma. 
  • The cover is gorgeous. 

CONS:

  • The big reveal was kind of a letdown. There are so many signs pointing to the ending that I figured it out before the halfway point. 
  • Julia is constantly making decisions that make you want to shake some sense into her. Her delusions about the media, the deals she makes, how she dismisses Liv’s wacked out behavior for most of the book, it all is so frustrating. 
  • If you’re looking for a romance, After the Woods is more about friendship than swoon. While there are a few moments, it’s secondary to everything else. The romance itself felt a bit like instalove. Suddenly, it was there. Not much build up. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review: You’re Still the One-Rachel Harris

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Love is one dare neither of them can take…

Arabella Stone, Nashville’s darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her ” summer bucket list” is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she’s crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn’t out of the norm–but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label’s CEO, he knows he’s in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she’s also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them…knowing that once it’s all over, so is their time together.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Entangled Bliss

You’re Still the One is a sweet and steamy romance featuring one Nashville country hottie and the boss’ daughter. What happens when your celebrity crush becomes a reality? Off the walls chemistry. 

PROS:

  • Charlie is a sweetheart with a bad boy rep. He loves women, knows he’s sexy, and has charm galore. He gets what he wants and due to seriously horrible bad luck, has a tarnished rep that he can’t seem to come back from. So he goes with it. Underneath the player visage and past the leggy blondes, Charlie has a heart of gold. He’s loyal, compassionate, and an advocate for using music to combat depression and bullying. The way he is with his niece is SWOON for centuries amazing. When he speaks…holy hotness. When he says, “baby girl” SLAYED. Seriously. 
  • Rachel Harris is incredibly skilled at balancing that playful flirting of new romance with sweltering attraction. Charlie and Arabella, that scene in the pool. Get ready to fan yourselves ladies. ALL THAT KISSING. 
  • Arabella feels trapped. She wants to make it on her own in the world but is constantly thwarted because of her famous father. Guys only want to date her to drop off demos for her dad or are too scared to risk his wrath. Anyone in the business would hire her one principle. It’s hard for a girl with a music degree and her daddy’s last name to get hired based on her own merits but she tries. Arabella desperately wants freedom and love. She’s terrible at flirting, to the point where it’s laughable, and discounts her attractiveness because of her gorgeous best friend. Her insecurities are relatable and her clumsy attempts at flirting are spot on for anyone who has ever stumbled to speak in front of their crush. 
  • Life and Lyrics is a beautiful idea. 

CONS:

  • You don’t really get an idea of what the band is actually like. There’s hardly any music making and that time in Nashville is so short that the sort of country star aspect of it fades into the background. This is the between time and that was occasionally a little slow. The pacing felt off. 
  • The plot was fairly predictable but engaging. The bucket list-style goals for the summer were laugh-out-loud wonderful and added spice to the plot. 

authRachel Harris 022 - compressed for webWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Newsletter

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom,she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Happy reading, 

Jordan