Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Edit: Price wasn’t available when I wrote review – I’m pretty shocked its over £9 for a debut read…..I think twice about paying that for an established author but I’ve noticed more eBooks creeping up to the ten quid and beyond mark. when there’s still so many free/under a fiver or on KU then I can’t justify spending that unless I know its one I’ll reread several times, and with a new author I simply don’t know that. For many readers this book is just that but for me its not and if I’d paid £9+ for it I’d be a bit apprehensive about taking the risk next time.
OK, this is quite a hard book to review. I loved the idea of it, was on tenterhooks thinking why on earth Finn would do that, especially from the fragments we saw of how he was with Violet and Bear just beforehand, but the constant past and present flipping made me feel in danger of whiplash.
Its not a format I really like, I’ve read a very few where it works for me, and too many more where it doesn’t. Just as I’m engrossed in the story of the past it flips to the present, and then I’m suckered in to whets happening and bam…its back to the past.
I’ve read books where that works well for me, but with this one it just left me really frustrated, flipping back and forth right when there was a huge question needed answering. I guess there’s an argument that it kept up the suspense of the secrets and let them out at optimum time for that but for me it just was really annoying, and spoiled the story.
I ended up skipping and flicking through to read past, past, past, and then all the present bits, as I was getting so irritated at the flipping of times. Oddly enough I’ve just read another laid out exactly the same way, where from about 1/3rd in I did the same thing….Leah Mercer’s novel Who we were Before. Another that’s really emotional at times, where the past and present collide creating a huge rift between a couple. If you love this book look out for that one.
As to the story and characters, well TBH I really only liked Violet and Bear.
I understood why the other characters did what they did, but I was amazed at how easily it seemed to come to them, how they didn’t think beyond the immediate actions.
Its kind of hard to write without giving things away but all the characters lives were so closely intertwined and the secrets had such a huge impact.
I didn’t understand why some things weren’t told earlier, of course the book would have been different if they had 😉 so as that needs to be kept for me there needed to be a better reason for the actions and the secrets.
I did feel for Finn when it all came out, but enough to forgive him the awful thing he he to Violet?
I don’t know – she loved him but did she ever see the real Finn, or was she in love with the person he presented to her? Or is there really any difference, maybe we’re all more than one person, maybe the way life hits us makes us what we are?
He had some pretty awful thoughts between Violet and his past, that made me really feel for her and get cross at him, but then again we can’t actually control what we think, what we feel can we?
I did feel too that some of the events towards the end got a rather poorly explained and slick conclusion, that didn’t feel as if that would have happened in reality, and that niggled at me.
The ending was a little ambiguous, but it left the way open for a HEA and for me that’s OK, I can imagine one for them, for Violet needed that, wanted that and I loved her.
I’d really have preferred a more concrete happy ending though – I’m a sap I know but I love things to end well.
Overall though I felt I was interested in the story, wanted it to end well, but the present/past/present/past flipping format was so annoying to me. I wasn’t totally gripped by the story and I think that was a huge reason why, and maybe in a different format I would have enjoyed it more. The plot is perfect, real, and one that made me think, its just the execution that didn’t work for me.
I felt there was one really poignant part, when Violet says something along the lines of “ I wish sometimes I’d never met any of you,” and I really understood her then, in that moment.
She’d been through so much, and was such a loving, generous and kind person she didn’t deserve that further heartbreak she got.
Stars: Three, it was an interesting read, made me think how much of what happens in our lives affects us mentally as well as physically, how many secrets we all hold and what happens when they come out – they always do at some point.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher
Love With An Imperfect Cowboy, Ann Major
Genre: romance, Women’s Fiction
Well, Ann’s written many, many stories, yet this is my first one of hers! I wanted to love it but I’m really in two minds about it, I enjoyed parts of it but there was more that I just didn’t like, and overall it’s a miss for me.
I liked Hannah, really felt for what happened to her, she must have been devastated, so her running away felt a very genuine reaction. Likewise Liam, he’d been through some awful tragedy and I understood why he shut himself away as he did. As characters they were both very real feeling and easy to belive in.
What I struggled with was the way the two reacted when they first met. It didn’t go well, and they were both so rude to each other and that just didn’t sit right with me, felt out of character for both of them.
I know something along those lines was needed to get them to where they had to be for the story to fall into place but that just felt wrong.
Then there’s the filthy cabin, there’s no way a rich lady, who would have had staff to do the housework, laundry etc, would have been able to do what she did to it in just one night. Where did she get all the cleaning stuff from for instance? It just couldn’t happen. One room maybe, all the laundry maybe, but that and the whole house?? Nope. can’t be done.
They go from that early animosity into a strange kind of respect and friendship, and I’m not really sure how and when that happened. Then of course the past pops up, and though Liam’s past felt real, and the things around it now, the emotions he felt very natural and understandable, when it came to Hannah I just couldn’t see it unfolding like that. It just jarred, I couldn’t see all those people being there and for me it felt wrong.
Stars: two, overall a story that had more that didn’t suit me than it did. As ever though that’s just my take, others love it and you could too. Reading tastes are very individual.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers