My Review: 4 out of 5 Stars.
I really grappled with wether or not I wanted to write one big review for all three of the books in this series or write them separate. It took me until the moment I began to set up the post, to realize that separate was better, here’s why: 1. I really enjoyed the series as a whole, but I think each book has it’s own likes and dislikes that deserve attention. 2. I want you, the reader, to be able to quickly see those likes and dislikes without wadding through a really looong review. 3. I had it in my head that I had separate star scores for each book, and a final star score for the series… but I wanted to do both the book and the review(s) justice by differentiating this. 4. I would have separated my review of the whole series by book anyways (even if in one post), so why not just give each book it’s own review, it’s own page… and just make it more fun. This way, everyone can see what I thought of each book as it is. I promise in the review for book 3 to tell you all what I thought of the series as a whole!
I was already drawn into this series after reading the prequel, Not Today, But Someday; therefore, I knew it wouldn’t take much for me to settle in and just let the story take hold of me. I already loved Emi and Nate, but I never really saw this book coming. While I initially was intrigued by the fact that Emi and Nate were now older, I quickly began missing the younger versions of them from the prequel and wished that I had gotten more of it. However, this dissipated just as quickly as it came. I was elated when the author would tie in bits and pieces from the prequel and you saw how it all fit together. It made me start thinking of some of my other favorite books and how cool a prequel would be. Then I even thought of how fascinating it would be to maybe someday write a prequel to my own Harvest Series… before Angela was murdered or maybe even leading up to her murder – the prequel from her eyes. Ohhh, the possibilities. This was where I realized, I am truly a series whore!
Overall, I really liked this first book in the series. I loved the friendship that developed over the years between Emi and Nate, I liked (for the most part –* I say for the most part because some of the choices they make are less than stellar and as a result of some of those choices, their behavior was frustrating), who they became as adults, how they helped one another become the people they became. I liked that Emi found her passion in life as a result of the friendship she found in Nate. The story flowed well and kept me beyond entertained. It was a long book (a long series), so I was reading other books for reviews in between, but always found myself longing to get back to Emi and Nate. And never feeling disappointed when I finally made my way back.
I don’t want to ruin anything by saying too much, especially since there are two other books. But, here is why this book in the series got only 4 stars and not 5. The book was too long. There were parts that felt repetitive and parts that felt like they just dragged on and on for no reason. I felt as if the story could have been 100 pages shorter than it was and been just as fabulous, but I understand, from a writers point of view, that it’s hard to cut things out when you feel they are important to the character development and the final climax of the story. Speaking of climax, the only other thing, besides the length of the story, that I didn’t like was the borderline erotica sex. I know I have drilled this pet peeve into the ground, but I can’t help how I feel about this. The sex scenes with Nate and his girlfriends were just too much – too graphic, too explicit, and often made me cringe. I loved Nate as a character, but during these scenes I loathed him. And when he began carrying some of this behavior over… I was infuriated. I realize it was meant to be this way… it was his internal struggle once he got what he always wanted, but the other two books were never as graphic or borderline erotica as this one, and it made me appreciate those intimate moments so much more. These two things, by no means, diminished my opinion or liking of the book. They are just things that I didn’t particularly care for and things I want my readers to know.
The ending of this book, book #1 in this series, TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, 100% caught me off guard!!! I had a range of emotions running through me as I read the final lines and I found myself thankful that all I had to do was turn the page and I could see what happened… not like that made it any better…. those same range of emotions just hit me again and left me with tears streaming down my face and utterly devastated and confused.
This, is the point where I thought, what the hell? Why? And as I leave you with this and start the review of book #2, I will say… all I kept thinking was “Bold Move Lori, very very bold move!! WOW!!”