Review: Arrest by June Gray

Monday, June 30

Title: Arrest*
Author: June Gray
Series: Disarm Trilogy #2
Genre: contemporary New Adult romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook, print, and audio
Date/Year: June 3, 2014
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Life begins at happily ever after…

For Elsie and Henry, getting married and buying a house is only the beginning of their passionate new adventure. Elsie is flourishing in her job while Henry embarks on a new career as a police officer. Everything, it seems, has finally fallen into place.

Just when it’s all smooth sailing, they face life-altering changes that make Elsie question her ability to adapt. With Henry’s job putting him in constant danger, she watches helplessly while he slips back into his old habits. Elsie must find a way—through any means necessary—to prevent the past from repeating.

With the sand constantly shifting underfoot, Elsie and Henry have to figure out how to strengthen their bond—before they end up losing what matters most…


My Musings:

This review may contain spoilers for DISARM, the first book in this series. You should not try to read ARREST as a standalone, as it assumes you are already familiar with events of the previous book that are not always fully explained in this one.

I enjoyed reading June Gray’s DISARM romance novelettes after they were released as a full length book back in 2013, so when that book was acquired by a major publisher, I was happy that there would be two more books in the series.

ARREST picks up where DISARM left off, with Henry and Elsie newly married and embarking on the rest of their Happily Ever After together. But just because they got past all their previous obstacles doesn't mean that there aren't new ones now that they are finally married. The primary source of their problems now is Henry’s new career as a law enforcement officer. It was bad enough when he was still in the US military and being sent into a war zone for months on end. Now Elsie has to worry about him every day and night, forever dreading a future where he doesn't come home safely at the end of his scheduled shift. Their shared adjustment to this new reality, combined with his reaction to Elsie’s independent career as a web designer and the usual dips and bumps that happen in a marriage, constantly threaten their happiness even as they both know that they could never survive away from each other. The story of ARREST is how each crisis in Henry and Elsie’s marriage ultimately makes them stronger together, and better able to deal with whatever life throws at them next. But the journey isn't easy and when Henry begins to rely on his old destructive coping mechanisms, it will take both of them working as hard as they can to get to the true happy ending they’d thought they already had on their wedding day.

As much as I enjoyed the previous book, the way Henry was always retreating from Elsie when he was upset did get to be tiring after a while, so I was worried that I might not be as sympathetic to him when all the new bad things started happening to them both in ARREST. However, I was quite happy to be proven wrong in my concern, as it appeared that Henry has indeed grown emotionally since then. The love he and Elsie have for each other is never questioned, and it never wavers. But as they and we already learned before, love isn't enough to keep them together if they can’t communicate and compromise, and in ARREST, Henry and Elsie must both relearn those painful lessons if they’re going to stay married and happy together.

ARREST also has the advantage of hanging together better as an complete story from the start, as opposed to the previous title. We are shown once again how their past continues to affect their present, but also how they are aware of how easily they could fall back into a vicious cycle of hurting each other, however inadvertently. Being able to see Henry and Elsie take real steps toward a fully reciprocal relationship made reading through all their pain and sadness worth it for the true happy ending awaiting them both. ARREST is an excellent example of how the “marriage in trouble” trope can be realistic without being too depressing. But I’m relieved that the next story in the series will be about someone else, so I can be content in the knowledge that Elsie and Henry have finally earned their HEA and won’t have to suffer any longer.

Ratings:

Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level:  3.5


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Review: Fall From India Place by Samantha Young

Friday, June 27

Title: Fall From India Place*
Author: Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #4
Genre: contemporary New Adult romance
Publisher: NAL
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: June 3, 2014
Reviewed by: Michele

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street and Down London Road returns with a story about letting go of the past and learning to trust in the future…

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro, five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving into temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life, something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together.…

But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him, a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again….


My Musings:


This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the On Dublin Road series. You can probably read FALL FROM INDIA PLACE as a standalone, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ve been a big fan of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Road series from the very beginning, with each book in turn reminding me why New Adult romances have become so popular in the first place. Her characters have genuine roadblocks in their lives that don’t appear just to gin up extra drama, and their coping mechanisms are completely understandable in the context of each story. And although each story is set in the same world with previous couples continuing to appear as recurring characters, each one is also unique in terms of what brings the main couple together and what threatens to keep them apart.

In FALL FROM INDIA PLACE, the timeline has advanced several years past the last book in the series, and many of the previously featured couples are married with young children of their own. Hannah Nichols, the younger sister of Braden and Ellie, is now all grown up at 22, teaching high school English by day and a weekly adult literacy course at night. Her job and extended family appear to be enough to keep Hannah content, but there’s a lingering sadness there, thanks to the only man she’d ever wanted but could never really have.

Marco D’Alessandro was introduced in BEFORE JAMAICA LANE as the busboy at a local Italian restaurant and Hannah’s first school girl crush. We only got a brief glance at them together back then, but it’s clear in this new book that something significant happened between them in the interim when when Hannah finds Marco’s picture in a box of old things that her mother has asked her to clean out. It’s at that moment that FALL FROM INDIA PLACE begins to tell Hannah and Marco’s entire story in both the past and and present, showing exactly how what they shared before could be the one impossible obstacle to finding that happiness again for good.

One of the things I loved about FALL FROM INDIA PLACE was how we got a complete picture of the adult Hannah living in the present day before Marco was ever mentioned. We see that her love life is practically non-existent, even as her friends from school keep trying to fix her up with eligible men. We also see how she channels her kind and loving nature into her job and interactions with family, while never really having much to do for her own happiness. So when Marco suddenly reappears in Hannah’s life after five years missing in action, it’s like a bolt from the blue for both her and the reader:  Where has he been? Why did he leave? How can she possibly take him back? And that’s when both we and Hannah start to get a much better picture of who Marco was, why he left, and how that made him the man he is now. When Hannah agrees to give March another chance, it becomes obvious that the time apart has made them both better suited to each other in a way they never were before. But the secrets they both still carry from that time are on a collision course toward an inevitable confrontation that will either help them heal completely or split them apart forever.

What surprised me the most about FALL FROM INDIA PLACE wasn't that I was able to eventually figure out what secret each of them was keeping back and how those two secrets would be in such horrible conflict with each other, but that I was actually happy with that outcome and how it was ultimately handled. It proved that being able to see where the story is going to end up isn't a bad thing when the path there is written so beautifully and the actual events play out in a way you might not have expected. That’s what I've loved about every book in this series, and why FALL FROM INDIA PLACE was such a wonderful read for me. I can only hope that Samantha Young can keep up this consistent level of excellence in all the books to come.

Ratings:

Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level:  3


For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here


Other Reviews:




*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

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My FREE Kindle Quest

I've wanted a Kindle for what seems like forever, but haven't been able to afford it (and that's saying something since I can justify the cost of just about ANYTHING that I really want). I've tried winning one in one of the many giveaways that have taken place over the couple of years, but with no luck :( So I've decided to take matters in hand so to speak :) I've now decided that I am going to accumulate enough Swagbucks from my Swabucks searches to buy one...so in essence my new Kindle will be FREE...funded entirely by my internet searches done on Swagbucks. I'll keep you informed of the Great Kindle Quest below (in case you're interested....if not feel free to just skip over this part, but really who wouldn't be interested in a FREE Kindle?)
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