A Bucket Full of Tension

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Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 8.15.11 AMWhen I was a teenager (and I use that term lightly because I believe the tradition started when I was something like 12) my mother and I used to take mini-breaks to the coast. The trips weren’t so much about mother/daughter bonding time (though that tended to be an inevitable factor towards the end of the weekend) as they were about total relaxation (which pains me to admit I actually needed at the ripe old age of 12.) Anyhow, these trips always followed the same routine.

1) Pack just enough clothing that you don’t appear homeless incase you are forced to set foot anywhere that the floor isn’t made of sand. 

2) Locate any and all Harlequin romance novels within a 5 mile radius and shove them in the bag. 

The reasoning behind the industrial sized bag of Harlequins was a simple one. You could read them in one sitting. They were intriguing enough to keep your mind engaged. They were full of tension and they ALWAYS had a happy ending. (ie: all of the mandatory requirements for beachside reading.)

Now, I’ll be honest…I don’t find myself picking up too many Harlequins these day (not that there is anything wrong with them what-so-ever) but I have noticed that my vacation packing tendencies haven’t changed all that much in 22 years. I still bring very little clothing and I still bring more books than common sense allows, BUT NOW…it’s a special handful of authors (not a specific publisher) that always get dragged along. 

And since there is nothing more fun than stating the obvious, one of those authors in Jennifer L. Armentrout. Mother of Tension.

It’s no big secret that I fawn over pretty much everything Jenn puts out, she has a way of building a story that just seems to get under my skin. But what you may not know? I’m a little harder on Jenn’s books than most (authors) BECAUSE I expect to get that same breath-catching, heart-pounding feeling with everything she writes or I’m disappointed. It’s not really fair, but there you have it.

Fortunately, Jenn’s standard or writing always lives up to my lofty expectations and we both live happily ever after. Her latest… “Fall With Me” is no exception.

Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.

As I stated above, one of the things I love most about Jenn’s writing is her unique ability to create tension. Whether it’s between lovers and takes place in a storeroom, or in the simplest objects (like a remote control) being moved from place to place without the protagonist’s knowledge, there is a ledge Jenn creates with her writing and she loves to dangle her readers off the side of it. “Fall With Me” (which happened to blur the lines of N/A and Romantic Suspense) was heavy with these moments, and thankfully so. 

With so many N/A novels out there (most of which, unfortunately, start to sound the same after a while) it was nice to read a story that drummed up excitement without the use of a battered past. Do Roxy and Reece have demons in their closet? Of course…who doesn’t? But instead of it being demons created by the act of say…rape (as an example) they are demons created by their own minds. Guilt (for one) is a major conflict with both characters, and the exploration of how they deal with it makes for some pretty fantastic character building. 

Speaking of characters (*ding* two points for a killer segue) there are a LOT of them in this book. IF you have read books 1-3 in the “Wait for You” series the abundance of introductions will (most likely) give you warm fuzzies. (Seeing as how they are the main characters from the first three books in the series) but anyone picking up the series halfway through…might think the information dump is a tad unnecessary. That said (cause there’s always a qualifier isn’t there) the 2 sentence backgrounds (for all of the supporting characters) do strike a modicum of intrigue for those who HAVEN’T read the first 3 AND allows this book to be read as a stand-alone if that is more to your liking. 

To add kindling to the already raging fire that is the plot inside of “Fall With Me” the storyline is multifaceted. Meaning: it’s not all about Girl A and Boy B hooking up (though there are plenty of saucy moments to keep your lusty minds satisfied.) It’s also about them making a life for THEMSELVES (in spite of the trials they have personally experienced.) Discovering what makes them strong, WHO to let go of, and WHAT to hang on to. It’s a rollercoaster of REAL life, survivors guilt, and PTSD.

The kicker? The suspense that wraps itself around the entire story, and the knowledge that something nefarious lurks around every corner adds edge, propels the story forward, and its freaking creepy. (Take that eloquence!)

In two sentences, it was everything I expected an Armentrout book to be. It had heart, suffering, tension and one heck of a nail biting, crowbar smacking ending.

If you are looking for a book with N/A bones and a substantial sub-plot to back it up…look no further.

Get it, live it, love it…pass it on.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: it’s important to live life for YOURSELF as well as the people in it.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Amazon wishlist (Publication Date: March 31)

Rating Report
Overall: 4.1

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.