Monday, August 22, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Meant to Be Mine"

Meant to Be Mine by Lisa Marie Perry
Publisher: Forever (August 30, 2016)
Series: Guilty Pleasures, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Loving him was hard. Wanting him was so damn easy . . .

Sofia Mercer may have been sick as a teen, but she’s no delicate flower. And she’s proven it by making it on her own and starting a new life away from the town that turned against her, away from the boy who broke her already fragile heart. But when her aunt Luz dies unexpectedly, leaving Sofia with a mountain of regrets and the keys to a quirky boutique, Sofia has no choice but to return to Cape Cod. Only, this new life in her old town comes with complications.

Burke Wolf was Sofia’s first love—a relationship that burned bright and went up in flames. Seeing him again, Sofia can’t help but get caught up in that all-too-familiar tornado of passion and pain. He’s battled his own demons—that much is clear. But Sofia can’t afford to be careless with her heart . . . and loving Burke again might just break it completely. 

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My Review:

Sofia Mercer, with the transplant scar and tawdry sex shop. Burke Wolf, former junkie and forever badass.

Sofia and Burke were friends in high school, turning to one another to try and survive their problems -- Sofia waiting for a heart transplant, as well as issues with her parents, and Burke chasing his personal and family demons with drug cocktails and bad decisions. But things went south between them, and they each moved on with their lives; Sofia did get her transplant, and moved to NYC, Burke hit rock bottom a time or two before finally sobering up for good and hitting the seas (longshoreman). Years later, Sofia's back in her small hometown to take over her late great-aunt's sex shop. There's still so much left unfinished between her and Burke, but after all these years, all the struggles and secrets, can there be any hope for them?

I first heard about this trilogy when Perry was on the Smart Bitches' podcast. I was very intrigued, and thought the premise -- sex shop owner, boudoir photographer, and naughty pastry shop owner -- sounded fun and different. So when this went up on NetGalley, of course I jumped at the chance to read it. I was excited and had such high hopes.

I really wish I could tell you that my high hopes came through, but they didn't. Not at all. It took me seven days to finish this book. The fact that I was able to so easily put it down and not feel bad about it, that I wasn't excited when I had a few minutes in my day to pick up my Kindle, says a lot. The short of it is I was very disappointed in Meant to Be Mine, and I'm not really sure that I'll take the time to read book 2 (or 3) when they release.

Where do I start? I suppose I'll start with the writing, since I believe that was what held me back the most. I can't pinpoint exactly what the problem was, but there was something very disjointed about the writing style -- for me, it didn't flow smoothly. It felt choppy at times, too often I was easily able to zone out while reading, and there were many times, even when I had not zoned out, that I had to go back and reread something to understand exactly how things moved from point A in this paragraph to point B in that one. There were even times when the conversations seemed to be written in such a way that it moved things forward -- even when the original discussion wasn't done, suddenly the characters would switch to a different topic just so the scene could move forward to something else. I wish I had thought to highlight at least one such example of this, but to be honest my heart wasn't really in the reading of this book.

It wasn't just the writing that felt disjointed though -- the entire story did, too. I felt like there was too much being packed into this book with not nearly enough time to explore it all and what was there moved too slow. There's a lot of backstory telling not showing -- I think I might have preferred some showing of their past together as I might have connected to these two a bit more -- a lot of secrets (old and new), and even a bit too much setup for the couples that will star in books 2 and 3. Let me explain that a bit more. I love getting to know the side characters, especially the ones who will be getting their own books. But here, combined with the too-full story already going on between Sofia and Burke, the added scenes between the other two couples just seemed to take away from this story, not add to it. It's not that I wasn't a bit interested in the other characters -- I was! But that wasn't enough and like I said, I didn't feel like it added anything to save this particular story.

I was a bit confused on the time frame and passage of time, too, during different parts of the book. I think this ties back into the overall writing and the too-much-story-in-one-book point.

I felt like these two spent too much time flipping between hot and cold -- usually cold. Burke was set on being an ass, set on the fact that he was bad for her, and even when he'd start to soften to her a bit, he'd quickly throw back up his "I am a horrible person, get away" wall. I was just left so frustrated and tired from it all and in the end I don't feel like I received a fair payoff for the frustration. In fact, this leads me to my last point: sex.

There is no sex until the 87% mark. None.

Oh, sorry, let me rephrase: there's a bit of very brief teasing in two previous scenes, one of which ended early because of a trip to the hospital (no, seriously, but I won't spoil that part for you). But those teases were weak. Worse, I didn't really feel the chemistry between the two, so it wasn't even one of those books where the build up of sexual tension is so delicious that it's worth the wait. Nope, not here. Especially because the sex when it finally comes is quick (two pages, maybe), tame, and even a bit vague. -_-

So basically I was disappointed in the story and then disappointed in the sex. That's a lose-lose for me. I held out hope that maybe the sex would be fantastic and help, just a bit, to make up for my disappointment in everything else, but alas, that was not the case at all.

To sum it up, it all comes down to the simple fact that based on the story premise, I thought this was going to be a good book and a great start to a fun new series. And I still think that the story had potential. But for me, the execution of the story fell short -- very short -- and just left me very much underwhelmed and then relieved to finally be moving on to another book from my pile.

As I mentioned before, I'm not sure if I'll even continue this series since the writing really didn't hold my attention. I'm afraid that if I pick up the next book, I'll be left just as disappointed and frustrated as I was with this one. Was the book and writing outright HORRIBLE? No. I'd call it "meh". But I just feel like this story could have been so much more, and I'm not convinced that I should put the time into the other books.


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quote used belongs to Lisa Marie Perry; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim it. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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Truly, I had high hopes for this one, and I cannot stress enough that I thought the premise for this trilogy sounded great. But it fell flat for me. :/ I'll admit there were a few brief moments that I liked, a line here or there, but honestly? Not enough to merit mentioning. 


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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