This book is #3, in the Ringside Romance series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.
Justin has to start over. He cannot go back into the past. He does not want to go back. Since he has burned some bridges, it is necessary to start fresh. Start over where he knows someone. Then he meets someone special.
Finn is scared to talk to people in person. Struggles with it all the time. Once comfortable with someone, there is no problem. Now, with a date with someone new, Finn needs help from a friend.
This story was as sweet as it was sexy. The slow burn in this book just keeps the reader captivated until the very last page. I like how this series makes us feel like any relationship is possible. Even when we believe otherwise. That is why we read. So we can glimpse a better life that is out there. I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!
***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.
This sequel to Losing Cadence takes place about 12 years after the events in the first book and has a much faster pace. We also get a close look into Richard, including his childhood, which gives a bit more insight into his obsessions and need for control. His struggle with the past, his self-hatred, and needing the devotion of Cadence and their daughter, Sophie, makes for a chilling tale. Sophie is extremely poised and emotionally mature for a twelve-year-old girl, but it does work well for the story. With some interesting twists, a fast-paced story line, and a dramatic conclusion, this one surpasses its predecessor in both suspense and action.
While the pacing in this one was a bit slow for my tastes, the author does a write a compelling story. The flashbacks to Richard and Cadence's past are done quite well and add some extra insight into the romance that started it all. The biggest drawback for me was that too many things were so over the top as to be unbelievable. Richard is certifiable to say the least and the lengths he has gone to in carrying out his plan are absolutely spine-tingling. My problem lay with the number of people involved in his plan. I find it hard to believe anyone could find that many people who are gullible enough for his plan to work as long as it did. That said, the story did pull me in and I was invested enough that I wanted to see how it all played out. There's an interesting balance between Cadence's terror and when she learns to play on Richard's obsession. I was also intrigued by Cadence's feelings during her ordeal. The back and forth between fear and contempt for Richard to feeling pity for him, almost but not quite to the point of Stockholm Syndrome, showed good depth of the character. The pace picks up considerably for the conclusion and it does tie up a few things, but there are some unanswered questions and I'm interested enough in these characters to see how that one goes.
Christina is an island girl. Her home on Burning Fog Island in Maine is a resort in the summertime, but, with only a tiny year-round population, students have to go to school on the mainland when they start 7th grade. This means boarding in a stranger's house and being away from their families, but Christina is excited to hear that the new school principal and his wife, an English teacher, are opening their colonial home to all four of the island children this year. They'll all be together, what could happen?
The Shevington's home is as beautiful as they'd heard, but they are relegated to cheerless attic rooms. The boys shrug off the inconveniences, but it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong with the eldest island student, the brilliant, but fragile, Anya. No one wants to hear Christina when she begins to ask questions about the Shevingtons and their mysterious past, or about the other promising girls who have vanished after crossing their path.
Caroline B. Cooney is one of the founders of tween suspense, so I was thrilled to come across this omnibus of a trilogy I'd read back in middle school. Part one, The Fog, is a masterful setup, introducing the characters and making a good effort to get the reader to doubt Christina. Too soon, however, the plot creates spectacular tragic accidents and blatant cruelty that is ignored by almost every adult. Trick psychology and gas-lighting go only so far, even in a small town in Maine in the late 1980s.
It's also clear that Anya was heading for a fall long before she set foot in the Shevington's house. Impossibly twee.
If the reader gives in to the fun of the story, however, it is a fun ride and some of Christina's responses to the bullying and harassment she receives from fellow students and adults are inspired.