“I loved you then, I love you now, I’ll love you always. You’ve always been it for me, Blake.”
This review is spoiler-free.
After the huge cliffhanger at the end of the first book, I was just absolutely desperate for more!! I needed to know what happened! Just like with the first book, I inhaled this one in one sitting. The next thing I knew I looked out the window and the sun was coming up!
In this book the plot thickens, answers are found and family loyalties are chosen. Book #1 was equal parts mystery and romance. The mystery kept me guessing and the romance kept me swooning. But I found this book to be more focused on the mystery than the romance. Now, don’t get me wrong, Cole and Blake are still both heavily featured in this book and there’s both swoon and steam but I guess I felt that their relationship development took a bit of a back seat in light of all the developments happening on the mystery side of things. I did miss the relationship focus, but I also understood the need to delve into the mystery.
Blake needed answers, Cole needed answers, heck I needed answers! And this was the point where the secrets began to unravel – the answers to WHY everything had happened. But I found myself getting a little lost at times. There were a LOT of interconnected characters to keep track of and I really mean a LOT. My head was spinning in circles and sometimes I found myself getting a little tangled in the story line. But it did feel good that Cole seemed to also be a little overwhelmed by it:
“Can someone get a pen and paper and start drawing out the family trees and everyone’s connection to everyone else?!” It just genuinely was a complicated situation.
This book is told in alternating POVs between Cole and Blake. Given the ending of the last book this made a lot of sense and I felt it added more depth to the story by allowing us to see more of what was going on. I also really enjoyed getting inside Cole’s head and seeing how he saw things:
“Some of my friends that haven’t been around us have given me shit… because they don’t understand our relationship. They say it’s not normal, not healthy, and I get that, but we can’t change our past. We’re just two broken people in love trying to heal each other and despite everything, we don’t want to be with anybody else… When it comes to Blake, nobody else matters.”
Seriously that man was devoted. Utterly, head over heels in LOVE with his girl. You never doubted it, you always felt it, he took every opportunity to show it, and I just find it seriously heart-melting reading about guys like Cole who will literally go to any lengths to protect the ones they love.
I found there to be a lot less angst than in the first book. This one didn’t really make my heart race in the same way and, like I said, was very focused on finding answers to the mystery. There were still some heart-stopping moments though, an awesome showdown and reveals I didn’t see coming.
The romance was there and Cole was swoony as ever (seriously, is that man perfect or what?) but I’d say the focus of this book shifted more towards piecing everything together and deciding how to move on.
Oh, and this is pretty cool — there is a little almost-cameo from a certain book hero from another book that I know several of you are in love with. I thought it was a cool touch to connect those two stories like that.
I loved the message this book had about family. How blood is not the most important connection. Family is an earned place. Family are the people who matter to you the most no matter who they may biologically be. A father, a brother, a mother, a sister… these are not only determined by blood.
“You’re not just involved with the person that makes your world make sense. You live for that person. You breathe for that person.”
I liked this book (in comparison to the first one which I loved), but it kept my interest throughout and I desperately wanted to find out the answers to what was behind everything, it didn’t quite affect me as strongly in an emotional way. There were parts that were confusing as I was reading (but I guess that’s to be expected in a mystery) and a few time jumps that disconnected me just a little bit but I liked that we finally got the answers to everything and it did all make sense in the end.
It was really wonderful to see Cole and Blake find their happiness, answers and peace of mind in the end. I loved the ending and where it left the characters. There was a lot of sweetness in the last scene and I finished the book with a smile on my face and a happy feeling in my heart. After everything they’d been though, those two had really earned their happily-ever-after.
I would have wished for an epilogue but I’ve been told the author is writing one (I hear it is LONG!) and will be releasing it very soon for anyone who wants a glimpse into Cole and Blake’s future. Personally, I can’t wait!!
This series was a wonderful read and refreshingly different from any previous book I’d read. I’d certainly recommend checking them out!
I’m definitely a new fan of Claire Contreras and will be looking forward to more books from her in the future!