Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

To sum it up: Eighteen year old Harper has grown up under her career Marine of a father's thumb. Ready to live life her own way and experience things she's only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father's unit; she's on her way to college at San Diego State University. 

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family and emotions. Some she wasn't expecting yet, and others she never knew she was missing.

She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with her boyfriend Brandon, and her roommate's brother Chase. Covered in tattoos, known for fighting in the Underground and ridiculously muscled...they're exactly what she was always warned to stay away from, but just what she needs. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both adore and would do anything for Harper, including stepping back if it means she's happy. 

Her first year away is turning out to be near perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything...

★★★Id say this book deserved 3 ½ stars! ★★★

I have to admit, this is probably one of the toughest reviews that I’ve ever written- my emotions are all over the place right now, and I feel so conflicted with how I really felt about this story. If I had written this review while reading the first half of the book, I probably wouldn’t have had too much good to say- but after finishing the book, my feelings have definitely changed for the better.

FYI: There won’t be any spoilers in this review- I wouldn’t want to ruin the reading experience for anyone by giving anything in this book away…

Harper: I may as well go ahead and admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the heroine. There wasn’t one redeemable quality about her in my opinion that made every guy she came into contact with, fall head-over-heels in love with her. Never once throughout this entire book did I ever understand what was so special about her character- could it be the fact that she was a virgin? Or maybe it was because she was inexperienced… with everything. Whatever the reasoning, I never did end up understanding it. 

Brandon: I loved him right away- I’m probably in the minority here, but I was a big fan of him. He had so many wonderful qualities, and is most definitely the type of man any woman would be lucky to have. Not only did he have the looks to kill, but he was also selfless and forgiving- a man who never backed down, even when life knocked him to his knees. Unfortunately though, his honesty and faithfulness was taken advantage of in the worst kind of way. I really respected his character though, and commended him for being such a strong person through everything and for everyone- although, his use of the word “sweetheart” was a bit over the top. I know that perhaps it was just a quirky thing that probably only I noticed, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was a bit over-the-top and caused more eye rolling than swooning.

Chase: It was hard for me to grasp why he fell for Harper- from her initial first meeting with him, she was nothing but rude. Perhaps what drew her to him most was the fact that she was always out of reach to him. As much as I eventually got to know Chase, I just never connected with him on the personal level that I connected with Brandon. His character just seemed to be thrown from page to page, where he was either trying to keep his distance from Harper for one reason or another, or he was throwing himself at her. He was willing to be a completely different man and everything Harper would want him to be, but I never understood why.

I think what it all comes down to when it comes to the characters in this story, is that it was just missing a lot of depth for me. There was just so much that I felt was missing. I’m also not one to complain about the length of a book at all, but this story definitely just kept going… and going… and going… I felt like the book could have easily ended at so many different parts, but instead I felt like the author tried her best to wrap everything up in a nice and pretty bow- I can understand that there were many lose ends that needed to be wrapped up, but there were also some unnecessary situations added into the story towards the end that I didn’t feel were needed. 

With that being said though, I’m sure many of you who have read reviews or status updates on this book know that there’s a big jaw-dropping scene that will throw you into a frenzy. And I have to admit… after reading it and suffering through a complete shock, I pushed through and made myself continue on with the rest of the story- and I’m definitely glad that I did, because I felt like the ending and everything that happened after that incident really helped to get my mind off of the sheer horribleness of what had happened. I’m all about happy endings, and the author definitely did a good job wrapping the story up in the best way possible after what had happened.

While reading this story, I never really chose a “guy team” that typically happens when reading a book revolving around a love triangle theme. At times I felt like I was leaning towards one guy, and pages later I would be leaning towards the other- but while I can understand the reasoning for what the author did in the story… I just didn’t think it was necessary and I felt like it made readers feel forced to feel a certain way.

One down-side for me was the similarity between this book and Beautiful Disaster. (Which I wasn’t a fan of.) …And although I did become invested in this book and the characters, I just didn’t really feel a connection to them- The lovey-dovey stuff that we all live for in our romance novels definitely went over-board for me at times, and something always continuously felt lacking for me, which had me feeling like so many things were poorly developed. 

I know I’m in the minority here when I say this, but what started off on a bad note for me ended on a good one, despite a few things I could have dealt without. This is definitely an emotional story and not one that I regret reading. After reading this, I’ve looked at the fragility of life and second chances in an entirely new perspective …And as much as this novel broke my heart, it did eventually mend, and took me on an emotional and moving journey that I definitely won’t forget. 

”People mess up and make mistakes all the time. Everyone deserves a second chance, right?” -Taking Chances


Tina B said...

I have not heard of this one. It sounds somewhat intriguing to me. It's hard to read a book when you don't connect with the characters. (At least for me anyway)
Great review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

Alyssa said...

Thanks so much Tina! ...This book was missing something for me, unfortunately, but I still enjoyed it.

The Autumn Review said...

I'll admit that I've been hesitant to read this. A friend of mine, had a really tough time with the way it ended. I'm just not sure I could make the investment. I'm worried I'd be too upset. Nice review!

Alyssa said...

Thanks so much The Autumn Review! =) The book for me was just... Well... Okay. I had a tough time with a few things that happened in the book as well, and while I don't regret reading it I also wasn't a huge fan either!


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