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The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In the past, I had only watched a few documentaries regarding school shootings and I even remember vaguely, as an 8year-old the Columbine massacre making headlines all over the world. But, The Ones Who Got Away doesn't deal with a shooting, no, it dives right into the aftermath of such a tragedy.
The pain, the fear, the regrets. The hero, the victims, the survivors. What happens when in an interview about a documentary recounting the worst day of your life, you meet again The One Who Got Away from you? Literally, Finn left Liv alone at the worst possible moment but it wasn't because he wanted to nor with any malice. It just happened and that could have cost her life.
Now 12 years later, after that fateful event, they meet again.
A letter in a time capsule Liv opens with her other three friends, all survivors, will make her reevaluate her choices and what her life turned into. Throw Finn to the mix, the boy-she-loved-turned-torment-man, and nothing can stay the same anymore. Liv masked her pain and dealt with it in many ways, in her college years by throwing caution to the wind and later on by leading a mundane n0-name life.
None of those tactics worked though and didn't help her move on until she found Finn... Finn who feels guilty towards Liv about so many things. Who devoted his life to finding and destroying people who made that school shooting possible. Finn who when it's all said and done will have to leave again by the end of the summer.
But by the end of the summer, nothing will be the same. This book is a romance at heart, it delts with a vicious crime right away but it's still funny, flirty, sexy and playful. I enjoyed it immensely and couldn't put it down and the few things that bothered me can be easily fixed because the book has six until its release date and that's plenty of time to make small adjustments.
All in all, I really loved this book, yes I wanted it to be a little darker but that's not its theme and I totally respect that. Although the pain lingers and it's evident throughout the narration, in the end, the hopeful message it's loud and clear. The characters are where they should be and there is even a silent promise for more.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
- I adored the past scenes, and actually wanted a little more of their initial story.
- The epilogue is great.
- I wanted more scenes with them as a couple.
- Dual POV.
- The writing for the biggest part flowed with ease.
- I was heartbroken with their story. And I couldn't deal with how he left her.
- I wanted some more
- The author proposes shelter-adoption when a character expresses the want for a dog and I always appreciate that.
- I liked all the main characters.
- Her family, on the other hand, was in the wrong. Plain and simple. After such a tragedy they still guilt-trip her on doing their bidding.
- There is also a continuity thing there with her mother's reaction towards her before and after, but let's just say that's what Liv needed to believe in the end.
- I loved Liv's exhibition.
- The banter between them was great, it gave depth to their relationship and really funny.
- The scene where Liv caught Finn having fun with himself was awesome...
- And now I have to praise those three other women.
- Kincaid is incredible, I want her as my best friend.
- Rebecca, surprised me so much!!! She is also amazing. The author did a great job with her because it could easily turn ugly there.
- Taryn, was very cute but I need much more time with her. The epilogue though gives her character so much more depth.
- Those four girls bonded at the same time Liv and Finn were torn apart, by the same disaster.
- I have a feeling this will turn into a series. Rebecca has a secret I want to know..
ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
View all my reviews
A good conclusion for a fairly decent first series. I had in general a good time with this particular story from the beginning till the end and i'm happy to say every new part is better than the previous one. The series won't end here, but this installment is in fact the last one with Cole and Hailey as the main characters.
As the story continues Hailey finds herself tangled up in a big mess she has no in idea how to get out of. She will have to be strong and ready to make decisions she never thought possible. At least until Cole shows up.. He will, won't he?
Yeah he will, we are talking about Cole Parker after all. He vowed to protect her no matter what and that's what he'll do. Well, that and of course have absurd amounts of hot, steamy sex with her.
The sex scenes are nicely written and very stimulating.
Now for the bigger plot that unravels more and more, there is an interesting and encouraging development that has to do with the whole of Horus Group team. Many new clues will make their appearance along with some big twists.
As for our couple, yes they get their HEA in a very sweet and well polished way. I wasn't very fond of them at first but i warmed up to Cole and Hailey a lot and i ended up really like those two.
I want to see how the rest of the story will continue and of course i will definitely follow the other couples.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
- Dual POV, as always.
- OMG, her mother!!! That's a twist!
- I like Hailey's younger sister, Alison.
- Jason and Ellie!! There is something there, interesting.
- Hot, Hot!
- There is still an amature feeling in this story, not quite as awkward as someone might think, but just a subtle notion.
ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. Thank you!
This is going to be sooooo good!
I wouldn’t run.
I could never run, and where would I go if I could?
Turning my hands palm up, I locked my knees together as I sat on the stone bench in the old garden shed and stared down at his blood, darker where it had gathered in the creases of my skin. The gritty sands of dried pain were proof of what I’d done and what I could never deny.
That I wasn’t sorry.
I ground my thumbs over my fingertips, cocking my head and studying the red under my fingernails as the hair on my arms raised up and my skin tingled. An air of peace settled in my gut, and I sucked in a new breath, dropping my head back and closing my eyes.
No. I couldn’t run anymore. They’d be coming to find me, and I wanted them to. I’d wait.
When they were in high school, they called them the Four Horsemen. God’s judgment to purge the world through famine, pestilence, war, and death, but our horsemen were far different.
He was blind action and absolute faith that truth was in whatever could be seen. A machine built to act, not think, and that’s why Michael kept him around.
Damon had made me cry.
William—or Will, as he was called—was unconditionally loyal and had absolute acceptance in his brothers. He was a disciple. A devoted allegiant that snuck up on me.
I hadn’t known he was there until it was all over.
Kai. I squeezed my fists tight and shivered in my wet tank top, the cold strings of my damp hair tickling my back.
Kai made me burn.
His loyalty lasted only so long as you deserved to keep it, and he was strong. So much stronger than me as we both well knew.
And Michael. Michael built me.
They all built me in a way, but Michael began the foundation when I was thirteen, laying brick after brick after brick and then tearing it all down to start over again. He lied to me, gave up on me, took from me, never believed me, and always—always—dug the knife deeper to chip away at me until I was nothing but bones.
And while the other three were at my back, never letting me escape, he was at my front, bearing down until I was shaking with fear.
Or high from it.
That’s what Michael had taught me. We can’t stop what happens to us, but we can choose how we survive it. Own it or it will own you.
I breathed hard, dropping my head as I tried to calm my suddenly racing heart.
“Michael,” I barely whispered, rubbing my chilled hands down my damp jeans. “What do I do?”
I hated him.
I hated his beautiful face with his hazel eyes—the color of cider with flecks of spice—and his hands…I hated his hands. They had hurt.
I hated that he knew I watched him, and I hated that he wasn’t looking for me right now.
I gritted my teeth, rubbing my forehead with the back of my bloody hand.
He wasn’t looking for me, because he knew I wasn’t running.
I looked down, seeing the pointed tips of my breasts harden through the thin fabric, and I shook with silent, bitter laughter, reveling in my degradation.
I didn’t hate him. I simply wished I did.
I pushed up, raising on shaky legs, the sharp edges of the wet leaves under my feet poking my toes as I walked toward the window of the garden shed.
The old, wooden shack was filled with bushels of roses that had been freshly cut only hours ago, their perfumed scent filling the musty air inside as the rain seeped through the dilapidated roof, soaking the cement floor under my feet. My jeans, wet from earlier, stuck to my skin as I peered outside into the late afternoon drizzle.
Tonight would be a long night.
The Crist family home in the distance, the only glow through the rain and cloud cover, stood as a threat and a punishment that I was putting off.
Michael’s parents weren’t home this time of year, and there were no neighbors for miles. With forests to my left and right and cliffs at my back, cutting off to a dead end and a fatal fall into the Atlantic, the only way out was forward, through the house, and out the gates. Which were no doubt locked.
The men were in the huge house—all four of them—and I curled my toes into the floor, knowing what was waiting for me. They’d been patient for years and continued to be so.
No one was coming to help me.
No one even knew where I was. Not even Trevor, Michael’s brother and my only friend.
Something crackled to my right, and I turned my head, sucking in a startled breath as a voice came over the speaker system on the wall.
“I feel irrational,” he sang, and I stopped breathing as he continued, “so confrontational, to tell the truth, I am getting away with murder,” he serenaded with the Papa Roach song I heard playing in the background.
I froze, closing my eyes as heat flooded my veins and fear crept in to my chest.
They’d found me. Where else would I go, after all?
“Riiiiiikaaaaa,” Will sang, toying with me from an intercom in the house. “I know where you are, little monster.” I could hear the smile in his sickly sweet voice, and my stomach rolled.
Where was Michael? Tears sprang to my eyes, and I held my bottom lip between my teeth to stifle the cry.
“You’re not breathing, are you?” he taunted. “Oh, you’re so sweet when you’re scared. Just as sweet as I remember.”
I let my head fall as I tried to take in air, but I couldn’t stop my chest from damn near convulsing. All I could get were short breaths.
“You won’t go anywhere,” he told me. “You believe in him too much, don’t you, Little Monster?”
I swallowed down the lump of fear and forced myself to take in a breath of thick air. Walking over to the wall, I pressed the Talk button.
“There was a time when I believed in you, too,” I told him, trying to keep my voice gentle.
“You were always stupid,” he shot back.
I dropped my forehead to the wall, shaking my head.
Will was absolutely right. Damon, Kai, and he would’ve come for me eventually. I knew it three years ago, and although I was afraid, I wasn’t surprised.
I’d simply expected that Michael would shield me. Why I thought that, I had no idea, but Will was right. I’d believed in him, and I was stupid.
“You think I’ll come back willingly?” I asked, my breathing finally slowing down.
“You need to be fed,” he pointed out, “and you need a bath.”
I dropped my head back, suddenly gasping for breath. No.
They were going to groom me. Pretty me up to tear me apart.
“Nothing you take from me will come easily!” I yelled into the intercom.
“I won’t come all the way out there to get you,” he growled.
“Oh yes you will,” I snarled, damn near laughing. “You’re the pack’s dog. Come fetch, little dog!”
“You stupid fucking bitch!” he snapped.
“I’ll come to get you,” another voice chimed in on the intercom, and I stilled.
My heart dropped into my stomach, and I let my hand fall away from the intercom.
Damon. How did…?
“And I’ll want my blood back,” he warned.
I backed away from the intercom, holding up my hand and staring at his dried blood coating the insides of my fingers.
Michael, where are you? Only Michael could stop them.
If he wanted to.
Damon’s voice came over the intercom again. “I will take it out of your ass before we leave that shed, Rika,” he threatened. “Don’t run.”
And then the intercom went dead, and I hunched over, knots twisting my stomach.
Michael and Kai were in the house, too, but they weren’t coming for me. Even though I’d seen them do things no better than Damon or Will, they were the only two that could control themselves. That could reign the others back in.
I breathed in and out, sensing that Damon was already on his way.
And Michael and Kai weren’t coming. They were letting this happen.
It’s just you, Little Monster. Own it or it will own you.
Standing up straight, I squared my shoulders and let the fear sit. I didn’t push it away or try to bury it.
Damon and Will were going to hurt.
Kai…I had no idea what Kai was going to do.
And Michael. He had already hurt. I balled my fists, remembering the years of being invisible to him, and then the first time he’d touched my hand.
I had been sixteen, three years younger than him, and he’d raised his eyes, meeting mine as he barely held my fingers in his. Years ago, but it seemed like yesterday. I could still feel the heat on my skin.
Those moments of good where he’d looked at me or gave into me were what I’d craved so viciously that I hadn’t seen what was in front of me.
But I did now, and inch by inch, my skin buzzed with anticipation as I turned to open the shed door.
It’s just you, Little Monster. Own it or it will own you.
I would never run. I was built for this.
Well that was not so good. I was expecting a hot and sweaty erotic short story and in its place i got an awkward, poorly developed, menial, tiny tale, that was more frustrating than anything else.
The premise was ok, maybe naive and plain but i was looking for that kind of simplicity in this particular read. No matter how basic though the story is i still expect for some semblance of literature. The whole book is hardly 20 pages long, couldn't the author take a look at it and do a spell check? Am i asking for too much?
Anyway, like i said, this is nothing much so yeah! Ta ta for now!
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
- Some editing issues.
- I liked how shy Danny was.
- Stale usage of the language. Manhood, again and again!!??
If there is an author out there that can pull me out of my reading slump that is Penelope Douglas for sure. And yes she did it again, even if i was very apprehensive towards this book at first.
Aflame is many things, but for me it is mostly a goodbye. A bittersweet farewell to a beautifully crafted series filled with enough pasion and chemistry to wake the dead. Bully, will always stay on the top-ten of my favorite books and Jared and Tate's story, will never stop bringing tears to my eyes, filling me with pain, anger, love and forgiveness.
Reminiscing about the past i can still remember reading the first few pages of Bully back in 2013. I recall clearly being so captivated by it, i caught myself holding my breath numerous times and that was only the beginning. I loved every story in this series and every character but Jared and Tate -and Madoc, let's not forget Madoc- have a weird hold on my heart.
I was perfectly at ease with how things were for them in the previous books and i couldn't see the need for another heartbreaking story that would sure have me screaming at my tablet right away. In my mind they already had their legendary HEA, why mess with that? Why tear apart an epic couple?
The answer is simple really. They needed to grow up, they needed to know they could thrive even on their own, they needed to find the strength to make it work again. I'm not thrilled to say it, but that's the truth. If this book wasn't here the whole story would have been left unapologetically incomplete. In the end, i'm really happy that Penelope decided to write this wonderful ending the way she did.
With a subtle but always emotionaly charged nod to the way it all started with Jared and Tate's love story the series starts and ends. But this book is not only about them, it's actually a tribute to all of our favorite characters, they get their after HEA in such a unique way that made me smile all the time. So, at this point i'm inclined to finish up my review and say my own goodbye to all of them.. well, at least for now!
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK
- Dual POV.
- Jared the antisocial, God i love this man.
- Tate, girl i LOVE you!
- So much chemistry!
- Madoc, Madoc, Madoc!!!
- Quinn!! Aww now they all share a little sister! It's so adorable.
- I'm pleased to say they all end up being very close.
- Madoc is an amazing friend.
- All the kids!
- I loved every race with them. I felt my heart pumping in every turn!!
- J.T. Racing team! Wow!
- Dylan and Kade, i'm telling you, this is happening.
- It was a magnificent way to say goodbye!
- I forgot to mention the awesome playlist! Playing it on repeat!