Tuesday, February 11, 2014

8 Heart Review: Be With Me by J. Lynn

Be With Me (Wait for You #2)
Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn
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Page Count: 384

Release Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she’s in love with her big brother’s best friend, but he hasn’t spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It’s time for Plan B: college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he’s not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend’s incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn’t have time for a relationship. But it doesn’t help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they’re thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can’t keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they’re willing to risk to be together, and what they’re willing to lose if they’re not...
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Click on the cover of Wait for You to check out my review!

Review


What I had said to Jase needed to be said. If we were going to attempt to at least be friends or social with each other, the kissing and all the other stuff had to stop, because while it might feel oh-so-right when it was happening, it wasn't when it was all said and done. Yes, he was physically attracted to me. Yes, he cared for me. Yes, I wanted him... But whatever he felt for me, it wasn't enough to overcome any of the misgivings he had or the invisible line he'd drawn between us.
Knowing all this didn't change the fact that it cut deeply.

Teresa Hamilton has only ever surmounted to one thing in her life: dancing. A recent knee injury risks not only her dance scholarship, but also the only passion she's ever known, the only future she's ever planned. But Tess, whom we first were introduced to as Cam Hamilton's resilient little sister in J. Lynn's Wait for You, is a big girl, which means she's going to do what she's always done: pick up the pieces of her life and carry on. This doesn't only mean, college; it also means taking the leap of faith by being honest with her feelings for Jase, who swears the two of them would never work.

The problem isn't that Jase is her brother's best friend—after all, it's Tess Jase is afraid of, not Cam; it's that Jase, despite his clear attraction to her, is unwilling to drag her down into anything serious. He has a dark past that never surfaces in his cool, calm nature, but Tess can just tell he has a story to tell, but reluctantly won't. And she'll be damned if he keeps leading her on, but avoiding confrontation.

When an impending problem, outside of Tess's control and radar, grows bigger and eventually implodes in a devastating turn of events, Tess learns that the things holding her back—pride, schoolwork, fear of rejection, fear of never dancing again—are the last things in the world that she should be worrying about, and that Jase, regardless of his quiet torment, is a good man who just needs to sort himself out.

The physicality of Tess and Jase's relationship is scorching hot, and their explosive encounters are interspersed with frustrating periods where Jase completely cuts off contact, or attempts to collect himself. His suave exterior shatters to pieces in her presence, but he can't afford to fall for her because he has too much baggage, too much going on in his life that she wouldn't understand. I absolutely hated how bipolar Jase was with his mixed signals; it really made me feel bad for Teresa. She is a bit of an emotional and hypersensitive character, but I totally understand why: Jase is infuriating! Teresa had every right to be naggy and needy when Jase treated her that way.

I still fell in love with Jase, though, which is a complex feeling in itself. He's such a well-developed character, who isn't composed solely of a few cardinal personality traits like Cam was in Wait for You; he actually has depth to him, intrigue. He's a stoic hero—the charmingly self-possessed mature type—who's only uncharacteristically affectionate with Tess. I actually liked him much better than Cam; he's less two-dimensional and has more to him than just good looks.

Tess is much more likable than Avery too, although in this book's perspective, Avery is viewed as the gorgeous, altruistic good girl—the one who was able to tame Cam. It's not that I don't like this slant on her, but I just wish it would have been better portrayed in Wait for You. At times, Tess is annoyingly naïve, but that has a lot to do with her young age and inexperience, as well as the tough times she's been through, namely her abusive boyfriend from high school. I love how this pivot point of Wait for You is explored much more in Be With Me. The recurring characters, including Cam, Avery, Brittany, plus a few new likable secondary characters, were a pleasant surprise, as well.

The quality of the writing and the procession of the story are both noticeably better and much more compelling in Be With Me than in Wait for You, a tribute to the fact that this book was written under a Harper Collins contract (whereas the first book was initially self-published, then picked up to be reprinted due to its popularity). I'm not saying Armentrout couldn't have written this alone (obviously, she started out self-publishing and was wildly successful with that), but a good editor really does make a difference.

There still are some unbelievable cheesy moments in this book, but not as much as in Wait for You, so overall I enjoyed it much more. Not as many clichés and "coincidences", that's for sure; Be With Me actually had good plot elements, a level of unpredictability and uncertainty, and characters that I actually loved getting to know.

Pros


Liked this sequel much better than the first book // Teresa is a humble, relatable, cute character—love her personality! // Jase will make your knees go weak // Chemistry is super hot! // Tess and Jase are a perfect couple // The roadblock of emotional unavailability is really well portrayed // Quirky, upbeat tone of voice that I love // Deals with grave issues maturely

Cons


Relationship seems very cheesy and a bit abrupt at times // Jase's mixed signals made me want to slap him in the face! // Story is great, but writing style is a bit amateur... however, it's still a huge improvement from Wait for You

Love

A lopsided grin appeared as he reached in and gently maneuvered me so that my legs dangled out of the Jeep. Our eyes met as he slipped an arm under my knees and the other around my back. "Hold on."

My heart did a backflip. A perfect one. "You do not need to carry me."

"I know," he replied. "Now hold on."

Verdict


"It's complicated." In an emotionally turbulent and heart-wrenching sequel to the ever-popular Wait for You, Teresa and Jase muster up the mutual courage to love, and learn to find a home in each other along the way. Fans of the first book will go wild with Jase, the seemingly smooth-sailing, unreservedly charming new bad boy on the block—one with distress seared into his soul, but wouldn't ever dare to show it—except to the one girl who brings him to his knees. J. Lynn brings us a novel about baggage, the uncertainty of the future, and the inescapability of the past, that I personally liked much better than the first book in the series. Be With Me is a captivating sequel about strength, resilience, and belonging to and giving yourself to someone wholly Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)