Wednesday, April 29, 2015

REVIEW: Aflame by Penelope Douglas

23437291Aflame by Penelope Douglas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To sum it up: The tables have turned. Now I have the power—and it’s his turn to beg…

Everyone wants to be me.

Maybe it’s the sway of my skirt or the way I flip my hair, but I don’t care. Even though their attention is the last thing I crave, I just can’t stop. I dominate the track, the speed rattles my bones, and the wind and the crowd screams my name.

I’m her. The girl driver. The queen of the race. And I’m surviving—something he thought I’d never do.

They all still talk about him. Did you see Jared Trent on T.V? What did you think of his last race, Tate? When is he coming back to town, Tate?

But I refuse to care too much. Because when Jared does come home, I won’t be here.

Tatum Brandt is gone. I’m someone new.

★PS: Before going into this book, I would highly recommend you read the first installment to this series (Bully) before diving into this one. I also want to say that I had no issues reading this story without reading the other books in this series, aside from Bully, first.

With that being said, if you've yet to read the first book then you may want to also avoid my review until then as well- I'd hate to give any spoilers away. So as I've said, a while back I read the first novel in this series and really enjoyed it. I fell in love with the hero and heroine and was actually pretty excited to start this book, even though I haven't read the other books in this series. I attempted to read a few of them in the past, but couldn't get past the cheesy writing so I was definitely a little skeptical to go into this book knowing that it may not work for me either. However, reading in a review that the hero Jared broke things off with Tate had me seriously intrigued. The fact that they hadn't quite reached their happily-ever-after yet had me curious as to see what was in store for them next, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and give this book a shot. Unfortunately though, it didn't quite have as big of an impact on me as their first book did.

It was good, I'll give it that. I only found a few scenes/lines here and there to be a bit cheesy, thank God. That was the main reason I was nervous about starting this one in the first place but fortunately that wasn't my biggest issue. The problem I had was that this story just seemed so... Uneventful. I personally didn't have any issue with Tate and Jared ending their relationship, only to be rekindled later on down the road. In life, shit happens and it was actually quite refreshing to see that the two of them didn't instantly have their happy ending after getting in a romantic relationship for the first time together. However, what I wasn't impressed with was everything they went through before finally finding their way back to one another... And by everything, I mean not much of anything. They spent years apart for reasons I didn't quite find necessary... Then spent half of the book playing games and being at ridiculous odds with one another, before finally coming to their senses... But wait! We're then graciously awarded with a boring and ridiculously long epilogue I could have cared less about.

It was all just so... Blah. The bickering back-and-forth between Jared and Tate wasn't nearly as exciting and tension-filled as it was in Bully. I just feel like so much time in this book was wasted on something that was really nothing at all in the grand scheme of things. Honestly, this book just wasn't really necessary. I kept waiting for that "aha" moment where it would all make sense to me and I'd think to myself: Oh yeah, I can totally see now why things had to happen this way. ...Unfortunately though, it never came. This story instead, just felt like a book filled with a lot of unnecessary drama before reaching the epilogue. If both characters had just sat down in the beginning and talked like two normal adults in a relationship, then everything could have easily been avoided.

It also pains me to say this, but my feelings for the heroine Tate changed... And not for the better. I understood her reluctance to trust Jared after everything he put her through but I just couldn't help but feel like she came off as a bit harsh. It was almost as if their roles from the first book were completely reversed and Tate was now the Bully, only in a different way. I just felt completely disassociated with her character, which was unfortunate because I had really grown to love her in Bully. I think the author was trying to have her character come off as strong and independent, but instead she came across as a bitchy brat... No thanks.

All-in-all, this story left me feeling pretty damn disappointed- In my opinion, Penelope Douglas should have just turned the last 30% of this book into a novella... Maybe then it would have packed a bigger punch than what was given.

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