Friday, January 30, 2015

Finding Ever After

Finding Ever After by Stephanie Hoffman McManus

The day she graduated high school, Jaxyn left everything behind to escape. Now, three years later, she's done running from her past and finally returning home to Boston to face the friends she abandoned without warning and the nightmares that still wake her in the night. 

Back in the house that holds all of her childhood memories, from before life showed her that 'happily ever afters' don't come easy, she is unsure of what the future holds. She definitely wasn't expecting Kyden McCabe, the hot, tattooed and pierced musician she meets her first night back. He's arrogant, frustrating and completely wrong for her. 

All she ever wanted as a little girl was to be swept off her feet by a prince, but Ky is nothing like the heroes from the stories her mom used to read to her. He lives his life one night stand at a time and she knows he's nothing but trouble. 

Still haunted by her past and afraid to let anyone see the scars she hides, she fights the attraction she feels for Kyden and wonders if she'll ever find her storybook ending. Then a monster from her past threatens to rip away her chances before she realizes that maybe she already found it. 

Content Advisory 17+ recommended for mature themes 


2.0 out of 5 stars Some high points, but mostly a miss.January 25, 2015
This review is from: Finding Ever After (Kindle Edition)
**Reviewed for EBooks Galore**

Finding Ever After is, on the surface, a new adult rocker romance. It follows Jaxyn and Kyden; she left town for three years after high school, he is the front man of a rock band about to make it in the big time. Both have shady pasts and secrets, which conspire to keep the two apart for most of the book.

I was very conflicted when reading this book. A few things were done well; however, several things could have been improved upon.

First, the things I liked: I liked that from be beginning, Jaxyn knows that Kyden is a player/bad boy and actually chooses to stay away from him/keep things platonic. That shows a certain amount of self-awareness that I liked in a heroine, especially a new adult one. I loved the snippets the author gave of her relationship with her mother. It was clearly a warm relationship and was very well written. I also liked the way Jaxyn's time is spent while the band is on tour. I felt that the emotion (while stronger than merited, which I'll get to in a minute) was well written in that I could feel the ache Jaxyn was suffering. The fact that she got up and went to work and lived a normal life anyway was lovely to see in a NA. Too often the heroine completely stops living. It was nice that Jaxyn didn't do that.

But I only gave this book two stars, and there are numerous reasons why. First off, very early on in the book Jaxyn allows herself to be taken to a bar where it is likely a murderous criminal who has already attacked Jaxyn once may be. She just says, "okay," and goes, where - guess what - she gets accosted by the very criminal. Once we learn exactly what their past IS, it's even more ridiculous. Second, and even bigger, is the speed at which Jaxyn falls for Kyden, who shows almost no redeeming qualities at all. There's no reason for her to fall for him, because he's a womanizing pig who lets Jaxyn down over and over again. Flawed is one thing; Kyden is broken. It was really hard to be sympathetic to their issues when I didn't like Kyden to start with. If Jaxyn had ended up with Ace, I'd have been much happier.
The third and fourth things I had a problem with went together. Jaxyn is an irredeemable slut shamer. She constantly calls other women sluts, whores, strippers, and worse. Only one does anything negative to Jaxyn; the rest are simply in her line of sight. It was incredibly unbecoming. Especially as Jaxyn (at the very very end of the story) is, apparently, Christian, with a strong belief system about church, God, and staying a virgin until marriage. That's fine, but it's not mentioned throughout the story, and it doesn't fit with how Jaxyn behaves. And if she is truly Christian, the slut shaming is even more damning. I was uncomfortable every time she mentally berated these women for having and/or using their sexuality.

In the end, this wasn't a terrible book. Not up to par with Kylie Scott's Stage Dive series, though. It could use the detailing of a really good editor, and if that happens I would re-read it for purposes of updating this review. If you're looking for a great rocker romance, though, maybe wait on this one.
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