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Title: The Way Back to UsMy Review:
Author: Jamie Howard
Series: Love Unplugged #3
Published by: Swerve
Release Date: December 12th 2017
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Gavin MacCormack found the one. He fell in love. Hard. Until one night he ran out for some ice cream and came back to an empty dorm room, closets bare and nothing but a quick hand-written note saying, I’m sorry. Those two words taught Gavin the meaning of heartbreak. A feeling he never wants to encounter again. And as the lead singer of a Grammy award-winning band he's had plenty of opportunities for casual, no-strings fun, which is just the way he likes it.
Dani Winters has had more names than birthdays. On the run with her father for nearly as long as she can remember, she’s lived her life by three rules—always plan for the worst, maintain a low profile at all costs, and never let anyone get too close. Except she broke that last rule once and her heart has never forgiven her.
One chance encounter changes everything. Seeing Dani resurrects feelings in Gavin he thought were long buried, and this time he’s not letting her disappear without getting some answers. But Dani’s life is the definition of complicated and she’s playing with fire by letting Gavin back in. When the time comes to run again, Dani needs to decide if a life without love is worth living, or if it’s time to stop running and fight.
I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
4 stars — I had a bit of a harder time getting sucked into this one, but I can’t figure out if that had more to do with me and my frazzled mind, or the book… That’s always the kicker eh? Which, obviously if I still gave it 4 stars, does not mean the book wasn’t great! I just wish I had been more immersed in it.
After reading The Feeling of Forever, I was super excited for Gavin’s book. I had so many questions, and I really wanted to dive more deeply into him…I felt like we got hints of perhaps some drug abuse in that book, and other struggles. So it was kind of odd that we never really learned about any of that stuff. I mean, we know Gavin was heartbroken, but I guess I expected to see the change in him. If I’d not read TFOF, I definitely wouldn’t have noticed any of this though, so that is only a quirk when reading the series in order.
BUT! Gavin was amazing. Other than that little bit of missing depth, Gavin was everything I was hoping for and more. He was sweet, and hilarious, and quirky, and sexy as all get out. And he did break my heart, b/c he broke his own heart again and again, but yet was unable to stop himself from loving. I was totally expecting the same old resistance and denial, and was pleasantly surprised by Gavin’s openness. And it wasn’t just his love for Dani, which was inspiring… He also loved his family and his friends FIERCELY. And that is a beautiful quality to have, you know?
I loved Dani too, but my love was a bit more subdued for her. I just found it so hard not to want to smack her sometimes…I think I had a hard time wrapping my head around how long it took her to realize that a life always on the run really wasn’t a life at all. But I had to keep reminding myself that that was all she really knew, and she was so conditioned to that lifestyle that it wouldn’t be that easy to just accept that perhaps that wasn’t the only choice. I was also expecting her to behave in certain ways, and was pleasantly surprised when we did get to see her put her heart on the line as well.
I think I’ve discovered something about myself while reading these books…I don’t think I like mysteries. I have the kind of personality that NEEDS ALL THE ANSWERS and gets very impatient when things are hinted at but the reader is not told until much later. I’m just too fucking impatient. Seriously. It drives me insane that we would just get sprinkles of Dani’s past here and there throughout the story. I’m not talking about the part where Dani didn’t know everything until the end…I’m OK with that mystery (and even had my own theories about some of that, and was kind of close on a few parts). I’m talking about me, as a reader, not knowing what Dani knows when she hints at it (like what happened to have them on the run). It just ends up frustrating me. Even getting to know about Gavin and Dani’s past took a bit longer than I’d hoped. ALL THE IMPATIENCE! Again, this is not a failing in the writing, it’s just not a match for my personality.
You know what was a match for me?? That this book just expands upon the friendship of the four boys, and we get to see them all interacting quite a bit. And we get more pieces of Jules and Felix (and if I’d read Ian and Bianca yet, we get more of them too). AND I’m even more excited to figure out what’s up Ben’s butt, and see how his story will play out with Rachel. I also LOVED that we get to see the girl’s friendships develop as well, and I loved how Dani fit in with them.
So despite my little rant about impatience, I really did thoroughly enjoy this book!! Honestly, I think I just like to hear myself talk. Gavin alone makes this book worth it, I just can’t get over how well Ms. Howard writes book boyfriends for me…because you know he’s mine right? “Is this *the* Gavin MacCormack?? OMG!!!”