ARC Trio Review: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott

Posted October 5, 2012 by Shari in Reviews / 1 Comment

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Trio Review: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
Until There Was You

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Coming Home,
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Published by Love Swept
Released on October 8, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Sophia, Rhonda and I were excited to receive ARC copies of Until There Was You, so we thought it would be fun to do a joint review of it for Delighted Reader. So sit back and see if we had the same thoughts, likes and dislikes of this book.

Review by Rhonda Dennis

I love contemporary romance, but I can honestly say, this is the first time I was as enthralled with a contemporary romance as I get with romantic suspense. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. This is book 2 in the series and is definitely can be read as a stand-a-alone. Although, if this book is any indication of this author’s writing, I will be grabbing the first book, Because of You.

Claire, the heroine, is a loyal, sassy and emotionally unavailable woman. She has her demons. Everyone she has ever trusted has let her down. Evan, a sexy as hell alpha male hero is his own toughest critic. He hasn’t ever forgiven himself for his sister’s death. They both have more baggage than most people could handle. Throw into this the fact that they are both commanders in the military and you have nonstop issues popping up.

Claire and Evan come together when they don’t want to be alone. They are there for each other when they need each other, but neither sees their feelings. They almost walk away from each other several times. They push each other away as much or more than they come together. They were driving me crazy, but pulling me in at the same time.

The author drew me in so much that I felt like I was a part of the team getting ready to deploy. I could see the scenes she painted and feel the emotions she wrote. I don’t know if I have ever gotten as emotionally involved in a book as I did this one. Jessica Scott definitely has a new fan in me. I will be reading all of her work.

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Review by Sophia Rose

Because of You was such a strong start in the Coming Home series that I absolutely pounced when the second book in the series was offered up for review.  While I was a bit surprised to realize that this was not a sequel to tie up those intriguing loose ends in the first one, I enjoyed being introduced to these new characters and their story.

I was pleasantly surprised to also discover that this one had a different feel from the first one.  In a comparison study, the two stories are very different in my mind.  Because of You was a more plot-driven romance and Until There Was You leaned heavily on the character-driven style storyline.  And what do I mean by that?  I mean that this one was a more slow moving storyline with the movement in the story taking place mostly internally within and between the two main characters and less action.  Now we all have our preferences about this.  I, personally, can appreciate and enjoy both styles.

The story is about two army captains, Evan and Claire, who have served together in the past and who quite often get on each others last nerve because their philosophies of leadership are so different.  It is not until this new assignment places them together again with outside forces pushing on them that make them re-evaluate what they think they know.  Their joint assignment to ready a new group for deployment is fraught with trouble because the training needed is not authorized and the training given not what is necessary.  Many are uneasy and question the commander’s notions including Claire because she worries that his decisions are going to get people sent in unprepared and killed all for the sake of a shiny new star on his shoulder.  Evan may privately think the same, but he directs their focus on what they ‘can’ do not what they ‘should’ do or ‘want’ to do.  His calmness and willingness to follow orders without question anger Claire.

But this is not the only thing, there is also the alcoholism of Sgt. Iaconeli that Claire refuses to confront him about and covers for him because she’s afraid of losing her friend and him ending his career while Evan seeks to counsel that Iaconeli will end of getting himself or others hurt and needed to get care.

And finally, the bulk of the story is the romance between Evan and Claire.  It is a painful, angst filled thing because they are hurting damaged people with Claire being the infinitely more damaged of the two.

Now I do have to say that I got a bit irritated with Claire not long after I got things sorted and understood what was going on.  She was definitely well acquainted with that famous river in Egypt.  Claire’s issues from her past were a tough thing for anyone, but what made me want to pop her in the back of the head was her refusal to pull them out and really look at them properly.  She couldn’t seem to see that her personal issues were coloring her ability to lead and caused her to blame Evan for things that were really all on her.  Fortunately, her desire to protect her people, courage through her deployments and her tender care of Evan when he revealed his burdens were redeeming qualities that I could get behind.

Troubled past and all, Evan is the kind of guy that is so appealing to me.  It’s not popular to be the one to serve in a by the books fashion and take the insults of your colleagues about being unfeeling and uncaring for sticking by the rules, but Evan does it with stoicism and care.  He is a good leader and soldier in his own quiet way.  Its not that he doesn’t feel; it’s because he governs his feelings that he’s good.  And the way he learned to love and care for Claire made him a truly wonderful man in my books.  He was just what she needed and probably the only guy on the planet who was strong enough to take her rebuffs and issues in stride.

This was a deeply emotional slower read that I recommend for those who enjoy a contemporary military romance that has a strong authentic military feel.

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Review by Shari  

So let me say, I haven’t read Sophia’s review…well because I wanted this to be my review and I didn’t like it as much as she did. We all have our opinions and I respect that, so you need to decide if this is a book you want to read or not on your own, but I will give you my opinion.

Until There Was You is a stand alone book in the Coming Home series. You won’t see any of the original characters from Because of You, so if you are looking for some closure on that book, you will have to wait a little longer. this book is about Claire and Evan, Captains in the Army. You meet them through several years as they meet, deploy together and ultimately come to the time where they are helping to prepare a team for deployment. Through these years, you don’t see much of an attraction between the two of them. They mostly respect each other, but they have very different philosophies on leading.

Claire calls Evan Captain America because he seems to do no wrong. He follows orders and saves the day, but Claire calls him this in jest. She feels he doesn’t buck the system or fight for his own beliefs. So she rides him when he tries to get close to her. He tries to be professional with her, but really he does have his own thoughts, he just doesn’t go against the system  unless he has a good reason. He knows when to choose his battles and when he needs to fall in line.

While preparing for the assignment, Claire is constantly questioning the training plan that is full of actions that don’t have an output she feels will prepare the teams. Her constant questioning gets her into trouble, influences another soldier and generally gets on my last nerve throughout the story. She doesn’t trust anyone and it comes through but you don’t find out why until late in the story. It just wears on you. Yes, I knew the training sucked, but I didn’t want to read about how bad it sucked over and over. Sometimes you have to be part of a solution and not the problem. She did try somethings, but she also caught so much flack over it. I guess  what I am saying is, this just wasn’t enjoyable. I read to escape my world and this just seemed too realistic.

Evan, well, he was just tragic to me. The things he was holding in need an outlet that he could not find. So he buried them deep and became the best soldier he could. Now everyone loves and hates him. He is the hero, but also the guy who follows orders even if he disagrees with them. And this is where Claire just was furious about. Really, I liked Evan a whole lot. While he had a lot of pain, he was the most open about finding love.

There is also a side story of Sgt. Iaconeli, who is Claire’s best friend despite them not have the option to be friends. He is an alcoholic and Claire keeps ignoring it as well as covering up for him. This just goes to show how Claire is willing to bend the rules.

Now I am not saying all rules are good rules. Just that Claire seems to want the drama that comes along with it. It seemed she could not be happy unless there was some kind of drama pissing her off.

Claire and Evan dance around each other and I guess the sexual tension was supposed to grow, but I just didn’t find it pleasant nor did I feel they were a good fit for each other. Both of them have painful pasts that are holding them from forming a relationship with each other and with others. I just couldn’t see this love lasting.

In the end, someone does something stupid and everything falls apart on who really is at fault. Again, I thought Claire did something stupid here that left me just not liking her at all.

This book isn’t bad by any stretch, but it lacked what I felt from the first book. Instantly I didn’t like the heroine. She just got my nerves too many times. Evan was delicious, but at times he just seemed too stiff. I just didn’t believe they were falling in love and had a shot at the future.

Jessica’s writing is fabulous, it just failed to hit the mark with me this time like the first book. Now I am looking forward to Trent and Laura’s story. And maybe that is what started my problem. I wanted more of some of the characters in the first book since this is a series and I felt like I was let down right off. Hopefully others will like this more than I did. Just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rating: One StarOne StarOne Star

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Sophia Rose

I just love seeing the variety of opinions. 😉