ARC Review: Believe by Erin McCarthy

Posted January 21, 2014 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 8 Comments

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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 Review: Believe by Erin McCarthy

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Intermix
Released on January 21, 2014
Pages: 232
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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So many people have recommended this series to me so that when I had the opportunity to read the latest book; I took the chance. I’m still a rookie to the New Adult genre and I do cringe at the amount of introspection and angst that goes into this age level of books, but all things considered I found this book an enjoyable reading experience.
After a long forgettable night of drinking and partying, Robin wakes up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. She remembers nothing about how she hooked up with him and what happened afterward, but its enough to guilt her into changing her lifestyle and dreading the return of her friends over the whole long summer they’re away from college. When Kylie and the others find out what she has done, she just knows they’ll find her disgusting and a skank- like she does. Robin wants to stay away from her friends, but can’t think of a way to do it without admitting why so she goes over to Tyler, Riley and Jessica’s house and that’s when she meets Tyler and Riley’s cousin, Phoenix.

Phoenix just got out of prison with five dollars to his name, borrowed clothes from his cousins and their couch to sleep on. His druggie mother never once visited him and she skipped out leaving him with no way to find his personal items. Life could be at a low, but he focuses on the fragile pretty girl who seems to have some inner pain and he just wants to protect her from what has her hurting. It amazes him that Robin isn’t intimidated by his tattoos, his intimidating looks and the knowledge that he was in prison.

Phoenix and Robin begin a friendship and then a relationship under the disapproving eyes of his family and her friends, but they don’t care because they are happy. Underlying the happiness is the guilt that Robin carries around and the fear of discovery along with Phoenix’s feelings of inadequacy and his anger issues. The truth finally wiggles out and it’s a big hot mess.

The plot, pacing, character development and the romance really worked on this one. I think what really stood out for me was that I was pleasantly surprised when the relationship took its time. Okay, it took its time by fictional romance standards. They didn’t just fall into bed and it was a while before the ‘L’ word was tossed around.
Another thing I really liked was the friendship and family stuff that were part of the storyline. The romance was not in isolation.
I liked that the characters’ actions had real consequences. Phoenix served time for his anger issues and Robin’s friends didn’t immediate forgive her part in Kylie’s boyfriend cheating on her.
I think most of all that I just loved it when these two came together as a couple. I loved seeing Phoenix finding happiness for the first time and Robin feeling worthy and noticed.

I confess that I never really got Robin’s thing in the beginning about needing to drink and party because she wanted to be someone different. I felt a little sorry for her, but next to what Phoenix grew up with it just seemed sort of shallow and weak as a reason to turn into a slutty drunk. Her issues were beyond me, but she did learn and grow and she accepted Phoenix which was a wonderful thing.

All in all, this was a satisfying read and I look forward to reading more from this author. Those who enjoy New Adult Contemporary Romance should put this book and the whole series on their lists.

My thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Yes to all of it 🙂 I really liked that the relationship was a little slow too. Was a nice change of pace to see them take their time. I didn’t really get her party ways myself. That just wasn’t ever me so a bit hard to relate to but I liked seeing her grow and change throughout too. Glad you enjoyed the first taste of the series. The other two books were great reads too if you get the chance to go back and check em out 🙂

Sophia Rose
8 years ago

We should be shouting ‘jinx’ since we posted on the same day with the same review. LOL! This was definitely a good one and I do want to go back and read the other books after meeting the other characters in this one.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Reply to  Sophia Rose

LOL I know, right? Always think it’s fun when that happens. I’m glad I’m caught up with this series. Now I need to catch up with her racers before the last one comes out. Whew. SO many good books to read. Just love that problem 🙂

Sophia Rose
8 years ago

Oh yes, the racers! I got recommends from you and someone else to get busy and catch those up too.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Book 2 I think–Ty’s book. Gah he totally did me in. I just loved his character. I’ve got three in the middle I think. Need to go back and look. Think I’ll add them to my challenge list with Sharonda.

Sophia Rose
8 years ago

Yep! That’s the book I put on my wish list after you talked about it. 😉

Sharonda Lowman
8 years ago

I still haven’t gotten in the NA genre as much because of the angst and things that go on in the stories. Its scary sometimes…lols. But at least you enjoyed this one. One thing I cannot do is shallow characters, but at least this chick wasn’t that bad. Maybe I’ll add this one to the wishlist…maybe…lols. Thanks Sophia 🙂

Sophia Rose
8 years ago

Oh, take your time, Sharonda! I’m not a firm believer in all NA. Like you, drama llamas just send me packing. This one has a bit of that, but not as bad as others I’ve seen. Heroine gets stuck in her own head on a hamster wheel at times and I really didn’t get her need to spaz out into party girl at the beginning, but there are other elements to redeem this story.