Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love in Darkness/Castles in the Sand Double Review

***Double Review***
Love in Darkness
Shattered Castles #2
Author: E.M. Tippets
Release date: May 21, 2013
Age group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted by: AToMR 

Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn't go away. After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave. 

Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can't fight fate. He is what he is. Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.

I gave Love In Darkness four heart-shattering leaves. Okay so to tell you the truth, I dove into this one right after reading the first one Castles on the Sand. I didn’t even read the synopsis, I just knew I needed more Alex and Madison. Well, I was in for a HUGE surprise. It’s been two years since we last saw Alex and Madison. Alex gives us recaps in the form of flashbacks. Madison is now a Mormon as well. She is on a mission trip in Peru while Alex is in Japan. They have been keeping touch through letters, even though Alex broke up with her right after she graduated. I wanted to punch him in the face when I found that out, but surprisingly enough, Alex isn’t as confident about Madison as we initially might have thought from Castles in the Sand. He thinks she’s wayyyy too good for him with his messed up past and track record. Anyway, so it’s a bit confusing but Alex has his first meltdown on the train in Japan. And BAM! He inherited the schizophrenia from his mom *cue tears*. Next punch in the gut? Madison’s latest and last letter stating she is in love with him and wants to be with him when they both get home. It’s all Alex ever wanted, but now he doesn’t think he can have it. And thus we have the recurring theme for the rest of the book.

Seriously, Alex’s self-image issues rivals Madison’s as we saw her poor self-esteem in Castles on the Sand. And to top it all off, he hears voice and has some delusions because of his schizophrenia. He already explains that as much as he loves Madison, he doesn’t think he is the right guy for him and that she could do so much better. He was even thinking this when they were together. They’re not high schoolers anymore! The kind of love they have is a connection deeper than their problems. Unfortunately, it takes him forever before he hears me telepathically screaming this at him. To make matters worse, his mom’s condition is deteriorating, which scares him more. Also, he is having to decide who will be director of the Foundation now that he is no longer “fit” to do so given his mental condition. Then, there’s lots of other problems that his old acquaintances are having. For example, there’s Officer Li and his autistic son and there’s Kirsten Beale needing money. Oh, for some reason, Kailie decides to force her way into his life, and surprisingly lots has happened to her since and she becomes more tolerable here.

But, Alex’s biggest problem is Madison. Her older brother, John, constantly warns him away. Carson is still on the wings waiting for Madison. Madison desperately wants to be with Alex. Alex has to constantly battle with himself because he wants Madison with him but at the same time that feels too selfish and he wants her to be free. His thick-headed skull doesn’t see that he is what’s best for her. Actually, Alex never gives himself enough credit period. He seems to always be effortlessly helping people, which is a huge difference from the teen with a bad rap which he used to be and still associates himself with. He doesn’t see that his schizophrenia is only as bad as it is from the stress of denying Madison all the time. Despite everything, you can’t help but love Alex every step of the way. I didn’t want their story to end. Well, I did want them to get back together, because they just had to. But, I wish we were able to see them more as adults. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed, but I savored every second of the happiness. I loved the way they got back together. Their ultimate love story could have easily been a tragedy, but I’m extremely glad that we finally got to see them live happily ever after.

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.


Castles on the Sand
Shattered Castles #1
Author: E.M. Tippets
Released: August 2012
Hosted by: AToMR 

If there’s one thing Madison Lukas understands, it’s pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis.
She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own.

But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. Because the truth can hurt, too.

I gave Castle on the Sand four emotional leaves. I didn’t quite know what to expect from this book based on the synopsis, but whatever I might have thought, it definitely wasn’t it. This book was insane. In a good way. I think. To be honest, I’m still all over the place from reading this book. This wasn’t really New Adult. I’d classify it more as YA, but the subject matter was definitely dark and requires a mature audience with an open mind.

Madison has a crap ton of problems. It’s not even fair. Most of the time I just wanted to swoop in and take her away or go in and make all her decisions for her. She never really irritated me, but she did what she could with what she had. She was always nice, compassionate, forgiving, innocent, naïve, and overall just too good of a person. Let’s just list her problems, shall we? Her mom doesn’t seem to care about her and just makes pottery all day, her “best friend” Kailie takes emotional advantage of her and wins worst friend of the year award, Jean-Pierre leads her on, the hot Morman guy Carson has a crush on her, another Mormon guy reveals a secret that changes her life, oh and the school psycho Alex is suddenly not so psycho anymore when he opens up to only her. Only a small town can have this much drama.

I think the book was a unique coming of age story. My heart broke for Madison and all that she had to endure at the hands of others. Yet, she was still so brave, strong, naïve, kind, and feisty. It was a little hard to believe that she could have such low confidence and a negative image of her when everyone saw her as a popular, beautiful angel. But at the same time, that’s how it is with girls and self-image at that age. This book had a lot of Mormonism in it which I was really not expecting. Let’s break down all the guys. I was over JP before they even had that first kiss. Such a douchebag. Carson was slightly better, however, they just didn’t have that spark. He was just the nice guy. Alex is our tall, dark, and handsome guy. But, god, he was the definition of brooding. I mean, the guy didn’t even talk! Until like halfway into the book. But his messed up past and the way he loves his schizophrenic mom to pieces explains a lot. He and Madison definitely had chemistry. She was the only one who seemed to get through to him. They were unexpected, but as soon as they became friends I could sense the angst and I was swooning. I adored this book. I really did. It was an emotional roller-coaster. So much shit goes down, it’s hard to process it all and breaks were sometimes required. It might start off slow, but be careful because you’ll end up drowning in Castles on the Sand in the end.

Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.
Her most recent pro publications have been her science fiction and fantasy short stories in magazines like Black Gate, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and the anthology, Shanghai Steam.

Amazon I Kobo 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the lovely reviews, and for hosting me here on your site!