Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Leo's Chance (Sign of Love #2) by Mia Sheridan

The follow-up to Leo, the USA Today bestselling novel by Mia Sheridan.
Does everyone deserve a second chance? Even someone who lies and deceives to get it?
Do we all have a second chance coming? Even if we play a part in our own destruction?
How hard would you fight to have a second chance at love? A second chance at life? Another chance to tell your own story?
Every love story has two sides. Evie told hers. This time it's Leo's chance.

What the hell did I just read?  And did I get a different version from everyone else?  I must have, because that's the only explanation I can come up with as to why the bevy of five star ratings on Goodreads.

Let me be clear, I really, really liked the first book.  Even gave it four stars on Goodreads.  It was interesting and sweet and pretty well written.  But this one?  Not so much.  And saying that is such a huge bummer I can't even begin to explain.  I was dying to read all about Jake, had been salivating ever since it was announced there'd be a companion novel.  And make no mistake, this is a companion novel.  If you're even thinking about reading this without having read the first, I suggest you back away slowly.  There are references to scenes and background in this book that will only make sense if you've read the first so don't even bother to begin here.  The sad part is, I totally recommend reading that first book with the caveat that you NOT read this one.

What made the first book great was that Jake was a total mystery.  It was left to the reader to fill in the blanks.  Unfortunately, now that the author has chosen to fill them in, I like Jake far less than I originally did.  The man I had originally thought to be wrought with conflict and fear, felt more like a narcissistic ass to me after finishing this novel.  No, I didn't lose all compassion and empathy for him, his struggles during those flashback scenes with his shrink were the best in the book and totally revealed someone struggling to reclaim themselves.  However, the way with which he treated Evie and his justifications for being so deceptive were inexcusable.  Point blank: I wish this book had never been written as it now detracts from the original.  You can't, after all, un-ring a bell.

Additionally, it seemed as though this particular novel was cranked out too quickly.  It needed a far better edit.  There were so many issues, I gave up tracking them all.  One word of advice to the author: Stay away from the Italics.  They are not your friend.  There were flow issues, grammatical problems and lots of structural issues.  So much so that they were distracting.  But the biggest issue?  This novel did not pack the punch the first novel did.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that the reason the first book was so good was due to the mystery of Jake.  Knowing the tell from the gate may have lessened its overall impact.  But I think that this novel just tried to do too many things.  It seems that the author wanted to fully reveal Jake to the reader, except it was too, too much.  Throughout the book I found myself rewriting scenes and shaking my head.  There were entire chunks that I felt should have been omitted and would have allowed the story to flow more naturally.  It was a long, long read with far too much information.  Really, I don't need to know every minute detail.  As a matter of fact, it's far more interesting if you leave certain things to the imagination.  Sadly, this took a character I really liked and turned him into someone I barely tolerated.

Thankfully, Evie was still Evie, so I guess that salvaged some of what I remember being so awesome about the first novel.  However, my mind is now clouded in a haze of confusion about Jake.  I still want to love him, still care for his struggles, but I also want to kick him in the nuts.  Does that make any sense?  I think not.  I'm disappointed.  More so, I'm now unable to reclaim something I love because it was irrevocably changed and it can never be what it once was.  Sad, but there it is.

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