Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rival (Fall Away #2) by Penelope Douglas: ARC Review

From the New Adult sensation and New York Times bestselling author of Until You

Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…

She’s back.

For the three years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.

I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.

Three years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.

But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

Releases: August 26, 2015

Click to Buy Penelope Douglas's Books on Amazon:

About the Author:

Penelope Douglas is a writer and teacher in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to "just get the damn degree!" She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she HATED public administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked (yes, she was drunk at work)that his son was hot, and three years later she was married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, the show Sons of Anarchy, and she shops at Target almost daily.

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Review by Yvette:

With the third book in her Falling Away series, Penelope Douglas is officially a pro at dragging readers through the emotional wringer by driving us crazy with her characters’ antagonistic relationships. As the saying goes, there's a fine line between love and hate, and the author crosses the line again and again when it comes to protagonists, Madoc Caruthers and Fallon Pierce. Like its predecessors, Rival makes you want to get up and pace around, take a snack break, curl into a fetal position and find a happy place... anything to relieve some of the tension between the two lead characters. This book doesn’t hold back, making me feel so many different emotions, including anger, humor, discomfort, pleasure, and anything and everything in between.

The sources of said emotional turmoil are Madoc and Fallon, whose history is complicated to say the least. I don’t want to give anything away about the plot, but suffice it to say, there is a world of resentment between the pair, and from the second they are reunited, tensions rise and the narrative is riddled with cruel putdowns and snarky comebacks. All their lingering anger and desire is built up like a thick wall between them – a wall that is obliterated by hurtful words and sexual encounters, only to be rebuilt each time they repeat the process. Each knows what to say and do to get the biggest reaction, going for the jugular every time, which makes for an intense read.

Going into Rival, I thought I knew what to expect from Madoc. He is the type of guy you hate to love and love to hate. His morals are questionable, his self-esteem is off-the-charts, and his reputation is such that you'd question why girls would be attracted to him, even as you can't help but be drawn to his character. The words that come out of his mouth are offensive more often than not and he makes no apologies for his behavior, which I’ll admit that I loved, even though my mouth was left hanging open in shock for much of the narrative. Rival reaffirms all of this, but also shows another side of Madoc – a side that only Fallon is privy to. The moments of peace amidst the chaos they incite give readers an opportunity to delve further into the minds of these two characters and connect with them on a deeper level.

The twisted love story between Madoc and Fallon is as ugly as it is beautiful and the brokenness of these characters is what makes their story so captivating. I disliked them. I loved them. I wanted to throttle them. I wanted to cry for them. My thoughts and emotions were all over the place and, after I finished, I was left sitting in stunned silence, torn between wanting to bow down to Penelope Douglas and scream at her for putting me through that emotional turmoil. It’s rare that an author can evoke that kind of emotion from me, but Penelope Douglas succeeds in ensuring that Rival is a story that leaves a lasting impression.

Rating: 5 Stars

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