I received this book for free from Give Me Books Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blurred Lines by Victoria Ellis
Published by Cruel Ink Publishing on July 10, 2020
Cover Design: Kat Savage
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Second Chance Romance, Young Adult/New Adult
Format: ARC, digital e-book
Source: Give Me Books Promotions
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Amazon AU, Buy on Amazon CA, Buy on Amazon UK
*A Second Chance Contemporary Romance with a HEA and NO Cheating*
Ava Keyes found love in her favorite record store at just seventeen years old.
Or rather, it found her—in the form of River Jacobs.
While they may have stumbled upon their beginning in The Vinyl Kitty, they never quite discovered an end. A certain Chicago rooftop had everything to do with that.
The unforgettable nights of their youth were hard to let go of. So, Ava kept them, turning what started as a diary into her very own success story. River wouldn’t relinquish the memories, either. Only he strummed them out, into melodies he hoped she could hear.
When River drifts back into Ava’s life, she’s faced with the music of her first heartbreak—while still recovering from her last.
Ava Keyes lost her first love to California dreams at seventeen years old.
Or rather, she thought she had.
Contemporary Romance, Second Chance Romance, Young Adult/New Adult
First Person, Dual-POV
This book is a standalone with HEA.
I’m calling it Blurred Lines. Because all of this has shown me that, when you realize you love someone you can’t have, it makes you do messy things. Things you regret because the lines are so blurred.
This was a very emotional journey and I totally wasn’t expecting that!
This book gave me all the feels: I was enchanted by young love, I was sad by necessary heartbreak, I was mad because of stupid fears, I was hot because of good smut, I was tense because of climatic conflict, I was crying because of loss and I was happy because of the promised HEA.
This was a journey from young adult to adulthood, filled with love, family, losses and laughs.
This book was an emotional rollercoaster that I would ride again and again and again.
33.5/35 STARS – 5 STARS (between 33.5 stars and 35 stars)
Addictiveness: 5 Character: 5 Cover: 4 Freshness: 4.5 Plot: 5 Romance: 5 Writing Style: 5
Action 0/5 Angst 3/5 Darkness 0/5 Humor 2/5 Romance 5/5 Suspense/Mystery 0/5
Would I recommend? Yes, for readers that like sweet love stories with a n emotional plot.
Would I re-read this book/series? Yes!
Would I read more from the author? Definitely!!!
Addictiveness: 5/5 This book hooked me from the moment it said The Doors and Black Sabbath. I loved the characters and the plot was sweet and cute. It was a one sitting read for me. As addictive as chocolate!!!
Character: hero 5/5, heroine 5/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 5/5, real 5/5 Complex characters with great background stories and amazing personal growth.
Ava was an amazing heroine. It was refreshing to read about a character that was a good girl, but not boring. She was an amazing daughter, great sister, good girlfriend and nice friend. Oh yeah, she was a writer, how couldn’t I love her?
River was a great hero, book boyfriend material. He was sweet and troubled. He was hot and nice. He had dreams and he had fears. He felt human and real.
Secondary characters Ava family was the best and they felt real believable. River family wasn’t that good, that also was believable.
Villain/antagonists There wasn’t any. Their problems were mostly created by life and their own choices.
They were all so easy to love, connect and understand!!!
Cover: art 4/5, title 5/5, color-font 5/5, subtitle 0/5, background 5/5 buy 5/5 I’m obsessed with book covers. I love to find snippets of the stories within the art. I always try to be true to myself, I buy so many books because of the cover and I have skipped many because of not very appealing art. Covers are part of the experience for me and I do like to understand them. This one was good, but a bit generic. The title was catchy but I missed something more personal on this art. I would buy this book by its cover but I would need to read the blurb!
Freshness: 4.5/5 Yes, there were some clichés that we find in all second chance romance. But there were also a couple unexpected twists that kept the story fresh and the book unique. As fresh as mint tea when you are dealing with a bad cold!
Plot: believable 5/5, conflict 5/5, dialogue 5/5, ending 5/5, enjoyment 5/5, opening 5/5, pace 5/5, setting 4/5, subplots 5/5, twists 5/5 Amazing opening with an incredible ending. Realistic plot, with great dialogues and good pace. Nice setting, a few really good subplots with unexpected twists. Highest level of enjoyment!
I loved how the author not only explored the romance but threw in a couple of important topics as subplots and made them relevant to the narrative.
Romance: 5/5 I love young love. It feels so emotional and intense. This love story was beautiful.Yes some may say a bit cheesy, but my favorite genre is romance, what is not cheesy about that? 🙂 They became friends and mature nicely into their relationship. They were not unrealistic about their future and they explored their opportunities. They mature throughout the years and they learned from pain and losses. This love story was raw and potent and their love felt like the forever kind. Everlasting romance!!!
Writing Style: 5/5 This was my first book by the author and I can’t wait to read more. My main goal as a reader is to be able to connect and feel along with the characters. Ms. Ellis offered me all that and more. Multidimensional characters, emotional plot, sweet romance, important topics, all tied up in a clean cohesive writing. Words of a wordsmith!!!!
Because I try to be very analytical and I don’t really believe in perfection…
If I really have to mention something, I have to say a few clichés that we already knew what would happen and the extra cheesy teen romance. (Not that they really bother me, I still laughed and cried with them).
Our love is one messy, strangely thrown together soundtrack, isn’t it? … But it’s perfect because it’s ours. We made it.
I stop so suddenly that Hailee runs into the back of me and pushes me straight into his chest. I breathe him in before quickly stumbling my drunk ass backward. He smells like he always has— woodsy, spicy, home. I am devastated and elated all at once. Every single ounce of air inside my lungs suddenly evaporates and I’m left breathless, like I’ve seen a ghost. How is he here?
My ﬁrst love.
My ﬁrst heartbreak. My ﬁrst everything.
“Ava.” His voice is low and husky—the same as I remember. The way he says my name brings every single emotion I’ve ever felt for him surging back, making me lightheaded. I allow my eyes to pan up to his, a green emerald forest I have no problem getting lost in.
“River.” His name tastes good on my tongue, sweet and sultry. I gulp it down. “How are you here?” I’m not subtle, and I suppose I have the wine and two vodka shots to thank for that. I hope I don’t look as messy on the outside as I feel on the inside.
When he smiles his crooked, perfect smile, I melt into myself. I know that smile so well and God, I’ve missed it. I’ve tried to convince myself I don’t but, the truth is, I’ve never been able to get him out of my head. He’s always been there, far, but his lasting impact remained relentless. “Don’t look so surprised, Ave.” He chuckles. It’s a deep, throaty laugh and I’m reminded of yet another thing I’ve missed inﬁnitely. “I’m back visiting my sister, trying to sort things out. Long story.” He runs his ﬁngers through his hair and sighs.
Hailee sits down at the table with the three men, and I signal to River that we should go outside. It’s loud as hell in this place. I don’t want to have an awkward I haven’t seen you in ﬁve years conversation over Bon Jovi’s screeching. So, when he nods, I reach for his hand and lead him out of the bar. The alcohol swimming inside me gives me the conﬁdence to take the lead, even after all this time. I glance back at Hailee, giving her a look so she knows I’ll be close by if she needs me, and she grins back at me.
Once we’re outside, River says, “I’ve missed you, Ava.” The gaze he’s holding and the honesty in his voice, mixes with my buzz, making everything in this moment blur together. I look at him, really look at him, for the ﬁrst time in over ﬁve years. His emerald eyes glisten in the dark as headlights roll over his face, cars whooshing past us. I want to tell him I’ve missed him, but something stops me. My pride? My new jaded self? “I’m so surprised to see you.” I glance away from his face because it’s too perfect, even after all this time, and I’m suddenly shy in his presence. So much has changed. There’s been so much time and distance and hurt packed into these years, but now he’s too close to me and all I can think about is getting my hands on him and letting them speak the words that I can’t right now. “But you did tell me you’d ﬁnd me again someday,” I say, remembering it as I smile up at him.
“Yeah, and you stopped taking my calls. That hurt.” He looks away from me for a moment and then turns back toward me. “I mean, I understand why. I really do. It was hard, though. I get that it was my choice to leave but that didn’t mean I wanted to lose you. I just—”
“Let me make it up to you tonight,” I interrupt him. With us, it was never just about the sex, but it had been a beautiful bonus. I’d be lying to myself if I said I hadn’t thought about it multiple times over the years. Seeing him now makes me feel like I’m seventeen again, and the rush is more intoxicating than alcohol could ever be.
“Do you want to get out of here?” he asks, as we stand on the sidewalk outside the bar. My eyes widen at his question and he quickly says, “That wasn’t supposed to sound like a lame attempt to take you home with me.” An uncomfortable laugh escapes his lips. I boldly reach out to cup his face in my hands, bringing my mouth to his to allow my actions to do what words can’t, losing myself in the moment as I taste the nostalgia on his lips.
Tonight, I don’t care about consequences.
I don’t think about the mess this might make for us in the morning.
Tonight, I want him in his entirety. “Who says I want you to take me home, River Jacobs?”