on February 4, 2014
Genres: Abuse, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance, Sociology
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Leah Morgan was done with men. After barely surviving a horrendous childhood, and a boyfriend who bailed when things got rough, Leah had given up on love. Then she met him, Hollywood’s new golden boy who suddenly had eyes only for her. She tried to convince herself that one night couldn’t hurt, but after six months, the memories of his mesmerizing gaze and searing touch still invaded her every thought.
Declan James had just one rule when it came to women. Keep it simple, and never linger. That all changed the moment he met Leah. Even across a crowded bar, he could tell she was different. Sweet, with just the right amount of sass, she made him break his golden rule and now he couldn’t walk away.
When casual becomes anything but, and emotions run deep, will Leah and Declan fight their fears, or let old insecurities tear them apart? When Declan’s past comes roaring back in a way neither of them could have expected, will they stand united or be torn apart by the challenges that lie ahead?
It was only supposed to be one night, but only forever will do.
Never Been Ready is book 2 in the Ready series by J.L. Berg. This is Leah and Declan’s story. Both of whom were introduced in When You’re Ready. If you recall Leah is Clare’s best friend and a nurse at the hospital where Logan, Clare’s new husband works. Declan is a famous movie star and one of Logan’s college buddies. Leah and Declan have a one night stand in book 1 and book 2 pretty much starts a few months later.
I’m not going to rehash the entire book or reword the synopsis. I am going to tell you right off the bat that overall I thought this was a decent story. Was it as good as book 1? In my opinion, no, and I hope to tell you why I did and didn’t like it.
I thought the characters in Never Been Ready were well developed. We get lots of insight on both Declan and Leah’s upbringing as well as who they are as adults. We learn what makes them tick, what makes the love and what makes them laugh. Declan and Leah together on the pages are hot and steamy as well as light and fun. There are even some poignant moments. Those poignant moments are what I think J.L. Berg is really good at writing.
I loved all the moments with Clare and Logan. I missed them and I was super happy to have them back. I also appreciated the introduction of Clare’s brother, Garrett. There were many obvious moments in the book where Garrett was being set up for book 3 in the series, Ready For You.
This is the tricky part for me. How to explain what I didn’t like. The only word that keeps coming to mind is lackluster.
The premise of the story was good. Leah’s childhood plays an important role. Logan’s childhood as well is integral. The way their two lives ultimately intersect is also really important and was well thought out. There was even a shocking moment that gave me goosebumps. Goosebumps are always good!! I just felt like the journey to get to the good stuff felt forced and quick. For instance there is a certain scene between an actress and Leah at an awards show. I felt like that particular moment had absolutely no bearing on the story as a whole. The story wasn’t really about Declan as an actor and whether or not Leah could handle it. There was also a scene near the end involving Leah’s father. It may have been an attempt to tie up loose ends. Maybe even an attempt to open Leah and Declan’s eyes. Again, I thought it was unnecessary. The story would have been good without it. I didn’t think Leah needed that closure. I didn’t think Declan needed that push.
I felt this story had a much deeper meaning than a hollywood actor who sweeps a woman from an abusive home, off on a whirlwind relationship. It was about two people broken and bruised by their parents, being able to come together as a couple and finding their way towards a future with each other. It was about embracing the future and accepting what’s in front of you. Accepting who you are, what you’re capable of and what you can offer someone in return. This was a story about love, forgiveness, and hope.
For as many times as I rubbed my eyes and scratched my head in frustration, I was however, also rewarded with those special moments. This is where I love J.L. Berg’s writing, there is so much potential here.
“But that kiss? That kiss left me awe-struck. It was earth-shattering in its simplicity, mind-numbing in its intimacy, and completely raw in its emotional depths.” – Leah
Sigh….see? That’s beautiful right there. Give me more of that and less fluff. It’s okay to have lots of angst, inter-mingled with funny and lighthearted moments, while still being able to give us beautiful lines. I don’t mind the insights into each others worlds. On the contrary those are important for character development. It’s the other stuff, like the moment with the actress, or the box that Declan takes from the attic of Leah’s childhood home, that doesn’t reappear again until nearly the end of the book.
“Shit. I’m going to cry again. Why do I cry so much around you?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll hold you every time you do.”
I remember when I read that part I had to stop and smile at my husband because that’s something he would say to me. Those are the moments I like to look for my stories. The stuff I can relate to or dream about or swoon over. There is a really good story here in Never Been Ready, it just didn’t come together for me as a complete package.
Should you read this book? Absolutely. It might not be my favorite but it’s still a decent read. I’m looking forward to learning more about Garrett in book 3.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
(1) Kindle Fire HD – US Only (if this changes I will make the switch on the Raffelcopter codes)
(3) Print copies of Never Been Ready – US Only
(5) eBook copies of Never Been Ready – International