"...undone were my defenses against him getting inside my head. He'd found an underground tunnel, the bastard. Probably through my tongue."Sweet Forty-Two
was an emotionally darker read than the previous two books. It was also my favorite. While the first two books in the November Blue series
focused on Bo and Ember's relationship, Sweet Forty-Two focuses on a different couple, Regan and Georgia. Sweet Forty-Two is a story about dealing with the pain in life and learning to move forward, live happily, and learning to trust someone else with your heart.
This book picks up a few months after the bittersweet ending of Reckless Abandon
. Regan is the violin player that joined Bo and Ember's group. Now living in San Diego, Regan, and Ember are joining musical forces with Ember's parents as they record a new album. Along for the ride is Regan's cousin, CJ. Spending most of their days in the recording studio, the group moonlights at E's, a local bar that where CJ's best friend, Georgia, works.
Georgia has a hard exterior. She is brash and rough. She wears just enough clothing to cover up what the good Lord gave her, yet it still doesn't leave much to the imagination. Everyone makes assumptions about her — that she's been abused, that she's sleeps with tons of guys, etc. She lets them believe them. Correcting them and telling them the truth would be easier than letting them see the real her and the issues she has to deal with on a daily basis. I won't detail what Georgia's issues are, so you can find out for yourself. I was happy to find out that she wasn't physically, mentally, or sexually abused, as I feel like that plotline is overused.
I reminded myself that girls like Georgia were good at making guys want them. Grave them. With skin-baring clothing, wicked eyes, and a bottom lip pinched between their teeth, they owned us. All of us.
Georgia self-created outward facade is not a good representation of who she really is. On the inside, she scared and lost. She has constructed these impenetrable walls around her, terrified to let anyone in, except for CJ. When she meets Regan, she tries to treat him like all of the other bar patrons, flirting with him and teasing him with her body. But something in the way he carries himself stops her in her tracks. He's different.
After months of living with Bo and Ember, Regan needs a place to stay. Conveniently, Regan has an extra apartment for rent in the building she owns. Surprisingly, she offers him the vacant apartment at a great price. This small gesture is the beginning of their friendship and the start of the demolition of Georgia's walls.
"Keep slurping it," I blurted out.
I needed him to be real, still. Flawed in the volume of his drinking. Loud enough to override the palpable rawness of his allegiance to the doctrine of love.
Beneath the two apartments in Georgia's building is a bakery, Regan's bakery. This broken and heavily guarded woman has a passion for baking. Baking is an escape for her. Decked in Alice Wonderland-themed decor, the bakery is completely renovated and ready for business. However, due to Regan's personal issues, she has not opened it. I loved the way Randall described this bakery. It seemed like such a warm and inviting space, I wanted to visit.Regan has his own set of issues to deal with, the death of his girlfriend. There were several times in Sweet Forty-Two where I felt like my own heart was breaking over his loss. Randall's words at those moments where he let all of his emotions out was very moving and I almost teared up. As each of them shared pieces of themselves with each other, Regan and Georgia began to trust one another.
I had a hard time connecting with Georgia until later on in the book, which I think was intentional. She was confusing and frustrating, even Regan said that. I also had a hard time completely understanding why she didn't want to be in a relationship. I wanted that to be more fleshed out for the reader. For me, parts of the book dragged, namely the first third. Though, the pacing of last half of the book really picked up along with the tension between the two characters. I really liked the ending and where Regan and Georgia ended up.
"For a half an hour or more I was folded awkwardly over Regan's body in a broken hug as he clenched my hand to his chest. Where his heart once was."
Oh and I have to say that the cover is PERFECT! When I got to the part
in the book where the cover's significance is revealed, I internally "ahhhhed." The partnership between Andrea Randall's story and Okay Creation crafted a beautiful and meaningful cover.
Out of the three books in the series, thus far,I enjoyed Sweet Forty-Two
the most. Unlike in Ten Days of Perfect,
the relationship between Georgia and Regan was a very slow-burn, which I prefer over a fast-paced romance. I enjoyed seeing them get to know one another and watching both of them develop deep feelings for each other.3.5 stars
*I received an advanced copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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