Dear S.C. Stephens, Kellan Kyle? Really?? How are we expected to have any semblance of a love life after meeting a fictional character like Goddamn Kellan Kyle? … Would anyone judge me if I tattooed his name on my chest?
This is one of those books that I loved immediately but I got really really frustrated while reading it. It’s the story of a young woman, Kiera, who moves across the country, away from her family and friends, to be with the love of her life and boyfriend extraordinaire, Denny. They move in with Denny’s childhood friend, Kellan, a local rock star. Two gorgeous hunks, one woman, same apartment, it doesn’t take a genius to guess what might happen. But this story is everything but predictable. I felt like I was emotionally whiplashed every 5 minutes.
Now, I have to start by saying that I do not condone cheating, I do not forgive cheating and I judge people who cheat, so having guessed pretty early on what was going to happen made me frown a bit. However, I quickly got over my reservations once I became a Kellan Kyle groupie. I just adored his character, as broken and as troubled as he was. His past had made him an attention junkie – he had no idea what love really was so he equated it to the attention that he received from the hordes of faceless women who pursued him. Until he saw Kiera and Denny together. His attraction to Kiera is immediate but mainly because he likes the way she loves Denny, in my opinion. They start developing a friendship separate from the one that Kellan and Denny share and sparks fly. Things happen, tequila is involved, and they sleep together.
Kiera is then faced with more guilt than she can process, coupled with an attraction to Kellan that grows each day and which she does not know how to fight. If there ever was an occasion to use the expression ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too!’, this would be it. Kiera really made me want to pull my hair out, she is the only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars. I understand that she did not want to hurt Denny but once the deed is done, girl, AND you’re still playing touchy-feely with Kellan, it’s a little too late to play a saint. I actually thought she was incredibly selfish and self-centred. She did whatever she felt like regardless of whom she was hurting, and she was hurting everyone. The whole I-won’t-let-you-kiss-me-because-that-would-be-cheating but then she hugs Kellan, touches him whenever she is near him, kisses him on the cheek, holds hands with him, sleeps on his lap, plays with his hair, … argh! I really did not like her. I could not sympathise with her endless crying whenever guilt overtook her because she always always always did exactly what she wanted. I don’t judge her for sleeping with Kellan the first time because of the surrounding circumstances but I do judge her for how she behaved afterwards, towards both Denny and Kellan, especially when she hopped from one bed to another in a matter of hours. Her indecisiveness could have gotten its own postcode. I kept screaming at her, “MAKE A CHOICE ALREADY!!!!”, but she couldn’t have found her guts if her life depended on it.
Denny really was the perfect boyfriend in so many ways and that made Kiera’s infidelity even uglier to watch. Every time he said to Kiera, “You are my heart”, my heart broke just a little bit more for him. His only sin was that he trusted Kiera too much. He trusted her even when every cell in his body was telling him that something was off. I did not blame him for how he reacted and I admire him immensely for the decisions he made in the end.
Kellan. I just need to say his name one more time – Kellan. While I think that Kiera played with his heart recklessly and cruelly at times, I admit that some of the blame has to fall on him as well. She tried pushing his away whenever her guilt overpowered her attraction to him, but he pulled her right back.
“No, please, I’ll do better, I’ll be stronger. Please don’t end this. Please don’t leave me …”
He was not only a willing participant, he consciously chose to continue their secret relationship even when she seemed to want to stop. He truly fell in love with Kiera from the first moment he saw her but he had no experience with such feelings. All he recognised was the uncontrollable draw that he felt when he was around her – she was his siren. I believe that he is the character that suffered the most in this book, his pain was not sudden like Denny’s, it was long-drawn and the highs and lows in their relationship made it even more acute. And still, he never stopped loving her. I’m saying it again – Kellan.
Putting aside all my Kiera-related criticism, this is really a deliciously complicated and well-written love story. As indecisive and as selfish as Kiera was during most of this book, I choose to believe that she is only guilty of being very young. She had never experienced before the overwhelming and uncontrollable attraction that she felt towards Kellan, she felt like her mind and her body had different agendas and she did not handle it well. However, she genuinely did love him – she was just unable to see what the right thing to do was under those circumstances. Part of me wanted her to experience true heartbreak in order to learn a lesson from it but it still pained me to see it happen. I believe she ended up a better person in the end.
This book has a happy ending but sometimes it is not so easy to wrap things up nicely with a bow on top when there is a history of hurt.
“… knowing that the person you’re with has cheated on a loved one before lends itself to additional insecurities, even if you were the person that they’d cheated with.”
I am guessing that trust is going to be the biggest obstacle they will have to overcome in their relationship, not to mention finding a “balance between friendship, love and fire”. I am already licking my fingers in anticipation of reading Effortless.
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I just stumbled upon your website quite by accident today and I am thoroughly hooked because we appear to have the same taste in books. Your review of this book sealed the deal for me-after I read this book I could not sleep because I was in such turmoil about whether or not I liked the book because the main character made me so angry with her decisions. I realized that is a sign of a great book-when the characters and the plot seem so real life that you get so involved.