My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After such a great start with Emerge, I was a bit disappointed with Embrace. In Emerge, my heart broke for Evan and I was hoping he would find eventually find his happiness-but I was not expecting him to fall so quickly and certainly not for the one character from Emerge that I didn't care for at all.
*some mild spoilers ahead*
First, I do really love the camaraderie of The Crew that has been developing from the start of the series. The way all of the characters came together as the first book came out and how their relationships with each other (as friends) progressed is really great. The fact that they all readily enveloped Evan into their group was wonderful. Everyone is supportive of each other, and this is a group I would have loved to have been a part of during my college years.
Second, the characters are still written well...I just really didn't care for the direction that was taken for Laney and Whitley. It seemed like a total reversal of character for both of them. If we had seen more of Whitley's past and learned more about her family in the first book-which would have explained a lot of her personality in the first book-it would have been much easier to accept her character development here in Embrace. But when she was written to be the "villain" in Laney and Dane's story so that you come to dislike her character, it's hard to just switch around for the second book, even if we are now finding out more about her and her past and family. The fact that Evan is able to fall so quickly for her after the Emerge, well that's a bit hard to take as well. To him, Laney had been his everything-now suddenly he is falling for Whitley? If more time had passed, it would feel more believable to me.
I still love the characters, especially Sawyer and Zach. And I do like have the multiple POV chapters like there were in the first book, I think it gives a more complete picture of the story the author is trying to tell. But this time, things seemed to jump around more which made it feel like there was too much going on, less focus on the main story of Evan finding his HEA. It didn't help that the formatting was really bad, to the point where I had to reread many passages to figure out exactly who was saying what, and exactly where the paragraph breaks should be.
The ending felt a bit rushed, like the author was just trying to get things finished and quickly hit a sneak peek toward Sawyer's story-and in a way that was way to obvious that it kind of felt like a cheat. Even with the unmistakable teaser toward Sawyer's story, I am still looking forward to it as he is my favorite character so far from the series.
I still give the overall story 3 stars, I just wish it had been more focused and that things between Evan and Whitley had been allowed to develop more slowly so that I might actually have been able to learn to like her character.
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