Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Double Review by Jenn-Bully & Until You by Penelope Douglas

The Fall Away series by Penelope Douglas

Series: Fall Away #1
by Penelope Douglas
333 pages
published June 17th 2013
genre: New Adult Romance

My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all. No, he'll barely even speak to me.

But he still won't leave me alone.

We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I've been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to stay out of his way. I even went to France for a year, just to avoid him.

But I'm done hiding from him now, and there's no way in hell I'll allow him to ruin my senior year. He might not have changed, but I have. It's time to fight back.

*This novel contains adult situations and should NOT be considered appropriate for young adults. It is only suitable for ages 18+ due to harsh language, violence, and sexual situations.

**All books in this series can be read as STAND ALONES.


***** 5 Tear-jerking, angry-smexy Stars
this review contains minor spoilers

Hitting him where it hurt made me feel safe. No one could really hurt me if I could hurt them, right? This is how bullies are made.
Well, that was....like an adrenaline shot of angst straight to the heart. A harsh, painful, hott mess. I guess it's a good thing for me that I kinda love that, I'm addicted to books that put me through the emotional ringer and this was definitely one of them.

No more. I couldn't do this anymore. There was no life in feeling like this. It was all a game to him, but I didn't have the heart to play it anymore. I'm not strong. I'm not a bully. I'm not happy.

Tatum (Tate) and Jared are next door neighbors. They were best friends growing up, inseparable, always there for each other, connected. Til the summer before their freshman year of high school. Jared spent that summer with his dad, but something changed that summer and nothing was the same after that.

His eyes met mine with surprise followed by immediate displeasure. Yep. I'm totally familiar with that look. The I-can't-stand-the-fucking-sight-of-you-so-get-off-my-planet look.

His behavior still puzzled me after all this time. We used to be friends, and I still searched for that kid in his eyes somewhere. But what good did it do me to still hang on to a memory of him?
Not only did they stop being friends over night, but he turned into her own personal bully. With the help of his new buddy Madoc, they were ruthless and straight-up cruel. Naturally the whole school fell in line and joined in on the harassment, laughter and rumors, til she was completely alone with the exception of two whole friends-K.C. and K.C.'s boyfriend Liam.
"Sitting in a tree during a thunderstorm? You're some kind of genius."
"I like to think so, yes."
"Tree? Lightning? Ring any bells?"
"It never mattered to you before."
"What? You sitting in a tree during a storm?"
"No, me getting hurt."
"Tatum? I wouldn't care if you were alive or dead."
She gets a short break from it when she goes to France for her junior year and upon her return she decides she's had enough. She refuses to let him ruin her senior year.
"What was worse than losing you was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home. Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is "coward". In a year, I'll be gone, and you'll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school. You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You're a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars."

She finally starts to fight back, but you know what they say about the best laid plans, it only seems to make things worse til it all comes to a head.
Nothing I tried to do with Jared this year helped me. Nothing made my life better. In the end, his bullying had ended any hopes I had for happiness.
The more they push each other, the more heated things get....in more ways than one. Tate doesn't understand how she can still be so affected by him after everything and he seems to be feeling the same way. Passions erupt all over the place, and though Tate doesn't trust it, she can't deny it.

While my body definitely reacted positively to him, my brain practiced a zero tolerance policy...from now on.
We do eventually learn what caused the sudden change in Jared and I DID feel bad for him. I even understood him some, but it was no excuse. He went waaayyy above & beyond in his quest to tear her down in order to cope with the pain of his shitty life. I have to hand it to Tate though, it takes a strong, brave, loving soul to forgive the things she forgives with several different people. All things considered, I would have liked to see a helluva lot more groveling from Jared, he has ALOT to make up for. And after the stunt that K.C. pulled (that completely changed my opinion of her as a friend) she should have done a bit of groveling herself, I don't even think she apologized!! Madoc made me giggle in the end and actually showed some remorse so I was happy with that one (I fell in love with that kid too Lol). Now, I'm not a violent person BUT Piper needs a major ass-whooping at the very least, just sayin'.
"You're laughing right now?"
"Well, I was kind of worried about my anger issues, but now I'm kind of worried about yours. You like to hit people."
"I'm not angry. She got what she deserved, and I was attacked first. It's your fault, you know?"
"You made me mean. And now I pummel poor, defenseless girls...and guys."
"You might say that I turned metal into steel."
"Whatever helps you sleep at night, you big bully."
Until You
Series: Fall Away #1.5
by Penelope Douglas
368 pages
published December 1st 2013
genre: New Adult Romance 

***This book contains graphic sexual content, harsh language, and violence. It is intended for ages 18+.
Have you ever been so angry that hitting things felt good? Or so numb that you actually felt high? The past few years have been like that for me. Traveling between fury and indifference with no stops in between.
Some people hate me for it, while others are scared of me. But none of them can hurt me, because I don't care about anything or anyone.
Except Tatum.
I love her so much that I hate her. I hate that I can't let her go. We used to be friends, but I found out that I couldn't trust her or anyone else.
So I hurt her. I pushed her away.
But I still need her. She centers me, and I can pool all of my anger into her. Engaging, challenging, bullying her--call it what you will--but it's my food, my air, and the last part of me that feels anything human.
But then she went and screwed everything up. She left. She went to France for a year and came back a different girl.
Now, when I push, she pushes back.
*This is Jared's point of view and a companion novel to BULLY. It can be read as a stand alone, but reading BULLY first is strongly encouraged. Having Tate's point of view will help you appreciate Jared's side more. This is NOT Bully re-told.
This is Jared's story.

*****5 -oh holy hottness- Stars
this review contains minor spoilers
Jared, you're going to have to start taking responsibility for yourself. You did wrong and the world doesn't owe you anything. I'm not going to wipe your nose just because you come from a broken home and you think that gives you a license to behave badly. I call it the “Fuck up, own up, and get up” policy. Make a mistake, admit it, and move on. We all screw up, but a man solves his problems. He doesn't make them worse.”
-James Brandt (Tate's Dad) in Until You
Well, they say there are two sides to every story and this book shows how very true that is. We first hear Jared & Tate's story, through Tate's eyes, in Bully. Until You is Jared's story. Yes, this can be read as a stand-alone, but I wouldn't recommend it-read Bully first. Reading them back to back is quite an experience, I'm glad I gave Bully a re-read before I dove into this. Until You is definitely not Bully re-told, even the repeat scenes have a completely different feel to them PLUS there are a crap-ton of new scenes.

You were friends once.”
Yeah, up until two years ago...The summer before freshman year, I'd gone to visit my father and came home to realize that I was on my own. My mother was weak, my father was a monster, and Tate wasn't a friend, after all.
Jared and Tate were best friends growing up, til the summer he went to stay with his dad and came home a completely different person. Jared never had it easy, his mom was a drunk and usually left him to take care of himself and his dad disappeared when he was two but Tate was always his light and the only thing that made him happy. Til love turned to hate and she became the focus of all his pent up anger. Hating her and Bullying her was the only thing that made him feel alive kept him focused.
My throat tightened, and the lump inside swelled so damn much that I wanted to hurt someone.
She was always my victim of choice, but she was also in every good memory I had.

Each time I'd targeted that girl it was for a different reason.
I liked playing games.
I wanted control.
I was protecting her.
I never had an answer that satisfied me, let alone worth repeating. In my head, it always seemed reasonable, but saying it out loud sounded crazy.
But then she screwed everything up when she left for France for a year. He no longer had his outlet, and he refused to admit he missed her, as a result Jared went off the deep end. Partying, getting drunk and into fights, it didn't matter what he did, all he felt was numb.

Everything felt wrong.
I was hungry, just not for food. I wanted to laugh, but nothing was funny. All of my regular thrills didn't get my heart racing anymore. Even my own neighborhood, which usually brought me comfort with it's familiarity and clean cut lawns, felt barren and void of life.
I was crammed in a fucking jar, suffocating with everything I wanted but nothing that gave me air.
When everything comes to a head he's forced to get his act together. What he wasn't prepared for was Tate returning a different person. Now when he tries pushing her around, she pushes back. The harder she fights him, the more vicious his plans become.

Things were never this bad between us.
She used to turn-tail and run. Before France. Or before she knew she was leaving for France, anyway.
And when she'd bow out I'd power down.
I could be satisfied.
But now...now, I wasn't the stronger one. She was going head to head with me and taking the challenge.
Til the infamous monologue. For the first time he really sees the damage he's done and it doesn't sit well with him. Guilt rips him apart and he's forced to confront feelings he's buried deep down for years.
A tear fell down her cheek as I felt my own throat tighten.
She was looking at me like she used to, like I was everything.
Piles and piles of fucking shit swirled through my mind as I watched her.
All the crap I'd done to prove that I was strong. To prove that I didn't need someone that didn't want me. I swallowed, trying to calm the pounding in my chest.
Had she loved me?
She was lying. She had to be.
Her eyes pooled with more tears, and I wanted to break shit.
She was hurting. I was fucking miserable. And for what?
Now he's faced with the fact that he loves Tate and wants her as his own, but she may never forgive him. He's had a taste of what he's been missing all this time but doesn't know how to earn her trust back. He will, however, do whatever he has to to get her back in his life and in his arms.
I knew I should just back off.
Give her time. Win back her trust.
But I'd had a taste of her, and I'd rather give up breathing.
I still made the rules, and we weren't wasting any more time.
Right at that moment, I wanted everything from Tate. Everything. Her anger and passion, her hate and lust, her body and soul.
I wanted control of it all.

What I loved about this book, besides the obvious (more smokin hott lovin-the kitchen will never be the same, I mean....dayum!!) was the insight into Jared. After Bully, I felt like he was forgiven just a little to easily, but this book really showed just how truly awful he felt about how he treated her. We got to know Tate's dad a bit better and that was awesome. Madoc dug himself further into my heart and funny bone (CAN'T WAIT for his story). PLUS we finally get to spend some time with Jared's brother, Jaxson-that kid was a RIOT! I'm still on the fence with the whole K.C. Issue. As Tate's 'best friend' there are some lines you just don't cross, no matter what your reasons are behind them. She knowingly hurt Tate at a time she was needed the most. But hey, that's just me. All in all, I loved everything about this book, BOTH books. I recommend this series to EVERYONE and cannot wait for more from this series and this author.
I love you more than myself,” I told her, “more than my own family, for Christ's sake. I don't want to take another step in this world without you next to me.”

I can't change the past, Tate. I wish I could, because I'd go back and relive every day that I existed without you, and I'd make sure that you smiled. Every minute of my future belongs to you.” 
About The Author

Penelope Douglas is a writer and teacher in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to "just get the damn degree!" She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she HATED public administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked (yes, she was drunk at work) that his son was hot, and three years later she was married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, the show Sons of Anarchy, and she shops at Target almost daily.
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