Release Date: November 25, 2015
Pages: 252 Print Length
Genre: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Contemporary
Amazon • Goodreads
David Westerling is a well respected
deacon in our church. His family loves openly and fiercely. Passion has driven them on paths I never would have taken and don't fully understand. I want to know their motivations but they guard their secrets as zealously as each others' hearts.
Why do I feel the way I do when David looks at me or speaks to me? It makes me question what I've always thought of my life. I see what they have and I want it too.
I live a blessed life but still, something is missing. I've not always been a "good girl"...
Would they accept me if they knew my secret?
This is the second book in the Bloom series that I have read. I have many mixed feelings on this book so please bear with me as I go through them here. But first, I need to say that I have only read the ARC, the first edition ARC. Ms. Jackson stated that her release date was moved forward by Amazon, so her edits were not complete when she sent her ARCs out to be read. With this in mind, my thoughts may change when I get the next version of this book.
Let me first tell you about the main character, Jennifer. She is a childish, naive, cocky, immature brat. I had the hardest time connecting with her. At the beginning of the story, she is all bright and cheerful and has a great life. Then it moves forward to her discussing her thoughts about David in her head. She describes him as a Deacon in her church whom she has had counseling with in the past. From there it moves toward her jealousy of the other women in the Westerling family. Yes, I said jealousy. It is obvious she is jealous of them from the hateful thoughts, awkward ways she things of them. She doesn't have many positive thoughts at all. She asks inappropriate questions that do not pertain to her, loud enough for others to hear her, the same people she is asking questions about. Does this girl not know how to whisper? Or wait until people are out of earshot to ask something? Or how to mind her own business?
But then a change in the story happens. Suddenly, without warning, half-way through the story, Jennifer admits she has an addiction. Where did that come from? Nothing even led up to an idea she had this addiction. It was like it was taken from thin air and thrown into the story. At the same time we find out David has been counseling Jennifer in regards to her addiction. WHAT?
Let's take a step back here. Jennifer has a crush on David. The same David who was engaged to Evelyn, one of the ladies Jennifer has issues with, the gal who then broke off the engagement to David and married his brother Jonathon. Yes, you read that correctly. It's a jumbled mess which is difficult to keep up with at first, but then it all clicks. So back to the counseling. Jennifer is being counseled by the Deacon she has a crush on, for an addiction David knows nothing about personally. He counsels her on how to turn the issues over to God, nothing from a personal experience. Now, why would Jennifer, the easily embarrassed Christian girl, get counseling from a male, especially one she crushes on, for this type of issue?? It doesn't make sense. This is just one part of the story that doesn't feel right or flow right.
Once the addiction of Jennifer's is revealed, the story changes pace, and it was only then that Jennifer begins to question how others have had issues in their past, weren't the perfect person, yet they came out above it all, all while pertaining it to her own faults, wondering if others would think of her in the ways she has thought of them. In the great way judgmental ways of Jennifer. Before this point, the first half of the book showed Jennifer being a nosy little snot, acting out in bratty ways, declaring that she had a right to know others' business and stamping her feet to get her way like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Example: "I was invited to this welcoming party for Hope, so why can I not hold the baby? I want to hold the baby." Really? Get over yourself.
Jennifer and Evelyn do not get along. They clash way too much. But in a single paragraph Jennifer seemed to pull a Sybil moment in her head where they went from constantly having confrontations and being chastised by Evie, to she cares greatly for the woman and loves her like a sister. Where was the settlement? Where was the clear lead-up to that moment? Again, it felt like it was thrown out there without the clear cause for it.
Jennifer also had issues with Phoenix and how closed off she is, how she didn't want others to touch her, hold her baby, or get too near her. When she is told of how Phee was beaten within inches of her life by her previous husband, Jennifer of course breaks down and feels guilty for her thoughts and actions up to that point. But she is still judgmental in Phee's actions, nursing her daughter in public, especially the church, and how clingy she is to her husband, John. In one solid thought later on, she decides she is on Phee's side and supports her breastfeeding of Hope in the church, and she then chastises other people in her head for judging Phee the same way Jennifer had been. She seems very two-faced in her thoughts and actions.
Getting back to her crush on David -- Evie and Phee seem to think they know Jennifer will be the next Westerling wife, even though David and Jennifer aren't even dating. They start to welcome her to the family, tell her family secrets, and refer to her as their sister well before David and Jennifer even start talking to each other in a couple-type way. This is so strange.
Then David and Jennifer do start talking, working on what may happen with them, but at the same point, they are discussing their sexual life they will have when they get married. So, here are two virgins, one who has a sex-type addiction and has been counseled by the other, starting to get to know each other better, and while sitting in their church, they are discussing their future sex life which may or may not contain stripper dances, whips and alpha demanding moments. WHAT????
And since I am on that topic... this is a Christian story. When do Christians (or anyone) discuss their friends' and families' sex lives? That happens way too much in the story. Just seems too strange - it doesn't click correctly. Just as the titles of the chapters don't click. Yes, the chapter titles are songs which make up the playlist for the book, but they have nothing to do with the chapter topics, nor are they Christian songs. The Weeknd, Katy Perry... again, just something else I couldn't make fit for the story especially since near the beginning Jennifer gets into her car and turns on the radio, singing aloud to a popular Christian rock song. Why not make that song part of the story?
All in all, the thought is there and I get where Ms. Jackson is wanting to go with it, but it's missing too many things to make it flow. Parts of the story seem out of order, while other parts do not make sense. (example: David (groomsmen) starts singing and dancing with Jennifer (bridesmaid), making their own little show at the wedding of Jonathon and Evelyn - all while Jonathon and Evelyn watch from the alter. This whole scene started with the flower girl and ring bearer walking down the aisle, followed by maid of honor and best man, then David and Jennifer -- yet Jonathon and Evelyn are already at the alter? So again, things are out of order, and it doesn't make sense because at this point, David and Jennifer are really not even that close yet for him to serenade her during his brother's wedding - in my opinion.)
There are many typos and words missing in the story, which Ms. Jackson has said is being edited and fixed and will be updated. I look forward to reading the final edit of the book in hopes that it all blends much better than it has so far. Like I said earlier, I can see where she is trying to go with the story, but there are too many back and forth moments, parts that don't flow at all, places where I am not sure where thoughts from the characters come from, and even some places where the paragraphs flip back and forth between two subjects without any thought there to make them blend together. This story feels rushed and incomplete. The last book in the series I read, Bound, was much more thought-out and complete than this one. I just think it needs more work to complete it so that it flows with the rest of the series, as at the this time, it is not much more than a rough draft.
I feel awful being so judgmental of the story, but that is my job as a reviewer, to read it and give my honest feedback. That being said, the way the story is now, 3 feathers is pushing it, but I know it is not the final edit and since I can see where Ms. Jackson is going with the story, I will give it a solid 3 feathers. I look forward to reading the final edit, and I will update my review at that point.
In March of 2013, I began writing and penned 12 novels in the next 12 months.
June of 2014, I published my first novel, As You Wish, wanting to create something beautiful out of brokenness. I think so far I have succeeded.
November of 2014 has seen the publication of Bloom (Book 1 of the Bloom Series), a novel about hanging on during a storm of life. I love the characters, John Westerling and Phoenix! You will too!!
February 28, 2015 my third book, a novella, Blossom (Book 2 of the Bloom Series), went into publication. This is the continuing adventure of John & Westerling. Love this story!!
May 30, 2015 saw the release of my fourth novel, Broken (Book 3 of the Bloom Series). The story of Evelyn Miller and Jonathon Westerling is crazy, fun!! So good!
August 29, 2015 the tale of Jonathon Westerling and Evelyn Miller continues with Bound (Book 4 of the Bloom Series). This one is going to be a whirlwind, edge of your seat drama that will leave you reeling!!
It is my goal as an Author to write scenes that uplift and encourage along with making one feel the experience.