Thursday, September 10, 2015

Double Review: Begin Again & Live Again by Brittney Mulliner

Begin Again by Brittney Mulliner
Release Date: October 31, 2014
Genre: Young Adult

Escaping her past, Aubrey Tate moves to Southern California for a fresh start with her older brother, Brandon. Starting over at a new school seems easy with her cousin, Mckayla, and her two best friends at her side, but handling the new guys is another matter. Aubrey ends up in the middle of three rivals that each want her to themselves. Mike claims her first and declare himself her friend and protector. Luke is the school heartthrob that stops Aubrey in her tracks, speechless. Gage is the mysterious, dark outsider that Aubrey can be herself around. How will she navigate her new life while she’s still haunted by her past?

Live Again by Brittney Mulliner
Release Date: May 21, 2015 
Genre: Young Adult

In the sequel to Begin Again, Aubrey Tate finally finds where she belongs. Living with her brother in California, finding new friends she can trust; things are finally beginning to settle down for Aubrey. The she receives the note that changes everything, The past she thought she left behind is still following her. Now she faces the threat of a stalker who has the potential to unravel her perfect new life. This time, she has her friends and brother helping her, but will they be enough to save her from her real life nightmare?

First of all, let me say that I love how the summary for the second book doesn't give anything away, so that if you haven't read the first book, this summary won't ruin anything for you.  Plus, it enables me to do a double review, which I just love!!

When I first started Begin Again, I wasn't sure I was going to like it because I felt like I had missed a book somehow and came into the story in the very middle.  It took me a little bit of time (not much) to realize this was intentional, and that the author chose to rather skillfully pepper the backstory in little by little.  Once I realized that, I actually preferred it and, like I said, thought it was some pretty skillful storytelling to do it that way because the reader was able to discover things along the way as they came out.

I loved the characters!  I felt immediately for Aubrey.  She's been through something very traumatizing, and it was refreshing to me that it was something a little different from some of the storylines I've read in the past.  She does indeed have several guys clammoring for her, and I like how she kept her options open and didn't commit to any particular person.  She's trying to start her life over right now, and was smart not to jump into a relationship.  So by the time she actually does pick the right one, I felt like I'd gotten to see that journey of falling for someone a lot more thoroughly.  Which I loved!  And let me tell you... she picked the right one.

I was actually really surprised by this choice. At first, he was the last one I would have thought of, but as things began to develop, I knew it couldn't be anyone else but him. I loved him, loved him, loved him.  I loved his protective instincts, loved his sweet but sexy personality, and I thought he was the perfect match for her.

When the big reveal came around, I have to admit I was shocked. I really didn't expect the who and how that was revealed.  This is unusual for me, as I'm typically able to predict pretty well, but this one took me completely by surprise. So kudos to the author on that one.

This series is just the two books, and I like how the author didn't try to drag it out beyond where it needed to go.  So great characters, great storytelling and pacing, some wonderful shocks and surprises, and some good, emotional depth.  I really loved this series.

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