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Saturday, May 3, 2014

ARC Review: Finding Us by Megan Smith

Finding Us is the first book that I have ever read by Megan Smith. I am a NA junkie, and the blurb of this one really drew me in. Two main characters with secrets and messed up pasts trying to find their way really intrigues me, and I thought that Knox and Jasmine's story was sure to be a home-run. I thought that this story had a lot of promise, and it could have been really great. But there were several things that really kept me from being able to rate this one higher and fully enjoy the story.

Jasmine Jennings lives with her best friend Summer in NY. She left her parents and past behind her with nothing but Summer and her trust fund. Summer and Jasmine made friends with Rex right after they moved to town, but they didn't meet his brother Knox until one night when they go to their favorite club that Rex and Knox co-own. Knox and Jasmine are drawn to each other, but Jasmine does everything she can to avoid him from that point on. When Knox starts appearing on her daily runs and at her work, she tries to keep things as brief as possible. Summer ends up convincing Jasmine to head to Myrtle Beach with her and Rex and Knox. Jasmine intends to spend as little time with him as possible, but once they are there that becomes impossible. Jasmine and Knox grow close and end up deciding to see where things between them will go. Knox is still struggling with his past though, and has had a plan of revenge for everything he lost. Can Knox leave behind everything he lost and get past his plans? And what will happen when the truth about everything between them finally comes to light?

I feel like we never really got to know Knox. We got very brief portions of his POV, but honestly they were vague and didn't really give away much. He is in his twenties and inherited the business his parents owned. He is very successful and seems to have been very close with his group of friends before he lost almost everything. He was really caring when it came to his friends and brother, but he didn't seem overly close to anyone. He was possessive and protective of Jasmine even when he was fighting his feelings for her. He was basically a huge contradiction, and honestly he gave me a bit of whiplash when it came to his personality. One minute he was great, and the next he was cold and moody. Jasmine was hard to connect with for me. She was a bit childish and tended to whine a lot. For a good portion of the start of this story it was a case of poor little rich girl, and honestly I wanted to shake her at times. I did like some things about her, but I felt like she complained a lot but didn't really ever do anything about it. She had a great connection with Summer, and I thought that their friendship was great. I also felt like she and Knox had a lot of chemistry between them, but I never really got a feeling of more between them. They honestly seemed to circle around each other more than anything, and I never really saw an emotional connection develop between them. Especially when they never really opened up to each other. Knox tended to run away and shut down more than anything, and the only reason Jasmine found everything out was because someone else told her. He might have had intentions of telling her, but ultimately he didn't and I think that really hurt how believable their relationship was.

To me, this book felt a bit like debut novel or a first draft. I felt like things were on their way to a great story, but that it just needed some work. Since this is an ARC I won't go into errors or editing, but some of the paragraphs and sentences could have used some work. I felt like there were a lot of times that the sentence structure was off, and I would have to go back and re-read a bit to see what was going on. I think that this story could be really good if it was re-worked. The ending was another problem for me. We are given an epilogue, but things still felt rushed and abrupt. I still felt like Jasmine and Knox's connection wasn't strong or real beyond the physical, and we weren't ever really given more to them than that. There are also some things that happen in the epilogue that leave things up in the air for some of the secondary characters, and they had me a bit confused. I'm not sure if the author is setting up for more books or what, but it just felt unfinished to me the way she left things. I would hope that she intended to turn this into a series and that is why things were left the way they were, but I am not sure if that is the case or not. Besides the things I was critical about though, this story had some really great elements to it and that is what kept me reading. I was intrigued by all the secrets being kept, and about Knox's plan. I will admit that I had part of it worked out, but there was also some stuff that I didn't guess. I liked that I was kept guessing and that this story had twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I think that this is one that a lot of people will enjoy, and I think a lot of NA fans will find this book one that they really get into. I honestly think that this book could be great with a little work, and if it wasn't for the amount of NA books I read I probably would have rated this one higher. But there are so many great NA books out there that a book really has to stand out and be not only unique and different, but also believable as well as memorable. I will be curious to see what else Megan Smith does in the future, and if she writes more about these characters.

**ARC provided by Book Plug Promotions**

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