Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Double Review: Deeper and Harder by Robin York

*ARCs of both of these books kindly provided by Bantam Dell via NetGalley*

I can't believe I waited so long to read this book! Actually, I'm kind of glad I did because that ending sucked and all I want is an HEA for these two characters that have stolen my heart. And now I don't have to wait to read Harder. But still, Deeper was just so absolutely wonderful that I found myself wishing I'd read it sooner.

Rating: 4.5 Deep Stars

Stories like these are the reason I love New Adult novels. They are the reason I love contemporaries and characters who are struggling with their identity and their choices about the future. And I absolutely adore books with a fiery and passionate love story. Deeper was all of that and so much more. <3

Caroline Piasecki is a sophomore in college who feels like her life is ruined. Her bastard ex-boyfriend posted pictures of them in compromising sexual positions on the internet for everyone to see. Caroline is so far in a hole of grief and heartache, and she's lost her innocence and her faith in people. She's trying to push through the haze of humiliation, but the voices calling her slut and whore follow her every move. She struggles to stand up for herself and push it behind her, but she's not doing a good job of moving on. However, Caroline is a strong character who just needed time to find her courage and fierceness; to become that girl who goes after what she wants and who doesn't make apologies for how she lives her life. Her character development was absolutely wonderful, and it felt so real and genuine. With good friends, a new-found passion for rugby, and nights spent at the bakery with West, Caroline is able to dig deep into herself and pull out that strong girl who didn't back down from a fight. I loved it! With her friends, she was able to move on. And with West, she could be herself. 

West Leavitt is not a good guy. He's a drug dealer with a temper problem and a long list of issues. Caroline met him during her freshman year, but because of her ex, she never let herself get to know him. But West has a soft spot for Caro, and he fell in love with her a long time ago. He thinks he's no good for her, though. He think she deserves better than a criminal who can't let her in. But the longer he tries to deny himself the only thing he's ever truly wanted, the harder it is for him to back away. 
"I want you, and I don't know how to stop wanting you. I want to get deep inside you, and then deeper, until I'm so deep I don't even know what's me anymore and what's you."
*swoons* I don't even care that he sucks at communicating, that he's a drug dealer, and that he has a hard time letting Caroline fight for herself because all he wants to do is protect her. The West that I fell for is the one that he doesn't let anybody but Caroline see. The one who shows her how to bake bread and lets her vent to him in the middle of the night. The one who punches her ex because he's an asshole. The one who, no matter how hard it was for him, tried to do everything right by her. He made mistakes, almost didn't see how good she was for him, but ultimately, he knew he couldn't let her go again.

The dynamic of their relationship was so brilliantly written. I swooned, I laughed, I wanted to smack them when they repeatedly danced around their feelings, I almost cried. The chemistry between Caroline and West was intense, and the sexual tension even more so. I loved their nights spent in the bakery, and the strong friendship they made because of it. But oh no, they can't be friends. They'll never be friends. These two spent so much of their time not-communicating, but I didn't mind it. It totally fit their relationship, and the silence said more than words ever could. I adored how it developed. It was passionate, and sweet, and intense, and deep

The secondary characters were all so wonderful, though I felt they could have been so much more well-rounded. Quinn, Bridget, and Krishna were the best friends that these two could ask for and I loved their interactions!

The plot centered around Caroline's and West's relationship, and I loved that! It made their relationship that much deeper. Both of them had to learn that what they want and what they need are sometimes one and the same. And they had to let go of their desire to do the right thing to find that perfect and messy love between them, because it was so worth it. Oh, but that ending kills me! I need a happy ever after for these two; they deserve it so much.

Deeper was so much more than a book about two characters figuring out how perfect they are for each other. It was about the unfairness of life and that sometimes doing the right thing means letting go of something else. It was about the ugly side of people and how devastating the internet can be. But most of all, it was about West and Caroline and the awareness that love can only be deeper or nothing.

Favorite Quote:
I've learned that when evil crawls out of a snake pit, you have to track it down and squash it. Then you have to assume it had babies and go looking for them.

Immediately after finishing Deeper, I HAD to read Harder! But God, this book hurt so much. It was painful, and heartbreaking, and filled me with rage at the dick moves by West and the unfair situations both the characters were put in. Oh, but that ending was beautiful and worth everything. <3

Rating: 5 Hard as Hell Stars!

As almost impossible as it is, I think I loved this one more than the first book. As much as it hurt me, challenged me, pushed me to the limit, it was the best out of the two. Which was a pretty fucking hard accomplishment for the author, so I give her mad props. 

I've already said it, but I feel like this has to be stressed: this book was painful. It was absolutely awful at times. It cut me deep, crushed my heart into a million tiny little pieces, and then glued it back together again. It was difficult at times, utterly agonizing, and downright cruel. But, I still loved it. It just made me appreciate the journey as a whole, because you know that life isn't black or white, right or wrong. It's so damn messy and complicated. It's making mistakes and finding yourself. It's deciding that you deserve more out of life and realizing that you are worth the fight. It's learning when to let go and recognizing that you should always go after what you want, even if it's the hardest thing you'll ever do.

As much as the first book was about Caroline, this one was about West. The beautiful, broken guy who doesn't think he deserves what he wants. And that's a life away from Silt and a life with Caroline. He thought it was either her or Frankie. That he had to choose between his little sister and the love of his life. But what he didn't realize was that he could have them both. He just had to figure out that he deserved the chance. But God, West did some cruel things. He hurt me as much as he hurt Caroline. But his character development, while hard and painful and cruel, was absolutely beautiful to watch unfold. This boy has been through a lot, has become a father to Frankie ever since she was born, and doesn't believe that he's worthy enough for a better life. But with Caroline, he starts to hope for the future. For peace. For safety and security. And most of all, for love. 
"You have to make your own life, because if you don't, you just won't get to have one, and that's the worst fucking thing I can imagine."
She made him believe in love, and second chances, and a life worth living. Even though, at one point, he did one of the worst possible things he could have done to hurt her. I was pissed, but I also knew that West was better than that. What made me love Caroline so much was that she was able to forgive him. She was so strong in this book, and I never felt like it was dragging her down or that he wasn't good for her. Because I knew, like she did, that West was worth saving.

This book just made his and Caroline's relationship so much deeper. Through everything that happened, they never stopped loving each other. West lost his way, but Caroline never gave up on him. He was worth all of the heartache, and she was the best thing that ever happened to him. He had to go through hell to realize that if he let her go a second time, he would lose the light in the darkness, the hope and peace that she gives him. I absolutely loved their relationship; the good, the bad and the ugly.

The plot focused a lot on his and Caroline's relationship, but it didn't leave out the secondary characters. There were a few more than the last book, and they just made the story that much richer. I loved Frankie! I also adored Laurie and Rikki. :) And throughout the novel, I felt everything. Just as our two main characters did. I am a jumbled mess of emotions right now, and I even teared up at the end.

Harder was one of the best books I've read this year. It was painful and heart-wrenching, but it was so beautiful. With caring friends, a sassy yet vulnerable little girl, and the love of a wonderful woman, West was able to move on from his past and find the strength to let go of what was holding him down. And that, to me, was what made the journey to the end so incredibly worth it. 

Favorite Quote:
Don't put yourself in between the life you've got and the one you want.


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