Friday, 27 June 2014

Book Review: Loving Mr Daniels by Brittainy C. Cherry

Format: Ebook
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

To Whom it May Concern, 

It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates. 

When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn't plan to stumble into Joe's bar and have Daniel's music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss. 

When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons. 

Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.

It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.

It was ours. 

And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels. 

-Ashlyn Jennings

This book will be peppered with spoilers and although they don't ruin the book completely, I understand the rage felt when people don't warn you of spoilers so if you don't want to know what happens, don't read any section marked with (S).
As I've mentioned on my Twitter, I have been having amazing luck with books recently and Loving Mr Daniels did not break my lucky streak! 

Let's start with the everything good about this book - which is pretty much the entire novel. So, the characters are the first thing that I loved instantly, Ashlyn was such a complex character and I loved that name. I've never come across a female protagonist with this name and I think it's beautiful. It wasn't just Ashlyn that was complex now I come to think of it, they were all the same that way. They all looked different on the surface than they did under it and throughout the book we get to discover each of them, all sides of them and everything they've hidden.
Ashlyn has just lost someone very very close to her and on the outside she is closed off and introverted but on the inside she's broken, sad and lost. Daniel sees this straight away maybe because he has lost many people in his life whether that be because of death or otherwise. He finds himself wanting to make her smile, to take away the sadness and that's how it all starts. The book is split between Ashlyn's and Daniel's POV which makes it even better to see each of their feelings.
Ryan is Ashlyn's father's wife's son... yep that's right. On the surface he is cocky but lovable, popular for all the right reasons and a womanizer. That last label couldn't be more wrong. Under the surface he is scared. Scared of the secret he has to keep, the secret that eventually is his undoing, scared of the blame his mother puts on him for his father's death and scared about the look of shame and disgust he'll receive if his real-self shows.
The one character that bothered me ever-so-slightly was Hailey. She was the weakest of all the characters, that girl who hangs on a guy's every word and thinks everything he says is pure genius. Her boyfriend-exboyfriend-boyfriend-exboyfriend Theo could tell her to jump off a cliff and she may just consider it, I mean she was gonna do something really stupid just so he'd think about being with her again when it was him who was cheating on her with Hailey's bestfriend-turned-exbestfriend, make that two stupid things.

(S) The next thing I loved were THE LIFE RUINING AMOUNT OF FEELINGS THIS BOOK HELD. Holy wow did I feel every emotion during reading this book? Yes, yes, yes. I felt awkward during the train scene, sympathy throughout the entire novel, sadness for the characters struggling with loss or inner demons, happiness for how everything ended, excited when everything started to tie together, loss when a character I adored BLOODY DIES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. I felt love for Daniel Daniels, hate for certain characters at times, disappointment for the same reasons as before and yearning for a guy like Daniel.

 photo MyEmotions_zps38b2a8f4.gif

Also, on the topic of feelings, what made this story even better was that Brittainy made it so easy for me to invest in the characters and feel exactly what they did. It made the characters come to life and gave my heart the squeeze of it's life.

Okay, next is the way the situations were handled. I wont mention said situations because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone but I liked the way everything was taken care of. Usually in books like this, I've found, the protagonists act like children when it comes to decision making or they choose stupid ass answers and it makes me angry because the correct way to sort everything is right under their noses but the author feels the needs to drag it out. Nuh-uh not in this book! By the end of the book everything was overcome, all the situations that went bad were sorted out and all the characters got their shit together and the book ended with me being able to be happy for the characters instead of worrying about what's next or how they will solve everything. That's why I found this a refreshing change, it was just a single book which means no trilogy or series. Some people may be amazed to realise that in order for a story to be kick-ass you don't need 34 books. 

"His kisses tasted like forever soaked in always."

Now let's talk about the 'obstacle' that is in almost every book I've ever read in the romance genre. That obstacle may be another love-interest, (usually this is the case) or something equally as easy to squash and move on. The obstacle here is obvious, it's a teacher/student story which usually I do not get along with because the idea creeps me out a little. BUT the way the whole affair begins helped me to really like the idea, they're barely a couple of years apart in age, they met in normal (albeit slightly awkward) situations and became friends before they knew about the whole Daniel being a teacher at her school. Even when they found out, they handled it well by trying to do the right thing and stay away from one another and when that didn't work it didn't turn into a whole lot of hot sex in the classroom as many teacher/student stories go on. So with all that in mind, the concept didn't make me squirm. BUTBUTBUT that isn't the only obstacle, the other one is good and unlike the usual in books similar to this. You'll see what I mean when you read it.

The second to last thing I want to mention is the thing that got me the most. This is when I went from 'on the brink of tears' to 'could resurface Atlantis with this sobbing'. Towards the end of this book, we'd lost a lot of people considering this is a romance novel and not a George R.R. Martin novel and my heart was about ready to combust but what I realised was that although Ashlyn had lost a lot, she gained even more. She gained an enormous amount of love and companionship from everyone she'd gathered during this book; her father, Daniel, Hailey, Ryan, Bentley, Randy and even Rebecca. The thing that made me cry was how lucky she was in the sense that she had so much love around her, something I'm still working on and something I desperately want in life. She had all of these people who were there for her, all these people who would pull her into their arms the second they thought she'd cry. Not everyone has that kind of love, and no one should take it for granted if they do.

(S) And last but not least, my favourite part of the entire story line was; Gabby. Mainly the bucket list she made for her twin sister, Ashlyn which was probably the loveliest idea I've ever heard of. Her family knew she was going to die soon, so Gabby wanted to be prepared for when her sister sank into a depression that only she could pull her out of. But how could she pull her out if she wasn't there? She compiled a list of things that Ashlyn should do to get out of her shell, like kiss a stranger, dance on the bar, make a new friend, get drunk, get married, have your heart broken, write a novel etcetc. Every time she completed one of the many items she got a letter from Gabby herself, as if she were standing right beside Ashlyn as she accomplished the list. Some of the letters were for her, some of them were for others like the guy who broke her heart, the guy she married, her new friend and so on. It was heart-achingly beautiful to read each letter with which Gabby always ended "you're doing great, Kid - Gabby." Kid being the nickname she gave to Ashlyn even though they were born pretty close together.
Another thing that Gabby brought to the book, although not present, was the concept of having a 'Golden'. Wow, it's lovely. A Golden is basically what it sounds like; something or someone precious to you. Daniel is Ashlyn's Golden and chocolate is mine... 

(Super S) Like you should actually cover this part of your screen cause this is a major spoiler:
The only con of the entire book WAS THAT ONE DEATH. I MENTIONED IT BEFORE BUT THIS DESERVES ALL THE CAPS LOCK AND ALL THE RAGE. *Deep breath* I may not be over Ryan's death yet.

My favourite scene? Usually it's something to do with the couple in the story but this scene was so wonderful. When Ashlyn sits down with her dad and they drink the disgusting Rudolph piss tea. Then they talk about Gabby for hours on end.
(S) Also - How Daniel proposes. It's so unique to their story, so perfect and a little dorky.

I've talked about the character development in the first section quite a bit but in short; there was a buttload of it. Daniel got closure from all the loss he's experienced and he even rekindled relationships, same with Ashlyn and she worked out everything with her dad. Now I wouldn't say Ashlyn was a weak character in the beginning, she was just extremely indecisive and seemed to always be at war with herself. Hailey stopped that shit with Theo and moved on like she should! You go, girl! Ashlyn's mum sorted herself out and came out the other end with her health, a nice guy and a new-found relationship with her daughter. Henry stepped up to be the father to Ashlyn he should have been to both his children and finally, Jace sorted himself out too and stopped being such an idiotic ASSHAT.

Phew, review over. Just go and read the book! I read it in less than two days and loved every sleep-depriving second of it:)

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