Sunday, 15 June 2014

Book Review: Lost and Found by Nicole Williams

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.

After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.

Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.

Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl—happily-right-now is a stretch—so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.

When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.

SPOILER ALERT! There is kind of a spoiler in the very last part of my review. It's nothing major but if you do want to avoid it DO NOT read the 'Ending' section of this review.
Let me start off by saying how glad I am that there is a second book to this series already released... AND one for another character in this novel which I am super excited to read!

There were so many things I loved about this story. I found it on a whim on iBooks and thank god I did, after reading the synopsis all I could think was, 'cowboys, oh hell yes' and I was sold. I mean who says no to a book about a sexy as sin cowboy with a heart of gold? No one. What also grabbed my attention was when I saw that the female protagonist was a bad girl, well in some ways she was. Misunderstood would be a better word. What I liked was that it was bad girl falls for good boy which doesn't often happen. It's usually the other way around and although I (shamelessly) love a bad boy in these kinds of novels, I found that I liked the change up.
The characters were easy to like, I didn't identify with any of them though. Which is fine, it's rare that I both like the characters and am able to identify. Jesse was my absolute favourite person in the entire book and I think that's because he was described as everything a guy should be, everything real guys aren't. You know, guys are either amazingly kind with a face only a mother could love or hot as hell with the personality of a goldfish. I have not come across an in between. BUT, I have been told stories of this wonderful species of man with both good looks and a wonderful personality... and Jesse (albeit, fictional) is one of those guys. He's tanned, strong and apparently has a great ass. He's also brave, fiercely loyal and caring to everyone around him, even the girl who broke his heart. There is literally only one person he doesn't get along with but that dude kinda deserves it.

Every time I read a book, the one thing that's always in the front of my mind is character development. Is there any? 
The answer in this case is HELL YEAH! And that makes me happy because there is nothing better than seeing a character go from dark to light as the story progresses. Rowen arrived at the ranch as a troubled girl with a mass of walls surrounding her and as the book went on, I understood more and more why she was as she was. She'd been broken down too many times to count, her childhood was no child's dream and she'd been through more than the average 18 year old... more than anyone should have to experience. She spoke about her problems with her mother and I instantly thought 'oh god, here we go again' because lemme tell you; the amount of times I have read a story where one of the main characters doesn't get on with their mother or father is too many. THEN they go on to make a big deal about how their parents are awful human beings and after being suckered into feeling back for them, there's that one chapter where said main character talks with said mother or father and I realise that the parent was not as bad after all and most of what they did was to protect their son/daughter and they didn't really deserve all of the teenage bullsh** they were receiving.
Then came the chapter where Rowen's mum comes to see her. Now, when I say I hated her, I absolutely positively loathed her. I was setting myself up to read about an awkward reunion and maybe a shouting match but ohmygoodness what a bitch! Not only did she treat her oldest and dearest friend like she was nothing, she also called her own daughter a freak which throughout the book I came to realise was a name quite often given to Rowen for all the wrong reasons, so for her own mother to call her it was inexcusable. Then, she sees that Jesse and Rowen are an item and she profusely apologises for her daughter saying she's so sorry that Rowen corrupted their son and tried to sleep with him etc etc. Then she says that she's sure Rowen has been nothing but a liability to which Rose tells her that she has actually been incredibly helpful. Rowen's mother thinks she's lying to be kind. THEN oh my god this made me so mad, she then brings her new boyfriend into the house that has become Rowen's safe haven. The man who, at a young age, had tried to rape her whilst he was left to take care of her whilst her mother went out. He then proceeded to tell her he'd suffocate her and her mother if she ratted him out. After escaping and telling her mother all about him and what he'd tried to do, her mother tells her to stop lying. I was raging by this point. Her own mother had believed her boyfriend of maybe a week over her only daughter. It broke my heart, and I felt for Rowen more than I have ever felt for a fictional character in a book. *Sighs heavily*
(Spoiler over)

Okay, after that rant let's talk about the one and only thing I didn't like in this book; the mistakes. All the way through the eBook were spelling mistakes, words that sometimes didn't make sense and grammatical errors and although that shouldn't annoy me as much as it did, it was quite distracting. That being said, that was my only issue. The rest of my annoyances were brought on by the characters in the story for being such major assholes, so nothing that the author didn't intentionally do!

Character development, yay! This is my favourite part to review because I love remembering how characters were in the beginning and how they turned out. Let's start with Rowen since we've pretty much covered her development; As I said, Rowen was a down-on-her-luck girl who just needed to get through summer in order to go to her dream school and after a while she became the girl who always says she's not good enough for someone, she doesn't deserve whatever she has received over the course of the story. Usually I don't mind a little of this, but it got to the point where it became constant and annoying but thankfully Jesse called her out on the whole I-deserve-but-I-don't-deserve bullsh** and it stopped. In the end, Rowen became happy in her own skin and after years of being put down for being herself and a summer of finding another piece of herself, she put those two halves together and created someone wonderful. She didn't do a whole 180, I mean she didn't go from darkness to light shining out of her ass. She just became herself and that's all I want in a book, self realisation. It was wonderful to watch it happen!
Now, Jesse. I have already said that I thought his character was great and that's the reason why he didn't need any character development. I can't recall him getting any and usually that would annoy me to hell and back but in all honesty, I'd be mad if he changed. He was charming, self assured and confident but humble and honest all at the same time. It was quite refreshing to read about a guy who wasn't all brooding and moody 24/7. Jesse had a bad past, much like Rowen, but he moved on from it. I realised Jesse's past quite early in the book as there's a dead giveaway and that was a little disappointing but I was still shocked when he spoke about it with Rowen for the first time and my heart broke for him.
Garth was a total asshat in most of this book, like until the very last part. I wont give too much away because experiencing it first hand will make you want to shove a pole up his ass. But there's a reason why, and it's pretty good. Not fully deserving of forgiveness for what he did, but I sympathised right at the end.. just a little.
Rowen's mum... NOPE we've already spoken about this. I will not do this again. Oh the hate is real.
Now let's talk about one of Jesse's sisters, the oldest of the three; Lily. I liked Jesse's family from day 1, but out of all of them Lily was the one who grew the most. Mainly because she was the only one who needed any development, not in a bad way, more of a be-confident-in-yourself-because-you're-gorgeous kinda way. What made this character development even sweeter was that it was Rowen who helped her realise all of this, when Rowen was struggling with the confidence thing herself but still managed to help Lily. I thought that was lovely. 
I loved Jesse's family so much, they were kind, caring and wonderful people and I wanted to wrap them in a hug forever. Rose was my favourite out of them all, excluding Jesse. She easily took Rowen under her wing and made her feel as comfortable as possible, even when Rowen expected her to get mad or disappointed all Rose ever did was love her the way a child should be loved by a mother. She knew exactly what everyone was feeling, she knew about Rowen and Jesse's feelings even before they did and she was just the perfect mum. I adored her.

Ending: (Slight spoiler)
I wouldn't really have minded if the book was a stand alone and left where it was, but I am curious to see where their relationship goes and how they handle everything. There's still Rowen's mum, will anything happen with her? Will he show up again? Also, I want to see how maturely Rowen and Jesse handle a kind-of-long-distance relationship where they only see each other on holidays and have to keep up with each other through phone etc. All in all, I 1000% recommend this book to anyone and everyone over the age of maybe 16... there is some sex, rare swear words but adult situations so I think anyone above the age of 16 would like this book. Especially if you have a thing for sexy cowboys with tight jeans and dimpled smiles, who doesn't though??

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