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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review - The One That Got Away (The Kingston Ale House Series, #1) by A.J. Pine

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: The One That Got Away
(Kingston Ale House #1)
Author: A.J. Pine
Publication Date: April 18th, 2016
Category/Genre: Contemporary Romance

How far will one man go for the woman he's loved since high school?

Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on.

But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.

Pre-Order: Amazon

I would:
  • Befriend: Holly
  • Go out on a date & kiss: Spencer
  • Take to a desert island and leave behind: Jamie's logic
  • Travel to Vegas and let Elvis Presley marry us: Annie (ha! what can I tell ya? She was really great!)

If I turned on the TV, I'd find Brynn, Jamie and their friends on:

  • Discovery Channel's Brew Masters

If I took them out, we'd go to a/an:

  • Bar, where we'd drink beer until we dropped, which in my case means the moment after I finish my second glass.

2.5 “Road Trip & Best Friends” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Entangled!

First things first, BEAUTIFUL COVER!!! *swoons*

Okay. Now that that is over...

Take a look at my recent reviews and you’ll know how big of a fan of the “BFF to lovers” trope I am. That was reason #1 I requested “The One that Got Away” when I saw it on NetGalley. I’m sorry to say not even one my favorite book tropes was enough to make me fall for this book.

Jamie and Brynn have been best friends for a really long time, but in high school Jamie realized he wanted more. Too bad Brynn had a huge crush on Spencer Matthews and didn’t see Jamie as anything more than a friend. That changed the night she got sick and, being the best friend a girl could ask for, Jamie took her of her. The way he treated her opened Brynn’s eyes to a new possibility: maybe Jamie was the one she was supposed to kiss after all. Spencer, who?

Perfect, right?  Except when Jamie’s dream were about to become reality, he pushed Brynn away. *presses pause* You see, that’s when my problem with the story started. He had her and he said “let’s be just friends”, and the reason behind his decision wasn’t good enough for me. *presses play*

Flash forward and we have grown up Jamie and Brynn still acting like the BFFs they were in high school, but refusing to talk about what happened the night she got sick so they friendship could stay intact. Little did they know they had already crossed a line, and there was no uncrossing it.

Brynn’s high school crush, Spencer makes a comeback as a now successful writer and Brynn is ready to give that romance another chance. Of course seeing that, Jamie decides it’s finally time to fight for the woman he loves. Hm, weird thing is everything he does after that moment is the complete opposite of fighting. When Spencer invites Brynn to visit him in L.A., the same place Jamie is going to for a business-related event, he offers her a ride. In his mind, Jamie is giving Brynn the opportunity to spend some alone time with him on the road, so she can choose him over Spencer, but he plans on making her come to that realization without letting her know that he’s broken up with his girlfriend because he’s in love with her. He wants to be her first choice, so he doesn’t want to influence her. Except she has no reason to believe he’s changed his mind since the last time she’d kissed him and he told her he needed her as a friend more than as a girlfriend.

You see how his logic makes no sense? I’m not the only one who thinks that. Brynn’s sister and their other friend, Annie (really liked her, by the way) thought the same. Even Brynn gets pretty mad at him when she realizes his intentions. I can’t blame her.

My biggest problem with this book was that the drama seemed to go for way longer than necessary. Jamie’s actions and line of thought lacked sensibility, and Brynn’s attitude wasn’t much better. The lack of communication between these people who should’ve been best friends made the whole situation a lot harder than necessary, and made me doubt they were as close as they wanted it to seem.

There were some good moments during the road trip that made me cheer for them and want to see them together. Some were super hot, like the tasting beer thing. *fans self*

But some of those moments were swallowed by the character’s habit of twisting each other’s actions and words with the sole purpose of creating more drama, which wasn’t a compelling aspect. And... SPOILER: the cheating!!! ugh! It was unecessary and showed me a side of the characters I didn't really like. Why Jamie would let Brynn sleep with him while she thought he had a grielfriend and not tell her the truth is beyond me.

The writing was okay, but I thought it could’ve used another round of revision. I had to say that surprised me, since most of the Entangled titles I’ve read this year were in pretty great shape. I also think this book could’ve benefited from a first person narrative, instead of third, or even a single POV.

So, while the “BFF to lovers” aspect of the story made me want to read it, the execution unfortunately fell flat. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a bad book, but I didn’t connect with the characters or the narrative enough to enjoy it the way I expected.

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