Beyond What Is Given by Rebecca Yarros

26128190Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.

Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago.

Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — Hmmm…another hard one for me to pin down on how exactly I feel.  I think I wanted to love it so much that my initial thought was 4 stars.  But when I actually sat down to think about it, I just wasn’t as drawn into the story as I was with the first 2 books.  I really love Ms. Yarros’s writing, and that was still exceptional in this book.  My problem is that there was just too much going on, I didn’t like all the bits of drama, and while I wanted to root for Sam and Grayson, I also wanted to smack them sometimes.

The thing is, I didn’t quite get the initial chemistry.  OK, yes, I get initial attraction and they had it by the boatloads.  But that’s just not enough.  For Grayson to behave so differently, I guess I wanted something more concrete that attracted him to her.  And yeah, I guess there was her fiery personality and all that, but I just felt like I was told a bit more than shown in this case…but maybe I was just too distracted while reading this and so I missed something.

I enjoyed both Grayson and Sam, but holy shit there was a lot going on in the background of their love story.  And in the end, it kind of detracted from it.  I guess it would have been ok if they’d been able to get past the issues, but the same ones kept cropping up over and over again.  And I think both Sam *and* Grayson were to blame.  Sam really didn’t put a lot of faith in Grayson, but at the same time a part of me understood where she was coming from…I guess I just wanted her to grow up and learn and trust and just , well, *grow* a bit quicker than she did.  But another part of me understood that her reactions were very human.  And Grayson…oh that boy.  He suffered from that same affliction of humanitis…making silly choices sometimes and not learning from them.  It was hard to watch him hold onto that guilt for so long.  I got it initially, but after awhile even a stupid person would let that shit go.

And I wasn’t too bothered by the Grace storyline per say.  It was a bit obvious where it was going to go, so I can’t say I was surprised with some of the twists therein.  It was mostly just a frustrating wrench that lasted a lot longer as a plot device than I was expecting.  I will say I didn’t see Parker’s reveal coming AT ALL.  And in some ways it made me understand her a bit more.  She was still a bitch, but at least I could understand how she got to that place, so I kind of appreciated that.

And quite frankly that was enough.  Heck, then we still had Sam’s issues to deal with.  They kind of got relegated to the backburner, and really didn’t feel necessary to the story or Sam’s growth.  Maybe bits of it, but it was a bit too much for me.

AND THEN you had Grayson’s issues with his Dad and the helicopter pilot stuff (this is me trying not to be spoilery).  I was actually initially intrigued by this b/c I felt something in Eyes Turned Skyward that made me curious about Grayson and his studying habits, and it was yet another little side plot that felt thrown in.  I, personally, would have LOVED more attention on this issue.  But with everything else going on, it felt awkward and didn’t really fit.  So in the end, I would have cut it out completely.

So yeah.  All that.  We have this great little romance with two characters with great chemistry, and it just got sooooo bogged down with everything else.  I would have enjoyed the story a lot more if it could have been pared down a bit.  I will say that I was starting to give up on our characters, despite some of their sweet moments, and then we got that ending.  Grayson came through for me (and Sam).  And that’s what is bumping it up a half star.  But after writing this all out, I have a feeling I’ll still be rounding down.  It was a good book, but I think it could have been soooooo much better.  Ah well.


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