Beyond What Is Given by Rebecca Yarros

Blurb:
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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Eyes Turned Skyward by Rebecca Yarros

Blurb:
23706735Life’s too short to play it safe…

Since her sister’s death, twenty-year-old Paisley Donovan, who shares her sister’s heart condition, is treated like delicate glass by her parents. But nothing will stop her from completing her Bucket List—even if it kills her. And it almost does, until Jagger Bateman pulls her from the ocean and breathes more than air into her lungs—he sets her soul on fire.
Jagger is enrolled in the country’s toughest flight school. He’s wickedly hot, reckless, and perfect for a girl looking to live life to the fullest. Except that Paisley is the commanding general’s daughter, and her boyfriend is Jagger’s biggest rival. Now Paisley must decide just how much to risk for a guy who makes her heart pound a little too hard.
They’re flying through dangerous territory—and one wrong move could make them crash and burn…
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My Review:
Another reread getting ready to read the final 2 books in this series, and I can honestly say that I felt the exact same way the second time through!  So here’s my original review…

4.5 stars — Yup, Jagger’s story was even more than I was expecting!!  Wasn’t always impressed with keeping who Anna was a secret from the reader, felt like sensationalizing or something.  But then again, since I managed to guess who she was pretty early on, perhaps that was what the author was expecting….

And now that that’s TINY niggle is out of the way — LOVED the way this book played out.  You could really feel the chemistry between Paisley and Jagger, right from the moment he saved her.  I enjoyed that Jagger wasn’t some perfect book boy too — he had a horrendous temper that made me cringe in embarrassment at times.  I felt for Paisley.  It was nice to see her really get to him though, give him a reason to try to better himself.  I was truly surprised with how the Will stuff went…  I expected a different kind of drama there, but got something else entirely.  I always appreciate it when an author can surprise me in a good way.  He just ended up being a character that was more important than I was expecting, and not just to Paisley, but to Jagger as well.

Even Paisley was a character that made you cringe sometimes with her recklessness and her adamant belief that she wasn’t going to make it.  Sometimes I wish we could have seen her grow more, and maybe be shown her *wanting* to live to be with Jagger instead of always being resigned to die.  So in the end I guess she gave me a little niggle too…

All in all, LOVING this “series”.  I see there’s a 3rd book coming out….will it be Masters book?  I hope so, I’m intrigued by him!  Then again, Ms Yarros writes such compelling secondary characters that I want to know what happens with so many of them — Sam, Morgan and Will, and now definitely Masters.

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Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

Blurb:
Full MeasuresThree knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

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My Review:
This is actually a reread for me, but I pretty much feel the same way so I’m just going to copy and paste my review.  Can’t wait to finally be finishing this series!!  Also, check out Curly Carla’s review of this book here.

4.5 stars — well that was a whole lot of YES PLEASE!

I kind of forgot to reread the synopsis before setting out to read this book, and so imagine my surprise to find myself bawling my eyes out in the first chapter. And yet, despite that sneak attack (that wasn’t actually a sneak attack for, you know, normal people), I KNEW this book was going to be all that and a bag of chips. From that first moment when she runs into Josh at the grocery store, I knew I was going to be in love. Sometimes it was hard to reconcile the guy he was deep down from the reputation he’d earned through the years. I guess I couldn’t figure out why he went along with it all if he had that “better”ness inside him. (that would be one of those little niggles that had me rounding down instead of up). I LOVED the guy he was deep down…holy wow, do I want some Josh….

Ember was an interesting narrator. You felt her grief and struggles so deeply, and could really see how all of it was affecting her. It was interesting to take this tragedy and have it be a wake up call for her in so many ways — in the way she was living her life, or rather not living her life for herself. I loved how she was with her family, even when she was stressed and angry — it was all just so realistic and made her that much more genuine. One of my other round down niggles had to do with how she saw people in the military… I know that it was a lot of her grief talking, but at times she was sooooo opposed to it that it made it hard to reconcile the turn around in the end. But that might have been just me.

All in all, I LOVED reading this book and had so much ❤ for it. I really only lost a little bit of love when I sat down to think it through. Sometimes I prefer to just go with my gut and ignore the little things….b/c then this would be a solid 5 star read, and most of those stars would be for Josh. Can’t wait to read Jagger’s story. 🙂

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Full Measures (Flight & Glory book 1) by Rebecca Yarros

Full MeasuresSynopsis: She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

 

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5 Stars

I won this book from Unofficial Book Club on Facebook.  Which is weird because I rarely win books.  It looked good though, so I started reading it right away.  This story was incredibly sad tinged with a happiness that was balanced beautifully.  I cried multiple times.  It was so much more than a love story.  And honestly that wasn’t what really captured my interest.

It was the grief and the military aspect that did it.  It’s very detailed in how a military family deals with death as opposed to a civilian one.  The rituals that are adhered to were very informative and gave me a look into a different lifestyle than I am familiar with. There were little things that I could identify with.  The thing that really set it apart from a contemporary romance for me was that the love interest didn’t stand out as much as the five stages of grief did.

Somehow she navigated the grief and kept her life from falling apart. The strength that Ember shows is admirable and awes-inspiring.  She has a stubborn streak that I totally laughed at because I do that same thing with regards to asking for help.  The author was able to keep my emotions engaged without me losing interest.

I would definitely recommend this book to romance lovers.

Favorite Quotes:

His understanding softened me even further.  It was one thing to lust after him, but quite another to find myself…liking him as a person, not just a hot body.

But there was beauty in not knowing what was coming my way, in being unable to brace for impact.

He was like a puzzle where every piece was black, and I couldn’t tell what went where.

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