Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Hell Without You by Ranae Rose

Goodreads description: Time changes everything, except what’s meant to be. Seven years is a long time – long enough to transform Clementine from a small-town teenager with a broken heart into a woman ready to take on the world, but not long enough to make her forget about the man she was never supposed to see again. A temporary return to tiny Willow Heights thrusts her back into Donovan’s life and home, unearthing heartbreak and obsession that have stood the test of time. He left seven years ago too, for war and other things Clementine can only imagine. Coming back to the town where he grew up in the shadow of poverty and drug addiction makes no sense, and neither do Clementine’s feelings for him. He could never forgive her for leaving, could he? Even if she had no choice. Now, she has the freedom to choose … and so does he. Every day in Willow Heights makes it clearer: all he ever really wanted was her, and nothing will change that. Not even a taste of the hell that drove them apart in the first place.
Thank you to NetGalley for giving me a review copy of this novel.  

So I'm just going to jump in here, because the synopsis above tells pretty much the whole book right there.  Things I liked:  Um, not much, to tell the truth.  I guess things started out okay, the pace was good, and the characters seemed to have a lot of chemistry.  The naked sleepwalking was different!  But everything started heading downhill from there.

The entire read after the first few chapters was really boring to me.  There were so many words and phrases repeated throughout.  For example, the words "seven years" were used 59 times.  Yeah, really, I think I got it after the first ten, they've been apart for SEVEN YEARS.  How many?  Magic number 7!  No, wait, how many?  Let's hear it again.  SEVEN YEARS.

Total overkill on the descriptions of Donovan - his body, his eyes, his coloring, etc.  I like a hot book boyfriend as much as the next girl, but there are ways to describe him without resorting to the same old, same old.  In contrast, I don't really remember anything about Clementine.  Probably the most interesting thing about her is her name.

Which brings me to their lives while they were apart, for SEVEN YEARS!  We know that Donovan went to Iraq, and that he must have PTSD because of all the naked sleepwalking, but it's cured rather conveniently as long as Clementine sleeps with him.  Really?  I don't know, seems a bit oversimplified to me.  He has one, maybe two friends, and doesn't mention any contact with his siblings.  Seems like he's been pining away for Clementine those whole SEVEN YEARS!  Pretty sad, don't you think?

And Clementine?  In those SEVEN YEARS, she made one friend and earned her graduate degree.  I'm not making light of her degree or anything, but the one friend?  Also pretty sad in my opinion.

What about the sex?  Well, there were two things that bothered me about the sex.  One, they never once discussed any possible relationships with other people during those SEVEN YEARS.  Were they both celibate the entire time?  I highly doubt it.  What about STD's?  No concern.  The other thing that bothered me was the amount of gratuitous sex.  I'm okay with a lot of sex in a book if it's done right, but there needs to be a time and place for everything, and in this book, the timing was usually wrong.  For example, a major traumatic event happens (no spoiler here) and then they go home and have sex.  It seemed not to fit.

The plot dragged a lot, and then everything was wrapped up very conveniently in the end.  A little too conveniently for my taste.  It's too bad - I think with a bit of work, this book could have been a lot better.

My rating:

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