Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Bad Girls July Team Review...

Falling Into You

by Jasinda Wilder

The Bad Girls team choose a book once a month to collectively review.  This enables the girls to sink their teeth into a book and discuss it together.  It also allows our fans to see a number of brief reviews in the one place, from a diverse group of women!  

It's safe to say, if a collectively reviewed book rates high on the horndog scale, its an awesome, amazing, must read book - because the Bad Girls cover the age demographic of 20-60+, and only tell it how it is...honestly!

So for our inaugural collective review - Jasinda's book was randomly chosen, and how lucky were we that Jasinda has been very accommodating and supportive of the Bad Girls!  

But enough about us...  Lets get to the review...


I wasn't always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first.  Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way.  Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person i was died with him.

Colton didn't teach me how to live.  He didn't heal the pain.  He didn't make it okay.  He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and eventually, how to let go.
Nell Hawthorne is in love with her life-ling best friend, Kyle Calloway.  Their young love is invincible and life is full of promise; then one night Kyle dies suddenly in a tragic accident and Nell is forever changed.  She meets Kyle's older brother Colton for the first time at the funeral.  They both struggle to move on with life as best they can.  Years later, they meet again in New York City, and Colton realizes that Nell has never really gotten over Kyle's death.  She seems to be harboring a deeply rooted pain, a heavy weight of guilt and regret.  He knows he shouldn't get involved, but he can't help himself.  Trust doesn't come easily for either of them, and they both have demons.  Together, they learn the purpose of pain and the meaning of healing, and the importance of forgiveness.

Horndog Rating

The horndog rating by the Bad Girls team is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.  Given a 'horndog' is a sexually desirous person, what better way to reflect our rating than with a sexy set of lips.   All team reviews will include the overall average rating, and individual ratings.  

So lets see what the average Bad Girls rating was for Falling into You...

Bad Girl Reviews

~Mia Rose~
This was a really emotional read for me for a number of reasons.  Falling into You is full of so many different emotions, to name but a few - pain, grief, devastation, guilt, love and a small amount of hope.  I loved the relationship between Nell and Kyle, I loved reading about young love that develops from two childhood best friends.  They really were sweet together. I loved the little note Kyle wrote for her when he was trying to tell her he loved her.  It made my heart squeeze, it was so lovely.  It also made what was to come, so much harder to deal with.

I actually cried, and couldn't stop crying, it got to the point where i had to put it down for a while.  Jasinda's descriptive writing of the pain and anguish Nell was feeling after she lost Kyle just made it feel so real for me.
"It wasn't a tear.  I wouldn't cry.  Couldn't.  To let it go would be to open my soul. It would never stop.  I would break.... just shatter.  The liquid on my cheek was blood, surging out from my ripped and tattered heart".  Nell Hawthorne
We meet Colton for the first time at the funeral, he's Kyle's older brother and the black sheep of the family. As much as I loved sweet Kyle, bad boys are more my thing, and I adored and loved Colton to bits and even though he's turned his life around, and is really a sweetheart, there's still a touch of bad there.  His pain touched me as much as Nell's did.  He has his own dark secrets and can relate to what Nell is feeling and he is determined to help her grieve and to be there to guide her through it.
"We understand each other, Nelly.  We both have scars and regrets and anger.  We can do this together."  Colton Calloway
I really loved the incorporation of music into the book as well, and using music as a sort of therapy.  But as much as I loved this book, it's not without it's faults.

Firstly, I found it strange that Nell and Colton had only ever met twice before Kyle's funeral.  Considering Nell and Kyle had been inseparable since the day they were born and they were next door neighbours all of their lives.  The next thing that confused me was, when Nell and Colton met again in New York, after 2 years, Colton wasn't even surprised to see Nell standing there watching him busk.  They just acted as if no time had past, as if it hadn't been 2 years since they last saw each other.  I also felt it ended suddenly, and think an epilogue or a second book is needed.

I'm am giving this a rating of 7 out of 10 horndogs - An enjoyable, emotional read, but I still think there are a lot of issues that have been left not dealt with!
~Kimberlyn Kandie~
Let me just say from the start, get your tissues ready because you will need them!!  This book is a dark steaming love story about Nell and Colton, that does not start out the conventional way.  Nell's first love was Kyle who is Colton's little brother.  Kyle and Nell were best friends before they were old enough to walk and when they are 16, they each realize it is much more than friendship and turns into love.  I enjoy how their first love story is told with them experiencing all the firsts together as a couple, from their first kiss to losing their virginity with each other and how nervous they were.  Kyle's protectiveness over Nell is enduring and compassionate.  Jasinda has you falling in love with Kyle from head to toe.  The one tragic accident changes it all for Nell and Kyle.  Nell's world turns upside down in a matter of minutes.  It's amazing how life can change in a matter of seconds, from being so happy one minute to your world crashing around you the next.  I know everyone can connect with that one way or another.

Jasinda sends you on a wild roller coaster ride of emotions from being really really mad to sobbing uncontrollable when Kyle died.  Then, she gives us Colton who is so caring and compassionate to Nell during the funeral service and days after Kyle's death but they part ways. Jump ahead two years, when they run into each other in New York.

The second half of this book is where we see into Colton's dark past and how he has struggled with dyslexia all his life, to making a good life for himself with his own car restoration business and song writing.  Nell's life changes dramatically since she blames herself for Kyle's death.  These two have so much bad going on that coming together helps them both heal in the way they need.  They need each other in order to survive the grief of Kyle and their own unexpected grief as well.  I give this book an 8 out of 10 on our horndog scale. 

The one thing i did not understand is why Kyle did not talk about Colton to Nell since they shared everything.  I really can see room for a second book dealing more with Colton and his past.  I felt jipped not getting more of his story.  I would definitely recommend this story.  

Jasinda Wilder... Hats off to you for such a dramatic, emotional story.
~Kimmy Sparkles~
I give 'Falling into You' 8 out of 10 horndogs!  Jasinda is an amazing writer and does a fantastic job at bringing these characters to life.  Although the young love is not something I'm very keen on reading, I did enjoy that first love feel to the story.  You could feel the chemistry that Nell and Kyle had together.  Just as you are getting wrapped up in Nell and Kyle's relationship, tragedy strikes.  

The story made you feel the loss and the pain from the grief.  After this point, Nell changes into a totally different person, where once she was naive and innocent, she becomes something darker.  Throughout this point in the story it's hard for me to connect with her character and understand why she has doubt and continued guilt.  It is a realization that we all deal with grief in our own different way.  Then Colton comes into the picture and he is Kyle's older brother.  I find it hard to believe that Nell knows so little about him!  Also, Nell and Colton come from respectable, upper class families, I find it hard to believe that their parents would just let their kids go off to a big city such as New York alone.  But I guess, if they didn't, there would be no story!

Colton and Nell had chemistry, HOT chemistry.  Instead of feeling grief, you were rooting for Colton and wanting Nell so badly to get over her issues with Kyle's death.  Oh.. I can't forget to tell you how much the sex rocked between Colton and Nell.  The ending wrapped it up and left it feeling complete, but if Jasinda wants to add to their story she could.  

Overall, a well written, tragically sad story that takes you on a journey of finding new love along the way.


~Penelope Pureheart~
As the grandma and former teacher in this group of wonderful women, I loved this book and would recommend it to my friends.  I not only liked the plot and loved the characters, I enjoyed the structure of the writing.  The plot is two part, one of young love and the goal by youth to be good and do things right.  The character of Kyle is a hero in every way; smart, good looking, athletic and all the characteristics you would connect to a hero.  The story starts with Nell's point of view as she tells the story of falling in love with Kyle.  And you fall in love with Kyle as she tells their story.

The second part of the book deals with redemption and recovery for Nell and Colton.  The recovery is a journey that the reader will share with the characters.  Recovery is a strong theme in this book and takes a different path for each character.  The author touches on many struggles that people have, drugs, poverty, parent child relationships, alcohol and tragic loss of a family member.  I connected the tragic loss section of the book with newspaper headlines we read daily.  The second part of the book is also a very different love story between Nell and Colton.

On my second read of this book, I wished the author had chosen one or two recovery issues rather than so many.  Many people make a life journey with many problems but as a reader, I'd rather focus on one or two.  There was so much internal conflict with the characters.  One of the issues is a learning disability and I would have liked to read more about dealing with that in positive ways.  At the end of the book the characters were healing but it was not a happily ever after ending.  There is room for the characters to grow yet and characters i would like to see with a happily ever after ending.  I give this book 8 out of 10 horndogs, a very good book with room for book two.
~Shaggy Catch-Twentytwo~
Well, let me start by saying Jasinda Wilder knocked me off my tuskis (aka ass!), yes she did. I am not a crier, I don't cry...well that is what I thought, and then I became a professional snot slinger!  I love when i find a book that challenges me and all readers to step out of our box of our own understanding and show us something, something that scares you, haunts you, lets you fall in love, breaks your heart, but ultimately puts you back together.  Maybe not the way you were when you started reading the book, but just maybe a little bit better.
Well Ms Wilder, for me, that is what you did.  I fell in love with Nell and years from now, Nell and Colton's journey will not have faded.  I guarantee i will remember every emotion you ripped out of me, because trust me, i didn't give it willingly!  My favorite part, surprisingly, wasn't all the hot steamy scenes (however, high five it Jasinda, that my dear was HOT!!) it was the topics she hit in this story. The raw and truthful way she addressed it, the balls this woman had to tell this story alone has made me a loyal follower.
"Feel.  Grieve.  Let yourself feel the anger at the fact that he was taken from you.  Feel the loss of him.  Feel the sadness and the missing him.  Don't block it out, don't cut so it stops, don't drink yourself numb.  Just sit and let it all rip you apart.  And then get up and keep breathing.  One breath at a time.  One day at a time.  Wake up, and be shredded.  Cry for a while.  Then stop crying and go about your day.  You're not okay but you're alive, and you will be okay, someday."
"You make it sound easy.."
"Fuck no, it's not easy.  It's the hardest thing ever.  But it's the only way.  What you're doing is gonna kill you." 
 Not only has Ms Wilder given me Colton to add to my "stable" of men, she has also given me a story I will surely pass on to some of the young girls i come into contact with, a good book that will become a souvenir for the heart.  Thank You Ms Wilder. 

I give Falling into You 7 out of 10 horndogs.  Oh... and Colton was HOT... in all of his perfectly messy ways!!  

~ Lola D & JD Nighthawk~ 
Wow.  We knew based on the synopsis that this story would be deep, but we had no idea the depths at which we were about to dive.  Falling into you was one of those books you just can't put down.  Often times it was hard to read though as we experienced the emotional grief and devastation.  We fall in love for the first time right along with Nell and Kyle and then we experienced Nell's soul crushing loss of her first love right along with her.  There is grief and pain and healing in the most unexpected way.

First let us start off by saying that this book grabbed us from the very beginning.  Stories of first love have to be told in such a way to not seem juvenile.  Jasinda's beautiful style of writing captivated us and honestly made us fall in love right along with them.  We felt their firsts.  We loved right along with them.  And then, we lost right along with Nell.  We felt her grief and her pain.  So much that we had the ugly cry face on and everything.  There's something to be said for that. Not many books make me sob.  This one did.  The way Jasinda evokes true emotion is a true gift.

An unexpected delight was Colton.  We can NOT get enough of Colton.  Many kudo's given to Jasinda for taking such a controversial topic as a widowed girlfriend dating dead boyfriend's brother and making it just WORK.  Not only did it work but Colton just swooped in and made everything okay.  Like a dark angel, the calm in the storm.  And DAMN that man is sexy.  We want more!

Which brings us to our only complaint....  we wanted MORE!  We can't wait to see what Jasinda Wilder has up her sleeve.  And please, oh please... let it be more Colton!

We give Falling into You 9 out of 10 horndogs!
~Scooby Review~
Well having my review towards the end of this post means that i am able to not rehash the things the girls have already talked about, but let me say that i agree with it all.  Falling Into You was an emotional read, that  had me sobbing (lets be honest, the tears and the snot were flowing!)  Nell and Kyle's story was perfect, best friends who were able to share their young love experiences together.  Their story made you think back to your first love, first time and wish that yours had been as perfect as theirs.  But alas - mine certainly wouldn't make a good book!  As we know, tragedy struck in the worst possible way for Nell and Kyle, when Kyle died in a horrible accident.  The emotion that Jasinda wrote those scenes with was brilliant, Nell's reactions were so believable, my heart was breaking for both of them.  I felt like a bystander - by Nell's side the whole time! The days after the accident resonated with me and my own grief experiences, it was almost like reliving them... they had that feel of being so real and honest.  Props to you Jasinda for being able to fill the pages with pure emotion.

Then we meet Colton! Oh Colton....  He was just what Nell needed to survive those first few days, but of course we know they part ways.  And we fast forward two years, to when they meet again in New York.  Nell and Colton's relationship is not without its struggles and Jasinda was very respectful in capturing the dynamics of their relationship; the perceived forbidden nature of it, their grief, their individual journey's to get where there were, and the barriers to their HEA.

The character development was good, Jasinda gave us a great insight into what makes Colton, Colton and how Nell's loss has eaten away at the person she once was.  Jasinda covers highly confronting subjects while relaying Nell and Colton's story, from self harming behaviours, guilt, grief and loss, learning difficulties, gangs, crime, murder and the list goes on and on...  With all of these elements, this story was definitely a page turner!

I did love this story, it broke my heart over and over again, and then it filled it with a sense of hope, not perfect fairytale ending, but one of hope and realism, and just saying Colton was so flawed he was PERFECT! I give Falling into You 8 out of 10 horndogs.  

That said, there were some elements of the story that left me wondering... How could Nell and Colton have not known each other, Nell and Kyle were inseparable, surely Colton was the envious older brother; i felt Nell's sense of feelings towards Colton in the days after Kyle's death were a little unrealistic, but you know what, if she didn't have them, we wouldn't have a story!  I loved the build of Nell and Colton's relationship and the support and healing that Colton offered Nell, but i struggled with some of the scenes with the really sensitive subject matter, seeming superficial. 

I also have huge void... I need to know what happened for Nell in the two years between the funeral and New York.  I struggled to connect with Nell in New York because i didn't get a sense of her survival, or basic existence, and i truly believe her parents would have tried so hard to help her through her grief.  The gaps in this time period were a challenge for me, and probably my biggest frustration.  

Overall, i believe this was an amazing story, but one that had so many elements, i left thinking it was TOO MUCH... too much to fit into a book this size, the story was that good that a much longer book would still have kept you engaged, and allowed for more in depth consideration of the issues.... and shit.. really, who did Nell and Colton piss off in their previous lives, because they definitely faced some tough times in their young lives! 

Here's to Nell and Colton finding their Happily Ever Afters, and some time drama free!
So readers.... this is the end of the Bad Girls reviews of Falling into You.  Its safe to say - WE LOVED IT, and think it should be on your must read list!  

The Bad Girls Team wants to shout out to Kimmy Sparkles and Lola D Lovegood for their amazing collages, and readiness to always make our posts look awesome.  

We thank Jasinda Wilder for giving us an amazing book, and one that we could review independently. And thanks to you guys for taking the time to read our thoughts!
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