Monday, June 5, 2017

Review & Blast: He Lived Next Door by Portia Moore

Title: He Lived Next Door
Author: Portia Moore
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Adult
Series: Unknown
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Give Me Books
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisThere are ugly truths
and pretty lies.
When I lost them
I chose neither.
I wrapped myself in silence.
My husband, my best friend, became a stranger who gave up.

He moved next door, and everything changed.
You think you know this story,
but you don't.
Be careful what you ask for because the answer may not come the way you think.

I'm obsessed with blowing kisses. I guess that makes me a romantic. I love books and cute boys and reading about cute boys in books. I'm infatuated with the glamour girls of the past: Audrey, Dorothy, Marilyn, Elizabeth.

I'm a self-confessed girly girl, book nerd, food enthusiast, and comic book fan. Odd combination huh, you have no idea...

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

I'm not sure how to feel about this book.

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Chassidy's life is falling apart. After losing her second child, she's decided to hold her pain inside and grieve alone. In doing so, she pushes her husband away and their marriage reaches a turning point that she isn't sure they can come back from. Add in a tempting agent and mysterious neighbor and you have a recipe for disastrous decision-making.

Bryce wants his wife back. The woman he fell in love with before he even saw her face. But the loss of their son has taken more than just their child from his life. His wife is no longer whole and she won't communicate with him. He loves her but he's finding it hard to understand why she keeps pushing him away. Even a guardian angel may not be able to save their marriage in time.

This has left me with some seriously conflicting thoughts. First, the description of this book is entirely misleading and I fear will lead to a lot of negative reviews because of it. With books, expectations are important. If you advertise X but provide Y, you won't get the intended results. Had this synopsis accurately portrayed the story within, I still might have picked it up since I like paranormal romance books. Others won't be so forgiving.

So in case you are wondering, this is a second chance romance with a paranormal angel/demon theme and a somewhat religious aspect. You're welcome.

On one hand, I cannot say anything negative about the way the book was written. It's clear the author has a talent for building a story, even if I didn't love the story being told. But editing? No. Even for an ARC, it was terribly edited with missing and misspelled words, punctuation blunders everywhere, and sentences that just didn't make sense. I really hope this gets edited properly before being released. However, I did read this entire thing in a single sitting so there is something to be said for the storytelling. It captured my attention and even when I was cursing the terrible grammar, I was still immersed in the story. That reason alone explains my rating. I would consider reading more of this author's work but I would need to know what I'm getting beforehand. No more surprises.

My biggest problem lies in the severely unequal character development. We see things through both Chassidy and Bryce's views, yet Bryce's POV is mostly in the past. We get to see how he comes to fall in love with Chas and it's easier to connect with him. With Chassidy, we're dropped right into the middle of her turmoil and I couldn't find it in me to sympathize with her for pretty much the entire story. I wanted to. But all I saw out of her were selfish and terrible decisions. I can forgive a few of them but it was one after another and the savior of the story wasn't present enough to really make an impact in her life.

I didn't even have a problem with the religious aspect of the book. I am not a religious person but respect the rights of others. I also enjoy reading books that feature angels and demons so this wasn't a bad element of the story for me. If you don't like religion in your stories and aren't a fan of the angel/demon trope, skip this one. 

But the angel/demon element really wasn't as prominent as it could have been. And to be honest, it probably *should* have played a larger role. Had there been more angelic intervention and less selfish stupidity on Chassidy's part, I might have liked this more. I am all for a couple finding their way back together, again. But our couple are separate for 90% of the book and you can't fix something when you're not there. I would have much preferred to watch their struggle to reconnect rather than Chas's inability to decide whether to cheat or not.

I'm not sure if I believe that Chas deserved her happy ending. Bryce did. He never really gave temptation more than a fleeting thought. But the choices that Chas continued to make were baffling to me. I hate people who cheat, no matter what their so-called "reasons" are. There may not be any actual intercourse, but it crosses the line several times. If you're like me, and despise unfaithful and disrespectful heroines (or heroes), this isn't the book for you.

If I could rework this story, I would have had the angel reveal himself sooner and to both spouses (separately) to help guide them back to each other. The demon still could have tried to sway each of them, but I think saving their marriage should have played a bigger role in Chassidy's decisions. I also wouldn't have taken Bryce out of the picture. If not for his flashbacks, he really wouldn't have been in the story at all. I would have liked to see the two fighting more, making progress, hitting setbacks, and still fighting on. Maybe then I would have believed Chas's turnaround was genuine.

In closing... 
So despite the author's incredible storytelling abilities, this wasn't the book for me. It was a good story, but one I won't be reading again. If you have the ability to be more sympathetic to an ailing heroine, this is a good story for you.

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