Monday, April 18, 2016

Caught up in Raine (Caught Up In Love #1) by L.G. O'Connell

{I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.}

Review and Curated Soundtrack

Release: April 18, 2016
Type: Contemporary Romance
Series: Caught Up in Love #1

Caught Up In Raine is one of the first ARCs I received when starting this blog. I wanted to read/review the book since the May/December romance featured would be a good fit for lots of different songs in a variety of musical genres. After reading the book though I realize that the book is so much more than the typical May/December romance; that is only a piece of the puzzle of Caught Up In Raine. Jillian and Raine’s relationship is complicated, and messy and they both come to the relationship with baggage (actual baggage not perceived baggage). This was an excellent start to L.G. O’Connell’s new series and I’ll be patiently/not-so-patiently waiting for the rest of the books.

The Good

  • It’s so refreshing to read vulnerable characters. Although we get weak/fragile heroines in romance, it’s always intriguing to read heros who are struggling and vulnerable in some way. Raine’s character felt unprotected in certain scenes of the book but came across as so physically-strong and emotionally-mature in others. The dichotomy of Raine’s situation and personality really made for an excellent story and such great tension.
  • L.G. O’Connell’s writing style really shone in this book. Caught Up In Raine covers a lot of ground and emotion, but I didn’t feel bogged down in the weeds on this one. I appreciated that it wasn’t overly wordy and maintained a steady flow. Never once did I feel myself starting to skim, but I didn’t feel rushed either.
  • It’s always nice to read contemporary that takes you to a different place. This book transported me to Jillian’s house, the beach house and the hospital. So often I feel like the “world building” or “setting the stage” in contemporaries is lacking, I didn’t get that sense at all with Caught Up In Raine.
The Bad
  • The initial meet-cute between Jillian and Raine and the first few scenes between them worried me. Although Jillian’s feelings for Raine took on a life of their own, her initial attraction to him through the lense of Drew really troubled me. It was hard to read honestly. I was very worried for Raine. If you start the book and feel the same way, push on.
The Unique
  • There aren’t a lot well written May/December romances out there when the woman is the older lover. O’Connell’s take on the May/December trope is especially unique since Jillian is not the typical “cougar”, she isn’t looking for a younger man. Jillian’s hesitation to pursue Raine and her battle to come to grips with their relationship had me rooting for their HEA once I got over the initial bumps in their relationship.
The Playlist
  • It took a lot of time for me to come up with a suitable character student playlist for Caught up in Raine. Raine and Jillian's relationship was just so passionate that I really felt like I knew them personally coming out of the book. For some reason I NEEDED to create the perfect playlist for these character's HEA. After some serious thought and strife, hopefully I did :) 

    "You Changed Me" by Michael Warren especially fits Jillian and Raine: 
    And you changed me,
    And you changed the way,
    You changed the way I look at love.

    You shook me up,
    And I never saw I'm shaking,
    Its just enough,
    Now my hearts unbreaking,
    You were meant for me.

I rate this book:
What did you think of Caught Up In Raine?
Are there any songs that remind you of Raine, Jillian and their HEA?

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