RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of this series, because you'll want an ending (or is it?)
WARNING: SOME MATERIAL IN THIS REVIEW MIGHT BE CONSIDERED SPOILERS... READ AT YOUR OWN RISK, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SPECIFICALLY MARKED!!!!
Well, this book surely runs the gamut and puts both Damien and Nikki through their paces. It does answer most of the lingering questions about Damien's past and what the future is for this relationship. It shows us where Nikki is likely to end up in her life and business.
BUT... this book is almost too full. It's as if the author was trying to cram every last little bit of angst and sex and lovey-dovey declarations and then more conflict and suspense into this last book. Which begs the question, is it really the end of the trilogy? It seems that the fad is now to announce a 3-book arc and then either popular demand or the author doesn't feel as if the story is resolved in the 3 books, and so 1 or more books are planned. Based on this last book, though, I don't think I could take any more Damien and Nikki.
I appreciate that we learn more about what happened with Coach Richter. But the last-minute "save" in the court room seemed too much. It was obvious that the issue wasn't over by a long shot. Someone was still trying to pull the strings. But to what end? That's the crux. And if that were the focus of this book, I would understand. But the focus seems to be pulled in too many directions. Where's Sofia? Why is Damien so worried about her? How does Damien feel about Nikki now? (After her initial arrival in Germany and his initial "I love you" declaration, Damien hasn't said those words to Nikki - not even when the trial is over.) What about Nikki's business opportunities and career? What about Ollie and Jamie? Is there an Ollie AND Jamie? Who is Lisa really? And why does Nikki feel so close to Lisa after only a few conversations? What's up with Giselle?
Again, I appreciate that the author is trying to tie up all the loose ends. But the overall feel, to me, is over-the-top. Drama everywhere. Purple prosey love declarations are EVERYWHERE! If it were a few really choice statements, it would be fantastic. But almost every other page? Too much! And the steamy scenes? Well, a lot of the book felt like it was held together by the ever more outrageous and inventive sex between Damien and Nikki that bridged each and every scene. OK, so we're supposed to know that they can't live without one another. But that doesn't mean that every look or comment has to lead to hot sex? At times, I swore that I'd just read that same sex scene a few pages back.... except there was always one little new twist.
Hate to say it, but I was disappointed in this book. I was disappointed with Damien's decision about not to reveal what happened to him in court; I understand that he wanted it to remain private, but in the end, what did it matter? Was the point supposed to be that Damien realized that his relationship with Nikki was more important? That he grew as a person? Yes, he was trying to protect someone other than himself. And perhaps that's reason enough. But his revealing it all in the end seemed to not only go against who he was and what he'd told Nikki about why he wouldn't reveal it, but to contradict it.
The people involved in trying to keep them apart and their tactics with the media... all too well staged. The threats against Nikki? Seemingly random and then suddenly all pulled together. Perhaps I simply didn't appreciate what the author was trying to do, but it felt too forced. Drama for drama's sake. Suspense because there had to be yet more challenges for Nikki and Damien to overcome or we, the readers, couldn't be assured for their future.
BUT.. in the end, it was a very romantic book. The author did her best to wrap up the lingering questions about both Nikki and Damien - even Jamie and Ollie, to some extent. My dissatisfaction was that this book seemed unfocused; it seemed as if some things were just thrown in to make it a full book, not because it was necessary to the story or even that it moved the story along. Yes, some of those things/events did answer questions though, so perhaps it was simply the way that we were told and not shown. Perhaps the pressure to get this book out there compromised the author's process and overall vision? I'm quite aware that the ravenous public can force a book to come out before it's time.
Overall, I'd rate this series at a 3+ stars. If I wasn't convinced that it could have been better, based on the 1st book, the slower exploration and the showing versus all the telling, I could rate this book and the overall series higher.
This book was provided as an ARC by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.