Thursday, June 27, 2013

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
Review by Amber Presley Boyd


Where to start…Ok so I’d had Taking Chances on my to be read list for a while after it was recommended on my Nook. I had also seen some negative ratings other places, but when I read the summary I just knew I needed to read this story. And now I know that others should read it too!

The synopsis tells you this is a story about growing up, finding yourself, and finding love. Ok, that sounds promising right?  But I have to say, I thought it was so much more than that; it is definitely about love, but also so much about forgiveness and second chances and finding that connection with others that makes you whole.

Harper is an overly sheltered 18 yr. old, leaving her marine father’s home to start college on the other side of the country. Growing up with a father that prefers she call him ‘Sir’ and a bunch of jarheads, she’s ready to live life on her own terms. She has a great new roommate, Breanna, that is all the things she wants to be, and who helps her start her college experience off with a new wardrobe and a party. Enter Chase Grayson, her roommate’s impossibly handsome and impossibly arrogant brother. Harper is instantly attracted and instantly disgusted.  Really, Chase is totally beautiful but Harper knows that he’s a ‘man whore’ and that totally turns her off. But at the same time she can’t stop watching him and thinking about him, wanting to be with him. Though Chase is completely captivated at first sight by Harper, he plays it cool referring to her as “Princess” and doing everything to turn her off. Chase doesn’t do relationships and he knows from the outset that as much as he wants Harper, she deserves better than he can give her. Enter Chase’s best friend Brandon.  Where Chase is overtly tatted up and looks like a surfer dude with his shaggy hair, Brandon is muscles everywhere, clean cut and stunning.

“Dear God, and I’d thought Chase was the most attractive guy I’d ever seen. This guy was…..just wow”

Brandon is just as taken with Harper as Chase is, and Chase sees it happen. Though he tries to discourage the connection, he can’t stop it. Brandon and Harper are soon an item to Chase’s chagrin. Fighting between the guys ensues as Chase begins to act like a total douche, saying hurtful things to Harper.  Harper is quickly realizing that she loves them both, though she is trying hard to fight what she feels for Chase.

Harper is innocent, in every way. She doesn’t see her beauty. Doesn’t see the impact she has on others. She doesn’t feel connected to anyone but a bunch of jarheads until she meets Breanna, Chase, and Brandon. I loved how Harper quickly begins to see how her ‘family’ was not the norm, that she could feel loved both by these 2 amazing guys as well as creating her own adopted family in the Grayson's.  I loved the support that Chase and Breanna’s parents gave to Harper immediately. I loved their Sunday Family days and how Harper got to see who Chase really was in these “few stolen hours”.

When Chase and Harper finally get together it is both beautiful and tragic. Tragic because she loves both Chase and Brandon; she fears being left, fears hurting one or both of them as well as herself.  I felt for Harper so much because I loved her with both of these guys in such different ways. Harper and Chase were just this perfect connection; passionate and all-consuming love. But because of Chase’s past history with girls, Harper always feared being left and devastated by Chase. With Brandon, you knew from the beginning that he would do anything for her; even stepping aside to let her and Chase be together if that would ultimately make her happy.

This book definitely took me on an emotional roller coaster.  I laughed. I cried. I feared. I empathized. I hoped. This was without a doubt a 5+ star read for me. I have read other ratings that were negative, but honestly if you read book, even if you didn’t like the path it took, you had to realize the story was about Harper. Molly McAdams writes this brilliantly in my opinion. It’s about Harper learning to trust, to love, to grow and to survive all that life throws at her. And really, isn’t that what we are all doing? Or at least trying to do?

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