This is Part Two of our two-part review for Where We Left Off. You can find Rafa’s five-star review here!
Where We Left Off, by Roan Parrish
Series: Middle of Somewhere, Book #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.
For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.
But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.
I’ve been a little burned out on contemporary romance but took a chance on this series at the beginning of the year and was totally blown away because it just feels different to me than the same old, same old, and because I really dig Roan’s writing style and her use of language. All three books in the series are now 5 star reads for me and the first and this one are going on my favourite shelf for this year. Um, not many books make it there, so.
Basically, reading these books is like pure heaven to me, a delight from start to end, and I’m sad it is over and that I don’t exactly know what is coming next.
I’m a reader who totally focuses on characters and their development. Plot and setting and language are also important to me, but if I have all this but no characters I can relate to, it’s not gonna be a favourite book. Where We Left Off has all of this! The characters are so amazingly well crafted. I loved trying to figure them out, to see how they just make sense in everything they are, and it was so rewarding to see how they change and see where they are in the end.
The story is told from Leo’s point of view in first person, present tense – which works amazingly well here – and I have quite a lot in common with him. Like me, he’s started going to university. He’s on his own for the first time and stands in front of a huge challenge and a new episode in his life. It’s overwhelming and scary but he finds the most amazing friends and he’s totally into yoga, which is so my thing as well, and he’s such a romantic at heart:
In that moment, winter sun streaming through the window, the bed warm and smelling of sex and us, the possibility stretched before me, luminous and full of hope, that maybe we’d wake up that way a thousand times more.
Will though… He’s very different. Not interested in love and a monogamous relationship with anyone, and, along with Leo, it was totally great to try and put the puzzle pieces together and understand him. Not to give too much away but his family background and his resentment of all that seems perfect from the outside was charmingly new.
It might not seem like these two can work and there was a time in the book where I couldn’t see how they would be able to be together but they do and I found it to be most rewarding to see them be happy together.
We got along in this way that shouldn’t have worked but did, like the first time someone tells you that brie and pear go well together and it seems impossible until the tastes are lingering on your tongue.
I like to be challenged in my views and to be open about ideas and I want to read something that questions what I’ve always thought to be true, or something that rings true and I knew deep down but secretly missed reading about.
So, what makes a relationship a relationship? What is romantic and where are our expectations coming from? Or are our ideas of what things should be in the way of something real?
I wondered how many more things like that I’d dismissed or undervalued, too distracted by the fact that I wasn’t getting the results I’d set my sights on.
To me, Leo and Will together are perfect. Love and romance don’t have to be a fairytale to be good and, moreover, to be real. To read about how relationships can work – even if the outset is unideal – is something that I really, really love and appreciate because I believe that’s just how life is. And it is exactly this that makes Where We Left Off such a unique book and great reading experience.
In addition to the romance, I especially like Leo’s new friends Gretchen and Milton, and the glimpses we get of Daniel and Rex. I think I need to reread the first book because Daniel is so cute and I just can’t get enough of him and Rex. Gretchen is like an anchor. She’s rooted and calm and projects this outward, so you feel like yourself and good about it, too. And Milton is like bathing in the spring sun. He makes you happy and relaxed and warm and like you never want to leave.
Coming to the end, I also want to mention that the sex scenes are all scorching hot and the right mix of passionate-intimate and inventive. Seriously… The best. And like I mentioned above, I really love the easy-going yet sophisticated and profound way Roan Parrish writes her stories.
To sum this up, I LOVED this book and I totally recommend it and I can’t wait for more.
ROAN PARRISH lives in Philadelphia. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
You can purchase Where We Left Off from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.