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Tina's Reading Books

Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Before Forever

This is the final installment of the six part serialized book also known as the Sharing Spaces series.



I have absolutely enjoyed this series from the very first installment.  So much so that it overcame my distaste for the serialized method of delivery.  Also, I think when all is said and done, the author's price point felt correct for what she delivered.


This book brings our hero and heroine, Patrick and Chloe to their happily ever after.


Truthfully, I am not 100% sure why I like this series as much as I do.  The writing is clean and inviting, and yet I have read books with much more captivating prose that I haven't enjoyed as much.  The plot is simple without any of the amazing highs or gut-wrenching lows that make you run to write a gushing review.  I wonder if the book simply is meeting a particular need that I have that I am finding elusive in  many other romances that I attempt?


For one thing, this book is somewhat "off-trend."


- It isn't NA or YA

- It isn't a paranormal

- It isn't erotica or even romantica

- It takes place in a big city

- Patrick isn't a billionaire

- It isn't BDSM

- It has racial diversity

- Patrick isn't a SEAL, FBI, CIA, or member of a MC


What it does, if this is even a thing, is it somewhat normalizes the very normal.  Romance has a tendency in many cases to deliver fantasy.  Unspoken is the idea that unless you are reading about larger than life situations and people that it can't be romantic or even exciting.  But I feel that having to read about all these exciting people be excitingly romantic can be exhausting.


In Chloe we have a marketing executive and in Patrick we have an aspiring actor.  Their relationship is one of discovery.  The well drawn supporting characters' actions either directly or indirectly impact that discovery and we get to watch as the two adjust, change and grow based on that stimuli.  Much the the conflict in the relationship is external until this final book where some of the small microagressions Chloe has been experiencing collide head on with Patrick's ambitions.  This is the first real bump that their relationship has experienced that has been solely about them.   I think both parties handled it poorly and I really would have liked for this to have happened earlier in the series so that the fallout could have been better explored.  But I never got a sense that this was manufactured, but rather felt realistic for their situation.


The ending was I think the one concession to standard romance trope, one of the first that I have really seen in this series as it has felt remarkably trope-free.  But I can live with it since our couple got their HEA.


My biggest criticism is that although I came around to the serialization aspect, I don't think  served the story well in the end.  The initial installments felt much more assured in both the pacing and transitions.  As the story progressed, the transitions felt a bit choppier and the pacing felt a little rushed, especially in this final book.  I wonder if the author herself began to get impatient with the release schedule?  I do think that some of the scene shifts in the later installments felt a bit abrupt and I would have liked to have seen a more gradual build up to the pay offs of a few of the plot threads.  Also I think it was a missed opportunity given Patrick's change in acting fortunes not to have had some scenes with his two best friends in this last book.  They were absent and it was a glaring absence given their importance in the earlier installments.


But this was a such a fun series to read that I am only a bit wistful at the smallish things that I would have liked.  Getting each installment was like getting a new present that I was eager and excited to unwrap.  I can't think of the last time I had that kind of eagerness at getting a book.


If you like Alpha heroes and angst then you will not like this book at all.  But if you like a cool couple whose courtship may seem a lot like people you know, then i think you might find this a good book to read.


I recommend.