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Tina's Reading Books

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

Beyond the Breaking Point

Beyond the Breaking Point - Zena Wynn Broken - Zena Wynn

Of course I have to review these two together since they are essentially one unbroken narrative.  Although given the way the second book, Broken, ended, I suspect there might be a third book in the offing.


My initial reaction upon finishing this book is that it was a delight filled with soaptastic fun.  It really is a veritable checklist of soap opera tropes:


Cheating - check

Questionable baby paternity - check

Family interference - check

Engineered misunderstandings - check

Dramatic confrontations - check

Cliffhanger ending - check


This could have been cheesy, but honestly it worked.  Even though the book was angsty I was entertained as hell. 


I liked 'Broken' better than 'Beyond the Breaking Point'.  I gave the first book Beyond the Breaking Point - Zena Wynn  3.5-stars while giving the second book, Broken - Zena Wynn  4-stars.  I thought the first book had a couple of issues that stopped me from enjoying it as much, while the second book felt like it had tighter plotting.


The story starts out with a double couples vacation.  Cassidy and her husband Phillip head to Florida for a week-long time-share with  Phillip's best friend Max and Max's soon-to-be fiancee Amber.  But before Cassidy can even get fully unpacked, she and Max stumble upon Phillip and Amber in a compromising position.


This is the first issue I had with the BtBP.  The infidelity happens so fast.  There was no lead up whatsoever.  Max and Cassidy go shopping and come back and BOOM!  Amber and Phillip are getting it on.  Even as the book goes on and the author tries to establish motive, I never bought it.  So as a foundation for everything that came next, this felt very shaky.  I think I would have been more convinced if we had a chance to see Amber and Phillip sharing looks, or having Cassidy notice their hyper-awareness of each other. 


Both Amber and Phillip's reasoning for betraying their S.O's felt rather hollow.  This is especially true of Amber who in reality never comes off as anything more than plot device.  Her character was paper thin and really, imo, got the short shrift.  I would have liked for her to explore Amber's motivation more, but instead she was quickly disposed of.


Phillip comes off much better.  He gets fleshed out and we get some believable background on why he would cheat on Cassidy, what type of a guy he is, and good look at the internal workings of their troubled marriage.  Even so, it still did not explain why he would have cheated with Amber of all people.


Which brings me to one of my other issues with this book is how very little attention is paid to the relationship between Max and Phillip.  These two have known each other for years.  They went to college together.  Max was Phillip's best man, they work at the same law firm.  There was supposedly a deep and long term friendship here.  Not only did Phillip and Amber cheat but Max and Cassidy have revenge sex.  The book focuses more on the marriage betrayal and Cassidy/Max's growing relationship that it never takes enough time to look at the betrayal of that friendship.  I would have liked to have had the two men show some pain there rather than just the dick-swinging anger/possessiveness they displayed over Cassidy.


While I wish there had been areas the story examined more thoroughly, I will say that the areas the story did concentrate on were done very well.  Max and Cassidy's relationship that grew out of their anger had a very beliveable progression.  Also, I though they had great chemistry.


I also applaud the author for showing in great detail how difficult -- both emotionally and legally -- it is to get a divorce.  Cassidy wants one, Phillip doesn't.  As a lawyer he knows exactly how to work to system.  I learned a LOT about Pennsylvania divorce law.


The first book ends on an abrupt cliff-hanger with Cassidy and Phillip sitting down to negotiate their divorce.


Where the first book sorta treads the line of being closer to women's fiction, the second book was a more conventional, more emotional romance.  It was all Cassidy and Max working through their issues and misunderstandings without the additional plot elements of the adultery/divorce etc. that was the engine that drove the first book.  As a result it felt more intimate and I felt like I could concentrate on just them more. 


There were some great revelation scenes, some great confrontation scenes and really just nice moments of deeper character involvement.


This one ended a bit abruptly too.  Not on a cliffhanger -- because Max and Cassidy are together and happy and in love at the end of this book --but the story just...stopped.  It was strange.  While the romance felt finished, oddly the book did not feel concluded.