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Review: In the Cards by Jaime Beck

Summary

Lindsey Hilliard flees her charmed life in New York, searching for answers after her fiancé’s betrayal fills her with self-doubt. Unfortunately, her rented Malibu home is next door to Levi Hardy, the sexy but insufferable man who humiliated her years ago.

Hardened by a grim past he keeps concealed, Levi prefers maintaining a comfortable distance from folks, especially a nosy princess like Lindsey. But then a motorcycle collision brings him to his knees, forcing him to accept her assistance with his recovery. Sparks begin to fly when the woman who doesn’t believe in herself teaches the cynic how to have faith in others. Levi realizes his body will recover, but his heart won’t if Lindsey returns to the ex who wants her back.

In the biggest gamble of his life, Levi teaches her to trust her own voice, and hopes she’ll use it to say good-bye to her past and hello to a future with him.

Review

Jamie Beck's debut novel, In the Cards, definitely blossomed into a wonderful book about friendship and love. Beautiful characters, who bore their hearts on their sleeves, allowed the reader to absorb this simmering page turner and fall in love with their story. Lindsey and Levi, who seem on the surface so different, come together broken through circumstances, allowing an exposed vulnerability mending a storyline that made such a good read. 

To be honest, in the beginning of the book, I was uncertain about how I was going to feel about the characters and where they were going to lead me. What I do love about books like this is that it gives you that alternating pov, that allows you to connect with the characters from the start but I didn't feel that instant connection that I had with other books. It had nothing to do with the chemistry or whether or not I liked the characters because that feeling came later but for me, it was how they were briefly introduced and the time transition of their lives later that took away that instant hook for make me to want to fall in love with them, initially. I felt like something was missing in that transition to mesh the past with the future because I found myself flipping back thinking I had missed something. Even though we learned details about their lives and how their encounter plays a role later in the book, I'm torn whether this chapter was needed. Despite this, I was intrigued to read more because once their lives started later, that is when I felt the book really came alive for me and become the page turner. 

It's interesting because when you start reading and see how they first met, you might develop a preconceived idea of who they are. There will be definitely a difference in perception from the beginning to the end of the book.  Actually, you might not think too deep into them at first but as you get to know them, the development of their characters driven through their povs, radiate a realness which drives that connection to relate and feel for them. Once they break down to the core of who they are, flawed and imperfect, you just find yourself hooked and absorbed in the book.

Here is a little bit about their back story to get you started:

So, when we get first introduced to Lindsey, she is young, under the wings of her parents. While on a vacation with them, she gets completely smitten by Levi, whom she tried to pass herself off as older to try and get his attention but failed and was ultimately rejected by circumstances. Life went on and while planning her wedding to her finance who on paper met all the criteria her parents would find suitable for her, turned out to be quite a douche. Trying to convince her that this was a nothing with nobody one-time thing, which turns out to be a lie, she decides to take off west to seek answers that she cannot seem to find in her current life. As she internally struggles to balance what she wants, who she is, seeking her parents approval of her life choices or whether her finance is the person she is meant to be with, she doesn't  have a clue to which road must be taken. The only thing she know is that out west represents fond memories of her aunt and that going there would give her the distant that she needs to find potentially what answers she is looking for. 

Levi, is very much the opposite. He is definitely the case of life not being fair but made the best of the hand he was dealt. His mother abandoned him and his father when he was really young. His father wasn't exactly father of the year, exposing him to many aspects of life that had them moving place to place not having the normal childhood. These two combinations left deep rooted issues that led to him not be able to get close or care about other people. Deciding to make a life for himself, he decided to distance himself from his father until one day he found out about his death and upon discovery of his things found something that opened Pandora box for him that he just couldn't deal with. Trying to flee his past, he decides to head west and discovers that no matter how much you try and run away from it, your past always seems to catch up with you.

Unbeknownst to the both them, their two worlds crossed paths. What I love about the story from this point on is how people come into your life for a reason. The answers you so desperately seek may not be obvious forms but unexpected. She comes in search of answers but lacks the confidence and the certainty to make her own decisions without being such a people pleaser. It wasn't until his accident that he had to learn how to trust someone and deal with his body not only being broken but his internal struggles that needed to be healed. So, their journey together through their struggles of seeking resolution and redemption for their pasts and present, seeking out answers to their unresolved introspective conflicts, friendship and finding love turned out to be a fantastic read. I'd definitely recommend her debut to add to your reading list.

Reviewed by Michelle Bowles

Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance (December 9, 2014)

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