2 out of 4 stars
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Heartaches by H.M. Irwing is the first book in the Bad Boy Vibes series. The book started from a funeral scene of the female protagonist Anna Walters Simon's stepfather. Her life at home is far from perfect, witnessing the murder of her stepfather in the hands of her stepbrother. Her misfortune doesn't stop there, later she is sexually assaulted by her boyfriend, his brother and his father who is also her English teacher. Twice. After the first assault, she meets Rafael 'Rafe' Brown, who went through a similar situation as Anna in his deployment to Syria. They both share a lot of things including the bad. They both proceed to help each other through their trauma and get justice in both their cases.
What I enjoyed most in this book was the writing. It was really poetic, the flow of narration was pretty great. Also, I liked the fact that this book was more than just a romance novel. The cover and the title is slightly misleading as it's not a fluffy, 'girl falls for bad boy’ story. It deals with much more serious situation and the story has a slightly dark undertone to it. I liked that both protagonists had their own quest in the story.
What I disliked the most about this book was the main protagonist Anna. I was not able to connect with her at all. Nor was I able to understand her actions and motives. I totally sympathize with what she went through, but my sympathy for her stopped just there. I was not able to connect nor understand her way of dealing with her situation. And her getting aroused in those situations were disturbing for me to read. I can understand her reaction in the first time but the second and while watching? I couldn't relate. She acted pretty dumbly and reckless in many scenes. I found her very annoying at times.
There were many situations with which I couldn't connect with the story as a whole and felt kind of unrealistic, and poorly presented. Also, Anna coming to live with Rafe and them sharing a room was way too convenient, the reason provided for such were not really believable too. The book needed more editing. There were errors and paragraph breaks are not done properly.
All in all, I liked the story, it was good, could've been better. In my opinion, it had the potential for being a pretty good novel, but unfortunately, this book didn't work for me. At some places, I was bored out of my mind. Therefore I'm giving this book 2 out of 4 stars. This book didn't work for me but I'm sure other people will enjoy it.
I'll recommend this book to readers who enjoy dark romance and who like their romance novel with something extra. I will not recommend this book to young readers and people who went through a similar situation as the scenes of abuse were pretty graphic and people may find it disturbing.
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