Title: Taking Chances
Author: Molly McAdams
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads):
Eighteen year old Harper has grown up under her career Marine of a father's thumb. Ready to live life her own way and experience things she's only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father's unit; she's on her way to college at San Diego State University.
Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family and emotions. Some she wasn't expecting yet, and others she never knew she was missing.
She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with her boyfriend Brandon, and her roommate's brother Chase. Covered in tattoos, known for fighting in the Underground and ridiculously muscled...they're exactly what she was always warned to stay away from, but just what she needs. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both adore and would do anything for Harper, including stepping back if it means she's happy.
Her first year away is turning out to be near perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything.
I feel as if I should apologize for the review that you’re about to read since I’m sure it will come off as a major rant than an actual review. And, just a heads up before you read much further, this review will contain spoilers. Not that I’m sure it matters since everyone and their grandmother has apparently read it, but if you are one of the few that haven’t, and haven’t sneaked a peek at spoilers, then stop now and save yourself the rage your about to embark on.
I finished this book a few days ago and I really just had to take some time and hope that I cooled off enough to write a proper review, but the more I waited the more upset I become. This book still haunts me; I’ve had dreams about these characters. And it’s not because I loved it so much that I can’t stop thinking about. No. It’s because I feel we as readers were emotionally shredded by a character’s demise.
Let me start by saying how much I loved the first half of this book. I. Loved. It. If I was rating just the first half, than it would have been at least 4 stars. But unfortunately I didn’t listen to the part of me that was dying inside and finished the book. The last half you would have to pull a single star out of my death grip. I would not be giving up that simple rating easy.
So, before I get all negative and bitchy, let me tell you what I loved. Okay, first let me tell you what I found unbelievable.
Harper has never been to a mall? Really? How is that even possible? Where did she buy her clothes? I’ve known the strictest parents and even they let their kids out once in a while. And why would Bree (the roommate and new best friend) be shocked to learn that she’ never had a boyfriend or been kissed if she’s never been to a mall? Clearly, if one hasn’t stepped foot out of the house one hasn’t at the opportunity to lock lips.
I was kind of irritated by how fast Chase and Brandon were taken with Harper. I mean, what was so special and amazing about this girl that they tripped over their own feet within seconds of meeting her? It was just another story with a selfishly boring female character that everyone fell in love with for no apparent reason. (Really, what was Carter’s role in this story besides ANOTHER man who wanted to bang her?)
But I could over look that because of Chase. Chase had my heart from the second his bad boy attitude was written on the pages. Sure, Brandon’s a good guy—but he’s too good of a guy. He’s was just too perfect all of the time. What guy is that fucking perfect?
Now, I’m glossing over and skipping some things because I really just want to tell about the part that made me swoon and forget how to breathe.
The build-up to Harper and Chase’s kiss was amazing. I burst into tears at the New Year’s Eve party where he grabbed her hand and rubbed his finger over the ring. I just couldn’t take it anymore! And it made it so much worse because (stupid me reading spoilers) knew what was coming and it was killing me. Yes, I ugly cried right there. But OMG that kiss. I couldn’t…I just… He was so… I had no words so I cried some more.
And how sweet was Chase with that tattoo? I fell even more in love with him then. And I hated how the author made you care about this character like that. I hate knowing that in a few pages my heart was going to be ripped out, stomped and spit on.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still a couple of more things that I loved.
Okay, one last warning about the spoilers. This is where I’m really going to get into them……
I hated how Harper handled finding out she was pregnant. I hated that she told everyone but Chase about it. But I loved, I loved!, his reaction when he found out.
“Is it—is it mine?”“Of course it is.”“We’re going to have a baby?”“Yes.”“This is our baby?” He reached for the photo in my handI smiled, “Yes.”His expression was so beautiful, tears instantly poured down my cheeks. “We’re having a baby.”I laughed through my tears and nodded my head.Chase ran a hand through his hair and huffed out a laugh. He looked from the picture to my stomach once more. “I love you so much.”
I’m getting teary eyed just thinking of that moment again. He was so excited about the baby, and about loving her—which she totally didn’t deserve! It goes without saying that I hated Harper. I hated how selfish she was, how she couldn’t make up her mind between Brandon and Chase. I hated that while she was with Chase—a man who loved her beyond reason and wanted to marry her and raise their family together—she still loved Brandon more, the guy she cheated on. I. Hate. This. Character.
And I completely blame her for Chase’s death. If she wasn’t so fucking stupid! Why wasn’t Harper smart enough to realize if Chase had in fact screwed around with Trish why the hell would he send her a text to come see him the next morning? Why didn’t she catch on how fucking stupid and set up the whole thing was? Why doesn’t this woman think?!
But no, she doesn’t think and because of her stupidity for falling for lies and not using her fucking head, we lose Chase. I don’t care how it happened, Harper killed Chase.
If you haven’t guessed this is where I start to get pissed. I’m still fucking pissed days later. Oh, and another warning: if the f word offends you, you will be offended a ton from here on out. I’m not only emotionally damaged for life because of this book but I’m also so unbelievably mad. And it’s not only because of what McAdams did, it’s also because of why she did it. All throughout the book, Harper went back and forth about her feelings for Brandon and Chase, saying she loved them both. But even once she was with Chase, she told Bree she loved Brandon even more than she did when she broke up with him. Hmm that right there is a clue something horrible is about to happen to the other one. Because no, it would be too simple to have this fucking girl make up her mind once and for all, be with only one of them and let the other move on. No. She had to still want both of them, had to love Brandon even more than she did Chase, and because of that the author decided she would give her a “free pass” and make the final decision something Harper really didn’t have to choose at all. Because with only one option left who needs to choose, right? That’s what pisses me off! Everyone could have had a HEA here. Everyone could have moved on. But did they? No. Why? Because the author didn’t want to make this girl accountable for any of her choices!
There’s a line in the book that made me see red. “This family is hurting, but they’re all trying to cope and move on. You need to too.” Said by Brandon FIVE days after the accident. Five. Days. Who moves on after only five fucking days when something like this happens? No one!! People are still in denial, they’re still hurting, they still don’t know how the fuck to feel. But they’re not ready to move the fuck on!
Another thing I hated. Chase was gone just over a month and Harper is making out Brandon? Fine, you can rationalize it however you like. She had never stopped loving him, she obviously loved him more than Chase when they were together, she was young and had years of her life a head of her and Chase would want her to move on and be happy, blah blah blah. No! I hate how Chase’s memory was cast aside, by not only Harper but his own family! We saw a few tears shed and then life went on with a happy little skip and a jump that brought Brandon into everyone’s lives. As a replacement for Chase! No. Just no! And do we actually think Chase would be happy that Harper moved on with Brandon? Um, I’m guessing not. I wanted to scream bull shit every time Chase’s family opened their mouths and encouraged her to go running back to Brandon. What about Chase?! What about Harper thinking of the baby and not who can fill her bed now that it’s cold? What about just concentrating on being a fucking mother and respecting your baby’s father’s memory by being alone for a while! What about Chase?! Go ahead and rationalize it however you want. I still think she’s a stupid, selfish cunt.
Oh and give me a break! His mother is going to sit there and ask for details about Harper’s kiss with another guy? With everything these people were saying and doing I was amazed they hadn’t told Harper to jump Brandon as soon as they had gotten the news about Chase. Because really, that’s how little these people respected their son. I just…this is where I wanted to throw the book away. This is where it started to lose me and I wanted to pull a Joey and hide it in the freezer where all evil should be.
Another line that had me wanting to strangle every single character left in this novel. “Do you still plan to tell him (the baby) about Chase? If for whatever reason you didn’t that would be fine, no one would blame you for that.” Said by Chase’s own mother! WTF? I would blame her for that! This line is just total bull shit! Why would Chase’s own fucking mother think it was okay if her grandchild didn’t know about his real father! It’s just… UGH!! I can’t even express how much this pissed me off.
Let’s take a moment to talk about Harper’s pregnancy. Bed rest means BED REST! It doesn’t mean going to fights and running around getting pedicures. If she can’t even help with the cooking why the hell would it be acceptable for her to do those other things? I was on bed rest when I was pregnant, and aside from getting up to pee my happy ass was planted on the couch or in bed ALL DAY LONG. I didn’t have a life; I didn’t get to go places because bed rest means STAY THE FUCK OFF YOUR FEET!
And the entire time Brandon is driving Harper to the hospital and coaching her during labour all I could think was, “That should have been Chase. Why isn’t it Chase?” And don’t even get my started on the size of the baby! With how worried the doc was about his size that should have been at least an eight pound buddle of joy. But more importantly, why the fuck wasn’t there any mention of him looking like Chase? Why wasn’t even Chase thought of in that moment? Sure, whatever, we get that she loves Mr. Perfect, but she just gave birth to another man’s child; the thought of him would cross any woman’s mind.
The wedding? Yeah, my heart ached that it wasn’t Chase. I actually had to stop and just put the book away for a couple of days because I just couldn’t read anymore. I hated how Harper kept calling Brandon the love of her life, and how everyone had gone off and not once thought about Chase. No, I take that back. Brandon, out of everyone!, thought of him when he told Liam about his dad. Brandon.
Like I said, Brandon was too perfect for my taste, but the guy had class. And the scene where he defies Harper and goes to one more fight is my absolute favourite in the last half of this book. Why? Because for once his character was real. He was doing something that pissed off Harper and not made her so damn giddy and excited all the time.
I still have a problem with the ending. Everything was just so nicely wrapped up and they all went on and lived their happy little lives. The one consistent thing in the book was Harper’s dad attitude towards her, the way he treated her. And I liked that. I liked that there was actually one person in the entire world who didn’t think the sun shone out of her ass. But alas, no one can hate poor little Harper, can they? Because even her strict father came around and told her how much he loved her and how wrong he was. Ugh!
I’m just going to stop there. I have pages and pages of notes from this train wreck and could go on forever. But thinking of all this over again seriously leaves a girl exhausted.
Do I think Harper should have mourned Chase forever and stayed single until her dying day? No. But I think she, as well as the rest of his family, should have had more respect for his memory. I hate how the author had her jumping all over Brandon a week after Chase was gone. I. Hate. It. I would have liked them together so much more if Harper had waited an appropriate amount of time to go after Brandon. If he was really the love of her life they would have found their way back to each other after a year or two or whatever. Why couldn’t she just focus on her baby? Why couldn’t she just respect how much Chase loved her by honoring his memory properly? Why, Molly McAdams? Why did you do this to us?