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Near & Far (Lost & Found) (Volume 2) by…
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Near & Far (Lost & Found) (Volume 2)

by Nicole Williams

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Now that Rowan's pursuing her art and getting her chance at an education, five hundred miles separates her from Jesse and the ranch. Their summer romance was a slow build to a virtual whirlwind, but surviving the distance isn't easy for anyone, especially two people with such different outlooks on and goals in life. They seemed perfect for each other before, but now that they're back to the real world, Jesse and Rowan are starting to experience cracks in their relationship, from self-doubt to other people trying to undermine everything, and whether or not they can weather the storm remains to be seen.

But... I'm not sure if I was so into the previous book that I was blind to the errors or if this book just had someone less knowledgeable in charge of the copy editing, but there were some odd editing problems in this book. It was kind of like someone consulted a list of commonly mispronounced or misused words and phrases and decided to hide them throughout the book like unwelcome Easter eggs. For instance, there was a mention of unchartered waters and later unchartered territory — when the correct word is uncharted, as in unmapped and unfamiliar. I could make a whole list of these types of problems throughout the book, but I'd probably just bore you to death. Suffice it to say, the language butchering was pretty distracting, and a decent editor probably would have made all the difference in the world.

The Verdict: While it's a great story, I think I would have been happier without this second look at Jesse and Rowan. I know that sounds like a giant negative, but it's not really a reflection of the writing or the story itself. It's simply that with Jesse and Rowan finally together and happy at the end of the first book, I knew that this second book about them would either be boring as hell or have some big conflict and probably a lot more angst. Of course, it was the latter. After an almost perfect ending in book 1 – almost because Rowan left for school right there at the end — this book had lots of missing each other, followed by some general insecurities and general obliviousness, and then some secret keeping and a whole hell of a lot of dark. And I liked my Jesse more when he was the happy-go-lucky sunshine variety.

I guess a lot of what these two went through in Near and Far is pretty realistic. While their feelings for each other certainly didn't change, their lives continued forward more or less without each other. And of course, because rare is the outsider who believes a long-distance relationship will last, some of those non-believers moved in on both of them. But instead of following the standard romance novel formula — you know the one, where the girl swears the other guy is just a friend, and he's all rainbows and puppies around her while he's a conniving, manipulative schemer showing his true colors to her boyfriend… Anyhow, this story took a fresher (and more realistic, I think) approach.

Rowan called her third wheel out on his jerkiness, even though she didn't fully realize his intentions. And Jesse was uncomfortable with his stalker, but he was so in love with Rowan that he was blind to said stalker's intentions. It was an interesting and welcome change from what I usually read, and that bit of realism went a long way toward the believability of both the characters and their story.

As I said, I sort of wish I'd been left with the happily ever after of the first book without taking this road through insecurities, angst, and a walk through Jesse's awful past, but that's just me wanting to live in fantasy-land for a little longer. It was nice seeing Garth and Jesse's friendship start to mend, and I even fell a little more in love with Jesse's mother. The end was a little rushed, and going from pretty much broken up to forever seemed to skip a few steps, but the story was still interesting, the overall plot was sound, and the problems stewing in the characters' heads were certainly true to life. ( )
  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
Looking forward to book 3 -- this one was more 3.5 stars than 4 stars for me. There was so much getting in the way of Rowan and Jesse's true love story. I was ready for them to finally have some awesome relationship building good times but got something else entirely. I fell a little for Garth this time around and look forward to more about him in the next book. Jesse and Rowan hit some major bumps and some of it was sweet, sad , awful and stupid. I mean the whole I am not good enough for you even though we are in deep perfect love was not my favorite plot twist. I won't spoil this story more than that but I'm glad I read until the very sweet ending. ( )
  sharonhd | Mar 13, 2014 |
Near & Far was a great read! I liked it much better than the first book. The Lost & Found felt like it had every imaginable inspirational quote added into it. N&F just seems more realistic, painful, and angsty. The angst was almost palpable, especially Jesse's side of the story. I liked that Jesse wasn't the golden boy in this book, too! The two struggle to maintain their relationship along with their personal lives. When a surprise from the past shows up, it may just unravel the thin thread that has kept them together!

The swoonworthy factor of this book was not as high as the first, which makes me a bit sad, but it was balanced out with a well placed cocky cowboy. I am a sucker for the bad boys, and I loved Garth Black's part in this story.. I can't wait to see if he will have a story! It'll have to be one tough girl to wrangle that cowboy in!

I love the cover to this book, it is darker than the first and suits the feeling of the book! The story seemed short, because the plot was faster paced. I am a big fan of Nichole's writing, especially her Duel First Person POVs. Overall, it's a one sitting, angsty read, that I'd happily recommend!

( )
  asgwilli | Dec 2, 2013 |
The first book Lost and Found was good. Wasn't sure how i was going to handle the younger characters in it. The second book was great. I had a hard time putting it down. ( )
  Talaskat | Oct 8, 2013 |
I couldn't wait to read this book and find out what was going on with Jesse and Rowen. They've finally found each other, confessed their love, and now face the ultimate challenge... a long-distance relationship. Jesse is back on the ranch working because his father needs him. Rowen is attending school in Seattle and pursuing her dream of being an artist. Jesse makes the long trip there about once a month, and Rowen goes back to the Ranch as often as she can. Needless to say, it is difficult for them. Meanwhile Rowen gets a big break regarding her art work, and she also has the TA in her class pushing her and helping her, but is Jaxson interested in more than just helping her with her art? As the summer begins and new calves are born, Jesse can't leave the ranch at all. When Rowen makes the trip home to the ranch, she finds that Rose Walker has hired a new girl to help, just as Jesse did the previous summer, only Jo is beautiful, big busted, and has the hots for Jesse. It just seems like these two can't get a break. Fortunately, their relationship and love for each other stays strong during this round, but as the bell dings for another round, they find themselves facing the worst and most difficult enemy of all, the one that lies within the mind. Circumstances are set in motion that dredge up the past, which was a battle Jesse thought he had already one, but this time, it threatens to draw them apart for good.

In Lost and Found, we really got to know Rowen, her story, and her past issues, while we got just some basic information on Jesse's past. Well in Near and Far, we get Jesse's story, and it will break your heart. The things that happened to him were unimaginable, and the circumstance that brings all these memories back to the surface was unbelievably hurtful. I can truthfully say that I got to know Jesse Walker inside and out in the novel. I was really pleased with Rowen's character in this installment. She has grown so much, which is evidenced by the way she handles things. That's not to say she doesn't still have her issues, because she does. I loved the romance between these two and they share some really intimate moments together. We also get to see the secondary characters from book one, as well as meet some new ones. I loved Rowen's roommate, she is a hoot. I hated Jaxon and Jo, those old wanna be home-wreckers. We see Josie again, and then there is my favorite character, Garth Black. Garth played an instrumental part in this book and I couldn't help but just love him. I was really happy with the ending of this story also, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Finders Keepers, the next book in the series, which is Garth's story. I will say that I felt like this novel was more emotional than the first one, and because I felt all those emotion right along with them. Near and Far is an excellent sequel to a wonderful romantic series....and it has hot cowboys. I mean what more could a girl as for :). ( )
  alwaysyaatheart | Sep 28, 2013 |
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