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After the Storm by M. Stratton
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Lexi Hanson moved across the country to rebuild her life after the attack that almost destroyed her. She enjoys the simple things in her beach cottage. Life is finally complete.
Next door is Noah Matthews, he is Rock & Rolls hottest star and on top of the world. After years without a break he finds the solitude he craves at his beach house. Enjoying his early morning coffee, Noah is surprised to see his neighbor sneak into his garden and crawl around.

They become friends, but someone was watching them. Someone who thought Lexi belonged to him and would stop at nothing to have her.

Too much, too little, but not enough is how I felt at the end of the book. Too much plot ... romance with a celebrity and a stalker. Too little .. pretty predictable with plenty of characters but I felt no connection to them. But not enough .. there is potential. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jun 19, 2016 |
Lexi had built her life up after a horrendous encounter 7 years ago. When Noah approaches her, she thinks she may be ready for a little fun. But her past is quickly catching up and Noah is ready and willing to deal with it. ( )
  wndy2011 | May 11, 2016 |
Let's put aside the fact that this so-called novel is heavily propelled by the suspense of a confrontation which is eventually given only a few pages before being postponed until the next book in the series, making this one of the most anti-climactic reads I've come across, essentially the first half of a novel instead of a complete work in and of itself. Let's even put aside that the primary characters are stereotypical clichés who have little to no depth, in any respect.

And then, let's talk about all of the reasons that this book, very simply, needed another three or four rounds of heavy drafting and editing before being close to ready for publication...if we're being generous.

First, on a content level, there are horrendous holes in the plot, in reasoning, and in the psychology of the characters. Any reader who has a basic feel for believable human nature or the basic psychology surrounding and following trauma will cringe over and over again while reading this book--it's that simple. Without giving anything away (in case you are tempted to read this, for whatever reason), suffice it to say that the main character, Lexi, is supposedly haunted by a traumatic event in her past, and that even heavily contributes to all of the tensions and suspense in the novel. The problem? Even though much of her lifestyle is due to this event's haunting her memory, her actions and reactions don't make any sense in terms of that trauma. At the author's/plot's whim and convenience, she overreacts or doesn't react at all--and, before you ask, the event is far enough in the past that she should, at the very least, be settled into a behavior pattern that is either stable or totally unpredictable, if it is that haunting. Instead, sometimes (many times, in fact), it's as if it never happened, whereas it's as if it happened yesterday when it suits the author. Unless she's suffering from a severe mental illness (and there's no reason to suspect she is, contextually), there's no way that her behavior is believable or that everyone around her should be acting as if she's acting rationally. Along the same lines, the male protagonist is nearly as unbelievable, if not as drastically or unpredictably. Holes in the plot are a similar problem--realistically, parts of the book simply don't make sense. In some cases, the characters ignore behavior that would push most of us to call the authorities, even as we're being told that they're terrified something is wrong. In other cases, things are simply too easy or too ridiculous to take seriously. So much for reality.

In the long run, the story and characters are so unbelievable and predictable (at least up until the point at which the book simply stops) that I had no problem putting this book down in the middle of scenes which should have been gut-wrenching, or at least emotional. Instead, I couldn't bring myself to care about any of it, and just hoped to be done with it sooner than later. I can say that for it, at least--it was a quick and easy read, if you ignore the annoyance at errors/silliness.

(And yes, I do believe a love story can be believable, well-written, and/or realistic, not to mention well-written and interesting.)

Because, as you guessed, the next problem with the book is the writing. Besides the unbelievable characters and dialogue, and besides the constant clichés, there are basic problems that any half-way decent editor would have caught and eliminated. For the most part, the book is in third person...but, there are some few random shifts into first person. For no reason, and with no indication that the author realizes they're a jarring break from the rest of the writing. No italics to suggest they're internal thought, either--they're simply random sentences in first person, thrown in with the rest of the third person narration. And then there are the grammatical problems--especially in the first fifty pages, there are constant run-ons, fragments, and sentence structure errors.

If this hadn't been a goodreads first reader giveaway for which I was expected to write a review, I never would have made it past the first twenty pages or so, if that.

Simply, this is one of those books that made me wish self-published work had a warning label, even though I know that there's great self-published material out there. This, though, was nowhere near ready for publication. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Mar 27, 2014 |
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Book description
Book One of The Storm Series 
Alexia “Lexi” Hanson moved across the country to rebuild her life after the attack that almost destroyed her. She enjoys the simple things in her beach cottage. Life is finally complete. 

Noah Matthews is Rock & Roll’s hottest star and on top of the world. After years without a break he finds the solitude he craves at his beach house. Enjoying his early morning coffee, Noah is surprised to see his neighbor sneak into his garden and crawl around. 

They never saw that fateful morning coming. Someone was watching them. Someone who thought Lexi belonged to him and would stop at nothing to have her. 

Lives are changed forever when they meet amongst the blooms in his garden. Even when things seem darkest, there is always light After the Storm.
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