Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 21st 2014
Series: True Believers #3
Source: ARC provided by NetGalley
Robin used to be a party girl… until she got blackout drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend's boyfriend. Now she's faced with being THAT girl, and couldn't be more disgusted with herself. She can't even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that's good and oh, so bad…Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin's house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he's drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn't care that he's done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist. But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it's a naïve dream to believe that his record won't catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present…
Believe me when I tell you I was scared going into this one and getting to the bottom of Robin's story! (see what I did there?). She seemed so likable from the other books. I was mildly blown away by the depth of character I found in not only Robin but also in Phoenix.
After reading Sweet, I knew something happened between Robin and her best friend's boyfriend Nathan. I was afraid I would find out she was not such a great person but she shocked me with her quiet guilt and personality. She's struggled with drinking for a while being a college party girl trying to find herself. Sometimes It takes something really hard for us to dig beneath our layers to find what's beneath. With Robin it took a drunken night hookup with Nathan to open her eyes. She wakes up in his bed naked with no memory of the night before. Distraught over what she did she closes herself off and stops drinking, partying and basically being around her friends. If she hadn't been so torn up over what happened she probably wouldn't have been so likable for me. I seem to bond more with characters who deal with internal emotional distress. I felt bad for her and hated seeing her so upset but loved just how much she grew from that experience. She learned a lot about herself when she hit rock bottom.
The beauty she gained from the wreckage of her life was Phoenix. This guy was Robin's opposite in every possible way. Where she grew up in the burbs with wealthy, loving parents, Phoenix was raised in the ghetto with an addict for a mother. Phoenix was by far my favorite guy in the series. That's saying a lot because his cousin Riley is a very close second. Phoenix has had a really tough upbringing and he has some issues with anger but he had a gentle quiet spirit aside from the anger that was exactly what Robin needed. Despite the fact that Phoenix had just gotten out of prison I never doubted his intentions. McCarthy has a way of writing beautifully damaged males that grab you by the heartstrings. He knew Robin needed a friend and saw that she was upset so he just offered her his friendship. To be from such a busted life he was amazing to Robin. I loved them together and think they are my favorite couple.
The story flips on it's side once the secret between Robin and Nathan comes out and sides are taken between all the friends. I loved being able to see all my favorite characters from the other books but hated how upset everyone was. This was a tough blow to a great friendship between Robin and Kylie. One of the main things that bothered me about this aspect in the story was how the resolution of the secret went down. Throughout the story I kept getting the feeling like maybe Robin had been drugged at the frat party that started it all. I mean this is a girl who practically drank daily and for her to black out that hard didn't add up for me. I kept expecting the shoe to drop that Nathan had slipped her something. Nathan was a bastard and I hated how easily it seemed like he got off because in all appearances he basically raped Robin in my opinion. I was a little aggravated that everyone seemed to just moved past it... well besides Phoenix. It was very rewarding to see him lose his shit and stand up for Robin.
The TRUE Believers series is one of the strangest series of books I have read. The author seems to be heavily fixated on all the main characters hooking up with their friends exes or past lovers. I'm not sure why this bothers me like it did. I guess I just adhere to the 'Girl Code' of old. "THOU SHALT NOT BANG THY FRIENDS LEFTOVERS". To me it just feels like a six degrees of Kevin Bacon partner swap at times. In all seriousness though, even with my issues with this series I absolutely love these books. Robin and Phoenix became my favorite couple and their love story was heart warming for me. They grew together, loved together, fought together and lived...TOGETHER! It was nice watching them navigate the new territory of a relationship. I got a little more emotional in this one than I did with the others. The next book in the series should be interesting being about the offended friend Kylie. I'm anxious to see how the author brings her anguish full circle to something happy. I have high hopes that her and Robin can find a way to mend their friendship.
One thing you can't say about these books is they lack character and passion. They're filled with angst and pain but they are also filled with laughter and love. The close family unit the characters seem to make warms you to the soul. True Believers is a series that draws you into the characters lives and invests you in their happiness. I definitely recommend you give them a try.
"Life is like waiting in line at the grocery store. you wait, you slowly move forward, you pay the price, then you exit unsatisfied and broke." ARC 17%
We lay like that, holding hands, staring up at the sky, and for the first time in a very long time, I thought maybe I was going to be okay. Or at the very least like I wouldn't shatter into a million pieces upon contact. ARC 26%
"I'm alive, I've got my freedom, a job, two bucks in my pocket, and a beautiful woman who sees something in me. What else could I need?" ARC 48%
Turning I watched him over my shoulder, personally aroused and proud of myself, feeling together, happy, whole. I owed him that, for thinking I was beautiful when I was broken, hair dirty, clothes haphazard. Ironic how people would look at him and assume dysfunction, when I was the one who had needed him. ARC 70%
About The Author:
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog.