Review: Hell Without You by Ranae Rose

Hell Without YouHell Without You by Ranae Rose

Publication Date: September 9, 2013
Page Count: 222
Published by: Ranae Rose
Source: Review copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review
New Adult Contemporary Romance **Contains Mature Content**
Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Time changes everything, except what’s meant to be.

Seven years is a long time – long enough to transform Clementine from a small-town teenager with a broken heart into a woman ready to take on the world, but not long enough to make her forget about the man she was never supposed to see again. A temporary return to tiny Willow Heights thrusts her back into Donovan’s life and home, unearthing heartbreak and obsession that have stood the test of time.

He left seven years ago too, for war and other things Clementine can only imagine. Coming back to the town where he grew up in the shadow of poverty and drug addiction makes no sense, and neither do Clementine’s feelings for him. He could never forgive her for leaving, could he? Even if she had no choice.

Now, she has the freedom to choose … and so does he. Every day in Willow Heights makes it clearer: all he ever really wanted was her, and nothing will change that. Not even a taste of the hell that drove them apart in the first place.

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I'd love to give Hell Without You a glowing review, but unfortunately, I thought the plot was really formulaic and clich├ęd. I did like certain aspects of the story, but I didn't like how everything was executed. It was lacking in emotion and depth, and I found it hard to care about the characters or the storyline. None of the events that occurred, past or present, moved me or made me feel much of anything.

I liked the characters well enough. Clementine seemed like a strong female. She was set on doing things her way and didn't depend on anyone for anything. And boy does she know how to hold a grudge! Donovan was a decent guy who carried a torch for Clementine for 7 years. All he wanted in life was to earn an honest living and be with Clementine. He seemed like a stand up guy, and I'm sure I would have really loved him if I would have gotten to know him better. He had a few issues and would be considered a tortured character, but at times he had a few issues that I thought put him into a more dangerous category. I would have liked for him and Clementine to address his PTSD a bit more than they did.

I do like that Donovan and Clementine were able to get a second chance at love, and I think they deserved to be happy. They were able to discuss their problems and confront them head on, and decide to move forward with their lives together. I'm a sucker for HEA, but I wish it had come about in a more believable way. This wasn't a terrible book by any means, and it kept me entertained while reading (and I didn't want to throw my ereader against the wall, so that's always a plus.) I just wish it had been written with more feeling.

Overall, the writing was good, and the story was okay. A second POV from Donovan may have helped flesh this book out a bit more, and perhaps given it that bit of oomph to make it better. I can't help but think that Hell Without You had great potential, but it was lacking something that would have made it special.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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