London Lovers #4
"My name is Reyna Miracle. Even though a part of my name is Miracle, there’s nothing miraculous about me. My body portrays the tales of my life. Every feeling, every heartbreak, every emotion. Marked. Inked. Stained. A walking canvas of my messed up truth. But there’s one confession I can’t put in a tattoo. A confession that will kill me to tell, but my best friend died before I had the chance. Now I’m left with him. The only one who can hold me in the night and squeeze that spot on my neck that feels like my lifeline between sanity and chaos. But we don’t work together. We’re absolute poison for each other. We’re a stifling, suffocating, sickness of darkness. But I feel safe...because I’ve made an art of pushing people away. Now he’s pushing back… And making me believe... Making me wonder... Maybe, just maybe... I could be the one."
Thank you to the author, Amy Daws, for gifting me with a copy of Not the One in exchange for an honest review!
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. From the romance to the mental issues that characters had to work through to just regular life drama. Let's start with the romance.
The romance is pretty central to this book. The book displays perfectly what a good relationship and what a not-so-good relationship look like side by side (Reyna and Liam vs. Reyna and Hayden). What I love about the romance the most is that fact that the author kept it from developing into a love triangle. While it could be seen that way at one point in the middle of the book, I beg to differ. At that point, Reyna is trying to find herself and fix what she thinks is broken. She knows that her relationship with Hayden is toxic but she's not ready to love herself quite yet. Which leads us to our next topic.
The main theme and meat of this book is the journey of the mind and expectations of yourself. Reyna was born a preemie quadruplet and she was the only one to survive. Her father also died when she was very young and consequently, led her mother to 'smother' Reyna. Reyna then does everything she possibly can to show her mother she isn't perfect, which, obviously, goes south really fast. I really liked how Reyna recognized what was wrong and took steps to fix it before it was too late. The ending was so wonderful and I wouldn't have it any other way. One comment I do have about Reyna's issues with herself: at times I was completely fed up with her. Her desire to be as far from perfect as possible was reiterated again and again and again and it felt like she was completely mental. Which could have been the point although it did get a bit annoying after a while.
Between the dramatic and dark scenes, there is everyday life. What I really like about this series is that you don't necessarily have to read them in order. Yes, it helps you understand the backstory of other characters and what was going on with them (all of the books take place in relatively the same time period) but it isn't entirely necessary. Frank and all of our other favorite characters from the other books (but especially Frank) make an appearance in this book. Have I mentioned how much I love Frank? He adds the perfect light contrast to buoy the book and keep it from dragging itself down in a dark spiral.
The Final Verdict:
This book is dark and gritty while still having it's light moments. I loved how the romance was developed as well as the main themes. However, Reyna's mantra of 'don't be perfect' left me exasperated at times.
"'Hullo?' Alden's voice croaks through the phone line.
'Hi, is this Mr. Darkby?' I ask politely.
'Yes, bloody hell,' the phone muffles as I hear Liam's dad shout, 'Bertha... it's a bloody telemarketer from America again. Probably selling something. Should I tell them to get stuffed?'
'Alden!' I shout into the phone as I hear it muffle again."
"'I hate your tattoos. All of them,' she blurts. 'Even the black roses. I think they are dark and twisty and look like something Marilyn Manson would have.'
She covers her mouth in shock at her emotional outburst. My jaw drops and before I know it, we're both laughing and staring incredulously at each other. She pauses to wipe laughter tears from her eyes and I reach over and grab a tissue, handing it to her. I've never seen my mother laugh like this before.
'That was definitely something real,' I laugh and look over to Miguel for approval."