on March 13, 2016
Genres: New Adult
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Words to live by:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Don’t break the rules.
I’d managed to fail at both by fraternizing with the enemy’s brother. Guess I’d followed in my mother’s footsteps by ignoring all the rules when it came to love.
Mom was marrying a man only six years older than me. A man who was also her student. But the biggest surprise that came out of their wedding wasn’t my new stepdad’s academic status or his age.
It was Jack Davis—my stepfather’s best friend.
Jack was the guy who could change the whole game. He was quite possibly my soul mate. But time and circumstance were against us—there was no easy way around it. I was moving back to New York in two weeks and his sister, Aubrey, was the one person my family hated most in this world. How would his sister—the enemy—deal with another Edwards girl claiming what she believed was hers? The idea of letting Jack go crippled me. Would I have to cut ties with the only man I’d ever let into my heart?
“Dayum, he was appetizing, even for someone like me who wasn’t necessarily interested in what was on the menu.”
Do you believe in fate?
Do you believe in destiny?
Do you believe the universe can bring two people together that are so perfect for each other, only to try and tear them apart?
Stella had her next moves all figured out. Her life was planned, packed and ready to start, but none of that included love just yet. Until it suddenly did. What do you do when you find someone who speaks to your soul, only to be moving across the country in a few weeks time?
One thing that I really enjoyed about Freeing Destiny is how mature both of the main characters were. They acted like adults and when they were forced with real life fears and decisions, they faced them head on and made the choices best in the long haul. The were consistent and determined to not let anything get in the way of their relationship which was quite refreshing.
Jack was pretty close to perfect. He was swoony, sweet, tender and his love for Stella was never ending. I loved the time he took with her and how he was planning their dates, time together, and just down to how he acted in general as a hero for Stella. He stood up for her and their relationship, she never had a reason to doubt him and even as I reader I could feel how much he cared for her.
“[You] light up an entire room just by being in it, Stella. Your warmth, your smile, your kind heart—all things that make an ordinary day seem so fucking remarkable. I felt it the moment I laid eyes on you—I had to get to know you,”
Not only was Stella’s character very genuine, she felt like someone that you could actually know. A lot of times with books I find that the characters can seem out of reach and larger then life, but Stella was so down to earth. Maybe it was because I’m at a similar point in my life as she was, but I felt that she was quite relatable.
I also really enjoyed Stella’s progress through the book. The title is quite appropriately Freeing Destiny. Stella had her entire future planned out but I loved how her visions changed and adapted once she met Jack. How she took what she had always believed to be her destiny, threw it out the window, let go of control and went along for the ride. That’s what true destiny should be about. You can’t plan every detail of every day. You can’t schedule your entire life. It’s the journey that matters and who you take it with; the true destiny here was bringing Stella and Jack together. Quite often I still feel naive and like I have so much to experience in this world. I don’t know if I believe in fate or destiny, but based on this story I really want to. Seeing the draw between and the relationship grow with two characters makes me want to believe that there can be a force bringing two people together.
“San Francisco was my current home.
New York was my soon-to-be home.
Jack was my heart’s home.
Everything about him brought me comfort. All that surrounded him put me at ease. It felt right, every damn aspect of being with this man felt perfectly perfect. So, why did our timing have to be anything but? Fate, you wicked bitch. What have I ever done to you?”
“Fate, however, could not be held accountable for keeping us together. That was the tricky thing about fate. It could only bring you so far. The rest was up to you, not the universe or the alignment of the stars. Nope, we controlled our destiny.”
Along with the destiny aspect, I am a hopeless romantic. Die hard, every inch of my being, devoted romantic. There were so many scenes or pieces of dialogue which found ways into my heart, I enjoyed every minute of it. Jack knew exactly what to say to melt my heart like ice cream on a summer day, and Stella knew exactly what actions to take to prove her love for Jack. I guess that’s something else that I didn’t notice at the time. The fact that generally, woman need words of reassurance while a man needs action. This was definitely portrayed well throughout the story.
“I need you, Stella. I need you so much I don’t know how I’ll survive even one second without you, but I will, because you’re mine. You didn’t know it then, but you were mine from that night at your mother’s wedding. It hasn’t been long and skeptics will be skeptics, but I don’t give a shit what anyone else has to say. I’ve never felt this alive. You’re it for me, baby. Here, there, wherever. I will make this work if it’s the very last thing I ever do. I promise you that. Okay?”
Again, I’m sure this goes along with the whole fate/destiny thoughts, but the story did have an instalove feel to it. At least I can appreciate that the characters realized that it was way too soon and they must be crazy to feel the way they did. Back to the romantic in me, I loved the instant connection they had and how it blossomed. I don’t care if it was too soon. I want to believe that this is a possibility in the world, even if I haven’t experienced it yet. I want to believe that two people can connect on such a level that they just know they need to be with that other person. People are fickle and time can get away from you, so my thought is who are others to judge? If you can find the type of relationship that Jack and Stella had, it needs to be grasped and cherished.
The suspense elements were well done. The last twenty five percent or so, I was in the edge of my seat. Right before it happened, I could see the twist coming but that doesn’t mean it relaxed me at all! I was still freaking out and going nuts trying to figure out how it would work out in the end. Then by the time Faith gave us an epilogue, I was so happy. I’m quite particular about epilogues – I either love them or hate them, but this was definitely one that I loved. Loved a lot. A LOT! It was so sweet and perfect for these characters. I had happy tears running down my cheeks and dripping into my lap, and then I put on Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles for probably 15 minutes straight.
“He would forever be the flame that kept my fire burning.”
After I finally gave The Beatles a break, I was listening to another song by one of my favourite singer/songwriters and I found a few pieces that completely stuck with me. In my opinion, they work perfectly for Jack and Stella. I imagined that it was Jack singing these lyrics about her. Granted, how I’m putting them here aren’t exactly how they appear in the song, but you get the idea. If you have a minute, after reading you should check out Yours to Hold by Brett Young.
You show me who I’m suppose to be
And that makes you deserving.
As long as I breathe
As long as I need
As long as I’m me
I belong to you.
As long as I’m free
And as far as I see
If my heart still beats,
Then it beats for you.
I still love you just the same
I still crumble at your name
Because I love, you make me feel
It’s the only thing that’s real
And I need you to be alright
I’m forever yours to hold
As long as I have life.
When I first found this book, I saw that it could be read as a standalone. I read about the first novel, and am not a huge fan of the professor/student trope so I decided to skip it. After reading Freeing Destiny, I will definitely go back and give it a shot. Yes, ultimately this can be read as a standalone like I did, but I would highly suggest reading Feel Again first. This is a very tight knit group of characters and there are quite a few references to what happened in Feel Again. I think as a reader you’d have a much better understanding of the relationships, dynamic and hold backs between the group if you read the series in order.
This is the first story by Faith Andrews that I’ve ever read and overall, I really enjoyed it. She was consistent and to the point without lacking depth or detail. I found her sentence structure and flow to be pleasing, and I really liked her characters. I’ve never read a book with a plot quite like this and though yes it was an unconventional situation, the characters dealt with it in an honest way. I was intrigued and by the end hoped to one day have a relationship like Stella and Jack. It was sweet, sometimes a little cheesy but heartwarming nonetheless.
“Don’t go, Stella. I don’t want you to leave.”
*ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.