One dream vacation in paradise.
One co-ed bachelor and bachelorette party.
One week marooned with my ex.
Six months ago, Casey Silvers ended her scorching romance with sexy rocker Cole Caldwell. None of her friends know the true reason behind her sudden change of heart. Despite her claim of their chemistry fizzling out, her feelings for Cole had never gone away.
After receiving the invitation to her best friend’s co-ed bachelor and bachelorette getaway, Casey knows she must once again face Cole. For one week, she’ll be forced to party alongside the man who has come to despise her. The tropical cruise is meant to be a trip to paradise, but Casey is certain it will turn out to be a vacation from hell.
But as the ship leaves port, past secrets are revealed—secrets that could change the fate of Casey’s romance with Cole. With forces keeping them together, Cole and Casey soon discover that the passion between them has yet to extinguish.
***Standalone New Adult Romance-Ages 17+ Due to Strong Language and Sexual Situations***
The Ex Trials is by new-to-me author Heather Topham Wood. It is part of the Falling for Autumn series but it can be read as a standalone. I read it as one. The book is written strictly from Casey, the heroine’s, POV and it does have an HEA.
Now then, that aside. I’m really on the fence with this book. I don’t want to tear it apart because the writing is not bad. I’ve also not read the rest of the series so keep that in mind for the rest of this review. Sometimes, you need info from other books in the series for things to make sense and I didn’t have that.
I decided to grab this ARC because of the blurb for the book. I thought, well, that will be interesting. Then I let the book sit on my Kindle for ages. I wasn’t sure why either, I just had a feeling. Well, point in case, the words the blurb uses doesn’t really work for me or describe what I read, at all. It talks about being marooned. They are never marooned. It talks about a dream vacation in paradise. Sure, they go on a cruise, but again that’s more than one place and not marooned.
I had a hard time connecting with Cole. A very hard time. With the POV being all Casey’s I actually missed a lot there. I’ve read other books that have a single POV in them, but frankly, this book would have benefited from both just due to circumstances. That also made it hard for me to see the romantic storyline bit to it. I mean, it’s there, don’t get me wrong, I just had a hard time with it.
When you read that warning about 17+ older, make sure you read it thrice. I wouldn’t hand this to anyone under 18. Not only for the steamy scenes in it but because of the context involved. Some scenes in this book left me feeling “yucky” for better lack of a word. My insides were twisted and I was sick to my stomach.
Let me clarify this. Also, spoiler here for anyone who doesn’t want it but it needs to be said. This book is very heavily rape focused. Not saying it happens in it, no. It does happen to Casey, however, at one point and you go through her memories. The problem with this was that you’re sort of broadsided with it if you just pick up the book. Some people may not actually catch on until it’s revealed also but I knew from the first chapter it was headed there.
Casey gets through it all, and yeah, she realizes she’s a survivor. I’m happy about that. My problem was that I still had that hard time finding the connection with Cole. He was there, but it just sort of felt like that. He was there. Floating. Around. Plus he would run off anytime something went down. Not having his POV on that made it abrupt feeling.
Overall, I’d give it a 2.5 to a 3. Again, the writing itself is good. How it’s put together and edited, etc. It’s just for me, I’d want more warning on how heavy that topic got. How focused it seemed to be. Due to that, while I’d say, sure pick it up if you want to know the story, or maybe if you’ve read the rest of the series. Outside of that, it’s just not one I would recommend.