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    The girl I Was Before

    Throwing others under the bus to get what you want is no way to be. It nice to see that people can change.
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    Achingly real, flawless writing

    There's just something about Ginger Scott's writing that perfectly captures each moment and emotion in a story. I was pretty much blown away by This is Falling, the first book in this series, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Paige's story. Paige has never been an easy character to like, but she had a few good moments in the previous books. Despite her seemingly selfish ways, I knew there was more to her when she had absolutely no reaction to Rowe's scars, and I really wanted to see what made her tick. Unlike most romance heroines, Paige is not some perfect but misunderstood girl. She's been selfish, manipulative, and just plain cruel, even to those she loves the most. Her need to be at the top of the social hierarchy has led her to a sorority where bitchiness seems to rule, and her boyfriend is absolutely worthless. She's basically everything you expect from a mean girl, including empty inside. When she sees the futility of everything she's done and become, standing up for herself means a lonely fall from the top. Though she's met Houston before, he really comes into her life when she's facing the consequences of turning against her sorority and her jerk of a now ex-boyfriend. Houston's a genuinely good guy, but he's got a bit of baggage, too, and it's pretty much the last thing anyone expects. He's a single father at a terribly young age, still living at home and sharing as much responsibility as he can with his mother while he tries to finish college. But he's kind to Paige and seems to see past her mistakes, and in doing so he offers her a chance to really grow into herself. The friendship between Paige and Houston is sweet, even more so when they beginning crossing the line into something more. But it's also done very much in a way that feels like it could be real. Houston's daughter comes first, even when he can't deny his feelings for Paige, and it's that love that eventually has Paige putting herself second as well. It felt like Paige wanted to be a better person, but Houston is the one who showed her exactly how that's done. The story is achingly real, with characters who are truly flawed and facing the kinds of challenges not normally played out in romance novels. Houston isn't just some young, single dad with a heart of gold, and Paige isn't some social climber turned angel overnight. Their story is rough at times, making those moments when everything seems to come together that much more perfect. I read a couple hundred books a year and have been doing that for most of my life, but rarely have I found a series – much less an author — who could so perfectly transport me into not just another world, but another person's shoes. Forget the series; just grab everything Ginger Scott has written and get to reading. She is ridiculously talented. ***FicCentral received this book from Wordsmith Publicity for free in exchange for an honest review.
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