2-stars for the first half, but 5-stars for the ending. What started as a VERY FRUSTRATING story does end up with a great twist, so glad I stuck with it. Looooved the ending, but this story should have been titled “Head Games”. It really reminded me of that popular rock song ... "Head Games, its you and me baby
Head games, and I can't take it anymore
Head games, I dont wanna play the...
(By Foreigner, 1979)
Reading REFLECTED IN YOU was like attending a sexually charged relationship drama-festival, complete with death defying roller-coaster rides, crazy ass clowns everywhere, and the song HEAD GAMES by Foreigner blaring out of speakers at 150 decibels! Whew, my head is still spinning from reading this book!
The headliners of this show, Gideon and Eva, start off as two seriously fucked-up head-cases who believe sex can solve all problems, and who appear to thrive on angst, jealousy, anger, fear, and control. There is very little ‘peace, calm and cozy’ about their turbulent relationship. Sadly, if it wasn’t for the last 15% which provided a great solid ending that left me anxious for the next story, I would have rated this even lower.
RIY starts off where BTY ended, then spends far too much time (the first 2/3rds of the book) just spinning in circles as we learn over and over (and over and over!) just how jealous Eva is, how secretive Gideon is, and how playing head-games to lash out at the other never solves a damn thing. Sex, on the other hand, apparently solves everything. If the choice is either ‘talk’ or ‘cock’, the cock wins every time.
When I first read that this series was going to be stretched into three books instead of the originally intended two, I immediately had some concerns. According to the author Gideon and Eva’s ending was already planned out, which made me worry that we might get filler content not originally intended for the story. Unfortunately, I think that is what most of the first half of the book contained: filler content.
The first 2/3rds of REFLECTED IN YOU spent a lot of time just showing the emotional, jealous and obsessive side of both Gideon and Eva, which stalled the actual pacing of the series IMO. It felt as if they were still back at the beginning and making no progress whatsoever. It was scene after scene of them stuck in a repetitive cycle of jealousy, anger, hurt and then makeup sex. I enjoyed the hot make up sex, and loved how devoted Gideon was to Eva, but watching these two fight over and over without making any progress got old quickly. I was ready for the story to move on.
Fortunately, the ending solved that and even shined some light on why Gideon kept so many secrets. We also learn more about his abuse story, so be prepared for an emotional jerker when it comes. I loved the ending, and it now feels as if the series is well back on track. It wasn’t until the last 1/3rd of the book (and most of it comes in the last 15%) when the story really started to come together. Eva finally pieces together many of Gideon’s secrets and reveals quite a shocking conclusion!! And best of all, I loved the Gideon and Eva we see toward the end. Just maybe (fingers crossed!) they have moved forward in their healing progress. (knock on wood, please!)The Story
Gideon and Eva are trying to make a go at having a relationship, but Gideon’s ex-finance Corrine doesn’t want to walk away nicely. Eva feels threatened and very jealous, which calls into question her trust of Gideon. She is unsure about what is transpiring between Gideon and Corrine, and can’t come to terms with the amount of secrets that Gideon is keeping from her. Questions such as ‘where were you?’ and ‘What were you doing?’ go un-answered, he only tells her to trust him.
The fighting and arguing between Gideon and Eva felt non-stop. Even when they were together and having sex – they were still fighting!! And while he hates the constant fighting, he will only play this by his rules. He does not give up his friendship with Corrine, nor does he feel the need to answer Eva’s questions. It was frustrating! I found myself yelling at Gideon over and over!
So when one of Eva’s ex-lovers reappears, neither of them handles it well. I’ll leave it at that, but I will say I was really pissed off at both Gideon and Eva. I was equally pissed off at how they ‘resolved’ that problem between them. This plot device felt overly contrived too. It was just more drama and head-games that could have easily been prevented.
Gideon’s obsession with Eva is staggering; he practically devours her every time they are together. They cannot have sex enough, and he needs to know where she is and who she is with at every moment they are apart. He continues to spy on her, have her followed, and disrespects her privacy – all in the name of loving and protecting her. In fact, he professes his ardent desire for her every time they are together, which may re-assure her but oddly it made up far too much of their typical conversations.
They spend time visiting Dr. Petersen, a therapist, but make little progress. They are still both dealing with nightmares and significant issues form their childhood abuse. Cary plays a significant role as Eva’s bi-sexual roommate. He has his own storyline, and I am routing for an HEA for him too. It wasn’t until the ending that I felt that – just maybe—both Gideon and Eva have made progress with their healing, and could possibly have what it takes to truly have a healthy and loving relationship.
The sex scenes were plentiful, and some seriously hot. But I didn’t really connect with most of them as Gideon and Eva were often using sex in lieu of communicating with each other. When things went wrong (and it did often!) they would use their bodies instead of words, and it felt as if they measured their love in terms of sex and orgasms. And while I enjoyed all of the hot sex scenes, the lack of relationship building was off-putting for me, despite how much it fit with their personalities. Final Thoughts
Despite not enjoying the first 2/3rds all that much, I am really looking forward to the next book in this series. The ending of this one made up for much of my issues I had early in the book, and even renewed my belief that Gideon and Eva are meant for each other. I have great hope for Gideon and Eva now! I would love to see more of the Gideon and Eva we saw toward the end of this book. Fingers crossed they don’t revert to the jealous and emotionally unstable couple we see through most of RIY, the ones playing non-stop head games with each other. As the lyrics say "Head games, and I can't take it anymore".
My thoughts exactly.ARC provided through Edelweiss by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.