Thursday, September 3, 2015

500 Days - Jessica Miller

Rating: 3 - 3.5 stars
Published: April 2014
Many thanks to Jessica Miller for providing a copy of 500 Days in exchange for my honest review.

Casper is a good looking local rock-n-roll star, he's got a love for tequila, good looking girls, and music. Except his mind is stuck on a girl he met over New Years, a girl who he hasn't seen since and he has no name to connect her to. Alex is a fierce bartender with four big brothers and a chip the size of a continent on her shoulder. Though they've never met before, they've got a mutual friend and somehow they're tossed together. Casper has it bad, without realizing it, he's pegged Alex as his next conquest never expecting to fall for her. Can tough-girl Alex let Casper in to break down her walls? Can Casper change his way and be a relationship kind of guy? Will their hidden pasts tear them apart?

I enjoyed the push and pull of Casper and Alex's relationship at first, I enjoyed both of them fighting their bad habits to be together. It was realistic, because a bad boy or stubborn girl don't just leave behind everything to be together usually, they struggle. Their emotions were left out on the table and Jessica Miller allowed you to see straight through them, especially when in a difficult situation. There is one underlying plot, with a lot of intricate situations woven through it and it will hold you captive through the entire length of the novel. The minor characters are incredibly important, well detailed, and I really like them. The relationship between all the characters was very well thought out and enjoyable to read about.

I did not connect to Alex, not at all. I liked her fairly well, I felt for her situation with her brothers and her attitude about family, but I didn't connect to her attitude, her sharp judgement, or her flip-flopping emotions. I mean, if Casper was a real person I would give him so much credit for putting up with it and taking the blame every time. A character like that is hard to continue rooting for, because she never learned, not until the very end and by then I was over it. Another unfortunate drawback was the disconnect of the characters and their backgrounds. I knew where Casper came from, though I didn't understand it very well, and I didn't have much of a clue about Alex at all. The background and depth for the character's situations didn't come until near the end and I would have really like to have that early on.

Initially, I was on a roll with this book, I couldn't put it down and really looked forward to resolution between Alex and Casper, but it just kept going and going...and going. For every opportunity Jessica Miller had to close the book, another part of the story was added. So much of the plot came together in the last 30-40% that I wish I had been given pieces of it over time. There was a lot to take in and it really took away from the romantic story that was the first 1,500 pages. I had a lot of questions come from the additional plot and it all cleaned up so quickly that I couldn't connect them to the characters. Then, when seems like a perfect ending takes place, it keeps going. I love a good epilogue, but it should have followed after the final scene where Alex and Casper kiss on new years, instead of another sex scene.

I would suggest 500 Days to people who enjoy relationships with a lot of push and pull. While it takes a long time to get there, there is a romantic story to be found and a couple you root for. There are several grammatical and spelling errors throughout the novel, but I think an edit of the book and a reissue would fair Miller well. This is Jessica Millers debut novel and I am interested to see what she releases in the future.

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