Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: Unveiling Hope - Jeannine Allison

Unveiling Hope (Unveiling #5)
by Jeannine Allison
Published: June 13, 2018
Genre: Standalone, Contemporary Romance

Unveiling Hope is a STANDALONE romance. You don't have to read any other books in the series to enjoy it :)

Samantha is aimless. A college dropout who’s just been kicked out of her house, she’s searching for herself. But she never thought she’d find herself moving into the apartment of the man she’s spent the last year trying to forget.

Derek has secrets. An underground fighter who acts first and thinks later, he’s determined to keep that part of his life hidden. But when he’s forced to offer Sam—the girl he can’t stop thinking about—a place to live, his carefully constructed lies unravel.

Everything is stacked against them. Yet neither can walk away.
She’s seven years younger.
She’s his best friend’s little sister.
She has a boyfriend.

There are lines you don’t cross… and they’re about to obliterate them.

4 Stars

Unveiling Hope is the fifth and final standalone novel in the Unveiling series from Jeannine Allison. Featuring a friends-to-lovers and best friend's sister trope, Unveiling Hope tells the story of college dropout Samantha and her desire to figure out her life and the role she has in owning it without her father's misguided control. She finds herself living with Derek, her brother's best friend and the man she's had a secret crush on since she was a teen. Derek is just trying to make it through the day without hitting anyone besides the guys he spars with in an underground fighting ring. At night he bartends, by day he tries hard to fight the draw he feels towards Sam. With seven years between them and very different lifestyles, and Samantha's boyfriend making things even more difficult, the two discover that sometimes those differences are the perfect fit.

"Have we ever just been friends?"

I can't review this novel without mentioning the rest of the Unveiling series and the joy it has been to read Jeannine Allison's perfectly imperfect characters. Each novel focuses on two individuals overcoming serious obstacles and learning to rely on others, whether it is their friends or their significant other. They're realistic, romantic, and always enjoyable. I almost didn't want to read Unveiling Hope, I didn't want the stories to end, but I'm so glad to have gotten a whole book about Samantha and Derek. Like the previous novels, it is a standalone that features secondary characters from the entire series. Their romance is the tension filled kind, the sort of romance novel where you go into it unsure that the happy ending you're imaging will be what happy ending you get. Jeannine leaves you hanging for quite a bit of the novel, telling the story of Derek and Sam as individuals, leaving readers sitting on a teeter-totter wondering will they or won't they and if it finally happens will it be as easy as we could hope for? Of course not.

"How much temptation was I expected to walk away from?"

Samantha is an aimless heroine, she's not excitable and for the first part of the novel I wondered if she really would ever invest in any one thing she cared about. Turns out, music was the answer and Derek was the key to it. Derek is similar to many of my other favorite male characters, tough with a dark past and a heart made of pure gold. If you've read the previous novels you'll know of the two from reading their siblings individual stories, but Unveiling Hope is where we get the dirty details and the novel that will make you so invested in their happily ever after. I really enjoyed the push and pull between these two, especially when they sought comfort in one another or when they selfishly teased each other with their flirting. I wasn't sure where it would lead, the strength of Derek's friendship with Samantha's brother Gabe seemed too tight of a bond, but when the two finally throw caution to the wind it is explosive. We see a different side of both of them, revealing that each isn't as lost as they seem now that the final puzzle piece is in its spot. Sam and Derek seemed very different from the other characters for me and maybe that's because the sexual tension between them is undeniable and really is the first push towards them finally connecting as more than friends. It turns out Derek isn't the only dirty talker! ;) I really appreciated that Jeannine Allison managed to write a smut-filled novel without brushing over the more serious parts. Unfortunately, pasts have a way of coming back to haunt you and in Unveiling Hope it is no different. There's a twist in this novel, one I won't give away and that I never saw coming myself, but it certainly made me start reading faster to figure out the effect of it.

"And my tears spilled over. Because he made my name sound a lot like I love you would."

I have loved this series from the start and I'm sad to see it go, but also so happy to see each character end up right where they are supposed to be. Unveiling Hope not only focused on Sam and Derek overcoming their own personal demons, but also helping themselves and others in overcoming family battles that could've left them estranged forever. We also get to see the previous characters, each older and still battling to overcome the things that first held them back and introduced them to their friends and partner. It isn't a perfect world that Jeannine Allison created, but it's realistic and made for a fantastic contemporary roamnce series with unforgettable characters.

About the Author
Jeannine Allison is an author of contemporary and New Adult romance. After waffling between many degrees in college, she finally graduated with a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University.

She loves writing and reading -- obviously :) -- but when she's not she enjoys playing with her two dogs, obsessing over new makeup, drinking coffee, googling new tattoos, and pretty much anything else that allows her to wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt ;)

She is a big fan of being exactly who you are. Her favorite stories to write are about characters finding and loving who they are.

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