(Red Flags #2)
by C.C. Brown
Read below for my review, an excerpt & giveaway
My Review of RED FLAGS (Red Flags #1) > http://bit.ly/153pYa9
RELEASE DATE: April 14th
After being humiliated and having her heart broken, Cara vowed to never let love cloud her better judgments again. She knows the warning signs, she’s seen the red flags, and she’s now picking up the pieces and moving forward with her life.
Jason felt the effects of humiliation and heartbreak as well. He’s realized the error of his ways and wants nothing more than to prove to Cara that he can be the man that she needs him to be.
Past secrets, family members, and new players threaten to keep the couple apart. Will a newly enlightened Cara be able to wade through the murky waters and find happiness with Jason, or will her heart and the outside forces keep the two apart?
***NOTE: This review contains spoilers of RED FLAGS. If you have not read that yet, then you many not want to continue***
Rating: 3 stars
I read this book immediately after finishing the first one, RED FLAGS, and I had the opposite reaction to it than I did the first one. Where with RED FLAGS I was unsure about the book until the ending – which shed light on the reasons behind Jason’s behavior – I really liked this book until we got towards the end. We left off in RED FLAGS where Jason’s dirty laundry is aired out by his brother, Jacob, and his ex-girlfriend, Stacey, while they were in Texas. And this dirty laundry was pretty twisted. Cara returned home to try and pick up the pieces of her life.
This book picks up pretty much where we left off – Cara and Chelsea moved into a new condo, Cara is still trying to wrap her head around everything that is happening, and Cara is about to start a new job. I really liked the new Cara in this one. While I didn’t mind Cara in the first book, I actually grew to like Cara a lot because she grew a backbone and stood up for herself to everyone in her life. I also loved how honest she was to herself about her feelings, especially towards the men in her life. She was never wishy-washy and always knew who she wanted.
I had spent too much time worrying about the feelings and opinions of everyone around me, and for once, I just wanted to make my own decision based on my own conscience.
I also grew to really like Jason in this one. He really wasn’t “in” the book until towards the middle of the book. Cara did a great job of distancing herself from him for obvious and realistic reasons. The changes he made, or rather the steps towards changing, were drastic and done from a place of necessity if he ever wanted Cara back in his life. I love that he took these steps without Cara asking or knowing – he did it on his own and for himself. After finding that out, I found myself thawing towards him and forgiving him for his past behaviors.
Look, Cara. I have a whole host of shit to sort through, and a lot of my mistakes have been a long time coming. But I’m working on them — I’m working on me — and I need you, I need you to help me be the man I know I can be.
As much as I really enjoyed the development and evolution of Cara and Jason, both separately and together, there were things about this story that bothered me. I had a certain opinion of each of the characters based on everything that Cara was thinking (since we are in Cara’s head), but by the end of the book my opinions flip flopped. It made me believe that Cara is delusional and naive when it comes to reading people.
Take Chase for example. I really didn’t mind him. Yes he had feelings for Cara, but he never did anything that was too much. I never understood why Cara’s brother and Mila hated him, but since Cara loved him as a friend, I did too. But THEN I found out why Ryan and Mila hated Chase…and I hated Chase. How come there was never any clue about what happened between the two of them other than a line here or there about something in their past. I would have never known how horrible he was to her and when I found out I saw him in a whole new light. This is similar to how I felt about Mila in Red Flags – although I totally understand why the author did it that way. Because of this, I wasn’t able to trust the characters or form any attachments to them.
I really didn’t understand the need to have every male that came into contact with Cara be drop-dead gorgeous, thereby piquing my reading radar to wonder if he was going to be a potential love interest for her – Jason, Chase, Damian, William. In addition to that, I saw no point in adding Damian into the mix. Yes, he was gorgeous and yes Cara was attracted to him, but his role in this book needed to be expanded on more. I felt like the reasons he was injecting himself into Cara’s life was a bit confusing and never really cleared up.
And my final issue was with the confrontation with Stacey. I have a feeling I may be in the minority of this one, but I thought Cara was way too harsh. Did Stacey deserve it? Absolutely. But I thought Cara was a better person then that. It made me look at Cara in another light and I can’t say it was a positive one. I really grew to like Cara despite everything, but I felt like she took it too far.
If you’ve read RED FLAGS, you absolutely want to read this one. In fact, I must point out that the titles of these books were pretty spot on for what each book was about. I actually never thought a title fit more than with these two books. The plot and storyline were really great, it was just the characters that I had a problem with.
“Why so quiet?” he asked, now studying my subdued face.
“It’s just so sad to me. You and your family.”
Jason sighed. “Don’t even go there. I’m a lot happier now, Cara. Sometimes you get dealt a shitty hand in life. You just have to roll with it.”
“It just explains so much though.”
“You and the way you are — the way you used to be.”
“I’m lost,” he said, looking visibly confused.
I giggled at him. It wasn’t often that Jason was lost or couldn’t figure things out, but of course, since it was about him, he overlooked it. “You seem to have residual anger at your dad that you never really figured out how to channel. You try to control things since you never had control over that situation. And you’re tough as hell because that was your coping mechanism.”
“Whoa. Did you go to school for Business or Psych?”
“I’ve been through enough and I’m now paying attention. Just say I’m… Enlightened.”
Jason picked me up from the island and held me in his arms. “I seriously hate myself for everything I put you through. I swore every day that I was without you that if I got the chance, I would let you know exactly what you mean to me.”
“I think I know…”
“No. You don’t. You don’t because I was too much of a hot head to tell you.” He stood me up but took my hands in his. “What kind of guy gets a smart, beautiful girl, who is completely devoted to him, and treats her like shit whenever he feels like it?” He stopped talking and searched my eyes, but I gave nothing away. “A stupid son of a bitch, that’s what kind of guy does that.” I tried to cut in but Jason kept going. “I live everyday now afraid that you will wise up and walk. I’m so afraid of losing you, and the silly little bullshit that keeps creeping up makes me feel like your patience is wearing thin.”
I put my index finger up and over his lips, effectively signaling for him to keep quiet. “I’m with you because I want to be and for no other reason. I went through a period of hating you, but even through that, I still loved you. You’ve embedded yourself in me like a bad rash that I can’t get rid of.”
“Sweet. Thanks, babe.” I laughed then leaned up and kissed him. “We better get out of here. I want to have lunch down at the marina, and if we stay here any longer, I’m gonna take you on this damn island.” Jason smiled a salacious smile but took my hand and led me out of the house and back into the Shelby.
Reading Order & Purchase Links:
Enlightened (Red Flags #2)
Goodreads Link > http://bit.ly/ZMkPeo
C.C. is graciously giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card and 15 eBook copies of ENLIGHTENED
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Marine Corps wife, mommy to two wonderfully, obnoxious little military brats, loving dog owner, and WRITER.
I’ve spent the greater part of my life enjoying books and writing, so after making another life altering move for my wonderful husband and his career, I decided to make my dream come true and write my first novel, Red Flags.
I am obsessively addicted to candy (except for chocolate). I don’t care for flowers (they die). Coffee is a no-go for me, but I’ll suck down a Red Bull in a heartbeat. I study with the TV on, but write to music. I am competitive as all hell, probably too competitive for my own good. I grew up playing sports and wanted to win at EVERYTHING. It’s creeping into my son and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. I will play tea party and dolls with my daughter, even though I never played that stuff as a child.
I now live in the glorious state of Hawaii and if it weren’t for the roaches, poisonous centipedes, and geckos that leave me prancing around, moving from room to room with cans of RAID, this would truly be paradise. I can’t complain though… when I don’t see the critters, I love it here, and wouldn’t want to be stationed anywhere else. When I see them, I want to pack up and hop on the first thing flying out of here.
I can’t thank you all enough for taking a chance on a no-namer like myself and allowing me to live my dreams.