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The Moment Stealer

Unclaimed - Courtney Milan Yes, those are five stars up there. I've surprised myself by absolutely enjoying Unclaimed. It might even be a favorite. I finished the Unlocked novella in less than a day, which was absolutely understandable, considering that it's just 111 pages, but I read all of Unclaimed in just two hours. My hand sort of hurts from the strain of holding it up for so long, actually.

I loved Mark from the first book, so when I read the synopsis for his book, I took a step back. I should have known better, though -- Courtney Milan has a tendency to take tropes I wouldn't normally touch and turn them into gold. She did everything I disliked about the fallen woman trope in the first quarter of the book, then turned it all on its head. What I loved about this book was that nothing between Mark and Jessica ever went the way I expected it to.

I've read a fair amount of these books and you can usually predict how things go along by understanding the dynamic between the love interest. Reading Jessica and Mark was like standing on a ship in the middle of a raging storm, because the balance of power would shift almost constantly, leaving you teetering and hurrying to catch up -- very exciting. Romance novel experience had me expecting things to go this certain way, but Milan would send the characters careening in the opposite direction and everything still made beautiful sense. The resolution of Jessica's problems in the end was particularly my favorite scene of all. Pretty brilliant turn of events!

Possibly the worst thing I can say about this book (this series, really) is that it's awfully difficult to remember which title goes with which book because they all sound so alike. (What terrible censure!)

Looking forward to the next one!