Book Review – Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann


This one came HIGHLY recommended by quite a few readers here right on the blog (and apparently, once they read this one, they delved deeper in the author’s repertoire and well… consensus is, her stories are pretty great!!!)

Lauren: Still Beating is also on my 2021 Best Reads!

Lynn: I have just finished reading Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann and before that I read her latest release, The Wrong Heart. They were both incredible emotional reads! If you want to experience feels and epic love stories then these two books are a must read! This is a new author to me and I am so in love with her flawless writing and storytelling.

Linda: Lynn loved Still Beating. I’ll have to check out The Wrong Heart. Love high praise recommendations! Thank you.

Lynn: You wont be sorry, it was not dark like Still Beating but it had all the feels and you will fall in love, as well as cry your eyes out with this flawed and heartbreaking story of love! I look forward to hearing your thoughts once you have read it:)

Kelly: Still Beating was also really good. Very trigger-y and VERY dark but so well written. The next book, Lotus, was my fave of the 2. Again dark and has lots of triggers but holy moly did I love it.

Rochelle: I am just finishing Still Beating. There are some nice twist at the end so it is not completely predictable. Have you gotten to the dog adoption? I love it.

Lynn: Maryse, you are going to love Still Beating. I discovered Jennifer Hartmann last year when I read The Wrong Heart and loved her writing and storytelling so much that i dived straight into Still beating. She is very talented and her books have all the feels 🙂

R. Renee: Maryse are you still reading Still Beating? I started Lotus last night and I’m already hooked. I may like it even better than that one!

bev: Still Beating, I’m seeing it everywhere. Haven’t one clicked it yet, just warily eyeng it as it screams “Marmy” at me.

R. Renee: I finished Lotus over the weekend. I really liked it but Still Beating is definitely my favorite by her so far.

And you know what? I’ve only read this one so far, but her writing is focused, it gets deep, it gets dark, and yet it is everything we love in angsty (and I MEAN ANGSTY!!!!) romance! YAY US! Also… forbidden love in this one in a BIG way (her sister’s man… just sayin’)

Okay now… I need to be very careful as I write this review because I want you to go in blind for the most part. But I have to warn you, the first… quarter??? of the book is SUPER DARK. Like so dark I had to put it down often to get a break, and to catch my breath and to not have panic attacks.

It starts off dark, but eventually…

…everything changes along the way. There is growth, friendship, enemies-to-lovers/friendships to enemies… etc etc, but it all makes sense for ALL parties afflicted by the initial circumstances, so there isn’t anyone here, in the grand scheme of things, that is not absolutely likable (or even lovable). Everyone felt real, despite the rough waters that hit them. Rough waters? I should say the huge tidal wave that bowled them all over.

AND I MEAN ALL.

BUT ESPECIALLY OUR HERO & HEROINE. And her sister…

Okay so now stop reading my review if you want to go into this blindly (or as blindly as you can). I had no clue what the story was about, but the adamant recommendations had me going in front row and center.

And I was blindsided.

And while that was hard… it was also what made this book unforgettable. So let yourself go there too (if you dare).

So what’s it about?

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

*if you want to go in blind-ish… stop reading here!!!!!*

Okay so here goes…

Cora (our heroine) is fairly close to her “super-star” sister (while Cora feels like she’s more of an introvert, her sister has always been the belle of the ball, so to speak). Her sister’s long-time boyfriend (Dean) has always been the Cora’s personal bully (in a way… jokingly but things are raw between them). They have played pranks on each other for years, but with a huge side of animosity and hurt (especially, seemingly so, to Cora).

And one day… (or I should say night), they have it out at an event (her sister’s birthday of all things), and while she’s taking a breather outside, a man approaches her, and shows interest (which she rejects).

Her sister’s boyfriend, Dean, shows up and tells her to get in the car, and he’ll drive her home,

“You’re welcome for the ride, by the way. And for saving your life back there.”

I snort again. I didn’t even realize I was a snorter. “All you did was pull up in your macho car, looking like a tool, and imply that you found me revolting.” I smile sweetly at him, placing my hands over my heart. “My hero.”

He sniffs. “That guy was one coquettish look away from stealing your panties for a trophy. I definitely saved your life.”

…essentially shutting the other man down.

And that’s when all hell breaks loose.

More screams.

They are mine, I’m sure.

And then the butt of that gun collides with Dean’s head with a sickening thunk.

“No!” I shout, plead, beg. Dean falls across my lap like a ragdoll, and I feel myself being lifted from the seat and yanked through the window as shards of glass tear my dress and skin. “Let me go!”

A thick palm that smells like gasoline clamps over my mouth, stifling my cries, and when I glance up, my eyes widen.

It’s him.

The John Wayne Gacy look-a-like from outside the bar.

(From the book synopsis):

…she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.
To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.
After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate joke seems to be on them. The two people who always thought they’d end up killing each other must now work together if they want to survive…

I’m going to end my review there, other than by telling you… this book is HUGE.

The emotions are HUGE.

The terror is HUGE.

The time, within their surprise “hell” is HUGE.

And the results, my fellow readers… are HUGE.

Me and Dean Asher.

Dean inhales with a shudder, leaning his shoulder against the pole. “You know, I used to joke that we’d probably end up killing each other one day,” he murmurs, kicking at a small rock near his sneaker. “I guess I always had a feeling we’d go together.”

I know he’s trying to make light of our ordeal, but his words sucker-punch me. They knock the wind from my lungs until I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

But here’s the thing… it’s not all terror. It’s not all hardship. It’s not all torture. But I won’t tell you when, and I won’t tell you why, and I won’t tell you if there’s an HEA (and even if there is one… who’s HEA it is). Maybe all of them. 😉

Shhhhhhh. That’s enough. I’ve said too much.

4.5 STARS. It took me awhile to read only because of the initial… start of the story. The why of it all. But once it got going, everything we love in our angsty (forbidden-love) romances… it was all here.

➔➔➔  Love this trope? Browse more kidnapped or in love with her sister’s man book features and reviews on my blog. 😀



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