When I first saw the cover for If I Break by Portia Moore, I knew it was a book that I would read. What I did not anticipate was beginning to read and getting so drawn into the story that reality slipped away - in the way it did.
I've read countless books throughout my life. Sometimes I took my time, soaking in each word and description written. Other times, the pages turned so quickly because I needed to know what happened next. While reading some books, I've forgotten I was a mother, grandmother, employee and friend because the stories totally consumed me. My experience with If I Break was similar to this last category I mentioned, yet different. How can I explain it?
When I first started reading Lauren Brooks' story, nothing stood out from any other female lead I've read in a fiction title - but something changed when she met Cal. He rocked her world to the point she gave up her own convictions, becoming consumed by him and the passion they experienced together. Through flashbacks between the present and the past, Lauren shares the story of her and Cal and we easily see how she is manipulated sexually any time she confronts him about anything he doesn't want to discuss. On a few occasions, she was prepared to leave him but he seemed to appear out of nowhere, preventing her from leaving.
Admittedly, there are several sexual scenes in If I Break and I skimmed through many of them, ready to get to what happened afterwards. I understand some of these scenes were needed with the overall context of the story - since it seemed, on the surface, that most of what Lauren and Cal shared was sexual passion. However, there didn't have to be so many of them and they didn't need to be as graphic as they were.
Regardless, the story sucked me into another realm as I tried to figure out why Cal was so secretive. When I put the book aside to do things around the house, go to work and whatever else came up, the characters followed me, much the same as if I was writing a story, wondering what would happen to them next. Characters from stories I read don't usually follow me in such a way. I lived, breathed, even dreamed about these characters - when I was able to set the book aside and go to sleep.
A pivotal point occurred with the last conversation between Cal and Lauren in this book: after denying Lauren the freedom to leave him during the times she felt she couldn't live with him anymore, he told her he was leaving - and wasn't sure if, or when, he'd be back. Even so, he whispered for her not to give up on him.
This scene touched me in a way I couldn't explain as I wondered what was forcing Cal to leave her, hoping and praying he would return to her as a man able to share what was on his heart and mind so their love could continue, and grow.
The later part of the book provides a twist I never saw coming. I've never read of such an occurrence which made me ask another series of questions as I contemplated the upcoming turn of events. My mind was spinning and I found myself holding my breath as Lauren forged ahead, determined to find answers as to why Cal disappeared.
Though I would love to give you an idea of what takes place in the other two books of this series - the last installment of the series to be published in February, 2015 - I do not want to give away what happens at the end of the first book. I will say, though, that Before I Break has no sexual scenes and is told from another perspective. Almost Broken has only one sex scene and the story is told between alternating first person perspectives, easily allowing the reader to follow along. Beautifully Broken is the last book of the series, as far as I know, and brings a wonderful conclusion.
This is the first time I read a series without taking a break in between and my jaw dropped when I realized there was more to come - which I had not anticipated at all.
Don't bother reading any reviews because it will spoil the story for you. Just prepare to totally lose yourself in a world unlike anything you may have imagined. Portia Moore spun a web with If I Break and I'm still trapped inside.
Click the images below to be taken to the books' pages on Amazon and embark on a journey you'll never forget - but, before you go, check out the fifth book of the series titled What Happens After here at Budden Book Reviews.