Book Review – Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee

by Maryse on October 7, 2012 · 28 comments

in Bad Boys & Rock Stars, My Book Reviews

Love Left Behind
Fantastic! Just… WOW, in all of the good moments (*sigh*), and all (and I mean allllllll) of the bad moments. In the mood for angst? I got your angst, right here. I was mostly a mess reading this, and I loved almost every moment of it.

Lane sent me this recommendation and I say she was spot-on:

“You have given me so many wonderful recommendations that I just had to return the favor.  I just finished reading Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee and it was GREAT.  I hope that you have time to read this one and pass it on to everyone else.  The mighty Storm meets Love Unscripted.  Really Good Read.”

Maryse: Thank you Lane!! I just downloaded it. It looks right up my alley and I could just *hug* you so much for sending that recommendation it my way.

AND YES IT WAS. Right up my alley. And I feel the need to add to her description of what it’s “like”. This was, hrmmm… I dunno. I’d say (to give you an idea) that this was on the level of The Opportunist/Love Unscripted/The Mighty Storm & sure, maybe even Avoiding Commitment, in regards to how successful it was in causing me frequent anxiety attacks. I’m even going to throw in How to Kill A Rock Star, when it came to some of the… thought processes.  I’m not saying the drama/storyline is the same, or repeating here, just that the level of angst is right on par with those, making it “unputtdownable” for me. It was sometimes over-the-top, but not to the point that I didn’t want to finish. I pretty much devoured it. I often had a physical reaction to what I was reading (and I know I’m very much into a book when I feel it).

In fact, every once in awhile my husband would mutter “Looks like your mad at your book again…” I’d look up to see him smirking at me, only to realize that my own face was grimacing. Hurting from clenching my jaw and frowning so hard. I hope my face doesn’t get stuck that way from reading too many of these… ;) Or my exasperated huffing and puffing (or, okay. I’ll call them what they were…) my “anxiety attacks” were also an obvious sign. ;)

And I sort of sent a crazy email to poor Lane (the one who recommended this). LOL! Sometimes I need to express my feelings. *sheepish shrug* I can’t help it!!

Maryse: OMG!! I am soooooooooo angry! Ughhhhhh! Ugggggghhhh! She freaked me out with all this *spoiler* you know? I was furious with *spoiler*, but… OMG the whole *spoiler* thing when she called to say… *spoiler* Well, that took the cake. Now I’m furious on a whole other level.

Ok by the way, I’m having wayyyy too much fun reading this. I love having these reactions. I’m all cold and trembly feeling and yet exhilarated in it. LOL ok sorry I blew up your email ;)  Bye! Gotta get back to my book!

Lane: I am so glad you are loving it. It gets better and better. It was one of those books I couldn’t read fast enough but was sad when it was over.

Sure, sure… on occasion, I’d roll my eyes at the misunderstandings or the “solutions” some of the characters came up with to “solve” their problems. And I’ll concede that sometimes the misunderstandings seemed far-fetched and as an outsider looking in, things appeared obvious. And yet, to me, the writing and storyline flowed well enough, the characters and many of the situations they faced were believable enough to suck me in, and  I found myself absolutely losing it, with the heroine. I mean who knew what the truth really was right? I was only seeing life through the heroine’s eyes. After all, I’ve found myself surprised a few times, and while my mind was saying “Oh come onnnnnnn!!!”, another part of me was absolutely seething… thinking… NO. WAY!

So what’s it about? Twenty five year old Emma moves to NY to start her career and find herself after having dated the same sweet guy since she was 15. Leaving him a month before they were due to be married. Realizing she was heading down the path that was expected of her, but not living the life she actually wanted. Moving far enough away to start over felt like her only salvation from the monotonous life she was headed for.

“Can you believe you’re getting married in less than a month?”

My answer was no. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t spend my whole life being boring, predictable Emma Mills. It was selfish of me. It was horrible of me. But I knew I was saving Sean and myself from a mind-numbingly boring life together.

So I called it off.

And that’s where she meets her new friends. Her roommate Claire, and her roommate’s friends Nathan, Mia and Jackson. All gorgeous NY’ers, trying to become famous as actors/artists. And Jackson takes an immediate interest in her. They click. OH BOY DO THEY CLICK!!!!! What an indulgence the reader is afforded in this one. It’s wonderful. But you know… things. Forshadowey type “things” pop up every once in awhile. ;)

“I meant it yesterday when I said Jackson was a great catch. Just… be careful. I love Jackson, but he can be a bit of a player. He doesn’t mean to be, but it’s hard when you have so many women chasing after you. Have fun, but don’t read too much into what he does. Woman have a tendency to be swept off their feet by him, but then end up disappointed when he doesn’t want anything more than a good time. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

And the roller coast really gets going when Jackson gets the opportunity of a lifetime as an actor, just as Emma’s “old life” comes back to haunt her. Hrmmm… brace yourself. It’s a longish, fairly crazy ride, and sometimes the smaller dips that you didn’t see coming make your stomach leap worse then the big ones that were so obvious. Some very *intense* scenes. Many of them, actually. They broke my heart over and over again.

That’s when I realized that Jackson would be my undoing.

And Jackson, wow, I REALLY hurt at times with that character. I wont say whether it was for him or because of him (or both ;) ) just that I really connected to these two.

Mind you… they both can be beyond agitating. You’ll call them names at times, for sure, but I think you’ll like this one! Or love it. :)

4 stars to 4.5 stars (I literally just finished the book, and I usually like to “absorb” it before giving it an official rating) but I think… due to how I was feeling for the most part of my reading —> 4.5 stars.

A few times 4 stars or a little less when I was found myself exclaiming “Oh come on people!!!” I mean, it wasn’t my “perfect” read. You know… I didn’t cry my eyes out (although a few times I was close to shedding tears). And I don’t know that I’ll be dreaming of this book tonight, or anything. But there were plenty of OMG moments that made it a fun reading experience for me (as crazy as it made me). I liked the writing style, I liked the characters and I liked the rhythm of it, as a whole. I highly recommend it to any of us “in-your-face book-angst addicts”.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Cimmaron October 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

I saw this books last week and thought the cover was so similar to Avoiding Commitment. I might have to read this after I read a few more books on my TBR.

Candice October 7, 2012 at 5:51 PM

I have this on my TBR list, but it was down a little far. Now, I think it’ll jump up near the top.

Maryse October 7, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Cimmaron: True!! The cover is very similar… angst-wise it’s in the same realm, but the story is different.

Candice: If you like your reads angsty, I think you both will like it!

Cimmaron October 7, 2012 at 6:31 PM

well if it’s as angsty as AC then I will most definitely be reading it. I had a love hate relationship with AC. I loved how angsty is was but I pretty much hated everyone in the story. LOL.

Jen October 7, 2012 at 6:58 PM

I LOVE your recommendations Maryse!!!!!

Melissa October 7, 2012 at 7:04 PM

I’m new here but thank you for the recommendation. I was needing something emotional after finishing Reflected in You and was having a hard time getting into what I had chosen. I finally have a place of people who get my connection with the people in my book. My boyfriend just looks at me and rolls his eyes. Hard :)

tammie October 7, 2012 at 9:40 PM

you should read the hollows series by kim harrison such a good series!!!!

Shelly October 8, 2012 at 6:07 AM

Hmm I wasn’t a big fan of Love Unscripted & I haven’t read The Opportunist but I loved AC so you’ve got me curious about this book….ok I’m going to finish reading Easy today, then start The Opportunist & then go onto this one :) so many books to read and not enough time :(

I love your reviews!

kasey October 8, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I just finished and oh my what a book. I had tears and anger and butterflies. I love this book. Really a great book and yes I mean a full book to red where I don’t feel like I am left hanging. Thanks for the recommendation.

katie October 8, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Love this book!!

Maryse October 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Thanks Jen & Shelley!

Welcome Melissa!! Comment and join in with us anytime!

Thanks Tammie for that recommendation!

And yes, Kasey, I felt fulfilled by the end, you’re exactly right. It was great!

Katie – YAY!!

(and any/all of you if you get the time, please let me know what you think when you finished it).

Clista Seals October 8, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Maryse I’ve read all the ones you compared this to. Not sure I can handle more angst right now. Have you read, I Love You to Death by Natalie Ward? I met Jenny (Totally Booked) in Chicago and she recommended it. I really enjoyed it.

Ariana October 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Great Review! I will definietely read this book as soon as I’m done with the Opportunist… luv these angsty books =)

Takisha Bodley October 9, 2012 at 2:08 AM

I just finished….Team Jackson!!!!!!! Oh Emma pissed me off and irritated me on occasion but overall I enjoyed this book…it gave me angst, happy sad. Good read!

Linh October 9, 2012 at 2:58 AM

This book made me so mad so of course I LOVED it! Ahhhhhhh. Need more. Thanks for recommending this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rachel October 9, 2012 at 10:13 AM

I didn’t like Love Unscripted or Avoiding Commitment at all, but anything that compares to The Opportunist or How to Kill a Rock Star is ok by me. I gave this book a shot and a day later it’s still with me. You’re right, some of the dialogue is a little cheesy, and I felt just the slightest bit rushed into Jackson and Emma’s relationship, but I too had a physical reaction to their angst on several occasions. Don’t you just wish sometimes you could reach into their book world to slap some communication sense into them?! All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a keeper! Good writing, too. Thanks for another great recommendation!

KellyG October 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

I love this book and can’t pick it up to read the next page because I’m so mad at Emma! My mood has been drastically affected by this one. Thanks for all the great referrals. Even if they stress me out…. ;-)

Takisha Bodley October 9, 2012 at 8:25 PM

After my first post this morning, I have been analyzing this book all day. I loved this book! It was a good story with just the right amount of angst, just the right amount of “piss off”, the right amount of sad, and of course the right amount of happy! I love how the author transformed Jackson so to speak to give us a feel of him in his new role in life but kept him how he has always been from the beginning so to speak..ok now that i have it all analyzed in my head I can go on and on but I dont want to spoil it for anyone so im gonna shut up now..LOL

Caroldee October 10, 2012 at 2:03 AM

Was in the mood for a good contemporary so I picked this one up. I really, really liked the story, but sometimes the author threw me for a loop with her eroticism. Sure, I read erotic romance *A LOT* but some of the naughtier stuff just seemed so out of place for some reason. :/ Not to mention Emma said Jackson all the time! I understand it’s 1st person, so you don’t want to confuse the reader as to who the character is talking to but OMG, If she is in an apartment with only one other person, I’m pretty sure she could say ‘HE kissed me’ and I would know who the heck she was talking about. LOL I’m rambling………sorry…….

Dena October 10, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Thanks again for another great read!!! This book was well written and the characters were very vivid. Lots of pull and push in this and at one point I was a little overwhelmed with love and grief all at once. Amazing! Praying she will write another book on Jackson and Emma, but as of the update on her site she is still in the air about it :/

Sara October 11, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I liked this one too!! I really liked Jackson ;)

Kellie October 12, 2012 at 7:03 PM

You never disappoint! It seems anytime that I am struggling with a “what to read next” moment you are there to steer me in the right direction. Just what I needed. Loving it. I’m with you, I love some angst and emotional rollercoasters! They make me happy…mad…sad…and happy. :-)

Donna October 13, 2012 at 5:14 PM

A book I think everyone will enjoy reading is My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron. College romance book that didn’t disappoint.

Kerri October 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Ugh, I’m going to throw up. I have not had a book get me like this since, well since I am not sure I have been like this……..please tell me it gets better? Yes? Just better, you don’t have to say it has a HEA, just that it get’s better. I’m so sick, I just had to stop and write you in the middle of the freakin book. Ok, I’m done. Thanks for telling me about this one, I think!! :)

Ruth October 25, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Wow, hot and intense. Sometimes I wasn’t sure where the story was headed but knew I wanted in on the ride.

Chris December 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Great read!! I could not put it down, literally had it in my hands all day, my husband was even like, dang u sure like that book..anyway this needs to be made into a LMN movie…with Andrew W Walker as Jackson. I loved reading all the ups and downs, would love an update on the couple!

Jo December 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM


Kathryn P March 23, 2013 at 5:51 PM

By looking at the cover I thought I had read this one but then realized the cover just looks very similar to Avoiding Commitment (which i loved). Can’t wait to download this one and enjoy it with a wonderful, snow & cozy Sunday afternoon. :)

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