Book Review – Ninety-Eight by Shannon Mayer

by Maryse on October 20, 2013 · 16 comments

in My Book Reviews

Ninety-Eight (Contemporary Romance) - Now called —-> Of The Heart (Contemporary Romance)
I saw this one when I was searching for some “new-to-me” e-books for my bargain list, but the synopsis left me so baffled that I… couldn’t get a handle on what I was in for, let alone… get that *jolt* I look for when reading a book’s “blurb”.

The very emotional and vulnerable looking cover was certainly calling to me. But in this instance, the blurb wasn’t helping me and I wasn’t sure (even at this awesome price) if I was willing to… “judge a book by it’s cover” and just jump in. Intriguing mysterious blurbs often get me good, but this one made me go, “whaaaaaa?“. But then, one fellow reader happened upon it, and recommended it in a recent comment, and another fellow reader jumped in. And THEIR reactions are what had me scrambling back to it.  I’m good with going “into a book blind” (especially when a reader’s innately honest reaction has me already feeling it, through them), so I read it!

Jeanie V: OMG… You guys, you guys!!! I’m only in Chapter 18 but I have to share! I feel like I found a treasure of a book last night!!! The summary is super vague which had me intrigued. I downloaded the sample & found it interesting enough – but I had to know what “the emotional rollercoaster” was about in the amazon ratings. This book…sigh… I was NOT expecting the things that happened. It’s called Ninety-Eight by Shannon Mayer. Soooo good but my poor heart!!! Heart!!!

Lindsay: Jeanie V, Thanks for the recommendation. Ninety-eight is phenomenal! I’m just on Chapter 16, and at first it seemed very predictable but the author keeps surprising me with new unexpected twists! I love it! Wow…Where did this book come from? Totally unexpected! I’m not getting any sleep tonight. Must. This is exactly what I look for in a book. Phew! Back to reading.

Jeanie V: Lindsay, right? Right!!! Truly… I kept thinking OMG! The synopsis reveals nothing (not really) – I was so pleasantly surprised!!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it.

Lindsay: Jeanie V, I loved it! Although I must admit, I wanted to stop reading it after a certain scene that made my stomach drop. I honestly did not know how the rest of the book would recover, but it was just nothing but FEELS after that. I was so very happy to have read this book! And a great big shout out for recommending it

Eeeeeep!!!!, right?? Oh and I get where they are coming from. The angst and melodrama in this is plentiful!!! I can’t even tell you what books (there are a few) I am wanting to compare it to for fear you’ll “get ideas” or preconceived notions (whether they be correct or incorrect). But this book certainly has a “feel” that is similar to some of our past melodramatic over-the-top favorites in our reading group. Some reveals made me gasp (in gleeful chagrin ’cause I knew it would get very… difficult). And some of the reveals left me reeling. Horrified. Angry. I felt like yelling at somebody. Like… maybe the author. And maybe “Jeanie V” and “Lindsay”, too. ;)


Did I love it? Well, see… I’m going to rate this like I rated three other books in our past that SO MANY LOVED like crazy, but that left me struggling over a few parts. I can’t tell you what those are, but if you choose to read this, you’ll eventually probably know which (and then you can check out my reviews of those, and you’ll see).

All of these books had me gasping, crying, and left me at times exhilarated, but mostly… exhausted. I totally got where y’all were coming from with the extreme love for ‘em. And yet, my rational side rolleyes couldn’t give them my 5 (or even 4-star) rating. You guys, I truly believe I have an “over the top angst fuse” that eventually blows out while reading some of these. And I just… lose it. I lose my connection, because my anger or irritation or eye-rolling overtakes me (and my reading pleasure).

Like… I mean, these kinds of books have stuff that I could totally see happening. Stuff that makes sense, even in their craziness (after all, we like our fiction “realistic” in an angsty way). I love to be furious, surprised, worried and cry. And this one did that to me. After all, bad stuff  and bad people happen in “book-real-life” too and that’s often what attracts me to these angsty reads. But sometimes, they’re just… too much. And in this one, the hits and the mistakes (the selfishness and the self-sacrificing) just got to the point where I was all… “Okay! That’s it. I can’t take anymore!”

So what’s it about?

Oh sheesh. Now I know why the author wrote such a convoluted synopsis. Each step if the way is a “reveal”… Okay… *taps fingers to chin* How to describe… this.

Brielle lives life by her seemingly wise (and very loving) grandmother’s advice. There is no perfect man out there for you, so just be happy with a GOOD decent man, and live a good, decent life. And Brielle has found one. While there is no passion between them, and he has some very… unromantic things about him, she likes him well enough and he likes her back. Maybe even love. And it’s time to take the next step.

But one day, Brielle (a vet tech) gets kicked in the head by a spooked horse kick and is knocked out. Upon waking, she finds a gorgeous paramedic (Darwin) preparing her for her ride to the hospital, and she blurts her approval of him out loud which makes his dimple appear as he chuckles.

A smile twitched across his lips and again that one dimple appeared in his right cheek. I untangled my one hand from his and reached up, touching it. “Did you know you have a dimple?”

Darwin smiled wider, but still only one dimple appeared. Just one. He captured my roving hand and brought it back down.

“Funny enough, I had no idea.”

“Are you teasing me?”

“You are a bit out of it, and I will admit that it’s always fun to tease the patients when I know they won’t remember me the next day.”

My eyelids fluttered closed. I could just stay here, like this. This was better than good. “I won’t forget you. I promise.”

Whoa. *sparks* Even I was crushing already!

Of course, maybe she’s just a bit delirious (and obviously concussed) and maybe he’s just doing his job to keep her calm, but holding his hand makes her feel… something. And when he stays with her a little longer than that (at the hospital ’cause her man is too busy at work to come and see her)… she feels even more.

A bit “fast/typical” at first, but still interesting ’cause something VERY important is keeping these two apart.

My notes here were: “What what whaaaaaaaaaat!!???“ eek

And then other things, too.

Yet, here I was, crying over the sink for a hurt that I couldn’t pinpoint the cause of. Or maybe, didn’t want to pinpoint the cause of.

Yes, that was closer to the truth.

Stupid girl.

And all the while, things just keep ramping up into super angsty (sometimes super-exhausting) land. And at some point y’all are either gonna love it, or hate it. neutral Maybe even hate me for tempting you unfairly like this. *grimaces* ‘Cause I really can’t tell you anything more. Heck… let’s just blame those girls, above. ;) Tee hee!! ;) Okay okay, in all fairness, I get it. I know why they were as enthusiastic as they were. This one certainly makes you feel. And for those of you that really loved a few very popular books from our reading past, you’ll likely love this one, too.

But for me, I’m gonna say 3 to 3.5 stars overall.

Good writing and all that, but just too over-the-top for me, and eventually, it… lost a part of me. Yes, I practically read it in one sitting, but there was just so much crazy happening, that at a certain point, even though logically I wanted “good” for all, emotionally I don’t know if I cared anymore. Too many evil characters in this one (and they’d do and say stuff that I just can’t imagine anyone doing or saying!!). If people like this exist, I’m so thankful and blessed for my entourage. In fact, I even started imagining this crazy ending that I think I would have been good with. LOL! But I didn’t guess right. Maybe I’m just grumpy. ;) And for sure, I’m still holding a grudge for a certain… something that happened along the way.

BUT!!!  Five stars for three particularly heartrending, emotionally DEEP scenes (that follow each other consecutively) that just kept on giving. My tears, they were a-flowing! The author did NOT hold back when it truly counted and I could see it all play out like a movie. First half really good, and I appreciated the “motto” of the story as a whole. The rest though, played out more like a soap. The aftermath. At times, everyone seemed out of their minds! And yet, still had it’s “Whoa. WAY cool surprises!” there, too.

P.S. If you decide to read this, and like to listen to music while reading, find yourself a bunch of angsty, tearjerking love (or heartbreak) songs and watch what happens…

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy October 20, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I just bought this the other day, and I am sooooo glad you reviewed it and gave us a heads up about it. Right now my tummy and heart need a break. Drama, emotion and some angst are okay but no more than that right now. I just read Fault Line and felt awful afterwards. And not in a good way. I just felt awful and ugly and angry and sick. Yes, sick. :( This is just me returning the favor for the above review/warning. ;)

Maryse October 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Oh thank you, Amy! I also heard about another one that I’m kind of dying to read (by the “sick to my stomach” reactions I’m getting) but some say I need to hold off until book #2 comes out ’cause it has a killer cliffhanger.

Maryse October 20, 2013 at 6:42 PM

This book that I reviewed (above) is complete, though (no cliffhanger). Still way angsty!

Amy October 20, 2013 at 7:30 PM

I’d love to know which book – for when I can stomach it, that is. And I’ll probably wait for book #2 because cliffhangers are on my crap list right now, too. ;) Seriously, you have no idea how much I appreciate your candidness above. I’m still so riled up (in a bad way!) over FL. Screw it all, I’m going to go make a martini and paint my nails. Ugh! But thanks again for the heads up. :)

Lauren October 20, 2013 at 7:42 PM

I just finished this book this morning.there were times when my heart was fluttering and there were times when I was skimming a few was a great story but so much was going on and I had a lot of trouble connecting at certain parts of the story.i don’t want to spoil anything so I will stop talking but I will say I read it in one sitting and I’m leaning towards a 3.5.without giving anything away I just couldn’t connect in certain parts and too much was going on.

Lindsay October 20, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Great Review! The story was a hot mess for me, but it evoked some feelings out of me, and that’s why I think I liked it so much. Normally I loathe these types of books and I stay away from them, but the synopsis does not hint about the turn of events it’ll take the reader, but overall, I enjoyed it due to its unpredictable twists and turns.

Maryse October 20, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Oh Lindsay I’m still happy to have read this one (so thank you both for your enthusiasm)!! The scenes that evoked tears were worth it. ;)

Maryse October 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Oh yes Amy it’s “Discovering Us” by Harper Bentley.

It’s making everyone crazy, the cliffhanger, I hear is KILLER and after reading the synopsis, I already have a good idea why. ;)

Jean October 21, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Ugh….I downloaded this on Friday too as soon as I saw Jeannie V and Lindsay’s comments and that vague synopsis!! Haha! Now I am scared, but of course I will start it tonight because I am completely intrigued!!

swathi October 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

I kind of agree with your review on this one Maryse. I thought the book started well but the numerous twists seem forced to me and actually made me reduce my stars. Sounded quite illogical and the writing also seemed to come down after a couple of chapters.

Jeanie V October 21, 2013 at 8:42 PM

*Peeking through my fingers….* (is it safe to come out?) LOL! I loved your review Maryse and feel free to yell away lol! I was just so shocked and surprised and thrown off by everything that happened in the book and the way the events made me feel. I was not expecting a tear jerker of a book!!! That’s probably why I was so enthusiastic and had to recommend it. I guess I wanted someone to yell with me too! :) It was just a total surprise of a book for me!

Maryse October 21, 2013 at 9:38 PM

LOL! I love you guys!! And I totally get where you were coming from. I didn’t escape the sobbing, either. Yep y’all are safe now. I got over my tear-fest. ;)

Amy October 21, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Oh yeah, I bought Discovering Us last week and will NOT be reading it until book #2 is out. Appreciate the heads up on that one as well. ;)

Jean October 22, 2013 at 7:52 AM

Amy, I totally agree with you….waiting for the 2nd book to Discovering Us. I am in no mood for a cliffhanger! I did finish Ninety-Eight last night and have to completely agree with Maryse’s review!

Jean October 22, 2013 at 10:26 AM

And I forced my girlfriend to read Ninety-Eight so we could commiserate together. She is not very happy with me right now!

Maryse October 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Hehe… I know how she felt. ;)

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