Book Review – Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff

by Maryse on July 25, 2013 · 14 comments

in My Book Reviews

Underestimated: Book One
Crazy-dark read (I liked it!) and it took me awhile but I finally finished it! *phew* I was reading and reading and reading and I looked down and was only at like… 20-something percent, and I wondered if it was just me being slow. Then I continued the next day for hours and hours and was only at 50-something percent. I don’t know why I didn’t bother to check the page count listed on Amazon, ’cause I just checked now at OMG it’s over 500 pages long! Well that explains why it took me three evenings to finish. Reflecting back on it (and the parts I ended up skimming) I think it could (and should) have been condensed.

But I also kind of… loved? (really liked?) it.

I saw it discussed a few times by my fellow readers on my Facebook page, and some were having a love/not so love relationship with it.

Maria: Loved Underestimated by Jettie Woodruff it was so good!!! It had everything that I LOVE in a book it was dark, raw, twisted, so many turns and it was romantic!!! It was long but I loved it… Maryse you definitely have to check it out it was a lot like Consequences and Truth by Aleatha Romig. It was a 5 star for me!!

Lori: Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been wanting to read this one!

Di-Ann: Read it yesterday and also loved it!

Kandace: I started it but I dunno…there was a certain person that I couldn’t understand….why.

Claudia: I couldn’t finish.

Kandace: I’m not sure I can either. The abuse was horrible. I hate him.

Nikole: I just want to thank whoever mentioned they were reading Underestimated on Maryse’s last saturday’s post…it wasn’t even on my radar and I picked it up right then and I LOVED IT!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Neika: MARYSE!!! I need to vent! Underestimated should definitely be your next book!!!! Twisted and not predictable…at ALL!!! Engaging from the start! Definitely a rollercoaster of emotions.

Maryse’s Book Blog: YAY!!!! Okay i’ll try it next. I’m scared!!!

So you know I had to pick this up. Dark reads are my guilty pleasure.

I was into it! Many times I was SO into them (I won’t tell you who “them” is right now), and enjoying the writing style (especially that intro and a few of the emotionally connecting scenes). It definitely took me out of my comfort zone on many levels. But the story was overly interrupted with excessive (and repetitive) sex and quite a few too many “indecisive” scenes too. While those details are needed to give us the feel of the situation and have us emotionally connecting, to this extent? It just took me out of the book. What could have been a nice tight (yet very unconventional) love story, at times felt… overdone, long-winded and a bit scattered.

And yet, because of the subject matter and a few of those crazy twists, other than having to put the book down to sleep (and work), I didn’t want to. Sure, I pulled back and huffed in exasperation when it rambled, but this book had plenty in it to keep me reading and invested.

So what’s it about? Oh this is gonna be fun!! IF you like dark “evil” guy kidnappy reads, that is…

Horribly neglected as a child and teen (and abused), Morgan is taken out of that situation by a handsome and very rich man one day on her eighteenth birthday. YAY HER, right? Nope. He “buys” her from her alcoholic mess of a father, and forces her to sign the marriage papers. He’s got connections, judges and lawyers in his pocket.

“Sign the Godd@mn X, Morgan!” he yelled, and I could feel tears forming in my eyes. I didn’t want to sign. I didn’t want to marry Drew Kelley.

The paper-trail is “legal” but inexperienced and mentally abused Morgan doesn’t know any better, or doesn’t have it in her to fight for her rights.

She’s been essentially kidnapped, and other than the luxurious living arrangements and servants, all “kidnapped victim” rules apply. She’s locked in, has no access to the outside world, is monitored at every turn, and must submit to every one of his sexual whims or suffer the consequences. And let me tell you. He’s a sadistic, vicious, unfeeling bastard! His physical, sexual and mental abuse… yes. You’ll hate him. No Stockholm Syndrome for me (er… ummm… okay well. Maybe… you’ll see ;) ). He’s the “master” of your nightmares and her forced submissive nature makes her the slave of his dreams.

But the book starts off with her ESCAPE from him. So you already know through her thoughts, memories and nightmares what she’s escaped as the book progresses. And all the while, you are on the edge of your seat, biting your nails, as she builds her life for the first time, as an independant woman. Changes her identity, gets a job and makes friends. One of them happens to be a handsome and super-sweet cop.

“What the hell happened to you?” he asked, rubbing my back in a comforting fashion.

I couldn’t tell him anything. I couldn’t tell him how I was raised in the poorest parts of West Virginia by two parents that should have never had kids. I couldn’t tell him that my dad had sold me to a rich twisted sex pervert. I could never tell him anything about my past.

On the edge of your seat while she finally gets to live? Why yes.

I started to relax. I was starting to realize nobody was there looking for me, and nobody was taking me back to that place.

Hehe. *smirk* You don’t think it’s gonna be easy street from now on, do you? ;)

And so I loved the “first half” of the first half, and enjoyed the “second half” of the first half (but found my attention waning, as this part was a bit long winded). But I FREAKED OUT and didn’t stop reading once I hit 50%.

Adele: I just finished Underestimated. When Maryse said it was between Escape From Paradise and Consequences I was SO on board, and crap on a cracker, it was good…… Not only have I been a zombie today, ’cause you know I stayed up reading way too late last night, but I couldn’t stand the suspense and I finished up reading at my desk at work! It was an intense book, so much so that I think I need a day or two to take it all in before I start a new read.

Maryse: It’s a fairly long book. I’m at 60% right now and BOY DO I LOVE that twist at 50%. WOW. I did NOT see that coming. I mean I saw … “that” coming, but OMG!!!!! Where it went after that…. I can’t wait to get back to it and finish it tonight!

Natalie: … There were times where I was like WHAT IS SHE THINKING?! other times where I found myself think WHAT AM I THINKING?! …

Neika: A twisted emotional love story Stockholm syndrome rollercoaster!

I mostly loved the second half… mostly. *phew* Craziness. BUT!!!! This is where my eye-rolling kicked in (many times) and where the repetitive nature of the story showed it’s face one too many times, distracting me.

So I’m going to say this. I loved the essential overall story, and the fact that despite the issues I had with the writing (this one needs more editing for sure), I was invested. But I find there are two kinds of dark reads. The serious/scary reads with a deep character growth and survivor angle,  and the soap-ish ones. I like both styles. And while I find, due to the intense subject matter, this one could have had a bit more… “depth”, I still enjoyed the direction it took. I “went” with it.

Sure, it was a little far-fetched, but I liked the ride and overall character evolvement and story progression. Mind you, she made me cringe. For a survivor/victim (or victim/survivor? I won’t tell you in what order, ’cause there’s much more to the book than what I told you) with her kind of background and potential, I disconnected from her often. A few of her reactions, decisions and thoughts had me… annoyed (<— that’s me being nice). ;) The incessant back and forth got to be too much for me. But you know what? Humans aren’t perfect. *shrug* What can you do?

But overall, it was a guilty pleasure for me! Made me delightfully uncomfortable many times (as I found myself connecting with someone I abhorred), steamy (before it became repetitive), and a total mind-twist at heart. Overly dramatic and far-fetched, yes, but so fun to read anyway (if you’re into that sort of soap-opera-ish “over-the-top” dark read). If you take it with a grain of salt, I think you can really indulge in the overall addictive quality of it.

3 stars for when the writing & story occasionally lost it’s rhythm and felt overly drawn out (maybe even less stars for a few of those sections. I skimmed ‘em). But 4 stars for the actual story (and 4.5 stars for a few parts that had me absolutely glued – there were lots of those)! I’m not all… “OMG SOOOOO GOOD” but then again, I totally am. *shrug* I dunno. confused emoticon I’m a mess. Just go with it. LOL!!!

3.5 stars (and there’s a tiny part of me wanting to push for 4 stars). ;)

P.S. I have quite a few favorite lines (and a certain “sea glass” scene that had absolutely my heart) but right at about the last quarter, there’s a little Stockholm Syndrome discussion that made me go oooooooooooooooh!!! I loved that one little part! I won’t quote it here, but I just wanted to highlight that part. When you get to it, you’ll know.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

ashley July 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM

just finished this one…i liked the second half better just cuz im not really into the whole violence without reason…i mean i swooned over caleb in the dark duet in the end but they started as kidnapper and prisoner and not husband and young wife that had no clue what the heck hit her and why…maybe if we would of got a drew point of view chapter…idk…it felt wrong plain and simple…and i can understand the whole *spoiler* and i know *spoiler* that i was kinda sad in the end…i liked *spoiler* 6 years of…u kno.. i hated

Bonnie July 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

I loved this book. Dark reads are my favorite. This book definitely needs some editing,but it really didn’t bother me (normally it would,lol) because I was really invested in the story. My feelings for him were all over the place.It’s amazing how an author can make you hate someone,then twist things around and make you question yourself. 4 – 4.5 for me.

Maryse July 25, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Oh I was all over the place, too. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. LOL! But that’s good. I enjoyed that!

Jettie July 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM

I have been biting my nails for three days waiting for you to finish this Maryse. You’re girls on here scared me when they said that they couldn’t wait to see what you had to say. Yes the book is long, but I was trying really hard to keep it a stand alone. You’re lucky I omitted the parts about Skyler, well maybe I’m the lucky one. I am glad that it kept you glued and had your emotions going crazy. Thank you for reading and the review. It is being edited again as we speak.

Maryse July 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Skyler!!! Yes I was seething just thinking about it… and am actually interested in some of that part of the story. ;)

Gabby July 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I can’t find it on iBooks or nook!

jettie July 25, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Gabby I’m sorry. It is only on Kindle. Can you get it if I send it to you in mobile or Pdf ?

Elizabeth Weatherly July 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM

The escape had my pulse pumping and me cheering while reading but I would have enjoyed finding out his reaction to her escape and absence. I must say this may be my favorite dark read so far.

Heather July 26, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Thanks for the review, I’m glad I read it. Definitely twisted, but I like a more involved, dark read sometimes. I was surprised she never looked up her brother after all the talk about him and also wondered about Rebecca. But good book.

Gabby July 26, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Yes! I would love that!

Heather July 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Jettie will it be available for Nook? My reading buddy that I have been texting all day to discuss this with said she can’t get it!

Linda July 29, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Just finished Underestimated. Outstanding read from the very first chapter to the very last. Just wow. A very looong read and I don’t think I skipped one single word. Just brilliant. Thanks once again Maryse. Xo

Cassie July 30, 2013 at 1:18 PM

My favorite dark read since Truth and Consequences. I too was back and forth and could understand Morgan/Riley’s confusion for much of the novel. Just loved the ending. I would have liked to know what happened to Rebecca- can’t believe she never addressed this with Drew… and thought for sure Morgan would have contacted her brother. Otherwise, a great read!! I look forward to more from this author.

Jettie July 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Underestimated should be available in Barns and Noble shortly. Uploaded, just not live yet.

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