December 10, 2014

REVIEW: Ready or Not (Ready #4) By, J.L. Berg


Born into wealth and privilege, free-spirited Liv Quinn left it all behind when she realized there was more to life than living off of trust funds and barely skating by.  Since then, she’s worked and fought for everything she’s earned and never looked back at the world or the family she left behind. 

Jackson Reid is starting over with a new job in a brand new city.  A single father to his son Noah, he hopes the change will help strengthen the bond that has seemed to suffer since puberty reared its ugly head.  What he hadn’t planned on was Liv—his exotic next-door neighbor who drives him insane with her wild, new age lifestyle, but still manages to leave him aching for more. 

As challenges arise and feelings intensify, will these neighbors be able to look past their differences and find a middle ground?  When love comes knocking, will they be ready, or not? 

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This is the fourth book in J.L. Berg’s Ready series and it happens to be the first one I have read. Within These Walls was the first book of hers that I read and when I immediately fell in love I knew more book would make it onto my TBR list. The Ready series definitely went on there. When I decided to read Ready or Not I knew I was going to be in for a great romance. I was not disappointed and I got more than I thought I would. This story is full of humor, love, and definitely family.

“This love for Liv had crept up slowly, making itself known with a whisper rather than a roar.”

Liv has been making it on her own for eight long years. When her parents abandoned her she learned to make it on her own. Along the way she met friends that became more. She created her own little family and started her own counseling practice. Liv has never needed the love a steady relationship could give her. She never looked at herself as the marrying type. That is, until she meets Jackson and his son Noah. Liv’s life as she knows it is about to change and Jackson is about to show her what her life has been missing without him in it.

“For once in my life, I wasn’t closing myself off to the possibility of more.”

J.L. Berg has a knack for writing pretty great leading woman in her stories. Granted as I said I have only read a few of her books but her leading woman have been great. Liv wasn’t high maintenance and relatively drama free. She is strong and fiercely independent. To the point that she becomes a “pain in the ass” (Jackson). She tends to be really stubborn but is also fiercely loyal. Once she has found love she holds on and fights for them. Liv is a bit quirky but I believe that it adds to the story. It gives an edge to her character and gives her a greater depth, especially when you learn about where she comes from.

“Call it whatever you want, but all I know is, I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to stick around until there’s nothing new I could learn about you, and even then, I’ll probably still stick around just to annoy you.”

Jackson has been a single father for eleven years. When his college fiancĂ© left him with a newborn and empties his bank account he promised himself he would only date the girl next door types. No more exotic women. Liv puts his rules to the test. When she immediately forms a bond with his son he doesn’t know if he can resist her charms, or if he even wants to. The longer their games go on the farther he starts to fall.

“Our eyes met, and in their depths, I found the missing piece of my soul.”

While I love J.L. Berg’s leading women I love her men more. There is something about them that makes you fall in love the first time you meet them. Jackson was no different. He was such a loving and caring character. Jackson is a great father learning how to a father to a tween. He’s starting to lose him and watching Jackson struggle with the changes made you feel for him. With the dual POVs we got to see Jackson interact with his son when Liv wasn’t around. Jackson was also sexy as hell. He was all kinds of swoon-worthy and what made it better was he never gave up on her. He always came back to fight for their relationship.

“No. Tonight has nothing to do with Noah. This has to do with me wanting you and only ever you. When I take you, I want to bury myself so deep that you’ll never forget. So, you might thing you’re ready to give yourself over to me, but are you prepared for what will come when I give myself to you?”

This story was definitely a special one. We had so many elements that just made this one hard to put down. Liv and Jackson’s relationship starts and continues to be a competition. First it’s about getting each other back for the landscaping but soon it becomes more. There was a great mix of romance and humor. I loved watched Liv learn how to let go and trust in her relationship with Jackson. Liv comes to realize she has everything she could want in the family that is right in front of her.

“I was ready for Jackson. I was ready to leap.”

One thing that J.L. Berg did that not a lot of writers do is Jackson didn’t give up. J.L. Berg had multiple times she could have done the expected thing and let their relationship fall apart for a few weeks. Liv could have pushed him away and had all of that drama. But J.L. Berg made Jackson stay and fight for her. He never gave up and that split never happened. It was different and I really enjoyed it. It made the relationship feel more real.

I really loved this book. I was introduced to the couples in the previous books and this one just made me want to read them more. The dynamic between all of them is different and special. J.L. Berg created a world that was full of interesting people, relationships, and romance. I can’t wait to read more and I definitely recommend this to absolutely everyone.

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