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Surrender Paperback – Nov 4 2014
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Praise for the novels of June Gray:
“Fast [and] furious.”—MsRomantic Reads
“Trust me…it definitely hooks you!”—Three Chicks and Their Books
“A hot romance…that swells your heart.”—The Book Whisperer
About the Author
June Gray is a daydreamer who, at the age of ten, penned a short story inspired by a Judy Blume novel and has been unable to stop writing since. She loves to tell stories that titillate and enrage, that break the reader’s heart and put it back together again.
Her fairy-tale life has been lived on four different continents—most recently, in a two-hundred-forty-year-old castle in rural Germany owned by a Graf. She was born in the Philippines, raised in Australia, and now calls the United States home, and she can currently be found enjoying the shores of Miami with her husband, two daughters, and a miniature schnauzer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I absolutely loved June Gray’s Disarm series. It’s rare that I enjoy military romances, however as a military spouse herself, Ms. Gray certainly knows what she is writing about and easily captures the heartbreak and happiness that is unique to a military couple or family.
Surrender, while not necessarily part of the Disarm series, includes characters introduced in the two novels. It is not necessary to have read them, and this book is a standalone as well with an HEA. I do however suggest reading Disarm and Arrest, not only are they excellent books, but you’ll connect with the characters in this book a little more. This book is the story of Julie; the almost sister in law of Elsie; and Neal, a friend of Elsie’s husband Henry.
Julie is a single mom, living in the Dallas area. She was engaged to Jason, Elsie’s brother whom was killed in action in Afghanistan. It wasn’t until her son was a few years old that she met Jason’s parents and she instantly became a part of the family. It is at the wedding of Elsie and Henry in their hometown of Monterey that she meets Neal on the beach.
Neal is a tall, hot, surfer that is also from out of town. While Julie isn’t necessarily a hook-up kind of girl, the two are immediately attracted to each other. When it turns out that Neal is also a guest at the wedding, the two begin to consider a relationship, however they both have their secrets. What will happen when Neal learns that Julie is a single mom? What is the secret that Neal is keeping that could ruin their relationship and leave Julie resenting him forever?
In addition to the secrets they are both keeping, is the fact that Neal is an Air Force reservist. Julie has sworn to never again date a man in the military out of fear that once again, she’ll be left a war widow. When she gives Neal an ultimatum of her or the military, what will he choose and what will be the consequence of that choice?
Surrender was another emotional well-written book but for some reason, it just lacked that extra something that the Disarm series had. I’m not sure if it was the difference in characters (I had a little harder time relating to Julie than I did to Elsie) but this one didn’t affect me nearly as much as the books that told Elsie and Henry’s story. Part of it may be that Elsie is a much stronger character than Julie; Julie seemed to be a little more dramatic, especially when it came to Neal’s status as a reservist.
That said, I did enjoy Surrender and Ms. Gray has a definite fan in me. This is a strong four star read and if you’re a fan of military romance, especially those that show the real life aspects of it (sorry, it’s not all An Officer and a Gentleman), these books are for you.
Julie was the type of character I connected with immediately, despite really having nothing in common with her. She was a great mom to Will and she did a fantastic job making up for the absence of his father. The relationship between Julie and her son was sweet and touching. They were quite a team. I hated that Jason wasn't around to be a part of it all. They would've made one hell of a family, but life had different plans in mind. Despite the face she puts on for the world, Julie's still struggling with the loss of Jason. As you would expect. When she meets Neal, there's an undeniable chemistry, but there's also a concern about forgetting Jason and what bringing another man around would do to Will.
Neal was a good guy. The fling he and Julie started happened really quickly and their feelings developed sooner than I might have liked, but somehow it still worked for me. I loved the playfulness between the two of them, and even more importantly, I respected the relationship he developed with Will. He was a role model and a father figure, but never tried to replace Jason. He was in it for the long haul with Julie and Will and I really wanted them to make it work. But, as there generally is in life, secrets threatened to destroy what they had built. Choices had to be made and none of them were easy, but Julie and Neal were both strong and determined characters. Life had to knock them around a little just to make sure they were committed.
I expected Surrender to be an emotional book. The first two books in the series were emotional in their own right, as Elsie and Henry fought for their love and against everything that tried to take it from them. But there was something about this one, whether it was just the time at which I read it or the fact that I connected to Julie more than Elsie, that made it even that much MORE emotional for me. Military stories affect me strongly and when I find myself as wrapped up in the characters as I was with this book, I feel every single feel.
Surrender brought everything back full circle. It was sad, at times, as I expected, but mostly it was hopeful. I'm a sucker for a second chance story and this was one of the more beautiful (and, at times downright frustrating) ones I've read recently. June Gray's books aren't all hearts and flowers, but instead they're a realistic look at the ups and downs of military life and love. They have a way of punching me in the gut and grabbing my heart. As sad as I am to see this series come to an end, I'm ridiculously pleased with how everything came together.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
What I liked:
Having read June Gray's Disarm series and falling in love with Elsie and Henry, I was excited about this book coming out. Julie would have been Elsie's sister-in-law, had Jason, Elsie's brother not been killed in Afghanistan. I liked the fact that Julie was someone I felt like I already knew, but didn't know very well. It made her story resonate all the more. A chance meeting on the beach with Neal turns into something more when Julie realizes that Neal is also a guest at Elsie and Henry's wedding. I liked the feel of destiny about their meeting. Like they were meant to meet each other day, fate if you will.
Julie was a single mom who was really only interested in hooking up with Neal for the short term. Given the fact that her parents had a very rocky relationship and that she had lost someone she loved very much, I could sympathize with Julie's issues regarding commitment. To me it was really all a matter of not letting herself be hurt again. If you don't let it to that far it can't come back to bite you. But with Neal it was different. Julie did continue to struggle though, long after I thought she should have been willing to give Neal a chance. She didn't tell him about her son for the longest time and he didn't tell her about the fact that he was in the reserves. It just felt like their relationship was not built on honesty. Eventually they get around to it, but it felt like an afterthought and not what a good romance should be based on.
Julie keeps going over and over her relationship with Jason. There were a lot of flashbacks and I found that very distracting. Yes, some of it was necessary, but I think Gray went a little overboard by letting it consume too much of the story. She was constantly comparing her relationship with Neal to her relationship with Jason and I wasn't really sure why it had to be that way.
There was a lot of hot and steamy parts to the book that were realistic if you look at it from the stand point of a one night stand or a quick fling, but a little disconcerting when you think about building a lasting relationship on that kind of foundation. I liked the chemistry between Neal and Julie and they were honest about what they wanted in bed, if they were not honest about anything else.
This one wasn't really my cup of tea. The writing was just as good as any of Gray's previous books, but the connection between the lead characters was just not of the caliber I had come to expect from the author. It was a bit too superficial for me and the heroine had so many issues it was hard to see how a relationship would work with her and anyone.
I was given a copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.