Pretty Little Lies by J.W. Phillips


 Dylan Summers came into Ethan Asher’s life blazing brighter than any star. He was drawn to her as he’d never been to anything or anyone before. But no matter how much he loved her, the torment of their past tore them apart.Dylan Summers spent her whole life trying to hold on to the last nerve of her sanity. Now she found herself alone and searching for a man that seem to only be a dream. Will finding him finally heal her or finish destroying her?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23279666-pretty-little-lies?ac=1
I read the first book in this series, Innocent Lies when it was first released a few months ago.  The story had me by the heart and the ending left me on the edge of my seat.  A short recap is Dylan Summers had been betrayed by the people she should have been able to count on.  When she ended up batter and broken after being raped, a man came to her rescue.  Never giving her his name he took care of her till he could hand her over to someone else and ran off into the darkness of time.  Years later after trying to get her life in order, she falls for the DA Ethan.  When the romance started he was able to see just what damage had been done to her by not only his family but by his actions as well.  Being stuck between what his family demanded in order to protect them and what his heart was telling him
about Dylan he decided to love her and come clean.  That turned disastrous and leads us to book two.
Now I don’t normally give you a recap of the prior story when doing a review for a second book, but I feel it is important for this story.  I went into Pretty Little Lies with expectations that weren’t fulfilled, instead the author gave me a whole new view to what happen in the lives of Dylan and Ethan.  Instead of more drama and evil being thrown at them, this book was about how they tried to pick up the pieces of their lives and find their way back together.  There were no sensational scenes that left me gasping for air, no shadows coming out of the dark to attack them once again but she gave us plenty of answers to our questions and surprises.  I found a mess that two people were trying to clean up with limited options and tools at their disposal.  It was clearly the aftermath of two lives that had been shattered by horrendous choices made not only by themselves but on the behalf of others.
I won’t risk giving away spoilers but I need to explain that I for one hate a story where the female runs away from life and events.  I like strong women who face situations head on and don’t play the victim card.  The author does a great job at giving Dylan a get out of jail free card. This is NOT your normal scared little girl in a woman’s body, this is a blank canvas trying to put the pieces together of her life and not knowing where to go that is safe.  Ethan frustrated me during the first half of the book, he was so broken and didn’t have that strong Dom personality that I had grown to expect from him.  Once again the author did a fabulous job at letting us see, he really didn’t have anything thing to work with in getting her back.  Even if he could find her during those times, what was he going to say?  The history spoke for itself and how could he ask her to forgive the unforgivable?  Both were in a hopeless trap but neither of them gave up on their relationship completely.
I will admit, I had to talk to my friend after reading this because on paper I would have hated this book, but with the brilliance of writing from this author, I found I was not only connected to both characters I felt deep empathy for them.  J. W. Phillips helped me understand and relate to their story.  She put me in their shoes and reminded me there aren’t always easy answers in life.  Sometimes the choices we make in life will leave us with long lasting consequences  or if we are lucky we can find that one soul mate who can forgive and give us another chance to be a better person, but we won’t know how it will work out till we decide if we have enough fight in our hearts to find out.  I love this series, it is thought provoking, emotional and unique and I devoured the second book in a few hours.  The author amazed me with her talent in the first book but she blew me away with how she showed us that not all roads to love and happiness are smooth.  Don’t miss out on this series.