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Posted October 8, 2013
I went into this book thinking I would like it and I really did.
After reading the blurb I had a general idea of what the book would be about but the true story of it was totally unexpected (pun intended) and beautiful.
We get to meet Connor and Michelle who are both struggling in the aftermath of one unforgetteble day in their lives.
I really liked both of their charachters and they where easy to feel with. I sometimes had a bit of trouble to relate to Michelle since it felt that she just ran from her problems instead of just working through them. She ran home to mom and dad instead. But...who am I to judge? I was not there so... I can´t even imagine what I would do in a situation like that. I just know that I feel for all of those who where.
Connor really was Michelles rock even though he had even worse problems than Michelle. He made her want to take care of her problems and in return Michelle was able to help him.
This book was moving and emotional and really gave me more insight. It was the first of it´s kind for me to read so it was interesting aswell. Faith has a way with words which makes it so well written.
The only thing that I can complain about was the love story between Michelle and Connor.
It felt like some parts where missing in it. It felt like they went from friends with some attraction between them to saying the L word in a jiffy and I would have loved if it would have been more about how they got there.
I can really recommend this book for anyone really!
Posted October 8, 2013
I have recently discovered New Adult author Faith Sullivan and have made it my mission to read all of her work. I adore her Heartbeat series, and while I wait for book three, the conclusion to the series, to be released in October, I'm reading all of her other books.
I really, really liked Unexpected. The book starts with Michelle, new to college at NYU, witnessing the events of 9/11. She's all alone in New York, completely new to the city, and knows no one. She is so terrified and shaken after the terrorist bombings that she returns home to her parents.
Unexpectedly, she meets Connor at a friend's party. Connor hires Michelle to waitress at his bar in New York, and offers her a room in his apartment above the bar. Michelle accepts his offer, desperate to get away from her well-meaning but overbearing parents and hoping to get over the events of 9/11.
There is a constant attraction between Connor and Michelle but nothing happens between them for what felt like forever (for me). I liked the slow build to their relationship and the fact that they were friends first.
My favorite part of Unexpected was how Connor and Michelle deal with the emotional trauma of being in New York on 9/11. That made the book very affecting and moving for me. Like everyone else, I still remember where I was when I heard the news, and it's something I'll never forget. Unexpected is not a book about 9/11, it's about how two people come to terms with their experience and loss. I thought Sullivan did a great job with both Michelle and Connor's emotional recovery.
I loved the way the book ended, it was not what I was expecting would happen, but it was perfect for the story. I was so happy to have closure: that's something I love about stand-alone novels. I highly recommend Unexpected, and all of Faith Sullivan's work!
Posted October 3, 2013
I've read other books by Faith and I really like her. I just do. I've emailed her a few times and she's the kind of gal you just want to have coffee with and talk about the chunky girl wearing white leggings as pants in the coffee shop. So anytime I get to review a book of hers I get excited because I have high expectations.
And I haven't been disappointed.
What I love about her books is that they aren't super long, they aren't drawn out, and you don't have all of this extra fluff and all you have is the story. And she always has normal, flawed, human characters. These are people you have in your life right now. They face actual problems and the things they deal with are things that are legitimate issues.
Take Connor and Michelle. Connor is a business owner not far from the World Trade Center who lost his best friend on 9/11. He struggles to cope with the loss of someone he considered a brother. Michelle, alone in the city for the first time on her own, freaks out and can no longer handle any of it. She goes back home and in a weird coincidence of fate, Connor and Michelle connect in her hometown. He convinces her to give New York City a try again and offers to give her a job at his bar and let her live upstairs with him until she can get on her feet. Enter mutual attraction, and you've got a romance just bursting to happen but neither are emotionally in any kind of shape to go there.
I really liked this because Michelle is the type of person I hate. I should say strongly dislike. But she's the girl who never really strikes out on her own, isn't ever independent, is basically scared of what's out there. She's the girl who marries her high school sweetheart right out the gate, she's the girl who refuses the thought of going away for college, she's the girl who can't live on her own. These girls are annoying. They make me shake my fist in the name of feminism and want to shake them silly and say, DO THESE THINGS. Do all of these things because you won't understand what you are made of until you do.
And Connor. Swoon. We all want to be the girl who fixed the boy, don't we? Admit it. We read these books with flawed boys and think we could be the ones who guide them to the light and they fall head over heels for us. I won't judge, I'm right there with you.
But Michelle and Connor are perfect for each other. They really are. They both suffered a loss that day, and they kind of need each other to get through it and get to the next stage of life. Except they can't do it under the guise of "If I fix them, I'm fixing me." It never works that way, and that's Connor's lesson here.
I flew through this book in a couple of hours and you will too. It's good, it's light, and it's not smutty. I know some of you don't like the smutty (I'm a fan, don't judge), but this one is good. You'll like it.
Posted October 3, 2013
I loved this! It had enough emotion and drama to keep me hooked, without been too heavy. We follow the story primarly of Michelle and the effect of 9/11 on her, bring in a beautiful bar owner who faces his own issues and what do we have? A whole lot of well written tension. I have previously read Faiths books, and i did enjoy them, but this is the best of the bunch(So far!) I would really recommend this is as a summer read, something to shift emotions but keep you page turning till the end.
Posted October 1, 2013
Everyone has their own story when it comes to 9/11. It's something that no matter where you were or what you were doing at the time, you remember every minute of that morning. Unexpected is Michelle Rhodes' story. It's her first year of college and she is living alone in New York City when tragedy strikes. Even though she didn't know anyone who died that day and was a few miles away, she is still having trouble dealing with it. She leaves school and goes home to Pennsylvania to her parents.
Then she meets Connor Donnelly. He offers her a job and a place to live in order to get her back into the city. He is struggling with 9/11 in his own way and wants to help Michelle get over her fears. But soon Michelle and Connor find themselves in a tangled relationship and she doesn't know where to turn. Is she strong enough to face her fears and help Conner face his?
Michelle's story was one that I understood and connected with immediately. Even though I wasn't in New York on 9/11 and didn't know anyone personally that was killed, it still affected me greatly. In fact, I still get nervous when I see planes flying low to the ground on their way to the air force base nearby. I don't think this will ever change. So even though Michelle wasn't directly involved, I could still understand her fears.
I admit I had a hard time liking Connor at first. He came off as cocky and demanding and I couldn't understand why Michelle was so attracted to him. Even though he was her boss at the bar, he seemed to think he ruled her life and tried to control her outside of work too. It took me a while to warm up to him, some of the things he did just threw me off.
Eventually though, I came around and started liking him more as his story came to light. He was hurting just as badly as Michelle, even more so, actually, and he was having a hard time dealing with his loss. Did he make the best decisions? Absolutely not, but I began to understand them.
Unexpected was a very emotional read with a very heavy topic. What I liked most about this story was that it didn't make me feel like people who weren't immediately affected by the events of 9/11 were wrong to feel the same as those that were. Everyone was affected in their own way and needs to grieve in their own way too.
Overall, this was a quick, heartfelt story of love, loss and moving forward. I highly recommend Unexpected to anyone and everyone, especially those still dealing with the events of 9/11.
Posted October 1, 2013
Unexpected touches on a hard time for anyone in the US. It took me by surprise as the memories of that day came back to me. I found myself relating to Michelle in a way, but also not fully comprehending what a person in that position could have truly gone through. I found myself in tears during parts of the book. It is very emotionally touching, not just a romance.
I like Michelle's character. She has so many obstacles to face, and she struggles really bad to overcome them. I like that we get to see what causes her to fall apart, and then get to see her start to build herself back up. With each setback or complication she looks for a way to overcome, thanks in part to Connor persistence, and I think also in part to her own strength.
Connor is an interesting character. He sort of comes out of no where and moves himself into Michelle's life. He has good intentions, if a bit self-serving at times, and he helps her a lot. His hot and cold ways were frustrating but for the most part I respected his reasons. I didn't even start of knowing he was kind of broken, but his healing is pretty amazing to read.
I think Unexpected is a sweet romance that touches on a very sensitive time for people. It gives a really beautiful story of how two people help each other recover from tragedy and find some hope in their future.
I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
Posted October 1, 2013
This book was hard for me to rate. It is a lot about grieving and overcoming the events of 9/11. I definitely handle stress and grief and loss differently than the 2 main characters, and many more who will read this book will deal with it in their own way. And yes, I remember exactly where I was when it happened and I watched it all from the comfort of my own home. So I tread carefully here.
I had to trudge through the beginning as it started off a little slow but the pace picked up and I started to really enjoy it.
Michelle goes to NYU. She has a plan for her life. She is away from home and has barely met people and has no one’s phone number yet when the events of 9/11 unfold and she witnesses it. She stayed in her apartment for a few days with no one to talk to. She tried to make it but she couldn’t and went home.
At home and on New Year’s Eve there was a party that she was talked into going to. She was at the door ready to turn around when she heard “Having Second Thoughts?” from a guy on the porch. He called her by name and she didn’t know who he was. Well as it turns out he has come to take her back to NY to deal with her grief. She would live above a bar and would have room and board and work in the bar below with the man who has come to take her there, Connor.
Connor is a few years older than her. He has taken over the family pub since his father had a heart attack. Connor has some secrets of his own. He seems very protective of Michelle. He runs hot and cold when it comes to her. He makes it clear though, that the two of them will never be a couple.
There is chemistry between the two. But when a kiss happens, he pushes her away and shuts her out even harder.
Come to find out, Connor is grieving too. His best friend, Danny was a firefighter who died in the World Trade Center (can’t remember if they shared which tower). But that’s not his only secret. I am not telling the rest though.
Michelle finally learns how to waitress with some mishaps. If she gets into trouble, Connor is there to protect her.
Michelle tries to go to Ground Zero on her own, but she wasn’t ready and had a panic attack and somehow found herself back at the bar.
There are so many secondary characters that really have an impact on their lives. There are others who have had to deal with all that occurred. Like the man, Miguel who works at Ground Zero every day in clearing the rubble and finding bodies. And the counselor that they see at the Y to help them. They all have major impacts on Michelle and Connor and vise versa.
Since they are both grieving and Connor isn’t always being forthcoming on all the secrets he holds, Michelle gets frustrated with him and makes some decisions that hurt Connor. But Michelle is hurting too and they both need each other.
They both have to overcome grief and learn to let each other in and decide what is best for each of them as individuals and if they are to ever to become a couple.
I shed a few tears reading Unexpected and loved the ending. This is a story with grief, loss, canoeing, museums, bus rides, train rides, family, friends, helping others to overcome, and finding love.
Posted October 1, 2013
If there is one book you pick up to read this September, please make it Unexpected! I think we all remember how we felt that day when 12 years ago, and this short read will not only break your heart but will remind you just how deeply affect many people were by the tragedy that happened on 9/11.
The book follows 2 characters were are linked to the events of 9/11 in very different ways, but when they come together they prove just how amazingly powerful love can be and how it can help heal even the deepest emotional scars. As I read this book, there just happened to be a commercial-free special on TV chronicling the events of 9/11 from beginning to end. The book itself is so powerful and emotional, but to re-watch the events of that day while reading about its effects was almost too much.
It’s impossible to read Unexpected and not get emotionally invested in the characters. Their reactions to the events of that day, the loss, and the aftermath are real and gut-wrenching. I was immediately connected with these two young people who were so deeply affected by this horrible tragedy. As their story unfolds, and they try desperately to help one another, I couldn’t help but fall more and more in love the book.
A portion of the proceeds of this book will be going to the 9/11 Memorial Fund, so please, go pick up your copy and share as much as you can. You will not be disappointed in this book. It’s a quick read; I read it in about 4 hours, but be warned. This book is packed with emotion and your heart will get a workout, but it will be totally worth it!
Posted September 13, 2013
**A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
4 Emotional Charged Stars
I dont' really know where to start with this review. I didn't really know what this story was about when i agreed to read it. I knew from the synopsis that some kind of tragedy happens to change the course of 2 lives. What I didn't realize was what that tragedy was going to be. I found it actually fitting to be reading this book on 9/11-9/12....since the tragedy is actually based on the events of 9/11/01. As I'm sure many of you can, I can still remember exactly what I was doing on the fateful day. I don't think that day will ever leave my memory. I was not personally connected to anyone at ground zero, I didn't lose a loved one and I live nowhere near New York City, but what happened that day still effects me to this day. What I loved about this story is it showed how everyone was effected by this tragic event. Michelle didn't lose a loved one on that day but she was living in New York when it happened. This story is the journey she went through to become a better and stronger person in the end. It showed that even if you didn't lose a loved one, this day effected everyone!!!! This book was definitely an emotional one....I was expecting more of a love story to this book, but that really didn't come into play until quite later in the story. Yes we get hints of an attraction, more from Michelle's side then from Connor's, but their real feelings don't come out until like 75%. What I did have a hard time with was them getting together. It seemed to come out of nowhere. I wish this book would've been dual POV because then we would've known what was going on in Connor's head as well. It was just a little far fetched to believe his feelings when they finally surface. I think not knowing what Connor was thinking and feeling throughout the story really made it hard to connect with him and him and Michelle as a couple. I would've liked to see them come together a little sooner so we could see how they worked through their grief and recovery together. I felt that once things were set into motion between them that they ended up being rushed.
Now with that said I still gave this book a Solid 4 stars because of the story it is built around. This book also envoked a lot of different emotions from me. I will say that overall feeling I had through the book was sadness. What Michelle and Connor went through on 9/11 was horrific and watching them try to rebuild their lives was tough. I can't imagine what people from New York went through on that day.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a strong emotional book with a love story on the side. I feel everyone should read this book because it gives you perspective of what people went through in the time after 9/11 and what people feel and endure every year on the anniversary of the tragic event.
This is the first book I have read about this day in history, I felt it flowed smoothly and an accurate portrayal was represented. This story felt real to me, even if the book is fiction.
Posted September 11, 2013
Unexpected, was well, an unexpected pleasure to read! I wound up reading it right in the wake of the anniversary of September 11th and I must say that Faith Sullivan, you truly are a gifted and talented writer!You managed to take the events of that day and put to words what so many people felt. It was a refreshing look at such tragedy!
Now for the book, I love love loved it! The characters were beautifully written. Michelle, our female lead, is just starting out in college at NYU. She is within her first few weeks of school when the tragedy of 9/11 occurs. She winds up staying in her apartment, with no personal contact for quite some time. She didn't know anyone and then panic sets in. She winds up leaving school and her dreams behind to head back home to small town PA.While home, she decides to venture out to a party. She is bombarded by our main man, Connor, and he propositions her to go back to NYC and work for him. After some time they learn that the events of the day haven't just affected Michelle but they affected Connor as well. He works hard to help her and realizes that she is doing the same for him.
I loved the sense of hope in this book. The way that Ms. Sullivan has the ability to write Michelle's character and get the reader to feel along with her is truly something!
I highly recommend this book to all of my book loving friends! Enjoy!
This book required a box of Kleenex to go with it, for me. This is an absolutely phenomenally written story about two 9/11 survivors, lost within their old life, but unable to find a new one. I can't even begin to tell you much this story touched me. It is heartbreaking, but beautiful.
9/11 is a day I will never forget, even though I lived in a small town in the Midwest at the time. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, as I'm sure many people can: walking out of the girls' locker room after P.E. in 9th grade. Even though I didn't know anyone personally who was lost on that day, I will still forever be affected by it. I cannot imagine how those who were actually in New York at the time of the attack were able to cope and move forward after such an awful tragedy.
Michelle Rhodes has only lived in New York for about two weeks when she wakes up one morning to a deafening rumble. She has no idea what it was that woke her up, but nothing seems to be amiss. That is, until she turns on the television, and reports that something has gone wrong in one of the towers of the World Trade Center. The reports continue to get worse and worse, and then, of course, the second tower was hit. Michelle is all alone, in a strange city, and then all transportation into and out of Manhattan is stopped...needless to say, Michelle is feeling entirely trapped, and scared out of her mind. Although she makes an attempt to stay in school, she just can't do it, and returns home. Michelle may never be the same.
We meet Connor a few months later, on New Year's Eve. Despite being perfect strangers, he has come to take Michelle back to NYC, offering her a job and a place to live. It takes a little convincing (and takes her parents a couple of months of convincing) to get Michelle to join Connor in New York, but she does it. Connor is a native to this great city, and to Michelle (and many others) he seems completely at ease, despite the tragic things that happened only a half a year before. But looks can be deceiving. In some ways, Connor was even more messed up by 9/11 than Michelle was.
When Michelle and Connor are living and working together, we can all tell that they are attracted to each other, and they like spending time together, but they are both fighting it for their own reasons. They are both so broken, and yet they could both help one another to be whole again, even if it's a different version of whole than they were prior to 9/11. Connor's motives to help Michelle grow a back bone and face her fears may be a tiny bit selfish, but mostly, he just wants what's best for her. Michelle eventually discovers just how much Connor lost on that fateful day, and she does everything she can to help Connor move on and truly start living again.
They are both trying to help the other, without helping themselves, and things look like they could work out between the two of them. But then Michelle makes a decision for the both of them, without even talking about it to Connor...she thinks what she is doing will help to 'fix' Connor, that her own sacrifice is worth it. But sacrificing herself is exactly the opposite of what Connor wants, and it could send him into a tailspin.
Will Michelle ever get over her fear of being in the city that changed her life forever? Will Connor convince Michelle that he truly loves her, and that they could be together? Or will Michelle's sacrifice for Connor backfire, and leave them both with their hearts shredded? I guess you'll have to read it yourself to find out! There is SO MUCH MORE to this story than meets the eye!
Posted September 5, 2013
Michelle and Connor gave us a look at the many emotions that surfaced after 9/11 and showed the reader that trauma of every kind-not just childhood trauma-can have a both devastating and awesome consequences as the individual finds a way to heal. I know many people went through much worse than either of these characters and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. I hope that each has found support and is able to some day achieve a measure of peace. One of the things I appreciated about this book is that two unique perspectives of the same life-altering event are present and it shows the reader how different a reaction and an experience can be. I think it is a good reminder for us not to assume that we know what someone else is dealing with or feeling simply because we have dealt with something similar. As for the characters themselves, I enjoyed both Michelle and Connor, but I have to admit that I would have liked to have a little more of Connor's personality and side of the story. Adding his POV would have really brought me to a 5 star rating. I think it was difficult to understand him at times because we were mostly seeing him through the eyes of others. I liked and understood Michelle. She had a heart, but made mistakes and had to find a way to fix them. She also struggled to make big decisions rather than just jumping in and hoping for the best by the end which showed that she had changed and was becoming a different person with different goals. Overall, I enjoyed the book, the characters, and the fact that the story made me think.
*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted August 28, 2013
Before I begin, I would like to extend all my sympathies towards those affected by 9/11. Even if you choose not to continue reading, please take a few minutes for a moment of silence.
***Copy kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review***
Though a fast-paced, quick-read for me, this book effectively explored the aftermath of 9/11 and carefully, skillfully pointed out love after loss, a theme so very important in my reading experiences and in reality. I myself recall that dreadful day, and though I was only 7, I distinctly remember how frantic and worried my pregnant mother was for my father, who had just flown into NY the very same day (he, thankfully, wasn’t hurt). This book really made me realize that the impacts of 9/11 didn’t just affect those that were directly harmed; its grasp was pervasive and no life, big or small, escaped unscathed.
“The world crumbles around me, and a desperate energy fills my veins. I pace the length of the apartment like a caged animal. I’m numb. I can’t process the severity of the situation I’m watching unfold. I keep telling myself that it’s a bad dream, nothing more.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t a dream. For the bright film student Michelle Rhodes, her world implodes when she witnesses 9/11 happening right in front of her eyes, both in front of the TV and out on the streets. Though she didn’t lose anyone nor was she hurt, she was emotionally scarred. Broken. Grades and school always were her rock, her solid ground, but because of the detriments of 9/11 that she witnessed firsthand, she find her comfort zone to be suffocating. Unsafe.
“No matter where I turned, I was vulnerable. I didn’t feel at home in my apartment. I didn’t feel safe on the street. I didn’t feel at ease in the classroom. I longed for some sense of security, but there was none to be found.”
Deeply distressed by her insecure future, Michelle heads back to her small hometown, hoping to recuperate. It is there that she meets Connor Donnelly, the owner of a local bar in NY, and is able to convince her to come back to NY and work as a waitress. Connor is the typical man-slut, playboy, wham-bam, thank you ma’am person but Michelle is still attracted to him and him to her, and for the first time, his attraction towards her isn’t just based on pure animal lust.
“There’s an unspoken intimacy in the air, a sense of being where you’re supposed to be with the person you’re supposed to be with. It’s like a puzzle piece being pressed into the exact right spot with all its jagged edges securely fitting into place.”
As the two fall into a partnership, Michelle’s past fears and Connor’s painful secrets clash head on. Though they don’t become an official couple for most of the book, the underlying current between them signals their ‘togetherness’ so their baggage really drives a wedge between them.
“Connor’s latest move is really another threat, albeit in a different form. Return to him, or he’ll wreck his life. He’s willing to give up his one source of stability to lure me back. His message is clear. But why is he taking such a risk? The stakes are too high. If he thinks he can win me back by pressuring me, he’s wrong. I never respond well when I’m backed into a corner.”
With the help of their family and close friends, Michelle and Connor do eventually work out all of their issues. I liked the premise of this book and maybe that was why I expected more intensity (?) and more character development out of the story. That being said, this is a shorter novel but the few issues I had with it didn’t deter me from enjoying the story.
4 ENLIGHTENING STARS!!!
Posted August 22, 2013
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
I really liked this book. It was a different story for me. I have been reading a lot of books in which the main characters are usually broken or damaged because of screwed up parents, or because someone cheated on them, or because of sexual abuse. However, in Unexpected, Michelle and Connor are dealing with a different kind of trauma: the aftermath of the 09/11 terrorist attack on the WTC.
Here we can see how one event can change the life of a person in a very short period of time, and in this case, it was and event that affected a lot of people. I really liked Michelle and Connor, they helped each other heal the wounds left after the attack: Michelle helped Connor to open up and deal with the death of his best friend and Connor help Michelle face her fears and brought her back to he very same place she was afraid to go to.
It was a refreshing story, one where the characters wanted to heal. I liked that they wanted to move on and were not that stubborn to stay in a self destructive place. Of course, at the beginning they were shattered, but together they were willing to get their lives back on track, heal and move on.
Unexpected is a story of healing and finding and keeping love. It is a fast read and it has a happy ending :)
Posted July 23, 2013
This is one of those stories that will make you think. It was an unexpected surprise. It gave me a few more insights into what people went through after 9/11. That day brought Connor & Michelle together through pain and healing. Read it, it's a great story and will tug at your heart. Great job Faith Sullivan!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.