My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review
4.25 Pigeon Stalking stars
Oh my. After reading the firsts 20% and being side-tracked by other ARCs and such, I finished this off in one day. I literally restarted it in the morning and just kept going until the brutal ending.
But anyway, let’s start with order. This instalment was quite different from the first one for a couple of reasons. First of all, the writing style went from good to great. If the first book needed a little polishing, this one flowed effortlessly. It showed more maturity and experience. It kept me hooked throughout the narration.
Second case in point, it was more angsty. Which is why the last star fell for me. I’m a die-hard fan of low-angst romances. At the end of book 1, we’re left with Christopher and Isabella in a very unpleasant situation (trying not to spoiler here!) and book 2 stars right off from there. Even though a part of me totally understands why Isabella was super wary of Christopher, given what had happened, it took her a long while, at least page-wise, to give him another chance. So this is why I didn’t give it 5 stars. I mean, I would have probably acted the same way, but while I was reading it, a part of me felt bad for him and wanted to yell at her to not be so hard on the guy.
“I want to kiss you now, here in the middle of the street,” he said, reading for her cheek, his lips inches away from hers already.
That being said, I loved how more profound their relationship got after they smoothed things over. It’s the reason why I love series more than standalones. You don’t only get a better insight in the characters’ souls, but you also root for them more. You share their journey, you invest time on them and you get to see them through thick and thin. This was the case. We see Christopher woo Isabella once again, getting her to trust him once again. And, let me tell you, he gives good woo.
Another thing I might have already said in my first review, is that I love clandestine relationships. The furtive glances, the light touches. Everything is amplified because forbidden, so even the slightest gesture matters. And let’s not forget the jealousy!!! With neither of them being officially taken, it’s only fair that other people express their interest. Seeing Christopher shooting daggers at John was definitely swoon worthy, same as reading about Giselle’s failed attempts to seduce Christopher with Isabella simmering in the background.
Isabella cut a piece [of pain au chocolate] for Christopher and then fed him some, her eyes gleaming with joy. She watched him chew the sweet deli and then had some as well.
“I know, I know it’s delicious, isn’t it?” She smiled wide. “I am the queen of take away, I’m a natural. I can smell good food from miles away. It’s a talent.”
If in the first book their relationship was still flimsy, in this one it’s clear that their feelings are strong and run deep. I didn’t doubt anymore about Christopher’s intentions towards Isabella because yes, he may not be used to relationships, but it was blatant that he was in for the long haul.
“Are you mine tonight?”
“Every night.” He smiled to the side.
There were also other situations intertwining with our MCs romance, like Isabella’s sister personal love story and her friend’s life changes because of her husband’s job. It felt realistic, and I always appreciate it when the author manages to fit in other slivers of lives besides the main love story. It thickens the tapestry, so to speak.
They found time to buy me cake.
The thought made her chest warm. It was such a sweet, lovely thing to do and possible two times as much, as it was unexpected.
It was true what Fred had told her once, right at the beginning of her new work adventure. Doing this sort of job – working and living with the same people, travelling around the world – helped form a strong bond with one other. Every day they shared so much – food, sleep, lack of sleep, emotions, moments of joy and sadness – that the team became one big, extended family.
On the racing side, I loved the details and behind-the-scenes portrayed. From the personalized headphones, to the changes of the tires to the special protocols in case of incidents. I was completely clueless about all of the above and it’s nice to get surprised by new tidbits like this and not just reading about generalized situations. I mean, if I were to write an auto-racing accident, I’d probably describe it the way I would a supermaket-cart crash. This t-boned into that and someone got hurt. So kudos for that!
All in all, I enjoyed it and am already reading the third and last book, which just came out. This instalment was definitely more structured than the first, better written but also more serious. At the beginning you can truly feel Isabella’s heartbreak and I liked how the author took the time to dwell on it, too. It shaped Isabella’s character a bit more to the readers’ eyes, making me understand how strong of a woman she can actually be. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t fun and romantic moments. Christopher’s surprise for her birthday was one of my favorite scenes because it was such a special gesture, so personal it melted my heart. Also, seeing them eat breakfast together, spending time at his place, that domesticity is exactly what I love in romances. It’s not the big fancy dinners or gala, but the quiet moments between two people who are falling in love with each other.
“Besides, I am the victim of a conspiracy here, I am trying to keep away from people.”
“What conspiracy?” Cristina asked, clueless of what her friend was on about.
“The love is all around you conspiracy,” Isabella said, mumbling the last part.
“The what?” Cristina insisted.
“You obviously have been happy and in love for a long time to remember, but the conspiracy goes something like this: if you just broke up with someone, if your date stood you up, if you have just been cheated on…”
“Okay, I get it.”
“Love will be all around you, in the form of movies, videos, people kissing in the street…”