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Published by Omnific Publishing on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Purchase links: Amazon
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The Ground Rules were impossible to follow. It was hard not to become completely consumed by the beautiful and enigmatic Weston Hanson. The heart of a romantic was not fit for this kind of exchange. So, when it ended, I was shattered, but it was all for the better…or so we thought.
The Ground Rules were rewritten, and then bent. We lied to ourselves. We told ourselves we could handle this. Not a single one of us realized just how big this was...just how devastating it could become.
And now, there are no Rules.
Lust… infatuation…blinds you. It can tear everything apart. But sometimes, life needs to be completely torn apart before it can be mended – not just cracked at the edges, but utterly shattered, before you can truly see the mess you’ve become.
I love them both, but I can’t have them both. While one pulls me in, the other pushes me away. And when both eventually open their hearts, I must make the hardest decision of my life.
And now there are no Rules. We are Undone.
We received this book/audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Book Review: 6 stars
*** Please note, that this is the review for the third book in a series. I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but I advice you not to read this review, if you haven’t read the previous two books in “The Ground Rules”-Series. ***
I’ll start this review differently from my normal pattern. First, I’d like to do a short recap of the whole story itself. “The Ground Rules”-Series is about two married couples – Mirella & Gabe and Weston & Bridget. Both have kids and are in ‘normal’ married relationships with each other. They meet by chance in a restaurant and have that crazy high chemistry with each other; they feel a certain pull to one another. Then, Weston and Bridget suggest a couple-exchange – purely sexually. With 5 solid Ground Rules to guarantee a smooth arrangement, Weston and Mirella as well as Gabe and Bridget start to have regularly sex with each other. Soon, those seemingly solid Ground Rules become precariously close to be broken rule by rule. Though they soon decide that to prevent to destroy both marriages, it’d be better to end the arrangement, they can’t seem to part ways indefinitely since fate throws them a curveball that can’t be ignored…
Honestly, I started this book with a big, fat knot in my stomach. I was so afraid of how author Roya Carmen would “solve” this hot mess, that ensued between those two beautiful couples. And even after finishing it already a few days ago, I still don’t really know what to feel and think about this ending. But I’ll try to explain that furthermore, and I’ll give my damnest not to spoiler too much. This third book had a completely other vibe to it than the first two books in this series did. It has somehow transformed into more of a love-triangle and an illegitimate affair than the original arrangement. One of the reasons I probably felt this way was the lack of sex in “The Ground Rules undone”. The first two books oozed sexual tension. In this third and last installment, the focus is definitely on the relationship of Mirella and her husband, Gabe. And ultimately, it is the story of Mirella, finding her way and making sacrifices for the sake of all. It showed how much strength a single person can muster if necessary; even if the necessity to provide this strength was often due to bad decisions and mistakes to begin with. Whereas I was really impartial in the first two books about whom Mirella should end up with, I have been convinced in this last part of the story, that she definitely belongs to a certain someone. Yes, it seems to me, that in Mirella’s case, there can be more than one soul mate – but you only have one heart to give to another person. And whereas we could experience directly how Mirella and Weston fell in love with each other but Mirella and Gabe always just seemed to be a sure thing, I am very thankful for the author to have finally brought another depth to Mirella and Gabe’s relationship in this third book.
Now, many readers probably feel the same despair like I did before starting “The Ground Rules undone”: Fear of the ending. But let me tell you – there is a perfectly constructed and beautiful happy ending. I can imagine many of the readers, that took sides for one man or the other from book one will be enraged or disappointed by the ending, but Roya Carmen had to bite the bullet and to make a decision on how to let the cards fall for the characters. And even though the events that led to the ending shocked me big time, I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the course, the author has taken. The ending per se… Well, I’ll just say as much as that in my humble opinion, everything is as it was supposed to be from the beginning. And that love definitely always wins. Everything has been wrapped up really good in the end and even despite that, I am going to call Roya Carmen from now on my “Queen of contradictions”. I sat there, reading the ending and I cried ugly tears – but I smiled through them like a loon. I can say that I love the ending, but hate it at the same time. I can say, that I am happy about how everything turned out, but also that I am incredibly sad about the turn of events. See? There are a lot of contradictions going on here! And because I’m such a headstrong person, I thought about everything that has happened to those beautiful souls ever since ending this series. The more I ponder everything over in my head, the more I see how much the author has ultimately left to our own imagination; me personally, I kinda created my own thesis about the ending – and I’m more than happy about that, it gave me more peace with everything that has happened. But I’ll have to stop here, because it’s best to just read and experience this wild journey for you.
I’d definitely say that “The Ground Rules” is one of the best series ever for me. It definitely made for an amazing reading experience with all the feels, but mostly angst. And oh my god, can Roya Carmen write sex-scenes!!! She likes to joke about this on Facebook, but holy hell – this is definitely erotica de luxe.
In the end, Roya Carmen made me think about my own marriage in a whole different light. I’m now being more grateful for a lot of things that I took for granted for too damn long. And if an author manages to influence my real life with her written fiction, I can definitely say that her words did have a big impact on me. This series will stay with me forever, I can just feel it. The writing was amazing, like in the first two books, too.
All in all, I rate “The Ground Rules undone” with 6 stars and the overall-rating for all three books in “The Ground Rules”-Series combined is a definite 6 stars for me!
This story is gritty, it is beautiful. It hurts, it is satisfying, it is frustrating and unforgettable. There is a touch of forbidden to all this, but keep an open mind and you can see all the beauty even in the ugly.
I can recommend those books to all fans of angsty reads, erotica with the touch of extraordinariness and definitely to everyone who believes in love.
Thank you, Roya Carmen, for taking me on this crazy but beautiful rollercoaster ride, that is this unforgettable series. I take a bow for your courage to pouring your soul into such a controversial story. For me, it was definitely worth it!