Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

ARC Review: The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen

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The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)
   by: Jessica Sorensen

Publication Date: Oct. 22, 2013
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 336 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect façade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.

Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.

When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?

After meeting both Lila and Ethan in the first book in the series, The Secret of Ella and Micha, I was definitely curious about these two characters. Especially Lila. We met Lila at the very beginning as she is the one who has driven Ella back to her hometown. It is interesting that Lila does not want to go back home to her parents. She would much rather stay with her best friend than go back to her life as a pampered princess. I had a feeling there would be a story here, but I had no idea just how bad things were at home for Lila.
From a very young age Lila's parents have demanded perfection. Appearance, demeanor, academics- you name it and it was expected of her. However, what do young kids do when enough is enough? They rebel. Lila's father deems that she needs to attend boarding school to get her focused and on track. This is where Lila's life takes a turn for the worse. At boarding school, Lila craves love and attention. Why wouldn't she? She never received either of those things at home. Her parents were content to push her off and make her someone else's problem. They lost control with their first daughter and they are hoping their second will fill her shoes. In an attempt to fit in at her boarding school, Lila ends up being pushed in a direction that she was clearly not ready for and thus resulting in how her current life gets to be such a disaster. Because let's face it- Lila Summers as we know her- is a mess. However, to everyone else- Lila is a beautiful, polished, rich girl who exudes happiness.
I felt bad for Lila, I really did. It was heartbreaking to see her so broken and desperate. She really shows us the meaning of hitting rock bottom. She got dealt a crappy hand and instead of seeking help- she numbs the pain with pills and sex. Those two things are her escape from reality and while she's ashamed of herself for the moment, it still doesn't stop her from random hook ups that she can't remember. This is where Micha's best friend Ethan comes in. We met Ethan in the first book as well and while he's not as bad off emotionally as Lila is, he still comes with his own set of problems. He also uses sex as an escape- he refuses to let anyone get close to him, especially after losing the one person he cared about, possibly even loved. Ethan's family life was also strained. He is terrified of turning into his father and treating a woman like his mother was treated. Yet Ethan is Lila's rock throughout the book. She really comes to depend on him and when she is too out of it to get herself home, she calls on him. He may be her only real friend in Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop her from being attracted to him. The two have had some moments in the past, but Ethan does not want to overstep that line he has drawn with her. Naturally, we have a lot of sexual tension and buildup in this book between them.
This story is about so much more than Lila and Ethan's relationship though. It really shows you just how broken these two characters are and how they have to overcome their pasts if they hope to have peace in the future. Ethan must forgive himself for a past that is beyond his control. What's done is done and even if he could go back in time to help London, the girl he may have loved, there's no guarantee she wouldn't find herself in the same position she is in now. Lila must deal with her addiction to prescription pills, as well as be able to forgive herself for a past that was also out of her control. She was young and naïve and it wasn't her fault an older guy took advantage of that knowledge. Both of these characters must learn how to love themselves before they can begin to love another. However, it is with each other's guidance and strength of will, that they will be able to do this. Lila and Ethan's road to healing is not easy, but together the two definitely have the upper hand.
I really liked Ethan. He was a great male protagonist and he was such a good friend first and foremost to Lila. He could see through her bullshit and definitely played the tough love card more than once. I think part of that had to do with the fact that he couldn't save London or even his mother from their respective fates, but he wasn't going to let Lila go down the road she was. He cares about her as a friend, but he also realizes it's becoming so much more than that. He swore he would never get involved with anyone, yet he finds himself believing he could have something with Lila.
While this plot wasn't overly original, I did still enjoy this one. Jessica Sorensen really has a knack for writing damaged characters with difficult pasts. And fans will be happy to see Ella and Micha make an appearance in this book. In fact, the last chapters really set us up for their novella, The Ever After of Ella and Micha.

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  1. Oh I remember Lila and Ethan! I liked them in the first book. I don't know why I haven't continued this series, but I'm glad you liked it!

    1. Thanks Andrea! A lot of Jessica's books are similar so I'm glad this is the series I chose to pick up versus some of the others.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, even if it wasn't that original. And you are right, I've only read one book by Sorensen, Breaking Nova, but she is very good at writing damaged/broken characters. I think that is what really drew me into reading her book. Love a good book that can play with emotions and make you really feel for a character.

    Great review! I might have to give this series a try :)

    1. Thanks Magen! I do enjoy this series even though the original MC (Ella) drives me a little crazy with her back and forth.


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