Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.

I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can’t change your soul.

A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.

When guys kissed me–I felt only pain.

When they touched me–Nothing but fear.

Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world.

But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn’t fool enough to think I’d ever get it.

Until he walked into my life.

I wasn’t prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie–I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.

But I was powerless to stop myself from falling.
And he was powerless to catch me.
Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I’m stronger than I knew. I’m stronger than you think.
You think you know my story, but you don’t….after all everyone has Shame in their lives– and I’m no longer afraid to show you mine.
2 stars!
I am a huge fan of this author and the other books in this series all have been epic winners for me. Unfortunately I can’t really say the same about this final book in the series. Lisa is a character that intrigued me from the moment she was first introduced so it really saddens me that her story did not captivate me as much as the other characters’ stories did. Detailed reasons for my rating will be given later in my review but the main gist of it is that I didn’t like either of the main characters, didn’t believe in their romance, and couldn’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy this book.
If you’ve read any other books in this series, it’s evident that Lisa had a torturous past and her current identity is not her real one. Through past journal entries, we’re slowly given glimpses to the psychotic events in Lisa’s past, and a look into her even crazier ex-boyfriend’s mind. Here is where my disconnect with Lisa’s character is: the Lisa portrayed in the other books and the Lisa in this book is completely different. It’s easy to say I’m not going to judge a person – in this case Lisa – based on their past if they’ve learned from their mistakes but it was pretty much impossible for me to think of her in a positive light here. I will never, ever, EVER understand nor accept that her love for her demonic ex is what blinded her to reason because the things she did in her past are unforgivable, at least in my eyes. If it really is love that blinded her, then she is a person with no common sense and doesn’t know how to distinguish between right and wrong. In this case, love is not enough of a justification for me.
A new character in the series, Tristan is one of Lisa’s professors and has a secret agenda of his own. I don’t want to spoil anything for you so all I can say is that he has his own reasons for becoming a professor and for getting close to Lisa. I’d like to say that I at least liked his character but I can’t. This guy’s hot-and-cold behavior around Lisa was a major turn-off and when his real profile was exposed I pretty much gave up on trying to like his character. It’s one thing to pull off a rich/famous background in the first two books but do it again in this third one? While in a NA college setting? What are the freaking chances? At least Wes and Gabe were likable characters; Tristan had the whole pretentious, arrogant attitude for most of the book.
So with me not being able to like these characters as individuals, it’s a no-brainer I couldn’t see them as a couple nor did I feel the romance develop between them. Their ‘connection’ was spontaneous and came out of the blue but for some inexplicable reason them together just clicked.
With simple, heartfelt moments like the one above, it was enough to tide me over with the romance part but by then, I was too caught up in the logistics part of the plot. Doing my best to keep spoilers out so I can’t name specifics, but there were many parts where if you stop for just 5 seconds and think about it, you’d wonder how can this even happen?! And part of the reason why I didn’t like it when Tristan’s influential background was revealed is because the author uses it as an excuse/cover up to explain the logistics of certain events (like how he was able to score a teaching position for example).
There is one aspect I feel compelled to clarify: please do not decide to read this book just for the forbidden aspect alone. Though the story is technically about a teacher and his student, the fact that one of them seeks the other out for other reasons aside from the romance negates the whole forbidden aspect. It lacks the complete thrill of the chase, the sneaking around, etc… and instead you’ll end up being caught in a web full of deceit, frustration and annoyance with the characters’ pasts.
Shame is the third and final book in the Ruin series and can be read as a standalone, but because the characters from the previous books make major appearances in this story, I highly recommend reading them first. I would wholeheartedly recommend all of the books in this series aside from this last one.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.