Crush (Crash #3) by Nicole Williams

CrushThe conclusion to the Crash trilogy.

A football fantasy. A giant diamond. The modern-day Romeo and Juliet are taking their relationship to the next level. . . .

Jude and Lucy are happily engaged, but that doesn’t mean life’s a bed of roses.

Once again, the hottest couple around is torn apart, this time by football training and a summer job. Now it’s Jude with the trust issues.

Will Lucy’s life-changing news bring them back together or end their relationship for good? Can love triumph forever?

Find out in the best installment yet in Nicole Williams’s racy and romantic Crash trilogy!

Personal Thoughts:

Crush is the third and final installment of Lucy and Jude’s story, a story that feels like I’ve been living right alongside with its characters. I’ve seen Lucy and Jude through the ups and downs of their relationship. From the moment they met up to the epilogue of their love story I’ve felt every smile, every joy and heartbreak they went through. It is a crazy ride of ups and downs that snatch my emotions and bring it to the same ride that Lucy and Jude boarded. These characters become so close like a friend I’ve been monitoring and rooting all the way. In a span of days I have lived their story and now that it comes to its end I feel both happy and sad. A bittersweet feeling of knowing the characters ending and bidding their story goodbye.

“We fought; we made up. We messed up; we apologized. We lived; we learned”.

Lucy’s line above pretty sums up this book, or even the whole Crash series. A three sentences consist of few words explains so much. But let me give you more details than those. From the last part of the previous book, Clash, we are rewarded by Lucy and Jude engagement after all the drama they went through. Now in this book, they are both weighing their next moves in life. They are living together in a rented apartment in New York until Jude is drafted for San Diego Chargers, moving him across country. With his blooming career, he can now provide for Lucy in the way that he always wanted. Money and lots of things are now coming easily to them but Lucy is afraid of the changes those things will make them especially to Jude.

At the first chapter of this book, I thought money will play the big issue in Jude and Lucy’s story. I expect it to be one of the major problem of their relationship, because of how Lucy view it. She treat money as one big problem, she is so afraid of it, how it will change them, and other things that will concern money and their relationship. But as it turns out, money is not the real issue, it is not even affecting their relationship that much, and it feels like Lucy is just trying to make it a big deal. Money should never be the issue in any relationship, no matter how much or less money anyone has, it can never be a problem if not for the persons who has the power to handle the money.

All those things that Lucy is afraid of might happen to Jude because of money and popularity doesn’t even exist. Yes, there are changes in their lives as they have to live separately while Jude is working for San Diego Chargers, Jude also become famous that wherever the guy goes there are cameras and reporters. But all those changes are outside Jude, they don’t even leave impact to Jude. They don’t changed Jude at all. He is still the same guy who will do anything he can for Lucy. Lucy is just projecting things that is not happening yet, she’s making her own nightmare out of things from her head and her fears. Her tendency to be paranoid is what really the issue in their relationship. She is overthinking of things again just like in the second book.

Jude has grown so much throughout this series. I’m so proud to see him from the poor and lost boy that he is from the first book, to the successful and famous football player that he is in this final installment. He still the possessive when it comes to Lucy, he still have anger issues but compare from what he is in the first book, he made real changes and improve for the better. His love for Lucy is undeniable and unquestionable. He will do anything for Lucy, anything that he thinks will make Lucy happy.

When he was given the opportunity to enter the NFL he grab it for Lucy. For a chance to give Lucy a better life, but somehow Lucy doesn’t see it that way. She only see the changes it will bring. Jude wants to give the best to Lucy, but he couldn’t get anything right because Lucy is too concern with all the changes in their life. As much as I understand where Lucy is coming from I just wish that she at least appreciate what Jude is doing for her. There are changes in life and sometimes she need to accept those changes and let things be.

It took awhile before Lucy see things in clear sight. With Jude efforts to prove to her how much he is willing to give and sacrifice for their relationship, with their friends help, and another person who have to challenge her and Jude, Lucy finally understand and accept things around them.

“I didn’t have the answers yet, but I wasn’t terrified of them anymore.”

Nicole Williams beautifully portrayed a realistic story in Lucy and Jude complicated relationship. It is well written and well-developed that makes it so easy get lose in the story and care for the characters. Despite of all the heart-ache and low moments between Lucy and Jude I wouldn’t change any single bit of what happened to them. All the hardships, heartbreaks, misunderstanding are worthwhile because it leads them to what they are now.

“What made you fall in love with him?”…
“It wasn’t so much what made me fall in love with him…” I began, staring out the window. “It was more that couldn’t not fall in love with him.”
“That whole, ‘the stars aligned and fate predestined it’ kind of thing?” he guessed, his smile telling me he thought he’d gotten it right. But he was wrong.

“No. More like we made the stars realign and fate had nothing to do with it.”

With its ups and downs, Crush will elicit a flood of different emotions to its readers. All the gut-wrenching and heart-warming moments will makes you ache, hope, and believe in the beauty and hardships of love. Lucy and Jude are both broken pieces in the start of this series, they are both a work in progress but together they are a beautiful masterpiece. Crush is the fitted conclusion to Nicole Williams’ Crash series.

Clash (Crash #2) by Nicole Williams

Clash“Love is just as much suffering as it is sweetness. If it was perfect, that’s what they’d all it. They wouldn’t call it bittersweet.”

Their Romeo-and-Juliet-level passion is the only thing Jude and Lucy agree on. That, and fighting all the time . . .

Also not helping? Lucy’s raging jealousy of the cheerleader who’s wormed her way into Jude’s life.

While trying to hang on to her quintessential bad boy and also training to be the top ballet dancer in her class, Lucy knows something’s going to give . . . soon.

How can she live without the boy she loves? How can she live with herself if she gives up on her dreams? If Lucy doesn’t make the right choice, she could lose everything.

Personal Thoughts:

Lucy and Jude are now both in college and both busy with their university life. They live few hours apart from each other. Lucy is attending Julliard to be a dancer, while Jude is in Syracuse busy being the Quarterback football player of his school. They are trying to navigate a long distance relationship, which fairly goes smoothly until someone enter the picture. Someone who is willing to do anything just to get Jude Ryder’s attention. With this new girl in the story, Lucy trust issue becomes prominent. She needs to work things out inside her, while Jude needs to proves to her how much he loves her.

Jude and Lucy relationships is never easy. It is full of drama, intensity and heartache. From the first book, Crash, we saw a lot of outside forces they have to deal in order to proved how much they love each others. That their relationship is worth all the risk. In this book, Jude and Lucy were tested again multiple times, and this time they need to deal not just the outside issues but also things within themselves. It is now an issue of trust and understanding, because sometimes love is not enough.

As Jude and Lucy tries to navigate their relationships, they deal with so many things along the way. And with both of them carrying a strong personalities, they cannot avoid to clash sometimes. It is not an easy and bump-less road, there were lots of misunderstandings, doubts, and unwarranted feelings. And throughout all those things that’s happening, we’ll see Jude and Lucy mature.

Lucy sometimes made mistakes. She has doubts, and insecurities like any normal girl. She questioned what they have and made bad decisions. She has some freak out moments, indecisiveness, and cowardice, which may frustrate the readers. Not everything she done can be justified, but all those things were part of her growth. Sometimes she needs to make mistakes to learn something and appreciate more what she have. Readers just need to accept it and understand Lucy and her circumstances, because when we think about everything that is happening to them, it is really not easy to be on her shoes. She has lots of things to do on her own, lots of things to accept and understand, unlike Jude who is so sure with what he want. All the heartache, confusions and doubts are part of their story.

Jude is the better player in their relationship in this book. He grows a lot since the last time we met him in Crash. He is still possessive and hot tempered, but compare from the first book, he shows improvement in controlling his anger. In here he not only show so much love for Lucy but also his vulnerable side. He tried his best to understand Lucy and give her what she wants even the freedom he don’t want to dare to give. There is also the supportive version of him who is present in every Lucy’s performance, cheering her proudly. He is also much open with his feelings and will go a long way just to prove Lucy how much he loves her.

My heart broke for him on more than one occasion. As he tries to prove his love for Lucy time and time again, I can’t help but feel for him. Every time Lucy is asking for a break, it crushes him so bad, I almost wish I can do something for him to ease his pain. But Jude never gives up on Lucy, no matter how painful it is for him. Sometimes it feels that his only purpose in life is to convince Lucy that they belong together forever. He believes that there’s only one girl for him and his biggest fear is to really lose the girl.

“I just wanted you to know I’d be chasing after you right now, naked if need required it. But because I’m respecting your need for time and space, I’ll force myself to lie here in bed and pretend I’m asleep.”

I got teary when I am reading that part. That was the moment that I know Jude deserves more than happiness. He is selfless and loving. I can ignore all his possessiveness, and protectiveness, and I can also forgive his past mistakes, because I know he is doing everything he can do for his love. He is trying everything to make things right and will do anything to make Lucy happy, even if it means letting her go.

“I can forgive a man’s past faults, his present shortcomings, and his future failures if every minute of every day he loves me like it’s his religion.”

Nicole Williams writing is flowing as ever. Clash is addicting just like the first book, and in here, she balanced the heavy emotions with enough romance and swoon worthy scenes. And just like what she do to her characters, she is good in manipulating readers emotions. This book is a crazy hell ride of ups and down, and twist and turns. There are moments when I thought my heart will overflowed with joy as I assumed that the characters will finally get the happy ever after they deserved but then I am smack into oblivion of uncertainty, and all I can think is, “What the hell happened there?” Nicole Williams is a manipulative bitch, she can make you experience every inch of emotions like her characters in her book.

Just like Lucy and Jude’s relationship, Clash was an emotional roller coaster ride that will put your emotions through ups and downs. It was intense, crazy, and thrilling ride that will makes your heart ache, swoon, and beat so fast. It is a story about love, trust, and fighting for what you believe you deserve most. Because like in any relationships, love is not like a fairy tale, it not just about sweet and happy moments, sometimes you need to feel the pain and heart-ache to appreciate more the love that you have.

Before I end this review, let me leave you with one more lovely quote from the book.

“Mom told me that love is like a seed. You’ve got to plant it to grow. But that’s not all. You need to water it. The sun needs to shine just enough, but not too much. The roots have to take hold,” he continued, narrowing his eyes in concentration. “And from there, if it pops its head above the surface, there are about a million things that could kill it, so it takes a whole lot of luck too.”

“You can’t plant a seed and hope it will grow on its own. It takes a lotta work to make anything grow.”

Quotes: Clash by Nicole Williams

Before I review Nicole Williams’s second installment to Crash series, let me tease everyone first with some of wonderful quotes from the book. Just like with David Levithan’s Every Day there so many nice quotes from Clash that I want to share. Though they are not as profound as those in Every Day, I think that they are still worth sharing. So allow me to use the quotes feature of this blog as an excuse to share the quotes to all of you since I know I can’t use them all in my review. Also, watch out for me review for Clash that will be up tonight.

Book Quotes from Clash:

“If you say you’re going to trust your man, then trust your man. Don’t revoke that privilege when he needs it most.”

“When are you going to stop looking at all the reasons you shouldn’t be together and start focusing on the reasons you should be?”

“I couldn’t fix us until I fixed me. And he couldn’t fix me for me. It was a task that all my own.”

“It’s because you’re letting the fairy tales you grew up hearing in storybooks and the baseless ideals of love cloud your mind. Love isn’t easy. Especially the really good kind. It’s difficult, and you’ll want to rip your hair out just as many days as you’ll feel the wind at your back. But it’s worth it. It’s worth fighting for. Don’t let what isn’t real blind you from what is. Life isn’t perfect, we sure as shit aren’t perfect, so why should we expect love to be?”

“Love is what brings you together, Lucy. But it’s the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work that keeps you together.”

“Love isn’t only love, sweetheart. It’s hard work, and trust, and tears, with even a few glimpses of devastation. But at the end of each day, if you can still look at the person at your side and can’t imagine anyone else you’d rather have there, the pain and heartache and the ups and downs of love are worth it.”

“Love is just as much suffering as it is sweetness. If it was perfect, that’s what they’d call it. They wouldn’t call it bittersweet.”

“I’m saying you should choose Jude, if at the end of the day, when the world is against you, you can say with absolute certainty that you want Jude at your side. Can you say the good times are worth the bad times?”

“I can forgive a man’s past faults, his present shortcomings, and his future failures if every minute of every day he loves me like it’s his religion.”

“Mom told me that love is like a seed. You’ve got to plant it to grow. But that’s not all. You need to water it. The sun needs to shine just enough, but not too much. The roots have to take hold,” he continued, narrowing his eyes in concentration. “And from there, if it pops its head above the surface, there are about a million things that could kill it, so it takes a whole lot of luck too.” “You can’t plant a seed and hope it will grow on its own. It takes a lotta work to make anything grow.”

We fight. I’m used to that. Sure, that fight was the scariest ass one we’ve ever had, but you’re here now. That’s all that matters. No matter how many fights we have, or how much they tip the Richter scale, none of it matters as long as at the end of the day, you’re still with me.”

“I could hold you prisoner here for the rest of the day and list everything I love about you, but that’s only half of it,” he explained, turning toward me. “The other half is something I can’t put into words. Something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. It’s something that ties me to you, and you to me. Call it chemistry, call it fate, call it whatever you want. All I know is that I’m yours just as much as you’re mine, Luce. That’s the surest thing I’ve ever known.”

Then what are you doing here, Luce?” he asked, his voice elevating. “You want time? You want space? Fine. I gave that to you. But then you keep throwing yourself back into my life whenever the hell you choose. No warning. No apology, No permanence. You show up at my front door and sneak out the back without so much as a goodbye,” he continued, never taking his eyes off of me. “You couldn’t take the up and down. The roller coaster was going to kill you. You know what I can’t take? You in and back out of my life before I even knew you were there in the first place. You looking at me the way you are now and then able to turn your back and walk away five minutes later.” His hands clenched over my cheek before he lowered it. “That is what will kill me. I can’t live wondering if you’re still mine to claim.”

Crash (Crash #1) by Nicole Williams

CrashYou didn’t make me a better person, because no one can do that. You made me want to be a better person.”

Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude’s everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find out, is the only thing she’s incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.

Personal Thoughts:

Crash is a classic good-girl-falls-for-bad-boy story, where we were introduced to Lucy Larson as she make her moves to capture the interest of Jude Ryder. But when Jude finally noticed and talked to her, it turns out that he isn’t exactly the prince charming Lucy imagined. Which makes Lucy not so impressed anymore. With Jude warning, and over the top confidence she easily identifies the danger in him, yet she can’t totally ignore him. Just like her hobby of rescuing dogs and trying to save the world one lost soul at a time, Jude becomes her project. She want to saves him, not by changing the guy but by showing his potential.

Looking at the cover of Crash, I expected Nicole William’s novel to be like the movie, Save the Last Dance where Julia Stile‘s portray a ballerina dancer, with a mixed of another Julia Stiles film, 10 Things I Hate About You, adding Heath Ledger’s character as the trouble main guy character. I thought it would be fun, romantic and inspiring. My expectation doesn’t exactly match the book in terms of the plot or story, but Crash is still fun and romantic read.

Lucy is sassy and feisty girl, infuriating at times because of some bad decisions but likeable. After loosing her only brother, she deals with grief in her own terms. She try to save the world one lost soul at a time, or to be more precise one puppy at a time. Behind her hero-complex personality, she is just also lost like her parents. As her mom deals with her own grief by making herself busy with work. and her dad by withdrawing to the world, Lucy is left to deal on her own at a young age.

Jude Ryder is the typical bad boy. He is a product of a problematic childhood and terrible living condition. His mother left him, his dad is serving a life sentence in jail, so he is alone & homeless. At a young age he has a long list of criminal records, which makes jail like a second home to him. He is charming and sweet if he wants to, but he also can be a total jerk with his bad temper. He believes that he is a cancer that can’t be cure. That he brings everyone around him down. But under him is a sweet, caring and honest guy that deserves a second chance in life.

“Our reputations weren’t who we really were, they were who people told us we were. Some of us fell into that trap, while others fought their entire lives to break free of them.”

Lucy and Jude’s relationship is both fun and frustrating to read. They are all bad for each others as they are all good for each others. The moment they first spoke to each others you’ll enjoy their easy banter. They converse with quick wit and easy humor. There were also lots of sweet moments between them which makes it easy to believe that they are right for each others. But just like in any relationships there are lots of issues too. There were lots of drama between them which is understandable but once it step the line of repetitive cycle it is not fun to read anymore. There are moments when I get tired of the “stay away from me” lines, especially when it is in the same page where Lucy and Jude were proposing love to each others. It throws a lot of contradictions not just to them as a characters but also to the story.

Nicole Williams writing is flowing, since Crash is unquestionably an addicting read. The moment I start the book, I can’t help myself but read more until I finally finished the whole book in one sitting. The characters journey and emotions were engaging and heart-felt at the very least. Though not everything is in smooth line in here, as there are some far-fetched story lines too, which I think could be iron by adding more plot details. Like when Jude became a quarterback in their high school football team, it was never mentioned that he played any organized sports before that. But he instantly allowed to play without any try outs, and even become the hero who saves the game. After few games he even scouted by National Football League (NFL). It would be more believable if Nicole Williams at least throw a little background about how Jude become so good in that sports. Same thing goes with Lucy dancing skills. Her ballet activity was mentioned only few times in the novel, which mostly about the letter she is waiting from Juliard. There’s just only one scene where Lucy actually shows some dancing skills. It would be nice and more convincing if Nicole Williams put Lucy on stage or some dancing school at least.

“Humility was a good thing, but being a martyr was as bad as believing you were god’s gift.”

Overall, Crash is a quick read that readers can easily devoured in one sitting. Just like the characters in the story, Crash is full of ups and downs moments that will show you life’s twist and turns. And Just like Lucy accepting Jude, you need to accept the bad along with the good to fully appreciate and love this book.