Review: Believe by Erin McCarthy

Posted February 3, 2014 in Review / 4 Comments

believeBelieve (True Believers #3)
By Erin McCarthy
Published January 21st, 2014
Penguin Group (USA)
232 pages
New Adult | Contemporary Romance
Source: received from Penguin Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank You!)



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About the book:

Robin used to be a party girl… until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she’s faced with being THAT girl, and couldn’t be more disgusted with herself. She can’t even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that’s good and oh, so bad…


Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin’s house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he’s drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn’t care that he’s done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.


But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it’s a naïve dream to believe that his record won’t catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present…


What is up with readers these days?  Everyone is so flippin’ jaded, bent, and intent in comparing romance books to real life.  I snuck a peek at the reviews for Erin McCarthy’s Believe, mostly looking at the ratings and I was kind of shocked at how middle of the road they were.  I was surprised there weren’t more gushing reviews or readers plastering .gifs all over Goodreads.  Remember, I don’t do this often… but I actually scanned a few reviews to see what the problem was.  Mostly to see what the heck MY problem is.  Turns out, I like jail bait.  Let me explain…

First, let me tell you about Robin, because her, I get!  Robin is in college and she spends a good bit of it partying and drunk out of her gourd.  Early in the summer after her sophomore year, she ends up so wasted that she wakes up in bed with her best friend Kylie’s boyfriend and almost no memory of how she got there.  This ends up being her wake up call, quite literally.  A heavy veil of shame and guilt forms and hangs over her the entire summer.   She completely withdraws from her friends and life in general.

It’s at the end of this dark summer that Robin meets Phoenix.  Two of Robin’s other best friends, Jessica and Rory, are dating Phoenix’s cousins and Phoenix is crashing the cousin’s couch.  Phoenix is two days out of jail and with absolutely no possessions because his crack-head mother abandoned his belongings in an apartment when she had to leave in a hurry.  The best part about Phoenix is that he is completely clean: he doesn’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs.  He doesn’t want to be his mom.

Dang, I’m sorry, I’m rehashing quite a bit and I don’t mean to.  But it really is a cool story.  I love how Robin, with absolutely nothing to lose and feeling like she has no friends at all, just starts talking to Phoenix.  He’s easy because she has no baggage with him and she’s being completely honest with him (for the most part) and not playing any games with him.  She says exactly what she means, which girls are NOT known to do around guys, am I right?  And I won’t give specifics but I loved what Phoenix thought about Robin and how he treated her!!!

Now, here’s the part where I clarify my jailbait sentiment.  Yes, Phoenix is just out of jail.  But we meet him 5% into the story and it’s here that Jessica explains to Robin that Phoenix has just been in for five months.  Jessica then goes on to not really care about explaining why Phoenix was in jail.  I guess some of the reviewers I read were a little concerned about Robin falling for a guy just out of jail.  Number one: he was only in jail five months.  If he did any major crime like rape or murder, he’d be in a lot longer.  Also, I doubt Jessica (and Phoenix’s cousin) would have allowed him in the house had he been a “major offender”.   You eventually find out what he was in jail for but I think to Robin, she’s already figured out since everyone else trusts him, she will, too.  Besides, there’s something to be said for intuition!!!

Overall the story moved at a nice pace, I enjoyed Ms. McCarthy’s writing (because she’s good!), I loved the plot/story, and I appreciated the romance she wrote in to what could have ended up being a downer of a story.  The ending, specifically, made me smile.  Yep, I’m a fan and I will continue with the series. 

The next book in the series, Shatter, is expected September 2014 and is Kylie’s story.  Oh, and go Bearcats!


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erin mccarthy

About the author:

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has gone on to pen more than 38 novels and novellas in the paranormal, contemporary romance, and young adult genres. A RITA award finalist and an American Library Association winner of the Reluctant Young Reader award, Erin is a member of Romance Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Ohioana.

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Other books in the series:

True Sweet
















About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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4 responses to “Review: Believe by Erin McCarthy

  1. Okay I have to admit I want to know why he was in jail, just because I am a reader that likes all the details. I have this book and I am interested to check it out. I have almost given up on NA but I am willing to give it a whirl and see how I feel about the jail bait 🙂
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  2. I know for me, I tend to transfer the characters and relationships to my own life and past. Like, I’ve had bad boys, ex-jailbirds, etc. I have them in my family, I know plenty of bad boys, so I’m WAY harder on them in general. Even in fiction. I’m not saying they ARE bad, but I’m just more hesitant when it comes to them. Whereas, I will love the hell out of a female character who I identify with, no matter how bad she is. But It’s hard for me to swoon over or root for characters that are in an unhealthy relationship. That’s why NA is a hit or miss for me, because there’s a lot of romanticized toxic relationships, and makes my stomach curl. Plus, I can only take so much angst before I want to strangle everyone – lol. Unless I’m in the mood for it. 😀 And personally, I would absolutely want to know why he was in jail. You can do a lot of bad things and only get 5 months, especially when people rarely serve their entire sentence. However, if it’s in this book as obviously not a big deal, then that’s fine with me.

    With all of that being said – I actually want to read this. Robin definitely sounds like a girl I would identify with. And as long as they aren’t both totally effed up people, which it sounds like they aren’t, then it should be fine. I need to know something, though, are any of the characters that are in this book in the 1st book? I might read it during the RAT next week.
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