Found by Claudia Burgoa ~ Sarah A’s Review

All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.

Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.

If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.

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While I loved the story in Found, it was an editorial NIGHTMARE. I initially read a pre-published version and did my best to overlook the mistakes as I was reading, but when I bought it, and it was still fraught with errors, I was sorely disappointed. I see that the author has several editors listed, and I’m not sure if she’s not listening to them or if they aren’t qualified, but this book is in desperate need of a re-edit.

While Found is not listed as part of a series on Goodreads or Amazon, it is the third book in a series about the four Everhart brothers and two Beesley sisters. Each book can be read as standalone and is based on a different couple. Found is written in first person perspective from three characters: Hazel, Scott, and Elliot.

I was most excited about this book. I wanted to know more about Hazel, and Scott was such an enigma, I needed to know who he actually was. What I wasn’t excited about was Elliot, I didn’t want anything to come between that interesting magic that bound Scott and Hazel. What she’d already been through with Elliot was heartbreaking, and I didn’t want her to have to relive her past, either.

While most of this story was wonderful, I loved seeing Scott as more than just a shadowy stoic figure making sure his brothers were taken care of and thriving, a lot of it was very frustrating. In particular, one of Hazel’s suitors kept pushing the issue with her, even when she said she wanted to take things slow and figure out what she needed and how to get out of the hole she felt she’d fallen into. I felt like he kept belittling Hazel when she didn’t fit into the picture he’d painted for her. What was most irritating about that whole situation was she kept going back even when it was blatantly obvious he didn’t have her best interests in mind. Even in the end, it seemed like the author was trying to make him come across as a good guy, when he obviously wasn’t – at least not in regards to Hazel.

Hazel’s other love interest was obviously the better choice from the off. He knew her, what she wanted, what she needed, and how to make sure she was supported in the way she needed. He was also able to put her needs ahead of his own when it came to their relationship, and that is the true test of what love is. How Hazel had any doubt about which man was the one she couldn’t live without was shocking to me, and maybe that is the luxury of looking into a relationship from the outside looking in. I just didn’t see any real affection or chemistry between Hazel and the other man, even in the kisses he forced upon her.

My biggest wish for this book is what I mentioned earlier, the editing. There were times when the author used synonyms in places where replacing the original word completely changed the meaning of the sentence, several instances of continuity issues, incorrect word usage, and numerous typos. Also, I wish that some of the scenes with suitor number one had been either omitted or rewritten to make them feel less forced. There was one, in particular, where they are having dinner that felt completely out of character for Hazel and almost like it was added after the rest of the book was finished, as the tone of the scene didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book. I also would have loved for Ms. Burgoa to more fully address Hazel’s battle with depression, unlike Flawed were Hunter and Willow’s battles were wonderfully explored and addressed, it felt like Hazel’s battle with mental illness was only there when it was convenient to explain a specific plot point.

I fell in love with Claudia Burgoa’s storytelling in Flawed (previously titled All of You, All of Me), but the last two books haven’t stood up to the standard she set in that first novel. I’m not sure if that book was the outlier or if the two subsequent books in the series are not in keeping with her writing, but I’m starting to question if the magic of Flawed won’t be rediscovered by Ms. Burgoa. I will be looking out for Fitz’ story because I need to know how he finds his happy ending, but I doubt I’ll be reading anything else she writes.

Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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