Review: The Fire Between High and Lo by Brittainy C. Cherry

Reviewed by Joanna

Here’s another offering of big love from the author who charmed me with book one’s tale of love after spouse loss. And though I leapt on this with excitement, this is grittier, and not quite as enjoyable, despite many great ingredients.

Logan and Alyssa were best friends as kids. They did everything together despite coming from different backgrounds and having little in common besides unhappiness. She’s a musician, with wealthy parents, one of whom is a controlling nutcase and the other of whom runs off and abandons her. He’s got a drug addict mother and a violent drug dealer father, and lives hand to mouth with little by way of love. Together they create a pocket of happiness, constantly reassuring one another that they’re okay and they’re surviving, and they make each other’s lives better.

Predictably they fall in love, and it’s sweet that they are so happy together despite all the bad around them. Logan is Alyssa’s first, but neither have the sense to use protection of any kind and she falls pregnant.

This isn’t where the bad starts; it was already happening. Logan’s family life is awful. His father’s abuses are nasty and horrible to read. Logan then internalizes this and turns to drugs, aided by his mother but kept steady by Alyssa, who he calls High (his greatest high). His brother is the best part of his family life but also contributes to his unhappiness.

Something awful then happens which breaks up Logan and Alyssa and he leaves town for several years until something else awful happens and he comes back.

This is where this became an even tougher read for me.

Spoilers on trigger warnings: A car crash causes Alyssa to lose her baby. A person gets colon cancer and goes through chemo and gets very sick.

The low feeling of the book was perpetuated by a sense it could and would only get worse. I felt this right up until the end when I was sure a plot device was going to end badly. That it didn’t was almost a disappointment as I wanted Logan to prove himself as being off the drugs forever by going through the most extreme scenario available, but he never got the chance. As a character I felt sorry for him, and liked several aspects of his character e.g. his love for random documentaries, but hated the way he handled his loneliness and the selfish way he managed his life.

The guy nearly slept with the mother of his half-sibling, for God’s sake, only stopping because she changed her mind. His lack of strength frustrated me.

Alyssa drove me nuts in that she was a wet fish with little personality. Her mother and father messed her up for sure, but the degree to which she existed seemed only to be a pillow for Logan. I felt none of her passion, pain, happiness or loss.

Then there was the love. This pair were inevitable, which is the sort of love I want to read, and there were some lovely moments between them, but I wanted a fight or at least some passion to make me feel their connection. Even when they were physically together it always felt one-sided with Logan pushing and Alyssa receiving, and I wanted that moment of realized emotion or to identify that desperate need. After everything they went through (Logan’s story drove the action) I wanted them to reunite more fiercely, but the result was a fizzle rather than a spark.

The main plot resolved with an okay HEA, but a couple of loose ends, e.g. Alyssa’s father’s vanishing act, never concluded and left me wondering.

Overall I struggled a couple of times to keep reading and didn’t get anything like the impact I had from book one. I’ll still go on to try book three but won’t force myself to finish it if I have the same issues.

Rating: C

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Fire Between High and Lo
by Brittainy C. Cherry
Release Date: March 25, 2016

 

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