Review – The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY MISSED!

Title: The Secret of Ella and Micha
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Pages: 309
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary Romance
Reviewer: Nicole

Blurb:

Ella and Micha have been best friends since child-hood, until one tragic night shatters their relationship and Ella decides to leave everything behind to start a new life at college, including Micha.
But now its summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. Micha is sexy, smart, confident and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else. And he’s determined to win back the girl he lost, no matter what it takes.

Review:

Sigh….

This is the first Jessica Sorensen book I have read and I am disappointed! I know a lot of readers are going to disagree with me on this review but in my defense I read this book straight after reading Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, which absolutely blew me away on an emotional level, where this book left me feeling empty!

The Secret of Ella and Micha had the potential to be a fantastic five star book – six star even – it had a good quality template with some unique elements that could had made it shine, but overall I found the story lacked depth, emotion and substance.

The story follows Ella, whose home life is a mess; she is the one to discover her bipolar mother’s body after she had committed suicide, leaving Ella with an alcoholic father and an older brother who barely acknowledges her existence. On top of all that she has fallen in love with her best friend. With this intense and passionate feeling for Micha, mixed with emotions of fear, grief and guilt consuming her, she runs away from her life at home to college, without a word to anyone except her father, an escape which proves to be short-lived as she has to face all her fears, including Micha, as she returns home for summer break.

In my opinion, this book had a real unique element, the issue of Ella’s mother’s bipolar disease, which could have been explored further. Jessica Sorensen could have taken this book to a whole other level by expanding on the raw emotion and strain the disease can put on a family unit, but I feel this opportunity was greatly missed. Instead I found the plot dragging at times, lacking both substance and depth. I felt there were a lot of holes and loose ends that never got resolved, such as the issue with Lila and her family, or why Ella and her brother never had a real close relationship? BUT the biggest disappointment was when Ella and Micha finally made love, there was no build up what so ever! One minute they are casually talking on the bed and then next minute Ella takes off her clothes, asks Micha to make love to her and he just lays her down and slides right in?? Everything was leading to this moment, so, where was the chemistry build up and the passion that a reader would expect from contemporary romance?? Where was the emotion?? Arrrrg it was so disappointing!

I was also disappointed with the characters, I found them to be two dimensional and I felt no emotional connection to them at all. The character of Ella was a particular let down for me, all the emotional turmoil someone in her situation would have been feeling didn’t get portrayed in enough detail to create a substantial emotional connection to her. Again given the emotional scope that could have existed within her personality, it is a shame we didn’t get to see her progress into what could have been a really amazing character. While Micha’s character did have slightly more substance and emotion, I felt, once again, that he had the potential to be a strong lead character that the reader could really fall in love with, but it wasn’t there for me.

It’s a shame to say but I do not have the urge to read the sequel to this book, even though it has been getting some fantastic reviews, it ends here for me.

lips grey 2.5

Review – Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

walking-disaster[1]

DISASTER IS THE WORD!

Title: Walking Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Pages: 433
Genre: New Adult – Romance
Reviewer: Nicole

Blurb:
Can you love someone too much?

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight Harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

Review:
I have been anxiously counting down the days for Walking Disaster to be released, to read the re-tell of the beautiful story of Travis and Abby from Beautiful Disaster, but from Travis’s point of view. In Beautiful Disaster Abby and Travis captured my heart and it became one of my favorite books to date. I had such great expectations for this book but it pains me to say that Walking Disaster didn’t reach those expectations at all. Throughout my reading of the book I felt real disappointment as there were key moments from Beautiful Disaster that were either left out or glossed over, and when I finished the book, I was left feeling frustrated, disappointment and overall flat!

Walking Disaster is a re-tell of the story of Beautiful Disaster from Travis’s point of view. Travis Maddox, the youngest of five brothers, at the age of three lost his mother to cancer. Unfortunately, after his mother’s death his Dad didn’t handle the loss of his wife very well, so it was up to his older brothers to raise Travis. Now in collage, Travis – known as the “bad boy”, keeps his heart and emotions shielded at all times. He “bags” a lot of girls but forms no attachment and makes a living out of taking his inner turmoil of emotions and frustrations into fighting at an underground fighting ring called The Circle. It’s at one of his fights, that Abby makes a lasting impression on Travis. When he catches up with his cousin and roommate, Shepley, after the fight he discovers that Abby is actually the best friend of Shepley’s girlfriend, America. Abby is the first girl who doesn’t fall for Travis’s charm and for that he falls in love with her, leading Travis to fight for her attention and affection and to make Abby see she is in love with him too. Travis and Abby bring out the best and worst in each other and really have to fight to keep their relationship together.

The highlight about this story, in my opinion, was the prologue, presenting his mum’s final words to Travis. That really touched my heart. The Epilogue was also pleasantly surprising and very interesting causing me to wonder if this has anything to do with Jamie McGuire’s next installment in the Beautiful Disaster Series about Travis’s brother Thomas. Also the explanation and meaning behind what “Pigeon” means to Travis I found to be very unique and true.

One of the things that disappointed me most in Walking Disaster was the flow and overall content, certain parts of the book felt really rushed and just slopped together. I feel that Jamie McGuire focused a lot on insignificant and irrelevant details, such as the texting between Travis and Brazil? Then left out or glossed over some key moments between Abby and Travis from Beautiful Disaster. Moments such as; Travis knocking out Chris Jenks at lunch after discovering Abby and Travis are finally together and Abby has to settle Travis down, or when Abby dragged Travis into the lab room for some alone time, or when Travis asks Abby to come to his fight while on a date with Parker and then Abby getting attacked at that fight, or when Shepley and America were broken up but got back together at The Red. I believe if you are going to re-tell a story from the other characters point of view, then you need to re-tell the whole story with inclusions not deletions, because the reader already knows the story and is expecting and looking forward to reading certain scenes as experienced by the other character. I also felt the “inclusion” parts of the story was lacking as well. I wanted to know when and how Travis came to the conclusion of buying that engagement ring? I thought there would be more deep and meaning conversations about Travis’s feeling towards Abby with Shepley or his Dad or brother Trent. I guess overall I just wanted more.

I felt Abby, Shepley and America’s characters lacked depth in the re-telling of this story, versus Beautiful Disaster, in which all the characters came to life. I felt no real emotional connection to them this time. Abby was interesting to see through Travis eyes, but at times, if I didn’t know her side of the story she could come across as confusing…even misleading towards Travis. But it was Shepley’s character that was my biggest disappointment in this story, I thought he would be so much more of a lead player in the story from Travis’s point of view but I felt his presence was more rewarding, once again, in Beautiful Disaster.

What I did enjoy was being inside Travis’s head, to see his point of view, his understanding of the situation, his emotions and feelings…but I wanted more from him, more detail, just more of what I loved in Beautiful Disaster…

Overall I am sad to say, I will continue to rave on and recommend Beautiful Disaster to the world but Walking Disaster will be sadly not be mentioned.

lips grey 2.5

Check out review on Beautiful Disaster, Book #1 of the Beautiful Disaster series by Jamie McGuire

Review – Unleashed (Wolf Spring Chronicles) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Wolf Springs Chronicles Unleashed[1]

CONFUSED AND BEMUSED!

Title: Wolf Spring Chronicles- Unleashed (Book One)
Authors: Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie 
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal
Publication: Corgi Books
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 383
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:

Who do you run with?

 It’s always tough being the new kid in town.

And even worse when you have to live with your grandfather in the middle of the forest. 

 But when Katelyn starts Wolf Springs High she realises that her new life might not be so bad.

There’s the enigmatic Trick, who is always there to protect her.

And Cordelia Fenner and her irresistible cousin seem extra friendly.

 Katelyn suspects that there is more to the Fenner family than meets the eye.

But why is she so drawn to them?

And in a town full of secrets, who can she trust?

Explanation:

Unleashed begins in Los Angeles where aspiring ballerina Katelyn is left orphaned after she loses her mother, her last remaining parent, in a tragic house fire. She is then shipped off to live with her grandfather Mordecai McBride in the tiny town of Wolf Springs in rural Arkansas. Her grandfather lives in an isolated cabin the woods, about thirty minutes from the centre of town. 

Katelyn begins at Wolf Springs High as the outsider, as this is a town where everyone knows everyone. Thankfully, her grandfather arranged for their neighbour, mysterious local boy Trick, to drive her to school each day. Trick helps to ease Katelyn’s first day jitters as he is in the same year as her at school.  She also makes a friend in Cordelia Fenner, who although is sometimes aloof, seems genuinely happy to have her for a friend.

As the weeks wear on Katelyn begins to notice that some things in town just don’t add up. Her grandfather is always out hunting at night. A new- age health retreat, focusing on unleashing your inner wolf, starts to get more popular in the woods outside of town. Then teenagers begin to go missing. Katelyn is oh-so-curious to find out what is going on, but she has been warned by her grandfather, Trick and Cordelia to stay inside after dark.

Opinion:

The book began slowly. The first half centred a lot on Katelyn’s inner turmoil regarding her mother’s death and moving to such an isolated town.  Though it did effectively use foreshadowing techniques to cover the secrets of the town and keep the reader wanting more!

Emotions were an important focus of this book. The main character’s feelings were made evident through the descriptive writing used, making the reader feel as if they were experiencing these same emotions. Certain events were so well written that it left me feeling emotions of despair, happiness and confusion all at the same time, along with the characters. 

In the centre of the book, a life changing event helped to develop momentum in the storyline and answered a lot of questions for the reader.  It also created a lot more questions as the story became rather convoluted. There were multiple plots with many hidden secrets.  The book concluded leaving me as reader feeling confused, bemused and frustrated! There wasn’t a lot of clarity about what exactly was going on. 

Summary:

The book was overall a frustrating read!  I would only read the sequel to hopefully help answer all the questions that left me puzzled at the end of the book.

lips grey 2.5

Check out my review on Hot Blooded, Book #2 Wolf Chronicles by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Review – Hidden by Marianne Curley

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A STORY HIDDEN AWAY!

Title: Hidden
Authors: Marianne Curley
Pages: 325
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:
When he took Ebony from me, I knew I would spend my life searching for her. Now I have found her, he will do everything in his power to keep us apart.

Ebony has led a very sheltered life. She isn’t ready for the disturbing things which start happening to her. But these events are just part of a discovery that will rock her whole world.

Ebony’s life wasn’t ‘sheltered’- she was hidden away. Now her location is no longer secret, but who will find her first?

Explanation:
Hidden is a fictional story set in modern day, rural Australia. The story alternates narration between the two main protagonists Ebony and Jordan. Ebony and Jordan meet in the opening scenes of the first chapter, at a nightclub in their local town. They have an instant connection and throughout the story work hard to find out exactly what they connection is.
Ebony is the only child of a loving farming family. She has grown up in the Valley her whole life. She was home schooled as a child and has only recently began attending the local high school. Her parents kept her very sheltered from the outside world. She always felt she was different and never quite fit in. Her olive tanned skin, violet eyes and amazing strength and speed make her seem otherworldly.
Jordan is the poor, unloved boy in town, who has bounced from one foster home to another. His mother died when he was nine and his father left before he was born. He has struggled to fit in. He was once very close with Adam Skinner, but the two are now enemies. Jordan feels that his life is beginning to change when he meets Ebony.
The night they meet at the nightclub Jordan nearly dies, Ebony feels like she has some unusual power in her hands and Thane an angelic and mysterious twenty something rolls into town.

Opinion:
The book grabbed me from page one! I zoomed through the first four chapters, where it began to develop a bit of a love story. The character development and description set up the reader to be fully engaged in their lives and wonder how they fit together.
Then unfortunately the story lost some of its momentum. The author spent the middle section of the book explaining too much about the characters, the setting and world of angels. It became a little ‘clunky’ and convoluted, stunting the readers motivation to read on.
But I am glad I did! At last, in the final quarter of the book, the showdown we had been building to since the beginning came to fruition. The romance, the drama and the tension that we had been missing throughout the middle of the book was jam packed into the last few chapters. The ending left a lot of loose ends, which makes a perfect opening for a sequel.

Summary:
The book began and ended strongly. It was such a shame that the middle section was so bogged down in detail that it made the reader lose interest. If it wasn’t for the middle section I would have rated it much higher.

lips grey 2.5