Review – Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum

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Title – Mangled hearts
Author – Felicia Tatum
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Pages – 118
Reviewer – Laura

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

Blurb:

Francesca and Cade…

Can two loves find their way back to each other despite an addiction and a hardened heart? Will their love overcome it all?

Francesca Taymon is young, successful, and broken. A tragic accident years ago haunts her to this day, and she blames only one person–the one that holds her heart. When she finally gets her first case, will she be able to handle seeing him again? Can she do her job and keep her heart intact?

Cade Kelling doesn’t take life seriously. He’s reckless and irresponsible, drinking all his problems away. When his parents bail him out for the last time, will he be able to handle seeing Francesca after all of these years? Will he be able to tell her what really happened that night five years ago or will he lose her forever?

And the most important question….
Can these mangled hearts be mended?

Opinion:

I really enjoyed reading this book as the story line captured my interest from the very beginning! I think this book is very well written, and I love how each chapter switched between both characters points of view.

My impression of Francesca Taymon initially was that she was going to be quite a weak character that just let people walk all over her and tell her what to do. As I continued to read however, I found I really quite liked her, and she ended up being this strong-minded girl with more confidence than I anticipated at the beginning.

A similar change of heart occurred in my opinion of the character of Cade Kelling – like Francesca, my view of him was pretty poor at the beginning of the book. I thought him to be, quite frankly, a loser! He didn’t seem to want to help himself or get over his problems and the fact that he just went to alcohol for an easy fix of everything wrong in his life really annoyed me! I was therefore really happy when he finally started to listening to the people that love him and decided to help himself!

All in all “Mangled Hearts” was an interesting and enjoyable read that kept me intrigued from the beginning, and I would definitely recommend it!

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Review – The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year

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TITLE: The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year (Book #1)
AUTHOR: T.L Steffe
GENRE: Young Adult – Contemporary Romance
PAGES: 168
REVIEWER: Nicole

BLURB:

For eighteen-year-old Monroe Reid, life is full of change. Her long-time best friend, Lennon Walker, confessed his true feelings for her and she hasn’t spoken to him since. That was eight weeks ago. On top of that, she is about to leave her family, who is growing increasingly distant from her, and begin her journey of independence in her freshman year of college.

With Lennon headed in the opposite direction of the country, Monroe knows she needs to confront their situation ASAP. Lennon has a shaky history and has struggled with obstacles in his past, while Monroe has always been his constant rock. Now, she is struggling with the blurred lines of their friendship.

Once at college, Monroe quickly finds herself in a world filled with new friends, opportunities, and a potential love interest.

Bad boy Brayden Stryker knows there’s something special about Monroe the moment he lays his eyes on her. It doesn’t take long for her to fall for him, especially when he confides his darkest secrets to her.

Can Monroe trust Brayden, or will he break her heart, leaving Lennon to pick up the pieces? Freshman Year is a tale of friendship full of love and laughter, and heartache and despair

REVIEW:

If you are drawn to college romance and love triangles genres you are going to love The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year!

The protagonist of this story is Monroe, who is about to set off and start her first year of collage away from her family and best friend, Lennon. Before she leaves, Lennon a.k.a “Infamous”, expresses his true feelings for Monroe, leaving her confused and conflicted about her true feelings. Once she gets to College she meets Brayden a.k.a “Dream boy”, she realizes her feelings for Lennon was nothing like what she feels for Brayden. Brayden and Monroe fall in love fast but Brayden has a dark past and secrets, can he overcome his past? Will he trust Monroe with his secrets? And will their relationship survive despite his demons?

The first thing I have to express is opposite sex best friends in my opinion never works – though always make an interesting fictional love story! There is always one that starts to feel more than friendship, leaving the other person: A – feeling the same and they develop a fantastic relationship and a love story forms, or B – the other person doesn’t feel the same, they try to remain best friends, which we all know just can’t work and results in the platonic person losing their best friend, which is very sad.

So now that I have expressed my feelings on that matter, I have to say that I was constantly juggling between being on team Lennon to team Brayden in this story. I would be rooting for one of them and then they would go and do something stupid and I change my backing – in the end I was left being on team Lennon but this could once again change in the future.

Both Lennon and Brayden’s characters are damaged with a hell of a lot of baggage, terrible childhoods and lots of dark secrets. The scary thing is they both kept expressing how they “needed” Monroe, to me they were showing clear signs of desperation rather than love, especially Brayden in the end for his character definitely has major issues that are yet to be revealed.

I liked Monroe’s character, I like her personality which was likeable and real for girls her age, but I do feel at times she plays Lennon as back up at times to console her feelings regarding Brayden but once again this is how opposite sex best friends become tricky.

The Dorm Room Diaries: Freshman Year is a quick, easy read with great flow and pace and a great college romance/love triangle plot.  The only negative I will point out is we still know nothing about Brayden’s character which is frustrating, and I only wished I could understand him more to be able to connect with his character. Also, Monroe’s family are hiding something or going through some sort of turmoil  which  we still don’t have a clue about either, but I guess this is the hook to bet the reader invested and wanting to find out these unanswered questions – well Steffe has piqued my interest and definitely has me hooked!

So I guess I will have to wait until Book Two: Sophomore Year to see what awaits in this installment which will be very interesting I must say…will it be Brayden or Lennon? Or a new damaged character in the mix?

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From the TBR Pile!!

Hello fellow bloggers, reviewers and book fanatics!

This week our feature from the To Be Read pile is….. Village Teacher by neihtn.

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We would love to hear your feedback on this historical love story set in Vietnam.

If you like it…please like the post!

If you loved it…please comment or add a link to your review!

Thank you for your valuable feedback!!!

Review- Carnelian (The Chalcedony Chronicles # 1) by B.Kristin McMichael

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Clever, clever, clever!

Title: Carnelian (Chalcedony Chronicles # 1)
Author: B Kristin McMichael
Genre: Young Adult/ Science Fiction (Time Travel)
Publication:
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 209
Reviewer: Kelly

Synopsis:
Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t so far in the past as Seth Sangre. His past is literally from thousands of years ago. Seth’s past led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now, and he just found exactly what he has been looking for.

Mari had dreams of college being a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself not fall for the handsome Seth Sangre. But he doesn’t plan to make it easy for her. Seth has already marked her as his next conquest. As the semester progresses Mari learns that Seth might just have a past of his own that’s literally in the past.
Suddenly, Mari finds her future along with her past put into question. She’s connected to Seth far more than she ever wanted to be, and maybe he isn’t the player who she thought he was. If Mari can trust her heart enough to follow him, Seth will lead Mari on an adventure of a lifetime-and reveal family secrets she never knew existed.

Opinion:
Carnelian is a refreshing take on a modern college tale. McMichael has created characters that are not your “run of the mill” college students. There is no bleach blonde cheerleader or wealthy sorority boy. Granted there is still the super hot football star, but he is not the usual stereotype. He is soulful, insightful and exotic looking. His female counterpart is a tall red haired beauty, with an Indian best friend. I loved this more realistic and multicultural look at college life.

Then there is the storyline. It is not about fallen angels, vampires, dystopian societies or mythical creatures. For a dynamic change, it’s a mysterious adventure about time travel and ancient societies. It felt like a cross between ‘The time traveller’s wife’, a college romance novel and a history book. Well done McMichael! It kept me engaged from the beginning to end.

The romance between the two main characters is teased out in the opening chapters, keeping the reader wanting more. Mari is a strong, intelligent character who is cautious and calculating about beginning any new romances. Seth is aloof and persistent, with witty charm and charisma that makes you swoon! The combination of these two characters creates a perfect balance for the story, and maintains the momentum of the plot.

My only small criticism was that the middle was a little lack lustre there for a few chapters . The reader was left wondering what was going to happen next as the main characters romance had already been explored. The rapid pace of the last few chapters, however, made up for this lull in the middle. I was turning the pages faster than I could read properly, in order to get to the end. And what an end it was! It left me wanting more, but unfortunately I will have to wait patiently for the next instalment.

Summary:
B Kristin Mc Michael has created something punchy, refreshing and dynamic. Cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

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Review- Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series # 1) by Diana Gardin

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FLAMING HOT!

Title: Out of the Ashes (The Ashes Series #1)
Author: Diana Gardin
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 179
Reviewer: Kelly

***Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Blurb:
Out of the frying pan and into the fire…
Paige Hill is discovering who she is again after losing everything she loves in a tragic fire. She’s endured a long road to recovery with the help of her best friend Gillian and is finally beginning her life again: college, a job, and a blossoming love she never even saw coming.
Clay Forbes is the notorious campus playboy. He’s a star athlete, a senior architecture major, and the only son in a family with power and money back in his hometown. When he crashes into Paige, his whole perspective on life shifts, and his world as he knew it becomes nonexistent. He’s wrapped up in her.

They’re both learning how to love, but Clay’s ex-girlfriend Hannah won’t make it easy for them. She puts a target on Paige’s back, and won’t stop until she’s derailed their budding romance once and for all. Who will be left standing after the ashes settle for the second time?

Opinion:
Out of the Ashes grabbed me from the first page. It already had an intriguing premise, with our main protagonist Paige waking up in a hospital bed. From the first moment the reader is absorbed in the story, wanting to know how and why Paige has been injured. As the title suggests Paige’s injuries are resultant from a fire, and from here the story progresses from the aftermath of the fire, to her loss and her ability to rebuild her life.

While rebuilding her life to some sort of normalcy Paige meets Clay, the dreamy love interest. This love story is a little different, as Paige is so damaged, both physically and emotionally. Gardin alternates between Clay and Paige’s perspectives so that the reader was able to garner a true understanding of what each character was thinking and feeling. This technique was also useful in introducing other secondary characters to the reader, such as Paige’s best friend Gillian and Clay’s frat buddies. Through the use of alternating points of view, the reader could appreciate just how important these characters were to both of the main protagonists.

Gardin added depth and variety into the plot line to keep the reader guessing all the way to the end. The ending floored me! It was not what I was expecting at all. Without being to cryptic or giving anything away, it was as if all the things I wish would happen did, but not with the consequences that I wanted! It is going to be very interesting to see how things play out in the sequel, as I have come to expect the unexpected!

Summary:
I read this book in a day so, needless to say, I cannot wait for the release of Book 2 later in 2014! If you love a good romance with a few twists and turns then this is the book for you.

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Review- Awakening (The Destined Series # 2) by Ashley Suzanne

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AMAZING AWAKENING!

Title: Awakening (The Destined Series # 2)
Author: Ashley Suzanne
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 206
Reviewer: Kelly

***Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review***

Explanation:
Awakening is the third and final book in The Destined Series. It completes the story of four college friends Mira, Skylar, Danny and Kylee. Awakening begins with Mira waking from a coma in hospital. It explores her recovery, both physically and emotionally, as well as how each of her friends copes with the aftermath of her accident. The love triangle between the main protagonists, Mira, Skylar and Danny is the crux of this story. The use of multiple viewpoints within the novel helps to explain every detail of the story.

Opinion:
After getting over my initial shock that Inception was a prologue to Mirage, which took us back in the story, I finally got my hands on Awakening. I read this book within 24 hours as I was dying to know what happened! Awakening did not disappoint. It finally told the present day story of Mira and her friends, and oh and was it fantastic. It was a little predictable in some parts, but it was so satisfying in other parts that it all but made up for it!

Suzanne delivered Awakening using multiple viewpoints once again, changing between Mira, Skylar and Danny. The reader had access to how Mira was really coping after waking from her coma, as well as where her true feelings lay. The reader was also privy to Skylar and Danny’s thoughts and actions in this very unique situation. Suzanne also used clever dialogue and descriptions to explain each circumstance from every angle.
I loved how this book ended with so much closure. I hate it when books leave things very open ended. Suzanne did a marvellous job in closing up all major storylines without leaving the reader guessing. Every characters storyline was explained with great plotlines.

Summary:
Well done Ashley Suzanne, Awakening was a great conclusion to The Destined Series. If you cannot get enough of these characters Suzanne has created a spin-off series from Mira’s best friend Kylee’s point of view. Facade is out February 17, 2014.

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Review – That Dating Thing by Mackenzie Crowne

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Sweet, Sexy, Romantic!

Title – That Dating Thing
Author – Mackenzie Crowne
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Pages – 196
Reviewer – Laura

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review*** 

Blurb: 

The daughter of Wall Street’s most notorious stock swindler, dog trainer Rylee Pierce has perfected the art of flying beneath society’s radar.

Prosecutor, Cooper Reed, is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?

Opinion:

I found this book to be a very enjoyable and easy read!

Rylee Pierce – After everything she had been through with her swindling, criminal father basically ruining her whole life, I found her character to be determined, strong and extremely kind hearted. I felt so sorry for her by the end of the book as it just seemed her past would continue to haunt her and she would never get a chance to be out of the media’s eye and live a normal life.

Cooper Reed – Well, he just sounds extremely sexy! After the first few chapters I was convinced he was just going to be this chauvinistic pig who only wanted Rylee for one thing. However, I’m pleased to say that he turned out to be very romantic and sweet, and by the end,I really started to love his character!

All in all “That Dating Thing” had the perfect balance of fun, wit and romance that I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend to anyone who has not read it already!

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Review- Tousle Me by Lucy V. Morgan

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TOUSLED!

Title: Tousle Me
Author: Lucy V Morgan
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 222
Reviewer: Kelly

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

Explanation:
Tousle Me is a parody about college student Cammiebelle Hicks, who is about to embark on her freshman year with her two best friends- Enid and Archer. Enid and Archer are Cammie’s childhood friends and they are now all attending UCLAP together. Archer got into the Pi Pi Pi Frat House, and it’s here that Cammie first meets the alluring Hunter von Styles. Hunter is the ultimate party boy, he is wealthy, handsome and a real ladies man. Cammie is the opposite, a book blog reviewer, a virgin and an introvert. Cammie and Hunter’s story forms the crux of Tousle Me.

Opinion:
I feel Tousle Me is like the awesome model you admire from afar, which has great abs, a handsome face and impeccable taste. Then when you meet them you realise they are airbrushed abs, a digitally enhanced face and not quite as intelligent as you thought. If Tousle Me was a model, it would be the real life version. It looks like an interesting, romantic love-story and then half way in you realise it’s a hilarious parody of all contemporary great fiction novels!

Morgan had everything a great novel needed. She had a relatable main character, Cammiebelle Hicks the college freshman. She had the drop dead gorgeous frat boy. She had a jealous male best friend, who secretly had a crush on the main character. Then my personal favourite is that she had a main character that loved reading, had a reading review blog, was on Goodreads and watched Gossip Girl. All this and the clichéd characteristics of the main characters made Tousle Me an excellent parody.

Firstly, there is the unrealistic love interest by the name of Hunter von Styles. Hunter starts off as somewhat believable- a hot, rich, British guy who goes to a college in America and is part of a frat house. Then we find out he is so rich he is a billionaire, was in a German rock band before coming to college and dated Taylor Swift for a while. He is also so super rich that he bought Goodreads for Cammie, within the first few minutes of meeting her. He epitomises the characteristics of the ultimate male protagonist, he just happens to have all of these awesome features rolled into one!

Secondly, this leads me to the romantic plot development, or lack thereof, between Hunter and Cammie. In true love story style the reader has not really had the chance to meet and understand Cammie yet, let alone Hunter, before a random, chance meeting on a rooftop has them going on a first date. Okay, that’s fine. Then the real cliché’s appear with Hunter being overly pushy and obnoxious, exactly what you expect from a wealthy guy. What you don’t expect is that out of nowhere after date number one, they are completely besotted with each other?! Morgan was again using the parody very well, but it’s here that I felt that there could have been a little more explanation of their feelings and affection.  It is also on said first date that the reader learns yet another fact about Hunter, he is sometimes cage-fighter. Is there anything this guy isn’t – billionaire, rocker, college student,  serial dater, and a cage-fighter?

Morgan’s one downfall was the semantics, sentence structure and vocabulary in this novel.  The sentences were long and clunky, taking two sentences to explain what could have been written eloquently in one. The vocabulary chosen seemed almost immature, and not something you would expect from a contemporary, young adult novel. The demise of the vocabulary occured when Cammie’s lady parts started to be named things like “vaj mahal’, ‘daffodil’and ‘tuna cake’, just to name a few.

Summary:
A hilarious and tremendously witty read! Please note that it is a parody, so roll with the humour and clichés.

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Review- Mirage (The Destined Series # 1) by Ashley Suzanne

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Marvellous Mirage! 

Title: Mirage (The Destined Series # 1)
Author: Ashley Suzanne
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 182
Reviewer: Kelly

*** Copy provided by Author in exchange for an honest review***

Explanation:
Mirage is the story of Mira Adams a newly graduated college student who tragically loses her fiancé to a motorcycle accident. Mira and Danny met on orientation day in their freshman year. They have been inseparable ever since. Danny’s best friend Skylar was always around, as was Mira’s best friend Kylee. Together this foursome navigated their college years, all graduating on the same day. On graduation day they decided to take the boys bikes out for a ride. This is when tragedy arose. The bike Danny and Mira were on wrecked and Danny didn’t make it. Mirage follows the lives of Mira, Skylar and Kylee in the months following Danny’s death and how they survive without him.

Opinion:
The story starts with a bang! Mira has just lost Danny to a motorcycle accident and is left utterly devastated. As a reader you are invested from the very beginning as you want to find out what becomes of Mira, Skylar and Kylee and how they can possibly recover without Danny. The plot line of the story then follows a seemingly predictable path, where you know just how and who Mira is going to seek comfort from. Then WHAM, the predictability ends in Chapter 4 and the path you thought this book was going to take does not go there at all!

The rest of the book has you grappling for answers, wondering what is going to become of the main protagonists and how Ashley Suzanne will end it. The paths you think the characters will go down are completely different now, especially with Danny’s passing. The once inseparable foursome seems to be poles apart. The best part, that leaves you GOBSMACKED, is the ending!

Suzanne wrote this book using dual protagonists Mira and Skylar. It was necessary to have the two characters points of view as they are often in different situations throughout the story. The time jumps within the novel also require this dual point of view so that the reader can catch up to what has been going on in each characters life. This style of writing also allows the reader to see how each character was feeling, how they were coping without Danny and through their inner monologue- if this was the life they thought they would be leading.

My one and only criticism with this novel was the poor editing! There were grammatical and punctuation errors in at least every chapter. Although tiny and sometimes irrelevant it makes it hard to appreciate the story as a polished and published piece of fiction with so many mistakes. My advice would be to have it re-read and edited!

Summary:
Mirage was an unpredictable, romantic and engaging read. The ending made me jump straight into Inception, the next book in The Destined Series.

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Review- Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3) by Veronica Roth

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I  SWEAR MY ALLEGIANCE!  

Title: Allegiant (Divergent Series # 3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian
Publication: HarperCollins
Release Date: 2013
Pages: 526
Reviewer: Kelly

Blurb:

The faction- based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered- fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature- and of herself- while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Explanation:

Allegiant opens with the discontent people of Chicago hoping to make a stand against the Factionless. The discontent, become the Allegiant, a small group revolting against Evelyn Johnson, the new leader. The Allegiant want to find answers and resolve order to the city of Chicago. Tobias, Tris and their friends are chosen to go where no one else has gone before, outside the city limits into the world beyond. In leaving the city they enter a society they know nothing about.  Here they learn the truth about their home, and must decide what to do with this knowledge. The Allegiant have two choices- to assist the citizens of this strange new world and walk away from the only home they have known or to fight for the people they have left behind.

Opinion:

Every once in a while a book comes along that is so different, exhilarating and refreshing that it takes your breath away- Allegiant is one of those books! Veronica Roth elevated Allegiant from what could have potentially been a mediocre read to an EPIC novel, by creating a diverse and unpredictable plot. How do you make a book truly EPIC? You leave the reader reeling, with the most unsatisfied taste in their mouth after turning the last page! This feeling makes the reader ponder what could have been, long after the book was completed.

When I first began reading this book I did find it a bit ‘ho-hum’. It took me a week to get halfway through and I really wasn’t interested in getting to the end because I thought I knew exactly what was coming- oh how wrong I was! I think my reluctance to read the book too quickly was also because I didn’t like some of the earlier revelations in the book, and I didn’t want to know how anything else could damage these characters.  I preserved though and all I can say is wow, Veronica Roth, WOW!

Roth also did not do the one thing that turned Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series into a mediocre read. She did not close every loose end up by the conclusion of the book. Now I am a fan of stories being completed properly, and I hate movies that leave you guessing. But Roth created her story without its neatly packed endings, which elevates this book to the beyond impressive level.

The dual perspective writing also gave more insight into both Tris and Tobias‘s thoughts and feelings. The previous two books in the Divergent Series are told only from Tris’s point of view. That sufficed for those books, but Allegiant very much needed the two viewpoints in order for the reader to understand the whole story. Tobias’s point of view allowed the reader to see how deeply he cared for Tris and how much his parents have impacted upon his life choices. Tris’s chapters were written in the same strong, determined and selfless voice of the heroine we know and love.

Summary:

Allegiant could have been just another nice, teen book series where the heroine always gets what they want. Instead Roth has turned it into a best seller. Allegiant was fantastic. The Divergent Series was amazing! The movies are going to be phenomenal! Kudos to Veronica Roth!

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