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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Review – Bully by Penelope Douglas

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INTENSE  “FICTIONAL” LOVE STORY

Title: BULLY (Book #1 A Fall Away Novel)
Author: Penelope Douglas
Pages: 318
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult  – Contemporary Romance
Reviewer: Nicole
 

BLURB:

My name is Tate.

He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all. No, he’ll barely even speak to me.

But he still won’t leave me alone.

We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to stay out of his way. I even went to France for a year, just to avoid him.

But I’m done hiding from him now, and there’s no way in hell I’ll allow him to ruin my senior year. He might not have changed, but I have. It’s time to fight back.

I’m not going to let him bully me ANYMORE!

REVIEW:

Wow! Bully by Penelope Douglas had such intense chemistry and sexual tension from the first chapter, that I got so consumed in this story I couldn’t put the book down!

One thing I will say is that Bully is a fairy tale.  If only there was a happy ending to all bullying like this story, and the only reason someone was being mean to you was for the simple, although jaded, fact that they are in love with you. I know we tell our little girls that when a boy in the playground teases you it’s because he likes you and maybe once upon a time this could be true but in today’s society Bullying is not this fairytale, it is a very real and cruel and seems to be magnified with all the technology and multimedia available today, not to mention broken homes, drug and alcohol issues.  No matter your gender, age, sexual preference, religion or race, anyone and everyone is a potential target to be bullied and it’s a REAL problem.

Bully’s protagonist is Tate who used to be best friends with her neighbor Jared, until the summer holidays before they started high school.  Jared went to spend his holidays with his Dad but came back from his Dad’s a very different person. He not only didn’t want to know Tate anymore but he came back ‘hating’ Tate and has made her last four years of high school a misery to the point she even went to France for a year to avoid him. Now Tate is back for her final year of high school with new confidence and direction, with her sole goal to get through this year and get into Columbia University.  Of course Jared doesn’t make that an easy option and the more encounters they endure they realize that the love and attraction they share for each other has never really gone away, you could even say its magnified.  But can Tate trust Jared again and open up her heart? Or is this all another charade to break Tate completely?

The chemistry between Tate and Jared was off the charts! Even when Jared was in his bullying phase you could feel the intense attraction and chemistry between these two main characters. To the reader it was very obvious that Jared was in love with Tate even with his conflicting actions and words, but the reader was desperate, like Tate, to find out “why” he was treating her this way? What were his reasons? What did Tate do? And this is one of the reasons you consume the book desperate to seek answers.

Tate’s character was strong, dependant and likeable. I liked her sense of morals and the values she displayed and how she was honest and conflicted in listening to her head or following her heart with Jared. She didn’t want to make it easy for him to come back into her heart after all the hurt she endured and I could empathize with her reasons.

Jared character screams “Sex” and “Bad Boy”!! Wow! Even though I don’t advocate Bullies, being the fairy tale that this story was – I loved him! He was hot, dark, sexy, swoon worthy, I mean I could go on and on describing his character but I think you get the point!  His dark tortured side was a heart breaker and you begin to empathize with his character and get a glimpse of what he is thinking and feeling over the past four years of his forced separation from Tate.

Tate’s best friend was K.C and I have to say I wasn’t a fan. I disliked her the moment she betrayed Tate and I feel that Tate was way too easy on her and if you read this story I would be interested in your opinion of her – do you feel that K.C broke the girl code?

Jared’s best friend was Madoc, who also a bullied Tate and like I said about Jared’s character, I don’t advocate Bullies but being this fairy tale, I really liked his character. I liked how we witnessed him stand up to Jared and question his feelings about Tate and I really liked him when he apologized to Tate for all his hurt he has conflicted towards her was displayed with such sincerity. Unlike K.C’s character, I liked how he showed true loyalty and dedication to his best friend and once Tate was a part of Jared’s life he portrayed his true loyalty and dedication to Tate.

Bully was fantastic read, the pace and flow was perfect. I have to say that the plot twist at the end definitely caught me off guard! Quite clever I must say and could have ended with the reader blindsided but like I have said many times in this review already – this story is ultimately a fairy tale and with all fairytales they have happy endings!

I loved this book and my sole reason for the half lip deduction is the display of the falsehood on bullying, I know this book genre is Fiction but it’s not the reality of today and I feel it still could be quite insulting to people who have been bullied in their life less significant, making their torment not worthy and for that I couldn’t give it 5 lips….but as a fictional love story, I loved it and would highly recommend it!!

lips grey 4.5

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 – Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

Sigh….!

Title – Beautiful Player
Author – Christina Lauren
Genre – New Adult – Contemporary Romance
Pages – 402
Reviewer – Laura

Blurb:

When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating! 
And who better to turn her into this sultry siren every man wants than her brothers gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic player? 

Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed – and teaches him a thing or two about being with a women he cant forget. now that Hanna discovered the power of her own sex appeal, its up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need…

Opinion:

I have mixed feeling about this book. I have read the first two installments of this series, Beautiful Bastard and Beautiful Stranger, and fell in love with both of them! So, in comparison, this book was a little disappointing.

Whilst the chemistry between Hanna and Will was obvious from the start, I unfortunately didn’t find their story as enjoyable to read as I did with Bennett and Chloe from Beautiful Bastard or Max and Sara from Beautiful Stranger.

The first issue I had with the book was the fact that it took FOREVER for the two main characters to get together and hook up in the first place…like at least 7 chapters! And I just really felt that excess suspense was extremely boring to read.  The additional issue with all that suspense was their connection finally did happen, I found I wasn’t really that satisfied.

Like the previous books, Beautiful Player was written in Will and Hanna’s point of view in alternating chapters. This is one thing that I really love about the books as you get a better perspective of what both characters are thinking and feeling in each situation.

I don’t think that Hanna’s character was a very strong one, nor did I like her all that much, she seemed a little childish and annoying to me, and I found myself feeling awkward every time I was reading her chapters. She starts off as this shy, workaholic, with no friends at all, and then all of a sudden she becomes this outspoken girl who is obsessed with sex, which just seemed a little strange to me.  This sudden change of character with no explanation really upset the flow of the plot.

On the bright side, I really like Will’s character and found his chapters somewhat more enjoyable to read! Will was sexy, fit and obviously a well-known player, but he was also so sweet and caring that he came across as pretty much irresistible to me.  It is safe to say I’m pretty sure he is the main reason I even finished the book.

All in all whilst I didn’t enjoy it as much as the preceding installments, it did deliver a fairly good dose of sexual activity, and was quite easy to read, even though I didn’t love one of the main characters!

Anyone who has kept on top of the series like me will find it difficult to resist the temptation of more of the heat and passion delivered in the first two books.  It is unfortunate that this installment left me feeling so cold.

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Review – Greed (Seven Deadly Sins Series) by Fisher Amelie

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EVERYONE “NEEDS” TO READ THIS BOOK!

TITLE: GREED (Book 2 # of The Seven Deadly Sins Series)
AUTHOR: Fisher Amelie
GENRE: Young Adult/New Adult – Contemporary Romance
PAGES: 342
REVIEWER: Nicole

BLURB:

SPENCER BLACKWELL IS GREED.

Gather ‘round, love, because I want you. I want what you have, I want what you don’t have, I want more of what I already have. I want. But if you so much as ask for something in return, go ahead and walk away. Know if you want to play in my world, its every man for themselves and the weak become mine. Leeches will be obliterated because I make it my job to destroy them. I protect what’s mine and I take what’s yours….because that’s what I do. I want.

My story will not endear me to you and, frankly, I could care less if it does because I’m in this for the money and nothing else. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a corrupt, money hungry, immoral asshole from Los Angeles. I’m every man’s worst nightmare and every girl’s fantasy.

I’m Spencer Blackwell…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most coveted guy to the guy no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

BREAK THE CYCLE

REVIEW:

Greed is the second installment to Fisher Amelie’s ingenious series focused around the seven deadly sins. As explained in my review of Vain, the first installment, this series showcases a deadly sin in each book wherein the respective protagonist bears a persona emulating that deadly sin.  The twist is found in the fact that the protagonist is given the opportunity to change their character and seek redemption.

While Vain inspired me and left an ever lasting impression on my soul, Greed opened my eyes up to this particularly evil and destructive sin in which someone can become so easily entrenched. Greed is an addiction and something so relevant and embedded in today’s society.  This story contains many valuable life lessons and for this reason alone, I believe Amelie has accomplished an amazing second installment to this series.

“Greed is a strange, strange sin.                                                                                                                                                All you want to do is acquire. Acquire money, acquire material, acquire time, acquire energy, acquire attention. The running mantra is “I want, I want, I want” but that quickly turns to “I need, I need, I need”.

The protagonist in Greed is Spencer Blackwell, who we originally met in Vain as Sophie Price’s friend.  Spencer, under his father’s control, is ordered to commit Illegal acts for his father’s business in exchange for large amounts money.

“I Can’t do that,” he said, exhaling sharply and staring out the glass into the street.

“Why Not?”                                                                                                                                                 His face softened. “I need his money”                                                                                                                Spencer looked at me, and I couldn’t help but stare back. We were all in the same boat, prisoners to greed.                                                                                                                                                                                        -VAIN – Sophie Price

But when his younger sister Bridge gets herself in a predicament their father makes it very clear that he will go to any means to look after his money and his reputation before his family.  In the best interest of Bridge, Spencer and Bridge run away from their life in L.A and their father’s hold and take refuge with the grandparents of Spencer’s college roommate August Hunt.   Emmett and Ellie Hunt own a ranch in Montana and it is at the Hunt ranch where Spencer and Bridge meet the most loving, caring, genuine, hardworking and down to earth people they have ever encountered.  Here, Spencer sees himself for who he really is and discovers “the want and the need” to change.  Spencer also meets Cricket Hunt who captures his whole heart from the moment he lays eyes on her.  Only problem is that Cricket has a boyfriend, Ethan – and a secret.  For the first time, Spencer is finding himself experiencing real emotions of love, happiness, sadness, anger and redemption.

Amelie’s writing style is impeccable.  Greed is extremely well written, full of depth and content with great flow and pace. Amelie also has the skill and knowledge to include symbolism in her story, regarding the inner demon taunting Spencer and I have to say the banishment of the demon once Spencer had finally sought his redemption was quite chilling.

Greed had the most powerful Prologue that stunned me with so much truth; it was the first of many of the life lessons shared in this book. The Epilogue was fantastic, jumping into the future by four years, revealing more insight not only into the characters in Greed also about our much loved characters from Vain, Sophie and Ian, which was a beautiful touch.

Amelie has the ability to really engage the reader and help us to develop an emotional connection with all the characters. I loved witnessing Spencer’s character transition and grow throughout the story from someone consumed with Greed to this,

“I lived by many things, but my top motto was “give”. Give, and you shall see the incredible rebound of it. The more you give, the more you get. It’s staggering notion, but the truth nonetheless”…Spencer

The chemistry between Spencer and Cricket was instant but frustrating at times to witness, as Cricket struggles to decide whether to follow her heart towards Spencer or remain loyal but not in love with her boyfriend Ethan. Though Bridge, Ellie and Emmett Hunt all contributed to bringing this story to life, I have to say that Jonah’s character really shone in this installment – he was such a humble, genuine, down to earth gentleman. Jonah was beautiful inside and out – pure lightness, some might say an angel in disguise, in contrast to Spencer’s father’s character who was the devil in disguise – pure evil had taken over his heart, with no redemption for this character.

Greed  is a book that makes you open your eyes to what our society is potentially becoming as so many of us are getting confused with the difference of “needing” and “wanting”. We are “wanting” more and fueling our greed to negative emotions and “giving” less and missing out on beautiful selfless emotions such and love, and this is a tragedy.

I really look forward to the next story to this series which focuses around the deadly sin of Fury.  This installment is focused around Cricket ex- boyfriend Ethan who shows his wrath throughout this story and promised Spencer his revenge, so I look forward to witnessing his redemption.

I would like to leave you with one of the many amazing quotes in this book that is so relevant and true;

“We’ll discover that our problem wasn’t genuinely a problem after all, not after we’ve seen it for what it actually is. In the light of day, when our adrenaline wears off, we’ll discover that all we truly feared was the unknown.”

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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.

lips grey 4.5