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 – Thoughtless by S.C Stephens

WAR OF EMOTIONS!

Title: Thoughtless (Book #1 of the Thoughtless Series)
Author: S.C Stephens
Pages: 530
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary Romance
Reviewer: Nicole

Blurb:
For almost two years now, Keira’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together – Denny at his dream job and Keira at a top-notch university – everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart. Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Keira turns to an unexpected source – a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he’s purely a friend she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes…and none of them will ever be the same again.

Review:
Thoughtless is a book about a “real life” love triangle not some fairy tale version!

What makes Thoughtless different to any other love triangle book I have read is the ability of S.C Stephens to portray real life emotions in a way that is so raw and ugly that only a relationship in this nature can truly expose. Emotions such as pure selfishness, betrayal, deceit, dis-trust; hurtfulness, dis-honesty and big time jealousy but she also portrays beautiful emotions such as intense passion, lust and love. The unfortunate reality of a story such as this is that these beautiful emotions just don’t shine through like they should when the reader is battling with all the ugly emotions coming off the pages.

Thoughtless tells the story of Keira, a college student who leaves her family and friends behind to follow her boyfriend Denny to his dream job in Seattle. They rent a room and stay with gorgeous, rock god Kellan Kyle, a longtime friend of Denny’s. A few weeks into Denny’s new job he is asked to do a two month contract in another city, which leaves Keira behind in Seattle not knowing anyone. While Denny is away Keira spends a lot of her time with Kellan and the more time they spend together the line of friendship (even though it was never “friendship” from the beginning) get very, very blurry. So Keira finds herself madly in love with two men, each of whom are as deeply in love with her, and needs to make a decision. Keira struggles with this dilemma for she believes by avoiding making a choice, she is shielding them both from pain and hurt, when all she is really doing is deeply hurting both of them.

I really DISLIKE Keira’s character, though she sees herself as naïve, adorable, innocent and a caring person, I find her frustratingly selfish, extremely self-absorbed and weak minded. This is a girl who basically “wanted the cake and wanted to eat it too”. I was so frustrated with her actions, choices and decisions that at times I was yelling and cursing at her throughout the book. Even from the very beginning when she thought she being innocent, holding hands and cuddling on a couch with someone who is not your boyfriend is NOT innocent – that’s still cheating in my books!

Then there was Denny, his character made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions towards him. On the one hand, I didn’t like him for making a decision about his work without discussing it with Keira but I had to give him credit for redeeming himself on that mistake. Then I felt sorry for him for what was happening to him behind his back and in front of his face, which lead me to feel frustrated with him for being so naïve. Which then brought me back to not liking him for the way he handled the confrontation, which then lead me to liking him again for how he reacted to what he did and how he handle himself and the situation for the remainder of the book – like I said “total rollercoaster!”

Kellan’s character made this book! He was so emotionally deep and with so many layers to him, discovering about his past brought tears to my eyes. He was the only one who was honest and expressed how he felt. He put things into prospective and he was often correct in the way which he viewed the love triangle. He stood up for what he believed in but also had the strength to walk away when needed.

I have never experienced a book that played with my emotions so much, it really was a war zone inside me at times. I am still not one hundred percent happy with the ending, I felt Keira got off too easily and did not repent enough for her actions, as she only experienced a brief stint of pain and grieving. It wasn’t enough for me since she still got her happy ending, I don’t believe she deserved either one of them!

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Check out reviews on Effortless, Book #2 and Reckless, Book #3 of the Thoughtless Series by S.C Stephens