Review: Mad Love by Colet Abedi



Publishers: Bird Street Books
Date: March 10th 2014
From: Net Galley 
My rating: 3 out of 5


Synopsis:

23-year-old aspiring artist Sophie Walker can think of no better place than the exotic paradise of the Maldives to escape the wrath of her controlling parents, the monotony of her boring legal work and her passionless boyfriend. With her two best friends along for the ride and to help her find herself again, Sophie is not prepared for the enigmatic Clayton Sinclair. Clayton comes from another world of privilege that seems like a fantasy to Sophie. Can this man introduce her to the passion & seduction she never realized she was desperately searching for? Sophie quickly becomes ensnared in Clayton's seductive web until a shocking treachery makes her question her judgment and actions...

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Review:

For starters I won't rehash the subtle if a little predictable story. Many other reviewers have done a fine job of that already.

What I liked about Mad Love: 

Erik and Orie - The boyfriend and boyfriend sidekicks who give Sophie moral support on her holiday. One is a hair stylist and the other a fashion dresser to the stars. Convenient, especially when the all-important 'date' happens, and not that original. However they do provide refreshing conversation away from Sophie's sometimes naive and obsessive side. 

The scene-setting - I want to go to the Maldives now! 

Elizabeth (Clayton's friend) - If it wasn't for her I think I would have DNF'd long before. 

In general - the writing style was great. Quick paced. A little heavy sometime on the info-dump that wasn't necessarily required in this part of the story. Smart jumps between scenes with regular stops. 

What I didn't like about Mad Love: 

Clayton - Oh dear, it doesn't bode well when I think the lead male is an idiot. Devoid of any real emotion apart from the male grunts of 'I want you'. His aloofness and reluctance to be any kind of fun took the dazzle out of him. All I can say is he came across as arrogant and unkind. Not sexy or enigmatic in any way. 

Sophie - Even worse when the lead female is also an idiot. Maybe that's why I kept on reading. Again, this may be naivety but she also lacked character or a spark in her belly. For a 23 year old with some experience of life she came across as slightly robotic. 

Clayton's friends (except Elizabeth) - I can only think they've been included as crowd fillers and have some deep import in the next books. I couldn't get a grasp of Eduard or John's general character. All we know of Jane is allegedly a snotty nosed cow. All I read into her was her dialogue was a little toooo english because english people really don't use words as she used them any more. Maybe in the Houses of Parliament. Or on BBC Radio 4. 

Jerry's arrival on the island - All very Shirley Valentine. Here's the ex arrived and ready to dive in and continue where they left off. No, forget SV. It's more of a Bridget Jones thing. Either way it didn't do anything but annoy me. Especially Sophie's delayed reaction. I would have slogged him in the mouth myself before Clayton even had a chance. 

'Nuff said. I also hated the cliff-hanger. 

-CBx 

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Review. Thoughtless (Thoughtless #1) by S.C. Stephens



Publishers: Self-Pubbed
Date: June 11th 2011
From: Bought 
My rating: 5 out of 5

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Synopsis:
For almost two years now, Kiera'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 Kiera 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, Kiera turns to an unexpected source—a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he's purely a friend that 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.

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Review:
Thoughtless is probably one of the best New Adult books out there at the moment. The content is full on, heart wrenching, sometimes annoying, lots of times gaping or gasping (whichever you prefer) and all for a love triangle, a subject many readers hate to read about. This book however is difficult to resist and by the end you will be totally and utterly emotionally drained, I guarantee!

What makes this book complete are the two men in question. Denny Harris is Keira's boyfriend of two years, an Aussie, insanely devoted to her, who loses his way in their romance with a few selfish actions. Thoughtless you might say. The other is Kellan Kyle. A beautiful, gifted, sincere guy who also has a reputation as a man-whore and strangely goes through a dry spell when Keira and Denny come to live with him as housemates. Kellan is lead singer of a band called the Douchebags (D-Bags for short) and along with the other 3 members has a full and happy life - or so we think.

Keira, the voice and female lead is a 21 year old, quite naive student who has never lived outside of her hometown in Ohio. Her parents are very protective and she considers herself book smart not people smart. Keira feels overshadowed sometimes by her beautiful and very flirtatious sister, Anna, and with her family combined we get to understand why Keira makes the decisions she makes after their move to Seattle.

This is a rollercoaster book. Quite long and fully packed with great side kick characters such as Rita, the 40 something barmaid with leathery skin who lives vicariously on her one encounter with Kellan, to Jenny, the sweet as a button waitress who befriends Keira and keeps her on the straight and narrow. Many of the characters you will form an opinion on almost instantly whether its to like or hate, it doesn't really matter. And just so you know, I'm with Keira on her view of Griffin!

All in all a great read. I would class this alongside Love Unscripted as one of my favourite NA reads. 

-CBx






You can reach S.C. Stephens here: 






Review: Meeting Trouble by Emme Rollins


Published Date: November 3rd 2013
From: Free Download Amazon
My rating: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:

Sabrina can't believe her luck-she's always dreamed of front row seats to see her favorite band, "Trouble," but when she bumps into lead singer, Rob Burns, and he invites her backstage, she finds herself hoping her luck doesn't run out-and that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams will come true.

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Review:

I love anything to do with rock stars meeting the girl next door. this book had a great story line. Sabrina bumps into Rob, literally, and gets injured. He takes care of her and makes sure she's looked after during the concert. Afterwards they meet again backstage and begin their wild couple of days.

The only thing wrong with this book was it was a little too safe. Yes, there's an abundance of sexy scenes and lots of talking in restaurants about food. Apart from that if you want wild rock stars being raucous and downright dirty, then this isn't the book for you. 

Simply, a girl meets a rock star who is an ordinary guy at heart and they fall in love. The ending was also a tiny, teeny-weeny bit disappointing with a perfect opening for another book...or not.

A quick read and a cute story.

-CBx




You can reach Emme Rollins here: 

Review: Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel



Publishers: All Night Reads
Published Date: May 8 2013
From: NetGalley
My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis:
Due to heavy subject matter, Crossing is recommended for readers 17+. He stole her lipstick…and her heart. Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back. When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.


Review:
Firstly, isn't the cover beautiful? So pretty. I have to say, I adored Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel. I haven't read any of her other work but as a New Adult story this sums up the genre perfectly. Discovering who you are, not what everyone expects you to be. Dani meets, gets on well with and soon becomes good friends with Liam Garrett. He gets her, matches her and accepts her. Dani has very low self-esteem and constantly talks down about herself to others. A trait that takes time to accept if at all, so Dani initially has problems understanding why Liam likes her. She isn't tall or exotically pretty or stick thin, she's just normal and Liam is gorgeous. Eventually, after a night of tequila they become an item and I really loved their relationship to begin with. But then Liam starts hiding away, pretending to be busy. Is he having an affair? He seems so 'into' Dani when they are together. 

When Liam comes out with his secret it wasn't hard to guess what it was. Some of the doubts Dani harbours are an instinct reaction and she sticks with it even after living with weeks of second guessing herself not believing she was good enough for him. But as before they find a work around and settle back, again, into their relationship being truer and more open and honest with each other. Liam's story is fascinating. I have a friend who had trouble in his early years too. His parents refused to accept who he was and even kicked him out of their house. But much like being gay, the hardest part is admitting it to yourself. Others will accept you as you are and if they don't then they weren't real friends in the first place. 

In Crossing, the aftermath of the hospital scene was gut-wrenching. But I totally saw through Liam not being in contact. Of course his mother would be screening every form of contact Dani could possible make to get hold of him. But Dani was right to wait for Liam this time. I've tried not to give too many spoilers away for this one. We live in a day and age where judging people for what they look like is dead and gone. People are people, what's inside is all that counts. And, oh go on then, a small spoiler. Who else can admit that Eddie Izzard in heels, eye-liner and lipstick looks absolutely gorgeous. I think he does!! Well done, Stacey, I loved it! 



You can reach Stacey Wallace Benefiel here: 

Review: The Offering (The Pledge #3) by Kimberly Derting





My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published December 31st 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

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Synopsis:

True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.
Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

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Review:

It's always sad to reach the end of a great series with wonderful characters. I almost feel like I'm saying goodbye to them. The exceptional writing and story shows what a gifted writer Derting is. Of the three books, this one is the weakest. It holds such character development and most of them come out better than before. Sadly Charlie didn't live up to my estimation but that is only because she's still a new queen and understanding what exactly that title means. POV's are from nearly all the characters with Charlie's still being the only 1st person.

Pro's
While the last two based themselves on saving people or the city, this one is to save Charlie's country of Ludania. From the outset, we're launched into the adventure and its sad news in the beginning for Max and Charlie when they receive an unexpected message and gift. From here on in, Charlie is focused on one thing and thats to free Max's brother from Astonia. I applauded her dedication to her friend.

Great advancements in technology are slowly bringing Ludania into the new century. This was a nice twist in an otherwise odd-medieval-modern dystopian land.

Insight into Eden's past when we meet her little brother. There's definitely a feeling of foreboding when the girls reach the work camps. Charlie realises how hard life really was for the unwanted kids.

At last, Charlie finds a way of getting rid of Sabara.

Con's
After Charlie becomes Queen and builds into her role from The Essence, she slips up in this instalment. I didn't like the way she thought she could singlehandedly take on Elena. Especially after receiving the message and the parting gift. Other characters including Max built Charlie up to be selfless, determined and brave. But when she takes Eden and Brook on her secret mission she only shows how selfish she's being. Not only does she leave her family vulnerable but also her country.

Not so many twists and turns in this one. The episode with Deirdre seemed almost as a filler.


Available from Amazon:




Review: The Essence (The Pledge #2) by Kimberly Derting





My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Published: January 1st 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry

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Synopsis.

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within

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Review: 

The Essence is every bit as good as The Pledge, if not better. This sequel focuses more on Charlie, or Queen Charlaina as she now is, and her role as ruler of a kingdom. We get inside the heads of more key characters. This is a story of love, espionage, mystery and a little murder too.

Pro's
Charlie, Brook, Aron, and Max all have POV's in this one although Charlie is the only 1st person. And there's romance and lots of it! *swoon!*

Rather than base the book around keeping Angelina safe, as the Pledge was, the Essence delves into the history behind Sabara and her Essence which now lives inside Charlie. Sometimes this is spooky, sometimes I wondered how Charlie was still sane. She's a tough girl.

Max *swoon!* and Charlie! As a couple they really come out of the pages with this wonderful love affair. There may be a few hiccups on the way, it isn't all plain sailing by any means, but they really do have a beautiful love.

Lots of mystery, a kidnapping, a mysterious assassin, Florence (who's a man), Avonlea who is named by Charlie, and the Scablands. Many new characters to get your teeth into to love or detest. A great backdrop of dystopian nastiness.

The Queens! Got to love them. All so quirky but full of character and frivolity!


Con's
Not really much to Con about. Maybe wish it was longer?

Note: The ending all pulls to the next book. Not so much of a cliffhanger, more of a 'and in the next episode...'


Available from Amazon:





CB Note to readers: This is a new type of review I'm starting aimed to get to the point and exclude waffle. Points are easier to read. If you prefer this than the usual review please let me know!