ARC Review: Beautiful Oblivion (Maddox Brothers #1) by Jamie McGuire




Expected publication: July 1st 2014 by Simon & Schuster UK
From: Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn't have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with her first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 
Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlour to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she'll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever - even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.
In the first instalment of The Maddox Brothers series, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.



Review for Beautiful Oblivion:
I have a confession to make. I read this book in its entirety and loved it. I have read Beautiful and Walking Disaster, however in between those books and this one I've also tackled around 75 books in between. So, my confession is - I didn't remember who all the important characters were. Therefore when the last page of this one 'revealed' the secret, it was completely lost on me.

To make up for the amazing suspense that McGuire kept going throughout the book I speed read Walking Disaster and then read this one again. OH BOY!!! Then I picked up all the clues!! The 'Spaceballs' one is genius. So is Travis' declaration about his brother being in love with Cami. 

No, I'm not going to spoil anything, this book sort of runs parallel with the others, but reading it like this actually gave me room to contemplate. Yes, Cami's 'boyfriend' did let her down on so many occasions. But he was genuinely sorry and (his status is revealed at the end of Walking Disaster) does have pressure and a stressful job which doesn't warrant much if any free time. I actually felt sorry for him because I think he genuinely loved Cami but couldn't put her first.

As for Trent? Well, I thought he was a cutey, a very sweet guy who like Travis, has an affinity to all things pretty but also has a devoted streak running through him. Especially when it comes to Cami.

Overall, this book didn't have the same story impact as the first two books. Those books had a storyline which packed a punch. This one relies more on the suspense, and soap opera style drama. 

Still thoroughly recommended :)

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You can reach Jamie McGuire here: 
Web 

Review: The Moment We Began (Fairhope #2) by Sarra Cannon



Published September 15th 2013 by Dead River Books
From: Net Galley
Rating: 2 out of 5

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Synopsis:

The moment they both believe all hope is lost is the moment something real finally begins. I have loved Mason Trent for years, but I've only been sleeping with him for one.

None of my friends know about our secret passion. He's in my bed one night and in the arms of someone else the next. And it's tearing me apart.

I've done everything I can think of to make him mine, but the more I cling to him, the harder he pushes me away. I'm spiraling out of control, not sure how much more of this I can take. A girl can only bend so far until she breaks. And when I do, I break completely. I'm talking about one night of bad decisions, all leading to a my-world-will-never-be-the-same kind of moment. A moment where I need Mason more than ever. True to form, though, he's running.

But I intend to go with him this time. I'm willing to leave my money, my family, my friends behind for this one last chance to see if he could ever really love me the way I deserve to be loved. I'm willing to sacrifice forever if it means one real moment with him.

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Review:

Sometimes you can't help who you love. In the case of Penny, she's loved Mason for what seems like forever. Mason doesn't love her. They spend nights together but then he's with a different girl two days later.

Some men are mean't to break our hearts. It's how we cope with it after that builds us into the people we are now.

I was excited to continue Cannon's Fairhope series. I really enjoyed the first book so my intrigue wanted to know how Penny and Mason's relationship would pan out. I think Sarra has done a great job of leaping from YA to NA. Her writing is still very very good and reaches new climbs that she wouldn't have been able to get to in YA.

Unfortunately I wasn't enamoured with this story. I enjoyed it to a certain extent. I had hopes for a fun, diverse road trip but it panned out to be a little too safe.

The first thing that I really enjoyed when reading about Penny's growth of character was when she decided to help Delores gain more financial stability with regards to the diner. This showed all of us that Penny was bright, courageous for sticking her neck out, and was definitely a brain with many talents. I thought this would be the way of the story and as Mason and Penny drive a swarth along their map into the unknown, Penny would reach out and help people along the way and learn that not everything profits even if you throw money at it. In this scenario her parents would hear of her great adventures and the good she was doing for ordinary people. She would be redeemed.

Sadly it didn't even get this far. Even more sadly an incident regarding Mason and the girl under the pier happened and I felt misguided. 

The story turned sallow, selfish, and a little too blinkered. As we reached the end Penny ended up being someone who runs a charity and does exactly what her parents had been doing all along i.e. funding charities and holding events. None of the Penny with a brilliant brain and an eye for turning businesses around stuck with her. In my honest opinion the author did Penny a discredit but I did like how Mason turned out. As a character he did show his merit.

Haven't read the first book, The Trouble with Goodbye (Fairhope, #1)? Read my review here.

-CBx

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You can reach Sarra Cannon here:






Top 10 New Adult books for July publication




Oh my! Where did June go??July is almost here. 
Here's the Top 10 New Adult books to look out for! 
Click on the pics to go to Goodread's synopsis's.


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I can't wait to read Thrive by the Ritchie sisters. I love their series so far.
Which book are you most looking forward to?
Let me know!

-CBx


ARC Review: FANGIRL_15 by Aimee Roseland



Expected publication: July 8th 2014
From: Net Galley
Rating : 5 out of 5

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Synopsis:

Chloe is in love with Lucien.

He’s enigmatic, compassionate, generous and intelligent. Likes classical music just as much as kicking ass and knows his way around a kitchen, though he’d never admit it. His Samurai swords are an extension of his personality and a lifetime of heartache has taught him to wield them unfailingly. He’s gorgeous yet humble and can’t see past his own scars. Lucien feels deeply for his chosen family and is absolutely worthy of love. Sounds perfect, right?

The only problem is that Lucien is a character in a novel.

The Dark Riders is one of the best selling paranormal romance series of all time, and it was destined to have eight installments, one for each of the brothers-in-arms. Lucien’s story was supposed to be book eight, where he’d finally find true love and live happily ever after. Except the writer died before his story was published. Worse yet, book seven was finished by some poser that thought killing off one of the main characters would bring a more modern twist to the finale.

Chloe is absolutely devastated by the news that one of her “friends” is dead and that the series is canceled. She has a quasi-nervous-breakdown at work and ends up falling asleep in the lounge. Her midnight escape from the locked office lands her in a deserted parking lot after hours where an unseen force has been waiting. Just. For. Her...

This supernatural assault strands her in an alternate reality where the Dark Riders are real and the horrible ending created by the publisher hasn’t happened yet.

Chloe decides that she’s been brought there to fix all of the storylines and tries her best to convince the monsters around her that she’s there to help. She ends up mangling their plots more often than not and now must race the waxing moon to find a way home before Lucien accidentally falls in love with her instead of his destined mate. The Fates are working against her as Chaos interferes and the truth about what really dragged her over threatens to destroy everything that Chloe holds dear.

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Review:

Just so you know, I haven't read any of the authors other books. I picked up Fangirl_15 from Net Galley because I loved the synopsis. I didn't expect to be giving the book 5 well-worth-them stars.

To me Fangirl_15 sounded a little Matrix-y mixed with something that JR Ward would write. A delve into the world of a supernatural Brotherhood and lets face it, who hasn't wanted to dive into a story and make sure the hero had a better ending than what the author wrote.

I wasn't expecting what I read. Chloe is average everything. Neither tall, nor small, neither large nor thin, neither pretty nor unpretty. Her life is simple, basic and without excitement. Except when her favourite Dark Riders books get published. The bad news for Chloe is the Series author has died and the latest installment has been finished by a nobody author with average writing. To make things worse the writer writes an ending that Chloe believes shouldn't have been written in that certain way.

A string of strange events occur. One where Chloe dreams of being with her book boyfriend of the series, Lucien. While his physical looks sound quite horrible to look at, Chloe has fallen in love with him because of his beautiful eyes, his heart of gold, and his compassion towards his brothers and their previous plights. Eventually Chloe wakes up from one dream and realises she IS actually in the fictional world that the author has created. Astonished, she meets one of the 'Brothers' and gets taken to their mansion.

From here on in Chloe sees a way of enjoying herself while helping the Brotherhood in their next endeavour. Because, well, she's going to wake up in the real world any moment, right?

Uh-uh. It never happens. Her path is clear, her task is in hand. She must right the wrongs of the plot holes and the storyline. Little does Chloe know that her own story is pivotal to how the ending really happens.

Firstly, I have to comment on the writing. I don't often get on with 3rd person perspective but it worked so well with this story. Also, I loved Chloe as a character. She has her own flaws, she has a fair amount of self-doubt. But her intentions are so from the heart that you can't not like her. Lucien also came across as someone who you could easily judge because of his demonic looks but he's a haunted, tortured soul who deserves to be loved. 

The excellent side cast of many made me laugh and feel appreciation for how they treated our heroine. I wonder what the Dark Riders books are really like. After reading this I honestly would want to have read the books myself!

With a good, steady pace and lots of very dramatic, dare I say it, romantic tension the ending is one I didn't expect but somehow made sense. This was an ending I was happy about!

Definitely pick this one up if you love supernatural, spurned lovers, tortured heroes and an average heroine who changes the entire game plan!

-CBx

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You can find Aimee Roseland here:






Review: Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills


Published September 9th 2013 by Little Dove Publishing
From: Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Synopsis:

Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect...

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex. 

Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.

When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about... until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.

As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy... where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.

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Review:

I lost a lot of sleep by reading this book. It kept me up until well after 3am this morning. Does that mean its good? Well, for the most part, yes.

We're brought into Nora's world very abruptly. Early on we begin to see the relationship between Nora and her mother. How patronising the woman is, and completely uninterested in Nora in any way, shape or form, other than a walking human doll to dress up and tell how to act. And then Nora did what she did and blew me out of the water.

We get introduced to Leo at this point. Leo is a lot older than Nora. When it began I did have this skeevy feeling because of the age gap. I thought it wrong. But gradually as the story continued this didn't bother me.

Nora and Leo DO have an insta-lust thing going on from the start but it doesn't amount to much when Leo puts the brakes on any kind of relationship happening between them other than friendship. As we continue through Nora's days and weeks we see a side of her character actually bloom. The freedom of getting over her guilt (her step-brother did a terrible thing to her) and her mother's denial of the incident. 

One thing that stood out to me when I finished was that Leo was entirely right to stay away from Nora in the beginning. Nora grows leaps and bounds in this book. Almost like going through the stages of grief. Finally at the end she becomes someone else. Someone who is well grounded, someone who has a family as such who help her and nurture her, someone who has learnt by her mistakes. 

 I loved the romance, the will-they-won't-they. I loved how Nora and Leo became this 'entity' even before they became a couple. There were moments when I thought Leo was an idiot and he didn't appear to have any friends of his own age. But the ending rounds everything up nicely. Yes, we don't know why her mother treated Nora so badly, and we don't know who her mother was before she became Mrs Anchor-woman. But, frankly, I couldn't care less!

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You can reach Ilsa Madden-Mills  here:




Review: The Trouble with Goodbye (Fairhope #1) by Sarra Cannon




Published May 21st 2013 by Dead River Books
From: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Synopsis:

One night can change everything…

Two years ago, Leigh Anne Davis shocked everyone in tiny Fairhope, Georgia when she broke up with her wealthy boyfriend to attend an Ivy League university a thousand miles away. At school, she finds a happiness and independence she’s never known.

Until one terrifying night takes it all away from her.

With no place else to go, Leigh Anne heads home to reclaim her old life. A life she worked so hard to escape. On the outside, she seems like the same girl everyone has always known. But deep inside, she’s hiding a terrible secret.

That’s when she meets Knox Warner, a troubled newcomer to Fairhope. His eyes have the same haunted look she sees every day in the mirror, and when she’s near him, the rest of the world fades away. But being with Knox would mean disappointing everyone all over again. If she wants to save what’s left of her old life, she has no choice but to say goodbye to him forever.

Only, the trouble with goodbye is that sometimes it’s about courage and sometimes it’s about fear. And sometimes you’re too broken to know the difference until it’s too late.

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Review:

It's hard to dismiss a book that deals with such a hard hitting subject. I especially liked The Trouble with Goodbye which is a story about honesty, truth and courage against adversity.

Leigh Anne is a likable character. At little naive at times but still working out what it means to have her independence on her own terms. She makes mistakes. We all do. Sometimes she makes choices based on her 'before' life which only reminds her of why she left her small town in the first place. Sometimes she sucks it up and makes new steps to begin living by her own rules and not those of her well-to-do parents. These decisions she could certainly be commended for. 

I especially liked Knox but as a character he didn't really have any flaws that would mar his credibility as a hero of the story. His past life, as painful as it was, seemed to be exactly that. He was well on his way to living in the 'now', and with a little help from Leigh Anne, developed as his own person.

I've given this review 4 out of 5. The only things I felt lacking were a sense of drama or emotional tension that is common in New Adult books now. At times I was reading dialogue and descriptions of the tragedies that happened but I didn't altogether feel the pain behind them. Having said that, the subject detail is given openly and without bias, and for that Cannon can be commended for tackling this delicate subject.

Now I'm looking forward to Penny and Mason's story. And I pretty much think there'll be fireworks!

-CBx

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You can reach Sarra Cannon here:





ARC Review: Until Alex by J. Nathan


Expected publication: June 20th 2014
From: Net Galley
Rating: 5 out of 5

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Synopsis:
On the outside, Hayden is every girl's living breathing fantasy, brooding and devastatingly gorgeous. He spends his nights losing himself in alcohol and faceless girls, but it's all just a facade. An elaborate cover for the emotionless shell of a man he is. One who harbors too many secrets and destroys lives the way his was destroyed. It’s the reason he avoids relationships and keeps everyone at arm's length…

Until Alex

Alex’s life just shattered into a million pieces, leaving her with more grief than she knows what to do with and guilt so deep it’s destroyed the carefree girl she once was. Now she’s hundreds of miles from home, living with an aunt she doesn't know, finishing senior year at a college she’s never been to, and trying desperately to get through a single day without breaking down. She's never felt more alone in her life... 

Until Hayden

The trouble with Hayden is who he wants to be and who he is are in constant flux. And though he’d die before letting Alex learn the truth about him, he can’t be sure he's strong enough to let her in…or push her away. She’s the one person who just might see the real him.

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Review:

At first I thought this was one of those generic NA books with the same dramas arising. 

HOW WRONG I WAS!!

Until Alex is the story of Hayden and Alex. Both with harrowing pasts, new and old. By lack of choice, Alex arrives to stay with her aunt. The same building Hayden lives in. Hayden sees the girl by the pool, the one who hasn't stopped crying for four days. Alex sees a guy so closed off from anyone else, someone who doesn't get involved. Unless they're the flings he brings home most nights.

Initially both sides are wary. Tension grows and unexpectedly both Hayden and Alex begin a kind of friendship, but one only on middle ground. Neither are willing to let the other over to their side just yet.

The story telling is brilliant, well paced, and full of suspense. Lots of unsavoury characters begin to reveal themselves and mess with our protagonists, but each time the other one has them covered.

I actually really liked both characters who are neither without flaws. Alex is a little naive at times but she's incredibly brave. And Hayden proves himself more than once to be her knight in shining armour, despite his demons.

This is a story of trust. Of baring your soul regardless of the consequences. There are a few twists and turns especially near the end and, altogether a great story to get your teeth into. This is one you won't want to put down.

-CBx

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You can find J Nathan here:











Review: Before He Was Famous (HotFlush #1) by Becky Wicks


Published May 29th 2014
From: Net Galley
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Synopsis:

Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton - the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

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Review:

This story has all the enactments of a great tale. Two people who have known each other for years. Lots of insider jokes and great development of all the characters. As the story progresses into darker unfamiliar waters its interesting to see how they all cope. Because the great thing you realise while you're reading is that Chloe and Noah are totally out of their comfort zone.  

Aside from Chloe and Noah, there's a Brit (imagine Russell Brand) manager who speaks in cockney rhyming slang, an arrogant photographer who moonlights as a Pap, and a crazy girl called Courtney who only appears to be in the music industry for the image.

The story twists and turns. Noah becomes more famous than even Justin Bieber. The music side of the story sheds unbecoming light on what happens behind the scenes. And then Chloe becomes a moving target of a pyscho stalker.

All together the story was good but at times it slowed down so much I did flick through a few pages. If you like to read about music people then you'll enjoy the hype that surrounds Noah. The love side is genuine (thank god) and I'll definitely be reading the next installment. 

-CBx

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You can reach Becky Wicks here: