The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

16113791Title: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden

Series: The Coincidence, Book 1

Author: Jessica Sorensen

Published: December 13th 2012, Jessica Sorensen

Genre: Romance, Drama

Age group: Young Adult

Rating:

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, #1)

Summary:

There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.

My review:

Ever since I found out about this book, I was very intrigued by it. Talk about double threat! First of all, I liked this super hot cover, which promised a steamy romance; and secondly, everyone was gushing about this book. The response was overwhelming. You can just check this book’s rating on Goodreads, it’s really high! So, understandably, I couldn’t deny myself in finding out what this whole buzz was about.

The story’s setting is very typical for YA books, there’s a lot of angst. The two main characters, Callie and Kayden, are very conflicted and had very difficult lives while growing up. It’s hinted throughout the course of the story that both of them are victims of physical abuse.

While Callie’s and Kayden’s parents maintain communication with each other, often attending each other’s parties, their kids aren’t friends. Callie is the school’s freak, nobody notices or pays attention to her, because since the age of 12, she suddenly changed, Now she wears some very baggy clothes and cuts her hair short. It’s easier for her that way, and Kayden appears to be among those unaware of her. He doesn’t even know her name, but though he acts like his life is absolutely perfect, in reality it’s not that different from Callie’s.After Callie becomes a witness to his father beating him and helps Kayden out, he finds himself unable to stop thinking about her.

When the school is over, both Callie and Kayden live their homes for college. It’s the thing they’ve been dreaming about for a long time, it’s the way for them to finally be free from their paths. Coincidentally, they end up at the same college, and since then  they start spending more time together and soon become friends and then lovers. But they are nowhere close to their happily-ever-after, as soon they will have to face their demons, and the outcome may not be pretty.

‘The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden’ is the first book in ‘The Coincidence’ series, and personally I’m not excited about this fact. It’s like it’s the new trend for authors now to write book series. And I would have been OK with it, if the series were all great. This fact definitely doesn’t apply to  ‘The Coincidence’. This is only the first installment, and I’ve lost interest in it half way through. To me it was a very unfortunate combination of absolutely unremarkable characters and boring plot.

The characters seemed very inconsistent. In the first part of the book, while Callie and Kayden are at home yet, it’s said about how miserable they are. Callie in particular can’t make herself talk to guys, she hasn’t let anybody touch her for 6 years, and she never opened up about what had happened to her. But then she comes to college, and suddenly it’s like all these 6 years never happened. Now it seems she only spends her time with guys, lets everybody hug her or makes out with Kayden, and her new friend Seth easily gets her to tell him all her secrets. Well, I just needed a proper explanation from the author about the reasons behind this change. What helped Callie to open up?

Besides, I just couldn’t connect to the characters at all. The main reason for it is probably that I didn’t actually know till the very ending about their pasts. It was always some vague flashbacks. But the author definitely wanted her readers to sympathize with Callie and Kayden, so how was I supposed to do that if I didn’t know what happened? But even this could have been forgivable if Callie and Kayden were some admirable persons. But I can’t say that there was anything notable about them, so the whole story was basically based on arousing the reader’s pity, and that’s that.

The final scenes were really harsh and they were clearly used as a supposed cliffhanger to draw attention to the  next installment. But I can predict that again it will be a story full of new sufferings for Callie and Kayden. Only maybe there will now be a happy ending, if the author doesn’t plan on dragging this story further.

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Running On Empty by L.B. Simmons

 

16151293Title: Running On Empty

Series: Mending Hearts, Book 1

Author: L.B. Simmons

Published: January 4th 2013, L.B. Simmons

Edition: ebook, 292 pages

Genre: Romance, Drama

Age group: Adult

Rating:

Running On Empty (Mending Hearts #1)

Summary:

I had the perfect life.
Beautiful and loving husband.Three gorgeous little girls.
Successful career.
The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence. 
Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse.
But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle.
There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down. Absolutely no way.
The question is…
How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?

ii

Being a fan of romance stories, I’m always on the look out for interesting books of this genre. In case of ‘Running On Empty’ I was not only sold onto it’s summary and high ratings on Goodreads, but it’s cover was very pretty and I couldn’t resist.

I typically like this type of setting, when a widowed man or woman with kids finds his/her second chance at love. This story is about Alex, whose husband died in a car crash, leaving her alone to raise three little daughters. Three years have passed since those events, but Alex is nowhere close to moving on. She has put her life on hold, and her only joy are her daughters, who mean the world to her.

The girls (Nycole, 9; Kyndall, 7 and Rylie, 4) are very energetic and fun. They are very playful, but even as young as they are, they would do anything for their mother. I liked them generally, but because there was just too many scenes with them interacting either with each other or Alex, sometimes they seemed like the main characters.

But the kids’ excessive presence in the story also made me more comprehensive of the situation Alex was in. I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to have to raise three daughters all alone, but the story made this situation very realistic and I could imagine how hard it really is.

The kids’ part was also probably the only thing I liked about this book. I still can’t understand why it has such high ratings. For this book being positioned as a romance, it has a pretty weak and unrealistic love story. And this is mostly the problem of the two main characters.

Alex acts unexplainably rude to Blake when she sees him for the first time, and the explanation for this is really lame. He wanted to help her, but she’s all against anybody doing anything for her, so it’s better to scream at people in public places. And Blake supposedly was in love with her since 12(!!!) years old and being now 33, he still can’t forget her. Well I find it very unbelievable and crazy!

Besides, it is told that Alex and Blake were BFFs at school, but when Alex met her future husband, Blake was absolutely forgotten and they never even spoke. Well, then I think they were not as great friends, and again I can’t get this type of situation. Boyfriends are boyfriends, and friends are friends, one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other.

There was also nothing special or unique about Alex or Blake as individuals to make them either likable, or to help me emotionally connect to them. Aside from sympathizing with Alex’s situation, this story didn’t get any emotion from me. It was very predictable. The two characters meet after 16 years of separation, start communicating, become friends again. Then there are love confessions, followed by some drama, of course, and then the expected happy end.

One thing great about this story is that it’s really short, I read it in a couple hours and forgot about it as quickly.

iiFavorite character: None

Favorite quote: “You’ll never have your happy ending unless you’re brave enough to open the book and start your story.”

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: Linger

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

First published: July 13th 2010, Scholastic Press

Edition: ebook, 279 pages

Genre: Fantasy, romance

Age group: Young Adult

Rating: 

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

I’m the one to usually finish the books I’m reading, because no matter the unappealing to me factors there’s always something in it worth reading till the end. I rarely abandon books, but in case of Linger I couldn’t find it in me to go past half of it.

I liked the first book Shiver. It was kind of a slow development, I actually read it before going to bed, it calmed me. But I liked the general plot and its setting, the way it was portrayed. Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is really beautiful, she can draw a very magical picture. Plus the characters were nice and it was easy to relate to their emotions.

With Linger though, aside Maggie Stiefvater’s writing skills, I didn’t get anything to hold my interest. The story was boring and uneventful, I read to the half and still didn’t get the point of it. Yes, I got it that the story was about Grace turning into a wolf, because apparently she can’t escape her fate any longer. Seriously? Wasn’t there anything else to write about?

Personally, I was interested in Olivia’s story. The girl who actually wanted to be a wolf and how she manages her new life still having to shift to her human form. Or about Sam taking Beck’s place and helping the new wolves. Or Grace and Sam’s relationship. Or just anything that wouldn’t look so made up, so out of the blue. And suddenly Grace’s parents are these two totally different people who are crazy about Grace and Sam’s relationship, thinking that Sam spoils Grace. It really does feels like this line was added simply to spice up the story.

I also couldn’t care less about Isabel and Cole, it’s like the author desperately wanted to make them likable, to make the readers as engrossed into their love story as in Sam and Grace’s, but it was just plain boring and unnecessary.

So having read it for some time I discovered that I couldn’t care less about the continuation of the story. From now on it’s only one book about the wolves of Mercy Falls for me – Shiver. It really is good and it’s ending is amazing, and I feel like the story should have really ended there. Well for me it does.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

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Title: Bared to You

Series: Crossfire, Book 1

Author: Sylvia Day

First published: April 3rd 2012, Berkley Books

Edition: ebook, 280 pages

Genre: Erotica, Romance

Age group: Adult

Rating: 

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Eva Tramell moves to New York from San Diego, following a job offer at an advertising agency. The move is also an opportunity for her to get closer to her mother and best friend Cary Taylor, with whom she shares an apartment.

The first day at work, while being a professional success for Eva, is also remarkable for her in a personal way, as she stumbles upon the sexiest man she had ever seen. An image of a hot and built man in an expensive suit with black hair and piercing blue eyes isn’t one she can get out of her mind.

But aside from impressing Eva with his appearance, Gideon Cross is also a man of action, used to get whatever he wants. Now his aim is Eva, he desires to have her, but Eva is scared off by his arrogance. Never had she met a man to say to her such bold things, yet arising a sudden overwhelming feeling in her.

Eva is not new to one-night stands or friends-with-benefit situations, but something in Gideon puts her on guard. They have to get to know each other first, before they go any further. That’s Eva’s condition, and Gideon, not one to back down, accepts it.

And there is a lot to know about Gideon. Aside from being a billionaire and owning seemingly half of Manhattan, he is also dangerous and possessive. The things he finds out about Eva, using his secret sources, give Eva the creeps. Yet, the desire is too strong to resist, and soon these two find each other engaged in the most hottest sexual relationship of their lives.

The connection between them deepens alongside with the most hidden secrets being revealed. And now it’s a constant learning for them to open up and accept each other. But both Eva and Gideon are set not to let their dark pasts rule their future together, especially when they deal with the feeling they never felt before. Love.

Sylvia Day is an acknowledged best-selling author of romance books, but this one is my first reading of her works. Bared To You is hugely promoted as a better version of Fifty Shades of Grey, excelling in the amount of very enthusiastic reviews.

I love books about romance, it’s pretty much obvious, judging by the books I reviewed on this blog. But I favor the stories that have a captivating plot and necessary character development. Fifty Shades of Grey, despite being not so greatly written, has a very unique theme, probably the reason the book became such a hit. A Dominant/Submissive relationship was never one to go well with the public or been described with such detail, but the combination of an innocent heroine and an experienced man was probably the key to success.

Speaking of Bared To You,there’s not much similarities to Fifty Shades of Grey, aside from the hero being a possessive and manipulative billionaire. And in this case I can’t point out anything I could like about this story. Yet the list of dislikes is pretty long. The factor that disturbed me the most was the plot of the story or the lack of it thereof. It pretty much seemed to me as a seemingly endless chain of sex scenes, in different surroundings and positions. Sex is the main theme, well used in the story instead of character description and the universal solution to every existing problems.

Eva and Gideon don’t know about each other? Well, crazy sex in a limousine not only solves this problem but also develops deep emotional connection between them. Eva is jealous? Gideon forces himself on her, and Eva forgets whatever was on her mind due to the mind-blowing sex. There’s something troublesome in their pasts that gives them nightmares every night? Why talk about that, sex is a great means of communication!

OK, sarcasm aside, till the end of the story I didn’t get any even slightly romantic scene between these two. Where had the Eva from the beginning gone? The one to put Gideon in his place and stand her ground? One day she refuses to even talk to him after his bold proposition and next day she jumps his bones in his limousine, turning into a sex-o-holic.

What is also bothersome is that Eva seems to lust after practically any man she sees. In fact she’s only surrounded by seemingly hottest men on the planet. The way she notices every single detail about their appearances is very strange, considering that she describes Gideon in the same words. Then what is the thing that makes him different for her? Oh, yes, I forgot, it’s sex!

And speaking of secondary characters, why there were no prominent additional female figure in the story, maybe Eva’s friend, a girl to give her a nice and needed advice. I lacked it a lot, I was tired from all this endless stream of gorgeous men. Where was the light and funny girly chit-chat when it would have been so welcomed?

And at last, my main concern was the non-existent connection between Eva and Gideon, I didn’t get why they wanted each other or why they supposedly fell in love in the end. No tension filled situations, no trust growing, no deep conversations or romantic declarations, no sparks between them. Just a new sex scene on every page.

I don’t know how I even managed to get to the end or why. Most pointless story I read this year.