Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

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Title: Fallen Too Far

Series: Fallen Too Far, Book 1

Author: Abbi Glines

First published: December 14th 2012, Self-published

Edition: Ebook, 207 pages

Genre: Romance, drama

Age group: New Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★

Fallen Too Far (Fallen Too Far, #1)

19-year old Blaire Wynn is left all alone in her home in Alabama. Having spent all her money on her mom’s unsuccessful cancer treatment, Blaire doesn’t have anything. Her only remaining relative is her father who left for another woman a long time ago and didn’t care about Blaire or her mother.

But it’s Blaire’s only chance to get a place to stay so she takes upon her father’s agreement to stay with him and his other family for a while.

Blaire’s determined to get a job and save for her own place to be independent. But everything goes wrong from the very start, with her dad and his new wife being gone on vacation, and it’s actually her stepmother’s 24-year old son Rush Finley who she has to asks for a spare room to stay in.

Rush is not the type of guy Blaire ever had acquaintance with. His father is a popular rock star and Rush is very rich, spoiled and gorgeous. The last fact slowly affects Blaire more and more, but Rush doesn’t do relationships, he’s used to get a new girl every night.

Besides Blaire senses some sort of secret about Nan, her stepmother’s daughter and Rush’s sister. Nan seems to despise her for no reason and what hurts Blaire the most is that Rush tends to keep her side.

Both Rush and Blaire are keen to stay away from each other, but sparks start flying and tension is getting stronger, and soon these two find each other in Rush’s bed. Blaire’s sure not to expect anything more from Rush but he wants her and he’s going to prove it.

Blaire’s feeling for Rush get deeper with every passing day, but she can’t help wondering what will happen when her dad comes back or when Nan’s secret is revealed. Will all of this set her and Rush apart?

This book tells a story of a very complicated family. There’s an unfaithfulness, divorces, deaths and sibling hatred. I did feel sorry for Blaire a lot, I imagine what she had to go through at such a young age is really hard. But she is a strong heroine, a fighter. Blaire gives away everything to keep her mother alive and even when she dies, Blaire is hurt but not broken.

There’s only one thing that bothered me about Blaire, her low self-esteem, as she would always feel ashamed of her clothes, or her family or her appearance. Her needy behavior towards Rush, while a bit annoying, seemed pretty realistic to me. It’s her first serious relationship after all, it’s normal that she got swept away.

I didn’t particularly like Rush, though, but that’s only because his character wasn’t detailed enough. The only thing I learned from him is that he is rich, he has sex with different girls every night and he parties a lot. Then he spends one night with Blaire and now, surprisingly, he actually is ready for a relationship. That seemed kind of forced to me. And especially thinking about the ending of the story, no wonder Blaire wasn’t assured, too.

No matter the conflicts the story presents, it’s a very easy read. I didn’t particularly like it, but it was OK enough for me to check the sequel Never Too Far some time later and see what the ending will turn out to be, whether Blaire and Rush would get back together.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

 

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Title: Slammed

Series: Slammed, Book 1

Author: Colleen Hoover

First published: January 4th 2012, Atria Books

Edition: ebook, 206 pages

Genre: Romance, drama

Age group: New Adult

Rating:  ★ ★

Slammed (Slammed, #1)

18-year-old Layken’s once happy family now goes through a hard time, following her father’s sudden death. Besides, Layken has to deal with moving from the home in Texas she grew up in to a new one in Michigan, where her mother gets a job. Layken takes the move very closely to heart, believing it to turn out hard for her to adapt not only to life in another state but also without her dad.

Her brother Kel, though, being a 9-year-old and that’s why not having such conflicts, isn’t scared of the new home. In fact, the moment he steps out of the U-Haul he makes a new friend in also 9-year-old Caulder, living in a house across the street.

Layken is happy for her brother, but she feels lonely and nostalgic. In her opinion, there’s, supposedly, nothing to lift up her mood or make the move any easier. That is until she meets Caulder’s 21-year-old brother Will. From the first time they meet it’s an instant pull between them. Will is the most caring and attractive guy Layken has ever met.

In just a matter of three days their connection deepens. Will takes Layken on a date to a bar where he introduces her to the slam poetry, the type of reading a poetic work in front of an audience, pouring in it as much emotion as possible, in an attempt to win the competition among other performers. From Will’s performance Layken learns that both his parents were killed in a car crash, and he actually rises his brother by himself.

Layken feels strong sympathy and admiration towards Will, easily falling in love with him. Life in Michigan doesn’t seem so boring and unbearable to her anymore. Until the first day of school, when she finds out that Will is actually the teacher of her poetry selective course.

No matter how strong their feelings to each other already are, Will doesn’t want to compromise his reputation. This work at school is the only chance for him to get an education and support his brother. These are his first priorities, there’s no place left for his feelings to Layken, no matter how much the separation hurts him.

Layken is deeply wounded by Will’s rejection, she goes through a whole storm of emotions. She tries to reason his actions, yet his slips, when he would kiss her or look into her eyes only to step aside then, drive her crazy. But very soon her life becomes not that much different from Will’s. Layken’s mother has lung cancer and doesn’t have much time left. So Layken makes a similar choice in favor of her family, her feelings set aside.

But sometimes you don’t have to separate yourself from happiness while doing the right thing. Both Will and Layken soon have to reevaluate their priorities, and it’s actually the slam poetry that gives them the so needed courage.

I wasn’t very impressed with this story, though there are points in it that I liked. First of all, I should mention the introduction of the slam poetry. I’m not much into poetry at all, never been interested in it, never understood it. But I like that this approach makes the poetry more touching and alive. I liked that there weren’t many rhymes, just feelings and emotions put into words.

The whole organization and rules of the Slam Evening were also very interesting to read about. I believe it’s really an impressive show to watch. I wouldn’t mind to see it in reality, to listen to people’s readings. Besides it’s amazingly brave of these people to talk about such personal stuff in front of an audience. I find it very admirable.

Secondly, I liked the main plot of the story, it’s attempt of bringing up the problem of life and death and what’s valuable. Life is what it is, we have to accept it as there’s nothing we can do about its turns. But what we can control is our place in it. I liked how Layken’s mother’s illness is portrayed, the way the family learns about it and deals with it.

Layken’s set to spend all her time with her mother and Kel, she makes them her first priority, but it doesn’t mean that while doing so she has to cut herself off from happiness.

What I didn’t like in the story was the way the idea was presented. The book seemed very rushed, like the author tried to briefly skip through the course of events to finally get to the ending. The development of Layken and Will’s relationship is so quick, like they meet and fall in love just in the course of 2 chapters! Thus to me their romance lost its credibility and appeal.

Besides Layken is too self-centered, the way she throws temper tantrums practically on every page, made me tired. Couldn’t this girl just sit and listen quietly for once? And Will’s personality is not fully disclosed, I feel like I don’t know anything about him besides what happened to his family. But maybe it was specifically planned by the author, as the sequel of the story is apparently written from Will’s point of view.

And what’s also good about this story, though, is that it’s a very quick read. I’m glad I could finish it in one day, I wouldn’t want to spend another day on this story.

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

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Title: The Edge of Never

Author: J.A. Redmerski

First published: November 14th 2012, Createspace

Edition: ebook, 351 pages

Genre: Romance, drama

Age group: New Adult

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Edge of Never

This story was a crazy emotional ride for me, it turned from sad to happy, from slow to fast, from burning to cold. When I started with it, I knew from the synopsis that this would be a road trip story, and all the other stories of this type that I usually got with, were pretty much boring, predictable and kind of “out of this world”, in the way that every scenes would be so unrealistic, you keep reading knowing that sooner or later reality would break in. It always felt like I read the road trip story just for the sake of that road trip. But The Edge of Never is nothing like that.

I picked this story absolutely at random, but I was impressed with the amount of really overwhelming reviews. There turned out to be so many fans of this book, that I couldn’t just walk away.

The story starts a bit slow and at first it was a struggle for me, as I didn’t see anything that great about it, though this feeling changed later on. The beginning seemed like a typical YA story setting. There is a group of young people who spend their lives partying and having fun, and not thinking about tomorrow. And as it is expected there is somebody who’s not satisfied with it and feels left out, wondering if it’s all life has to offer.

This is 20-year-old Camryn Bennet, who dreams about traveling the world with a backpack to prove that life isn’t just college and work. And she would have done it long ago, but her boyfriend Ian died in a car crash and now Camryn is afraid to do it alone. Her only best friend Natalie ignores her after her boyfriend tried to force himself on Camryn, her parents are divorced and too busy with getting their lives back on track, and her only brother is in prison.

But it takes one eye-opening night in a club for Camryn to make up her mind and next day she lives on a bus, absolutely randomly yet crucially setting on Idaho. Camryn is very scared of going alone, yet she is determined to do it, not as a way to fulfill her and her boyfriend’s dream, but most importantly to find herself, to learn who she really is and what she is capable of.

On the bus Camryn meets 25-year-old Andrew Parrish, and though at first she is reluctant to open up to him, soon they become friends. Camryn can’t help to notice that Andrew is on the road for the same reason she is. Just like her he seems to harbor some secrets, and Camryn is set to find them out and help Andrew overcome them. Just like Andrew helps her.

Slowly Camryn not only realizes that she trusts him with her life, but she understands that Andrew is her real partner in crime. Though it was Ian whom she planned this trip with, she wasn’t that comfortable with it as with Andrew. And Andrew is the one to teach her how to live out-of-the-box, to follow the deepest and strongest desires of her heart.

Together they not only learn every little detail about each other, they fall in love, and the scenes where they are together are probably the most beautiful I’ve read in a book for a long time. Despite the very graphic love scenes, they fit so good into the story and only make their love feel real. I love how Andrew constantly teases Camryn about some of her fears or prejudices and pushes her to do some risky stuff she would never do by herself. And Camryn slowly comes out of her box, becomes more assured of herself and her place in life, which now is wherever Andrew is.

But despite Camryn opening up and Andrew telling her reasons behind his decision on this road trip, there’s still a nagging feeling, that something bad would come up and break their small bubble of happiness. The last chapters of the book were very tough, I just couldn’t keep my eyes from watering and asking myself why. Why these two had to go through this, hadn’t they had enough hurt already?

But that’s probably the main lesson the author wanted to give with this book – to show that we live only once, and it’s our duty to make of our lives as much as we can. It doesn’t mean to be reckless or irresponsible, but it’s about making right decisions and not being afraid of your heart’s desires.

I laughed and I cried with this book, but still I loved it a lot, it was brilliant and touching.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

 

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Title: Beautiful Disaster

Series: Beautiful, Book 1

Author: Jamie McGuire

First published: May 26th 2011, self-published

Edition: ebook, 276 pages

Genre: Romance

Age group: New Adult

Rating:  ★ ★

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)
Synopsis:

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

My thoughts:

“This is wrong. This is wrong on so many levels,” says Abby at one point in this story, and these words pretty much summed up my whole impression of this book. There is so much going on in this book that just seems way off normal, but I kept reading till the end in hopes I would finally get something worth the time spent. Sadly, I didn’t.

The thing that bothers me most about the book are the characters. And not just the main ones, but all of them. Most of them are very distinctive personalities, but despite all of them being bad, Abby is just plain. There’s not much facts given about get personality, aside from her poker-obsessed father. That’s it, we just have Abby who went to Eastern University to escape her troubled family. And what about her family? Yes, we know about her father, and her mother is mentioned only being described by Abby as an alcoholic. And that’s it! Well, then how am I supposed to sympathize with her if I don’t know her story. Abby keeps saying she will mean only trouble for Travis and break up with him for that reason and I am supposedly expected to be heartbroken by it. Not gonna happen!

Than it’s Travis, of course, and just like in Abby’s case we are not given any worthwhile background story, though we do get to learn more of him, than Abby. We see his family, his fights and find out the reasons behind his intentions to be a fighter, we see him changing from being a womanizer to a committed boyfriend. But the main object is still his relationship with Abby.

The characters I found even more disturbing are America and Shepley, Abby’s and Travis’ best friends. They are even more inconsistent, strangest persons in this story. Their points of view change every second. Like on one page they don’t want Abby and Travis to be together because it will stain Travis and Shepley’s friendship, and on the other they are pushing Abby into Travis’ arms after he punched some guy for having a look at Abby, because he just loves her so much and Abby is stupid not to see it.

The relationship between Abby and Travis it the main plot of the story and I get it, that the author’s idea was to show an unhealthy bordering with obsession relationship. But to me, even Fifty Shades of Grey managed it better! Again we are just presented with the fact that Travis loves Abby unconditionally and he will quit his womanizing ways to be with her. And Abby is also in love with him but she is just afraid to show it, but she has a whole month living with him to get used to it. There is no feelings-growing story in here, when the characters get to know each other and find out that they really belong together.

And it’s probably the first romance story I read in my life where I didn’t want the characters to be together… Because there was nothing about them being together to make them even slightly interesting. It’s like when they got together they just lost all their character traits and merged into one creature with least attractive qualities. Travis is too possessive and in charge while Abby is a voiceless sidekick.

And it’s just a roller coaster ride with this story. It keeps turning from being a too sweet lovesick love song into a heartbreak hotel. The events would just happen so randomly in this story sometimes I was left feeling like the author didn’t have any idea how the story should end. Like she just put in any scenes that came to her mind in hopes something interesting would come up out of them. But in the end I was just tired of all this mess. The only exciting scenes that captured my interest were the fight scenes especially the last one, but that’s it.