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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review: Remember When 2: The Sequel (Remember Trilogy #2) by T. Torrest


Published on: June 20th 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5
From: Bought

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Synopsis:

You know how sometimes, your high school crush grows up to be an insanely famous movie star? Okay, probably not. But I do.~Layla Warren


Back in high school, Trip Wiley’s fanbase only encompassed the denizens of the nothing little suburb of Norman, New Jersey.

Ten years later, all that is about to change.

In the summer of 2000, Layla Warren is enjoying her career as a journalist in New York City (well, sort of), while Trip spends most of his time grabbing Hollywood by the balls. In the days before what will turn out to be his skyrocketing fame, they’ll find themselves confronted with some life-altering choices.

Remember When 2 is the second story in an NA romance trilogy. It will bring you back to that exuberant and riotous time of life in your twenties when you struggled to figure out your place in the world and the person you were meant to be…

…and the person you were meant to be with.

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Review:

10 years after Remember When and we find Layla working for a Sunday pullout magazine Now! she done college, living like an adult in her own apartment, and keeping up with Lisa, her bestie. Turns out that her job is going nowhere because her boss won't allow her any freedom to expand her journalistic skills for the magazine, perfering to keep her on classifieds. Also turns out that she's just got engaged to her boyfriend of 2 years, who is..also her boss. Yes, the very one who is keeping her back.

While her romance is okay, it isn't the sparks-that-fly type of romance she had with Trip. The very same high school romance that even now she still thinks about and dreams about. He's a hot actor now on the verge of hitting it big time. that's not to say he isn't famous. He has the smile, the good looks, and the talent. He's a hot commodity in a break neck game, but he's working hard and playing hard. Well, that's what the rumours say anyway.

Layla and Trip's relationship petered out a few years back when he stopped writing to her. But he's back in town filming locally. And this gives Layla the perfect idea to see him. Once she's got the green light from her boss/boyfriend it's all set up. She takes on the role of an actual journalist and puts her reporting skills to good use...finally.

The one problem is...Layla meeting Trip again begins a rolling ball of uncertainty on both sides. For a brief moment they're both teenagers again in high school enjoying each others company. Then it starts getting personal. Layla has to figure out who she is, and what she wants from life. Trip, despite his charm and self assuredness is a heavily concealed powder keg underneath. He realises that the one thing in the world he wants is not his for the taking.

And then everything spirals out of control.

What I loved most about this sequel was that it was set so far into the future from the first. So much has changed for both characters but underneath they're both the same people. And for Trip, Layla is the only person who actually sees him for who he really is. Layla struggles with her doubts and fears for the future, especially feeling guilty when it comes to her fiancé, but is Trip just playing with her? Does her fiancé really love her?

The story is set in New York and apart from small cameos from Lisa, Pick and the gang, is mostly Layla and Trip trying to work out their feelings. There is a cliffhanger where you're left wondering what happens next. Your heart will be in your mouth near the end hoping and waiting for that epic moment but....it's in book 3! 

-CBx

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You can reach T. Torrest  here:



Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review: Remember When (Remember Trilogy #1) by T. Torrest



Published on: January 1st 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5
From: Net Galley

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Synopsis:

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

And not just to casting directors, either.

I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

I should know. I was one of them.

And my life hasn’t been the same since.
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Review:

There's something very refreshing about reading a book set in the '90's. If you think about it, it isn't that long ago but boy, how little things have changed. No mobile phones, no internet, no IM's. Talking to someone means you use a landline phone or speak to them in person. And to get to know someone you actually have to have a conversation with no stalking their fb page or following them n twitter.

The '90's wasn't the greatest era for fashion either. Banana clips, MC Hammer trousers and big hair are mentioned among the plethora of memories forgotten.

Layla Warren has lived her whole life in the same area of New Jersey. Most of the kids from school have known her since kindergarten. Known her or know of her. Everyone knows her mother left the family home when she was 12. Everyone hears the stories that followed as to why she left. Layla was left with the knowledge that her mother just didn't love her enough to stay with her, her brother, Bruce and definitely not her father. But the family survived and got on with life.

Excitement spills around the school, especially among the girls when new boy, Trip Wilmington arrives. A kid whose moved around a lot thanks to his fathers hotel business, Layla is excited when she finds out Trip won't be moving away again. He's enticing, incredibly gorgeous and they forge a small but tangible connection on his first day.

For the next few weeks and months Layla and Trip grow together as friends even though Layla may have stronger feelings for him. she's not stupid. He got a girlfriend soon after arriving. Someone who's equally tall, gorgeous and rocks an awesome body, just like Trip. Beautiful people come together like magnets in Layla's eyes and there's no way she can compete so she settles for being friends. But Trip gives out signals that confuse her.

When her friend Lisa finally puts perspective to Layla's apparently transparent crush, Layla decides enough is enough. She's done with being the puppy following something she can't have. And so Trip and Layla fall out. And remember, this is the 90's. They can't make up unless they actually make the effort.

So was Layla right in her thinking that Trip just saw her as a conquest, someone to keep on her toes and ensure she still follows him? Does Trip really think Layla is worth breaking down the barriers to attempt a relationship? Time is running out as graduation and college dreams loom.

And no one and nothing will ever be the same again.

The first book in the Remember Trilogy is an engrossing trip down memory lane of the Senior year variety. Based mainly at school the story brings to light all the emotions, ego's, and reminds us how important it was to be a senior and fall in love with the one guy that everyone else wants.

The romance between Trip and Layla will keep you reading, no matter the time of day or night, wanting to know more. 


-CBx

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You can reach T. Torrest  here:



Friday, 12 September 2014

Arc Review: Sideswiped (Off the Map #2) by Lia Riley




Published by: Grand Central/Forever
Published on: October 7th 2014
My Rating: 5 out of 5

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Read my Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley  review here

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Synopsis

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . .

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Review:

I feel very blessed to have read this book. Bran and Talia are a tantalisingly perfect couple who face very real hurdles in their 22 to 24 year old lives that isn't normally covered in NA books of late. Firstly, if you haven't read Upside Down then I suggest you pick up a copy pronto.

The story carries on right after the first, with very little left between books. Talia moves on from her life in Santa Cruz. She has a few ideas of what she wants to do now that she's been left without a family home base and Australia plus living with Bran for the next four months is a natural choice. She loves Bran, the only guy, or person in general, who really gets her.

Bran has his own demons. He loves Talia and wants her with him for all time. But he won't do a long distance relationship and early on after her arrival back to Tasmania he realises he's got an uphill battle to keep her by his side. But Bran has his own ambitions in his periphery. Ambitions he's always dreamed of and is passionate about.

Talia and Bran are both realists. They want to live life with meaning. They want to serve a higher purpose. Talia still dreams of joining the Peace Corps and Bran still dreams of travelling to Antarctica for the Sea Alliance. They know their places will be rewarding to them but they also know that time is precious. And for the four months they have together, well, they have to make the most of it.

After living together for a short while Talia and Bran learn so much about each other. They both love the other fiercely, there's a give and take which they adapt to, there's an understanding. But those demons that lurk could be the big catalyst to their own downfall.

So, what to do. Do they succumb to shelving their dreams just to be together or do they compromise? Do the long distance relationship thing while they fulfill their dreams? This book takes you on their journey with surprising gender role reversals. Talia, who suffers from OCD, grows so much from the first book. She knows that her home is with Bran. When they are together she is calm. He helps her through her compulsive ways and puts otherwise complicated actions into perspective.

Who eventually becomes the giver and who becomes the taker of their relationship? The answer may surprise you.

A fantastic sequel in a compelling series, Sideswiped delves deeper into Bran and Talia's already complicated lives with heart-wrenching consequences :)


-CBx

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You can reach Lia Riley here:



Sunday, 7 September 2014

Review: Best Kind of Broken (Finding Fate #1) by Chelsea Fine



Published by: Forever/Grand Central
Published on: March 4th 2014
My Rating: 5 out of 5

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Synopsis

Pixie and Levi haven't spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are... awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they're forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer..

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Review:

Well, I must be the only blogger in the world who hasn't read Chelsea Fine's YA Archers of Avalon series. She's made a great move in crossing over genres, and also is a super-nice person if you follow her on social media. So I read this synopsis and thought, hmm, not sure, sounds a bit samey...

To cut it straight to the bone, Chelsea is now my favourite NA writer after reading this book (and I have read the #2 as well) her gift of writing is a treasure. All the while I was reading about the terrible accident involving Pixie and Levi, my thoughts kept flashing back to the wholesome nurturing environment of Willow Inn and actually being glad the characters lived in such a place to heal their wounds, amidst lavender fields behind and hard to define oddities such as Angelo the barman and Haley on the front desk, and mostly Ellen who owns the Inn.

Both Pixie and Levi are hurt, holding onto guilt, feeling alone and battling with getting through each day. They were both involved in a terrible car accident along with Levi's now dead sister, Charity. Charity was Pixie's best friend. The fact that Pixie and Levi now live next door in the run down East Wing of Willow Inn is like luck kicking them in the ass.

As Pixie and Levi get through the summer they have more than a few hurdles to cross, the main one would be just talking to one another. Pixie's mother is a bitch from hell. Levi's parents separated and moved away from the area after the accident because they weren't able to deal. Many mistakes were made and the hardest part is to forgive and carry on with life. Gradually as other people help bring Pixie and Levi together and events happen throughout their weeks, sparks fly as they push and pull at the other's defenses.

Overall, the characters are all so well written, the pace is even and Fine adds just the right amount of tension or sorrow where necessary. Levi is extremely gorgeous and Pixie is the perfect amount of cuteness. And as for Willow Inn, Yeah, I want to live there!!

Definitely worth picking this up and following the series.:)


-CBx





You can reach Chelsea Fine here:


Friday, 5 September 2014

Review: Faster We Burn (Fall and Rise #2) by Chelsea M. Cameron



Published by: DRC Publishing
Published on: April 20th 2013
My Rating: 4 out of 5

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Read my Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise#1) review here

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Synopsis

Katie Hallman is done with douchebags. Done with guys who treat her like crap and leave her broken. But then Stryker Grant is there anyway. With his numerous piercings and bleached hair, he’s the polar opposite of all of her past relationships, which makes him the perfect candidate.

At first, Katie just sees him as a physical escape from her previous rocky relationship, and Stryker doesn’t seem to mind just being a distraction from Katie’s problems. But soon he’s getting under her skin, peeling back layers she’d rather keep covered. She tries to make it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, but keeps breaking her own rules.

Then a tragedy sends Katie into the only arms who are there to catch her, and she’ll realize that she needs him more than she ever thought possible. But is she ready to let herself trust another guy with her already-battered heart? Or will she push him away to protect herself from getting hurt again?

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Review:

If you've read Deeper We Fall then you'll be familiar with the quirky friends who have now come together as a supportive group. Initially when I read the first book I was underwhelmed. And Katie and Stryker's story wasn't one I was that interested in. Mainly because I didn't like Katie, a girl who loves the colour pink. she wears it, she accessorises with it, she sleeps in it. Urgh, how awful, and a little childish.

Stryker was the a stand out character that I wanted to learn more about. But this sequel surprised me. Katie's story isn't one that's new. But Cameron writes her so well that she actually made me inspired by the end. This is a girl who really doesn't have one clue of who she is. She stereotypes, hangs with a group of 'yes' friends, and has the worst taste in men. And when she's hurt or angry she likes sex. With Stryker. Hmm.

The story kicks off at a key point during the first book but we hear Katie's version of events when Zack Parker, ex boyfriend and closet psycho beats the crap out of her. Towards the first third part of the book we're on to new ground. Katie and Stryker have this 'friends with benefits' thing going although they claim that they aren't really friends at all. There's a whole tank of denial here on both sides. Gradually they wear each other down and call off everything and try to get on with life without each other..

Then Katie's dad dies. She takes the call from her sister at the exact time that Stryker pops round for a visit. She heartbroken, lost, her mum is so sad, and Katie only has her sister and Stryker for support.

A significant event such as Katie's puts fresh eyes of clarity onto a situation you previously would have avoided. What dawns from her fathers untimely passing is Katie's will to find out who she really is, and what makes her tick. With a new group of friends who pull out all of the stops for her, Katie gains so much courage in defeating her small, little, weighing-your-shoulders-down demons.

This is a tale of growth. Of change. Of being in uncomfortable situations and coming out on top. Stryker may be tatted and pierced and looks like he came out of prison (or so Katie's mum thinks) but he has a soft heart of mush. He's human, he makes drastic mistakes in the name of love. But ultimately both Katie and Stryker find an even balance between losing and finding themselves and each other. I found this one more touching, thought provoking and nerve-twitchingly romantic.

Definitely worth picking this up and following the series.:)


-CBx




You can reach Chelsea M. Cameron here:



Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review: Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley



Published: 5th August 2014
From: Net Galley
Rating: 4 out of 5

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If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found 

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act. 

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.
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Review:

Let me start of by saying, this book wasn't what I expected. It was a ton better on every level.

For starters Talia is, from the very beginning, still trying to get over her sisters death. Usually at a time of grief family members support one another. But in Talia's case both her parents have effectively shut down as well. Leaving nothing for Talia, no coping mechanism, not joint grief counselling. Her mother has hopped off to Hawaii, and her father can barely look at Talia. Everything here screams "You're being so unfair on your 'living' daughter, help her". But no. 

Talia has OCD, convinces herself daily that she's dying, spends countless hours on MD websites to study symptoms of her soon-to-be demise, although I think deep down she knows she's being neurotic. One of her best friends was actually her sisters best friend so that's always awkward, even though they usually all hung out together. And then there's the 'mistake' of sleeping with her sisters ex-boyfriend on the one year anniversary of her death. For Talia a trip to Oz is a chance to breath again. And I don't blame her.

We meet Bran a few chapters into the story. An activist to the core, he fights everything his father stands for. Bran was basically brought up by his sister in between boarding schools. His parents are incredibly wealthy but are too busy enjoying their own life to really give a damn about Bran. From the time Bran and Talia got together they clicked. Not in an insta-lust kind of way. There's snark, sarcasm, innuendos and gobble gosh in gosh bucket, Bran spots Talia's OCD in a blink of an eye. Nobody had ever noticed her little traits before. They get along well but soon Bran puts on the breaks. He's hiding something, in fact, he's hiding lots of things and Talia tries to uncover why.. 

I enjoyed reading both characters stories, my heart broke a little for both of them and it certainly picked up at other times ;) The tale is well developed and follows a nice arc to its conclusion. Meeting and falling for someone is always difficult for both sides but if you work it through then a rainbow will always appear. And Talia waited for hers and finally got to see the colours of life.

The story is set in Austalia which makes for a refreshing change. But it isn't lingo/slang heavy. The pace is steady and we have 2 POV's. But that's not the end of Talia and Bran's tale. There is a sequel, and I can't wait to pick it up :) 

- CBx

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You can reach Lia Riley here:



Long time...no blogging???


I'm sorry, the summer kind of came along and swept me under it's happy zone of sunshine. 

And it's always good to have a small break. 

I'm read a ton of books over the holidays so here we are. September. And lots of wonderful new releases and reviews to look forward to.

Hope you didn't miss me too much !! Let's get going! <3