Tag «PTSD»

Single Sundays: Halo by R C Stephens

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Halo (from Goodreads):
I fell in love with Thomas Wells and knew he was my forever.
I was sixteen when I gave him my heart.
Our love was the kind to last a lifetime.

But Thomas was broken.
The first day we met he told me he was going to become a Navy SEAL.
At nineteen he enlisted.
At twenty he married me.
At twenty five he left me pregnant and didn’t turn back.
I knew he was suffering….
I also knew I couldn’t save him.
He left me broken.
I was scared and alone.
Until I met Ryder St. John a wounded soldier…
He was lost.
I was lost.
Together we made sense.
I fell in love again…
What Ryder forgot to mention was that he held a secret so explosive that it could shatter both our worlds.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: R C Stephens
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Military
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source & Format: Read It, Review It (New Adult Book Club)–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While this novel looked like it could have a love triangle, I really, really wanted to know what the ” secret so explosive ” was. Plus, I’m a sucker for military heroes in my novels. If I need a good mini-cry, those heroes always get me.

I didn’t know that R C Stephens was Canadian so that also swayed my decision. I love supporting my fellow Canadians <3

New Adult or Adult:

I heard about this book in a New Adult Book Club. But after reading it, I felt more comfortable labelling it as an Adult Contemporary Romance. Primarily because the lead characters are 25+ which is that cut off for me, especially if they aren’t in a “college” setting and are living in “the real world”.

However, it almost reads like a NA read so it’s one of those bridging reads that straddles the line in between.

The Plot:

This story is told through a series of past and present chapters, which is a brilliant way to execute this story. The story builds as you go and you start to put all the pieces together. And even then, I didn’t see the reveal coming at all–which is fabulous! Major bonus points for me for that!

However, this story seemed a little lop-sided as a whole. I felt like so much of the time was used to build up the relationships–which you have to for sure–but that it lacked a little more “drama” post-reveal.  Not that the ending was rushed by any means; it’s just that it could have been flushed out a tad more I think. There was definitely a lot you could do with that reveal and I felt like it never truly reached its potential in that respect.

The Characters:

I really liked Halo. She’s a strong girl but she has her weaknesses too. While she is raised on a pedestal by the guys and her family, she does have her flaws and personal struggles that she has to endure. She was a much more rounded character than I expected going into this story.

Thomas and Ryder irked me a little with their constant high praise of Halo (like I said, she’s on a pedestal) but I liked that they too had developed personalities and growth.

The Romance:

The flashbacks of Thomas and Halo in high school are sickeningly sweet; you know that couple that just sees nothing past their love? It leads to very long “sexy time” scenes which I wasn’t totally expecting. So that particular aspect I wasn’t a fan.

But what I did like is how they loved and supported each other through all their difficult times. In my books, I love seeing romantic leads that are partners in life and that definitely shows at times in this novel.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this novel! Once the “secret” was revealed, I had a hard time putting this one down. It’s just a solid romance that makes you believe in the power of love.

Read if You Like: military heroes, big twists
Avoid if You: dislike contemporaries romances

similarreads

  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Out of Time by Jen McLaughlin (Out of Time Series #1)
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick
  • Trapped by Beverley Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

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Series Review: Out of Line by Jen McLaughlin

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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Synopsis for Out of Line (from Goodreads):
Desperate to break free…

I’ve spent my entire life under my father’s thumb, but now I’m finally free to make my own choices. When my roommate dragged me to my first college party, I met Finn Coram and my life turned inside out. He knows how to break the rules and is everything I never knew I wanted. A Marine by day and surfer by night, he pushes me away even as our attraction brings us closer. Now I am finally free to do whatever I want. I know what I want. I choose Finn.

Trying to play by the rules…

I always follow orders. My job, my life, depends on it. I thought this job would be easy, all the rules were made crystal clear, but when I met Carrie Wallington, everything got muddy. She’s a rule I know I shouldn’t break, but damn if I don’t inch closer to the breaking point each time I see her. I’m ready to step out of line. And even worse? I’m living a lie. They say the truth will set you free, but in my case…

The truth will cost me everything

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Adult Reads of 2014, Author to Watch For
Series: Out of Line
Author: Jen McLaughlin
# of Books: 5 (Out of Line, Out of Time, Out of Mind, Fractured Line, Blurred Lines)
Book Order: Chronological; Connected (Blurred Lines)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: September 2013 – January 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Toonie Tuesday review of the first two books of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love a good forbidden romance! I think Kobo suggested I read this one but I can’t honestly recall how it crossed my radar. I just knew I had to read it because it sounded right up my alley!

The Plot:

This story probably seems predictable and formulated based on the description but I found that there were enough little surprises along the way that it didn’t bore me.

I also like that this series really becomes character driven along the way. You really get to watch these characters grow and go through some rough things; it brings a realism to this series that I really enjoy.

Of course, it does have its flares for dramatics but I find those additions just add some entertainment to the story and don’t distract too much from the story at hand.

The Characters:

I will admit, I was worried about Cassie being a prima donna going into the book based on the synopsis. One thing I hate about heroines who are cast as “overprotected” is that they rebel just for the sake of rebelling which in turn leads them to do stupid things which leads to me being annoyed.

I’m happy to say that I loved Cassie! I truly respected her character because I never felt like she was rebelling just for the sake of rebelling. This book is just as much about her relationship with Finn as it is with her finding herself and becoming independent.

That isn’t to say Finn isn’t important–because he is–he is one of the best aspects of this series! I simply adored him. There isn’t much to say other than he is the total book boyfriend package 😛

The Romance:

This is probably the main selling point for me. I just loved these two together!

When characters bring out the best in each other, you can’t help but love them. The sexual tension is fantastic! Exactly what I want in a “forbidden” romance.

 

updates

–January 12, 2014– Book #2: Out of Time

I did buy Out of Time right away and I’m both happy and mad at myself that I did it. I’m happy because I really loved it! Hate it because I have to wait for the next one!

I liked how this one focused on the establishment of a relationship and not stupid “break-up” drama. (You know how most books in a romance trilogy have the characters separated or apart for most of the story for some drama).

I didn’t think the story could get any cuter but it did! I also cried during this book–which is why I am mad at myself because now I have to wait until April to read what happens next!

–July 1, 2014– Book #3: Out of Mind

Although I bought Out of Mind as soon as it came out, I wasn’t able to actually sit down and read it until now. The book follows the same direction as the second book where it focuses more on the relationship and less on the other drama. That made for a pretty tame read but I truly enjoyed every minute of it. I also loved the realistic edge it had to it at times. It is a great conclusion to the series and fans will not be disappointed.

I can’t wait to see if spin-off books are in the works because I can’t wait to see what is in store for the other characters of these books.

–November 21, 2016– Book #4: Fractured Lines

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointment in the idea of this novel being a continuation of Finn and Carrie’s story. Everything wraps up so nicely in Out of Time so I was quite happy with how everything ended and wanted this “spin-off” to focus on a particular side character instead… (who gets his own book in Blurred Lines FYI).

But when I started to read this, I began to appreciate it more. I like how it challenged the previous books’ stories. It brought a touch of realism to this story that I really admired. It’s naive to think that everything these two go through can be solved so easily; that there won’t be any repercussions. And I feel like this was handled beautifully.

–November 23, 2016– Book #4: Blurred Lines

I was really looking forward to this book. I couldn’t wait to see how Riley would get his happy ending.

But I have have some mixed feelings on it.

I’m not a fan of love-at-first-sight romances; I don’t like how everything progresses because of some unexplained “feeling”/”connection”. As a reader, I like my relationships to be spelled out for me; show me why these two belong together.

However, I get why this trope was used in this particular novel. It actually really works well for Riley’s character as a whole. He’s a by the book type of guy and he’s drowning in those expectations. So I enjoyed the side of his character we get to see thanks to this storyline.

Nevertheless, things happen way too fast here. I’m sure the short page count contributes to it but I felt like the plot (not just the romance) was rushed. I wanted things to be teased out a little more and worked on. See how these characters deal with the challenges they’ve created.

So while it wasn’t what I particularly wanted, I can appreciate what the attempt was for this particular novel. I’m just glad to have that closure on Riley’s character as a whole.

Series Rating: 4/5

Out of Line 4/5 | Out of Mind 4/5 | Out of Time 4/5 | Fractured Lines 4/5 | Blurred Lines TBA

overall

If you want a series that will make you laugh, swoon, cry and freak out: this is it! It has such strong character development that you can’t help but root for these two. Add to it a touch of realism and a slight flare for dramatics and you’ve got yourself an entertaining series from start to finish!

Read if You Like: military heroes, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: don’t like romance trilogies following the same character leads

similarreads

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Series Review: Beautifully Broken by Courtney Cole

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Other books in the series:
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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author, Favourite New Adult Series
Series: Beautifully Broken
Author: Courtney Cole
# of Books: 4 (If You Stay, If You Leave, Before We Fall, Until We Fly)

There is a novella: #2.5 Until We Burn

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drugs, Abuse, Tragedy
Heat Rating: hot (Kink: mild [Before We Fall])
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2013 – July 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Wow, I LOVED this book! It was everything I wanted in a New Adult read and it was such a great read!

I will admit, I was skeptical before reading this. I find with New Adult reads, some hit the mark perfectly by blending tragedy+romance+drama+maturity all into one. That is why I enjoy New Adult reads because they are more mature than most young adult books that have characters in high school. I’m in university myself so I find I relate better to characters my own age & their problems than the often petty high school drama. However, not all books hit the maturity level quite so well and I got worried this one wouldn’t.

I’m happy to say I was proven wrong. This book was extremely mature and handled the issues within it perfectly. The characters didn’t run from their past or just jump into bed together. They actively worked on their issues (and did so in the right way) and I found that extremely refreshing. (FYI, I had just finished the first book in Kelly Elliot’s Wanted Series which I found to be an extremely immature series so I might be a little skewed in my opinion when it comes to this one ;))

For some reason, I love the jerk/player character in romance novels. I guess it’s the hopeless romantic in me that likes to think love can heal people. Regardless, I really liked Pax as a character. He is charming, sweet and troubled but willing to make the right changes. Mila is also fantastic. She is strong and mature and I really respect her as a character.

The book is a really quick read–or maybe you just get sucked into it and lose all sense of time. There isn’t too much else to the plot other than their relationship and dealing with their personal problems (score for no unnecessary drama!) but there is enough to keep you interested.

I’m really looking forward to book 2, If You Stay and I refused to read the little 1 chapter preview in my book because I don’t want to get hung up on it 😛

updates

–January 28, 2016– Book #2: If You Leave

It is just a TAD ridiculous that it took me nearly 3 years to read a book I was super excited to read–and I want to be clear that it in no way reflects my opinion on the series. I was faithful and continued to buy each book as they were released–I just never got around to them thanks to the countless other books that fell into my hands.

But let’s just start by saying that this book was worth the wait! I loved this story for so many different reasons! I thought the relationship and characters were extremely realistic, even if things between them happened fast or some of the events were more dramatic than necessary. I felt so many emotions when reading this book–from joy to sadness to anger to frightfulness–you name an emotion and this book probably has it. It was just plain addicting to read and I easily became absorbed in the story.

–February, 2016– BOOK #3: Before WE Fall

I was really curious to see where this book was going to go given the heroine–but it went in a direction I wasn’t expecting nor one that I loved.

I really didn’t enjoy the relationship between these two at the start and even contemplated not finishing the novel. But I really wanted to find out the backstory of our hero and so I stuck around. I do feel like the story and relationship improved as the story progressed but it could have simply been me  becoming accustomed to these characters and their story.

While the tragedy of the past novels is here, the dynamic of this story is so different from the previous books I think. I didn’t love the heroine’s progression, especially given the events of the past book and I felt like the focus was more on our hero. Which is fine, just not what I really expected. I also felt like their romantic relationship was very unhealthy and I didn’t immediately see why they would like each other besides physical attraction. I supposed I just wanted–and expected more from these characters.

Loads of sexual tension (though it did make me uncomfortable at times) and buckets of drama, this book combines elements I’ve read in other books in a way that is unique but I think will be really hit of miss with its readers.

Series Rating: 5/5

If You Stay 5/5 | If You Leave 4.5/5 | Before We Fall 3/5 | Until We Fly TBD

overall

One of the best new adult reads I have read this year. Great story, great characters and it is mature in its delivery. You can’t go wrong!

Read if You Like: mature stories, passionate romance, tragedy filled stories
Avoid if You: dislike tragedy

similarreads

Synopsis for If You Stay (from Goodreads):
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
Seriously.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.

But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
Wrong.

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he’s working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?

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