Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

4 Stars

The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

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 a 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 parlor 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 installment of the Maddox Brothers books, readers can experience the rush of reading Beautiful Disaster for the first time, all over again.

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   My thoughts: I would ask you to all be patient with me while reading this review. I am going to try and keep it as spoiler free as always but the thing that bothered me the most about this book is the HUGE reveal at the end. As I sit and collect my thoughts I am finding that the things I loved the most about Beautiful Oblivion is also the same things that I didn't like. Let me explain...

   The story takes place at the same time as Beautiful Disaster. While I loved Beautiful Disaster, and devoured it in one sitting, I have already read it, as well as Walking Disaster. So this book made the third in the same timeline/plot setting. Beautiful Oblivion aka Trent and Cami's story was almost clouded because I knew so much about certain things that were going to happen. We have seen them before...... twice. I found myself wishing that this book had taken place after Beautiful Disaster's end. Had that been the case Trent and Cami would have had their own story not a shared one. However, because I loved BD so much I found myself loving all the glimpses and parallels that occurred along the way. I told you it was frustrating! 

   The character similarities bothered me somewhat. I realize they are brothers and it has been said all along that the Maddox brothers were all alike. But I was just a little put off by HOW similar they were. Cami did something to upset Trent he went on a man-whoring spree. Just like Travis did. Cami has an awful deadbeat father. Abby had awful deadbeat father. Cami had boyfriend and Trent was friend-zoned. Travis, friend-zoned while Abby dated. I could go on but this reaches spoiler territory. But again, I love the way the story played out and I fell in love with Trent the same way I fell for Travis. I repeat.. frustrating.
Now the absolute biggest issue is going to require a couple of *editing bleeps*
    Throughout the entire book there seemed to be a secret that Cami was keeping from Trent about T.J. (the BF). I could not figure out what the big deal was, why did they seem to want to hide everyone. T.J. had a job he couldn't talk about. I assume(d) he is a cop of some kind (remains to be seen). So, I thought ok, job purposes she had to keep hush hush. T.J. makes a few appearances throughout the book and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Just a guy who has went his own way and his job has taken him to another state. A couple of people see him and nothing seems out of the ordinary when he is mentioned. Then the reveal comes and suddenly I am in WTF mode. I was like THIS was the big secret? This is what Cami was trying to hide from the world? I get it, I do. I feel like it is a clusterf**k of epic proportions and I am still not completely sure how I feel now. But and it is a big BUT...... why was this secret a secret in the beginning, before Trent? Why was T.J. and Cami so adamant that no one (from their hometown) know they were dating. I am hoping more light is shed on this subject in the next book. At this point T.J. is looking like a bit of a douche. "You were willing to mover her to California with you but you can't tell these people she is your girl?? Why T.J.? Why?" The flip side of this was the GASP WHUUUUUUT??? at the last line of the book. This made all of the other stuff seem small because the reveal was BAM. Again, the frustration!!!

   I am excited to read the next book but I do have to say this. I pray the timeline/plot is original to the story and not another repeat of the same. If this happens I may actually give up on this series and I really, really don't want to give up on it. I happen to love those Maddox boys.

   I will go ahead and apologize to anyone who is looking at the word vomit that is this review, thinking, "Ummm what?" But honestly this is exactly how I felt while reading this book. My feelings were all over the place. I loved the whole thing beginning to end, but I also disliked a wide majority of it. Makes no sense but it is what it is I guess. Leave me a comment if you have read it and let me know how you felt during/after you read it. I love to hear other people's opinions.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Closer to You Series by AL Jackson (Book One and Two)

Since I read these books back to back I decided to do a dual review. I am going to try to keep it as spoiler free as possible, however, I may let a little tidbit in here and there. Just wanted to make sure you all knew :)

5 Stars
Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

4 Stars
A second chance at life…
A second chance at love…

Jared Holt never thought he deserved either—until he found both in the arms of Aly Moore. Aly has loved Jared for as long as she can remember, and she’s more than ready for the future they’re making together. But Jared can’t help remembering his own family. And he’ll never forgive himself for what happened to them. How can he allow himself the very happiness he once destroyed?

To live a life worthy of Aly, Jared knows he has to stop running and finally put his past to rest. But when he decides to face his demons head on, he encounters more than he bargained for: a dangerous mix of jealousy, lies, and dishonest intentions. When those intentions threaten Aly, Jared loses all control, giving into the rage that earned him his bad boy reputation years before. And he’ll fight to protect her no matter what it costs…even if he destroys himself in the process.

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Come to Me Quietly: The Closer to You Series

My Thoughts; I had Come to me Quietly on my TBR list for quite a while. I had every intention or reading right away but found myself getting other books and this one kept waiting. Fast-forward to the release of Come to me Softly and me thinking OMG seriously??? You let book two release before reading book one? So, finally, I One-Clicked and started..... one chapter in and I was engrossed. I was captivated by Jared, finding my new best friends in Aly and Christopher and hopelessly wishing there was something magical that could fix Jared's broken soul.

I am always a sucker for the broken boy, the one who needs the perfect girl to fix all the wrong in his life. But what I was figuring out while I read was that there was not going to be an easy fix for Jared. There were no magic words that would make him see that everything was okay, that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Jared made a mistake, one that cost him so much, and he has been punishing himself ever since. He has built up a wall of self hatred and disgust and he pushes away anything that is good in his life. Until Aly.

Aly is everything in his life that he wants, and everything he has convinced himself he doesn't deserve. She doesn't care what ghost haunt him, she doesn't care how broken he is or the things he has done in his life. She simply loves him no matter what. She sees the beauty in his soul and the kindness in his eyes. He is hers on the deepest level. Reading these two books and travelling this road with Jared and Aly was breathtaking, I fell so hard and so fast for them individually as well as separately. And now that I have read both of these books I am glad I waited to read them together. 

Okay, book one vs book two breakdown...

Book one was so good, I did not want to put it down and at several points I flipped real life the bird because it wouldn't just wait till I was finished. I was heartbreakingly in love with Jared and I needed to read it until I had devoured every single word. When I was nearing the end I was glad that I had book two waiting because I was not ready to say goodbye to the characters yet. Book one ends on a solemn note so had I read earlier and would have had to wait, I would have been okay with that. I gave it 5 Stars because it was unputdownable for me and I could not stop thinking about it. The writing was great and you can see the work that the author put into the entire process.

Book two picks up at basically the exact moment that book one ends. Jared and Aly are in that same peaceful place and I was ready to settle in for the rest of their story. Most of the book was calm and you begin to see them build their life together, Jared still harbors so much hatred toward himself and it slowly begins to worm its way into their daily lives. Insecurities come to life and their relationship is tested to almost the breaking point. You begin to see a bit more of the side characters and I loved that because I love Christopher. Jared and Aly's story comes to a peaceful 'end' as the two of them finally find that place they need to be and Jared begins to deal with his demons. I rated this book a 4 because I thought the pace was a bit slower and I also felt like some of the issues kept repeating, almost like.... I just read this last chapter..... but the book as a whole was really great and I loved it beginning to end. I am super excited to get Christopher's story beginning in the next book Come to Me Recklessly. I do not know if there will be books beyond book three. I will just have to practice patience.