Without Merit

Without Merit

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Slammed series

Hopeless duology 

Standalones

Synopsis:

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her – until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Thoughts:

I have been meaning to read this book for ages, so I’m glad I found the time to fit it in. I’m very much trying to get through some backlist books this year and this was one of them. I had heard mixed reviews about Without Merit, so I was intrigued to get into the story and find out what it was all about. Whilst I can see why some would have issue with this book, I found it to be highly addictive and interesting to read.

Merit Voss lives with a very dysfunctional family. She is also pretty dysfunctional herself. The trouble is, Merit is keeping so many secrets from family members. There’s only so much she can take. The story opens with Merit searching for a trophy. She has a bit of an obsession with collecting trophies that she hasn’t earned. She comes across a good looking guy called Sagan and has a bit of a moment with him. She later finds out that he is unavailable but very close to home. The story follows Merit as she watches her family from the sidelines, never really feeling part of the family. When Merit reveals the family secrets she has to deal with the consequences of her actions..

Merit is an incredibly intense and confused character. She goes through so much and becomes resentful of her family. It takes Merit a while to realise how affected she’s been by her past. I really respected that part of the story. Merit’s mental health is all over the place but she’s not prepared to acknowledge that. It’s so realistic. I think she will be a character that many readers will be able to identify with.

There is so much going on in this story. Perhaps a little too much? Sometimes I couldn’t believe that the family were having such bad luck. I know there’s dysfunctional families but this one really did experience so much…There are many themes in this story and although Colleen Hoover is a great writer, I thought if there had been a focus on just a few themes, it would’ve been a deeper read.

That said, this book did hook me from the start. I loved Merit’s story, I liked and disliked characters. I wanted everything to be okay for Merit. It’s definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of the author.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Whilst this wasn’t my favourite book by Colleen Hoover, I devoured it and was moved by the story which is tough to read at points!

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The Disappearing Girl

The Disappearing Girl

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my TBR for what seems like the longest time. I recently came across it and decided that it needed to be read this summer. The Disappearing Girl isn’t an easy read. It’s about anorexia and bulimia. Whilst it was a challenge to read because of its subject matter, it was an incredibly important and well written read.

The Disappearing Girl centres around Kayla. She is grieving after the death of her father who she found after he had a heart attack. Kayla and her sister, Lila were left with her mother. Her mother who was very obsessed with image. She constantly makes comments about the way Kayla and Lila look. Her comments made me cringe at times. She picked and picked away at her children giving them very low self-esteem. It wasn’t hard to hate their mother. She was so terrible to her children! Kayla starts to diet which brings with it a dangerous obsession with food. At the start of the weight loss, things are going well. She’s getting compliments and she’s landed herself a beautiful boyfriend. However, things soon get very serious and spiral out of control.

I thought Heather Topham Wood really explored the eating disorder very well. I felt like I was inside Kayla’s mind. I could understand why she felt the way she did because of her mother’s comments. I could feel that she was frustrated with people interfering with her diet. Yet at the same time, I was torn because I couldn’t believe what she was doing to herself.

This isn’t a long book, but it packs one hell of a punch! It’s brutal in its honesty of what an eating disorder can do to a person. It’s not just the person suffering from the eating disorder that’s affected. It was clear that everyone surrounding Kayla was affected by her behaviour. Even her mother… eventually.

I think this is such an important book to read for teens, adults and parents alike. It makes you think about mental health and just how much comments can hurt others.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A quick, but brutally honest read about eating disorders!

Five Ways To Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4)

Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths, #4)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Ten Tiny Breaths
One Tiny Lie
Four Seconds To Lose

Synopsis:

Purple-haired, sharp-tongued Reese MacKay knows all about making the wrong choice; she’s made plenty of them in her twenty-odd-years. So when her impulsive, short-lived marriage ends in heartbreak, she decides it’s time for a change. She moves to Miami with the intention of hitting reset on her irresponsible life, and she does quite well…aside from an epically humiliating one-night stand in Cancun with a hot blond bouncer named Ben. Thank God she can get on a plane and leave that mistake behind her.

Football scholarship and frat parties with hot chicks? Part of charmer Ben Morris’s plan. Blown knee that kills any hope of a professional football career? So not part of the plan. Luckily Ben has brains to go with his knockout looks and magnetism. After three long years of balancing law school with his job as a bouncer at Penny’s Palace, he’s ready to lead a more mature life—until his first day of work, when he finds himself in the office of that crazy, hot chick he met in Cancun. The one he hasn’t stopped thinking about.

If Ben truly were a smart guy, he’d stay clear of Reese. She’s the boss’s stepdaughter and it’s been made very clear that office romances are grounds for dismissal. Plus, rumor has it she’s trouble. The only problem is, he likes trouble, especially when it’s so good-looking…  

Thoughts:

After absolutely loving the previous book in this series, Four Seconds To Lose, I had high hopes for Five Ways To Fall. However, I was slightly disappointed with Five Ways To Fall. I would totally still recommend the series, especially to fans of New Adult and romantic fiction but I just found this book to be a bit predictable and not as gripping as some of the other in the series.

This book follows Ben Morris who was the hot bouncer/law student (what a combination!) who we’ve seen cameos from in other books and a new character Reese McKay- who is a troubled girl who married young and then was cheated on by her husband. Ben and Reese meet in Cancun one night when Ben is partying and Reese is celebrating her 21st birthday. They very nearly get together but there’s a vomit incident…Later on they have an unexpected meeting and their feisty relationship develops even further.

I think one of the reasons why I didn’t connect with this story as much as I wanted to, was that I didn’t really buy into Ben and Reese’s relationship. I have to say that I preferred Reese to Ben as I liked her feisty side. Ben was cocky and I couldn’t really get over that…even though he does grow towards the end of the story- so there’s that!

The plot wasn’t nearly as exciting as Four Seconds To Lose and I think that was this book’s downfall. If you’re looking for a romance story then I definitely think you shouldn’t be put off as the romance is well written and it’s certainly a readable story!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars!

A decent read, but not nearly exciting as its predecessors!

Four Seconds To Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths #3)

Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Ten Tiny Breaths
One Tiny Lie

Synopsis:

When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control… and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can’t get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.  

Thoughts:

I dip into this genre every now and then. I can honestly say that I’m not a huge fan of the New Adult genre. I like Katie McGarry’s writing and now, I can safely say, I really enjoy K.A Tucker’s writing. I have really enjoyed the series so far but Four Seconds To Lose felt different. It has a much darker feel to it which I enjoyed! I was excited to read this book when I learnt it was about Cain…a character who intrigued me in Ten Tiny Breaths.

Four Seconds to Lose introduces its readers to a new character called Charlie Rourke. Right from the beginning we learn that Charlie has a complicated life. She grew up with her step-dad Sam as a guardian. Charlie’s mother and brother have died and Charlie is left with a very shady guardian. Her step-dad deals drugs and uses Charlie as part of the drug drops. Charlie is sent to Miami for a dealership, but she has plants to break free. Charlie goes to a strip club owned by Cain in order to seek employment and get some money so she can finally get away from her step-dad. Cain and Charlie have a connection and Charlie finds herself wanting to stay in Miami with Cain.

The plot was brilliant. I loved the element of danger, the mystery and the build up to Cain and Charlie’s relationship. The drug element of the story built and built and I knew that it wasn’t going to end well. It certainly kept me turning the pages.

I actually really enjoyed both the characters of Cain and Charlie. I loved the way Cain treated Charlie. I was expecting him to be a bit of an arrogant idiot, but he wasn’t at all. He really cared for all of the girls that worked for him, despite him owning a rather seedy business. I adored the character of Charlie. I really wanted her to tell the truth throughout because I didn’t want anything to get in the way of her relationship. I loved how strong she was and how determined she was to change her life.

I loved to see some of the other characters from the previous two books pop up. I love when there’s connections between the books. That said, Four Seconds To Lose can be read as a standalone book as it doesn’t connect to the previous two books in a confusing way. It complements the story if you know of the previous characters but it’s not a necessity to know of them.

I am looking forward to finishing this series (I aim to pick up the next book after my current one!) and exploring more of K.A. Tucker’s work in the future.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A sweet, emotional but dark read. Possibly my favourite in the series so far!

It Ends With Us

It Ends with Us

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Slammed series

Hopeless duology 

Standalones

Synopsis:

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Thoughts:

As you can see, I’ve read a lot of Colleen Hoover’s books. I really enjoy her writing and find them easy to devour in no time at all. I was starting to think that Colleen’s books were getting a bit same-y (I still read them though!) so I was happy (seems the wrong word to use for this subject matter!) to read something a little different from Colleen. It Ends With Us contains some extremely heavy subject matter and some more adult characters.

I didn’t read a lot about It Ends With Us before I picked up the book. I tend to avoid reviews before I’ve read a book because I don’t want it to spoil the story. I don’t actually want to say much about the content of this book because I think it’s better not knowing about it before jumping in. If you do know, then I’d still urge you to read this book because I think it’s important. It certainly made an impact on me.

It Ends With Us begins with Lily Bloom meeting the highly attractive, if a little arrogant Ryle. Lily has an immediate attraction to him, but doesn’t think she’ll see him again. Lily is still very much thinking of Atlas, a homeless boy from her past. Through Lily’s letters to Ellen DeGeneres (that were never sent) we find out about Atlas and also secrets from Lily’s past.

It Ends With Us is definitely darker than you might expect. It may look like a sweet love story, and sure, there are sweet moments, but it’s a much darker story than I ever anticipated. There were several moments throughout the story that I found it hard to keep reading. I found Lily frustrating, I found Ryle frustrating. I just wanted to reach into the book and tell the characters a few home truths. I love that I felt passionately about the characters. I felt such a range of emotions throughout this story. I didn’t know how it was going to end.

This book is totally different to Colleen Hoover’s other books. It does feel like a step in another direction. I found it to be a harrowing, but important read. I was swept away with the story and for once, didn’t find it predictable.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A raw, important story. Unexpected!

Falling For The Chance

Falling for the Chance by [Mitchell, Kennedy L.]

 

How did I get it?:
I received it from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion of the book!

Synopsis:

Two years after losing her fiancée, twenty-seven year old Emily Heart still hasn’t recovered. Everyone has told her to get back out there, to live her life – her best friend going as far as setting her up with an online dating profile – but she just can’t move on. Not only can she not move on emotionally but she has now found herself stuck in a career path far from where she saw her future self. One hot Friday afternoon in Dallas she meets two potential men that could make her see things differently.

Martin and Mike couldn’t be more opposite, leaving Emily to figure out who will be the one her heart – not just her body – will fall for.

This Dallas based, young adult romance is hilarious, passionate and will have you laughing out loud as Emily tries to figure out her love life.

Thoughts:

I was asked if I wanted to read a copy of Kennedy Mitchell’s book Falling For The Chance. I really enjoy the genre, so after reading the synopsis, I was intrigued enough to want to give it a go. I’m pleased that I got around to reading it as it really was a cute romance. It wasn’t a perfect read for me, but it was highly enjoyable and it didn’t take me long to read at all.

The book centres around Emily, who we find out has lost her fiance. 2 year later, Emily is beginning to move on. Her friends are encouraging her to move on and continue living her life to the fullest. Emily had moved jobs and found herself on a career path that she really never expected but she couldn’t deal with the old job and her grief. Whilst cleaning for a new client, Emily finds herself highly attracted to him. However, she also has a connection with an old work colleague. Emily needs to make the right choice and figure out who she is really attracted to.

I thought this was such an easy to read book. It read to me, like a New Adult read with the older characters, but I do think it fits well into the YA genre. It has some sex scenes, but nothing overly graphic. Falling For The Chance has some great characters. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Emily and her best friend. They reminded me of one of my best friends!

Falling For The Chance is full of romance, laughter and some more dramatic moments. I think it’s worth reading if you’re looking for a fast-paced YA/NA romance.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A sweet romance!

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2)

One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Ten Tiny Breaths

Synopsis:

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents’ tragic death and Kacey’s self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

Thoughts:

I had such mixed feelings about Ten Tiny Breaths. I adored it and strongly disliked the ending at the same time. Yet, something made me want to carry on the series! I read One Tiny Lie expecting not to like it, but I did. Sure, it had some moments which made me roll my eyes a little, but on the whole, I thought it was a highly enjoyable reading experience and I’m glad that I carried on!

One Tiny Lie follows Livie, Kacey’s sister from the previous book. Livie goes tp Princeton following the path she believes her father would’ve wanted for her. Kacey is trying to encourage her sister to live a little and enjoy herself. Livie has always been a straight A student and never stray from the path that she believes she should be following. Kacey encourages Livie to drink one night and make the most of her college experience. Livie finds a group of friends who encourage her to be more outgoing. Livie has dealt with so much heartbreak, it’s nice to see her unwind a little. Livie parties with her roomates and then there’s the boys…Ashton and Connor. Ashton is the guy she shouldn’t be with, but wants to be. Connor is the guy that her parents would approve of and expect her to be with.

This story is full of angst, but I loved it nonetheless. I was impressed with how well K.A. Tucker portrayed Livie’s feelings of being trapped and how she felt pressure to be someone she wasn’t deep down. I loved the interactions with her therapist and her sister. I thought the chemistry between Livie and Ashton was incredibly well written. At first, I thought Ashton was going to be a ‘typical’ arrogant character, but he has much more depth to him than first meets the eye and I always enjoy that. I enjoyed watching his story unfolding and learning more about him as a character.

I am intrigued to see where the rest of the series goes and will certainly be starting the next book with an open mind.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! Well worth reading if you like New Adult.