Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Blurb:
14495341_10154103515169353_1987216987004450545_nWhat would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 5 stars — UNPUTDOWNABLE. Seriously. I started reading this b/c I was at the release party for it and there was a part where the author posted a video of her reading the prologue and first chapter of the book. Well, when I started bawling at the end of the prologue, I had to put aside the book I was currently reading and start reading it for myself even though it was after 10pm….ended up being up til 5am glued to my kindle. So does that tell you something? It tells me it was awesome. And then I proceeded to not write my review right away and thus this will not be up to my normal babbling standards….well, maybe.

LOVED the characters. Loved the whole very loose retelling of Cinderella. There was actually more to that than I was expecting. Loved how broken and yet strong Ella was. Loved watching her struggle in her new life, and struggle to survive. LOVED the heartbreaking themes that the story touched on (bullying, grief, survival, depression…I have more but I can’t think of them). Gosh, even Brian was so much more complicated than I was expecting. Ms. Oram’s characters are always so well-developed and three dimensional. Even the side characters were amazing and believable (yes, even Anastasia….I actually had a harder time justifying some of Jennifer’s (the stepmom) behavior from the beginning).

And I kind of wanted The Druid Prince to be real.

ASE is still probably my favourite of Ms. Oram’s, but let me tell you — this put in some amazing competition for top spot.

ON REREAD: 5 OMG OMG OMG stars!  We reread this book as part of a read-a-long in the Kelly Oram Reader Squad in September in preparation for the new cover and 2 year publish-a-versary.  And it was MAGICAL!  Everything I remember this book being.  I then didn’t write up my review YET AGAIN, so it will be lacking.  But I will say that I was reminded of one of my FAVOURITE scenes from a book of ALL TIME (for those who’ve read it, it’s the FantasyCon moment where realizations occur).  I could read that scene OVER AND OVER AND OVER again, kind of like how I could watch the end of Never Been Kissed OVER AND OVER AND OVER again.  It’s *that* good.  Seriously, “say car for me”…it shouldn’t produce chills, but it does.

And the pièce de résistance of the read-a-long?  Having conversations *with* the characters ABOUT the book they are in.  Seriously…made my whole day.

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Anywhere You Are by Elisabeth Barrett

Blurb:
28473715As the daughter of a music legend, Grace Davingham knows all too well what it’s like to be burned by the media’s glare. Now all she wants is to be left to do her painting and conservation work in peace, with no intention of returning to the spotlight. But after she sprains her ankle hiking and a handsome real-estate mogul comes to her rescue, Grace once again finds herself in the public eye.

Sexy, successful, and averse to any attachments, Marcus Colby thrives on rigid discipline in order to manage both his real-estate investment company and his personal life. Marc has no time for fun, and no patience for crazy. Which is why meeting Grace—and inheriting an enormous Great Dane who won’t listen to a word he says—has turned Marc’s carefully constructed world upside down.

Only when Grace and Marc square off over a local controversy do they realize how different they really are. But if opposites attract, their love is destined to bind them together—forever.

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My Review:
3 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This is a book I probably would have enjoyed a lot more a few years ago, but I think I’m just not as in the mood for these days.  I knew it was probably a stretch when I requested it, but it felt like a good solid romance so I went for it.  I might also just not be in the right frame of mind for it right now, but I read it because it’s release was this week and I wanted to be timely.

Anyways, so basically it was an OK read for me.  It was kind of slow and I was slow to like both characters.  When they say Marc is stuffy, they really mean it.  He just did not endear himself at the beginning when he first meets Grace.  And Grace just didn’t feel like she had much substance either.  Now as we got further into the novel, we definitely got to see a lot more to both characters.  I was sucked into it eventually, and began to enjoy the story a bit more.  Big Blue, the Great Dane, definitely helped with that for both characters…I’m an animal lover, and he was a great animal character that brought the best out of both characters.  I became more intrigued by who Grace was and the unique struggles she dealt with because of her famous family.  I really felt for her at times.  And there was a bit more depth to Marc, and I felt sorry for the man he had become and loved seeing his joy hanging out with Grace.  The problem, inherently, is that the growth didn’t always stick for these characters.  I wasn’t happy with the choices Grace made in the end, but I was mostly unhappy with Marc for flip flopping all the time.  I didn’t end up buying his resolution AT ALL.  It was sudden, and felt forced.

Their chemistry was a strange thing for me as well.  It felt really forced at the beginning.  Then they would have some amazing scenes where I really felt it between them.  And then strangely it ended feeling kind of forced again.

I don’t know if it was me and the breaks I took while reading the book just disrupted the flow *that* much, but it was a strange read.  It started off slow and I was tempted to DNF (not that it was that bad, but I know I have so many books on my plate that I wasn’t sure it was worth my time)…then I got sucked in and even cried at one point…then I ended it feeling super meh.  So yeah.  I probably wouldn’t read more from this author, b/c I just don’t think this is my style anymore.  It’s weird when we change as readers, isn’t it?

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My Song for You by Stina Lindenblatt

Blurb:
29875695In a poignant romance from the author of This One Moment (“Hot, intense, and filled with emotion.”—Rachel Harris), the rock stars of Pushing Limits have hit the big time. But fame gets tough when love presents a fork in the road.

At twenty-one, Jared Leigh had been prepared to give up the life of a touring musician to be a father after getting his girlfriend pregnant. When she told him that she’d gotten an abortion, Jared was devastated. Now at least he has the groupies to keep him company—until a blast from the past rocks his world.

Callie Talbert hasn’t seen her sister’s ex since high school. But after Callie bumps into Jared while she’s grocery shopping with four-year-old Logan, there’s a spark that wasn’t there before. Jared quickly realizes that her deaf “son” is the same age his own child would have been. When Jared demands to know more about Logan, Callie panics. There are things she just can’t tell him. Besides, Jared’s a bad-boy rocker, not a dependable father figure. He’ll move on to his next gig soon enough . . . right?

Trouble is, Jared refuses to be pushed away, and the more quality time he spends with Logan, the more he’s captivated by the woman Callie has become. When the truth is revealed, Jared only hopes that the three of them have what it takes to become a real family.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

OK, this one sucked me in right at the beginning and I ended up staying up til after 2am wanting to read just one more chapter, just one more chapter.  I’m not entirely sure what was the big selling point for me, but I really liked both Callie and Jared, and I was intrigued about where it was going, and loving how the dynamics with Logan were playing out in the beginning.  I thought there was some cute flirty chemistry between the two, and even though I sometimes had a hard time figuring out their past relationship (at first I thought she was purely the little sister b/c there was a 4 year age gap, but then later she’s listening to him play the guitar in his room when she was younger, and they were playing together?) I was still invested and enjoying it.

But as seems to happen way too frequently to me, I woke up the next day and was just NOT as invested in the book anymore.  Did the book actually lose its steam?  Or was it me?  I DON’T FRICKIN KNOW!!!  Drives me insane, can you tell?  I still really enjoyed the development of the relationship between Jared and Logan, but I felt slightly less invested in Callie and Jared’s relationship, and I was not as impressed with Callie in general as the book went on.  I’m not sure I can pinpoint specifics, but I actually wasn’t all that into their first steamy scene.  I think it was Callie’s odd nervous interruptions…it didn’t fit my initial perception of her, and it took me out of the moment.  After awhile I wasn’t even as sure about how well they fit together at all, and what was drawing them together besides Logan and supposed conversations they had after he went to bed.

So for a girl who’s not a huge kid person, I was actually most impressed with that part of the storyline.  So odd.

OK, but back to Callie.  I really didn’t like the choices she made both in the past and as the present played out.  Am I the only one that thought she gave up and backed down super fast, and was all of a sudden assuming how things would play off and making alternative plans for her future?  It seriously caught me off guard.

So yeah.  Once again I don’t know how to round.  First 50% was SOLID 4 stars, maybe even 4.5.  But it totally fizzled for me.  So it’s a 3.5 for sure, but rounded up or down?  I don’t know.  Guess we’ll see how my finger moves over the stars when I get to Amazon or Goodreads.  I know I’m making it sound worse than it was, but I was just disappointed after such a compelling start.  Oh well, can’t win them all.

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Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise

Blurb:
25272714Falling for him wasn’t in the plans…

Most girls would kill for the opportunity to work for Jack McAlister, Hollywood’s hottest actor, but twenty-one-year-old Jessica Beckett is ready to kick him out of her red Ford Fiesta and never look back. She should be spending her junior year in France, eating pastries and sharpening her foreign language skills. Instead she’s reluctantly working as Jack’s personal assistant, thanks to her powerhouse talent agent aunt.

Jack is private, prickly, and downright condescending. Jessica pushes his buttons—she’s not the type of girl to swoon over celebrity heartthrobs, precisely why her aunt thought she’d be perfect for the job—and Jack pushes right back.

But as she begins to peel away his layers, Jessica is shocked to find she craves her boss’s easy smile and sexy blue eyes. The problem is, so does the entire female population. And what started out as the job from hell soon has Jess wondering if a guy like Jack could ever find love with a regular girl like her.

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My Review:
3 stars — OK, I will admit…I was a bit disappointed.  I’m a sucker for hollywood star falls for normal girl books, I know many of us are.  Strangely enough while I’m a sucker for this trope, I find I’m rarely satisfied with the books who attempt them.  Ah well.  At least I scored this book on sale.

So what went wrong?  I had a hard time liking Jess.  I’m not sure what it was.  She felt a bit immature for the age she supposedly was, but then again, so am I…  Normally I don’t have a problem with that, but maybe I did moreso in this case b/c I had a hard time getting a feel for Jack’s age and he didn’t feel as young, you know?  So I didn’t see a fit between them.  Honestly I felt like she fit Shawn (the trainer) more.

Anyways, back to Jess.  I guess I just didn’t like her attitude.  We didn’t really get a super great feel for what happened in her past to make her to anti-actor, so she just seemed kind of…well, dickish about it all.  She had all these assumptions about Jack that weren’t based on anything but one bad experience, that again…happened in the past, so we didn’t get to feel it with her and it didn’t make me sympathize with her.  And her friendship with Meg really reflected badly on her.  Meg was awful.  And the fact that she needed another friend to point it out to her was kind of crazy.  I guess I can sort of see how you grow up with a person and so you make excuses for them, but Meg was really overboard awful and we never did find out why…  I think b/c she *was* a friend of Jess’s, I would have liked to know why she changed.  Otherwise I didn’t see her purpose in the story, other than the further the housing situation plot and add some drama.

I enjoyed Jack.  I wish I saw more from him.  He was extremely hard to get a read on because we didn’t get his POV, which is fine…but without more conversations between Jess and Jack, I really don’t know much about what he’s like.  It was mostly a Jess book.  And quite honestly this just made for a very shallow and unfulfilling romance for me.  And it wasn’t because it was a PG romance (I don’t mind those), it was that it took the whole book, and I really didn’t get enough out of the development as I would have liked.  I felt a few butterflies and tingles, but again…it wasn’t until 80-90% before anything really happened there.  And since I wasn’t really enjoying Jess’s individual development, I just didn’t get enough out of this book.

So yeah.  3 stars isn’t a horrible book.  I was entertained.  I was just ultimately unfulfilled.

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Broken Promises by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
26833766When Celebrity Magazine declares rock star Trystan Scott the sexiest man alive, I’m not surprised. How can anyone claim otherwise about those blazing blue eyes, rock-hard abs, dark hair, and a totally lickable dimple?

Before the billionaire playboy rose to stardom, we were friends for a while and lovers for a night. Though that was nearly a decade ago, our connection burns brightly in my memory. We weren’t a one night stand, not to me.

I can admit it–I got played. To him, I was just another conquest. My beautiful best friend is long gone, and I’ve moved on. But when fate forces us to meet face to face, everything I felt for him comes rushing back.

Trystan is crashing and burning fast. The press flock like vultures, waiting for him to kill himself or worse. Either way, his mistakes earn them millions.

One night, one time, one word is all it takes to wash away a decade of reason and regret. One secret threatens to push him six feet under, and, when those beautiful eyes turn to me for help, how can I say no?

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My Review:
2.5 stars — I’m a fast reader normally.  But rereading this series (which I probably gave higher stars than they deserved, but maybe b/c I thought something good would happen at the end) and reading this book has proved to me that I’m only a fast reader when the story is compelling.  I read it because I needed to know how Trystan and Mari’s story ended up, but I was disappointed.  Majorly disappointed.  There wasn’t much of a Trystan and Mari love story at all.  Mari is with someone else.  For like 80% of the book.  So if you were hoping for all the grown up romance, you’re probably going to be disappointed in that aspect.

I’ve discovered that I don’t think Ms. Ward’s writing style is for me.  I don’t have the patience.  This is basically like a soap opera in book form.  And that’s just not for me.  No disrespect to people who like that, there are lots of readers who do!  I just don’t happen to be one of them, so I don’t think I’m going to invest in anymore books by this author.  We’re just not a match.

Things that didn’t work for me (spoiler free): The lack of romance.  Supposedly there is a connection between them, but I felt it more in the previous series.  So on that note, if you do want to read this book, I HIGHLY recommend you read the accompanying Secret Life of Trystan Scott novella serial series to get the most out of it, otherwise you’ll be feeling lacking.

Things that didn’t work for me that are SPOILERS, so don’t read this paragraph unless you’ve read the book or don’t plan on reading the book: 1) The paranormal aspect.  I mean, seriously?  They can feel each other’s feelings through touch?  No.  Either write a paranormal or write a contemporary…I like both, but don’t add a touch just because you can’t write the appropriate chemistry between them.  2) Seth.  I was mad when he died.  And for god’s sake, if you’re going to have that be a mistake, then put some effort into it and make it believable, don’t just throw it in at the end so it’s all one big happy ending.  3) I wasn’t super keen on all the Derrick being Trystan’s brother thing, but I mostly wasn’t happy with the half-brother turning out not to be an abusive jerk too when all signs pointed in that direction.  Very inconsistent with what we learn of his character earlier on.  4) Derrick throws her engagement ring at her, and she still says yes?  Um, what?  5) She watches Derrick abuse his mother, and doesn’t tell him off?  And she’s still going to marry him.  Great backbone.  You need him to hit his mother before it’s too far?  *sigh*  6) Where’s the resolution with her father?  He was an abusive asshole who seems to still be an abusive asshole, but then it’s all “I love you Daddy” at the end?  Great character and relationship development.  7) Trystan’s father kidnaps him, after almost killing him, and the mother really wouldn’t have called the cops?  And since he apparently never changed his name, she really couldn’t find him all that time?  What about when he became famous?

Basically the problem is lack of believability.  It was a lot of sensationalism and shock value thrown in a pot without background and rationalization.  Heck, even the blurb is a bit misleading.  Strangely I didn’t have as much problem with Trystan’s issue that had him get in the accident.  I saw a lot of other reviewers were bothered by it, but it would have been ok without everything else heaped on top of it.

I just don’t have the patience for this kind of story if you’re not going to give me a good dose of romance to keep me happy.  OK, I’m tired, and this is sounding ranty, so that’s it for me.  Just not my bag, baby….

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Revealed by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
51OQCF3BZ2L._SY346_Fame has a price and Trystan doesn’t want to pay it. Everything he worked so hard to hide is about to be revealed. Nothing he can do will stop it. Within a few short hours everyone will know about his father and the sordid details of his past. Brie is by his side, sputtering things that she shouldn’t know. Did Mari stab him in the back? After everything they’ve been through, he can’t believe it, but where is she?

There are four words Trystan’s father said that haunt him—four words that he ignored—never fall in love.

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My Review:
3 stars — OK, first things first: that blurb is really misleading.  I hate that.

Second, if I didn’t know there was another followup novel in the future, this ending would seriously piss me off.  I feel like I invested in this serial (that is really kind of expensive for what you get), and we didn’t really get much of a plot at all.  It kind of felt like a soap opera where it keeps going and going, but at the end you didn’t really get much.  There was no resolution with either parents.  You got a glimmer of their futures, but I didn’t really believe it was going to all work out nice, so it felt like it just kind of ended abruptly.  And thinking of it from the other perspective, KNOWING there is another book in the future (and seeing a glimpse of what it’s supposed to be about and that they are separated) I will admit to being confused with the happy (ish) ending.  So that was kind of disappointing too.

I guess I liked reading more Trystan and Mari together, and I enjoyed seeing the Seth and Katie bits, but all in all it was just kind of unsatisfying.  Oooooo, I also really loved the Tucker stuff.  I really hope Broken Promises delivers what was missing in this serial novella series.  It was cute, but it could have been a lot shorter and with more meat.

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Shattered by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
51tseqQBbdL.jpgAfter Mari’s attempt to help Trystan goes horribly wrong they are both forced to deal with the consequences.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — Well that synopsis is horribly short.  After such a major cliffhanger, I didn’t realize that I never went on to find out what happened next (probably b/c this book wasn’t out yet), so this was my first read through!  I find that while I’m still really interested in Mari and Trystan, I’m not sure if this style of serial novella series is for me.  It feels like not enough happens in each book, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but these books definitely feel shorter than the 200 pages they claim to be.  It takes me less than 2 hours to read them.  So it doesn’t feel really satisfying.

I will say that I was kind of disappointed in the predictability of the story — totally saw what was going to happen with Brie.  Totally called Trystan briefly trying to push Mari away.  Sometimes I don’t mind a predictable storyline, but I might not be in the right frame of mind for it right now, kwim?  But I’m invested at this point, so I will finish this, I just doubt I will bother getting involved in any more of these kinds of series by this author.  It’s just not to my *personal* taste.

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Riptide by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
16125945A random hook-up isn’t enough for Trystan, not anymore.

After everything Trystan went through to tell Mari that he loves her, there is no way that he’s letting her walk away without knowing how he really feels. Every mask is stripped away making Trystan completely vulnerable. Mari’s the one girl he wants, that he knew he’d never have. But, the look on Mari’s face–the way she kissed him–makes Trystan think that confessing his feelings was worth the risk.

Shocked, Mari stands there staring at Trystan. As if it weren’t enough that Trystan is internet super star, Day Jones, but the song he wrote was about her. That was her name on the music. It was her name etched into his heart. Trystan Scott loves her.

Everything Mari wants is within reach. She just has to have enough guts to reach out and take it.

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 4.5 stars — AHHHHHH!!!! SON OF A *****!  Another cliffhanger.  The books in this series are getting better and better.  This one was fabulous.  Not only did you get some happiness with Mari and Trystan, but so much happened in such a small book.  And that ending.  GAH!  I need the next book, and I sincerely hope there aren’t many more, b/c I need closure now now NOW!  Anyways, yeah.  I really liked that they both have abusive situations at home…I think so many people, including those in the situations, downplay mental/emotional abuse…and Mari is no different.  It’s kind of nice to see that being addressed.  OK, I am somewhat disappointed that I read these now not knowing the series wasn’t complete, but I will get over it….someday….I need to start finding *completed* series….

ON REREAD: 4 stars — I wasn’t quite as enamoured as last time apparently.  I LOVED that we got to see Mari and Trystan come together, but I was disappointed in the Brie stuff…it felt kind of weird.  But I’m still really enjoying watching the two of them navigate their relationship, and holy wow did things escalate at the end!

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Backdraft by H.M. Ward

Blurb:
21687740.jpgWhen Mari realizes that Trystan is the internet megastar, Day Jones, she can’t speak. Every time she listens to his song, it leaves her feeling so much. That song is bewitching. Everyone she knows heard it. As soon as it appeared on YouTube, it went viral, and then the guy who wrote it disappeared. Despite agents and record labels trying to lure Day5705 out, he remains anonymous. No one knows who Day Jones really is—except Mari.

To Trystan’s relief, Mari agrees to keep his secret. Part of him regrets uploading the song, but when he sings to Mari the song that once brought him solace, it fills him joy. In a life like his, joy is fleeting and Trystan plans on grabbing hold whenever a shot at happiness appears. To his surprise, Mari doesn’t realize the song is about her. When Trystan tries to push her to see, he jeopardizes losing her entirely.

One misplaced kiss topples the fragile relationship, leaving Trystan reeling, trying to assemble the pieces and convincing Mari that she’s not just another conquest, even though everything he did—everything he said—makes it seem like she is. It isn’t until Mari decides that being the good girl isn’t working that things steam up. Trystan knows she wants to hook up with someone, and he doesn’t know if he should stop her. Every attempt he makes to win her over goes bad and pushes her further away.

As the world gets one day closer to tracking down Day Jones, Trystan is one day closer to graduation and leaving this life forever. If Mari doesn’t realize he loves her by then, she never will.

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 3.5 stars — Phew….I was worried it was going to be full soap opera — you know, sucks you in but never goes anywhere in the end…but at least it did move forward.  Not as much as I would have liked, but still we weren’t in the exact same place as the end of the previous book.  And we learned a bit more about both Trystan and Mari’s home life….  There was a lot of me wanting to yell at the book, but hopefully it ends with some good stuff in the next one.

ON REREAD: 4 stars — I don’t have much to add.  I really enjoyed seeing glimpses into both Trystan and Mari’s lives, and I know how much people like to drag things out, so I was really happy with the way this one ended.  I thought the miscommunication and secrets would be drawn out too long, and it was almost there, but thankfully this one ended on a high point.  Can’t wait to remember what happens next (b/c apparently 3.5 years is enough time for me to forget where the story headed from here).

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Collide by H.M. Ward

So I never ended up finishing this novella series, not really sure why…I only had one novella left.  Probably b/c they were more expensive than I wanted to pay.  But then a related novel came out and recently went on sale, so now I’m rereading it and finally going to finish this story.  I’m not sure if this format of story is really my thing, I think I only enjoy serial novella series for certain styles.  But since I have most of it, I am definitely going to find out finally how it ends!!

Blurb:
16155264When Mari accidentally overhears that Trystan is in love, she can’t believe it. He’s pining over some girl that doesn’t know he’s alive. The confident swagger and endless stream of girls is a facade. It conceals his loneliness and hides how messed up he’s really become trying to flee from a life that’s battered him to his core.

Trystan tries to figure out how to make it clear how much he loves Mari, but every insincere kiss and every broken promise haunts him, because she knows them all. Now, Trystan has to prove to the one girl he’s actually fallen in love with that she’s not just another conquest.

Mari has no idea who Trystan loves, but she can tell that whoever it is has captured his heart entirely. Soon Mari sees the man behind the mask, the guy that Trystan tries so hard to hide. Everything about him is appealing, and too hard to resist.

In a moment of desperation, Trystan uploads a love song he wrote for Mari, but before he can show it to her, the video goes viral. Everyone wants to know who he is, and the only thing shielding him is an anonymous account name and some thick shadows hiding his face. Tyrstan realizes that the consequences of revealing his identity will be disastrous. Everything he’s tried so hard to hide will be exposed. It’s a secret that is impossible to keep and the only girl who he wanted to hear it will never believe him.

The Secret Life of Trystan Scott is an addicting romance with lots of tension and steamy kisses. The story is told in 20,000 word segments. Each book is another episode, building on the previous. The books in the TRYSTAN SCOTT series will get hotter as it progresses and cross from YA into New Adult by the end of the series.

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 3.5 stars — Ah cliffhangers…at least the next book is out, otherwise that would have made me round down to 3 stars.  I really hate cliffhangers.  Just a personal thing.  This was a waffle one for me….I really had a hard time b/c I really loved Mari and Trystan…but it felt like not a lot happened and things just went back and forth with no forward progress…  In the end I love these 2 enough to get over it, but I’m hoping more happens in the next book.

I guess the other thing that has me waffling over rounding down to 3 stars is the tense issues…I’m not used to 3rd person, and it felt really confusing sometimes.  I mean, I can’t figure out if it’s just b/c I personally don’t like it, or if it was genuinely confusing and could have been cleaned up??  Weird…

ON REREAD: Still 3.5 stars — Knowing this is a serial novella series, I was prepared for the cliffy ending.  I’m not sure if this one has been updated and stupid Amazon just never sent me the updated files, but if it hasn’t been updated: beware there is a horrific amount of tense changes (past/present).  I was more easily able to get through the weird first person for Mari chapters, third person for Trystan chapters.  Maybe I’m a different reader than I was back then?

In the end I was sucked in by the mega emotions of both Mari and Trystan, particularly Trystan’s love for Mari.  It does feel a bit drawn out, but I’m willing to live with it because I liked the meat that we did get…even if I wished there was less bread.  You know, just being weird and using a strange metaphor.

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