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Review: The Hazards of Mistletoe by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: The Hazards of Mistletoe 
Series: Hazards #4
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 20 Nov 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

One snowy Christmas Eve, one mistletoe kiss, one friendship changed forever.

Don’t underestimate the power of mistletoe. It looks innocent enough, but a single branch has the potential to change your life. One mistletoe kiss led to the most embarrassing night of my life, but thankfully by the next Christmas I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be.

REVIEW 

Although we haven’t encountered the main characters in the previous books in the series, the thread of the series evolves surrounding the sorority house the girl characters belong to. the connection is strengthened with the inclusion of Jade, who if you remember played a large role in The Hazards of Sex on the Beach.

Although the story plays out in dual narrative, Glen has so many secrets it is difficult to fully understand his actions until he decides to reveal the truth.

Savannah is THAT girl where Christmas is concerned – just imagine a female version of Elf (LOL) She has a strong relationship with her parents following their divorce. Although her mother’s boyfriend is slowly undermining their relationship by excluding her from family events leading to reduced self-confidence. Savannah spends Christmas with her father and grandparents in the luxury ski resort of Vail. A picture perfect white Christmas comprising skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating and hot chocolate – the whole Christmas ideal. Right down to the handsome son of the family friends, Glen.

Somehow, Glen and Savannah manage to maintain their friendship year round although they only see each other at Christmas. It is obvious from the outset that they have an undeniable connection as well as electric chemistry. Unfortunately, when the opportunity for them to progress their relationship arrives it becomes a case of wrong time, wrong place leaving Savannah humiliated. My heart literally bled for Savannah at he way events played out, the rejection was cutting and undermined her fragile self-esteem.

The year without contact between Glen and Savannah incorporates huge changes for them both. As always, Alyssa Rose Ivy manages to convey the idea of identity beautifully within her writing. Savannah’s growth and development within the narrative helps put into perspective just how deeply events can change and shape us. Although outside opinion on the changes in Savannah tend to focus more on the negative rather than the positive without actually discussing them with her. Issues such as body image and self perception are also touched upon within the plot. Glen has his own personal growth throughout the story but for me it was Savannah that I empathized with the most.

I really liked the inclusion of Dalton and Laney, I hope to see more of them in the future. The portrayal of the family dynamics was refreshing and realistic, with divorce and re-marriage at the center.

As the events of Savannah and Glen’s reunion play out a deeper level of understanding or Glen’s actions is achieved. For all the problems in his life, he has really taken charge of his own destiny. As well as owning the regret he feels for the way he handled the situation with Savannah. Determined to at least rekindle their friendship, he embarks on a plan to woo her ;) I love the romantic wooing ;)

The Hazards of Mistletoe perfectly encompasses the ideal of the season being about forgiveness and togetherness. It is the season for romance including second chances.  The Hazards of Mistletoe is a perfect Christmas read where you can curl up on the sofa tucked in a blanket sipping hot chocolate *BLISS*

Review: For Now by Chelsea M Cameron

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: For Now
Series: Rules of Love #2
Author: Chelsea M Cameron
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 5 Nov 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Two people. A relationship with no commitment. What could go wrong?
Javier Cruz definitely isn’t relationship material, but that suits Hazel Gellar just fine. She’s not a girlfriend girl and doesn’t plan on ever being one.
But after a mind-blowing, bed-breaking night, she knows once isn’t going to be enough. Fortunately, Javi feels the same way. And it’s not just the sex. Javi is funny and complicated and Hazel loves being around him, even when he drives her nuts.
Will she and Javi make the choice to be together for longer than just right NOW? Or will their hangups about romance be the end?

Received from InkSlingerPR

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REVIEW 

We have already met Hazel and Javier in For Real as Shannon and Jett’s roommates and best friends. the chemistry between the pair is off the charts from the beginning. Being thrown together in social situations due to their friends things are obviously going to boil over with the two of them.

Told form Hazel’s point of view you gain insight into her reluctance to form any sort of relationship with Javi. His reputation does little to assuage Hazel’s doubts, plus I found his natural talent for innuendo did little to redeem his credibility. I would have loved to have seen some pivotal plot points from Javi’s point of view but alas it was not to be :(

Although I found the story a little slow to start and the ensuing relationship a little confusing I loved watching the characters personalities unfold. The deeper understanding of them and the barriers they had in place enabled a deeper connection to them. Both Hazel and Javi are complex characters whose layers were slowly peeled back throughout the narrative. There is so much more to them than first impressions would suggest, especially with Javi.

I really liked Chelsea’s portrayal of dysfunctional families within these stories. Although there may have been a lack of nurturing within their lives, leading to emotional barriers, they can be overcome with the help of tender, loving care. That family isn’t necessarily about the people you are related to by blood. As well as the way fate/destiny plays its part in the fact that everything happens for a reason.

It was fantastic to see the appearance of Jett and Shannon as well as the development of their relationship.

I have to say the best thing was the way in which the ending played out. I ADORED IT. With each passing sentence you could see the future unfold :)

Books I’ve Read: The Prelude by KaSonndra Leigh

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Prelude
Series: A Musical Interlude #1
Author: KaSonndra Leigh
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 2013
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

After finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.

Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms…or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.

Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.

Music, passion, betrayal and forbidden love spun together in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

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 You are probably aware that I have a ‘thing’ for books that feature rock stars what you may not be aware of is I like anything with music in. Aside from books my life tends to revolve around music and I have very eclectic tastes :-D

The Prelude not only fed my love of music it immersed me in the world of symphonies, musical genius and costume design alongside the sinister world of crime. Topped off with the stunning setting of Milan.

The characters are magnetic, each with their own baggage weighing them down and preventing them for fully embracing their future. I have to say I am quite envious of just how talented these characters are. The dual narrative adds depth to the events as well as the characters themselves. Although the progression of the relationship was a little unrealistic, in my opinion, that doesn’t mean to say I wasn’t rooting for Erin and Alek all the way through.

Tragedy can alter the course of your life and yet lead you to exactly where you should be and who you are supposed to be with ;)  Surprise plot twists lead to the idea of fate/destiny intertwining peoples lives in unimaginable ways.

The writing is beautifully descriptive bringing to live the stunning imagery while encompassing the senses.

The Prelude brings to live a world most of us can only dream about add to that a sizzling romance and you have a book to feed both your emotions and your imagination.

Books I’ve Read: Crisis in Cali by Nicole Williams

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Crisis in Cali
Series: Great Exploitations
Author: Nicole Williams
Publisher: Self Pulished
Publication Date:
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

In the fifth and final conclusion of the Great Exploitations series, find out what will happen to Eve, the career she’s spent five years devoted to, and the man who betrayed her in the worst possible way. In the world she’s spun for herself, nothing’s as it seems . . .

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Finally, Finally the amazing conclusion to Eve’s story. I feel like I have waited forever to see if all my hopes and wishes for Eve would come to fruition. Despite Eve’s profession her innate kindness and compassion shine through. I adore Eve and wanted her to get her HEA anyway she could.

Henry has steadily grown on me with each story, even though there is the cloud overshadowing his past with Eve you can’t help but think there is more to the story than initial impression permit.

I devoured this story as fast as humanly possible, desperate to have all my assumptions confirmed. I have to say Nicole exceeded every expectation ;) I found myself smiley like a sappy fool while reading. Don’t you just love when that happens.

 That’s all I’m giving you – you need to go read it and guess what you lucky people – you don’t have to wait an eternity to complete Eve’s journey – it’s all out there waiting for you :)

Review: Captured Love by Juliana Haygert

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Captured Love
Author: Juliana Haygert
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 10 Nov 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

It’s been four years since twenty-year-old Jessica Hayes has been home, but when she discovers her father is dying, she must return to her hometown in South Carolina and face her past. Jessica thought patching up her relationship with her father would be her biggest challenge, but when she runs into Ryan Dawson—the catalyst of all her problems—she wonders if coming home was a mistake.

Ryan knows he screwed up. Hell, he paid the price…with interest. But when he runs into his best friend’s little sister, Jessica, he’s reminded that his debt will never truly be paid. He may have turned his life around, but he can’t undo the damage. So, he does what he should have done all those years ago. He stays away from Jessica, and all the other personal demons that still haunt him.

Jessica thought she wanted nothing to with Ryan, but something is different about him and she needs to know why. When she discovers the truth behind his change, she puts her troubles aside and tries to help him. But is putting her heart back in the line of fire worth disrupting her stable life back in Ohio, or will the past repeat itself, leaving her brokenhearted once again?

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REVIEW 

OK so I have to say that when I first saw the synopsis I was completely terrified that this was going to feature one of my reading limits – CHEATING – however, I have to say that the story is so compelling you can put aside any preconceived notions you have. The dual narrative obviously aids the understanding and empathy towards the characters.

I adored Jessica from the beginning, my hear hurt for her, the impact the events four years ago has taken it’s toll on her ability to open herself up to people. As the reasons for her barriers are revealed you can’t help but feel her decision were necessary and in fact support the way she conducts her life. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to move on, something she really needs to do – achieve closure in order to move forward with her life.

While it is easy to lay all blame at Ryan’s feet; as we get to know him better by seeing things from his perspective we can achieve a level of understanding and compassion for the impact the events had on him.  Little by little it is possible to move past the events that lead to where he is today.

Jessica’s ability to look past her own hurt in order to be able to help others, specifically Ryan, absolutely blew me away. She is inspirational. Putting aside her own feelings in order to help Ryan repair the damage in his life was such an unselfish act – she is a role model on how to be a compassionate human being, restoring faith in human nature :)

The narrative mixes the past and present together providing a roundness to the story as a whole.

Captured Love is a compelling story, so compelling in fact I read it in one sitting late into the night. the characters are so engaging you won’t be able to let the story go until the last page. The plot is fast paced and emotional on a number of levels. Captured Love encompasses first love, second chances, misunderstandings, mis-communication and most importantly forgiveness and compassion.