The Liar Charms by Lorain O’Neil

Published: 12th December 2013 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Self-published
Pages: 226
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Suspense
★   ★   ★  ★  – 4 Stars

Remy’s been kidnapped. Sent to auction! And she doesn’t have the vaguest idea why.

But intractable businessman Isaiah Grommet knows, knows what he’s purchased, knows what Remy was bred for, knows what she is: a Liar Charm. Some training from Pakken, Inc., and Remy will be invaluable to his billionaire’s empire. Voluntary or not.

But hipster Remy has her own snarkily colorful ideas about enslaved servitude and she’s NOT seeking corporate approval. So as long as Pakken doesn’t find out what Remy REALLY is, what Isaiah accidentally did that regrettably requires her immediate execution, Remy might just land it all smack in the Hudson! Either way, get ready for Charmocalypse, Isaiah!

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading but by the end I was fascinated and wanted more.  The story is humorous and there is a wonderful level of sarcasm and defiance that makes it an entertaining read.

 The concept is intriguing and well thought out, and the characters are unique. O’Neil uses the dialogue and narrative well to establish who characters are and what kinds of people they are, and while not every character is explored as much as others it doesn’t really matter because an understanding of who they are is evident without needing more detail.

The narrative is written with three points of view and while it can be briefly confusing working out who is narrating when it switches, it doesn’t take long to work out. This is a great approach as various perspectives of the same issue can be expressed and there is not just a “victim” or a “villain” point of view.

The writing is clever and O’Neil is very good at making sure the reader’s sympathies are in the right place. The goal is always to root for the underdog but the writing is so well constructed that there are a lot of times when you almost have sympathy for Isaiah and find yourself coming around to his way of thinking. But what I loved is that every time I found myself almost understanding Isaiah, Remy would say or do something that sling shotted my support back to her.

Remy is a wonderful character, she is smart and resourceful, but she is also clever, calculating, and extremely patient. She is determined to do what she has to do in order to improve her current situation no matter what the cost. Remy’s intellect is evident throughout as well and she is aware of how Isaiah and others try to manipulate her and her emotions in order to gain sympathy or lull her into compliance. This is where Isaiah’s words become quite convincing and you realise how easy it would be for Remy to accept her fate.

In terms of the Charms and their abilities, their purpose and capabilities are explored seamlessly through the narrative. Any explanation that is required is worked into the dialogue and narrative eliminating any awkward paragraphs in order to explain things to the reader. From the start it is hinted at that Remy is more special than most, and when this reason is finally revealed we are given insight into what this means but I would have loved to have seen this explored further. There is enough to make it interesting and it is quite clearly explained but the story is so intriguing that there is always a desire to have more information and see more of Remy’s abilities demonstrated and see her wreak some havoc.

This was the case towards the end as well; while the conclusion was done well, I would have loved to have had the story drawn out further and expanded on. Having said that, the way O’Neil concludes the story is wonderful and I finished it wanting to never finish it which is never a bad thing.

You can purchase Liar Charms via the following

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Icy Pretty Love by L. A. Rose + Giveaway

Published: 15th November 2014
Goodreads badgePublisher: Self Published
Pages: 174
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Romance
★   ★   ★  ★   ★  – 5 Stars
Icy Pretty Love Cover - compact

Glass-doll beauty. A shy, proper smile. Georgette Montgomery is the perfect billionaire’s fiancé.

Or she would be, if she existed.

A dark past. A smile that hides everything. At nineteen, Rae Grove escapes her disaster life by pretending to be other people—specifically, whoever the man paying her that night wants her to be.

Until she’s offered enough money for a one-way ticket to a better life. All she has to do is fly to Paris and pretend to be the fiancé of young business tycoon Cohen Ashworth for one month. Within an hour of meeting Cohen, Rae knows three things about him:

1. He hates everyone and everything.

2. He has abundant wit and a knife-sharp tongue.

3. He uses 2 to make everyone aware of 1.

Before long, Rae’s determined to crack open his unbreakable shell. Cohen’s determined to stay unbroken.

But no one escapes unscathed when two opposite worlds collide.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review

This is a great novel. As she has demonstrated with her other novels, Rose is brilliant at telling a story and she uses her characters to tell her stories wonderfully. With Icy Pretty Love she offers something a bit different than before, but with the same style and skill as I have come to expect from her writing.

The story is not intense or even too serious but it is heart warming and the characters draw you in and you become involved in their lives and who they are as people; complexities, flaws, and strengths included. Rose has created characters that are real people, they are not overly special and held to a pedestal, they just are people, and they are trying to deal with their lives as best they can. Cohen and Rae have different lives, different pasts, and see the world through their own eyes and Rose contrasts these beautifully, using Rae to showcase their differences but also keeps their experiences and interactions grounded, making them authentic.

There is a greater focus on character exploration and development than on a sexual side as seen in Rose’s previous books, which is great if you are not a fan of detailed sex scenes or a strong reoccurrence of them, but this story isn’t actually about the sexual relationship between Rae and Cohen, or even romantic relationship essentially. It is about them discovering who they are as people, what they are doing with their lives and where they want to go. Perhaps that is why I loved it so much, Rae shows Cohen that there is beauty in the world and that being nice to people is important instead of being negative and horrible all the time. They learn and grow from being in each other’s company, some more than others, and they help to improve their lives and benefit from their time together.

Cohen comes across as rough and arrogant but even from the start there is something about him that makes you wonder, something secretive and unspoken, not just in his actions but in himself that hint that maybe his rough exterior is more mask than true nature. Granted he isn’t completely wonderful, but Rae brings new life into his world and with her optimism she aims to turn his view around. Rae notes multiple times it is hard not to keep sounding like a self help book in doing so but she is right about many things she tells Cohen, and as the month passes together you see their influences on one another flourish.

Cohen also hides a secret, and while I thought it was going in one direction, when I realised it wasn’t I was more intrigued to find out what it could possibly be, and I was not disappointed. Rose balances out the content in this story remarkably well and includes the information that is needed for the story while not keeping the mystery the focus of the narrative or making it a key point.

As for Rae, I loved her. She takes life as it is, tries to better herself, and even though she has had a rough life she does not let it get her down, instead she learns from it and it makes her strive harder. She also does not let it dampen her view of the world though she is not ignorant of the bad that does exists, and it was touching reading about her reactions as she explores Paris. Knowing where she has come from to where she ends up is a moment that makes you proud of her, and glad she has been given the chance she has.

Watching Rae influence Cohen is charming and captivating, as Cohen keeps his secrets close and you watch the pair get to know one another and figure out how their strange relationship will work. The characters are truly gorgeous, and the stories than surround them are divine. They are authentic, hopeful, lost, genuine, and Rose makes sure there is no exaggeration in her words that fault the flow of her narrative.

The negative moments of the story are balanced and there is not an overload of sunshine and lollipops but there is a strong grounded reality in the story Rose is telling us. There are secrets, revelations, surprises, and a wonderfully heart warming and real story being told and one that I look forward to reading again. Once again Rose has done a magnificent job.

You can purchase Icy Pretty Love via the following

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Kobo

Giveaway

Giveaway

As part of her blog tour Rose is offering up ten ecopies of Icy Pretty Love.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the author:

L.A. Rose recently made it out of college alive and with an English degree. She’s a habitual beach bum, a cuteness aficionado, and a not-quite-recovered romance addict. She’s a big believer in laughter as medicine and steaminess as…more medicine. You can never have enough medicine. Icy Pretty Love is her third New Adult standalone.

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Release Day Blitz: The Donor by Nikki Rae

Today marks the release of the complete novella The Donor by Nikki Rae!

Nikki is having an Facebook party to celebrate and she is also running a competition to win signed goodies if you send her a review of her book. Details are below.

To read my reviews of each installment just follow the links

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

 

 

Final Full Wrap of The Donor

 

 

About the Author

meneddieNikki Rae is a writer who lives in New Jersey. As an independent author, she has appeared numerously on Amazon Best Seller lists and she concentrates on making her imaginary characters as real as possible. Nikki writes mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely.

 

I had never seen...

 

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Donor Review Flyer

 

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James Games by L. A. Rose

Published: 30th September 2014
Goodreads badgePublisher: Self Published
Pages: 243
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult Romance
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

James Games CoverEvery year, the girls of Phi Delta Chi, Fiona Arlett’s dream sorority, hold a competition.
The prize?
James Reid, king size bar of eye candy and famous actor turned haughty undergrad.
The rules?
No girl but the winner can touch him.
The problem?
Fiona miiight have unknowingly banged his brains out last week.
Losing the competition may mean wearing a chicken suit to the sexiest Halloween costume contest, but she’d rather have feathers up her butt than let the truth out.
Unfortunately, she and James have lots in common and more chemistry than the science wing. Soon they’re sneaking around behind the backs of UCSD’s hottest and most vengeful girls.
If they find out?
Fiona’s screwed.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

The story Rose has created is one that is very addictive, and it is one that is engaging and easy to read. There is a wonderful pace to the story and nothing is rushed, nor is it drawn out. There is depth to the characters and not everything about them is revealed immediately, with more information about who they are emerging as the story goes on. This gives a realistic feel to the novel where things are learnt about people gradually, not in a single moment and typically only as a friendship develops.

As a character Fiona can come across as arrogant, but she is more self assured and confident. She has a determination and stubbornness that can get her into trouble but she is also enjoying life and emits joy which makes her fun to read about. It was great to see her grow as the novel progressed, and it is clear towards the end that while she has not exactly changed who she is, she has learnt from her experiences and instead becomes more comfortable in herself and in her life. This calms her down a bit but does not remove the confidence she had before and she is certainly wiser in its use.

I liked that at no point did Rose indicate any real judgement towards Fiona’s actions or make it a bad thing, instead we understand why she behaves like she does and what it is she is looking for in life. As adults in college there is no reason to doubt they are able to make their own decisions but Rose also makes it evident they are still young, a combination that makes for great reading and understanding to why they do what they do.

What I really liked about this story was that it wasn’t what I was expecting. The characters are different and detailed, with complications of their own and personalities that both clash and work well with others. I also loved the story. Rose could easily have gone a different way with this but instead it has a complexity and depth that makes it unique while still being light and fun to read, and with characters that are so different from one another and that have such depth themselves, it only works to its advantage.

In particular I really liked the relationship between Fiona and James, even at the very start. Together they work well but it is their own personalities and histories that make them great, James especially. His past and secretive nature makes him protective of himself, and there is a charming but tough when necessary side to him that makes him admirable and likeable. Compared to Fiona’s outgoing nature they balance each other well, influencing one another and bringing out more in each of them.

One part I both liked and didn’t like was that for me, it highlights the ridiculousness and cruelty of sororities. In a confusing way it made the story great but it also pointed out how stupid they can be. But looking at characters like Brooklyn it is clear the hazing and ridiculous activities is not what the sorority was intended to be, and it is certainly isolated to a few members, not the group as a whole.  But it shows just how horrible and demeaning they can be, bringing down people and making them subservient and under the control of others who are deemed higher ranking. I’m glad Rose made a point of showing the outcome of hazing and the effect it can have on people when it taken too far, it really added another depth to the story and it is woven skilfully into other elements of the narrative as well.

I am glad this book was nothing like I expected, it became a lot more but without taking away the essence of what it is trying to be either. It is light and fun but also serious and meaningful meaning it has the ideal balance and creates a great reality for the characters and something believable for the readers as well. When you finish you can’t help but admire the characters and you certainly admire Rose for what she has created, and with the revelations of secrets and twists and the unexpected, there is never a moment of disinterest.

 

Purchase James Games at the following places

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Spotlight: James Games by L. A. Rose

Title: JAMES GAMES

Genre: NA Romance

Author: L.A. Rose

Release Date: 30th September, 2014

Synopsis:

Every year, the girls of Phi Delta Chi, Fiona Arlett’s dream sorority, hold a competition.

The prize?

James Games CoverJames Reid, king size bar of eye candy and famous actor turned haughty undergrad.

The rules?

No girl but the winner can touch him.

The problem?

Fiona miiight have unknowingly banged his brains out last week.

Losing the competition may mean wearing a chicken suit to the sexiest Halloween costume contest, but she’d rather have feathers up her butt than let the truth out.

Unfortunately, she and James have lots in common and more chemistry than the science wing. Soon they’re sneaking around behind the backs of UCSD’s hottest and most vengeful girls.

If they find out?

Fiona’s screwed.

~

Excerpt:

“Leave,” James repeats. The word sweeps over the boys surrounding me like an icy cold breeze from the asscrack of Antarctica. He’s really got the serial killer vibe going on. Even I have to resist the urge to jump up and run for the hills. I don’t blame my harem for scattering, leaving me sitting exposed and undefended on the counter, at the mercy of James Reid.

I point at him. “You scared away my harem.”

“Those guys were looking at you like you’re a piece of meat.” His tone is thick with disgust.

“Technically I am a piece of meat. Plus bones and stuff. Also, don’t you think that’s a bit hypocritical?”

I expect him to scoff at this, to shrug it off or deny it. Instead he cuts his eyes away from me. “I’m sorry,” he says finally. “I shouldn’t have jump—”

“Jump-started my car for me,” I interrupted loudly, fully aware that Sigrid is straining to listen in on our conversation, even if she is across the room. “You’re right. You should have just let me take it to the shop. Some things should be done by professionals.”

A ghost of a smile traces its way upward from the corners of his lips. It’s the first time I’ve seen him smile, and damn, is it dangerous. I swallow and look away. “Although—even though I know that I shouldn’t have let you near my car, and you’re definitely not coming near it again, you don’t need to apologize. At the time, I really wanted you to jump-start my car.”

My phone buzzes. I glance down. A text from Iris. Think of a better euphemism. You’re not being subtle.

“Did you just say I’m not a professional?” he asks, leaning one-handed on the counter so that his thumb is bare inches away from my thigh. He’s close enough to count the goose pimples that appear on my skin.

“Definitely an amateur,” I smirk.

His hand inches closer. “Why don’t you call me next time your car needs some work done and I’ll show you more of what I’m capable of.”

~

Giveaway
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to win a copy of James Games!

About the author:

L.A. Rose recently made it out of college alive and with an English degree. She’s a habitual beach bum, a cuteness aficionado, and a not-quite-recovered romance addict. She’s a big believer in laughter as medicine and steaminess as…more medicine. You can never have enough medicine. James Games is her second New Adult standalone, and her next release, Icy Pretty Love, will be out 15th November 2014.

 

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