Every Which Way & Breaking the Wrong by Calia Read

"You should never show your emotions. Someone will steal them away, and you’ll be left with nothing, Severine...”

Severine Blake has one rule when it comes to relationships - never let anyone get too close. She is a serial dater whose relationships never last beyond a few dates and that's how she likes it. No one gets hurt that way and no one gets under her skin. She has learned from her own mother and father's relationship that love only leads to heartbreak and she is determined to remain in control.

All that changes when she meets the Sloan brothers - Thayer and Macsen. Thayer and Macsen couldn't be any more different from each other. Thayer is the star athlete who is cocky, confident, and used to getting what he wants. Macsen is studious, calm, and has a personality that instantly puts Severine at ease. She is instantly drawn to Macsen, but can't seem to get Thayer out of her mind. Thayer seems to get Severine in a way that no one else ever has, but they are too similar and find themselves in a seemingly never ending battle of wills. Adding to the mix is the mystery of the Sloan brothers' pasts and the source of the animosity between the two and their older brother, Mathias. From the minute they meet, Severine believes she has the Sloan brothers pegged. She knows which brother she needs to stay away from and which one is the "good" brother. Or so she thinks...

Despite her attraction to Thayer, Severine finds that Macsen is the balm to her wild and damaged soul and finds herself breaking her own rule. She wants to let Macsen in and hopes that he has been everything she has been looking for. However when Macsen makes an unforgivable mistake, Severine learns that she doesn't have everything figured out and what she thought she knew was completely wrong. Heartbroken and lost, she finds herself turning to Thayer for comfort. The attraction between the two of them intensifies, but Severine is hesitant to start anything and have her heart broken again. As the clash between the brothers over Severine comes to a head, she must make a decision between the two and finally learn to trust herself and her heart.

"She was discovering that it was okay to be wrong. Because when you’re wrong, you discover all the things you should’ve done."

I really liked this book. The brothers were interesting characters and even I was fooled by my initial impression of the Sloan brothers. My one qualm with the book was that it took too long for the reasons behind the character's baggage to come out. It was clear from the beginning that they were all damaged, but it took a little to long for the reasons behind this damage to come out and I found myself somewhat frustrated. This left me unsympathetic towards the characters at times because I didn't have the necessary background to understand their motives. I found this to be particularly true with Severine at several points throughout the story and the constant indecision had me feel like I was watching a tennis match. However when more came out about the relationship Severine had with her parents (and they with each other), her behavior made more sense to me and I was able to better relation and sympathize with her. I do wish more details about the Sloan brothers' history had been revealed. At times their story(ies) felt brushed over, like they were being saved for later, and I am hoping that the subsequent novels give us a much fuller picture. Nevertheless, Every Which Way was a solid 3 star read for me.


"If everyone knew the truth, no one would really ask for love. But when it drops into your life, you can only hope that you have enough strength to hang on."

Emilia Wentworth will do anything to avenge her sister, including creating a burn list of all the people who wronged her family and her sister and seeking revenge for their transgressions. Over the past 3 years, Emilia has worked her way through the list and now there is only one name left, the worst of the transgressors - Macsen Sloan. Determined to make him pay, Emilia transfers to the same college as Macsen and begins plotting how to make him pay. But the more and more Emilia gets to know Macsen, the more she begins to doubt whether he is truly capable of hurting her sister in the way that he is accused. She even finds herself falling for him. Macsen, completely unaware of Emilia's intentions, finds himself opening up to Emilia in a way that he never has before. When the truth is finally revealed, Emilia and Macsen find their worlds turned upside down and their relationship teetering on the point of destruction. In order to save their relationship, both will need to move past the lies and the betrayal and embrace the truth...and each other.

While I liked Every Which Way, I LOVED Breaking the Wrong! It was by far the better book of the two. I love Macsen and there were plenty of steamy scenes in this book. The characters were much better developed in this book and it was full of plot twists and turns, most of which I did not see coming. This was definitely a page turner for me and I didn't want to stop until I reached the end, only to find myself wanting to start over and read it again. Breaking the Wrong gets 4 stars from me!


If you want more Sloan Brothers...

Make sure to check out Calia Read's blog after you have finished Breaking the Wrong for the Epilogue. Warning - it does contain some potential spoilers, so do not read it before finishing Breaking the Wrong!

Book three: Ruin You Completely is scheduled to be released this summer and will focus on Mathias, the most damaged of the three Sloan brothers. According to Read's blog, we can also expect a fourth book to focus on Thayer's story sometime in late 2013.

I, of course, will be picking these bad boys (pun intended) up as soon as they are released! ;)


Fallen Series by Lauren Kate

When I first started this series I did struggle through it a bit, not because of writing or story, but because I quickly recognized the YA Paranormal series pattern, which unfortunately can make the general plot (although not necessarily the details) somewhat predictable. They all seem to follow the same formula. In book one, the human and the paranormal meet and are drawn inexplicably to each other, despite the fact that a romance between the two is forbidden. Despite the obstacles, they fall in love and must begin to face the consequences of their love. In book two, forces greater than the lovers test their relationship and the lovers are torn apart. Enter the friend, who our heroine (for some reason its always the girl) develops feelings for in the absence of the hero. Book three finds the lovers back together, gearing up for the inevitable epic battle that is coming. Our heroine must reconcile her feelings and choose once and for all between the hero and the friend, which of course results in a lot of testosterone filled pissing contests and endless amounts of guilt felt by our heroine. 

Book four of course is the epic conclusion and often the book that requires the biggest jump into the paranormal "fantasy," as things happen that often lead me to tilt my head to the side and say "Hang on...that's not really possible." Case-in-point example: Edward Cullen from Twilight, a dead vampire, somehow being able to father live offspring. These events generally make no logical sense and require one to "turn off" that part of your brain. Nevertheless, the series always ends the same way - the star-crossed lovers live happily ever after, which generally makes me very happy. I find myself in somewhat of a paranormal romance rut, feeling like I have read the same story over and over, which is why I think I initially struggled with the series. However, the Fallen series does take some deviations from the standard formula and I was able to get over my initial issues and in the end enjoy the series. If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend picking this one up.

Warning: Review contains some spoilers, so proceed with caution!!

Fallen is the first in the series of four books that tell the story of Lucinda "Luce" Price. Luce finds herself at Sword & Cross, a boarding school for delinquents, after a fellow classmate at her previous school dies in a mysterious way. Luce, being the only other person present, can't remember what happened and is riddled with guilt at the thought of being the cause of the death. When she arrives at Sword & Cross, Luce meets Daniel Grigori and feels an instant connection to him, like they have met before. She is drawn to him in a way that she does not fully understand, but Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce. One thing is for sure, Daniel is not like other boys and Luce is determined to figure out his secret. Luce is distracted from her obsession of Daniel by Cameron "Cam" Briel, another mysterious bad boy, who is equally determined to have Luce for himself. Luce feels a connection with Cam, but knows that it is no where near the pull she feels towards Daniel. As Luce unravels more and more of the mystery surrounding Daniel, she discovers that he is a Fallen Angel and part of an epic struggle between Heaven and Hell, a conflict that she somehow is destined to play a part in.

Fallen certainly hooked me into the series. The story is very well written and the characters are interesting and fun. My only real issue with the story was that it took too long for Daniel and Luce to finally "get together" and I wished they had had more time together before the resulting consequences of their relationship caught up with them. Daniel was somewhat of frustrating character for me in this book. He is so closed off, and although I know he is doing it to protect Luce, it is clear that this is only going to push Luce away. The relationship was a little to hot and cold, hot and cold for me at times. Of course, just when I was really getting into the story and Daniel and Luce's relationship seemed like it was actually going to go somewhere, the book ended, making me extremely glad that the next book was out and I didn't have to wait. Or not...

In Torment, Luce finds herself at Shoreline, a school for Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels and humans), alone and without Daniel. Daniel has sent her to Shoreline for her protection while he tracks down the Outcasts, just one of the many groups after Luce. At Shoreline, Luce learns more about the Shadows (a.k.a. Announcers) and how to manipulate them, allowing her glimpses into her past lives. However the more she learns the more she realizes Daniel is withholding from her. Luce becomes increasingly frustrated with Daniel and begins to question everything about their relationship. Luce knows that she loves Daniel. He is her true love, but she finds it harder and harder to trust Daniel. Adding to the confusion is the feelings Luce develops for her friend, Miles, a Nephilim she meets at Shoreline. He makes her feel things she wishes she could have with Daniel - with him, love would be easy. Luce is more determined than ever to figure out her past and get the answers that have so long been denied to her. Something is building - the epic clash is coming. Luce knows her time is running out and she is desperate for answers, even it if means leaving Daniel behind.

Torment is aptly named...it was a complete torment and my least favorite of the series. Throughout the book, Daniel and Luce's relationship swings from blinding passion to dissolving into yet another argument  I totally felt for Luce in this book and was just as frustrated with Daniel and his closed off ways. It all felt very condescending at times - Daniel "protecting" Luce by keeping her in the dark and then surprised when she pushed the boundaries he set. At times it was hard to keep in mind that maybe there was a reason for his evasiveness. Of course, this "trouble in paradise" leads to the inevitable love triangle (or really rectangle in this case) as our heroine develops feelings for someone who is clearly the easier choice. This becomes more and more frustrating to me the more series I read like this and is becoming somewhat of a pet peeve.

If their love is so epic, why do we need the third wheel? I suppose it introduces a new level of drama to the story - like will they really end up together or not? - but all it really does is result in heartbreak for the "Paris" character (you know...from Shakespeare...the one who is supposed to take the place of Romeo, but doesn't really matter in the long run). I suppose it revs up the angst factor, which let's face it, is one of the things that I love about reading this genre, but sometimes I find myself saying enough is enough. Isn't there enough epic things going on? Do we really need this too? Just for once, can't we just be certain that the lovers will end up together...I mean they always do in the end. Why must we suffer through all this?? I mean don't get me wrong, I like Miles. I would love to see him end up with a sweet girl, but he is never going to compare with Daniel. Why even bother? Paris could never compete with Romeo, Jacob had no chance against Edward, who would chose Scott over Patch? The whole point of an epic love story is that it is EPIC - that nothing can eclipse the love of the star-crossed lovers. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous and frankly ticks me off a bit. After finishing book two, I felt fairly certain that this series was going to follow the standard formula and was considering tabling the series. However, my friend Erlynn (Books Hug Back!), who had already read the series, encouraged me to keep going and I am glad that she did.

In Passion, Luce uses the Announcers to travel back in time to witness her past lives and deaths, hoping to understand the curse that has haunted her and Daniel across millennium. Luce is desperate to know that the love she and Daniel shares is more than just a result of the curse and hopes to find a way to end the curse and stay with Daniel in her current life. Luce receives help from an unlikely source throughout her journey, but discovers that not everyone is who they say that they are. Just as Luce realizes this, she is poised to make a decision that could change everything. The consequences of her decision will be the catalyst for the beginning of the epic clash between Heaven and Hell. Meanwhile, Daniel chases through the past after Luce, fearful that her actions will alter the future. Always arriving a minute too late, Daniel is forced to look at the past he shares with Luce and finds some unexpected lessons to be learned. He discovers that Luce may not be the one responsible for creating the loophole that could potentially spare the Lucinda from this life - his Lucinda - from the fate that befell all of her past reincarnations. However just as Daniel gets Luce back, an even greater event looms on the horizon that not only threatens Daniel and Luce, but the fate of everyone.

Passion redeemed this whole series for me and it was my favorite by far out of the entire series. For once, it did not follow the stereotypical format! I loved this book and loved traveling through time with Luce as she discovered over and over again through her past lives and deaths the truth of her and Daniel's love. I thought that I was going to have to sit through the torture of the "third wheel" resolution, but Miles played a very small part in this book. The realizations that Luce experiences in this book so cement Daniel and Luce as soul mates that it leaves no question that they belong to one another and virtually eliminates the need to pursue the "love interest" story lines any further. This naturally made me a very happy camper and cemented me as a fan of Team Daniel (and Luce too).

Fallen In Love tells the love stories of four couples from the Fallen series and how their love stories intersect on Valentine's Day in medieval Europe. This is a nice little diversion from the series and I enjoyed seeing the beginning of what I hope will be a happy ending for some (Miles and Shelby), while learning about the tragic loves experienced by some of the fallen angels (Cam, Roland, and Arriane). It ends of course with the love story experienced by Luce and Daniel in that lifetime - the only lifetime where they are able to spend Valentine's Day together. This novella doesn't really add anything to the overall story of the series, but it does offer some insights into the angels and glimpses of their lives after the fall. If you are a fan of the books you will probably enjoy this.

The series concludes with Rapture. Luce has returned from her journey through her past lives more convinced than ever that Daniel is her soul mate and with a greater understanding of who she is and the curse. Just as the two lovers are finally reunited, Luce and Daniel find themselves facing a possibly longer separation. Lucifer has traveled back in time to the original Falling and devised a plan to erase not only the history of Luce and Daniel, but the history of the world since the time of the Fall. As Luce and Daniel fly across the world searching for 3 relics that will reveal the location of where the angels fell to Earth, they will find allies in unexpected places and lose those close to them along the way. At the conclusion of their quest, Luce finally uncovers that last part of her past and learns her true identity and the truth behind the curse. The curse has never been about Daniel. It has always been about her and when Heaven calls upon Luce and Daniel to make their final decision between Heaven and Hell, their choice will be the most important of their lives.

Overall I was happy with how the series ended, but I was left wanting just a little bit. I never got a sense of urgency or suspense while Luce, Daniel, and the Angels searched for the relics. With a nine day time limit, I expected to feel more suspense, but I never found myself questioning whether or not they would make it because it was plainly obvious that they would! This hampered the excitement factor. This book was somewhat predictable and it was fairly easy to figure out where it was going and what the "twist" would be. But Daniel and Luce do get their happy ending and join my list of favorite star-crossed lovers, so I find myself not terribly disappointed! This series is well worth the read.


Nominations for the Liebster Award

Thank you to Sophia from Gobbledygook Book Hooked and Julie from Books and Insomnia for my nomination for the Liebster Award. The purpose of the Liebster Award is to get blogs with less than 200 followers noticed.

The Rules
1.Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been chosen.
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.

Questions from the Nominator:
1. Why do you have a blog?
I have a blog because I love sharing my thoughts about books. It's one of the things that I miss most about college - being in a room with my fellow students and sharing ideas/debating books. It also helps me keep track of all the books I read and find new books to read.

2. Roughly how many books have you read in the past year?
Last year I read 75 books and this year's goal is 80 books. So far I've read 36 books towards this goal. I'm thinking that I might need to increase my target!

3. What/who inspires you the most?
This changes from day to day...my family, my friends, my students, a quote from a book, a song on the radio...

4. How often do you read?
Every day!

5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely not a morning person! 

6. What's the most recent book you read?
I just finished Never Too Far by Abbi Glines. It's a follow up to Fallen Too Far. Excellent Mature YA series if you are into that genre. Rush is so freaking hot!!

7. What is your favorite book of all time?
Tie between Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

8. What's one book that you hated & why?
The only book that I have never been able to finish is Angela's Ashes. I just couldn't get through it. Your life sucked, I get it! Move on!

9. What's your favorite colour?
Depends on my mood...usually blue, purple or green.

10. Who is your favorite author?
Jane Austen, hands down

11. What's your most embarrassing/best moment?
So many embarrassing moments! I'm a bit of a klutz, so I tend to fall down a lot. As for the best moment...again a lot to choose from...lots of good moments spent with family and friends.

11 Random Facts:
1. My eyes are blue.
2. I was born in October.
3. I am the oldest of 3 and the only girl.
4. Peanut butter is my favorite food.
5. I have a birth mark in between my toes on my left foot.
6. I have always wanted to get a tattoo.
7. I carry at least one chap stick with me at all times.
8. I'm allergic to chalk dust.
9. I hate peas.
10. My favorite song is Moon River.
11. Sunscreen is my best friend due to my very Irish heritage.

11 Questions for my nominees:
1. Who is your favorite author?
2. If you could meet any character from a book you have read, who would it be and why?
3. Have you ever read a book and wished for a different ending? If so, which book and why?
4. What is your favorite book of all time?
5. What is your preferred book format? E-book? Actual book? Both?
6. True or False: The book is always better than the movie.
7. What is your favorite genre to read?
8. How do you choose which books you read?
9. Why do you blog?
10. Which do you prefer when reading...coffee or tea?
11. What is your favorite book that you read recently?

My nominees:
Books Hug Back!
That Teenage Feeling

Follow my blog and I will return the favor!


The Faith and Fate of David Ghent by Maren Dille

Welcome to Book Lover's Paradise! Today's feature author is Maren Dille, author of The Faith and Fate of David Ghent.

Maren grew up in Rochester, NY, which is one of the reasons a lot of her work is set in the East. It's a beautiful city, and she is lucky enough to make it back east at least once a year. She moved to Provo, UT to attend Brigham Young University in 2004. Meanwhile, she received a license in cosmetology in 2006, and graduated with a B.S. in Home and Family Living-Clothing and Textiles in 2009. After graduation, Maren worked as a cosmetologist/barber, while her husband finished his own degree in Special Education. After he graduated, they settled in Spanish Fork, UT, where they plan on staying for a long time.

Now Maren is a stay-at-home mom, part-time piano teacher, cosmetologist, and writer. Amidst the business of being a housewife, she loves reading, writing and playing music, vacationing, going on lots of dates with her hubby and friends, throwing dinner parties, and sewing. She really loves collecting books, and hopes someday to have a library big enough to fit all of them. Currently, her two pretty-enough-to-be-displayed-bookshelves are overflowing, and she's got books stashed all around her house. Open a random drawer, you'll probably find one.

The Faith and Fate of David Ghent is Maren's first full length novel. Her other works include a comedic short story, "A Tale of Two Cemeteries," and a middle grade reader, The Elephant in the Treehouse. Find out more about her at The Official Site of Maren Dille.

Author Links: 
Barnes and Noble

"The road to one's fate is never an easy task. What worth would eternity be if you didn't work hard to obtain it?"

Hidden from the rest of the Earth is the city of Lucen, home to the descendants of Righteous and Fallen angels. David Ghent is a Cursed, the child of a mother who is in Heaven and a father banished to Hell. All of his life, David has trained for one purpose - to fulfill a prophecy and banish Lucifer. This is David's chance to prove his loyalty to Heaven and save his soul, as well as the rest of humanity. 

As the battle commences, Layla, the daughter of Lucen's leader, suddenly appears at the Hellgate desperate to stop David. David, who has detested Layla since childhood, is forced to make a split decision - fulfill the prophecy or save Layla's life. David saves Layla and in the process fails to fulfill his purpose. After David learns that there is more to the prophecy than he was originally told, but the consequences of his actions cannot be avoided. David is damned and his punishment forces him to question everything he believes about himself and his faith. He and Layla set out to discover the truth behind the rest of the prophecy, hoping to find another way to fulfill it and banish Lucifer for good. Their faith and loyalty to Heaven will be tested along the way. 

I received this book from Maren in exchange for a fair and honest review. I loved this book and was hooked from the very beginning. The story is fairly complex and there are a lot of people and moving parts involved. I did have some trouble following it in the beginning as things were slowly introduced and explained, but I never lost interest and in the end everything made sense. I loved David as a character and the picture on the cover of the book is exactly how I pictured him in my head. He is an emotionally complex character (and perfect literary hero!) and his transformation throughout the book is quite remarkable. The book raises some interesting ideas about faith and although it has a religious theme, I didn't feel preached to. I found myself sad when the book ended because I wasn't ready to leave the world Maren created. I wanted to know more - about David's parents, about the founding of Lucen and its history, about David and Layla's life after - and was almost hoping for a sequel. I also think this book has the potential to be made into an excellent movie, as the characters and action would translate well to film. This is a solid 4 star read and one that I highly recommend.

Book Links:
Barnes and Noble

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