Review: No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

no limitsTitle: No Limits
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he’s never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster…

Cannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon.

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

My Review:
I actually read the third book (Tough Love) first and then decided to start at the beginning (as you do.) At the time of writing this review I have now read all 3 books, and this book is my favorite so far.

Cannon is a Saint, in more ways than one. He has always been there for Yvette whenever she needed him. As soon as she reappears in his life he steps up and never lets her down. And I just loved him for it.

Yvette is a woman on a mission – she’s out to prove that she is not damaged by her past and that she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need Cannon to swoop in and save her all the time. Yvette has been in love with him for years though she doesn’t realise that Cannon has never forgotten her. With his help, she is finally able to leave the past in the past.

This book contained all my favorite ingredients – compelling characters, angst, longing, betrayal, hurt, revenge, suspense, intrigue, swoony romance and redemption. I loved it in its entirety and I’d highly recommend it.

Review: One Night of Trouble (After Hours #3) by Elle Kennedy

One Night of TroubleTitle: One Night of Trouble
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: After Hours #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it’s lust at first sight. He’s always been labeled the “nice” guy―opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, “nice” has nothing to do with it…

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she’s put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing―and no one―could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble…

My Review:
So this is AJ’s story and for me this book was the best in the series.

AJ is carrying his fair share of baggage as a result of a tragic accident when he was a kid. Consequently, he has spent most of his adult life trying to please others – trying to be the perfect son, friend, and boyfriend. But there is only so much of that a person can take before they start to fall apart. AJ is in that space when he bumps into Brett in Sin (the nightclub he co-owns with his friends Gage and Reed)

Brett is almost the antithesis of AJ. She has lived her life the way she wants and she’s been rather reckless. Her choice in men has been disastrous up to this point. She has finally copped on and is trying to sort out her life and stay on the straight and narrow. These two meeting when they are at completely different stages could have been disastrous but it isn’t. They are perfect for one another.

Brett wants AJ to be the person he truly is and the man she fell in love with and AJ is a rock for Brett as she tries to focus on her career and convince her dad that she has what it takes to manage their new business.

This book is HOTT – yes, Extra-T worthy hot – and uproariously funny. There is one scene where AJ ends up in the wrong place and is forced to spend the night at a gay couple’s wedding. I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. Man, it was so so funny.

I loved this book in it’s entirety and you won’t hear me complaining about a single thing. Elle Kennedy’s writing is amazing and I can’t get enough of her books.

Highly Recommended.

Review: Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Every Last BreathTitle: Every Last Breath
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Dark Elements #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

My Review:
ell, that was an intense, insane, emotional rollercoaster ride of a read. WOW! It feels like I’ve just been through a shredder and now I have the unenviable task of trying to piece myself back together. Seriously, I don’t think I can read another book after this one. This one is going to stay with me for a long time to come.

Jennifer could not have concluded this series more perfectly. It was completely unputdownable and jam-packed full of action, adventure, swoony romance, and so many twists and turns that I didn’t’ see coming. This is pure GOLD. JLA at her very best. This series is one of my all time favorites and there isn’t a single thing I could fault because it’s totally FAULTLESS in my eyes. 5 Stars all round ( in fact, I’d give each book a gazillion stars if that was an option.)

It’s hard to write this review without giving away the big spoiler – as in, which boy did Layla choose? I think it was pretty obvious from the fan polls who was going to win out, but I’m not going to say it here. Let’s just stay that her choice made sense and they were so perfect together. ELB is full of romantic scenes and tender, loving moments, and I loved it. But my heart bled for the other boy, and he still wasn’t over it by the end of the book (though there are hints of a future love for him). As we all know the path of true love doesn’t always run smoothly, and Layla and her love face many challenges. Forced to confront some appalling discoveries, Layla has to take matters into her own hands and make choices that will devastate those who love her. But she is fearless and brave and she doesn’t shirk away from any challenge. She has really matured and come into her own in this book and it was amazing to see. I’ve always loved her anyway, but even more so in this book.

We get some new familiars in this book and the old favorites are still there. I fricking love Bambi! Add in the witches, Originals, the Grim Reaper, Hell, The Boss, the Lilin, and some cool feathered wings, and you get a sense of just how much Jennifer packed into this book. However, it never felt rushed, it all flowed seamlessly. I’d challenge anyway to try and read this book over a few days. It’s virtually impossible to put it down.

As often happens when I finish one of Jennifer’s amazing series, I now feel totally bereft. Though I’m more than satisfied with the ending, I’m still so sad that it’s all over. I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to Layla, Roth, or Zayne.

Summary: Another EPIC book from an amazingly talented author, and a fantastic end to a brilliant series.

Review: Under the Influence by L.B. Simmons

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Under the Influence coverTitle: Under the Influence
Author: L.B. Simmons
Series: standalone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Dalton,

I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me.

Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again.

I loved you.

I raged for you.

I wept for you.

And now, I’m letting you go.

Author’s Note: Under the Influence is the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives. It is a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption.

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My Review:
Wow! What an amazing read! Under the Influence is a beautifully written love story that tugged at my heart strings. I loved everything about it – the writing, the plot, characterization, and worldbuilding. While this is my first L.B. Simmons book, I know it won’t be the last.

This is Spencer (Spence) and Dalton’s story, and it’s narrated from point characters perspectives. I love reading books in dual POV, and I especially love reading the male perspective so extra brownie points for that.

Spence and Dalton met as kids and thus began a friendship that lasted until they were in their late teens. When we first meet them, Spence is 17 and in her last year of school, and Dalton is 18 and he has just finished. This is the second book in a row I’ve read where the male character had a troubled background filled with abuse and neglect. And like that other book, Under the Influence made me feel everything he felt, and made me care. I felt a deep emotional connection to both of them. I adore books that really delve into the emotional layers beneath the surface, and this book delivered on that front. I thought both characters were very well-developed, but especially Dalton. It was difficult being in his head at times – raw, gritty, and painful, but it was realistic.

Dalton has cut himself off emotionally from everyone, and even his best bud Rat, and Spence, only catch the odd glimpse of his real persona. He hides who he is in front of Spence out of misguided loyalty and in an attempt to shelter her from the seedier side of his life. He was preyed on as a youngster and has gotten himself into a nasty mess, but he is struggling to see any way out. Because of this, he won’t even entertain the notion of a romantic relationship with Spence even though it’s what both of them want and need. Eventually, they cave to their feelings and become a couple, and it was so sweet. We got to see a different side to Dalton and he was lighter and brighter as a result.

One beautiful night turns disastrous and they are torn apart from one another. I won’t say any more for fear of spoiling the story, but suffice it to say that there is plenty of heartbreak and angst for our young couple.

I thought it was a little slow-paced at the start but after a few chapters the pace picked up and it kept my attention the whole way through.

I loved the secondary characters, especially Cassie. The author is writing her story next and I will definitely check it out. She is an intriguing character, and she had some of the funniest lines and scenes in the book. She always had Spence’s back and I loved her as a best friend.

I love this author’s writing style! Her prose is beautiful – poetic and eloquent, though others may find it overly descriptive in parts. Not me, I loved every word.

I liked the note the author put in the back – that was a nice touch. I also love this cover. It’s stunning!

Overall, this was a fantastic read and it had bits of everything – love and romance, friendship, family, suspense, drama, heartache, sacrifice, and above all else – redemption. I’d highly recommend it.

Actual rating 4.5 stars.

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LB SimmonsAbout the Author:
USA Today Bestselling Author of The Mending Hearts Series, The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller, and Under the Influence

Links:

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Review: The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy

The MistakeTitle: The Mistake
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres:
Links:

Blurb:
He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

My Review:
This is Grace and Logan’s story and I loved it every bit as much as The Deal, the first book in this series. Logan intrigued me in The Deal so I was delighted that Elle was writing his story next and it didn’t disappoint. Logan has been a major player the whole way through college, but as the story progresses we begin to understand why. He is shouldering some unbelievable pressure and the prospect of not being able to take up any offers to play professional hockey. Grace comes into his life at just the right time and they click (though it’s not without it’s ups and downs). I loved both characters, loved that we got to see Hannah and Graham again, and the writing is exceptionally brilliant. I cannot wait for Dean’s story next. This is an amazing series and a must read for all NA fans.

Review: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

the oneTitle: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Romance Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
The Selection changed America Singer’s life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen–and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she’s made her choice . . . and she’s prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

My Review:
For me, this was the best book of the series.

America is still undecided over both Aspen and Maxon at the start of the book, but as it progresses she becomes stronger, more mature, and has the courage to stick to her convictions. While she becomes sure of her feelings, she starts to doubt the strength of Maxon’s as she’s forced to watch him grow closer to the dwindling group of girls. I could feel her pain when she overheard him in the library, and caught him in Celeste’s embrace. I could totally understand how she would doubt him, and struggle to truly believe his feelings for her were the strongest.

While I haven’t been Aspen’s greatest fan, he redeemed himself in this book, putting himself repeatedly in harm’s way to protect America and Maxon. That’s the type of sacrifice for love that I’m talking about! I felt America was unfair to string him along for so long. She should have been honest with him at an earlier stage. It was also brutally transparent that her lack of honesty with Maxon, regarding the nature of her relationship with Aspen, was going to come back at her in a big way. When it happened, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest, and Kiera had been building up to this over the course of this book and the previous one.

Finally, we got to see some action as the rebel subplot developed, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where America and Maxon went outside undercover. This added some much-needed depth and diversity to the story.

I hated that we only got a resolution at the end and hardly got to see Maxon and America united as a couple. Though it’s popular to do this within the genre, I always feel a bit cheated, and I wish more authors would resolve the love triangle a little earlier or give us meatier epilogs.

All in all, though, this was a fantastic read and it was the first book in this series that had me riveted from page one.

Having read all three books now, I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting it to suck me in more than it did though sometimes that’s the issue when there is so much hype about a series. The biggest disappointment for me was the predictable plot – really nothing out of the ordinary about it at all, besides the overriding concept of the competition which I loved. While the writing is decent and consistent with the genre, there was nothing stand-out about it. I’m not sure that I’d actually be that bothered about picking up more of this author’s work and I’m on the fence when it comes to The Heir. As an aside, I absolutely love all the book covers – totally stunning.

Review: The Prince (The Selection #0.5) by Kiera Cass

The PrinceTitle: The Prince
Author: by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #0.5
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection…

Before Aspen broke America’s heart…

There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…

Don’t miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

My Review:
Prince Maxon was my clear favorite the whole way through the series, so I was keen to read this book. Calling it a novella is false advertising in my view as it’s clearly short-story length. I loved reading from his point of view and it was great to see how enchanted and intrigued Maxon was with America from the first meeting. I’d love a full companion novel in Maxon’s POV and I hope she writes it at some stage.

Blog Tour: The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Truth About Him (Everything I Left Unsaid #2) by Molly O’Keefe. I share my review with you and there’s a giveaway!

the truth about himTitle: The Truth About Him
Author: Molly O’Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
We played our roles, told each other lies.

But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.

We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:

The thrilling danger.

The raw, naked desire.

The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.

Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.

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My Review:
Emotionally charged. Dark. Destructive. Compelling. Hopeful. Addictive. Those are just some of the words I’d use to sum up this book. This story had me hooked from the get-go and I found it very difficult to put this book down – and I only did so because I had to. All I could think about during the down period was how quickly I could get back to my Kindle so that I could finish it. Honestly, this book made me feel all the feels. It really sunk its teeth into me and didn’t let go until I had devoured every last word.

Dylan Daniels (I love that name – doesn’t it just roll so smoothly off the tongue?) keeps himself well and truly caged inside his damaged skin. It’s not all that surprising when you consider that those who are supposed to have loved and protected him let him down so badly. Now, he lets no one in, trusts no one, not even himself. He has built a mountainside fortress where he lives and works and he has basically become a hermit. Until he crossed paths with Annie and his world turned upside down. Annie has had her own fair share of trauma and she also has a troubled background. Definitely a case of two tortured lost souls gravitating toward one another.

I hadn’t read the first book when I read this book (I have since ) but I didn’t need to. The author did a superb job of backfilling the story and it was easy to pick up the plotlines. Boy, did this book open with a bang and I was instantly pulled into the world.

Annie and Dylan intrigued me from the minute I met them. I’m in awe of this author’s ability to create such complex-multi-layered characters who are flawed but also such nice people underneath all the shit life has thrown at them. I was rooting for them so badly and really hoped they would get their HEA. Both of them deserved it. They struggle to share the truth but gradually they learn to let each other in as they grapple with the evil forces threatening to pull them apart. When Dylan told Annie that no one had ever said I love you to him, I thought my heart would split wide open. I felt his pain as if it was my own. Now, that’s talent.

I love books with strong romance once there is another dimension to the story, and once the romance doesn’t overtake the story at the expense of all other plotlines. This book skillfuly combined all plotlines and there was a strong subplot bobbing beneath the surface which added supsense and mystery and more than a hint of danger.

The romance was sweet and depraved in equal measures and the chemistry was scorching between our couple. Steamy stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed Molly’s writing style and the pacing is perfect – there was no urge to skim as every word had meaning and added value

For me, the underlying message is that no matter how dark and disturbing life can be, true love can elevate your world from dark into light, and that love can appear in so many different guises. This was a book of hidden depth and meaning about love, family, relationships and the challenge of life.

Summary: If you enjoy emotionally complex well-developed characters, strong worldbuilding, and excellent writing, then you will love this book. I know I did.

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About the Author:
Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Blog Tour: Laguna Lights by Kaira Rouda

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Today is my stop during the blog tour for Laguna Lights (Laguna Beach #3) by Kaira Rouda. There’s a tour wide giveaway!

Leguna Lights - coverTitle: Laguna Lights
Author: by Kaira Rouda
Series: Laguna Beach #3
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Welcome back to Laguna Beach…

Laura Kinkaid’s glamorous Hollywood life is falling apart. After years of reality television stardom beginning in high school on Laguna Nights, her career and relationship with her long-term boyfriend Scott are fizzling out. Laura decides to go home to Laguna Beach for the weekend to attend a baby shower for her high school friend. That decision – and a car accident – will lead her to a new future, if she’s ready to take a chance at love.

Paul Dorn’s former life in New York City is far behind him and he’s working in a popular Laguna Beach surf shop when fate brings the most beautiful woman he’s ever met into his life. The attraction is instant and he has an overwhelming desire to protect her. While Paul’s retail sales career is a short-term job for market research purposes, his focus on Laura is long-term.

Will Laura allow a handsome stranger to help her create a future unlike her past, or will the bright lights of Hollywood pull her back to LA?

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About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is a USA Today bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary women’s fiction and sexy modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart. Her women’s fiction titles include HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR. Her bestselling short story is titled, A MOTHER’S DAY. Kaira’s work has won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader’s Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest International Book Awards. Her books have been widely reviewed and featured in leading magazines.

Her sexy contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND includes: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; HER FORBIDDEN LOVE, Book 2; THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3; and THE BILLIONAIRE’S BID, Book 4. Each of these novellas can be read as a stand alone, or enjoyed as a series. Her new series is set in LAGUNA BEACH and includes: LAGUNA NIGHTS, Book 1; LAGUNA HEIGHTS, Book 2; and LAGUNA LIGHTS, Book 3 coming winter 2015. She also helped launch Melissa Foster’s The Remington’s Kindle World with her bestselling novella, SPOTLIGHT ON LOVE, and is part of Carly Phillips Dare to Love Kindle World with THE CELEBRITY DARE.

Her nonfiction titles, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and REAL YOU FOR AUTHORS: 8 Essentials for Women Writers (available for free download on her website) continue to inspire.

She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books and on her website, KairaRouda.com.

Links:

There’s a tour wide giveaway, for a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
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Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

the eliteTitle: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2
Rating: 3 stars
Genres:Romance Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

My Review:
Having read the complete series now, I feel like this book was the weakest. It was actually pretty frustrating to read at times and I wanted to jump into the pages and throttle both America and Prince Maxon, on certain occasions.

The Elite concentrates largely on The Selection and the love triangle. I had mental whiplash from all the toing and froing and I would have loved the rebel sub-plot to have been fleshed out a little more to add a different (and in my opinion much-needed) extra layer. As it was the rebel subplot was weak and under-developed. How on earth did the rebels keep gaining access to the Palace? There is no way that would have happened in reality and security would have been much tighter.

Every time Maxon and America got close something happened to pull them apart again. My heart ached every time. At one point America promises him she won’t be so reckless, and won’t keep pushing him away, but she keeps on doing it! Where I liked her character in the first book, she seems to have regressed in this one. She was so indecisive, to the point of distraction.

For me, again, the plot is totally predictable and the only thing that was unexpected was the identity of Georgia and August.

It’s still a decent read and enough to keep me interested in continuing, despite some obvious frustrations.