ARC review: Twisted Souls by L.L. Collins

Twisted Souls by L.L. Collins
Series: Twisted #1
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC via Netgalley

What if your soul is so intertwined with someone else’s that it’s impossible to imagine yourself without them?

Blake McIntyre and Liane Kelly’s families have spent their vacations together on Sanibel Island their entire lives, and the two have always been the best of friends. But as they get ready to go to college, they admit that friendship isn’t enough for them anymore and spend a whirlwind two weeks daring to dream of their future together.

But building sandcastles and lazy beach walks filled with moonlight kisses isn’t the same as real life, and soon they are faced with a new reality. Can their hope of forever survive past their summer, or does fate have its own twisted plan?

Blake and Lianne have been best friends their entire lives. Ever since they can remember, their families have vacationed together at Sanibel Island. And even though they only see each other for a couple weeks each year, they’ve formed an unbreakable friendship. Or so Blake thought, until he confessed his feelings to Lianne and she shut him out. For years.

But now, as the two just finished high school and are preparing to start the next chapter of their lives, Lianne decides to give Blake another chance. He might like her like that, but that doesn’t mean they need to ruin their friendship. She’d rather have him as a friend with an awkward crush than not at all.

Just before heading down to Florida, Lianne’s long-term boyfriend dumps her in the worst way possible. To make matters worse, in the years she’s gone without seeing Blake, he’s grown up. Her best friend is now seriously good-looking, and she’s seriously heartbroken. Finally willing to give it a try, Lianne and Blake enjoy two blissful weeks on the beach. But as Lianne comes to realize that she may very well have been harboring secret feelings for Blake all these years, a horrible turn of events threatens to ruin their new status as a couple.

So, what can I say about Twisted Souls? I liked Lianne, I liked Blake, I hated Ronan. Just like I was supposed to. I thought it was cute that the families supported Lianne and Blake’s relationship so much. It was like they’d been waiting for that moment since childhood, and their dreams finally came true. And while the writing wasn’t amazing, it was pretty good. I didn’t find much to complain about.

What, then, didn’t I like? Prepare yourself, because I’m about to get ranty.

One of the reasons I read new adult romances is for the happy endings. I can’t think of a single new adult romance I’ve read that hasn’t had a happy ending. The characters get thrown around, their lives fall apart, their hopes and dreams crash and burn… but everything works out in the end. By the time you hit that last page, they are content with their lives. Everything has worked itself out, and the good guys are happy. Always. In every book I’ve read. EVERY BOOK EXCEPT THIS ONE.

This does not have a happy ending. The characters all end up miserable. They make stupid decisions that could have easily been avoided – I cannot even sympathize with the stupid things Lianne did. And the adults! How were the adults so awful?

A spoiler or two.

Why did Lianne’s parents go along with her ridiculous plan to MARRY Ronan, the very guy who made her life miserable? (Side note: Why did she have to marry Ronan anyway? Why not just tell Blake what had happened?) Why did Lianne blindly accept that the baby was Ronan’s? Why did the first OB she saw just blindly agree with her that the baby HAD to have been conceived when she was taking antibiotics? (That seemed like such a stupid reason. More believable would have been that in all the excitement at the beach, she missed a pill.) Why did Lianne’s parents keep Blake from the wedding? Clearly Lianne would not have married Ronan if she’d known that Blake still cared about her. And finally, that flippant doctor at the end! “Looks like you weren’t as far along as we initially thought.” I can’t. I’m done.

If you like having your heart ripped out and questioning the stupidity of literally every character, maybe you should read this one. Otherwise, steer clear. I’m pretending that it ended when they left the beach.

This is really more of a 2.5, but I rounded up to 3.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.


For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #34: a book with a love triangle.

           Goodreads | Amazon

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These are my cats, and I love them.  Actually, I love all cats.  I don’t think I’ve met a cat I haven’t loved.  I’ve been called a crazy cat lady by more than one person… just this week.

What I’m getting at is that I really like cats.  So, really, it should be no surprise that I’m a fan of Cat vs. Human. Or that I was a big fan of this book.

Poetry’s not really my thing, but cat poems?  That’s something I can get behind.  I found myself smiling and laughing at several of them, because they’re true, and even though some of those poems were hundreds of years old, cats haven’t changed.

Also, the artwork is amazing.  This book is worth it for the artwork alone.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

                                Goodreads | Amazon

I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell. It seems like all of her books affect me much more than those from other authors. I can count on one hand all the times I’ve cried while reading in recent memory… and her books are all but one. Now I’ve been sitting here for the last two weeks, trying to put my thoughts into words. It’s not going well, but I’m trying.

Eleanor is an outcast. She’s targeted by almost everyone because of her weight, her clothes, her flaming red hair. Her home life is awful – her father couldn’t care less about her, and her mother married an awful man who makes no move to hide his hatred of Eleanor. Their family lives in a dilapidated two-bedroom home, where Eleanor shares a bedroom with her four siblings and their bathroom doesn’t even have a door. They don’t even have money for things like toothpaste and shampoo. But Eleanor is strong, and she’ll put up with whatever she has to until she can get out on her own.

Park is the only Asian kid at his high school. He loves comic books and the kind of music his classmates don’t listen to. This makes him a bit of an outcast too. But his home life is pretty good. His parents love him, and each other, and although they don’t see eye to eye all the time, he knows they’re looking out for his best interests. At first, Park wants nothing to do with Eleanor. She’s the weird girl who constantly sits next to him on the bus. But when Park notices Eleanor reading his comics over his shoulder, a beautiful friendship – and, eventually, love – begins to form.

In each other, Eleanor and Park find a very sweet, loving relationship that is based on what’s inside rather than physical appearances. Their relationship builds and builds and builds… until it doesn’t. The ending, while it made sense in the context, disappointed me. What had been so carefully constructed fell apart, and no amount of quirky references or adorable love scenes could quite make up for that.

Still, Eleanor & Park is highly recommended.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #38: a book that made you cry.


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THIS IS NOT A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW.

Kindle First books are usually hit or miss. Unfortunately, this one was a miss.

One Lavender Ribbon tells the story of Adrienne, who just moved to Florida after a bitter divorce. At only 28 years old, she feels like her life is over. After six years of putting up with her ex-husband’s constant insults, she finally escaped and is pouring all of Eric’s settlement money into renovating a Victorian home on the Florida coast. During her renovations, she finds a stack of old letters tied together with a lavender ribbon. Through the letters, she finds William Bryant, the World War II veteran who wrote them, and Will Bryant, his young, attractive grandson.

The premise of the book is fine, I suppose, but I had two questions that lingered in the back of my mind while I was reading.

The first was whether Eric was supposed to be older than Adrienne. He’s a “brilliant cardiologist” who always put his work first… at 28? I doubt it. At 28, he likely wouldn’t even be done with his residency yet, let alone the fellowship he’d need to do for anybody to take him seriously. Either a stunning lack of research on the author’s part, or Eric is at least in his mid-30’s.

Assuming this book takes place in the present day, William’s age is way off. He talks about fighting at Normandy (1944). The book was published last year (2014). This means that Normandy was 70 years before the present day. William is 81. Was he 11 years old when he enlisted, or is he lying about his age? Or maybe, again, the author failed to do her research. “World War II? Those veterans are probably like 80, right? I’ll make him 81. Yeah, that sounds about right.”

These are the kinds of things that editors should fix.

As if the general lack of fact-checking wasn’t bad enough, everything else was terrible, too.

The writing. “Apprehension crawled over her skin like fire ants.” Really?

Adrienne. Why is she good at everything? She’s a master party planner. She’s a culinary genius. She can do any home renovation project on her own, even though she has no experience.

Will. Will is the actual worst. I don’t understand what Adrienne saw in him, because he was mean to her literally from the first second they met.

“Will is not like Eric,” she reminds herself every three seconds, because that’s about how often he snaps at her.

“I’m going to get through this day because it’s for Pops, but I swear, you have no idea how much trouble you’re causing,” Will says to Adrienne, after she literally PAYS FOR HIS PARENTS’ FLIGHT HOME FROM AFRICA OUT OF HER OWN POCKET. After he told her how upset he was that his parents wouldn’t be able to make it to Pops’ birthday party. A normal person might say thanks, but Will thinks Adrienne should stop causing trouble.

For some inexplicable reason, Adrienne is drawn to Will. They’re both grown adults… who think kissing is scandalous? I mean, I don’t need my romances to be filled with sex, but come on. These two blush and giggle whenever the topic of kissing comes up.

So, anyway, clearly I was not a fan of the relationship between Will and Adrienne. I was actually really happy that, throughout the course of the book, Adrienne actually stuck to her guns and refused to let Will take advantage of her. She gave him several chances, all of which he threw away. She was, for once in her life, putting herself first.

Then, of course, Will decides to actually be nice for once… And her friend is like, ‘You’re avoiding him so you won’t get hurt, but you’re hurting yourself by avoiding him’ and I’m just like… wait, what? Whose side are you on, Sammie? Am I supposed to think that’s deep or something? No! Will has been continually acting like a petty child, and your friend is smart enough to put an end to it. You’re really going to stick up for that guy, the one who accuses her of “causing trouble” whenever she does something nice for him? No. I almost stopped there. The notes on my Kindle for that chapter are “NO” followed by “nooooo” followed by “nope nope nope.”

Finally, if you read my romance reviews, you probably know that my biggest pet peeve is this insta-marriage phenomenon that’s plaguing almost every genre right now. Adrienne was 110% done with Will, and then out of nowhere, he interrupts ANOTHER WEDDING to propose to her. Again, what a child. Making everything about him. No, that is super rude to the couple getting married, and it’s super inappropriate to put her on the spot like that. I can’t believe Adrienne said yes. I was so mad. I actually threw my tablet on the ground and walked away. I’m still mad. Will was a jerk throughout the entire book, and Adrienne completely gave up everything that she believed in to marry him, just because he was nice to her one time. She completely disregards the niggling feeling that he’s just like her ex. And this is supposed to be romantic? It’s supposed to be a HAPPY ending that Adrienne realized her feelings and convictions don’t matter and she should just listen to Will, even though he’s a jerk. No. I can’t get on board with that.

Final rating: One star. Maybe less.

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m checking off #37: a book with a color in the title.

Page Count: February 2015

  1. Joyride: 288 pages
  2. Fairest: 256 pages
  3. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: 42 pages
  4. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things: 328 pages
  5. A Discovery of Witches: 579 pages
  6. Eleanor & Park: 328 pages
  7. The DUFF: 280 pages
  8. Bob’s Burgers, Vol. 1: 138 pages
  9. One Lavender Ribbon: up to page 210

Total: 2449 pages