Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Ex-Factor & Unbreakable by Elisa Dane (Reviews & Giveaway)

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Ex-Factor (Diamond Girls, #1)Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane 
Release Date: April 14, 2014
Pages: 207
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Series: Diamond Girls #1
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl. 

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it. 

But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. 

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself. 

Ex-Factor is book 1 in the Diamond Girls series from Elisa Dane.

This is one of those books that pretty much sucked me in right from the start and didn't let me go until the end. I started this book with every intention of pacing myself as I read, but I ended up flying through it in a day. There was so much I liked about this book, and though it was not perfect, I still highly enjoyed it.

The characters were real. They had real feelings, problems, and thoughts, and I connected with them well. The main character, Nev, was the one who narrated the story, and I definitely felt her struggle throughout the story. Not saying I didn't roll my eyes at her a time or two, but she was overall a good character. And Bodie, her guy. Goodness I heart him. He was just fantastic. I kind of wanted to slap a bit of sense into him a few times, but he ultimately won me over with his sweet, swoon-worthy ways.

The romance worked for me. In all ways. I would have liked things to have been straightened out between Nev and Bodie earlier than they actually were, but that's almost always something I want, so this book isn't hurting me any. They were cute and I wanted them to be together.

I enjoyed the plot and liked the general message. It's a serious thing, and I liked that it wasn't taken lightly. I somewhat felt like the situation was dramatized a little bit, just in the things that were said. I get why it was like that (since we couldn't actually SEE what was going on), but it seemed like sometimes things were said that we all already got. Like at one point a girl said something to the effect of "she's going to drive--DRUNK!" and I was like...yeah. I got that. Other than those little things, though, I liked the seriousness of the topic.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed reading Ex-Factor. I liked the characters and their stories, and going through their struggles that felt real. Plus, I loved the swoonage. Ex-Factor may not be perfect, but I'd say it's definitely worth reading.


Unbreakable (Diamond Girls, #2)Unbreakable by  Elisa Dane 
Release Date: June 4, 2014
Pages: 223
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Series: Diamond Girls #2
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
Perception is everything to sixteen-year-old Olivia Brown. With her freakishly hot boyfriend, volunteer work at the local animal shelter, successful beauty channel on YouTube, and well-earned spot on X Factor Cheer's elite level five Diamond Girl team, Livvie's the girl every other girl wants to be. At least, that's the illusion she's aiming for. 

But Livvie's seemingly perfect life is anything but. Lying about the bruises her boyfriend gives her, and cowering beneath his raging temper becomes a regular way of life until she unwittingly witnesses her drunken neighbor beating his step-son, the town bad boy, Reid Tate. 

For Reid, vulnerability is the enemy. Opening up, and letting people in gives them the power to disappoint. Growing up with a co-dependent mother and an abusive alcoholic father, Reid has endured all the disappointment he can stomach. 

But when his pretty, do-good neighbor witnesses his step-dad beat him to within an inch of his life, and not only call the cops, but keeps quiet at school about what she saw, Reid wonders if maybe, just maybe, he's found someone he can finally trust. 

UNBREAKABLE is book two in the Diamond Girls series from Elisa Dane. EX-FACTOR is an Amazon bestseller in three categories in the United States, including Girls in Sports, Teen Sports and Teen Sports and Hobbies. 

I love how this book contained a bunch of things I LOVE in novels. It had characters that were pretty darn cool. There was a perfect amount of romantic elements. There was a common issue between the protagonist and her boy toy. Honestly, this book had SO MANY things within it to make me love the crap out of it.

Livvie took time for me to like. At first, I was adjusting to how different she seemed between the first book and the second. She felt like a whole different character in this one. Ultimately, I liked her, but it was still weird at first. She is also a character that needs to chill and COMMUNICATE. Her issue made it hard for her to feel comfortable telling people, I understand (seriously--I UNDERSTAND), but that doesn't change my feelings. Especially her communication issues with Reid. It took me until close to the end to completely like Livvie, but I respected her and her situation the whole way through the novel.

Reid was my favorite kind of guy. He was a bad boy who didn't exactly make nice with loads of people who he didn't know for a while. Something of a manwhore before Livvie, but he didn't show that in this story, so I couldn't hold it against him. He was a bad boy who was actually a nice guy with his own troubles. And goodness gracious, I heart him something fierce.

The romance made me feel happy inside. It was so sweet to see Reid become the kind of person who helped his girl bake desserts and whatnot. And he was so protective. They made my favorite kind of couple--not exactly surprising, considering he was my favorite kind of guy. 

I enjoyed the plot of this one even more than the one of the first book. This one tackled a different topic, and this one was tackled in a much smoother fashion. I LOVED watching the characters deal with their situations and make it through in their own ways. The plot paired with Elisa Dane's writing worked for me positively. I just enjoyed this book oh so much.

Overall, I absolutely loved Unbreakable. I adored Reid and I swooned so much for him. Reid and Livvie's story isn't completely smooth, but it was enjoyable and felt real in so many ways. I can't wait for the third book in this series, so I can fall in love with another work from Elisa Dane!

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot!
I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.

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