Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ex-Factor and Unbreakable by Elisa Dane Blog Tour

By Elisa Dane
Published: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Book 1 in the Diamond Girls series
3.5 stars

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.


Opening Thoughts
I thought that overall, this was a very good book. I went into it kind of skeptical, but it had been getting such great reviews that I just had to sign up for the blog tour. 


One of the first things that really struck me about this book, and one of the things that I absolutely loved was that Nev wasn't whiny, or a brat, and she didn't complain all the time about how horrible her life was, even though she has a lot of shitty things that have happened to her in the past, and that she has to deal with. Yet, throughout the book, Nev remained strong, and she healed and she went to therapy, which characters in YA novels never, ever, do, because they think that it won't help them or that they don't need it, but Nev went to it and it helped her and it was wonderful, and I really appreciated that. Bodie, while completely the stereotypical, brooding troubled YA love interest, is the kind of guy that you can't help but fall in love with, despite his rash decisions, and overprotective streaks.

My absolute favorite things about this book was the focus on drinking and driving. That is something that is so, so important and is most definitely not addressed enough in young adult fiction. I loved the way Elisa Dane incorporated it into both Nev and Bodie's backstories and used it as a kind of catalyst for their relationship. I also loved the way she fit it in in the end with Callie. I won't say what it was for anyone who hasn't read it but if you've read it, then you'll know what I'm talking about. I also found out about the Every Fifteen Minutes program through this book, which I now have approached the principal at my school about holding a session of this in my school, because I think it's such a real and raw way to show students how drunk driving actually affects people and not just someone preaching to you from the front of the classroom with no one actually paying attention.
There were a few things that didn't work for me in this book. One of them was the insta-love. I felt like, though by the end of the book I completely bought Nev and Bodie's relationship, it did a total one-eighty in the span of a couple of weeks which is one of my biggest pet peeves. I also felt like there were a couple of moments where I was a little bit bored, and the writing dragged a little bit. 

This book is definitely a slower paced book, nothing for a readathon but if you have the patience to read for a little bit before getting hooked and the plot sounds interesting to you, then I'd definitely go for it. This book was a leap out of my comfort zone but I'm glad that I went for it and I'm super excited to start the sequel, Unbreakable.

By Elisa Dane
Published: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Book 2 in the Diamond Girls series
4.5 stars

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.


Opening Thoughts
I have to be honest, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like this book because, while I did enjoy the first book in this series of companion novels, I wasn't ever hooked. However, this book had me hooked so completely that I couldn't put it down. I read it in about five hours and I was absolutely addicted. 
The books in this series can be read as stand-alones but I personally feel that you should read them in order of publication, though if you do only choose to read one I recommend that it be Unbreakable because I did enjoy that one more than the first one. Something that I really enjoyed in this book were the cameos from a lot of the characters I loved in Ex Factor like Bodie, Nev, and Erin. 

Livvie was a character that I loved from before the beginning, as in I loved her whenever we saw her in Ex Factor, so I was already going into this book loving Livvie. I loved the way that she handled the situation that she was going through, I felt that it was a very realistic way to deal with something like that, whereas sometimes authors do a horrible job portraying something like that, an example that comes to mind is Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. 
I thought that J.P. was a very realistic portrayal of an abuser. I could completely understand why Livvie kept wanting to take him back or at least give him the time of day, even though everyone around her was telling her that she absolutely shouldn't and that she was ridiculous for even considering it. Even though J.P. could be mean and cruel at times, he could also be charming and sweet, and there were times where I even found myself sympathizing with him, even though I obviously know that I shouldn't be. There were times when I was actually scared for Livvie because of the things that J.P. was doing to her. 
I loved Reid so, so, so, so much. He has most definitely earned a place on my book boyfriends list. I loved him from the very beginning, even though he was a complete and total asshole at the beginning. I did get kind of irritated at times because he was so hot and cold for the first part of the book before him and Livvie start warming up to each other but the times when he was cold were definitely overshadowed by the times when he was hot, and let me tell you, he was hot a lot. His relationship with Livvie was one of my favorite relationships I've read in a while and I shipped them so hard from the very beginning, even before they realized it.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, because I feel like it's better to go into this book just knowing that it's about a girl who's in an abusive relationship, and that's it. This book, as well as Ex Factor, is so short that if you find out too much about what happens inside them, then they're kind of ruined for you, and these books are very good so you really don't want that to happen. Even though I was familiar with this world, and the school and the experiences that Nev and Livvie go through are very similar, not in terms of the issues they experience, but just in their everyday lives, but seeing it through two different sets of eyes was really interesting. I really loved seeing the cheer team, because I'm an ex-cheerleader and that just brought back some really good memories. The only thing that caused me to knock this book down from five stars to four point five stars was the insta love. Now I did enjoy this insta love in this book more than the one in Ex Factor because it was written in a way that it didn't feel like insta-love, it felt like it was slowly developing, even though it wasn't, which I liked, but I wish the insta-love hadn't existed at all, though it seems to be a theme in Elisa Dane's book. 

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. I was captured and sucked in and it was just wonderful. I can't wait for the next book in this series. There is going to be another book right? I'm hoping for Erin's story personally, but I'd be happy with anyone, I just want more of Elisa Dane's books. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone, even people who feel like contemporary isn't really their thing.

1 ebook of Ex-Factor; $10 Amazon gift card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
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.

Author Links: 


Blog Tour organized by YA Bound Book Tours

1 comment:

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