Publisher: Swoon Romance Publishing
Ex-Factor (Diamond Girls, #1)
Release Date: April 14th 2014
Blurb Description: 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, Nevaeh 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
Okay, okay- where to start… Ex-Factor is the first contemporary (YA) romance novel I’ve read in a while that actually struck a chord within me- that will stay with me for at least a little while to come.
I wasn’t expecting much, to be very honest- the lack of new good contemporaries in the book-y world are completely to blame- but Ex-Factor had me pleasantly surprise! If you don’t get all you need to via the synopsis, then read on. If you have- then go ahead and get your copy for this series has my official approval seal (OK, I don’t have one literally, but you get the picture.)
The very first thing that struck me- about twenty pages into the book- was that our heroine, Nevaeh- is not whiny. Or insecure. Or even some “I-only-care-about-the-guys” type of person. She is in fact, pretty level headed (well, as much as one can be after the trauma she’s going through) rather down to earth and a nice person all together when you get into her head. She is going through some of the most horrific stuff- with her mother suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s and her father dying in a drunk driving accident that she feels terribly guilty about. So, she is living with her aunt, which brings us to Bodie…
Bodie is pretty much going through the same c**p that Nev is, except it’s his baby sister and best friend that passed away into the realm of the unknown in an accident. He comes across as well, a bit rash a bit hot-headed but at the end of the day- he IS the guy every girl (I think) secretly pines for! You simply can’t help but fall in love with him! <3
Okay, not much about the actual storyline- but it’s no fun if I were to tell you! All I can say is-
My (Latest) favourite YA contemporary novel! I LOVED the gymnastics/ cheerleading element!
Publication Date: June 4th 2014
Blurb Description: 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.
So, Unbreakable is the second part of the Diamond Girls Series, but can be read as a stand-alone! This part focuses on Olivia (Livvie) who is the cousin of our previous protagonist, Nev. We are pretty much introduced to all the same characters that we meet in Ex-Factor once again- but, of course, in a little less detail and this book just like ultra-focuses on Livvie where as in Ex-Factor, there are more elements!
Let me start of by saying that although I liked this book- I just found Ex-Factor to be a better-rounded, beautifully written novel! Which is a bit funny, because I liked the synopsis of this one better. Huh. Well…
So, Livvie is that perfect girl I’m sure we all know. With the hair, the looks, the friends and the boyfriend. Oh, she is even an elite cheerleader. Plus, she doesn’t swear (*Fudge-Pop*)
Anyway, although Livvie was just a mediocre character to get into- I just found her a little too good- never making the wrong choices but never the right, strong ones either. In fact, she comes off as stronger in the short time we meet her in Ex-Factor.
Reid Tate, well, he is pretty much another Bodie, and I would have to say that I would be at crossroads were I forced to choose.
Well, okay, now I think I’m being a bit unfair by comparing. Unbreakable is a nice book- one that you could definitely read and like if you’re into the genre- it’s just that there is nothing spectacular about it. It’s a nice book- and that’s all I have to say!
*Could I give it like a ¾ seal of approval?*
A YA Novel: if you loved the first- you should read this