Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Charlie (Cultivated #1) by Elin Peer


Charlie (Cultivated #1)Charlie by Elin Peer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BLURB: Charles, the reserved, mysterious, and unattainable guy I had a major crush on in college, got tangled up with the wrong crowd. Being the heir to one of the largest business dynasties in the US made Charles a target for the narcissistic and cunning cult leader O’Brien. Now, I’m flying to Dublin to get him out. “

With degrees in both anthropology and psychology, twenty-seven-year-old Liv is convinced that she can resist being sucked into Conor O’Brien’s cult. But it’s been years since she and Charles last met; will he even remember her and will he trust her?

Charles and Liv are about to learn just how dangerous it is to go up against a possessive psychopath like Conor O’Brien.

Charlie is the first installment in Elin Peer’s contemporary romance series Cultivated, which offers suspense and drama. Like all her books, this one has a fast pace, lots of great dialogue, and it leaves you wanting more.


A fascinating story and masterful storytelling. This story had it all: action, suspense, intrigue, romance and redemption. What I love about Elin Peer’s stories is that I always feel I was treated to a story unlike the routine and cliche tropes that are so abundant in the romance genre. In this particular novel, we are treated to an insider look into the intense fear of family members when their loved ones are caught in the snare of a cult.

Charlotte Christensen aka Liv or Charlie met Charles Robertson at a coffee shop by accident. At the time they were both going by the nickname “Charlie”. There was a spark there, but nothing serious materialized from their college flirting. Five years later, Liv was contacted by Charles’ grandfather who wants a friend to help rescue Charles from a cult that was siphoning off his inheritance. This opportunity gave Liv another chance to reconnect with Charles, but he wasn’t the man she remembered. To save Charles, Liv had outmaneuver a sociopath a cult leader with Charles’ love and life as the prize.

I don’t know much about cult except what we see on the news but my nerves were jarred. I enjoyed the glimpse into a cult’s intricate layering in order to brainwashing people of various intelligence. It was a lesson on how masterminds sense esteem issues and use it to their advantage while gaining their absolute dedication and loyalty. It was a gently reminder that even the smartest person has vulnerabilities that can be exploited by devious people.

My favorite part of the story was Liv and Charles reconnecting. It felt like young love all over again and it added some pleasure and levity to this heavy situation. Liv and Charles were really nice individuals and they made a sweet couple. I was completely absorbed into this struggle for Charles. The author skillfully weaved an engrossing tale. What an excellent beginning to a new series.

*Thank you to the author for the advanced reading copy. My opinions of the book are solely my own.

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Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

Ryan’s Bed by Tijan


Title: Ryan’s Bed by Tijan
Narrated By: Thérèse Plummer
Release Date: January 14, 2018
Format: Audiobook (9hrs and 1 min)
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Blurb: I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed–her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t. I didn’t jump out. I didn’t get embarrassed.

I relaxed. And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.

He became my sanctuary.

Because–four hours earlier–my twin sister killed herself.
I didn’t like this title. It didn’t reflect what this story was about. This book was sad yet hopeful look at a family’s struggle to cope with the unimaginable. I hate that publishers are trying so hard to sell books that they use sexy titles/covers that misrepresent the actual content of their work. But the narrator Therese Plummer had just the right voice. It was a mixture of pain, detachment, anger, hope, etc. I heard all of that in her voice and I couldn’t stop listening.

MacKenzie found her twin sister Willow in their bathroom in a pool of her own blood the day before their eighteenth birthday. It was a shocking beginning and the book follows MacKenzie and her family as they deal (or don’t deal) with the grief of suicide.

This book was done well because the process felt real, it felt slow, it felt like they would never be okay sometimes and then other times I thought they had turned a corner. It was painful to read so my heart goes out families who have to deal with a suicide.

I am no therapist but I was uncomfortable with the way MacKenzie latched on Ryan like a life-support jacket. In addition, her parents were so consumed with their own guilt that they knowingly turned a blind eye to her sneaking out to spend the night in a bed of a boy they barely knew. I know that grief can pull families apart or bond them closer together but in this case, the MacKenzie’s parents abandoned her emotionally and physically. They pawned her off to the care of a business acquaintance and that was deeply disturbing to me. Instead of structure and perhaps more family interaction, each person retreated into their own corners like a boxer after the bell.

3.5 star.
I liked Ryan and how gently he treated MacKenzie. He listened, he held her and he comforted her every time she needed him.

He was rock solid, he was intuitive and compassionate. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I got to know him outside MacKenzie’s pain. Maybe this story was meant to be snap shot in time because the characters were not developed that well. Not the main characters nor the supporting characters. There was underlying bullying at school. It felt like the adults were on vacation. The epilogue really exposed the fact that there was so much more going on under the surface and author didn’t really dig below. It was a good glimpse of a family’s grief but I wanted much more.

The two lessons I took from this story was to consistently listen to and talk with our loved ones. Don’t put labels on them like “the smart one” “the strong one” etc but to really see them and have meaningful interactions. It’s true that people will only share what they want, but if we establish trust, they may just let us into the vulnerable parts of their hearts.