panaflora

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." ~ Albert Einstein

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Prepare to be Restarted

This is an emotional story. You will be affected by it. You may find yourself screaming in frustration at the characters at certain points, but it won't do any good. The characters are brought to life with all of the elements of human frailty. They do wonderful things, then they do awful things. They can't seem to help themselves. There are a couple of truly odious characters in the story with no redeeming qualities. Don't worry, you'll figure them out.

Claire is the most complex of this cast of characters, having withstood significant trauma in her past. That event seems to have permanently affected her natural personality which is warm and trusting. But nearly all of the people in her life end up betraying her trust, and it is to some extent her own fault. She both overreacts and has blind spots that lead to conflicts. Her story is frustrating, touching, and only intermittently satisfying. But it is very much her story.

If you are getting the message that this is not the usual journey to happily ever after that dominates the romance genre, you are correct. However I urge you to read this book even though it is disturbing in parts. It may cause you to reexamine events in your own past in a different light.

Several reviews mention spelling and grammar mistakes, which may be attributed to the author being Greek. Imagine the challenge of trying to write a story in other than your native language. However, the author has been most gracious in accepting feedback that should make this story flow better for future readers. I think the Inkitt feedback feature is underutilized, except perhaps by authors who have received feedback!

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Choices Can Be Hard

Eva is driven, a top student and focused worker, and yet still very human. Her emotions ride a roller coaster. We learn what she loves and what she hates. We feel how illness affects her, and how the simple pleasure of good coffee can pick her up. I enjoy stories that paint characters as real human beings, not cardboard cutouts. Another thing I enjoy is a lot of detail, in this case, details of food, careers, even cars. I know that makes some peoples’ eyes glaze over, but if I end up googling something I saw in a story it usually sticks with me.

When Eva has to choose between two men, she makes her choice based on what she feels is right for her. Both men have their flaws, but that is indicative of their humanity. I think she made the better choice. There is an element of creepiness and controlling behavior in the man she ultimately rejects, even though he clearly regrets her choice.

The author has a unique writing style, very much stream of consciousness. There are some mistakes in spelling and word choice. I get that. Writing can be so much fun, ideas pouring out of your head. Editing though is just tedious work. I sent some feedback to clean up a few things.

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Just Read This!

Office Politics is a fascinating tale with compelling, well-drawn characters. Jess is in London to care for her gran, who is recovering from hip surgery. She finds a job with a family-owned fashion house and immediately proves her competence. But there is an issue. The head of operations in her office, Gabriel, captures her in a web of both attraction and manipulation. Jess finds this inappropriate but cannot resist the man's attractions. Gabriel is a bit of a cipher, devastatingly handsome, well educated, but often brooding and by turns sexually obsessed with Jess. He may even be cyclothymic. But he can also be charming and considerate when the mood strikes him.

We are inside Jess's head more than Gabriel's, privy to her frustrations and confusion. Her internal conflict is vividly drawn. Her erotic encounters with Gabriel are graphic and captivating. This is an unconventional romance but an engrossing read. I urge you to ignore the occasional lapse in punctuation, because the vividness of the writing far outweighs the minor slips.

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Inevitable Love Tale Well Told

The saga of Ivy and Richard connects on so many levels. It's not just the widely different backgrounds that underlie the title, but the realization that people of different backgrounds can experience similar trauma in their youth. In that respect it is entirely convincing that they connect, because they have developed empathy for such circumstances. Esther's description of their lovemaking is exquisite, how much they affect each other and please each other.

Ivy's fiery independence makes her an exceptional character. Richard is much, much more than the spoiled rich child we so often encounter in romances, he is an accomplished professional who immediately recognizes her capacity for innovative ideas.

The circle of family and friends who conspire to help the lovers be together is another exceptional element of this story. As for William, he is well rendered as detestable - but one hopes that he will grow up at some point!

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Rom-Com on Steroids

You will roll your eyes, you will cringe, you will say NOOOO, you will laugh out loud, you may even cry a bit. But you will likely read every word of this (I did - twice). The main characters are two lavish lifestyle dropouts, and as the story progresses, you learn exactly why they dropped out: they have principles, they have ethics, and they care, which clearly is more than any other member of Sam's family ever managed. Chase is still riding a wave of massive guilt over his past, until Sam and his caring aunt and uncle help him dismount bit by bit.

The backstory is woven carefully into the fabric of the whole. The author's style is very much to get inside the heads of both MCs and she does so with flair. She also crafts steamy scenes that aren't over the top (well, the aftermath of one of them is maybe slightly over the top, but it's also hilarious).

Some chapters show signs of haste with little slips here and there. I think I caught most of them and sent feedback. My overall reaction though is that I enjoyed this immensely, even more so the second time through. Give it a chance, you won't regret it.

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Disappoints in the end

I really wanted to like this story. And frankly, I did like most of it. But several disturbing elements crept in at the end. First there was Joshua sneaking around taking pictures of Will and Casey without their knowledge. There is a name for that behavior - it's called stalking. Then Joshua is clearly making Casey uncomfortable by touching her on camera. Celeste just waves that off: "That's not what we're talking about now." Finally Celeste says that Casey seeing Will is a conflict of interest, but urges her to date Joshua. What? That's not the same kind of conflict? And what about all of those female viewers, they don't even comment on Joshua's creepy behavior during the show?

It's difficult to understand Celeste characterizing Joshua as a big asset to the station. The man is a looming sexual harassment suit, and that wouldn't be good for the station at all. "Baby doll," indeed. Celeste seemed like she was helping Casey at first but then became so manipulative. Then after creating the mess between her and Will, just says "it's your turn to figure it out." No apology, no "oops I misjudged Joshua," nothing! Even when they get back together it left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended) because Casey misread a recipe while helping the slammed family in the restaurant - a case of no good deed going unpunished.

There is some "unique phrasing" here that the reader must work through, and a fair amount of punctuation issues. I could have overlooked all that if the plot hadn't irritated me.

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Making the most of a second chance

It is fascinating to see how Chloe develops from someone who is often suppressing or doubting her true feelings into a more mature woman who is ready to open her heart to the right kind of man. I did feel that we could have had more of Adam's thoughts earlier in the story to explain some of his distant behavior. But he is won over by Chloe and forgets all about playing mind games for revenge.

Carlo probably deserves some karma of his own, one can imagine him still cycling through women ten years later. But at least he finally gets the message that he no longer has Chloe wrapped around his finger. Pete could have directed some of his anger toward the asshole who punched his friend.

There are some punctuation slips particularly in the dialogue, but they detract little from the story.

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Watch Out for That Mistletoe!

Okay, it's trope-y: the simultaneous breakups, the sadistic aunt who dumps cranberries into Dom's lap, the snowstorm forcing them to share a bed, all of it. But tropes are there for a reason, so that what we all want eventually happens. Of course they fall in love, because they're perfect for each other. I like how spending time with Ally throws into sharp relief all of Jamie's narcissistic BS in Dom's eyes. That means he grew a bit, even in the brief duration of the story.

All in all, this is a very fun read. I went through it twice and found some slips here and there, but those don't blunt the overwhelming feel-good of the story. Recommended for those who love cute romances.

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