Publisher: Cambria Hebert

Avalanche by Cambria Hebert

Avalanche by Cambria HebertAvalanche by Cambria Hebert
Series: BearPaw Resort #1
Published by Cambria Hebert on March 9th 2018
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two-stars

Don’t get caught in the surge.

Through a bullet hole in a wall, I watch a man bleed to death. Those responsible think their crime died with the victim, until I identify them.What’s a girl to do when she’s being hunted by murderers witness protection can’t even stop?Run.My only refuge is a place I vowed to never go again.When it’s do or die, an eight-year-old heartache suddenly seems trivial. Besides, he won’t be there anyway.But he is.Turns out my old pain feels brand new the second his eyes meet mine.I can’t leave. I can’t stay. This snowy town that’s supposed to be my shelter suddenly exposes me more than before.With no one else to lean on, Liam becomes my lifeline. Now we’re both running for our lives, trying not to get swept away.

Apart from the (very petty) complaint that the brochure-like cover does not match what the story seemingly promises, I was actually intrigued by ‘Avalanche’ and its premise.

Past the excellent opening chapter however, I couldn’t get past the idea of the unbelievable instalove that Cambria Hebert rolled out in both Bell/Liam’s very short history or that they remembered it as true love 8 years later after an accidental meeting. Instead, their connection (both present and remembered) felt romanticised, naive, as Bellamy went from frantic woman on the run to woman who melted at everything Liam did, seemingly losing every sense of self-preservation (her half-hearted moments of wanting to run and barely-there backup plans) when he touched her.

That there was a declaration of never having stopped loving each other—yes, the flings and never being seen with the same girl twice certainly help bolster that particular conviction—made me cringe, particularly when it didn’t feel as if their week-long affair as teenagers was the epic type of romance I could be crowing about.

It was as though this book couldn’t really decide whether it was going to sit in the romantic suspense category or the new adult one, and ended up straddling both in a way that provided a lukewarm version of both. The suspense—the gravitas, the heart-pounding action and the high-octane action—was simply put aside in favour of the reunion between Bellamy and Liam and that part of the plot which I liked, built up nicely over the prologue and first chapter, lost its momentum and faded into NA shenanigans that had me both bewildered.

That there was too much time given to the tiresome to-and-fro about Bellamy’s insecurity about Liam and her inability to steer her own life and letting Liam dictate her next course of action was frustrating. It did pick up a little towards the end though even that stuttered to a halt with an unsatisfactory conclusion that didn’t tie very much else together apart from some revelations that helped me piece together Bellamy’s backstory.

I did expect much more from Hebert in this new series, but sadly, found ‘Avalanche’ an overall disappointment, and my waning excitement probably means I wouldn’t continue this.

two-stars

Butterfly by Cambria Hebert

Butterfly by Cambria HebertButterfly (A Public Enemy Standalone) by Cambria Hebert
Published by Cambria Hebert on November 3rd 2017
Pages: 377
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three-stars

Drunken brawls. One-night stands.No-show interviews. Toilet-papering my hoity-toity neighbor’s house.Insulting my fans. Trashing hotel rooms.What’s it take to become public enemy number one?I just told you.I’ve done all that and more.My poor conduct got me on the Celebs Behaving Badly listand ultimately ruined my career.From the world’s number-one popstar to world’s most hated.That’s me. Ten Stark.Go underground, they said. Stay out of the spotlight.Most importantly, stay out of trouble.Everyone loves a good comeback story.For once, I listened.I met someone who didn’t know my name,my face, or the bad behavior that defined me.She taught me I wasn’t who everyone thought I was—everyone including me.Then someone whispered my name and things got messy, as they always do.Now I want her back.I’m not a caterpillar, but a butterfly.My wings are in full color, not just black and white.But first, I have to shed my cocoon and fly.

Have you ever liked a book because of its heroine more than its hero?

‘Butterfly’ is one such read for me, with a female protagonist who couldn’t be more real in my eyes – suffering the afflictions us mere mortals do while going through life the best she can, with the (literal) scars to show for it. ‘Butterfly’ was more Violet Meier for me more than the spoiled, self-absorbed and disgraced pop star who really should have known better but didn’t. And I loved her for it – for being far from the indestructible characters that we tend to associate with larger-than-life protagonists because she stays comfortable in her own skin.

Ten Stark made me a little too sceptical of the change he finally wanted to effect in his life and didn’t get too much of my sympathy – the shenanigans of celebrities these days don’t interest me at all – though Cambria Hebert does a good job in humbling the awful man who’d hit rock-bottom.

Despite my not being a big fan of deception that’s continued throughout most of the story because a protagonist couldn’t be bothered or is too scared to own his/her mistakes, ‘Butterfly’ is surprisingly still a low-angst, easy read, with the somewhat muted inevitable blow-up followed by the requisite grovelling and HEA.

three-stars

#Player by Cambria Hebert

#Player by Cambria Hebert#Player by Cambria Hebert
Series: Hashtag #3
Published by Cambria Hebert on March 6th 2015
Pages: 580
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four-stars

Players gotta play. Hate is like a poison. It contaminates everything. So does doubt. Even though I deny what I overheard, even though I insist it isn't true, the seed of doubt has been planted. I can't help but be tormented with the endless what-if's that have taken over our lives. Romeo and I were happy in love. The future stretched before us brighter than any star in the darkest sky. Now everything is broken. Literally broken. Romeo's entire career is at stake, my entire future is threatened... and my past? It's coming back to haunt me. To haunt us. Romeo says we're in this together and right now the only sure thing is us. But how far can a love so new be pushed? The lengths we will have to go to save each other puts everything at risk. Romeo is a #player but how much of the game can one person play?

I’m surprised – and pleasantly so – at how far this story has come from the very juvenile player and the nerd cliché that I’d first gotten into in book 1.

There were aspects in the first 2 books that I couldn’t entirely believe in wholeheartedly but I felt that I simply needed to laud Cambria Hebert for sticking closely and loyally to both Romeo and Rim where most would have had written angst and pseudo-breakups typical of YA/NA romances into conflict and domestic dispute.

I was beyond glad to see this happen – a relationship where both sides were clearly invested in each other and actually fought for each other – in this installment as well and with the focus shifting to a childhood mystery, I could finally say that ‘#Player’ was a rather stellar conclusion to a series that initially, I wasn’t too sure I could get into.

four-stars