Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Release Day Launch: Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine


SOMETIMES MOVING ON MEANS MOVING IN

Pixie Marshall wishes every day she could turn back time and fix the past. But she can't. And the damage is done. She's hoping that a summer of free room and board working with her aunt at the Willow Inn will help her forget. Except there's a problem: the resident handyman is none other than Levi Andrews. The handsome quarterback was once her friend-and maybe more--until everything changed in a life-shattering instant. She was hoping to avoid him, possibly forever. Now he's right down the hall and stirring up feelings Pixie thought she'd long buried . . .

Levi can't believe he's living with the one person who holds all his painful memories. More than anything he wants to make things right, but a simple "sorry" won't suffice--not when the tragedy that scarred them was his fault. Levi knows Pixie's better off without him, but every part of him screams to touch her, protect her, wrap her in his arms, and kiss away the pain. Yet even though she's so close, Pixie's heart seems more unreachable than ever. Seeing those stunning green eyes again has made one thing perfectly clear--he can't live without her.

Buy Links:

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*I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. :)

After reading Best Kind of Broken, all I can say is this: I will forever read anything this woman writes. Sophie & Carter was so cute, and sweet, and heartbreaking. The Archers of Avalon series is still one of my absolute favorites, and Tristan Archer will forever be my #1 book boyfriend. No guy has ever been able to surpass him. Chelsea Fine's writing is highly addictive. And damn, she can write a love story

Rating: 5 Broken, Heartfelt Stars!

This book was my most highly anticipated 2014 novel, and boy, did it DELIVER! I swear, this woman can do no wrong in her stories. One minute, I'm crying. The next minute, I'm laughing. One minute, my heart is aching for the characters and the next, I'm rejoicing as they find their way out of the black hole of grief and into each other's arms. Chelsea's stories always make me feel. There is not one part of this book that didn't make me feel something, whether it be happiness or sadness or, even anger. I became so invested in Levi's and Pixie's story that I found myself not wanting it to end. I don't know what it is about Chelsea Fine's books, but I find her quality of writing addicting. I'm an addict, and I always want more of her stories.

 The beginning of this novel was kind of hilarious, and I was immediately hooked on the story. Pixie and Levi have been living together in a strained and tension-filled hallway that only they share. It's awkward, and hard for them, because they used to be best friends. But all that changed when they lost Charity.

The result of an accident that ruined lives and gave both the main characters misplaced guilt has left Pixie and Levi just fighting to ignore everything between them. They are the King and Queen of pretending. Usually, I'd find the high school antics in an NA novel annoying, and normally they'd turn me off from the story. But, I don't know. It seemed appropriate for these two; it seemed normal that they'd prank and argue all the time. Because, that's probably what they did growing up together. It made their connection to each other more tangible, and it was honestly kind of hilarious. :)

I absolutely loved the double POV, and I loved their voices. It took me a little bit to warm up to Pixie, though, probably because she's a character who can be unreasonable at times. Her personality was a little hard to sympathize with, because she can come off as cold and standoffish. And sometimes childish; hence, all the arguments and pranks. Levi was just as bad with those. But I did grow to love Pixie, and understand where she's coming from. Her mother was emotionally abusive, and Pixie didn't just lose Charity that day. She lost the only family she's ever known. And she lost Levi. She's practically on her own, and is now having to finally face her past and own up to her feelings. It takes her a long time, as it does with Levi, but her character growth was beautiful. 

Levi, oh Levi. My poor, tortured love. Ever since his sister died, he's been in a downward spiral of despair, anger, and guilt. But it's easiest for him. It's easier for him to focus on the overwhelming hurt instead of confronting his feelings, both for what happened and with Pixie. Levi is just as bad at pretending as Pixie is, but the feelings are still there after all this time. He'd been living at the inn long before Pixie came back into the picture, but he doesn't know how to even be around her anymore. She's a walking, breathing reminder of the worst day of his life. The guilt eats at him. This boy has been through so much, but all he wants is to be Pixie's hero. His development was also beautiful to watch unfold, and I ended up really loving his character. He has flaws, as we all do. But his flaw is that he takes the blame for all the things he can't control. It takes him a long time to feel like he can breathe again, and his love for Pixie, and her love for him, helps strengthen that feeling.

I absolutely loved the development of their relationship. Chelsea Fine certainly knows how to write about two characters who have sizzling chemistry. The bond between the two was so tangible, and the love between them so ingrained into the pages of this novel, that you couldn't doubt their feelings. They had a past, a history, and it was evident in the beginning. The sexual tension between them never felt forced, and steamy scenes weren't overdone or underdeveloped. I thought they fit the relationship between Levi and Pixie. And I just loved watching their relationship grow steadily stronger once the antics died down and they actually started communicating. Their journey back to each other was beautiful, and heartbreaking, and utterly romantic.

Not only did I love the main characters, but I also loved the secondary ones! This whole group of cast, from Jenna and Aunt Ellen to Zach and even bad boy, Daren, were amazing additions to the story. They each brought something to the book, brought something to Levi's and Pixie's relationship, and they all had their own personalities. I can't wait to see them again in the next two books! :)

The plot unfolded like watching a couple interact in real life. Not much happened, but I never found myself growing bored. It was real life and heartbreak, grief and letting go. It was finding the strength to move on and opening up to make new friends. It was discovering who you are and achieving redemption. But most of all, it was about healing and love. It was about two characters who had battled grief and guilt to unleash feelings that had been dormant for far too long. 

Best Kind of Broken tells the story of two childhood sweethearts who find their way back to each other. And those are simply my favorite kinds of stories; the ones that steal their way into my heart with their beautifully broken characters and heartfelt love story. 


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EXCERPT:

Levi is so distracting. His arms are all raised, and his shoulders are all broad, and he’s fixing crap, and it’s just…it’s just…annoying.
With a huff and a puff and some choice words in my head, I grab my sliced bell peppers and force my feet to the stove. I throw the vegetables into a frying pan, grab a wooden spoon, and ignore Levi’s close proximity.
My body hums.
I ignore that too.
I steal a glance in his direction and watch as the corded muscles in his forearm flex as he unscrews something on the fire alarm box. Why does he have so many muscles in his forearm? That can’t be healthy.
I drop my eyes to the frying pan and focus on bell peppers, because bell peppers are interesting and they don’t have backs the size of Alaska or copious amounts of forearm muscles.
The forearm muscles that I’m not thinking about lightly brush my shoulder and the humming inside my body knots together and zips around like a bumblebee on crack.
I casually turn down the heat on the stove, like that’s the reason I’m suddenly a human vibrator, and go back to stirring. Levi goes back to screwing.
Bell peppers.
I’m thinking about bell peppers.
He brushes against me again, except this time his forearm grazes my breast and my body immediately goes wild like I’m some love-starved teenager and the humming dives low in my belly and the stove gets hotter and my breaths get shallow and suddenly bell peppers are the sexiest vegetable on earth.
From the corner of my eye, I catch his Adam’s apple bobbing with a nervous swallow, which can only mean one thing. The boob brush was an accident.
Well crap.
If he had been trying to cop a feel with his Hulkish forearm, I could have responded with some kind of snarky “you’re a pervert” comment. But it wasn’t on purpose and somehow that makes it sexier and now the cracked-out bumblebee is buzzing in my nether regions and my hands are starting to tingle and why the HELL is this stove so hot?
I turn the burner down another notch and take a slow, deep breath. I have a boyfriend. A great boyfriend. So this sexual frustration I feel around Levi is nothing to get my bee-loving panties in a bunch about. I just need to calm down.
Levi lowers his arm for a moment, his eyes still on the alarm, and stretches his neck.
Ah, the neck stretch. The universal sign of stress. Well at least I’m not alone in my frustration. My hot, distracting, pants-are-so-inconvenient frustration.
Wait, what?
Who said anything about pants? I am NOT thinking about pants—or lack thereof. Damn you, bell peppers!
I toss the wooden spoon to the side and move back to the counter where the threat of being turned on by a handyman or, you know, a sautéed vegetable is much less severe.
I bite back a groan. What was I thinking, living under the same roof as Levi? There’s no way I’ll survive the summer.
Hell, I can barely survive breakfast.

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Here is a graphic teaser I made for the book! :)

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ABOUT CHELSEA FINE:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

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