It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
That cover design though. Can anyone say adorable? So much better than the original one. With that said, remember how I adored last week’s book so much that I could buy it and read it six million times over? Yeah. Double that excitement for this book. I am a former Disney Cast Member, so anything remotely fairytale-related immediately strikes me. I will say though, I am all for those who actually put a spin on the tale (I’m looking at you, Lunar Chronicles), and I would say that this series does a fairly good job.
Ella begins by moving into a new home, which she was essentially given no option out of. She has scarring on much of her body, leaving her a bit of a social outcast and in pain fairly often. Her new family is certainly unwelcoming, though her dad does try. The relationships in her life are quite dismal, so it is a relief when things begin to look up for her.
On the other side of this story, we also see things through the viewpoint of Brian Oliver, resident Hollywood bad boy trying to clean up his image. He’s been forced into a fake relationship in order to resuscitate his public face, in hopes that he become a legitimate Hollywood A-lister.
The two know each other through Ella’s blog, with Brian only communicating under the screen name “Cinder”. With names like Cinder and Ella, you know it’s only a matter of time before they get together. I will admit though, there are quite a few obstacles in their way, and meeting face to face may in fact send Ella spiraling back to where she came from instead of providing the healing she most desperately needs.
I love this story so much, because there’s so much focus on character growth and their reaction to the situations. There’s also something to be said about the fact that they actually have a relationship beforehand, so there’s no case of instalove (which turns me off of a book big time). This is the first book in a duology, so fear not if you feel like you need more. There is a full-blown sequel that is even more adorable. If that’s possible.
I read both this series and the V is for Virgin series on Kindle Unlimited, so if you’ve haven’t tried it, you can get a 30-day trial. Or just sign up for a month or two because these books are seriously worth it!
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