Wednesday, October 15, 2014

French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

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Published by: Chanel Cleeton - December 1, 2014
Genres: NA Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


SYNOPSIS:
On the surface Fleur Marceaux has it all—if only the fa├žade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all of that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her.

There’s a social hierarchy at the International School, and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble—despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride.

The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she thought was wrong for her, but might be the only thing that’s right.

But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?


Have you ever read a story that had you so captivated, you re-read it right after completing it the first time? For me, that story was I See London and my introduction to the intensity that is Maggie & Samir. Not only are they the hottest couple in the literary planet, but they're each well-drawn, unique characters that could hold my interest even if they weren't together. Combined, they are a big fireball of heat. 5 stars!

After I completed (and greedily re-read) I See London, I was granted a sneak peak at the London Falling arc, the sequel and end to the International School books. I couldn't wait to see how the intense love story between Maggie & Samir ended. I finished their sequel in no time and was thoroughly pleased with the result. 5 more stars! It's SUPER rare that I like a sequel at all, let alone rate it with 5 stars. I usually find that they're so off-base in the reprise of the character's personalities they ruin the first installment for me. I tend to not read them and leave my favorite characters behind in that happy after-glow (of reading) one gets when they loved a book.

During what was supposed to be the final book in the series, a strange energy emerged between two of the secondary characters: Fleur and Max. He called her "The Ice Queen" and she hated him for it. A lot of fans felt like there was a story there and one we wanted to read. The author was only too obliging and created a third (and seriously final) book to the International School series, French Kissed starring Fleur and Max.

When I began the book, I wasn't sure if I was going to love it. In between the sparse dialogue between the MCs was a ton of exposition and inner-thought. If what was written truly happened in real life, it would've taken 15 minutes to spit out 6 sentences of dialogue, there was so much introspective thinking written in. That was a bit off-putting and I greatly hoped the rest of the book didn't read like that. Fortunately for me, it didn't!

Fleur and Max are pushed together as partners for a project in one of their classes that will make up 80% of their grade. Fleur needs the class to graduate and Max needs good grades for his future in banking. It's clear that this is the main antagonistic curve ball in the story - two people that "hate" each other forced to get along to pass the class (even though we know they really like each other). The second is the mysterious blackmailer who plagued Fleur in the previous book. Will her secrets threaten the relationship she eventually has with Max?

Although I love Chanel's writing and enjoyed the plot line, I wanted their push/pull to last a bit longer than it did. I guess I wanted a bit of Maggie and Samir, which probably isn't fair as they're different people. Regardless, after one kiss, they pretty much become a couple. I wanted a bit more of a struggle before that happened. I also felt like the reader knew who the blackmailer was (it was pretty obvious in the prior book) and although the things the blackmailer did to Fleur were embarrassing, they weren't anything (I think) that would ruin a relationship between Max and Fleur. I didn't find Max's initial reaction plausible and like his character at all. I felt like the author was trying to create more tension in the story but used a tactic or a reaction that didn't really fit in line with her characters.

Those two critiques aside, I loved the book and devoured it within a day. I loved that we found out what happened to Maggie & Samir as well as Max & Fleur down the road. A very satisfying ending to the series. It also makes me want to re-read London Falling. I think I just might!

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