Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review: The Evolve Series by S.E. Hall



Here are Bethany's reviews for the released installments in 
S.E. Hall's Evolve Series.



EmergeFrontCover_Web
Emerge
(Evolve #1)
Synopsis:
Laney Walker is a quick witted, athletic, southern tomboy who lets few get too close, using her sarcastic zingers to deflect. She also has no idea how others view her, Evan having protected and coveted her since they were children. But college puts a gap between Laney and Evan that neither of them were prepared for- old relationships are tested, new ones are formed and nothing will ever be the same.

Especially when in walks one Dane Kendrick, not at all the familiar, southern charmer of home, but an animal all his own.
A story of growing up, friendship, loyalty, first love, primal love...and life.



Review:

5 Stars!


This book made me laugh, made me swoon and made me fall in love….twice. Let me explain.

Seeing how Laney and Evan met and started out was probably the best beginning to a relationship I have read yet….it was hilarious and it made me just laugh! I loved it! They grew up together from a very young age….always together, always doing things with each other and their other close friends, all through high school. Soon, it was best friends turned first loves. Evan is the epitome of the first ‘love’….the first boyfriend.  He is kind, he is loving and thoughtful, he does everything to make Laney feel loved, important, and beautiful. He respected her boundaries and her thoughts. He does ALL with his heart….for Laney, and I just felt the deep and powerful affection he had for her. Laney was the typical beautiful tomboy that didn’t know how beautiful she was, was a spitfire with a great attitude and wit, and was always there for her friends. She wasn’t pretentious or full of herself, therefore her beauty was from within….although, she was gorgeous on the outside as well.  I really connected with her and loved her mentality and the way she viewed things.  I was giddy and felt the love when they took their relationship to the next level…..naturally and without pressure.  I fell in love with the way Evan loved Laney and placed her on a pedestal for the world to see her perfection. They have a bond that cannot be broken….it is deep and true and cannot be replaced, no matter the circumstances. This very bond gets tested….and their relationship is truly put to the test.

College. Separated. Lies. Heartbreak.

Laney and Evan end up at separate colleges, despite applying for the same one. The heartbreak that poured off the pages from Laney and Evan having separate lives that they are trying to hold together, long distance….I could just feel it. My heart broke for Evan…he wanted to continue their relationship and Laney wanted to make sure he enjoyed his freshman college year. Seeing it from Laney’s perspective, she was trying to do what she could so that Evan could have a good college experience. She decided that they needed to be single and not attached in a relationship while at separate schools, and she felt that she knew what “temptations” were out there and she didn’t want Evan to feel bad if he accidentally got caught up in a situation. She really was thinking about him through all this….no matter the pain and heartache she felt. He was on a football scholarship and she figured that he was going to be super busy and surrounded by lots of girls. It was inevitable. He was handsome and a pure gentleman.

Laney’s alone at her college but she has an amazing roommate…..so she at least makes a good friend quickly. Bennett is a sweetheart and is always happy and goes out of her way to make the shy and uncomfortable Laney pull out of her shell and do things she wouldn’t normally do to enjoy her freshman year at college. I loved her exuberance and cheerfulness. She was so fun! College tradition: Hall Crawl. This is where all the girls in their dorm go and meet all the guys in the dorm….and the guys open up their rooms and serves snacks and drinks. Sounds fun, harmless and a good way to meet your dorm neighbors with it being a timed visit, so you get to meet everyone. Laney is NOT exactly enjoying herself….there are some weirdos in the dorm, that’s a given. The last room was the best room. She met some really down to earth guys and they were normal….well, as normal as guys can be.

Last room. There he is. Dane Kendrick.

Dane turns to us, and Good Lord….I hope their parents are breeding professionally because they’d make a fortune! If big brother is hot, then little brother is illegal, immortal, and too damn pretty not to be a girl. This guy seriously belongs on the cover of “World’s Sexiest Reasons to Drop Your Panties.”

We meet Sawyer, Tate and Dane in this room…..can I just say that if I ever got stuck in a room, can that please be it??? Hotties galore! Wow!  Laney’s quirkiness and wit shines through. She makes me laugh!!
So, when I say I fell in love twice…..this is the second time. Dane makes Laney feel something that she has never before felt, not even with Evan. It’s a different love….a deeper love and a deeper connection. They have a really good friendship, they can laugh together and have a great time hanging out...but Dane wants more. Laney tried to rationalize and fight what she was feeling, but eventually she had to come to terms with it. It’s the pull back and forth between that hurts Laney even more. She has so much guilt in her heart and in her mind…..but Dane doesn’t make her choose.

“I won’t share you, Laney. Not your lips, not your thoughts, not your body, and especially not your heart. You don’t have to give it all to me just yet, but give me nothing if any of it belongs to him. Do you understand?” ~Dane

He doesn’t force her to make decisions. He says that he will wait and stand by….I fell in love with him even more. Dane is a MAN. A grown man that knows how to treat Laney, knows how to love Laney, and sure knows how to keep a cool head.  #TeamDane

Talk about a pull, a magnetism to something or someone that is so profound that there is NO explanation for it whatsoever.  It just…..IS.

“Um, Dane, have you been checking me out?” I blush.
“Only when I’m breathing. “ He winks and gives me a sideways beam.

This is a story of a journey of young love that blossoms into more.....and something deeper and more profound.  The growth in this book and the character development was spot on. I learned, I read, I loved and I felt….this book was great! The friendships formed in this book are what lifelong friendships should be made of. I loved the bond that Laney developed with Zach and Sawyer and the sisterly bond with Bennett. I really felt this was an amazing and well-rounded story. The ending was a cliffhanger, but not an awful one. I am just very glad I had book 2 to read right away!! This was a funny, articulate, witty and downright wonderful book. I loved it and truly think that this book was an amazing story and I blame Lydia/HeaBook ShelfBlogger for not making me read it sooner. This book will easily become a favorite of mine for this year.  I highlighted SO much in this book; it was really hard not to just tell you the whole story!! I laughed….oh gosh, I laughed. It.was.great.

5 wonderful stars for this read.


Purchase:

Amazon | Paperback | B&N | Kobo


Read my review  here





Embrace
(Evolve, Book 2)
Synopsis:

Evan Allen is a handsome, athletic, southern gentleman who now attends Georgia Southern University for no good reason.



After what he expected to be the romantic gesture of the century, Evan is looking at no friends, a year of ineligibility on the football team, and no girl.


He's starting over alone and doesn't know quite how to proceed. Certain members of The Crew refuse to let him face things by himself, taking him under their wing, and it doesn't take the ladies long to notice him, either.



Sometimes life doesn't go as you had planned. Sometimes it goes better.

Embrace it.

Embrace, the second book in the Evolve Series by S.E. Hall, follows the characters from her debut New Adult romance, Emerge.



Review:
4.5 Stars!

Embrace is such a good addition to Emerge….but it is essentially Evan’s story as he processes what happened to his relationship with Laney and how he is going to move on, but still continues on with the main story and characters as well. 

Evan gave up everything to be with Laney…..everything. He gave up his scholarship in a romantic gesture….a way to get back closer to Laney and nurture their ‘relationship’. It broke my heart at the end of Emerge, but I also knew that it just wasn’t meant to be for them. If Laney could give her heart to Dane, then it wasn’t Evan’s in the first place. The pain, mental and emotional, that Evan goes through in this book was very palpable. I felt his hurt, his anger, his pain….I felt it.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” my ass. Not stitching that little pearl of wisdom on a pillow anytime soon. How about “absence makes the head dizzy and fills the heart with aching bewilderment.” ~Evan

I also saw him war with himself as he was meeting others and trying to move on. Sawyer took in Evan and made sure he wasn’t destructive to himself, or to Laney and Dane’s relationship. It seemed as though Sawyer was a backwards wingman to me. Instead of helping him get the girl, he was helping him move on. However, not for lack of trying was Sawyer also trying to get “A” girl for Evan.  From this odd alliance comes a bond that grows into an amazing friendship. Sawyer and Evan become really good friends. Laney and Evan need to figure out their relationship now. It takes some getting used to….and certainly a mind shift on Evan and Laney’s part, but at least they can start to come to terms with their new lives and hopefully become friends again. Laney wanted nothing more than to get back her friend….she hurt for him. I felt that compassion from her….even when Evan was mad and lashing out, she understood what he was going through. She was hurt as well by his actions, but I think that the way it played out and the way it was written made for a really good storyline. I loved seeing Evan grow in this book and learn more about himself and who he really is. I wanted to smack him a few times for his thoughts on things, but overall he showed that he really is a true southern gentleman.

Evan is a good man….and him moving on was inevitable, he just needed to come to terms with it. Eventually, the ladies notice and he starts to feel normal again. He struggles for a bit about moving on from Laney, but once he finally does and opens up and accepts that this was supposed to be the way it was, he can embrace his happiness. I loved seeing Evan get his smile…I loved seeing him finding someone that touched his heart, and the fact that he got to feel what love was heartwarming.

Maybe your true self only thrives in the accompaniment of the one made to bring it out in you. ~Evan

First love? First love is so much about curiosity. I read that somewhere and agree. But what I’ve found, and what I think Evan may be discovering as well, is that the only forever we were meant to be for each other is friends. ~Laney

We got to see a little more of Tate and Bennett’s relationship and watched as Laney and Dane’s grew as well. Dane showed a very possessive side in this book, and it was panty melting…and I will admit, I am still madly in love with him. I loved how much deeper their love became, and the growth of their relationship. The intensity gets ramped up in this book and we get to see what Dane is really made of. Oh my. Just….mmmm. He is delectable.  I loved the focus shifts, but also enjoyed that we still got to focus on Evan as well. We got to see his love and understanding grow….and it was beautiful and romantic. He is such a romantic at heart.

4.5 stars for a wonderful addition to this great series.


Purchase:


Read my review  here



 Entangled
(Evolve, Novella 2.5)
Synopsis:
Things heat up, and not just the Georgia summertime, when Dane and Laney go head to head over plans for her new duplex. But Laney's got his number, and knows just how to coerce her bossy, domineering man. Spend the summer with the gang and find out...just how many is a crowd?


The members of the Evolve Crew are getting older; so is the content. Mature audiences recommended.







Review:
5 Stars!

I loved the last line in the synopsis for this….they ‘are getting older, so is the content’. Perfect disclaimer, because it’s true. It heated up and the timeline on this little novella was perfect. It took place during the summer off from college. We got to focus a lot on Dane and Laney in this novella and I was excited. I am literally IN LOVE with their story. I messaged SE Hall and told her never to quit writing their story. I want to keep reading about it!! I love it that much….Dane is so very sexy, domineering and loveable and did I mention sexy? Hot? Swoonworthy? Oh man, he is IT!! He wants to sooo badly take care of Laney, and her stubbornness and competitive side doesn’t let go very easily! He loves her so much and gives her everything he can…..but sometimes he has to make her see it his way.
                                                
Relationships are about compromise, I know this. Love is patient, love is kind, blah, blah, blah, but this woman is literally gonna turn me into a saint….or kill me. I’m not sure which will come first. ~Dane

We also got a deeper look into Dane and who he really is as a person….and his thinking. I loved that we were able to get to know him better. After all, being in love with him….I should know something about him, right?? He just makes me shake my head and smile….he really is an amazing man. Total alpha, dominant man that knows that Laney is all he wants and needs in his world. The rest is inconsequential.

I knew it the moment I first saw her. Something instinctual told me that together, we’d be magnificent. Until you’ve felt it, it sounds clichĂ©. All you can do is pity the skeptics who haven’t ever experience it-I should know, I was one until that night.  ~Dane

I loved the loose ends it tied up and background to Parker and his family. There was some heartache that the friends had to go through, but it strengthened bonds and helped friendships solidify. I loved how it all worked together and brought up some old stuff, but built on the new as well.  AAAAANNNNNDDD!!!! It was also the PERFECT precursor to Sawyer’s story!! Entice review is up next….and, I must say…..read, catch up, re-read, review….do what you need to do, because Sawyer’s story is one for the record books. PHENOMENAL.

I give Entangled an easy peasy 5 stars for deep truths and emotional bonds. ‘Perfect novella’ to a story doesn’t even begin to describe it. I loved it and would recommend this to EVERYONE.


Purchase:


Read Jodie's review ➜ here




SE Hall has a way of adding so much humor into situations….I was laughing so hard I was crying throughout this entire series! Do yourself a favor, pick up ALL of the books in this series and sit down and read them in order. I was so glad that I did it this way…and it was simply amazing! I loved this series and I honestly begged her to keep writing!! It is a great series that made me sit back and relax and actually enjoy the books……truly amazing! I really liked how each book carried on the story, but the focus shifted each time to a new couple, all the while still visiting the other couples we grew to love. Great job!!

Love,
Bethany



About the Author:
S.E. Hall


S.E.Hall resides in Arkansas with her husband of 17 years and 3 beautiful daughters. When not in the stands watching her ladies play softball, she enjoys reading YA and NA romance.

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