17.1.18

#Review: THE VIOLET HILL SERIES by Chelsea M. Cameron

SECOND KISS

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Violet Hill #1
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Published by the Author
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary:
Daisy Grace Webber's life hasn't exactly turned out how she thought. She didn't think she'd drop out of college and come back to the small town she grew up in. To be fair, she didn't think her love of baking would turn into a job at the Violet Hill Cafe either, but it did.

Something else she didn't expect was for Molly Madison to walk back into her life, eight years after she moved away. They'd been best friends forever, or so she'd thought. But Molly is back in town and she's looking... really good, actually. And that reminds Daisy of that one time at a sleepover when they'd kissed during a game of Spin the Bottle. That one kiss has been on her mind since then, but it's irrelevant. Molly isn't into girls.

But as Daisy and Molly spend more time together, feelings start to grow, and Daisy is wondering just how "straight" Molly really is...
Purchase:
This was a good start to this series (which by the title of this post, you can see I have finished). I feel as though we were dropped into a world that wasn't quite explained enough because it was lacking some serious worldbuilding and I would have appreciated a bit more. I think sometimes contemporary authors forget how important it is to really set the scene for us. However, I think a lot of the issues I had with this book (and the rest of the series) boils down to it being a novella and not a full length novel. 

I liked the characters and seeing Darcy and Molly come back together in this way. I thought they had a good explanation for their falling out and coming back together but I also thought their relationship was really rushed. Molly said over and over how she had just gotten out of a long-term, serious relationship but was immediately in love with Darcy? I know that they had a history, but it seemed too rushed to me. In one scene, she went from crying over her ex to making out with Darcy. If I was Darcy, I would be so skeptical about being a rebound but she gave no thought to it whatsoever. I would have liked just a bit more contemplation about this.

But I did like the idea of a series revolving around a queer cafe and the people who work there. So I was excited to read the rest of the novellas.

DOUBLE EXPOSURE

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Violet Hill #2
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Published by the Author
Publication Date: January 28, 2017
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary:
Anna Corcoran's life is hectic, but that's how she likes it. Between her jobs at the Violet Hill Cafe, the local library, and doing publicity work for authors, she doesn't have much time for anything else. Until Lacey Cole walks into the cafe and she feels like she's been knocked off her axis.

Lacey's a photographer and writer and wants to do a profile on the cafe, including an interview with Anna. She's game, but after spending a few days with Lacey, Anna is falling. Hard. The only problem is that Lacey isn't going to be sticking around. She floats from town to town, never staying in one place.

But as they get closer and closer, Anna wonders if maybe this would be the one time when Lacey would decide to stay put. With her. 
Purchase:
I generally like books about people who have a hard time committing until they meet the right person because that describes me in a nutshell but I thought this one was lacking something that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Also, I just realized after reading the summary that it is basically the book so if you want to read the novella without having to read it, just read the summary.

I thought Anna's character was better described than either of the two characters in the first book, but I thought Lacey was lacking. She was an interesting character but because we were in Anna's head, we never got a look at her motivations or reasoning to fully understand why she made the choices she did. And that was frustrating because it made it feel as though her decisions were purely to move the story along. 

I didn't really feel connected to Anna and Lacey's relationship. We needed more time in this one to understand why Anna fell so hard so quickly since she was so adamant in the previous novel and this one that she would never settle down. So why Lacey? That wasn't explored as much as I would have liked.

This was still a good, short novel - and Cameron can definitely describe lesbian sex in a fantastic way. So there's that.

SECOND CHANCE

Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Violet Hill #3
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Published by the Author
Publication Date: August 20, 2017
Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary:
Serena Nolan's summer isn't going how she planned. Fortunately, her cousin, Anna, is there to rescue her from spending her time off from college with parents who don't understand (or want to understand) her. Serena's thrilled to be living with Anna and her girlfriend, Lacey in Lacey's studio, and working in the Violet Hill Cafe. She's even adores Lacey's cat, Murder.

What she definitely didn't plan was running into her ex, Fiona Davis. They'd been best friends that had turned into something else, but everything had crashed and burned before the end of high school several years ago.


Serena is still smarting from the heartbreak, but she can't say no to spending some time with Fi. Against her better judgement, old feelings are mixing with new ones, and she doesn't know what to do. Serena will have to decide if past heartbreak is going to keep her from a potential future with Fiona.
Purchase:
This book tried to do too much and didn't do any of it really well. But it wasn't necessarily done poorly. I think if Cameron had stuck with one thing throughout it would have been better -- or if it had been written as a full length novel rather than a novella. Because it was too short to accomplish everything.

I could not connect to any of the characters in this one - even the characters we had seen in the previous novellas. I thought the prior characters almost felt as though they were completely different people. And I couldn't connect to Serena or Fiona at all. 

I do not generally like books about second chances because I need to be extremely convinced that the person in question deserves a second chance. But I wasn't even sure what Fiona did to leave Serena heartbroken so I wasn't sure why she needed a second chance. It made me feel really disconnected from the story to the point that I skimmed the last couple chapters just so I could be done.

But I did think the setting was clearer in this story than the previous two. It felt as though Cameron had a better grasp on the type of town and culture she wanted to bring to the story in this one than in the previous two. 

I would definitely enjoy more stories set in this world -- as long as they were longer than novella length so that we could get a story with better fleshed out characters whose motivations I could fully understand.

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