Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Pieces of Olivia by Melissa West

By 9:35 AM , , , , ,

Pieces of Olivia (Charleston Haven #1)
   by: Melissa West

Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Penguin/InterMix
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 210 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future.
But on one fated night, everything changed.

Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal... that is, until she meets Preston.

Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…

Being a huge fan of Melissa's YA sci-fi series, I was PSYCHED to see that she was writing New Adult Contemporary! I already knew I loved her writing and good Lord above the woman knows how to bring the swoon. While this is a very emotional story and has some very heartwrenching content, she manages to give you all the feels with some serious sexual tension between the main characters. I feel it was necessary to have a slower building relationship, especially considering what these two characters have been through.
Olivia is scarred both physically and emotionally from an event that happened in her past. She heads to school in Charleston despite her parents wishes, as she desperately needs a new start. However, because of Olivia's inability to let go of the past, she is not healing in the way she needs to and will not unless she seeks some help. She finds that in her new relationships with Kara, Preston, and Rose. All of these individuals help Olivia work towards healing, even though they are unaware of what happened to her. Ultimately, it is Olivia who has to make the decision to really start LIVING again. 
Olivia's roommate, Kara, is very welcoming of her, which is just what Olivia needs. It is through Kara that she meets Preston, who she is best friends with. There's definitely more to Kara and Preston than meets the eye and you could feel they had some underlying tension between them. We do find out they are keeping some things from Olivia, which bothered me a bit because I felt they both should have been honest with her from the beginning. Kara, while more outgoing, definitely has her own emotional scars and I'm really looking forward to reading her book next. I think her story will also be an emotional one.
Preston doesn't do relationships because of something that happened in his past. He likes to tease and flirt with Olivia, but he ends up really liking her and actually wants to try for more. As attracted to Preston as Olivia is, I'm glad she makes it clear that she's not the kind of girl to do casual. I did feel there were some inconsistencies with Preston's character though. He is incredibly supportive of Olivia, but there were a few of his reactions that didn't quite fit with his character. When he sees her scars, he doesn't address them, but instead keeps his distance. Preston is not the type to shy away from such things- he doesn't pressure her to tell him what happened to her, but I was surprised that he stayed away from her after that, instead of offering his silent support, knowing she would open up to him when he was ready. Don't get me wrong- he DOES show acceptance of her and offers her strength when she is feeling vulnerable, and I love that he doesn't give up on her either. There's one scene that literally had me jumping up and down because my heart was so full and I was SO glad Preston was involved.
Rose is another great character. I like that she takes the tough love approach on Olivia. She flat out refuses to help her unless she helps herself first and I thought that was SO critical to Olivia's healing! She makes her realize that until she faces her demons and the past, she won't be able to move forward and live the life she wants.
As I said, Melissa knows how to bring the swoon and create some really sexy scenes. I loved the tension between Preston and Olivia and feeling the whole 'I want this, but I can't do this' angst. It works and it isn't just inserted into the story for no reason. I understand why Preston doesn't do relationships and it makes complete sense. He just needed to find the right person to show him that love is worth having and that he deserves to be happy. I am also grateful that Melissa doesn't overdo their sexual relationship. New Adult should be about discovery and growth and I feel a lot of them are going overboard with the sex scenes. I do feel Preston and Olivia's was a bit abrupt and kind of rushed, and I personally would have liked to have just a teensy bit more buildup beforehand.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The New Adult genre should be about being able to see a character's growth and development from their teenage years to becoming an adult. I feel like we do get to see this with Olivia and Preston, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Kara's as well.

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  1. *sigh* I think you know how much I absolutely adored this story. Preston and Olivia will forever hold a special place in my heart. Great review.

  2. I never read a book by Melissa West before but she definitely sounds like a great writer.
    This book sounds great. I love those 'not-so-easy' relationships. It makes the book more believable for me.
    Love your review. ;)

  3. Loved this review! I actually finished this one just yesterday and I am so glad I picked it up! I love the romance that developed between Preston and Olivia. Love your review because you hit their relationship perfectly!Though I did figure out one twist, it was still a shocker, along with the other revelation!

    Lovely review!

  4. You're so right about how some authors are going overboard with the sex in NA. Sometimes I read a book that is supposed to be NA and I feel like no this is adult, that's not what NA is about.
    Great review though! This book is definitely going to my TBR-list.


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