Review Tour (Book Review): The Pledge by Laura Ward and Christine Manzari

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Title: The Pledge (College Bound #1)
Author: Laura Ward & Christine Manzari
Genre: New Adult
Cover Designed by: Okay Creations, Sarah Hansen
Release date: July 27, 2015
Length: 202 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads

Synopsis

Taren needs a do-over. She’s decided the best way to put the high school bullies behind her is to pledge a Taylor-Swift-lip-syncing, beer-guzzling, sorority. Sisterhood helps Taren find the acceptance she’s always craved, but not the love she needs.

Alec wants freedom. To escape his father’s iron fist and unrealistic expectations, he pledges a campus acrobatics club where he finds that drugs and alcohol aren’t the only ways to get high. His addiction to danger helps him gain his independence, but it comes at a heavy price.

When the two cross paths, Alec fears his undeniable attraction to the party girl just might threaten everything he’s worked so hard to earn. Taren hasn’t forgotten that Alec humiliated her back in high school, but she also can’t deny the chemistry they share.

Alec and Taren have nothing in common, but fate is bound and determined to bring them together. They know falling in love is a risk, and yet it’s too hard to ignore. When their worlds clash and they both end up suffering, will they fight to stay together? Or are some pledges too hard to keep?

Grace Review

The book seemed like a twist on the story of the Ugly Duckling, with an ugly (geeky) girl who later blossoms into a beautiful woman.

Taren grew up as a self described geek.  Raised by her aunt, and lacking friendships, she took the kindness of one man, a guy she crushed on, and learned the harsh realities of peer pressure.

Alec grew up under heavy expectations from his father’s with a life plan set out for him, which he had no interest in.  He took a friendship and destroyed it because he couldn’t stand up to those around him.  A mistake he regretted.

Told in alternating POVs, both Taren and Alec look to college as their escape, a chance to reinvent themselves.  Taren was looking for acceptance.  Alec was looking to set his own life path.  But can the pain of the past be forgiven?

I don’t read a lot of New Adult, and that isn’t intentional.  Because it seems every time I read one, I’m transported back to a world that is so familiar to me.  The insecurities from high school, and discovering a new identity in college.  It was so easy to relate to.  I can’t say I’ve ever been bullied, but I get those insecurities and just like Taren, I reached out to a sorority to make more friends. Sororities can be judgmental of others, that’s the downside.  But I personally made so many friendships in that world, that I could see exactly why Taren wanted to be part of that.

Call it fate, or something less magical, but Taren and Alec end up at the same college and repeatedly cross paths, despite hanging out in separate circles.  Initially, their past actions towards each other, particularly Alec’s prior actions towards her, creates a lot of anger.  It’s not until they end up in the same class, that they put the past to rest.  From there on, it is full on passion.

“Second chances don’t change the past.  They just prove that we can learn from our mistakes.”

What I loved:
*I liked the idea behind their fate, tied to the red ribbon.  Did you see the book cover?  It actually holds a lot of significance.

“It’s a East Asian belief that a red string connects two people who are destined to be together.”

*William – this side character is a breath of fresh air.  He and Taren meet as part of a sorority community project, but she immediately feels a connection to him and builds a friendship beyond the expectations of the project.  I absolutely loved William (Will, Bill, Willy) and his enthusism for life.  While Taren was there to help him, there relationship was reciprocal and he often served as a sounding board as she stressed about her relationship with Alec.  He pretty much is the hero that saves the day, sort of.  And the last chapter in his POV, so sweet!

“I met a girl who looked like sunshine, and she wanted to be my friend.”

*Caz – Alec’s roommate and resident troublemaker.  He provides the laughs in the story and is the key reason for Alec’s new direction in life.

What I didn’t love:
Maybe it was due to their age difference with myself, but their lack of trust in each other was frustrating.  But I will agree with Alec, that I hated when it seemed like Taren put her sorority before him.  I get the importance of friendships, but given that she lived at the sorority house, I didn’t see why she would choose activities with them, when it was clear Alec was making time for her.

*Amanda – this is the girl I dreaded seeing on the page.  She isn’t a bitch, really.  But her loose morals always seemed like a red flag.  I both hated and loved how she yelled at Taren for not being there for Alec when he needed her.  Oddly, I wouldn’t mind if she had her own story in this series.

This story was a nice escape for me, travelling down my own personal memory lane.  It captured the spirit of the college experience, learning to spread one’s wings and create one’s own path. And had a sweet a love story, tied nicely with a red bow.

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

About

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Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.

Contact Laura at:
www.facebook.com/LauraWardAuthor
Twitter — @laurarosnerward
Instagram — _Laura_Ward

Email — laurawardauthor@yahoo.com

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The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.

Social Media Links:
Website: www.christinemanzari.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristineManzari
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Xenatine
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7218946.Christine_Manzari
Blog: http://tinelibrary.blogspot.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/xenatine
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/xenatine/

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