The Redemption of Callie and Kayden - Jessica Sorensen (2013)

Kayden Owens risked it all to protect Callie Lawrence, but now he is stuck in his dark place and he doesn't want to bring Callie down with him. And for Callie all that matters is Kayden, she just needs to get through to him and to help him heal like he helped her. In order to escape their pasts they have to move forward, but to do so they first need to exorcise their ghosts. After the cliffhanger that was The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, Jessica Sorenson's sequel is a welcome conclusion and certainly needs to be read in the context of the first book. For me, the first third of the book is quite slow, with Callie and Kayden largely skirting around each other with little else happening. However, when they finally get together, face up to their lives and feelings, the story picks up and moves towards the all-important resolution. And there's much to resolve. Whilst I thought Callie's resolution with her family was quite powerful and moving, I felt there was much more that could have been, and needed to be, done with Kayden's. The ending was slightly disappointing and felt like it had been written to set up Luke's story in the next story arc, The Destiny of Violet and Luke. For Callie and Kayden however it's been a tough, emotional and ultimately redemptive path, although it still seems as if there's more ground to be covered. (JC)

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden - Jessica Sorensen (2012)

One night Callie Lawrence witnesses Kayden Owens being beat up and instinctively steps in, saving Kayden from an even worse fate. And that one act stays with Kayden who has suffered at the hands of his tormentor for most of his life. So when he ends up at the same college as Callie, he goes out of his way to get to know her. But Callie has a secret of her own that makes it difficult for her to get close to, or trust, anyone. Can these two ever escape the horrors of their pasts and move forward together? This novel deals with physical and domestic abuse and, although handled well by the author, can be a bit unsettling. However these darker moments are wonderfully offset by the lighter, brighter moments of the novel, of Callie and Kayden's self-development and growing bond, and essentially the novel focuses on them learning to live again, although the ending throws this progress into question. If you've read a number of New Adult titles, the ending largely plays out to the script, but having said that in the final chapters of the novel, both Callie and Kayden once again come face to face with their abusers and there is certainly more to be explored in the sequel, The Redemption of Callie and Kayden. An emotionally intense and challenging novel. (JC)

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