Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton
Series: International School #3
Published: December 1st, 2014
Publisher: Self-published
256 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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On the surface, Fleur Marceaux has it all. If only the facade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her.

There’s a social hierarchy at the International School and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble, despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride.

The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she had thought was all wrong for her but might be the only thing that’s right. But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?

In I See London and London Falling I knew there was more to Fleur than met the eye. Even though she made me shake my head a lot and it was obvious she was her own worst enemy in many ways, she was realistic, and I appreciated that. She was who she was, and she didn’t apologize for that. She was one of those characters I sort of begrudgingly liked and even admired at times. I loved what a loyal friend she was to Maggie, and how even with her own stuff going on, she was still there when her friends needed her.

All that being said, I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d feel about her as a main character. As I said, I knew there was more to her than met the eye, but I worried I wouldn’t be able to connect to her since we seemed to have nothing in common. Once I started reading French Kissed, I knew my fears were unfounded. There really was so much more to Fleur than the fancy clothes, snobby attitude, and snarky retorts. Her polished veneer and perfect appearance didn’t stop her from having a lot of the fears and insecurities many other people have. Fleur’s growth amazed me, and I found myself actually feeling pride, the way I would watching one of my friends accomplish things, learn, and grow.

Then there was Max. Holy swoon! The chemistry between these two was unbelievable, and the sexy scenes…wow. So freaking hot! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of foreplay the same again after reading French Kissed. Besides being sexy and cold-shower-inducing, Max and Fleur’s love story was also beautiful in a way I didn’t expect. I was invested in their relationship, and it made me happy sigh, swoon, and even tear up. I was full-on happy crying by the end.

I also really liked how London came alive a bit more in this story. Through I See London and London Falling, I kept wishing we’d see more of the city, that it would become its own character in a way, but I never felt that. In French Kissed I really felt like we were in London, as well as Paris. There’s a reason I’m drawn to books with foreign settings - I want to feel like I’m escaping my real life, like I’m truly there in London absorbing all the culture, or in Paris watching the Eiffel Tower glitter at night. French Kissed succeeded in that, and made me anxious to return to Paris, and finally visit London someday soon. I was also really happy to see familiar characters; I got invested in Maggie and Samir’s story, so it was nice to see them, as well as other return characters.

Overall, French Kissed was the perfect ending to the International School series. Chanel Cleeton managed to take a character you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have much depth, and remind you over and over that appearances can be deceiving. There’s a huge heart under the perfect hair, beautiful face, and designer clothes. I’m going to miss the International School characters, and I couldn’t be happier that they got such an incredible send off.

Have you read French Kissed? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read the other two books in the International School series? What are some of your favourite NA books of 2014? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

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