Charles Soto

Chase has it all. Owner of a successful business, social standing and respect, killer looks and not the fiancé of any man's fantasy. His life is in control, just the way he planned; but everything is not as it appears. His brother, also his business partner and closest friend, is angrily rejected when he attempts to tell Chase the Truth. As Chase blindly races toward an empty future based on lies and deceit, his brother makes the dangerous decision to protect him.

Carly, a single and struggling mom, has always sacrificed personal happiness in an effort to protect her son. Lonely and stuck in a dead-end job, her life revolves around her special needs child; until the abusive father threatens to take him. Carly decides to take a chance on life and accept a friend request from her high school sweetheart. Can she let down her defenses and open her heart, or will the past cloud her future? Will a simple Facebook friend request bring Chase and Carly the happiness they so desperately desire, or will secrets from their past threaten to keep them apart ... forever.

Author Bio

Charles Soto is a moving and unconventional fiction author of Heartache & Sin, The friend Request, Pride and a Prayer and the ghostwriter of the Auto-Biography, Frias with Love (Where we come from, where we went).

Along with his diversity as an author and his capabilities of writing in a profound array of genres, his talents as a sculptor and expertise in the painting and decorating field has enabled him to supervise such projects as the MGM Grand Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, NV., Pantageous Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis, MN., as well as many more iconic Structures.

Charles Soto was born in Las Vegas NV., and throughout his childhood was raised in the Bay Area of Alameda County on the outskirts of San Francisco, CA. He now lives in Northern Minnesota with his wife of thirty years and their two daughters.

Connect with Charles on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and his website.

  • Critic Score:58/100

    Our Review Ranking:

    Revisions Required

 

Our Review

Cover:

The cover is simple, yet effective.  I think the colors would stand out on a shelf among other books and the use of the Facebook 'f' was clever.  The mouse, however, looks backwards to me based on the position of the cord.  It looks like the ball of the mouse is where your palm would rest. 

Book Blurb:

Overall, the blurb gave a good synopsis of the book without giving away too many details.  However, there are some sentences in it that are awkward and repetitive.  For example:  “Lonely and stuck in a dead-end job, her life revolves around her special needs child; until the abusive father threatens to take him.”  This almost makes it sound like once dad threatened to take him, life was no longer lonely and revolving around her child.  I think that this sentence could be cut out, since the previous sentence already states that she’s a struggling mom who has sacrificed in her life. You could change the first sentence to say “Carly, a single and struggling mom, has always sacrificed personal happiness in an effort to protect her special needs son.” That would keep the information in the blurb that he has special needs and eliminating the part about the dad would be fine since his threat was actually a very small part in the book. 

Also, the last two sentences seem repetitive and could be combined. “Can she let down her defenses and open her heart, or will the past cloud her future? Will a simple Facebook friend request bring Chase and Carly the happiness they so desperately desire, or will secrets from their past threaten to keep them apart ... forever.” This could be condensed to something like: Can she let down her defenses and open her heart, or will secrets from their past threaten to keep them apart?

Formatting :

There are many areas throughout the book where spacing is an issue.  Sentences get split between two lines and the chapter titles are inconsistent. In the first few chapters there is no spacing between the chapter title and the start of the text and then later in the book there’s more of a space.  Also, some of the chapters have an extra blank page between them.  I would suggest including page numbers, especially if there will be printed copies.

Grammar & Spelling:

I was shocked at the amount of errors in this book considering it had two editors and is already published.  There’s everything from misspelled words and missing punctuation to proper names not being capitalized or even names being misspelled.  Almost every page contains several errors.  Towards the end of the book, several paragraphs are missing their first word.  All of these errors made this frustrating to read at times.  I would highly recommend having another editor tackle this.  

Character Development:

The parts of this book that I found the most enjoyable were the parts where Chase, Carly, and Caleb were together and some of their childlike humor came out.  The author did a fantastic job of creating a family that I was rooting for.  The characters were what kept me reading.  At times, though, I really felt like some of the characters were written in a very stereotypical way.  Also, at the end, I wanted to scream at Chase.  I have no idea wha,t he ever saw in Heather and when she tried to ruin everything he didn’t seem to do much to shut her up.  I went back and forth from liking Chase to thinking he was an idiot.  But even as an idiot, he was a well-developed character.

Plot & Structure:

This wasn’t exactly what I expected, which is a good thing in some ways.  I appreciated reading a romance novel that focused on a true romance and didn’t just read like another 50 shades.  The author had a well-developed story, full of believable love and deceit for these characters; however, I found most of it to be very predictable.  Some of it was very obvious from the beginning how it would turn out.  For example, the truth about how Carly became pregnant, Carly and Caleb being mistaken for Chase’s family and using that to get the contract, and Heather lying about her pregnancy.  I wasn’t surprised by any of these things.  But some things did surprise me such as the ways that Chase helped Caleb and Carly at the end.  Those parts had me cracking up!  Furthermore, Carly and Chase being reunited and the whole theme behind this book, was from a friend request and messages on Facebook.  I was surprised that the messages and emails that went between them weren’t part of the text.  By adding that type of thing, I think the readers would get to know the characters even better.  If they were believable conversations, we could see how they’ve rekindled their relationship.  It doesn’t even matter that Sydney was the one behind it- we would still get Carly’s perspective.  

I also have mixed feelings on some of the text where it’s describing their thoughts about all of these situations.  Some of it is great, because we see the transformation in Chase, for example.  We see him go from an arrogant type of person, back to a more caring person.  The problem is that a lot of it becomes very repetitive and wordy. Condensing some of this is also something I would recommend having an editor look at.  

Pacing:

Overall, this was fine. One issue that I had as far as the timeline went was towards the end after Chase got the contract, it jumped ahead to a couple months later.  This made some of the plot seem questionable.  Heather was still trying to claim that she was pregnant when she was yelling at Carly- but it would have been obvious that Heather wasn’t pregnant because she had no signs of it.  And also, at this point Carly still had no idea about his wealth, but they’d been seeing each other for months.  These things could have happened sooner and jumping ahead didn’t need to happen. 

Use of Language:

The vocabulary and language used for this book seemed appropriate.  However, a lot of the dialogue wasn’t natural.  Some of the issues with it could be easily fixed.  In many areas where they were speaking to each other, every new statement included them saying each other’s names.  I don’t know of anyone that talks to each other that way.  Deleting some of that would instantly make the conversations seem more natural. 

Originality:

This lost some points just because I found so much of the story to be predictable.  This had the same general story line that I’ve seen in other books before.  There were creative, different ideas throughout it though.   I just wished there was more of that. 

Overall Readability:

This is rated in the middle because the grammar and spelling made this difficult to read.  However, the story was entertaining enough that I wanted to see what would happen with the characters.

A Note From the Critic:

As the book currently is, I wouldn’t recommend it.  However, I do believe that this could be a great read if an editor fixed some of the issues.  The author's strength is in character development and I would be very curious to see what else he will come up with. 

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