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Book Review-Torn by Carian Cole

by | Apr 2, 2022 | Book Reviews | 2 comments

This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

When I was five years old, I told Toren Grace I was going to marry him when I grew up. When I turned eighteen, I made it clear I still felt the same. The problem? He’s fifteen years older than me, and he’s my father’s best friend.

Toren Grace. My pseudo-uncle. He’s always been my rock–the one I should never, ever want. But I do want him, and I love him. I always have.

Tor’s one of the good guys. He’s loving and devoted with a strong moral compass. One unexpected kiss between us rocked him clear off his axis. Now, we can’t forget how that kiss felt, and what it changed. Nothing will ever be the same between us.
But I’m not a little girl anymore, and he’s everything I want.

I’m everything he wants, too.

I know he’s struggling, but I’m determined. With a last name of Valentine, I’ve got cupid in my veins. The heart wants what the heart wants, and it doesn’t care about age or how we met. My father cares, though. And he’s the one person neither one of us can stand to betray or hurt.

We’re all being torn apart, and I don’t know how to make everyone see that the wrongs are actually right.

* Torn can be read as a single book.

So much power hides in words, and once you speak them, you give them life, and you have to accept the truth that comes with them.

My Review

Torn by Carian Cole was such a book that I have been so excited for, this is THE book that everyone in the book community seems to rave about even more than “Don’t Kiss The Bride” and I have become so intrigued by this one and it has been on my kindle for quite a long while and I have been meaning to read it but I knew i needed to be in the right mood for this one, I knew it was an age gap but there is some family connection in the romance so I admit that is the biggest reason this doesn’t have the highest rating (as I will explain below). But I found that this story was such a win of a book and those that love the age gap, will definitely love this one. It had its own emotion and heart that will just endear the reader from beginning to end. I was torn by this book because even though there were some aspects that didn’t quite work for me, it also breathed life into my soul at the time and I do see why it’s so well-loved by so many and Carian Cole has definitely written a well worth it of a read and I think any contemporary romance lover needs to add this one to their shelf because the experience of it is well worth it.

I want crazy fucking love. I want someone that’ll never let me go. I want to wake up to my best friend every day.

Torn is a romance that will tie you up in knots and deliver a range of emotions which features:

  • Toren Grace- A broody silent hero, driven in searching for the “ONE”, protective, loving, beast in the bedroom but tender in loving his woman
  • Kenzi- A feminine woman of grace and love, raised in the rock band world, yearning for friendship and love and mature for her young age

My love, walk in the rain with me, kiss me in the misty fog. Let me hold you all night under the hush of the wind. I’m waiting for you, throwing pennies, making wishes. I’m wishing only for you, always for you. Come back to me. I’ll fight for you, I’ll fight for us. Wish for me too and I’ll make it come true. I love you forever and longer.

Torn sets off with the very beginning of the bond that begins between these two from the birth of Kenzi. Toren is the best friend of Kenzi’s father, and her godfather, and swore to be her protector and friend. From her birth, he has always put her first in his life and has been there for all of her firsts and helped her adjust to life in the rock star world while being her best friend all of her life. Toren has always been the silent type, he has craved a woman that would be the “one” but only gets chased by women who just want him for sex and a pocketbook and nothing more than that. He has always viewed Kenzi as a friend, a young woman that is brave and strong, but as Kenzi grows into a grown woman and gets past the age of consent, there is more than just friendship growing for Toren and he is torn up in two inside. This is the daughter of his best friend, and he feels like he is betraying his best friend by allowing these feelings to grow. Kenzi, has always been raised with love by her parents and her uncles and Toren who has always been by her side through all of the joys and struggles in her life. But she senses a deeper intimate connection building between them, and she refuses to let go of what is building quickly between them or let their age difference or the taboo nature of their relationship keep them from finding forever. But finding your one is vastly different from finding your happy ever after with them and the journey to the later will be a battle worth fighting for….

When I look at you, I don’t see my father’s friend, or my uncle, or my godfather, or an older man. All I see is the person I’ve always loved and has always made me happy. That’s it. I just see you.

Torn was such a different romance than I was actually expecting, all I knew going into this one was that it had an age difference, I didn’t research this one further and know that there was some familial type of connection to each other. Although if I had known, I might not have picked this one up and I am so grateful that I decided to take a chance on this one. Because it was such a beautiful story that just won my heart so quickly. I actually enjoyed the flashback that we see in this story and seeing their relationship in the way that we see it happen here. I was so fascinated in seeing the way that their relationship would change. Now I know that there is a big taboo in this book and it might put you off and I completely understand that. It is the reason why this isn’t a five star read, because while this had me in my feels, I did struggle with the fact that Toren practically raised Kenzi, and even though this was more about friendship until she in adulthood, it will be a struggle for some readers to see that bond but there is no blood tie between them. However, I did struggle with that aspect but it really was only a struggle in the first half of the book. There was this shift in the second half of the book, where their relationship just changes in such a beautiful way, and the doubts and reservations that I seemed to have had just seemed to fade away and I was cheering this couple on. Seeing the growth of their bond was such a thing of beauty. There are so many feelings within this one, and I loved that they understand each other so much, and are willing to fight for each other and their dreams.

Love is like an onion, with a lot of layers and a lot of tears before you get to the good part

What really made this book shine was the character growth. There is so much character growth in this story and the way that the author capitalizes on this just had this story build all the layers that we see throughout the reading of it. I loved both of these characters, both of their personalities just are some of my favorite attributes to see in a romance. In Toren, we see a strong silent figure of a man, who is an alpha in all the ways that it matters but I might categorize him as an alpha cinnamon roll. He never apologizes for who he is or the type of woman he is looking for. Then we have beautiful Kenzi. Kenzi is a woman that isn’t afraid to go after her dreams. I loved how she embraces her inner feminity and is willing to fight for her dream to be a wife and a mother and you see how afraid she is of embracing it because she knows she will be mocked for it. But Toren emboldens her to go after that dream, no matter what others may think of it. I just wanted these two to be together and embrace the beauty of what they had together. There are some conflicts that stand in their way though, a big one once Kenzi’s father finds out, I really enjoyed the way that the conflict of this played out, and yes I expected what we see happen and I might have been a bit amused in this scene, not gonna lie (LOL) because the father’s anger is justified here even while I was cheering for Kenzi and Toren to find a way to their HEA. There is a bit of a side plot with the father and mother (as the mother is in a coma) but I am intrigued to see how the ending gets played out in book two or if we see that happen, I hope we do!

I wished you would never doubt me again. I’ve spent almost eighteen years being there for you, Angel. Because I want to. No one ever made me or expected me to. You’re just where I always wanted to be.

Overall I found Torn to be a satisfying read that won my heart so fiercely, it has a poignant feel to the romance that will only endear you deeper into Toren and Kenzi’s story that was so beautifully captured and is guaranteed to win your heart!

He’s my other half; the one who makes my heart beat. The man who makes me feel every feeling that could possibly be felt – and then some. The man who held me and loved me through almost every moment of my life. I have no past without him, and no future without him. Quite simply, he is my world.

Title: Torn

Author: Carian Cole

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: eBook

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Length: 522 Pages

Amazon| Barnes and Noble| Kobo| Goodreads| LibraryThing| StoryGraph| Literal Club

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4

Story Itself: 4.25

Character Development: 5

Writing Style: 4.5

World Building 3.5

Feels + The Romantic Heart 4

Pacing 3.75

Plot 4

Cover Art 5

Ending 4

Book Ratings

Overall Rating of the Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

Series Order

All Torn Up

Torn-Pub 2016 #1 in the Series

Tied-Pub 2017 #2 in the Series

About Carian

I have a passion for the bad boys, those covered in tattoos, sexy smirks, ripped jeans, fast cars, motorcycles and of course, the sweet girls that try to tame them and win their hearts. My debut series, Ashes & Embers, follows the lives of rock band members as they find, and sometimes lose, the loves of their lives.

My first novel in the Ashes & Embers series, Storm, was published in September of 2014, and I have lots of books planned for this series. The All Torn Up series is a spin off series, but all can be read standalone, and out of order.

Born and raised a Jersey girl, I now reside in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband and our multitude of furry pets and spend most of my time writing, reading, and vacuuming.


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  1. kristiej

    This is one I put off reading. I knew the connection before reading it and thought it would be too much of an ick factor. But I’d read and loved so very, very much the previous books by Carian that I felt compelled to at least start reading it even if I found the relationship between Kenzie and Torn too much. But to my shock and utter delight, I loved it. I didn’t find it icky at all. The love was always there but the nature of it changed drastically over the years. And Torns own struggle with his changing feelings really helped too.
    Oddly enough, it did change my feelings towards Asher and Ember. I saw them as very neglectful parents. Up until this book I loved Asher but I was angry he and Ember left so much of the child rearing to Torn. That’s one of the reasons Asher is my least favourite of all Carian’s books.


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