Review: Torn by Carian

Posted October 12, 2020 by Shari in Reviews / 5 Comments

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Review: Torn by Carian

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: All Torn Up #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on August 28, 2016
Pages: 436
Format: eBook
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The Delight

Wow! Recommended by an author I love, this book was a freebie on Amazon, at that time. I didn’t know what to expect. I was torn just like the title with the subject matter. It was a love story I was drawn to, upset with, and conflicted about. When an author can pull these deep emotions out fo me, it has to be a good book.


I am going to warn you right now that this story is between a couple 15 years of age apart. The story starts when she is 17, but mostly takes place when she is 18 and he is 33. There is another element that may creep you out. The hero is best friends and the same age as the heroine’s parents. Warning this isn’t an easy book and deals with some taboo subjects you may not be comfortable reading.

“We want you to be her Godfather,” Asher says as he gently lays his newborn baby in my arms. I have to tear my gaze away from her spellbinding eyes to look up at him from the chair I’m cradling the baby in.

Kenzi was born to parents only 15 years old. Shortly after her birth to Asher and Ember, Ash hands her over to Toren making him her godfather. Toren often babysits Kenzi as she grows up. When she loses her stuffed bunny at 5, he gets her a real bunny. When her parents go on tour (they are in a band called Ashes & Embers and they have their own story), Toren often watched her when s she didn’t go with him. As the years go by, they go from a parental relationship to friendship through her teen years.

We enter the story when she is 17, dealing with all the mixed up crazy feelings a teenager goes through. She is a good student in her senior year dating a boy who doesn’t seem to like her for her parents. Reading, we see her disinterest in her boyfriend. His kisses don’t spark or arouse her. She even talks to Toren about it at the weekly bonfire her father throws. Kenzi’s mother is missing. She isn’t in the story and there is a very good reason why I just don’t want to give it away. Asher and Ember have their own story I will review at a later date.

Toren was totally in love with the little girl he helped raise, but it was all as a parent and friend until it wasn’t. Through the years, Toren has been there for Kenzi even going as far as to allow her to clean his house as her high school job. He was part of the band Asher and Ember were creating as a guitarist, but when his father dies suddenly, he has to take over the family bike shop and take care of his mother, brothers, and sister.  While he doesn’t regret his decision, it has been the money maker being a rock star would have given him. But the biggest problem….he is best friends with Asher and Ember.

The feelings didn’t just come on suddenly. They came on slowly over time as events happen to throw them together. Kenzi and Toren are startled by the feelings of the attraction. Toren fights it left and right, often hurting Kenzi in his effort to resist her. Nothing happens until she turns 18 other than a kiss that throws Toren into a rage at himself for taking advantage of a girl who could be his daughter. The relationship feels forbidden, but one of that will be eternal. And that is what ultimately brings them together.

Unfortunately, their relationship is a forbidden taboo that they know they need to confront, but they keep avoiding. Until they can’t avoid it any longer. I will say I did skip some of the more intimate moments. I struggled not with the age difference, but with the element that he was part of raising her in almost a father relationship. It wasn’t incestuous, but it also felt off. So I couldn’t really read about their intimate relationship and not want to punch him as well.

So that is why I actually loved this story. The author didn’t shy away from the hard subject. Taking it head-on and it wasn’t a pretty picture for a while. The heart wants what the heart wants, but what happens when the reality isn’t as forgiving? This wasn’t an easy book to read and sometimes I appreciate that kind of story if authors don’t try to hide it. It evoked deep emotions, both good and bad, from me. And that is sometimes better than the love story.

I am drawn to this world-building. Now want to get to know the other characters in this world. The story is standalone with hints of other stories that do not detract. Having read 4 books in this world (two different series), they interconnect, but if you haven’t read one, you don’t need it to understand the one you are on. They all standalone and go together.

Challenges Met

Reading Challenge #167
Review Writing Challenge #61
Bad Boys of Romance #27

Literary Pickers #53 – House Key
Books ‘N’ Tunes #29 – Torn by Natalie Imbruglia


About the book
Torn by Carian ColeTORN BY CARIAN COLE

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 father’s best friend. 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.

He loves me too.

Tor’s one of the good guys. Loving. Devoted. A strong moral compass. One 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.

I know he’s struggling with his feelings, but I’m determined. I’m not a little girl anymore, and we can’t deny we were meant to be together. 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 hurt.

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


About Carian Cole

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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Delighted Reader was founded in 2011 after Shari decided she wanted to review the books she loves so much. Constantly on the run, she still finds time to read in pick up lines, in the middle of the night, and sometimes hiding to get a chapter read before she is found. Check out her reviews at

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Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Sounds like the writing was so good that you couldn’t help but keep reading even if it made you uncomfortable. I’m curious about Asher and Ember, too. 🙂

1 year ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I really enjoyed this besides the creep factor. I have gone on to read all of her books. I am in the middle of the last one. Asher and Ember’s story was just released in May and it is the 6th book in the original series. I have read all the books in this series and they mention Ember, but nothing concrete about what happened or where she is. Torn actually says, but doesn’t give it all away. And wow! Asher’s story is one that will rip you apart.

Carole Rae
1 year ago

Oooooo I am intrigued by this one. 🙂

1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yeah, it has an age difference romance, a missing mother (don’t judge as it is a really good reason), but also the creep factor that the hero helped raise the heroine and is actually her godfather.


[…] When Toren meets the new girl in town, Ember, walks her to a park trying to get up the nerve to ask her out when Asher arrives. At first glance, Asher and Ember fell in love. The forever kind of love. Toren and Asher are best friends and soon they all are best friends. The first time these two have sex at 14, they get pregnant with Kenzi. They stayed together and married when they were 18 while starting up their band Ashes & Embers. Toren is the guitar player, but when his father dies suddenly, Toren becomes more… Read more »