On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves {Review}

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves {Review}Title: On the Island
Author: Tracey Garvis-Graves
Publisher: Penguin on August 16th 2012
Format: Paperback, 347 pages
Source: Giveaway
5 Stars

Summary

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

My thoughts

I absolutely adored this book. When I went in, I had some misgivings: would this be one of those creepy things where the older chick likes the way younger dude? Would there be a bunch of naked sexy times on the beach? Would it be horribly depressing, them being stuck there for so long? How interesting can years on a beach be? Luckily, every one of my fears with misguided.

The characters were wonderful. Anna was dealing with a relationship whose direction she wasn’t sure of. She was strong and confident in herself. When the pilot started having trouble, she was the one who stepped up and tried to help. She remained strong after the crash and helped keep them safe. T.J. was your average kid who just wanted to hang out with his friends instead of spend the summer with his family and a tutor. He was understandably scared after the crash, and tried to be strong, but needed to lean on Anna a lot.

One of the most interesting things about the book was watching as their roles changed, as T.J. became stronger and Anna learned to rely on him more and more. It was subtle, real and so sweet.

The plane crash, their fight to survive and their hope for rescue were all heart-wrenching. Tracey Garvis Graves can write suspense, action and romance like nobody’s business. And there’s more than just their need for food and water; there’s bad weather, illnesses, bathing and much more. I was worried that it would be boring, with nothing but the island to read about, but Graves managed to make everything interesting. There was more than 1 occasion that involved me rushing through to see what happened next.

I really liked that the point of view switched from Anna’s to T.J.’s, I could get inside their heads as they matured and fell for each other. The romance was sweet and factually graphic. The actual romance didn’t start until after T.J. came of age, so need to worry about that aspect.

There were a few “Well, that was convenient.” moments that were a bit annoying, but I just rolled with them. The survival part of the story was taken over about halfway through by the romance part. While this might bother some, I enjoyed it.

The sum up

This is a survival story perfect for the romance fan.

About the author

Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase

The Book Depository | Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Other opinions

Dear Author | Daisy Chain Book | Waves of Fiction

Working It Out by Rachael Anderson {Review}

Working It Out by Rachael Anderson {Review}Title: Working It Out
Author: Rachael Anderson
Publisher: HEA Publishing on July 15th 2013
Format: eARC, 262 pages
Source: I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
4 Stars
Summary

A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren’s life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace’s rehab clinic post surgery, he’s every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there’s something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he’s everything she’s sure she doesn’t want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she’s willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

My thoughts

Grace is perfectly content being single. She spends her days working hard as a physical therapist and her nights trying to relieve her guilt over her brother’s paralysis. She has no room for anything else. When live-life-to-the-fullest Seth ends up as her patient, they clash immediately. But something about her intrigues him, and he’s not willing to take no for an answer.

I really liked this story. Just like her previous novel, The Reluctant Bachelorette, Working It Out, is a fun, clean read that’s pure entertainment. It tackles some heavy subjects, but it does so without going to a completely dark place.

All of the characters were likeable, except maybe Grace’s kind of creepy coworker. Grace was strong and intelligent. Seth was fun and kind. His “sister” was passionate and loving. Grace’s brother was depressed but he soon figured out the way back. They were all nice, normal people whom you would want to have in your life. They handled their problems realistically and without too much drama.

There were a few things that irked me, like Seth’s inability to consider Grace’s feelings when it came to his daredevil ways, or Lanna’s stubborn refusal of Seth’s help, even if it meant a lot of money for her charity. Just little things, and certainly not enough to make me dislike the book.

The plot is a fun one, it’s easy to see how these two might clash, and the fun comes when they’re stuck working together. The chemistry between them was quite fun. There was a touch of romance, but anything that could be considered “private” was behind closed doors and we didn’t read about it.

Rachael Anderson has a gift for capturing the atmosphere and attitudes of the story and the characters. Her novels are a joy to read and I consider them automatic buys.

The sum up

Fun and sweet, this is a classic contemporary chick-lit novel.

About the author


I love to read, write, and do most anything outdoors, with the exception of rock climbing and sky diving. (I have serious height phobias.) If there’s something I can do within five feet of solid ground, count me in!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase

Amazon

Other opinions

Christy’s Cozy Corners | The Reading Retreat | The Book Belles

Audio Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

Title: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Author: Jenny Lawson
Narrator: Jenny Lawson
Publisher: April 17th 2012 by Penguin Audio
Format: Audio CD, 8 hrs and 41 mins
Source: Purchased
4 owls

Summary

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments-the ones we want to pretend never happened-are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.

My thoughts

Everyone has read Jenny’s blog, The Bloggess (and if you haven’t, why the hell not?), and her debut memoir is just like it, full of crazy things she does, awkward conversations she has, crazy texts she shares with Victor or sometimes, dark places she finds herself when her anxiety or depression take hold. The chapters are individual stories, told in chronological order.

Jenny states in the beginning that most of the stories are true, and even though she says only names and dates have been changed, you have to wonder if everything else could really be true. If so, she’s had quite the life! There were a few stories or mentions that I recall from reading her blog, but most everything in the book was new to me.

The way she deals with the setbacks and disappointments in her life are wonderful; she is a great example of how humor can make most anything better. There are some truly sad parts, like her many miscarriages, but she continues on. Though it’s sad at the time, she can look back later and find the funny. She talks a lot about her husband, Victor, and I just adore him. He has (almost) the same sense of humor as Jenny, and he has the patience and understanding of a saint.

My only complaint is the audiobook. I adore Jenny Lawson, but her voice grates on my nerves. A lot of the time, she spoke in a monotone, with hardly any inflection. Several times, she would read a long paragraph or story (in a monotone), and her voice would get this gravelly sound. It got so bad I wanted to say “Clear your throat already!” And for some strange reason, she sang the chapter titles. Not very well. For those reasons alone, I would suggest going for the print version instead of the audio version.

The sum up

If you like The Bloggess, or awkwardly funny situations, check this one. Beware the salty language.

Connect with the author

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | flickr | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase

The Book Depository | Amazon | Kindle | Books A Million | eBooks.com | Nook | Barnes & Noble

Other opinions

Spice of Life | Lovingly Thrown Together | Shelf Love

Review: True by Erin McCarthy

Title: True
Author: Erin McCarthy
Publisher: May 7th 2013 by InterMix
Format: ebook, 238 pages
Source: NetGalley
3 owls

Summary

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

My thoughts

Rory’s nerdy and shy and not able to make friends easily. Luckily, she’s managed to bond with her 2 dorm mates, even though they’re very different. They help her get out of her shell a bit. When they find out she’s a (gasp!) virgin, they secretly pay Tyler, who happens to be a booty call for one of them, to deflower her. At first, Rory’s unsure why Tyler is suddenly paying so much attention to her, but she likes it.

Rory was a funny person, she had a great sense of humor, though she sometimes had a hard time letting her hair down. She lost her mother when she was young, and you could tell that played a part in her personality. She loved her father very much, but they weren’t a loving family. She was smart and confident in her abilities.

Tyler was your typical bad boy – tattooed, dangerous, ladies’ man with a secretive home life that made him want to protect himself from further hurt, but a real softy on the inside. He really did have a horrible home life, no father and a drug-addicted, abusive mother. Luckily, he had his older brother to help him out, and his younger brothers to keep him grounded. He made some stupid decisions throughout the story (not the least of which was accepting money to take a girl’s virginity), but you could tell that underneath he was a pretty decent guy.

Rory’s roommates were pretty nice, until you realized that they’d paid someone to sleep with her. Why they felt it was so necessary for Rory to have sex was unclear. I thought that was a pretty underhanded thing, and it colored my opinion of them for the rest of the book.

The plot is pretty repetitive these days: girl is almost raped, boy comes to her rescue, they fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, though, it was entertaining. It was a little disappointing, however, that the near-rape wasn’t dealt with. No police were called, no counseling was sought, nothing. It was spoken of a few times immediately after, then once or twice later, then nada. That was a missed opportunity, as far as I’m concerned.

The story moved along at a brisk pace, and that was nice. It made it easier to overlook the parts that bothered me, such as Rory’s inconsistent behaviors, her roommates’ attempt to prostitute her out and Tyler’s inability to simply talk about what was bothering him. The romance felt authentic, like 2 college kids getting to know each other and learning to trust one another. The ending was a bit rushed, it could have used more attention. Otherwise, it was a nice quick read.

The sum up

Predictable but entertaining.

Connect with the author

Facebook
Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase

Nook | Kindle

Other opinions

Tome Tender
The Book Lovers
The Three Bookateers

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books, Sept. 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 338 pages
Source: Purchased
5 owl rating

 

Summary

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My thoughts

I didn’t think it was possible, but Stephanie Perkins managed to make me love Lola and the Boy Next Door even more than Anna and the French Kiss. Another home run for the Queen of Contemporary Young Adult Romances.

Lola was not your average girl. She saw every day as a chance to reinvent herself, with wigs and costumes; she marched to her own drummer and if you didn’t like it, tough noogies. She lived with her too-good-to-be-true dads and dated an older “bad boy.” Everything was going pretty dandy for Lola until her old neighbors moved back into the house next door.

I loved Lola’s dads – they let her just be herself and were there when she needed them. They were kind (to each other and to her) and thoughtful and just quirky enough. Her boyfriend, Max, was a few years older, and this was mentioned several times, in an effort to make their relationship almost… naughty. I didn’t think the age difference was that big a deal.

The neighbors, the Bells, included twins Calliope and Cricket. Calliope was a talented figure skater whose family had moved back to town to advance her career. She was spoiled and selfish, and not a likable character at all. Cricket, well he’s one of my favorite book boyfriends ever. He was sweet and nerdy and made of pure awesome.

Most of the novel was spent building up the horrible thing that Cricket did to Lola before the Bells moved away, and once we found out what he did, it was a huge letdown. Honestly, it was no big deal at all, and I thought she overreacted quite a bit. The dialogue was fun and real; Lola really had a tendency to say what she was thinking, which led to some amusing situations.

The setting of the novel was so well described, I felt like I was right there in San Francisco with the characters. Everything was so lush and descriptive, I loved it. For fans of Anna and the French Kiss, we are treated to a few scenes with Anna and Etienne in Lola. They are just as in love, and Anna provides a sounding board when Lola needs someone to talk out her issues.

There were a few clichés, and some predictable bits, but they were few and far between. The quirky and fun nature of the book more than made up for those few drawbacks.

The sum up

I loved this one so much. I have a new favorite book and a new favorite book boyfriend.

Connect with the author

Website | Twitter
Blog | Tumblr
Goodreads | Facebook

Purchase

Nook | Kindle  |  eBooks.com
Barnes & Noble hardcover | Amazon hardcover
| Books A Million hardcover  |  The Book Depository
Barnes & Noble audiobook  |  Audible

Other opinions

Jenni Elyse
YA Reads
Pretty Books

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: NetGalley
5 owl rating

 

Summary

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My thoughts

This one surprised the hell out of me. It kind of reminded me of Velveteen, not because of the story itself, but because they both took me by surprise, they both involved the author creating an amazing new fantasy world (and doing a fabulous job of it) and I ended up absolutely loving both of them.

In Splintered, Alyssa lives alone with her father because her mother is in a mental institution for talking to bugs and flowers. Alyssa has the same ability, but nobody knows because she doesn’t want to end up in an institution as well. When her father chooses shock therapy as the next course of treatment for her mother, Alyssa decides it’s time to get to the bottom of the Alice in Wonderland story in hopes it will heal her mom. She figures out the clues and ends up in Wonderland, but accidentally brings her neighbor (and secret crush) Jeb along with her. Now the two must pass a series of tests to cure her mother.

I admit, I have never read Alice in Wonderland. Or if I did, I was too young to remember. Either way, I had no idea what to expect as far as the original story line was concerned, but I don’t think that was a hindrance at all. In fact, it may have helped because I didn’t feel the need to compare aspects from both books to see how they stacked up. Everything was new to me.

The real treat in the book was the world building. A.G. Howard has a gift for setting up this whole new world and filling it with teeny tiny details that make all the difference. The clothing, characters, setting, even the lighting, all come together into one amazing package.

A craggy, witchlike voice erupts out of nowhere. Movement sweeps along the garden, as if wind blows the blooms.

Jeb and I edge backward, nearly tripping over the fallen pack.

One of the giant daisies bends low, casting a long blue shadow. A distorted mouth widens in the flower’s yellow center, and rows of teeth blink on every petal.

All of the characterization was great. Alyssa was haunted by her mother’s institutionalization and her own (perceived) impending craziness. Even with all that in her mind (not to mention the talking bugs), she managed to stay pretty normal in her every day life. She had a part-time job, friends and hobbies and she was crushing on the boy next door. Jeb was like her overprotective brother who may or may not like her as more than a friend.

Jeb pulls me off the seat to sit me beside him, but the boat rocks, and I end up falling into his lap. We both freeze. When I start to ease off his legs, he holds me there. My heart hammers; I can’t deny how amazing it feels to be so close to him. Ignoring the alarms going off inside me, I give in and press my cheek to the soft knit of his tank, my arms folded between us. He strokes my hair as I snuggle beneath his chin, legs curled in the fetal position.

“I’m scared,” I whisper. For more reasons than I can say.

“You have every right to be,” he answers softly. “But we’re going to get back home.”

But Jeb was dating their classmate, who was a real bitch. I’m still not sure why he was dating her, other than to make it difficult for he and Alyssa to get together. She had no redeeming qualities that I could see. Morpheus, the dark and sarcastic winged netherling who resided in Wonderland, was presented to form a love triangle with Jeb and Alyssa, but I never thought of him as a true love interest for her. He was mean, unnecessarily mysterious and clearly had ulterior motives.

Every once in a while, the writing struck me as a little immature, but those moments were pretty few. Otherwise, the language was quite poetic and flowed effortlessly. I was immediately pulled into the story and didn’t want to put it down until I finished it. Basically, I fell in love with this book.

The sum up

A fabulous new twist on the Alice in Wonderland story. This is a new favorite.

Connect with the author

website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

Purchase

The Book Depository
Kindle
Amazon hardcover
Kindle

Other opinions

Two Chicks on Books
Thoughts of An Endless Dreamer
Reading Between Classes

Review: The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski

TEON_TOUR_BANNER_LARGE-1-1

 

Title: The Edge of Never
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publisher: November 15th 2012 by Createspace
Format: Paperback, 426 pages
Source: AToMR Blog Tours
4 owls

Summary

Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart.

Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind.

With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.

But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?

My thoughts

Camryn has an upset with her best friend and decides to chuck it all and leave town. She packs a small bag and buys a bus ticket to the first place that pops in her head. On the way to wherever, she meets Andrew, who is heading to a specific place while also running away from something. Though they don’t hit it off right away, they manage to become friends during their days together on the bus.

Camryn was a likeable character. She was honest and loyal to her friend. She was not your average 20-year old; she had a nice, easy job, but wanted more. She wanted to do something big and unexpected with her life. I really related to her; though I’ve never been brave enough to strike out on my own, I often wondered what it would be like to do something like that. Andrew is a typical (literary) dude: sexy hot, smoldering good looks, a flirtatious demeanor, hiding a secret, trying not to fall in love for a very good reason, but not quite able to help it. Camryn’s bestie was a bitch in the beginning, but she managed to become likeable by the end.

The plot is a different take on the road trip book. Though they were on a road trip, they were separate but together. Plus, they were going to different destinations and traveling mostly by bus. Whatever you call it, they were on the road for a majority of the book. They took different stops for varying lengths of time and that was a nice way to change the scenery. Though most of the chapters were told from Camryn’s point of view, every once in a while Andrew had a chapter and it was nice to see their trip from both sides.

Though I guessed the big shocker a way back, it was still intense. And yes, I cried. But I think the effect was lessened by the epilogue. What was a gritty, realistic book became a standard issue (sexy) romance made to please the masses.

There were some (yummy) graphic sex scenes. The very descriptive scenes kind of shocked me, but I think that’s only because I’ve been reading such tame sex scenes for so long (as expected in ya books). Lots of salty language and some underage drinking. This is definitely not a book for younger teens.

To me, the cover looks like a sci-fi novel. It almost has a comic book or graphic novel-like quality. On the good side, Camryn does have a blond braid that she wears over her shoulder.

The sum up

Intense and enthralling, this is another new-adult winner.

 

Connect with the author

website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Google+
Goodreads

Purchase

The Book Depository
Kindle
Amazon
Books A Million
Nook
Barnes & Noble

Other opinions

Aestas Book Blog
Madison Says

 

Photobucket

Review: Back to You by Priscilla Glenn

Back_to_You

Title: Back to You
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Publisher: October 20th 2012 by CreateSpace
Format: Kindle Edition, 328 pages
Source: AToMR Tours

Summary

When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.

Or that it would end so painfully.

Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation.

As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

My thoughts

Lauren has just started her new job as a Pre-K teacher. She’s still learning the ropes on her first day when in walks her old friend Michael. They were best friends throughout high school, until Michael did something unforgivable and they haven’t spoken since. Now they’re all grown up and Michael’s little girl is a student in Lauren’s class. Though Lauren tries hard to keep things professional, the two have a real chemistry that makes it difficult.

I liked Lauren’s character. She was kind and friendly, but also self-assured (even as a teenager). She was very likeable, and it was easy to see why Michael enjoyed having her as a friend. He was a classic bad boy – mean and gritty on the outside, with a sad story that made him want to hide from the world. And it was a doozy of a story. It was easy to see why he had become the person he was. In fact, I was surprised he didn’t end up more screwed up than he was. His little girl Erin is just about the cutest darn thing ever. She was mostly realistic, although I have to wonder what 4-year old doesn’t have at least 1 sleep-deprived meltdown or act like a brat at least once in a while…

The story took place in the present day, and every other chapter or so was told in a flashback. The flashbacks were not sequential, but for the purpose of the story, it fit. My one issue with the flashbacks was that I kept wanting to know what Michael did that was so horrible! They kept talking about it and talking about it, but we don’t learn what he did until about 3/4 of the way in. Also, I didn’t think what he did was as terrible as Lauren kept saying it was. Jerky, yes. But not unforgivable, in my opinion. I did like learning how they met and how they were with each other in school. And especially how wonderful Michael was to her when they were in private, when he could just be himself.

This was a fairly clean book – there was some sex, but it was pretty nondescript and glossed over. I don’t recall any curse words, though there may have been 1 or 2. This is being marketed as an adult book, but I would also consider it new-adult, since Lauren is still in school and just starting her ‘life.’

The sum up

Sweet and romantic, this is the perfect book for someone looking for a romance story with guts.

Connect with the author

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Purchase

The Book Depository
Kindle
Amazon paperback

Other opinions

My Life Through a Book
Book Nook
Book Reader Chronicles

Photobucket