Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols {Review}

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols {Review}Title: Dirty Little Secret
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on July 16th 2013
Format: eARC, 273 pages pages
Source: Mundie Moms Blog Tours
3 Stars

Summary

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

My thoughts

Bailey and her sister were once a very popular duo, but Bailey is dumped by her parents and sister when a big studio requests Julie as a solo artist. Bailey starts acting out in anger (cutting and dyeing her hair, hanging out with the wrong crowd, taking it a bit too far with the boys…) and winds up barely bruised when her high boyfriend crashes the car in a lake. That’s enough of a wake up call for her parents to send Bailey to live with her grandfather. Of course, she is sent with the instructions to disappear, as having a left-behind sister wouldn’t look well for Julie’s new career.

Man alive, I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a set of parents as much as I did Bailey’s. They were simply awful. The second someone saw a star quality in Julie, they hitched their wagon to her and literally dumped Bailey. The ignored her until they needed her to convince Julie to do something. They took away her online presence and basically told her to shut the hell up. It was awful and I felt so sorry for Bailey. I was amazed at how well adjusted she was, all things considered. She had her issues, as expected, but she also had her head on straight.

Sam, the love interest, was not a very likable character (more on him in a minute). He was a bit of a player, and he was hell-bent on using Bailey for her contacts. On the plus side, at least he wasn’t sneaky about it; he was very upfront about what he wanted from her. His bandmates, Ace and Charlotte, weren’t quite as complex as I would have liked, but at least they weren’t completely flat.

The plot was interesting, and I really enjoyed all the music information. There was a lot of it, including keys, instrument parts, music notes and trivia. Not enough to be boring, but enough so that it was clear Jennifer Echols knew what she was talking about.

I enjoyed the story overall, but I had a problem with the way some of the characters behaved. I thought Sam was sweet at first, but he kind of turned into a pushy, stubborn jerk. And while I appreciated how Bailey stood up to him in the beginning, she kind of rolled over and let him have his way, which irritated the hell out of me. I can point to at least 2 instances in the story where I would have told Sam exactly where he could put his guitar. But it turned out Bailey was much more forgiving than me.

This is my second book by Jennifer Echols, and while I liked it well enough, I wouldn’t consider her an insta-buy author.

The sum up

If you like country music and/or family drama, this is your book.

About the author

Jennifer EcholsJennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

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Betwixt by Melissa Pearl {Review + Giveaway}

Betwixt by Melissa Pearl {Review + Giveaway}Title: Betwixt
Author: Melissa Pearl
Publisher: Self Published on November 5th 2012
Format: eBook, 203 pages pages
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
3 Stars

Summary

Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?

My thoughts

Mean girl Nicole is actually mean to cover the pain from an incident a few years ago that left her sister dead. Instead of feeling the pain, she lashes out at everyone around her, including her parents. After insulting the scarred Dale in front of their classmates, she ends up getting hit by a car while walking home alone after a party. And wouldn’t you know, Dale’s the only one who can hear Nicole’s pleas for help. Can they work together to find Nicole’s body before she fades away for good?

Dale was the only likable character in the book.

Nicole wasn’t an especially likable character. She was going through something awful, carrying around the guilt of her little sister’s death, but she was so mean to everyone around her. Her parents already lost one child, and Nicole was making it darn near impossible for them to like her. Plus she was mean to the kids at her school, acting like the typical queen bee. Dale, on the other hand, was a great guy. He was kind, gentle and, lucky for Nicole, not at all spiteful.

Nicole’s boyfriend was a douchecanoe, the perfect companion to her mean girl. And her friends were just as mean, as demonstrated by their lack of concern after she went missing. Which Nicole witnessed, thanks to her ghostly presence. Really, Dale was the only likable character in the book.

There was tension, as Nicole tried to figure out where her body was and if she would even be able to stay alive until Dale could find her, and mystery as we wondered who hit her and if they would be able to finish the job.

The dialogue was a touch on the unbelievable side for me. I don’t think I can put my finger on it, but it didn’t ring as authentic to me. There was one thing that especially bothered me (slight spoiler): View Spoiler » The writing also seemed to lack something, maybe that little extra thing that makes the story come alive. The basics are there, but the story could use a little polish.

The sum up

While definitely enjoyable, it lacked a little something and had some plausibility issues.

About the author

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November, 2011. Since then she has produced three more books with her fifth novel, Betwixt, due out in November 2012.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

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Burning by Elana K. Arnold {Review}

Burning by Elana K. Arnold {Review}Title: Burning
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Delacorte Press on June 11th 2013
Format: eARC, 320 pages pages
Source: Publisher
3 Stars

Summary

Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It’s good timing since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky: he’s headed to San Diego, where he’s got a track scholarship at the University of California. But his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, don’t have college to look forward to, so to make them happy, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.

Lala: She and her Gypsy family earn money by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash–especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala’s been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben’s cards is the day that everything changes for her. . . and for him.

My thoughts

The town of Gypsum is literally about to close up shop. Nobody needs the gypsum from the mines, so the town has lost their greatest source of both income and jobs. Almost everyone has already moved away, but there are still a few families left. Ben is weeks away from leaving town to start college with a full ride. His friends are crazy jealous since they don’t have college to look forward to, they’re going straight into jobs once they move to Reno. Lala is a gypsy fortune teller, camping with her family on the side of the road leading to Burning Man. In an effort to placate his friends, Ben joins them on a trip to see the hot gypsy girl and ends up getting a Tarot card reading.

Ben and Lala were both likable characters. Ben was driven, and he knew he wanted to go to college and really make something of himself. He felt bad about leaving his friends (and his little brother) behind, but he knew that going to college was a great opportunity which he couldn’t pass up. Lala had recently become disenchanted with her lifestyle as a gypsy. She was dreading her upcoming arranged marriage and was dreaming of things other kids got to experience.

I’m torn on the love aspect here. On the one hand, it was so sweet and truly lovely. On the other hand, it was a classic case of instalove. Seriously, after 2 (very short) conversations, they were already in luuuuuurve. But, other than that, I really enjoyed the way it was handled. The two were mature and respectful of each other and the people around them. If it weren’t for the instalove, I might even have called it a great love story.

I found some parts of the book unbelievable. Lala did something completely out of her comfort zone that I almost rolled my eyes at. And now that I think about it, Ben did the same thing. He was ready to give up the thing he’d worked at all his life at the drop of a hat. His friends, however, were understandably jealous. Ben was actually going to college, going to make something different for himself. He had an opportunity that they never would.

I liked that the story was told from both points of view. It helped me understand not only what Lala was going through as she became more and more unhappy with the direction her life was heading, but what Ben was going through as he struggled with his decision to leave his family and friends and accept his brother’s differences.

We got to know a lot about Lala and her gypsy family. It all sounded pretty real to me, so I trust that Elana did her homework and researched their lifestyle and way of doing things. I found it all very interesting, how they view puberty, marriage and familial relationships. And the Tarot cards played a big part of the story, too. I’m only vaguely familiar with them, and I learned a lot about what all the cards mean, and even how their placement during a reading matters.

The sum up

Interesting background information and a sweet (if unbelievable) love story make this a quick, fun read. I think it lacks the emotional punch Elana might have intended.

About the author

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse–a gorgeous mare named Rainbow–and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her debut novel.

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A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}


 
A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}Title: A Little Too Much
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #2
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on November 12, 2013
Format: eBook, 416 pages
Source: Mundie Moms Blog Tours
4 Stars

Summary

In the follow-up to Lisa Desrochers’ explosive New Adult novel A Little too Far, Alessandro Moretti must face the life he escaped and the girl he loved and left behind.

Twenty-two year old Hilary McIntyre would like nothing more than to forget her past. As a teenager abandoned to the system, she faced some pretty dark times. But now that’s all behind her. Hilary has her life on track, and there’s no way she’ll head back down that road again.

Until Alessandro Moretti—the one person who can make her remember—shows up on her doorstep. He’s even more devastatingly gorgeous than before, and he’s much too close for comfort. Worse, he sees right through the walls she’s built over these last eight years, right into her heart and the secrets she’s guarding.

As Hilary finds herself falling back into love with the man who, as a boy both saved and destroyed her, she must decide. Past or future? Truth or lies?

My thoughts

Alessandro is the character I fell in love with in A Little Too Far. I was not happy that Lexie chose her stepbrother over the obvious awesomeness that was Alessandro. Big mistake, Lexie. However, thanks to her stupidity, Hilary gets a chance with the one who got away. Hilary and Alessandro (and his brother Lorenzo) spent time together at a group home many years ago. They connected, but circumstances tore them apart and they lost touch. Now that Alessandro realizes entering the priesthood isn’t the way to atone for his past, he goes to New York to find Hilary and make things right. But she’s not the same girl she was when he last saw her. She’s got big dreams and an even bigger wall around her heart.

As you may have guessed from the above summary, I loved Alessandro. He was pretty much perfect in every way, and I was glad to get a chance to read more about him. He had his troubled past, which only served to make him sexily tortured, and he was kind and gentle and so sweet. He had a great sense of humor and was always willing to try something new or go outside his comfort zone for someone else. And, as an added bonus, he looked amazing. Hilary was an arm girl (as am I) and she admired and described his sexy cut arms many times, which was quite nice.

He was able to look past Hilary’s flaws and appreciate her for who she was. And he never sugar coated that he had been in love with someone else recently (the stupid Lexie). I thought that was nice, how he didn’t try to shy away from the facts. He always told the truth, but in a nice way.

On the other hand, I didn’t like Hilary as a character as much as I did Lexie from A Little Too Far. There was no logical reason, I just didn’t click with her. She was nice enough with her friends, but not overly friendly with others. She was in a relationship of convenience, without emotional attachment, and while I think that works fine for some people, that’s just not my thing.

One thing I had to wonder about was why Hilary refused to see how perfect for her Alessandro was. We find out later why (more on that in a minute), but still, she resisted much longer than I would expect anyone to. It was kind of frustrating, I kept thinking “Just kiss him, already!” and “Why are you still denying how great he is?” I didn’t understand the reluctance.

Hilary’s bestie, Jess, was super cute. She was also an actress and we didn’t spend a lot of time with her, but she was genuinely nice, which I always like to see. The boyfriend was fairly likable, considering he was only with Hilary for the sex. They lived together, though, and he was faithful to her, plus he did what he could to help her career. Of course, he turned out not to be quite so charming in the end.

Hilary had a dirty mouth and the f-word was slung around a lot. And there was a fair amount of graphic sex. The build up before the big moment with Hilary and Alessandro was nice; lots of heavy breathing and lip biting. But it still wasn’t as romantically sexy as it was for Alessandro and Lexie. Maybe I’m always going to compare those two couples…

One of the themes in the book was discovering the New York that nobody else knew about and that was fun. We learned a bit about different New York “attractions” that are under-appreciated by the everyday people who live there. In fact, one or two of them sound interesting enough that I might check them out if I ever go back to the city.

There was a big twist about 2/3 of the way through the book, however, I knew it was coming. I’m not sure if it was a lucky guess, but after reading the preview bit at the end of A Little Too Far, I immediately knew what the big event was going to be, and I was right. It’s a big one, but it’s not easy to figure it out as you read. I’m not sure if I would have felt any differently about the story if I hadn’t known what was going on. I think it would have been a big surprise, and I might have been less frustrated with Hilary’s actions.

At any rate, I enjoyed the book and will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

The sum up

Steamy and dramatic with lots of angst, this is an older “new adult” book perfect for romance and drama fans.

About the author

Lisa Desrochers is the USA Today bestselling author of A LITTLE TOO FAR , courtesy of HarperCollins, and companions, A LITTLE TOO MUCH (Nov 12, 2013), and A LITTLE TOO HOT (Jan 21, 2014). Also in stores is her YA PERSONAL DEMONS trilogy (Macmillan).

She lives in central California with her husband and two very busy daughters. There is never a time that she can be found without a book in her hand, and she adores stories that take her to new places, and then take her by surprise.

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Review: Friends and Lovers Trilogy by Bethany Lopez

Title: Friends and Lovers Trilogy – Make It Last | I Choose You | Trust In Me
Author: Bethany Lopez
Publisher: CreateSpace
Format: Kindle Edition, about 584 pages
Source: AToMR Tours
Overall Trilogy Rating:
3 owls

Make It Last

 
In a small town, it’s hard to recover from being dumped by your high school sweetheart. That’s just what Briana has to do after Colin leaves her to follow his dreams. She focuses her energy into her friendships and the pursuit of her own goal of becoming a chef. Just when she finally feels like she’s on the right path, he comes back to town.

Colin knew breaking up with Briana before leaving for college was the right thing to do. He was determined to leave small-town life behind forever, and that included his high school girlfriend. But when a sports injury puts him on the sidelines, he’s forced to return home. Seeing Briana again brings back a lot of memories, and Colin wonders if he made the right decision. It doesn’t take long for him to realize he wants her back, and this time, he wants to make it last.

I Choose You


Up until now, Nicole’s life has been mapped out for her. She’d go to college, marry Jake and become the upstanding minister’s wife. When she leaves that life to begin again in a small town in Texas, she finally has the freedom to live as she chooses. There, she meets Kent, a guy whose charm and passion make it hard to stick to her morals.

Dodging his father’s fists and protecting his twin sister made Kent into the man he is today. He learned by watching his mother stay by his father’s side that it’s better to keep relationships simple. Then he meets Nicole. Her sweet smile and genuine response to him land like punches to his resolve. After a lifetime of learning to protect his heart, can he finally let down his guard?

Trust In Me


Roni’s dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband’s fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she’ll find her path. When the town’s local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams…and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.

Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that’s just what he’s doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies’ man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he’s willing to prove that he’s serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he’s more than willing. But she’s taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are over and that she can trust him with her heart?

My thoughts

Rather than talk about each novella in the trilogy, I’m going to do the whole shebang at once.

The first novella was probably my least favorite. It lacked any conflict at all. The couple broke up in the very beginning, there was some heartache, fast forward a few years, a few awkward scenes, then bam, they’re back together. That all happened in probably the first third of the story, the rest of it was spent following them around as they flirted, talked and made out. That was it. That made for a bit of a boring story, with no action, tension or excitement. The rest of the novellas, though, had more content to keep me interested.

I liked the variety of characters. There were rich kids and poor kids, abused kids and privileged kids, nice kids and asshats. You knew from the beginning of each story how it would all end for everyone, no real surprises there. Some of the situations they found themselves in, however, were unbelievable: Briana forgave Colin awfully fast; for someone so virginal, Nicole got naughty pretty quickly; Rich’s Rec Center was just too perfect a solution…

There were some deep situations the characters got into that were handled nicely, although they were resolved a little too quickly and cleanly, in my opinion. All of the novellas were zippy and moved along at a fast pace. And I liked the 3 brief bonus chapters at the end of the trilogy that acted as epilogues for each novella. I enjoyed seeing the couples a bit later in their lives.

Overall, the trilogy was entertaining and fun, with a touch of substance. A perfect choice for a beachy summer day.

The sum up

Quick, flirty and fun.

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Review: Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

Title: Levitating Las Vegas
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publisher: May 7th, 3013 by Pocket Star
Format: ebook, 300 pages
Source: Publisher, in exchange for an honest review
2 owls

Summary

Nothing up her sleeves…or so she’s been led to believe.

Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all…and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief…and falling in love is murder.

My thoughts

Elijah asks Holly out on a date during their sophomore year of high school. When her parents find out, they force Holly to break the date and give her a flimsy excuse. While stewing in her anger, she discovers she can levitate objects (including herself) with her mind. Her parents walk in on the levitating and suddenly she’s in a doctor’s office being told she has a terrible disease that gives her delusions. To stave off the symptoms, she must take medication for the rest of her life. Elijah discovers that very that night that he has the same disease, and must take medication to prevent his delusions of being a mind reader. Seven years later, when the pharmacy runs out of the medicine, Elijah becomes so desperate for more that he kidnaps Holly and drives all night to the source. Once there, they figure out that they don’t actually have a disease, they have real powers.

Holly was an interesting character, a bit unusual in the new adult genre. She was a showgirl, and perfectly comfortable parading on stage in a spangled bikini. She was smart and determined and (gasp!) a virgin. (Why is that always supposed to be such a shocker?) She had a nice relationship with her parents, they were a tight family who spent a lot of time together. Elijah was close to his mother, with no father in the picture. Considering they lived in Vegas and worked in a casino, they were pretty average kids.

Their parents, however, were awful people. They knew their children had these powers, and instead of teaching them how to be responsible with them, they scared them into thinking they had a horrible scary disease, then drugged them. In fact, a lot of the adults were real asshats. The old “We’re doing it to protect the kids” excuse didn’t cut it.

There were a lot of little bits that bothered me. Like how Elijah and Holly just accepted their diagnoses with no question. I don’t know about you, but when I get the tiniest little symptom, I’m on WebMD checking to make sure I don’t have the bubonic plague. But they never did the first Google search. Even 7 years later, they still took those pills without question. Speaking of their pills – the name of the miracle drug was Mentafixol. As in “Mental Fix All.” How cheesy is that? Also (highlight the text to view the spoiler), Holly and Elijah were practically in love, then within a few short minutes, they were threatening real violence to each other. Holly’s best friend betrayed her and she was okay with that? And not to be too picky, but “the sex is beyond belief” is quite the exaggeration. There’s 1 sex scene total, and it’s not all that spectacular. There was definite chemistry, but nothing I would consider super sexy.

And this was probably the thing that bugged me the most – Holly spent at least 3 quarters of the book in her showgirl outfit – a sparkly sequined bikini and heels. That’s all. She walked around Vegas in it, rode a mass transit bus in it, slept in it overnight, then continued to wear it while walking around another town. Never once did she suggest stopping at a WalMart to pick up some shorts, or that she might be uncomfortable or underdressed. That just smacked of improbability.

There were also a few unanswered questions (I really dislike those). For example, one scene clearly described how someone used their keys to open a slot machine specifically to touch the metal inside while exerting their powers. But why they had to that was never explained. I can only assume that the metal helped to conduct powers…?

That was a lot of nitpicking, so let me mention some of the things that I liked about the book. It was very zippy and the plot sped along, so I was never bored. The writing was very descriptive and I enjoyed the dialogue. I loved how strong Holly was, she was confident and friendly. The chemistry between her and Elijah was great, lots of sexual tension and longing looks.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to overcome my issues with the book. Near the end, in the middle of the climactic final scenes, I literally found myself thinking “I really should care about what’s happening.” But I didn’t. I honestly didn’t care how the book ended, but by then there was less than a chapter left, so I figured I’d just finish it.

The sum up

I just couldn’t get into the book. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and had only a mild interest in what happened to them. On the plus side, it was a quick and entertaining read.

About the author

Jennifer Echols
Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.

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Review: Flat-Out Matt by Jessica Park

Title: Flat-Out Matt
Author: Jessica park
Publisher: March 25th 2013 by CreateSpace
Format: eBook, 158 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Flat-Out Love | Flat-Out Matt
5 owl rating

Summary

Matt is a junior at MIT. He’s geeky, he’s witty, he’s brilliant.

And he’s also very, very stupid.

When beautiful, cool, insightful Julie moves in with Matt’s family, why (oh why!) does he pretend to be his absent brother Finn for her alleged benefit?

It seems harmless enough until her short-term stay becomes permanent. And until it snowballs into heart-squeezing insanity. And until he falls in love with Julie, and Julie falls in love with Finn.

But … Matt is the right one for her. If only he can make Julie see it. Without telling her the truth, without shattering them all. Particularly his fragile sister Celeste, who may need Julie the most.

You saw Matt through Julie’s eyes in FLAT-OUT LOVE. Now go deeper into Matt’s world in this FLAT-OUT MATT novella. Live his side of the story, break when his heart breaks, and fall for the unlikely hero all over again.

Take an emotional skydive for two prequel chapters and seven Flat-Out Love chapters retold from his perspective, and then land with a brand-new steamy finale chapter from Julie.

My thoughts

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Flat-Out Matt is the companion novel to the best book ever, Flat-Out Love. It’s not a linear retelling of the story; it’s a few prequel chapters and a few of the chapters from Flat-Out Love, all told from Matt’s point of view. And though we are already familiar with the duplicate chapters, nothing feels repetitive because Matt sees things from a very different perspective than Julie.

Most of the characters from Flat-Out Love are back, and we even get to meet the elusive Finn. That part was sad, knowing what was coming, but it was nice to see the brother everyone was lost without. We learn more about Matt’s parents and their part in the Flat Finn fiasco, and we learn that Celeste was actually a pretty average kid before the events in Flat-Out Love. But most of all, we see the journey Matt took from being the brother in the shadows to the one who has to keep the family together, and all that cost him.

The writing was perfect, and you’d never know the books were written almost 2 years apart. It was just like stepping right back into that world. The same snarky dialogue was there and I still loved it. Unlike the first book, though, this one has sexy scenes. This was definitely not a book for the younger set. But don’t worry, the sex doesn’t replace the romance. There’s even more of that. *Swoon*.

I didn’t think it was possible, but I love Matt even more now than I did in the first book. I need a Matt in my life. Seriously. It’s been almost 2 months since I last marked a book as swoon-worthy and even longer since I declared a book a must read, but Flat-Out Matt is both. Read Flat-Out Love, then jump right into this one. You’ll thank me, I promise.

The sum up

The perfect companion novel.

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Review: Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Title: Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: February 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire
Format: Paperback, 309 pages
Source: NetGalley
3 owls

 

Summary

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her “sext” photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now…

My thoughts

Blaze was a fun main character; she lived life on the sideline and was just fine living in her comic book world with her 2 besties, whom I really liked. They were total opposites: one was spoiled, selfish and boy crazy and the other was calm, kind and thoughtful. The three of them together made a great mix. Blaze and her little brother were close, and he was just about the cutest and most thoughtful little brother you could want. Though they had their disagreements, you could tell they really cared about each other.

Blaze was a diverse character, with flaws and quirks. She wasn’t perfect, and in fact made some very stupid decisions, one of which seemed out of character. But she was also a teenage girl, so we can chalk those up to hormones, I suppose.

Mark deserved his Mark the Shark title. He seemed like a good guy on the surface, and while he wasn’t a total douchecanoe, he also wasn’t a saint. He had a few redeeming qualities in the end. Blaze’s mom was clearly still hurt by their father leaving town, and I felt that aspect was well developed. She was a real character with real issues, and that was nice to see in a parental figure.

The comics play a large part of the story, and though I’m generally not a fan of comic books, I didn’t find their use in the book off-putting at all. In fact, Blaze made them seem pretty interesting. She and her fellow comic aficionados talked about the history and future of comics, and the artwork and stories behind them.

This was a fun book, and though the real meat of the story didn’t happen until after the halfway point, everything moved very quickly. I loved how the dialogue was spiced up by Blaze’s comic book obsession. Every once in a while, she’d think “Bam!” or “Mark the Shark strikes again!” or some other such nonsense. It made the story fun and more entertaining than it would have been otherwise. There are real lessons to be learned here, but they’re not preachy. This is a great story for our modern age

The sum up

Fast-paced and funky, this is a fun novel with depth and heart. Perfect for a fun vacation read or plane trip.

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