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

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

A Little Too Hot by Lisa Desrochers {Review + Giveaway}Title: A Little Too Hot
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #3
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse on January 21st 2014
Format: eARC, 284 pages
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
5 Stars
The sum up

Steamy, sexy and romantic, this novel has everything I’m looking for in a New Adult romance.


If you play with fire…

Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.

Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.

Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.

My thoughts

Sam is having a shitty month. She got kicked out of school for skipping classes, her mother kicked her out of the house and she’s no longer welcome at the friend’s house she was staying at. She turns to ex-lover and close friend Jonathan, who lets her crash on his couch and gets her a job as an exotic dancer at a club.

I can’t say a lot about this book without revealing any spoilers, so this will probably be a short review, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.

I loved this book even more than the first one in the series (which I absolutely adored). The characters were wonderful and full of quirks and subtle little personality traits that made them feel real. Sam was bull-headed but also a little broken. She felt like she had almost nobody left she could trust, but she was grateful for Jonathan. She wasn’t crazy about becoming a dancer, but she knew she needed a job to get off of his couch.

I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know what their next step would be, how they would face the consequences of their actions, how they would handle each setback.

Speaking of Jonathan, I loved him to pieces. He was a total horndog, making out with everyone he could, while trying to stay faithful to his girlfriend. He was honest and sweet and you could tell he really cared about the people in his life. Harrison was definitely hiding a lot from Sam, but he was a decent guy who cared. He made mistakes, but he owned them.

The plot was predictable; I knew everything that was coming and wasn’t surprised once. But, the characters and the writing more than made up for that. I read this in one day, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know what their next step would be, how they would face the consequences of their actions, how they would handle each setback. And for the love of pete, I needed to keep reading so I would know when they finally did the deed! It took FOREVER. Talk about sexual tension. This book was full of it.

The sexy times were graphic, but not nearly as explicit as other books I’ve read recently. It was actually kind of a nice relief. There’s only so many times I can read different words for genitalia without rolling my eyes.

This book is part of a series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. The characters from the previous books made an appearance, and we learned how they’re doing. It was nice to get a little update from the previous couples. Of the three books in this series, this one is my favorite, and I highly recommend it. I hope Lisa Desrochers comes out with more New Adult books soon, because she’s been added to my auto-buy author list.

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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Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}

Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}

Knowing Jack by Rachel Curtis {Review + Giveaway}Title: Knowing Jack
Author: Rachel Curtis
Publisher: Self Published on January 17th 2014
Format: eBook, 165 pages
Source: AToMR Tours
3 Stars

The sum up

Despite my issue with the book, I found this a fun and sexy way to pass the time.


I am not a slut, although I’ve been called one often enough. Yeah, I spent three months screwing one of my college professors, but I was crazy about the guy. Then he broke up with me.

I am not a bitch, although people like to say I am. I kept our relationship secret. I’m not responsible for telling the university administrators about it, but a lot of students still blame me for getting their favorite professor fired.

I am not a drama queen, although everyone thinks I am now. When I got a few nasty messages, I just deleted them. When I got the threat, I assumed it was someone being stupid. I still think that’s all it was. My parents worry, though, so they hired me a bodyguard. Now Jack follows me around, intimidating everyone who approaches me and looking obnoxiously hot.

This is what I am. I’m Chloe. I’m a twenty-year-old art history major. Kind of shy, although I pretend not to be. Stubborn enough to stay here for my senior year, even though everyone hates me.

And I’m stuck with Jack.

He calls me “Princess,” but I’m not a princess either.

My thoughts

Chloe made a decision she’s still paying for. She doesn’t regret that decision (after all, they were both adults and technically, he wasn’t even her teacher at the time they began seeing each other), but she’s hating the backlash. She’s trying to stay strong and not let it get her down, but really, how much negativity can one person take?

Chloe was an interesting character for me. She was strong, in standing up to the bullies and staying at the school even though everyone hated her, but she was also basically a weakling when it came to Jack. She was on a break from men, but the second she had the chance, she was ready to chuck it all just to have sex with him. Jack was your typical strong and silent type. You knew he had a dark secret he was hiding, but it only made him more attractive.

The point of view switched every once in a while, but it never stayed with Jack very long, maybe a page or two. Just long enough for us to know how much he loved Chloe and wanted her hot bod, but also that he couldn’t be with her because it would disappoint his dad.

Chloe was a bit frustrating in that she wasn’t able to stand up for herself in a lot of ways until Jack and his magic penis somehow taught her to let go and own it. In fact, it was amazing the things his penis could do. It made her fall in love with him (and vice versa), it made her let go of her self-righteous determination to prove something and made him stop trying to please his dad in order to live his own life. It was miraculous, that penis.

So, as you may have noticed, I had a slight problem with the believability in this novel. BUT, other than that, I really enjoyed it. If you can set aside your disbelief in the magic of the sex, it’s kind of a fun story. It’s fast-paced, a little bit mysterious and a whole lot sexy.

About the author

Rachel is a writer, a teacher, a romance reader, and a dog-mom. She loves animals and art and hot men with soft hearts under a tough exterior. She tries to write love stories that feel real, even in unlikely circumstances.

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A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers {Review + iPad Giveaway}

A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers {Review + iPad Giveaway}Title: A Little Too Far
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #1
Publisher: HarperCollins on September 17th 2013
Format: eARC, 371 pages
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
5 Stars

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years… and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

My thoughts

Lexi’s broken up with her cheating boyfriend for good. She thinks she’s over him until he tries to get back together with her, and she ends up crying in her bedroom. Comfort from her stepbrother Trent turns into great sex. The two are saved having to figure out what it means when Lexie travels to Rome for a semester abroad. Once there, she ends up working with priest-to-be Alessandro. What starts as a platonic working relationship turns into something more. Now Lexie’s torn between Trent back home and Alessandro in Rome.

I admit, I went into this thinking it was going to be only OK, or I was going to dislike it. Not sure why I felt that way, maybe I was just in one of those moods? Also, the bit from the blurb:

She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation.

That bugged me, because what else is a stepbrother if not someone your parent marries who has a son? At any rate, I distinctly remember being about a quarter of the way through and thinking “Wow, I’m really loving this book.”

Lexi was a fairly likable character. She was devastated over her breakup, but was starting to pull through with the help of her friends. She had a bit of strength to her, though she sometimes seemed to forget it. I think she was pretty brave for going all the way to Rome all by herself.

We didn’t spend a lot of time with Trent before Lexi went to Rome, but he seemed like a pretty decent guy. And also, he was pretty good in bed. On the other hand, we got to know Alessandro quite well, and I was totally crushing on him. He had confidence in Lexi even when she didn’t, and he knew when to push her out of her comfort zone. He was sweet, kind, patient, and totally sexy. You can count me on Team Alessandro.

Lexi was sarcastic, which I loved. I especially liked when her sarcasm met with Alessandro’s calm seriousness. It made for some funny moments. There was a bit of bad language (Lexi has quite the potty mouth), but there was also some sexy times. And they were very sexy. But it wasn’t just raunchy for the sake of being raunchy, it was romantic and dare I say, swoon-worthy. I don’t like to throw that term around willy-nilly, but this one deserved it.

I’ve never been particularly attracted to Rome (I’m more of a Greek Islands kind of gal), but Lisa Desrochers managed to make me want to see it. She described everything in such amazing detail, I could picture Lexi walking down a cobblestone path or Alessandro leading her up a flight of steps in an old church. Really, just fantastic descriptions. I could almost see Rome as another character in the story.

There was a bit of religion, but it wasn’t in your face. There was plenty of art and a little history, too. Even a touch of architecture.

This book didn’t end how I thought it would, but that’s okay. There’s no cliffhanger, the story was wrapped up nice and neat, which I appreciated. I was disappointed with the ending, just because it didn’t end how I wanted it to. But that didn’t diminish my overall love of the story.

The sum up

A sexy and sweet story perfect for art lovers, Rome lovers, fans of romance and New Adult.

About the author

Lisa Desrochers lives in northern California with her husband, two very busy daughters, and Shini the tarantula. If you’d told her five years ago she’d write a book, she’d have laughed in your face. As it turns out, she’d owe you an apology. Writing has become an addiction for Lisa and A Little Too Far, courtesy of HarperCollins, is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of the young adult Personal Demons trilogy from Macmillan.




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Addicted to You by Colina Brennan {Review + Giveaway}

Title: Addicted To You
Author: Colina Brennan
Publisher: Colina Brennan Books on June 25th 2013
Format: eARC, 183 pages
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
3 Stars

When twenty-one-year-old Leah Carter’s latest one night stand burglarizes her apartment, her roommate forces her to attend therapy for sex addicts. Leah insists she isn’t a sex addict; she just doesn’t do relationships. After all, sooner or later, everyone lets you down.

At first, the group sessions are little more than an education on how to be promiscuous. Until she meets the newest addict—blue eyes, killer body, and a smile that tempts relapse.

Psychology student Will McLean is posing as a fellow addict while researching a case study on unusual addictions. But the more he learns about Leah, the more certain he is that his desire to break through her walls and unearth her secrets has nothing to do with his assignment.

As the uncertainties spike alongside the sexual tension, the only thing Leah knows for sure is that falling in love would be disastrous. Too bad love might be one addiction she can’t kick.

My thoughts

Leah’s been disappointed by her parents too many times, so she’s walled off her heart. She still likes a good time, though, which leads to her many one-night stands. The latest one steals everything from their apartment, and Leah’s roommate says she’ll only forgive her if she attends Sex Addicts Anonymous. After biding her time for weeks, Leah’s at therapy for the last time when a hottie walks in. Maybe the group was worth it after all?

The characters weren’t overly likable – Leah was a bit of a hard ass. She didn’t trust anyone except her roomie and her brother, and was mean to everyone else. In fact, I really had to wonder what Will’s interest in her was. Aside from her good looks, there wasn’t a lot there, in my opinion. Will, on the other hand, was a doll baby! He was patient and kind and so lovable, and probably a lot better than Leah deserved. But I digress.

I can understand Helena’s anger at having their apartment robbed, but punishing Leah by having her seek treatment for a serious disorder that I don’t think she had, seemed to cheapen the whole idea of addiction. She liked sex and she had quite a bit of it. But does that an addict make? I don’t think so. In fact, I think there was maybe 1 person in the therapy group who actually was addicted to sex. The others were lonely, horny or perverts.

The dialogue was funny and spicy – lots of humor, sarcasm, sexy talk and grown up words. Speaking of spicy, the sex scenes, believe it or not, weren’t that plentiful. But what was there was delicious. There was insta-love, sure, but the characters tried hard to make it more than that, so I guess that’s something.

There were a few issues I had with the book. Besides a typo here and there and an inconsistency or two, there was one other thing that really bothered me. Near the beginning (this is on page 22, so I don’t really consider it a spoiler), we learned that the only reason Leah had a brother was because she asked for one. When she was 12, her mother found herself unexpectedly pregnant. Leah begged her parents to let her keep it instead of adopting it out. And they did. That’s right, even though most people know a 12-year old can’t reliably take care of a puppy, they let her have their baby.

All that nitpicking aside, I did enjoy the book. It was fun to read and I liked the sexy bits.

The sum up

An entertaining and quick read. Fine for an afternoon at the beach.

About the author

Colina Brennan is a new adult writer with a love for the fantastical and the romantic.

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Left Drowning by Jessica Park {Review}

Title: Left Drowning
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Skyscape on July 16th 2013
Format: eARC, 399 pages
Source: Publisher
5 Stars

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.

Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+.

My thoughts

I have to admit, I was scared to read this one. As you may recall, Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park is my favorite book. Nothing can come close to giving me the feels that book did. What if I read this one and it sucked? How would I review it? How could I ever face Jessica again? Well, I needn’t have worried. While very different from FOL, Left Drowning is a work of art.

Blythe is still reeling from the fire that left her parents dead. She and her brother aren’t really getting along, so she feels very alone in the world. She only wants to finish college so she can move away and start over someplace new. Then the Shepherds basically ingratiate themselves in her life and she finds herself drawn to the oldest brother, Chris. Of course, the Shepherds may not be the perfect family they seem to be; they have secrets of their own.

The characters… oh the characters. If there was ever a group of people more flawed than this one, I’ve yet to see it.

Blythe carried immense guilt for her parents’ death, and the injuries her brother still suffered from. She was afraid to let anyone near her and was just fine spending all of her non-class time holed up in her dorm room. She was the definition of antisocial.

The Shepherds all suffered from their own demons, though we didn’t find out the (awful) details until later. Chris, the level-headed older brother, was the one who finally got through Blythe’s tough exterior and helped her on the road to healing. Once she was on her way, she was able to see the Shepherd family for what they really were – broken. Sabin (who stole every scene he was in), Estelle and Eric all dealt with their issues in various (unhealthy) ways.

Okay, now I need to talk about the sex. I’m all for sexy times in a story. I love the build-up, especially the slow burn kind (and this was all about the slow burn. The scene in the hallway gave me tingles, because I knew what was about to happen), I love the teasing and tension and the seduction. But there is such a thing as too much. Once Blythe and Chris finally did the deed, they did it a lot. And we read all about it. They went at it in several different places and positions, and we got the naughty details of every single bit of it.

I’m of the opinion that once you’ve done one or two thorough sex scenes, it’s okay to say something like “We did it again, except this time…” Instead of describing the entire act over and over again. I didn’t dislike the amount or kind of sex the characters were having, but the amount I had to read about. Maybe if the scenes had been more spread out over a period of time, it wouldn’t have bothered me quite as much. By the way, the sex scenes were fantastic. Steamy, gritty and real.

I loved the relationship between Chris and Blythe, how there was no instalove. It was slow and steady and they really got to know each other and care for each other, it wasn’t just about the sex. I loved the closeness between the Shepherds; the way they looked out for and took care of each other was awesome. The interaction between the characters was really one of the best parts of the book for me. Sabin and Blythe, Blythe and Estelle, Eric and Zach, Sabin and Chris, Blythe and Zach; they all melded together to form a large family unit. Their dialogue and behaviors were honest, believable and at times heartbreaking. I cried more than once.

There were a lot of “issues” in the novel and it was not a light story in the least. It was sad and dark and not easy to read at times. There was talk of religion (or lack thereof), drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse, lies, guilt, fault, family relationships, friendships, self-destruction and more. Believe me when I say this book was full of issues. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, there was also forgiveness, love and hope.

The sum up

Jessica Park creates real characters that you can relate to. They are flawed and wonderful and I want to hug them all. This book is deep, dark and amazing. Do yourself a favor and read it.

About the author

Jessica grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After spending four years in the frigid north, including suffering through one memorable Halloween blizzard, Jessica hightailed it back to the east coast. She now lives in (relatively balmy) New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dogs named Fritzy and Finn, and a selfish cat. When not writing, Jessica indulges her healthy obsessions with Facebook and complicated coffee beverages.

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Catching Liam by Sophia Bleu {Review}

Title: Catching Liam
Author: Sophia Bleu
Publisher: Self Published on July 8th 2013
Format: eARC, 378 pages
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Series: Catching Liam | Teaching Roman | Reaching Gavin
3 Stars


Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn’t just a game for Jillian and her friends, it’s a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you’re bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can’t—or perhaps won’t—take a hint.

Study abroad student Liam doesn’t want to be another notch on Jillian’s bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa’s set expiration date means he can’t promise her forever. That doesn’t mean he’s going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance.

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they’re playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.

My thoughts

Jillian and her friends have a strict rule when it comes to boys: one night stands only. Unfortunately, her friends are breaking that rule and have all settled into steady relationships. That’s not okay with Jillian; she has a big reason for wanting to keep things casual. Too bad her latest one night stand doesn’t want to be casual with her.

Jillian was not a super-likable character. She was whiny and bitchy and very stand-offish. Of course, we learned there was a reason for this, though we’re not told what it is until later (it’s not difficult to guess). We get hints and clues as the story wears on, but I wish we’d known from the start. The hinting and dragging it out thing is overdone and unnecessary.

Jillian’s relationship with her mother was strained, to say the least. While I understand both of their positions, I felt Jillian was unnecessarily mean to her mother. Truly, her mother loved her, so I felt Jillian could have cut her some slack.

Liam was such a hottie! He was adorable, kind AND HE HAD A SCOTTISH ACCENT. What’s not to like? He was stubborn, but the good kind of stubborn. He was hell-bent on staying in Jillian’s life even when she was being absolutely horrible to him. (How much of that is realistic is another question…) I also liked Jillian’s 2 besties – she was so lucky to have them in her life. They were there for her in every way. They were interesting characters and I would have liked to read more about them.

The story dealt with heavy issues, and Jillian’s relationship-aversion was just one of them. This book showed both healthy relationships, and the not-so-healthy kind. Liam and Jillian had fabulous chemistry and I was rooting for them from the beginning. I liked the snark and sarcasm all the characters brought to the story. Liam had an especially entertaining quip about kilts. I laughed out loud.

The story moved at a brisk pace, and I zipped right through in no time. There were a few editing issues, but nothing that bothered me enough to stop reading.

The story wrapped up a bit too quickly for my liking. It was believable, just too fast. Like, the steps to the resolution should have gone at a slower pace. Do you know what I mean?

The sum up

A quick read that’s sexy, sad and funny.

About the author

Sophia Bleu is a secret identity where I can write about fantasies and falling in love and all the smexiness in between. In real life, I’m likely catching a plane, chasing kids, or making out with the love of my life—all 6 ft 3 inches of hotness that he is. Life is pretty good.

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Review + Giveaway: The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood

Title: The Disappearing Girl
Author: Heather Topham Wood
Publisher: May 7th 2013 by
Format: Paperback, 248 pages
Source: AToMR Tours
3 owls


Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.

My thoughts

Kayla’s father died last year, leaving no buffer between Kayla and her younger sister, and their egotistical mother. Kayla is away at college, and though she enjoys being on her own, she feels guilty for leaving her sister at home, as well as pressure to live up to her mother’s unrealistic expectations.

I enjoyed this book as a whole, though I had a few issues with its believability.

Kayla was an interesting character, both strong and weak at the same time. She was close to her father and missed him terribly, yet she had to stay strong for her sister. She knew the way her mother treated them was wrong, yet she fell victim to her insults. She realized how sick she was, yet was unable to stop it.

Her little sister managed to stay strong, and I was proud of her for that. Their mom was a nightmare, and more than a few times I wished I could slap her. Cameron was pretty much her saving grace. He was the only one who was willing to do something about how she was treating herself, which was kind of sad, when you think about it.

With Cameron seated next to me, his hand resting on my knee, I relaxed. Cameron was a salve to all the wounds inside me. But as I thought it over, I had a sense of foreboding. This couldn’t be good, the way I was becoming dependent upon him. I should be strong, self-reliant.

I really liked that she recognized her path maybe wasn’t heading where it should. She knew what she was doing was wrong, but she was powerless to stop it. That also described her anorexia perfectly. It was a slippery slope and Heather Topham Wood illustrated that perfectly. You don’t wake up one day and say, hey, I think I’ll stop eating. It’s a gradual process and not always so easy to recognize, in yourself or someone else.

I enjoyed the fact that Cameron didn’t give up on Kayla, no matter how much she pushed him away, but I’m not entirely convinced that would happen in real life. He hadn’t known her long enough to really care for her, yet he was willing to do pretty much anything to make her well.

Also, the lessons are learned too quickly and easily for my taste. View Spoiler »

As I was reading, I kept thinking, “this could use a little polish.” With maybe a touch of editing, I think it could move to a 4-owl book for me. Nothing big (besides the above-mentioned issues), but just some general shaping up.

The sum up

Sad and eye-opening, this is a mostly realistic look at how sneaky and devastating eating disorders can be.


About the author

Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the paranormal romance Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

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Review + Giveaway: Freshman Forty by Christine Duval

Title: Freshman Forty
Author: Christine Duval
Publisher: February 21st 2013 by Amazon
Format: Kindle Edition, 185 pages
Source: XPressos Book Tours
4 owls


When eighteen-year-old Laurel Harris discovers she’s pregnant four weeks into the start of her freshman year at prestigious Colman College, she has all intentions of telling her father. But being away at school makes it too easy to hide. And while she can’t explain to her friends, or to herself even, the reasons why she doesn’t want the baby’s father to find out about the pregnancy, the rest of her world begins to unravel.

Freshman year is hard enough. Most girls get through by forming close friendships, finding new boys and a phone call from mom or dad on Sunday. Laurel has to navigate all of it while hiding an unplanned pregnancy from a summer fling…

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and haunted by the memory of her deceased mother and grandparents, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she navigates teen pregnancy, in secret, in a remote college setting.

My thoughts

Laurel had to be self-reliant from an early age because her father had been mentally checked out ever since her mother died. In fact, he was pretty good at pushing Laurel away; he seemed intent on being as dissociated with his daughter as possible.

Laurel was a strange mixture of tough and weak. She was tough to think she could handle the pregnancy all on her own, but too weak to ask for help when she clearly needed it. She knew she could take care of herself and the baby, yet she made stupid decisions concerning the baby. She knew her relationship with her father was difficult, yet she put up with it because she didn’t know how to change things.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, especially Mike. He ended up in an awkward situation and managed to make the most of it. I liked the girls in the pregnancy group, Laurel’s doctor and her friends. She was lucky to be surrounded by kind and loving people.

The plot was interesting and relevant. I bet everyone knows at least 1 person who ended up unexpectedly pregnant. Not only is that sometimes a tricky place to be, but Laurel had to deal with that while making it through her freshman year of college. I felt badly for her as she struggled to know what to do and where to turn. She almost seemed determined to make it as hard for herself as possible, though, and that was a little annoying.

The writing made the book fun to read. Everything was descriptive and honest. Once Laurel finally met some people she could talk to, they were all incredibly honest with each other; about pregnancy, boys and friendship, and I really liked that aspect. The pacing was zippy which made the book even easier to read.

I didn’t like the ending. Throughout the entire story, one question was asked over and over. It was the one question everyone wanted to know. And yet it went unanswered in the end. Very frustrating.

The sum up

An entertaining cautionary tale.


About the author

Christine Duval has been writing creatively since the fourth grade when she penned her first short story entitled “London Terror,” about the murder of a cat in London. She grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and lived in Italy twice as a teenager: once when she was sixteen in Bologna and in a small town on the Adriatic Sea called Porto San Giorgio; then in Florence when she was nineteen. Her parents wondered if she’d ever come back.

College was spent in the Finger Lakes: the inspiration for Colman, Milton, and Kashong Lake in Freshman Forty. It really is cold, wet and grey there – OFTEN! But when the sun comes out, boy is it pretty.

Life eventually took her to New York’s Upper West Side, the place she’ll always consider home. Though for now she resides in New Jersey with her family and a very spoiled love bird who can’t decide if he’s a boy or she’s a girl.

Freshman Forty took an Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival and won an Honorable Mention under General Fiction for the Beach Book Festival.

Freshman Forty was originally self-published, but Christine just signed a deal to have it re-released by a publishing house this fall! Follow Christine on Twitter or her Goodreads author page for updates.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads




Other opinions

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Beauty but a Funny Girl
Katie Bartlett, Author

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