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Genre: Emotions & Feelings

Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Off Base by Annabeth AlbertOff Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert
Published by Carina Press on January 9th 2017
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Contemporary Romance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Love Me Tenor, Beta Test

Place(s) Traveled To: West Hollywood, California // Coronado, California // San Diego, California

First Line(s): “What do you mean they’re not coming?” Zack tried hard to sound like the badass navy SEAL he was now.

OFF BASE is the newest release from a new favorite author of mine, Annabeth Albert. I’ve been devouring everything she’s written and so was very excited to get my hands on this one. Especially since its a spin off of her #gaymers series which I adored. We first meet the main characters in OFF BASE, in CONNECTION ERROR (review coming soon) and Zack seems even more up tight than he was when we first meet him. Its a good thing that Pike worms his way into his life because he is Zack’s opposite in many ways and the two of them really work well together.

OFF BASE is filled to the brim of heart achy feels because Zack is just so tortured about who he really is. He’s been brainwashed since he was young that being gay was wrong and he’s faced nothing but homophobia since which has made it hard to be comfortable in his own skin. Things start to change when he is roomed with Ryan in the VA hospital and he starts to see another side to what he thought he always knew. I loved all the moments between Zack and Pike and the cameos of Ryan and Josiah. They all just made my heart sing. What I didn’t like was the homophobia that ran rampant throughout the book. It just made my skin crawl whenever Zack’s teammates said something or when Zack talked to his parents.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the relationship between Pike and Zack. I do wish that Zack was a little more comfortable in who he was but I understood it. I also liked watching Pike come into his own as he found his grove in teaching. I liked that he learned that sometimes the unexpected path could lead to something even better than what he dreamed was possible. And once Pike and Zack started to put their difference aside this story because a favorite enemies to lovers story. There was just so much tension between Pike and Zack that I couldn’t stop turning the pages in order to see how they would reach their happily ever after.

I find that Annabeth Albert really excels at writing a feel good story that often packs a punch to the emotions. Her characters are real and raw and they are all so uniquely drawn. Every story she tells does follow a certain path but there is always a fresh spin that keeps me coming back for more. The are quick, engrossing reads that I just suck up when I get my hands on one. I lose track of time until I hit the final page and then I am sad because I can’t read the story for the first time again. If you are a fan of MM Romances then you really want to give Annabeth Albert a try.

Add Just Drive by L.A. Witt to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You, #2) by Caroline Kepnes
on 23 February 2016
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: You

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California // Palm Springs, California // Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Las Vegas, Nevada // Reno, Nevada

First Line(s): I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong.

Joe is back!

And he’s just as crazy as ever. HIDDEN BODIES is the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’s YOU (my review) which introduces us to Joe, a total sociopath that you just can’t help but love. As a reader, you know that Joe is crazy-pants and that what he is doing is wrong and yet it all seems so logical when you read his thoughts on why he does the things that he does. In HIDDEN BODIES, Joe has moved on to a new relationship “choosing better” as he says with a girl named Amy. As with the previous women that have come into Joe’s orbit Amy is a flawed character and that seems to be what draws Joe to them. Its as if the inevitable betrayal is what drives Joe to choose these women because deep down he really wants to give into his baser instincts of murder.

In HIDDEN BODIES, Amy does a thing that as a reader just makes you gasp as we know what Joe is capable of when he is betrayed. Amy does not. Which makes you feel for Amy but yet at the same time you are also angry at her for not living up to Joe’s expectations. Its really amazing just how much Kepnes’s writing puts the reader on Joe’s side as he’s usually the character we want the hero or heroine of the story to capture and put behind bars. But with YOU and HIDDEN BODIES all you want is for Joe to find peace and happiness. Its a strange feeling to be cheering for the bad guy and yet, how can you not?

HIDDEN BODIES is a fast paced thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Santino Fontana returns to narrate the story and he just becomes Joe. Fontana’s is a voice that is going to be hard for me to separate from this character as it just fits Joe so perfectly. Fontana’s narration style just sets the perfect mood for HIDDEN BODIES and makes it so easy to fall for Joe and to want him to come out on top. To find his place in the world and to be happy. Happiness isn’t easy for our Joe, he’s had a hard life, but by the end of HIDDEN BODIES you think that maybe things will turn out ok for him.

HIDDEN BODIES takes the reader to new places and we meet new characters. Some of whom are even worse than Joe. There are lots of ups and downs and twists and turns and where you end up is no where near where you thought you would. I fell for this story and just loved everything about it. I’m in awe of everything that Kepnes managed to do and know that I am going to want to rush out to grab her next book in hopes that its even half as good as this duology. Kepnes is a master of suspense and in defying expectations and this series is one that you must check out if you love a good mystery.

 

 

four-stars
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
Setting: Wonderland
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!

excited-baby

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.

lurking

HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.

cupcake

But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.

broken-heart

irishdarkblue

JOIN THE #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!

four-stars
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Review1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan

Blog Tour Review: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi CullinanEnjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing, Book 2
Also in this series: Dance with Me
Published by Self-Published on October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 224
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2012)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me

First Line(s):  One cool October day, after a dispiriting seven hours of teaching privileged kindergarten children, Spenser Harris returned to his apartment to discover a teenage boy – battered, bruised, and coiled into a ball – in front of his door.

ENJOY THE DANCE is the second book in Heidi Cullinan’s Dancing series and takes place about a year after the events in DANCE WITH ME (my review) ends. While this book features cameos from people that we’ve met before the two main characters are new ones to the reader, Spenser and Tomas. Both of whom I really liked and I also really liked their story and the journey that they took over the course of the book. I liked how they became friends first and then worked up to something more. I liked the slow burn aspect of this book but also liked that it wasn’t so slow that I lost interest. I also liked how Spenser and Tomas interacted with the people around them.

What I didn’t like about ENJOY THE DANCE was just how much was going on in this book. There was the issue with Duon, there was the political aspect, and then there was what was going on with Tomas’s family. Just one of those plot points would have been a lot but all three together and it all got a bit jumbled and distracting. The political portion of the story line, while an important part of modern history, isn’t something that I really want to encounter to the extent mentioned in this book. As a bit of filler here and there fine but it was just so much. Although, I do think that part of this dislike of mine comes from politic fatigue. We are in the midst of Presidential election season and I’m just really really really tired of politics. So this portion of the story may not have bothered me if I’d read it at a different time.

ENJOY THE DANCE is a quick read and I liked it I just didn’t love it as much as I would have liked. I think if there was more focus on the romance and less on the political situation than I would have liked it more. I enjoyed the cameos of the characters we knew and I won’t be surprised if Duon eventually gets his own story. The boy has been through a lot of the course of the two books in this series and ENJOY THE DANCE ends in 2015 so there is potential for it. Speaking of the ending, ENJOY THE DANCE had an epilogue that did not suck. You know me reader, I am not a fan of epilogue but I think that Cullinan did a good job with this one. Although I did think that the timing of things didn’t seem entirely plausible for a 3 year stretch from the start. A year, maybe, but three? It just seemed forced. But overall, I liked it and I liked how Tomas and Spenser’s story ends. Unlike make of Cullinan’s books I didn’t find this ending to be too sugary although it does end in a way that is so very Cullinan.

If you are a fan a Cullinan, then you will like ENJOY THE DANCE. There is a lot to like about this book and I think that new fans and old will enjoy it. ENJOY THE DANCE can be read as a standalone book but there is something added when you know the other characters involved. This was a quick read for me and I do look forward to reading more of what Cullinan comes up with.

enjoy-the-dance-quote

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
three-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
three-stars
Overall: three-stars
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Review: Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Dance with Me by Heidi CullinanDance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
Published by Self-Published on 26 July 2011
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, GLBT, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 418
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Setting: St Paul, Minnesota (2010)
three-stars
Also by this author: Love Lessons, Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Enjoy the Dance

First Line(s): Ed Maurer tapped his thumb on his steering wheel as he inched through Twin Cities traffic, sloughing off a rough afternoon as he headed to Halcyon Center.

I became a fan of Heidi Cullinan when I read her series Love Lessons, in that series we meet a character named Ed Maurer who is the hero of her book DANCE WITH ME. DANCE WITH ME is a book with a trope that I like, the ol’ hate to love scenario and Ed and Laurie do not get along when we first meet them. Part of the issues between Ed and Laurie is because they don’t talk to each other. Once they do things start to change between them and they grow closer.

DANCE WITH ME is far from perfect and there were a few times where I rolled my eyes and got frustrated with the characters. There were times when the forward progression of the story stalled and Ed and Laurie just seemed to keep circling the same issues…getting and giving the same responses with the same distraction as a way to change one scene to another. Then there was that one scene that had me cringing. I won’t go into full details here but it involved a hot tub and a man that, while not blood related (I don’t think), but who Laurie called Uncle. And just *shudders* it totally took me out of the story and I wish I could scrub it from my brain.

dance-with-me-quote

Overall though I did like DANCE WITH ME. It was a quick read with an interesting cast of characters and enough momentum to the plot to keep me reading until the end. I liked Ed when he was with Laurie and vice versa. They two were opposites sides of the same coin and they brought out the best within each other. They each needed qualities found in the other to bring out things within themselves that they didn’t know they had. I liked how they worked to build a relationship even if they did go in circles at times.

As with most Heidi Cullinan books, the ending was a little too cutsey and too neatly tied up with a bow but I get why she gives the endings she does. They allow each book to be a standalone even as her characters spill out into her other stories. I loved meeting this version of Ed and Laurie which are different than who they are when we meet them later in the Love Lessons series. I like how her characters make these cross overs as it fleshes out the world that Cullinan has created and makes it a little more real. Her stories aren’t perfect but they do make for a good afternoon distraction.

irishdarkblue

ir-dance-with-me

Add Beta Test by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanA Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1834)

First Line(s): Miss Lillian Hargrove was the most beautiful woman in England.

 

I always get a little giddy when a new Sarah MacLean books is placed in my hands and I was super excited to get an early copy of her newest, A SCOT IN THE DARK. I really liked the first book in this new series, THE ROGUE WORTH TAKING (my review) and was looking forward to seeing more of King’s friend the Duke of Warnick. And while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as the first in the series but any book that has Freddie (aka the Earl of Stanhope) in it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I enjoyed the chemistry between Warnick and Lily but, for me, there was just something missing from this one and looking back I can’t quite put my finger on what.

A SCOT IN THE DARK was a quick read but its also one that I found easy to put down. There was nothing about it that made me want to keep picking up. Though when I was reading it I was throughly engaged and even laughed out loud on several occasions. There is some good banter between the hero and heroine but they just paled in comparison to King and Sophie from the first book. Those two just set a really high bar and Warnick and Lily didn’t live up. But they did have some really fun scenes together and I loved the cameos from the Talbot sisters. I think perhaps, part of my disappointment with A SCOT IN THE DARK is because it wasn’t a Talbot sister book. I just got really attached to that crazy family and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

scot-in-the-dark-quote

My disappointment is all my own. I think that any devoted reader of Sarah MacLean will love A SCOT IN THE DARK. There is humor and adventure and potential for scandal around every corner. There is chemistry and heart ache and a book that has a lot but still remains true to the love story at its core. There is some fun banter between the main characters and some good side scenes when they are not sharing a page. I just wish that I was able to connect with the lead characters more which would have had me liking this book more than I did.

A SCOT IN THE DARK is a book that can be read as a standalone but why would you want to? It totally helps to read all of MacLean’s books in publication order because then you can enjoy the cameos all the more. I just love how those little cameos really help to flesh out a world and make it seem more real across the various series that MacLean writes. And MacLean can write, that is something that never changes from book to book. She is a gifted author and one that I think all lovers of romance should experience. I know that I, for one, am already looking forward to her next book even though April 2017 seems like its an eternity away!

 

irishdarkblue

ir-scot-in-the-dark

Add Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review: His Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: His Royal Favorite by Lilah PaceHis Royal Favorite by Lilah Pace
Series: His Royal Secret, Book 2
Also in this series: His Royal Secret
Published by Intermix on 16 August 2016
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Family, GLBT, Love & Romance, Royalty, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 245
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: His Royal Secret

Place(s) Traveled To: Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya // London, England

First Line(s): “Fiona, it’s Ben.” Thank God he’d gotten her machine.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE is the direct sequel to Lilah Pace’s HIS ROYAL SECRET (my review.) I’m usually wary of direct sequels as I hate to have manufactured drama break up a couples hard won happily ever after just to bring them back together again. But I also found that I couldn’t resist the temptation that HIS ROYAL FAVORITE presented so I found myself not only picking it up but then staying up into the wee hours of the morning just to finish it. I was hooked on this story from the very first page and I just loved the progression of Ben and James’s story. I also loved how HIS ROYAL FAVORITE showed a real relationship at work as that is something that is usually missing in romance novels.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE deals with the very real aftershocks of James coming out of the closet and Ben has to decide if a public life is a life that he can accept. There are struggles for them both as they deal with their new relationship, family, and the onslaught of public opinion. New relationships can be hard enough but they become exponentially harder when they are lived in the public eye. Especially when you don’t know who is a true friend and who might sell your secrets just for a little cash and 15 minutes of fame. My heart totally ached throughout this book because it was just so real and I hated some of the things that Ben and James had to deal with.

his-royal-favorite-quote

But what I loved most about HIS ROYAL FAVORITE is that there was no pointless breakup!! And while there was angst it wasn’t unnecessary or over done and everything just really worked for the story. I truly hated for HIS ROYAL FAVORITE to come to an end because it just hit all the right notes for me. HIS ROYAL FAVORITE isn’t a perfect book but it was compelling and held my attention. It had me cheering on this couple wanting them to overcome the obstacles in front of them and come out stronger on the other side. For me, HIS ROYAL FAVORITE was a total page turner and I couldn’t stop reading until I hit the final page.

HIS ROYAL FAVORITE will take you on an emotional roller coaster but at the end of the ride you’ll heave a happy say and want to make the journey all over again. I loved this story and I can’t say it enough how much I loved seeing a couple be a couple. I always feel a little cheated when it takes an entire book to get a couple to get together just to have it end before we experience their HEA. In HIS ROYAL FAVORITE, Pace gives that extra look into this world and I am so happy that she did. This series was just so sweet and lovely and its perfect for all fans of a good love story. Doubly good if you like books with a royal twist (and seriously who doesn’t like to read about a literal prince charming?) If you trust me at all then you’ll want to have this series on your radar.

Seriously friends….go buy it now!

irishdarkblue IR - His Royal Secret

 

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

Add Us by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Review: Game On by Michelle Smith

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Game On by Michelle SmithGame On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek, Book 2
Also in this series: Play On
Published by Bloomsbury on 16 August 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Play On

Place(s) Traveled To: Lewis Creek, South Carolina // Sommerville, South Carolina // Beaufort, South Carolina

First Line(s): It’s probably a bad sign when the hangover hits you before you even leave the party.

GAME ON by Michelle Smith is a companion to her debut story PLAY ON (my review) and that is where we first meet Eric. Eric is an underclassman on the baseball team and in this book he moves up to be the starting pitcher. Bringing with it all the pressures that anyone from a small town can understand. Sports is life in many small towns (and even some big ones) and adults are way too involved and get way too emotionally invested. These pressures only compound the issues that Eric is already dealing with as a preachers kid, a newly out gay older brother and his past as a player and a screw up. Eric is trying to make a new start in order to live up to all of his expectations but he keeps making poor choices and getting into trouble. It also doesn’t help that he has a bit of a drinking problem and a temper which lands him into more trouble than he needs.

Enter Bri, the girl next door. Bri and Eric used to be friends and then they drifted apart.  Eric has always had a thing for Bri but has always thought that he was too much of a screw up and not good enough for her. So you can imagine all the angst that the boy goes through over the course of GAME ON as Bri and Eric begin to reconnect. For Bri is dealing with a douche of an ex along with some abandonment issues which could have lead her to being a troubled teen. However, Bri is smart and has a good head on her shoulders and she becomes the rock that Eric needs to really get his life back on track. Through Eric, Bri also learns to deal with some of her issues and learns that she isn’t alone in the world. That there are people who will fight for her and beside her depending on what the situation calls for.

Game On quote3

GAME ON is a quick read and had everything I like to see in a contemporary young adult book. There was angst but not a ton of it and there were lots of heart achy feels throughout Bri and Eric’s journey. I loved their chemistry and I loved how Smith dealt with their issues and brought them together. It was realistic and emotional and had me flipping the pages quickly to see how it would all end. GAME ON isn’t a perfect read and there were things that I didn’t like but those flaws were small compared to all the things that I liked about this book. I like a book that can keep me entertained and invested even while there are things I disagree with or that I would do differently. But the things that happened all felt real to the characters and that is what matters most.

I enjoyed returning to the town of Lewis Creek with GAME ON and I hope that this isn’t the last time that we see this world or these characters. I like this group of teens and think that there are plenty of stories that could be told much like Miranda Kenneally does with her Hundred Oaks series. If you are looking for a fun, realistic read to keep you company then look no further than GAME ON. This book is great for the beach, a plane ride, or for sitting under a blanket on a snowy winters day. This is a must read for YA Contemporary lovers. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Game On

Add Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

Add The Distance from A to Z to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Published by Listening Library on 05 April 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // Chicago, Illinois

First Line(s): Seven hundred and thirty-three days after my mom died, forty-five days after my dad eloped with a stranger he met on the Internet, thirty days after we then up and moved to California, and only seven days after starting as a junior at a brand-new school where I know approximately no one, an email arrives.

Dear Reader,

Let me tell you three things:

1) There aren’t enough words to in the universe to tell you how much I loved Juile Buxbaum’s TELL ME THREE THINGS

2) This is a book that I’ll re-read over and over and over again

3) If I learn that you haven’t read this book then expect me to bully you to do so because I know your life will be forever made better as a result.

I promise you dear reader, TELL ME THREE THINGS, is a super duper wonderful book. This book hit all the right notes for me and I just loved every word. I just love the trope that was used in this book, with the secret correspondence and I was so super happy when my guess on who Somebody/Nobody was proved correct. The ending of TELL ME THREE THINGS gave me all those wonderful heart achy feels that I love and if I hadn’t been listening to the audio on my phone I totally would have hugged this book when I finished it.

The narrator of TELL ME THREE THINGS, Jorjeana Marie, was a new voice for me (or at least I don’t recall the name) and I thought that she did a wonderful job in bringing Jessie and all these various characters to life. My only real complaint was in the reading of IMs and emails as they are often more of a visual thing and easier read in print than heard over audio. So there are parts of me that wish I’d read this book but then there is a bigger part of me that listened to the story as I did love Jorjeana Mareie’s style. She did a great job with not just Jessie but all the characters and I never had an issue telling who was who. She also had a great pacing and delivery so it was easy to get lost in the story. Well, as lost as one can get while still paying attention while driving!!

Tell Me Three Things Quote

My one big complaint with TELL ME THREE THINGS and what prevents me from giving the book 5 stars was the complete personality transplant of one of the characters. Its something that seemed to come out of no where and I kind of go whiplash from the whole thing. I can understand where said character was coming from but right up until the explosion it was all systems go lets act how we’ve always been acting. I get that sometimes people do bottle things up inside but even there there are still usually some clues that there is a rift brewing. I just think that overall the whole could have been handled better so that it meshed better with the story. Because as it was it just seemed forced and manufactured – drama for the sake of drama – and there really was no need for the drama.

Overall though, TELL ME THREE THINGS was a delightful story and I hated for it to end. Its a book that I wish I could read again for the first time and one that I know will have a forever home on my shelf. Its full of real, flawed, and yet perfect characters that I would want to be friends with . (You know if they were real and I had to relive those pesky teen years over again.) TELL ME THREE THINGS is a well written and well plotted story and I hated to stop listening each day. Its a book to get lost in and one that I can’t recommend enough. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book you go forth and one click it now!! Like for reals….NOW!!

you're welcome

irishdarkblue

IR - Tell Me Three Things

 

Add P.S. I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. SchneiderSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 03 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 291
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Seattle Washington // Honolulu, Hawaii

First Line(s): The condom must’ve broke. Her words, not mine.

SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider was one of those books I was really looking forward too because I knew several people who had read it and loved it. This wasn’t an over-hyped book and the synopsis made it seem like it was such a me book that I was eager to give it ago. The start of SUMMER OF SLOANE was fabulous and everything I was hoping that it would be and more. That is until around the 75% mark where this book made a complete 180 and left me wondering WTF I just read. There was so much potential for SUMMER OF SLOANE and there was already a lot of drama in the book without the story going where it went. Those last final bits just pushed it too far over the edge into the ridiculous and had me wanting to toss the book across the room.

Sloane is a likeable enough character who is dealing with a lot. Like seriously, her best friend and boyfriend not only hook up behind her back but they also end up pregnant. Sloane does what any self respecting girl does, she yells at her friend and punches her boyfriend in the nose. Sadly she doesn’t know how to through a punch and ends up breaking her hand in the process. She then plans to spend the summer with her mother and twin brother in Hawaii trying to get over the past and figure out who she is without the two people who meant the most of her. Two people who refuse to give her the space she asks for and who badger her constantly to forgive them and take them back because losing her friendship is too much for them to bear. That’s right folks, the faux-BFF and Ex-boyfriend never really apologize or take responsibility for the shitty things that they do and only care about how Sloane’s ignoring them makes them feel. Oh how I wanted to slap them both a hundred times over!!!

Summer of Sloane Quote

But Sloane is doing ok without them. She has her brother, she has her summer friends in Hawaii and she also meets Finn who may just help her forget her terrible ex. These are the parts of SUMMER OF SLOANE that I loved and connected with. They are the parts that had me rapidly turning the pages as Sloane discovered who she was without being part of the trio that she was back in Seattle. Finn was a great character and I loved how he and Sloane where together. Then SUMMER OF SLOANE took a dive off the crazy train and went from being a great book to me wondering what the heck I just read. There are misunderstandings which happen often enough in books but its how these characters react to them that had me reeling. Rather than talking they make these grand assumptions and then think that cheating is the answer. Because it worked so well when it happened between Sloane’s ex and her faux-bff. *insert eye rolling here*

I get that these characters are teenagers and maybe their actions make sense to that demographic but its not something I was able to get behind. Mainly because I’ve been cheated on in the past and its not something that can ever accept as being a way to solve a problem. SUMMER OF SLOANE is a book that I wish I could stop at a certain point. That part where I was still emotionally invested and loving every word. The ending of SUMMER OF SLOANE was just a mess that almost ruined the entire book for me. I became annoyed at all the characters and the payoff just wasn’t worth much of what came before. I did think that SUMMER OF SLOANE was well written I just wish it hadn’t introduced all that WTF-ery into the story. While SUMMER OF SLOANE isn’t a book that works for me on every level I do see the appeal of it and know of many a person that I can recommend it to as I know they’ll enjoy it more than me.

irishdarkblue

IR - Summer of Sloane

 

Click here to add From What I Remember by  Stacy Kramer and Val Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatick to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
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