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Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Love Lessons by Heidi CullinanLove Lessons by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons,
Also in this series: Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay
Published by Samhain Publishing on 01 Oct 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 379
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Fever Pitch, Lonely Hearts, Short Stay, Dance with Me, Enjoy the Dance

Place(s) Traveled To: Danby, Illinois // Northbrook, Illinois // Chicago, Illinois // St Louis, Missouri // Minneapolis, Minnesota // Windom, Minnesota

First Line(s): Freshman orientation at Hope University was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and Walter Lucas planned to gorge himself.

I first learned of the Love Lessons series by Heidi Cullinan when Annabeth Albert recommended the second book in the series, FEVER PITCH, as a read-a-like to her LOVE ME TENOR (my review). Even with companion series I do like to read books in order so I was really glad to see that book 1 in the series, LOVE LESSONS, was available in my libraries digital catalog and I didn’t hesitate to request it. This one started off a bit rocky for me as I just wasn’t sure about this school that Walter and Kelly go to which seemed more like a cult than a college. But before I knew it the clock was reading 4am and I was reading the last sentence. I totally got sucked into this one and totally fell head over heels for Walter and Kelly.

LOVE LESSONS wasn’t a perfect book and I hated that it included the trope/cliche/whatever you want to call it issue that everyone has sex and high school and so an 18 year old virgin is “like a unicorn.” I know many who didn’t have sex until college or even after and its NBD it just has to be right for the person not that it happens by a certain age. And when you are from a small town in the midwest and not-quite-out yet its totally understandable that Kelly hasn’t had sex yet. Plus, I really Kelly’s small town charm and his desire to be in love before taking that step. Oh Kelly, such a sweet sweet boy he was and such a perfect counter for playboy Walter.

Love Lessons Quote

And Walter, oh how that boy hurt my heart. Such a broken soul at times and I loved his character ARC over the course of this story. LOVE LESSONS is a book where I’d say that love at first sight happened but its also a slow burn novel as both the love interests take their time in getting romantic and so really get to know each other first. Walter and Kelly are tossed together unexpectedly and I love how they both try to make the best out of a bad situation. I adored how Walter looked out for Kelly first as a friend and then as a boyfriend. These two totally made my heart ache and I just couldn’t get enough of their story.

Heidi Cullinan wrote a beautiful story with a plot that was more than just boy meets boy and they live happily ever after. There is a bigger story contained within the love story in LOVE LESSONS and it just really shows these characters at their best, and even at their worst. Walter and Kelly have their ups and downs but in the end everything is wrapped up nicely. Although the ending was a little too cutesy for me and I may have rolled my eyes a wee bit it didn’t take away from my overall love of the story. I walked into LOVE LESSONS with no real expectations and I walked out with a need for more books by Heidi Cullinan. She’s definitely an author I’m going to read more of and think that you should too.

 

Mini-Review: FROZEN HEART – FREE NOVELLA/EPILOGUE for LOVE LESSONS

FROZEN HEART is a free novella that can be found on Heifi Cullinan website (link above). Its a slight continuation of the ending of LOVE LESSONS and it fit my need for more after finishing that book. Though its also something I wish I hadn’t read after I read it. LOVE LESSONS was such a smoothly written story that it was disappointing to see how choppy FROZEN HEART was. The story was jumpy and all over the place and just a wee bit creepy. Kelly’s love of Disney is cute in LOVE LESSONS but the level it goes to here? Well, lets just say I didn’t need to know that. So while I want everyone to read LOVE LESSONS I think that most should keep this little short and I’ll pretend that it doesn’t exist.

irishdarkblue

IR - Love Lessons

 

Add Status Update by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

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

four-stars
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Deep by Kylie Scott

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Deep by Kylie ScottDeep by Kylie Scott
Series: Stage Dive,
Also in this series: Lick, Play, Lead
on 31 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, New Adult, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Lick, Play, Lead, Dirty

Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico // Portland, Oregon // Saint Louis, Missouri // Las Vegas, Nevada // Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia // New York, New York

First Line(s): Positive. I reread the instructions, doing my best to flatten out the creases in the piece of paper one-handed.

Deep by Kylie Scott is the fourth and final book in her Stage Dive series which see the various members of the band of the same name fall head over heels in love. Walking into Deep I knew that it was a story that I was looking forward to but its also one that I dreaded a bit because Lead (my review) was going to be a really hard book to follow. Lead was my favorite of the series and a part of me just knew that Ben’s story wouldn’t be able to hold up to Jimmy’s. And I was right. Though that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Ben and Lizzy’s story I just didn’t love it.

I just felt that Ben was a total dick throughout much of the book and I just shook my head every time Lizzy forgave his brutish behavior with very little meaningful apology from him. Not that Ben couldn’t been sweet because he could and I did adore the text messages that the two exchanged but when push came to shove Ben just wasn’t there for Lizzy. It takes two to make a baby after all and both need to face the consequences of that one night stand. Either stand up or just walk away. The push and pull half measures were just frustrating and Lizzy deserved better. Though I did love the moment between Ben and Jimmy when Jimmy gave Ben a piece of his mind. That has got to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. But as you might guess I’m a bit biased by all things Jimmy.  I also wasn’t a fan of how Anne kept treating Lizzy as if she was a child. Lizzy was an adult and about to have a baby its time that Anne realizes that and starts treating her accordingly. Lizzy also needed a bit more of a backbone she was a bit too passive for my tastes throughout most of the story.

Deep Quote

I liked Deep and thought that it was a good ending to the series. I liked how all the guys found their girls and they all found a happily ever after. I could have done without the crazy baby name but they are celebrities and if the real world has taught me nothing its that celebrities do like their crazy unusual names. I also found Deep to be a quick read and I finished it in just over a day. I loved this world and these characters so even with my issues with Ben’s actions throughout the book I still couldn’t stop turning the pages. While the characters did sometimes frustrate me they also made my heart ache and at times I wanted to shake them both. But I was invested in their story and being invested is always a good thing.

The Stage Dive series was a really enjoyable one for me and I am going to miss this world now that its over. I know that I will be re-reading Jimmy’s story often and re-reading the others for all those glimpses of my favorite character. Seriously, if you trust my opinion at all then you need to meet Jimmy and with him his bandmates. These books are worth the read and I am really looking forward to seeing what Kylie Scott comes up with next.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Deep

Add Tyler & Stella by Heidi Joy Trethway to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie ThorneThe Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published by Dial on 17 March 2015
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: James Island, South Carolina // Maryland // Virginia // Valley Forge, Pennsylvania // Chicago, Illinois // Oklahoma // Ohio // Texas // Massachusetts // Maine // Los Angeles, California // New York, New York// Vermont // St Louis, Missouri // Kansas // New Jersey

First Line(s): The moment my horrible yearbook photo first appeared on millions of televisions, sending jaws dropping, phones ringing, and joggers tumbling off their treadmills across America, I was in the middle of my AP US history final.

When I first heard about Jenn Marie Thorne’s debut novel, The Wrong Side of Right, I though that it sounded like a really cute and entertaining read. I was excited for it and when I received a copy for review I pretty much dropped everything in order to read it. Even with the subject, the death of Kate’s mom and finding out who her father was, I was expecting a light and fluffy read. Something that would make me smile one moment and my heart ache the next as Kate dealt with her new family and new romance. However, The Wrong Side of Right turned out to be a lot more serious than I thought and those light and fluffy moments were few and far between.

Kate had to deal with a lot in this book, not just a new family but a whole new world. She was outed as a Senator’s daughter and not just any Senator but one who was running for President. This puts her immediately into the spotlight as she’s taken away from the life she’d been making for herself since her mom died. She becomes a political thing and is told how to stand, where to stand, what to wear and how to act. Her life is no longer her own and there is no one she can talk to about it and that broke my heart. Kate had no advocate and no support system in a world where she desperately needed one because no one was looking out for her.

Wrong Side of Right Quote

That is until she meets Andy and they are able to bond over their fathers and the crazy, jaded politicial life that they both find themselves in. I really liked the romance between Andy and Kate as it was real and genuine and the two had some good chemistry. I just wish that there was more of it. There was so little in the book that I think this story suffered a bit as a result. I get why Andy couldn’t play a bigger role based on who he was but it would have softened the deeper tones of The Wrong Side of Right and made it more relateable. I also really detested Kate’s father and Andy would have made a good distraction from that.

Kate’s father, when he is there, is never really there. He’s always so focused on the campaign and what Kate can do for him. If she messes up in anyway and he loses points then he allows his team to treat her like crap all while ignoring her. Even when Kate’s presence is helping him he pretty much ignores her. And that just bothered me so much. Not only that but Kate seemed so passive throughout the story and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to pitch a fit and cause a fuss and just BE A TEENAGER! I get that she’s been through a lot and dealing with a political campaign couldn’t be easy but she was just so accepting and showed so little life that teenage me totally got her rage on for Kate’s behalf.

Despite all my various issues with The Wrong Side of Right, I did enjoy the overall story. It was an interesting looking into a world that I know I want no part of, one lived in the public eye where ever move is watched and commented on. The stress of that would be too much for me but Kate does manage to navigate its waters. I did like that she showed some strength and growth by the end and I liked her stepmother and siblings who also showed change and growth. I never did like her father and thought that he changed very little, if at all, and the end was a bit meh for my liking. All in all though a decent debut novel and Thorne will be on my authors to watch list for future reads.

 irishdarkblue

IR - Wrong Side of Right

Add Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin to Goodreads (Review coming soon.)

three-stars
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Trust the Focus by Megan EricksonTrust the Focus by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus,
Also in this series: Focus On Me, Out of Frame
Published by Intermix on 17 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 219
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Focus On Me, Make it Count, Changing His Game, Playing for Her Heart, Tied to Trouble, Out of Frame, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Leveling the Field

Place(s) Traveled To: Redding, California // Pike’s Peak, Colorado // Unnamed, Idaho // Chicago, Illinois // Nashville, Indiana // Lewis, Kansas // Cape Elizabeth, Maine // Jefferson City, Missouri // Unnamed, New Hampshire // Unnamed, Oregon // Unnamed, Pennsylvania // Toutle, Washington // Buffalo County, Wisconsin // Moorcroft, Wyoming

First Line(s): More than a thousand graduation caps flew into the air behind me, but I was already walking down the aisle between the concrete bleachers.

 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Megan Erikson’s Trust the Focus when I requested the title for review but I did know that it included two of my favorite book tropes: the road trip and a friends to lovers romance. Trust the Focus starts off with Justin and Landon graduating college and embarking on a cross country road trip taken in memory of Justin’s dad who had passed away. They plan to visit some of the places that Justin’s dad photographed and re-rake the pictures with the his ashes in them. Along the way Justin has decided to confront the feelings that he’s always had for his best friend, the openly gay Landry.

There are many ups and downs throughout this story and it made my heart ache on numerous occasions. There were also times when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake these characters as they weren’t doing the things that I wanted them to do when I wanted. In other words, I was invested in this story from the start all the way until the end. I cared what happened to Justin and Landry and really wanted them to find their happily ever after. Where this book would lose me was when it got a bit preachy with other characters coming onto the page seemingly just to validate Justin and Landry as a couple. It was almost always the same phrasing and just made me sigh a bit as it just seemed a bit much.

 

Trust the Focus Quote

 

Trust the Focus isn’t a deep story but it was a fun, quick read and just what I needed at the time. Its a book that would make a great pallet cleanser between heavy reads as you just just lose yourself in the story without having to think too much. Landry and Justin are realistic characters and readers will cheer for them to find their happily ever after. Best of all there is no pointless breakup. Yes there is conflict and tension because no romance is without that but its all realistic in its execution and it will make your heart ache.

While there were parts of Trust the Focus that frustrated me I did enjoy it and I couldn’t stop reading when I started. In fact, this was a book that I didn’t mean to read at all. I’d accidentally deleted my current read off my kindle and then accidentally opened this one when I was trying to move another book into a folder. Then before I fully realized what was happening I was staying up way past my bed time hurriedly flipping through the pages as I raced to the end of the story. Thrust the Focus was my first book by Megan Erikson but it won’t be my last as I enjoyed her writing and the characters that she created.

irishdarkblue

IR - Trust the Focus

 

Add There You Stand by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Review to come.)

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

three-stars
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Published by Harper Teen on 20 May 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Hazelton, Missouri // St Louis, Missouri

First Line(s): Maybe if I’d paid more attention to my mom and her tea leaves, I would have seen it coming.

 

When your boyfriend of a few years dumps you in the middle of your family’s coffee shop without warning or preamble what is a girl to do? Does she accept the breakup and move on? Or does she listen to her BFF, grab an ancient guide to war, and do whatever it takes in order to get him back? In The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes Lainey is determined to win back her boyfriend, Jason, and if takes doing her summer reading and learning to understand the content of The Art of War then by gosh by golly that is what she will do. Initially I was on the fence with reading The Art of Lainey the synopsis didn’t really grab me but then a few readers I really trust read it and fell in love so I knew I had to check it out. I then read this one in its entirety on the train from New York City to Boston.

The first chapter was a little rocky and the break up scene was a little anti-climatic but once the story really got going I was totally sucked in. I loved Lainey and her friend Bee. I loved how they interacted and really meshed well with each other. They were true friends and that is a rare thing to see in books these days. Usually the BFF in a book is a false friend who is mean or who dumps the MC over something stupid and trivial. But Bee is there through it all and even encourages Lainey on some of her more wild suggestions on how to win Jason back. Then there is Micah. Oh, he is a boy that will make all the girls swoon. He’s just so sweet and real and he doesn’t put up with Lainey’s crap. He challenges her and as such they don’t always get along.

I loved all of the characters in this book, I loved how there were parents who were involved and not randomly out of town or so wrapped up in their own lives they ignored their offspring. I liked how Lainey grew and changed over the course of the book as she learned things about herself. One of my favorite quotes in the story is this:

“If you asked me whether I was the type of person who liked trying new things or preferred sticking with what was familiar, I would have told you I was the second girl. The if –it-aint-broke-don’t-fix-it girl. I also would have told you plays were lame. It suddenly occurs to me that I don’t seem to know very much about…me. It’s a weird feeling, like maybe a stranger is inhabiting my body. Or maybe a stranger was, and I kicked her out.”

The Art of Lainey is a quick read. Its fun and engrossing and doesn’t touch on any major social issues. Its a light-hearted book with a down to earth heroine that will make you laugh. This is a great book to curl up with on a hot summer day as you lounge on the beach or by the pool. It will make you laugh, it may make you cringe as Lainey says or does something you would, and it will also make your heart ache as romances play themselves out. I walked into The Art of Lainey with low expectations and left the story wanting more cute, contemporaries from Paula Stokes she is definitely an author to watch.

 

irishdarkblue

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Art of Lainey2

four-stars
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Quotably Yours, Review2 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Blog Tour Review: Torn Away by Jennifer BrownTorn Away by Jennifer Brown
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 06 May 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Elizabeth, Missouri // Prairie Valley, Missouri // Caster City, Missouri // Waverly, Missouri

First Line(s): Marin wanted to teach me the East Coast Swing.

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown is the story of a tragedy. Its the story of Jersey who lives with her mom, stepdad and half sister Marin. Life isn’t perfect for Jersey but its comfortable and she’s reasonably happy. That is until the day that her town is devastated by a massive tornado that levels most of it. Having only lived through one tornado, and a small one at that seeing as how I am not in the midwest, I really have no idea what Jersey’s experience was like. But you don’t need to have experienced a tornado fully as Brown does an amazing job in bringing the experience to life.

For me, that scene and the ones immediately following were the best in the book. They were filled with such emotion and feeling that it was impossible not to get swept up and taken away by it all. However, after that the book started to fall apart for me. I liked Jersey, most of the time, but the secondary characters were all horrible people that they really took me out of the story. Her stepdad abandons Jersey just when she needs him the most and her real dad is not much better. His family branch delights in torturing Jersey and it often made me uncomfortable to read. Maybe that was the point but it didn’t make me like Jersey or the story any more I just wanted it over.

I also found it odd that Jersey would call her half siblings step-siblings as if there was no blood or relation between them. With her dad’s other family I could understand as they were strangers but with Marin? It just added distance into a story that should have been bursting with emotions. And then of course there was the BFF that wasn’t which is so typical these days in books that I shouldn’t be surprised by the cold and unfeeling things that they do.

Torn Away isn’t a bad book but it doesn’t have the same magic to it that some of Jennifer Brown’s other books did. It was a quick and short story and beautifully written but it suffered from likable characters.

irishdarkblue

 

three-stars
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Taking a Shot by Jaci BurtonTaking a Shot by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play,
Also in this series: The Perfect Play, Changing the Game
Published by Berkley Books on 06 March 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 309
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Perfect Play, Changing the Game

Place(s) Traveled To: St Louis, Missouri

First Line(s): Jenna Riley wanted nothing to do with sports.

Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton is the third book in her Play by Play series and involves Jenna Riley who is the younger sister of Gavin and Mick whose stories were told in the previous two books. Jenna has been around sports her entire life and has a hard fast rule of not dating any professional athletes. This makes dating hard as she runs her family’s sports bar and it tends to host a lot of the players from the local teams. Including Tyler Anderson who is on St Louis’s hockey team and who has also taken a shine to Jenna. He likes her unique look and her stand off attitude.

Overall, I enjoyed Jenna and Tyler’s story though for the life of me I don’t know why Tyler put up with Jenna for as long as he did. She had such a huge chip on her shoulder and her arguments for denying her attraction to Ty were weak. There was no deep dark secret past where she was really hurt by someone in the sports industry either professionally or romantically. And when all signs point to how perfect Tyler seemed to be for her she was a fool to try and push that away. I also felt that Jenna was too passive with her family. She just let them walk over her and she really should have been more open about the things that she really wanted in life. Instead she never persisted and just pushed all her dreams aside in order to support those of her brothers and her parents. This made me feel sad for her.

I did like that Tyler wasn’t a jerk or an ass of an alpha male. He was genuine and real and I liked his personality. When Jenna wasn’t wearing that chip on her shoulder I felt that they fit well together but she just kept me from fully immersing myself into the story. I also didn’t mind Elizabeth as much in this book as I did in the previous two. She seems to be mellowing as the series movies forward but I did still prefer the scenes where she was not present. Same goes for Mick and Gavin as Jenna just became less of herself when they were around and I never liked that side of her.

As with the previous Play by Play stories, Taking a Shot, was a quick read and I read it in no time. The sex scenes are hot and probably a bit overdone. I like Jaci Burton’s stories but they are a but on the formulaic side so I think that spacing them out is the way to go with them.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Changing the Game by Jaci BurtonChanging the Game by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play, Book 2
Also in this series: The Perfect Play, Taking a Shot
Published by Berkley Books on 02 August 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 299
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Perfect Play, Taking a Shot

Place(s) Traveled to: Palm Beach, Florida // St. Louis, Missouri // New York, New York

First Line(s): Gavin Riley knew Elizabeth Darnell had been avoiding him for the past several months.

If I am honest, I have to admit that I really wasn’t looking forward to reading Changing the Game by Jaci Burton and I almost skipped this book entirely. The reason for this was my intense dislike of the main character, Elizabeth who was a major player in the first book in the series, The Perfect Play (my review). Elizabeth was kind of a b!tch in that book and she did everything she could to break up Tara and Mick. She also thought that one of her main jobs as a sports agent was to have her clients be seen with any and every celebrity she could find hanging on their arm and to just party party party. Whereas as most other books I’ve read and tv shows watched have shown the sports agents trying to get their clients to settle down and not party as much. This was just a small part of her personality that I just wasn’t a fan of but I also dislike reading books out of order so decided to suck it up and give this a go.

Changing the Game picks up several months after The Perfect Play ends and Elizabeth has been avoiding Gavin (who is Mick’s younger brother) after Mick fired her and she kissed Gavin. As with, The Perfect Play, the sex scenes start almost immediately and occurred in high frequency and almost to the point of overshadowing the main story. Throughout the book I was still annoyed with Elizabeth though not as much as I was in The Perfect Play.  In Changing the Game, we get to see events through Elizabeth’s eyes and as such we do get to see a bit of her vulnerability. This helps in identifying with her a bit more than seeing her through the eyes of others. The saving grace of this book though was Gavin. He was the opposite of Elizabeth and shows that the old maxim of opposites attract holds true. But they aren’t so opposite that they don’t find common interests outside of the bedroom.

Gavin’s personality was also more genuine and real and just plain more likeable. Which was the opposite of his brother Mick who was a complete and utter a$$ in this book. Its a good thing that he didn’t have all that many scenes in this book or I may have had to go back and revise my review of The Perfect Play and follow up on my first impression of his character. Mick was abrasive and verbally abusive to Elizabeth. Harassing her and calling her names and trying to drive a wedge between her and Gavin. The exact thing that Elizabeth did to him (minus the name calling of Tara) and that he got so bent out of shape over in the first place. In this book Mick often came across as entitled and bratty and just generally unlikable. This did help in softening my opinion of Elizabeth as we did mostly see her through Mick’s eyes in The Perfect Play.

I liked the person that Elizabeth became when she was with Gavin. She was looser and less uptight and more genuine and real. Gavin was a likeable hero and I hope to see more of him in future books. He was honest and funny and just always felt real. In the end, I did like Changing the Game but I didn’t love it. This book won’t be a favorite of mine but I am glad that I didn’t skip it. I liked the introduction to Jenna and I look forward to her story as a result of this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review2 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: The Perfect Play by Jaci BurtonThe Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play,
Also in this series: Changing the Game, Taking a Shot
Published by Berkley Books on 01 February 2011
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Changing the Game, Taking a Shot

Place(s) Traveled To: San Francisco, California // St. Louis, Missouri

First Line(s): Sweat dripped down from Mick Riley’s face and arms.

 The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton is one of those books that I’ve heard a lot about from friends who have similar reading habits to me and I finally decided to check it out. Its a sports themed romance and those are usually good for fun time. This story follows Mick Riley and single mom Tara Lincoln. As with most male leads Mick was a major player but unlike the stereotype he was tired of all that and looking to settle down. Tara on the other hand was just looking for a single night of sexy times as she has a teenage boy and tells herself that she has no time for a relationship as it might scar her son for life. 

Tara has a ton of crazy hangups throughout the book and while some I understood others were just plan whack-a-doodle. She’d fly off the handle over the littlest thing and often project all of her anger onto Mick. Yes, sometimes he did mess up but most of the time it was her own assumptions or due to the interference of another character, Elizabeth. Oh boy did I dislike Elizabeth. She’s a tough as nails character who is successful at her career but I just didn’t buy some of her life choices. Based on many other books I’ve read usually the manager of the celebrity-type character is trying to get them to settle down to not be such a player, to go to parties but not be all crazy-crazy with the drinking, etc. Elizabeth on the other hand was the opposite of all that. She wanted Mick to date every female celebrity in Hollywood and Tara would be oh so terrible for his image and so she undermined that relationship every chance she got. One thing I did like was that there were consequences for actions. At first Mick was blind to Elizabeth’s ways but when he clued in he laid down the law.

Mick was a nice guy, not perfect by any means, but he was a genuinely nice guy and I loved the scenes he had with Tara’s daughter. I also liked most of the scenes that he and Tara shared, well, those scenes when she wasn’t flying off the handle. The scenes where she was just an insecure wreck I did like. Not because she was insecure but because those scenes where very realistic. Here she is your average single mom trying to run her own business and in walks in this very well-known football star. Its a very daunting thing and the celebrity lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I can understand why it would make her wary especially since she didn’t just have herself to worry about.

For the most part, I liked the secondary characters, Mick’s brother and his parents, although I am not looking forward to the next book featuring Elizabeth as the female lead. Ugh, she was just so unlikable and I don’t see how she can be redeemed and I am not sure that I want to see that. So I might just skip over that story and move on to the third book which involves Mick’s sister.

The overall plot of the book was a bit so-so. There is nothing special about this book and its filled with some awkward dialogue and poor scene transitions. I even noticed a few typos during my read which took me out of the story. Where The Perfect Play succeeds for me is in the fact that it was a quick read. I read it in just a few sittings and despite its flaws it was a good escapist story. I also think that if there had been less Elizabeth and more Tara, Mick, and Tara’s son that I would have enjoyed the story more. 

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult10 Comments

Audio Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Narrator: Suzy Jackson
Published by Brilliance Audio on 20 September 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone, The Unexpected Everything

Place(s) Traveled to: Raven Rock, California // Yosemite National Park, California // The Loneliest Road in America // Eureka, Nevada // Delta, Utah // Colorado Springs, Colorado // Wichita, Kansas // Fairfield, Missouri // Louisville, Kentucky // Memphis, Tennessee // Asheville, North Carolina // Richmond, Virginia // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // Connecticut

First Line: I sat on the front steps if my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-du-sac.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!

For a long time now I’ve really wanted to take a road trip across the country but I just haven’t had the time to do it. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour allowed me to take that trip and still remain firmly in boring old Massachusetts. It both satisfied my wanderlust but also fed my travel bug as well.

Amy and Roger meet for the first time in years (they were childhood friends) when Amy needs to get herself and the family car from California to Connecticut where she is moving to. The only catch is that Amy no longer drives – enter in Roger – who is being forced to spend the summer in Pennsylvania with his dad & stepmom.

At the start of the trip Amy and Roger are very stiff with each other as they are rebooting their friendship. But as they progress across the country you get to see them grow and get to know each other and this makes for a very heart-achy book. Morgan Matson did such a wonderful job with the way the emotions flowed in this book. It was gradual and real and as a listener you find yourself routing for Amy & Roger to become more than friends because you can see that there is something special there. If they just let go of their baggage and open themselves up to something new.

I really liked how Amy and Roger decided to chuck Amy’s mothers pre-planned trip and just go where the road led them. It was was healing trip for them both as they faced memories of their past which then allows them to move forward. It also allowed us a reader to get to know them both even though the book is told from Amy’s POV. I also liked the little flash backs that occurred throughout the novel where we learn about Amy’s demon’s and why she has an aversion with driving. Her past isn’t some big reveal and its pretty obvious from the start what happens but its not so much about what happened as it is about how Amy remember’s what happened. And its through the remembering and the interactions she has with those she meets as she travels across America that help her get over the past.

As with many YA books parents are mostly absent throughout the book. First Roger’s mom just drops him off in front of Amy’s house. We only see her from a distance through Amy’s eyes and she gets no dialogue. I found it odd that she didn’t even say hello to Amy. Then there is Amy’s mom – who could be a royal b&@#h through most of the phone conversations that we saw her through. I couldn’t believe some of the things she said and did. I mean of her two children Amy is the one who was always miss goody two shoes. She was the model child. She got good grades and never got in trouble. The one time she does something radical her mother goes a bit crazy. And yet her brother was constantly doing something wrong and it took YEARS before he faced any consequences. So she was just a very frustrating character for me. With all that Amy was going through taking a few extra days to travel from her old life to her new one shouldn’t have been as big a deal as her mother made it into.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour  is an excellent book to listen to in the car (if only I’d been able to listen to it on an epic road trip of my own!) If you haven’t checked this one out yet then do so now. It was amazing and I can’t wait to see what Morgan Matson writes next.About the Narrator:

I loved how Suzy Jackson narrated this book. She really brought Amy to life. She was very believable as a teenage girl and handled the male voices well. She even handled reading off the playlists well. The only thing I wished she had done differently was to try to find a way to articulate the pictures and drawings that were in the physical book. I think that those aspects add to the story and so there was just something missing in the audio since there is no way for the listener to know that they were there.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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