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Posts Tagged: America: New Jersey

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Beta Test by Annabeth Alberts

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

Review: Beta Test by Annabeth AlbertsBeta Test by Annabeth Albert
Series: Gaymers, Book 2
Also in this series: Status Update
Published by Carina Press on 30 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 178
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Status Update, Love Me Tenor, Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Santa Monica, California // Los Angeles, California // Seattle, Washington // Weed, California // Eugene, Oregon // Glendale, California // Pasadena, California // Unknown, New Jersey

First Line(s): Tristan read the manual.

In BETA TEST, the newest book in Annabeth Alberts Gaymers series, Ravi and Tristan are co-workers and the total opposite of the other. Where Ravi is bold and fearless surrounded by chaos and people Tristan is muted and more focus on his lists and spreadsheets than the world around him. But despite how different they are Ravi and Tristan are drawn to each other time and time again. While there are times that their differences cause conflict, especially as they wage an inner war trying to deny the attraction, they compliment each other. They just need to find some common ground and stop letting their differences get in the way of all that makes these two perfect for each other.

The conflict between Ravi and Tristan in BETA TEST is such an epic journey (both literal and internal) that its sure to delight many a reader. For BETA TEST includes one of my favorite tropes….a road trip. Oh how real people become when they find themselves trapped in such close quarters for days on end. You can’t hid and you can’t just walk away (at least not easily) and at the end you’ll either be really close to the person in the car with you or never want to speak to them again. Luckily for us, Tristan and Ravi, find their way to each other. They learn to admire the difference they see in the other, to compliment it, and are just so tender with each other at times they just make your heart melt.

Beta Test Quote

There is definite conflict between the two men and as with 99.9% of romances, Ravi and Tristan go through a separation as real world difficulties throw some stumbling blocks on the path to their happily ever after. But all the pain of that is worth it for that super delightful ending. And, as a reader, you just know that Ravi and Tristan come out stronger for those road bumps which help build the foundation of their forever love. BETA TEST is a slow build romance and I just loved reading how these two came together. I do love a slow build as those sort of romances seem to burn brighter by the time the last page is turned.

BETA TEST is a quick read and its so easy to get lost within its pages. Its not perfect, the ending seemed a little rushed and I would have liked a few more pages to really round things out a bit. But overall, BETA TEST hit all the right notes for me. It made my heart ache and made me sigh with happiness as Ravi and Tristan worked through all their issues in order to find love and happiness in each other. Its a sweet romance and I think that if your reading tastes in any way align with mine that I think you’ll like this one.

irishdarkblue

IR - Beta Test

 

Add Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

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

Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel BandeiraBookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
Series: Ever After,
Published by Spencer Hill on 19 January 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Young Adult
Pages: 378
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Lambertfield, New Jersey // Pine Barrons, New Jersey // Boston,

First Line(s): I rocked forward, balancing my book on my knees and tried to ignore the yelling and chatter around me.

BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER by Isabel Bandeira is a book that had me written all over it and I was very excited to receive a review copy of it. For me, this was a short read and I read it on the plane on the way home from visiting a friend in Michigan. It kept me awake and entertained but it was also kind of forgettable. This is the sort of book that I’m wishing I’d read on my ereader or when connected to wifi because I have no notes for it and only a few dog-eared pages (*gasps…I know!!*) to make things of interest in the story. I do recall that there were things that I liked out the main character, Phoebe, but there were things I didn’t like about her either.

Phoebe is the sort of girl that most bookish souls can relate to (and maybe even were in their high school days) she’d rather read at lunch than discuss fashion trends or gossip. Her idea of a fun day is to go to a book signing at the mall over shopping at the mall. That’s not to say she’s a total geek, because she’s not, she just isn’t always into the same things as her friends are. Her friends, for the most part, accept this side of Phoebe and let her live in her books but also make sure she gets out and enjoys the life of your average teenage. I did like the friendship aspect of this book and thought that Phoebe and her friends were solid and realistic and no frenemies in sight.

Bookishly Ever After Quote

Where Phoebe got on my nerves was with how actively she seemed to avoid the realization that a boy she liked actually liked her back. Despite all evidence to the contrary, and even with her friends shooting her therories down, she had blinders on when it came to Dev. As such, this girl ran so hot and cold when it came to him that it was frustrating to watch and I don’t blame Dev for how he acted at times. Dating is hard enough without adding mental obstacles to the whole ordeal…especially in the shark infested waters that is high school! I often wanted to reach into this book and give Phoebe a good shake because she was just so over the top clueless.

On the whole BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER isn’t a bad book. Its cute and fun but it is forgettable. This isn’t a book that I’ll reach for when my brain can’t handle words but yet wants words because I’m not entirely sure that it will stick in my brain for the long term. Its a clean book (from what I recall) and good for a younger teen but older teens may not like it as much as there is little in the way of drama. Which isn’t always a bad thing but sometimes you just want something more in a story. Perhaps it just wasn’t the time or place for me to read this book. Depending on its plot, I may check out the sequel but if its more Phoebe cluelessness and a breaking up of the HEA then I will probably give it a pass. I like HEAs and even though HS relationships rarely last forever I do like ending a book with happy characters.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Bookishly Ever After

 

Add On the Fence by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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

Review: Jesse’s Girl by Miranda KenneallyJesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 07 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Music & Musicians, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Nashville, Tennessee // Franklin, Tennessee //Bristol, Tennessee // New York, New York // unknown, Viginia // Hoboken, New Jersey

First Line: Backstage, there’s so much security, you’d think it was the White House.

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally may only be the second book of hers that I’ve read but I think that it will be my favorite. I really love the whole rock star trope so this one will always have a special place in my heart. Just as Maya and Jesse will as well. I just loved these two characters and I loved how their chemistry just sizzled off the page. Things weren’t always the easiest between them as Jesse is already so jaded for one so young but I loved watching as Maya broke through his walls and they built a strong and solid relationship. They had their ups and downs but overall Jesse’s Girl was a cute and fluffy read and I just flew through the pages.

Not only did I love Jesse and Maya but I adored all the secondary characters. Well, with the exception of that one guy who was such a douchebag!! Oh my stars did I want to reach within the pages and just smack him! But while I hated what he did to Maya in the end it really was one of the best things that could have happened to her. Its a cliche, but when once door closes a new one opens and that is exactly what this moment and what meeting Jesse was for Maya.

 

Jesse's Girl Quote

 

Jesse’s Girl was a fun story. It made me laugh and it hurt my heart and I hated for it to end. I just loved these characters and this world that Kenneally created. Kenneally’s books just scream reality and its so easy to lose yourself within their pages and to become the main character of her stories. You feel all the ups and downs that Maya goes through over the course of the story and while I’d like to think I’d act differently than she did at some points her actions fit her as well as the story.

I know that Jesse’s Girl is a book that I will find myself reading again and again. And with all the multitude of books that I have to read this is a very big deal as it can be so hard to find the time to revisit a story. But from the first moment that I started Jesse’s Girl I knew that these characters and this story would become old friends. This is a story that I’ll pick up when I’m sick or feeling distracted and know that I can easily loose myself within its pages for a few hours. Jesse’s Girl is a book that makes you happy sigh even as you are turning the last page and then sitting there for a few moments debating on if you should go back and start it over again from the beginning. So if this one isn’t on your bookshelf then you’ll want to fix that, like now.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Jesse's Girl

 

Add Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler to Goodreads.

Add The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review2 Comments

Audio Review: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew QuickSilver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Blackstone Audio on 09 October 2008
Genres: Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland // Collingswood, New Jersey // Voorhees, New Jersey // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): I don’t have to look up to know that Mom is making another surprise visit.

I first became interested in Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick when I learned that the 2012 film of the same name was based on a book. The movie looked interesting enough and I had wanted to read the book before seeing it as that is my preference when it comes to movies based on books. But as sometimes happens life got in the way and the movie and book faded from my mind until I stumbled across it on Netflix. Needing a new audiobook around that time I decided to listen to this one and then watch the movie. The first thing that grabbed me with this audiobook was the narrator, Ray Porter. I just loved his voice and how he became Pat Peoples. I loved his energy and the humor he brought to this story as well as all the various other emotions that Pat goes through over the course of the book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, narrators really make or break and audio and Ray Porter definitely makes this one.

That said, I will admit that if I’d read this one in print there were sections of the book that I would have skipped. Not the main story but all the football chants that filled this book. These things are easy to glance over in print but with an audio you just have to sit back and suffer through them. Hoping against hope with each one that it will be the last. And then being disappointed when it isn’t because Pat Peoples, and most of the people that he knows, are obsessed with Eagles football and they spend a lot of time watching football, talking football, and going to football games. Which for this, non-sportsing person, was akin to mild torture. But as Pat is only just reclaiming his life from being in a mental health facility I can accept that those around him want to keep things simple as he eases back into the real world.

Silver Linings Playbook Quote

Then Pat meets Tiffany, who is also dealing with mental health issues, and the two form a strange bond. Pat wants to become this ideal man to win back his ex-wife and Tiffany wants to win this upcoming dance competition. Tiffany convinces Pat that she’ll help him with Nikki if he gives up football (in all forms) and trains for the competition with her. At first, I was a bit happy with this as “yay no more sportsing talk!” but then the more I thought about it and the more this section of the book progressed I liked it less and less. Despite all of Pat’s flaws, I liked him. Deep down he was  a sweet guy who was just dealing with a lot of stuff. Tiffany, on the other hand, was such a hard personality to like. She was mean and controlling and I just could not connect with her character. I just wasn’t a fan and never felt any chemistry between Pat and Tiffany which made this part of the book harder to get through as I wasn’t engaged.

Overall, I liked Silver Linings Playbook, and I enjoyed Pat’s outlook on life. I liked that he was always searching for that silver lining though the path he took may not have always been the best one. I thought the book was realistic and well written and I am interested to see how it plays out on film. I started it while on vacation last October but the connection was bad and watching on a laptop isn’t always the most ideal so I still need to sit down with this one. Silver Linings Playbook is definitely not for everyone but it wasn’t a bad read and if you at all curious about it then you should probably give it a read.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

IR - Silver Linings Playbook

Add Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen to Goodreads.

Add The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to Goodreads.

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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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Audio Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa KantorMaybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Published by Harper Audio on 18 February 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Better Than Perfect

Place(s) Traveled To: Wamasset, New Jersey // Newark, New Jersey // New York, New York

First Line(s):“I realize this is upsetting news,” said Ms. Daniels, watching me and Olivia across her enormous wooden desk.

Why I was planning on avoiding Maybe One Day. Its a cancer book.

Why I’m glad that I decided to read Maybe One Day. Because its so much more than a cancer book.

My friend Andi, over at AndiABCs, has been telling me that I needed to read this book since she read it but I resisted. But I had an ARC of it and I had used one of my audible credits to download the audio. Then one day I was looking for a new audio to listen to and I handed my iPod to a co-worker and she selected Maybe One Day. So I decided to listen to it, after all if I didn’t like it then I could always stop listening, right? Only I never wanted to stop listening. Shannon McManus did a great job with the narration and it was partially because of her that I didn’t want to stop with this one. But it was mostly because of the characters that Melissa Kantor created.

The friendship between Zoe and Olivia is so wonderful to see on the page. All too often books are filled with false best friends and that wasn’t the case here. They were more like sisters than anything else and were almost too close at times because they were so wrapped up in each other and in there dancing. This was fine initially but when the dancing stopped and Olivia got sick Zoe was left at a crossroads. She became a before and an after and she had to learn how to be the new her. But she’s not alone as she learns to deal with Olivia’s diagnosis, there is Olivia and Olivia’s brother, girls at school, and Calvin to help her put the pieces of herself back together.

Maybe One Day Quote

One thing I really liked about Maybe One Day was how it was told from Zoe’s point of view as it gives a new perspective to the cancer storyline. I also loved, like seriously loved, Zoe and Calvin’s romance. My only real regret with this book is that there wasn’t more Zoe and Calvin. Oh how those two made my heart ache!! And all those feels on top of the sad heart aches of what was happening with Zoe and Olivia. *sighs* This book was just a roller coaster of emotion from page one all the way until the end. If I had been reading this one instead of listened I totally would have binged on it.

So yes, Maybe One Day is a cancer book but even more than that its a friendship book. I fell in love with this story and I can’t believe that I ever resisted the idea of it. Sometimes you just need to set aside your preconceived notions and give something outside of your comfort zone a shot. I have no regrets with this book an I am eagerly awaiting Kantor’s next book, Better Than Perfect.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Maybe One Day
five-stars
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

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

Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling,
Published by Broadway Books on 01 January 2001
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 298
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Pineville, New Jersey

First Line(s): Tonight I’ve been thinking about the mosaic Hope gave me the night she U-hauled ass out of Pineville.

Internet,

Sometimes a book gets recommended to me and I jump right one it depending on the person who is doing the recommending and then other times I file the suggestion away. Such was the case with Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. I can’t tell you how many people told me I should read this book, including book bully TIffany, and for whatever reason I didn’t listen. Then on a whim not long ago I downloaded it from BPL eLibrary catalog and simply devoured it. Jessica Darling is a delight and in so many ways she reminds me a bit of myself when I was her age. Jessica is smart and snarky and it was so easy to get lost in her world. Jessica is reeling from the loss of her best friend Hope who recently moved across country. They survive through letters, email and the phone but its not the same as having your BFF right there with you.

As Jessica makes her way through her first year of school without Hope she also comes into contact with Marcus Flutie, the stoner, the social outcast, and everything that Jessica shouldn’t like in a guy. And yet there is something about him that she is drawn to. There is just something about the bad boy to draw a girls heart isn’t there? It can be cliche but its a cliche that often works. I just loved these two on the page and talk about your slow burns!! Oh how they would make my heart ache at the misunderstandings and the missed connections! Another thing that I liked about this book was how involved Jessica’s parents were in her life and how real they were. I liked how Jessica interacted with her other friends and no matter what her opinions of them were they and integral part of her world.

Sloppy Firsts is an older book but there is still much about it that is relevant to today. Jessica is a girl that is easy to relate to and I think that most people can find a bit of themselves in her. I read this book in about a day for once I started it I couldn’t put it down. Sloppy Firsts made me laugh out loud and it made my heart ache and then that ending!! Oh how cruel of an ending it was! This is where coming into a series late is a good thing because I don’t have to wait for the next installment to be released they are all available for me to bounce right into. Or at least get to a little more quickly than having to wait a year, or more, for the next book to come out. I adored Sloppy Firsts and my only really regret is that I didn’t get to this series the first time that it was recommended to me. But you can be sure that I will be finding time in my reading schedule to weave in the other Jessica Darling books.

Sloppy Firsts Quote

four-stars
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela CarterMy Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter
Published by Bloomsbury on 03 June 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Bridgewater, New Jersey // Athens, Greece // Santorini, Greece // Crete, Greece

First Line(s): “So, you wanna go?” That’s how she asks me.

 

 My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter is a book that I really wanted to like. I liked the idea of the premise and loved that the bulk of the book was going to be set in Greece. This was also a book that came to me as highly recommend and so I had high hopes for it when I first opened its pages. However, the book that I read was nothing like my expectations and it really strained credibility in how events transpired. It starts off with Colette’s former best friend, Sadie, asking her to join the family on their upcoming trip to Greece. This happens a couple weeks before the trip is supposed to take place and is crazy, out of the blue as Colette and Sadie haven’t spoken to each other in three years. Also, Colette has a trip booked to Cosa Rica (or somewhere, I forget the exact place) to do some missionary work with her boyfriend. The fact that Colette says yes without considering her other trip or what her parents might say just made me go, WTF? And that wasn’t the first time that phrase came out of my mouth during my read of the story.

As a character Colette often comes across as very young and naive. She’s also a very passive character and tends to do what everyone arounds her tells her to do. Sadie says go to Greece and she does. Her boyfriend says he’ll break up with her if she goes so she says she’ll won’t. And then randomly her dad just drops her off at the airport and tells her to go to Greece. Then while there Colette is placed in some awkward situations as Sadie’s family all know the big secret and she is drawn into Sadie’s schemes. And the secret? The whole reason why Sadie just stopped talking to Colette is one that is super sigh inducing and eye roll worth. I swear communication is the source of so much angst within books and this thing is something could have been avoided if the two had just talked to each other. Maybe they still would have stopped being friends, especially with Colette passive ways, but maybe they wouldn’t have.

There was also some romance aspect to My Best Friend, Maybe but it just seemed like an after thought and I never really believed in the various couples that formed over the course of the novel. These romantic moments also had me rolling my eyes as the characters all failed to communicate and let misunderstandings get in the way. Again. Overall, My Best Friend, Maybe was a head ache inducing book because I often stopped reading it in order to bang my head against it or throw it across the room in disgust. Even the promise of a Grecian setting fell flat as it wasn’t much discussed and Colette seemed to spend a lot of time in her room moping. This wasn’t a book for me and I am not sure if I’ll read another Caela Carter book. My Best Friend, Maybe wasn’t a book for me but I do know several people who enjoyed it so maybe you will as well.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

 

People Who Liked This Book Better Than I Did:

Itching for Books – “Overall, it was a good story and I don’t want to say more about it and risk spoiling it. But it is great writing and interesting themes that will have you thinking. Good job, Caela. I look forward to reading more of your work.”

Book.Blog.Bake – “My Best Friend, Maybe is full of tough decisions and themes. Colette and Sadie both find themselves having to confront their own prejudice and preconceived notions again & again.”

Rather Be Reading – “Despite the heaviness of the conflicts and secrets in My Best Friend, Maybe, I gobbled this one up. Read it in under 24 hours. I had to see how Greece would change Colette, get her thinking on her own without constant pressure from her parents. I had to know if Colette and Sadie’s friendship had anything left after all these years and after this trip. Plus, there’s a sweet romance that felt just right.”

 

two-stars
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Audio Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Black Heart by Holly BlackBlack Heart by Holly Black
Narrator: Jesse Eisenberg
Series: Curse Workers,
Also in this series: White Cat, Red Glove
Published by Listening Library on 10 April 2012
Genres: Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Paranormal, Social Issues, Suspense, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 33 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: White Cat, Red Glove

Place(s) Traveled To: Princeton, New Jersey // New York, New York // Paterson, New York

First Line(s): My brother Barron sits next to me, sucking the last dregs of milk tea slush noisily through a wide yellow straw.

Black Heart by Holly Black is the third, and final, book in the Curse Workers series and I have to say that I am really sad that there are no more books. I have really enjoyed my time in Cassel Sharpe’s world of con men and thieves. I’ve enjoyed Cassel’s sharp sense of humor and his gift of not just getting into trouble but in getting out of it as well. In Black Heart the stakes are higher and there are times when things looks bleak for our hero but the intensity of it just keeps you on the edge of your seat.

As with the previous books, I listened to Black Heart in my car and I can’t imagine any other narrator than Jesse Eisenberg for Cassel Sharpe. He is just so perfect in this role that I am unsure on if I will be able to listen to Eisenberg’s voice and not think of Cassel Sharpe. Its hard to say much about Eisenberg’s narration that I haven’t already said before as this is the third book in a series. He’s firm and consistent in all of his voices and part of why I am sad that this book is over is that it is also the end of Eisenberg as Cassel Sharpe.

Black Heart is a really good end to a series. All the main story ARCs are wrapped up and the ending is a complete one. Not just that but its also a hopeful ending and leaves open the potential for more books. I would love to see more stories involving Cassel, Lila, Sam, and the rest of this crazy cast of characters. I just love how flawed and real they all are. When you read (or in my case listen to) this story it is so easy to forget that they are characters in a book.  The story telling and world building is just so vivid that everything comes to life before your eyes.

The Curse Workers series has something in it for everyone. There is romance and mystery and magic and mayhem. Its a gripping story and once you start it you will be glad that all the books have been published. I can’t even imagine how horrible the wait would have been if I had read these as they were published. That is one perk in coming to late to the party. This is a series that I can’t recommend highly enough and if you are a lover of audiobooks then you need to try this series in this format.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Audio Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: White Cat by Holly BlackWhite Cat by Holly Black
Narrator: Jesse Eisenberg
Series: Curse Workers,
Also in this series: Red Glove, Black Heart
Published by Listening Library on 11 May 2010
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 41 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Red Glove, Black Heart

Place(s): Traveled To: Princeton, New Jersey // Trenton, New Jersey // Atlantic City, New Jersey // Carney, New Jersey

First Line(s): I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air.

White Cat by Holly Black is a book that two of my friends had been bullying me to read. These were the same friends who bullied me to read Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon’s Lexicon series (which is super fabulous and you should read it if you haven’t.) As time can be short I downloaded the audio and I have to say that I fell in love with Jesse Eisenberg’s narration. He is the perfect voice for Cassel Sharpe and with bringing the prose of Black’s words to life. Black has a real gift with language and telling a story and when you read the written word sometimes that beauty can be lost. But when you listen to a story you are forced to slow down and pay attention and White Cat is worth taking that time on.

With the first novel in a series, especially an urban fantasy, there is a lot of world building and background to be given out. Black does a good job in weaving in the history of the world and with the magic of being a curse worker without bogging down the story. Much of White Cat is in dealing with a basic mystery, just what did Cassel do three years prior and why are his nightmares so different than his waking memories. As Cassel investigates, using the various skills he’s learned growing up from his con artist family he uncovers a nest of secrets and lies and what he uncovers isn’t what he expects.

White Cat starts off a little slow but by the end of the story you are on the end of your seat. Cassel’s struggles with his desire to be normal when his family is anything but will resonate with many readers as we all struggle with something. The magic of this world, the curses that some people are affected with are fascinating. As is the stigma that goes along with them. Its a world that the reader can clearly see existing and its easy to see how it came about. How those with curses are almost shunned and so they have little choice but to work for mob families.

Cassel’s narration of the story is filled with much wit and sarcasm but its also filled with intelligence. Cassel is a force to be reckoned with especially as he’s often underestimated by those around him as he’s the only one in a family of curse workers without a curse of his own. Its fun to watch as Cassel manipulates those around him into doing what he wants. Although he does have a bad habit of not knowing when not to lie and manipulate. Cassel with lie to anyone and its hard for him to trust people, even those that he calls a friend. He’s grown up in a family of liars so it can be hard for him to know the boundaries so White Cat is not just a mystery its also Cassel’s personal journey of learning to trust people are him.

White Cat was a fabulous read and I when I finished it I immediately downloaded the audios for Red Glove and Black Heart. The Curse Workers series is one of intrigue and was a fascinating audio to listen to. I love this world and all of its characters all of who are flawed in one way or another. I enjoyed Black’s story and writing and this is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to others. I’m glad that I was bullied into reading it. So if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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