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Posts Tagged: Road Trip

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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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: A Week to be Wicked
Published by Avon on 08 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Road Trip, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 144
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: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, England // Spindle Cove, England // Canterbury, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): By the age of three-and-twenty, Miss Elinora Browning had given up on wedding vows – instead, she made herself a promise.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a novella set in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cover universe and was a quick, fun story that I enjoyed. As with most of Dare’s books the two leads had some amazing banter and good chemistry. I loved the story of Nora and Dashwood and their scenes often brought a smile to my face. When they weren’t making my heart ache with their backstory. What I didn’t like about LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT was how the POV would split and go into other characters from Dare’s Spindle Cove books. Those POVs were distracting and didn’t add anything to the story for me. What I wanted more of in this book was more time spent with Nora and Dash.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a sweet romance and the declaration at the end will just melt your heart. This is a short novella but it feels like a full story. It was fun revisiting Spindle Cove and seeing some of those characters and I hope that we get to see Nora and Dash in the upcoming book, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL.

 

irishdarkblue

Lord Dashwood Quote
three-stars
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: Revved by Samantha Towle

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Revved by Samantha TowleRevved by Samantha Towle
Series: Revved,
Also in this series: Revived
Published by Self-Published on 17 March 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 410
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Revived

Place(s) Traveled To: Monte Carlo, Monaco / Sao Paulo, Brazil / Luton, England / Bedfordshire, England / Melbourne, Australia / Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Shanhai, China / Barcelona, Spain / Buckinghamshire, England / Budapest, Hungary / Marina Bay, Singapore / Santos, Brazil / Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

First Line(s): I look up at my mum. She looks worried, and she’s holding my hand tight.

I probably wouldn’t have picked up REVVED by Samantha Towle if it wasn’t for my friend Sarah who devoured it and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Since she and I both can’t get enough of book crack sexy time reads I knew I needed a copy for myself and was gifted one by my super lovely Secret Sister, Michelle. I read REVVED on my way to Greece and it was the perfect book for that 9+ hour flight. REVVED is a quick, brain candy sort of story that really helped to distract me from the fact that I can’t sleep on an airplane even though I want to really really badly.

There is a lot of chemistry between Carrick and Andi and there is totally some instalust but I love how they try to build and maintain a friendship before giving into what they both rally want. For you see, Carrick and Andi work together and Carrick is a wee bit of a man-whore. He’s also arrogant as all get out and definitely knows all the right buttons to push on Andi, his mechanic, to get her all sorts of riled up. But what I love about Andi is that she’s smart and sexy and gives every bit as much as she gets which means that sparks are literally exploding off the page with each and every scene.

Revved Quote

There is a lot of angst in REVVED, especially from Andi who didn’t always seem to know what she wanted. She’d run hot and cold and push Carrick away. Yet despite that I just loved their story. Carrick and Andi made my heart ache and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see how their happily ever after would play out. Not only did I love Carrick and Andi but all the secondary characters really helped to flesh out and give life to this world that Samantha Towle has created. I’m only sad that because REVVED is about Carrick and Andi that we didn’t get to spend as much time with these secondary characters as I would have liked.

REVVED is a well written, fast paced story that is a great escapist read. You get to travel the world and get totally lost in the relationship of Carrick and Andi. They are funny and annoying and everything in between. If you haven’t heard of REVVED but like hot, sexy reads then you are definitely going to want to add this one to your TBR pile!

irishdarkblue

IR - Revved

 

Add The Chase by Erin McCarthy to Goodreads.

Add Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: In Real Life by Jessica Love

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

Review: In Real Life by Jessica LoveIn Real Life by Jessica Love
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 01 March 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, People & Places, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:  Unknown, California // Las Vegas, Nevada // Henderson, Nevada // Fontana, California // Primm Nevada

First Line(s): My best friend and I have never met.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love other than it sounded like a really cute story. After reading the first chapter I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. I loved Hannah’s voice and I loved her relationship with her sister Grace and her BFF Lo. Together they were fun and adorable and I wanted to be in the car with them as they road tripped it to Las Vegas. Their relationship isn’t perfect and there where times I wanted to shake Lo and Grace for their behavior, especially towards Hannah, but overall I loved their dynamic because it was real. Friends and siblings aren’t always going to get along and there are times when you are shitty to each other but that the love that binds them isn’t there. Love does a great job highlighting all these various shades of the friend and sibling relationship.

Love also does an amazing job with Hannah. As I said above, I loved her voice. She’s smart and pretty and awkward and all the things that so many people will be able to relate to. She makes a crazy decision to finally meet her BFF Nick, who she might also love, and jumps in whole heartedly even though she isn’t entirely sure what she’ll find at the end. I loved how Grace and Lo supported and encouraged her in this as Hannah was a little too straight-edged at times but that is in part because of her upbringing as a Korean-American and in part because her sister and Lo do enough crazy and they need Hannah to help ground them.

In Real Life Quote

 

IN REAL LIFE is a quick read and one that made my heart ache. Oh how I hated some of the things that happened because I wanted Nick and Hannah to meet and admit that they’d fallen madly in love. But then, if that was the story then it’d be pretty boring and I’d have very differently feelings. Instead, IN REAL LIFE has some secrets and twists and turns and heart ache as these characters all do and say things that makes you want to shake them. As a reader, I became totally invested in this story and felt so many feels. And even though there were times I wanted to shake Nick or Hannah or Lo or Grace I also adored all of these characters. I wanted everyone to find their Happily Ever Afters and I hated for IN REAL LIFE to end. Seriously, I need more words!!

For me, IN REAL LIFE is very much like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS only instead of a boarding school in France there is a road trip and Las Vegas….though each book has the Eiffel Tower so see, the same! lol Hannah and Nick face many of the same obstacles as Anna and Etienne. Hannah and Anna are both girls out of their element and so a little shy and don’t want to take risks for fear of change. But they are both brave and while it takes time they each make a leap in order to take charge of their happiness. I think that Anna and Hannah would be good friends.

I picked up IN REAL LIFE expecting a cute story and I got that and so much more. I loved this book and I know that its one that I am going to be re-reading. Its a wonderful story and if you trust me at all then you are going to want to have a copy of it on your shelf.

irishdarkblue

IR - In Real Life

Click here to add Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add PS I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review: Status Update by Annabeth Albert

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

Review: Status Update by Annabeth AlbertStatus Update by Annabeth Albert
Series: Gaymers,
Also in this series: Beta Test
Published by Carina Press on 07 Dec 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, GLBT, New Adult, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 189
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Treble Maker, Love Me Tenor, Beta Test, Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Torrey, Utah // Denver, Colorado // Santa Monica, California // Landview, Texas // Grand Junction, Colorado // Moab, Utah

First Line(s): Noah knew the dog was trouble as soon as he and Ulysses entered the campground’s off-leash dog area.

STATUS UPDATE by Annabeth Albert was the first book of hers that I read after hearing about it from my friend Memory on Instagram. She and I often have similar tastes in books so when she says a story ‘blew her away’ then I know its something that I have to read. Like Albert’s TREMBLE MAKER (my review), STATUS UPDATE involves a hero who is conflicted in showing his sexuality. Like Lucas, Noah lives in a very conservative town and he teaches at a conservative school and he feels guilt about acting on the feelings he has for other men. Good thing for him a tornado by the name of Adrian crosses his path and shakes up all that he thought he knew.

Adrian is like an atom and is this little bundle of energy but more importantly he’s out, open, and very interested in shy Noah. He and Noah meet at a campground when Adrian’s fling of the month abandons him and takes off in the RV they rented. Noah being the sweetheart he is takes Noah in and then offers to drive him to his destination. Sparks fly almost immediately and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see how things would play out between these two.

Status Update Quote

I loved the chemistry that Noah and Adrian shared and I loved how they built up a friendship even as they were falling for each other. These boys made my heart ache over the course of their journey to their happily ever after but y’all know how much I love those moments! As with TREBLE MAKER, the ending of STATUS UPDATE is a little cutesy but I wouldn’t trade that journey for anything. STATUS UPDATE is a short book, weighing in at only 189 pages, but it feels longer.

Albert has a gift at writing a tight story that makes it easy to get lost in. Its because of STATUS UPDATE that I went looking for more books by her and found TREBLE MAKER and its sequel LOVE ME TENOR (review coming soon) and I look forward to reading her other back list titles as well. Albert writes a good romance with great main characters and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her Gaymers series.

irishdarkblue

IR - Status Update

Add There You Stand by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Focus on Me by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

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

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia AdlerJust Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill on 17 November 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 348
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Behind the Scenes

Place(s) Traveled To: Charytan, Kansas // Lawrence, Kansas // Various Unnamed Places, Kansas

First Line(s): There comes a crossroads in every great friendship in which one of you has to tell the other a painful, ugly truth.

Its no secret that I love a good road trip book and so when I heard about JUST VISITING by Dahlia Adler I knew that I had to read it. JUST VISITING is the story of Reagan and Vic who are best friends and seniors in high school. Since they met, two years before the start of the book, all they’ve talked about is going off to college and leaving their small town. They have a plan and they are counting down the days until graduation when they can start the next stage in their life. JUST VISITING shows Reagan and Vic heading off to various colleges that while still in their home state are far enough from home to offer a whole new start. Along the way though they learn that maybe all their carefully laid plans may not be what is the best thing after all.

I loved the friendship in JUST VISITING. Reagan and Vic were so real and you feel their bond. They aren’t perfect and they get into fights but they make up, they apologize and move on. There is no fake-BFF syndrome to be found in this story so when they hit a rough patch your heart breaks for them. Just as when Reagan and Vic start to realize that their paths might not be going in the same direction your heart aches for this bump in the road. But at the same time you know that these girls are going to be ok. They are in it for the long haul and they will be stronger because of it. Part of what I love about JUST VISITING is how Adler shows that its ok to change your plans even though you were certain that they were set in stone. That the world won’t end because you decide that may this college over that one is really the right one for you. That life is about making choices and finding your path and that even if you make a wrong turn you can always find your way back to where you were meant to be.

Just Visiting Quote

There is more to JUST VISITING though than just the friendship although that is the main story line. There is also a romance and family drama. Oh is there family drama. And then there is this whole random story line about why Reagan is a bit of a social outcast in her small town and that just bugged me throughout the book. I get that small towns can hold a grudge but this just seemed so extreme and just took me out of the story. Just as the over emphasis on race and the huge chip on Vic’s shoulders. I loved how there was a lot of diversity in this story but Vic just seemed to hate on everyone and make such snap, harsh judgement on what people were thinking before they even spoke because she was Mexican. Those moments often had me sighing a bit and seemed a little out of character for Vic who was always so happy and looking on the bright side of life. In my opinion, the judgementalness would have seemed more in character for Reagan over Vic.

My issues aside, I did love Reagan and Vic and I also adored the character of Dev. Oh he annoyed me at times but then so did Reagan and Vic. The annoyances are part of what made all these characters seem so very real. There were times when JUST VISITING was a bit hard to like but that was partly because the book was so real. JUST VISITING is a fun read but it does deal with real world issues. There are times when JUST VISITING is very raw and powerful and its definitely a book worth reading. JUST VISITING is also one of those rare unicorn books where the epilogue did not suck. Its an epilogue with substance and I liked it. Though I do feel like there could have been another chapter or two between where the book ends and where the epilogue begins. It just felt like something was missing between the two and I just wish that gap had been filled. But overall, I was very happy with JUST VISITING and its a book that you should have on your shelf.

irishdarkblue

IR - Just Visiting

Add Open Road Summer by Emery Lord to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add With This Heart by R.S. Grey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

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

Review: Focus on Me by Megan EricksonFocus On Me by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book 2
Also in this series: Trust the Focus, Out of Frame
Published by Intermix on 21 July 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, New Adult, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 222
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Trust the Focus, 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: Las Vegas, Nevada // Grand Canyon, Arizona // Unknown, Louisiana // Unknown, New Mexico // Unknown, North Carolina

First Line(s): Riley Sorenson, Is that your real name?

Focus on Me by Megan Erickson is the second book in her In Focus series and like with most contemporary romances this is more of a companion book than a direct sequel. The first book, Trust the Focus (my review), tells the story of Landry who had invented a boyfriend and the picture he used for that subterfudge was Riley who is one of the main characters in this book. Like Trust the FocusFocus on Me is a road trip book but unlike the first one Colin and Riley are just meeting at the start of the trip. There is something about Riley that Colin is drawn to and so he offers him a ride when he sees that he’s in need. Along the way they form a bond and overall this was a very raw and powerful story.

Focus on Me was a book that I didn’t mean to start when I did. I was just going to check out the opener and then before I knew it I was turning the final page and it was way past my bedtime. The loss of sleep was worth it though because this was such a wonderful heartachy story and I just could not put it down. Focus on Me is a different book than Trust the Focus, its more serious and raw but I think that those elements only add to the story. I was totally invested in Colin and Riley and I couldn’t wait to see how it would all end. Erickson takes the reader on an emotional journey through many ups and downs but its so worth the ride.

Trust the Focus Quote

Focus on Me is told primarily through Colin’s eyes but there are these short glimpses via emails into Riley’s brain and I just loved how Megan Erickson told this story. Though I would have loved to see more from Riley’s POV I did like what we got and thought that it only added to the tensions of the story. Focus on Me is a quick and powerful read and I am so glad that I read it. Even if it left me sitting a pile of my own tears and emotions. My heart, oh how this book hurt my heart!!

At its core, Focus on Me, is a good romance and a good story of friendship. I liked how Erickson wove in the characters from Trust the Focus with just enough info that you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one. I like how Focus on Me wasn’t all light-hearted and fluffy and that it had some serious undertones. I liked that the drama was real and not some manufactured angst because the characters refused to talk to each other and make assumptions about the other person. This story felt real and the so the feelings you feel as you read it are like you are the one living the story. I’m a big fan of this book and I recommend it to all.

 

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Focus on Me

Add With This Heart by RS Grey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin

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

Review: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith ZeitlinSophomore Year Is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Parents, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Athens, Greece // New York, New York // Heraklion, Crete, Greece

First Line(s): Just before the clock ticks over into a brand new year, one that is going to be completely different from any I’ve experienced before, my dad and I get on a plane – my first overseas flight – heading to Greece.

Whenever I plan a trip somewhere I love to read books that are set in location when I can so it was very fortuitous that not long after I started making plans to go to Greece I was asked to review Meredith Zeitlin’s Sophomore Year is Greek to Me. The book is told from the POV of Zona who is a Sophomore in high school and who is being cruelly uprooted from her friends and home to travel with her father to Greece to finish up the school year. Zona’s father is a journalist and is going there to work on a story and also to help build a bridge between Zona and her mother’s family. At first Zona is a bit of a brat about the whole thing but she does quickly come around and grudgingly tries to make the best of the situation.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me can be considered a companion to Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters (goodreads) as there is some character cross over but you don’t need to read it in order to enjoy Sophomore Year. For the most part I liked the narrative of Sophomore Year is Greek to Me and often found Zona to be a smart and funny character. I did get annoyed with the mock articles that were peppered throughout the story as Zona was a budding journalist like her father. I also liked the addition of her Greek family and those sections of the story. Where this one kind of lost me was the lack of a real romance to the book. There was a love interest for Zona but it was never developed much and just sort of fizzled. Which in some ways is understandable as Zona was only in Greece for a few months but often times its the romance that seals the deal for me in a book.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me Quote

The romance wasn’t the only story line that fizzled out during the course of this book and so that made for a bit of a disjointed story. Things were started but then just sort of dropped in order to move on to other events. Then there was this big dramatic thing that totally took away from the light-heartedness that was begun over the first part of the book. There was just so much that was tossed into Sophomore Year is Greek to Me but none of it was ever fully allowed to develop so the whole story just feel a bit flat for me. Everything was just rushed and so I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied with how it all ended.

That said, I did like Zona’s journey over the course of the novel. I like how she really discovered things about herself, her mother, and where she came from. I liked the relationships that she built with her Greek family and I loved the strong bond that she had with her father. Its always nice to see a strong, healthy parental relationship in a book and Zeitlin does an amazing job with that.

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me was a bit of a slow start for me but the pages did go quickly when I sat down and focused on it. This isn’t a book that I think I’ll ever re-read but it wasn’t a terrible book. I liked the setting and enjoyed seeing Greece through Zona’s eyes. I liked Zeitlin’s writing style and do plan to read Freshman Year at some point. In some ways, I think that Sophmore Year is Greek to Me might appeal to younger audiences but older readers may struggle a bit as I did.

 

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IR - Sophomore Year is Greek to Me

Add A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: With This Heart by RS Grey

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: With This Heart by RS GreyWith This Heart by R.S. Grey
Published by Self-Published on 06 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, New Adult, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 318
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Scoring Wilder

Place(s) Traveled To: Dallas, Texas // Corpus Cristi, Texas // Odessa, Texas // Marfa, Texas // Boston, Massachusetts

First Line(s): On a rather insignificant Saturday afternoon, I stood in a funeral home searching through rows of urns as if I was browsing down the aisles of a super market.

With This Heart by RS Grey is the second novel of hers that I’ve read and I was really hoping to get another book like Scoring Wilder (my review). Alas, that wasn’t to be and while I did enjoy With This Heart I was often frustrated by it as well. The main character, Abby Mae, would often break the fourth wall during the narration and it almost always took me out of the story. This wasn’t a book that I wanted the character to talk to me it was a book where I wanted to be more of a voyeur peaking into her life for a brief moment in time. There was also much awkwardness to be hard in Abby Mae’s interactions with other characters, including Beck, that would often make me cringe. The mom was overly needy and clingy and while I get the reasons behind it I just got annoyed with it and kept waiting for Abby Mae to put her foot down and say something only she never did.

Abby Mae and Beck were also two very frustrating characters. They had some chemistry but there wasn’t much to build a relationship on as they never talked about the real things. Abby Mae kept big secrets from him and she was also very jealous without cause. There was so much mistrust between them that it seemed impossible for them to build a solid relationship. Plus, when it came to the pointless breakup Beck was just a little too passive and accepting of it. Why not fight for the girl? Why not figure out a way to make things work without either of them having to give everything up. Life isn’t an all or nothing deal and long distance relationships can work.

With This Heart Quote

I did like that With This Heart  was a road-trip book as I am always a sucker for them. I do think I would have preferred this one a little more if they’d gone out of Texas a bit more. But Texas is a big ass state and there is much to see and do there. Especially since there was a reason behind all the stops that. I also found With This Heart to be a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. I still enjoyed Grey’s writing style and will check out her other books in the future.

With This Heart is also a book that may have annoyed me at times but I was still engaged in the story. I still kept flipping the pages to see what happened next and most of all I did want these two characters to find their happily for nows. I may not have loved it but I did like it and if you and I read with similar tastes then you might like it too.

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IR - With This Heart

Add How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski to Goodreads (Click here for my Review.)

Add Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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