The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

review

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The Mistake

Off Campus #2

Elle Kennedy

2.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

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The Deal didn’t blow me away like I was hoping it would, but I still went into this book expecting to enjoy it.  And again, I was disappointed.  I read the majority of this on the plane and train on my way back from Florida to Baltimore, but I left the last few chapters for the next day.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that when I went back to it, I had almost completely forgotten what had happened.

I had all the same problems with this book that I did with The Deal.  The Deal at least had a trope that I actually enjoy to fall back on.  The Mistake’s whole plotline was pretty lame.  And again, there was Too. Much. Plot.  Again they get together way before the ending.  I’m not here for that. I mean, getting there was adorable and again, the sex scenes were pretty hot, but it felt like there was even more of the novel left after they got together.

Grace had her weird friend drama which I felt was barely even touched on and I didn’t care about at all and Logan had all the shit with his brother and his dad, which I felt like wrapped up WAY too easily.  And it would be one thing if the drama was effortlessly woven into the plot, but it’s not.  It always seems so forced.  And that epilogue?? There are still 2 more books. I don’t get why she would go that forward when we will probably be seeing these characters again in future books.

I don’t think I mentioned it in my review for The Deal, but I really do love the hockey aspect of these books.  I’m not a big sports fan, but I do really love going to hockey games (Go Capitals!).  I kind of wish that there was more of a focus on hockey.  There seemed to be in The Deal, but in this book it was basically just added on.

I totally see why this book gets so many 5 stars, but it just didn’t do it for me.

ARC Review: The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M Parker

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Thegirlwhofell

 

The Girl Who Fell

Shannon M. Parker

Publication: March 1, 2016

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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His obsession.
Her fall.

High school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense relationship—by the new boy in school.

Zephyr is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

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I have been interested in this book since April 2015 when the only description it had was :

A YA debut in which a high school senior mistakes her boyfriend’s physical and mental manipulations for devotion, only to discover the truth when it may be too late.

That right there hooked me and I knew I had to read it.

There are a plethora of examples in YA Lit of unhealthy and borderline, if not straight up abusive relationships. And the majority of readers rarely acknowledge them. Instead the asshole love interests are lauded and adored and the relationships are set as standards of true love. And it’s bullshit.

This book is so important because it shows just how wrong relationships like these can end up.

Personally, it was an extremely hard book to read. I saw SO much of my 16-year-old self with her first boyfriend and her first love in Zephyr. Of course, my relationship wasn’t as abusive as the one presented in this one, but still. It has taken me over a decade to recognize that a lot of what happened in that relationship was incredibly unhealthy. Anyone who has experienced the all-consuming, need to spend every second with someone, type of first love that usually manifests in high school students will be able to connect with Zephyr.

It was also hard to read just because you already know how it ends. The synopsis and the opening chapter sets up how things turn out, so you go in knowing that shit is going to hit the fan and it is so hard to see Zephyr realize that for herself. The entire time I just wanted to jump into the book and shake her and make her see what was so obvious to the reader.

The writing was superb. Parker did a wonderful job of slowly building up to the climax of the book, subtly showing how unstable Alec was, but was also able to make it seem so reasonable that Zephyr didn’t recognize it for what it was. Alec’s emotional manipulation was so ingrained in the text that sometimes I had to even reread a few sections to see it myself. Honestly, the writing was the highlight of this book.

Zephyr’s friends Gregg and Lizzie were interesting characters. They weren’t nearly as developed as Zephyr or even Alec, but they added an interesting touch. 500 points for a great female friendship, and a great friend who sticks by Zephyr even when she is ditched multiple times. Gregg was a bit of a jerk at times, but he was still a good friend.

There was also the subplot with her father who walked out on her and her mother the previous summer and it was interesting and totally played into the overall plot, but I was really just here for the “romance”.

My only real complaint is that the ending seemed a tad rushed, but honestly, it’s fine. It didn’t detract from the powerful message. I read this in one sitting. I was hooked from the moment I started, and only took a few breaks when my anxiety was about to hit the roof and I just couldn’t read anymore. This book reminded me so much of a tamer Fear, the 1996 movie with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon, minus the iconic rollercoaster scene. So if you’re a fan of the movie and you like YA, I would say that this is a must read (And you aren’t a fan of the movie, you’re wrong because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. JK. But really…NICOLE 4EVA.)

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

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The Deal

Off Campus #1

Elle Kennedy

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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It seems as if everyone and their mother has read and LOVED this book.  All I see are 5 star reviews everywhere so of course, I expected to love it too (stupid, I know).  Sadly, this fell right in the dreaded territory of a 3 for me.  At least I didn’t hate it.

This book is filled with tropes and cliches.  We have the  cocky big man on campus who is basically God’s gift to women, and we have the extremely judgmental, “I’m not like other girls” heroine.  I was actually able to look past all the ridiculous stereotypes and enjoy the actual plot of the novel, for the most part.  And I did actually end up liking Garrett (jury is still out on Hannah).

This book actually lost stars because there is too much plot.  The sex scenes were great and basically all I wanted was a cute, cliched romance where the hot guy helps the shy girl get the guy she wants and they end up falling in love.  And that did happen.  BUT, not how I wanted it to.   It happened way too fast.  They ended up together and there was still like 100 pages left of the book.  What?  Why do I want to read about their lives AFTER they get together?  I’m not here for that.

I’m a firm believer that in most cases, the mind blowing, we’re together sex should happen within the last few pages of the novel.  Otherwise then I get bored when I have to read about their day to day lives.  It’s all about the the chase, the journey. I don’t give a shit what happens when we get there.

And then of course there was the added drama.  I do want a plot in my romance novels, but I don’t want the plot to overtake the romance.  I mean, we have Hannah dealing with the rape that happened 5 years earlier (not a spoiler since she mentions it on the second page and I think it was just used as a plot device) and Garrett with his abusive father and wah woe is me. Stop complaining and have sex.  That’s how I felt reading this. Insensitive? Probably. Do I care? Nope.  It just got a little too angsty for me.

I do feel as if I let my annoyance with how the plot unfolded affect how I rated this (which duh, it should but I still feel bad) so I can totally see myself giving this another try.

 

WoW: Wink Poppy Midnight

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Wink Poppy Midnight

April Genevieve Tucholke

3/22/2016


 

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.


Yeah. Basically it’s all about the cover on this one.  I need that cover on my shelves. The plot sounds intriguing  too, even though it basically boasts a Love Triangle.

 

Sailing Through Time: Review of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

review

thegirlfromeverywhere

 

The Girl From Everywhere

The Girl From Everywhere #1

Heidi Heilig

2/16/2016

Source: Netgalley

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.


 

Again I should point out that time travel books are my favorite so they are probably already always guaranteed at least 3 stars.  Or maybe I just haven’t read a really bad time travel book yet.

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The Good

The Storytelling

The Girl From Everywhere was a beautiful blend of history and mythology. On top of time traveling, which they call “navigating”, to the far off past, they can also go to mythical places, since it’s based on maps, and the belief that these places/things existed. That means if they found a map of Atlantis, there is a strong possibility they could actually go to Atlantis.  Kashmir, actually might even be from a mythical location that people once believed existed.   So to learn about Hawaiian mythology was really cool and I think Heilig did a wonderful job of weaving it into the story.

Plus, a lot of what happened was inspired by actual events! I definitely don’t really have a huge grasp on time travel science, but I like the theory that you can never really change the present/future.  Everything you do in the past has/will already happen in the present, simply by you going back to the past.  Does that make any sense?  Who knows if that’s a real theory, but it’s the one I like most.  So to find out that some of the events actually happened added to my favorite time travel theory.  Plus I just really love history.

The Familial Relationships

Nix’s dad is a huge jerk.  He’s obsessed with getting back to 1868 so that he can save Nix’s mother’s life, even if it includes endangering his daughter’s existence, only really cares about himself, and is an opium addict.  But I actually really enjoyed Nix and his relationships, her frustration over wanting to leave and feeling obligated to stay, and the growth their relationship undergoes.  It actually isn’t very often where a parent is a pretty prevalent secondary character in a YA novel.

The Lack of Romance

Ok, so there are not so subtle hints of romance, and even the briefest glimpses of a love triangle (although I don’t actually think it was one, but I’ll come back to that later), but this book was so much more.  The relationship between Nix and Kashmir was so perfect because that’s all it was: hints. They developed on their own and together. There is nothing better than when you can completely remove the romantic storyline and nothing changes.

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The Not So Good

Nothing in this book was bad per say, but there were some issues

Backstory/Worldbuilding

While Heilig did a wonderful job bringing Hawaii to life, not so much with explaining the science/magic behind the ability to navigate.  It involves maps, which you can only use once, doesn’t have to include ships and you have to believe it, but that’s basically all we know.  While I would prefer the information to be woven throughout the storytelling, I would much prefer an massive info dump to a lack of information.  It didn’t really ruin the book for me, and maybe it’s good that it’s a bit vague because it does seem magical.

The Actual Lack of “Navigating”

Ok, for a time travel book, they stay in one place for a good like 80% of the book.  We do get to see some of 18th century Calcutta and ancient (I think) China, most of the story takes place on one island of Hawaii. And to be honest, it made the plot a bit slow.  Usually with time travel books I’m always excited for the next location, which speeds up the pace a lot.  The Girl From Everywhere is over 400 pages long, and while it was still a quick read (for me anyway), there were some times when I was a bit bored.  While it was wonderful learning about and visualizing Hawaii in 1884, I wanted more action and adventure.

The Fact that This is A Series

Honestly, this book is a perfect standalone.  While I would love to learn more about the science/magic behind the navigating and actually see more traveling, I would prefer this not to be a series.  Maybe it will be a companion novel series, which I would enjoy more, because Nix’s story just seems to have ended perfectly.  It was open and free and anything can happen, and I kind of don’t want to see that. Especially since I suspect a series would definitely involve a love triangle and I’m not here for that.  So unless it is a companion novel, I don’t think I will be reading the next one.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough to look past the lack of explanation/navigating.  I will probably even reread it (probably in preparation for the sequel which I say I won’t read but totally will).  If I wasn’t on a 6 month book buying ban I might even buy it.  Check back with me in 5 months.

 

*This is a scheduled post. I am currently on vacation*

Forever Book Boyfriends

Sunday is Valentines Day.  Now I buy my boyfriend cards and we usually go out to dinner, but neither of us makes that big of a deal about it.  It’s just another day when we are together and that’s fine with us.  This year I’m actually not even spending V-Day with my man because I’m in Florida at the moment with my friends! Woo.  Harry Potter World is better than boyfriends any day of the week!

So in honor of choosing bookish things over my boyfriend, I decided I’d discuss some of my all time favorite Book Boyfriends.  Most of these guys have stuck by my side for the past decade since I got out of high school, so I think they are in it for the long haul.

*also I’m going to try and fancast, something I’ve NEVER done before

Marcus

 

OK I didn’t even try hard with this one. I linked to the original source where I got my inspiration.  I’m going to say that Jackson Rathbone’s bone structure and farcical features are on point for how I pictured Marcus.  I think I was in 9th grade the first time I read Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings.  Immediately I fell in love with Jessica Darling, and with Marcus Flutie right along with her.  I loved him when he was a pot-smoking, class skipping, womanizer, and I loved him even more when he “Reformed.”  Damn I just really, really love Marcus.  Now, I like to pretend the last 3 books of this series just don’t exist and that it ends with the perfect song at prom and the perfect graduation speech.

Dexter

From the moment I started reading This Lullaby for the first time I knew Adam Brody was my Dexter.  It was the heyday of The OC and I was into tall, skinny boys with dark hair.  And Ugh Dexter. I think my favorite part about him, is that he was such the perfect foil to Remy’s cynicism .  Yeah he starts off as a bit of annoying, but he grows on you, and sometimes that kind of love can be pretty great.

Wes

Sam Claflin wasn’t my first choice to put as Wes, but whatever. He is sa-wooon worthy if I do say so myself. Seriously, if there was ever a book that was made to be a movie it was this one.  It’s one of my absolutely favorite Sarah Dessen books. And Wes.  Strong, silent, artistic, and a reformed bad boy?  Be still my heart.  I’m not really sure if I love Wes so much because of his personality, or because the romance is such a slow burn romance.  One of my all time favorites.  And I love the name Wes because of him.

 

So there you have it.  My three original bookish boyfriends.  Actually, when people ask if I have any, these are the only three that ever come to mind.  I actually find that I don’t fall in love with characters they way I did when I was in high school, so these three will always have a special place in my heart.

 

Who were some of your first book-boyfriends?  Have they survive multiple readings and stuck by you? Or have you had to seriously question your judgement when you look back?  (um, 2008, freshman year of college, Edward Cullen).

 

 

*This is  a scheduled post. I am on vacation!*

I don’t own any of these pictures.

discussionchallenge

Historical Romance Thursday #1

I’ve been thinking of adding more monthly features for awhile now.  So I’ve decided to mix my newfound interest in expanding the genres I read and monthly features.  From now on, on the 2nd Thursday of every month, I will highlight a Historical Romance novel that I have read recently.  This is a genre that I have been wanting to explore for some time, and I’m happy to say that my first few reads have been great experiences!

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minetillmidnight

Mine Till Midnight

The Hathaways #1

Lisa Kleypas

4stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter…

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I really, really enjoyed this.  I actually liked it more than the first HR I read, The Rogue Not Taken.

Amelia Hathaway was a great character to start this series off with.  As the oldest female, at 26 (I think) she is resigned to life as a spinster.  In fact, she doesn’t have any desire to get married because she doesn’t want to give up her control of her own life.  She doesn’t want to have to obey a man.  All she wants to do is take care of her 3 younger sisters and her older brother.   All of the characters are great and I loved the family relationships.  In fact, I can’t wait to get to Poppy and Beatrix’s stories because they seemed like more interesting characters.

Cam Rohan was a very interesting love interest.  I don’t think I’ve read any books about a Romani  character.  I don’t really know much about them, so I can’t really tell if it was a stereotypical portrayal, but it didn’t seem bad. I liked how the book brought up the stereotypes that most people believed about the Romani, and explored them within the two characters of Cam and Merripen. What I liked most about him was that he wasn’t a brooding male! I am so sick of the woe is me love interest.  He was confident and sexy and seemed more than willing to let Amelia live her own life, while also taking care of her at the same time.

The only real issues I had with this was the random POV shifts to Merripen and Winnifred.  It’s actually a major pet peeve when new POVs are introduced towards the end of novels.  It wasn’t a deal breaker for me here because I felt like it was just setting up for the second book of the series which will focus on these two characters.  I will definitely be reading the rest of this series as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Galentine’s Weekend

I am currently sitting in a hotel room in New York City (Thanks Mom!) I took the train up from Baltimore after work this afternoon and I’m waiting for my three friends to arrive on the train from Upstate NY.  And tomorrow we are going to Florida!!

What a better way to spend Valentine’s Day (and President’s Day) Weekend than with my 3 best friends?  The boyfriend is probably sprawled out on the couch back in Baltimore with the cats basking in the fact that he has 4 whole days of nothing but ESPN.

We’re staying at my grandfather’s house in Boca Raton and we are braving the 3 hour drive on Saturday to head up to Harry Potter World at Universal.  Honestly I would have rather spent the day at Disney but this is what I get for forcing 2 friends into finally reading Harry Potter (one in their mid-20s the other in her early 30s). Now they rival me in my love for the series and NEED to go see Hogwarts.  I actually am super excited (even if I would have rather been hanging out with Mickey).

So this has all been a long winded way of saying that I will be away until Monday. I have posts scheduled and I’m going to try and sneak away and write a quick weekly wrap up on Sunday.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

WoW: A Study in Charlotte

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

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A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte #1

Brittany Cavallaro

3/1/2016


The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.


 

This one has also been on a lot of my lists for 2016.  I love Sherlock retellings, and that cover is gorgeous.