Donnerstag, 22. September 2016

Naming the Stars - Susan Koefod

Title: Naming the Stars
Author: Susan Koefod
Rating: 2/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
16-year-old Mary-Louise comes home from swimming lessons one day to find she is absent from family photographs, her bedroom has turned into a linen closet, and all of her possessions have disappeared. More troubling, her family goes on as if she never existed. The only person in town who can actually see her is a boy she calls Fish, a YMCA swimming instructor, but Fish is hiding from a troubled past and the person he sees is entirely different from who she thought she was.

The girl he sees is entirely different from the insecure, unattractive girl Mary-Louise thinks of herself. The teens discover the photo of a spirited, beautiful young woman photographed many years before--Pearl--who exactly resembles the girl Fish sees. The truth about Pearl's identity is the key to discovering why Mary-Louise has disappeared and why Fish left home, but his fears of being discovered are preventing him from helping Mary-Louise, after all, no one can see or hear her.

This coming-of-age story explores the important and often fragile connection between the roles we play in others' lives--as siblings, children, friends, and partners--and the unique identity we must find in ourselves.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot that I can say about this book. And the few things I can say aren't that nice, to be honest. The writing was great. That's what I noticed right from the beginning, but other than that, the story didn't capture my fascination like I hoped it would. It was rather confusing and I seriously disliked Mary-Louise. To me, she appeared kind of disabled, like she had some kind of illness - a mental illness. The way she admitted she always repeated her name to anybody who would listen. How does that make any sense? Somehow, she was afraid to lose her identity and then it just happened. I found that really weird. Especially the curtain scene. I didn't get that at all. At first, I thought the book had some kind of mistery touch, some thriller-like things in it. But other than getting tangled in a curtain, there was nothing else that screamed boo! to me.

Then there's Fish, the only boy who can see Mary-Louise, who wants to help her finding her identity, making other people see her. By the end, when everything gets revealed, I was so confused who the hell that boy was or wasn't. You'll know what I mean. And this review might confuse you, but that's because of the book, believe me. You can quit wanting the story to have some logical sense. It doesn't apply.

At some point, Mary-Louise isn't Mary-Louise anymore. She'll talk about that girl as if she's some stranger, some other girl she knows quite well, but not enought to be her. She'll think of herself as someone else. The fact that Fish tells her she looks different from what she thinks she does, isn't any help either. So she gets caught up in that story - being someone else, trying to find out more why she changed her personality. Unfortunately, I didn't understand very much.

Anyway... I think Mary-Louise and Fish are supposed to be a romantic couple or something. But you won't get the impression. They aren't even exactly friends to me. I hoped for some scenes that might lead to something more between them, but my wishes weren't meant to be heard. Which is why the ending confused me even more. I lost count how many times I used the word confused now and how many times I was surprised with this book, didn't understand the thoughts behind it.

So, as always, I'm not saying Naming the Stars is a bad book. It just wasn't my kind of book. I'm glad it wasn't a six-hundred pages novel or I might have quit reading. I was still able to finish it and even ended up liking some conversations, some ideas.

German Review: The Real Thing - Samantha Young

Titel: The Real Thing
Originaltitel: The One Real Thing
Autorin: Samantha Young
Bewertung: 3.5/5

Danke an NetGalley und Ullstein Buchverlage für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches vorab der Veröffentlichung.
In Hartwell, einem kleinen Ort an der amerikanischen Ostküste, bleibt niemand lange allein. Cooper Lawson möchte seine Bar nirgends sonst auf der Welt wissen, in der man seit Jahrzehnten leidet, liebt und lebt. Selbst hat Cooper dagegen der Liebe abgeschworen. Bis eines Tages die selbstbewusste sexy Ärztin Jessica Huntington durch seine Bartür stolpert und frischen Wind in sein Leben bringt. Auch sie flieht vor ihrer Vergangenheit. Gegenseitig könnten sie sich Halt und Liebe geben, sie müssen es nur erst begreifen...

Ich bin ein großer Samantha Young Fan. Schon seit ihrer Vampirreihe, die leider kaum jemand kennt. Als ihre Edinburgh Love Reihe auf den Markt kam und ihr Ruhm wuchs, war mir gar nicht bewusst, dass es sich um dieselbe Autorin handelt. Aber eigentlich zählt nur, dass Samantha seither endlich die Aufmerksamkeit als Autorin bekommt, die sie verdient. Sie ist eine der besten dort draußen.

Aufgrund dessen war mir sofort klar, dass ich mich für ein Rezensionsexemplar des Auftakts ihrer neuen Reihe bewerben muss. Als meine Anfrage genehmigt wurde, konnte ich mein Glück kaum fassen. Und dann sah ich, wie dick das Buch eigentlich ist und all mein Mut schwand, denn obwohl Samantha einen großartigen Schreibstil besitzt, schien es mir einfach viel zu lang. Wie soll ein Buch dieser Dicke (und im Vergleich zu Game of Thrones und all den anderen dicken Schicken ist die Länge von The Real Thing ein Witz) gut strukturiert sein, einer klaren Linie folgen?! Am Ende wurde ich natürlich eines besseren belehrt - Samantha versteht ihr Handwerk. Ich hätte niemals daran zweifeln sollen.

Trotzdem störte mich etwas an der Geschichte. Zum einen konnte ich mich als Großstadtkind nicht wirklich in die Welt einer Kleinstadt hineinversetzen, auch wenn die Aussicht auf einen Cooper einen natürlich zum Dahinschmelzen bringt. Nein, es war Jessica, die Protagonistin der Geschichte, die mir nicht zusagte, wie erhofft. Besonders gegen Ende verstand ich ihr Verhalten überhaupt nicht, konnte es nicht im Geringsten nachvollziehen. Ihre Vorstellung der Lösung, die sie angehen wollte, machte absolut keinen Sinn für mich. Alle, die das Buch lesen und zu dieser Stelle kommen, werden verstehen, was ich meine. Oder es liegt an mir.

Die Vorstellung, dass eine erwachsene Frau ihr bisheriges Leben aufgibt, um in einer Kleinstadt einen neuen Anfang zu wagen, erinnert mich irgendwie an Eat, Pray, Love. Zugeben, ich habe das Buch nie gelesen, aber dennoch asoziere ich die Idee damit. Was nichts Schlimmes ist. Ich wollte es nur einmal erwähnt haben.

Außerdem kam mir der Grund, wieso es Jessica überhaupt nach Hartwell verschlagen hat, zu kurz. Das ist Beschweren auf hohem Niveau, denn es ist logisch, dass sie Zeit braucht, um sich in der Stadt einzugewöhnen und der Leser erst einen Eindruck von der Situation und dem Verlauf der Story bekommen muss, ehe es auf diesem Gebiet vorwärts geht. Ehrlich gesagt kann ich zwar nach Fehlern in einem Buch von Samantha Young suchen, behalte aber immer im Hinterkopf, dass die Frau sich bei ihren Büchern und all ihren Geschichten etwas denkt. Das Letzte, was man von ihr behaupten kann, ist, sie sei unorganisiert. Doch in einer Rezension geht es um eine persönliche Meinung und meiner Meinung nach ist The Real Thing leider nicht ihr bestes Werk. Vielleicht liegt es am Genre, aber ich gebe hauptsächlich der Protagonistin, ihren Entscheidungen und ihren Handlungen die Schuld. Je näher das Ende rückte, desto mehr bekam ich den Eindruck, es wurde zwanghaft nach einer Vergangenheit für Jessica gesucht. Schon recht früh merkte man, dass etwas mit ihr nicht stimmte, dass sie etwas aufwühlte, aber es dauerte bis kurz vor Schluss, um zu erfahren, was genau dahinter steckt.

Während ich das Buch las, wuchsen mir die Nebencharaktere richtig ans Herz, allen voran Emery, die Besitzerin des lokalen Buchhandels und (Trommelwirbel) Vaughn, ein Hotelbesitzer der sich des öfteren mit seiner Konkurentin Bailey, die ebenfalls ein Hotel führt, in dem Jessica absteigt und sich dort zu ihrer besten Freundin verwandelt, in die Haare kriegt. Ich fühlte mich zurück in die Edinburgh Love Reihe versetzt, in der man sich über die nächste Geschichte der bereits vorhandenen Charaktere freute. Das macht die Reihen von Samantha so besonders - man fühlt sich schnell Zuhause.

Obwohl ich Jessica also nicht besonders gut leiden konnte, gefiel mir die Entwicklung der Dinge zwischen ihr und Cooper sehr, sehr gut. Cooper ist ein Barbesitzer und sofort angetan von Jessica. Nicht der typische Bad Boy, der schon viel zu häufig in Büchern vorkommt. Das ist auch gut, denn The Real Thing ist erwachsener als das. Hier braucht es keinen Bad Boy, der sich durch die Gegend schläft, um eine spannende Geschichte aufzubauen. Hier geht es um zwei Erwachsene, die sich zueinander hingezogen fühlen und keine Spielchen spielen. Das ist eine nette Abwechslung zu all den anderen Büchern auf dem Markt - eine willkommen Abwechslung.

Ich fand es ein wenig schade, dass wir Perry, Jessicas Patenkind, nicht kennengelernt haben. Ich hoffe stark auf ein Wiedersehen der beiden in der Fortsetzung. Um ehrlich zu sein, bin ich schon tierisch gespannt auf den nächsten Teil, denn die Nebencharaktere haben es mir angetan, dass ich sehr gespannt bin, was Samantha Young sich für sie ausgedacht hat.

German Review: Was auch immer geschieht - Bianca Iosivoni

Title: Was auch immer geschieht
Author: Bianca Iosivoni
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und Bastei Entertainment für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches.
Nein. Einfach nein. Konnte bitte jemand die Zeit zurückdrehen? Denn ich wollte das hier nicht erleben. Nicht jetzt, nicht heute, niemals. Inzwischen hämmerte mein Herz so schnell, dass es mich nicht überrascht hätte, wenn es aus meinem Brustkorb geklettert und davongelaufen wäre.

Das hätte ich ja am liebsten selbst getan.

Einfach auf dem Absatz kehrtgemacht, mich wieder ins Bett gelegt und so getan, als wäre das hier niemals passiert. Als wäre nicht ausgerechnet mein Stiefbruder nach Hause zurückgekehrt. Der Mann, den ich seit sieben Jahren nicht mehr gesehen hatte.

Der Mann, der meinen Vater auf dem Gewissen hatte.

Meine erste deutsche Rezension. Und dann ausgerechnet für ein Buch, dass einen emotional so aufwühlt, dass man selbst Tage danach seine Gedanken nicht richtig ordnen kann. Das meine ich auf eine positive Art und Weise. Zu Beginn hat mich die Dicke der Geschichte beinahe abgeschreckt, es zu lesen. Neuerdings habe ich eher Gefallen an kürzeren, schnell erzählten Büchern gefunden. Vielleicht ist das der Grund, wieso ich für Was auch immer geschieht ein wenig länger gebraucht habe als üblich. Wobei ich es schon auf Instagram erwähnt habe: Man will sich von der Geschichte von Callie und Keith gar nicht wirklich verabschieden. Nach den ersten paar Seiten, schafft es Bianca Iosivonis Schreibstil, einen in den Bann zu ziehen und die Wörter aufzusagen. Das kann nicht jeder Autor oder jede Autorin von sich behaupten. Besonders derzeit bin ich eher kritisch, was Bücher angeht und es freut mich umso mehr, von dieser Geschichte nicht enttäuscht worden zu sein.

Sicherlich, das Thema der verbotenen Beziehung zwischen Stiefgeschwister wirkt inzwischen sehr beliebt, um nicht gar zu sagen, etwas zu oft behandelt und verfasst. Doch während sich die meisten dieser Geschichten im Bereich Young Adult tummeln, sich die Charaktere begegnen, weil ihre Eltern zusammenziehen und aus einer Hass- eine Liebesbeziehung wird, hat Bianca ihren Fokus auf etwas anderes gelegt. In gewisser Weise verläuft das Ganze genau andersherum, wobei das Buch nicht in zwei oder mehr Teile zerlegt wird und wir erst einen Einblick in die Teenie-Zeit der beiden erhaschen und dann in ihre Gegenwart. So ist es nicht. Ab und zu stolpert man über Szenen, in denen Callie die frühere Zeit beschreibt, aber es wird nicht zu sehr auf die Vergangenheit eingegangen.

Genau das stört mich an einem anderen Punkt, einem viel wichtigeren Punkt. Da ich Angst habe, zu viel zu verraten, kann ich darauf nicht näher eingehen, aber es erschien mir irgendwie falsch, dass Callie einen solchen Hass auf Keith hatte. Später, als Callie sich mit ihrer Vergangenheit auseinandersetzte, machte es Sinn, aber zu Beginn und auch noch weitere Zeit danach konnte ich verstehen, wieso sie eine Abneigung gegen ihn verspührt, wollte der Sache aber näher auf den Grund gehen. Und bis es soweit war, musste ich mich doch sehr in Geduld üben. Ich bewundere geduldige Leser, die dem Höhepunkt so entgegen fiebern können, ohne dass es ihnen etwas ausmacht. Natürlich muss ein Buch spannend sein und wäre die Geschichte bereits nach den ersten fünf Seiten erzählt, würde ich mich ebenfalls beschweren, aber ich war einfach wütend auf Callie. So, jetzt ist es raus. Stur klingt zu freundlich, um sie zu beschreiben.

Des Weiteren baut die Autorin nicht übermäßig viele Dialoge ein, was das Lesen ein wenig anstrengend macht. Der Fokus liegt auf den Gefühlen von Callie, auf deren Beschreibung, nicht auf ausgetauschte Sätze und Auseinandersetzungen, obwohl es diese natürlich auch gibt. Das klingt schon wieder nach einer Beschwerde, dabei soll es keine sein. In Wahrheit lässt es mich besser über meinen eigenen Schreibstil denken, denn wann immer ich meine verfassten Kapitel auf ein Neues lese, breiten sich Zweifel in mir aus, ob genügend Diagloge - sinnvolle Dialoge - eingebaut sind. Ich finde es gut, dass Bianca Iosivoni es ähnlich handhabt und nicht auf unnötige, flache Konversationen baut. Die Personen des Buches reden miteinander, wenn sie wirklich etwas zu sagen haben.

Unmöglich kann ich die einzige Leserin sein, die sich nun ein Buch von Callies Schwester wünscht. Autoren neigen dazu, dass ihnen ihre Charaktere ans Herz wachsen. Als Leser ergeht es einem (im besten Fall) nicht anders, und so war es bei Callies Schwester. Ich brenne darauf, zu erfahren, was ihr Leben für sie bereithält, was sie erleben wird. Oh, bitte, bitte!

Ich muss gestehen, normalerweise tue ich mich schwer mit deutschen Autoren. Dafür gibt es keinen bestimmten Grund. Möglicherwiese liegt es daran, dass ich den Eindruck habe, englische Bücher schneller verarbeiten zu können, aber das ist lediglich eine Vermutung. Daher freut es mich, wie sehr ich mitgefiebert habe, wie nahe ich den Tränen stand, als das Schicksal von Callie und Keith ihren Lauf nahm. Was auch immer geschieht hat mich positiv überrascht und eins steht fest: Es war definitiv nicht das letzte Buch von Bianca, das ich lesen möchte.

Oh, und kleine Randnotiz: Team Jess gewinnt! (Wie kann man Team Logan sein?!)

Dienstag, 23. August 2016

The Form of Things Unknown - Robin Bridges

Title: The Form of Things Unknown
Author: Robin Bridges
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Natalie Roman isn't much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night's Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.

Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won't even meet her eye. But Nat doesn't need him. She's making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater's ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don't interfere with her partying, it won't be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.

Alright, it's official: I am a huge Robin Bridges fan! I read Dreaming of Antigone a few months ago and had it declared as one of my favourite reads this year. I think my rating of it was lower, probably a 3.5, but I can't really say which one I liked better, having now also read The Form of Things Unknown. So I'll just tell you that both reads are worth four full stars. They deserve all the positive comments they get.

Again, her love for poetic things is pretty obvious in this book. Never having read any of Shakespears plays before, I gotta admit, I found the way Robin Bridges included this, very enchanting. You'd think that a book in which the characters starr in a play is too childish, but nothing this author writes ever comes out as childish. Sweet and light, maybe, yes, but not childish. It can't be childish anyway, because the topic that gets described in this book is far too heavy. In a good way. I usually struggle with reading stories about mental illness. Most of the time, the characters either don't seen real to me, or the book itself bores me. I'd like to think that I wasn't too convinced The Form of Things Unknown would make me love the story because I knew what Robin Bridges was capable of. I'd rather believe that this story really capitivated me. And it did. So I am not even lying. What Nat was going through... It all had a spooky vibe to it and it was never too much to handle for the reader, because in the end, you never knew whether what she thought she saw and heard was real or not. But considering her past, you start doubting her without even wanting to. And by the end, maybe you'll even feel bad for thinking these things about her, because they make you no better than her so-called friends and what they did. I hope that's not a spoiler, but I am getting angry when it comes to bullying and that was what it was kinda about too.

So, anyway... Nat's brother convices her to take part in a Shakespear play. Without really giving it much thought, she decides to at least go to the audition. That's where she spots Lucas. Lucas is a boy (hello, new book boyfriend!) who attend the same mental health clinic as her, called Winter Oaks. But while everybody in town basically knows that he was there, Nat and her family are new in town, so no one knows her secret, her past. When the director of the play matches her a role and Nat, her brother and their new friends start working at the theatre, Nat also starts to see things, hear things, that can't be there. When she finally admits it to the others, they think it's a ghost that haunts the theatre and they come up with meeting, trying to talk to the spirit or whatever it is. But things just won't go back to normal and while she and Lucas grow closer due to that, she feels like she's on the edge of losing it.

As always, my "putting it in a nutshell" synopsis isn't the best and basically everything that can be read in the official blurb too.

While Dreaming of Antigone concerned a heavy topic too, I think Robin Bridges took a step forward with this current work. Of course, there are still light scenes, funny scenes and romantic scenes too. Did I mention I loved Lucas?! He was such a nice character, oh my. And I really liked how the book didn't revolve around him, but we found out enough about his past. Also, the book kind of had a Pretty Little Liars vibe to it. I can't exactly explain why. I have never read these books, but I've seen a few seasons of the show and the mystic part of it reminded me of it. And then I think it was important that we didn't get to read about Nat's presence at Winter Oaks. The story started after she was sent there, when she was back at her new home in Savannah.

So, if you're looking for an awesome read, I suggest you pick this one up. No, seriously. It's one of the best books about mental illness that I have ever read and the writing - especially Nat's thoughts (such a funny girl!) - is fabulous. I'm kinda sad the book wasn't longer, and I thought the ending, when Nat confronted her former friend (I won't say who), was a bit rushed. No bully gives in just like that. Would be nice if they did, but they don't. I can't read for the author's next book. Impatiently waiting!

Sonntag, 21. August 2016

Daring The Bad Boy - Monica Murphy

Title: Daring The Bad Boy
Author: Monica Murphy
Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Annie McFarland is sick of being a shy nobody. A session at summer camp seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself—gain some confidence, kiss a boy, be whoever she wants to be. A few days in, she’s already set her sights on über-hottie Kyle. Too bad her fear of water keeps her away from the lake, where Kyle is always hanging out.

Jacob Fazio is at Camp Pine Ridge after one too many screw-ups. Junior counseling seems like punishment enough, but the rigid no-fraternizing-with-campers rules harsh his chill. When a night of Truth or Dare gets him roped into teaching Annie how to swim, she begs him to also teach her how to snag Kyle.

Late-night swim sessions turn into late-night kissing sessions…but there’s more on the line than just their hearts. If they get caught, Jake’s headed straight to juvie, but Annie’s more than ready to dare him to reveal the truth.

This is what I call a summer read. And it also happens to be the exact kind of story that I wish I had written. Seriously, this Daring The Bad Boy is so similar to the book idea I've had in mind for over five years now, starting to write it down and then quitting again. To be honest, Monica Murphy has a better way with words than me, no arguing about that, but I am jealous. Because this is everything I hoped my book would be too.

Annie and Jake are about the sweetest characters you will ever come across. Granted, Jake is described as the typical bad boy, but you can't help but love him. Whenever he is around Annie, you just want to give him a push right into her arms, make them both see they are perfect for each other. Because they are.

Annie is this shy girl that would rather dig a hole into the ground and hide in it than ever make the first move on a boy. Which is why she kind of depends on Jake. There is a guy at camp called Kyle. Everybody has got a crush on him, everybody already had something going on with him, and Annie wants her share, this year being her first at camp ever. She's got a secret that she only shares with her best friend at camp and... Well, Jake. And in order to overcome her fears, Annie and Jake find themselves hanging around each other quite a lot.

I don't want to give away the story, which is why I'll be quiet on the characters and their background, but I absolutely enjoyed this book. I wouldn't have thought it'd end up as one of my favourite summer reads ever, but it totally did. When I got to the part they first saw each other, when I got to the scene in which Annie tries to prove she isn't a coward, I found myself wanting to read until my eyes burned, until I was so tired, I had to put my phone away and still couldn't fall asleep because the story had me hooked. That's what I call a page turner, a book worth loving. Now I can understand why so many German readers are obsessed with Monica Murphy's books. She's a genius. While this story could have easily been somewhat of a dull read, it wasn't. It was perfect, expect for one part toward the end, in which I kind of ended up hating Annie. Maybe, if you decide to give this book a try, you'll be with my on that point. Maybe not. I'm just trying to defend Jake, because he was this ultimate book boyfriend.

I don't know why there is a warning about sexual situations in the summary of this book. Truth be told, I didn't get the impression of that at all. Well, if kissing counts as sexual situation, then I guess you're right, but other than that, it's totally harmless. Felt like I had to say this at last.

So... Forget about your schedule, forget about whatever it is you wanted to do the rest of your summer (or any other season for that matter), make sure to go to your local book store and buy this beauty, or go to any digital shop and buy it. It's not that often that I love a book this much, but I did. Daring The Bad Boy was a highlight for me and if it happens to be a highlight for you too, share it with me.

Freitag, 19. August 2016

Keeping Her Secret - Sarah Nicolas

Title: Keeping Her Secret
Author: Sarah Nicolas
Rating: 2.5 - 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other… but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.
Even two days after reading this book, I can't decide on a proper rating. It was nice, not my favourite read ever, but cute enough to continue.

Honestly, there need to be more lesbian young adult novels. There are too few of them out there, but I think it'd be important for publishers to support these kind of stories since a lot of teens struggle with coming out or their own sexuality. Maybe reading a young adult books that contain this topic would help them deal with it better.

Surprisingly, though the two main characters - Courtney and Riya (like that name, by the way!) - have got a past, there aren't any flashbacks or chapters written about that. One certain scene is mentioned, but that's it. I am not sure how to feel about that. I guess after kind of expecting flashbacks, I am still okay with the author not writing them down. The story itself didn't need those additional scenes. But we do get to find out that a lot has happened ever since. Courtney is a popular girl with strict parents that would rather forget she was ever friends with Riya, and Riya is exactly the opposite. During the story, Courtney is revealed as an insecure girl, while Riya is pretty upfront about everything. Opposites attract, don't they?!

I did like Courtney's brother. He was a cutie, not mentioned often enough, haha. Dee was a cool girl, too. Much like a confident rock chick or something. And sorry for comparing, but the whole story reminded me of Pretty Little Liars, minus the camp thing itself. Probably because it's the only teen TV show that I watch(ed), including a lesbian couple. In my mind, Riya was like Emily and Coutrney was like... Well, more like Paige, for example.

The pranks the girls pulled on each other annoyed me after a bit, but that's my taste. I was even annoyed by their talents and the talent show. That's not the author's fault, I just didn't enjoy that, sorry. And the volleyball match... (That makes it sound like I hated the story, which is not true.) Although, reading about how Courtney struggled with her sexuality and how strict her parents were wouldn't have been enough to fill out the story. So her talent and also Riya's were an important detail (sorry for only saying it's a detail) for the book.

So, if you're looking for a read about two girls instead of the same old bad boy and good girl kind of thing, I suggest you pick up Keeping Her Secret. It's a decent read, one that should lined up in school's libraries, public libraries and be recommented by parents, as well!

The Boyfriend Bet (Boyfriend Chronicles #02) - Chris Cannon

Title: The Boyfriend Bet (Boyfriend Chronicles #02)
Author: Chris Cannon
Rating: 2/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Zoe Cain knows that Grant Evertide is way out of her league. So naturally, she kisses him. Out of spite. Not only is Grant her brother’s number-one nemesis, but he has zero interest in being tied down to one girl. She’s shocked—and secretly thrilled—when they start spending more time together. Non-exclusively, of course, but that doesn’t mean Zoe can’t change his mind, one PDA and after-school detention at a time.

Zoe’s brother claims Grant is trying to make her his “Ringer,” an oh-so-charming tradition where a popular guy dates a non-popular girl until he hooks up with her, then dumps her. Zoe threatens to neuter Grant with hedge clippers if he's lying but Grant swears he isn’t trying to trick her. Still, that doesn’t mean Grant is the commitment type—even if winning a bet is on the line.

I am so sad to say this, but I didn't enjoy this book. Like, at all. I really wanted to. I read so many great reviews for Chris Cannon books, but I got disappointed, reading The Boyfriend Bet. The main characters were annoying as hell. Grant was such a jerk, never deciding on what he wants. He is such a player, even worse than those you read about in new adult novels. And all he ever did with Zoe was taking her out for dinner. That wasn't creative at all. I can see that teenage boys are just exactly like that - uncreative, bored by their girlfriends quickly and all that stupid stuff - but bleh! I hated him. Same with Zoe, actually. She seemed so naive to me and I didn't understand why she even liked Grant. The first chapter... Yeah, uhm... Was that bitchy? Cheap? I didn't see the point. Honestly. Maybe it's difficult for authors to come up with a good idea about the main characters meeting each other, but that was just... Too much, too fast.

And I wish I could say positive things about this book. I do. But I can't think of any. Alright, one... I liked Grant's best friend. He seemed nice enough. A nerdy kind of guy. Of course, he was all messed up in the head, too, not admitting how much he liked Zoe's best friend and all that, but he was better than Grant himself. That's for sure.

So, I didn't see any chemistry between the characters and I think they would have been better off without each other. I was unpleasantly surprised by how fast Grant's mother changed her mind about Zoe, especially since she was so mean to her in the school office. Is that a spoiler? I hope not. His father was okay-ish and my favourite character might have been Zoe's brother, actually. He was the only smart one, to be honest. The relationship between Zoe and Grant seemed forced to me, but sadly, it isn't an unrealistic story since I know enough girls who run after guys again and again, no matter what they do, no matter what they say. I guess from now on, I'll call them The Zoes, haha.