Samstag, 17. Juni 2017

My Roommate's Girl - Julianna Keyes

Title: My Roommate's Girl
Author: Julianna Keyes
Rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Weapenry Co-Op for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before it official release date.
The day a judge gave me the choice between going to prison or going to college was the day I vowed to stop stealing. Never again would I see something beautiful and beyond my means and take it, just because I wanted it. Just because I could.

When I moved in with Jerry, it was with good intentions. I needed a place to live while I got my degree, and he needed a roommate.

Then I saw Aster.

Blond and beautiful, good, pure, sweet, smart…and Jerry’s girlfriend. She was everything I never thought I could have. Except…maybe I can.

So I put a plan into action. Yeah, I’d probably go to hell, but it would be worth it. I wanted Aster. I wanted her yesterday and tomorrow and every possible way.

But you know what they say.

Be careful what you wish for…because you just might get it.

I tried. I really did. But no matter how many pages I read and told myself to enjoy the story, I didn't feel the connection. These days, I seem to like those college romances that include falling in love with a roommate. And while this book started out okay and kept me reading further, I fastly came to the conclusion that the plot was rushed. The title doesn't match the story for about 85% of the book. After these first 15% the characters dealt with problems that us readers didn't know about. These problems came out of the blue. Aster turned out to be everything I didn't expect, like she changed within the blink of an eye. Of course, you can say it's because we got to know her better, but the change didn't appeal to me. I liked her better before, even though she was described as that typical innocent college girl most readers are tired of by now. But it seemed fitting for her. Until the author decided it didn't.

So, My Roommate's Girl isn't even about getting the girl, as I hoped, because I like a little forth-and-back before the characters realize they're actually in love with each other. I didn't spot a real motive behind the story to keep going further. As I said, suddenly Aster and Aidan had problems no one even thought of and that's what kept the story alive. But I didn't like reading about either of their problems and to be honest, I couldn't even stand the two of them most of the time. Aidan did a terrible thing in the beginning, just to get in Aster's pants and Aster... Just no. It's like what draws these two together is lust. And lust only. And maybe the common history, but that shouldn't be reason to fall in love. And I didn't get the impression that they did fall in love.

I can't imagine any guy being like Jerry. Well, except for the cheating part, maybe. Jerry is Aster's boyfriend, the one Aidan wants to steal Aster from. And his roommate. It's hard picturing him as something else than a nerd and a hopeless romantic, a true soul, too, maybe. But then he goes out with Aidan and his friends and his morals fly overboard. I didn't know who I wanted to slap afterwards, Jerry or Aidan. Probably both. To me, this part was rushed like mad and was the easy way for the author to find a way to end things between Jerry and Aster. As if cheating is the only thing that might make a couple break up. Also, it was the only mistake in their relationship and of course, something as major as this will end with them breaking up, but Aidan didn't even get to see other bad parts of his roommate's relationship. They didn't exist.

This review is going to be one of my shortest ones. That's simply because I can't find anything else to mention. My Roommate's Girl wasn't the worst book I read, but I expected something different, something more emotional maybe, because Aidan and Aster sure as hell were flat as paper. I read another book written by the author a year ago, called Undecided and remember liking that one much better.

Montag, 5. Juni 2017

Into Your Arms (Squad Stories #01) - Chelsea M. Cameron

Title: Into Your Arms (Squad Stories #01)
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Rating: 3 - 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Freya has secrets she doesn’t intend to share. Not with her new friends on the cheerleading squad at Maine State University, and certainly not with sexy lumberjack-look-alike Rhett. Just because sparks flew between them at a bar one night doesn’t mean he gets to know why she transferred to MSU. When Freya dares Rhett to come to cheerleading practice, she never expects to see the dark-haired lumberjack again.

Except Rhett is the last person to turn down a dare, especially when it comes from a pixie-sized blonde. When Rhett wows the squad and becomes Freya’s stunt partner, his hands come far too close for comfort. But as Freya and Rhett’s hot post-practice sessions bring them closer, she risks her secrets being revealed. Can Freya chance exposing who she really is to the guy who wasn’t supposed to win her heart?

I read a book written by Chelsea M. Cameron a few years ago and always wanted to read another one, because I really like her style, but never had the chance to. When I saw this title up on NetGalley, I finally decided now was the time to read a second book by the author. And while I didn't enjoy it as much as My Favourite Mistake, I still liked it.

It's refreshing to read about a cheerleader who's not a total bitch. Chelsea M. Cameron said so herself, so I can say it out loud too. And also, I liked the idea of a 'popular' guy joining the squad. Of course, his motives weren't the best ones, he was only after Freya, but Rhett's still a good guy, you can see that the further you read. He's a sweetheart. And Freya wasn't... So naturally, I liked him better than her.

I didn't like the way the two of them met, to be honest. In a bar. That's so chliché, but hey, the have to meet somehow, right? So I'm not judging here. Or not too hard, anyway. And then later I was just mad at Freya for being... Well, her. It's not the first time I'm reading about a girl character with trust issues and I totally see her point, but Rhett's literally being the best version of himself and she takes it all for granted. What kind of guy would keep up with that? Well, Rhett... Because he's such a good guy. Totally underrated in my opinion anyway. You'd think his name is an unusual one and he liked to go out with his best mate, but he's still super duper cute and hasn't got a single bad bone in his body. While Freya's basically built of bad bones. Gah. Obvious much that I didn't like her?! Sure, there have been worse characters than her and she needs to be the way she was in order for their story to work, but still... My complaining about this is just proof of how much that book actually got under my skin.

So, why the low rating? I don't even think it's that low. Compared to the other Chelsea M. Cameron book I have read, it didn't meet up my expectations. So, that's one reason. Freya is obviously reason number two (and three and four...). And I think that's about it. Everything else was... Sweet. It didn't sweep me off my feet, but I never wanted to quit on Into Your Arms or throw it aside and start another book. I was looking forward to reading about the change in Freya and about how she'd finally come to her senses. And... Before I forget it. I totally enjoyed reading about Mia. In my opinion, she isn't mentioned often enough. She's Freya's best friend and doesn't live in Maine, but I could tell I'd love her. And her parents, too. Can we get a story about her too, please?

Sure enough, I'm gonna read book two in this series, as well, although I don't think I'll like any of the female leads and Rhett can't be topped.

Last Semester - Corine Mekaouche

Title: Last Semester
Author: Corine Mekaouche
Rating: 3 - 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn't always easy and it's up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?

Alright, I'm reading a lot of negative reviews for this book right now and I seriously can't find a reason why people would hate it so much... Sure, my rating isn't the best one either, but we'll come to that later. There's no need for reviewers to start getting mean. I just don't understand it.

Last Semester is told in four different point of views, which is a lot. I never thought I'd actually enjoy reading four different voices so much, but the author managed great. Without even looking at who was telling the chapter, you could always tell. The characters had their own voices that couldn't be misunderstood for another. There's Johanna - Jo -, who's probably one of the strongest female leads, I think. She seems like she's so self assured and knows exactly what she wants in life. Of course, the reader gets taught otherwise during the story, but still... And then there's my fave character, Drew, the ultimate nerd and even nerdier than anyone else I've ever read about. He's so adorable. Also, he's the only one who gets a little romance in the book, so I loved reading his parts. A.J. is a typical rich kid, thinking he's God's gift to women or something and Rob's... Well, I thought he's an asshole. That incident that happened to him - the joke Jo played on him - served him right. I couldn't stand him, though he grew on me, as well.

You'd think it's super hard to keep track of all these characters' lives. Basically, I don't know how the author wants to manage writing other books, because Jo, Drew, A.J. and Rob all had their own life, their own problems and everything you can possibly read about in other books, all topics, have been used for them. They all get their own stories, none of these character is boring in the least and I admire the author for achieving that.

Of course, it takes some time after Jo moves in with the boys until they're bonding a friendship. But seriously, I loved these guys together, which is probably why I think this book has got one of the best college friendships in it. The way A.J. costantly tried to hit on Jo, the way Jo and Rob hate each other's guts in the beginning and Drew's funny comments... Everything about them was great. They were perfect for each other and I was a little shocked when I realized it was only that... Friendship.

And that's why my rating is "low". I missed some romance, I didn't like the way this book started with a hospital scene (but I was glad when later in the book, the scene wasn't repeated but dealt as read already) and sure enough, the short blog posts by Johanna were fun and totally important for the further story of her future life, but I never really looked forwar to reading them and I can't even blame the author for that, so I might be mean to still write about this, but it just wasn't for me. Yet, I thought it was great for the characters to find themselves. I mean, that's what this age is about and the author captured that great, captured their dreams, passion and wishes very well. So I would definitely recommend this to anyone who isn't bothered by a little less romance than usual, but wants to have a fun time while reading.

Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Der letzte erste Blick (Firsts #01) - Bianca Iosivoni

Titel: Der letzte erste Blick (Firsts #01)
Autorin: Bianca Iosivoni
Bewertung: 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und LYX für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches vorab der Veröffentlichung.
Endlich frei! Emery Lance kann es nicht erwarten, ihr Studium in West Virginia zu beginnen. Niemand kennt hier ihre Geschichte. Niemand weiß, was zu Hause geschehen ist. Dafür ist sie auch bereit, in Kauf zu nehmen, dass die Situation im Wohnheim alles andere als ideal ist. Nicht nur treibt ihr Mitbewohner sie regelmäßig in den Wahnsinn - sein bester Freund Dylan Westbrook bringt ihr Herz mit einem einzigen Blick zum Rasen. Dylan ist genau die Art von Typ, von der Em sich unbedingt fernhalten wollte. Er sieht zu gut aus und ist viel zu nett - von den Streichen, die er Emery bei jeder sich bietenden Gelegenheit spielt mal abgesehen. Mit der Zeit kommen die beiden sich immer näher. Doch Emery ahnt nicht, dass Dylan etwas vor ihr verbirgt. Etwas, das ihre Welt erneut auf den Kopf stellen könnte ...

Ich finde es etwas schade, dass das New Adult Genre mittlerweile so zerrissen wird. Vor allem in Deutschland. Ich denke, ein Buch von Bianca Iosivoni und viele Leser würden ihre schlechten Meinungen über dieses Genre ändern, denn sie kann es einfach. Sie beherrscht ihr Handwerk nahezu perfekt, treibt einem an den richtigen Stellen Tränen in die Augen und bringt einen dann wiederum so sehr zum Lachen, dass einen viele Menschen merkwürdig anschauen, wenn dies in der Bahn, im Bus oder sonst irgendwo in der Öffentlichkeit passiert.

Zugegeben, mir ging es ähnlich wie vielen anderen Lesern. Der Einstieg in das Buch war nicht der glatteste, was leider an Emery lag. Ich weiß, starke Protagonistinnen sind auf dem Vormarsch, es gibt viel zu wenige von ihnen, etc. Aber dennoch fiel es mir schwer, mich mit der Idee einer Emery anzufreunden. Bianca schreibt super und daher waren Emerys Gedankengänge plausibel, aber ihren Charakter, ihre Persönlichkeit waren trotzdem nichts für mich. Aber... Natürlich macht sie im Laufe der Geschichte eine Wandlung durch und auch wenn ich sie gegen Ende schütteln wollte (oder ohrfeigen wie Grace. Ist das ein Spoiler?! :P), gefiel sie mir zu diesem Zeitpunkt deutlich besser. Das liegt wahrscheinlich an Dylan, diesem 1A-Bookboyfriend, der zu ihr durchdringt und sie aus der Reserve lockt.

Eine Sache, die mir besonders gefällt, ist, dass keiner der Charaktere, die Bianca Iosivoni sich ausdenkt, zu stumpf und unglaubwürdig ist. Sicher hat jeder von uns schon einmal ein Buch gelesen, dessen Geschichte gut war, die Charaktere aber alles andere als "echt" waren. Dagegen baut Bianca eine eigene Welt rundum die Figuren auf - sie haben alle eine Vergangenheit, tragen eine Last mit sich, fühlen verschiedene Emotionen und bewegen sich auf ein Ziel zu. Und jedes Mal ist die Motivation der Charaktere erkenn- und nachvollziehbar. Zu keinem Zeitpunkt wirkt eine Reaktion überzogen. Möglicherweise liegt das auch daran, dass man bis zu diesem Punkt schon so weit mit den Charakteren mitfiebert und sich so sehr in sie hineinversetzt hat.

Die Thematik der Probleme der beiden - Emery und Dylan - fand ich ebenfalls sehr interessant. Es geschieht nicht alle Tage an denen man sich mit diesen Themen auseinandersetzt, wobei mich die Geschichte von Emery dann doch nicht allzu sehr angesprochen hat. Aber diese Sache passiert... Leider begehen viele Mädchen diesen "Fehler" und müssen dann mit Konsequenzen leben, wobei die andere Person glimpflich davon kommt, was definitiv nicht fair ist. Dylan dagegen sowohl Geldsorgen, als auch, dass er sich um einen geliebten Menschen sehr sorgt. Ich möchte nicht alles vorweg nehmen, daher belasse ich es einfach dabei... Apropos... Was passiert eigentlich mit Mrs Pettyfer?!

Einen sehr netten Einfall fand ich übrigens auch den Kater, der letztendlich doch gar kein Kater war, seinen Namen aber trotzdem beibehielt. An dieser Stelle musste ich doch als großer Katzen-Fan sehr schmunzeln.

Kurz und knapp: Bianca Iosivoni hat es wieder geschafft, mich mit einem ihrer Romane zu verzaubern. Vermutlich würde ich sogar sagen, dass mir Der letzte erste Blick besser gefiel als Was auch immer geschieht, was überhaupt keine Aussagekraft hat, ich aber einfach mal in den Raum werfen wollte. Der nächste Roman wird auf jeden Fall ganz oben auf meiner Wunschliste stehen!

Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017

One Italian Summer - Keris Stainton

Title: One Italian Summer
Author: Keris Stainton
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Hot Key Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Milly loves her sisters more than anything - they are her best friends. But this holiday is different. The loss of their dad has left a gaping hole in their lives that none of them know how to fill.

Heartbreak is a hard thing to fix ... Still, there is plenty to keep the girls busy in Rome. A family wedding. Food, wine, parties and sun. And of course Luke ....

Luke is hot, there is no way around that. And Milly will always have a crush on him. But this summer is about family, being together, and learning to live without Dad.

It isn't about Luke at all ... is it?

Everyone's right about this book - it's the perfect summer read, full of sunshine, descriptions of Rome and Italy and its beautiful nature, adventures and lightness. But of course, there's also some dark aspect here - a loss and how to cope.

Actually, there are three voices in this book - Milly's, Leonie's and Elyse's. Although the book's written in Milly's point of view only, her sisters aren't just side characters either, they all got a story. I'm glad the author didn't decide to write this in three different point of views, because everything more than two's is too much for me, yet Keris Stainton still managed to give the other two sisters their own voice, their own life. And while I wasn't exactly a fan of Milly's older sister, Leonie grew on me, especially when it was about her life choices toward the end of the book.

They always went to Rome together - the three sisters and their parents. But now that their father is dead, things have changed. However, when their aunt announces her wedding, the now four of them still decide to go there, although their mother isn't easy to convince. And when they finally get to Rome, things aren't getting any easier - their mother seems to be a shell of what she used to be and the boy Milly lost her heart to - Luke - seems to have forgotten about her, enjoying his time kissing other girls. Was it really a good idea to come back here?

There are hundreds of books about losing someone you love and every author writes about it in a different way. Some choose this depressive style and other choose another one. I think Keris Stainton managed to find a perfect way. I mean, for this book and the story, at least. The way the sisters talk about memories they share of their dad, the way they remember him and visit the places he used to go, it all makes you think like you're a part of this family, one of Milly's sisters maybe and discover all their truths. I liked that a lot. Their father's death is tragic, yes, but the writing isn't heavy and boring, dragging and annoying. The author manages to give the reader a lightful insight to the character's minds. The story focuses on that and not that typical grieving state of lying and bed and refusing to come out (though that's basically what their mom is like).

There's also sweet, light romance included. Aww, how I love those. Even though you really try in the beginning, you can't hate Luke. It's impossible. He's such a cute guy on the inside and it's super sweet reading about the way he treats Milly, what he thinks. I think my favorite scene might be their road trip, because that's when despite the connection that has always been there between the two, you get the feeling they are one. They're one of my favorites. Ever!

And I think (back again on the losing a parent part), the three different voices of the sisters really showed the importance of support during overcoming such a loss like theirs. They have their backs, no matter what, and they all learn how to cope, how to move on that One Italian Summer. Even the tough one (and I think we can all agree that Leonie, the youngest, is the toughest), shows her soft side and Elyse isn't as sure of herself as everyone always thought. So, they also get to know each other better.

The only thing I didn't like too much, was the I-always-have-to-control-everything part about Milly. It started at the airport, in the beginning of the book, but it was only much later, when the characters actually said it out loud, that I noticed this part of her. And to me, it kinda felt forced, like something had to be added in order for Milly to have a rough edge to her, something that makes her a little less perfect. But still... This is the perfect summer read. It truly is.

Dienstag, 4. April 2017

Pillowtalk - Cassie Mae

Title: Pillowtalk
Author: Cassie Mae
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGallery and Random House Publishing Group (Loveswept) for giving me a chance to read this before the official release.
Kennedy Walters has had a tough year. Now she’s come to the lakeside town of Lyra Valley to finally say goodbye to the memory of her first love. But while she’s staying at his sister’s B&B, Kennedy is shocked to find herself undeniably drawn to a handsome local heartthrob—especially since she isn’t sure if she’s ready to move on.

Aaron Sheppard returned to Lyra Valley because he was fed up with the big city and everything it didn’t have to offer—like the beautiful, down-to-earth girl staying at the B&B. Aaron’s enjoying a little flirtation until he realizes that she’s Kennedy Walters, the girl who was dating his best friend. But after a power outage strands them together, Aaron and Kennedy wind up sharing some intimate conversation. And over the course of a night that neither will ever forget, they learn just how compatible they could be—if only they knew how to let go and fall into each other’s arms.

I love Cassie Mae. She's by far, one of my most favorite authors in the world. I adore her young and new adult romances so much, I could reread them every single day. I love her nerdy way, and gladly, Pillowtalk contained a lot of nerdy phrases too, but apart from that, I had a really difficult time getting into the book. Her All About Love series is written for adult readers as well, but... I don't know. Maybe it's because reading adult things written by her is new to me, but I just couldn't get into Pillowtalk as much as I hoped.

The cover might make you think this is some streamy work of fiction, but it's actually not. It's more about past friendships, loss and how we deal with it. How to say goodbye. Cassie captured these themes beautifully, it was more the characters that I couldn't relate to. Mainly Kennedy. And that's probably because I never had to deal with a loss like that. I hope no one ever has to. It's hard. So, I can still understand why she acted the way she did and writing this down now makes me realize, I have been a bit harsh toward her, and it affected my rating. But that's the way it is.

I would have liked to read more about Kennedy and Chelsea. They never seemed to talk about Jared at all, probably because a conversation like that would rip open scarred wounds, I get that. But still... Whenever they were around each other, it was like something was missing. I'm glad Kennedy still talked about Jared when she was with Aaron - the guy she is falling for during the story. And yes - Cassie didn't fail to create another swoon-worthy man. Whew!

Women can be so difficult. Kennedy's no expection. Every so often, I wanted to take the urn away, make her see that holding on to the past will only cause more heartache than she's already dealing with. But that's the great thing about stories - the characters develop on their own and when they finally see the things as crystal clear as the reader does, you want to give them some kind of comfort. However, Kennedy doesn't need the reader's comfort. She's got Aaron - the reason readers are jealous at her, haha. He is like a superhero, appearing at the right times, saying the right things. Of course, he's got demons on his own, but unlike women, he knows when to cave in.

Moving on from a loss like Kennedy's is always such a tough question, especially when it comes to books. Everyone has got a different opinion on that one, but reading Kennedy and Aaron's story, you can't help but wanting them to get together. Some readers might say it's wrong. Some might say it's against what she promised Jared. And maybe what makes this book so real is that this question is always dividing the minds. Still, I liked how Cassie Mae dealt with the topic and how she created a great romance, one that seemed very real.

Dienstag, 28. März 2017

Just Fly Away - Andrew McCarthy

Title: Just Fly Away
Author: Andrew McCarthy
Rating: 2/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, a eight-year-old boy named Thomas who lives in her own suburban New Jersey town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her family and her life. Lucy can’t believe her father betrayed the whole family, or that her mother forgave him, or that her sister isn’t rocked by the news the way Lucy is. Worse, Lucy’s father’s secret is now her own, one that isolates her from her friends, family, and even her boyfriend, Simon, the one person she expected would truly understand. When Lucy escapes to Maine, the home of her mysteriously estranged grandfather, she finally begins to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets and lies.

Unfortunately, this book didn't do much for me. Considering it almost took me two months two read it, though it's a short book, is really all I need to say. It wasn't exactly bad, it was more about the story and the main character Lucy. I couldn't stand her in a lot of ways and sometimes, the writer jumped from one point to another, which confused the hell out of me.

However, it also had it sweet moments, such as when Lucy met Simon. I really wish the story between the two would have been more focused on. Instead, it was all about that brother she never knew of - the kid called Thomas. And then she did things I couldn't relate to, especially since she's described as a mature teen. Her actions didn't show that at all.

The story idea was great, I think. But that one point of the story was just too much. I felt like it was forced on the reader and then Lucy didn't think about Thomas for a few chapters and then she did again. She was this angry, spoiled teen that I wanted to smack or something. Also, the relationship with her sister wasn't something I found out about much. By the end of the book, they got closer, but that was it about it. All of a sudden, they got closer. Everyone got closer. Sure, that one certain thing that happens draws families closer, but I still didn't like it.

I liked the scenes between Lucy and her grandfather. Those were really sweet. I wish we had found out more about that Davis guy that lived with him, but I guess since this was Lucy's story, we couldn't jump to him.

I'm sorry if this review seems mean. That wasn't my intention at all. The book had its good parts or else I wouldn't have bothered finish reading it, but it's definitely none of my favourites. But the topic is a good one - as a side topic, preferably. Not a main topic.