Samstag, 11. November 2017

Claire (Hart University #02) - Abigail Strom

Title: Claire (Hart University #02)
Author: Abigail Strom
Rating: 3 - 3.5 / 5

Thanks to NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
It's sophomore year, and Claire Stone has sworn off romance. She's just gone through a breakup and she wants some time to find out who she is on her own. The only flaw in her plan is her friend (and hot quarterback) Will McKenna, who's a walking temptation to forget all about her singlehood pledge.

Will has had a thing for Claire since freshman year. Now that they're both single, he wants more from her than friendship. But Claire doesn't want to be anyone's girlfriend right now, and with football season underway, Will's got issues of his own to deal with.

When an injury on the field changes everything, Will and Claire are driven apart. But when the two of them end up trapped together in a snowstorm, they're forced to deal with each other again. Can they confront their feelings without ruining their friendship? Or will their friendship turn into something more?

I didn't realize how much I'd missed this series until I started reading Claire. I couldn't put it down, feeling as though I was part of the Hart University crew. I loved the way it started, the two characters feeling drawn to each other though they're both in a relationship with someone else. Weird, huh? That I especially liked that? Well, they don't cheat on their partner and while I'd go insane with rage in real life, I thought Claire and Will belonged to each other. I loved the way they thought about one another and wished for the other one to look inside his/her head.

Even though I usually dislike anything band or music related in books, I was surprised finding myself not complaining about the scenes in which Claire was on stage, performing with her band. Probably also because these scenes weren't dragged and had the right length. Same with the romance in Abigail Strom's book in general. The chemistry between the characters has got the right speed - nothing's rushed. I read another review saying the romance is more natural that way, and I totally agree. It's not like you're reading a fictional story, but a real one captured for everyone to read.

Will's a jerk. There, I said it. Because he really is - at least towards the end of the book. You'll know what I mean when you get to that point. I can't believe he acted the way he did. I liked him a lot and then I didn't and wanted to punch him in the face for saying the things he said, for acting the way he did. That was unlike him, and even though I could understand where his anger was coming from, he didn't have to take it out on Claire. Which was fine, really, because that way he was more of a realistic character to me - like a real teenage guy. Like any human being, really. Can't say I liked his behaviour, though. Same with Claire and her excuses. Gosh, that was annoying. Just make a move, girl. Why still hold on to your "Semester of Us" thing (she and Tamsin called it that - staying away from boys for a semester) when you're clearly liking Will? I didn't get it. And I kind of did. I'm confused, haha.

Anyway... While I generally liked the book, there was one thing I didn't like: The Thanksgiving scenario. Everything about it, honestly. It didn't feel right to me. Everything after what happened to Will didn't feel right to me. He wasn't himself anymore, Claire wasn't herself anymore either, suddenly all confident, and that house, those scenes. Sweet, fun and hot, definitely, but I'd have wished for other circumstances. I can't even really explain it. It was supposed to be supportive for Will, sure. But was it?

The friendships in this series are what made me feel like coming home to it, too. Their bound is so strong, I like the way the author managed to capture that in Rikki and now in Claire as well. Which is probably why I'll give Tamsin a try, though I'm not exactly interested in her story. I don't know why, but I know one thing: I'll most likely love her story once I give it a chance.

The First Kiss Hypothesis - Christina Mandelski

Title: The First Kiss Hypothesis
Author: Christina Mandelski
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Crush for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction.

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing.
Game. On.

This is exactly the kind of book I expect whenever I request a book published by Entangled. This book is the perfect example for why I love the way they pick their books. It's cute, funny and the characters are both smart - super smart, even. I love a well-written character who's obsessed with maths or science. It's one of my weak spots when it comes to authors and their stories. And I loved the mix of Nora - the brain, and Eli - the sporty dude. I never really enjoy reading about sports, but it was different with The First Kiss Hypothesis and I can't even explain why. The sports wasn't the main focus and the two characters were too sweet to be true. I seriously loved their relationship, their chemistry. Their interactions made me think of them as the perfect couple.

Also, there was a serious topic 'hidden' in this book. Nora's grandmother, who, at times, doesn't even recognize her granddaughter. That old lady broke my heart, but then again I loved the way she still managed to encourage Nora when she needed it. I'm glad the author didn't choose for this topic to be too heavy, just the right amount of it. And then about Eli and Nora's pie obsession - something I can't relate to because pie isn't that popular in Germany. I don't even think I've ever eaten one, so the two should definitely take me to that place for the best pie in the world. Sometimes, I was annoyed by the ever-lasting, "Let's go and have pie" thing, but it was their thing, so I didn't mind too much.

Of course I was angry with Nora for not seeing what's right in front of her, with Eli for just shutting off. I can't put down in words how much I adored these two, how much I still do. Eli wants to prove Nora her hypothesis is wrong, but she doesn't want to hear about it. If there's no spark when she first kisses a guy, there's no second chance. Truth be told, I liked Tex enough to feel sorry for him when it felt to me like Nora was leading him on. Which is why I could imagine a book about him. I doubt there'll be one, but that would be my wish. Also, I wanted to roll my eyes at her hypothesis, but I secretly loved that the author came up with this idea. It's unique.

Lacrosse always makes me think of Teen Wolf, which I loved, so naturally, I pictured Eli as perfect as he was described. I think that Christina Mandelski captured both the characters' voices perfectly and I always felt whatever they felt. So the writing was really, really great and I can't believe her other book - The Sweetest Thing - has been on my eReader for about six years now. Although I'm too hooked on The First Kiss Hypothesis now to even give it a fair chance. I'll have to wait for that one. Hopefully not another six years.

Definitely one of my favourite reads from Entangled. I loved, loved, loved it. I was sad when I reached the end and I encourage everyone to get this book if you're looking for a sweet young adult read. This is absolutely perfect!

Montag, 6. November 2017

Saving It - Monica Murphy

Title: Saving It
Author: Monica Murphy
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Eden: Josh Evans and I have been best friends forever. He knows all my secrets, and I know all of his. So when he randomly asks me to help him lose his virginity, I sort of flip out. That’s a question that sends your mind to places you’ve seriously never considered before. Like, you know. Having sex. With your best friend. Except Josh doesn’t want to have sex with me—he wants me to help him find a girl. A nice girl who’s funny and smart and cute. Except he already knows a girl just like that...

Josh: Eden Sumner is my best friend. So of course she’d be the person to help me find my perfect match, so I can drop my V card before I head off to college. Except the more we search, the more I realize that maybe the right girl has been by my side all along. I don’t need Eden’s help in finding me a girl to love. I’m pretty sure I’m already in love with Eden. But now she thinks I’m only after one thing... with anyone but her.

I didn't even think about it when I pressed the "request" button for this one. It's a Monica Murphy book and I adore her. What more can I say?! With Daring The Bad Boy being one of my ultimate favourites of all time, I didn't hesitate when I saw Saving It up on NetGalley. And though I didn't love it as much, I still enjoyed reading it.

Sure enough, the story isn't extraordinary. But the way the author tells the story is. I love her humor and her ideas. You can definitely tell the difference between her Entangled books and the ones she publishes through different houses. With this publisher, Monica Murphy's books are lighter, there are more funny scenes in it and it's all much more young adult. But she's an expert at both genres, I'd say - young adult and new adult. I like both her styles very much.

Eden and Josh are about the cutest characters I've come across. There are lots of other authors trying to capture friendships the right way, telling a story so similar like this, but only a few actually manage to get the reader excited about it. I definitely was excited about this book. I had a hard time putting it down in order to have dinner or go out. The world of the two characters always had me want to dive into it again and again. They are best friends, though everyone else seems to always assume they're a couple in secret. And despite Josh always having been a relationship guy, he's still a virgin. He plans on changing that really soon, though. And Eden is the one he asks for help. Not in that way, but he wants her to come up with girls he could lose his virginity to. Oh my, what a bad idea, I thought. I already saw the whole plot going downhill, but luckily, I got surprised and still liked the book.

Safe to say, in the end I thought things were a little rushed. Maybe there are readers out there who will feel the same. And maybe that's why my rating suffered a bit. That and yes, it's a story you've read about a million times, as I said before. No matter how many times I say Monica did a fabulous job and I enjoyed her way of telling this plot more than anyone else's, it's still nothing new. But... While I usually have a problem with the main characters' friends, I adored Molly and Abe somehow. Probably not so much as a couple (who knows?! If they got their own book then maybe...), but as their best mates. I didn't quite understand Abe's motives concerning Eden, but that's a different story. And those girls Josh went after... Oh my. I can't believe there wasn't a single normal one, haha. On the other hand, there couldn't be, since there's Eden.

If you're looking for a sweet romance, best friends to lovers, then I suggest you read this one. Also if you're already a Monica Murphy fan and if you trust my review enough to give it a chance.

Sonntag, 29. Oktober 2017

German Review: Zart verführt (Taste of Love #03) - Poppy J. Anderson

Titel: Zart verführt (Taste of Love #03)
Autorin: Poppy J. Anderson
Bewertung: 3.5/5

Danke an NetGalley und Bastei Lübbe für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches vorab der Veröffentlichung.
Smoothie küsst Schokolade

Adam Stone! Eigentlich soll Liz in der TV-Talkrunde Werbung für ihre neu eröffnete Chocolaterie machen. Aber wer kann bitte daran denken, wenn der eigene Jugendschwarm, seines Zeichens Ex-Model und Fitnessguru, so nah neben einem sitzt? Doch dann macht Adam eine eindeutig zweideutige Bemerkung über sie. Was für ein Idiot! Ihre Familie sieht das hingegen ganz anders: endlich jemand, der Liz aus ihrem Dornröschenschlaf weckt. Sie setzen alles daran, die beiden zu verkuppeln...
Mein bisher viertes Buch von Poppy J. Anderson und vielleicht sogar mein Liebstes, aber da möchte ich mich eigentlich gar nicht festlegen. Festzuhalten ist, dass ich sehr überrascht war, wie sehr mir eine Geschichte rundum eine Bäckerin gefallen hat. Normalerweise bin ich nämlich eher diejenige, die sich beschwert, sobald es um das Thema Essen & Trinken in Romanen geht. Ich fahre im Gegensatz zu vielen anderen absolut nicht auf Geschichten ab, die sich um heiße Köche und gutaussehende Köchinnen drehen. Deshalb habe ich diese Reihe vor mir hergeschoben, immer etwas ängstlich davor, eventuell enttäuscht zu werden oder bzw. bestätigt. Doch zum Glück trafen meine Bedenken in Zart verführt nicht ein. Sicherlich spielt die Selbstständigkeit von Liz eine große Rolle, aber Poppy schafft es einfach, sich in jeden ihrer Charaktäre zu verlieben. Liz und Adam machen da keine Ausnahme.

Ich finde es erstaunlich, wie kreativ die Autorin weiterhin ist, obwohl sie bereits derart viele Romane verfasst hat. Jede Geschichte, die ich bisher von ihr in den Händen hielt, hat etwas ganz Spezielles an sich - etwas Originelles. Es wirkt nie abgekupfert, sondern strahlt jedes Mal das gewisse Etwas aus, das ihre Bücher besonders machen. Daher kann ich mit Sicherheit sagen, werde ich mich auch an die anderen Teile der Taste of Love Reihe wagen, in der Hoffnung, sie gefallen mir genauso sehr.

Es ist doch so: Entweder werden die Leser von Anfang an Liz' Art mögen oder sie werden ihr zu wenig Stärke unterstellen. Zumindest tut das Liz' Schwester Vicky, die überhaupt nicht auf den Mund gefallen ist und das Bedürfnis verspürt, ihrer Meinung freien Lauf zu lassen. Es war herrlich, diese gegensätzlichen Geschwister miteinander harmonieren zu sehen. Ich finde es toll, wie unterschiedlich die beiden sind und doch ein bezauberndes Paar abgeben. Aporpos Paar... Als Liz Adam zum ersten Mal live erlebt, ist sie alles andere als begeistert von dem ehemaligen Model. Eine weitere Sache, die Poppys Romane ausmachen - in den Geschichten, die ich von ihr kennengelernt habe, ist es meist so, dass die Hauptcharaktere sich zunächst nicht ausstehen können. Man könnte behaupten, das wird auf Dauer langweilig, aber irgendwie macht dies genau ihre Bücher aus, meiner Meinung nach. Ich fand die Spitzen, die Liz Adam gegenüber anbrachte absolut amüsant. Die Romantik taucht erst viel später im Buch auf, was auch nicht allzu häufig vorkommt, sich für mich aber als eine willkommene Abwechslung darstellte. Und was Adam angeht spreche ich sicherlich jeder Leserin und eventuell ja sogar jeden Leser aus der Seele, dass er eine totale Sahneschnitte ist. Ha! Der Wortwitz war nicht beabsichtigt, aber mein Gehirn scheint eindeutig dafür.

Gut finde ich auch, wie wenig Drama in diesem Roman stattfindet. Keine hitzigen Eifersuchtsszenen (okay, das ist so vielleicht nicht ganz richtig, ihr werdet's sehen), keine Ex-Freunde oder Ex-Freundinnen, die plötzlich wieder auf der Matte stehen und die aufgebaute Spannung zu durchbrechen versuchen. Ich habe mich wirklich darüber gefreut, denn Drama kann in gewissen Portionen für Aufregung sorgen, aber meist doch eher im negativen Sinne. Manchmal steht mir einfach nicht der Sinn danach. Da bin ich froh, bei Zart verführt an der richtigen Adresse gelandet zu sein.

Was die Abneigung zu Sport angeht, fühlte ich mich im Geiste sehr stark mit Liz verbunden. Auch wenn ich ihren Sinneswandel nicht ganz nachvollziehen konnte (aber hey, ich kenne auch keinen Adam *hust*), fand ich es klasse, wie die beiden auf die Interessen des jeweils anderen eingingen. Das lässt die Geschichte um die beiden gleich viel realer wirken, was Poppy wirklich super drauf hat. Und dann Adams Vergangenheit... Für einen Moment fragte ich nach dem Warum. Mir gefiel es gar nicht, wie eine bestimmte Person dargestellt wurde, aber letztendlich ist es wichtig, um Adams Verhalten nachzuvollziehen. Was ich, zugegeben, nicht ganz konnte, aber ich sympathisierte mit ihm und deshalb sah ich über seine "Schwäche" "erwachsen zu werden" hinweg. Außerdem trug Liz ebenfalls ihren Teil dazu bei, dass dieser Zustand nicht ewig anhielt. Da wollte ich doch wieder dahinschmelzen. Die beiden sind einfach zu süß!

Ich wiederhole: Definitiv nicht mein letzter Roman von Poppy J. Anderson und dass Bücher über's Kochen mich doch derart fesseln könnten, hätte ich niemals erwartet.

Dienstag, 17. Oktober 2017

36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You - Vicki Grant

Title: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You
Author: Vicki Grant
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Running Press for letting me receive this book before its official release date.
Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for joining the university psychology study that asks the simple question: Can love be engineered?

The study consists of 36 questions, ranging from "What is your most terrible memory?" to "When did you last sing to yourself?" By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they've laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back and driven each other almost crazy. They've also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love?

Told in the language of modern romance—texting, Q&A, IM—and punctuated by Paul's sketches, this clever high-concept YA is full of humor and heart. As soon as you've finished reading, you'll be searching for your own stranger to ask the 36 questions. Maybe you'll even fall in love.

So first off, I'm going to say that if you're stuck in a bubble of deep young adult reads, this one won't be for you. Of course, the characters struggle with problems, but you don't really get to feel their angst, not like with other novels. This one focuses on the sweetness and it's very light. The writing is very unique, so if you're up for a change, then maybe 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You could actually be a book of your taste.

Granted, I was confused by the way the story started and how the conversations between Hildy and Paul went - conversation style, like theatre plays and Shakespeare tales. But then I grew to like it and looked forward to these chapters instead of when Hildy met with her friends and the writing got back to the usual style. I wasn't interested in reading about her friends, I wanted more of her and Paul. Maybe I'm being mean here, because of course characters have got to have friends and stuff, but their conversations weren't interesting to me in the least. They went on about a topic for pages and pages and yeah, some lines were pretty funny, but the story was all about Hildy and Paul's romance for me.

Paul is a real douche in the beginning. He seems like this typical skater loner dude that's too cool for anyone, but as always, there's more to him than meets the eye and the same goes for Hildy. Right from the start, you know that her family situation isn't the best and appearance is all about the right acting. I didn't understand some things Hildy mentioned in conversations and you'll probably feel the same way, because everything is only revealed at the end, which is a great trick to keep the reader curious and read until the end. Paul's situation is a bit more predictable, he may not speak as much as Hildy but he's like an open book to the reader. You can figure his life situation out, it's not that hard. But maybe that's what's so interesting - beyond the fact that he's a man of few words, he saying so much without even trying to say something between the lines. No clue if the author striked for that, but I'm sure amazed by it, thinking about it just now.

The story itself is very unusual. I mean, two strangers meeting for an experiment in exchange for money (which is Paul's only motivation, really). They have to ask each other these 36 questions that have been given to them and their only task is to answer honestly. Fascinating how many secrets you actually tell a stranger, I think. Well, that goes for Hildy. As mentioned before, Paul's pretty tongue-tied and a douche. Luckily, that changes - he's got 36 questions in order for that to happen. How does anyone even come up with 36 questions? That's a lot. And sometimes, I got the feeling they kind of reappeared in a different shape. But that's okay. And truth be told, I liked the answers the author came up with for her characters. Questions make the characters seem more real. I liked that.

Truth be told, if I was a guy, I'd be annoyed by Hildy. Hell, I was annoyed by her half the time reading 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You. She's blabbering and blabbering, whew. I felt like putting down the book from time to time, only to release a breath and calm down a bit. She's a true piece of art. And I think Paul's her perfect opposite. And that's exactly why I enjoyed this book despite my fear of hating it in the beginning - it's sweet and light and the chemistry between the two characters is beyond cute. They're good for each other, Paul turning out to be something I would have never expected and Hildy being less annoying, too. Oh, and also I'm very glad it will be translated into that many languages. I can't wait to find some German readers to talk about this one.

Sonntag, 24. September 2017

German Review: Stars Over Castle Hill (On Dublin Street #6.6) - Samantha Young

Titel: Stars Over Castle Hill - Schicksalhafte Begegnung (On Dublin Street #6.6)
Autorin: Samantha Young
Bewertung: 3.5 - 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und Ullstein das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches.
Joss and Braden Carmichael sind glücklich verheiratet - doch was wäre, wenn sich die beiden nicht an jenem schicksalhaften Tag vor über zehn Jahren begegnet wären?

Joss Carmichael ist erfolgreiche Autorin und lebt mit ihrem Mann Braden und ihren drei Kindern in der Dublin Street. Als sie gebeten wird, eine „Wäs-wäre-wenn-Geschichte“ über ihr Leben zu schreiben, muss sie sofort an den Tag denken, an dem sie Braden kennengelernt hat. Wo stünde sie jetzt, wenn sie ihn nie getroffen hätte? Das kann sich Joss kaum vorstellen. Sie ist sich sicher, dass es ihr Schicksal war, Braden früher oder später zu treffen. Aber was, wenn sie bei dieser Begegnung schon 30 und nicht erst 21 Jahre alt gewesen wäre? Vielleicht wäre sie selbst reifer gewesen und hätte vor der großen Liebe nicht solche Angst gehabt. Aber was, wenn Braden bereits von der Liebe enttäuscht worden wäre? Hätte er dann auch mit aller Kraft um sie gekämpft? Oder wäre ihre Liebe zum Scheitern verurteilt gewesen?

Mir war nicht bewusst, wie sehr ich diese Reihe vermisse, bevor ich begann, Stars Over Castle Hill zu lesen. Die alternative Geschichte um Joss und Braden macht mich damit nicht unbedingt zu dem größten Fan der beiden Charaktere (ich mag eher Jo, Cam, Olivia, Nate, Grace und Logan), aber dennoch fiel es mir schwer, das "Buch" aus der Hand zu legen. So viele Erinnerungen an die Charaktere wurden wach, so viel Liebe und so viel Schmerz noch einmal verdeutlicht.

Ich finde die Idee an sich, dass Joss als erfolgreiche Schriftstellerin eine alternative Geschichte verfassen soll, großartig. Das ist etwas ganz besonderes und nicht einfach nur ein Nachtrag, weil Samantha Young nicht weiß, wann Schluss ist. Man merkt während des Lesens, wie sehr ihr besonders diese beiden - Joss und Braden - am Herzen liegen, immerhin begann mit ihnen alles und seither begeistert die Reihe Fans auf der ganzen Welt. Anstatt also weiter über die glückliche Familie, die die beiden mittlerweile gegründet haben, zu schreiben, entschied sich die Autorin für einen anderen Weg, einen super kreativen, wie ich finde. Was wäre wenn... Ja, die Frage haben wir uns definitiv alle schon einmal gestellt und ich fand es toll, wie die Autorin mit dem Thema umging.

Kein Fan von Joss und Braden muss befürchten, dass es irgendwo dort draußen ein Universum gibt, in dem die beiden kein Paar sind. Früher oder später hätten sich die Wege der beiden gekreuzt. Ich brauche nicht erwähnen, dass es trotzdem in keiner dieser Dimensionen einfach für sie war, einander zu vertrauen und zu lieben. Gerade das macht es so spannend. Denn auch in Stars Over Castle Hill stehen einige Hürden im Weg, die es gilt, zu bewältigen. Eine großartige alternative Welt wurde da für sie entwickelt, eine, die glaubwürdig und überhaupt nicht unrealistisch erscheint. Ihre Charakterzüge sind genau dieselben, wovor ich etwas Angst hatte, dass es daran eventuell scheitern würde. Tat es aber nicht, seid beruhigt. Joss ist genauso stur wie in On Dublin Street und Braden ist immer noch der Typ zum Anschmachten. Es ist unglaublich, wie Samantha all ihre Charakterzüge beibehält, so als handelte es sich bei ihnen um wirkliche und keine fiktiven Personen. Ich bin begeistert.

Warum also keine volle Punktzahl? Nun, die Begegnung der beiden war mir etwas zu "zufällig" und wie bereits erwähnt bin ich generell kein riesiger Fan der beiden, was meiner Liebe zu der gesamten Reihe aber keinen Abbruch tut. Ich bin glücklich darüber, dass wir einen erneuten Einblick in ihr Leben bekommen haben, finde es schön, zu lesen, wie weit Joss gekommen ist, wie gut sie ihre Ängste überwunden hat. Bradens Reaktion auf die Geschichte, die Joss über sie beide verfasst hat, fand ich überzogen, um ehrlich zu sein. Klar, sie passt zu ihm, sie passt zu den beiden als Paar, aber es war mir zu störrisch. Dennoch empfehle ich dieses Buch aus tiefster Seele, denn Samantha Young ist eine grandiose Autorin und jede Seite, die aus ihrer Feder stammt, beschert einem eine wundervolle Zeit.

Dienstag, 12. September 2017

Fraternize (Players Game #01) - Rachel van Dyken

Title: Fraternize (Players Game #01)
Author: Rachel van Dyken
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.

There are so many five stars ratings for this one so far (it's not even out yet as I write this review) and I'm really glad about that. The thing about Rachel is that I love her. I love her humor, I love her writing style. She's one of my favorite storytellers, but... I usually never agree with her couples in books. And that's the case with Fraternize as well. I didn't like the endgame. Like, at all! Maybe I'm immature like that, because Em's "decision" makes sense, but I just didn't see it. No, no, no.

And so that's why I can't be very fair. That's what made me suffer so much while reading the book. It's great. I mean, the humor is fabulous and so like Rachel. You don't feel like you're reading a 300-something pages novel, but like you're reading about friends and funny dialogues, and it all flashes before your eyes like it's a TV show. It's not even annoying, because it's too good. That doesn't mean the author doesn't take her job serious, because she obviously does. She picks up heavy topics and includes them into her stories, she makes her characters suffer and she also makes the readers fall in love with them. That's real talent there!

I'm not a big fan of cheerleading, probably because it's not that popular in Germany, same as football. But thinking of other stories about cheerleaders, I liked this one much better. Maybe also because Emerson isn't the typical super model, but has got curves. I think we need more of those types of cheerleaders in real life, too. I also liked that Rachel van Dyken's focus wasn't set on rivality between the cheerleaders. There was a scene in which Emerson and Lily clearly hated each other, but we read much more about Emerson's friendship with Kinsey and then of course her love triangle. Miller and Sanchez. If you think one bad boy makes you swoon, then you'll most likely die reading about these two hotties.

Truth be told, during the book, I wasn't sure who to ship her with. Sometimes it was Miller, sometimes it was Grant (that's Sanchez' first name). It all came down to one person I won't name, because it'd give away spoilers, but yeah... As I said before, the endgame wasn't for me. And I hate that. Not because of Rachel, but because of me. It's obvious that guy is a better fit for her, but I still wouldn't accept it. That's why I saw a lack of chemistry, though there wasn't, that's why I saw a cheater, though he wasn't. That's why I saw so many things the way I wanted them to be, even though they were perfect. I don't know what's wrong with me. I remember reading the first two books in her Eagle Elite series and I was exactly the same. And I'm still mad over the endgame, yes. I still have yet to read the other books in that series, because I was too mad to continue. Which is probably why it'll take me years to start reading the second book. But I'm kind of excited about it too. And you know why? Because it's Rachel, damnit! She's a genius.

I absolutely loved the flashbacks. They were one of my favorite parts. Okay, yes, some of them were very short and rushed, but that's perfectly fine with me. I usually hate second chance romances, but the idea of Miller and Emerson while reading the flashbacks really grew on me.

Emerson's dad is suffering from Alzheimer's. Did your shoulders just slack? I saw it! Yes, it's a heavy topic, but I'm so glad Rachel managed to find a way that worked for her. A sad book wouldn't have been the right decision and too much humor isn't a good choice, either. But the mix was great! You still got the impression of the weight Emerson had to carry on her shoulders, but it was nice that there were these two boys who made it a little easier for her. Her life didn't revolve around her father's illness. I wouldn't have wanted that for her. And the scenes with her father really brought tears to my eyes. Especially the last one. I loved that.

I'm very aware that this review isn't as professional as some would like it do be. Is it even still a review? I have no idea. I could talk about Fraternize for hours, but there's a risk of telling spoiles, which is why I'll quit now (if you want to know who Emerson ended up with by the end of the book, just read the blurb for Infraction, the second book). One more thing: I want Jax' book now! Seriously... Even if I have no clue about book number two and my feelings toward the couple in there - I need more of Jax in my life. The hints about what his character might be like made me curious to find out more about him. If you love sports romances, funny dialogues, awesome friendships and Rachel van Dyken, go and pick this one up!