Dienstag, 9. Januar 2018

Infraction (Players Game #02) - Rachel van Dyken

Title: Infraction (Players Game #02)
Author: Rachel van Dyken
Rating: 3.5 - 4 / 5

Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Pro footballer Miller Quinton would do anything for his best friend and teammate—including “fake dating” his friend’s sister. What no one knows is that seven months ago in Vegas, Miller and Kinsey did a whole lot more than just kiss. Miller knows that this cheerleader is off-limits to him and any guy on the team. Still, he can’t stop himself.

Kinsey’s whole world is on the verge of crumbling. Her dad has cancer. Her overprotective brother is falling apart. Dating Miller may be a fake-out, but he’s the one guy who can make her forget about everything—including all the reasons she stayed away from football players. With each heated moment, Miller feels more like a safe place…even though he’s not safe at all.

Now temptation is testing every rule in the game of love. But how long can they go on playing when winning is a harder goal than either of them imagined?

Never in a million years would I have thought, I could actually like the second novel in the series. The first one didn't end the way I wanted it and I was really mad. I didn't want to read about what happens next... As long as Emerson didn't end up with the person I wanted her to, I didn't want anything to do with the Players Game world. And then I saw Infraction up for request on NetGalley. And against my better judgement, I was like: "Hey, it's a Rachel van Dyken book. Come on, give it a try." And hell yeah! I liked this one better than Fraternize, the first book in the series.

Compared to Fraternize there are much more serious topics in this book. Not so much for Miller, but for Kinsey. Sometimes, I wasn't sure whether it was too much, but on the other hand, her past situations made her become the strong character she was during the book. And I think that was okay. I even liked her, though I couldn't really place her in the first book. I wasn't sure what to think of her. Her being the love interest? No way. But it worked out. Of course, it did. We're talking about Rachel van Dyken here. She's fabulous at everything - even creating a story about a character I never would have thought to be a main one.

As for Miller... He's just as awesome as in the first book. He might be one of my favorite Rachel van Dyken characters ever. His friends, such as Sanchez, all remind me so much of the characters from van Dyken's Consequences series. They're all so alike. Which, while reading the book, I wasn't so fond of, to be honest. But looking back, I think it's kind of nice to recognize the author's style. So I'm not complaining.

The plot itself could be told in less than a hundred pages. It's the details that made me like the story so much - as well as Jax' point of view (Kinsey's brother), because let's face it - he's just as awesome as Miller. I wouldn't have minded a 400 pages book about him, either. Because sometimes, his point of view, Kinsey's and Miller's were a bit too much. There was so much going on, so many thoughts the reader had to deal with. But in the end, I think it's what made the story so great to me. It was more mature than Fraternize, more family drama, more health drama, more heartbreak drama (though Fraternize really did a number, too). I liked to read about how the different characters thought about their friendship. Of all the novels I've read, I can safely say that Rachel van Dyken knows how to create a team. There's no other word for the characters' bond - they are a team. (And since this series is about football players, I guess that seals it.)

If you like these types of sports romances and a writing style that makes you laugh and then cry in the next second, you should totally read this one. And you'll need plenty of tissues. Don't say I didn't warn you, because Kinsey and Jax... Damn, these two are so strong. I found myself crying for them several times. I'm glad the author decided to tell their stories.

Dienstag, 2. Januar 2018

Pretty Dead Girls - Monica Murphy

Title: Pretty Dead Girls
Author: Monica Murphy
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

This book! Right from the very first page I knew I'd love it. I didn't give it much thought when I pressed the request buttonon NetGalley. Knowing it's a Monica Murphy book I was curious about what she'd make of this kind of genre. And wooop! I loved this story. Sure, everybody's right saying it reminds them of Pretty Little Liars or Scream Queens (though I haven't watched that show yet), but the author explains she was inspired by the second show and so I believe that settles it.

Truth be told, I think Monica is one of the most fabulous writers out there. I adore her writing style and she makes every single story so believable. I'm not lying when I say that Pretty Dead Girls hooked me right from the first page. There's just something about the way the author creates her characters that I instantly like them. The pace was perfect and I loved the point of views from the killer. The more pages I turned the more curious I got. Around 3/4 of the book, I had a feeling about who might have murdered all these girls and yay, I was right. But... The ending came a bit fast to me. The last three chapters flew by and when I finally finished the book, I still didn't feel like I was done. So that's the only 'bad' thing I have to mention. But as a teen who might read this book, I think it's a good example of showing you should always be your best self and treat others like you want to be treated. Bullying other people is not acceptable.

Other than that I liked that there's a character for everyone. Sure enough Penelope seems like this perfect teenage girl - no flaws, just beauty, smartness and the right amount of friends as well as enemies. Then there's Courtney who's a bitch (and a psycho). Penelope's best friend Dani is one of my favourite characters in the book. I adored her so much. She was this cute little thing, a bit too naive for her own good, but that's probably the reason I liked her so much. I felt so sorry for her, considering everything that happened (or didn't happen) with Brogan. The others girls, I didn't care about so much. But Pretty Dead Girls is mainly all about Penelope, Courtney and Dani anyway... And Cass. Let's not forget about Cass.

When the reader first meets Cass, he's this super weird guy. "Maybe it was him," I thought when we met him after the first girl, Gretchen, turned up dead. At some point of the story you just suspect everyone to be the killer. After a few more chapters I actually found myself liking the idea of him and Penelope together, I even wanted to encourage it. The two made perfect sense in my eyes. And I also liked his past, the way he was connected to the dead girls. It took some time for him to confess everything, though.

Since Cass was allowed to be a weirdo, I'll admit something, too: I liked the two cops. Yes, they are super annoying, or at least one of them is. There's nothing likeable about the two, spying, asking too many questions, etc. But I thought the scenes with them were mostly funny. I'm sure they weren't meant to be, which is why that's most likely only the way I see it and no one else.

I could go on and on about why I liked Pretty Dead Girls as much as I did. It surprised me since I'm not a fan of thrillers at all. I'd rather have you reading this book though instead of me rambling about it more. I can't recommend it enough, so if you're up for a young adult thriller, Monica Murphy is the perfect choice for you.

Samstag, 30. Dezember 2017

The Sweetheart Sham (Southern Charmed #1) - Danielle Ellison

Title: The Sweetheart Sham (Southern Charmed #1)
Author: Danielle Ellison
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.
In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship...and then the boy of her dreams shows up?

Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.

Despite everybody else loving this book, it didn't really do anything for me. Sure, it was cute, but that's it. Everything about this screamed "cute" - the characters, the storyline. None of it was life changing, yet that's okay, because it doesn't have to be. Still I expected a little more, coming to think that the characters didn't even have to deal with problems. Or so it seemed. Georgia Ann sure didn't. Her secret wasn't even hers, it was the secret of her best friend Will, who was by far one of my highlights of the story. Alright, there's that thing with her mother. Thankfully, the author didn't make the book only about that.

Every misunderstanding between Georgia Ann and Beau could have been avoided if he had opened up to her about why he left Culler the first time. That's actually what I hated the most - that both of them weren't honest with each other. They got along fine but still couldn't talk about whatever happened between them after such a long time had passed. I liked the flashbacks, though, because every so often, stories like this one pick up years after the characters have seen each other last without letting the reader get a glimpse of their history.

The whole thing with Will being gay and being too afraid of his family's reaction really got to me. It's sad to think that so many teens out there can relate to him. It shouldn't matter who you love, who you decide to spend your life with. It's nobody's business but yours. And so at times I really felt like hugging Will, but then again I was happy he had a best friend like Georgia Ann who supported him no matter what.

This might be one of my shortest reviews. There's just not a lot that I can say. The publisher is known for cute reads like this one and I'm sorry I didn't like it any more. If you're looking for a sweet second-chance romance taking place in summer and in the south, then I think you'll actually love The Sweetheart Sham.

Montag, 18. Dezember 2017

Tamsin (Hart University #03) - Abigail Strom

Title: Tamsin (Hart University #03)
Author: Abigail Strom
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Victory Editing for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.

It’s junior year at Hart University, and theater major Tamsin Shay knows exactly what she’ll be doing: focusing on acting. She also knows what she won’t be doing.

Guys.

Daniel Bowman knows what he’ll be doing, too. Football, engineering classes, volunteer work with his church. One thing he won’t be doing:

Girls.

When they find themselves in a class together, the arguments begin. He’s conservative; she’s liberal. He’s traditional; she’s not. The only thing they share is their determination not to give into sexual attraction.

What could possibly go wrong?

Never in a million years had I thought, I'd actually like this book as much as I eventually did. Here's what I wrote when I finished Claire, the second book in the series:
"I'll probably 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."
And damn right! Just like I expected. It's not my favorite book to ever exist, but I liked it really much, despite all my fear I'd hate Tamsin's story. I didn't. Probably because of Daniel. He fit her so well. I couldn't imagine a guy that would, but the second Daniel entered the stage (almost literally), I knew he was perfect for her. And my, my. I loved these two together. The ever-lasting discussions about abortion and the pro-life or pro-choice team exhauted me, I'll admit that. But... The author managed great, because she captured both sides so perfectly and there was no right team either way. Both characters had different minds. In the beginning and in the end. No harm done.

Tamsin's such a strong character, I feel so bad for judging her in the beginning. It's what people do, I'm no exception to that. And I think there are more readers out there who aren't sure about this girl. She's different and I wasn't sure whether that's a good thing or not. Having read her story now, I think it's a good thing. Also because her character makes you rethink about your beliefs - the discussion might have annoyed me sometimes, but they also make you think. And I love that it doesn't have to be a Shakespeare book or a book written by any great philosopher to make you do that: Think. This is a new adult book. And while people nowadays tend to hate on that genre, I love how Abigail Strom used her power and wrote this kind of story.

I really believed both characters when it was their turn to speak - their point of views. Which is why I think the author has a great talent. You could always tell the two voices apart, and not just because of their different opinions on things. I feel like I'm repeating myself like an old CD playing the same old song, but I just didn't expect the book to be as good as it was, and now I want to point that out.

What Daniel went through... Oh my goodness. I couldn't hold back the tears. It's so tragic and he's still such a decent guy. And Tamsin's still strong, though so many people tried to bring her down in her past. There could be no better choice for the two characters than each other. Seriously. How did the author come up with that?! There's so much perfection in their tragedy.

While I was annoyed with "The Semester of Us" in Claire, I half expected this book to pick up the topic again. I'm so thankful that didn't happen and Tamsin just stayed true to herself. She's like this rock chick without being ever described as one and Daniel is like the gentleman you read about in books like Jane Austen's. Weird mix, huh? But just give it a go and you'll see for yourself that this is the best possible mix. Of course, they both got flaws... Such as Daniel's friends. Gosh, they're jerks. I didn't like their conversations one bit. What girl would?! And Tamsin sometimes seemed to think she was perfect, like acceting the fact that people slut shamed her made her queen of everything. Now that I think about it, it's really obvious, actually. I didn't like that, but the positive aspects are stronger.

The scenes in acting class were really interesting. And I always love reading about Rikki, because she's most likely my favorite of Abigail Strom's characters. It hasn't been that long since I read Claire, but I loved the reunion feeling I received on my end. Though honestly, and this time I really mean it, I'm not quite sure about the next book in the series - Julia. She's a mystery to me. We haven't even really seen a glimpse of her yet. And now a whole book? Eh. Just not sure.

German Review: Der letzte erste Kuss (Firsts #02) - Bianca Iosivoni

Titel: Der letzte erste Kuss (Firsts #02)
Autorin: Bianca Iosivoni
Bewertung: 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und LYX für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches.
Das größte Risiko, das beste Freunde eingehen können ... Elle und Luke sind beste Freunde - und das ist auch gut so. Zu oft sind sie in der Vergangenheit verletzt worden, als dass sie noch an die große Liebe glauben würden. Doch dann ändert ein leidenschaftlicher Kuss alles. Und auf einmal ist es unmöglich, das heftige Prickeln zwischen ihnen noch länger zu ignorieren. Dabei wissen Elle und Luke, wie viel für sie auf dem Spiel steht. Und sie wissen auch, dass sie ihre Freundschaft mehr denn je brauchen...

Bereits mein drittes Buch von Bianca Iosivoni und es wird immer besser, kann ich sagen. Während ich mich in Der letzte erste Blick schwer mit der Protagonistin tat, fiel es mit mir Elle umso leichter. Ich mochte sie von Beginn an, obwohl ich mir in Band eins der Reihe, niemals hätte vorstellen können, dass sie ihre eigene Geschichte bekommt. Und klar: Probleme mit den Eltern sind nichts neues und komischerweise ist es meist die Mutter, die ihrer Tochter ein schweres Leben bereitet, aber ich fand Elles Hintergrundgeschichte toll. Einfach weil sie so perfekt zu ihr passte und ihr Charakter sich dadurch erklären ließ. Die Autorin hat sich nicht irgendetwas zusammen gesponnen und Probleme erschaffen, wo keine waren. Nein, Elles Vergangenheit stimmte überein mit der Person, die sie zu diesem Zeitpunkt der Geschichte ist.

Mein Dilemma sieht nun folgendermaßen aus: Dylan oder Luke. Dylan ist Protagonist des ersten Buches der First-Reihe und ich dachte wirklich, niemand würde ihn toppen können. Und dann kam Luke. Klingt nicht nur wie der nächster Blockbuster, sondern er ist ein einziger Blockbuster. In Person. Oder in geschriebener Form. Wie auch immer - er war umwerfend. Auch wenn ich manchmal doch sehr das Bedürfnis verspürte, ihn zu schlagen und in Elles Nähe zu schubsen. Aber mit Nähe hatte er eigentlich nie ein Problem. Und ja, das ist ein Tipp. Er und Elle behalten als Paar einen sehr großen Platz in meinem Herzen.

Aber zurück zu der Chemie der beiden. Sie sind beste Freunde. Nicht unbedingt die neuste Idee und nicht unbedingt meine liebste, wenn ich das zugeben darf, aber ich war offen für ihre Geschichte. Und sie war wirklich mehr, als ich mir erhofft hatte. Ihre "Das zählt nicht" Floskeln haben mich zwischenzeitlich zwar ziemlich zur Verzweiflung gebracht, aber es war so, als würde ich tatsächlich über eine Freundschaft zweier Menschen lesen, die ich persönlich kennen könnte. Von denen ich keine Ahnung hätte, was sie hinter den Rücken ihrer Freunde treiben. So mitgefiebert wie bei Elle und Luke habe ich schon lange nicht mehr. Und obwohl Luke so gerne der größe Aufreiser der Welt wäre, ist es einfach nur niedlich, wie er Elle bei ihren Angelegenheiten unterstützt. Ich sage nur: Vier Bundesstaaten. Alle, die Der letzte erste Kuss gelesen haben wissen, was gemeint ist.

Sicherlich gab es Momente, in denen ich mir wünschte, ein winziger Funke von dem Talent der Autorin würde auf mich abfärben. Ich finde, die Stimme, die sie ihren Geschichten des New Adult Genres verleiht einfach grandios. Es ist schön zu sehen, dass auch deutsche Autoren das Genre mögen und nicht nur einen billigen Abklatsch amerikanischer Literatur produzieren. Stattdessen merkt man mit jedem Satz, mit jeder Beschreibung der Charaktere, wie viele Gedanken Bianca in die Entwicklung und die Hintergrundgeschichte investiert.

Das Wiedersehen mit den Charakteren aus Was auch immer geschieht hat ein Lächeln auf meine Lippen gezaubert. Ich habe mir zwar ein eigenes Buch zu den Nebencharakteren gewünscht, aber da man nicht alles bekommen kann, was man will, gebe ich mich durchaus zufrieden. Und Mr. Cuddles! Oh, diese Katze hat es mir angetan. Ich hoffe, meine eigene Katze nimmt es mir nicht übel, aber ich bin schon ein kleines bisschen verliebt in Mr. Cuddles. Alleine die Art, wie sie Luke nicht leiden kann, trieb mir teilweise Tränen in die Augen vor Lachen. Und für alle die, die weiterhin auf Streiche zwischen Dylan und Emery hoffen, sei gesagt, dass diese nicht zu kurz kommen. Im Grunde ist es nicht nur eine Geschichte um Elle und Luke, sondern um die gesamte Clique. Die Einblicke gehen viel tiefer und ich bin sehr gespannt auf Tate, muss ich sagen. Was ich nach dem ersten Band niemals vermutet hätte.

Ich würde beinahe sagen, dass mir Der letzte erste Kuss einen kleinen Tick besser gefallen hat, als Der letzte erste Blick. Die Sorgen der Charaktere gingen mir wirklich nahe, auch wenn Dylans Geschichte aus Band eins nicht zu unterschätzen ist. Aber Luke und Elle haben es mir bereits als Freunde angetan, alles andere war für mich das reinste Glück. Humor, Trauer, Charme... Alles findet irgendwo seinen Platz in der Geschichte um die beiden. Definitiv ein Buch, dass ich sogar ein zweites Mal lesen würde.

Montag, 11. Dezember 2017

German Review: Berühre mich. Nicht. - Laura Kneidl

Titel: Berühre mich. Nicht.
Autorin: Laura Kneidl
Bewertung: 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und LYX für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches.
Sie dachte, dass sie niemals lieben könnte. Doch dann traf sie ihn ...

Als Sage in Nevada ankommt, besitzt sie nichts – kein Geld, keine Wohnung, keine Freunde. Nichts außer dem eisernen Willen, neu zu beginnen und das, was zu Hause geschehen ist, zu vergessen. Das ist allerdings schwer, wenn einen die Erinnerungen auf jedem Schritt begleiten und die Angst immer wieder über einen hereinbricht. So auch, als Sage ihren Job in einer Bibliothek antritt und dort auf Luca trifft. Mit seinen stechend grauen Augen und seinen Tätowierungen steht er für alles, wovor Sage sich fürchtet. Doch Luca ist nicht der, der er auf den ersten Blick zu sein scheint und als es Sage gelingt, hinter seine Fassade zu blicken, lässt dies ihr Herz gefährlich schneller schlagen ...

Es ist sehr schwer, seine Gedanken zu diesem Buch zu sammeln, wenn man in Wahrheit doch nur schreien möchte. Die Geschichte um Luca und Sage hat mich zerbrochen - und verheulte Augen stehen mir absolut nicht, Frau Kneidl. Und nun dieses Warten auf Januar... Die reinste Qual.

Andererseits denke ich mir häufiger, dass es genau diese Emotionen sind, die einen wissen lassen, man las ein gutes Buch. Denn eine Geschichte, die einen kalt lassen würde, würde einen nicht unbedingt die Tage auf Buch Nummer zwei - Verliere mich. Nicht. - zählen lassen. Obwohl ich sagen muss, dass es durchaus Dinge gab, die mich störten oder zur Verzweiflung brachten. Beispiel: Das Ende. Es ging mir alles etwas zu rasant vorwärts gegen Schluss der Geschichte. Ich wollte Sage schütteln und anschreien, denn ihr Motiv verstand ich absolut nicht. Bis heute. Und wahrscheinlich wird es mir selbst bei Erscheinen von Band zwei nicht ganz schlüssig sein.

Die Romantik. Unverkennbar zwischen Sage und Luca, wobei Luca wohl eher der einfühlsame Part ist als Sage. Wer hätte das gedacht? Charakterwandel, hallo. Aber es steht ihm. Das kritisiere ich gar nicht. Was ich allerdings vermisste, war das Feuerwerk, das ich spüren wollte. Es existierte zwischen den beiden, keine Frage, aber in mir tobte es kaum. Durchaus schade, denn ich schätze es sehr, wenn zwischen den Charakteren Funken fliegen und es mir genauso ergeht, weil ich mich derart freue. Ich habe mich für die beiden gefreut, aber die Schritte, die sie gegangen sind, um an einen bestimmten Punkt zu kommen, gefielen mir beinahe mehr, als die Tatsache, dass sie sich annäherten.

Meine absolute Schwachstelle galt der Arbeit der beiden: die Bibliothek. Mein Herz schlägt immer noch höher, denn ich liebe diesen Ort. Und ich liebe es, über diesen Ort zu lesen. Keine Überraschung also, dass ich freudig aufschrie, als Luca und Sage dort ihrer Arbeit nachgingen. Wobei man zunächst etwas stutzt, dass dieser Ort wirklich der richtige für Luca sein soll. Aber je tiefer man in die Geschichte hineintaucht, desto komplexer wird sein Charakter und es steht außer Frage, dass er nicht nur ein Bad Boy ist, sondern eine Schwäche für Bücher besitzt. Geht es noch perfekter in New Adult Büchern?! I like!

Zugegeben, meine Erwartungen an das Buch waren extrem hoch und deshalb dauerte es eine gefühlte Ewigkeit, bis ich wirklich warm mit der Geschichte wurde, was mir im Nachhinein sehr leid tut, aber meine Skepsis siegte am Anfang. Ab der Hälfte allerdings verschlang ich jedes einzelne Wort nur noch, weshalb mich das Ende - dieses Ende - die Schultern sacken ließ. Es ist also nichts für Leser, die eine abgeschlossene Geschichte haben möchten. Aber ich würde wirklich jedem Luca und Sage ans Herz legen, was demnach bedeutet, sich bis Januar gedulden zu müssen.

Sages Probleme sind keine neuen im New Adult Bereich. Und ehrlich gesagt ist ihre Hintergrundgeschichte eine derer, über die ich gar nicht gerne lese. Aber... Laura Kneidl hat es geschafft, dass ich nicht durchgängig mit den Augen rollte und mir wünschte, ich hätte das Buch niemals begonnen. Die Geschehnisse rundum Sage waren nicht überzogen, das fand ich sehr erfrischend. Ich glaubte, ihre Angst zu spüren, weil sie derart real erschien. Und die Angst drängelt sich nicht in den Vordergrund, dass der Leser erstickt wird. Die Autorin hat genau das richtige Maß gefunden. Was mich nur noch neugieriger macht, ob wir im zweiten Teil vielleicht genauso mehr über Luca erfahren, obwohl sein Charakter weniger verhalten mit seinen Problemen und seiner Vergangenheit umgeht.

Genug erzählt und irgendwie doch nicht. Ich fand Berühre mich. Nicht. klasse und grauenvoll und super toll und alles zusammen - ich fühlte alles. Und meinerseits ist das ein großes Kompliment. Ich freue mich riesig auf Band zwei und bin gespannt, wie es mit Luca und Sage weitergeht. Plus, ob April (Lucas Schwester) eventuell auch eine Geschichte bekommt?!

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.