Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

A Promise Kept - Anissa Garcia

Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Anissa Garcia
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and AG Romance Reads, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Closing her heart a long time ago, Grace Clark made a promise she’s vowed to keep. Having Hollywood heartthrob Evan Matthews move in next door with his alluring good looks, charisma, wit, and sexy smile is a temptation that runs the risk of compromising the importance of that promise.

Evan is drawn to his new neighbor. Grace is the exact opposite of the women he normally encounters. Enticing, down-to-earth, and confident, she captivates him. She has no problems facing off with Evan, and he soon realizes Grace is much more than just a challenge. He wants to prove himself to her.

Grace can see the man beyond the actor, and with more than just her pride at stake, she needs to hold tight to her promise before Evan breaks through all her walls, exposing her heart.

I've never been a big fan of books that include celebrities as main characters. Of course, now you're thinking, "Why did she decide to request this one then?" It's more about the story line that had me hooked. And I don't regret requesting A Promise Kept at all, because fortunately, Evan being an actor wasn't the main part of the story. Not everything revolved around that. It's a topic, yes, but there's more to it than his job.

I think all girls will be able to relate to Grace. At least a little bit. Or a bit more. She's a writer, which makes it so hard to hate her (though there is absolutely no reason for that anyway) and has got some insecurities like the rest of us. She's one of these real characters. You kind of get the impression the written story is based on somebody's real life, like someone told Anissa Garcia her story and she decided to write it down. I was impressed with that, because I completely forgot this was fiction. There's this one special event in her life, or let's say there are two special events in her life, that made a deep impact on her. For the worse, I mean. She still can't get over these two things that happened in her life, even after all these years.

And then there is Evan, her new neigbor, who challanges everything she ever believed in or promised, for that matter. Right from the start, his intentions with her are pretty clear. He doesn't even care about hiding his feelings for her and is one of the most patient guys I have ever read about. He's too sweet to be real (well, duh, he is fictional). He suspects there must be more to Grace than she reveals and is curious to find out all about her. The chemistry between these two is unbelievable. Well done, Anissa Garcia!

Also, you won't get tired of reading about Evan's and Grace's friends. They are all so hilarious and if they'll ever get their own voices, I will definitely most likely read them.

A Promise Kept is a story for the heart, whether you want a book that breaks it or mends it. Doesn't matter. Both things will happen, I can tell you that much. You'll feel sorry for Grace, you'll want her to make out with Evan already, you'll want to kiss Evan yourself and you will want to slap him (oh, how I wanted to slap him because he couldn't see what he did wrong in a certain situation). These two characters fit with each other so perfectly, it's hard to see straight from all the chemistry between them.

Donnerstag, 24. November 2016

The Hard Count - Ginger Scott

Title: The Hard Count
Author: Ginger Scott
Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to Ginger Scott for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.

West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.

I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.

In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.

When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
Ginger Scott is a genius. That sums it up. Enough words. My review ends here.

She's one of the best authors out there. I wish I had any physical copy of hers on my shelf, but unfortunately, I only read her books as eBooks. Shame on me, right?! There are stories that need to be on your shelf, and Ginger happens to write these stories for me. Her characters are always so complex, so real. I never once felt like they couldn't exist in real life, too. They're like friends. Or at least let me say they don't feel like strangers to you when you're reading the books.

Same goes for Nico and Reagan. I can't say they're my favourite characters Ginger created, but this story needs to be read. It's different from her previous books (the ones I have read) and yet you will recognize her voice anywhere. While her other books belong into the new adult genre, this one focuses on young adult. And I loved that. Ginger's voice fits so perfectly into that genre - for these deep, life-changing young adult books you long for. Her characters always go through a development that works for new adult, yes, perfectly, of course... But it's incredibly amazing for young adult books. Their change as a person is so important and I am glad there are authors that manage to find the right words, the right pace. Ta-dah: Ginger Scott.

This is actually a secret love letter to the author, if you can't tell already, haha. It's weird - the more I love a book, the harder it is for me to write a review. One that makes sense, that is.

I know adults that aren't behaving as adult-ish as Nico and Reagan did in the book. And that made them seem real to me, as well, because these days, young teens carry around so many burdens on their shoulders, you quickly find yourself judging them (or being judged) without really knowing them. Both of their stories couldn't be more different from one another, but none of them is less important than the other one.

I can say it out loud now - I wish I was more like Reagan. She seemed like such a strong, independent woman, especially when she and Nico fought in class. I loved reading about those "discussions". There was a smile tugging at my lips. So many scenes caused me to smile and others caused me to silently cry. I shouldn't be surprised. Tears are always predictable when it comes to Ginger's books - no matter if they are happy tears or sad ones.

What's different from her other books is also the point of view. It's mainly written in Reagan's point of view, but every once in a while, you get to read about Nico's past in his point of view. I was excited about reading these chapters. I craved them. I wanted to get inside Nico's head, I assumed it'd be so important to understand him, get a good view on his thoughts. Of all the guys Ginger Scott has created so far, I think Nico might be my favourite. I didn't always understand his motives, but I really, really, really loved the way he treated Reagan and was there for her, though Reagan wanted to be the one for him. Tell me, why did I say they weren't my favourite characters earlier in this review? I can't remember why I thought that. But it's just too hard to choose, so I'd rather not.

Freitag, 18. November 2016

The Two-Night One-Night Stand - Ryan Ringbloom

Title: Two-Night One-Night Stand
Author: Ryan Ringbloom
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
A girl. A guy. And a talking peen.

Holly Martin isn't the type to have a one-night stand. But a crushing break up, a sexy blind date, and a few shots of Fireball is about to change all that.

Matthew Daniels is an introverted PA who claims he’s too busy to date. But that doesn’t stop his older brothers from encouraging him to let loose and get out there, because as they put it - the right girl won’t just walk up to you.

But what if she does?

Is it possible for a one-night stand that happens twice, to actually become more? Could two nights of reckless debauchery actually lead to true love? Or is this just another case of a whisky induced disaster?

Normally, I refuse to read books that include adult characters with a job. I am more of a young adult or new adult reader, porbably because of my age. However, Two-Night One-Night Stand was rated as new adult, which is why I requested it in the first place. And wow, I am so glad it was rated that way or else I would have missed a damn good novel.

It's one of the funniest books I have ever written. The author did an amazing job at that. Some jokes were obvious, others weren't and you had to think twice, which was fun. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter did their job just fine... They were hilarious and made you laugh out loud. I adored these!

Back to the original story... Holly is supposed to be matched up with one of her friend's brother at a bar. Until he shows up, she decides to get a couple of drinks. And when he finally shows up, she's more loosened up than in a while. Only the guy she talks to isn't the one she thinks he is and the guy - Matthew - doesn't bother explaining the situation. Instead, he lets Holly think she's Nick - the guy she's supposed to meet. That leads to a lot of drama, a lot of problems, a lot of hilarious scenes and more than once you'll want to slap both characters.

Oh, I wanted to beat Holly up. Like, real bad. She wasn't my most favourite character in the beginning of the book and after a while she was just plain annoying. While Matthew was such a cutie, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him though he made a mistake in the first place. But compared to Holly's 24/7 complaining about everything, telling herself she is a bitch (I couldn't agree more, by the way!) and then seeing herself as a victim again (and going around in circles forever), he was the better character. And even though I am the one complaining about Holly now, I wouldn't have wanted her to be any different or else I might have not liked the novel as much as I did.

To be honest, the plot left me hanging around the end of the book. I didn't like the scenes or the settings as much as in the beginning, but that's probably because it got more serious and the characters wouldn't have appeared that way cranking one joke after another.

All in all, I enjoyed the story so much. The idea was fabulous and the written thing was a lot better than other, similar books. After reading a lot of emotional and dramatic novels, this was something refreshing that I can definitely recommend to anyone looking for a little fun with still enough romance included.

Mittwoch, 9. November 2016

Once Confronted - Lynne Stringer

Title: Once Confronted
Author: Lynne Stringer
Rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Rhiza Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her? Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness?

The first chapter promised something big. I hoped the book would be something deep and poetic, a story to keep in mind forever. And the writing was good at first, but soon enough the main character - Maddy - annoyed me. I probably shouldn't say that, considering the things she has been through when that one thing happened, but I can't help it. Her life was rushed after that, the author described it really fast. I can see why, there isn't a lot to tell in between, but still...

And what the author did to Evan, her co-worker and the guy who's been through the same as Maddy and was there when she was... I was shocked. I couldn't believe how he turned out. He wouldn't deal what had happened to both of them. I wanted him to stay the cute guy that Maddy crushed on. I wanted them to be the perfect couple. Of course, that would have been boring and too predictable. Maybe it wouldn't have fitted the story either, I don't know. To be honest, his change wasn't even that unrealistic. I can see the author really thought about the story and researched and all that stuff. It was well thought-through, but just not my favourite plot ever.

Luckily, there was Jeremy who saved the story for me. A bit. In the beginning of the story, you won't think you'll ever grow to like him, believe me. But then Maddy decides to take a big step ahead, to find some kind of closure for herself after everything that happened and that still haunts her. She wants to draw a line and that's when Jeremy steps into the picture. So, while Evan changed for worse, Jeremy changed for the better. I liked that change far better than the first I spoke about. I would have loved to read more of him, though we get to read plenty (more than of Evan, that's for sure).

It was really dramatic, which makes sense since the book deals with a dramatic topic. If you want to read about unicorns and rainbows, I suggest you don't pick Once Confroted up. It won't be for you. I am not even sure if it was for me. That's why my rating is a low one. I feel pretty bad about that, but as always, I can guarantee it wasn't a bad book. I just wasn't my kind of book and I would have dealt with some things different than the main character or the author herself did.

Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

The Summer Before Forever - Melissa Chambers

Title: The Summer Before Forever
Author: Melissa Chambers
Rating: 4 - 4.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.

Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.

But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again...

I'll admit, I took my time to start reading this book. I have no idea why. Maybe its length intimidated me. I was busy, I knew I couldn't read it fast and sometimes, I just happen to like quick reads better than thick books. But... When I finally decided to read it, I couldn't put it down and so I was done pretty fast, too. What a shame, because The Summer Before Forever is definitely one of my favourite books this year. It's everything you want for a young adult book.

Of course, it's no big surprise you'll fall in love with Chloe and Landon if you're already a fan of stepbrother/stepsister romance. Do we even know what's so fascinating about it? There's just something about these kind of romances that's thrilling. At least in books. Not sure what I'd think of it in real life. But real life is hardly ever as beautiful as books or it's hard to look at it that way. Written words can be much more powerful than what you see with the eye, so maybe all love stories have its charm because of that.

There are a lot of young adult books that try too hard, some focus on the wrong things, some are too light. While light YA books can be enjoyable, I think they desperately need a depth too. Or maybe it depends on the reader's mood. The topics in The Summer Before Forever aren't too dramatic, it's nothing the reader won't be able to deal with. I can't stop gushing about this book since I loved it so much. And whenever that happens, it's so hard finding the right words to describe it, to tell what it's about without sounding too childish. I'm always afraid to give away any spoilers, so I hardly ever discuss the characters themselves. The temptation of revealing too much is very strong.

What I can tell is that Chloe and Landon are some of the cutest characters I have ever read about. I especially loved a certain music scene you'll grow to love too. I smiled so much during that scene. The two made me smile so much in general. Also, I wasn't as annoyed with Chloe's best friend as I usually am with the heorine's friend. Her being part of a talent show on TV was also something different. Can't say I'm a fan of those in real life and enjoy reading about these, but luckily, the focus is on Chloe. And Landon. Don't forget Landon.

He's like this super character. He's definitely not bad boy, but he isn't exactly a nerd either. And yes, that works. He's something in between, just a regular nice guy. And boy, that doesn't happen too often, right?! Most of the time, the guy is either super bad, screwing his way around town, campus or whatever, or he's a nerd who might have had a girlfriend in the past but is super shy now, rather drawing comics or playing video games. Since it's so hard to find these regular nice guys in real life, it might explain why we're not reading about these guys in books more often. But we need those! I need more Landons in books. All you authors out there - read The Summer Before Forever and create a guy like him. Teenage girls need to read about them all, not just the bad boys (though they are described quite yummy too).

Also, I thought the relationship between Chloe and her dad was rather interesting. It's not the first time a girl and her dad don't really get along, but I liked the way the author dealt with it. Their story was present, but not too much, not dragged or anything like that. It made sense. It made me sad... Some things aren't just always sunny, right?

So, coming to think of it, there are tons of reasons I loved this book that I can't name. If this review hasn't made you curious about it by now, I am sorry. I can guarantee that it's one of my favourite young adult books this year. The writing is so good, so realistic. The story isn't unusual and yet it felt so different from everything else out there. I think an author needs to be really talented in order to achieve that.

Montag, 17. Oktober 2016

Hard To Fall (Take The Fall #04) - Marquita Valentine

Title: Hard To Fall (Take The Fall #04)
Author: Marquita Valentine
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
As a hardworking, hard-partying firefighter, Hayden Walker values his career and his freedom. But as the eldest son of a U.S. senator, he agreed long ago to follow in his father's footsteps and run for office, and that means settling down and marrying the picture-perfect wife. Hayden just isn't ready for that sort of commitment . . . not with women like beautiful, curvy Saylor Dean—the naughty bridesmaid he recognizes the morning after his buddy's wedding—tempting Hayden to stay single forever.

The unwanted love child of a well-known politician, Saylor has always felt isolated and alone, her only solace the animal shelter she runs in Forrestville. Then she meets Hayden at her best friend's wedding. During their impulsive and unforgettable night together, Saylor feels desired like never before—only to wake up and find that Hayden doesn't remember his drunken proposal, or their hasty marriage, or her. But when the truth comes out, Saylor finds it's a lot harder to fall out of love than in love.
Considering how the main character's family is part of the politics, I feared I wouldn't like this book when I started reading it. And yes, I didn't understand the political terms, not quite sure whether that might have been different had I read the book in German, but I'm glad it wasn't all about that. Honored to have received two other books in this series before their official release as well, I think Hard To Fall is my favourite of them.

I didn't like Hayden. In the other books, I mean. Whenever he was mentioned, I nearly gagged and hoped he wouldn't get his own book. But I am really happy he did. He was unlike what I assumed he would be, which kind of confused me. In the first chapter, he was a real arrogant snob and then he suddenly changed. Dunno what was up with that, but I ignored that, because I just loved his and Saylor's story too much to complain or even give it a second thought. So, dear authors, please write more about firefighters. But please don't insert any huge fire that almost has them killed, that is so predictable. I'm glad Marquita didn't do that. She wrote down the issues of being a firefighter and how it scares the people close to them. That, I can handle. Hours spent in a hospital while the fiancé is crying her eyes out? Not so much.

While reading Eva's book in this series, I got the impression the animal shelter was mentioned a bit more often than now. I only realized that now, writing the review. That's a bit weird, considering how the shelter really belongs to Saylor and it hardly ever felt like that now. But I don't mind. Probably because I have read two prequels and know the story.

Now speaking about Saylor... She is such a cutie. I was pleased to read about nerd things. More romances or any books for that matter, should contain nerdy things like Superman or comic conventions and such. I liked that. She was described as a character I can see myself being friends with and that feeling is one of the best while reading. Seriously. There is nothing better than feeling a connection toward the characters. I think the authors aren't truly aiming for that, but when it happens, when they read a review that says these things, they are smiling about it. Marquita can definitely smile now, haha.

Back to the story, I first thought that some pages were cut off, because suddenly Saylor spoke about Hayden as if they've had something going on, but you never got to read about that. It's explained later on, but it kept me wondering whether my version of the book had an error, haha. It didn't. Still, I would have liked to read about that certain part. However, I guess it makes sense for the author to leave that part out and focus on what happens after that event.

So, if you have read the sequels in this series and happened to like them, I suggest you continue and read Hard To Fall, too. And if you haven't read a Marquita Valentine book yet, Hayden and Saylor might be the ideal couple to start.

Montag, 3. Oktober 2016

German Review: Der Sommer, der uns trennte

Titel: Der Sommer, der uns trennte
Originaltitel: The Leaving Season
Autorin: Cat Jordan
Bewertung: 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und HarperCollins Germany für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches vorab der Veröffentlichung.
Die Gedanken wirbeln erbarmungslos durch Middies Kopf. Wenn es stimmt, bricht ihre Welt zusammen. Gemeinsam aufs College gehen, verloben, heiraten, all das würde es nie mehr geben. Niemand scheint Middie in ihrem Schmerz zu verstehen. Bis auf Lee – Nates besten Freund, mit dem sie nie gut klargekommen ist. Aber er ist der Einzige, an den sie sich anlehnen kann. Und plötzlich erwächst aus der gemeinsamen Sorge etwas Neues...

Zugegeben, zu Beginn fand ich mich schwer in dieses Buch hinein. Alles war zu perfekt - die Personen, die Umgebung, einfach alles. Ich bin kein großer Fan von perfekten Welten in Büchern, deshalb spielte ich nach den ersten paar Seiten schon mit dem Gedanken, es an die Seite zu legen und mich einem anderen Buch zu widmen. Doch wie es öfters der Fall ist, war es genau richtig, mich dagegen zu entscheiden. Denn als der Ball erstmal ins Rollen kam, die perfekte Welt erschüttert wurde und die Autorin dies so talentiert in Worte formte, war ich hin und weg.

Manche Geschichten sind dazu gemacht, in ihrer Originalsprache gelesen zu werden. Ich bin dankbar, dass NetGalley es mir ermöglicht hat, ein digitales Exemplar auf Deutsch lesen zu dürfen, zumal es seit Anfang des Jahres auf meiner Liste stand (damals hat mich der englische Klappentext auf Goodreads sehr angesprochen), doch ich weiß bereits jetzt, ich werde Der Sommer, der uns trennte noch einmal auf Englisch lesen. Emotionen, Gefühle und perfekt angewandte Wörter verfehlten definitiv nicht ihre Wirkung, nein, aber diese Art von Geschichte verlangt einfach danach, noch einmal im Original gelesen zu werden.

Nachdem Nate verschwand, was niemals überzogen vorkam, im Gegensatz zu einigen anderen Büchern, in denen die Hauptperson plötzlich verstirbt, nahm die Geschichte eine sehr interessante Wendung. Wir lernten Lee kennen, Nates besten Freund, der bisher überhaupt nicht viel mit Middie zu tun hatte. Dass er sie Yoko nennt, sagt alles. Aber jetzt, da Nate weg ist, hat Middie das Gefühl, Lee mag möglicherweise der Einzige sein, der sie ansatzweise versteht - der, der ihr keine sinnlosen Tipps gibt, ihr keine aufmunternden Worte schenkt, die sowieso nur gutgemeint sind, aber nicht realistisch erscheinen. Er ist einfach da. Und oh Gott - ich liebte die beiden so sehr. Alles, was sie gemeinsam unternahmen, fieberte ich entgegen. Jeder noch so kleine Wortwechsel wurde von mir aufgesaugt und in mein Herz geschlossen. Bei einigen Charaktere schließt man direkt ins Herz und hier war dies der Fall.

Die Autorin setzt sich gekonnt mit Verlust und Hoffnung auseinander, was anderen leider viel zu selten gelingt. Niemals erscheint etwas überzogen oder übertrieben, es ist alles komplett realistisch gehalten. Die Geschichte zeigt traurige Seiten auf und wundervoll süße, beides fabelhaft miteinander komibinert. Ich mag wie ein verliebter Teenager klingen, der sich die Welt schön redet, aber ich komme nicht über das Schwärmen für Der Sommer, der uns trennte hinweg. Es funktioniert einfach nicht, weshalb es mir auch so schwer fällt, klare Gedanken zu fassen und eine ordentliche Rezension zu formulieren.

Wrecked - Maria Padian

Title: Wrecked
Author: Maria Padian
Rating: 3 - 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Everyone has a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shellshocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school's investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible—especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Granted, I almost quit reading Wrecked after a couple of pages. And then again after a couple more, because I didn't see a story happening. At first, it tip-toed around nothing and things only take up on speed around half of the book. However, I didn't quit and I think teenagers, especially college students, should read this book. It contains a topic - rape - that is always up-to-date.

The author choose to write her novel in third person singular. Normally, I struggle reading those perspectives, because it makes me feel less of a reader that escapes into a story. It makes it harder for me to connect with the characters. Truth be told, I am kind of glad I didn't connect or relate to any of the characters in Wrecked and only concentrated on the things the story made me feel and think of. Not sure whether Maria always writes in third person, but it fitted this story perfectly, creating the needed distance to the characters, just telling a story.

I especially liked the short tellings about that night after each chapter. It made you doubt the whole thing, whether the guy Jenny accused of rape really did it or not. It captured the whole blurry college life perfectly, or at least how I imagine it. This perspective gave the book a new vibe, leaving the reader with goosebumps more often than not.

Yet, I didn't like the time jumps. Whenver Haley or Richard's chapters were up, we would read about the here and now and suddenly we were taken back to another conversation, to another event, that happened either in the past or just a few hours ago. That happened a lot, almost every chapter. And while I got used to it after a while, it still annoyed me. That is my opinion. I'm sure the author intended something here, but I just couldn't see it.

Basically, this book revolves around the question whether Jordan raped Jenny or not, whether he now bullies her on the Internet and whether he has got to face the consequences or not. Being a fan of the TV show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, I always had that show on my mind while reading the book. I couldn't help it. You know, this is a very sensitive topic and I've got to admit that every once in a while I doubted something ever happened to Jenny. But I loved how detailed the author's work was. She wrote about friends Jenny went to a party with, for example, and then how these friends later tried to convince Jenny's advisor (that's Haley, her roommate) not to mention anything about them being together at the party. They abondened her and were too selfish to even realise. All they ever said was that Jenny's an adult and wouldn't need babysitting. Oh my! Like, the author created a really thrilling story, because things like that, mainly everything the people and witnesses say, makes you mad. It makes you want to crawl inside the book, grip them by the shoulders and shake them until they admit their mistakes.

And that's the important thing here. I don't know whether Maria intended on leaving a statement, a message with this book, but to me, it really does have an important message and that's why my rating might be low, but I still think very highly of Wrecked. SPEAK UP! That's what this book should teach you. Watch, report and have someone's back, not only your own. Rather often, you'll find yourself asking how you would have reacted if Jenny was your friend and was raped while you originally should have been with her at a party. This book is the perfect opportunity to reflect yourself. It also makes you see how much the victim has to go through and how easy it unfortunately is for the attacker to get away with what he (or she) has done. Something has got to change, so speak up!

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.