Donnerstag, 21. April 2016

Dreaming of Antigone - Robin Bridges

Title: Dreaming of Antigone
Author: Robin Bridges
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its release.
“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

I had a lot of time to read this, yes, and I only managed to read it now that it got published. Can I say I was scared? Because I was. It's been some time since I read a regular young adult book. I'm much more of a new adult reader these days, so whenever I browse through the titles in the YA section, I get a little scared that my love for this genre will fade or something. Which won't happen - I hope. But maybe if it eventually does, it's not because of Dreaming of Antigone. That book was seriously good!

People will say this book was good, but I think it was better than good (even though I just used the same word to describe it). Reading the first few chapters I was almost disappointed by how short they were, by how few things I understood. Nothing made sense to me. I got that Andria's sister had died and also because it had to do with drugs, but still, I missed the deeper meaning. And then, about 10% in, I was flashed. I was amazed. I don't even know why. Nothing spectacular happened, or maybe it did?! I think it was the mentioning of poems and that cute thing Andria had going on with a mysterious person. In class, she'd scribble a poem on her desk and when she returned the next day, for a new lesson, there'd be an answer - a new poem, scribbled down by a mysterious person. Oh, that was so cute!

Yet, sure... There was this Antigone topic that Andria discussed in class. Never having heard of that before (at least not that I remember and certainly not in English), I was lost. I love Greek mythology, so I guess sooner or later I'll find myself in a library and search for Antigone and all the others, but at this point, the talks, the discussions and the thoughts didn't make sense to me. I wish they had. New idea - read Dreaming of Antigone again when found out more about the Greek story behind it.

Reading about loss can be depressing (and oh was it depressing when Sophie, Andria's dog started feeling bad. I lost my cat this year, so that explains why I almost cried at that scene). But I liked the way Robin Bridges dealt with this topic. She didn't make it all depressive, the book wasn't all dark. Finding out the truth behind Iris' - Andria's sister's - death was shocking, yes, but I never felt overwhelmed by any darkness or something. I don't know how else to describe it. The balance was a good one, I guess that's what I want to say.

Then there is Alex. Alex was Iris' boyfriend. They did the drugs together and when Iris died, Alex had to go to rehab. The book begins when he is back - and clean for that matter. He carries a lot of guilt with him and Andria blames him for her sister's death. But the more time they are forced to spend together, the more do their feelings shift and soon enough Andria finds out that Alex isn't the one to blame for what happened. But no matter how much she likes him, is it really right to fall for your sister's boyfriend even if she's gone? Oh, I love stories like that - when the sibling of the one who died falls for the former boyfriend/girlfriend. Only now I realize it's most likely always a sister that dies. (Hey there, authors. Please include a brother too!)

Being a (wannabe) writer myself, I imagine it to be really hard coming up with a story around the relationship of the characters. I liked how Robin Bridges made Andria and Alex bump into each other when they did. I especially loved the stargazing scene at a party they both attended. That was really sweet. And that's exactly what Alex is. Sweet! He's super adorable. One of my favourite boys from any YA books I have read so far, gotta admit that.

One last thing about Andria's friends, who were friends of Iris as well. I think I'll read Natalie's book that is coming out in September, but I can't promise I'll like her. Or Trista for that matter. And I'd just rather forget about Caleb than consider him changing to become a better person. Andria and Alex were my favourite characters in this book. And Sophie. But even Andria's mom... I didn't like her. All she cared for were other people's opinions. I'm glad her feelings toward Alex changed with time, though.

Re-reading this review, I think I should take a class on writing a useful review, but this is how I see it. This is how I felt while reading Dreaming of Antigone, which developed into one of my favourite read this year pretty fast.

Undecided - Julianna Keyes

Title: Undecided
Author: Julianna Keyes
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Patchwork Press - Cooperative for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its release.
Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either. But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

Of course I didn't manage to read this book on time. As always. Or quite often, to say the least. I am sorry for that, but you may wanna know that I mentioned this book to a lot of friends and other people and that was even before I started reading it. So I made some promo. I hope it gets picked up after my recommendation. Hope I could help a little with that.

I expected to read about a triangle romance, considering the cover and parts of the description. However, it doesn't include any triangle romance, a bit of triangle flirt maybe, but no romances. Definitely not that. And though I finished this book a few days ago, I can't decide whether I'm glad about that or not. I am undecided, so to speak, haha.

I found the female main character a bit annoying. I gotta admit that. Sure, she wasn't all that bad, but I am actually very happy we don't get a point of view from her former self - she used to be kinda like a party animal. When the author described that certain time of her life, I found myself being relieved Julianna didn't decide to write a whole book about that time. I wouldn't have liked it. Like, at all. I can see why some people behave like that and I also accept the fact that authors want their characters to be a little challenging and not too plain, but I couldn't have releated to that girl. And I think relating to characters is always an important thing too. Anyway, I couldn't relate to Nora - the character - in a lot of scenes, so there goes that theory...

Now, I really, honestly and seriously disliked her former friend Marcela. Nora still works with her, but she's mad after Marcela didn't stand up for her when being arrested and so on. It's complicated. Whatever. She seemed to be even more of a slut than Nora. (Alright, it's out there, I'm sorry. That's my opinion. I'm normally not a judging person and I'm not saying the character was badly written or anything. She was just a lot to handle for me. They all were.) The funny thing, Marcela secretly likes Nate - their boss - but would never admit it. And Nate's also in love with Marcela, not so secretly. But since Marcela doesn't give him that time of the day, Nate starts dating someone else. This is just a side story of the actual one, but I kind of enjoyed reading about the two. Do they get their own story? I would read that, no matter how much I dislike Marcela.

So, now off to the main part. The romance. Crosbie has a certain reputation, just like his best friend Kellan. But Nora has been there, done that and though she think Crosbie is handsome and very attractive, she doesn't want to end up as a Crossbabe. That's what the girls Crosbie slept with are called. (I liked that, by the way.) There are many situations in which is clear that Nora and Crosbie are attrachted to each other. And when they finally both realize this, there is still a secret Nora keeps that could ruin everything between them.

The secret Nora keeps isn't so secret. I mean, it is to Crosbie, but us readers find out pretty fast. Within the first chapter actually. I could complain about this, but I won't. Simply because finding out so soon didn't bother me. At least the author didn't want to drag this into eternity. I hate when that happens. However, I was annoyed by how many times Nora pointed out she didn't wanna be a Crossbabe. Alright, girl, we understood you the first time you mentioned that. Sometimes, she appeared to be a little naive, which was weird concerning her previous behaviour. Women, huh? haha.

All in all I really liked this book. I liked the author's writing, it was great! And the story might not have been mysterious or something like that, but it was fun to read. I liked the costumes described for the Halloween party and there were tons of other scenes that I enjoyed. Also, I am desperate for a Kellan book. I need one so bad! Forget about Crosbie! Once you finish reading Undecided, you'll want a Kellan.

Montag, 18. April 2016

After We Fall (Take The Fall #03) - Marquita Valentine

Title: After We Fall (Take The Fall #03)
Author: Marquita Valentine
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
A tough cop with an even tougher past, Hunter Sloan has never let anyone stop him from getting what he wants—and he wants Evangeline Ambrose bad. With her gentle curves and raw vulnerability, Hunter's beautiful, mysterious new neighbor awakens his protective side. Determined to do right by a woman who's gone through hell and back, Hunter could be the one to take away the pain—so long as his own secrets don't sink their relationship before it begins.

Having escaped an abusive marriage, Evangeline simply wants to start over in the small, quiet town of Forrestville. She's also avoiding all contact with the opposite sex, because she just can't trust her instincts when it comes to men—not even with the sinfully sexy cop next door. So why can't she stop thinking about him? Hunter has darkness in his soul, and yet no one ever made her feel so safe. For all her best laid plans, Evangeline didn't count on choices this hard—or temptation this hot.

It's been a few hours since I finished this book and it's still so present on my mind. Unfortunately, it took me quite a while to finish it, but that's because I was so focused on another book, I own a physical copy of. It's just a lot more difficult for me to write a book on my cell phone these days. However, Marquita Valentine makes this 'pain' perfectly bearable.

After We Fall is my second book by this author and it won't be my last, I promise. After a few pages, I couldn't believe I had already read book in this series, because the writing is so very different from When We Fall. Or is that just me? Seriously, if I hadn't known better, I wouldn't have been able to tell it's the same author. That's not a bad thing, if you're worried. I was just surprised, that's all.

Even though this is just the second book by this author that I have dared to read so far (and if it wasn't for NetGalley, I probably wouldn't have even found out about this author), I think Marquita has a special talent creating perfect book boyfriends. I loved Hunter! He was so great. And although I am kind of 'tired' about reading of abused women (don't get me wrong, that subject is horrible and if you know anyone suffering from an abusive partner, make sure to let the police know. There is help!), I wasn't bothered by Evangeline. She was just learning how to stand up for herself and I loved seeing Hunter encouraging her to do that.

Their story seemed like a telling, not a made-up story. So, yeah... That's real talent here, I think.

I'm glad this story didn't focus on her previous YouTube career so much. I wasn't the least interested in reading about that. I mean, it was great what she did afterwards, using her account, but if there is one thing I mostly don't enjoy it's reading about 'famous' people. No clue why. Oh, and I totally adored Jake. Aww, he was the cutest dog. Animals always melt my heart, just like good book boyfriends, like Hunter, do.

Whether you are a fan of Marquita or look for a strong woman in a book, who doesn't depend on a guy but still decides to give love a chance after different bad happenings in the past, I suggest you go and grab your copy of After We Fall. I sure as hell enjoyed reading it, and I can't wait for Saylor's story. She added the nerdy-parts and gah, I am a sucker for nerdy people in books.