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!