Montag, 28. März 2016

Before Hadley - J. Nathan

Title: Before Hadley
Author: J. Nathan
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Patchwork Press - Cooperative for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
What's worse than a cocky new guy at school? A cocky new guy with a killer body and the attention of the entire female student body. Hadley can tell the minute she lays eyes on Caynan that he's someone to avoid. He may have looks and charm, but he's also got heartbreak written all over his pretty face.

Unfortunately for Hadley, Caynan has his sights set on her. She's the one girl who doesn't want him. The one girl who's turned off by his charm. The one girl who challenges him like no other. And, though she couldn't possibly know the truth about him, she seems to be the one girl who really sees him.

But with Caynan, things aren't at all what they seem. His secrets have secrets and everything out of his mouth straddles the line between truth and fiction. He knows better than to get involved with anyone, especially with his time limited in the new town, but he just can't seem to get Hadley out of his mind. Too bad for him, secrets never remain secrets for long.

Alright, so this book devides into two parts. I rarely come across these novels and I usually don't like it too much when years pass around the middle of the book and the second part focuses on the characters' future, but that system fit here. It just felt... Right. Because the male character's story is so unique and unusual, there had to be a second part.

Hadley is a rich girl, who isn't exactly popular, but still has a bunch of friends. Also, she gets invited to parties and that's where she meets Caynan. He's new to town and seems like the typical player, but there is something about Caynan that no one knows. And that is exactly what makes this book so thrilling. I mean, I have never ever read about such a character before. Well, maybe once, but that book wasn't anything like this.

You see, I can't tell what Caynan does, but it's shocking. And his secrets are what he fears might tear him and Hadley apart. But when Hadley finally agrees to go out with him, he knows he can't let her go. She's it for him. Too bad his father has got different plans for him and so it happens - a betray is in the making and Hadley sees Caynan for who he really is. Question is: Who is he?

Three years later, their paths cross again and while Caynan is still determined to make Hadley his, Hadley has tried to move on and can't see herself forgiving Caynan for what he has done.

Enough with my always-reapting summary. I can tell you... I was hooked. I mean, the scenes in the beginning weren't really much different from any other book I have read in the past. Hadley seemed like the girls I can't stand - feisty, yet totally insecure about themselves. Being feisty is their cover-up, their facade. And I think, it was like that, too. So, while I didn't like her much, I liked the plot idea. I usually don't enjoy any crime topics in books, so I was surprised by how much I wanted to find out about Caynan's story. His love for Hadley was so strong - nothing could destroy it. That was really sweet, however in the end, I didn't understand him anymore. And of course that is when Hadley changes her mind, last minute thing and all. That was too much of a drama for me.

So, my review is probably a mess (as always), but I think I made my point clear. Before Hadley is a great read, a thrilling read. If you like high school romances, shocking news, wrong decisions, stupid parents and second chanes in novels, then you'll most likely love it.

Dienstag, 22. März 2016

Wanting More (Love on Campus #02) - Jessica Ruddick

Title: Wanting More (Love on Campus #02)
Author: Jessica Ruddick
Rating: 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
I can’t stop wanting her…

Bri Welch likes to play it safe. I don’t. She’s wound tight, and I’m all about a good party. But there’s something about her that makes me want to pull those uptight layers away one-by-delicious-one. But the worst thing is she makes me want more...

Wanting More is exactly my kind of book. Right from the start, I was hooked. And I was surprised by it, too, because I saw how many pages it included and became scared first. Lately, I've been enjoying quick and short reads much more, but this book was different for me. I got hooked on the story pretty fast and couldn't wait to find out more and more.

It's this typical kind of story that pulls me under a magic spell, it seems. Good girl, bad boy. Yeah, I'm one of those readers, if you know what I mean. I can't help it, but these stories never get old. They just don't. Like some people enjoy crime books about a hot detective and a nice cute bartender or whatever... I happen to like college romances including sweet girls and bad boys. And to be honest, Josh wasn't that bad. I mean, he was a player, definitely, yes. But from page one it was pretty clear he had a good heart. And if there is one thing I enjoy more than bad boys, it's bad boys with good hearts. Does that even make sense?

So, Josh isn't a good student, having switched his major a hundred times before. Finally, he is forced to pull his head together and that's when Bri joins the picture. She's a year older than Josh (which I looooved, by the way. It's always about older boys, so this was a nice change) and is set to help him with his courses, figuring out what he wants to do with his life. That's how I understood this system anyway. In the beginning, she doesn't think he has it in him to actually study hard for something. That's what encourages Josh even more. He makes a bet with Brianna - he passes his next few exams with Bs at least, and she has to join a party.

You see, Bri isn't the party girl. She doesn't go out that often and she's okay with it. I guess she and Josh both challenge each other to become a better person. And while Josh always says she's making him become a better man, I think it works both ways. I loved how well the author worked with their relationship's speed. The story never once felt rushed or dragged or something. Everything was worked out perfectly. I am jealous, yes, because I never achieve these things, so good job, Jessica!

Now, Josh doesn't think he's good enough for Brianna. For whatever reason. It has to do with the fact that she actually enjoys studying while he doesn't. Her ex-boyfriend's future is set - he is supposed to become a lawyer and Josh just can't offer Bri that much. He loves music, that much he knows, but what to do with his life? Well, that's another question. And then there is his father, who treats him like he isn't worthy of anything, like he is throwing his future away. Gah, I really hated his father at first. I'm glad about the way the author made it all work out somehow. (And I absolutely adored Josh's half-sister. She is such a cutie!)

We don't find out much about Bri's friends. Not at first, at least. We know there is this one close friend she has, but it's only when she starts developing feelings for Josh that we find out more about her "clique". Some readers might say we don't enough scenes like that, but honestly, I was happy about that. It wouldn't have done the book any good, forcing more stories about her so-called friends or something. The scenes we got were enough.

So, lastly, I wanna say that Wanting More is on my list of my favourite books 2016. I can safely say it will stay that way until the end of the year. As I said before, it was exactly my kind of book - just what I like. The story might sound ordinary, but believe me, it's really, really good.

Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #02) - Cate Cameron

Title: Playing Defense (Corrigan Falls Raiders #02)
Author: Cate Cameron
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Sixteen-year-old Claudia Waring has never kissed a boy. Never been popular. Never been to a hockey game. All that’s about to change. Assigned to tutor Chris Winslow, a prank-loving, gorgeous hockey player, Claudia’s perfectly planned life immediately veers off course. And she kind of likes it. But as fun as Chris is, she knows she'll never fit in his world.

After his latest prank lands him in hot water, Chris has to get serious about school or lose hockey. Not an easy thing for someone as carefree as the defenseman. The biggest problem, though, is how much he wants to help his cute, buttoned-up tutor loosen up a little. But while confidence has never been a problem for him, around Claudia, Chris is all nerves. Why would a girl as smart as her ever fall for a jock like him?

I'm trying to think of a time I've read about a hockey player, but I think it never happened before. One or two times, tops. So it was kinda refreshing to dive into a sports I'm not really familiar with. I loved it as a kid, but it's not such a big sport here in Germany.

Anyway... Playing Defense is a really cute young adult read. Sometimes, the scenes were too long for me and I'd get bored, though. Especially that time Claudia and Karen met and decided to form a sisterhood. I didn't understand that at all and only by the end of the book, I kinda understood the advantages of it. Let me explain, the sisterhood is just something Claudia - the main character - and Karen - one of Chris' friends - come up with. They want to be awesome and the sisterhood - which is basically a clique, a club or whatever - is all about challenge yourself, stepping out of your comfort zone and such.

Now, that's the only thing I didn't like about this book, which is why I decided to mention it at first. Now I can focus on the good things about Playing Defense. The prank Chris pulled up in the beginning of the book reminded me of Simone Elkeles' books and everybody knows I LOVE her books. I was pleased some other author decided to create a character like that - a reckless one, someone who doesn't really care about anything than his friends, his favourite sports and pulling pranks. I usually would sell myself as someone who doesn't like that at all, but it just works. It worked really good for this book.

Focusing on the main part about this book - Claudia and Chris. Aren't they the cutest? Alright, so Claudia has never been kissed and when she is told to tutor Chris, of course she notices how handsome and attractive she is. But still, she feels like even if there was a chance with him, she doesn't belong with him and his group of friends. She's a nerdy kind of girl, someone who has got her whole education figured out. And Chris isn't. He knows he loves hockey and wants to keep playing, but he's also realistic and knows the chances are pretty slim to make it into NHL. The two of them are from two different worlds.

However, as Chris finds himself being interested in Claudia as more than just his tutor, Claudia agrees to let him join the sisterhood and both of their feelings shift. Everything could be daisies and other summer flowers and rainbows and whatever else there is... But there is Claudia's mother, a woman who isn't too pleased with her daughter's choice of boyfriend. And there isn't a single moment she lets Chris feel how wrong she thinks he is for her daughter.

I felt so sorry for Chris and wanted to give Claudia - or Dia as the sisterhood calls her - a wakeup call. She wasn't acting like herself, I wanted her to figure her out. I wanted her to find her own path, not the one her mother choose for her. Gosh, it was really frustrating reading about conversations with her mother and so on. And of course it took a major tragic to make her see what us readers knew all along - this isn't what is it supposed to be like, living someone else's dreams.

I feel like my review is more of a retelling of the book. I am sorry for that, but I can't really find any better words. If you like reading about boys that do sports and enjoy the young adult genre, I suggest you take a chance on Playing Defense, because it's really heartwarming. I enjoyed it.

Montag, 14. März 2016

Snowbound Seduction - Melissa Schroeder

Title: Snowbound Seduction
Author: Melissa Schroeder
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Trevor MacMillian is the tart and incredibly sexy executive chef who’s made pastry chef Elaine Masterson’s life a living hell. But when she catches him in nothing but a tiny little towel, it’s almost enough to make her forget they’re stranded in a luxurious mountain cabin together...or that she hates him almost as much as she craves him like a sinfully forbidden dessert.

Being alone in a romantic secluded cabin might just kill Trevor outright. If Elaine hates him now, how much will she hate him if she finds out he’s been fantasizing about her full, kissable lips? So Trevor argues with her. Makes her angry— until an intense and unexpected kiss turns their hostility into insatiable hunger. And with this much heat, the snowstorm outside doesn’t stand a chance...

Wow, Melissa Schroeder is a beast. I just browsed through her titles on Goodreads and she has got so many of them. It's seriously a lot. So, well done, Melissa! Now, about Snowbound Seduction.... Unfortunately, I didn't read much about seduction, it was all very sweet and kind and really romantic. I liked this typical hate-love-relationship story, because those are always easy for me to read. You can never go wrong with those.

Anyway, the thought of Trevor and Elaine alone in a house while a storm is doing a very wild performance outside is nice. Elaine's best friend Mick actually got the two locked up there, so we can thank Mick for all the hot emotions. Thank you. haha. I'm not much of a fan of movies or books that involve characters that work as chefs or love to cook or to bake. However, that wasn't a problem here. And I really don't know why I still complain, but it felt like there were missing pieces. Some more kitchen scenes, but that couldn't have happened, because they weren't in a kitchen. Just don't mind me. My brain seems to want to make something up, just for fun. Sorry. Honestly, the prologue is enough of a kitchen scene for me. Basta.

Snowbound Seduction can be read within an hour or two at the most. I didn't need much longer than that (though started it at like midnight, so I put it down after reading half of it and went to sleep). And it was captivating, which surprised me. Normally, novellas aren't that captivating to me, so Melissa Schroeder did something right. The only thing (well, maybe not only) that bothered me was that length. It was too short and the end was too... Sudden. I would like to know whether Elaine follows her dream or if she won't. Also, I'd have liked to read more about their talks. They both tell each other a bit, but not everything.

Still, I think it was a good book. And I enjoyed it. So, thank you - whoever accepted my request.

Dienstag, 8. März 2016

Pivotal Moments - Trinity Hanrahan

Title: Pivotal Moments
Author: Trinity Hanrahan
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Limitless Publishing for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
A senior in high school, introvert Aislinn Munroe is satisfied living unnoticed...

Aislinn is doing the normal post-high school preparations to get into college. She’s getting ready for a life beyond senior year, and wonders where she’ll fit in to the world once she’s officially an adult. Though her curves are to kill for, she’s also smart and funny. However, she isn’t at all popular, which is just fine with her.

Aislinn’s introverted ways are about to be put to the test...

Content with hiding from the limelight, Aislinn doesn’t get bullied like so many other shy kids do—that is, as long as she keeps to herself. But is she really living the life she’s meant to? Or are there unforeseen adventures waiting to shake up her life in the near future?

When her brother comes home from college, he brings an unexpected houseguest…

Teagan Aldridge is a reformed party animal, ladies’ man, and bad boy. He’s the last person Aislinn thought would ever show her attention. But when Aislinn and Teagan become unlikely friends, he brings out a side of herself she never knew existed. She already knows she’s special, but sexy and adventurous? That’s a first.

Are their personalities too far apart, or will opposites attract, making them an unusual, but influential pair? When their vast differences collide, Aislinn is led to some unexpected...

There's something about these 'falling in love with the brother's best friend' novels that I love. And Teagan was such a great guy, I couldn't help but love him. However, his and Aislinn's relationship didn't feel real to me. He was too nice, felt things way too soon (that goes both ways - seriously, two days and they are madly in love? Uhm, nope...) and on and on... Also, the romantic scenes were written the same. As in always. "He deepened the kiss." I read this every single time they kissed. Every time. "When we had to come up for air", alright not always these exact words, but the meaning was always the same, too. I couldn't bear it after a while.

That doesn't mean I disliked the book. It has potential and to be honest, this is something totally similar to my own writing style when it comes to novels. So, of course I can't say it was a bad book, that would mean I dislike my own writing and though self doubts are a topic for me, I don't dislike my books, neither did I dislike Pivotal Moments.

In fact, I actually really enjoyed reading about Zver, Teagan's dog, and that's saying something. Animals in books aren't my thing, usually. Then again, there was Aislinn's best friend Penny, who I liked the beginning and then hated (though I'd love to read about her story). I would have liked to read more about Aislinn's mom, not about their conversations but about her life went on.

Also, what about all those people Tracey - cheerleader and mean bully - bullied? I mean, I liked Aislinn for defending a girl when she was helpless, but we didn't read about that. The book starts by her mother confronting her about it since the school called. And I didn't fully understand Brody's motives, but then again that probably makes sense. He was a jerk.

Though Teagan was introduced as a bad boy, he didn't seem like it. Connor - Aislinn's brother - seemed lie a bad boy. A big one (oh, please. Let there be a book about him!). But that was it about it. I like the innocent girl - bad boy romances, but he seriously was no bad boy to me. And if he had been a real bad boy, well.... Let's just say it wasn't realistic that he changed for Aislinn that fast (within two days. I repeat - TWO DAYS!). Their story went waaaay too fast. Other than that, it was just the kind of love story I enjoy.

Oh, I almost forgot - I missed some deep topic. I think Aislinn's problem with opening up was supposed to be the lead role in this book, but it didn't work. I was annoyed as hell by her. She'd never say what's on her mind and Teagan would ask a thousand times. Sorry, but I know zero guys with patience like his. And... That's what I originally intended to say: We found out about Teagan's brother, but we didn't once get introduced. I was sad about this. That also counts for the rest of his family. I'd have loved to read about them - about how they dealt with their past and whether they liked Aislinn or not. Just a bit more depth - I really missed that.

The Butterfly Code - Sue Wyshynski

Title: The Butterfly Code
Author: Sue Wyshynski
Rating: 2.5 - 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Whitman Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
My friends say Hunter's dangerous.
They say he's a threat to everyone in town.
But I'm not so sure.
As he stands before me in this crowded club with the lights shining around us,
I catch something good under Hunter's dark facade. Something decent and profound.
I don't know who or what to believe.
But I will find out the truth.

Aeris Thorne is expecting a quiet vacation in the remote town of Deep Cove. But on a stormy night, she meets the alluring and mysterious Hunter Cayman, and her life takes an exhilarating turn. Aeris is both drawn to him and determined to find out what he's hiding in his lab on the promontory. What Aeris doesn't know is that Hunter's tormented by a secret: the truth behind his research. As he and Aeris are drawn together, the walls he's built to protect himself threaten to crumble. When Aeris's life is threatened, Hunter is forced to make an impossible decision about her future━one that could change everything.

It seems as though I randomly request books, because The Butterfly Code wasn't what I expected. Of course, I knew it would involve some sci-fi and I should have known better because I'm not a huge fan of that, but still... It had so many ups and downs that I casually felt like being on a rollercoaster.

Aeris and Hunter meet in front of a club Aeris and her friends went to. Hunter is there to pick up a friend of his, named Victoria. There is an instant chemistry between the two and Aeris makes it her mission to prove to herself that Hunter isn't the bad guy everyone tells her he apparently is. As she finds out more about him, she reveals he's keeping major secrets from her, same as her father. These secrets have to do with her mother, too, who died in Switzerland when Aeris was still a child. Conflicted between her feelings for Hunter and finding out the truth, she gets herself into trouble that may cost her life.

Sue Wyshynski's writing style is flawless. Seriously, it's really really good. It's also one of the only things that kept me reading The Butterfly Code. I wasn't a fan of Aeris, I'll admit that. I can't even put a finger to it, but I couldn't relate to her at all and I think it's always important a reader can relate, or it is to me. Hunter, on the other hand, is a great guy. Alright, seems like every guy mentioned in a book is a great guy to me, haha. But seriously, he was mysterious and it was thrilling to read about his conversations with Aeris.

Then there was Greg, one of Aeris' best friends. Oh, how I wish we'd have felt a little more chemistry between these two. You could totally tell Greg had feelings for her from the very beginning (and the scene in which Ella - Aeris' other best friend - basically wants him to tell her about his feelings is one of my favourites), which made it so sad seeing Aeris only having the hots for Hunter.

Is there a sequel to this? Because a lot of questions are unanswered. I never understood Aeris' father's motives, either. He always choose to keep secrets from her when in truth he knew things he wouldn't tell. Same as Hunter. Or anyone else involved in Hunter's program. That's where the sci-fi begins. Everyone in town thinks Hunter and his co-workers try to cure diseases, but things are way bigger than that. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll stay quiet on that.

To be honest, sometimes the romance lacked. The book is mostly about Aeris trying to find out what Hunter is working on. While it's mentioned that she loves music, I missed reading about her dream. I mean, we get plenty of her playing the piano and singing, but what about her career? I wanted to know more of that. There was too much action and fear for me, too less friendship.

So, I don't want the author to think I hated this book. It just wasn't my kind of book. And it was soooo long. I think if you're struggling with a book, it's even worse when it's a big one. This book had a lot of potential and I hope it gets all the fame it deserves, because - again - the writing was actually great!

Oh, and one more thing: I was excited to read about the jellyfish story, because just the day before getting to that part of the story, I saw a documentation about it on TV and could understand what the story tried to explain.