Dienstag, 15. August 2017

Escape - Jessica Ashe

Title: Escape
Author: Jessica Ashe
Rating: 2.5/5
I had to lose my V-plates at some point; it might as well be with Caiden Ramsden.

Just one night. No dating, no dinner, no small talk. Just sex, and lots of it. Caiden was a cocky, arrogant jerk, who knew his ripped, tattooed muscles drove women crazy. In other words, he was exactly the type of bad boy I should stay well away from.

I’m a high-achieving student on my way to the University of Cambridge; I’m not supposed to “do” anyone, let alone an arsehole like Caiden.

At least I never had to see him again. Or so I thought.

Now Caiden’s sitting in my living room with a big announcement. He’s my new stepbrother, and he’s here to make my summer a living hell.

Our one night together was better than I liked to admit. I knew I’d end up in bed with him again soon. What I didn’t know was that he would turn my world upside down in the process.
This is the first time in quite a while that I've decided to write a review for the sake of it and not because I've been granted an ARC through any network. But I think this book deserves it and so here it goes...

There was a phase when I enjoyed reading about step-brother romances a lot. They used to be one of my favourite kinds of books. These days, I feel like the stories repeat themselves, simply because yeah... There are only so many options you have with this topic. Anyway. Escape started off totally differently from any of the other step-brother romances I've read in the past. The two characters already had their interaction and we only get to read about flashbacks to that one particular night. Back then, they didn't know what their parents had in mind. They didn't even know their parents knew each other. So it all comes down as a shock when Caiden's mom and Victoria's dad announce their engagement.

This story had a lot of potential. Like, really. A LOT! But honestly, the flashbacks were way sexier than when the two characters were drawn to each other again. I liked their fights and Caiden seemed like another swoon-worthy bad boy. Until he didn't. I never understood his change of heart toward the end of the book. It didn't fit his character. No change was described, it just suddenly happened and I didn't feel it. Same with Victoria, a posh English girl. Where did all her shyness go? Clearly, just because you have sex with a bad boy, doesn't mean you're suddenly someone else entierely.

And then there was Victoria's background story. That was a surprise. I kind of liked the twist, but she got over the news so fast. I couldn't believe it. "Oh, what? It's not like I thought. Well, I'll cry for a second and then forget about it." That's what it felt like to me. I hated her then. I really did. And any emotions towards the characters is good emotion, right? It connects you with the book. At that point, I wante dto disconnect, though. I liked 60% of it and then I didn't anymore. And I got sad over that. Caiden didn't even have a background story. I didn't mind that that much, though. He was a good enough bad boy, no need to dig for any history that isn't there.

Reading about cooking is another thing I never enjoy. So, it's not the author's fault, but whenever I got to a scene in which Victoria talked about cooking, was in love with cooking or prepared something, I'd yawn. I mean, it's good the girl got a hobby. Way too few shy girls in romance novels got a real hobby. All they ever do is obsess over their love interest, so Victoria was a nice change to that. But I'd have wanted something else for her.

I pointed out a lot of things that I didn't like, but overall, I would still recommend this book to certain groups of readers, because the writing was very, very good. If you love surprising plot twists, hot alpha males and are interested in reading about an American guy and an English girl (the chapters are written in American and British English, which was fun!), this one should be on your list.

Montag, 14. August 2017

The Rules of Persuasion - Amity Hope

Title: The Rules of Persuasion
Author: Amity Hope
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
1) Take things slow (her rule)

2) Make it believable (his rule)


After tragedy hit her family, Meg Matthews officially crossed the line from “good girl” to “bad girl.” Motorcycle? Check. Graffiti? Check. The only thing Meg hadn’t planned on was blackmail. Too bad now a certain infuriating boy holds Meg’s future in his hands…

When Luke Prescott—star pitcher and town golden boy—catches Meg vandalizing the school, she’s given two choices: face the consequences or enter into a fake relationship with him to get his parents and his ex off his back.

But as Meg and Luke grow closer, they both realize they’ve been keeping secrets from each other. Their fake relationship might be doomed from the start—if they can’t learn to open up to the one person they never thought they’d trust.

The thing about different opinions is that you'll never understand the others'. I read some not very nice words about this novel and after finishing it, I can safely say that I don't agree in the least and I just don't understand how anyone can give this book only two stars. But then again, I don't have to understand. Opinions are different and that's a good thing (you just have to convince yourself of that).

Anyway... I always wanted to read Ditched by Amity Hope and never really found the time to do so. When I saw that The Rules of Persuasion was also written by her, I immediately took the chance and requested it on NetGalley. I am so glad I got accepted and was able to read this one before its official release. Now I know for sure that I'll be diving into Ditched the second I find the time to, because Amity Hope's writing style is fabulous! This novel was exactly the kind of sweet and light romance that I love from a publisher like Entangled.

The characters were super cute. Surprisingly, I even liked Meg and I sometimes have a hard time understanding the female main character's motives, but I liked Meg right from page one. And when we got to Luke's point of view, it was a done deal. The story itself isn't a new one. We all know there are a lot of novels out there that deal with fake relationships, but most of them are now being new adult reads, so I enjoyed something a little lighter. And though I always say light, light, light, there's also some depth to it. Like, Meg is dealing with a lot of pain and Luke's just.. Yeah, alright, he's dealing with rich kid problems, but you still feel sorry for him.

I thought their chemistry was great and I liked the balance between their scenes and the scenes with their friends or parents, because reading about them the whole time would have bored some readers (not me, but still...). Whenever we got to read about Luke's parents, I wanted to crawl into my phone and punch them, or grab them by the shoulders and shake them at least. Gosh, they were so frustrating. I'm glad Luke wasn't one of these characters that bought whatever they said but mostly stood his ground. And then there was Luke's ex-girlfriend who was too annoying to find any words. But she kept the story alive at some point, so I can't complain about her too much.

Another refreshing thing was that neither of them got into a fight with their best friends. Oh, I didn't realize how much I missed that harmony until I read this book. What is it with fights between best friends? I can see there has to be some kind of conflict for the plot to be exciting, but The Rules of Persuasion managed without it just fine.

Meg's reason for doing what she did was very sweet, too. I'd be lying if I said I haven't shed a tear when she confessed her story to Luke. It makes me sort of mad reading how some think there's no real developement of the characters, because that background story right there says otherwise. Luke might not deal with as heavy problems as Meg, but that's not even necessary. That's why they fit together so perfectly.

I liked this book a lot and it was even better than I expected - the perfect kind of summer romance for young adult readers.

Breakaway (Corrigan Falls Raiders #4) - Cate Cameron

Title: Breakaway (Corrigan Falls Raiders #4)
Author: Cate Cameron
Rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing, LLC for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Eighteen-year-old NHL player Logan Balanchuk came to Corrigan Falls to distract himself from his career-ending injury. He doesn’t want to even hear the word “hockey,” so when he meets Dawn, a beautiful, free-spirited girl who goes skinny-dipping instead of watching the draft, he’s intrigued. Neither of them is looking for anything serious, anyway.

Dawn is happy to be a distraction, happy to have an adventurous summer romance with the dashing guy from the big city. She’s busy working three jobs and counting the days until she can move away from her tiny, hockey-obsessed town. Plus, she’s already done her time as a hockey player’s girlfriend—now she wants to live her own life and have her own adventures. But as things heat up with Logan, she realizes they aren’t as no-strings-attached as she thought…

This is one of the books that I'd rather not write a review about. While the writing was good, there was still something about it that I didn't like as much as the other novel I've read written by the author ("Playing Defense"). Probably the annoying female main character. Her description didn't fit her I-wanna-control-everything state that magically appeared right around the middle of the book. I was so confused, because I thought Dawn was this confident girl that knew her place and then she wasn't that girl anymore, wanting to be in control all the time, coming up with annoying questions and excuses to be a coward. Not my thing at all.

And Logan was too much of a softie to quit charming her. Of course, he's another one of these swoon-worthy book boyfriends, yet I wish he wasn't, because he was way too good for Dawn. He was so good for her and she just wouldn't see it, living in a bubble of negativity while excusing that with wanting to be free. Excuse me, young lady, you're working your ass off to go to college, so you're so lucky to have a cute boyfriend like Logan who'd do anything for you. To me, it seemed like she wanted to keep her options open. Not mainly the boyfriend part, but everything else. Like, a hippie soul without being a hippie. I didn't understand her motives in the least. She didn't want to be a hockery player's girlfriend. Well, I think she was basically the only one that would have thought of herself that way.

I'm not exactly a fan of ice hockey since it's not a popular sport in my country, so I was glad to find the author keeping it as simple with the professional sports language as possible. Still, I liked seeing glimpses of Logan's carreer that made the reader dive into the ice hockey world without experiencing it first hand.

To be honest, I think Dawn and Logan kicked off a bit too soon. I can see why they did, the story was build on their chemistry and all that, but still... It was like so many things suddenly happened at once and there wasn't enough time to include it, so it had to happen at the exact same time, having the reader confused at times. Or maybe it was just Logan's life that was a bit too much to handle. Broken knee, new job, new girlfriend and then the news he never expected. Meanwhile, there isn't much action for Dawn except the three jobs she's struggling with. I kind of missed a story for her, but then again her problems of wanting to be herself without depending on anyone was her own story.

So, the story had potential, definitely, yes. And I liked the writing as well. It was the speed, Dawn and perhaps a few too many details that have my opinion being not the best. If you've already started reading this ice hockey series, you should read this one as well. If you're a fan of sports novels, you shouldn't miss this one either.

Freitag, 11. August 2017

German Review: Mit dir kam der Sommer (Butler Cove #03) - Natasha Boyd

Titel: Eversea - Mit dir kam der Sommer (Butler Cove #03)
Originaltitel: All That Jazz
Autorin: Natasha Boyd
Bewertung: 4/5

Danke an NetGalley und LYX für das digitale Rezensionsexemplar dieses Buches.
Nach diesem Sommer wird nichts mehr so sein, wie es war ... Drei Jahre sind seit dem Sommer vergangen, in dem Jazz Fraser den größten Fehler ihres Lebens beging und sich in den Bruder ihrer besten Freundin verliebte. Drei Jahre seit Joey ihr das Herz brach. Drei Jahre bis sie erkennt, dass sie in Butler Cove niemals über ihn hinwegkommen wird. Sie will nach Kapstadt und alles hinter sich lassen. Doch ausgerechnet jetzt ist Joey zurück und mit einem Schlag schon wieder in ihrem Herzen.

Das erste Mal aufmerksam auf die Autorin Natasha Boyd wurde ich durch die LoveLetter Convention vor über zwei Jahren. Ihr erster Roman in der Butler Cove Reihe, Eversea - ein einziger Moment, hatte es mir so sehr angetan, dass ich sofort bei Veröffentlichung auch den zweiten Band ergattert habe. Das Warten auf den dritten Teil nahm etwas mehr Zeit in Anspruch, aber für mich ist nach dem Lesen von Mit dir kam der Sommer eindeutig feszustellen, wie sehr Natasha Boyd sich als Autorin entwickelt hat. Neben Deep Blue Infinity, eines meiner liebsten Bücher 2016, ist dies ihr bester Roman.

Bereits nach dem ersten Band der Reihe habe ich mir ein Buch über Keri Anns Bruder herbei gesehnt. Zugegeben, alle meine Erwartung an seine und Jazz' Geschichte wurden übertroffen. Anstatt nur kleine Einblicke in ihre gemeinsame Vergangenheit zu erharschen, besteht der Großteil des Romans aus dem Sommer, in dem Jazz achtzehn wurde und sich in Joseph verliebte. Die Geschichte der beiden beinhaltet somit also beide Genres - Young Adult und auch New Adult. Eine sehr gelungene Mischung, so dass jeder auf seine Kosten kommt.

Ich hatte mir überhaupt gar keine Gedanken zu Jazz' Vergangenheit gemacht, hatte mir niemals ausgemalt, wie dramatisch und herzzerreißend sie eventuell sein könnte. Ehrlich gesagt wusste ich nicht einmal, ob ich Jazz tatsächlich leiden soll. Aber ihr Buch hat mich davon überzeugt, dass sie ein liebenswerter Charakter ist. Außerdem erhält man einen tieferen Einblick, was die Freundschaft zwischen ihr und Keri Ann angeht. Wahrscheinlich ist ihre Freundschaft einer meiner liebsten. Sie wirkt authentisch und zu keinem Zeitpunkt überzogen. Über die Scherze, die beiden miteinander machen, kann man schmunzeln und ihre Themen versetzten einen zurück ins Teenager-Alter.

Joey ist die gute Seele, der Herzensbrecher und Alleskönner. Keine Ahnung welcher Leser sich seinem Charme entziehen kann - ich konnte es nicht, so viel steht fest. Er ist einer meiner liebsten männlichen Charaktere aller Zeiten. Das kann ich nicht einmal wirklich weiter benennen, Gründe fallen mir viele und doch irgendwie keine ein. Sicher, er trifft fragwürdige Entscheidungen, aber so wie Jazz für ihn mit siebzehn, bzw. achtzehn, schwärmt, steckt es einen an, ihn ebenfalls als tollen Kerl zu betrachten. Alleine wie fürsorglich er sich um seine Schwester in den anderen Bänden der Reihe kümmerte. Joey is the man!

Alles sprach für eine fünf-Sterne-Bewertung. Und dann kam das Ende. Der Punkt, an dem das Blatt wieder gewendet wird, und Jazz und Joey sich in der Gegenwart befinden. An dieser Stelle rutschte das Ganze in ein Klischee, in etwas, das ich nicht sehr mochte. Mir ist bewusst, dass die Autorin einen Plan hatte und diese Szenen ihren Sinn haben, aber für mich passte es plötzlich nicht mehr zum Rest der Geschichte. Die Dialoge, Zukunftspläne und Entscheidungen der Charaktere wirkten sehr rasch getroffen - zu viel, zu schnell. Vielleicht sah ich das aber auch nur so, weil ich mich so in dem Rückblick verloren hatte, der durchgängig durchs Buch führt und nicht nur in bestimmten Kapiteln angesprochen wird. Ich hatte mich so sehr in die Vergangenheit von Jazz und Joey verliebt, dass ich ihrer Gegenwart eventuell keine richtige Chance gegeben habe. Es tat meiner Liebe zu dem Buch dennoch keinen Abbruch (nur einen kleinen vielleicht).

Die Balance zwischen Leichtigkeit und Schwere der Geschichte ist klasse. Es gibt definitive Sznenen, die einem die Tränen in die Augen treiben, aber dann gibt es auch solche, die einen darüber hinweg trösten und zum Dahinschmelzen sind. Wenn man mich fragt, ist Mit dir kam der Sommer der Inbegriff eines guten Sommerromans.

Dienstag, 1. August 2017

All Things New - Lauren Miller

Title: All Things New
Author: Lauren Miller
Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Three Saints Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release date.
Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but her anxiety only gets worse in the wake of the accident. That is, until she meets Marshall, a boy with a heart defect whose kindness and generous spirit slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

Don't you just love these kind of books where you know right from the first page that you're going to love them? Because when I picked up All Things New and started reading it, I had that exact feeling. I couldn't even figure out why that was - the writing, maybe? The opening scene, because I just love college party scenes? I have no idea. It was probably both, mixed with this character that seemed so interested that I wanted to find out more and more, get lost in her world and not come back for a while. And Lauren Miller managed to write that kind of book for me - one I never wanted to end.

And even when I somehow knew what the mystery was all about after Jessa's accident, I was still under Lauren Miller's writing spell and couldn't put the book down. She seems like the kind of author that knows exactly how long a scene should be, like she has developed a feeling for it over the years of writing novels. Or perhaps she knows what the readers want to read, not being bored by dragged scenes, forced words and annoying facts. It has a good length and everything was sorted out at a good pace.

I think only few books capture the importance of speaking up about mental illness in a athentic way. Some characters are over the top, some escape their demons without any struggle as if it's the easiest thing in the world. Even though it isn't. And I think Jessa's character is the perfect example. Her problems might not seem that big of a deal to some, but I liked that certain realness to her - to all the characters, really. Her friends dealt with their own problems as well. Lauren Miller found an honest voice, ripped things down to a raw level that had me in tears several times.

There's beauty in everything and so it's no miracle that despite all the things Jessa has been and is going through during the story, there were a lot of aww! moments, too. Dare I say how awesome I think Marshall is?! He's like this inconspicuous guy, but of course there is more to him than that. Like certain types of magnets, I loved how drawn together he and Jessa were. I adored them.

Perhaps this book is more of a self help books than those books intended. As mentioned before, there is no sugarcoating anything in All Things New and I loved it to pieces. It's one of my favourite novels of the year and I can't wait for more people to discover their love for it. It's unlike anything I've read more, classified to the pile of books that really did an impact on me.