Right Kind of Wrong is the second book by Chelsea Fine that I've had the pleasure of reading this year, and she does not disappoint.
While Right Kind o...moreRight Kind of Wrong is the second book by Chelsea Fine that I've had the pleasure of reading this year, and she does not disappoint.
While Right Kind of Wrong is the third book in a series, it is more or less able to be read independently of the others. The couples from books one and two are featured, but very minimally - mostly just being cute as their newly-coupled selves. I read Best Kind of Broken earlier this year, but somehow missed Perfect Kind of Trouble. I didn't feel like I'd missed anything major by skipping the second book.
In Right Kind of Wrong, we follow Jenna, who was featured in the first book as Pixie's best friend and roommate. I liked Jenna a lot in the first book. She was really strong, spunky, and independent, and wouldn't let Pixie put up with anything less than the best. In Right Kind of Wrong, she still has all of those qualities, but she's also extraordinarily stubborn. She has a life plan, and a man does not fit into it. She needs to be in absolute control at all times, and surrendering her heart to anybody is not going to fly. She fights her attraction to - and feelings for - Jack until the very end of the book, which I found extremely frustrating. I had to lower my rating based on the amount of angst alone -- when it's obvious that two people care for each other, why have them battle their feelings for 300 pages before they finally get together? Especially when they know that the other feels the same way!
I did like Jack's storyline, surprisingly enough. I was actually pretty surprised about his background; I'd made a few guesses, but that was not one of them. His family was great, and I enjoyed how he and his mom teased each other. Jenna's family was a nice touch too, especially her grandmother.
All in all, Right Kind of Wrong is a really strong NA novel that I'm sure most NA fans would enjoy.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.(less)
In Scratch, Casey is a college senior with a traumatic past. To escape the nightmares and memories, she turns to music, and passes many nights DJing a...moreIn Scratch, Casey is a college senior with a traumatic past. To escape the nightmares and memories, she turns to music, and passes many nights DJing at a local club. When she's not DJing, she's locked in her room, studying alone, afraid to let people in -- that is, until Daniel from her philosophy class starts chipping away at the walls she's built up.
The award for least relatable heroine goes to Casey. I could not stand this girl throughout the book. Why must everything be an argument with her? Daniel kisses her. She runs away. Daniel takes her on a date. She throws a fit. Daniel tries to help her get past the events of her childhood. She all but breaks up with him. Daniel tries to tell her that he's sick of fighting and just wants to make her happy, and she throws her tortured past in his face.
Casey is perfectly happy going somewhere with Daniel after class, perfectly comfortable talking to him at a party, but her danger bells go off when he offers to take her out at night. Casey's danger alarm goes off constantly. I think her favorite word is "dangerous." As in, "This was dangerous, to let myself even be this close to him." Everything is dangerous to Casey, not because there's actually a sense of danger, but because she may develop feelings for someone, and we can't have that.
Casey is also an idiot. She refuses to discuss her music with anyone, or tell anyone that she makes her own songs. Yet, somehow, of course, she's able to tell Daniel. She says, "I couldn't believe I was talking so openly about music with him. But I got the feeling that he would understand."
Casey, sweetie, 99% of people would understand. Music is this universal thing. Most people like it. Most people would think it's cool that you're creating your own songs. Have you never spoken to a human before?
It was exhausting to read about this girl.
Add to that the fact that these girls talked like they're from the late 90's:
"You look like you're about to devour someone," I replied drolly. She giggled. "Oh yes! I totally am. Ta-ta for now!"
I have not heard anyone say "ta-ta for now" since I was in elementary school. This is supposed to be a contemporary novel. The girls have cell phones and discuss Facebook, yet they talk and dress like they're out of the 90's.
Actually, the whole book is rather poorly written. It's hard to write a believable story in the first person, especially when it's a romance like this. Characters describing the things that are happening to them is just uncomfortable -- I much prefer third person. Some examples of the awkward writing:
My core tightened; my belly fluttered. The thumb on his right hand brushed against my thigh then moved up my leg, to the crease between my thigh and torso.
Ugh. So unattractive.
The premise of the book was good, but the writing was very formulaic (I could almost predict each conflict, what it would be, and where in the book it would occur), it was much too angsty, and very poorly executed. Typically, the books I receive from Netgalley are uncorrected proofs. There's no indication either way about whether this is an uncorrected or final copy. I hope that it's uncorrected and that an editor will be able to go in and polish the awkward writing, at least. In the end, I give Scratch 1.5/5 stars, rounded up to 2.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.(less)
In Draw Me In, we're sucked into the world of Hailey Jakes, an art students whose parents have decided to use her college fund to pay for their nasty...moreIn Draw Me In, we're sucked into the world of Hailey Jakes, an art students whose parents have decided to use her college fund to pay for their nasty divorce, and Neill Vanderhaven, a tattoo artist whose last relationship destroyed his ability to trust women.
When Hailey gets the call from her father saying that she needs to drop out because her college fund has been depleted, she decides she's not going down without a fight. She takes to the streets, stopping in every restaurant and shop she comes across until she finds someone looking for help. The one place that's hiring is Sinful Skin, the tattoo shop that Neill owns. Hailey and Neill are immediately attracted to each other, but for the sake of their jobs, they need to keep it professional. Add to that the news of Hailey's parents' divorce and Neill's rocky history with women, and you get two people trying their hardest to avoid a relationship.
The premise of Draw Me In is fine; it's the execution that could use some work.
The first thing that threw me off was the sheer angst running through each of Hailey and Neill's interactions. Yes, Hailey's parents are going through a divorce. My parents are divorced too, but that doesn't mean that I feel like I'm somehow incapable of loving anyone. It just means that my parents weren't right for each other. I thought that Hailey was going to have some deep, dark secret in her past that made her afraid to get close to someone. I couldn't believe it was just because her parents were getting divorced. And Neill -- I'm sorry, but I just didn't understand what Gretchen had to do with anything. I don't think that she was developed enough as a character to play the huge role that she did in Neill's life. So she stole some money from him and took some drugs. You know, that's not cool and obviously it's good that he doesn't trust her anymore, but to not be able to trust anybody is taking it a little far. When Neill revealed what had gone down with Gretchen, I was actually a little disappointed. After all it had been built up to be, the truth was kind of a letdown. I've been reading a lot of angsty romances lately, and these characters had some of the worst reasons for trust issues that I've seen so far.
Of course, the angst between Hailey and Neill doesn't stop once they finally begin dating. No. Why would it? (view spoiler)[Everything is all fine and dandy until her adviser plants drugs on her so that she'll get expelled and he can kidnap her without drawing suspicion. Oh, and his sister, the president of the college, is in on it too. I'll get back to that later, but what I really want to discuss is the utter hissy fit that Neill threw when he found those drugs in her bag. A) What is it with Neill going through her stuff? B) What reason has she given him not to trust her? C) If she were really using all those drugs -- all the many, many different drugs that were planted on her, did he really think she'd be able to act as normal as she did? D) If she really were using drugs, did he think that she would keep them in a MANILA ENVELOPE in her BACKPACK? I mean, seriously. The guy has serious issues. Add to that the fact that he listed her job when she told him she needed two days off to write a twenty-page paper (which, by the way, his co-owner approved her time off), and I just could not believe that she took him back. He didn't deserve her. She didn't deserve to be treated like that. All he got from her was a slap on the wrist, and then they were back to kissing like nothing happened. It made me so angry. (hide spoiler)]
Onto the hot mess that was her adviser, Dr. Fields. I mean, first off, why is a psych professor her art adviser? I don't know how it works at other schools, my adviser was a professor in my major. How can somebody advise on a major they don't know? Anyway, from the first mention of him, it's clear that Dr. Fields is going to be a problem. (view spoiler)[ Why is Hailey's academic adviser tutoring her? That's what tutors are for. Advisers advise on the sorts of classes you should be taking, how you can get internships and other experience, what you can do with your degree once you finish -- they do not tutor their students in calculus, of all things. Then he got possessive, telling her that she needed to quit her job, following her around campus, showing up at the tattoo shop. Then he was getting all up in her personal space and getting grabby. The clincher was when Hailey went to the administration office to change advisers, and the secretary blew her off until she threatened to press charges for sexual harassment -- and the secretary told her that wouldn't be necessary, that such accusations were handled in-house. I thought Dr. Fields was creepy, but honestly, his stalking could have been handled better. The whole "shrine to Hailey" and kidnapping thing was kind of outside the realm of how he'd previously been written. I could have seen that going a lot of ways, and planting drugs on her was not one of them. I felt like that was just a really convenient direction to go to create the main conflict with Fields and Neill in one swoop. (hide spoiler)]
Draw Me In started out well enough, but the writing was too choppy and the pacing was off. I think that the story is good, and with some extensive editing, it would have been much better. It read like the author felt rushed while writing it and forgot to go back and check things like continuity and pacing. Despite all that, I did enjoy the story for what it was, and it is a very quick read. It would be the perfect book to read at the beach or on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Prima Donna is a twist on your average new adult, in which a feisty hairdresser and a playboy pediatrician fall in love.
Regan Burke's world is falling...morePrima Donna is a twist on your average new adult, in which a feisty hairdresser and a playboy pediatrician fall in love.
Regan Burke's world is falling apart. Her mother's medical bills were already difficult to handle, but now her landlord has decided to sell the salon space she rents. The last thing she wants is to be forced into having a good time, but then Carter Scott shows up as she's packing, and the next thing she knows, she's actually enjoying his company. But when Carter offers Regan a temporary job at his clinic, it's strictly professional -- hands off. But what if Regan and Carter are just what the other needs?
The story builds nicely and the characters are well-developed. Despite that, I didn't feel a strong connection to anything that was happening, which is reflected in my rating. There wasn't anything overtly wrong, so I feel a little bad about not liking it as much as I wanted to. Maybe it's just because I've been reading a lot of books like this recently and I'm getting a little burned out.
The thing that I appreciated the most was that Laura Drewry really nailed what it's like to work in a medical office. The crazy things that happen, the way patients act, the way the family of the patient acts... it's like she was pulling directly from my memories!
Prima Donna is recommended for anybody who enjoys a cute romance. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the free copy.(less)
Brinley Dawson was perfectly happy without boys or parties, just throwing herself into her schoolwork and hanging out with her best friend Mason. Perf...moreBrinley Dawson was perfectly happy without boys or parties, just throwing herself into her schoolwork and hanging out with her best friend Mason. Perfectly happy, at least, until a blast from the past decided to show up at the one party she actually went to. Ryder Briggs ruined Brinley's whole high school experience. She'd thought they had a connection, and then he threw her under the bus to protect his reputation. He's the last person she wanted to see at the party. In fact, she'd have been happy never seeing him again. So why can't she get him out of her head?
Just a Little Crush has a similar plot to many other new adult books - a mysterious person from the heroine's past shows up, and though they try to deny their attraction, they inevitably end up together. The thing that makes Just a Little Crush stand out from the masses is that it's actually well-written and believable. Brinley doesn't drop everything to be with Ryder. She doesn't forget about her friends in the process. She hangs out with other people, keeps up with her schoolwork, and doesn't get in over her head. She doesn't forget her morals. She doesn't lose who she is when she's with Ryder.
Both Brinley and Ryder are extremely well-written characters -- and so are their friends. Everybody comes across as a distinct character, not just a stereotype or cliche. Their mistakes and misunderstandings are even understandable. And though none of the twists in the book are really surprising, it's fun to go through them with the characters. Just a Little Crush really is a very well-written book. I'm so impressed with the uncorrected proof that I can't imagine what the final version will be like!
I hope that Renita Pizzitola is writing a sequel, because I will definitely read it.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.(less)