Place(s) Traveled To: Harkness, Connecticut // New York, New York // Huntington, New York
First Line(s): I promised myself that I wouldn't spend my second semester of college huddle in my room playing Dragonfire.
In The Fifteenth Minute, Sarina Bowen returns once again to Harkness University and this time tells the story of Lianne and DJ, both of whom we meet in The Shameless Hour (my review.) Though this is part of a series, just like the other books, it can be read independently. The story starts the semester after Shameless Hour ends and so Lianne and Bella have settled into their friendship. Lianne is still shy about wandering out in public due to the mixed reactions she gets but she is trying. She and DJ also have a really cute meet/cute near the end of Shameless Hour and I was glad to hear that they would be the stars of this book.
Both Lianne and DJ are dealing with complicated life issues and while Lianne's issues are known (she's an actress in a famous book to series film franchise - think Emma Watson as Hermione) DJ's are not. Over the course of the story you do learn what demons DJ is facing and while at times the crypticness of it all annoyed me it wasn't overdone. The story was heartbreaking at times as these two characters couldn't always find a common ground despite the growing attraction that they had for each other. As with many a romance it tended to come down to all or nothing and there was no way to exist in between. Which also frustrates me in books. When that happens I just want to reach into the pages and shake the characters and yell at them to find a compromise!
DJ could also be such a Debbie downer at times but I did love seeing him start to find hope in his situation. And I loved how he and Lianne interacted. I also loved Lianne's interactions with DJ's housemates and other hockey team members. It was fun watching them learn that she was more than just a childhood movie star and was someone who could kick their collective asses at one of their favorite past times, outside of hockey. The Fifteenth Minute was a quick read and I enjoyed it but in the end it didn't give me those heart achey feels that I adore in stories. There was just something missing that kept me from loving this one completely.
Maybe it was because of DJ's doom and gloom side or maybe its because I wanted a little more from the ending or maybe it was just that DJs epiphany came on so quick and sudden that it was hard to believe. There just seemed to be a few things left incomplete and it left me feeling unsatisfied. But overall I do still love this series and I enjoy each installment. I love all the cameos of characters from previous books and seeing where they are traveling to outside of their stories. I'm looking forward to Bowen's next Ivy Years book as I do so adore the students of Harkness University and I am looking forward to catching little peaks into DJ and Lianne's life to see where they end up next.
Place(s) Traveled To: Etna, Connecticut // New York, New York
First Line(s): It had been two hours since I blew out twenty candles on the cake Ma made for me, but my ass was still parked at Restaurante Tipico.
The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen is the fourth book in her Ivy Years series and is Bella's story. Bella is a well known secondary character in the series and you learn a bit more about her in The Understatement of the Year (my review) and I was really excited when I heard that she was finally getting her own book. Bella's love interest is Rafe, a quiet guy who lives in her building and who is an acquaintance of Bella's. After a bad night for them both they end up sleeping together which is no big deal for Bella but is huge for Rafe because he was a virgin and while he wasn't saving himself for marriage he would have preferred to be in a more committed relationship. There are then awkward moments between the two as they both misunderstand the other until something happens that shakes Bella to the core and brings her and Rafe closer together.
Oh how my heart ached for Bella in this book and I thought that Rafe was the perfect boy for her. They are both flawed but together they make this perfect whole, that is when they aren't totally misunderstanding each other. But unlike most books where misunderstandings lead to breakups as the people involved never talk Bella and Rafe only end up closer together. Yes, there are things between them that aren't said right away but when details are revealed they listen and grow more and more in like with each other. They may have started as casual acquaintances with a one-night stand but over time they become friends and then fall in love.
There were a few things that I didn't like though, like how Bella was sometimes so stubborn that she wouldn't really listen to Rafe was saying but I loved how he kept trying. Or that there weren't enough cameos from Graham and Rikker because those two!! Though I did like the addition of, Lianne, the semi-reclusive neighbor of Bella and who becomes a really good friend to her when Bella allows her to be. Because Bella, for all her spunk and brash behavior has a habit of never letting anyone get to close to her. She's flirty and fun but she doesn't get real until life really forces her to take a hard look at herself and she allows herself to trust and let people in. And in the end she's still flirty, sassy and brash but she's also so much more because she has people beside her holding her up when she needs it.
If you like new adult romance then I would highly recommend Sarina Bowen's The Ivy Years series, they are books that just keep getting better with each one. I loved seeing Bella in flashes over the previous books but it wasn't until The Shameless Hour that you really get to know her in all her complexity. I loved Rafe and I adored the two of them together. This was a real heart-achy book and I hope that we get to see more of these two in the next book in the series because I do hate saying goodbye to them. Though I am sure that this is a couple that I'll re-visit every so often with a re-read and so even though the story is over it doesn't really end.
First Line(s): "This looks promising," my mother said, eyeing the dormitory's ivy-covered facade.
I first heard about Sarina Bowen when an author friend recommended a title of hers called The Understatement of the Year which is the third book in Bowen's Ivy League series. As I've mentioned a time or two I like to read a series in order and as this author friend also said the others were worth the read I decided to just go ahead and buy the whole lot and started reading the first book, The YEar We Fell Down.The Year We Fell Down is the story of Corey Callahan and Adam Hartley (called Hartley by friends throughout that you pretty much forget his real name) and takes place over the course of a year at their school, Harkness University (Read: Yale without being Yale). Corey is a Freshman and is starting off school relearning how to walk after a freak Hockey accident several months prior. Hartley is also recovery from a hockey injury but his was the result of male stupidity that leaves him with a broken leg. They are neighbors and are instantly attacted to one another but there are several obstacles in their way. Queue up ALL THE CLICHES!
First there is the biggest hurdle, Hartley has a girlfriend. A long time girlfriend who is pretty and rich and is conviantely away for the semester in France. She is also a royal b*@#& and no one likes her, not even Hartley most of the time, so it often baffled me why he was even with the girl since all he did was point out all the things he disliked about her and the things he did like was that she was pretty and had money. (Head desk. Repeat.) Then there was Corey with her typical heroine hangups of how she's not pretty enough and the added issue of her handicap which she thinks will prevent her from ever finding love. Especially with Hartley as he is just so handsome and amazing and just perfect in every way. (Head desk. Repeat.) But where Corey bugged me the most was her use of the phrase, hope fairies. It was childish and overdone and I swear my eye started to twitch be the end every time her internal monolgue went there.
For me, The Year We Fell Down, wasn't a bad book but it wasn't super great either. There were typos and continutiy errors and random name changes throughout the book. There were some unbelievable bits and the fact that it really just barely didn't cross the cheating line. Any regular reader knows that cheating is a big bookish turn off with me and has killed a book or two for me. There are books where there is mutal attraction but the one who is taken doesn't actually cross the line but its a very fine line and there have to be other elements in the story that wow me enough to pull my brain away from fixating that character x is not single. The Year We Fell Down didn't have enough of those elements and so every time Hartley was focusing thoughts on Corey in a romantic way (and vise versa) I kept yelling at the book "He has a girlfriend!!" It was a frustration and totally took away a star from my rating.
The Year We Fell Down wasn't a train wreck though and I did really enjoy the secondary characters in the novel and I did like the school setting where it took place. While I think that Bowen's writing needs a little polish and that this story could use another round of editing or two to clean up some things there is enough promise to it all to keep me reading the next books in the series. Plus, I did already buy them all so there is that as well.
3.5 stars...liked this one but felt the ending was a bit rushed and details glossed over. Not really looking forward to the next book, but will probab3.5 stars...liked this one but felt the ending was a bit rushed and details glossed over. Not really looking forward to the next book, but will probably read it....more
***As Originally posted on my blog tickettoanywhere(dot)net***
When I first heard about Angelfall by Susan Ee I was very skeptical of it. First it had***As Originally posted on my blog tickettoanywhere(dot)net***
When I first heard about Angelfall by Susan Ee I was very skeptical of it. First it had angels and I am not a huge fan of that growing genre and second it was a self-published book....and we've all witness the horrors that can occur with self-published authors. But two bloggers, Po(sey) Sessions and YA Librarian Tales, whose opinions really matter to me kept insisting that this was one book that I really had to try. Yes, it was about Angels but it was about the scary biblical ones of old and it was more of a dystopia than not. And yes, it was self-published but it didn't read like one. And since it was only 99 cents on BN.com I crumbled under their praise and purchased this book.
This is a purchase that I don't regret as I really enjoyed Angelfall. I loved the world building of this post-apocalyptic world and I loved that we had a history of how it all came to be. We weren't just tossed into the ruins of America and told to just accept it without question of how society crumbled. I also enjoyed how angels weren't given a white washing and made into benevolent creatures. I liked how they were cold and hard and scary. Anyone who has every read the bible knows the power of angels and it was a bit terrifying to see it on the page.
Penryn's voice was also very strong and realistic. She didn't always make the wisest decisions but she always followed her heart. There were several times when she walked into danger knowing that she could have turned a blind eye and been safe. But she didn't. She took risks and dealt with the consequences of her actions. Learning a bit more about herself in the process. I also enjoyed her interactions with Raff, the angel she rescues and makes a pact with to try and save her sister. They had a funny banter and I enjoyed seeing them learn to cope with the other and learn that the other race may not be as bad as initially thought.
The problem that I had with the book was that just as the action really started to heat up, the story ended. And not just any ending but an ending with a cliff hanger. One that forces the reader to go and read the next book if they want to know what happens. I am filled with series fatigue and while I want to know what happens next a part of me is a little resentful that the only way to know is to keep reading.
Overall though, Angelfall is a solid addition to the dystopian craze and it might even be better than some of the other more popular dystopian reads out there. Its a solid world with a gripping plot line that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Penryn and Raff journey to across California. Its a book that will make your heart race and then break it a little over the course of Penryn's journey. Its a book where the choices aren't always easy but they are ones that need to be made. And for all of my series fatigue I really do hope that book 2 is available soon so that I can devour that one as quickly as I devoured Angelfall.
***As Originally posted on my blog tickettoanywhere(dot)net***...more