Gold Rush by Jordan Lynde is an ebook that is being published this month by Random House...moreThis review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
Gold Rush by Jordan Lynde is an ebook that is being published this month by Random House. I find it really interesting that books such as this, which was originally published on Wattpad by the teenage author, are attracting the attention of mainstream publishers. I can't say that I loved Gold Rush, but I did enjoy parts of it, especially the diversity of sexualities within the book.
Gold Rush is the story of a girl, Iris, who is charged with showing around new classmates, Noah, Luke and Rian at the private school they all attend. Iris is class president and really focused on her studies and doesn't need any distraction. And she also seems to be the only person in her school who doesn't lose her head and sensibilities around the new boys ... as they are the members of hot new boy band, Gold.
While I did feel like there needed to be more character development and something else to the story besides Iris and her friends' interactions with the members of Gold, it was still a fun book to read and I read it in a very short period of time. A lot of the story revolves around Iris and her two best friends and how they become friends and love interests to the three Gold band members. We do see a little bit of the fan-frenzy that Gold face on a daily basis and we do see a little bit of them trying to be normal teenagers doing normal things. I thought it was great that the tables are turned slightly in the second half of the book where it's Gold who become a little starstruck by another band. Overall though, it was a little bit too cheesy and slightly immature for me. It's a bit too much 'OMG, you want to buy me a donut?' in parts and there's very little conflict.
What I did enjoy about the book the most though is the fact that there is a character who identifies as bisexual. He's open about it and accepted by his peers and because of the reactions this character has had about his sexuality, it pushes another character to come forward and tell people that he is gay. I don't come across enough bisexual characters in YA, so this story line really kept me reading despite my problems with the rest of the story. (less)
Ooh, exciting and emotional. Stronger first half with the character development that loses it's way with the addition of the other mermaids. Really lo...moreOoh, exciting and emotional. Stronger first half with the character development that loses it's way with the addition of the other mermaids. Really looking forward to reading more. Full review soon.(less)
I'm still not quite sure what to make of Goddess by Laura Powell. It was the first book by this author that I've read (she's written about witches pre...moreI'm still not quite sure what to make of Goddess by Laura Powell. It was the first book by this author that I've read (she's written about witches previously) and I didn't know very much about it before I picked it up except that it was a book that incorporated elements of Greek mythology. I think I was pretty surprised by this story and where it went...
Goddess is a story about faith and corruption and political activism and doing the right thing. The story takes place in a present (?) day England that is badly crippled by riots and poverty and our main character, Aura, is pretty distant and sheltered from all of this growing up as she has in a cult that honours Artemis, a goddess from Greek mythology.
At the start of the story Aura is just about to turn 16, the age where she transitions between being a handmaiden into that of a priestess in this cult. As a priestess, she is expected to give vows of obedience and chastity but before this happens, Aura meets this boy, Aiden, who makes her question everything that has grown up to believe. Other events occur that make Aura realise that the people she has trusted have been keeping secrets and are using the position that this cult holds as a means of power for their own gain. Aura ends up in trouble and needing the guidance and support of Aiden if she is to end up doing the right thing.
I did enjoy Aura and Aiden's burgeoning friendship and the strength that Aura shows in standing up to the people who have raised her and for making the right choices when she comes to realise how other people are living outside of the luxury of this cult. And I felt that everything to do with the marches and protesting against political corruption and fairness for everyday people should resonate well with readers.
I just didn't quite get if this book was aiming for a dystopian setting or an alternate history sort of thing? I felt like more world-building needed to be done for me to feel comfortable with the setting of this book. There was mention of a lot of familiar things and people and buildings and then also this massive cult of Artemis and I wanted to know more about how they fit into the every day world.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Goddess and will look into reading the other books Laura Powell has written! I flew through the pages of Goddess really quickly and I was surprised by the twists in the story towards the end and really felt for Aura's circumstances. I wanted the best for her.
Goddess by Laura Powell is being published by Bloomsbury on the 8th of May.(less)
Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern was a really beautiful love story and it has quickly become one of my favourite books that I've read so far this ye...moreAmy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern was a really beautiful love story and it has quickly become one of my favourite books that I've read so far this year. I love how wonderful both Amy and Matthew are as characters and how each of the issues that they are dealing play a part in keeping them apart and also for bringing these two together.
I really loved getting to know these characters and watching them interact. You can tell right from the first pages of Amy and Matthew that these two main characters have this great connection already without having spoken to each other but once or twice over the years. But now it is their senior year in high school and Amy has decided that she wants things to change. And so instead of having adult carers help her at school because of her cerebral palsy, she insists her parents hire student carers instead. And Amy asks for one person in particular: Matthew, the boy who sees her despite her disability.
I think the thing that I loved the most about this book and these characters is the fact that yes, Amy has cerebral palsy which affects her physically and especially her mobility, and Matthew has OCD, which has an affect on his emotional state and his behaviours, but what I loved most about this book is how much Amy and Matthew's personalities shine through this book. The cerebral palsy and the OCD are aspects of both of their lives but they are not the defining factors of who they are. And I loved that about this book.
There felt like a lot of truth that came out in Cammie McGovern's writing. About Amy's loneliness and her parent's over-protectiveness and of Matthew's anxieties. It was really great to see Amy and Matthew form a strong enough friendship that allowed for each of them to talk to the other about their concerns and it was really apparent, especially in Matthew's case, how much of an affect the other had on each of their own well-being.
I knew right from the start and from the cover that is definitely a love story between these two main characters but I didn't expect for there to be very many surprises in where the story goes in terms of their relationship. This really isn't as straight-forward as I imagined and things got all kinds of unexpected towards the end. Still, I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting insight into two really well-developed characters and a relationship that changed them both for the better. (less)
Slow Twitch by Liz Reinhardt is the third and final book in the Brenna Blixen trilogy and the structure and tone of the book feels very different to t...moreSlow Twitch by Liz Reinhardt is the third and final book in the Brenna Blixen trilogy and the structure and tone of the book feels very different to that of the previous two books in the series. In Slow Twitch, instead of Brenna's perspective throughout, we get to also see both Jake and Saxon's viewpoints as well. This is, I'm assuming, because the three main characters spend a great deal of time towards the beginning of the book apart from each other.
I thought the split perspective and the distance between the three main characters dampened my enjoyment of the book. The first third of the book (which is a considerable amount of time as the book is over 500 pages) felt like three entirely different stories. First there's Brenna who is abroad in Dublin on a special writing course and meeting new friends and getting to better know old friends. There's Jake, who is attempting to connect with (wealthy) real dad's family in New York and finally, Saxon, who has been busted for his drug-taking and drug-dealing ways and has been sent off to some small town to live with his great-aunt and is forced into working as a dishwasher in a diner. All three different story lines and introducing some new characters. Primarily, Cadence, a new love interest for Saxon and Evan, Brenna's new BFF. Luckily for everyone, the three main characters do eventually end up in the same areas and do interact more with each other for the rest of the novel.
While I did enjoy seeing how these three characters end up, I found myself liking this book the least out of the three books in the trilogy. I didn't like the addition of the new characters and couldn't find myself caring about them in the same way as Brenna, Jake and Saxon because I hadn't spent as much time with them. I also found that things were resolved far too easily. Conflict between characters vanished with a click of the fingers and while there is some interesting developments in Jake and Brenna's relationships, at no point during Slow Twitch did I feel any peril of them breaking up or even really fighting. Same with Saxon and Cadence. Everything just came too easily. I'm all for happily ever afters, but not overly sweet and sappy HEAs that don't feel true to life.
I understand that Evan's character is the main protoganist of Liz Reinhardt's second trilogy but I really didn't appreciate how much of Evan's story is dumped into this one. And this applies throughout the book and not just for Evan but I'll use her character as an example, but intermittently there will be a jump in time and the reader is then told of the main events of what had happened during that time. That Evan or Evan's family did this or that and now voila! Evan's staying with Brenna for a week. These transitions felt lazy more than anything else.
So while this review seems overly negative, I didn't dislike the book. I was just hoping that things had worked out differently. I wanted the three main characters to feel more connected in the first part of the story. I wanted fewer additional characters as it felt forced and also like an advertisement for the newer set of books. I wanted more conflict and just more general emotion. I just wanted more.(less)
I was really looking forward to reading The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss. I heard that it's a very emotional and beautiful story and I didn't want...moreI was really looking forward to reading The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss. I heard that it's a very emotional and beautiful story and I didn't want to let all of my expectations ruin my experience of reading this book... and The Year of the Rat was everything that I was hoping it to be. It is beautiful and emotional and I love that it's a debut book as well. It just means we have so much more amazing to come from Clare Furniss.
The Year of the Rat is such a simple and very fitting title for this book. It does span an entire year and the rat of the title refers to our main character, Pearl's little sister, Rose, who when she is born at the beginning of the story resembles (in Pearl's eyes) a shriveled little rat. And 'rat' as a nickname is pretty indicative of how Pearl really feels about her new little sister. And that is because Pearl's mother has died in childbirth and Pearl is so sad and angry about the loss of her mother that she needs someone to blame. If not the Rat herself then possibly her dad who she feels might have forced her mother into having another baby.
The thing that I loved the most about this book is how complicated Pearl's feelings are. She's dealing with so much during the course of the novel and it was hard not to really sympathise with her and want to give her a hug. She's 15 and suddenly, unexpectedly motherless. While she's never had any doubts about her relationship with her dad, it suddenly becomes painfully obvious that actually he is only her step-father and not biologically related to her and she starts questioning if he will love the new baby more than he loves her or he wants her around at all. My heart broke for this entire family.
I love Pearl's anger and her attitude. You can tell that the death of her mother has changed Pearl in this major way and Pearl starts deciding that things that have mattered to her before like her school and her friendship with her best friend just aren't as important when she's so wrapped up in grief. One of my favourite scenes in the whole book is when Pearl is in the garden shouting obscenities at her dead mother. It felt really honest and raw and important.
Another one of my favourite things about this book is how Pearl relates to Rose in the beginning. There's this great bit in the book in which Pearl is left to babysit. And during this time Pearl is going through all these thoughts about how she's supposed to feel about a newborn - like she should love and protect her and have all these overwhelmingly positive feelings about her - and Pearl doesn't. She feels kind of a disconnect to her and finds it hugely overwhelming looking after a baby. And what I loved about this is how Clare Furniss has shown a little glimpse of another side to the story that a lot of women go through.
This year in Pearl's life is full of its ups and downs and I'm so glad to have read this book and experienced it with her. There are some really wonderful and honest portrayals of families of different kinds, grief and bereavement, and coming to terms with loss but also about friendship and the first hint of falling in love. I really loved this book and I highly recommend that you pick it up!(less)
I really loved Deeper by Robin York. I found it very surprising how much I enjoyed this story and this relationship especially as I'm not always a fan...moreI really loved Deeper by Robin York. I found it very surprising how much I enjoyed this story and this relationship especially as I'm not always a fan of the new adult genre. But Deeper was such a fantastic book that I felt dealt with serious topics well, had a great, empowering storyline and characters and a relationship that I could really root for from the very first page! I was really intrigued to see the topic of the unauthorised distribution of sexual/naked photos appear in more than one book I'd read recently (the other by Jennifer Brown) and I thought it was dealt with in a really interesting and enlightening way.
In Deeper, Caroline is a university student whose life alters unexpectedly when her ex-boyfriend, after a difficult break-up, sends their sex pictures to a revenge porn site. Suddenly, Caroline is the subject of gossip and cruel rumours, judgement from other people, weird looks.
I really felt for Caroline. She obviously knew her ex is the only possible person to have done this to her and yet at the start of the story, there isn't a great deal that Caroline feels she can do about it all. Except fight to have these photos removed and also to internalise all these terrible things people are saying about her. I was really sad and angry on Caroline's behalf for everything she goes through and everything she begins to believe about herself. There is a great deal of harassment and slut shaming from friends, family members, complete strangers. It was really quite harrowing to read in parts. Despite being really smart and motivated and strong, this whole thing really gets to Caroline. All of her self-confidence is shredded by the actions of her ex-boyfriend.
And the thing that I love the most about Deeper is that despite the very typical looking romantic-new adulty cover, this story, for me, focuses a lot more on Caroline's struggle to reclaim her identity. For such a long time, she begins to think of herself as only that girl in the sex photographs but mostly through her friendship with West she claws her way back towards being more and not letting that one event identify who she is as a person. I loved that.
Which isn't to say that I didn't absolutely love Caroline and West as a couple! I did, I loved them. I loved every single one of their interactions together and I loved hearing about their strange first connection when they first met and how they never spoke for an entire year. I loved that they reconnect by baking bread together and how much their friendship (and more) develops over time. I really loved the two of them together. They had amazing chemistry and I really cannot to read the sequel, Harder, which is being published later this year!
Deeper by Robin York was an amazing new adult novel and it's quickly become one of my favourites. I really recommend that you pick it up! (less)
The Academy: Love Match by Monica Seles was a quick, fun read. I enjoyed the first book in the series, Game On, when I read it last year. YA books inv...moreThe Academy: Love Match by Monica Seles was a quick, fun read. I enjoyed the first book in the series, Game On, when I read it last year. YA books involving sports are definitely something I'd like to see more of. I think the idea of a superstar sports academy involving the top young athletes is an amazing idea. And while I wish there were better character development in general, I did still enjoy Love Match. There's quite a bit of drama amongst Maya and her friends and the other students at The Academy...
Love Match starts off a couple of weeks after Game On left off and Maya has decided to focus on her sports training. And this paid off quite a lot as Maya is playing against top competitors in a mid-level tennis competition and manages to hold her own against one of her tennis heroes. And in playing so well in this tournament Maya gains the attention of a sports agent and starts receiving a lot of attention from other players and the media that has been very surprising.
What I like about this book in particular is the different issues that have come up. I like how Maya's friendship with alternatively-dressed golfer, Cleo, brings up the issue of image and staying true to yourself. And Renee starts dating soccer-star Diego and begins to see a different side to her wealth and privilege. These are things I'd like to see developed in future books.
Of course one of the main aspects of this series seems to be the relationships between Maya and the Reed brothers, Travis and Jake. This is the thing that drives me slightly crazy though. I'm not fond of story lines in which one character sways easily between two love interests. Things start off strong with Maya focusing on herself and her sports career but towards the end, it seems to be the last thing on her mind. Still. A book that was an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon!(less)
Oh wow, did I love Dead Silent by Sharon Jones. I knew I would - I adored the first book in the series, Dead Jealous, and I really fell in love with t...moreOh wow, did I love Dead Silent by Sharon Jones. I knew I would - I adored the first book in the series, Dead Jealous, and I really fell in love with the two main characters, Poppy and Michael. I'm really starting to believe that YA murder/thrillers are my absolute favourite types of books to read at the moment and that is based on the strength of books like Dead Jealous and Dead Silent.
I think the thing that I loved the most about Dead Jealous was the setting of the story in a pagan festival. I loved the idea of Poppy Sinclair questioning and exploring her beliefs at the same time as investigating the death of a teenage girl. And in the same way, I thought the setting of Dead Silent on the campus of Cambridge University was amazing, especially with it snowing. I really felt like I was there alongside Poppy and Michael.
Dead Silent takes place over a few days as Michael and Poppy visit for a university interview for Michael who is applying to one of the Cambridge's colleges. Poppy tags along to visit her slightly estranged father who is the university chaplain. I had vague memories from Dead Jealous about Poppy's father and what he did for a living but I really found it fascinating to learn more in this book. Especially as a dead body appears in the chapel and blame rests squarely on Poppy's father. Because of her father and because Poppy just can't seem to help but get involved and find out things, Poppy begins her detective work. And in doing so, she finds out more about university secret societies and about angels and long-standing grudges and her father's personal and romantic history and I thought I knew who had done it and yeah. Didn't get that right at all. It was exciting to see all the twists and turns and to see how everything linked together in the end!
Poppy Sinclair is by far one of my favourite characters in any book I've read recently. She's smart and stubborn and she's really not afraid to tell things straight. I love her strength and her humour. And while I absolutely ADORE her relationship with Michael, it's Poppy herself who has my heart. And I love Michael more because of how much he cares for her. Michael and Poppy are wonderful in this book. They've been going out for 4 months and things begin to get more ... physical in this book which had me laughing at loud at just how impossibly cute these two are with each other. There's obviously strong bond between her and Michael but that is not the case with Poppy and her father. It was nice to see them open up more about their relationship and how the trust between them had been damaged.
I really, truly love this series to bits. I love the characters, the relationships. I love the murder solving aspects and I'm always hugely surprised by the outcomes. I especially love witnessing Poppy explore her own beliefs. And I cannot wait to see more of Poppy Sinclair! Definitely do go out and find copies of both Dead Jealous and Dead Silent if you haven't already.(less)
Poppy by Mary Hooper is an historical YA novel following a teenage girl, Poppy, as she navigates first love and friendship during the beginning of Wor...morePoppy by Mary Hooper is an historical YA novel following a teenage girl, Poppy, as she navigates first love and friendship during the beginning of World War I. Historical fiction can sometimes be hit-or-miss for me but I always feel like I'm in good hands with a Mary Hooper novel. And with Poppy, I found many interesting characters and friendships that I cared about and I loved all of the historical detail as well.
As this story begins, the war has just begun and our main character, Poppy, is a parlourmaid for a wealthy family, the de Veres. She's a clever girl and was accepted into her local college to continue her education but because her family couldn't afford it she was forced into a serving position. She's sort of accepted this as her role in life and has no further ambitions until she receives an offer from a former teacher who is willing to supplement Poppy's income if she were to take on a volunteer nursing position to help out with the war effort. It's a generous offer, but also a really huge undertaking for Poppy who is unsure how she will react to the horrors of war and the demands of being a nurse. The thing that initially seems to be holding Poppy back is the seemingly mutual affection between herself and Freddie de Vere the youngest son of the family to whom she is employed. But when Freddie enlists, Poppy also decides to take a chance and become a volunteer nurse.
I really loved the easy and engaging writing style of Mary Hooper. I was very quickly swept into Poppy's story and her struggles. I loved the rich detail of England in WWI. There's quite a bit in this book about how much pressure all the young men are put under to be brave and patriotic and rush off to war eagerly. There was a rather uncomfortable bit at the beginning about presenting white feathers to men who have not enlisted that made my stomach clench. And even further on, when Poppy meets a soldier with shell shock and has an obvious distaste for being a soldier and does not want to do his part in the war, despite all of the things Poppy has seen, she is still shocked.
I really loved witnessing Poppy's experiences with being a nurse in a Southampton hospital and seeing the many different injuries and soldiers' experiences from a 15 year old who enlisted, soldiers with missing limbs and disfigured faces. And I also enjoyed reading of the people who have cared for these soldiers and the different ways that everyone contributed to the war effort. From the nursing staff, women working in factories, donating food and clothing and vehicles and their own homes. It was really fascinating to read how very different things became during wartime.
I didn't know when I first began Poppy that this is only half the story - the sequel, Poppy in the Field, is scheduled to be published in May of 2015. I think this story ended on a suitably intriguing place and I'm quite excited to see what will become of our Poppy - how she gets on with her nursing, and with the war and definitely with her romantic adventures!(less)
What an absolutely amazing story about family and the kindness of others. Jojo Moyes writes the most wonderful and emotional stories and it's so easy...moreWhat an absolutely amazing story about family and the kindness of others. Jojo Moyes writes the most wonderful and emotional stories and it's so easy to be pulled into the pages of her books and feel immersed in them. I love that this is a road trip novel but also that it's messy and complicated and there is no fairy godmother to swoop in and save the day. In particular, I loved the strength of character and the tenacity of Jess who is determined to do the best she can for her two children. A beautiful book by an incredible author. (less)
Anything To Have You by Paige Harbison is not being published here in the UK until February of 2014, but I just couldn't wait to read it. It sounded r...moreAnything To Have You by Paige Harbison is not being published here in the UK until February of 2014, but I just couldn't wait to read it. It sounded really good - the story of two friends who are torn apart over a boy.
And Anything To Have You started off really well. I had high hopes that it would be a story with characters and relationships and situations that I'd really fall for. I can't really work out where this book went wrong but I did finish it feeling a little bit flat. While it is an interesting concept, at times, I felt like the non-linear narrative and the lack emotional highs distracted me from really connecting to this story.
Natalie and Brooke have been friends forever. Brooke is the popular, party-going girl and Natalie is her quiet and studious friend who is more comfortable curled at home with a movie. When Brooke convinces Natalie to come to a party things start to unravel. Because Natalie wakes up having not remembered a large portion of the previous evening ... and she wakes up in bed next to Aide, Brooke's boyfriend.
Two boys fighting over a boy isn't a new concept for a book and as it should be, a lot of the narrative is focused on the strength (and cracks that have appeared!) of the friendship between two girls. The story is told in five parts, alternating between Natalie and Brooke's point of view and jumping backwards and forwards in time in order to share key scenes in Brooke's relationship with Aiden and of the friendship between Natalie and Brooke.
I really liked Natalie and Aiden's characters. I thought they were nice and friendly and relateable and it is quite easy to tell how much they care for one another. It took longer to warm to Brooke because of her sometimes selfish and self-obsessed behaviours. And I liked that the mystery of what happened between Aiden and Natalie took awhile to be revealed. Like I said though, the jumps in time between junior and senior year and the change in perspective between Brooke and Natalie made me lose the flow and emotional build-up and that meant that big reveals that should have been more shocking or emotional didn't quite work.
I do love that Paige Harbison took things to a darker more mature place with this book - drugs, sex, alcohol, everything else. Even though I only rated this book three stars there is still quite a lot of promise there and I will still look out for future books by Paige Harbison! (less)
I thought this was a really interesting story and I could definitely see connections towards the aliens in the same way as racism and prejudices. I wa...moreI thought this was a really interesting story and I could definitely see connections towards the aliens in the same way as racism and prejudices. I wanted to see more development in the characters and their relationships between each other which is why this is only a three star read for me. But even so, I am still quite curious to read more in the series.(less)
Junk Miles by Liz Reinhardt is the second book in the Brenna Blixen series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Double Clutch. I liked the...moreJunk Miles by Liz Reinhardt is the second book in the Brenna Blixen series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Double Clutch. I liked the main character, Brenna, and the way in which she struggled between cultures having just returned to the US from living abroad in Denmark, and also how she chose to split her high school schedule across a normal school and a technical college. Her life is further complicated in the first book because she fancies two very different boys - Saxon and Jake. Because Brenna does make a decision about her romantic life at the end of Double Clutch I was worried that subsequent books in the series would take a very dramatic turn in order for there to be continued conflict. I'm happy to report that Junk Miles never took a turn for the silly or over the top dramatics.
In fact, I really liked the way that Junk Miles played out. I found g Brenna's openness and honesty really refreshing and I loved exploring Saxon as a character more. If you haven't read Double Clutch as yet, here is where the spoilers come in. You've been warned!
Brenna chooses to be with Jake over Saxon and at the start of Junk Miles, she's ridiculously happy with Jake and with their relationship. Except that she's really not. And it takes a surprise trip to Paris with her mother (and with bad boy Saxon!) for Brenna to realise that there are aspects of her relationship with Jake that make her feel uncomfortable. And there's still all that pent-up attraction and strong feelings she has for Saxon that Brenna has no idea what do with. So, she breaks up with Jake (over the phone!) and impulsively jumps into a thing with Saxon. There are probably ten billion better options to go for than the choices Brenna makes but I kind of got where she was coming from. The rest of the book sees Brenna dealing with the aftermath of her break-up with Jake, getting to know Saxon better and mulling over what craziness she let in that would explain her behaviour.
Saxon is a wonderful character - obviously good-looking and charming and involved with some suspect things but he's also really vulnerable and sweet. He's really broken up with the state of his family and over the ruined state of his relationship with his former best friend/half-brother, Jake. While I didn't much for his character in Double Clutch in this book my mind was completely changed about his motives and about his feelings for Brenna and Jake.
I do wish things had become better resolved in this book though. I think the resolution and forgiveness of what went down with Jake and Brenna was tied up a bit too neatly and things weren't as properly addressed as I'd have liked them to be. I kept waiting for this big heart-to-heart between Jake and Brenna that just never happened. And I wish more focus had been on running/cycling/motor cross like in the first book. Still. I'm excited to read the next book following Jake, Brenna and Saxon, Slow Twitch. Hopefully the problems I had with Junk Miles will work themselves out in that.
I'm really surprised by how much I've enjoyed this series!(less)
My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M. Cameron is a New Adult book following a similar cast of characters to that of My Favourite Mistake. I remember having...moreMy Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M. Cameron is a New Adult book following a similar cast of characters to that of My Favourite Mistake. I remember having issues with My Favourite Mistake when I read it but nothing major enough for me to not read the sequel. Unfortunately, not many details of the My Favourite Mistake stayed with me and it took far longer than necessary for me to realise that the Hunter and Taylor being mentioned in this book were the two main characters from that book. Whoops.
Let me start with the few niggles that I had with this book. I'm not a huge fan of the 'New adult' label. I really don't think that the label or subcategory is needed at all. Especially in cases such as My Sweetest Escape. The big thing with new adult is supposedly this unique age range in which people are going off to university and making their way in the world that is somehow different and more mature than when younger teenagers find their own identities and so on in high school. I felt like some minor aspects of My Sweetest Escape could have been changed and the entire story could have been told in a high school environment. There wasn't enough of university life or being independent that I felt warranted a new adult label other than mentions of sexual activity.
The second thing I slightly rolled my eyes at was this combination of virgin girl and experienced boy. Why is this ever necessary?! (answer: never.)
My Sweetest Escape tells the story of Jos, a freshman at university who has been forced into switching schools and living in a house with her older sister, Renee and Renee's flatmates - Hunter and Taylor, Paul, Darah and Mason, all characters (I'm assuming as I don't quite remember them all) from My Favourite Mistake. This forced move is down to Jos's partying and wild behaviour following some traumatic event that her friends and family know nothing about. This is another aspect of the story that I found slightly irritating. Jos is 18 and yet Renee treats her like she's ten years younger than she is and continues to treat her like a child even after Jos displays absolutely zero wild or bad behaviour. The mind boggles.
But don't feel as though I absolutely hated the book despite how many criticisms this review contains. There were definitely aspects of the book that I did enjoy. It was interesting to see Jos's friendship forming with a fellow classmate, Hannah and their Buffy watching marathons. I quite enjoyed Jos's relationship with her sister, Renee as well and how much Jos changes from being very closed off at the start and how living with a bunch of caring people who adopt Jos into their 'family' makes her more open.
And while I'd have much preferred to see how much Dusty had changed from his bad boy past to that of his present state, I did think he was quite sweet. There was definitely lots of likeability and personality coming from Dusty and it was nice to see Jos and Dusty trying to resist their attraction to each other. My Sweetest Escape was a very cute and easy contemporary romance to read. I read it very quickly and while I did want it to be more it was still a satisfying read. (less)
I really enjoyed meeting Bliss and Garrick in Losing It when I read it earlier this year. In fact, I've enjoyed all of Cora Carmack's stories...more3.5 stars
I really enjoyed meeting Bliss and Garrick in Losing It when I read it earlier this year. In fact, I've enjoyed all of Cora Carmack's stories much to my surprise. In this novella, Keeping Her, we are reunited with Bliss and Garrick as they make their way to London in order for Bliss to meet Garrick's parents. Keeping Her was funny and awkward and had lots of steamy moments between Bliss and Garrick. It was easy to read and nice to revisit and spend more time with these characters we'd already fallen for ...
My only issue with the book is that it's too short. And while it brings up issues that are interesting and we are introduced to new characters, there just isn't enough time to explore them. The bulk of the story is of Bliss being nervous about her upcoming in-laws and yes, we do get to see her making a less than favourable first impression and that was endearing. But I would have liked things to have broken the surface a bit more about Garrick's relationships with both of his parents or more about an issue that was brought up towards the end. Everything just seemed to end very suddenly. (less)