I was going to wait a little bit to gather my Dean-jumbled thoughts to write this review, but since I'm feeling peer-pressured (*glares at Erin), I'mI was going to wait a little bit to gather my Dean-jumbled thoughts to write this review, but since I'm feeling peer-pressured (*glares at Erin), I'm going to go ahead and do it.
Some background: The Score was (and of this date in December, still is) one of my most-anticipated titles of 2016. I lovedThe Deal and The Mistake (and all of Elle Kennedy's other books that I've read), and this is what I posted while waiting for The Score on goodreads:
You totally don't need to read either of the other books in the series to understand what's going on in The Score (but you should, because they're both awesome to the 2nd power). Just in case you need a little refresher on who Dean is, here is one of my favorite quotes from him (in The Mistake):
"Chicks appreciate a nice cock shot. Trust me."
Hollis presses his lips together like he's trying not to laugh. "Uh-huh. Sure."
I flick my ash on the grass and take another drag. "Just out of curiosity, what constitues a 'nice cock shot'? I mean, is it the lighting? The pose?"
I'm being sarcastic, but Dean responds in a solemn voice. "Well, the trick is, you've gotta keep the balls out of it."
That gets a loud hoot out of Tucker, who chokes mid-sip on his beer.
"Seriously," Dean insists. "Balls aren't photogenic."
Okay, so that sets him up pretty well, I think. Now on to The Score.
After realizing that she will never see eye-to-eye about their futures, college Senior Allie breaks up with her long-time boyfriend and at the urging of her friends, decides she needs a rebound fling. The last guy on Earth she wants to sleep with is Dead Di Laurentis, the biggest player on campus, no matter how gorgeous he is. Everyone thinks Dean is just a dumb jock who gets everything handed to him on a silver platter. He's rich, beautiful, and always has a harem of women willing to do anything--anywhere. Of course, that's exactly who Allie finds herself in bed with after a night of drunken debauchery. Everyone knows Dean doesn't hook up with the same girl twice, so it surprises both of them when he wants seconds with Allie. After Dean's relentless pursuit, Allie gives in, but she's adamant that their FWB relationship has to remain a secret from everyone, especially their best friends. The more time the spend together, the deeper they get. What happens when their simple no-strings-attached fling suddenly isn't so simple anymore?
I loved everything about this book. The characters, the setting, the background--just everything. Here's a list of my most favoritist things:
Dean. Of course I loved Dean the most. Would I really start with anything else? Ya'll know I totally love the player falling for the (sometimes) good girl trope, so of course, I'm all about this guy. What I loved especially about Dean is that he's who he is--and it totally makes sense. His outlook on a lot of things in life are explained well, and it makes me not only love him more, but find him totally relatable and realistic. It also doesn't hurt that he's hot and he's funny.
"Why is your arm around me?"
His expression is all innocence. "This is how I watch movies."
"Really? So you put your arm around Garrett when you watch movies with him?"
"Absolutely. And if he's nice to me, sometimes I slide my hand down his pants."
And he's a dirty texter. But he's also got substance and wants to be his best self. Can't argue with that.
Allie. Allie surprised me. I don't really remember a whole lot about her from the other books, but I liked her here. She was stronger than I expected, and she definitely was no push-over. There's a bit about slut-shaming in this book, and I love the way they handled it. I didn't love the way Allie handled something else, but after considering her past, I guess it's okay.
"I love her shamelessness, how she's up for anything and completely unapologetic about it. Just like me."
Imprinting. Usually Twilight references in books drive me crazy, but The ScoreBella, I legit laughed out loud.
Everyone else. I am so glad that we got to see the other beloved characters in this series, especially Garrett. Of course, I wanted more of them, but what can you do? I seriously cannot wait to read the next book, and even though I'm not thrilled about the girl, I love Tucker.
The Drama. I loved that the drama wasn't over something stupid. That's all I can say without being spoilery, but The Score is truly refreshing.
Crazy Hot Sex. This book is hot. That is all.
Winston. I also loved Winston. Rather, I loved the roll Winston played in this book. But that's all I can say about that without giving anything away.
So what didn't I like? Well, I felt like it was wrapped up a little too neatly. The decisions that both Allie and Dean make were major, life-altering decisions. I was surprised that everything seemed to be wrapped-up in such a neat little bow. (view spoiler)[Especially the stuff with Miranda. (hide spoiler)]
Really, if you like the same kind of books I do, then you're going to love this one. With laugh-out-loud humor, steamy scenes, and relatable characters, The Score by Elle Kennedy is one of the best books of the year, no matter which year you read it in. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things was my favorite "real" book that I read in 2014 ("real" as in the Real Books Challenge), and I reread it so I could talk about Shane in our latest podcast episode. In other words, I loved this book so. freaking. much.
High school senior Sage Czinski is known around school as "Princess Post-it" because she leaves a positive note on someone's locker everyday. Sage is all about spreading goodness, which is in direct contrast to some things that happened to her before moving to a small town with her aunt. She's been through a lot, and no one knows everything about the darkness she feels at times. She's been secretly crushing on her best friend, Ryan, forever, and though they share everything, including Friday night movie nights, there's nothing romantic between them. When Sage learns something about Ryan that lets her see him in a new light, their dynamic changes and though she misses him, she needs space.
Not to mention that she can't get the quiet, soulful new guy out of her mind. Shane Cavendish has a past of his own and is just trying to get by.
"I came here looking to finish school quietly. Stay out of trouble. Maybe write some new songs. I never expected you."
After an undeniable connection, Shane offers to tutor Sage in math, and they realize that what they're each missing in their lives is each other.
Both of them have secrets and have to deal with having someone in their lives that they never expected. What happens when their secrets are revealed? Will their newfound relationship be enough to keep them together?
I loved pretty much everything about this book, beginning with Sage. She was seen as almost a goody-two shoes, but there was so much more to her character. She had a dark past that she was doing everything in her power to overcome. She was authentic and had realistic feelings.
I ask myself if he's singing this for a reason, if he saw how much I doubt belonging with someone like him, someone hot and talented.
I'm so not enough. I can't be. I smile, and I act happy, and I pretend. I'm the queen of bright and shiny things, eternally looking for the [positive and seeking a silver lining in the dark. He's dating a girl I invented three years ago because the real me is horrible, and I wanted to leave her behind... I want so bad to be normal, but I never can be.
I loved her aunt and the unconditional love she had for Sage. There were parts between them that seriously made me tear up.
"Everyone deserves a second chance."
I loved her relationship with Lila, her new friend. I love that Lila approached Sage and that she wouldn't let Sage shut her out. I also loved how loyal she was.
"They aren't talking to me. People know I will cut a bitch if they start something with you."
Despite that fact that I didn't love what Ryan did and how he took her for granted, I liked him and felt bad for him, missing his BFF. If you've ever secretly harbored a crush for your best friend who didn't notice that you were a girl, this book is for you.
And of course, I saved the best for last. Shane.
He's a hunk of chocolate cake slathered in frosting that I'm not supposed to have, but can't help wanting.
With his mop of messy brown hair and aquamarine eyes, he's more than just a pretty face. He plays the guitar and sings and writes songs. He's smart and he's crazy swoony.
"I'd love to pull my grade up to a C before midterms."
"I'll get you to a B by the time the grading period ends."
I say without thinking, "If you do, I'll love you forever."
"Then I better apply myself," he says softly.
There's more to him than just being swoony. He's independent and he's humble. He's proud and he's loyal. His favorite food is slow-cooker pulled pork, which I have to say is one of the best things I make. So, that makes him mine haha He's a sweet texter and he writes her a song FFS. He's just ...awesome.
"I wish I could have all your firsts, because you're getting all of mine."
There were a couple of smallish things that I didn't like. I felt like it was out of character for Sage to let Shane sleep over when her aunt was out of town. Knowing that Sage is so worried about rocking the boat with her aunt and is always trying to be perfect, I was just surprised that she did that. I also felt like there wasn't enough resolution to the situation with Ryan. I guess that's real life--you don't always get a big speech and everything isn't always wrapped up into a bow, but I wanted a conversation or something to show what would happen next with them. Maybe I was in a Shane-induced stupor and missed it. :)
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things is truly a story of broken hearts coming together to heal into something stronger than either of them ever imagined. It's a story about a swoony boy, a sweet girl, and second chances. And it's one of my favorites. ...more
I absolutely loved this book, which surprises me because if you know me, you know that I'm not usually all about characters sleeping with other people. But whatever--I can't help how much I loved it.
Told from Joss's point of view, with alternating chapters between then, when it all began, and now, readers experience Joss and Matt's highs and lows as they realize what they had spent years searching for might have been right in front of their faces all along. Seven years after their relationship began, Joss finds that she wants more than just a friends-with-benefits arrangement and is heading to tell Matt she can't accept less than everything from him. She reflects back on how they got where they are now.
When Joss's boyfriend broke up with her at the beginning of freshman year, her new friend Matt offers "sorbet sex" as a way to get over it.
"And what would [you] get out of this arrangement?"
"A chance to sleep with a cute girl, no strings attached."
"That sounds a little cheap." My stomach got in on the act, stirring with guilt and nerves. I tried to settle it with nothing but will. After all, I hadn't done anything.
"I may be a nice guy, but I'm still a guy. Trust me, sex is its own reward."
There are a lot of ups and downs and lots of sorbet sex as both of them navigate through relationships woes. In order to keep their friendship in tact, they come up with a set of rules, including that they will only hook up after a break-up and that they will spend the night with each other afterward:
All along, both of them question why they aren't perfect for each other since they're best friends and so compatible. Unfortunately, it's Joss who has the hang up.
"Well, something had to happen. One of you was going to get serious with someone else, or you were going to start dating each other."
"No way. He's not my type at all."
I never really understand why, but Joss is the one who thinks their relationship can't be anything other than BFFs/Sorbet partners--until she realizes she wants more.
I wondered why I ever bothered with anyone but him. I liked the sight, the feel, the taste, and the sound of him in bed. I liked how we knew just enough about each other as lovers to be comfortable and move in sync, but not so much that I waasn't strung tight with anticipation every time he tried something new.
He was my port in a storm, and I couldn't imagine losing that.
Admittedly, it's not like Matt tells her he wants more, either. Throughout the story, they both figure out some things and go through relationships that make them realize their arrangement isn't working out for them anymore. But will they give up or let themselves become everything to each other?
I loved a lot of things about this book, beginning with Matt. He was sweet and a total stand-up guy. I loved the way Joss and Matt's relationship developed and the fun banter they had. There were some real laugh out loud moments, and I just loved them.
"Matt!" I protested, more out of form than any real indignation. "You've already convinced me to disappear in the middle of my date and gotten me slapped in the face by a crazy woman. Are you seriously gonna suggest I should have sex with you on top of that?"
He made a thoughtful face. "It sounds worse when you say it all out loud."
I loved that this story was hot.
Matt kissed every part of my body that crossed his path: a shoulder, my chin, the palm of my hand. He was equal opportunity when it came to kissing. It was a new experience for me, and it turned me on like crazy.
Also, elevator kissing ftw.
Best friends to more is one of my favorite storylines, so of course When Joss Met Matt is right up my alley. I love that their relationship was sort of backwards, though. There were a few things that I didn't love, mainly that Joss drove me crazy constantly saying Matt wasn't her type. I also found myself wanting to get to the now part more at the end and I was tempted to skip ahead to see what would happen. I'm glad I didn't--some of my favorite moments were thrown in there--but I wanted a more continuous story once we arrived back at the beginning. And I wanted more after the end, but I pretty much always want that.
When Joss Met Matt was a fun, quick read, with angsty moments and hot moments and moments filled with laughter. I can't wait to read more from author Ellie Cahill, and I hope that you'll check out this awesome story....more