I was so pleasantly surprised by Mayhem. I knew I would want to continue this series. I was beginning to think that my review request wouldn’t get appI was so pleasantly surprised by Mayhem. I knew I would want to continue this series. I was beginning to think that my review request wouldn’t get approved because release day for Riot was coming closer and closer. Finally I was approved. I had to wait a couple of days before I could start it because I was finishing up another review book, but that just made me even more excited to finally dive in once I was able.
The basis of Riot was established within Mayhem. Dee is Rowan’s best friend, and so Rowan introduced us to Dee’s background. We also see Dee and Joel hook up for the first time in Mayhem so the stage was set. Dee’s been in the habit of making guys fall in love with her and then dropping them to prove that she’s not going to end up broken and alone when they inevitably leave—just like her mother did to her father when she was eleven. While she’s trying so hard not to turn out like her father—broken and alone—she doesn’t realize that she’s essentially turned into her mother—crushing and insensitive. All of that being said, I think it was obvious what the conflict for Riot was going to be before I even went into this book. It was basically spelled out from Mayhem and even from the description above. Anyone remotely versed in human behavior could guess what would happen in Riot.
This book was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t do anything to stop the wreck from happening, but I couldn’t look away at the same time. And I mean that in the best and worst ways possible. Yes it was predictable. Yes it was painful and frustrating at times. Yes it was even very similar to several other books that I’ve read in the past. (See my post about Repetitive Themes were Riot is included in several categories.) But at the same time, given Dee’s background, how could anything different have happened and been authentic?
I was torn on these characters. Joel’s apathy in the beginning was difficult to read at times. It was like he didn’t care if he was with Dee or any other girl. He did seem to have a particular fondness for her, but "meh any old girl will do." Of course, there’s a catalyst that causes Joel to wisen up on how he truly feels about Dee. Yet coming at Dee full force is like running up to a wild animal--it doesn’t work. You must approach with caution and strategy. Dee, too, was a difficult character to read. Sure we’re all different, but I don’t always relate to people who are vastly different from me. Dee’s casual attitude toward sex was just something that was hard to wrap my head around. Sure there are plenty of women and girls out there who look at sex the same way that Dee does, but that’s just not me.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been noticing repetitive themes in books for quite some time—I even did a post about it last week--specifically the theme I want to mention is where relationships begin with the physical and them move into more. This happens often in NA books, and I hate the impression that it gives about romance and relationships.
The conflict for Riot was obvious, and the solution to overcoming this conflict was SO EASY. It’s almost frustrating to even have this considered conflict. I want to say more, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
-“Joel is a game.” “And what’s the prize if you win?”
-In a war of social combat, there’s one key to victory: Act like you’ve already won.
-“No one’s breaking your heart here but you.”
Of course, the setting has been laid for book 3, Chaos, which will finally feature Shawn’s story. Thankfully, unlike Riot even though the conflict is already established, I don’t know how Chaos will play out—well not entirely anyway. There are a few things that are a given.
All in all, I devoured Riot. Where I normally find myself saying that a book wasn’t what I expected it to be, Riot was exactly what I was expecting. There really weren’t any surprises. I was frustrated with the conflict and the resolution, but I was sucked in anyway. Riot gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Riot? What did you think? Let me know!
Mayhem is another book that I took a risk on. There weren’t many Goodreads reviews when I requested it, but the description pulled me in. I was readinMayhem is another book that I took a risk on. There weren’t many Goodreads reviews when I requested it, but the description pulled me in. I was reading Red Rising more out of obligation than being in the mood for it, and I was feeling bogged down with all the description of the dystopian setting, so I wanted something that I could read quickly. Contemporaries usually fall into that category for me because I get sucked in and don’t come up for air until they are over. And that’s exactly what happened. Husband took a three hour nap one Sunday afternoon (he had a bad headache), and so I sat in the bed with him reading the whole time. Next thing I knew I was 60% finished with Mayhem.
Mayhem doesn’t feel entirely original to me. It reminds me of a combination of the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover and the Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott. But I guess more Stage Dive than Marked Men.
Rowan is in a long-term relationship with a guy who doesn’t deserve her. He breaks her heart and Adam from this rock band shows some concern for the girl crying outside of one of his shows on the curb. I never really quite understood why Rowan wanted to keep it a secret that she’s the girl Adam affectionately nicknamed Peach. Well I can understand her keeping it from Dee (at first), but only because Dee seems a bit over-the-top and Rowan doesn’t seem the type to like a big deal being made out of anything. I can definitely understand Rowan’s resistance to letting her guard down with Adam though. He shows very little indication that he wants anything more from her than a physical relationship, so she works hard to keep their relationship in the friend-zone.
Adam is easily likeable. He has a laidback vibe to everything he does. You can tell that he obviously treats Rowan differently than any of the other females he’s around, but I wish he were a little more obvious about his intentions. However, that makes sense since Adam doesn’t even understand his own intentions. I had been hoping to have a dual narrative, but Adam only has one narration—the epilogue.
The side characters were all fun even if some were a bit cliché. Dee should be interesting to read about as she’s more of a partier, she’s more casual in her relationships, and she has some baggage with her mom that Rowan conveniently set up in Mayhem. (The next book, Riot, is supposed to be about her.) I started to say that Shawn is probably the other character that I’m most interested in getting a story about. While I definitely want his story, I remembered Mike about halfway through typing that statement. Mike isn’t like the other guys. He doesn’t seem to care one lick about the groupies that follow the band around and that I respect.
Obviously, there are some sexual situations and there is language. Just throwing that out there as always.
-“Say something to me in French.” “Adam thinks about it for a moment, and then with a big smile, he looks up at her and says, “Tu parles trop.”” [translation- “You talk too much.”]
-“Promise?” He shakes his head. “I don’t make promises. But I’ll show you.”
-“You’re my favorite…That’s why.”
-I thought I had loved Brady, but that was the love of a girl who barely knew herself.
Mayhem was a pleasant surprise. It sucked me in. Despite not being an entirely original concept for my reading life, I enjoyed almost every minute of it. There were a few small things that made me roll my eyes, but nothing that had me too frustrated. More than anything, I was trying to keep the smile off my face so that I didn’t look like a lunatic. I told Husband that Mayhem was cheesy….BUT the GOOD kind of cheesy—as in, I can’t stop smiling cheesy. Mayhem gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Mayhem? What did you think? Let me know!
Twice in a Blue Moon is a book that I wasn’t sure about when I requested it. It sounded interesting, but the cover could have used a little work and tTwice in a Blue Moon is a book that I wasn’t sure about when I requested it. It sounded interesting, but the cover could have used a little work and there were no real reviews on Goodreads when I requested it. So I took a chance. I was looking for something contemporary to review and didn’t have too many review books in that genre at the time. (Of course as these things go, I got approved for several contemporary books in a row right after requesting this one. Whoops! But seriously, can anyone have too much contemporary? Doubtful!) So by the time I picked it up, I wasn’t dying to read this book in particular, but I was hoping for a fun, quick contemporary read that I could finish and mark off my list.
Twice in a Blue Moon wasn’t a book that blew me away. It was fine enough for the mood I was in at the time, but there wasn’t much to really make it stand out among other books. Melanie was okay as a character. She’s been pushing herself into dangerous stunts ever since her fiancé died. This was so New Moon-esque. She does these stunts not because she has a death wish, but because in those moments she’s able to feel closer to Pete and even sometimes hear his voice. She goes to the very place where they would have spent their honeymoon on the third anniversary of what would have been their wedding in hopes of hearing/feeling Pete near her. But instead she feels even more alone than ever despite being surrounded by her reality TV crew.
Buck got his heart broken when an ex-girlfriend cheated on him. And so he’s determined to have zero personal relationships. Of course, he’s up for one night stands. What self-disrespecting-new-adult-male wouldn’t be? Ironically, Buck seems to instantly drop all of those “principles” the minute he meets Melanie. I found that hard to believe, but I didn’t really get annoyed by it.
There’s definitely an air of “fate” and insta-love/lust and all that jazz that I think some readers really dislike. Ultimately, I read Twice in a Blue Moon pretty quickly. I didn’t necessarily want to put it down, but I found myself not questioning things even when they didn’t make sense. This was an odd exerpience for me. It was almost like I didn’t even care when there were things that annoyed me. Twice in a Blue Moon was an okay read. It was in need of some polishing in a few areas that felt too “easy” and a bit unrealistic. But I wasn’t frustrated or huffing and puffing really. Twice in a Blue Moon gets 2.5 Stars. Have you read Twice in a Blue Moon? What did you think? Let me know!
I’m beginning to liken Jen Frederick’s books to Abbi Glines. They’re very similar to me. I keep getting sucked into this stories, but I have frustratiI’m beginning to liken Jen Frederick’s books to Abbi Glines. They’re very similar to me. I keep getting sucked into this stories, but I have frustrations with them at the same time.
The good things: Each book has a happy ending (or at least they have so far)
Each book makes me want to know more about the secondary characters (Nick & Lainey, Hunter…shoot, I’m still waiting to read Finn’s story from the Woodlands series)
Jen Frederick writes in a way that I really care about what happens to these characters.
The bad things: Graphic content. The potty mouth is about typical for a new adult book I guess. But the physical scenes are always just a bit too much for me in detail and in frequency
Often conflict and resolution is predictable and sometimes cliché.
Charlotte and Nathan’s story felt particularly similar to Eva and Cage’s second book in the Sea Breeze series, Sometimes It Lasts, by Abbi Glines. I loved that Nate and Charlotte kept their vows to one another even when they weren’t together as a couple. And I love the return to the military men with this story as The Kerr Chronicles was a departure from this environment. Noah and Grace (Nathan & Nick’s parents) are still my favorite of all Jen Frederick’s stories that I’ve read so far—although I really liked the ideas planted for a potential story about Hunter.
Anyway, enough incoherent rambling. I got sucked in. I got frustrated with some of the conflict that Nate & Charlie faced. But ultimately, I want more. The Charlotte Chronicles gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read The Charlotte Chronicles? What did you think? Let me know!...more
I’ve heard good things about Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and I’ve had it on my TBR list for quite some time but just haven’t had the opportunitI’ve heard good things about Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and I’ve had it on my TBR list for quite some time but just haven’t had the opportunity to get my hands on it yet. When I saw The Body Electric by her available for review, I jumped on the opportunity to read and review it. And by jump on it, I mean I requested it quickly. I don’t really know why I procrastinated on actually picking it up to read for so long other than maybe just because I’ve never read anything by Beth Revis before. If I have prior experience of an author then I usually feel more confident about how well I’ll like another book by that same author.
I went into The Body Electric wanting to like it. I’ve not heard much about this particular book—or well anything really. And I didn’t even remember what the description was when I finally picked it up to read. As sometimes happens, it turns out that this description isn’t quite accurate. The description says that “Ella’s dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.” Well that’s about as inaccurate as a statement can be. 1) Ella is serving her mandatory year of service as an intern at the Reverie mental spa that her mother founded. Her mother’s technology and a trip to the spa is what allows people to relive their happy memories. So I’d hardly say that Ella’s one year of interning at this mental spa is dedicating her life. 2) Ella only recently discovers her ability to connect to another person while that person is having a Reverie because she desires to help her sick mother experience her own happy memories. This isn’t something Ella’s been actively doing for her entire life. And it wasn’t even something she was sure she could do until she tried it with her mother. After that, any other time she connected to another person in this way was with an agenda, and that agenda was NOT helping them to relive their happiest memories. So yeah…this description as a whole isn’t too far off, but there are a few misleading comments.
The Body Electric was an extremely slow book for me. I thought things might pick up once Ella meets Jack, but they didn’t. And so I really began to dissect why I was having such a hard time getting into this book and connecting. And what I came up with was just that—I had trouble connecting. Ella is essentially secluded. Her best friend is on the moon serving in the military. Her father’s dead. Her mother is sick. And Jack…well as the description accurately states, she has no memory of him. She has almost zero connection to any other character around her. And while that might normally make me feel her seclusion, really I just ended up feeling like most of it was her fault. I imagine it’s difficult to believe someone who tells you that you’ve been in love while you have no memory of them at all, but Ella also made no effort to get to know Jack—even after she realized that his memories of her were true. She shied away from him at every single opportunity for them to grow closer and develop a new connection.
The big plot twist didn’t really seem like a twist at all. There were logistics that I hadn’t quite figured out, but the main villain was pretty obvious. I didn’t have everything figured out that was going on with Ella—like why she was seeing and hearing the things that she was. But when all of that was revealed, I was left thinking “is that it?” I think The Body Electric is one of those books that had such a big concept that execution got lost in translation.
All in all, The Body Electric wasn’t an awful book, but I don’t think it was for me. The pacing was slow. The characters, I couldn’t connect with. The plot twist wasn’t really a twist at all, and the big reveal left me wanting. I hate to give it such a low rating, but the truth is, I didn’t really like this one. The Body Electric is getting 2.5 Stars from me. Have you read The Body Electric? What did you think? Let me know!
I’m a big KA Tucker fan. Ten Tiny Breaths blew me away. It’s one of the few books that I’ve actually made time to re-read in the last year. The otherI’m a big KA Tucker fan. Ten Tiny Breaths blew me away. It’s one of the few books that I’ve actually made time to re-read in the last year. The other books in her Ten Tiny Breaths series were good, but not AS good to me. Then KA Tucker comes out with a new series, right? I thought Burying Water was just going to be released as a standalone initially, but I was immediately drawn to Luke from that book, and so I was excited to hear that he was getting his own book. Burying Water was actually a bit of a letdown for me. My issue wasn’t that Burying Water was so different from the Ten Tiny Breaths series but that one of the major plot points came up against something I just have a hard time getting behind. I didn’t feel like I could root for the characters like I wanted to. And that’s one thing I was worried about when I read the description of Becoming Rain as well.
Even though I was drawn to Luke from Burying Water, it was easy to see that Luke was way too comfortable with the world that he was getting pulled into. Despite it not being specifically stated that his uncle’s other businesses were illegal, Luke’s not an idiot. He knew that Rust was dealing with some bad people. Luke was involved with everything that went down with Alex and Jesse in Burying Water. He knows that although the garage and Rust’s other legit businesses are doing really well they don’t make Porche-911-kinds of money.
And here’s where I struggled with Becoming Rain, how can an undercover agent respect someone who is eyes open walking into this world? And that’s where I get frustrated with this book. Sure, Luke has a soft spot for animals, family, and the elderly/homeless. But does that equal enough reason for a police officer to fall in love with a criminal? And “fall in love” is the key there. Sure they spend time together, but more than anything, I just felt like Clara was attracted to Luke physically and she closed her eyes to everything else. I hoped Luke wouldn’t get drawn into Rust’s side businesses, but then that wouldn’t have made for much of a story would it?
When I try to look past my small issue of whether or not this relationship could actually work given the circumstances and whether or not these two could overcome the lies their relationship is built upon (IRL I think the answer to that would be a big fat “no”) then I found myself enjoying this book. I read it in one sitting. I pretty much made up my mind that I was going to read until I was done, and I did. The writing style was easy to read and flowed from one event to the next nicely. I highlighted a good bit, but most of that included notes like “idiot” and “I’m only going to back this relationship if she can respect him,” etc.
All in all (without spoiling as much as I can), Becoming Rain was also a letdown for me. Again, I felt like even though I liked the characters individually, I just couldn’t back their decisions. I couldn’t see why they were in love. And I don’t think a relationship built like this and lacking such a necessary component as respect could really stand the test of time. I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t feel realistic in these areas. I feel like there’s more to say, but that’s the gist of it. Becoming Rain gets 3.5 Stars from me. Here’s hoping that Chasing River will be about some characters I can fully get behind. Have you read Becoming Rain? What did you think? Let me know!
The Fine Art of Pretending looked like a cute and harmless read. The Fine Art of Pretending is pretty much exactly what it’s advertised to be. I mean.The Fine Art of Pretending looked like a cute and harmless read. The Fine Art of Pretending is pretty much exactly what it’s advertised to be. I mean...makeover, finding yourself, pretend relationships, and more than best friends stories aren’t new. These ideas have been around for a while. And even though they’re mostly predictable, I find myself enjoying them almost each and every time. And with reading the description, that’s not too far off. I do think in high school—and maybe even after—guys can tell fairly quickly which girls aren’t going to be satisfied with quick and casual and which ones are looking for the long-haul, long-term relationships.
I can totally understand wanting to do the makeover and go from tomboy to feminine. I can see wanting guys to see you as a potential girlfriend in comparison to a friend-friend. I can even understand making a run at becoming more popular. I completely sympathize with trying to find yourself. Feeling like you’ve not been the best version of yourself that you can be. And shoot I understand not even knowing what version of yourself you’ve been and what version you want to be. But what I do not understand is wanting to be casual. I do not now nor have I ever understood casual relationships that you can take or leave. What’s the point? I don’t know. Maybe that’s just because I’ve always been a Commitment myself. But I felt like Aly was moving backwards as a character instead of forward for a large portion of the book. Granted, she eventually moves forward, but only after a trip around the world to get there.
Aly herself reminded me of myself in high school. Athletic. A tomboy. More comfortable in tennis shoes, t-shirts, jogging pants, and a ponytail than high heels, tight shirts, skirts, and hair in my her face. She’s friends with Gabie who’s on the dance team, but yet she seemed to have an edge to her. And then there’s Kara who is the typical girly-girl. I liked that Aly was friends with these girls and not just surrounded by boys. Yet, one of Aly’s best friends is Brandon. They’ve grown up together. They’ve been there for each other during some major life events. And Aly even crushed on Brandon several years back, but he just wanted to be friends.
I liked Brandon a lot, but I struggled with him too. On the one hand, it took Aly’s makeover and crazy plan for him to see her. But when he did see her, he couldn’t unsee her. Brandon like a typical high school and college aged male from YA/NA likes his relationships to remain casual. He has a reputation of not exactly being boyfriend material, and that’s because he doesn’t want to be boyfriend material. His excuse of seeing his mother heartbroken after his father’s death felt far-fetched to me. And flawed. He could have a friendship with Aly where he might even acknowledge that he loves her on the friend level, but he couldn’t have a relationship with anyone because relationships end? Yeah. I’m not buying it. If Rachel Harris had stuck to his desire not to ruin his friendship with Aly, I would have bought that more. And all it took was literally a sentence from his mom to change his perspective on that whole deal.
Another slight peeve of mine is name dropping. I feel like name dropping in books automatically dates the book. Brands come and go. And when they’re included in a book to make the character feel “in” with the current brands, then as soon as those brands are no longer popular then the book is outdated. The beginning of the book features an entire list of these, but just to name a few: BMW, Cartier, Charlotte Russe, Chuck Taylor, Clinique, Forever 21, Juicy Couture, and so on and so on.
The Fine Art of Pretending was one of those quick and easy stories that might give you some frustration but pays off in the end by being exactly what you expected it to be. Truthfully, there were times when I was more interested in Gabie and Carlos than I was in Aly and Brandon, and I hope that’s what the companion novel is going to be about. The Fine Art of Pretending gets 3 Stars from me. It was good. It was frustrating. Have you read The Fine Art of Pretending? What did you think? Let me know!
I wasn’t 100% sure what In Her Wake was going to be. I knew it would be from Trent’s POV, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it was pre-Ten Tiny Breaths or morI wasn’t 100% sure what In Her Wake was going to be. I knew it would be from Trent’s POV, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it was pre-Ten Tiny Breaths or more of a retelling of Ten Tiny Breaths or a mixture of both. In Her Wake is a true prequel. This is Trent, where he was and what he went through, from slightly before the car accident until he follows Kacey to Miami. And honestly, I really appreciated that. I like for a book to be what it’s advertised to be.
In Her Wake isn’t a happy book though. As we know from Ten Tiny Breaths, Trent and Kacey are both involved in the same car crash. They’re both also the sole survivors from the vehicles they were in. Trent and his friends were drinking at a college party. Trent was supposed to be the designated driver, but he ended up drinking that night. He didn’t get behind the wheel, but he did let his best friend Sasha behind the wheel impaired. Granted, Trent wasn’t aware of how impaired Sasha was. Kacey was in the car on her way home from a rugby game with her parents, her best friend Jenny, and her boyfriend Billy. So I went into In Her Wake knowing that the accident was coming and knowing some of Trent’s actions that follow the accident. But what I didn’t really expect or prepare for was how deeply sad Trent’s story would be. It’s so easy to judge from afar. To see people’s mistakes and judge them—condemn them for it—especially if we’re collateral damage and hurt in the process. What I’ve learned from reading books that show both characters’ POVs is that I’m a lot more lenient with a character if I can see inside their head. In this case, Trent is so deeply broken after the accident. He feels so much guilt. It will never bring back those who didn’t survive the accident, but it also doesn’t make him less than human. He is still a person who is struggling and needs forgiveness.
Man, I feel like these characters are real. I feel like this is a story that’s happened in real life. I know that there are people out there who have experienced very similar events in their own lives. And it’s a testament to KA Tucker and her writing that it does feel so real to me. One of the best compliments that I can give to In Her Wake is that it planted within me the desire to re-read Ten Tiny Breaths so much that I have actually done just that. I’ve neglected all my reading responsibilities, and the backlog of other review books that I desperately need to get to, in order to re-read a book I’ve already experienced (and loved). I’m a re-reader anyway—when I can find the time—but In Her Wake made me decide to MAKE time.
I will say, that even though Trent came off a bit unhinged and cuckoo in Ten Tiny Breaths when Kacey found out who he was, In Her Wake probably didn’t help that any. I had no idea how much stalking Trent actually did. Seriously. I mean I’m not sure I can blame him—being obsessed with trying to make the life better of the one person who you had a hand in taking everything from--but he crossed some major creep boundaries lines. I can see where readers who struggle with this type of male character will not respond to this well at all. BUT, that didn’t bother me really.
In Her Wake gets 4.5 Stars from me. I didn’t all out cry, but I got a little misty-eyed. I don’t think In Her Wake was quite as good as Ten Tiny Breaths, but since I’m doing a re-read, I’ll be able to report back on that in more detail later. I’m also not sure why In Her Wake was classified as a novella since it’s around the same length as Tin Tiny Breaths. Have you read In Her Wake? What did you think? Let me know!
I’ve read KA Tucker’s entire Ten Tiny Breaths series and I enjoyed each book. Ten Tiny Breaths was my favorite of all, but each book was pretty enjoyaI’ve read KA Tucker’s entire Ten Tiny Breaths series and I enjoyed each book. Ten Tiny Breaths was my favorite of all, but each book was pretty enjoyable, easy to read, and sucked me in quickly. That being said, Burying Water is very different from the Ten Tiny Breaths series. And I have to admit that I struggled with Burying Water a little bit. I wanted to love it. I wanted to get sucked in quickly, but that’s not exactly what happened for me.
Burying Water is told from two different narrators and in two different time periods. Jesse narrates the past or “then” and Water/Jane/Alex narrates the present. I’ve read other books in the past that were very similar to this. Colleen Hoover’s Ugly Love comes to mind where Miles narrates the past and Tate narrates the present, and I loved that book. But I found myself getting annoyed with the chronological jumps in Burying Water. I had trouble connecting to both time frames, but I specifically found myself disappointed when the narration would swap back to the past. Maybe that was because of the events taking place in the past. Alex is married to a huge jerk, and while I think she needed to find a way out of the situation that she was in, I can’t really condone all of her actions either. I was much more interested in how Water was going to uncover her suppressed memories than I was in seeing them play out in the past.
Yet, even though I had trouble connecting (it wasn’t until about 45% that I got more invested) and the chronological changes bothered me, I don’t know that Burying Water could have been told in any other format that would have been better. I also don’t feel like I can discuss what happened in any depth because that’s the entire mystery of the book. What happened to Water and why? Who caused her injuries? What was so bad that she need to mentally suppress everything from her past? Even though the pacing felt a bit slow to me, the who and the why didn’t take too terribly long to figure out.
Also, I love the fact that the horses kept being renamed the same name with each new horse. My grandparents actually do that with their dogs. They named the first one "Peanut," and then it died. And every dog after that was called "Peanut." It's a running joke with most of the family, but my grandparents are totally serious about it.
The mind, it can be a deceitful thing. But it is no match for the heart.
I’ve found that Burying Water has stuck with me since finishing it, but the process itself wasn’t as thrilling and all-consuming that I’m used to experiencing from KA Tucker. It was still a good story, and I loved that things didn’t really push my comfort level as some of the Ten Tiny Breaths books did. But I’m not sure that I can say I really enjoyed the process of this story either. I’m giving Burying Water 3 stars. Have you read Burying Water? What did you think? Let me know!
Rewind to You started off a little rocky for me. By the time I picked it up, Rewind to You only had a 3.5 overall rating on Goodreads. Now 3.5 isn’t bRewind to You started off a little rocky for me. By the time I picked it up, Rewind to You only had a 3.5 overall rating on Goodreads. Now 3.5 isn’t bad, but it isn’t really that great either. So I went into Rewind to You with low expectations. And truthfully, I ALMOST DNF’d it around the 10% mark. The beginning of this story really struggled for me. The way Sienna and Austin meet was very cheesy. Now, let’s not jump to conclusions. I actually like cheesy. But I’ve said before that I have a cheesy line and Rewind to You strutted that line for a good long while in the beginning of this book. Along with that, Austin’s friends' dialogue in the very beginning was full of dialect and slang. And we all know how much this annoys me. So cheesy + slang + an overall sense of writing that needs maturing = me almost putting this one down.
However, I told myself “just 10% more and if you’re still not into it then you can put it down." With only 336 pages, 10% really didn’t take that long to come around. And I looked up and saw 21% instead of 20%. And while 1% isn’t a huge difference, it showed me that I wasn’t watching each and every % go by. And so I said “maybe just 10% more” again and eventually I ended up getting into the story. I mean it really didn’t take me THAT long to get into it, but Rewind to You wasn’t one that instantly pulled me in and refused to let me go.
The description for Rewind to You is a little vague. Essentially here’s the low down (minus spoilers): Sienna’s dad died in a car accident last year. Sienna was driving. And she has recently found herself fainting when the memories of him or that night get too strong. During one such fainting incident she’s rescued by Austin and they begin to develop a relationship. Sienna looks like she comes from rich blood, but the truth is that her family is struggling more financially than they appear. Austin comes from the wrong side of the tracks, but he’s not content to remain there. He has big plans to make something of himself. And what they find is that Austin helps Sienna move on from her tragic night when she lost her dad, and Sienna helps Austin learn what it means to forgive. But things aren’t perfect. Austin’s going to college in Florida and Sienna will be back in Virginia for college come fall. Sienna’s mother wants her to be with someone who can take care of her financially. She knows what it is to struggle and even if she wouldn’t change her own life, she wants more for Sienna. Austin doesn’t fit what she has in mind.
As far as conflict goes, I felt like most of Sienna and Austin’s troubles were easily solved. More than anything, I felt like they needed to get out of their own way. And sometimes conflict like this can just be really annoying. As the reader, you often have more information than the character does, especially in dual narratives. You get the benefit of seeing how each character thinks and feels which allows you to know what the other character is missing. But that can be frustrating when the solution feels so obvious to you and the characters just continue to miss it.
Speaking of dual narrative though…although I felt like the writing needed some finess and maturity in some parts, it is truly difficult to pull off a dual narrative where each character feels distinct and like completely separate entities. But Laura Johnston did this part well. I never once forgot who I was reading from. I never once felt confused about who was speaking. The characters didn’t have any moments that felt like too big of a coincidence—such as thinking the exact same thoughts at or around the exact same time or dreaming the same dreams or anything like that. Laura Johnston knew her characters inside and out. And where other aspects of the writing might need a little growth, this part did not. Kudos.
I often list my favorite quotes in my reviews. I’m going to include some quotes now, but some of these aren’t my favorite. I just want to illustrate all the points I’ve made. Cheesiness. Slang. Parts that need maturing. But also some little gems along the way.
-When life gives you lemons, buy a Mountain Dew. That’s my motto.
-“Why you be such a hater man?”
-Pralines have never led me astray.
-One glance at his dimpled smile overrides that last thought. I’m afraid if I look at this guy too long, my eyes will be glued forever. Girl falls for mysterious, tall, dark, and handsome stranger on a whim. So not me. Mom would flip out if she could see me now.
-“Wow. You saved your dog’s life—that’s, like, heroic.”
-“…all you can do is be the person you oughta be, and let the rest of the pieces fall where they will.”
Rewind to You started out a bit rocky, and it had some flaws. But all in all, I’m glad that I stuck with it and finished it. Laura Johnston has some room to grow as an author, but I see tremendous promise in her debut novel. There was some cheesy and a few other things that bothered me. But I loved the growth of the characters and how they each learned about life and love. Ultimately, I agree with the Goodreads rating. Rewind to You gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Rewind to You? What did you think? Let me know!...more