Tag Archives: romance

Book Tour + Guest Post: Wheeler

Welcome to the Wheeler Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Title: Wheeler
Author: Sara Butler Zalesky
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romance, Sports, Suspense
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, pro cyclist Loren Mackenzie rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; she leads her team with quiet strength and determination. But her successes have not come without suffering, and her tragic past is hidden inside tarnished armor.

While out on a training ride with her cycling team near Enfield, England, a chance meeting quickly develops into an unexpected whirlwind romance. But a relationship with an A-list celebrity brings with it the microscope of tabloid-media attention, which expose jealousy and rivalry that threaten to undermine Loren’s leadership of her team.

The new romance also reveals a dangerous obsession, culminating in a terrifying confrontation with someone from Loren’s past. Her injuries not only put her chances at the World Championship in jeopardy but also bring forth memories of a life she had long buried – for good reason.

Can Loren open her heart to the love she has held at a distance, or will her fear ultimately defeat her?

The follow up novel in the Wheeler series is coming soon.

Buy Link:
Amazon

Guest Post – Character Interview of Loren Mackenzie and Graham Atherton

An attractive couple is seated across from you, holding hands, their fingers laced together. They lean ever so slightly toward each other as they watch you prepare for the interview. You meet his bright blue eyes and he smiles.

“Take your time,” he says, his British accent smooth, with only a hint of Scottish brogue. His smile changes as he turns to her; softer, more intimate and he tightens his fingers around hers. She answers with a similar grin but showing her nerves. Her gaze meet yours for half a breath, then continues moving, settling on the digital recorder on the coffee table between you.

You clear your throat. “When I get nervous, I forget everything.”

She gives a soft laugh. “Me, too. We can be nervous together.” She has a softer Northeastern US accent, dropping the ‘r.’

You grin and give a nod, then turn on the recorder. “Loren, Graham, thank you for agreeing to this interview for Between the Pages. It’s a pleasure to meet you both.”

“We’re happy to do it,” he says.

“Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we?” It’s cute, the way they adjust how they’re seated to face you but still maintain contact with each other. “Loren, did he really pick you up off the side of the road?”

They glance at each other, her smile widening. “Yes, and no,” she replied. “I took a hard crash about 20 minutes before he found me sitting on a stone wall. I was trying to get the tire back on the rim when I hear a lorry horn and I looked up just in time to see a Jaguar narrowly avoiding a crash.”

“Yes, well, I admit, I was staring,” Graham says, chuckling. “I didn’t stop at first, mind you. I reckoned she might be right mad, but she couldn’t very well follow me home on a bicycle so I turned around. But don’t you know, she just about took my head off for trying to be a gentleman.”

“Oh, I was mad alright, but I let you help,” Loren countered.

“Hmm, let me help, eh?”

“But you knew who he was, yes?” you ask.

“Oh sure,” she laughed. “I went all fangirl for about a half a second, but I tried to play it cool. Then he held my hand, and I completely forgot my name.”

Graham’s brows go up. “You went fangirl over me?” Loren takes a breath to reply but just smiles and shrugs a shoulder. “After we got the tire on, I watched you ride off,” he continues, facing her. “And for the rest of the day, I couldn’t get you off my mind. I kept thinking of things I could have said to make you laugh, or I would see your smile as I was trying to read. That’s when I looked you up on the internet.”

“But if you didn’t know my name﹘.”

“I remembered the logo on your jersey.”

She gives him a smirk. “You mean the enormous light bulb on my chest?”

Graham clears his throat. “Yes. That one.” Loren giggles at him. “Then I called Ron, he’s my agent and best friend,” he tells you. “And the rest is still going on.”

“That’s very sweet,” you say as you pick up your notes. “Now we have some questions from our readers and the first one is for you, Loren.” She sits up and gives you her attention. “Did you have a favorite toy when you were growing up?”

She blinks, pressing her full lips together as her gray eyes slide away from you. “Hmm, favorite toy. I wasn’t into dolls much, but I remember having a Barbie RV with a horse carrier. I played with that all the time.”

You nod with a grin, then look to Graham. “What about you? Did you have a favorite toy?”

“I had a tricycle that I wouldn’t give up, even when I was much too tall for it.”

Loren bursts a laugh. “Like how you were behind me on the Harley!”

“Yes, it’s all very funny,” he says, pursing his lips to hold back his grin. “Anyroad, my stepfather Gerald purchased a true two-wheeler for me, but I rarely rode it. I was too afraid to fall off.”

“That is adorable, Graham,” Loren chuckles.

You continue with the next question. “Loren, is there one song that you can’t help but sing along when you hear it?”

“Oh, goodness,” she mutters, half smiling. “Happy by Pharrell Williams. I can’t help it.” Graham leans away from her, his brows up near his hairline.

“You didn’t know that about her?” you ask.

“I did not,” he replies, the corner of his mouth curling up. “Her playlists are full of heavy metal and post-rock instrumentals.”

“You’ve infected me with your eclectic taste in music,” Loren tells him.

“Who’s the better cook?” you inquire.

“No question, Graham,” Loren says. “I burn water.”

“Who eats the most junk food?”

They glanced at each other and respond at the same time. “Graham.” “Me.”

“Who has a bigger closet?”

“Me,” he says. “Graham.”

“Who takes longer getting ready to go out?”

Loren snorts a laugh as Graham shakes his head. “I take forever,” he replies.

“Everything has to match,” she adds, waving her hand. “Or go. Whatever it is.”

“Right,” he scoffs. “And you wear Lycra or your team’s apparel all the time.”

“Not all the time,” she laughs. “I’ve worn a skirt four times now.”

“Darling, your socks.” He reaches down and pulls up the leg of her jeans to show off her red and white IDC socks.

She scrunches her shoulders. “They were clean.”

You chuckle along with them. “Graham, what’s an item of Loren’s that you would love to get rid of?”

He huffs. “She had this pair of neon green trainers that were beyond grotty.” His humor evaporated as their eyes met. “They were ruined recently, but I got her a new pair because but she loves them.” Graham let go her hand to put his arm around her shoulders as Loren ducks her chin. You think you see a flash of distress in her expression but it’s gone when she faces you again.

You cough lightly. “What is your favorite place to relax in your house?”

Graham purses his lips. “Anywhere, really, but I rather enjoy lounging in the living room. The back wall of the house is all windows that overlook the farmlands.”

She nods. “Me too, but I like the garage, as well. I have my bike trainer set up out there. I think better when my legs are moving.”

“How is Graham at giving presents?”

“Each gift he’s given me, he’s put a lot of thought into it,” she replies, looking at him. “That means more than how much he’s spent.”

“But then you trump me and spend a small fortune on that copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets you gave me,” he grumbles.

She kisses his cheek. “You’re worth it.”

“What word describes Loren first thing in the morning?”

Graham throws his head back and laughs. “Right narked!”

“That’s not true!” she nudges him with her shoulder. “I’m a morning person. It’s only when I don’t get enough sleep that I’m cranky.”

“What is Graham like when he gets sick?”

She presses her lips together. “He’s doesn’t complain that much.”

“Graham, have you taken up cycling since being with Loren?”

He grimaces. “She purchased a gravel bicycle for me and we went out a few times together, but it’s been rather cold and rainy in England of late and I can only suffer riding in ankle-deep mud for so long.”

“Have you crossed over into riding motorcycles with her, as well?”

“I have a Kawasaki Vulcan,” he tells you, “but we haven’t gone out much, because of the weather.”

“You’ve made a few appearances at the podium when Loren’s won. How did you manage that?”

“The first time, I was volunteered by her teammate, Charlotte, at the Women’s Tour in England,” Graham replies. “The second was at La Course in Paris, before the final stage of the Tour de France. I didn’t present, I was just on the sideline, as I was for Stages 8 and 9 of the Giro Rosa and for the Championships in Richmond, Virginia.” He puts his hand to his chest. “I am humbled to have played such a small part of her celebrations.”

“You’re so shiny,” Loren tells him, a tiny smile playing on her lips.

You grin at the couple and gather up your notes. “Thank you both for sharing a bit of yourselves with our readers.”

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:

Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.

Author Links:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Giveaway:

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of Wheeler. Open internationally. Ends Nov 23, 2017.

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Book Tour + Review: Choosing Hope

Welcome to the Choosing Hope Book Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Title: Choosing Hope
Author: Holly Kammier
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Genre: Adult Romance Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, the things we do for love and the rabbit holes we tumble into chasing elusive fairy-tale endings. Dark around the edges with a shocking twist I didn’t see coming, this is the kind of book you’ll be passing around to your friends so you can talk about it. Holly Kammier delivers romance, suspense, and a strong, smart heroine who turns out to be nobody’s victim. Don’t miss this one! – Kat Ross, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

A broken marriage.
A love affair.
A lie that changes it all…

Hope Rains Sullivan is living the dream—a successful husband, two beautiful young boys, and a charming home in Northern California. She should be happy. She almost convinced herself she was, until Adrian came along.

Adrian, appears to be everything her husband isn’t. He works with his hands, and is even willing to use them in a fight. He’s sexy, strong and fit, with warm brown skin that alludes to his Spanish background. Best of all, he lives for spending time with his kids. Feeling alone in her marriage, Adrian offers her a way out

Hope’s affair is just the beginning. Her journey inward will require untangling her complicated past and surviving an astonishing revelation. Her lover is not who he pretends to be.

She’s searching for her happily-ever-after, and no matter how painful the journey, she’ll find what she’s been looking for all along—the chance to choose Hope.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBook

Review:

I will say this now, this book has some importance to it. In the end, the lesson is worth learning and it shows that everything in life has consequences. That being said, this book wasn’t at all what I had expected. Let me break it down for you.

This book was hard for me to get into. It made it hard for me to like the characters or to even sympathise with them. A lot of it was the narrator telling us about her problems, about what’s wrong with her marriage, about what’s right about her new man, but we don’t get to see, experience, and breathe it. We follow Hope’s story over a span of ten months, and what we’re given is very surface level. We get her perspective on her husband, but we don’t see much of the behaviour. We see how some things affect her children, but much of it is told to us. It’s hard to connect with her and her experiences without really getting to know the characters on a personal level.

That being said, I really liked her mother. Hope’s mother made the book for me. Everything she said was accurate and important and a lot of this book wouldn’t exist if Hope had just listened to her mom. That lady knew what she was talking about. From the beginning until the end, her mom is the voice of reason, and if someone were in this situation, she’s who they should listen to.

Onto the story itself – I’m not sure that one kind of almost thriller-like scene makes this book a thriller. I understand the idea behind this aspect of the book, but it was seemingly random. I wish we had seen a little more of this behaviour to fully understand the impact of this behaviour on Hope. A part of me believes it may have been better and more impactful had it been from Lisa’s point of view. The romance and courting is a mix of cute and whiplash-y. Hope is indecisive and she jumps back and forth, which also adds to the unpredictability of the book. It also added to my indifference and lack of commitment to the whole story. After the fourth or fifth switch, I began to turn the other cheek like, “Okay girl, I believe you.”

There are a lot of people who are in a similar position as Hope, where she’s fallen out of love with her husband, I think. While I don’t think her way of dealing with it was necessarily the best, I do think that it was important for her to acknowledge the brokenness of her marriage. As a whole, the lessons here are important, and I’m not going to deny that the twist was a surprise. However, I don’t think the book had as much as an impact on me because of the writing. Do I think this book is worth the read? Maybe. Do I think the lesson is something that is important to learn? Definitely.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Pacing: 2/5
Overall: 3/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.27/5

eBook obtained via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBook

About the Author:

Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, Holly Kammier is a UCLA honors graduate and an accomplished content editor. With a background in journalism, she has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

Holly is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court, and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. She recently completed her third book, Choosing Hope, a spin-off from Kingston Court. Choosing Hope is a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. A world traveler in her younger years, these days when she isn’t writing or working with new authors, she spends much of her time hanging out with her two boys, Josh and Alex. Holly is an avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing. She also enjoys long walks with her Jack Russell Terrier, romantic movies, and making her mischievous sons smile wider.

Author Links:
Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Open internationally. Ends Nov 16/17.

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Book Blast: Game Changer

Welcome to the Game Changer Book Blast, hosted by I Am A Reader!~

Title: Game Changer
Author: Charissa Stastny
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: October 5, 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Meridee Mansford wants nothing to do with the popular crowd. She’s comfortable being invisible. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about the hunky football player who visits the campus ice cream shop where she works. Still, she’s smart enough to know he’d never notice a girl like her, and she’d never want him even if he did. Too much unwelcome attention.
Parker Harrington basks in the glory that’s been his since the game-changing passes he caught that pushed his team into the national spotlight. Sticky Fingers is his media moniker now, and the cheerleaders who used to ignore him when he sat the bench have become his most devoted fans. But when he accidentally crashes into a quiet coed and covers her in orange chicken, it throws off his offensive game.
As fate, ice cream, and orange chicken throw the opposites together, will Parker continue keeping company with women he knows are only using him for his fame, or will he change up the game and risk his heart on a genuine girl who despises the attention he craves?

Buy Link:
Amazon

Praise for the Book:

“A fun and flirty new adult romance. It’s a sweet indulgence that keeps you turning pages. The start to what is sure to be a great new series. – Jennifer Peel, author of Pianos and Promises series

“Opposites attract when the overlooked sweet girl lands herself the popular football star in this quasi-Cinderella story. It’s the perfect read to keep you up way past your bedtime…”Taylor Dean, author of Chasing Fireflies

Book Trailer:

Excerpt:

Parker waggled his brows at me. “I’m waiting.” When I glared, he leaned over to whisper. “Call your man, or I’ll know you’re lying and be by to pick you up tomorrow night for our date. Tara told me where you live.” His blue eyes crinkled at the corners.
Tara had what? I folded my arms. No way would I let him ruin my first date in over three years. “Fine. I’ll call him.”
He raised an infuriating brow. “Thanks, Mare. I can’t wait to meet your soul-mate.”
“It’s Meridee.” I stomped into the break room and sent Danny out to handle the teenage rush with Bryce. <em>Soul-mate.</em> What a moron.
Pulling out my phone, I hit speed dial. On the third ring, my big brother answered.
“What’s up, Mare?”
“Thanks for answering.” I released the breath I’d been holding. “I need a huge favor.”
“Name it, sis. You know I’m here for you.”
I frowned at the pity I detected in his voice. But pride had no place at the moment, not with Parker Harrington waiting in the shop. “There’s this guy bothering me at work. Stalking me.” If he suspected danger, Mark would rush right over to save me. “Can you come to the shop and pretend to be my fiancé so he’ll leave me alone?”
“Ew. You’re my sister.”
“It’d only be for pretend. Please? I need your help, Mark.”
“You don’t expect me to hold hands or kiss you, do you?”
“Oh, shut up. Just get over here and let me introduce you to him. He doesn’t believe I have a boyfriend.”
“You don’t.”
I gnashed my teeth. “I know. That’s why I need your help.”

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:

Charissa Stastny is an avid reader, happy writer, wasp-hater, iris-lover, and food connoisseur (especially sushi and chocolate, but not together). She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has four children that make her smile and laugh all the time. She called Idaho her home for years, but has recently moved to Utah, where she was thrilled to discover dozens of flavors of hot chocolate to keep her happy in the winter. The cherry one might be her favorite (this week). She is the author of five books and ‘imagine-eer’ of many more.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Blog

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card OR $100 of Paypal Cash!

Ends 11/5/17

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

To enter, click on the image below!

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Book Blitz: Just Friends

Welcome to the Just Friends Book Blitz, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~

Title: Just Friends [The Agency #1]
Author: Elizabeth Grey
Genre: Adult Comedy Romance
Publication Date: September 15th 2017
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Why did her heart have to choose him?

Violet Archer has her dream job at one of London’s top advertising agencies, and the fact she gets to work with Ethan Fraser every day makes it even better. He’s the best friend a girl could have. And she’s never even noticed how hot he is. Nope. Definitely not.

When a big night out deteriorates into a great big mess, Violet’s world starts to wobble like a drunk giraffe on stilts. She’s caught in a web of secrets, none of which are hers. And maybe she is starting to notice how hot Ethan is, after all. And sweet and kind and… oh dear.

Has Violet fallen for her best friend? Can their friendship survive yet another secret? And, the question Violet is most scared to ask, could Ethan have feelings for her too?

This raunchy, hilarious rom-com is the first in The Agency series by Elizabeth Grey.

Buy Link:
Amazon

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:

Elizabeth Grey spent a sizable chunk of her childhood in North East England locked away in her bedroom creating characters and writing stories. Isn’t that how all writers start?

Following a five year university education that combined such wide-ranging subjects as fine art, administration, law, economics, graphic design and French, Elizabeth entered the business world as a marketing assistant before moving into operations management.

Marrying Chris in 2007, Elizabeth now has three young children and runs a small, seasonal business selling imported European children’s toys and goods – www.tildaandtom.co.uk. During her time as a stay-at-home mum, Elizabeth rekindled her love of writing and thinks herself lucky every day that she is now able to write full time.

When not working, Elizabeth finds herself immersed in her kids’ hobbies and has acquired an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter (thanks to the big boy), Star Wars (thanks to the little boy) and Barbie (thanks to her daughter). She loves European road-trips, binge-watching Netflix series and doing whatever she can to fight for a nicer world.

She’s been told she never loses an argument.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Blitz-Wide Giveaway:

Enter to win a sign copy of Just Friends! Open internationally.

 

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Giveaway: Without Merit (OR Book of Your Choice)

Because I feel like we need more good things and deeds in the world, I’ve decided to give away 3 copies of Without Merit by @colleenhoover! (YES, that means 3 winners!) This is one of my most anticipated reads this year so I want to share it with everyone.
🍁
(Note: If you win and want a different book, I’d be happy to give that to you instead, as long as it’s of relatively similar value.)
🍁
How to enter:
1. Like and comment on this post with something that makes you happy (+1 entry)
2. BONUS ENTRY: Comment with a (credible) charity that you support (Up to 3 times, separate comments). 1 extra entry if the charity is related to hurricane relief or the recent shooting in Las Vegas. (Up to +6 entries)
3. BONUS ENTRY: DM me with proof of a recent (within the past two weeks) donation. (+10 entries)
4. BONUS ENTRY: Share this post on any social media platform and comment with the link (+1 entry)
🍁
Rules:
-Must be 18+ (or have parent/guardian permission to enter)
-Must be following me (on any of my channels)
-Book Depository must ship to you.
🍁
Giveaway ends Oct 13, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.
🍁
This giveaway is not associated with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress in any way.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fantasy Romance
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review:

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT… I didn’t like it. At this point, I’ve read up until ACOWAR and I still didn’t like it…

Let’s start with the writing. Chapter 1 – we get it, it’s winter. Not only does Maas have the description of the crunching snow, how hungry Feyre is, and how cold she is, it is stated that it is winter, explicitly, three to four times. This was my first impression of the book and I wasn’t impressed to be honest.

Then there’s the story – comparing it to Beauty and the Beast is like comparing my foot to my dog’s foot. Yeah, sure they both have the same functionalities, and maybe some of the bone structure is the same (idk anatomy, so I can’t tell you how accurate that is), but at the end of the day if you swap ’em neither of us will be content. It’s the same thing here. Sure – there’s the father disappearing and the girl taken away by these supposedly dangerous creatures who are kind of cursed (honestly, there are worse things that can happen…), but that’s where the comparison ends really.

Now that we’re on the fae… Tamlin… oh Tamlin. There’s grass more interesting than Tamlin. He’s just there. Being silent and grumpy, and I can’t find anything to love about him. He’s an alright fellow if you like boring guys, but there’s not much there for ya. Lucien was more interesting to me than Tamlin. Her maidservant… Alice? I think her name was…. is also more interesting than Tamlin…

Side bar comment – HER SISTERS ARE SO ANNOYING LIKE HOLY. NOPE. (They get better, but ugh.)

That being said then, how on earth does Feyre come to love him? It’s so forced that I just could not deal with their romance and what triggers the latter section of the book.

On that note, I’ll tell you now that you’ll need to get through about two thirds of the novel to get anywhere with this book. Even Rhysand didn’t save this for me, but he’s a lot more entertaining than Tamlin. In the end, his character’s presence in the next two books is the only thing that kept me reading this series, but even then I can’t say I loved the other two book either…

I’d say this series is just over-hyped. There’s no other way to describe it. Like you have to love it ’cause everyone else does, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t even just me. My roommate and my sister tried reading this book and they were both left wondering how it was as popular as it is… We’ll see what else she has in store, but I can’t say I’m quite sold on the Maas hype.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Pacing; 1/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.28/5

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Review: It Started with Goodbye

Title: It Started with Goodbye
Author: Christina June
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blink
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Retelling
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

Review:

As a whole, this book was cute, but if you know me, cute doesn’t quite cut it.

Let’s start with the Cinderella idea – I honestly wouldn’t have instantly thought this book was a modern day retelling, but don’t worry! If you forget, the book will beat you with that fact repeatedly.

Tatum isn’t a helpless Cinderella per say. She is absolute piss at defending herself, but she manages to start her own freelance business which helps her make her own money. That’s like the the equivalent of teenage success. However, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and she gets punished for being in the driver’s seat of a car. And honestly – I get it. When your parents need to pick you up at the police station, you know there’s a punishment at the end of the car ride home. She ends up grounded and her travels are limited to baby sitting, her community service, and her sister’s school events. Colour me surprised…

I get it though – some of the rules that were implemented were a little much, but I’ve heard of those punishments before in other books. Maybe it’s ’cause my parents are more restrictive than most, but I didn’t find the whole thing that weird or restraining. I get why she thought it was unfair, but her defence on the matter sucked. She barely stood up for herself and I wouldn’t have sided with her either if I’d been her parents.

With all that being said, I really liked the idea of Tatum being independent and earning her own money from baby-sitting and freelancing. She took something she excelled at and pursued it. I really like that this part was in the book as it’s the gate to a lot of what comes later, but also because it shows that if you enjoy something you should explore it and see where it leads!

The character development in this book was also pretty great. There are a lot of lessons to be learned here and I really liked how the characters grew with the story and how more and more is revealed about each character as time goes on. It’s so easy to judge people and I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew and changed from the MC’s perspective.

As a whole, this was a cute, light story that is fairly conservative when it comes to the romantic aspects of the novel. With all the more graphic romance books out there for teens, this was a breath of fresh air!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.82/5

 

eARC obtained via Blink via NetGalley.

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