Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)

Stay with Me (Wait for You, #3)Stay with Me by J. Lynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on all the other ranting and raving I do on this site, I really should have hated this book, but something about Jennifer Armentrout’s writing just always works for me. I have no idea what it is, but somehow she can take a completely outrageous plot- I’m talking totally out of control- and somehow make it seem like it could happen in real life. SOMEHOW she uses approximately 8,000 pet names and I don’t really feel the need to bitch about it extensively in this review.

This premise of this book was totally crazy for a contemporary. Calla’s mom takes out a bunch of loans and credit cards in Calla’s name and ruins her credit. Calla is forced to go home and sort it out. Also… Drug cartels and danger.

The worst part of this book wasn’t even the pet names or ridiculous plot. The worst part of it actually had nothing to do with THIS STORY. It was all of the characters from the previous books that seemingly had no reason (at all!) to be included in this story. Every time Avery, Cam, Teresa, or Jase appeared I just wanted them to go away. (GTFO unnecessary nod to other successful novels!)

But anyway, this book was very enjoyable. Jax was dreamy, dreamy. WAY dreamy. Calla wasn’t too annoying. The pacing was good. I would definitely recommend this book for when you’re in the mood for a straight NA romance.

*Personal note: this book was a little weird to read for me because my husband and I want to name our hypothetical daughter Calla and our last name is VERY VERY close to Fritz. A little weird.

Falling by Design

Falling by Design (Falling, #1)Falling by Design by Valia Lind

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m going to start this review now because this may end up being a DNF for me… For only one reason:

THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE INFURIATING.

Brooklynn (ugh) doesn’t have a single conversation- NOT ONE- with her best friends, Chance (ugh) and Dakota (ugh), where they aren’t trying to force her to date her former bully, Grayson (ugh).

What kind of friends are these? They are relentless. Over and over again Brooklynn tells them that he made her life miserable for years and she’s not interested in associating with him, but her friends keep pushing and keep pushing. If I were Brooklynn, I would be absolutely livid by now that they keep pressuring me. Honestly, I’d probably tell them that unless they’re going to stop harassing me, I’m done talking to them because the amount of pressure they put on Brooklynn constantly IS harassment.

It is literally every chapter that one or the other is telling Brooklynn to give Grayson a chance. It’s redundant and annoying.

This is the only book I have on this “reading format” (which is the only thing I can read on at all at this moment in time) right now so we’ll see how much more of this gets read.

It’s free on Amazon, but I don’t recommend it at all at this point.

(OMG those names. Leave it to Jay Crownover, Valia!)

EDIT 9/29/2014: DNF @ 69% This book is terrible. It is my only reading option right now and I would literally rather sit here and do nothing than read another word of this mess.

Off Sides

Off Sides (Off, #1)Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF @ 56%

I can’t force myself through another second of this. I really thought I would be able to power through it so I could include it in my challenge, but I can’t. This may be the worst book I have ever (almost) read.

I have pages of notes and no desire to actually review this so I am literally just going to type up my notes and silly quotes that I highlighted.

1. This book is the definition of insta-love. They go on one date and they’re both obsessed with each other, but apparently that one date was enough to solidify their relationship because the next time they see each other they’re “breaking up.” Then of course, they immediately make up and 30 minutes later Ryan is offering to pay for her to go back to Julliard. “I can help you, Danny. Pay for the expenses.” Not weird, at all. Eye roll. It takes them like 3 seconds to become boyfriend and girlfriend.

2. Ryan gets turned on every time Danny refers to him as her boyfriend.

3. The book needs an editor. Badly. Countless typos. No contractions. It’s awkward.

4. Ryan and his friends chat like a bunch of hormonal women.

5. VIRGIN TROPE ALERT. Duh. Of course Danny is a virgin. And she wants Ryan to take her virginity after a week.

6. Ryan compliments Danny an absurd amount of times. STFU already.

This book was crazy cheesy. I’ll let these quotes speak for themselves.

“Her t-shirt hugs her amazing upper body curves.”

“Our tongues are swirling… Stabbing.”

Ryan asks her to play violin and she has a breakdown. This is like 30 minutes into their second meeting:

“Ryan eventually picks me up and carries me into the living room. He sitting on the couch with me in his lap and continues to soothe me. I lay my head on his chest and let him and I revel in the cocoon of understanding he is giving me. My tears eventually dry, but Ryan continues stroking my hair, my arms, my face. He kisses my temple, my cheek, and the corner of my mouth, then squeezes me in a hug. I have never felt more cherished in my life.”

“I have a bedside lamp on with a red scarf thrown over the top and it provides incredible romantic lighting.”

“Maneuvering until he’s kneeling in between my legs, his hands reach the button of my jeans. He looks up at me. “Can I?” “I’ll die if you don’t.”

Ryan: “Last night was amazing. It was one of the greatest sexual experience of my life and I didn’t even get off.”

Ryan: “You are a class act, toots.”

“I rewarded him with a kiss full of nips and bites which had both of us groaning.”

To summarize:

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Well, that was a let down. Amazon is shilling this book all over the place. It has great reviews on GR. I expected this to be awesome. It’s been on my TBR for a year or so and I just never got around to reading it- Something about it didn’t appeal to me. Well, last Saturday I had to sit around for 2 hours while I got new tires put on my car and this was on my kindle so I started in on it.

It was… OK. I have extremely mixed feelings about this book. I half hated it and half really liked it- hence my 2.5/5 rating.

What I hated:

1. Fracking Celeste. I wanted to kill this character. I realize that she had experienced trauma and that’s the reason for her developmental issues, but she was just so damn annoying that I couldn’t care. Every time she came up in the book I felt like I was reading about Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler.

It was all just too much. The weird way she spoke (no contractions here, folks), the clothes, the Flat Finn, the general social unawareness- Too. Much. Celeste wasn’t quirky, she was an alien. An alien that I couldn’t stand. I can’t believe this character gets her own book (that I won’t be reading).

2. The “twist.” Can I call it that? I don’t feel like I can write the word twist in this context without the quotations because it was obvious from the first time Flat Finn appeared what had happened. The fact that Julie couldn’t figure it out was infuriating.

This entire book hinges on the fact that main character, who is supposed to be highly intelligent, is actually a moron. I think this is the main reason why I can’t give this book a higher rating. It’s just so unbelievable that Julie couldn’t figure this out. Just totally absurd. It was hard to get through the nearly 300 pages of Julie being an idiot and not get extremely irritated.

What I liked:

1. The characters were witty- except for Celeste. Matt and Julie had some hilarious conversations. I enjoyed their interactions that didn’t include Finn.

2. Some of the story. If you were to 86 the entire Finn story line and cut Celeste this would have been a book I would have really enjoyed. The issues with Julie and her father were sad, but her handling of it was amusing. If the author could have come up with a less obvious “twist” and created another conflict for Julie and Matt this book would have been great.

I know this is a crappy thing to write in a review: I would have liked this book if it was completely different, but I can’t help but have some sort of cognitive dissonance about it. The writing was superb. The characterization and character development was awesome, but the premise kind of sucked. I liked it, but I hated it at the same time.

Overall, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book. It will keep you sort of entertained, but there’s really no pay off at the end. It’s like watching a really exciting baseball game only to have it rained out and rescheduled.

Alienated (Alienated, #1)

Alienated (Alienated, #1)Alienated by Melissa Landers

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There was a lot that I really liked about this book.

1. I think I’m in the minority here, but I liked that the L’eihr and the humans were so similar. The food was similar. They looked similar. All of the differences were things that you can’t see. I think it was a really interesting concept. The L’eihr are feared and hated by a portion of the human population despite the fact that they look just like humans. It seemed like it should have been easier to accept the L’eihr since they were so similar in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t. Racism metaphor?

2. The slow burn romance. Aelyx and Cara very slowly fall in love. They’re not instantly enamored with each other. In fact, initially they don’t even really get along.

3. The world-building was actually pretty good. Lots of back story and explaining, but it’s done subtly. No info dump here. However, it’s more fluff than complicated science fiction. The author doesn’t seem to be trying to build a complicated world. This is more contemporary high school love story with an underlying alien sub-plot than anything else.

4. The character development. The characters grew over the course of the book. This was well done. No one ends up perfect, but growth does occur.

Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t perfect. It’s undeniably fluffy. This is a quick, feel good read. It feels like a children’s book. Some of the “love scenes” are cheesy. Aelyx and Cara’s first kiss made me roll my eyes, but I couldn’t help but feel like I would have found it incredibly sexy if I was 15 years old.

If you’re looking for an easy, light read- this is it.

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here’s another book where I’m in the minority. Everyone is raving about this and I feel like I missed something. I just didn’t think it was a worthy follow-up to The Fifth Wave.

A lot of the words in this book just seemed… Kind of EXTRA. The overall story was good, but it was like Yancey was trying to trick me into thinking this book was some kind of deep, poignant, earth-shattering narrative by stringing a bunch of pretty words together.

It seemed like it was trying too hard. The redundant I am humanity. I am humanity. etc. etc. was silly to me. All of the emo psycho-babble and flowery descriptions confused the crap out of me. I got lost in the words. I genuinely feel like I need to re-read this book because I’m not sure I fully grasp what happened in it- especially what went down with Ringer and Razor. WTF was that BS?- because there were so many unnecessary words in it that I’m not sure I properly decoded them. It was like I was reading 1 paragraph, throwing out the words that were just there to be pretty, and then reprocessing. It was exhausting.

After you get rid of all of the rambling pretty words, I feel like very little actually happened in this novel. At just 300 pages, the book could have easily summed everything it need to up on 200.

Overall, I found this to be a very weak second installment to the trilogy. While, I’ll definitely read the third, I’m not overly excited about it. I’ll read it when I get around to it because I’m not quite certain it won’t be a total let down 🙁

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I can’t review this without spoilers- and we’re talking MAJOR plot points- so read at your own risk because I’m giving everything away.

I am obviously in the minority because most of my friends (and it seems most readers) really enjoyed this book. But holy Morgan Freeman…

This book made no sense. It was entertaining enough. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s one of those books that you can’t think about too hard. If you think about it too hard, you start to hate it because the entire thing just falls apart.
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Love Show

Love ShowLove Show by Audrey Bell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Show is the story of Hadley Arrington. She’s the over-worked editor of her college’s newspaper and hell bent on scoring a job in combat journalism right out of college. Her parents are more than dysfunctional so she vows not to ever have a boyfriend and NEVER fall in love. Enter: Jack Diamond, duh, because this is a romance novel.

Generally when the male love interest is introduced the story becomes all about the couple and their relationship. This book didn’t. Love Show is all about Hadley. It’s about her life and her growth and her experiences. It doesn’t become about Jack just because he is introduced into the story. Sure, Jack is a great character, but JUST ENOUGH is revealed about him so that the reader understands why Hadley likes him. We do not know Jack Diamond. He only exists when he is interacting with Hadley. This was SUPER refreshing to me. I haven’t read a book like this before. Jack and Hadley don’t fight because of things Jack does when Hadley isn’t around. No one is ever telling Hadley that Jack did this or that. There isn’t any miscommunication about things Jack does when he isn’t with Hadley. BECAUSE THIS BOOK ISN’T ABOUT JACK. I can’t get over this. I think it’s so cool how the author did this and still managed to make him a 3-dimensional character.

Audrey really set herself up for a second book (I hope). I ABSOLUTELY want to know Jack’s story. I want to know what he was doing all of time when he wasn’t with Hadley. His interests and hobbies and goals and etc are never discussed. I HATED Walking Disaster. Beautiful Disaster was a good read, but its sequel seemed unnecessary to me. We already knew Travis. He was present in the first book. It was ABOUT him too. After finishing Love Show, all I can think about is Jack and how I want to know him better. I hope Audrey writes his story.

The book was also very well researched. I never doubted that Ms. Bell knew what she was talking about. Combat Journalism isn’t something I’ve read much about, but it was very well done.

I would have given this book 5 stars, but the ending was a little BLAH to me. It was pretty cheesy. I wish it would have had as much substance as the rest of the book did.

Annnnnndddd there are major plot points in this that were sort of glossed over and swept under the rug without resolution. They could be resolved in a Jack Diamond POV sequel? 

IT WAS F-ing HILARIOUS. Incredibly funny. The dialogue between the characters had me laughing hysterically. I never do this, but here are my favorite quotes:

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Swimming to Tokyo

Swimming to TokyoSwimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED THIS! I didn’t expect to. I expected it to be an overblown, melodramatic, tropey, sterotypical new adult novel. It wasn’t.

I loved the way the conflict was written. I can’t even describe it, but I’ll try. Zosia and Finn have both had hard lives, Finn more so than Zosia, but they’re both trying. They fail and freak out and do the wrong thing, but they’re giving it a go and I loved that about this book. They didn’t get in fights that lasted a week because of a mis-communication, they may walk away from each other and act like idiots, but they eventually made it right.

I loved the tension between the two leads and the slow burn of the romance.

The only thing I felt that was lacking was the development of the supporting characters. Zosia’s dad was a weak “villain.” He’s definitely not an actual villain, per se, but he doesn’t agree with her choices and seems to only exist to create conflict in that respect. I woudl have like to have seen his relationship develop more with Zosia, Eloise, and Finn.

There’s a lot of Japanese and Polish words in this book and I love how the author didn’t explain every little thing to the reader as if they’ve never read a book before and don’t know how context clues work.

Finn is totally a believable damaged character. These characters are so well written. This book is actually good contract to Lost and Found. Where Lost and Found’s damaged characters seemed 2-dimensional and not well thought out, Swimming to Tokyo’s Zosia and Finn were the opposite.

You know how many times I rolled my eyes while reading this? Zero. And I’m an eye roller.

Spoilerish: I loved how the author didn’t tie everything up in a pretty bow at the end. Sometimes leaving something to the reader’s imagination is the way to go. Instead of making the end of it a cheese-fest, she tied it up enough without crossing the line into saccharine.

I adored this novel and am really sad that it won’t be available in paperback until December. I placed my pre-order though and am excited to receive it!

Loving You Is Easy

Loving You Is EasyLoving You Is Easy by Wendy S. Marcus
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oy vey! What a train wreck!

This book had a couple redeeming moments, but overall it was a mess! Things it had going for it:

1. It knows it’s cheesy so it’s easier to accept it.
2. The first half of the book was somewhat entertaining.
3. The funeral scene actually made me cry.
4. I didn’t have to put it on my “stupid character names” shelf.
5. I didn’t have to put it on my “more gray eyes” shelf.
6. See 4 and 5. THANK JESUS.

But other than that, it’s off the rails ridiculous:

The book just launches into the buildup. We read 2 letters between Shane and Brooke before Brooke is full on in love with him and imagining all kind of crazy, stalkerish scenarios. She’s suddenly in love with him and they know each other SO well, but we don’t see any of this happen. The book skips over all of the get to know you. I think this was a really bad decision on the author’s part. I don’t believe in these two at all. In fact, they are LITERALLY the worst couple I have ever read about. I have never, ever read about two people who are more wrong for each other than these two, but I’ll get to that later. If we’d been privy to their developing relationship, I might have been able to get on board.

Shane immediately rubbed me the wrong way when he takes Brooke to his hotel room and immediately starts to feel her up. This is after she tells him she doesn’t want to get physical. He puts so much pressure on her that she ends up doing THAT for him. It was really off putting. No means no, unless you can convince her to do it anyway? Kind of rape-y. I should mention that this is all taking place in the fracking prologue.

Shane and Brooke are the worst couple in the history of literature. They are the most wrong for each other that two people can possibly be. Not because of their families, or where they live, or socioeconomic statuses, but because they both suck.

Brooke is one of the most annoying heroines ever. She nags and nags and nags and wants to help, help, help. If roles were reversed and a MAN did the things Brooke does to Shane, it would be despicable and sexist, but since Brooke is a female, it’s okay for her to do when he says don’t and help when he says he doesn’t need it. Seriously, back off, Brooke. Sometimes people need to do things for themselves. They don’t need your help and “don’t know it” or are “too stubborn to accept it.” People want to be independent. Brooke is ridiculously annoying and disrespectful to Shane throughout this entire book.

Shane is an asshole. There’s no other way to put it. You were injured at war and you have PTSD, I get it, but you don’t get to treat people like shit because you’re sad. Shane gave me whiplash. One second he’s nice, the next he’s being a total dick. He was awful to Brooke. She should have left his ass over and over again, but she didn’t because she’s a doormat. He would get angry at Brooke and tell her how he was going to take her “rough against a wall” or whatever and I think it was meant to be sexy, but it was really predatory and gross. When this happened, instead of calling a cab and leaving his ass, Brooke would excuse it by saying something like He’s grieving the loss of his friend […] he’s in pain and obviously still recovering from severe traumatic injuries. NO. THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY FOR HIM TO EMOTIONALLY ABUSE YOU.

The book was also kind of preachy. In chapter 3 Brooke launches into this long diatribe about the responsible internet use and cyber-bulling. I felt like I was talking to a school principal.

Some of the language the author uses to describe things that were supposed to be sexy made me want to die of second hand embarrassment. “Let me feel your please” and Brooke’s “mons?” NO. I mean seriously, WTF is “mons?” I know you guys are all googling it right now.

I’m not sure where this title came from (Or maybe I am? Doesn’t Lucas say that to Jacqueline in Easy?), but this book was angst x infinity. Nothing about their love was easy and I wish it was harder and they’d moved to opposite poles and never spoken again.