Book Review: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eager

Summer Skin
Author: Kirsty Eager
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Get it Here: Book Depository

Synopsis:

Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don’t mess with Unity girls.

The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold . . . and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig – sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they’re at their most vulnerable?

It’s all Girl meets Boy, Girl steals from Boy, seduces Boy, ties Boy to a chair and burns Boy’s stuff. Just your typical love story.

A searingly honest and achingly funny story about love and sex amid the hotbed of university colleges by the award-winning author of Raw Blue.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Biggest of thanks to Jeann from Happy Indulgence for the signed copy! Sending all my love! ❤

I think all females, no matter what their age group (but especially the ones transitioning from teen to adult) have to pick this book up! It’s not only a romance between two people caught on opposing forces of a competition, but considers the patriarchal and misogynistic tendencies that are unfortunately common in society – addressing them in feminist ways through the strong-willed main character, Jess. On the cover of the book Summer Skin is likened to “a feminist love story,” and that description could not be more apt. Eagar tackles issues that are seen commonly today, with a message underlying the relationship that is progressing in the story.

Continue reading “Book Review: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eager”

Series Review: Dearest by Lex Martin

I’d just like to start these reviews off by saying that this series is by far one of my favorites in the genre of New Adult. I’m constantly on the look-out for ones similar to these, because they’re just what I’m looking for when reading NA: great characterizations, superb romances, and a hint of angst that provides an actually compelling climax. I always say NA books are my guilty reads, but I felt no shame reading this wonderful series.

22351498Dearest Clementine
Author: Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #1
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Synopsis:

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn’t mind being called bitchy and closed off. It’s safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out…in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

The Good:

– Clementine was a character you could really empathize with. Shit’s happened to her, but she gets back up every time.

– Gavin. Just Gavin. Give me one in my life. The relationship progression was also nicely done – especially when you consider Clementine’s non-trusting character.

– Their friends were so supportive and lively that you can’t help but smile at their antics. 🙂

The Not-So-Good:

– While I appreciate the whole stalker situation, it also annoyed me because hellloooo? Me wants more romance. It was fine though, in the long run (some leeway was made since it provided angst for our main couple). And surprisingly interesting.

– The familial aspects could have been touched upon a bit more. They were always hinted upon, but never confronted directly.

Overall:

Definitely recommended for New Adult readers and the ones venturing into this genre (like me)! The characters were all pretty great and unique in their own way. The romance was adorableee; I only wish there were more of it instead of the whole situation with Prof. Stalker. Other than that, it was just delightful!


20630331Finding Dandelion
Author: Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #2
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Synopsis:

When soccer all-star Jax Avery collides with Dani Hart on his twenty-first birthday, their connection is instantaneous and explosive. For the first time in years, Jax isn’t interested in his usual hit-it and quit-it approach.

But Dani knows better. Allowing herself a night to be carefree and feel the intensity of their attraction won’t change anything when it comes to dealing with a player. So when Jax doesn’t recognize Dani the next time he sees her, it shouldn’t be a total shock. The fact that he’s her new roommate’s brother? That’s a shock.

Dani doesn’t regret that night with Jax, just the need to lie about it. Since her roommate has made it clear what she thinks about her brother’s “type” of girl, the last thing Dani wants is to admit what happened.

Jax knows he’s walking a fine line on the soccer team. One more misstep and he’s off the roster, his plans to go pro be damned. Except he can’t seem to care. About anything… except for the one girl who keeps invading his dreams.

Despite Jax’s fuzzy memory of his hot hookup with his sister’s friend, he can’t stay away from her, even if it means breaking his own rules. But there are bigger forces at work–realities that can end Dani’s college career and lies that can tear them apart.

Jax realizes what he’s losing if Dani walks away, but will he sacrifice his future to be with her? And will she let him if he does?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

So sweet!

As all the other books in the series, Martin delivers yet another adorable and heartfelt NA about two people who find their way in the world. This series also has some of the best writing that I’ve ever read in the NA genre, too. It’s not filled with awkward prose and mundane descriptions, nor does it have blunt statements that gloss over events and are filled with no emotion. Something about it just clicks with me, which is why I enjoy Martin’s books so much.

As much as I loved the interaction between the two characters and their friends, the realistic aspect made it much too unbelievable for it to truly resonate. As a light and fluffy read however, it definitely hit the spot. We first begin the book with Dani trying to do things about of the norm. You know the drill: having a one-night stand, getting a tattoo, etc. While I found that trite, it was quite endearing to her character. My problem with it was the fact that after meeting Jax, the list and her self-discovery was put into the background for the romance. We see in their interactions her sticking up for herself, which yes, shows growth, but it was just not pushed away in favor of the hot soccer player who shows up and starts heading head over heels in love with Dani.

Jax, on the other hand, was whipped so hard. It was the type of transition that was like “I hit on a three girls and had sex with another” in one day to “I couldn’t do anything because this girl’s eyes were stuck in my head.” Again, it’s highly romantic but also almost sickeningly so. Yah, I love my romance, but it was so quick on his end despite his playboy ways. Not that I minded per se, but it could’ve been nice to have seen more of a gradual growth on his part.

The latter half, as always, was riddled with unspoken misunderstandings that usually frustrates me. I expect it from NA books so much that at this point I’m pretty apathetic haha. But still, be aware of that.

Despite these problems, Finding Dandelion was a delightful addition to the Dearest series, which has become one of my top NA series of all time. The witty characters, heart-stopping romance, and surprisingly suspenseful turn of events make it stand out from the others out there.


20632298Kissing Madeline
Author: Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #3
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Synopsis:

What’s the worst thing about wanting a sexy NFL football player? Everyone else wants him, too.

After catching my boyfriend getting deep-throated by a skanky cage girl, I’ve learned my lesson – never date a professional athlete. Never. Besides, I have more important things to worry about, like not blowing my shot to make it as a broadcast reporter. I won’t let anything get in my way, not even the new “it boy” of the NFL and my hot-as-hell neighbor.

What’s the worst thing about getting death glares from his new neighbor? It doesn’t make him want her any less.

I’ve worked my ass off to make it to the pros. The last thing I need is the complication of a relationship, especially since my last one was a total train wreck. But I can’t stop thinking about the feisty girl next door with the smart mouth. And I’d love nothing more than to show her what to do with that mouth.

Friends with benefits might be the best idea he’s ever had. Or the worst.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Finishing this book felt like someone sliced open my chest and took out my guts and replaced it with the stuffing you find for stuffed animals and rainbows and heart emojis and chocolate and just made me feel all the warmth and fuzzies. IT WAS SO. GOOD.

Okay first of all, apologies in advance for skipping the first book to the third. The thing is, I spent the majority of the first book in this series, Dearest Clementine, disliking one of the main characters in this book: Daren. He cheated on Clementine during high school and although that situation resolves itself towards the end of Dearest Clementine, I still wasn’t sold on his character. So I skipped the second to see how he would redeem himself.

And oh boy, did he redeem himself.

Geez, his interactions with Madeline are so spot-on, so sweet, so soothing that I kept clutching my chest because of emotion overload. I love how he presents a facade on the football field, but is pretty sensitive on the inside. I love seeing more of his character, and delving into what exactly occured during those years in high school when he and Clementine’s relationship kinda dissolved. I came into the book unconvinced that I would like this dude, and I finished the book sighing in contentment.

Madeline was his perfect counterpart in so many ways. Their chemistry was literally leaping off the pages and she is just amazing. In the beginning of the book we see Maddie get cheated on with her boyfriend, so she gets some trust issues. Then she meets Daren and BAM they’re just PERFECT for each other (and they knows it) and they get in a whole friends-with-benefit situation. But… we all know how those turn out, right? ;))

Once their relationship becomes something more, I could not get enough of this couple. And seeing the couples from the previous books just made my heart warm even more. I like how Martin also adds a bit of suspense (in this case, the mysterious hacker) in her books too. They’re totally not the main focus, but also create some situations for the characters that make them realize what their feelings really are.

So readers of NA, I totally recommend you to pick up this series if you haven’t already. The couples are so heartwarming to read about, and the individual characters are also so great by themselves. Love love love them all.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-4star

Mini-Reviews: Many Disappointing NA’s

Sometimes I get so angry at New Adult books that I return them, even if it’s $3 on the Kindle. Be ready for some ranting in this post as I explore some books of this genre that many people may have enjoyed, but I, unfortunately, could not. This is just an amalgam of books that I’ve reviewed/commented on for Goodreads, but haven’t put on the blog until now. Enjoy!

17706171This Love
Author: Nazarea Andrews
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Synopsis:

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.

He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.

They didn’t know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket–her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help–the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he’s got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.

When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she’s thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can’t happen–he’s a professor and she’s a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

DNF @ 25%

Forget forbidden love between teacher and student – this dude still hasn’t even gotten his DIVORCE PAPERS signed. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but technically he’s still married.) WTF. That is a BIG NO-NO since he’s flirting and all with the main girl Avery.

The switch between POV’s are also very annoying. It switches about 4 times in one chapter after a couple of pages and felt abrupt and disjointed.

Finally, the pacing felt so weird. It didn’t feel like Insta-love or attraction yet the dude still pulled moves on her. It was spontaneous and got me going “huh?!?” Even if I could continue with a STILL F*CKING MARRIED love interest, my total apathy with the characters sealed the deal.

Overall:

I’m sure many NA readers will enjoy this and let these things slide, so I’d totally recommend this one if you’re okay with the stuff I listed above. If, like me, they make you feel uncomfortable and would deter your enjoyment in reading, definitely skip it.


11505797Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
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Synopsis:

She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.

He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess his life had become.

They didn’t know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket–her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help–the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he’s got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.

When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she’s thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can’t happen–he’s a professor and she’s a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

DNF @ 53% and I skimmed the ending

I’ve waited a quarter of the book for Travis to see a psychiatrist or for at least SOMEONE to comment on his mental health. After skimming the ending, it seems that almost all the characters have some issue that never really fixes throughout the book.

Overall:

This book: disaster? Yes. Beautiful? Not one bit.


17788401Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
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Synopsis:

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-ReviewI had a major barf-fest when reading this book.

So ya meet a guy.

You guys have some level of attraction, so ya get in a “friends with benefit” deal. And the guy straight up front goes like “Yeah don’t expect anything from me.”

Whaddya do? Ignore it, because you have feeelings for him. And you turn to liquid with him, because he affects you THAT much. And then proceed to do what HE wants, regardless of your feelings.

I’M CRYING LMAO I SEARCHED UP “LIQUID” AND TATE TURNS INTO LIQUID 13 TIMES IN THE BOOK BECAUSE OF THIS DOUCHE. Thirteen times of:

“No Miles. I follow. That’s how it is with us. You’re solid, I’m liquid. You part the waters, I’m your wake.”

If you want some weakass and insipid female character in your books, then go ahead and take this one. Tate is weak-willed and honestly embarrasses me as a female main character of a book so widely liked. If I had a friend like that… wait, I can’t continue because I’d NEVER have a friend like her. Her life is fucking dominated by Miles, and how hot he is, and how he ignores her, and how he can’t love her (yet she still loves him). She stands up against him ONCE in the book. And even then, they have sex afterwards! No son, that’s not how the game is played.

Alright and then we get to Miles, who’s a fucking drama queen. You want your love interests to be hot, broody, silent, melodramatic messes? You got one right here. In the book, each chapter is juxtaposed with a chapter from Mile’s past six years ago. When he’s in love with ANOTHER woman. Yeah I don’t care about having old flings and shit, but you juxtapose a whole-hearted sex scene with this guy by a chapter where he’s casually fucking the main character, and YOU tell me why this is a turn off. Plus he’s such a ninny, and doesn’t learn from past mistakes.

There’s this one chapter where he’s telling past woman how he wants “rules” for their relationship. Said rules get broken. In the present, there’s this one chapter where he’s telling present woman how he wants “rules” for their relationship. Said rules get broken. Is this deja vu or just me?

I do appreciate what the lesson the author’s trying to reach. It’s the beautiful parts of love that makes up for the ugly parts, yada yada yada.

The lesson doesn’t stick with me because I could connect to the characters… oh, maybe -15%. Probably less. Mostly when I was reading about their antics I just:

The only person I liked in the book is Cap, an old guy who works at their apartment complex who gives them advice. And tells them how stupid they are. (Which I have to agree with!)

I’m trying to think, but I’m not sure why people like this one so much. Oh wait, because of all the sex going on maybe. Yeah, there’s even sex going on when the male character thinks it’s his flame from six years ago that he’s fucking, instead of the acutal girl he’s with. What a turn on.

NOTE: All gifs above are accurate representations of my face when reading this book.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-1star

Elle Kennedy – The Deal (Off-Campus #1)

24504048The Deal
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Get it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy… Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.


*Ahem* So usually you don’t really see me reading books with, ah, ripped chests on the cover. But hey, I’ve been getting curious about the New Adult genre, so I thought I’d check some out and see what the fuss is about. (Shout out to Melissa for the awesome recommendations!)

When I finished this book, all I could think of was the amount of in it. Like, that’s literally all it is. A feel-good type of read that makes people think that college is the bomb and everyone gets hooked up with everyone hot in the end.

Our main character, Hannah, is the stereotypical unique girl (damn, that oxymoron) that isn’t like anyone else.

I’ve noticed she doesn’t wear designer clothing or preppy getups like most of the females at this school, or the trashy party clothes you see on Greek Row and at the campus bars on weekends.

She’s a music major and is invisible until the day Garret Graham pays attention to her. Garret is the captain of the infallible hockey team on campus and your stereotypical playboy. They go through the stereotypical relationship of tutor/friends to lovers to something more. Despite its predictableness, I enjoyed the transition. Garret certainly had lusty thoughts when first noticing Hannah but they were pretty good friends before becoming lovers. (When your NA romance development is done better than YA, for shame.) No insta-love in this house, and I’m actually a little surprised, because, YA KNOW, the cover is literally a guy’s chest. Not even face! Just his chest. For all we know, all the books in the series could be the same chest!

Although it was enjoyable to read (as much as I dislike character tropes, HEAs always get to me), points are knocked for particular cliches. Ah – large phalluses being one. Bigger doesn’t mean better, guys. It’s like communism: while it sounds good on paper, it certainly isn’t as good in reality. Dumb misunderstanding at the end. (Which I saw like miles away.) And all the attractive people in the book! Like, not everyone in sports teams are hot, guys.

I feel like these kind of books make college seem way better than it actually is. Over-glorification of what happens in college. But hey, what do I know? I mean, maybe the chances of getting a hot, nice, sweet, thoughtful but dick-headed sports player who’s great at sex is easier than one might expect.

While I don’t have plans on rereading this anytime soon, it was certainly enjoyable while reading.

Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them. How you went about your day and hung out with your friends and fucked other people without having this one important person in your life.