Review: More Happy Than Not

19542841Title: More Happy Than Not

Author: Adam Silvera

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Publisher: SoHo Teen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBQT

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?


4.5 / 5 Stars


Adam Silver is a brilliant storyteller. I loved the way the story was set up and flowed in More Happy Than Not. It was creative and not what I was expecting at all. There were twists and turns I never saw coming. It was amazing how seamlessly many different issues were woven into the story.

Not only was the way the story unfolded different and interesting, but so were the characters. The main character, Aaron, could have been very annoying and frustrating to readers because of the way he complained about the hardships and unhappiness in his life. Instead, Aaron was easy to relate to. I could empathize with him and liked him. I wanted him to achieve his ultimate happy ending. I rooted for him the entire time.

The other characters were whipped cream on top of the Aaron sundae. Thomas had a maturity about him, even if he was lost in life. You couldn’t ask for a better girlfriend than Genevieve. She stood by Aaron through it all, no matter what happened. I have to admit my favorite character was Me-Crazy, even if he was a horrible person. The fact that he gave himself that nickname was perfect. He had me laughing most of the time.

 

The only thing missing for me in More Happy Than Not was more information about what came next for Aaron. I kind of felt like I was left hanging a bit. I needed an epilogue or something. I’m dying for more!

More Happy Than Not is a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. It’s definitely a book I would recommend.

 

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Review: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

15858248Title: Wallbanger

Series: Cocktail, #1

Author: Alice Clayton

Publication Date: November 27, 2012

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Humor

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first night after Caroline moves into her fantastic new San Francisco apartment, she realizes she’s gaining an intimate knowledge of her new neighbor’s nocturnal adventures. Thanks to paper-thin walls and the guy’s athletic prowess, she can hear not just his bed banging against the wall but the ecstatic response of what seems (as loud night after loud night goes by) like an endless parade of women. And since Caroline is currently on a self-imposed dating hiatus, and her neighbor is clearly lethally attractive to women, she finds her fantasies keep her awake even longer than the noise. So when the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts Simon Parker, her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. The tension between them is as thick as the walls are thin, and the results just as mixed. Suddenly, Caroline is finding she may have discovered a whole new definition of neighborly…

In a delicious mix of silly and steamy, Alice Clayton dishes out a hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight…


5 / 5 Stars


Oh my goodness. How to describe this delightful book? Hilarious is the first word that comes to mind. Sexy is the second. Add in a little bit of sweet and that basically sums up the entire book. It was perfect.

When independent Caroline moved into her new apartment, she never imagined she was going to be awoken in the middle of every night. Her new neighbor, Simon, has all sorts of extracurricular activities going on in the wee hours. Unluckily for Caroline, the walls are paper-thin. She’s stuck not only listening to Simon’s sexual escapades with different women, but feeling them when his bed slams against her wall. It’s driving her crazy! She just wants to sleep and ignore the fact that it’s been forever since she had a big “O” of her own.

When Caroline can’t stand it anymore, she confronts Simon. What starts out as a hatred between the two quickly turns into a friendship–a friendship with a ton of sexual sparks. As hard as they try to keep their relationship in the friend zone, they can’t deny their attraction to each other.

Wallbanger was filled with hilarious sexual innuendos, just as funny situations and cool characters. It made me laugh so many times. I would highly suggest it if you’re looking for a contemporary New Adult novel to make you laugh.

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

224293501Title: The Start of Me and You

Author: Emery Lord

Publication Date: March 31, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?


5 / 5 Stars


I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this, but The Start of Me and You  is the start of me and my love for Emery Lord’s books. Wow. Her writing is beautiful.

The title The Start of Me and You would lead one to believe this book is a romance. It is so much more than just a romance. It is a story of friendship and helping each other through the tough times in life. The romance most definitely played second string to the friendships in this book. Those tight friendships made the romance even sweeter.

I’m honestly kind of at a loss for words with this book. I feel like I can’t do it justice with this review. If you’re a YA contemporary romance lover, you should definitely read this book. It’s now one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read more of Emery Lord’s books.

 

 

ARC Review: Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

businessman working on laptop  in black suit

Title: Us

Series: Him, #2

Authors: Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes, and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.


5 / 5 Stars


Back in July, I read an ARC of HimIt was the first M/M romance I had ever read. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew I loved both Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s novels. I was pleasantly surprised. I loved Wes and Jamie and their love story. There was just something about two strong men falling for each other, especially when it was based on an amazing friendship. I was excited to find out the authors were going to be releasing a follow up novel. I jumped on the chance to read an ARC of Us, the continuation of Wes and Jamie’s story.

In Us, Jamie has moved in with Wes in Toronto. Wes’ rookie year is in full swing and Jamie is coaching kids’ hockey. Everything is going smoothly in their new relationship except for the fact they are hiding it from the world. Jamie loves Wes, but the secrecy and long away games are taking a toll on their relationship. He’s not used to having to hide his relationships. To make matters worse, Wes’ teammate moves in above them and likes to stop by unannounced. Jamie and Wes will have to decide what’s more important: their relationship or Wes’ budding career.

I absolutely loved how Us continued Wes and Jamie’s love affair from where it ended in Him. This time, instead of dealing with falling in love and exploring their sexuality, they were dealing with the ramifications of hiding their relationship from the public. Neither of them wanted to ruin Wes’ new career, but the affects of hiding their relationship wore on both of them. They wanted to be able to declare their love for each other.

It was especially hard on Jamie, who felt isolated in his new city of Toronto, Canada. He didn’t have the built in support system Wes had with his team. Jamie didn’t want to have to lie or pretend around people. It caused him to push away potential friends, like his new co-workers. He started to have to deal with the resentment this created between him and Wes. The weather change also had a big affect on the Californian’s disposition.

Wes may have had instant friends in his team, but he also struggled with hiding his relationship with Jamie. Jamie was “just his roommate” and Wes felt like he couldn’t talk about him around his teammates. He was afraid of blowing their cover. Wes wanted to be able to keep his career and his boyfriend, but he was starting to worry it wouldn’t be possible.

While life was tougher for Jamie and Wes in Us, it wasn’t just filled with angst. Jamie and Wes still had their fun and sweet moments. Their banter with each other continued to be funny. I loved their connection with each other and what they were willing to do for their relationship.

Us was a really great story about a young, gay couple trying to maneuver through the world of love, professional sports and fame. Now, I just need Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to write a story for Wes and Jamie’s new neighbor/teammate Blake! I loved that guy so much!

**I received an electronic ARC of Us in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: Nine Million Minutes by Leigh Ann Lane

27974959Title: Nine Million Minutes

Author: Leigh Ann Lane

Publication Date: November 11, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace

Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Twenty-six years is long enough to be a wallflower. Armed with a new auburn hair color and a lime green Jeep that screams “look at me,” Kricket Taylor steps outside her shy comfort zone.

Jay Hunter has a successful career as a speaker, capturing audiences by rolling up his sleeve and baring a jagged scar that signifies the biggest mistake of his life…making a promise he couldn’t keep.

With a coast-to-coast supply of willing and beautiful conference attendees, he has no desire for a relationship. But an encounter with a shy redhead triggers something deep. Now, the only way to make up for his long ago broken promise is to protect her from himself.

Nine Million Minutes, a contemporary romance novel, will resonate with anyone who has picked themselves up, brushed off the dirt, and awkwardly stumbled towards a new beginning.


3.5 / 5 Stars


Nine Million Minutes is a complex story about two people fighting their attraction to each other due to a combined pasts that still haunt them.

At sixteen, Jayson saw himself as the older brother and protector of his eight-year-old neighbor, Krissy. When the unspeakable happens, Krissy is torn away from Jay and their neighborhood. Jay feels it’s his fault because he didn’t do enough to protect her. Being so young, Krissy has no memory of that horrible night.

Flash forward seventeen years. Kricket (aka Krissy) returns to her Oklahoma hometown and meets gorgeous Jay(son) at Starbucks. Neither realize they know each other. When something brings their connection to light, they realize they can’t act on their attraction to each other — no matter how much they want each other.

Nine Million Minutes is a hard book for me to rate. It was fast-paced and kept my attention the entire time. I was invested in the story and loved the push-pull thing Jay and Kricket had going on. I enjoyed the slow-burn of their romance. It was a really great book on it’s way to a five star review– until it got to almost the end. That’s when things started to unravel for me.

Remember that slow-burn romance I just mentioned? Well, once they decided to act on their attraction, the slow-burn turned into steaming hot. It felt like the last couple chapters of the book were all sex. I have no problem with sex in books, but it felt out of place for the characters to get it on that much in one night. Or maybe it was just the way Jay bragged about it to his family. (Do his mom and dad really want hear about that?!?)

Then, there was the epilogue. Instead of wrapping things up nicely, it added unnecessarily to the story. I honestly didn’t see the point of it.

My biggest problem with Nine Million Minutes, thoughwas Jay’s secret. I couldn’t stand Tara’s part in it all. There had to be a better, less disgusting reason for Jay to keep them apart. Although, I do have to admit I loved the resolution to the issue.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I love the meaning behind the title of the book!

New Adult readers who enjoy complicated love stories filled with angst and secrets will enjoy Nine Million Minutes.

 

 

Review: The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

22449806Title: The Year We Fell Apart

Author: Emily Martin

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.


4.5 / 5 Stars


The Year We Fell Apart is a coming of age romance about a soon-to-be high school senior, Harper Sloan. Harper earned a bad reputation last year after an encounter in the school pool. Her actions got her kicked off the swim team. The past year has been tough and it looks like this summer will be no different. Her mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her best friend turned boyfriend turned ex-boyfriend, Declan, is back from boarding school.

Harper knows her relationship with Declan is over, but she can’t help the feelings she has when he’s around. She wants nothing more than to repair their relationship, but Declan obviously wants nothing to do with her. So Harper does what she’s done best this past year, she lets the rumors surrounding her define her.

The Year We Fell Apart broke my heart over and over again. It did it slowly, throughout the entire book. Each major revelation crushed me and made me see each character in a different light. They were constantly evolving, as were their relationships with each other.

Harper was a tough character to like. Honestly, I wanted to give her a good shake! The way she let her bad reputation define her and how she used it to cope with life was frustrating. I hated how she became what her harassers said about her. Her way of coping hurt her more than it helped her, and it was painful to read. I wanted her to dig herself out of the hole she was creating, but she had no desire to do so.

Harper’s relationship with Declan and it’s demise was sad and, at times, mysterious. She obviously blamed herself, but as the story unfolded I could see that Declan wasn’t as perfect as Harper made him out to be. The back and forth of their friendship/relationship during the summer made things harder for her. Like many teenage girls, she was basing her life and her self-confidence around a boy.

What really broke my heart, though, was the last fourth of the book. Even after she began to work through her problems with Declan, she continued to put herself in bad situations. And when she finally stood up for herself, it was kind of too late. Her actions exploded in her face. It was really sad because truly wasn’t a horrible person.

Here’s the thing about The Year We Fell Apart, though. No matter how frustrated with Harper I was, I couldn’t put the book down. I loved it. It was so beautifully written and filled with emotion. Even when I hated a character, I loved them. I wanted to see them overcome their problems and be happy.

I can’t believe this is Emily Martin’s debut novel. I’m incredibly excited to see what comes next. (I would love a follow up to The Year We Fell Apart or a second book about Chris.)

 

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

12551077Title: Stealing Parker

Series: Hundred Oaks, #2

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?


3 / 5 Stars


 

Since I read Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl, I’ve been slowly trying to read the rest of the Hundred Oaks series. I love Kenneally’s feel good writing style. Her books always leave me feeling happy. I was hoping I would have the same experience with Stealing Parker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

There were so many incredible things in Stealing Parker. First, the characters. Parker Shelton is a girl who quits softball, loses weight and sets out to kiss as many boys as she can after her mom declares she’s a lesbian and moves out. Reading Parker’s point of view felt like reading the mind of a real teenager. Her experiences with parents, friends, boys, gossip and church were all real life experiences. Then, there’s Parker’s best friend, Drew. I loved Parker and Drew’s easy friendship and the way Drew supported Parker. I also loved that Parker understood Drew and put his feelings first. My favorite character, though, was Corndog. One, his name was Corndog. That’s a pretty awesome nickname and he does awesome stuff to live up to it. Two, he was surprisingly mature and sweet for his age. I loved Parker’s relationship with Will.

Stealing Parker didn’t just have great characters, though. It also dealt with some huge issues. Parker really resented her mom for leaving her and her family. She didn’t know how to handle her negative feelings towards her mom. Rather than deal with them, she avoided her mom.

Parker wasn’t just dealing with her mom being a lesbian and leaving her family, she was dealing with the fallout the situation created. Parker lost friends due to her mother’s actions and felt the need to recreate herself. She felt the need to hook up with as many boys as possible to prove she wasn’t like her mother. This didn’t help her friend situation.

Parker also struggled with her new found sexuality and what it meant in terms of her relationship with her church and God. Whether it was reconciling her experiences with her church and its member with her belief in God or dealing with her feelings about her lesbian mother, I felt like this was such a great topic to include in a Young Adult novel. So many of us grapple with faith, church and our actions as teenagers. Kenneally did an amazing job portraying this struggle. I loved how it all worked out for Parker.

There was one huge issues in Stealing Parker that I didn’t like at all: the student-teacher/coach relationship. I get that these relationships happen all of the time, but they’re incredibly uncomfortable to read. I cringed every time I had to read Brian and Parker’s interactions. I wasn’t happy with the way their “relationship” ended. I would have liked more accountability to their actions. Honestly, I didn’t see the need for this storyline in Stealing Parker. It would have been a better book without it. It’s what made Stealing Parker a 3 star book instead of a 5 star book.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Stealing Parker. I feel bad only giving it 3 stars because it is a well written book. I just can’t get past the icky vibe the student-teacher relationship gave it.