Monday, March 24, 2014

ARC Review: If only by A. J. Pine

General information:
Title: If Only
Author: A.J. Pine (Amy Pine)
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Embrace)
Release Date: March 24th 2014
Pages: 250
 photo add-to-goodreads-button31_zps5f93c0ab.pngGenre: New Adult
Series?: Stand Alone
Ending: HEA

Blurb: It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.

"There is a little known truth that a two-year dry spell can earn a girl her virginity back" 
The story starts with Jordan on a train to Scotland for a semester abroad. I really liked that this book takes place in Europe for once. You jump right into the story and honestly, I was hooked from the start.
I liked Jordan. She seems normal and down to earth and it was fun to see her struggle to talk to boys and to try and open herself up a little more.
“I regain my composure, ready for my wittiest retort. “I’ll keep that in mind.” Or, maybe I’ll opt for not even close to witty…”
Anyhoo, back to the train. Just as she is settling in for a long ride, she suddenly get's company from 'man whore' Griffin. Conversation and jokes fly around and I really liked Griffin. He truly is who he says he is, is honest and doesn't play games with anybody - including Jordan herself. Jordan is happy with her newly found company. But then she needs to go to the bathroom and literally runs into other hottie, Noah.
The way it's written, you could really feel the chemistry between them and the scene that they meet is probably one of my favorite scenes from the book. Personally, I was on team Noah from the start.

Jordan is sent to Scotland with some advice from her best friend Sam:
“Picture this year like an alternate reality. A parallel universe. Your instinct has always been to wait, to be careful, to be sure. You don’t have time for that in Scotland. You only have time to enjoy, to live. See what it would be like to go against your instinct. Live a little, Brooks. You might enjoy it.” 
And that is exactly what she sets out to do. I'm not going to say anything more about the plot as I don't want to ruin it. But I'll guarantee you, after a very short period of time you will be in love with both Noah and Griffin.

This book is a debut novel for author Amy Pine and what a debut it is! I really enjoyed this book. The setting is different from most NAs, the writing is good and witty, the characters are well-rounded but not perfect. The book does involve a certain amount of heart ache and does hold great potential to make you cry. It's isn't a perfect love story. It's story about people who make very real mistakes. One thing I loved about this book is that neither of them has some deep dark past that they are running away from and when they meet each other everything is fixed - it's just a story about regular people who are growing up and finding their true self. The book is moderately sexy and leans to angsty for a large part of the story.

The secondary characters in this book were nice. I liked Jordan's roommate - Elaina. Though they did seem to immediately jump into a friendship that's like they've known each other since birth and sometimes she was a bit too 'hard on' Jordan for my taste. There's also Samm her best friend from back home, who doesn't really feature in the book outside of the occasional phone call.

All in all, it was a really entertaining read and definitely a book I would recommend to any reader who enjoys NA books. This was one of my favorite books from the genre I've read so far. I'm just a sucker for these stories that don't evolve around abuse or death or other things that most NA books seem to contain and have a happy ending. If you do to, than this is a must-read!

Friday, March 14, 2014

ARC review: He's Come Undone by Theresa Weir

20815572General information
Title: He's come undone
Author: Theresa Weir
Publisher: Belfry Press
Genre: New adult
Series?: Stand alone
Ending?: HEA
Pages: 214

Blurb: Penniless and behind on rent, college student and once famous child actress Ellie Barlow takes on the role of a lifetime when she's hired by a group of young women to break the heart of the campus player who cruelly dumped them. 

Transformed from slob slacker to jaw-dropping beauty, Ellie is dressed, styled, bleached and waxed, her chunky glasses exchanged for violet contacts. Along with physical prepping, she's coached on Julian's obsessions, which include long-distance running, Doctor Who, and J.D. Salinger. 

In no time, Julian is in pursuit of his custom-made next victim, but when Ellie goes off script and begins to fall for her target the newest broken heart in this risky game could be her own.

 photo add-to-goodreads-button31_zps5f93c0ab.png

"So what's the job? An ad? Something for school?" All three girls lean forward. All three girls looked over their shoulder, back at me, then whispered: "We want you to break someone's heart."

Thats how Ellie get's roped into this and how the story really begins. She's not had an easy life and is need of serious money when she decides to take te job. It reminded me a lot of John Tucker must die for the first few chapters. But it's really not. This book is a bit of a wolf in sheep clothes. I was expecting a sweet fluffly romance novel like for example the love game by Emma Hart (Review). Instead, what you get is a story about two very broken people - one more broken than the other - who find each other and make each other better. 

Ellie was an interesting character with an interesting background. She's down to earth and unsure of herself. She takes the job because she needs the money. It's very obvious from the start that she'll fall in love with Julian (aside from it being said in the blurb). I mostly liked her, but she just didn't really feel like a normal person to me. She seemed like she could only live in this world created by Theresa Weir. I had a hard time connecting to her and I was glad when the chapters from Julian's POV came around. I liked Julian. He's hard a hard life and I liked following his story. I haven't read too many books where the guy is one with the most baggage and it was interesting to read about. Though, like with Ellie, I wasn't in love with him as a character either. 
""Once I realized I couldn't quit thinking about him, and once I realized I had a major crush on a guy who had sex with girls and then discarded them, I wanted out. I wanted to meet him with my real self so I could have sex and be discarded. No, wait""
Why 3 stars?
I think the biggest problem I had with the book is that it deals with serious issues, but it somehow never really got up close and personal with these characters. You watch them go through this little love story of theirs and I don't really feel connected to them or their story. It keeps feeling like you're looking through a window at them, but you're not right there with them. That takes a bit chunk out of my emotional response to this book and makes it hard for me to love it. Another thing that I wasn't too thrilled about is the speed in the novel. Some things seem very rushed and you jump from one thing to the next. In some books that works, but I feel like this book would benefit from a little more pacing and slowing down. I personally love a little build up to certain events, but that doesn't really happen in this book. I think it's the least angsty book I've read in this genre. Also the ending felt a bit rushed, but you'll have to read it for yourself to find out :).

I did enjoy reading this book and I liked it. It just never took it over the hill and made me love it. That's not to say that you won't. I think you'll really like this book if you're intested in characters who are damaged goods, a fast pace, difficult topics and little romance.

*ARC kindly provided by Belfire Press/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Monday, March 10, 2014

Darkside Sun (Mortal Machine #1) by Jocelyn Adams (ARC)

20806102Blurb: Addison Beckett tries hard to pretend she’s normal, but she’s far from it. Since she was six years old, she’s seen the world around her unraveling, as if someone is pulling a thread from a sweater and it’s all slowly coming undone. When she ignores it, it goes away, so that’s what she does. 
Enter her arrogant-but-hot professor Asher Green. He knows all about her special brand of crazy. In fact, he might be just as nuts as she is. Asher insists that the dead from a parallel dimension are trying to possess the living in this one. And since Addison seems to be the only one who can see these “wraiths,” she just might be the key to saving the world.
Addison wants nothing to do with Asher or his secret society, The Mortal Machine. But as their animosity grows, she finds it harder and harder to ignore the chemistry between them. And when she discovers that Machine laws forbid her from touching him, she realizes that’s all she wants to do.
Stop the wraiths. Break the rules. Save the world. All in a day’s work.
Normal was overrated, anyway.

General information:
Title: Darkside Sun
Author: Jocelyn Adams
Genre: New Adult/Paranormal Romance
Publication date: March 10 2014
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Pages: 291
Ending: Cliffhanger
 photo add-to-goodreads-button31_zps5f93c0ab.png

"Curiosity killed the cat and, maybe soon, the Addison" 

The blurb of the book interested me a lot since it's very different from other PNR books I've read so far. This is the first book I've read by author Jocelyn Adams and it's the first book of a trilogy with the next book - Midnight Dawn - being published in September 2014.

It took me a little while to get into the book in the beginning. This was mainly due to the fact that you get thrown into the story right away and I found it a tad difficult to get a feel for Addison - the main character in the book - and what exactly 'it' was that was happening to her. It felt a little bit ADDish, since it felt very rushed, hyperactive and jumpy. But once everything was a little clearer I was mostly hooked.

Addison - the heroine - is a timid girl who remains mostly unseen by everyone around her. She has always been drawn to old things and has seen the world literally unravel around her. For a large part, I really liked Addison. The only thing that bothered me a little bit about her, was the inconsisentency with her character. She is described throughout the book as a timid little rabbit who has to grow some balls and man up. But I didn't really see that in her. Yes, she grows into her powers and gets more secure, but she never let them walk all over her to begin with - so that didn't make much sense to me.

" What would Green have done if he'd discovered something had invaded his lecture hall from a black hole in his wall? Find some way to insult it, no doubt"

Enter the hot arrogant professor - Asher Green. I wondered if I would like him, since he really was an a-hole in the beginning. But he's interesting enough and eases up on her a little eventually. He's very closed off and a mystery to Addison - who he not so lovingly calls 'plaid'. Asher is an interesting character and I'm excited to read more about him in the next book. He's arrogant, cruel, mean, hot, sexy, sweet when he absolutely has to be and swoon worthy.

" "You're not weak, and I don't.... why do you have to be so ... so ... goddammit, I'm going straight to hell if I ever die." His lips covered mine before I even saw him coming."

The book also envolves several secondary characters - some of which get more 'screen time' than others. I really liked Sophia and Remy. They were sweet and funny and a great asset to the story. Sophia is a very colorful, honest and good friend to Addison and I created Remy in my mind as a big, sweet and funny huge teddy bear. I wasn't a fan of some of the others, such as Kat - whom I hated. But I'm pretty sure you're supposed to hate her for now.

I think the writing itself was a lot better in the second half of the book. The beginning was very rushed and jumpy and also a tad too descriptive for my taste.But the writing gradually improved and by the last 40% my rating went up from a 3.5 to 4 hearts out of 5.

"Back there in the woods, I actually started to imagine we could have a life together while we fight this war. Once I finally had you within reach, it became so much harder to keep my hands off you."

Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book and I really liked the original take on the genre. It managed to suprised me at certain points and the ending - which is absolutely devastating - left me wanting more. It's not easy to suprise me with plot twist, but this book succeeded where others have failed - which is a major plus for me.
I'm sad that it's a cliffhanger and that I have to wait several months to find out how the story continues. I am planning to read the next book in the series and I'm curious to see where Jocelyn Adams will take this adventure, as it seems like it's only beginning.

I won't give anything away about the rest the plot, so if you want to find out what exactly is happening to Addison, who she turns out to be and the role of Asher in her story, you should really read the book - which is out tomorrow March 10 2014.

I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy NA/PNR and are looking for a fresh take on the genre.

* ARC kindly provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*