Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend – Becca Ann

Title: Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend
Author: Becca Ann (Cassie Mae)
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Self Image

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B00AY6OT70

Blurb (from Goodreads.com):
It’s stupid to fall for your brother’s ex. It’s even worse to enlist another’s help to win the ex over. But Brody is desperate and Hayley, his partner in American Sign Language, is more than willing to lend him a few tips.

She’s the school’s matchmaker,’ and with her bizarre and positive personality, Brody finds her easy to talk to, even about the most awkward situations. Hayley’s tips seem to be working, but as Brody learns more about his matchmaker, he starts finding reasons to spend time with her, and not the girl he thought he was in love with.

But Hayley isn’t ready to fall for anyone. Labeled the “Funny Fat Friend” within her group, her self image makes it impossible for Brody to share his feelings without Hayley shrugging it off as a joke.

Convincing her Brody can, and did, fall for the “Funny Fat Friend” turns out to be harder than simply falling in love.

My Review:  
After being in the supernatural world for a bit, I decided I wanted something light and fun and normal to read. What better author to turn to than Mrs. Cassie Mae?

What I Loved: This book was exactly what I needed. It was a sweet romance with likable, real characters who were goofy and down to earth. I loved that this story was told from the guys perspective, which is always a little refreshing, despite me wrinkling my nose every time he talked about how badly his bedroom smelled (at least he was aware of it!). Hayley was pretty funny, and a lot cheesy, but I could tell the person she was meant to be right off. I’ve met those people who seem so incredibly self-aware and confident, who are easy to talk to and know how to keep conversations moving, yet have something going on underneath. I could see why Brody would have a hard time understanding her reluctance to believe that he actually liked her.

Not So Much: Part of me is happy that Hayley’s home life wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought, at the same time I kind of felt like that part of the story was a little underdeveloped. It could have been me wishing to get into Hayley’s head (since I’m used to the girls being the narrator) but I kind of wanted more there.

The Verdict:    

As always a great read! There is mild cussing, and there IS non-descriptive sex in this book, so older YA would be my recommendation.

Onyx – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Onyx (A Lux Novel – Book 2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610116

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

 
My Review:

No sooner did I finish Obsidian then I went and purchased Onyx. While I may have had some character troubles with Obsidian, I was still captivated by this story and wanted to know more about what was going to happen.

What I Loved: The continuing building of heat between Katy and Daemon. I enjoyed Daemon much more in this book than the previous. He was done fighting what were obviously very strong feelings for Katy, and he was in aggressive pursuit. There was a lot more kissing in this book – and boy can Jennifer Armentrout write a good kissing scene!

We learned more about what is going on between Katy and Daemon’s strange connection and what it might all mean. We also are introduced to Blake who is more than he seems.

In Onyx we get a few more twists and turns in the story, while the progress on the relationship front seems to be more the issue here.

Not So Much: Katy is driving me crazy. She is still so obtuse and just wishy-washy. She says things that she desperately wants to believe, but are obviously not true. She has become a horrible friend and really not admirable at all. She lies, and hides things that should be brought to light, and trusts way more information to people outside of her alien circle than she should.

The Verdict:    

Gosh, the romance draws me in. The story is interesting enough…but I’m just a bit perturbed by Katy. Some reviews of the third book indicate that she gets better, but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to move on yet.

Obsidian – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (A Lux Novel – Book 1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610078

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Review:

Pay attention book bloggers – this one goes out to you! Last week I did a quick search on my WordPress app on Book Reviews, just to see what would pop up. I can’t tell you the blogger who did it, but I ran across a review for Obsidian and knew that I had that book for kindle, so I stopped to read the review. This review wasn’t a 5 star all praise this book in all its ways, it revealed some thing that the reader didn’t care for, but she gushed about Daemon and a few other aspects of the book. As a result, I searched for it in my library (because who KNOWs when I bought it, but it was pretty buried in my list) and started reading it.

Note – I don’t usually read reviews…but I might start after this. I just really hate spoilers, I like to be surprised by stuff…and some bloggers have a difficult time with this. I read a review during this same search that basically spoiled an entire book (that I had already read) with her discussing what she liked/disliked about every part of the book. I have moments when I want to do this too..and I’m starting to wonder if we should call these blog posts “Book Discussions” rather than “Book Reviews” to alert the reader?! Anyway.

What I Loved: So, alien books aren’t actually my ‘thing,’ I’m not sure why, since in the last few years I’ve read a few good ones, but they just aren’t the first books that I tend to grab first. But I did really enjoy this take on Aliens. I didn’t fully understand what they could do and why – well, I vaguely understood why I guess – but I also just know it’s a book and it doesn’t have to make complete sense to me. The back-story of how they came to exist on earth and what had been established was flushed out to a satisfactory degree for me. All of the fight scenes were enjoyable to read, I didn’t get lost in the movements and what was actually happening, which can happen sometimes when there is a battle going on.

I totally loved Daemon and Katy’s back and forth constant battering of each other. It was some really good heat between the two of them.  The fact that they were both fighting attraction kind of helped dial up the heat quite a bit.  Some of my favorite scenes where the ones where Daemon was displaying jealous.  And w-o-w, the kiss scene.

Not So Much: Despite that the back story and the fight scenes were well done, I did feel like the overall story had some holes in it. At some points it felt like the entire town was alien, and at other points it felt like a select few were, and the people of the town knew they were alien or at least ‘other.’ At other times it seemed like their secret was completely locked down and humans put off the whole thing as “this town is weird.” I kind of felt like the lines were blurred a bit on the alien powers also, mostly when it came to the trace, or mark that could be left on humans. I kind of felt like they knew the logistics of it, and then at some point it was like – “hey, let’s try this.” In fact – as far as the instance I’m referring too, I kind of felt like it was put there so the scene would happen – and I would NEVER want that scene removed, but the reasoning behind it seemed a bit under-processed.

Katy is so dense. I loved her personality for the most part, but how many times does one have to refer to “your kind” or call you “human” before you really get it, and not have to have it spelled out to you? She doesn’t want to believe anything, including that Daemon isn’t quite as uncaring as he seems half the time. Read between the lines! It’s only frustrating because she is only like this to drag this storyline and hot/cold heat between the characters on for as long as possible – she is a strong character otherwise. The hot/cold stuff could probably be done without her playing dumb about it.

The Verdict:    
I’m completely engrossed in this series, and just bought book 2. I want to know what happens, and I do want a little bit more Katy/Daemon heat in my life. My hope is that the story and writing just gets better as we go through the books. The book is okay for older teenagers, there is cussing. Kissing and a little bit of touching that isn’t overly descriptive.
(This Review has been cross posted from http://www.iloves2read.blogspot.com)

Unhooked – Lisa Maxwell

Title: Unhooked
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Genre: YA – Fairytale Retell, Paranormal

Buy Link: http://amzn.com/1481432044

Blurb (From Goodreads):

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Review:

Ever the sucker for a fairy tale retelling, I grabbed up Unhook as soon as I knew about its existence. I truly did not know what I was in for when I picked up this book! I mean, from the blurb you can see this isn’t your typical Peter Pan story, but I am quite impressed with what it turned out to be. Unfortunately this review is finding itself to be vague in all ways. It’s very difficult to say much about it without spoiling the surprises in the book. Even the slightest discussion on the characters or events can reveal things that I feel are much better discovered by reading the book itself!

What I Loved: This book was quite a bit darker than any Peter Pan book I’ve read before. I think that is part of what really drew me in. This was only a skeleton of the story we know, in fact I’m pretty sure I can’t actually call this a ‘re-tell’ at all. The surprise of that kept me hooked, wanting to know what was going to happen next since I didn’t even have a baseline for the story.

Unhooked had so many twists and turns in it; I am usually pretty good with predicting what is going to happen, and I admit some predictions were easy, there were other moments, however, that surprised me! I love when a book does that. I find enjoyment at looking for foreshadowing and being right about the outcome, but I think I find even more when something (that makes sense) comes out of left field.

Not So Much: I have something I would put here…but it’s a spoiler, so I can’t. But it is not something that is a flaw in the story…just a preference of mine.

The Verdict:      

Hmm, well, I think that if you like fae (not the Tinker Bell kind) and familiar stories with a twist, you’ll like this book. It is quite clean, even from cussing – so approved for YA, and for those younger Pre-Teens who might like Goosebumps type books – they may enjoy this too!

The 5 Stages of Falling in Love

Title: The Five Stages of Falling in Love
Author: Rachel Higginson
Genre:  Adult Romance
Publisher:  Indie Book

Blurb (from Goodreads): 

Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

My Review:
The fact that I own this book is a true testament of the power of social media to convince us to purchase a book.  This is one of those books that popped up in my news feed over and over again with people raving about it’s greatness.  I saw the cover enough that I became intrigued more and more, despite it’s topic matter.
Here’s the thing, people.  I don’t do a lot of “real life” in my books.  Oh, I love books about love and life and I absolutely love a good “coming of age” teenage book where the protagonist must learn to live with the cards they are dealt.  But I have very adamantly steered clear of The Fault in their Stars because John Green has ripped my heart out before.  I won’t read anything by Nicholas Sparks until I can get confirmation that the book isn’t going to make me cry my eyes out.  I have to deal with the tears of real life, so I don’t really seek them out in book life.
I acknowledge that these are sometimes the most excellent of books usually.  I mean, I innocently grabbed up a Jodi Picoult book a while back, and she is an extremely talented author.  All the way up until she tore the skin from my body in grief.  I just don’t seek these books out on purpose.
 
What I Loved:
This is hard.  Too hard.  This book was very good of walking us through all of the stages of Liz’s emotions, while at the same time I hated it.  Rachel Higginson is an excellent writer.  I swear to you, she has taken my relationship with my husband and almost our origins and put them on paper…then wrote the scenario I hope never, ever happens.  Or at least waits until we are both 90 years old.  Do you know how hard it was to read about Liz’s adoration for Grady, how she has eyes only for him..the feel of his arms around her and the fact that she falls in love with him more every day, year – then her reality.  This book made me cry.
But I love the healing, the hope of this book.  I loved Liz’s children, and seeing them all work through this grief process together.  I LOVED Ben, and his patience.  Gosh, Liz’s interactions with her mother-in-law. It was all on point, true to what would it would probably it would look like for me, and made such a great story.
Not So Much:
This.Book.Made.Me.Cry!
I think I was too engrossed in the story to really come up with any constructive criticism.  This is, again, another fairly linear book – no a lot of action, or no sharp climax.  Just a pretty gradual line to reach the end of the book…however, in this kind of book I’m not sure I would like a lot of drama/action.  I’m not sure I could make it.
The Verdict:        
I’ll tell you the truth, if this book were to be a movie, I probably won’t watch it.  And I’m sorry to say this, Ms. Rachel Higginson, but I probably won’t willingly re-read this book either.  But don’t let that be a hindrance to anyone.  This book is excellently written, and worth the tears to get to the end.  This book is an adult book and deals with adult situations.  There is an emotionally based sex scene – no graphic details.