[468]: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

DSC_0770GOODREADS SUMMARY | Swoon Reads | Paperback, 272 pages
Fiction | Romance | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


You all know how much of a struggle it’s been for me lately. I just couldn’t find the right books to read; and by right, I mean, the kind that doesn’t make me want to face punch someone. Well, I’m happy to report that I’m finally through my dry spell, so to speak. A Little Something Different was just the right kind of thing to pull me out of the I-hate-everything rut.

Universe conspiring.

Told in multiple points of view (14, to be exact), A Little Something Different is the story of a couple of people who needed a bit more help in getting together.

Creative Writing students, Lea and Gabe had the most unexciting “meet-cute” in the history of meet cutes, and even though they share a kinship with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and they mutually thought the other, lovely, these two just couldn’t seem to get together.

Gabe suffers from a debilitating shyness, while Lea is encumbered with self-doubt that a boy like Gabe could ever like someone like her. What these two didn’t know is that people see them in a different light and thought that they’re two people who should be together.

Population: 16

From their Creative Writing teacher, their T.A., Starbucks baristas, Chinese Restaurant delivery boy, Maxime, the diner waitress, their friends, the bus driver, a bench and a squirrel, to the sullen mean boy of their class, everyone will prod these two to be together.  It was cute, funny and adorable!

Don’t let the multiple points of view intimidate you. There was nothing disorganized about it, or even slightly confusing. This is because no one divulges their own personal stories, or share personal tidbits about themselves.  They only talked about their encounters with Lea and Gabe.  I suppose as plot-driven stories go, this one takes the cake.  You won’t even get to know the couple du jour. The story’s focus is on how the people surrounding these two plots for their coupledom to happen.

The romance was very subtle, and yet it had the tendency to make you smile like a fool. It’s all in the sweet, but awkward interactions between Lea and Gabe. It’s how the entire world conspired to bring them together.

This book is irresistibly adorable that even Debbie Downers like me couldn’t resist blowing heart bubbles. But now I’m hating myself because I’ve overused the word, “adorable”. Ugh.

 

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[441]: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

FullSizeRenderGOODREADS SUMMARY
Dial | Hardcover, 371 pages
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Young Adult Fiction | LGBT | Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


Speaking of books that are impossible to review, I’ll Give You the Sun incites the kind of frustration that only book reviewers suffering from a “reviewer’s block” can relate. I’ve sat on my desk and stared at a blinking cursor for days, and have waffled between writing a full review or leaving the rating speak for itself. Either way, I thought that it’d probably be a futile practice. Jandy Nelson has done this to me twice now. She’s the kind of writer who frustrates me; the kind who writes brilliantly but kills me ever so slowly because she doesn’t put out books too often. In fact, this is only her second novel – with four years of break in between. But. I have such high regard for authors who value quality instead of quantity. And this woman, knows quality writing. She is the type of writer whose prowess will either inspire you to write or would make you say, what the hell is the point in trying? 

 This book is kind of different in a way that it uses two perspectives in past and present timelines. Two timelines that intersect; creating a story arch so complete that the readers would hardly notice the seams. We see a couple of kids that were wholly removed and involved in each other’s stories. The effect is the kind of empathy that lets a reader see the characters with both critical and biased perspectives. It was brilliantly executed.

This is the part where I’d normally talk about the characters, or the story itself. But the truth is, I really am at a loss. But I implore you to read this book. Don’t miss out on Jandy Nelson’s achingly beautiful writing and being introduced to characters worth knowing. If there’s one thing that’s becoming increasingly evident in the author’s work, is that she’d leave you aching at the end of her books. Not just because of the heart-wrenching story you’ve just read, but because you know you’ll never get enough of the pain she’s put you through. She’ll make a masochist of you yet, because I can almost guarantee that you’d want to reread just to experience it all over again. For me, Jandy Nelson is the Melina Marchetta of North America. And that’s speaking a lot because Melina is a literary goddess in my eyes.

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Tour Stop: Lennon’s Jinx by Chris Myers

Lennon’s Jinx by Chris Myers
Publication Date: January 15th, 2013
Self-Published
Format: eBook
Source: AToMR
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Sometimes, we don’t get to choose who we fall for.
Lennon spends most of his time raising his little sister Currie while trying to skate through his senior year of high school. He prefers groupies with no-strings attached but finds himself strangely attracted to Jinx, the straight-A student in his choir. Lennon’s curiosity overrules his good sense as he tries to peel away the layers to discover the reason for Jinx’s skittishness.
Jinx conceals the black truth about herself from her friends. She won’t admit to them that she screwed up big time, losing her first love and what she once held most precious.
When Lennon’s band holds auditions to replace their keyboard player, Jinx comes to tryout and almost leaves after seeing Lennon. Despite the fact she despises him, she joins the band to nurture her love of music that will hopefully ease the guilt gnawing away at her.
Like the rest of his band mates, Jinx soon witnesses Lennon battling his infamous father for the custody of Currie. While confronting his pent-up anger at his dad, Lennon exposes vulnerabilities he had no intention of letting any girl ever see, especially Jinx. Their reckless pasts may bring them together or further complicate their already messy lives.

Ode to Lennon


He stands roughly over six feet
lean and packed 
with muscles and meat. 
He’s a doting brother that all the little girls adore,
it’s just too bad he’s a complete man-wh*re. 
He respects women in his own way
protecting them from becoming prey,
from other men who takes just because they can
a knight without a horse who can take it like a man. 
He’s the kind who loves ’em and leaves ’em – 
and who shies away from any types of commitment. 
Ah but there’s one girl who’s got the nerve – 
to call him out 
and kick him to the curb.
Everyday Lennon tries to solve the puzzle
of a red-head spit-fire who bristles – 
with anger and annoyance at his every glance, 
and answers back with a glare
at every chance. 
Oh Lennon, if you only knew
the feeding frenzy your smile could ensue. 
Not to mention that voice that could ensnare
heaven’s angels and cherubs up there.
So check it, and listen to my plea
get yo’ act together, would you please? 
Stop flashing that beguiling smile
leaving girls in your wake by a mile. 
Like seriously, dude. If it weren’t for your devotion to your sister, I’d say there’s not a  single redeeming quality about you….well, okay, you’re pretty hot – with a smoking body and panty-dropping voice (I don’t really know what that means, exactly). You’re also a pretty okay guy if we were to strip away your cockiness. You make sure drunk girls get home safely; you beat up abusive step fathers who had no business assaulting their step daughters. You save stray cats and the Humane Society loves you. You take care of a neighbor’s little girl who’s been through so much chemo and still battling the vicious cycle of a cancer that refuses to go away. You play with their dolls and join them for tea because it makes them happy. You never miss a single recital. You make sure your sister’s well-fed, well-dressed and cared for. It doesn’t even matter if the only thing you’ve got going for you is your band that makes peanuts compared to the 80 gs a month allowance from your famous father. 
God, who can stand you? You’re almost perfect. I myself, is disgusted. I see through you, Lennon. I know your type. You act like you’re every girl’s dream boat but no one, and I mean, no one can steer you in the open seas. Except maybe that girl with the fiery hair and green eyes who can smell your bullsh*t from a mile away. I think you’ve met your match. I’m giddy with excitement. So watch me nuke some popcorn, cop a squat and relish that moment when you get owned. Bwahahahhahahaha *chokes on spit, coughs* hahaha!
Note: I was supposed to write a review but I got so caught up with that guy. It’s hard not to. Aside from the sleeping around thing, he’s Grade A rib-eye steak slathered in awesomesauce.

Anyway, this book was awesome but for the parts that felt choppy to me. Like the part where Lennon pulled a gun on his mom’s boy friend. I didn’t catch the part where he actually put the gun away before his sister walked in on the whole effed up situation. Then the whole scene jumped to when he decided to take a shower. Also, Jinx’s skittishness sort of disappeared in an instant. There wasn’t a smooth transition where she’s supposed to be testing the waters first – she just dove right in.

Regardless, this novel is unexpectedly fun and sweet with some heavy hitters to balance the happy.

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Review: About that Night by Julie James

Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Berkley Sensation
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
HE’S PLAYING GAMES

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.

BUT SHE’S MAKING THE RULES

Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten…

Nine years ago Rylann Pierce had the (dis)pleasure of almost dating the computer whiz and billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes. Unfortunately, after a night of flirtations in the guise of sarcastic banters, things didn’t work out – as in, Kyle Rhodes stood her up on the day they were supposed to go on a date. Never one to be a sulking female, Rylann took it in strides and chocked it up to intervening fate. After all, how far could a relationship with a spoiled, womanizing heir go?

Nine years later and she found herself representing the State against the Twitter Terrorist, aka, Kyle Rhodes. It was as if the years gone by meant nothing because she still found him incredibly irresistible. Regardless of their mutual attraction, the fact remains that there’s a great wall between them. This time, Rylann was sure she would be commiting career suicide if she allow the relationship to evolve. Who’d ever heard of an Assistant U.S. Attorney dating a criminal?

Oh lawdy. I’ve never seen an episode of LOST but after reading this book, I kind of have this urge to order it on my non-existent NET FLIX. If my memory serves me right, Sawyer is the long-haired, blond, chiseled adonis on Lost, correct? Excuse me while I wipe off the dribbling drool off my lips. Let me tell you, ladies, if all computer geeks look a smidgeon like Kyle, I’ll be trekking my butt to the nearest Computer Science college. Yowza. Kyle Rhodes has this take-charge, I’m-the-man attitude rolled in with the playfulness of a wicked boy.

Anyway, let’s talk about the book before I completely lose what’s left of my book reviewing creds (if I had any).

What else can I say about Julie James and her books other than, when is the next one out? I’m totally smitten with her characters. The female leads are far from wilting violets; strong, sassy, sarcastic and there’s never a shortage of ill-tempered, hot males.

Her books are a wealth of basic(?) law knowledge and for a few moments, I could pretend that I actually know a thing or two about court proceedings. Heh. The thing about her stories is that, it won’t take long for you to realize that you’re hooked and every single book has this consistent unputdownable quality. The lady writes good romance, good books, and in some instances, good suspense.

As I’m writing this review, I’m having this feeling of deja vu. Because I know some of the things I’ve said have already been mentioned on my previous Julie James’ reviews. But you know what? It’s unavoidable. [shrugs]

Verdict: No need to state the obvious here and I’m tired of sounding like a broken record. Goshdarnnit, people! *yanks you by the lapels of your shirt* READ IT!!!

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Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James

Publication Date: October 7th, 2008
Berkeley
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom, she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her- not even her cheating ex-fiance. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s“Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is theJason Andrews.
Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize she may just be his perfect match.

Reeling from the recent discovery that her fiancé was a cheating, lying S.O.B., Taylor Donovan didn’t anticipate that her short stint in Los Angeles would place her right smack in the middle of the ultimate Hollywood scene as two ‘IT’ actors of the moment vie for her attention. In this corner, we find Jason Andrews, multiple winner of People’s Sexiest Man Alive title and on the other, Scott Casey, up and coming Aussie actor who’d do anything to dethrone Jason as the man of the hour, including snatching Taylor out of his grasp.

They didn’t realize, however, that the litigation attorney have had enough of their kind – the too good looking, unable to keep a steady relationship without cheating on their spouses kind. Taylor also didn’t foresee how much she would like Jason’s attention. But at the end of the day, would she be willing to risk her heart again or would she let Jason pay for her ex’s mistakes?

I must admit this Julie James’ book was very Harlequinish romance novel. There were some legal proceedings and jargons in here that were characteristic of her novels, but it wasn’t as complex as they were in her FBI series. It doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it any less. Truthfully, I did, but it was my least favorite. It was full of snarky banters and witty back and forth dialogues but it just wasn’t as suspenseful as her other books.

I also found Jason Andrews to be a bit of a shallow character regardless of how much of a heartthrob he was. He’s been my least favorite male character out of all of Ms. James’ leading men. My guess is Julie James was keeping him in true character of a spoiled actor who has it all and in that essence – she hit it dead on.

Taylor Donovan was your run of the mill heroine in a Julie James book. She’s strong-willed, passionate, funny, and independent. I’d say she’s boring but I’d be lying. The most admirable feat about her writing is that she manages to give each of her leading ladies their own character and it can’t be any truer than in Taylor’s character.

Verdict: Just the Sexiest Man Alive is a witty and enjoyable romance novel. Even though I wasn’t as involved in this story as I have been in her other books, I still had a hard time putting it down.

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Review: Something About You by Julie James

Publication Date: March 2nd, 2010
Berkley
Format: Hardcover, 268 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago- and for nearly ruining his career.

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes- and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

How the heck have I not indulge in her books before? This is just my second Julie James helping and let me tell you, she’s got me addicted! So much so, that I downloaded her A Lot Like Love right away.

The appeal of her work comes from the fact that it’s got substance. Now, I’ve never been a crime-stories-loving kind of girl but her books has just enough of it that it didn’t distract me from the whole point of the story. I mean, let’s face it, this is Romance, people – all the other stuff are just glitters in an otherwise perfectly made Hallmark card. The lady knows what she’s talking about in and out of the courtrooms and daymmmmm in and out of the bedroom…kitchen…stairway…hotel room…elevator…wait. What am I talking about again?

The characters played off each other well. The dialogues were smart, snarky and funny. They didn’t really start all lovey-dovey at first and because there was history, the chapters oozes with UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension). The development of their relationship, though a little fast, was in my opinion, realistic. They went from hate to damn-I-want-to-be-in-your-pants in zero to sixty but goshdarnnit if I were in Cameron’s position…pauses…gulps…I wouldn’t blame her one bit.

Don’t get me wrong, if this is YA, I’d probably called FOUL right away. But since this is an Adult Contemporary Fiction, we all know that this is a different ball game.

Anyway, the seondary characters are made of awesome as well. I love, love, Collin and the night shift CPDs who did surveillance at Cameron’s house.

VERDICT: Sizzling hot, will not disappoint and hey, NO LOVE TRIANGLES! Win.

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Review: Unlovable (Port Fare, #1) by Sherry Gammon

Publication Date: January 13th, 2011
Worldpainting Unlimited Inc.
Format: Kindle copy
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

Port Fare, New York, has fallen into the clutches of true evil. The Dreser brothers have arrived with a scheme to increase drug sales in the area by whatever means possible. Seth Prescott is part of MET (Mobile Enforcement Teams) a branch of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). He’s been assigned to work undercover at Port Fare High, and things aren’t going very well, until senior Maggie Brown enters the equation. He’s harbored a secret crush on her from day one, and now that she is in the center of the case, he’s trying to stay clear and objective while walking the line between business and unrequited love.

Maggie is truly the poster child for Heroin Chic, complete with jutting bones and dark-ringed eyes, but is she an addict, or is there another reason for her appearance? She struggles with her feelings for Seth, fearing he is just another person who will eventually let her down, as everyone in her life has done thus far.
Maggie has spent her life caring for her alcoholic mother. A task that has left her heavily burdened and alone. Before long, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worst, sending Maggie’s life into a tale-spin.

While Seth works relentlessly to inject fear into the dealers and flush them out into the open, Maggie fights to stay alive as the hunt turns deadly.

Seth and Maggie’s romantic journey is one of humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery.

__________________________________________________________

Here’s my major beef with this book: I could not, for the life of me, reconcile Maggie’s voice with the chaos and heartbreak and angst that was going on her life. There’s a certain flippancy about her that was definitively off-putting. I mean, serious issues were tackled here including, but not limited to: parental neglect, malnourishment, drugs peddling, alcohol, murder, sexual assault, torture…etc and yet her musings sounded light hearted and sometimes even blithe.  She lacked the dark undertones better suited for the themes of this book. And I certainly couldn’t agree that the author’s intent was to give this book some lightness due to the severity of subjects at hand because if that was true then I can only give her credit for trying. I, for one, wasn’t convinced. 

I found myself frustrated with Maggie’s character, period. She was very strong in her conviction to stay away from Seth and yet she couldn’t say no to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Zach called her Maggot quite a few times, stupid in some occasions, belittled her principles about no sex before marriage and yet she was unable to voice out her protests when he came and forced her to help him make the queen bee of the school jealous. 


Maggie was such a contradiction in all the ways possible. She’s painted as the saddest looking girl you could ever imagine – physically and emotionally but for some odd reason, boys and creepy old men found her attractive. I don’t discount her self-esteem issues but you’d have to work doubly hard to convince me either way. There was a certain disconnection between a character who’d had to endure what she had and the actual character drawn in this novel. 

As for Seth, well, he can’t do anything wrong. He’s perfect; too perfect that he’s yawn inspiring, instead of awe-inspiring. 

The attempts to add in some humour to this book felt forced and out of place. I also had a difficult time accepting that her mother didn’t really mean every single ugly words she’d ever thrown her way.  Honestly, it’s like every character in this book was suffering from an identity crisis. The entire novel was focused on Maggie having to live with an alcoholic mother. This woman spent the whole time drunk, passed out and verbally abusive to Maggie on the odd times that she was sober. Toward the end of the book, Maggie found some letters that her mother had apparently written to her in the midst of her drunkenness. The mother in the letter and the mother on the couch were, I swear upon anything that’s holy,  two different characters. I had a hard time believing that it was the same woman. 

Truthfully, I stopped quite a few times and debated whether or not to continue but I’m so tired of having to quit on books because of exasperating characters. The plot had so much potential – a romance between an undercover cop and a student at a high school – not original by a mile but still has its allure. Unfortunately, the flaws in character development distracted me relentlessly. I remained angry from the first quarter of the book until the bitter end. There were some editing mistakes as well (leach instead of leech pg. 37, master chief instead of master chef pg. 242). 

I wish I could say something favourable about my reading experience. But I’m at a loss. Others would enjoy this story very much. I just didn’t…couldn’t.  
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Review: Breathe by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: May 16th, 2011
Wild Child Publishing
Format: Kindle Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


SUMMARY

Sadie White’s summer job isn’t going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother’s increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother’s job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn’t spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn’t impressed by Jax’s fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship’s never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can’t breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to without each other breathe again?

________________________________________________________
To be released on 12/13

Believe it or not,  I read this right after The Vincent Boys. So naturally, I have not quite come down from the scintillating high of reading such an awesome book. Breathe was Abbi Glines’ first published work. I’d recommend reading this first before The Vincent Boys. The stories are not related in any way; I just think that this book is a good introduction to Abbi’s works. After reading both of Gline’s books, I can honestly say that I’m looking  forward to  Existence’s release. 

Abbi Glines’ debut featured a sort of  rags-to-riches story about a girl who lived her whole life poor. Sadie’s mother seemed to be reluctant to grow up so she’d had to be the one to take care of her. Her life lessons include being smart about boys and keeping people far away enough so she’d never have to depend on anyone but herself.  With her mother being pregnant, Sadie had no choice but to take over her mother’s job of a housekeeper for the rich. When she found out who her employer was, she needed to reiterate to herself  that food, rent, and a sibling on the way was more important than to be caught up in Jax Stone’s world. Unfortunately, being involved with Jax proved to be inevitable.

This was such a sweet story; with believable characters and albeit, predictable plot. I’m not going to take anything away from Abbi’s writing; I thought she did a marvellous job, considering this was her debut.

My grievance was the less than impressive Jax Stone. He certainly didn’t fit the rockstar typecast. I expected a bit more angst from this guy, perhaps some moody tantrum throwing. But this guy was zen as zen can be. So much so that he felt underdeveloped. I guess it’s difficult to bring more personality into a cast when the book is being narrated by another. Also, some of his dialogues were…a bit cheesy. Perhaps it was the song writer in him, but I found myself cringing at some of the stuff he’d said and his song lyrics were just as fromage heavy.

I’m also disappointed with the resolution of the conflict. It felt a bit rushed to me. I’ve always been fond of grovelling males in a novel and had expected one here. Sadly, Sadie accepted Jax’s reappearance in her life quite easily.

I think this is still a good read for those looking for contemporary romance. If you can get over the cheese, you’ll definitely enjoy this.

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Review: The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: October 21st, 2011
Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from. 
Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he’s tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?…. Hell Yeah.

________________________________________________________
I have a confession to make. I uploaded Kindle on PC at work because of this book. I wasn’t going to, I swear! But I kept reading some glowing reviews that I just had to check it out myself. As soon as I got to the first two pages, I pretty much kissed productivity goodbye. I’m awful, I know! I have to uninstall this program before the IT gets wind of it. Can you imagine how much trouble I’m going to be in? I shudder to think.

This is quite possibly one of my favourite contemporary lit of the year.  It was so addicting that I barely noticed the time passing. Before I knew it, a work day had passed and 8.5 hours were spent…well, not working.

Meet Ashton, Sawyer and Beau – best of friends since they were kids. Growing up, Ashton and Beau were the quintessential trouble makers and Sawyer was the one who’d had to constantly bail them out of trouble. They were inseparable until Ashton and Sawyer became an item, forcing Beau to the sidelines. Ashton changed dramatically from the wild child to the prototypical preacher’s daughter just to keep the perfect veneer that everyone expected from her. They eventually grew apart, to the point that Beau didn’t even know who Ashton was anymore. Heck, some days, Ashton didn’t even know Ashton anymore. But deep inside, Beau knows that the real Ashton he loved from afar and for so long was still hanging around her goody-two-shoes persona, bursting to come alive. All he had to do was help her realize that perfection is as fabled as unicorns.

I’m a sucker for bad boys, and man Beau played this character to a T. He’s mischief and swagger and compassion all rolled into one frustrated hot mess. Unlike every other bad boy characters I’ve read as of late, he didn’t make me want to yank my hair out in utter aggravation. He didn’t go out of his way to be a jerk to Ash. In fact, I actually loved the way he needled her to bring out her true personality.

I think this is the FIRST ever love triangle that I could honestly say I truly enjoyed reading. I’ve figured it out that the annoyance usually come from a character whose feelings waffle between the other two sides. It drives me up the wall! But here, Ash’s reluctance to be with Beau stemmed from the fact that she would be the reason for the possible wedge between Beau and Sawyer. I thought her selflessness was commendable. She was willing to valiantly walk out of the boys’ lives for their sakes.

The romance between Beau and Ash was sizzling hot; so hot that I’m not quite sure if this fits the YA tag. But I’m not the tag police so I couldn’t really care less. Just a heads up though, there was a word that was used that I don’t really think is suitable for the YA audience. I won’t even mention it. And please don’t think that I’m conservative. I’m far from it. Heck, I don’t even know if this book is being marketed as YA, so maybe this little reminder is moot.

Anyway, I really love this book. The writing was fresh and straightforward. I couldn’t ask for a better book to risk getting in a whole slew of trouble at work.

So why the four star rating? There were some minor…very, very, very minor editing miscues (bare instead of bear, and since instead of sense). I have a Kindle copy so maybe the paperback copy will be different.

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Review: Take This Regret by Amy Lichtenham

Publication Date: July 28th, 2011
The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Format: Paperback, 243 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars


SUMMARY

There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives. For Christian, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth.

Christian Davison has a plan for his life. He is determined to become an attorney and to one day take his place as partner in his father’s law firm. Nothing will stand in his way, not even Elizabeth Ayers and their unborn child.

After Christian cuts her from his life, Elizabeth spends the next five years struggling to provide for her daughter and willing to sacrifice anything to give her child a safe, comfortable life.

For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back just as Elizabeth will do anything to protect her daughter from the certain heartache she believes Christian will bring upon them.

When Christian wrestles his way into their lives, Elizabeth is faced with asking herself if it is possible to forgive someone when they’ve committed the unforgivable and if it is possible to find a love after it has been buried in years of hate. Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

They say everyone deserves a second chance.

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For a book of less than 250 pages, this novel didn’t lack the intensity of an emotional powerhouse. Perhaps because it is such a short novel that made it even more so. Told in alternating point of views, Take This Regret is a story about wrong choices, consequences and their path to redemptions.

With his career in law about to take off, Christian was set to fulfill his goals in a steadfast manner. Nothing and no one could get in his way…that is, until Elizabeth delivered the news that could derail all his plans and ruin his hard work. He made a choice and made her choose. She walked away and life has never been as he pictured it would be.

I was really impressed by the author’s consistency in spurring emotions throughout the entire story. I felt all that I was supposed to feel – Christian’s overwhelming guilt, loss, regrets and the unconditional love he felt instantly as soon as he laid eyes on his daughter. All the while, he had this consuming need to just be a part of something that he consciously walked away from all those years ago.

I was frustrated with some of the decisions Elizabeth made once Christian walked back into their lives and in some ways I could relate. Her last moment-of-insanity though didn’t bode well with me. It was obvious to me that by keeping Christian away, she was hurting the most important person in the equation but she was blinded by her own fear and need to protect herself that she didn’t even see it coming.

All in all, this novel was a good find. It was a fast read but impact-ful just the same. There were so much loss, regrets and most important of all, love in spades. There’s much to be said about a book that focuses on one plot  and the author did an outstanding job of keeping the story clean. Expect no subplots or even much getting-to-know-you sessions with the characters. This is a plot-driven novel – centering on Christian’s plight to take his family back. There were bits of information about the characters, but not enough to give them other dimensions and that’s okay because like I said, the spotlight was on Christian’s  need to right a wrong.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of the author’s work.

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