Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Review: Alex, Approximately – Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Swoon. That is the immediate word that came to mind while I was reading Alex, Approximately. I’m not going to lie, I fell in love with this story, the writing and the characters almost immediately. I was worried going in because I had such high hopes, but Jenn Bennett did not disappoint me. She gave me exactly the kind of book I wanted.

First, the plot of this has definitely been done. I’m not denying that. But when I was reading Alex, Approximately the thought never once crossed my mind. I felt like I was reading a brand new idea and I savored every page. Second, I’m insanely in love with Porter. If I didn’t already have a book boyfriend (I’m looking at you Etienne St. Clair) I would be all over Porter. He’s sweet and smart and sassy. He’s completely unexpected when you get to know him. Third, Bailey and Porter are all sorts of slow-burn explosive. They had such great push-pull chemistry. And man were they sexy, hot. I loved everything about them together. I just never wanted their story to end

Honestly a book like Alex, Approximately is why I got into reading YA books and blogging. It was heart-warming, it was sexy, it was smile inducing, it was amazing. Jenn Bennett delivered a book and characters that will stay with me for a long while. If it isn’t on you TBR you need to fix that immediately.

 

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Review: Fireworks – Katie Cotugno

Review: Fireworks – Katie CotugnoFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sometimes you pick up a book and you just don’t know how it is going to go for you. You’ve read books by the author and enjoyed one and was conflicted on the other. You like the premise but know it has the potential to go in a different direction than you expect. Because of these things you are almost scared to pick up the book. This was me with Fireworks. I was worried how I would feel about it. I was scared I wouldn’t love it. I was scared I would be disappointed or conflicted. Instead I got one of my favorite books of the year. Simply put…it was freaking fantastic.

There was so much I loved about Fireworks. The setting, the characters, the romance, the friendship, the plot, the writing. I loved it all and I loved it all because it meshed flawlessly together. As soon as I started reading and realized these girls would technically be my age now, I was sucked in. Then I got the the ‘boy band’ part and I was transported to the 90s. Then I got to the romance and I swooned. And finally I got to the heartache of strained friendships and I bawled. The book was magical in its beautiful woven parts and made me a fan for life.

I really can’t even find the words to tell you how genuinely in love I am with Fireworks. It was a book that just got me. I felt a connection to it and I just can’t explain why. It wasn’t what I expected yet it was what I wanted and more. Another must read in 2017.

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Review: Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welsh

Review: Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans WelshLove & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Published by Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon, Goodreads

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

I was drawn to Love & Gelato by the cover. There, I said it, I judged a book by its cover and that’s why I bought it. I’m sorry, but I’m a sucker for ice cream-ish covers. After I got over the cover love, I got serious and looked up what the story was about. I was immediately invested. A mystery that unfolds in Italy and a story about a 16 year old girl and the father she never met? Yes please. It just screamed a me book, and it was…to an extent. Honestly I really enjoyed Love & Gelato. It lived up to my expectations in a way. But there was one part that didn’t do it for me and it was the romance.

Before I get into the romance part let’s talk about what I loved: the diary/journal mystery unfolding, the relationship between Lina and her father, and the use of Italy. The diary/journal part of Love & Gelato was truly the star of the show.  Reading how Lina learned about her mother’s history and find out a part of her life that she never knew about was such an amazing experience as a reader. By getting to know a part of her mother this way, Lina got to see Italy and what her mother fell in love with and she got to know her father. Without that diary Lina would have missed out on what Italy had to offer which would have been a shame. Instead she got an experience all her own with her mother’s guidance that was really one of a kind.

And I really wish the story ended at that. For me that was all Love & Gelato needed, the journal and the eye opening experience. Instead a romance was added in and it just took away from the story for me, which is super rare because I’m always team romance. I personally think that Lina didn’t need to fall in love or have a boy she was crushing on for Love & Gelato to be a truly great book. For me the story was Lina falling in love with the idea of new experiences and learning her mother’s history. It just didn’t need the romance.

All in all I enjoyed Love & Gelato. If I could have taken the romance out I would have been 10 times happier and the book would have been given a solid 4 stars. With that said though I really liked this one and the story it told. I suggest you pick it up and see for yourself how you will feel.

 

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Blog Tour: Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs + giveaway

Blog Tour: Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs + giveawayFuture Threat by Elizabeth Briggs
Series: Future Shock #2
Published by Aw Teen
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information--but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena's dealing with her survivor's guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she's done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether's not done with her--or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether's latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that's amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation's reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost--or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything--including their relationship--to save their friends.
The second book in the New York Times bestselling Future Shock trilogy.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

If you know me you know my love for all things time travel and parallel life. I’m a sucker for stories where you get to see the future or what life could have been my making a change. To me these two things really go hand in hand. If someone travels into the future they are now creating a parallel life where this happens and that will change things. It is an endless loop of mind games and questions. And the newest book in the Future Shock trilogy, Future Threat, does just that.

Future Threat takes place 6 months after the end of Future Shock. Elena, Adam and Chris are trying to get back to their normal lives after everything that happened to them and what the Aether Corporation have done to them. But getting back to normal is easier said than done. Each of them struggle with what happened and with the memories they can’t forget, especially Elena. Prepared to never think about Aether or time travel again the 3 of them are once again approached by the company needing their help. Reluctantly the 3 of them travel 30 years into the future to help bring back another team of time travelers. While they are there things don’t go as planned and soon they all find themselves fighting to find a way to fix a future that they could lose forever.

I will say that I found Future Threat predictable. Not in a bad way. I mean I knew how it was all going to go down almost immediately, but I still was on the end of my seat trying to figure out if I was actually wrong or not. I was 100% entertained and interested the whole time. Part of that interest was because of all the parallel worlds that were formed because of changes. I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about them and how each choice these teens made in the future would essentially effect not only the past but the future from that past, if that makes sense. I was fascinated by how things changed so easily from visit to visit and was curious what it would all mean to the main couple, Adam and Elena.

Oh Adam and Elena. Elena killed me in this book. She refused to get out of her own way and I wanted to shake her. Actually I wanted to shake Adam too because it was so obvious what she was doing and he ignored it. They definitely frustrated me. But I also really liked there story and how even when they were being weird with each other they still had each other’s back. That is really important to who they are as characters and I was happy that was still the case. I also really liked how they responded differently to things they saw in their futures and wanted to work to make it all happened.

In the end I really liked this installment of the story. I liked where the characters went and how they changed and learned. And I loved the time travel aspect. The end was a little too cliff hangery for my liking, but just all the more reason to look forward to book 3. Final thought…thumbs up.

*to see the other blogs on the tour click the tour banner.

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive finished copies of FUTURE THREAT & FUTURE SHOCK, US ONLY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci Burton

Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonAll Wound Up by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #10
Published by Berkley
Format: ARC
Amazon, Goodreads

Tucker Cassidy is going through a slump—both with his curveball and in his dating life. After having a painful altercation involving his ex-girlfriend’s knee, the professional baseball player is convinced things couldn’t get worse…until a gorgeous doctor comes to the rescue at his most embarrassing moment.

As the daughter of the owner of the St. Louis Rivers major league baseball team, Dr. Aubry Ross has been around jocks all her life. She knows the ins and outs of all their games, and she isn’t interested in playing.

When Tucker repeatedly lands in the hospital where she’s working, Aubry starts to think he’s getting injured just to see her. Tucker is both funny and sexy, and Aubry is pleasantly surprised to discover he actually respects her job.

But when her father disapproves of their relationship, will Tucker let threats of a trade get in the way of a game-changing love?

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Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonUnexpected Rush by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #11
Published by Berkley
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon, Goodreads

For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.

Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in interior design. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.

When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over...to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.
When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over...

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Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonRules of Contact by Jaci Burton
Published by Berkley
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

A defensive end for the San Francisco Sabers, Flynn Cassidy is used to being in the spotlight—he just doesn’t enjoy it. But if getting in front of the cameras will help his new restaurant succeed, he’s willing. Now if he could just meet a woman who loved him and not his fame…

After her divorce, Amelia Lawrence is thrilled to start over as head chef at Ninety-Two. It’s just the opportunity she needs to heat up her career—if only she wasn’t wildly attracted to her sexy new boss. Their chemistry might be sizzling hot, but Amelia has no intention of being burned again.

Flynn can’t get enough of Amelia, and Amelia loves every second she spends with the tough yet tender Flynn. But trust is a hard-fought battle for both. Breaking the rules of contact and surrendering to their passion was the easy part. Are they willing to risk their hearts to win at the game of love?

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Reading a long romance series will definitely have its ups and downs. There will be couples you love, couples you hate. There will be set ups that work and some that don’t. You will never be 100% happy with all books in a long series, but that is what the joy of reading is about.

I started Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series in 2012. Over the last 4 years I have read books 1-9. Over the last 2 months I read the final (??) 3 books, All Wound Up, Unexpected Rush, and Rules of Contact. Each book had a Cassidy sibling (Tucker, Barrett, and Flynn) and the football and baseball we ha e known and loved in this series. All three had love and romance and the ever present happily ever after. But all the did not leave me with the same feelings of joy. To be honest I was slightly disappointed in the last two books.

Basically, I really enjoyed Tucker and Aubry’s story (book 10). They definitely had a natural chemistry between the two of them that sucked me in from the start. Their relationship didn’t feel forced or rushed. It felt like they belonged together and that’s what I love about a good romance. But Barrett and Harmony(book 11) and Flynn and Amelia (book 12) didn’t have that feeling for me. Those two couples felt forced and there was no spark. I almost wish there had been build-up and pinning. I really think that’s what was missing for me.

As a whole I enjoyed the series. There were so hits and some misses, but together it was just a fun sports series with love, life and romance. Book 10, All Wound Up, was my favorite of the last 3 for sure, but I would recommend checking the series out.

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